Can you hear those sleigh bells
sun is shining brightly here in the City by the Bay, but
we're in the holiday spirit nevertheless. The tree at
Union Square is all lit up with sparkly lights, and
we've already started to celebrate. We hope you're
making plans to spend these special weeks with people
you love, and that you have a warm hand to hold and
someone to squeeze you tight when 2007 becomes 2008!
A LETTER FROM SAN FRANCISCO CHEF
Ho, Ho... Happy Holidays!
As I sit here writing this, it's hard to believe that
Thanksgiving is already over. Tracy and I shared a
wonderful meal with good friends of ours in North Beach
, Mario and Stephanie Ascione, and other people we hold
near to us. It was a great way to ease into the holiday
season. I feel surprised every December that another
year is almost gone. How does it go so fast?
Many of you are probably scrambling around, feeling
stressed, trying to go to all of the expected events and
find the right gifts.
Please don't forget: this is supposed to be a
relaxing, joyous time spent with loved ones.
You already know that happiness isn't found in giving or
receiving the right present (though it helps!), or
eating great food, or going to fun cocktail parties. All
of those things are great, but the simple act of
spending quality time with the people we love is the
best feeling there is. Knowing that people love and
cherish you, and expressing your love to them is what
matters. Everything else is just "window dressing" as
they say; it's like putting on a beautiful suit. You
might look good, but do you FEEL good?!
Gifts are simply tokens of appreciation, ways to tell
someone that they mean the world to you. Remembering
what someone likes, or something they need is a message
of love and consideration. It shows that you've been
listening and paying attention to his or her needs...
and THAT is the spirit of the holidays.
So take the time to show how you care this year. Don't
take the special people in your life for granted; when
you do, it sends the message that they're no longer
needed, and not a priority any more. Sleep close to the
one you want to wake up with, and you'll sleep well.
Anything else is a miserable farce, and you might as
well sleep alone.
I'd like to share with you a few special recipes that
you can make and enjoy with your friends and loved ones
over the holiday season. Make them as a token that you
care. At a time when most people don't take the time to
cook, making something yourself as a personal touch that
goes a long way. A homemade meal is one of the best
presents you can give!
Be merry... be happy...be honest and good and
generous with those you say you love...
Ciao until 2008!
P.S.: Have you seen my new cookbook?
"CRAB: Cooking, Cracking & Eating" hit the
shelves just a few weeks ago! Hint: it makes a great
Check out the Web Site!
Best of 2007!
From LEFT: Andrea with Giada De Laurentiis; Andrea with
Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook!; Andrea with Angleo
(formerly from Valentino) and Gary (from Emporio Rulli)
Here's to many more great moments and wonderful people
Home for the Holidays
attention, boys and girls! I have a little
assignment for you. I know... it sounds like work, and
it is a little bit of that, but it's fun
work, and the payoff can be huge. Ready to get started?
1. Dream. Choose one or more of the recipes below
that you'd like to make.
2. Plan. Copy down or print out the ingredients
that you need.
3. Shop. Make your shopping list! I know that
some of the recipes call for special ingredients, so it
might take a little extra time, but it's worth it. It is
the holidays, after all!
4. Ask. Call your sweetie and tell him or her
that the two of you have a "reservation" at your house
5. Arrange. The night of your dinner, make it
special - light the candles, put on the music... you
know the drill!
6. Cook! Cook together - or just pour a glass of
wine for your sweetie while YOU do the cooking.
7. Savor. Take it easy. Enjoy the evening.
8. Dine. Eat slowly. Take the time to taste, and
9. Play. Giggle, nibble, stroke... relax and see
10. Enjoy. Whatever the outcome... it's all good.
The nice thing is, there are no neighboring tables -
nobody is watching - so you can get into each other. If
it gets a little steamy, all the better!
I recommend a bubble bath for "dessert." Preferably with
champagne on ice, fresh fruit and melted chocolate to
dip it in.
That will probably be the moment when you realize that
it was all worth it... the shopping, the cleaning, the
cooking... and hopefully you'll decide to do it again
sooner rather than later.
Hey, what are you waiting for? Pick up that phone and
The Bubble Bath Experience
Souffle di Patate
di Patate" is the Italian name for a simple yet
incredibly delicious potato souffle. You're allowed to
splurge a little this time of year, and this recipe
contains butter, cheese and egg yolks... for a
gorgeously rich, creamy dish that will disappear minutes
after it hits the table. Mmmm!
Souffle di Patate with Creme Fraiche &Chives
- 1 pound potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
- 1 cup milk
- Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche
- 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Boil potatoes in salty water for about 35 minutes, or
until they are soft enough that a paring knife slides
through to the middle. Remove from heat and drain. Mash
with butter, allowing the butter to melt into the
potatoes. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, but do not
allow it to boil.
Add the warmed milk into the potatoes and stir to create
a soft, loose puree. Season to taste with pepper and
salt. Add the nutmeg and the grated cheese.
Beat 2 of the the egg yolks with a fork and stir into
the potato mixture with a wooden spoon. Pour into a
buttered 8-inch ceramic souffle dish and smooth the top
with a wooden spoon to create an even surface. Beat the
last egg yolk and brush lightly over the surface of the
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until it turns golden brown
and slightly crisp on the top. In a small bowl, stir the
creme fraiche together with the chives. Cut the souffle
into wedges garnish with chive creme fraiche. Eat while
The Best Potatoes
Get Away? How about Hawaii?
Tracy and I took off for Maui in November, I didn't
expect to be impressed with the food. All I was
hoping for were white sandy beaches, warm breezes, and a
gorgeous change of scenery. I got all of that... and
great food too.
Hawaii is known as a honeymoon destination, or the place
to go for a relaxing escape. Whatever the reason, it is
both magical and casual. Everything moves at a slower
pace, especially when you factor in the time difference
(2-3 hours behind the US, depending on where you live)
and realize that you arrive almost before you left!
I resisted a trip to Hawaii for years - I always thought
it would be too slow - but our week there was relaxing
and enchanted... a truly romantic vacation. We stayed at
the Four Seasons Maui, and the only negative thing I can
say is that the trip was too short!
I highly recommend a trip if you need a restful, healing
time for both mind and body. And hey, if you're worried
about sharks (not usually an issue in Hawaii), just stay
on the beach with a drink in your hand!
While we were on Maui, we ate at a couple of romantic
restaurants. Here are my favorites:
Capische, Sansei (for fabulous sushi with great views),
Sarentos, Postrio, Due and Ferraro (yes, and the food
was excellent for hotel restaurants!).
The Four Seasons in Maui
year, I wanted to include a special recipe for my good
friend Stephanie. She said to me recently: "Andrea, you
often include recipes inspired by many different
cultures... but never one for me!" And so this one's for
you, darling. Happy Chanukah, with much love.
Challah for Chanukah
- 3 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1-1/4 cups warm water (105-115 degrees F)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus a bit more for
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon water
Pour the warm water into a large mixing bowl, and
stir in the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top,
stirring gently to combine. Let stand 10 minutes, or
until the surface begins to get foamy. In a separate
mixer bowl, combine 4 cups of the flour and the salt.
Blend at low speed, and add the water-yeast mixture in
slow stream. Add 2 of the eggs, then add the shortening.
Mix until blended.
On a floured surface, knead dough until smooth and
elastic, about 8 minutes. Incorporate the remaining
flour until the dough is firm and springy, not overly
sticky. Place in greased bowl, turning dough to grease
top. Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place until
doubled in bulk, 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter a baking sheet and
sprinkle cornmeal over the top in a light layer. Punch
down the down; place on a lightly floured surface and
knead briefly. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces.
Roll each piece into a 12-inch-long rope. Place 3
ropes side by side on cookie sheet and braid together;
tuck ends under. Repeat, braiding remaining three ropes.
In a small cup, beat egg yolk together with 1 tablespoon
of water; brush over tops of loaves. Sprinkle with poppy
seeds. Cover and let rise 30 minutes.
Bake loaves 25 to 30 minutes or until the tops are
golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Makes 2 loaves.
Special Hello to Susie & Jim
In the last newsletter, I shared with
you how I danced with my mother at my wedding earlier
this year to the tune "What a Wonderful World" by Louis
Armstrong. It really is a wonderful world... and a small
After the wedding, Tracy and I escaped to one of our
Kenwood Inn in Sonoma. There were a few other
couples there, but we were mostly focused on each other,
relaxing and resting after all of the excitement.
In early November, we took a trip to Maui (see more
While we were there, we were approached by a couple who
said: "We saw you at the Kenwood Inn a couple of months
But what I want to know is, who was following who??!!
Wherever in world you are now, you two... Happy
Holidays! Give a call if you ever come to San Francisco!
The Kenwood Inn & Spa
Sexy Holiday Gift Ideas
looking for a gift for the person you love?
Maybe this will help!
- A cozy wrap or robe from
Kashwere for lazy Sunday mornings and evenings in
front of the fireplace.
- Something nice & naughty from
- A picnic basket...
for the promise of a date when the weather turns warmer!
- A flimsy, flighty piece of lingerie from Jezebel: how
scandalous lace bra?
- A purple hatbox of luscious couture caramels from
- Gift certificates for a pedicure or facial from her
Just remember: the best gift
you can give is yourself!
is a classic dish that is easy to prepare, but
oh-so-glamorous. It makes an indulgent dessert or a
wonderful Sunday brunch - or better yet, breakfast on
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- Grated rind of 1/2 orange
- Grated rind of 1/2 lemon
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 shot Grand Marnier
- Powdered sugar, for garnish
- Lemon rind, for garnish
To make the crepes:
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar, egg,
and vanilla. Mix on low speed until combined. Add the
milk in a slow stream, while mixing on medium speed. Let
it rest for 1/2 hour.
Pour the oil into the bottom of a skillet, tipping it to
coat the bottom completely. Place the skillet over high
heat. When the skillet is very hot, remove from heat and
pour 3 tablespoons of crepe batter into the pan. Swirl
to spread evenly over the bottom of the pan. After 30
seconds, return the pan to the heat. Flip crepe to the
other side and cook for one minute. Remove from pan;
To make the sauce:
In a saucepan, combine the orange juice, orange rind,
lemon rind, sugar, butter. Place over medium heat until
butter is melted; stir in Grand Marnier. Remove from
Drizzle each crepe with a tablespoon of the orange syrup
mixture; fold into a triangle. Repeat with all crepes.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and orange rind.
Seasonal Fruit topped with Crema Pasticciera
many people take the time to bake anymore, but there is
nothing like warm baked fruit topped with delicious
pastry cream for an after-dinner treat.
Baked Seasonal Fruit topped with Crema Pasticciera
1 pint whole milk
1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
In a heavy-bottomed pan, bring the milk to a boil
and add the vanilla. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, beat together the sugar and the
egg yolks, until a viscous mixture is formed. Add the
flour, whisking to create a silky texture. Add the hot
milk in a slow stream, whisking to combine. Place the
mixture back into the pan and cook over low heat,
stirring constantly, until the grainy texture of the
flour is completely dissolved and the mixture is smooth.
Remove from heat; cool.
Makes about 1 pint.
Variations: stir in 1 shot Kahlua; or 1 shot of
espresso; or 1 heaping tablespoon Nutella.
Baked Seasonal Fruit
I like apples, persimmons, pears, cranberries and
dried cherries this time of year...
1 pound seasonal fruit, peeled, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup whipped cream
1 shot Grand Marnier
1/2 cup Crema Pasticciera (above)
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a bowl, toss the fruit
together with the sugar. In a separate bowl, fold the
whipped cream into the crema pasticciera. Add the Grand
Pour the fruit into a 9-inch pie pan, and top with the
cream mixture. Bake for 10 minutes, then place under the
broiler for another 2-3 minutes, or until the top turns
you know, I'm a partner in several restaurants in LA and
San Francisco; sometimes celebrities come into the
restaurants, and we always treat them with the greatest
care and discretion. But when Hugh Hefner sent us a fax
before he came to dine, we had to laugh. Here's the
The Hef has his own menu!
Yes, it's true... before Hugh comes to a restaurant,
he faxes over a "menu" that describes exactly what he
wants, in just the way he wants it cooked. The man may
not be a dream diner, but he certainly knows a thing or
two about romance...
Hugh Hefner's Lamb Chop Dinner
- 4 fresh French cut lamb chops (from 3 pound rack)
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon seasoning salt
- 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
- 1 can Campbell's Beef Broth
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, 4 inches long
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Swiss Chalet Pro-Thick Vegetable
Trim the lamb chops of all excess fat. Trim should
include the bone to the eye of the chop. Season the
chops with salt and ground white pepper. Place the olive
oil on a plate; dip the chops on both sides until they
are dark brown. Three minutes per side. Cover pan and
let chops sit on a low flame for an additional two
The fourth lamb chop is for the cook to eat and
determine if it is tender and tasty. If it is
acceptable, serve the remaining three to Mr. Hefner. If
it is not tender or tasty, start the process again by
cutting from another rack of lamb.
To make the sauce, combine the beef broth and water.
Whisk in the Pro-thick and return to a simmer. Add the
rosemary sprig and cook for only 20-30 seconds. Remove
the rosemary sprig from the sauce. Keep the sauce warm.
To prepare the baked potato, wash three 90-count sized
potatoes. Wrap in foil and bake in oven at 350 degrees
for 90 minutes, or until done. Remove from oven and
place in warmer until dinner is requested. Choose the
best potato; remove foil and place on plate.
To prepare the peas, open one can of Le Sueur Early Peas
and heat in a skillet. Season lightly with a pinch of
fine sea salt and 1 teaspoon of salted butter when
heating. Serve about one-third of the peas in a side
bowl when dinner is served.
Cut from the center of a beefsteak tomato two slices of
tomato 1/2-inch thick. Place the slices on a small side
plate that has been lined with the top half of a washed
leaf of romaine lettuce.
Plate Presentation: Place the three lamb chops on
a warm HMH dinner plate. The bones should be pointing to
the center of the plate. Spoon a little of the sauce
over each chop and allow some to flow slightly onto the
plate around each chop. Place the baked potato next to
the chops with no sauce touching it. No butter is put
into the potato. Real butter (not margarine or butter
substitute) and salt should be served on the side. The
peas and apple sauce are placed in small bowls on the
When Mr. Hefner calls for his dinner, everything
should be ready before cooking the chops. When the chops
are completed, a Butler should serve the meal
...No, I'm not making this up. This is actually what
Hefner faxed one of our restaurants before he stopped
by.... all I can say is: WOW. I want to be like that guy
when I grow up!
You are receiving this email because
you're a fan of food and romance...You think life is a
sensual adventure, and you hope to nibble and sip your way to
bliss. We hope this helps. If you're hungry for more, head
straight to our web
Copyright 2007 : Sex and the Kitchen, Inc. : All Rights