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Showing posts from February, 2010

Cookbook #9: San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market Cookbook

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Adapted from Cookbook #9:  San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market Cookbook  (2006)

Recipe: Swiss Chard Flan



Okay, tell me that when you read that recipe title, you didn't just do a double take.  That's what I did.  In fact, I may have gasped, "Flan?  Isn't that a fantastic Mexican dessert?  Why does it have the words Swiss Chard in front of it?"

Times like these, I wonder why I ever chose page 210.  What had I gotten myself into?


I guess I had to make Swiss Chard Flan.

Luckily, this flan didn't come with a crème caramel topping or a puff pastry shell.  In fact, it was a remarkably savory bit of tasty goodness.

The husband is not a fan of the runny egg--so much so that he orders poached eggs as well done as possible--so we had to make some modifications to this one.  I decided not to make this really a flan; I made it a frittata instead.  A little less wiggle and a whole lot more happiness from everyone involved.  Besides, it just sounds a little more…

Cookbook #8: The New Book of Middle Eastern Food

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Adapted from Cookbook #8:  The New Book of Middle Eastern Food (my edition is 2005, originally published in 1968)

Recipe:  Frakh Ma'amra (Mediterranean Pigeons or Squabs Stuffed with Couscous)


__________ is to Middle Eastern Food as Julia Child is to French Food:

Do you remember these from the SAT?  At least then you got a multiple choice selection.  But here the only name worthy of filling in that blank is truly Claudia Roden, who stands heads and shoulders above the rest (although I suppose doing so over the tall Ms. Child would be difficult.  Nonetheless.  You get the cliché). This cookbook was first printed in 1968 and has since undergone a new, updated overhaul.  The introduction in this book is a culinary historian's dream.  Roden discusses Muslim Spain, Court Cuisine in the 10th century, and the Sassanid influence on the Middle Eastern palate from the third through seventh century, among other historical tidbits.  Roden knows her history because it connects to the stor…

Cookbook #7: Wok & Stir Fry: Fabulous Fast Food with Asian Flavors

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Adapted from Cookbook #7:  Wok & Stir Fry: Fabulous Fast Food with Asian Flavors (2003)

Recipe:  Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Chicken and Shrimp

I bought this cookbook because we own a wok.  We don't need a wok.  And yet, there it is, taunting us.  So I acquired this cookbook in an attempt to toss together some fast recipes.

It was bound to happen.  This one was a dud.  While this faux- (pho?) Phat Thai (Pad Thai) is a fine weeknight meal, it pales in comparison to real Phat Thai, and so this meal is just plain sad.  True Phat Thai has tamarind sauce and more sugar and lime juice, but this one was bland, boring, tame.  So if you feel inspired to make this, double, nay triple (okay, maybe not triple), all the yummy sauces because that's what makes good Phat Thai.   That wonderful blend of salty, sweet and sour.

Apparently Phat Thai was originally brought to Thailand from Vietnam, became a cheap staple for the working people, then morphed into the go-to-food for …

Cookbook #6: Bruce Aidell's Complete Book of Pork

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Adapted from Cookbook #6:  Bruce Aidells's Complete Book of Pork (2004)

Recipe: Carnitas

Carnitas:  Spanish for "little meats."  And Bruce Aidells--Bay Area king of meat--would be one to trust with the "little meats."  Aidells founded Aidells Sausage Company in 1983 to supply restaurants and the layperson in the Bay Area with quality sausages (seriously, the Chicken Apple Sausage is a staple for our summertime grill).  My husband almost drooled when he found this cookbook, as he is not only a fan of Aidells, but he is a fan of all things meat related.  So much so, he's known by name and by choice of cut at our local butcher.  This is a cookbook that pleases the palate as well as the husband.

Here's what pleases the wife, however.  Bear with me; this may seem a digression, but I promise to bring it back to the pig.  I am reading Ulysses this year for the first time.  I challenged my students to read it with me, and two students and one parent have intrep…