Saturday, September 28, 2013

Eat Real Festival

Angela had such a good time volunteering at the San Francisco Street Food Festival that Tea Time volunteered for the Eat Real Festival in Oakland. Due to Angela's work schedule, we signed up for the pre-festival set-up shift, starting our stint by stuffing goodie bags and then performing other tasks as needed.

Angela then had to work on Friday, so I attended the Festival alone, because I wanted to avoid the weekend crowds. It's very easy to get there–take BART to 12th Street Oakland and walk down Broadway to the end of the street, then turn left. There's also a free (you can't miss itit's green) shuttle bus along Broadway that runs every 15 minutes, but it's only a 15 minute walk.
If you can't find the Festival, head for Heinold's.
It's in the middle of the action.
SpongeBob's Car.
Answer a few questions and you're entered to win one.
Plus, you get a choice of trinkets.
It can get very hot in Oakland, and while there are vendors selling soft drinks and adult beverages, the Festival provides free water. Bring your own cup or bottle, though.

After checking out the booths on Palm Plaza (and acquiring some swag), it was time for lunch. My first stop was The Whole Beast, which offered a seasoned lamb rib with persimmon/pomegranate coleslaw. There was also lamb poutine, but Tea Time is very fond of ribs, coleslaw, persimmons and pomegranates, and there they were, all in one very tasty dish!
 The signage was as good as the food.

 This was the "lamb lounge." It was a very sunny day, which made photography difficult, and the sign didn't make it into the picture. 
On the way to discovering the lamb booth, Fat Face popsicles had caught my attention, so that was my next stop.
It wasn't an easy choice, but
I finally settled on Strawberry Lemonade.
Then I decided to check out the Market, and was delighted to find Bittersweet Cafe, which Tea Time used to frequent when they were on Fillmore Street in San Francisco. I bought a Brownie and ate it while walking around looking at the other booths.

That's my brownie on the righteven bigger than the sample!
Other treats!
Next I discovered Starter Bakery, which had a large selection of Kouign-Amann in many flavors. But it just wasn't a possibility after that brownie, so I bought two (original and double chocolate) to take home and share with Angela later.

Two views of the ones I brought home:
Peter Brydon at Barlovento Chocolates plied me with samples of his excellent chocolate, but it was just too hot to attempt to bring chocolate home. I hope to encounter him again in cooler weather.
I had really thought I was finished eating for the afternoon, but when I took one more walk around the Festival to see if there was any thing else I wanted to photograph, I noticed that there was no line at The Chairman's truck, and I couldn't resist the Pork Belly bao. This is the first time I have ever seen The Chairman without a line, and it probably won't ever happen again.
You can't miss The Chairman's truck.
While I was waiting for my bao, a large group of people appeared!
The pork belly is hidden under a generous serviing of turmeric pickled daikon.
 And then I spotted the Stroopie booth, but by then I really couldn't eat another bite!
I can't explain this.
Extreme flagpole climbing?
Swag! We were pleased to learn that the goodie bags were for all the volunteers, so we each got to take one home. Yes, another bag, courtesy of Whole Foods, which also donated the Kettle Corn. Other highlights of the bag were the official Eat Real apron and a wooden spoon from Anolon.
Festival swag was equally generous. Toyota gave a choice of SpongeBob trinkets (I chose the rear view mirror dice but there were also sunglasses and dual keyrings), another Festival apron, silk screened on the spot, and another choice of trinkets after rolling giant dice. I won hand sanitizer, but was able to trade it for yet another bag. There were also lunch bags and sunglasses. I also won a bag from Love with Food (please, let me know if you need a bag!), which had packets of pickle salt (for use on food, not pickling salt) and some candies inside. Also another scraper, this one from East Bay Municipal Utility District and Our Water Our World. Lip balm from Fans of Lamb. And organic string cheese from Organic Valley, who were also pouring glasses of milk.
The highest food price at the Festival is $5, but if you're having a whole meal, it can add up. Here's my breakdown for the afternoon. Well, not including BART fare.

Lamb rib:     $5.00
Popsicle:      $3.50
Brownie:      $4.00
Bao:             $4.00
Kouign-Amann (2):  $7.50

Friday, September 27, 2013

What's cooking in Jerusalem? September luncheon

Cook the Book September (yup! it's nearly the holidaze!) was Jerusalem, co-authored by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Angela must have been living under a rock, because this was a cookbook she's never heard about before cook the book. Turns out the hype is for real. Check out this cook book if you want salads with few ingredients but big taste. Plus the amazing full-page pictures are a treat as well. If you're intrigued about what we ate for lunch, read on!

J.K., as usual, made dessert, a semolina, coconut and marmalade cake. This is very different from her usual cakes. No chocolate, to begin with, and not too sweet. No frosting, either. This is more a quickbread than a cake.
A lot of ingredients, though
First, combine the wet ingredients.
Oil, juice, zest, eggs and marmalade.
Mix until the marmalade dissolves. If you don't have a silicone paddle, use a whisk for this step.
Whisk the dry ingredients together.
Don't forget to prepare your pans. J.K. uses cake strips to keep the edges from baking before the middle, so she doesn't get a cracked dome in the middle of her cakes.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and pour evenly into the prepared pans. The recipe said to use two one-pound loaf pans, so she did, but one would have been enough.

The cakes didn't rise enough for two pans, but they were delicious and had a nice texture nonetheless.
After baking, the cakes get brushed with as much orange syrup as they can hold.

J.K.'s cake rounded out our veggie meal nicely! Angela made three salads from the cookbook (although there were a lot more recipes that inspired her, she used the tried and true cook the book method of sticking with the recipes that grabbed her attention during the first scan of the cookbook.) They were Baby Spinach Salad with Dates and Almonds, Burnt Eggplant salad and Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Fresh Figs.  We loved them all, and they were great to mix and match. They were supplemented by olives, hummus and pita and lots of pomegranate seeds. For our drinks we had a lovely light Sparkling white, provided by an absent friend which Angela gussied up with Brandied Cherries (also made by said friend, thanks G!)
Cook the Book Jerusalem Luncheonthe mystery jar contains soft cheese!
You can make this–simple, beautiful, delicious–here.
This recipe revamped the spinach salad for Angela.
Choose small eggplants to shorten the cooking time for this dish
Angela chose to serve up J.K.'s cake with the suggested orange blossom water flavored Greek yogurt (tip: make sure your "Greek" yogurt is not thickened with cornstarch–or something more ominous!!) roasted figs and more more more pomegranate seeds. It was a light and flavorful ending to the meal.
cake, yes please!
Have you found any favorite cookbooks through friends? Or do you page through them at the bookstore/library? Maybe you just search the internet (Angela found lots of recipes from Jerusalem online, but few blog posts/articles had the amazing photos and historical background provided in the cookbook–unless they were quoting it directly of course.)  J.K. has so many cookbooks (mostly dessert) that she needs to start a cook the book a week club just to make a dent!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Martin Yan at Bloomie's

Chef Candi hosted Chef Martin Yan at Bloomingdale's demo kitchen. Again, Angela had to work, so I went alone. And had a great time. Chef Yan, who has a restaurant (M.Y. China) under the dome at the Westfield Center, is a real showman and kept the crowd entertained for his two-hour presentation.

For the first hour, he prepared his ingredients. Vegetables first, then protein, so he didn't have to wash his knife and cutting board until he was finished. He cut everything into extremely thin slices, constantly reminding us "I can do this. You can't." In other words, don't try this at home!

Here he "relaxes" a chicken.
Madman With A Cleaver
Now I know where the 11th Doctor acquired his knife skills.
The crowd was large, so the tastes were small. But big enough that M.Y. China is now on our list.

Peking Duck with Scissored Noodles

The Longevity Noodle is one very long noodle, served on birthdays to ensure long life. So instead of serving it to the crowd, it was presented to the audience member with the nearest birthday. We also sang the Happy Birthday song to her.
Longevity Noodle
Then we ate our veggies. Chef Yan told us we need to eat more leafy greens.
Kung Pao veggies
Then Chef Tony and his apprentice, who is from China, demonstrated the ancient method of hand-stretching noodles. Starting with one piece of dough, they end up with thousands of noodles.
Chef Tony and his apprentice hand stretching noodles
Showing off the finished noodles. Notice that they didn't get any flour on their jackets!

Cooked noodles served to the observers
The last dish of the afternoon was a kung pao crab. Those of us with the sharpest elbows got to taste pieces of it.  It was delicious. It was great to taste food made by a famous chef! Is there anyone you admire in the culinary world? Have you ever travelled to find their food served at a restaurant?
Showing off the kung pao crab

Knife skills*

Martin Yan and friends!*

*These two photos courtesy of Candi Austin.