Friday, November 25, 2011


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, since you can eat, shop like mad on Black Friday, and look forward to Christmas fast approaching. And it's a great time to get into the habit of counting your blessings, instead of focusing on what you might be missing.

My family tried combining Asian and American dishes for Thanksgiving dinner this year and left the table happily stuffed. On the menu:
  • Butternut squash with basil (It was my first time cutting and peeling butternut squash, and it was terribly unwieldy. I'll have to research some techniques next time so I don't have to throw my weight onto the cutting board or risk losing any fingers.)
  • Brussels sprouts with garlic and prosciutto
  • Soy sauce chicken, courtesy of our local Chinese BBQ store
  • And of course, pumpkin pie!
And adding to my list of blessings plenty of leftovers. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Braised Cabbage à la Tyler Florence

A few weeks ago at the annual Foodbuzz Festival, I watched Tyler Florence cook pork chops and braised cabbage for a dinner demo, and was inspired to try making a variation at home. I was particularly interested in the cabbage, since the flavor profile just screamed Thanksgiving. The ingredients Tyler used: chicken stock, apple cider, brown sugar, caraway seeds, salt and pepper, and a bay leaf. 

Unfortunately I couldn't find any caraway seeds at my grocery store, so I had to do without those. I quickly sautéed about a pound of red cabbage in a stock pot and then threw in all the other ingredients, guessing at the amounts to put in (bold, I know). I let the cabbage simmer for about 15 minutes in the liquids, and it came out tasting the way I imagined sweet from all the brown sugar and apple cider, but still savory thanks to the chicken stock and bay leaf infusions. 

Paired with some pork chops (using Tyler's brown sugar pork rub) for a hearty, autumn-flavored meal! Though I still think I need to visit his restaurant for a comparison!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Foodbuzz Festival 2011

Ah, my favorite foodie event took place last weekend at the third annual Foodbuzz Festival in San Francisco. Food bloggers from near and far flocked to various venues for tastings, fabulous meals, workshops, and scintillating chatter about our favorite topic FOOD!!

The Welcome Reception at the Terra Gallery was sponsored by Sabra Hummus, so all the hors d'oeuvres featured hummus in some fashion. Totally fine by me since I'm a huge fan of hummus, and there were enough variations to keep things interesting. I highly recommend Sabra's roasted pine nut hummus and their holiday flavor, "Season's Finest"  featuring the winning combination of rosemary, olive oil, and sea salt. Mmm.

The Reception was followed by the Awards Dinner, where awards were presented to some of the best bloggers out there today, while we devoured pork belly and day boat scallops cooked to order, and selections from a gourmet buffet. The desserts were the stand-outs, in my opinion, particularly the heirloom pumpkin tarts and festively-themed macaroons.

The next morning, after a series of helpful photography workshops, we headed over to the Metreon for the Taste Pavilion to sample food and drinks from various vendors. Every year I say I'm going to pace myself, but I always end up rolling out of there feeling like a stuffed tomato.

Some of my personal faves this year:
  • Pumpkin patch truffles and pumpkin spice coffee from Godiva Yay for autumn flavors!
  • Cupcakes from Mission Minis A hit every year ... I probably had at least 5 of these.
  • Organic beers from Bison Brewery Can't go wrong with seasonal beers like honey basil ale, pumpkin ale, and gingerbread ale!
  • Grass-fed beef from Estancia Yummy, healthy, and sustainable.
  • Artisan syrups and extracts from Sonoma Syrup Co. Vanilla extracts should always taste this good.

After stuffing ourselves for 3 hours, we proceeded later that evening to the Grand Hyatt for the Gala Dinner where more food was waiting. Somehow I still managed to eat a bunch of canapés, a super leafy bibb lettuce salad, a tasty filet mignon atop creamy celery root purée, and a trio of cute desserts.

The best part of the night, though, was an awesome cooking demo from Chef Tyler Florence, who made the audience rightfully drool as he prepared pan-seared pork chops, braised cabbage, and spätzle (Scandinavian dumplings) which all comprise one of the entree dishes from the menu at his SF restaurant, Wayfare Tavern.

Here's a video of Chef Tyler making his spätzle:

Finished product I'm totally going to try his pork chop and braised cabbage recipes! Maybe after trying them at his restaurant ... just so I know what they're supposed to taste like.

Thanks again to Foodbuzz and all the event sponsors for another wonderful festival! I'm already looking forward to next year!