Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Writings on the wall

I've spent a lot of time in the garden this week, planting summer Amaranth, Zucchini, and Cucumbers, building shade to protect new crops of summer lettuce, packing compost, and hunting and killing the earwigs and caterpillars that are starting to make a mess of things. So the writings on this week's wall are going to have more of a neo-hippy, green thumb kind of theme. By the way, you may have noticed a general lack of Tiffany around here lately, she claims to be busy "working," or some such. Actually today marks her last Friday at the office, with a remaining four days to go. So I suppose we'll have to forgive her. Slow Food Nation '08 I've said some unkind things about Alice Waters in the past, but more recently I've been thinking that Slow Food and the Guerrilla Gourmet might have more in common. Their annual conference is coming to San Francisco in August, and I'll probably head over to see what's up. The Yield of Magical Thinking, By Novella Carpenter As a simple "stick it in the ground and water it until it comes up", I find all this "cosmic ritual" talk a little weird, but everyone keeps saying the produce tastes so good...
Picking lettuce with black panthers, planting lettuce in front of City Hall, and more after the jump!
City Farmer The author of the above article also blogs about her ten-year-old farm in Oakland. And yes, we are talking about Huey Newton Oakland. Every time I think I'm soooo coooool for putting a few raised beds in the yard, I look at her for a reality check. Victory Gardens, 2008. San Francisco Planting a garden in front of City Hall sounds pretty far out, right? Well they're going to do it this summer and, as it turns out, it's not the first time. You Grow Girl! This site is really cute, and useful too.
Photo, Upper right: Ultraclay(dot)com.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Some Writings on the Wall

Happy almost the first day of summer! I hope it is unseasonably warm wherever you are, and that you’ve all remembered your deodorant today…just kidding, I’m sure you are all basking in your ripe guerrilla scents. Ewwww. Well enough about that, I’ve got too many interesting links to share with you all to keep on in that vein! So, without further ado, the order’s up – Here’s some writings from this week’s wall: Yay! For Tomatoes You all know I’m a sucker for hometown cooking, especially when it happens to be my own home town! I was so excited to meet Teresa over at the Leftover Queen Forum and cannot wait to try making her take on an El Paso classic! Cooking like the stars? Some of the industry’s finest put celebrity brand kitchenware to the test – check out all the winners, the losers, the broken and the bent.
The ultimate in savory cocktails, tofu tortures and reports of cookie (recipe) thievery, all after the jump.
Mi Chelada es su chelada Sit down Bloody Mary and prepare to be schooled. Miss Ginsu’s recipe for michelada will have you chucking that celery for some real spice! You can’t Torture Tofu A moving and interesting Iranian opinion on vegetarianism. This piece is from Iranian.com, a community site for Iranian expats. Also worth checking out from this week’s issue is: “Challenging Bridget Jones” by Shabnam_Ghayour. Most of us ladies can definitely sympathize! Re-Heat Offender: Cindy (McCain) Bakes Another Whopper or... Cindy McCain Cleared of Cookie Copying! This marks the second time that Cindy McCain may have or may have not claimed a well-known (in this case, Hershey’s) cookie recipe as her own…which makes me think about my own recipes. I always try to credit them to their original authors, but still…where is the line? Well, inquiring minds want to know- where do you draw the originality line for recipes? Also, curiosity reigns – who do you guys believe, AOL or the Huffington post?
Photo, upper right: "Scenic New Mexico" by flikr user wellsdunbar.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Royal Foodie Joust: Caramelized Apricots and Couscous

Get your fires started comrades, because it’s time again for some Royal Foodie Joustin’! Last month, it was all about the raspberries, limes and almonds, this month’s challenge ingredients are apricots, ginger and butter. Once the ingredients were announced, Schaefer and I got to talking about the ingredients and came up with this amazingly simple, cheap and tasty dish- Caramelized Apricots and Couscous.
The recipe and more delightful details after the jump and you can find out more about our friends over at the Leftover Queen and the Royal Foodie Joust here.
What's Guerrilla: Any two-bit grunt might be able to tell you that using fresh fruit that is in season will save you money and without sacrificing flavor. And the occasional grunt could remind you that the couscous is easy to make, and cheap as sin to purchase. But, it takes a certain kind of guerrilla grunt to recognize that the simplicity of this dish is enough to win over the most rugged of revolutionary hearts and it's also honest enough to bring an occasional smile to those critical chefs! What's Gourmet: Apricots are delicate and small, an edible classic of summertime. This small dish draws attention to their sweetness, not only as individual flavor components, but manages to play upon their visual and olfactory aspects. The inclusion of small grain couscous, rich butter, and ginger keeps the spotlight fixed on the apricots at center stage, while the balsamic reduction has the entire table echoing for an encore. Plating is critical in small dishes, incorporating the original shape and texture of the raw apricot, while playing with the new visual components created by caramelizing the fruit. A judicious, graceful and tenuous balance must be struck between the soft apricot, the plush couscous, the vibrant mint and the earthy vinegar. Minutia: We've envisioned this dish as a small accompanying dish, in the Mediterranean style of Meze. However, it could also do very well as an appetizer or buffet stand-in for your next barbecue. The below recipe serves one, but could easily be adapted to serve as many as your table can hold. If making this dish for one, it should be expected that you will have leftover glaze and reduction; these items can be saved in the refrigerator. If you're planning to eat as a Meze before or with dinner, I recommend pairing it with a mellow ginger tea or a robust white wine. If eating it with barbecue foods, I'd recommend a strong IPA. Means: 2 fresh apricots 3 tablespoons butter 1 inch chunk of fresh ginger 1 teaspoon finely minced ginger 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons honey 1/8 cup dry couscous 1/8 cup water Sprig of mint to garnish Method: 1. Wash the apricots and slice in half. Remove pits. Set aside to dry. 2. Over medium heat, slowly melt the butter in the pan – no browning please! 3. When butter has melted, add 1 tablespoon of the honey and all of the finely minced ginger. Stir until combined. Remove from heat and pour into a container. 4. Brush over the "pit side" of the apricot. Set aside, glaze up. 5. In the pan previously used for the glaze, add balsamic vinegar and remaining honey. Reduce to a thickish syrup. 6. Remove the reduction from the heat, pour into a container and set aside. 7. Prepare couscous according to package instructions, adding the remaining butter and chunk of ginger before preparing. (For one or two portions, we use the microwave, but for any more servings, we use the stove.) 8. Bring a small pan to medium high heat and cautiously place the apricots glaze side down. (We used a Panini pan to create that summertime "grilled" look.) 9. As soon as the apricots have browned, use tongs, chopsticks or a spoon to carefully lift them up and set them aside, browned side up. 10. Assemble all your ingredients, plate with mint garnish and enjoy!

Shove it in your face !

Week of June 16th
This week’s menu was invented out of last week’s Planet Organics delivery; see this post for more information. Since we’ve got a kind of busy week planned, we’ve got major cooking going down on Monday – A whole grilled spatchcock chicken and simpler things building throughout the week. Also, we’ve got our entry for this month’s Royal Foodie Joust all dialed in, so you’ll be able to check that out in a bit as well.
The juicy details about what we’re eating this week, after the jump.
Monday: Grilled Spatchcock chicken, served with fire roasted potatoes and red peppers, yellow carrots done up with sage and scallions. Paired with Honey Moon Viognier. Tuesday: Chicken tacos (leftovers from yesterday!) served with Spanish rice and lime vinegar coleslaw. Paired with a burly dark lager. Wednesday: Whole baked Cauliflower with Tomato and Olive Sauce (adapted from Cook with Jaime) served atop Polenta. Paired with German bir. Thursday: Beef Shinn Stew. Paired with a 2003 Epicurio ($4.99!!) Friday: Calzones – toppings to be determined, maybe kale, maybe pepperoini? Paired with, whatever wine and lager we have left. Yay for Fridays!
Photo, upper left - "Commrade Crab" courtesy of moi.

Schrödinger’s Box of Groceries

This past Friday was our first delivery from Planet Organics. I, unfortunately had to be at work, but Schaefer was there to intercept the delivery guy and grab our veggies! They delivered right around noon time, and packaged everything carefully in a dark green, reusable tote. The salsa we had ordered from their grocery section was insulated, so as not to overheat during the trip. Since, at least for right now, this is an experiment in getting the most guerrilla of groceries, we’ve made a commitment to “shopping” our month’s order and see how the price compares. This weekend we had a chance to check out our local grocer and Safeway.
See how the competition checked out after the jump.
Surprisingly, Planet Organics came up about a dollar more expensive than the prices at our neighborhood grocer, the Canyon Market. We’re guessing that they may have similar distributors. However, you really can’t complain about an extra dollar for home delivery. We had more difficulty “shopping” Safeway, as many of the wonderful and seasonal veggies weren’t actually stocked at Safeway. Right now, we’re committed to continue with Planet Organics, but we’re still debating: While it is awesome to get delivery, is it cooler than getting to pick your own produce out? And although Planet Organics’ keeps us on our creative toes, for the same price wouldn’t we want more control over our produce? Lastly, we still feel slightly off about the fact that Planet Organics isn’t exactly a CSA…it’s more a CSF or CSG (Community-supported farmers or grocers). But, all of the typical CSA’s have minimum orders that are huge and way past our limits. But, Planet Organics offers us a perfect portioned delivery…So, we’re reaching out to you guys…anyone out there in a CSA, or something similar? What have you decided or are you in the same boat as us? Let us know what you’re thinking about, and we’ll keep bringing you updates on our Schrödinger’s Box of groceries. -tif Recuerde, para el hombre no hay mal pan..

Friday, June 13, 2008

Some Writings on the Wall

You say tom(ay)to, I say tom(ah)to…but now neither of us gets to eat them! Oh, woes to this damnable salmonella scare. I swear I have never craved a tomato sandwich this badly before. It is as if I’m haunted by the mere concept of biting into a sweet, ripe, raw tomato… see, now I’ve gone and made myself hungry again. Sniff. But, enough about that! This week’s writings on the wall are all “father” themed…sort of. In reality though, Schaefer and I have been blessed by two of the most amazing and supportive dads out there. But, one of the (many) things that makes them both so special is their unique (occasionally zany) attributes. So, enjoy the links, even if they don’t remind you of “your” dad! Happy Father’s Day! Gastronomics: The Hanging Brochette The chefs at Brasserie Julien in New York get the “hang” of gourmet dining during the recession. Chef tastes victory after cancer fight A truly touching story of a chef who battles and overcomes cancer to gain back his ability to taste food.
Suggestions for feeding your dad and a family invites us into their kitchen, after the jump.
From Father to Son: A dinner Menu Not sure what you’re doing for dad this Sunday? David makes suggestions for what I imagine to be a truly wonderful meal. Enough to inspire and motivate even the laziest of kiddos! What’s For Dinner Tonight? Whiskey Pork Chops! A great recipe to use if you’re going to be throwing some chops on the fire for father’s day. Cooking with Dad TV A fun and energetic Portuguese family opens the door to their kitchen and invites us to share in their culinary adventures.
Picture, upper right: "Dream" courtesy of Ultraclay.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Shove it in your face

Week of June 9th Ok, this month we’ll be trying out a few new things. First off, we’re going to start buying our wine a case at a time, which should allow us to save some money on gas, groceries and recycling. But, it means we’re going to have a lot less flexibility there between reds and whites, but we’re hopeful it will work out in the end. Secondly, we’ve joined the proud ranks of CSA supporters everywhere and joined Planet Organics. Our first delivery is this Friday so I promise everyone pictures and details about what we receive. Lastly, we’ve got a great DIY project in the works, so you’ll unquestionably be hearing more about that "Top Secret" project as it comes into fruition! We also want to congratulate the winners of the May Royal Foodie Joust. Click on the above photo to take a look at this month's winning entries and check out their winning recipes- Erin of the Skinny Gourmet served up some tasty looking tacos, Maybelle of Feeding Maybelle combined the flavors of fried chicken and waffles and CookinPanda of Flexitarian Menu rocked it hardcore with flaky baklava! Great job everyone, we can’t wait till the next one. If you want to learn more about the Royal Foodie Joust, or join in the merriment yourself, you can visit the wonderful Jen, the Leftover Queen, for more information. This was a really tough competition, and you can check out our entry here. Wondering what we’re eating this week? Check the menu for this week after the jump. Monday: Blue Cheese Macaroni with Spring Mix Salad served with a $4 Cote de Rhône. Tuesday: Sautéed Kohlrabi Greens and home-brined pork belly served with Kohlrabi and Potato Gratin, served with lager. Wednesday: Honeycomb Cannelloni, adapted from Jamie Oliver’s recipe, served with a nice rose. Thursday: Fettuccine with Squid and Pink Peppercorns adapted from Alice Water's recipe, served with a kickin’ white. Friday: Calzones at home and beers at the Knockout.

Monday, June 9, 2008

"Whole" beet soup

Summer is now revving up, shifting into third gear, and getting ready to pull ahead of Spring in the race of the seasons (great metaphor, eh?). Here at Guerrilla Gourmet HQ that means that beets and kohlrabi are getting sunburned, and the bok choy and lettuce are threatening to go to seed. The tomatoes that suffered through chilly February, however, are finally stretching out and showing a few yellow flowers, and cucumbers, amaranth and hardier lettuces are ready to take over the newly-free bed space. Our beets were particularly plentiful. My experience was limited to the mushy purple disks lurking under the sneezeguard at Sizzler. There was also that pot of Manischevitz Borsht that my room mate cooked up one day and let sit in the fridge for a month. But Tiffany loves the ruby clods, so I dutifully planted two rows each of "candy cane" and "chiogga". Our particular growing conditions produced plants with much more leaf and stem than root, so I wanted something that didn't waste anything, that used the whole plant, from "nose" to "tail". I came up with this simple soup: Roasted Beet Soup What's Guerrilla: Not only does this soup save money by using parts of the beet that are usually thrown away, it has a comforting, holistic appeal. And for us, this soup was practically free. What's Gourmet: Ingredients: Several whole beets (with stems and greens). A splash of balsamic vinegar. A glug of olive oil. Light homemade chicken stock. (A brief note on stock: full-sodium boxed stock will make your soup taste like salty cardboard. Low-sodium boxed stock will make your soup taste like very plain cardboard.) Salt and pepper. Method: Divide the beets into their component parts (root, stem, and greens.) Trim the roots (but don't peel them) and toss them in a roasting pan with a glug of olive oil. Roast in a 400 degree oven 30 minutes or so. You want the beets soft, but not so soft that they fall apart in your soup. Slice the stems finely (about as thin as they are wide) and lay them to the side. Roll the greens up like a cigar, and slice into strips about a half-inch wide. When the beets come out of the oven, let them cool enough to handle with your fingers and slip the skins off. Dice them about as big as you did the stems, then saute the roots and stems together until the stems are tender. Plop in the greens, splash some vinegar on top, then let the greens wilt and the vinegar reduce a bit. Add the chicken stock at this point, and bring it to a simmer for a few minutes. Garnish with toasted pine nuts, croutons, cheese, parsley. Or add cooked quinoa to make a more complete meal. Notes: Don't wear your best white shirt for this; you may come out of it looking like an extra in a horror movie. Also, don't take a big sniff of the soup right after you put in the vinegar; it feels like tiny elves are pulling your sinuses out. We planted more colorful "candy cane" beets as well, but they grew very slowly and got badly sunburned before they matured. The darling little marbles beautiful, though, and right now they're sitting in rice wine vinegar with coriander and cilantro. They will probablt end up on a salad...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Some Writings on the Wall

Week of June 2nd This week has brought about some exciting changes. First off, we harvested a ton of beets, resulting in pickled Candy cane beets, wilted beet greens and my personal new favorite appetizer, lots and lots of beet soup. I am hoping that Schaefer will be sharing that recipe with you all soon, it is an amazing way to enjoy beets! We’ve also planted some new crops and said good-bye , for this season at least, to the Bok Choy and hello to some new crops that I’ll let Schaefer describe. Now without further ado, I give you some writings on the wall… Seasonal Ingredient Map How awesome is #? Those crazy wonderful people bring us, possibly, the most useful thing ever to be put on the internet! Gov. Schwarzenegger, Gov. Patrick wager food in friendly NBA Finals bet Nope, not a joke…Nothing like rising food costs to bring out the comedian in politicians. Evidence of Inflation? Abi over at Heat Eat Review wants to know if you’ve noticed less than "lean" prices lately? If you have, drop him a line and you’ll win a prize!
The state of our stomachs and the secrets to an amazing salad after the jump.
The City Speaks…or at least Newsom and Waters do. Think the state of the city address, only more like the state of the city’s stomachs address… Gavin Newsom and Alice Waters converse on everything that goes, or doesn't go, into our bellies. Much like the state of the city address, it’s worth watching even if you don’t agree with either position. Some people don't like salads or they don't trust that veggies are going to be able to fill them up. The rest of us know that actually, salads rock as meals! This week I found these two recipes, which once combined could effectively create the perfect salad-for-dinner salad! As opposed to you know, other salads. Grilled Veggie Salad A wonderful recipe for the summer, Corinne Martin at An Herbivore’s Guide to Lite Eating, serves up a salad with bold flavors, intense colors and substantial body. A Different Sort of Crouton One of my favorite food bloggers, cookinpanda, offers up this wonderful variation on the traditional crouton. I love that these croutons offer vegan friendly protein and still add that oh-so meaningful crunch to a salad!
Photo, Upper left - "Give us your tired..." courtesy of UltraClay(dot)com.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Shove it in your Face!

Week of June 2nd I have to admit that I’m not sure what “spring” means to most of our readers, but I can say without hesitation that “spring” here in San Francisco translates to just plain cold, blustery and foggy days. Which means that even though the calendar claims that it’s June, I’m forever wanting to make stews and slow cooked dishes! Case in point, I want to highlight that this week we’re once again having an Ethiopian stew that has become a near weekly favorite of ours. I hope to be getting up some detailed specifics and information, including our fabulous recipe, this afternoon. This is a quintessential stew in my opinion and so amazingly easy, I cannot wait to share it with you all. but I'll have to, because I'm at work right now and my lovely pictures are at home. But it gives us all something to look forward to. For now, details about this week’s menu after the jump! Monday: Ethiopian Stew on top of Polenta served with lager. Tuesday: Eric’s handmade chorizo sausage with home fries and coleslaw served with Trader Jose’s Dark. Wednesday: Tagliatelle, Fried Squid, Yellow Tomatoes with Garlic adapted from Chez Panisse’s Pasta, Pizza, Calzone, served with an amazing 2007 Vin Gris de Cigare. P.s. This wine is an absolute bargain, it is inexpensive, but tastes so great that no one will ever know! Plus it pairs with almost anything. Thursday: Blue Cheese Macaroni and Cheese with a (hopefully) tasty but$4 TJ’s Cote de Rhone. Friday: Handmade pizza, spring mix salad served with a lovely, cheap red wine. Toppings tbd, maybe dandelion greens, maybe kale, maybe sausage…who knows?
Photo, top right. "Field of Poppies" by ParsecTraveller