• Dad Food

    Dads have that rep­u­ta­tion for being “super-​heroes”. That does not mean they have to eat like Super­man, right?

    Dads are just reg­u­lar peo­ple look­ing to stay fit and healthy for their fam­i­lies. They do like to eat, drink and be merry when the oppor­tu­nity strikes.

    Upcom­ing Father’s Day is a per­fect chance to share good food with the fathers in our lives. Like most hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tions, the ways we make merry are diverse and unique.

    Every­day dad food does not trans­late into “cheese, bacon and burg­ers”. Tra­di­tional fare from days long past was largely meat and pota­toes basics for Dads. Maybe for most con­ven­tional men, that would still be typ­i­cal.

    New dude foods, pre­pared by using the fresh­est ingre­di­ents, strike a cord with those favorite fam­ily tra­di­tions and deliver full of fla­vor on the plate.

    By exam­ple, Pops might like a nice ravi­oli with red sauce, skil­let chi­laquiles or mar­i­nated skirt steak on Father’s Day. Cook­ing at home can be a group effort. “No fuss” should be the mantra of the day, but if a lit­tle extra effort is made, we’re good!
  • Every­thing Else

    No doubt, Memo­r­ial Day hol­i­day plans call for “tak­ing it out­side”. Parades and other remem­brances typ­i­cally cul­mi­nate in some kind of social gath­er­ing afterward.
    Pic­nics, bar­be­cues and patio par­ties include some type of potluck dish to add to the food festivities.

    For­tu­nately, this unof­fi­cial start to sum­mer coin­cides with some of the best pro­duce grown close to home.

    Those side sal­ads, fresh veg­etable dishes and sin­ful desserts cap­ture the table atten­tion and our food imagination.

    Fresh pro­duce dresses up pasta, potato, and ancient grain sal­ads. Savory herbs — sweet basil, cilantro, mint and flat leafed pars­ley set a cer­tain tone.
  • Fan­fare

    Every­one becomes a foot­ball fan for at least one day out of the year. Super Bowl Fifty in Santa Clara brings it home to Cal­i­for­nia for the food festivities.

    Whether we watch the final foot­ball game of the sea­son, the tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials or the half­time show, the real focus will really be on the party snacks.

    With­out ques­tion, the social aspect of the “big” game require a table full of fun fin­ger foods that bring some action to the plate.

    Nachos, jalapeno pop­pers, stuffed mush­rooms, fresh gua­camole or salsa and loaded potato skins all bring a cer­tain amount of “kitchen con­fi­dence” to the party.

  • Herb Appeal

    Aro­matic fresh herbs wear a lot of hats dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son. Pur­posed for culi­nary, orna­men­tal and even some med­i­c­i­nal assign­ments, they add an earthy delight to any party.

    Clas­sic hol­i­day recipes call for pars­ley, sage, rose­mary and thyme. Mint, sage and oregano are cus­tom­ary for roasted meats, poul­try and game.

    In the spirit of cre­at­ing new tra­di­tions, sprigs of mint and stems of rose­mary are found at mimosa bars and on hol­i­day cock­tail stations.

    Short­bread cook­ies and starter appe­tiz­ers sur­prise guests by dec­o­rat­ing morsels using finely chopped green herb leaves and flow­ers. This lends visual appeal and inter­est­ing flavors.

    Cheese plates and party nib­bles ben­e­fit from rose­mary skew­ers as a way to mas­ter fin­ger foods. The ever­green pine-​like, pun­gent herb is a fine addi­tion to rus­tic hol­i­day breads and rolls.
  • Hol­i­day Plea­sures

  • Mon­key Busi­ness

    This Lunar New Year, the Mon­key suc­ceeds the Year of the Goat (begin­ning on Feb­ru­ary eighth).

    We’ll trade in a peace­ful yin year for a yang year that promises to be full of tonic, activ­ity, pos­i­tive influ­ences, and focused on our social lives and the out­side world.

    Cel­e­brated in a vari­ety of cul­tures and coun­tries around the globe, includ­ing China, Japan, Korea, and Viet­nam, the focus on food has us dis­miss­ing win­ter smooth­ies, and kale sal­ads in favor of the sump­tu­ous fla­vors of noo­dle dishes and scal­lion pancakes.

  • Red, White & Blue

    Memo­r­ial Day and week­end are focused on cel­e­bra­tion and remem­brance for those who’ve made the ulti­mate sac­ri­fice. We honor those who’ve died while serv­ing this great nation.

    Invari­ably, the week­end also ends up being the unof­fi­cial start of sum­mer. Vaca­tion travel, pic­nics, camp­ing, bar­be­cues and patio par­ties bring fam­i­lies and friends together.

    Lucky for us all then that with warm weather trend­ing, sum­mer berries are com­ing into peak play. Cal­i­for­nia grow­ing regions are now har­vest­ing sen­sa­tional blue­ber­ries, straw­ber­ries, rasp­ber­ries, boy­sen­ber­ries and black­ber­ries.

    Multi-​dimensional, berries add that burst of color and fla­vor zing, just where expected. Plan­ning for break­fast, smooth­ies, sal­ads or sum­mer desserts? Berries are a knock­out for pre­sen­ta­tion and get an A+ for taste.

    Straw­ber­ries always seem to top the list for favorite fruits. Blue­ber­ries are inch­ing up with kids and those adults who like to power up with super foods.

    The antiox­i­dants in berries just seem to be an added bonus. We eat them because we love them. The fact that they are a health­ier alter­na­tive to other pos­si­ble warm weather treats makes them all the more desirable.
  • Rule the Roost

    Good­bye mon­key, hello rooster”. The Lunar New Year begins on Jan­u­ary 28, with fif­teen days of cel­e­bra­tion and feast­ing ahead.

    Shrug off the shenani­gans of 2016 (those mis­chie­vous­ness mon­key traits) and usher in the con­fi­dence of the rooster.

    Always well dressed, other rooster traits include loy­alty, talk­a­tive­ness, punc­tu­al­ity, hon­esty and hard-​working dis­ci­pline.

    As the two week Spring Fes­ti­val cel­e­bra­tions take place, fam­i­lies and friends travel great dis­tances to be together over shared meals and spe­cial events.
  • The “Cure“

    Essen­tial to any good cook’s essen­tial ingre­di­ent list is the globe onion. A well stocked pantry will have on hand at the very least, one or two vari­eties.

    The two main types of globe onions are pun­gent and mild. Both are clas­si­fied into either long-​day or short day bulbs, the length of day­light time required for the actual bulb to form.

    Mild vari­ety onions are typ­i­cally large and juicy with thick rings and thin, papery skins that peel eas­ily. They can be cooked, but are the likely can­di­dates to be used raw on sand­wiches, in sal­ads and the like. These are the ones that make great onion rings.

    Unfor­tu­nately, mild onions are very poor “keep­ers”. Even in ideal stor­age con­di­tions, they will only main­tain their eat­ing qual­ity for a cou­ple months. Ide­ally, a wind­fall of mild onions can be pre­served in pick­les, sal­sas and chutneys.
  • Wor­thy Plat­ters

    Thanks­giv­ing Day kicks off another sea­son of hol­i­day eat­ing fes­tiv­i­ties. First bites at most of these social gath­er­ings usu­ally start with an array of small nibbles.

    The idea is to wel­come friends and fam­ily to any cel­e­bra­tion with tempt­ing lit­tle yum­mies and sips.

    Social affairs don’t all need to be for­mal with a sit down meal as Thanks­giv­ing din­ner. Cock­tail and appe­tizer enter­tain­ing in itself can be a great way to keep things sim­ple and casual.

    Whether self served or passed food trays, the goal is to offer a vari­ety of sea­son­ally inspired com­po­nents– from the sweet to the savory, col­or­ful plat­ters high­light fin­ger foods well beyond chips and dips.

    Two top qual­i­fiers for excel­lent party plat­ter foods should be pretty to look at and easy to eat. No one wants to jug­gle a plate, a glass and fork in their best hol­i­day dress or sweater.
  • Yule­tide Eats

    Hol­i­day gath­er­ings require some imag­i­na­tion when it comes to con­tribut­ing to potlucks, office par­ties or more fes­tive social events.

    Tra­di­tional fare is mak­ing room for the crowded space of deca­dent indulgences.

    Fresh pro­duce is cen­tral to lux­ury bites of hand-​dipped choco­late figs, pears, kiwi and citrus.

    The time-​honored cus­tom of mak­ing can­died fruits is regain­ing pop­u­lar­ity. Fruits retain their vivid color once steeped in a sim­ple syrup. Booze it up with spir­its (rum, vodka or bour­bon) in the liq­uid mixture.