Sunday, October 28, 2007

Alice Waters reaching Oprah-atic proportions

Just wanted to call people's attention to the growing number of Alice Waters sightings. She appeared in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine (click here for the 10/21/07 article while available) where she played fridge doctor to a working mom trying to make bag-lunches fun for her two teenage boys. Like the shining fairy godmother she is, Waters got them all to roast chicken for soup stock, toast tortillas over the open stove flame for breakfast, and make gourmet meals involving aioli sauce in a half-hour.

I especially like the "before" and "after" fridge photos, though I'd like to point out that the post-Waters makeover fridge was a little out of touch with reality. From what I can tell, she did away with the milk and juice and left the wine! But I guess not everyone can be a magical food fairy. Her daughter Fanny makes my head smoke with jealousy. She's beautiful and goes (went?) to Yale (check out p. 304 of November's Elle magazine profile for pictures of their fantasy family meal. It's so idyllic, it makes me want to squirt them all with Cheeze Whiz). Back to the NYT article, there's an interesting carrot soup recipe at the end that I hope to try...

Also, this-coming Tuesday, San Francisco's City Arts & Lectures series is having a special night dedicated to "The Art of Simple Food," coincidentally the name of Waters's new cookbook. Waters is speaking with food writers Ruth Reichl and Calvin Trillin. Erin and I are going early to try to get last-minute tickets to the sold-out event. We'll let you know how it goes if we manage to get in.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

delicata squash

Slightly more weird than the butternut, the ridged, green-striped delicata has a subtler sweet/nutty flavor and more seeds than its ravioli-filling relative. I procured this fine specimen at Sonoma Market where, in an effort to outdo the newly-opened Whole Foods down the road, they've recently installed a wagon o' local produce, featuring edibles from Oak Hill Farm and the Patch. I halved mine, scooped out the seeds and sliced it into Cs. Inspired by a recipe from, I first sauteed the slices in a little butter till they were just golden on either side.
Then I laid them on a cookie sheet, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and roasted them at 450 for 20 minutes, until they were brown around the edges and had the mashable yet firm texture of a baked potato. Well, a squash is inherently moister than a potato, but I hope that makes sense nonetheless.
In the interest of saving time and avoiding gratuitous butter intake -- save it for when you can taste it -- I'd cut out the sauteeing step and just toss the squash slices with olive oil, s & p and dump them onto a baking sheet. If so inclined, try sprinkling on a little sage or thyme.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

On a Saturday in October in SF, $40 can get you...

Clockwise (roughly) from top right:
- 1 lb brussels sprouts (Iacopi Farms)
- 1 Gala apple (Blossom Bluff Orchards?)
- 2 flavor-ripe pluots (Frog Hollow Farm)
- 2 Rosa Bianca eggplants (Balakian Farms)
- 2 lbs dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes (Dirty Girl Produce)
- 1 lb mixed greens -- baby arugula, mustard, red spinach, tat soi (Heirloom Organics)
- 1 bunch of fresh thyme (Eatwell Farms)
- 1 purple globe eggplant
- 2 turnips (HO)
- 1.5 lbs haricots verts or young, slender green beans (Dirty Girl)
- 1 rutabaga (HO)
- 1 butternut squash (Eatwell Farms)
- 2 watermelon radishes

Not pictured:
- 1 cup of coffee from Blue Bottle
- 1 Chris Cosentino sighting + conversation about The Next Iron Chef

watermelon radish

If I may channel Alice for a moment: it's beautiful, right? I purchased this one from Heirloom Organics at last Saturday's Ferry Plaza market. HO is also my preferred purveyor of lettuces, although they've directly contributed to my food-snobbishness. Ever since my first taste of their arugula, spinach, and mustard, I've been unable to consume any organic salad-in-a-bag (yes, especially Earthbound) because it tastes like limp tissue paper in comparison.

Anyway, back to the radish: this
variety is slightly sweeter than the average puny bulbous root, but still pleasantly crunchy and spicy. I tossed mine into a salad with greens, sliced pears, and feta for lunch yesterday.

Note the imperfect julienne-ing. My knife could use a good sharpening, but even then I'm no Thomas Keller–evident in the fact that my knife is dull. These photographs of his minced onions, brunoise, and tomato diamonds in The French Laundry Cookbook almost make me cry.