I had never heard of farinata before but it caught my eye on display at my small local grocery store and I decided to give it a try. The package describes it as a Tuscan street food made of chickpeas. It said that it’s commonly eaten inside of a fresh baked roll but can also be eaten as a side dish, as a base with basil and cheese on top and some other things. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect – something more like a bread or something more like a hummus but I was game to try!
It was actually really easy to make. You basically take the mix, add water and olive oil, whisk it and bake it all in a pan.
What it ended up reminding me of was a really spicy polenta. It’s not as thick as a bread but it has that spongy thickness of a rice dish shaped like a bread. I know that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense; like I said – polenta is the best I can come up with as far as texture. Either way, it was super yummy. I had it just on the side of my plate along with some homemade vegetarian chili (one of the few dishes I’m truly good at making), some rosemary and olive oil quinoa and fried mushrooms.
The little dishes that you see on the right there are dukkah spices. The dark one is dukkah in balsamic vinegar and the other is dukkah in orange olive oil. It’s basically an herb dip and I added it to the farinata although the farinata was tasty without it. I also put it on my quinoa.
Sharing some of the food and drinks I’ve enjoyed recently, mostly at San Francisco restaurants:
I tried raspberry wine for the first time at a sushi restaurant on the corner of Bush and Taylor called Izakaya Ninja. It’s good, although not as good as plum wine, which is my favorite part of going to sushi restaurants. To be honest, I’m not a big sushi fan, because I’m not a big fan of seafood. But I do like the vegetarian sushi options and it turns out that this restaurant had some really good ones. I tried the shitake spinach roll, which is a spinach mushroom sushi roll. And actually I also tried and liked the Stephano which is shrimp and crab with avocado; it’s really just the fish I dislike, not all seafood. I also got asparagus there which was strangely amazingly good.
Farmer’s Market Food Stand
Every once in awhile I’ll get a craving for a hot dog. This one has maple bacon bits on top of it. Kinda disgustingly great.
Thin Crust Pizza
I was in the Haight recently to see Little Minsky’s burlesque / variety show at Club Deluxe. I got a kale and mushroom thin crust pizza, which comes with oregona, parmesan and pepper flakes as side toppings. I also got a spa collins, which is a vodka cucumber cocktail that I actually really loved.
Breakfast at Toast
I went to breakfast at Toast on Polk Street recently. I convinced my breakfast date to get the Croissant French Toast with berries so I could try it. Amazing! I got a slightly healthier mushroom/ spinach/ avocado omelette with hashbrows and sourdough toast.
Westfield Mall Food
I rarely go to the mall in San Francisco but every once in awhile there will be a 3D movie I want to see there so I’ll go ahead and go. I went to Loving Hut in the food court and got their vegan pho noodle soup along with a combo plate of fried rice, mushrooms and spicy green beans. It was a massive amount of food (way too much; I didn’t eat most of it) and to be honest it really wasn’t that good. I’ve been to the Loving Hut location in Chinatown, though, and know that they have good food there so I guess it was just a mall food issue. I got a Ghirardelli cookie-bottom ice cream sundae later to make up for it.
Easter Candy at Home
Those are raspberry honey covered almonds, a Cadbury cream egg and a variety of different chocolates.
I’m not the best cook in the world and I’m not some kind of foodie but I do have an appreciation for delicious, beautiful meals!
What you’re seeing: Mushrooms, street tacos and flautas from a European-influenced Mexican restaurant, cheese and pepper soup from the same restaurant, meat being cooked for stir fry, red wine (it was a Lambrusco and actually lighter than it looks in that glass), strawberry with cool whip, amaretto sour next to pomegranate lemonade cocktail, strawberries in vinegar/club soda, fresh orange juice from The Grove on Fillmore, steamed buns, quinoa salad and chocolate cocktails with rose petals from nightlife at California Academy of Sciences, Amazing breakfast mashed potatoes from a small spot in San Francisco Tenderloin, Moroccan restaurant coffee and cream, easy salad at home made of lettuc, carrots and apples.
Stuff I’ve recently consumed and loved every morsel of …
What you see here: Caramel Apple Martini and Deep Fried Taro Root with Peanut Sauce from Thai Stick on Fillmore, nonfat fresh yogurt and oatmeal with blueberries and strawberries and walnuts and figs from Fraiche, liquid nitrogen ice cream at Smitten (I got caramel), grapefruit juice and mimosa, pumpkin frozen yogurt with mochi from Fraiche, quinoa with yogurt and kumquat and poached pear from Chow and goat cheese and spinach scramble with potatoes and toast also from Chow and finally my normal-sized burrito (which I can only eat half of in one sitting) next to my brother’s super large burrito from a burrito place on Divisadero and Pine.
No words necessary …
Although I guess I should add that these photos are actually my sister’s photos from a farmers’ market she went to in LA and the food was what she prepared with a family friend. I do go to the farmers’ markets here regularly, though, so these could easily have been images I took as well!
Some of the tastiness in my life recently …
Lime cocktail from iThai, Margerhita Pizza from Park Chalet, yogurt with strawberries and walnuts and cookies (at home), beef stroganoff (at home) and sweet potato fries from Park Chalet
I didn’t actually realize until recently, when I read the book I’d previously mentioned called The Sushi Economy, that the food of sushi has such an interesting and varied history. Fascinating stuff.
There’s an infographic from visual.ly that gives a nice glimpse:
It seems like I have drifted towards books about food a lot lately – or more specifically about the food industry. Here are a few that I read and enjoyed:
Gordan Ramsay: The Biography
Over the years I’ve become really interested in this celebrity chef. Of course, I was introduced to him first through Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares and also quickly started following him on MasterChef. At first this was just reality TV to pass the time while multi-tasking other things. However, as time went on and more about his personality was revealed I became intrigued by the many behind this stardom. I’ve since watched many of his different shows, both American and UK, including a recent UK show where he set up a cooking program in a prison.
The prison program was what really got me especially interested in him. He reveals here that his brother was in and out of prison because of drugs. And you can see in the show that despite all of his success in both restaurants and TV over the years he was extremely nervous that this program wouldn’t work out, which is always inspiring to see because we think of celebrities as not having those fears when of course they do.
So anyway, I wanted to learn a little bit more about him and that was what prompted me to read this biography. I thought it was a good overview of his life. It was published a few years ago so the most recent information isn’t in there but it does a good job in general of showing how this guy went from being kid in a troubled home to a star athlete to a top chef to a TV star. It shares some of his personal life with his original family as well as his married life. Basically it’s just about the man behind the food shows. So while it’s not exactly about food, it’s a good book from the food industry and one that I thought was an interesting read. I’d now like to read some of the books he’s actually authored himself.
I love reading niche topic books and was super interested in The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy. Basically this is just a book about the history of sushi. It shares how sushi became so popular in recent times. But what I really like is that it gives a lot of insight into how sushi goes from tuna in the ocean to a delicacy on a plate through sharing the personal stories of individual people along the way in that process, such as the buyers of fish at auctions. By putting faces to the process it makes it really easy to understand the in-depth and detailed economics and culture of the sushi history. Fascinating.
I do have to say that it made me disinterested in eating sushi, though. This is probably just me. I used to be vegetarian and I still have a lot of mental issues when it comes to the thought of eating animals. It just grosses me out and seafood grosses me out most of all. The detailed descriptions of how the fish gets shipped and handled really turned me off personally, although they aren’t so gory that I think others would be likely to have this reaction. I should add that I actually don’t really like sushi and always end up with California Rolls anyway since none of the raw fish tastes good to me so it’s not as if I was a huge fan and the book turned me away from that. It just reiterated how I already felt but gave me much more appreciation into the food and industry as a whole.
This is a book about waiting tables. It is really insightful about the whole experience of being a 30-something waiter in New York, collecting experiences and stories and money while passing the time until eventually a writing career develops out of it all. You can read here why I think this is a great book about writing, in addition to one about the restaurant life.
Next up on my reading list of books related to food is Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil. I’m a huge fan of olive oil and look forward to learning more about it through this book!
I’m continuing to eat tons of salads although I’m eating other veggies now and then too.
Edible Flower Herb Salad with Gorgonzola; Italian (storebought) dressing
Wax Bean Salad with Fresno Peppers; lemon black pepper homemade dress
Butter lettuce salad with black pepper salami; basic homemade oil and vinegar dressing
Raw corn salad with scallions and red peppers; mayo and miso
Broccoli rabe sauteed in garlic olive oil, golden beets in coconut butter, sunflower seeds and raisins
I was recently contacted by eFoods Direct, a company that provides meals for the home that can be used in times of emergency. I don’t always respond when contacted by companies but this one was worth a second look. There are so many different emergencies that can come up and when they do, we go back to needing the basics of food and shelter. eFoods isn’t going to be able to provide me a new home in the event of a tragedy but they can take care of the food part.
The purpose and goal of eFoods is very straightforward:
“Our mission is to empower every family to have food security in the case of storms, natural disasters, or even financial crises like shrinking income or the loss of a job.”
Types of Emergencies
There are many types of emergencies that can come up when you might need food on hand and can’t get it from the stores around you. Here in San Francisco the big worry is earthquakes. Almost everyone who lives here knows that you’re supposed to have 72 hours worth of water and food on hand in case of an earthquake. I know many people, including myself, that aren’t actually prepared for that. The eFoods meals would be a way to prepare.
Other natural emergencies that the meals are used for include tornados, hurricanes and floods. But sometimes the meals are used in other types of emergencies, too. For example, some people stock up on the meals and then they lose their jobs and find that they can turn to this food to supplement their groceries when their lack of income makes food rations tight. People who are injured or ill and can’t get out to shop during recovery may also find it nice to have some of these meals on hand.
I haven’t tried the eFoods meals yet (full disclosure: I have some coming to me that I got for free from the company but as always my opinion isn’t swayed and is 100% mine). However, their website indicates that they have a wide variety of healthy foods designed to meet the needs of people on all different diets.
Their site says:
“eFoodsDirect takes family health considerations seriously. eFoodsDirect meals are Cholesterol-Free, great source of fiber, vegetarian options, no trans-fats, no hydrogenated oils, no added MSG, not genetically modified, lactose-free, soy-free, gluten-free, oxygen-free packaging and made in the USA.”
The initial email I received also notified me of a new deal that eFoods Direct is offering in remembrance of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan a year ago. They’ve created special family preparedness offers that can be found here. Don’t forget to enter the special coupon codes when ordering to get the memorial deal.