Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What I'm Reading Today

The sun in finally beginning to shine in San Francisco. I guess after 11 years I should be used to this Indian summer but every year seems colder than the last. Good excuse to cook I guess!

Over the recent years I've developed a thing for cake. I don't order it much if I'm out but, I love the drama of making a frosted layer cake and bringing it to someone's house. My fave is the dark chocolate cake from Ina, sprinkled with sea salt at the end. But, today's LA Times has some great insights from the self declared "The Cake Guy". After reading some of the best cake books out there, 'Southern Cakes' 'The Cake Bible' and 'The Art of the Cake' he found himself somewhat of an expert. You might be surprised how easy it is. A quick and fun read.

“Don’t worry about the chef,” she said, her voice merrily derisive. “What matters is how you like it.”
A quote from New York's Union Square Cafe, which has set an exceedingly high bar for those in the restaurant business. The service is perfection and the food rises to the same level. I haven't been in several years but all the meals I've had there have been outstanding. In today's NY Times, Frank Bruni goes back and reviews it again, the first time in 10 years. Originally a three star review, read why Frank gives it two...Somehow I think Danny Meyer will read this one and make some changes. If you're just in it for the food, check out the slideshow.

You're heard me mention David Lebovitz's blog, one of my favorite in the food world. The former Chez Panisse pastry chef and accomplished food writer transplanted himself from the Bay Area to Paris. Today's Washington Post had a feature on David, including recipes for his now famous Caramelized White Chocolate Ice Cream (think slow cooked caramel-like chocolate flavors topped with smoky salt) and his Apricot and Raspberry Clafouti (a fluffly, pancake-like batter full of fresh summer fruit). If you haven't read anything David's written, be sure to check this out. He always manages to put a smile on your face. While you're there, and on a completely opposite and savory note, check out this recipe for Harissa. The spicy North African condiment, which can be bought in speciality stores, is amazing homemade. Try it mixed in mayo next time you make a steak sandwich or burger, put it on grilled lamb, or throw it in a vinaigrette.

If you've ever been rib-phobic, and I mean the cooking part not the eating part, try baby backs. They are so simple to make, whether you're firing up the grill or just doing them in the oven. In today's Seattle Times I saw this recipe for Spicy Baby Backs with an Orange Glaze. I have no doubt the combination of fresh o.j. and sweet spicy Asian chili sauce would make these amazing.

I was fishing around the food section of the SF Chronicle yesterday. It's been very thin lately and recipes are hard to find. I did stumble across a few that looked great, especially this Grilled Eggplant Salad with Roasted Tomato Almond Vinaigrette. Grilling eggplant is simple but it has such a mild flavor it kind of screams for a big condiment. I made this vinaigrette yesterday and it's fantastic. Romesco-like in flavor, it couldn't be easier.

Happy Reading and Happy Cooking!

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