But they all answer to Mamma
|She is "Haha"
in Japan, "Madre" in Mexico and "Mut" in Egypt, but no matter
what name she answers to, she just may be the most important
person in the world. In honor of Mother's Day, we dedicate this
issue to those brave, wonderful women who gave birth to us.
A LETTER FROM SAN FRANCISCO CHEF ANDREA FRONCILLO
Mother's Day to all of you mothers out there! This is the
designated day when each of us can fully express our love and
appreciation for being in this world to the person who has been
with us through it all. For those of you who don't have
something nice to say, just shut your trap already! I don't
understand people who blame their mothers for problems in their
lives; to those people, I say: "Loser!"
The best thing you can do on May 8th is to express to this
most dear and caring person how much she is loved and
appreciated all year around. If you're lucky enough to live near
your mother, find a creative way to show her how much you
care... sprinkle some rose petals in the sink where she washes
her face in the morning, and place a little note and a gift
where she can find it; hopefully later you will be treated to
the sight of her smile, and a big, heart-pounding hug.
A lot of women have come and gone throughout my life,
both as friends and lovers, but the one that has always remained
constant is my mother. She has stuck by me no matter how much
trouble I've gotten into. So for her, I have this message:
Mamma, ti voglio tanto tanto bene che duole! (translation:
Mom, I love you so much that it hurts...)
I've prepared a menu for a special Mother's Day Brunch-
be sure to check it out. For those of you guys who are married
with kids, don't forget to celebrate this day for your wife,
too! She has a difficult job. I know how intimidating it can be
to cook for a wife or mother - after all, they're usually the
ones that work so hard to feed us - but these recipes are easy
to prepare, and they taste delicious (don't let the Italian
names scare you!) and after all - doesn't she deserve to have
someone else do the cooking for once? And hey, don't forget -
you get to do the dishes, too. So what are you waiting for? Pick
up the phone - Mother's Day Brunch is at your house this year!
Here in San Francisco, I've been working on finishing my
first cookbook - The Stinking Rose Restaurant Cookbook, with
all of the recipes on the menu and a few more besides. It will
be available next spring. After that one is done, I have four
more cookbooks to work on! No rest for the weary, as they say.
To read a new excerpt from my memoir, Under the Counter and
Over the Top, go here:
I've also been working on some ideas for a Sex and the
Kitchen reality show, which has been attracting interest
from press and producers. With San Francisco as the backdrop,
the show would feature couples who are either trying to fan the
flames with a new love interest or re-kindle sparks in their
existing relationships by heading to the kitchen! Food and
romance -what better combination is there?! If any of you have
suggestions or feedback that you'd like to share, don't be shy
about it! Let me know. If you don't tell me what you think, I'll
feel like I'm talking to myself! You can e-mail me here:
Besides Mother's Day and the promise of spring on the
horizon, the other reason wny I love May is that it's the
month I was born! That's right, I'm a bull... watch out. On the
15th, I'll be just one year shy of half a century. Where did all
those years go? Oh, I remember...
Many of those years were spent traveling around the world and
hunting for adventure. My first job on an American cruise
ship was quite an experience. I could hardly say the word
"Hello" and here I was in the dining room trying to explain the
night's menu to tables full of people. I couldn't keep certain
words straight: "kitchen" and "chicken", for instance, stumped
me for the longest time.
"The chicken has prepared a lovely meal for you tonight," I
would say, not sure why the person in front of me suddenly had a
confused look on their face.
Or, "Our special tonight is roasted kitchen, served with creamy
Even when I was using the right words, people often didn't
understand what I was saying. It frustrated me, having to repeat
myself all the time, forever seeing the looks of unease spread
across their faces. "It's your accent," they would say,
apologetically, feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable at having
to ask me to say it again. After a hundred or so times, I
finally made a joke out of it. I would scratch my head and
frown. "That's funny," I would say. "I didn't have an accent
when I got here."
Sometimes I just gave up all together and used sign language to
assist the words. It became part of my act, the little gestures
and expressions that conveyed meaning. I stuck my hands beneath
my armpits and waved them up and down to emulate a chicken; I
made snorting sounds with nose to indicate pork; I whispered, I
smiled, I squawked. The more uptight they were, the more
flamboyant I became, determined to make them smile. Most of the
time, it worked. I even got the tight-assed yuppie boys to throw
back their heads and laugh.
Most importantly, my gestures were great way to show a woman
what I thought of her. "You wanna...?" I would say,
pantomiming my hips thrusting. It was so audacious that it
always got a giggle, and sometimes even an invitation for more.
I guess that's why I've never stopped talking with my
hands...and arms... and legs...
Where was I?My birthday. Right. I got an e-mail a few
weeks back from a a woman named Susan who passed along a tip
about a little inn above Mendicino... she said it was a
wonderful place to stay, and suggested that I try it sometime.
It just so happened that I was looking for a getaway for my
birthday, and so I gave them a call. I will let you know how it
turns out in next month's newsletter!
I always like passing along information about great places to
stay, even if it makes it harder for me to get a reservation the
next time I call! Because you, my friends, deserve to know about
the best of the best - and why should I go round and round, if
not to share my experiences with you?
Here's wishing you a month of love and happiness!
THE ROSE PETAL MARTINI
martini was created by Swan, the head bartender at
Boboquivari's, in honor of Valentine's Day... but I think it
works equally well for Mother's Day. For the moms who like
martinis, here's to you!
• 3 ounces Belvedere or other premium vodka
• 1 ounce sugar syrup
• 3 drops rose essential oil
• splash Tuaca
• superfine sugar for glass rim
• 1 rose petal for garnish
Moisten the rim of a chilled martini glass and dip in
superfine sugar to coat. In a martini shaker with ice,
combine the vodka, Tuaca, rose essence, and sugar syrup. Shake
well for one minute.
Strain into a chilled martini glass. Float a rose petal on top.
Mamma's Pane di Cannella
This is the Italian version of French
Toast - Mamma used to make it with thick-cut slices of Panettone
bread, the sweet round loaf studded with dried fruits that can
easily be found in most gourmet markets. If you don't have
access to Panettone, a nice sweet challa bread or even a good
sourdough will work just fine.
• 6-8 thick slices of freshly baked bread (see notes above)
• 3 large eggs
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 1/4 cup orange juice
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• Powdered sugar
• Sweet Butter Mix*
In a deep bowl, combine the eggs, cream, cinnamon,
vanilla, orange juice, and sugar, whipping with a wire wisk to
blend thoroughly. Dip bread slices in the batter, turning side
to side to coat completely.
Heat a heavy non-stick skillet over medium-high flame and
place bread slices in the pan, one or two at a time, for 2 to 3
minutes on each side, or until the middles are golden brown and
the edges are crispy. Remove to a plate; dust with powdered
sugar and spoon one tablespoon of Sweet Butter Mix into the
middle. Serve immediately.
*Sweet Butter Mix:
1/4 cup chopped dates
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter, cubed and softened
Several drops of orange water or vanilla
Blend all the ingredients together until they form a paste. You
can substitute dried apricots, dried figs or other favorite for
the dates, if desired.
beautiful dish is frequently found on brunch tables along Amalfi
Drive and all over Italy; frittata is the Italian version of an
open-faced omelette - cooked on the stovetop in a pan and - this
is the best part - it doesn't require any messy flipping! This
is a sweet fritatta, made with fresh berries. A perfect excuse
to pick up that crate of bright red strawberries you've been
• 6 whole eggs
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons yogurt or whipped cream cheese
• 2 tablespoons powered sugar
• 1/2 cup sliced seasonal mixed berries
• 1 tablespoon butter
In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, cream, yogurt, sugar
with a wire whisk, whippping until the eggs are frothy.
In a heavy 9-inch skillet, melt the butter over high
heat. When it is hot and bubbly, pour in the eggs and cook on
high for 2 to 3 minutes, watching carefully so that the edges do
not become overly brown. When the middle begins to set just
slightly, remove the pan from the stove and place it in the oven
underneath the broiler. Let it cook for 1 or 2 minutes more,
until the middle is set and the edges begin to pull away from
the pan. Remove from oven and slide out of pan onto a serving
plate. Sprinkle with powered sugar and fresh berries.
Foggy Wharf Lobster Salad
salad was named with the San Francisco Bay in mind, with our
foggy mornings and afternoons. You can use either lobster or
crab meat - both are equally delicious - a tasty salad that is
sure to be a brunch favorite.
• 3 cups mixed baby greens
• 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
• 1/2 cup chilled lobster meat (substitute crab meat if desired)
• 4-5 wonton wraps
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons orange juice
• 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
In a mixing bowl, combine the greens, tomatoes and
lobster meat. Toss gently. On a hard cuttting surface, slice the
wonton wraps into thin strips and fry in hot vegetable oil until
golden brown and crispy.
In smaller bowl, make the dressing by whisking together
the olive oil, soy sauce, orange juice and sesame seeds. Just
before serving, pour over the greens and toss. Sprinkle with
wonton crisps and serve.
is a savory form of the sweet pastiera, or pasta cake, that is
commonly found on brunch tables throughout Italy. It is baked in
a round spring-form pan and can be sliced and eaten like a piece
of cake! This is a dish everyone will love, from kids to
• 2-3 sheets of puff pastry (can be found in the frozen foods
• 1 16-ounce package dried short noodles (such as small
rigatoni, egg noodles or elbow macaroni)
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 medium yellow onion, diced
• 2 garlic cloves, diced
• 4 large eggs
• Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
• 1/2 cup half-and-half
• 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
• 8 ounces grated Mozzarella cheese
• 2 Roma or plum tomatoes, diced
• Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 1/2 teaspoons water)
• 1/2 bunch fresh basil, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Fill a large saucepan two-thirds full with water. Add 2
teaspoons of salt and bring water to a boil over high heat. Add
the noodles and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until al dente. Do
not overcook! They should still be firm and chewy. Drain the
noodles and place into a bowl to cool.
In a heavy skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add
diced onion and garlic and saute for about five minutes, or
until translucent and golden brown around the edges. Remove from
In a deep mixing bowl, combine the onions and garlic with
the eggs, half-and-half, Parmesan, mozzarella, and tomatoes.
Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cooled noodles; toss.
Line a deep springform pan with the sheets of puff pastry,
covering the bottom and all of the sides. Let the extra dough
drape over the sides. Pour the noodle mixture into the pan and
fold the extra puff pastry dough over the top. Brush with egg
wash. poke a few small holes in the top with the tines of a
Place the pan in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until
the crust is an even golden brown color. Let rest for five
minutes; bring to the table. Slice and serve.
For those of you who would rather have a sweet pasta cake,
here you go....
• 16 ounces angel hair pasta, cooked al dente
• 1 quart whole milk
• 7 large eggs
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• Powdered sugar for garnish
• Fresh berries for garnish
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk, eggs, sugar,
cinnamon, and vanilla, stirring until the mixture is well
blended. Add the al dente noodles and mix well. I often like to
use my clean bare hands for this step.
Pour mixture into an oiled 9-inch springform pan and
place in the oven. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the
middle is set and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of
the pan. Remove from the oven and turn the pan over on a serving
plate, inverting the cake. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Just
before serving, arrange fresh berries over the top.
Enjoy warm or cold.
GROWN-UP STEAK & EGGS
and eggs might sound like diner food, but not this recipe... a
nice rib eye steak cooked to perfection and served over two
poached eggs with a light, lemony sauce... delicious!
• 2 pounds rib eye roast
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
• 1 spring rosemary, chopped
• 12 large eggs (2 eggs per person)
• 1/2 bunch basil, chopped
• Lemon-Butter Sauce*
Preheat oven to 375 F.
In a small bowl, melt the butter and combine with salt,
pepper and rosemary. Using a pastry brush, baste the roast with
the butter and place in a baking dish. Bake for 40 to 45
minutes, or until it reaches desired doneness. For optimal
flavor, I recommend medium rare. Turn off heat and let rest in
oven for 10 minutes; remove from oven and rest for an additional
While the meat is resting, prepare the Lemon-Butter Sauce
Slice the steak into 1/2-inch-wide strips and arrange on
serving plates. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, fry two
eggs at a time and set atop the steak. Drizzle a tablespoon or
two of lemon-butter sauce over the eggs and sprinkle with
1/2 pound butter, melted
6 egg yolks (or 1/2 cup pasteurized yolk mix)
1 tablespoon grated fresh nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
In the top pan of a warm double broiler, whip the eggs
with a heavy wire whisk until smooth and creamy. Add the nutmeg,
lemon and tarragon. Slowly pour in the melted butter, whisking
to fully combine the ingredients. Let warm for about 2 minutes.
Spoon over eggs.
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