Archive for the Cooking at Home Category

Update on my life, such that it is…

Posted in Cooking at Home, Distillery Review, Inked Rogue Chefs: The Book, Personal on April 20, 2009 by winechef

So it’s been a long time since I’ve posted, I’ll give you a quick synopsis then fill in at a later date.

The time line went something like this: Ocean Seasoning and I parted ways, the realizations of the unfounded accusations “I was aware of my poor performance” confounded by the possibility of immediately finding a job in this economy, mounting debt, first year of marriage, a new dog, and trying to get my shiz together for the book…pushed me just about over the edge. I had to fight for unemployment ( I didn’t know that was even an option), we had to move, and I was quickly running out of gas money to get to interviews. I had already been interviewing for months before my stint at Ocean Seasoning had ended (more often than not I was miserable, and in the 15 plus years of working in some of the most stress filled kitchens in the country, I never cried or let it affect me at work. While at OC, the chef drove me to hysterical bouts of tears on several occasions) but I was too comfortable to really leave. Problem was solved for me, so thanks.

Now that the unemployment checks are finally coming in (thanks for truly F ing that one up EDD), I’m not in a horrible state of crippling depression and I’ve become nigga rich and have been having crazy meals and spending my days having as much fun in the Bay Area as possible, reconecting with friends and eating truly wonderful food (on most occasions). Activities include but are not limited to: SCD dinner (10 courses of Beef in an undisclosed location in San Francisco), a private tour of the gin distillery No. 209 (thanks Arnie!), lunch at Waterbar, Lavende East, Bakesale Betty’s, beer at Jupiter and Triple Rock in Berkeley (stay tuned for that update!) $45 massages, walks in amazing locations with said dog (and husband), and last but not least, a gym membership…

And I’ve been cooking! Not usually for money, actually seldom for money, but stints have included cooking for an exclusive Sufi Retreat (No Booze, No Bacon, how does she do it?!), family and friend dinners (Carnitas with homemade tortillas , thanks to Steve, and oatmeal horchata), a 4 course for my granny and her group of sassy octogenarian frends, and random potlucks.

The book…querying agents. I didn’t get the one that I specifically was hoping for, but we’ll see. I’m still hoping for some interst from agents in the upcoming weeks, then I go straight to Chronicle and 10 Speed. I have gotten more awesome chefs, there does seem to be a lot of buzz about the book, I just need to sell it! Anyway, look me up on Facebook, there is also an Inked Rogue Chef group that you can join and follow. I am much better about updating Facebook with at least pictures of what I’m doing since I got a new crackberry with my refund.

Until next time, let me know what you want to see, hear, feedback, etc. Late.


A Week of Chicken Dinners for Two, For Around $30

Posted in Cooking at Home on February 3, 2009 by winechef

While most of us are trying to cut costs while maintaining our pampered palate, we have to find ways to get creative and spend wisely. A fairly large organic chicken costs around $10, but by buying a few pre-made items, quality starches and grains, and utilizing the staples in you gourmet foodie pantry, you can turn close to $30 into a week’s worth of relatively simple, fast, delicious meals, that make for extraordinary leftovers (when there are any) the next day.
Mushroom Ravioli with Shredded Chicken in a Brown Butter Balsamic Sauce:
This can be the first dish of the week and the chicken will serve as the base for the following five days. Roast the well-seasoned chicken over large slices of red onions, thyme and garlic butter (or any type of a compound butter you are looking to use up). When the chicken is done, start browning butter in a pan, deglaze it with a nice balsamic vinegar, let that reduce, carve off a breast, shred it and toss it and the caramelized onions with a package of boiled chanterelle ravioli and a sprinkling of parmesan.
Chicken with White Truffle Farro Risotto:
Make a traditional risotto by substituting the whole grain Farro for Arborio, add part of the other breast, and drizzle a quality white truffle oil over the top. The texture of the farro is unbeatable (plus the extra health bene’s) and who isn’t a sucker for white truffle oil? Pure gourmet comfort food.
BBQ Chicken Melt Sandwiches:
Shred the meat of one of the thighs, warm it in your favorite BBQ sauce, pile it onto slices of toasted bread, top with slices of Monterey Jack and broil it in the toaster oven until it’s bubbly and browned. On the other slice of bread spread a mixture of BBQ sauce and mayo and seal the whole messy deal.
Chicken Burritos:
Cook organic pinto beans from the bulk section with garlic cloves and bay leaves, and season, then refry in duck fat or bacon drippings before encasing them in a soft tortilla with shredded cheese, chicken, sour cream, and your favorite hot sauce.
Chicken Barley Soup:
Day 5, pick the rest of the meat off of the bird and make an aromatic broth. Dice a carrot and onion and sauté with the remaining meat. Add to the stock in which the barley is nicely plumped and bursting with flavor.

Favorite things of 2008

Posted in Book Review, Chocolate, Cooking at Home, Food News, Personal, Podcast, Pork, Product Review, Sommelier, Wine Review on December 29, 2008 by winechef

Sure it’s a random list, but it’s been a random year. Who knew I’d still be serving at the same restaurant after a year? Add getting married, a trip to Thailand, adopting a Teacup Dane, and pursuing Rogue Chefs full time has made for some amazing experiences. Here is a list of the little things that have contributed to making life just that much better.

M. Chevallier Carte Noir Brut Cava cava

A wedding on a budget. I tasted 6 methode traditional bubblys under $10 to serve at our wedding (the difference? no headache being at the top of the list) and was beyond pleased with this one. At about $60 for a case I made sure to stock up, so the wedding was just the beginning of the experiences with this awesome cava. It served for everything from last minute gifts to Hibiscus tangerine mimosas to an excuse to practice sabreing. Available at Trader Joe’s for $4.99

Metrokane Champagne Sealermetrokane

And on the off chance that you haven’t removed the top of your champagne (or beer) bottle with your trusty 12 inch chef knife and have some champagne left over, this easy to use sealer works better than anything I’ve used. You can store your opened bottles on their sides and never lose a drop. They remove with hardly a flinch and apply with little to no effort. Available online and in stores at Bed Bath and Beyond (I covet the 20% off coupons).

Moo Cards

These are inexpensive unique customizable business cards that can be designed and received within 2 weeks. High quality and always sure to leave an impression on the receiver. I’ve used mine to promote the blog, the book, my chef and sommelier services, and photography. Available online 100 for $19.99 plus shipping and handling.


I did not start out liking this. If it weren’t for my genius techie husband in the adjoining room it probably would have ended up following the sewing machine out the window. The problem? It’s just too easy. It makes too much sense. It practically knows me. And now I can’t imagine life without it. I even love the screen saver. I would however have opted for the bigger screen (24″) if I were to do it over again. And a laptop is on the short list of things to get when I receive that enormous advance for the book I’ve been counting on. Available online and in stores for $1199


My iTunes audio faves of 2008 in order of awesomeness:

goodfoodKCRW’s Good Food, Splendid Table, NPR’s Kitchen Window and NPR Food, and Vinecast.


I wonder where I would be without my iPod, it’s Podcasts, and membership. Needing something to distract from the hour and a half that I spend commuting daily I have become practically addicted to audio distractions. Yes, there is always a print book next to my bed or in my bag, but I have come to rely on audiobooks to help me get through the growing stacks that I have accumulated during the year. There aren’t as many food related audiobooks out there but here are my faves of 08:

Setting the Table by Danny Meyer, Waiter Rant by The Waiter, and Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Molecular Gastronomy by Herve This may have you fall asleep on the road and still not clear on the concept.

Blue Bottle Coffee

blue-bottleAh, legal crack in the morning. Not available in as many places as necessary but you can find it here. Order more than you think you need.

Breville Stainless Steel Electric Kettle

And make it with this awesome, sleek, effective water heater that can allow you to make perfect batches of french presses at home or while catering…Available online and at Bed Bath and Beyond for $79.99 (use the coupon!).breville

Bacon and…

Oh Vosges, only you could get me addicted to a chocolate that I can’t afford on a regular basis. So thanks to a recent podcast I’m making my own version. And thanks to my husband, I can’t stop dipping my bacon in maple syrup. There was also a drink “Bacon and Eggs” at Epic that used bacon dust to rim a martini glass. Oh and the Maple Bacon lollipops from Lollyphile. The bacon lip balm that I have yet to try. Bacon and Cocoa Nib infused whiskey that I’m making. The Bacon, Chestnut, and Brussels Sprout dish that I am still swooning over. And Bacon and Skulls blog where I can stay up to date on everything Bacon.

That’s about it, now on to 2009…

Gelatin Conversion

Posted in Cooking at Home, Pastry Chefs, Product Review, What's the Deal With...? on October 20, 2008 by winechef

Since this is what helped to bring Marisa down from season 2 of Top Chef, I knew I had to find the right information before attempting a French pear mousse recipe that used leaf gelatin AKA sheet gelatin as one of its ingredients. Having only powdered gelatin at home I needed to figure out, hopefully once and for all, what the exact conversion is when dealing with most professional pastry chef’s recipes. For an article on the difference and the best to use click here.

3 teaspoons of powdered =4 leaves

3-4 leaves = 1 envelope

and just for kicks…

Agar Agar = same amount of powdered gelatin

Butterfly Wedding Cake

Posted in Cooking at Home, Personal on October 6, 2008 by winechef

The stats:

4 layers

30+ pounds of frosting

100+/- pounds total

2 flavors (Guinness Chocolate with a Guinness Chocolate Mousse and Vanilla Bean with Blackberry filling)

1000+ butterflies

8 pounds of dry ice in an attempt to preserve the cake from the heat and humidity.

6 hours watching Ace of Cakes in preparation.

2 hours of shallow breathing while transporting the cake in the rain to Monterey.

…and a week and a half in labor. Amount of confectioners sugar inhaled unknown.

Having best friends like Sonny and Kristin…priceless.

Sonny and Kristin’s Wedding Cake Nears Completion

Posted in Cooking at Home, Personal on October 3, 2008 by winechef

So if you’re wondering why I haven’t been posting more frequently…


The Save the Date

The Save the Date

Launching a month of Theobromine

Posted in Bay Area Festivities, Chocolate, Cooking at Home, Recipe on September 18, 2008 by winechef

September 14th marked the first day of my month long dedication to Theobromine, the chemical in chocolate that makes you happy…and the name of our new 9 month old Chocolate Lab mutt. The month will be filled with chocolate recipes inspired by the TuttiFoodie Sharffen Berger Chocolate Adventure Contest, recipes for dog treats, and dog friendly haunts around the bay area.