Soup of the Fortnight: Irish

Posted by Anita on 03.31.06 4:33 PM

cream of cauliflower soup (c)2006 AECI made the Cream of Cailiflower and Stilton Soup from Epicurious, replacing the stilton with Irish blue cheese. (I had found other Irish cauliflower-cheese soups elsewhere, but they didn’t sound as good.)

We served it with corned beef sandwiches. wub.gif It was delicious, and I can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch!

cooking, recipes, Soup o' the Fortnight
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Mmm, postage

Posted by Anita on 03.29.06 3:13 PM

Crops of the Americas stamps

USPS announced their new Crops of the Americas stamps today. You can buy ‘em online or at the local post office.

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You say pozole, I say posole

Posted by Anita on 03.20.06 3:22 PM

(c)2006-2010 AEC *All Rights Reserved*(links updated 1/2010)

I made a huge batch of posole verde yesterday, with Rancho Gordo hominy, and pig parts from Prather Ranch. I am drooling as I think of eating the leftovers for lunch.

The recipe was from the Williams-Sonoma Mexican book, which I still have checked out from the library, with some reality-checking of quantities from Rick Bayless. Tausend calls for 3 pounds of posole for a single batch, which would have been an amazingly awful mistake. I also used Bayless’s larger ratios of meat (2 pounds) and bones (3+ pounds, and substituting water for the chicken stock accordingly) and his suggestion of adding a pig foot for broth texture. I did use the W-S recipe’s sauce components, although I don’t think I’d bother with the pumpkin seeds again — a lot of effort and expense for very little payoff.

Dessert was a nearly flourless chocolate-almond cake frosted with with ancho whipped cream — from the same cookbook — which I liked very much.

cookbooks, cooking, Mexican
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SOTF: Italian (part II)

Posted by Anita on 03.17.06 4:31 PM

Tortellini en brodo (c)2006 AECFor my second attempt at Italian soups for the fortnight, I made tortellini en brodo. Actually, I made about 100 tortellini, and now I have LOTS in the freezer…

cooking, Italian, Soup o' the Fortnight
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Dosa do-si-do

Posted by Anita on 03.16.06 10:17 AM

Dosa logoDon’t underestimate how hard it is to get a table at Dosa: Kathy, Neil, Cameron and I tried to walk in and eat here a couple of weeks ago, and gave up. Trying to work within the system, we gathered up 2 more friends — Dosa takes reservations for groups of 5 or more — and emailed early the next week to get a table. After 3 days without a response, I called and left voicemail. A very sweet woman called me back and apologized for the problem, and found us a table at the time we wanted.

Needless to say, my expectations ran pretty high after all of this rigamarole. Largely, I think they were met. The food is interesting, tasty, flavorful without being incendiary, and thoughtfully presented. Service was crisp but a little stand-offish, and our server was very helful when it came time to figure out what (and how much) to order — once we asked.

I was really pleased with how reasonable the prices were. For less than $45 per person, including tax and tip, we had 2 bottles of wine and a handful of beers, plus a ton of food. Our order included a refreshing chickpea salad, a pair of appetizers — crispy-spicy potato croquets and lush lentil dumplings — three dosai (paneer, egg, and rava masala), and two of the curries: a deeply spiced Tamil lamb, and a prawn coconut masala… oh, and a giant bathura. Each dosa came with its own bowl of sambar, plus two smooth chutneys: a gingery coconut one and a spicy tomato version. Needless to say, we didn’t have room for dessert, although I was tempted by the cardamom ice cream.

On the downside: The tables are awfully close together, the noise level is out of hand, the decor is warm but a tad bit stark — some art on the walls would help. Worst of all, the hordes of drooling, hovering patrons (staring daggers while you try to enjoy dinner) is really, really annoying. The hosts were letting people hang out in the dining area, not just the bar, and I found that extremely inappropriate.

If I could make a reservation for a party of 2 or 4, or better yet, walk in on a weeknight with a reasonable expectation of a table becoming available within the space of a leisurely cocktail, I’d become a regular. But given the hassle factor, I can’t imagine it being more than an occasional thing. I hope that once things calm down a bit, the owners might consider opening at least a few tables to reservations, while leaving the majority open for walk-ins.

995 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

restaurants, The Mission
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Un trés grand Boulevard

Posted by Anita on 03.15.06 10:02 AM

Boulevard (c)2006 AECBack in the ancient days, before I was Mrs. — yea verily before the dot-com boom — Boulevard was the place we always went for special occasions. We dined here Monday night to celebrate Cameron’s newfound employment, and it tickles me to no end that Boulevard is just as good as ever.

The service has gotten a little more sniffy, the clientele noticeably more swank, and the prices (never a bargain to begin with) have climbed proportionally. But the Beaux Arts decor is still gorgeous, the wine list is still deep without being impenetrable, and — most importantly — the food’s still creative without being too far out in left field.

There were a couple of missteps in our recent dinner — a desperately over-dressed salad, a server who left us sitting without water or drinks or so much as an “I’ll be right with you” for nearly 15 minutes, an awkward gap between the appetizers and the mains — but all was forgiven when our entrees arrived.

My heirloom pork chop was easily the best pig I have eaten in the states, perfectly cooked and richly porky with a perfectly salty, herbal flavor. And the accompanying pyramid-shaped raviolo was like a minature meal in itself: mascarpone mashed potatoes on the bottom, with shredded wild boar ragu in the top. Yum!

It’s nice when old standbys age well. I hope that Boulevard will still be around serving excellent food when we’re celebrating our 20th anniversary.

1 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

downtown SF, restaurants
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Soup of the Fortnight: Italian

Posted by Anita on 03.06.06 4:27 PM

saffron soup (c)2006 AECWe made a Fettuccine and Garbanzo soup from Molto Italiano. It called for a whopping 1 tsp. of saffron threads, which (of course!) gave it a lush, decadent flavor — even though the soup was entirely vegetarian — and turned the fettucine pieces a lovely shade of gold. It was very simple and tasty, although the quantity of pasta seemed way too generous; next time, I will reduce the pasta by half.

cookbooks, cooking, Italian, Soup o' the Fortnight