The nights are getting shorter...
|Time to pull
out the sweaters and scarves, and start thinking about fall
foods like squashes and apples and pears. It's perfect weather
for holding hands and snuggling close, so don't be sad that
summer is over!
A LETTER FROM SAN FRANCISCO CHEF ANDREA FRONCILLO
summer is rapidly slipping away, and may I say: it was a great
one. The weather in San Francisco was fantastic for most of
the summer, and now the fog and cold are back. Baseball is
winding down and football is just beginning. I'm already
thinking about menus for Halloween, and Thanksgiving... and
Christmas again! Where has 2006 gone?
September is a sobering month for me, as I remember back
to the day five years ago when, on the 10th of September, my
flight from Newark to San Francisco was delayed for 8 1/2 hours
and I nearly exchanged my ticket for a seat on Flight 93 leaving
on the morning of September 11th. All of our lives changed in
one way or another that day, and we are still feeling the
results of it. That night, I was frustrated with the delay...
now I simply consider myself lucky.
But life isn't predictable, and so we have to live every day
to the fullest, and take our chances when we can. Over the
past couple of months, I've been signing
my new cookbook up and down the California coast, from Marin
County all the way to Santa Barbara. At the end of July, I drove
down to the garlic capital of the world to take part in the
Gilroy Garlic Festival, as I do every year. The weather was
amazingly pleasant ~ high 70's, not too hot. I spent some time
chatting with Karen La Corte, who will be in charge of next
year's food competition. She's got some great ideas up her
sleeve. If you haven't been to the festival before, put it on
your calendar for next July!
A few weeks later, I was on the road again to participate in the
Natural History of Food Series at the
Santa Barbara Museum of
Natural History. One of the other speakers was
Mr. Garlic Himself. I have read and enjoyed his books for many
years, but had never had the pleasure of meeting him. What a
delightful human being. He is passionate about the bulb, and he
grows all kinds of different varieties in his own large garden.
I learned a lot just listening to him!
There was more to the Santa Barbara trip than just garlic -
Tracy's little sister Brittany got married the previous weekend
in Newport, so we were able to fit that in as well.
Congratulations, you two!
If you're ever headed down south on either Highway 1 or 101,
consider stopping at the
Madonna Inn in San Louis Opisbo, like we did. Everything
about this place is "over the top" - just check out a
We couldn't stop smiling at the craziness of it all. We felt
like we had fallen asleep along the way and woke up in 1970's
Las Vegas. You have to see it to believe it...
You would think with all that coast-hopping that we had seen
it all, but can you believe that Tracy has never been to Carmel?
is one of my favorite places to visit in California, and it is
only 1 1/2 hours from San Francisco, I've decided that it will
be our next adventure. I'll tell you where we stayed and what we
ate in one of the the next newsletters.
Figure this out: we've been developing an idea for a Sex
and the Kitchen "reality" television show, in which I would help
assist couples in creating a menu for a romantic meal that they
can make together. The feedback we've gotten has been this: we
like the idea, but it's too racy for TV. Oh,
reeeeaaaaaaalllllly? I don't get it! I've seen some of these
trashy reality shows like "Temptation Island" in which the
language and the situations are quite explicit, not to mention
corny. We're just cooking here! How racy can that be?
My concept for Sex and the Kitchen is to blend the
sensuality of food with the playfulness and fun of romance, good
for body and soul. Somewhere in the middle between 9 1/2 Weeks
and City of
Angels, in which the enjoyment of food is a kind of sixth
sense. The lingering of expectation... the salivation of
feasting...the explosion of taste buds...the warmth and aching
and longing that leads to fulfillment. After which you say: that
was nearly as good as an orgasm... well, it sort of was!
And what's wrong with this kind of "sex" in the kitchen, I'd
like to know?
Fortunately, someone on the "other side of the pond" has caught
wind of us, and so something might happen there before it
happens here! Stranger things have happened...
I'll let you get to the rest of the newsletter now... it's a big
Check out the Web Site!
Scenes from Summer
From left to right: At the Gilroy Garlic Festival, with
fellow judge Evelyn Miliate; Signing cookbooks at Raley's in
Salinas (What pros! They were great); Tracy's sister Brittany
and her new husband Brian at their wedding ceremony.
A Crabby State of Mind
already working on another cookbook... Jennifer Jeffrey and
I are writing a crab cookbook this time, and so I've got all my
crab notes out, and I'm scribbling away! I've been cooking with
crab for so long that I've got more recipes than the book will
be able to hold... as many of you know, I'm a partner in the
Crab House on Pier 39 and the Franciscan Crab Restaurant, and
since I've got crab on my mind, I thought I'd share some of
these recipes with you. Not all of these will be in the
cookbook; we're still in the first stages of testing recipes,
but we guarantee that each of these recipes is delicious!
I'm crazy about Dungeness Crab! I've tried every crab
available in the US, and I think Dungeness is hands-down the
best, for its sweet meat and tender texture. While the official
season usually runs between November and July, Dungeness crab
meat is often available at local markets all year around - we
are truly spoiled!
If you're looking for crab for your recipes, you might
want to venture down to Fisherman's Wharf... no, it isn't just
for tourists! There's some great crab to be found, and you might
be surprised at how much fun you can have down here. Many local
meat and fish markets also carry Dungeness year around - so go
ahead... get crabby!
What the Monterey Bay Aquarium Says About Dungeness Crab
Bruschetta of Smoked Salmon, Crab &
term "bruschetta" originated in central Italy to describe a
snack made out of grilled bread, often rubbed with garlic and
topped with olive oil, salt and pepper. Over time, people have
piled delicious ingredients on to that base, and now there are
as many variations of bruschetta as there are different kinds of
pizza. This one is made up of three of my favorite things:
smoked salmon, crab legs and avocado. It's a perfect brunch dish
or a fantastic appetizer to wake up the palate.
"Pink and Green" Bruschetta
- 2 thin slices sourdough or other good bread, crusts removed
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 ounces (3 small slices) smoked salmon (Preferably from
Nova Scotia or Seattle; use fresh-cured gravalax if you like.)
- 8 Dungeness crab legs
- 4 thick slices ripe avocado
- Sea salt
Make a diagonal cut through the bread slices to create four
triangles, two from each half. Place on a baking sheet;
drizzle with olive oil. Set beneath the broiler for 30 seconds,
or until golden brown and crisp around the edges. Remove from
the oven; cool.
Lay the bread triangles out on a plate. Place the salmon
on top of the bread; then arrange the two crab legs, and finally
place the avocado slice on top. Drizzle with a bit more olive
oil for a glossy finish, and sprinkle with sea salt. I like to
use black or red sea salt on the bruschetta, to not only
for the gorgeous colors, but also to experiment with the nuances
of salt "flavor." Who knew salts could taste so different?
Devour immediately. The softness of the crab and the
creaminess of the avocado should create a perfect contrast to
the crisp crunch of the bread. Such delectable little bites!
Perhaps you should make a double batch.
Hawaiian Red Sea Salt
Foggy Wharf Salad
featured this recipe in Love Notes many months ago, so many of
you probably haven't seen it yet. I love this salad because it
takes just a few minutes to assemble, and yet it tastes so
delicious. Substitute sliced filet or grilled shrimp in place of
the crab, if you like... hey, it's your salad!
Foggy Wharf Salad
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly minced ginger
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/4 cup light soy sauce
- 2 cups baby mixed greens
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes (I like the "toybox" or
- 4 ounces Dungeness crab meat (I prefer the sweet, meaty
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup fried wonton strips (see recipe below)
In a small bowl, make the salad dressing by whisking together
the rice wine vinegar, sugar, ginger, sesame oil, and soy
sauce. Set aside.
In a seperate bowl, gently toss together the baby greens,
cherry tomatoes, and wonton strips. Pour the dressing over
the top and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Scoop
the salad on to a plate and arrange the crab legs on top.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Eat immediately.
On the Foggy Wharf
|How to Make
Wonton strips are easy to make, and they're a
great addition to salads and soups. I even like to sprinkle them
on top of pasta for a bit of extra crunch. Make more than you
need, and store them in an airtight container! For a single
batch for a salad, use 6-8 wrappers.
- 1 package wonton strips
- Vegetable oil for frying
Stack the desired number of wonton wrappers on a cutting board
and slice them into matchstick-sized pieces. In a large, heavy
skillet, heat 1-2 inches of vegetable oil over high heat to 375º
F; it should be hot and bubbly. Scatter the strips into the oil,
several at a time. Fry for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the
strips curl up and become golden brown and crispy. Remove from
oil with a slotted spoon. Place on a paper towel to absorb
Fall Salad of Octopus, Crab and Baby
salad is bursting with rich flavors - sweet red potatoes, chewy
octopus and tender crab, tossed in a bright citrusy dressing
with a smoky finish. A perfect September lunch!
Intrigued? Check out my blog, where I've posted the entire
movie "City of Angels" was made in 1998, but I watched it again
a couple of weeks ago and fell in love with the story... it's
incredibly romantic, and highly worth watching. Just trust me
when I say that you'll be hungry for pears afterwards. So why
not try this recpe for a lightly sweet dessert with a
honey-perfumed essence that is absolutely irresistible. For the
most delicious results, select the best pears you can find,
preferably from your local farmer's market.
- 1 tea bag of fruit-flavored black tea - we used Sweet Ginger
Peach from Revolution Teas
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 ripe but firm pears
- 1/2 cup vanilla bean gelato
- 2 tablespoons wildflower or orange blossom honey
- 1 teaspoon finely ground Cinnamon
- Zest of one organic orange
- Cinnamon Stick for garnish, if desired
Steep the teabags in 2 cups of boiling water for 4 to 5
minutes, or until the tea is strong and dark.
Peel the pears and slice in half lengthwise. With a
paring knife, gently remove the seeded middle out of each half,
leaving an indentation in the middle of the pear half. Smooth
out the indentation by scraping the edge of a spoon along the
sides, so that the well is about the size of a walnut.
Pour the tea into a saucepan. Place the pear halves into
the pan; the tea does not have to submerge the pears. Cover and
place on medium high heat; simmer the pears for 10 to 15
minutes, turning once to ensure even heat, until a paring knife
easily sinks when inserted into the middle. Remove the pears
from the tea with a slotted spoon and place on serving plates.
Handle the pears gently, as they are very delicate when cooked!
Turn the heat up on the remaining tea and add the sugar.
As the tea boils, it will reduce and thicken. After 10 to 15
minutes, when it has reduced to about 20% of its original
volume, and has become thick and sticky, remove it from the
heat. Brush the reduced tea solution over the pear halves.
Place a scoop of gelato into each pear half. Drizzle the
honey over the pear. Sprinkle with a light dusting of cinnamon;
garnish with orange zest and cinnamon stick. Eat immediately.
Get your fresh pears!
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