Slow Cooked, Black Bean and Tomatillo Chili

Slow cooking is making a valiant comeback. Evidence lies in the number of my foodie friends who have recently purchased what our mother’s used to call “crock pots” (remember the beige, enameled crocks dressed in crafty Corelle-style, floral patterns?) . It’s also in the number of cookbooks on the matter that have surfaced in the past couple of years. It appears that this once-famous technique has returned and that we have begun to slow things down in the kitchen. Albeit, in a more minimalist-sophisticate, 2010 sort of way. The most proudly touted advantage to slow cooking is that you can start a meal in the morning, disappear for the day and return to the waft of a nurturing home and dinner practically plated. However, we mustn’t overlook the tender-loving number that cooking slowly does to the composition of braised short ribs or a couple of cornish hens. It’s magic, really.

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All Hail Kale

What did we do before the magnificent world wide web? I, for one, had a much less interesting career. But inquiring for the masses, what did we do without access to such vast insights on any topic of our choosing? Take Kale for instance. It would have taken much longer for me to discover that kale does not belong to the leafy lettuce family but rather, it is a cabbage (of the species Brassica Oleracea which also makes them cruciferous cousins of cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts). And while I would have surely come to try a few recipes, it would have taken much longer to reach the good ones that my social network so proudly boasts. Thanks to them I have enjoyed this cabbage kidling sauteed with sesame oil and garlic, as a salad base with golden beets. and juiced with apple, carrot and ginger. The blogosphere has taken traditional kale recipes and tweaked them to perfection. Their friends rated them and their friend’s friends concurred. If it wasn’t for this network of digital foodies I wouldn’t be here bringing you my favorite dark, leafy creation of them all, Baked Kale Chips.

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British Burglars and ‘Brellas

The weekend weather report in San Francisco is bleak to say the least so in addition to a few evening outings, I plan to finally check out the Legion of Honor, do some writing and whoop it up in the kitchen (stay tuned to future posts for highlights). If I have my way, I’ll also eek out a few hours to see a movie.  Speaking of the silver screen, last night I met my friends Micky and Meg for a movie at the SF MOMA.  Part of the MOMA’s event lineup includes screenings of  significant pieces of film including cinema classics and films relative to exhibits.   Last night’s feature was the 1966 romantic comedy How To Steal a Million with Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole. The story is of a genius art fraud and his feisty daughter, Nicole (enter Audrey).  Nicole partners with high-society burglar and hearthrob O’Toole to steal a piece of her father’s work before its insurance inspection and Daddy’s demise.

The chemistry between Hepburn and Peter O’Toole was adorable, captivating, enchanting even.  And in case I wasn’t clear, O’Toole is downright dreamy.  Take a look.

I recently saw Avatar (in 3D, of course) and thought it was spectacular.  Modern movie marvels are not to be disrespected but I can’t help but wonder what happened to the dialogue-drafting chops of old.  You’d be hard-pressed to find a romantic comedy made in the last 10 years that was so cleverly crafted.  I must also toot the horn of the film’s wardrobe as Audrey and her Givenchy were magic.  In one classic scene Nicole drives the burglar she’s just aprehended back to his hotel.  She does so wearing a short, pink nightdress under a hot pink wool jacket and donning black patent rain boots.  It was a very special (note to self: must get those glossy black Hunter Wellies, pronto!).

It’s been a long time since a film tickled as much as this classic so if you’re weather looking like mine this weekend, I recommend you stream, download or rent and prepare to be charmed.

Get Your Groove On

It must be said that I am a sushi freak.  In a world full of Monday mornings and marathon meetings, a plate of raw fish is my bliss.  A few months ago, my friend Emilie introduced me a local San Francisco treasure called Sushi Groove.  Sushi Groove has two locations in town.  SG South, is a more formal establishment in SF’s trendy SOMA district and their North/Nob Hill spot has more of a cozy, casual vibe.

South - SOMA

North - Nob Hill

Our stop of our choice is it’s the North charmer which seems to have two rules:  1) serve the freshest, most tasty fish on earth and 2) hire only brainiac bombshells  to serve it.   SG quickly became a weekly treat to follow a grueling, 90 minute vinyasa sesh.

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Twenty Ten

Its 2010 and this new year of ours has inspired a number of obsessions.  It may have started over the holidays while being snowed in with my family in South Dakota.  The “worst storm in 40 years” was preceded by an almost other-worldly, icy fog, casting the most delicate spell over the whole of Gregory County.

Photographs inspired words, words inspired music, music inspired cooking and it to this rambling.  It seems that we all seek inspiration. For me, this spark is in large part which makes for a happy life.   The artful, the silly, the colorful, the quirky.  Its like falling love.  All can evoke the sensation that anything is possible and that we all have the power to create something lovely.

It’s the lovely that has thrust me into the kitchen.

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