Archive

Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

Top Eight Favorite Dim Sum Plates

February 16, 2010 2 comments

From savory dumplings dipped in soy sauce and chili paste to sweet deep-fried sesame balls, here are my top eight picks for my favorite dim sum plates. What’s on your list?

Dumplings and Bao

1. Har Gow — shrimp dumpling

2. Spinach shrimp dumpling

Har Gow (Shrimp Dumpling)

3. Chicken feet with black bean sauce

4. Bee’s nest taro puff — fried taro dumpling

Bee's Nest Taro Puff

5. Shiu mai — pork dumplings with diced mushroom

6. Char siu bao — steamed barbecue pork buns (click here to learn how to make baos from scratch)

Char Siu Bao

7. Custard tart

8. Deep-fried sesame seed ball with sweet red bean paste

Deep-fried Sesame Ball

Where can you enjoy fresh and great-tasting dim sum in the Bay Area?

Koi Palace
365 Gellert Blvd
Daly City, CA 94015
650.992.9000
koipalace.com

Yank SIng
101 Spear Street between Howard Street and Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
415.957.9300
yanksing.com

City View
662 Commercial Street between Kearny Street and Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
415.398.2838

How to Make Bacon Snickerdoodles

February 3, 2010 3 comments

Share/Bookmark

Inspired by Kitchenette’s delightful bacon snickerdoodles, I solicited the help of the Joy of Cooking for a basic snickerdoodle recipe and tweaked it a bit to accommodate the addition of some tasty salty bacon.

Bacon Snickerdoodles

For the dough, makes eighteen 3-inch cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg

For the cinnamon-sugar coating

1/8 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

And of course, don’t forget the bacon.  A few strips will do.

Mix thoroughly the dry ingredients: flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a small bowl until well blended.

Using a wooden spoon, mix thoroughly the softened butter and sugar in a large bowl until it becomes a well blended paste. Add the egg and mix until well combined. Stir in the flour mixture. Stir it in incrementally so you won’t have flour all over the place. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon for the coating.

Slice the bacon strips widthwise into 1/2-inch wide slices.

Shape the dough into 1-1/4-inch balls.  It’s a bit sticky so I ended up scooping the dough with a spoon instead of shaping it by hand.  Roll them in the cinnamon-sugar coating, and arrange about 2-3/4 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Place the bacon slices on top of each ball, right in the middle. Gently press down the bacon. This will flatten the dough a bit, but just a tiny bit.  Doing this makes sure that the bacon stays in the middle of the cookie as it bakes.  The first time I tried baking these cookies, I just laid the bacon strips on top of the dough without pressing it down gently. The bacon did not stay in the center and it flowed toward the edge of the cookie as it baked.

Bacon Snickerdoodles

Bake one sheet at a time, until the cookies are light golden brown at the edges, 12 to 14 minutes. Let the cookies stand briefly then place them on racks to cool.

Just a word of caution, they are truly addicting. It’s the sweetness of the cookie combined with the saltiness of the bacon that I love so much.

Share/Bookmark

How to Make Dungeness Crab Cakes at Home

January 26, 2010 1 comment

It’s Dungeness crab season in San Francisco and there’s no better way to enjoy these tasty crustaceans than to make crab cakes! Alice Waters has a great simple recipe for crab cakes in her amazing book The Art of Simple Food.

Making homemade crabcakes is an excellent example of why homecooking is so cool: you actually know what ends up in your plate because you made it yourself.  Most of the time I wonder how much crabmeat there is in the crab cakes I get when I dine out.  Get the best crabmeat, pick the freshest herbs, make your own breadcrumbs and if you’re a little adventurous, make your own mayonnaise from scratch! Fresh ingredients plus a simple recipe equals great-tasting food.

Crab Cakes

1 lb crabmeat (picked from 2 Dungeness crabs)
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp chopped chives
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 Tbsp chopped chervil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and cayenne to taste
1-1/2 cups breadcrumbs (click here to learn how to make fresh breadcrumbs)
5 Tbsp unsalted butter (click here to learn how to make clarified butter)

Cooking the crabs

Boil salted water in a large pot and then carefully drop in the Dungeness crabs. Two Dungeness crabs will yield roughly a pound of crabmeat but use as many blue crabs or other crabs as needed to yield the same.  Boil for 15 minutes.  Remove the crabs from the pot and let them drain and cool.

Pull off the large top shell, remove the fibrous lungs and rinse lightly.

Cracking the Crab Open

Split the main body in half down the center.  Pull off the legs, crack them, and pick the crabmeat from the body and legs.  Big chunks of crabmeat are good for texture. Put the crabmeat in a bowl and gently go through the meat to remove any bits of shell left in the meat.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Picking the Crabmeat

Making the cakes

Stir the chives, parsley, chervil, lemon juice, salt and cayenne into the mayonnaise and mix thoroughly.  Let me make a note that chervil is pretty difficult to find. Even the local Whole Foods does not normally carry them.  If you find yourself chervil-less, don’t worry I think you’ll be fine without it.

Stir the mayonnaise into the crabmeat, mix gently but thoroughly. Taste and add more lemon juice and salt as needed. Form the mixture into patties. I ended up making six 3-inch diameter cakes.  Roll the patties to coat in the breadcrumbs.

Forming the Patties

Warm a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat.  Pour in the clarified butter (click here to learn how to make clarified butter) and when the butter is hot, carefully add the crab cakes and fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side. If the breadcrumbs start to burn, turn down the heat.

Simple Crabcakes

A cool variation to this dish is to use fish fillet to make fish cakes.  Waters recommends using a firm white fish like halibut, haddock or ling cod.  Use two cups of chopped fish fillet in place of the crabmeat.

How to make fresh bread crumbs

Breadcrumbs are best made from bread that has been dried out for a day or two.  For breading and frying, Waters recommends using white bread.  First, remove the crust. Cut the crustless bread into cubes and grind up the bread in batches using a food processor or a blender.  The bread should be ground up thoroughly so the crumbs are more or less the same size.  Crumbs for breading need to be ground very fine, so they will stick to and evenly coat whatever is being breaded.

How to make clarified butter

Melt unsalted butter in a small heavy pot over medium heat.  Cook the butter until it has spearated and the milk solids are just turning a light golden brown.  Pour through a fine strainer to remove the milk solids.

Lelenita’s Nicaraguan Tres Leches (Three Milk) Cake in Bernal Heights

January 13, 2010 2 comments

If you find making your own tres leches is a bit daunting there’s a Nicaraguan bakery in Bernal Heights that makes this seriously delicious sweet treat.  Check out Lelenita’s Cakes.

Nicaraguan Tres Leches at Lelenita's in Bernal Heights

Lelenita’s makes delightful tres leches cakes and other Nicaraguan baked treats like the Pio Quinto, a Nicaraguan rum cake with walnuts and dark rum.

Many people believe that tres leches, a popular Latin American cake, originated from Nicaragua.  There are actually two types of tres leches.  One is the deliciously moist traditional sponge cake soaked in a glaze made of three types of milk, and the other is a sponge cake with a fruit filling, usually strawberry, which is not soaked in a milk glaze and is less sweet.  Both are topped lavishly with meringue instead of the more common whipped topping.  Meringue actually makes their cakes truly Nicaraguan.  But if meringue is not your thing, Lelenita’s can bake you a cake with either a vanilla or chocolate flavored whipped topping.  They also make delicious and detailed decorated cakes for weddings and all occasions.

A slice f Lelenita's Tres Leches.
Lelenita’s Cakes is in Bernal Heights.
3743 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
415.282.2253

Mom’s Hearty Homemade Chili with Homemade Cornbread

January 7, 2010 3 comments

Where can you find the best cornbread in the city?  Just for You Cafe in the Dogpatch.

Just for You is the place-to-be for tasty big breakfasts: fried eggs, ham, home fries and their freshly baked cornbread.  I love my cornbread sweet rather than savory, but not too sweet and I love it moist with a little bit of gritty texture.  Just for You’s has all these wonderful elements.  Enjoy it with a generous spread of butter or with their sweet strawberry jam.  The corncakes are equally good, too.  They have that melt-in-your-mouth, buttery and gritty goodness that I love.  And a visit to Just for You is never complete without indulging in their puffy beignets.  So delightful.

Just for You Cafe's Cornbread with Strawberry Jam

Inspired by Just for You’s cornbread, I ventured out, bought myself some corn meal and made my own cornbread.  And there’s no better way to enjoy a warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven piece of cornbread in this cold winter than to pair it with a tasty bowl of hearty homemade chili.  For that, I solicited Dennis’ help to make his mom’s homemade chili, the chili he grew up with in chilly Ohio.

Homemade Cornbread

1-1/4 cup yellow corn meal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup fat-free milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish.  You can use a pyrex dish, a non-stick baking pan or you can also use a muffin pan to make corn muffins.

Combine the corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Combine the milk, oil and egg in a separate bowl. After mixing them well add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and pour into your baking dish.  Note that the original recipe called for a cup of flour to a cup of corn meal but for a grittier texture I added a 1/4 cup more corn meal and used 1/4 cup less flour in this recipe.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Homemade Cornbread

Mom’s Homemade Chili

Chili Spices
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder or freshly minced garlic
1/2 tsp cumin (optional)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Great-tasting chili is very much a cook-until-the-way-you-like-it sort of comfort food.  So feel free to experiment with the spices as you wish.

1 to 1.5 lbs of extra lean ground beef
1 can black beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
1 medium to large size onion diced
1-2 green or red bell peppers chopped
Worcestershire sauce (start with 1 Tbsp and then add more to taste)

Cooking time is 2-4 hours.  Slow cooking is best.

Brown the ground beef in a large stew pot over medium heat.  Don’t thoroughly cook the meat but only up to a point when most of the fat has come out.  If you prefer a finer texture break up the ground beef completely but if you like a chunkier chili, as I do, break it up in larger bite size bits.

Extra lean beef (less than 5% fat) is recommended, which is the healthiest choice. If you do use extra lean beef there is no need to drain the fat out. Otherwise, drain the beef fat using a colander and return it to the pot. I think it’s a smart idea to give up the beef fat so you can indulge in butter with your bread later!

Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, onions, and peppers to the browned beef and mix well.  It will be pretty thick but there is no need to add water here as there will be plenty as the vegetables continue to cook.  Add the Worcestershire sauce and chili spices and mix well.  Let this cook and come to a slow boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer.  Add the red kidney and black beans to the mix and stir well together.

Hearty Homemade Chili

Now, here’s the fun part, or well, at least Dennis thinks so.  Take a break and let it simmer for about an hour while stirring it occasionally.  Come back and taste the chili. If you think it needs a little more oomph add more Worcestershire, salt, chili powder and perhaps more garlic powder or freshly minced garlic.  Cook for another half an hour on low heat and stir well occasionally. Continue adding more salt and chili powder if you prefer but remember to stir everything well.  Let it stand for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Great-tasting chili is truly a season-to-taste slow cooked meal.  Chili powders have different levels of potency so feel free to experiment.

Enjoy a bowl of chili with a piece of warm cornbread or some saltine crackers on a chilly winter day. Some folks love red onions or grated cheddar with their chili but I love it just the way it is with some sweet cornbread.

Hearty Homemade Chili

For breakfast, scramble some eggs in butter and top it with chili and a piece of cornbread.

Homemade Chili Over Scrambled Eggs and Cornbread

By the way, I don’t think I have found the best chili in the city.  San Francisco doesn’t really strike me as a city for chili but maybe I’m wrong. What do you think?

Discovering the Dogpatch

January 4, 2010 6 comments

Two old cranes loom large over the Dogpatch. You simply can’t miss them.

Cranes with Graffiti in the Dogpatch

I actually think these old cranes are very cool.  Well, I think the Dogpatch is very cool.  It is a bit rough but, definitely, in a good way.  Old Victorians and old industrial and commercial buildings that survived the 1906 fire and earthquake mixed with new and modern loft apartments and cool cafes and restaurants give this tiny nine-block neighborhood a really interesting character.

The Dogpatch is an enclave of industrial worker’s housing in the once-booming San Francisco Central Waterfront district.  The city recognized it as a Historic District in 2003.  It still feels industrial but it also feels neighborly.  It was recently hailed as one of America’s best neighborhoods by Men’s Journal and recently featured in the New York Times.

I love its dog-friendly Esprit Park surrounded by quiet streets where dogs can run and play.  I love its 260 sunny days in a year, on average.  And I love its burgeoning dining scene. Fried eggs and cornbread with strawberry jam for breakfast at Just for You.  House-smoked pastrami sandwich with bacon snickerdoodle for lunch at Kitchenette.  A cup of Blue Bottle Coffee at Piccino Coffee Bar.  A bottle of Malbec with cheese and olives at Yield Wine Bar.  And a plateful of fried chicken with red beans and rice and yams for dinner at Hard Knox Cafe.

And if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, the equally cool 18th Street in Potrero Hill is just a quick brisk walk away. Hop on the T to get to downtown or on the 22 to get to the Mission. The choices are endless.

T Line at Mariposa in the Dogpatch

Here is a link to read more about the story behind the city’s working class historic district.  It is a great resource about the history and architecture of the Dogpatch.  And here are more information about the restaurants mentioned in this blog.

Just For You Cafe
732 22nd
415.647.3033

Kitchenette SF
958 Illinois
Twitter, @kitchenettesf

Piccino Coffee Bar
801 22nd
415.824.4224

Yield Wine Bar
2490 3rd
415.401.8984

Hard Knox Cafe
2526 3rd
415.648.3770

Blue Moon in San Francisco

December 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Blue Moon Rising Over San Francisco Bay

If round things are a symbol of good luck and prosperity then I think there will be lots of it in the New Year.  We may just need to work doubly hard to find it.

Here’s hoping for the best for everyone. Happy New Year!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 31 other followers