Eating Italy, New York and Hawaii

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Rhubarb for others

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Last week was a busy one at the cookbook store where I’m lucky enough to work. Spring has an incredible lineup of new cookbook releases and Book Larder is hosting fantastic authors to promote their work. Sara Forte of Sprouted Kitchen stopped by to a packed house to chat about her new book, Bowl + Spoon and something she said struck me.  Ashley asked her how she deals with falling into a “food rut”. I imagine a food rut for a food blogger happens a fair amount of time and can be incredibly frustrating, since you kind of need to keep cooking to continue creating the content that is your livelihood. Sara said that when she feels stuck and uninspired, she cooks for others.

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You know that book/thing “The Five Love Languages”? It is supposed to tell you the specific way you communicate and receive love best. They are Gifts, Touch, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation and Acts of Service.  None of those ever felt quite apt for me and also don’t stick me in a category corner. I decided that Food was my love language. Edible art is can cause me to tear up while clapping with glee. That is how I feel the most loved. Creating food for others is how I express to them that they are worthy of being spoiled. Worthy of time being spent recipe hunting, shopping, cooking and cleaning up for them. My inspirational sister-in-law  just birthed a child AND became a doctor, all in one week! My initial instinct was to create a week’s worth of meals for them as a way to bolster and congratulate. Unfortunately we live thousands of miles away from each other so that is a bit impossible at the moment.

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The post winter/ pre spring season had caused me to fall into a bit of a food rut. Looking through all these incredible cookbooks at work, made me at once antsy to cook, and simultaneously too overwhelmed and (ironically) uninspired. So many dishes were middling, intimidating or their ingredients just weren’t in season yet.  Recipe after recipe just created a glaze to fall over my eyes while reading books that had previously incited ooohs! and sparked brain whirrings. Then two things happened that helped yank me out of this stupid attitude of foodish boredom. Sara encouraged me to remember how connecting and communal food is when creating it for others. Also, rhubarb showed up at the farmer’s market. Armed with magenta stalks and a semi-selfless attitude, I invited a couple friends over for dinner. Dinner, rhubarb galette, a hysterical movie and dear friends de-glazed my eyes and brought my attention back to viewing food as an offering of my affection to others.

Rhubarb Galette

Pie crust is still a Herculean task in my mind, so I all about the free wheeling nature of a galette, be it savory or sweet.

I followed Food52’s tips of galette creation, and subbed half the AP flour with whole wheat flour because health. You can do the same or keep it all AP. You be you. 

Chop up about a 1 to 1.5 lbs of washed rhubarb. Mix in a bowl with a tablespoon or 2 of sugar. I like my rhubarb more tart than sweet. Add a bit of vanilla extract and a bit of ground cardamom. Grate fresh ginger* ( to your liking) to the rhubarb and mix it all together. Add rhubarb mixture it to the chilled, rolled out dough you created with Food52’s help. Fold over the edges, paint on an egg wash and sprinkle a bit of brown sugar to the crust. Bake for 40 minutes or so, checking to be sure it is adequately crispy and bubbly. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and alongside friends. 

 

 

 

* I keep my ginger in the freezer which I find makes grating much simpler.

A Pastry Pilgrimage to San Francisco

San-Francisco

 

Traveling with my family is not for the faint hearted. Nor is it for the sightseers, the hikers or the museum wanderers. Sure, we do a little of that when we explore a new place, but all those activities are the background, done partly out of obligation to the idea of the classic tourist.  They are “well we are in Florence so I suppose we should take a peek at the Uffizi” or ” well we are in Venice, so I suppose we should take a gondola ride.” ( I have a thing for Italy).

 

Traveling with the Cerquitellas is for the ever-voracious, the espresso sippers and those with a high threshold for teasing and tolerating a constant high pitched stream of chatter. There are a lot of girls in my family. And somehow, when we are all together, our voices all turn morph into the same high shriek while the males stare in abject horror at what their wives/girlfriends have turned into. Oh boys. Just wait till the Dutch Blitz cards come out.

 

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A few months ago my mom called to propose a Pastry Pilgrimage to  San Francisco, inspired by Bon Appetit’s August article. My older sister was working in LA in early December and we could all meet up for a quick jaunt to eat our way through San Francisco. DONE.

 

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First stop was b. patisserie.  Our hotel was out by the airport, so to get into the city we had to use a “Yuber” as my mother called it. Adorable but tiny, this bakery was filled with the crispiest, most gorgeous croissants I’ve ever seen. It was also overflowing with slim, yoga pants clad middle aged women. Why they all had nowhere else to be on a Friday morning I do not know. Were buttery confections the usual post-workout meal in San Francisco? We had decided to get a little to eat at a lot of places this weekend so we tried not to overdo it at our first place. One chocolate kouign amann and a gougère would certainly tide us over for a bit.

Nope. Mom insisted we get a passion fruit tart as well. So much for our plan.

 

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Then we walked. Walked and walked. I’m pretty certain we walked around 20 miles over the 3 days we traipsed around San Francisco. Wandering in and out of stores, poking around vintage kitchen ware stores, corner liquor stores and more gifty shops than I ever thought existed. Sharing a slice of toast at The Mill was a delicious and slightly pretentious experience. It isn’t normal to be condescended to while ordering toast at a coffee shop is it? Well, maybe if they are charging $4 for a slice of toast they can. The cafe was pretty and minimal with ultra cool customers and gorgeous bread. Now that I think of it, that entire aesthetic and character was a theme for San Francisco. Everywhere was artistically curated, snobby with impeccable gluten items.

 

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Our objective was The Mission District. Tartine to be exact. Tales of its bread and pastries are epic and that was our landmark of orientation to the rest of the city. Hearing of its ludicrious lines, we were prepared for a wait. However, 3:30 on a Friday proved to have a very small line. Score! Thinking of Tartine immediately brings to mind brown, blistered, crusty and flour specked loafs but, upon entering the bakery there was not a loaf to be found. Had we missed them all?! Was the entire trip for naught!?  Were we doomed to suffer through this banana cream pie with no hope of ending our afternoon with a bite of a crackling, warm, buttered baguette?

 

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Not to fear. As it turns out, Tartine brings out its famous loaves after 4:30 daily. Something about toast for breakfast and fresh bread for dinner. So we were just a bit early, which was fine as we made my sister wait in line for a couple loaves the next day.

 

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Saturday, we grabbed a hotel shuttle into downtown where Mom found a Ferrari store and practically ran there. Cause, you know she is always on the lookout for a luxury vehicle. Thankfully it was empty and shut down. Seems she was the only one looking for a Ferrari in San Francisco. We ended up at The Ferry Building where the weekly farmer’s market was set up. Any food lover must visit this mecca of gorgeous foodstuffs and quirky gift shops. Samples galore: cheese, burnt caramel, granola and ice cream. Everything “artisanal” and “hand crafted”. Everything impeccably packaged and lust worthy.

Breakfast was Blue Bottle coffee with a couple Craftsman and Wolves scones at their farmer’s market stands. We had stopped by Craftsman and Wolves location in the Mission the day before, but were too full to do more than ooh and ahh over their masterfully artistic baked sweets. These scones were small and just packed with flavor. We swooned especially over the thai curry coconut. Walking around food stands for hours certainly gives you an appetite so we soon needed a small lunch.

Knowing we’d never get in for dinner, we opted for a quick shared lunch at The Slanted Door. This is how we riff raff do fancy dining. We shared a vegetable spring roll and asian pear salad. Yes, we also shared a boozy cocktail and it was only noon. But, you know, YOLO. Perfect, perfect lunch.

 

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Afterwards, we were on a mission to find Lombard Street, our one tourist trap. This was due to a scene in our family movie, What’s Up Doc, having a car chase scene down the crooked street.  This meant we walked up, up, up. Which also meant when we finally reached the top and took the requisite photos, we took off our shoes and both walked sock footed for the next mile or so, downhill this time.

 

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More walking, through parks, beaches, wharfs and into old pier buildings brought us to West Coast Craft which was overflowing with gorgeously styled hipsters, weavings, pottery and an almost incredible number of overpriced aprons. A stressful cocktail experience at The Interval at Long Now combined with aching feet made me cranky. So we “Yuber-ed” it to meet my sister who was chomping on a fresh, warm loaf of bread on the corner outside Tartine.

Dinner was multiple sides, burrata and a pizza at Pizzeria Delifina. Simple, elegant and inviting we gabbed in between moans of pleasure. Afterwards, Mom needed her mandatory nightly treat and so we hopped into Dandelion Chocolate where all was laid out like a museum display.

 

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I was leaving Sunday afternoon and was so destined to lug around my suitcase on our travels the last day. My Tartine loaf safely tucked away inside comprised approximately 5 lbs of my bag’s total weight. Numerous times I dallied with the idea of tossing out items to lighten the load, but abandoning that glutenous loaf of crusty perfection was never even a fleeting option.

 

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Our breakfast was at the irresistibly charming 20th Century Cafe, which reminded us of our Eastern European past.  I wish I got had gotten a picture of the top of their seed and salt encrusted bagel. Gorgeous. You’ll have to just go yourself.  A couple coffees and savory bites enlivened our spirits to explore the surrounding neighborhoods. A million more gift stores, candy shoppes and incredibly overpriced clothing boutiques later, our appetites had returned.

 

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2 Sisters Used Books and Bar was an ideal final stop for me. Dark and cozy with a cushioned reading window, we sat snug at the lower bar. Presented with a cheese plate which included a surprise bundle of roasted garlic prompted all three of us to gasp in delight simultaneously. The three luxurious deviled eggs were sublime. Lounging, we sipped, nibbled, chatted and Instagramed.

 

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After many more hills and miles wrestling my bread laden luggage, it was time for me to grab a BART to the airport. A delightfully delicious trip all around. We Cerqs travel right.

 

 

An Herbaceous Corn Salad

herb-and-corn-salsa

 

 

I whipped this up and had it in my mind that it was a salad, then I noticed a bag of tortilla chips on the counter and somehow the corn salad ended up perched on a chip and suddenly, it became a salsa.

I’m well aware that it is incredibly boring to talk about the weather, but just bear with me because we have been abused with a seemingly endless monotony of 85 degree weather with clear, blue skies and it is getting out of control. I was actually excited when there was a relatively cool, overcast day last week. Seattle is magical. It takes me to places I never thought I’d go, like craving cloudy skies.

During all this sunny, sweltering weather I’ve craved light, fresh and flavorful salads. Pairing this herby, corny salad with chips and an ice-cold gin and tonic (with extra lime!) is definitely what you should have for dinner.

 

 Herb and Corn Salad/Salsa

Shuck 4 ears of corn. Coat two in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Broil/Grill those 2 ears of corn until beautifully charred. They should get a nice dark brown, but don’t burn them for God’s sake. Check on them every few minutes and turn to make sure they brown evenly.

Cut off the kernels of the remaining two cob ears of corn. (Food 52’s tips on how to do this safely and cleanly here). Add kernels to a bowl. Dice up a about half a small red onion and a jalapeno into very small pieces. Add to the kernels. Chop up whatever fresh herbs strike your fancy. Here I used cilantro, flat leaf parsley, chives and a bit of mint. Whichever you prefer and however much you’d like. Add it all to the bowl and add some crumbles of cojita or queso fresco.

Mix up a quick vinaigrette with olive oil, lime juice, a dash of cumin, salt, pepper and thinly sliced shallots. Pour over the corn and herb mixture, stir to combine and let sit in the fridge until the charred corn is done to let the herbs wilt just a bit. Once the charred corn is done ( and cool enough to handle!), chop off those gorgeously tanned kernels and add to your bowl. Mix it all up and serve with tortilla chips and a chilled beverage.

 

I added a can of black beans and few handfuls of massaged kale to the leftovers and took it to work for a lunch that was the envy of all.

 

Foodish Podcasts

Since moving to Seattle last fall, I’ve gotten way into podcasts. I used to only listen to Meet the Filmmaker to hear interviews with the cast, crew and creators of movies and TV shows. Except, for some reason it stopped updating regularly in my podcast app, which made me frustrated so in retaliation,  I haven’t listened to it in a while. Obviously that is their loss.

Anyway, I’ve found a few food themed podcasts to listen to on my walk to and from work which have kept me vastly entertained. I’m the weirdo chuckling to myself, making odd faces or grunting agreeing noises as I stumble down or trudge up the hill.  My tendency with podcasts is to find one, and listen to just about every available episode in some sort of binge listening spree. Then, I get unfairly annoyed when there isn’t an unlimited amount of new content at my beck and call, so I’m forced to find another show to start the cycle over again. These are my favorites:

 

 

 

This is obviously at the top of the list, since I am proud to be their Production Assistant. But I wasn’t when I started listening! I was just another rabid fan like you are about to become. I discovered the Spilled Milk Podcast through reading Molly Wizenberg’s blog, Orangette, as she hosts the show with Matthew Amster-Burton. Each episode centers on one food item, which is tasted and explored in more ways than you ever thought possible. They are a hysterical duo who never miss a chance at a good (or bad) innuendo. Lest you think that these food writers only speak on haughty, artisanal ingredients, let me point your attention to a few previous episodes: Fast Food Frozen Treats, Halloween Candy and Whipped Cream. The episodes are about 15-20 minutes long and occasionally educational along with being hilarious. Check out their amazing, clever and beautiful Facebook page and get ready to be addicted. New episodes are delivered to your podcast app every Thursday.

 

 

 

The Dinner Party Download  is set up around the conceit of a dinner party with various segments. They always have a guest give etiquette tips, tell a little known story from history with an accompanying cocktail, eavesdrop on someone telling a story and have musicians compile their perfect dinner party soundtrack. The episodes are about 50 minutes long and they have top notch guests, like James McAvoy, Kevin Spacey and Wes Anderson. They usually explore some new, experimental or interesting thing going on in the food world as well. I love this podcast as I learn a lot of fun trivia and informational tidbits about an array of topics that wouldn’t normally occur to me to explore. They have a trove of episodes so get crackin. New episodes come out on Fridays.

 

Splendid Table

 

 

 The Splendid Table is hosted by Lynn Rossetto Kasper whose melodious voice will make you salivate and swoon. Especially when she says “garlic”. Episodes are on a variety of different subjects and have interviews with the famous along with the obscure. Most episodes have a segment on Roadfood with Jane and Michael Stern   (where does one get their job!?) and there are a few segments that occur every so often like Key Three, where cooks or chefs teach Lynn her/his 3 most vital dishes. There is a plethora of recipes on the blog and in every episode, Lynn takes calls from listeners with questions. It is a fun, educational and always interesting podcast. Well, as long as anything within the realm of food and drink interests you. Some of my recent favorites are True Chef, Tasting in the Dark and Artisan Bread. By the end you’ll wish you were BFF with Lynn. New episodes come out on Thursdays.

 

Radio Cherry Bombe is brand new with only 6 episodes out so far. It is part of Heritage Radio Network and comes from the creators of the Cherry Bombe magazine.  Julia Turshen interviews women within the food world, from Jeni from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams to the chef and the food stylist behind Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food. I adore learning about the creative processes behind these women and their hard work to bring their creations to reality. The episode airs live on Wednesdays at 2pm EST and I think is updated as a podcast shortly after. Julia has the same 8 question, rapid fire Q&A for each guest and its so fun to see how each woman answers.

 

 

I’ve only listened to one of these, but since chefs are my rock starts and I love learning their backstories, I know Chef’s Story will become a favorite. Hosted by Dorothy Cann Hamilton, the founder of the International Culinary Center, each episode consists of her chatting with a chef. I just listened to the Barbara Lynch episode which was fascinating and such a compelling story. I’m now desperate for her memoir to come out. I’m stocking up on these episodes so I may be hard to reach for a bit. This is also from the Heritage Radio Network and airs live on Wednesdays at 12:00 pm EST, and is up as a podcast after.

 

Looks like this Heritage Radio Network will supply me with food centric content for a long time to come…

Mama Foodie Visits

 

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I’m not the most friendly of people and daily need time where I interact solely with a book. Hi, my name is Abby and I’m an introvert.

 

However, since my family and friends are spread literally across the world, I become more amicable when we are given the chance to spend a short, concentrated dose of time together. I especially savor when family and friends visit me and I get to show off all my favorite spots. This is probably selfish, since I’m basically boasting about my discovering skills and impeccable taste. But they usually get some pretty amazing meals and since I’m quite witty and entertaining , it all works out.

A few weeks ago, Mama Foodie came visiting for a fleeting 48 hours, so we really had to make our dining choices count. Does any one else plan out their trips entirely around consuming food and drink? Well, we Cerquitellas do. It is all I’ve known, which is probably why I’m so confused when visiting other people and they have no idea where they will eat tomorrow’s mid-afternoon snack. You can’t leave these things to chance people!

 

Mom-at-Bar-Sajor

 

The Happy Food Dance Food Tour commenced after work on a Tuesday where we walked around a bit so she could feel what weather other than 80 degrees and sunny feels like. (My parents live in Dallas) Once I felt she was adequately chilled, we stopped by our neighborhood cocktail lounge’s happy hour. At Sun Liquor Lounge  Cale Green (real name, see below) whipped us up a couple of his delightful cocktails. A Last Word for me, a Green Point for Brandon and a Mojito for Mom.  We then strolled to my favorite Malaysian eatery, that window of enticing, mouthwatering aroma, Kedai Makan. (I’ve waxed poetic about it previously)  Bringing our roti and nasi goreng home, we chatted as she proceeded to surreptitiously peek into every cupboard and closet in my 500 square foot apartment. Mothers are curious creatures.

 

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The next day we met around noon to wander about Pike Place Market, where she took pictures of everything in sight and sighed over the vast edible displays. We shared some fish and chips inside the market along with a cold salmon sandwich with capers and lemon aioli. Absolutely scrumptious. I plan to pay a visit to that sandwich again in the near future. We chose a few cookies from a bakery and brought them into Seattle Coffee Works, where we wedged ourselves in the only two open seats and tried to hide the obvious wafts of powdered sugar from our contraband chocolate crinkles. We then wandered down to Pioneer Square, stopping at Watson Kennedy where we lusted after every knick knack in sight.

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After our chocolate crinkles and coffee, we were obviously in need of a snack. We tried some mojito gelato from Cafe Umbria which was incredibly fresh and vibrant. Sitting outside and gabbing, she noticed a gorgeous storefront across the way and went to investigate. Practically running back with a “borrowed” menu, she declared it was now time for wine and cheese. Turned out this place was Bar Sajor, which I’ve read much about and been dying to try.

Bar-Sajor

They were getting ready for dinner service, so I felt as if we were interrupting and didn’t belong. Still, we shared a glass of cava, with some bread, butter and a few local cheeses. Mama Foodie took pictures of everything in sight while I tried to pretend I didn’t know her.

Wine-and-cheese

 

I’m in love the look, and taste,  of this restaurant group since going to Sitka and Spruce for my birthday dinner. The London Plane is high on my list of places to spend an afternoon and I’m looking forward to returning to splurge for dinner at Bar Sajor. After this 3rd afternoon snack, we dodged raindrops to the bus and went home. We barely had time to drop off her purchases when it was time to leave for dinner. We took the scenic route to give ourselves time to digest before stopped at essex for a drink and appetizers while we waited for a table at Delancey next door.

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At essex we shared some small plates and then shared two pizzas next door, which were of course, delectable. Roasted broccoli on the white pizza was exceptional. Mama Foodie was the first to tell my older sister and I about Molly Wizenberg’s book and blog, so it was only fitting that we took her to Delancey to have some of my absolute favorite pizza. She was a fan to say the least.

 

Arabica-breakfast

 

Before her flight left the next morning, we had an early brunch at Arabica Lounge.  Their window display is always overflowing with decadent desserts, crusty croissants and meringues as large as your head. Again, I pretended to be absorbed in the menu while she took pictures of every inch of the cafe. We each gobbled up a croissant and shared a perfect fig and goat cheese omelette. She filled a bag with treats for later and also stopped by Crumble and Flake to add more to her collection. I wonder if my Dad and brother got to see any of these treats by the time she got home…

 

Some people are terrified of turning into their parents. And though we are quite different, food is where my mother and I are all too similar. My husband was amazed when he heard my mother after dinner the first night:

“I need a treat. I just need a tiny square of chocolate! Just one. I don’t need a whole bar! Don’t you have a small square of chocolate around!?” she whined as she practically thrashed around on the couch and looked about desperately.

“Word for word, this is exactly what I hear from Abby every night.” he said in a scared voice.

 

Edible Art

India

These food themed maps are stunning. They also make me hungry.

I’m a sucker for the typography. It’s incredible right?

Chine

Says the artist :

“These maps show how food has traveled the globe – transforming and becoming a part of the cultural identity of that place. Who doesn’t know the saying ‘throw some shrimp on the barbie’ and not think of Australia? Who goes to France without eating bread and cheese? And who makes a Brazilian caipirinha without a fistful of limes?

“These maps are a playful representation of our interpretation of food from around the world, painstakingly created with real unadulterated food. This project speaks to the universality of how food unites people, brings us together and starts conversation – just as we hope these beautiful maps will do too.”

Italy

 

Which is your favorite?

 

Australia

 

 

USA

 

UK

France

South America
Africa
typography by Sarit Melmed

Olive Oil 101

Olive-Oil

My mother had a fanatical reverence for fancy, foreign olive oils and would only rarely venture into the Forbidden Pantry of Italian Ingredients  to bring it to the dinner table. It was usually reserved for my parent’s meals as our young, immature palates were not yet refined enough to appreciate the complex nuances of that golden, green liquid of the gods. 

Following right in her footsteps, I purchased my first “grown up” bottle of extra virgin olive oil in Athens last June. It is strictly reserved for scarce drizzling on light dishes where the flavor can shine. Lets be real though. Does this expensive, organic, hand-picked, foot pressed olive oil taste that much different then  your average supermarket version? Is it worth the adoration and restraint that my mother and I  bestow upon our bottles?

In my quest to discover the answer, I came across the blog Truth in Olive Oil.  This website is like a college course on olive oil.

How to Buy Great Olive Oil highlights

-Bitterness and pungency are usually indicators of an oil’s healthfulness.  Sweetness and butteriness are often not.

-Unlike many wines, which improve with age, extra virgin olive oil is perishable:  like all natural fruit juices, its flavor and aroma begin to deteriorate within a few months of milling, a decline that accelerate when the oil is bottled, and really speeds up when the bottle is opened.

-…be sure your oil is labeled “extra virgin,” since other categories – “pure” or “light” oil, “olive oil,” not to mention “pomace olive oil” – have undergone chemical refinement which strips away olive flavors and many of the oil’s health benefits.

– When choosing bottled oil, prefer dark glass or other containers that protect against light, buy a quantity that you’ll use up quickly, and keep it well sealed in a cool, dark place.

– Good oils come in all shades, from vivid green to gold to pale straw…

– Phrases like “packed in Italy” or “bottled in Italy,” do not mean that the oil was made in Italy, much less that it was made from Italian olives.  Italy is one of the world’s major importers of olive oil, much of which originates in Spain, Greece, Tunisia and elsewhere, so don’t be taken in by Italian flags and scenes from the Tuscan countryside on the packaging.

-Once you’ve bought your oil, store it in a place where it is protected from light, heat and oxygen, the three enemies of good oil, which speed spoilage.

Homework

To see how your favorite Trader Joe’s oil stands up to the expert see here and other supermarket versions here.

For a list of the author’s favorite oils from around the world ( complete with tasting notes) look here.

For up to the minute olive oil news check out his blog here.

And for extra credit, read Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil and write a 1-2 page book report for me by next week.

Now you are ready to start classes at The International Olive Oil School!

Indie food in MOUTH

Now that the holidays are almost upon us, it is time to pin things like mad to our secret “Presents” boards.

That could just be me…

With present buying, I usually find things that I want myself so I’ve found just loads of ideas at the online indie food shop, MOUTH.

Their manifesto sounds right up my alley:

WE LOVE FOOD.

WE LOVE HANDMADE AND SMALL-BATCH.
WE LOVE FOOD MADE BY PEOPLE NOT COMPANIES.
WE LOVE INDIE FOOD.
WE LOVE DISCOVERING THE NEW AND THE DELICIOUS.
WE LOVE TASTING THINGS ON LITTLE WOODEN SPOONS.
WE CAN’T HELP BUT LOVE BEAUTIFUL PACKAGING.
WE LOVE OUR PASSIONATE, RISK-TAKING FOOD MAKERS.
WE LOVE OUR CUSTOMERS.
WE ADMIT THAT WE LOVE SHOPPING ONLINE FOR OURSELVES AND FOR PEOPLE WE LOVE OR LIKE A LOT.
WE LOVE THAT OUR TABLE IS PILED HIGH WITH GOODIES WE’RE TASTING, DEBATING AND HOPING YOU’LL LOVE TOO.

Some of my favs

RAS EL HANOUT MOROCCAN SPICE BLEND

Holiday Gift Collections

Fall for you collection

The Happy Couple

Chocolate Taster

Crafty Cocktails

Chef Taster

Goat Milk Caramel… and faint!

Food gifts are the best gifts.

Roast that Cauliflower!

This cauliflower turned out way better then the picture did… thanks iPhone focus.

Fall foods are in full swing here at The Happy Food Dance! I took a solo tour around Pike Place Market the other day and arranged all my treasures neatly so I could remember how they started out. And Instagram it of course.  #notashamed

That Elephant Garlic is a beast!

Pike Place goods

I remembered a gorgeous photo Food52 had recently posted of an entire head of cauliflower roasted so I decided to try my hand at it. I followed this recipe posted by an editor at Food52 that was created by Chef Alon Shaya and it turned out pretty darn amazing, if I do say so myself.

Crunchy on the outside while soft and flavorful inside. The bottom pieces that were in contact with the pan were uber crunchy, and hence were my favorite part.

Roasted Cauliflower

  • 1 head cauliflower, whole, stem trimmed and leaves removed
  • 2 1/2cups dry white wine
  • 1/3cup olive oil plus more for serving
  • 1/4cup kosher salt
  • 3tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1tablespoon sugar
  • 1bay leaf
  • Coarse sea salt (for serving)
  1. Heat oven to 475° F. Bring wine, oil, salt, lemon juice, butter, red pepper flakes, sugar, bay leaf, and 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot.
  2. Carefully lower in cauliflower, reduce heat, and simmer, turning occasionally, until a knife easily inserts into center, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Using 2 slotted spoons or a mesh strainer or spider, transfer cauliflower to a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan, draining well.
  4. Roast, rotating pan halfway through, until brown all over, 30 to 40 minutes.
  5. Transfer cauliflower to a plate. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with sea salt. Serve with whipped goat cheese (recipe below).

 

I didn’t have a bay leaf so I used a few sprigs of fresh rosemary in the broth instead. The recipe called for a funky cheese sauce to pair with the cauliflower, but their suggestion sounded a bit too rich for my taste.  I just mixed up some goat cheese and ricotta I had on hand with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and black pepper.

It was a creamily perfect pairing for the hearty, crunchy cauliflower. Slice off a hunk and spread a healthy helping of the cheese sauce on top to enjoy at its fullest.

 

I’m planning on trying these other cauliflower recipes from Food52 soon: Cauliflower Steaks  and Roasted Cauliflower with Bread Crumbs.