Saturday, February 7, 2009

Postcard from Saigon: snapshots from the market

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Moving Margin Notes.

Same kitchen.

Same writing room.

New blog address:

The sublime Sonia Simone of Remarkable Communications recently convinced me that Margin Notes needed to relocate. After I agreed, I nursed this lovely fantasty that once she and her team had done all the heavy lifting she'd fly from Colorado to California and sit by my side and guide my astonishingly-non-techy self through the final steps. No, I take that back. I'd hoped she 'd sit here in my study and do every single bit of the work on the first few posts herself while I played with her adorable three-year-old at the park.
Maybe even more than the first few posts. Maybe until her spawn turned into an adorable four-year-old.
Now that I've released this fantasy into the ether, I'm going to have to sit at this desk alone and actually create posts and they may be a bit, uh, funky for a while.
But, please, come on over to Margin Notes's new home. Once I figure out what-the-hell I'm doing I have some delicious stuff to share, including a recipe for the much-lauded butterscotch souffle from Murray Circle at Cavallo Point and a "4 Questions 4" from 2-star Michelin chef David Kinch of Manresa.
And, Sonia, it's not too late to book tickets.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Beach Too Far

One way I torture myself is by asking people about great places to eat even when I know said places are going to be geographically challenging. I mean, I'd love to go to Australia's Bondi Beach this winter, escaping the Bay Area cold rains for some Sydney sunshine, but it's not gonna happen. Yet Nigella made a little spot there called Sean's Panaroma sound so enticing I felt compelled to learn more about it.
To my great joy, I found chef-owner Sean Moran had written a cookbook called "let it simmer" -- a book filled with enticing recipes and photographs of food he describes as "Anglo-Italian...based on Australia's freshest seasonal produce."

I've only had the book a few days but I've already had one smashing culinary success from it: my version of Moran's "Good Chook, Roasted with Oregano." I used a plump organic chicken and substitued sarriette for the oregano, but stayed true to one essential ingredient: duck fat.
I'm not going to give you Moran's full recipe, partly because I think you should buy the book for yourself and partly because I do not love typing out long recipes, but if you just use this under-the-skin stuffing and your usual way of roasting a chicken you'll still have a very special dish.

Sean Moran's Orgasmically Good Roast Chicken Enhancer aka Damned Delicious Duck Fat
2 cloves garlic
2 generous handfuls oregano [Margin Note: fresh, of course. I substituted sarriette, aka summer savory, because my herb garden had lots of it and pitifully little oregano]
Freshly ground pepper
2 heaped tablespoons duck fat or butter [M.N.: forget that "or butter" bit; use the duck fat]

Peel the garlic cloves and pick oregano leaves, then grind to a smooth paste in a mortar and pestle with a generous pinch of salt and a few twists of pepper. Mix duck fat through paste.
With legs of the chook pointing towards you, slip your fingers under the breast skin to free it from the flesh, pushing carefully all the way down to the wing-bone joint on both sides, then slide seasoned fat under the skin, being careful not to puncture as you go.
Let set a bit while the juices settle.
Carve and enjoy.

I found the next day's leftovers to be almost as wonderful as the just-from-the-oven meat.
And I still wish someone would whisk me off to Bondi Beach next November.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

4 Questions 4 Nigella Lawson

I've said it before: the single best day of my freelance writing life was the one I spent shopping and cooking with Nigella Lawson.

When I started this blog -- exactly one year ago today -- my friend Randall asked: "Is it going to be . . . more »

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pigging Out

After living through a tad too much drama last summer with the cooking of a whole lamb, J and I turned to a pro this year, perusading our friend Tom McNary, the brilliant chef at Carried Away in Aptos, to perform the . . . more »

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Dinner Party, June 2008

Note to Self: When you get a great dinner partner, shut up and let him talk.

[photo by Dennis Lenehan]

Monday, June 30, 2008

Pretty in Pork

Recently Michael Ruhlman blogged about staple meals:

I’m fascinated by what America eats at home—not by what people serve at a dinner party or the latest favorite recipe they’ve found, but rather by what America’s default meals are. What are the meals you return to again and again—meals that are economical, quick, taste good, feel good, meals you make without having to think much?
One of Ruhlman's staple meals centers on chicken, but at our house, pork is often the go-to protein--most often a small stuffed roast. My butcher shop labels the cut a . . . more »