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February 2011 Cookbook of the Month: THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK Chapters 13-14

Katharine McClinton's Foursome Pancakes, p 633

Delicious, luscious, very delicate, moist texture, great tangy flavor, but be prepared, they are very sour. My husband, 1 year old, and I loved that, but the two five year olds i served them would not eat them, so keep that in mind.

Feb 25, 2011
balabanian in Home Cooking

What to do with 10lbs of tomatoes?

I'm sure there's an old thread about this but I couldn't find it, so I'm going to ask: any ideas for what I should do with 10 lbs of fresh tomatoes, other than roast them and make sauce or soup? Those would be good, but I'd like to do something different if anyone has any great ideas. Thanks in advance.

Nov 02, 2010
balabanian in Home Cooking

Martha Stewart kale salad recipe- a revelation!

I pretty much couldn't stand it either, but I'm telling you, something about the dressing in this recipe made it not only edible but super tasty- the peanuts & cider vinegar seemed to overpower the aspects of the kale flavor that i don't like, leaving only it's nice flavors and crunchiness.

Oct 27, 2010
balabanian in Home Cooking

What five cookbooks would you keep?

Gourmet Cookbook (the big yellow one edited by ruth reichl)
Joy of Cooking
Roasting, by Barbara Kafka
All About Braising, by Molly Stevens
Classic Indian Cooking, by Julie Sahni

Oct 27, 2010
balabanian in Home Cooking

Martha Stewart kale salad recipe- a revelation!

I have to date only really sincerely enjoyed kale in the form of chips (http://www.chow.com/recipes/28496-kale-chips) but last night i made a salad from a Martha Stewart recipe that was so incredibly delicious that i want to tell everyone who might care (i.e. people who hang out on the home cooking board) about it. It's super easy to prepare, tangy, great texture, and satisfying enough to be a meal.

It's here: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/k...

If you make it, let me know what you think. And, if you have other favorite kale salad recipes, post them please!

Oct 27, 2010
balabanian in Home Cooking

New to Marin (Mill Valley)...having second thoughts about leaving the East Bay

Oh, and keep in mind that when you are in Mill Valley you are only 15-20 minutes from the great restaurants on Clement & Geary Streets in San Francisco. You do have to pay bridge toll to get there, but it's often worth the trip if you're really craving great asian food.

Oct 20, 2010
balabanian in San Francisco Bay Area

New to Marin (Mill Valley)...having second thoughts about leaving the East Bay

Ah, it's a hard adjustment especially coming from a the East Bay, but there are some good places once you poke around enough. Glad you tried Small Shed Flatbreads & Tony Tutto's, those are two of my favorites in Mill Valley. I'd also add Joe's Taco Lounge, the food is good and inexpensive, not great like you'd get in the Mission district in San Francisco, but very reliable and tasty and they have some good vegetarian options. Dish is also good, though meals there seem to add up quickly. For a lot of vegetarian options, Cafe Gratitude in San Rafael and/or Cafe del Soul in Mill Valley are both good. Bungalow 44 has really good food too, a little pricey but you can eat some appetizers at the bar for not too much. For breakfast, Fred's in Sausalito is great, also I know a lot of people who are devoted to Toast though I've never been there myself. For pizza, in addition to flatbreads and tony tutto, for more traditional new york style pizza i like west brooklyn pizza in san rafael. We've also actually had good experience with India Palace, in the bottom of the travelodge next to goodman lumber. Again, it's not as good as what you can get in the east bay, but it was still very good.

Small Shed Flatbreads
17 Madrona St, Mill Valley, CA 94941

Bungalow 44
44 E Blithedale Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941

Joe's Taco Lounge
382 Miller Ave, Mill Valley, CA 94941

Oct 20, 2010
balabanian in San Francisco Bay Area

Disappointing Tofu Effort

i'd also recommend Deborah Madison's (of Greens and Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone fame) book "This Can't be Tofu!". Silly name (I've made many things in the book and none would have caused me to exclaim those words, they were all pretty clearly tofu), but it's a great slim volume packed with a wide variety of techniques and really easy, good recipes. It'll help you learn to work with tofu if that's something you're interested in.

Oct 06, 2010
balabanian in Home Cooking

Where can a person find Welsh Rarebit in the SF Bay Area?

I know this doesn't answer your question, but have you tried making it at home? It's really really easy to make and the ingredients are things you probably already have in your fridge/cupboard.

I've made this recipe and it was good: http://www.chow.com/recipes/11383-wel...

Sep 27, 2010
balabanian in San Francisco Bay Area

Kid friendly vegetable recipes for a PICKY eater?

i agree with many ideas from others. one more: kale chips. my daughter (also 4) loves them, and they fit your son's crunchy requirement. Very easy to make, wash/dry a bunch of kale, tear off the leaves, toss with 3T olive oil and 1T cider vinegar or lemon, spread on a cookie sheet, salt, bake in 400 degree oven for 20 mins or so until crunchy.

Sep 26, 2010
balabanian in Home Cooking

Eating in Istanbul?

I've never been there but my friend runs a site about istanbul food/restaurants (tag line is "A Serious Eater's Guide to the City". at http://istanbuleats.com/

I've eaten with him in other cities before and I'd really trust his advice.

Sep 20, 2010
balabanian in Europe

Zero Zero - San Francisco - Report

Ate here last night, I thought it was good but a little uneven, and not as good as Picco in my limited (3 visits) experience. Here's what we had:
- Plum Smash cocktail- bourbon, mint, plum, lime- very tasty, served on the rocks though so it got a little watery, next time i'd order it served up.
- Bruschetta with caponata and buratta- nice generous portion. the caponata and buratta were delicious. my only complaint is that the bread was a little soft & airy, i prefer a chewier, crunchier, denser bread for bruschetta.
- Polenta with mushrooms and egg- really tasty, great sauce on the mushrooms combined well with the egg flavor.
- Margarita Extra Pizza- This was pretty disappointing- very little cheese, which i know is the style of this kind of pizza, but it was still too little. And the sauce was too sparsely flavored, which i think is also the style of this kind of pizza, but again, too little flavor, too much rawness. The crust was good, chewy, a little sour. Next time I'd try one of the white pies or a meat pie.
- We also had wine on tap- the dolcetto and the sangiovese, both very good.

Zero Zero
826 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107

Sep 15, 2010
balabanian in San Francisco Bay Area

*September 2010 COTM: tNBoEF - Fish, Poultry, and Seafood & Meat Dishes

I made the Djaj fil Forn (Roast Chicken with Lemon and Garlic), Pg. 213 last night. I'm very devoted to Barbara Kafka's high heat method for roasting chicken but always open to finding a better/different way. This was really simple to prepare, flavors was great, meat was very flavorful and moist throughout. So, all in all a success. That said, I missed the crackling skin of the high-heat method, so i might combine the two next time (lemon garlic rub/high heat cooking) and see how that goes. It's funny, garlic, lemon, salt & pepper is pretty standard chicken seasoning, but somehow knowing that it's an Egyptian standard made it feel more exotic. I served it with Israeli couscous and a Greek salad. Tasty meal.

Sep 14, 2010
balabanian in Home Cooking

best burger in Palo Alto?

I have to chime in in favor of the Oasis burger- it's my longstanding favorite, and not just in South Bay area, anywhere. It's a low-end burger (no artisanal ketchup or hand ground beef or fancy cheese), but the proportions are perfect, the sauce & other toppings are delicious, perfect level of juiciness, and consistent, as in- for the 30 years or so I've been going there I've can't remember ever being disappointed.

241 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025

Aug 30, 2010
balabanian in San Francisco Bay Area

September 2010 Cookbook of the Month: THE NEW BOOK OF MIDDLE EASTERN FOOD & ARABESQUE

I just asked my sister who has cooked extensively from both which one she prefers and she said pretty much the same thing:

"Arabesque is a Hayes Valley (a chic neighborhood in San Francisco) boutique, the Book of Middle Eastern Food is Macy's. Both are good. I guess I like boutiques better, but I wouldn't want a world without department stores."

Maybe that helps, though for me it just makes me want to do both, so I probably will.

Aug 25, 2010
balabanian in Home Cooking

September 2010 Cookbook of the Month VOTING (Extended to 8/24/2010)


Aug 24, 2010
balabanian in Home Cooking

ISO chocolate cake recipe

I have no ideas for the frosting, but the cake sounds a little like a chocolate cake i make frequently- it's a vegan recipe (though i'm not vegan) using oil, vinegar in place of butter or eggs. Very moist, dense, not crumby- i love it.
here's the recipe: http://www.designspongeonline.com/200...

good luck. report back!

Aug 23, 2010
balabanian in Home Cooking

Best Turkish?

I went to Real Doner in Petaluma this weekend and enjoyed it so much that now all I want to eat is Turkish food. I'll go back to Real Doner and try some different menu items, but I want to try some other places as well, particularly closer to home (SF or Marin).
So far on my list:
Troya and Layaly in the Richmond District
Turkish Kitchen in Berkeley
Gyro King and A la Turca in Civic Center area.

What am I missing? Any favorites or anything on this list I should not bother with? Also, anywhere that makes good meat pide?

A La Turca
869 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Layaly Mediterranean
2435 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

349 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

Turkish Kitchen
1984 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

Real Doner (Gyro)
307 F St, Petaluma, CA 94952

Aug 16, 2010
balabanian in San Francisco Bay Area

This newbie needs help buying a good piece of cookware for braising meat!

Also two other nice things about braising: often the cheaper cuts of meat (pork shoulder, brisket, etc) are preferable (so over time, you can earn back the cost of that Le Creuset pan, sort of), and there's usually very little last minute prep, so they're good for parties where you don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. enjoy!

Aug 12, 2010
balabanian in Cookware

Low Effort High Impact Dishes

Where do you live that pork shoulder is not cheap?

Aug 12, 2010
balabanian in Home Cooking

Your favorite recipes using Roasted Red Peppers????

I make a spread with sundried tomatoes, walnuts and red peppers all the time and I love it.


Aug 12, 2010
balabanian in Home Cooking

Point Reyes Dining

I also like the Marshall Store for oysters, particularly the oysters rockefeller served with brickmaiden bread garlic toast. Very casual (you order at the counter) but delicious and great setting.

Marshall Store
19225 Hwy 1, Marshall, CA 94940

Aug 12, 2010
balabanian in San Francisco Bay Area

Bad Restaurant Names

i always do a double take at "Hot n' Crusty" (a bread/bakery chain in NYC).

In oakland, CA there's a dim sum place i like to go to called "Old Place Seafood". somehow not that appetizing.

Aug 11, 2010
balabanian in Not About Food


According to this video they make their own at a factory in Suisun City...

Aug 11, 2010
balabanian in San Francisco Bay Area

Early Sunday Breakfast in East Bay?

900 Grayson in Berkeley. Great cheese grits and fried chicken & waffles. They're definitely open for breakfast by 8, not sure about Sundays.

900 Grayson
900 Grayson St, Berkeley, CA 94710

Aug 11, 2010
balabanian in San Francisco Bay Area

Marin Burger Wars

Pearl's Phat Burger has very good burgers, in the same level (counter service, fast) as In n' Out and Phyllis's so should definitely be considered in any competition that includes those two. They have some interesting choices too- kobe beef, hawaiian burger, etc.

For more restaurant (not fast-food) burgers, as another poster mentioned- Brick and Bottle has a very tasty pimento cheese burger- very rich but delicious. Balboa Cafe has a good burger, but they use 'nice' buns, which many 'nice' restaurants do, which are too dry and heavy for my taste. Also they have really good sliders at happy hour. Also, if this is really a war, might as well include the burger at Joe's Taco lounge and Marin Brewing Company in the battle. Both are good.

Pearl's Phat Burgers
8 E Blithedale Ave, Mill Valley, CA 94941

Balboa Cafe Mill Valley
38 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941

Brick and Bottle
55 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera, CA 94925

Aug 11, 2010
balabanian in San Francisco Bay Area

Lunch places near SF Civic Center?

Lers Ros Thai is excellent, though a bit of a walk and as a previous poster said, through a somewhat dicey neighborhood so (but not unsafe at all to walk during the day).
My husband also likes Turtle Tower for Pho.
Zuni Cafe is always good and a classic SF choice.
Delessio is more casual, but generally good food.
For very casual- pick up a sandwich and eat in the park/outside- Saigon Sandwich Shop or Morty's Deli.

Zuni Cafe
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Saigon Sandwich Shop
560 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Delessio Market & Bakery
1695 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Turtle Tower Restaurant
631 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Morty's Delicatessen
280 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102

Lers Ros Thai
730 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA

Aug 11, 2010
balabanian in San Francisco Bay Area

What I Like about the New Site 8/10/2010

I really like the new iPhone optimized site, and I'm so happy to be able to post this from it. Very nice!

Aug 10, 2010
balabanian in Site Talk

September 2010 Cookbook of the Month Nominations (Through Wed., 8/18)

I've mostly been a voyeur in COTM to date so haven't earned the right to push for my nomination much, but I am really interested in trying:


Aug 10, 2010
balabanian in Home Cooking

My braised/pot roasted beef/pork roasts always come out dry, hard

pretty thorough responses on this already, but i just want to second a few of them:
1. Molly Stevens All About Braising is a great great book, will teach you a lot.
2. You want the fatty, cheaper meats. My favorite by a long way is pork shoulder.
3. My favorite foolproof recipes for really easy/good braises (apart from the molly stevens ones) are:
- black velvet braised pork shoulder
- pork shoulder braised in milk

Aug 10, 2010
balabanian in Home Cooking