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Roasted Beets with Walnut Oil and Fresh Ricotta Appetizer

November 3rd, 2008 by Lynn Hollenbeck

This is an attempt to recreate an appetizer I had recently at SPQR in San Francisco. The diced ruby red beets shine like little gemstones against the creamy white ricotta. Don’t fear making your own ricotta. As Maria Helm Sinkey says, “it’s cool to make, and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to do it.” Creamy Ricotta recipe, page 126 of Food & Wine (November 2008). By the way, SPQR is a really fun restaurant because much of the menu comes on “small plates” so you can share a variety with a friend or two. The wait staff is so knowledgeable and gives such poetic wine descriptions that you swear you can taste the “volcanic ash” or “essence of sunflower.” Ask for their pairing recommendations if you go; they are right on target. I served this appetizer with a Kalinda German reisling from K&L Liquors in San Francisco, but any dry or semi-dry German reisling would pair well.

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Homemade Creamy Ricotta Cheese

November 2nd, 2008 by Lynn Hollenbeck

This weekend I handed my husband Mitch a copy of the Creamy Ricotta recipe by Maria Helm Sinksey on page 126 of Food & Wine (November 2008). He likes challenges like crafting beer and cheese, and found that it was easy and fun to make ricotta. He swore he would never buy ricotta again. It tastes nothing like the commercial version. Fluffy, sweet and scrumptious, it is well worth the effort. In case you don’t have this issue of Food & Wine, here’s what he did. Try it!

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Delfina’s Insalata Del Campo

November 2nd, 2008 by Lynn Hollenbeck

Owner and acclaimed chef Craig Stoll shared this with San Francisco Chronicle readers. There isn’t much that you can make at home that recaptures the magic of Delfina Restaurant, but this comes close.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 head radicchio
  • 1/2 head frisee, tender light green leaves only
  • 2 ounces baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
  • 4 thick slices pancetta
  • parmesan wedges

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The Versatility of Frijoles

November 2nd, 2008 by Lynn Hollenbeck

Endive Been Thinking . . . besides spooning them directly out of the crock pot into my mouth, what else can I do with this this nutritious, delicious and oh so economical pot of refried (not) beans, otherwise known as “The Economy Sucks but my Creamy Pinto Beans Rock” Frijoles. All of the below configurations have received rave reviews in my family; in other words, they eat it without complaint.

  • Classic Rice and Beans: Spoon over rice and top with shredded mozzerella, jack or queso fresco. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro. Read the rest of this entry »

Serenade in the Supermarket

October 20th, 2008 by Lynn Hollenbeck

I was looking for nopales at Whole Foods and didn’t find them, but was seduced by about seven other expensive items. While I’m waiting in the checkout line, a man perhaps a little older than myself heads towards me with just a take-out container.

  • Me: You can go ahead if that’s all you have.
  • One-Item Shopper: Oh, thanks. Do you mind if I also grab a bottle of water?
  • Me: No problem. I’ll hold your place.
  • Two-Item Shopper:: (returned to line) Do you know what I’m doing right now? I’m listening to myself on the radio. Read the rest of this entry »