Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I have read that pizza is America's favorite food (presumably referring to the United States of America). These days I find it difficult to get excited about pizza unless I'm really hungry, much like I don't usually get excited about water. Pizza is a a fact of life however and sometimes one must find ways to spice up the love affair which has cooled.

Oil your crust, cover with thinly (~1/16") sliced pear. Top with 1/2-1 finely diced Serrano chili, 1/2c Gorgonzola and 1/4c low moisture mozzarella.

Bake until the crust bubbles and starts to turn brown. Since this is a lightly topped pizza you will have to bake it for a shorter period of time than a standard margarita pizza in order to keep from burning any bubbles which appear.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I was going through customs in San Francisco a couple of years ago and the agent, casually flipping through my passport stopped upon seeing Arabic in smugged black ink. "Where was this from?" she demanded. "Morocco." I answered with the utmost respect. "What were you doing in Morocco?" she asked. This tested my travel worn patience just a little, what do you do is a question I always find maddening. I don't like to be asked to put myself into a box of a few frequent activities. Snarkily I shrugged and replied to the to her, "I don't know, eating couscous?" She was not amused, being like most police, fairly humorless.

Every six months or so my wrist starts to hurt and I am reminded of Morocco, where the train doors open even when the train is moving, and no one speaks enough English to convince you not to jump.

A couple of weeks ago I was in one of the numerous Middle Eastern markets that line Telegraph Avenue near my house in Oakland, a large bag of red spices labeled only Berbere caught my eye. It was huge and expensive and I couldn't bring myself to buy it, but I also couldn't get it off my mind. It reminded me of my friend's bargaining sessions in Morocco which usually ended in the shop keepers accusing my friends of being Berbers, and then often proposing marriage.

I had those friends plus a few others over for dinner last week and we had marinaded portobellos over couscous with a sauce of berbere spices, cashews and bourbon. It didn't blow me away. I served pickled black radish and radicchio on the side and for desert we had sherry and pears broiled in amaretto with Mexican chocolate.

Plaid Chopsticks
Pears Broiled in Amaretto-3.3.10

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Plaid Chopsticks

I have a set of plaid chopsticks I bought at my local Korean market. I love the simplicity of chopsticks and the plaid appeals to my sense of hipster irony, however to me they represent something beyond their basic form and function.

Plaid chopsticks are a symbol of the rich tradition of California Cuisine in which I am steeped, taking two parts of different cultures and combining them into something awesome.

Plaid Chopsticks
Poached Egg over Basmati Rice -2.27.10