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swazoo's Profile

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Gifts from California to take overseas?

Blue Chair Fruit makes excellent jams, and they're based in Oakland. I don't know of any stores in Sacramento that carry their products, but you can find them in several stores in the Bay Area. Their web site:

Corti Brothers in Sacramento carries Stringer Orchards products. This company makes wines, jams and jellies from a variety of wild plum that grows near the California/Oregon border. Corti Bros. also carries a Seville orange marmalade they make themselves - the fruit comes from trees growing on state property in Sacramento. The store is at 59th and Folsom.

May 23, 2013
swazoo in San Francisco Bay Area

Dried Lime Powder

The Baker's Catalog (King Arthur Flour) sells it here:

Dec 31, 2012
swazoo in General Topics

Chowhounds Pick Northern California's Best Croissants

It's not traditional, but the pretzel croissant from Octoberfeast bakery in Berkeley is very good. It's very buttery, the crust is dark and slightly crisp, and the interior is fluffy.

Nov 12, 2012
swazoo in Features

Cutting back or eliminating salt?

Several years ago I had to do a lot of low-salt cooking for my mother, who had congestive heart failure. I found that it's very hard to make starchy foods palatable without salt. For example, potatoes without salt are very bland. You should consider this when deciding which dishes to make.

To make low-salt food taste good, you need to replace the lost flavor with other flavors. Sour and spicy flavors work well for this. Garlic helps. So does wine.

If you really want to reduce the sodium in your diet, you need to read labels. Many packaged foods are very high in sodium. So are cured meats. Some foods are high in sodium without tasting salty - for example, cottage cheese has a lot of sodium (the Swiss-type cheeses are usually very low in sodium).

Low-salt food does take some getting used to. Your palate will eventually adjust.

Sep 25, 2012
swazoo in Home Cooking

Why Use Buttermilk at all in a Cake

What type of flour did you use? Cake flour has less gluten than all-purpose flour does, so it produces a more tender cake.

I also agree that you should avoid overmixing the cake batter. You should mix it just to the point where all the ingredients are incorporated.

Aug 15, 2012
swazoo in Home Cooking

What to do with a ton of rosemary leaves?

When grilling you can put rosemary directly on the charcoal - the smoke gives a really good flavor. Since you have leaves, I would suggest putting them in foil so they won't fall through the gaps in the coals. Rosemary won't flare up even at high temperatures - all it will do is smoulder - so there's no need to soak the leaves in water or put them in a sealed packet. I think a makeshift flat-bottomed bowl made from foil would work well.

Aug 05, 2012
swazoo in Home Cooking

Dinner near Cerrito Movie Theater on a Monday

In addition to what's already been mentioned, there's Fatapple's at Fairmount and Colusa. They serve pretty good comfort food.

Al's Big Burger in Albany on San Pablo at Brighton is a pretty good for what it is - they grill their burgers over mesquite. No atmosphere, though - it's a joint.

I agree with the assessment of Elevation 66 - very good food but noisy.

Jun 10, 2012
swazoo in San Francisco Bay Area