Recipe Review: Bulgogi Sliders


This recipe from the New York Times Magazine is a little complicated, with four sub-recipes that on their own are fairly doable.  Bulgogi is a sweet, salty Korean marinated beef that is used in Korean barbecue but here makes delicious sliders.  The bulgogi marinade is the most difficult, requiring a food processor or blender to pulverize an Asian pear and several ingredients that can be found at Asian supermarkets.  It makes about three cups of marinade, which is enough for two pounds of beef brisket.  The recipe requires a little advance planning, because the meat needs to marinate for six hours to overnight.  The other components are a spicy soy dressing for the scallion salsa that goes on top of the bulgogi, a spicy mayonnaise made with sriracha hot sauce, and cucumber kimchi.  Like the article mentions, high heat is essential when frying the bulgogi to get a little char.  I liked the extra step of buttering and toasting the buns to make the bun a little crispy.  Overall lots of bold flavors and definitely worth doing, especially for a get-together like a football game.  I served it with a Korean potato salad that was just OK (I would skip the potato salad next time and try to make another side dish).

Recipe Review: Linguine With Littlenecks, Roasted Tomatoes and Caramelized Garlic


This recipe from the New York Times makes a pasta with briny clams and a garlicky roasted tomato sauce.  The pasta is cooked until just before al dente, then finished in the sauce to soak up all of its goodness.  Just a few ingredients, pretty easy, and tasty.

Recipe Review: Thai Ginger Chicken Salad


This recipe from Bon Appetit September 2011 is a simple salad with chicken, rice noodles, and fresh herbs in a Thai dressing.  Lots of strong flavors with the dressing of fish sauce and lime juice.  I thought the 1:1 ratio of fish sauce to lime juice was a little too much fish sauce.  Could probably cut back the fish sauce and substitute water to keep the volume the same.  Overall, not bad.  Does not keep overnight, because the rice noodles dry out easily and herbs will wilt.

Recipe Review: Spicy Stir-Fried Tofu with Corn, Green Beans, and Cilantro


This recipe from the New York Times Recipes for Health is, like most recipes from this section of the paper, healthy and pretty easy to do.  Requires some Asian ingredients like soy sauce and sesame oil.  Good flavor, even for people who don’t like tofu.  Worth doing once, but then I started craving a hamburger.

Restaurant Review: Gather


Vegan “Charcuterie” at Gather in Berkeley, CA

Gather is my new favorite restaurant in the Bay Area.  It showcases local, sustainable food in a very creative and delicious menu.  The restaurant is located in the heart of Berkeley, across the street from UC-Berkeley campus.  There is a warm open seating area around a central open kitchen, a bar off to the side, and outdoor seating as well.  The vegan charcuterie ($16) is an incredible dish, with four different sophisticated preparations highlighting the possibilities of seasonal vegetables and fruits.  The grilled Cetriolo heirloom tomato was the best tomato I have ever eaten.  Beautiful heirloom melon with an interesting peanut shiso pesto.  The roast chicken had well-seasoned, crispy skin and flavorful meat ($22).  The goat milk semifreddo ($6.50) was creamy and rich and accompanied by a sweet, almost candy-like poached peach, fresh plum, and cashew crumble.  There were so many other interesting dishes on the menu that I did not try but hopefully will soon.  There is something for everyone of the menu, with a variety of vegan and gluten-free options, as well as seafood and meat.  Service was both attentive and unobtrusive.  For vegetarian dishes, Gather compares favorably with Ubuntu in Napa City, CA.  Gather has won many well-deserved accolades, including Food and Wine chef of the year in 2010.  Highly recommended.

Recipe Review: Fricassee of Chanterelles with Pappardelle


Golden chanterelle mushrooms have a rich flavor and nice texture.  This recipe from Bon Appetit September 2011 describes a sautee of  chanterelles with garlic, sweet onions and rich cream cut by the acidity of lemon juice.  The chanterelles and sauce works nicely with the pappardelle, and the recipe also suggests boiled potatoes as an alternative starch.  Serve with sauteed spinach or other green vegetable.  Pretty easy to do vegetarian main dish on a weeknight with lots of flavor.  It does have a lot of butter and cream though.

Recipe Review: Lavash Pizzas with Arugula and Eggplant


This is a light, simple summer recipe, from Bon Appetit September 2011.  Eggplant is salted and roasted.  Whole wheat lavash, Middle Eastern flatbread available at Trader Joe’s, is used as a crust for the eggplant, cherry tomatoes, scallions, mozarella, and parmesan.  Red pepper flakes give it a little spice.  After the pizza is baked (5 minutes) arugula dressed simply in olive oil and lemon juice tops the pizza, lending bright and peppery notes.

Recipe Review: Porterhouse Steak with Pan-Seared Cherry Tomatoes


An easy, flavorful, end of summer recipe for Labor Day: Porterhouse Steak with Pan-Seared Cherry Tomatoes from July 2008 Gourmet magazine.  A surprising combination of tomatoes and steak works extremely well along with fresh thyme and basil.  Try to get a variety of cherry tomatoes from the farmer’s market.  The steak is seared on a grill pan and finished in the oven.  The tomatoes and herbs are quickly cooked in the pan, and the tomato juices make a rich, bright pan sauce.

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