I love eating, cooking and especially reading about all different types of food. Every month I'll try recipes from some of my favorite culinary magazines and cook books, review restaurants and even share some of my own creations. I'll post pictures and let you know what works, how they taste and tips to make them better. I'll also enlist some friends around the country to tell you about some great food finds where they live.

Become a follower and check in each week for a new FOODIE TRIAL!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Farmers Market, Fava Bean with Grilled Corn and Mint, Hierloom Tomato Salad

The best thing about San Francisco is the quality of fresh fruits and vegetables that are available.  On Saturday's, we have a great Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building.  It's really hard to not buy everything in site.  The product is local, organic for the most part, and really fresh!

Organic Swiss Chard


Organic Lemons and Oranges

I found some great organic fava beans at the market and decided to use those in a refreshing salad with roasted corn and mint.  I also did a fresh organic hierloom tomato salad with fresh organic basil.  Mr. Steele grilled some rib eye steaks to go along with these light salads.

Here is a tip about fava beans.  If you are looking to feed more than two people, you'll need at least 2 pounds.  Fava's are a time consuming item to prepare.  You have to shuck all the beans out of the pods, which is a chore. But it's worth it.  Fava's have a buttery texture and a subtle bitter and nutty flavor.  Here's a really easy recipe that you can make your own by adding other veggies and herbs.  If you can't find fava beans, you can use edamame.  You can also do this dish warm by simply sauteing all the ingredients in a sauce pan.

Fava Beans with Grilled Corn and Mint

4 lbs unshelled fava beans (2 cups shelled)
¼ cup sweet onion, diced
2 small ears of corn, grilled and stripped of the kernels
¼ cup red pepper, diced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup fresh mint chiffonade
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

Remove the beans from pods; throw the pods away. Boil fava beans in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain beans and place into ice water; drain. Peal and discard the outer skin from beans and place beans in a bowl.

Combine onions, corn, red pepper, salt, black pepper, mint.  Add lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.

4 Servings

A simple tomato salad is as easy as slicing the tomatoes, adding some really good extra virgin olive oil, salt, and some basil.  The key to the salad I made....the tomatoes.  They have to be hierloom, organic and locally grown.  You'll never feel the same about grocery store tomatoes ever again.  Hierlooms are so sweet, and juicy.  If you are lucky enough to find a farm that grows these, look for not just basic red, brandywine tomatoes, but yellow, zebras (a green striped variety), cherry varieties, etc...

If you are a tomato and mozzarella fan, try burrata instead.  This cheese is my all time favorite.  Burrata is made from mozzarella and cream.  It has this creamy, smooth texture that's just out of this world.  It's very hard to find, but if you can find a cheese shop or Italian market, buy it.  In San Francisco, Cowgirl Creamery has a great burrata by a company called Gioia out of Los Angeles.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Hierloom Tomato Salad

3 Medium size hierloom tomatoes, sliced
¼ cup basil, chiffonade
Generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste

Arrange tomato slices on a platter, sprinkle basil on top.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.  Sprinkle with kosher salt right before serving.

Let me know about your farmer's market in your area and if you have a chance to try any of these dishes!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Salmon with Sweet Chili Glaze, Sugar Snap Peas, and Pea Tendrils, Santa Fe Quinoa Salad

Hey everyone!  Needed a break last week from the blog, but I'm back this week with a very easy meal that everyone can make.

The main dish, Salmon with Sweet Chili Glaze, Sugar Snap Peas, and Pea Tendrils, is from the April 2010 Bon Appétit.  To be honest, pea tendrils are hard to find, so I had to pass on them and just focus on the snap peas.  What is easy to find is the sweet chili sauce, but it only comes in these huge, 40oz bottles.  Unless you plan on making lots of dishes with this sauce don't bother.  You can pick up a small jar of chili sauce, I used a roasted chili sauce, and either add honey or turbinado sugar.  Add a bit of water to tame the heat down a bit.  The dishes flavor was really complex.  The sweetness in the chili sauce and the sweetness of the snap peas was perfect.

The side dish came from the May 2010 issue if Food & Wine, Santa Fe Quinoa Salad.
This is one of those dishes that you will always go back to.  It's really easy and I really think it could use more veggies.  Don't be afraid to add some.  I was in a pinch and didn't have access to quinoa, so I used my new favorite grain, brown rice coucous.  It has great flavor and I think was a great substitute.

The next couple months I'm keeping it light, so please let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas on what you want me to make.

See you soon!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Jalapeño-Roasted Potatoes, Zucchini Carpaccio with Homemade Ricotta Cheese

After two weeks off, I was excited to get back into the swing of things with the blog.  This was a pretty easy weekend.  Mr. Steele wanted to do a pork shoulder for Sunday dinner, so I made a few sides.

Jalapeño-Roasted Potatoes
Zucchini Carpaccio with Homemade Ricotta Cheese

The potatoes were from the April 2010 issue of Food & Wine and the Zucchini was from the the April 2010 issue of Bon Appétit.

Both dishes are very easy to make and really delicious.

The Jalapeño-Roasted Potatoes were really delicious, especially since the jalapeno's get nice and crispy, very addictive.  The key here is the high temperature and letting the potatoes get crispy by not turning them. 

The Zucchini Carpaccio with Homemade Ricotta Cheese takes all of 10 minutes to prepare.  This works best if you have a mandoline or another type of slicer that can give you really thin slices.  If you don't have one, pick one up.  You can spend $20 for a hand held or over $200 for a professional one.  I have an old school V-Slicer, which gives you thin and thick slices, and also has a julienne and a larger, french fries type, attachment.

This is a very refreshing salad.  I left off the fresh ricotta because I couldn't get it at the store.  I also used yellow and green squash for some color.  The dressing is so easy and is my go to for all my salads anyway, so it was a familiar flavor. 
So, of course, I've got to give some props to my honey for making another delicious pork shoulder.  Check out how delicious it looks!
See you next time!