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I’m On An All Carb Diet: Tartine Bakery & Cafe

21 Jan

Tartine Bakery is nothing short of amazing.  Anyone living in the Mission or Castro areas of San Francisco, has witnessed the line of bread and pastry fiends wrapping around the outside of the bakery on any given day of the week.

Tartine’s hubby and wifey co-owners, Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson, come equipped with years of culinary experience, have studied century-old baking methods in the French countryside, and even have a James Beard award for Outstanding Pastry Chefs under their culinary belts.  Since opening Tartine in 2002, these dynamic bakers have definitely proven themselves to be the rustic bread masters of the Bay Area.

Watch Chad Robertson speak in depth on his background, baking techniques and unyielding passsion for creating that perfect loaf of bread:

Evidenced by Tartine’s daily crowds, Robertson and Prueitt have been able to hone their craft and truly deliver – their skill and love for the art of baking shines through in the quality of food Tartine consistently delivers.

Assortment of open-faced croque-monsieurs on freshly-baked country rustic bread

Complete with oven roasted tomatoes, béchamel, gruyere, thyme and pepper – topped with either smoked Niman Ranch ham or seasonal vegetables

This is what Tartine does to people…Steph clearly can’t keep the sheer excitement from bursting out of her eyeballs

Excellent coffee and espresso as well

Just a sweet little post savory-meal treat

Banana Cream Tart: flaky pastry coated in dark chocolate with caramel, pastry cream, and lightly sweetened cream

1-2-3…GO!  Nobody talk for the next 15 minutes, thanks.

Enfin, Tartine is conveniently located near beautiful Dolores Park – which has rapidly become one of my favorite places to lie in the sunshine, people watch, and work off my well-earned food coma with a vengeance…
600 Guerrero Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

Chakchouka à la Moncef

29 Nov

Chakchouka is a fried pepper and vegetable dish that is as commonly served in Tunisian kitchens as are hot dogs at American ball parks.  Chakchouka is an incredibly flavorful dish that emerged from a country that is a bustling crossroad of French, Italian and Arab cultures.  Since Italy is just a hop across the picturesque Mediterranean, many Tunisian dishes have been influenced by Italian culinary traditions.  Not only do both countries share the same passion for fresh ingredients and lively tomato based dishes, but both also view food as a hub that strengthens bonds between gathering friends and families.  Chakchouka is one of my favorite things to eat in Tunisia because it can be eaten at any time of the day and the spices always enhance the inherent flavors of the fresh veggies.  My father’s recipe puts a nice twist on the traditional version by adding potatoes – making this the perfect entrée for an easy Sunday brunch.

Ingredients

  •  1 red and 1 green bell pepper (cut into thin slices, about 2 inch long pieces)
  • 1 medium size yellow onion (chopped or finely sliced)
  • 1 medium size potato (skinned and diced into about 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 2 fresh tomatoes (seeded, diced into 1 inch pieces)
  • 1 medium size zucchini (1/4 inch thick half circles)
  • 4-6 large eggs
  • 2 gloves of garlic (1 finely diced, 1 quartered)
  • 4 oz. of plain tomato sauce
  • 1 Tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 Tsp. ground caraway seeds
  • 1 Tbl. chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbl. chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 Tbl. chopped green onion
  • olive oil

Preparation

  1. In a medium size skillet over medium heat, lightly fry potatoes in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil until slightly browned and almost tender. Salt lightly then set aside.
  2. Repeat step 1 with the zucchini.  Cook until they are still slightly firm but nearly edible. They will be cooked more later, so be careful to not overcook.
  3. Preferably in a cast-iron skillet, heat 2 tbl. of olive oil. Sauté the onions on medium-high heat for about 4 min or until translucent.
  4. Add the bell peppers to the onions. Salt and pepper to taste, then add the cilantro.
  5. Cook the mixture for 1-2 more minutes then add all of the garlic, coriander and caraway, mix well.
  6. Add the tomato sauce to the mixture and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, cover and simmer on low for about 15-20 minutes – stir on occasion until the sauce has thickened.
  7. Once the mixture has thickened, distribute the potatoes and zucchini evenly on top and push them gently into the mixture.
  8. Simmer uncovered for 3 more minutes on medium-low heat.
  9. With the back of a large spoon, make depressions for the eggs on top of the Chakchouka (creating a “nest” for the eggs so they are contained and do not run all over the top).
  10. Carefully crack the eggs into the nests. Salt and pepper them,  then top the dish with chopped Italian parsley and green onions.
  11. Broil the entire skillet in the oven for about 3-5 minutes or until eggs are set and no longer translucent – make sure the yolk is still soft and runny.

Serve right away and enjoy.  The secret is to not overcook the Chakchouka, and as my grandmother, Meherzia, used to say, “You must eat it live!”

5 Foods Friday: Breakfast!

26 Aug

If I absolutely HAD to pick my favorite meal of the day it would probably have to be breakfast.  I can definitely take down a breakfast burrito or some crispy hashbrowns and bacon with over-easy eggs at anytime – day or night.  Aside from a massive breakfast being the best hangover cure in the world, I think there’s no better way to get a nice kick-start to your day (as long as you don’t eat too much and slip into a food coma…)

Based on a mix of personal experiences and restaurant recommendations by some of my trusted fellow foodies – I’ve compiled a One Delish Dish list of the 5 best places in LA to get a great breakfast:

1.  BLD

BLD = Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner.  Clearly this place serves all three meals, but BLD really shines in the breakfast/brunch department.  Their blueberry ricotta pancakes are amazingly fluffy, moist and flavorful and their chorizo home fries are the best, especially when they’re cooked extra crispy!

2.  Salt’s Cure

This famous West Hollywood spot has excellent brunch that’s served out of an open kitchen so customers can get an insider’s peek into the culinary magic.  With most of the menu changing weekly, the consistent customer favorites are the Duck Hash, 2x2x2 plate, famous house-made sweet rolls and the house-cured thick-cut bacon.

3.  Blu Jam Cafe

Blu Jam on Melrose is always packed on the weekends and has an extensive menu that’s sure to please the sweet or savory palate.  From their Crispy French Toast to their famous Blu Jam and Salmon eggs benedicts, this place is definitely a breakfast must have around LA.

4.  Gjelina

For me, Gjelina lives up to its hype as the dinner spot to hit up in Venice.  But in addition to dinner, there’s a lot of buzz surrounding Gjelina’s unique and gourmet twist on a standard Sunday brunch.  Some great brunch dishes at Gjelina are the fried egg sandwich, poached egg over polenta w/bacon, smoked salmon and asparagus scramble and my personal favorite, a crispy fried egg w/prosciutto, romesco, arugula and lemon.

5.  Flake

This low-key breakfast spot in Venice has all the classic breakfast staples, a great Acai bowl for all the LA health nuts AND my fave… some tasty breakfast sandwiches that are exploding with great flavors and textures.  Their famous Super Cro-Jo sandwich is complete with soft scrambled eggs, gooey melted Gouda cheese, thick crisped bacon, fresh greens and tomatoes, all on a fluffy croissant.  Flake’s diehard customers agree that the best part of this sandwich is the spicy sauce – an irresistible Sriracha mayo concoction that you could pretty much eat with a spoon.

Now that I’ve sufficiently made myself hungry, I think I’ll either find a restaurant that serves breakfast for dinner or go make myself a nice hearty veggie, cheese and chicken apple sausage scramble with a side of hashbrowns – topped off with Tapatio of course. 

Where’s your favorite place to grab a big and tasty weekend breakfast?

Get your Matzah Brei on…

26 Apr

So I realize I am a few hours late for my One Delish Dish shout out to Passover and all of its culinary delights, but I’m hopeful that my tasty twist on Matzah Brei can be enjoyed at anytime of the year.  Among the Gefilte fish, bitter herbs and zero-yeast policy, Passover isn’t typically known as the holiday filled with amazing cuisine.  However, my close friend and fellow “Jewish-insider,” Jonathan Cohen, told me that Matzah Brei is the way to go during Passover – well, that and Matzah pizza, but I could never deal with a dough-less pizza.  That’s just not happening, I love a good dough a little too much.

Matzah Brei is an easy, healthier alternative to quiche that’s super tasty when spiced up a bit.  It’s basically softened matzah that is mixed with eggs and either made into a frittata-type cake or broken up into pieces.  It can be prepared in a savory style (served with meat, onions, chives and/or sour cream), or a sweet style (served with cinnamon, sugar and jam).  Since I would pick a cheeseburger over a cupcake any day, I chose to go the more savory route.  They key is to make it as crispy as possible on the outside (without charring it of course).

To make this you need:

– 4 or 5 pieces of matzah

– 4 eggs

– about 10 finely chopped chives

– 1/4 cup of fried onions (either freshly fried or dehydrated)

– salt and pepper to taste

– 2 teaspoons of garlic powder

– 1 tablespoon of butter

– 3 strips of turkey bacon, chopped into small pieces

– one large dollop of sour cream

avocado slices

Preparation:  In a large bowl, break the matzah into bite-sized pieces, then pour hot water over them (enough to cover).  As soon as the matzah is soft, drain out the excess water.  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs.  Then add the eggs, salt, pepper, garlic powder and chopped chives to the softened matzah, mix and set aside.  Heat the butter in the frying pan and fry the chopped turkey bacon.  When the turkey bacon is crispy, pour the egg/matzah mixture over it and let the mixture cook over medium heat.  I prefer to cook this like a frittata, so allow it brown and crisp on one side, then carefully flip it either by hand or with a spatula.  After both sides are crisped, slide it onto a plate and top it off with some sour cream, avocado slices and fresh chives.  You can either cut it up and serve it like a quiche, or simply dig in with a fork.  Enjoy for breakfast, lunch or dinner…and of course, don’t forget the Tapatio!


 

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