Sunday, January 29, 2012

Restaurant (Re)creation: Delarosa's Spicy Meatballs

~From top: close-up of a pretty little meatball, 
meatballs simmering in the spicy tomato sauce, the finished (re)creation~

She asks and she shall receive. I had multiple requests to sleuth out the secret to this popular dish and I'm so happy I did. This recipe is straight from chef Ruggero Gadaldi himself after I sent him a recipe request, realizing it was probably a shot in the dark.  Not only did he provide the recipe, but he even followed up with details about the spices used in his signature tomato sauce.  Now that is impressive customer service! It also allowed for a seamless (re)creation.  The meatballs turned out tender and moist and the sauce had a great kick. I ended up halving the recipe when I made it and it turned about beautifully.  It can easily be halved or multiplied depending on the number of stomachs you are feeding.  Don't forget to serve the meatballs with grilled ciabatta- its perfect for soaking up that delicious spicy tomato sauce. You may even be tempted to lick the plate.

Serves 6-8 (about 20 meatballs)


For Meatballs:
1 lb ground veal
1 lb raw sweet italian sausage (casings removed)
2 cups bread crumbs (I used panko bread crumbs, also available in a gluten free version)
3/4 cups milk (whole or low fat)
4 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 bunch finely chopped fresh italian parsley
3 egg whites
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
2 tbsp tomato paste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For Spicy Tomato Sauce:
2 jars of marinara sauce (24 oz each)
1-2 tsp chili flakes (depending on how spicy you want it)
Chopped parsley

Optional: Grilled Ciabatta (for dipping)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Let rest for 10 minutes in the refrigerator before shaping into balls.  

Before creating balls, put a little bit of olive oil on your hands to minimize sticking.  

Spoon out mixture and create meatballs that are approximately 1 1/2-inch balls.  

Place meatballs on a greased sheet pan and cook in the oven for 30 minutes (inside temp should be 155 F when done).

Meanwhile, heat the tomato sauce and chili flakes in a medium/large saucepan.  

Place meatballs in the spicy tomato sauce and simmer for 7-10 minutes.  

Sprinkle with parsley and serve with slices of grilled ciabatta.


2175 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 673-7100

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Restaurant (Re)creation: The Plant Veggie Burger

~ From top: my (re)creation partially assembled, (re)creation fully assembled,
(re)creation in loving hands of a devoted taster~

This is one of my all-time favorite (re)creations.  I have been known to order this burger from The Plant Café multiple times/week and it never disappoints! It isn't the quickest recipe, but you can make a bunch of the patty "mix" in advance and refrigerate or freeze the rest for later.  My version is based on this recipe but I made a few important time-saving and flavor-enhancing changes.  The first time I made the burger, it was a little bland so I added garlic and a little cumin powder.  I also soaked the bulgar and lentils in hot water so they only had to soak for 20 minutes (as opposed to 4 hours!).  Last but not least, I added lots of fun toppings like caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, goat cheese and sliced avocado. Delicious!

*Disclaimer: this dish is crumbly and VERY messy to eat- maybe not the best choice for a date ; ) *

Serving Size: 6 burgers


1/2 cup quick cooking bulgar (soaked in hot water)
1/2 cup red lentils (soaked in hot water)
1/2 cup roasted cashews (crushed to a powder)
2 cups beets, washed
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and diced
2 tsp. sea salt
4 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp cumin

Optional Toppings:

Toasted whole grain bread
Sliced avocado
Goat cheese
Sautéed Mushrooms
Sautéed Onions


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Meanwhile, soak lentils and bulgar in a small amount of hot water for (20+ minutes).

Bake beets for 45 minutes, or until tender.  Let cool before peeling and dicing beets (this can be done in advance or be substituted for pre-cooked beets).

In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and sauté the mushrooms and garlic over medium heat.

Drain the bulgar and lentils to remove any excess water.

Combine the beets, bulgar, lentils, cashew powder, mushrooms, garlic, cumin and salt in the food processor.  Pulse a few times until chunks are gone.

Form the mixture into patties and pack tightly (it can help to refrigerate the patties briefly).

Heat the remaining olive oil and and sauté burgers in a skillet or grill pan, carefully flipping once.

Place burgers on the toasted bread (or over a bed of greens) and top with the toppings of your choice.


The Plant Café
3353 Steiner St.
San Francisco
(415) 931-2777

Friday, January 20, 2012

Recipe (Re)creation: Kale & Sweet Potato Salad

~From top: sweet potatoes ready for the oven, partially assembled salad,
fully assembled salad with balsamic drizzle, close-up of the deliciousness~ 

If you haven't realized it yet- kale is all the rage right now.  Its on restaurant menus left and right, either in soups, salads, or even in the form of chips (stay tuned for that recipe).  This salad, whether eaten as an appetizer or as a main, is for the days you don't have much time and are in the mood for something healthy.  Its the perfect dish for January, since you're likely burned out on cookies, holiday parties and heavy food.  This dish is light, but super satisfying with the sweet potatoes, almonds, and cheese.  My kale salad was inspired by this recipe but I decided to use sweet potatoes instead of butternut squash since they takes less time to cook.  I also added thyme, garlic, and balsamic drizzle for more flavor.  The best bit about this salad is that it is great for leftovers since the kale doesn't get soggy.  Healthy, quick, and totally delicious!

Serving Size: 2


1 bunch Lacinato or Dinosaur Kale, ribs removed and thinly chopped
1 sweet potato, cubed
2 sprigs of thyme (optional)
3 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons sliced, roasted almonds
Freshly grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon balsamic reduction (optional)
Sea salt, to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place sweet potato cubes, thyme leaves, and whole garlic cloves on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.

Roast the sweet potatoes for 25-30 minutes in the oven, or until fully cooked and tender.

Meanwhile mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the lemon juice and pour the dressing over the kale.

Top the salad with the roasted sweet potatoes and garlic and garnish with almond slices and freshly grated cheese

Add sea salt to taste and drizzle balsamic reduction over the salad (optional).


Monday, January 16, 2012

Flavors of The Month- January

This is the first edition of many more monthly favorites lists, otherwise known as "Flavors of the Month."  Please email me with suggestions if you come across anything that YOU LOVE and quite possibly could not live without!

  • Castelvetrano Olives (Buy Here) - I first had these olives at Ottimista Enoteca and soon became obsessed.  They are a vibrant green color and are mild and creamy.  Heaven in the form of an olive.  You can easily eat these by the bowl.
  • Ramsay 2008 Pinot Noir (Buy Here) - We first enjoyed this wine at Terzo and then realized we could buy it by the case for less than half the price per bottle.  Its a no-brainer and is the perfect pinot to have on hand for a last minute house-warming gift or nightly glass of red.
  • Punchfork (Click Here) - This website is a portal for all the best recipes on top food blogs and websites.  You can search by ingredient and save all your favorite recipes.  Such a great resource for the nights that you need a little inspiration!
  • Cowgirl Creamery Knife (Buy Here) - This sounds so simple (and it is) but this is a great, cheap, portable cheese knife to take with you on a picnic, to a barbecue or on a staycation.  There is nothing more frustrating than having a warm baguette and a beautiful chunk of cheese and no way to cut it.  This knife will solve that problem (and will do it safely since its encased in a protective cover).
  • LuLu White Truffle Honey (Buy Here) - I could happily eat this honey by the spoonful.  It is the perfect addition to a cheese platter and pairs beautifully with brie, goat cheese.... you name it!  Its also delicious when drizzled over crostini (See Burrata Crostini recipe)
  • Plenty Cookbook (Buy Here) - This cookbook, referenced in one of my posts, is a beautiful collection of vegetarian recipes.  The photography is stunning and the recipes are all equally delicious.  This is a great addition to any cookbook collection.  
  • Chef's Feed (Click Here) - This app provides restaurant recommendations from the country's best chefs.  Enter your city and the app will offer all local chefs' favorite dishes.  Its a great find- especially when you are exploring a new city and don't want to take a chance on a bad meal.
  • St. Germain Elderflower Liquor (Buy Here) - A splash of this delicate floral liquor is the perfect compliment to your glass of champagne or prosecco.  Its a unique and lovely liquor to have on hand.  
  • Pinterest (Click Here) - I know I'm a late adopter on this one, but it is so fun and addictive.  You can pin pictures, recipes, and products you like and create boards.  Then you can follow others and they can follow you. Its very easy to spend countless hours on this site- its chock-full of eye candy!
  • Bi-Rite Market (Shop Here) - This beautiful and tiny market next to Dolores Park (SF) is full of organic and homemade products that will make your mouth water.  It is not the best place to do your regular grocery shopping (unless you want to spend your whole paycheck) but it is perfect for picking up gourmet ingredients or for putting together a yummy picnic for the park.  They also have their own cookbook/grocer's guide which is quite popular.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Recipe (Re)creation: Mushroom Ragout with Poached Egg

~ From Top: Sautéed Mushrooms,
My Mushroom Ragout (Re)creation, Close-up ~
This recipe was not inspired by a restaurant, but rather by a wonderful cookbook that a dear friend recommended.  The cookbook is called Plenty and is written by London Chef Yotam Ottolenghi.  The cookbook is vegetarian (and I am not), but the dishes are savory enough that you don't even miss the meat.  I altered Ottolenghi's recipe by using chicken eggs rather than duck eggs, sage instead of parsley, vegetable stock (rather than the homemade version) and topped the dish with shredded parmesan.  Its the perfect cold-weather comfort food.  Enjoy!

Serving size: 2


  • 1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 lb mixed mushrooms (oyster, cremini, shitake, etc)
  • 1/2 lb sourdough bread, crusts removed
  • 4 1/2 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 2-4 eggs, depending on appetite ; )
  • Vinegar, for poaching
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsps chopped tarragon
  • 2 tbsps chopped sage
  • Salt & pepper 


-Soak dried porcini in 1 cup water and set aside for 30 minutes.
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Cut bread into 1-inch cubes and toss with 2 tbsps olive oil, crushed garlic and salt.
-Place bread on a baking sheet and toast for 15 minutes, or until they start to brown.
-Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and heat on medium-high heat.
-Add mushrooms in batches, cooking for 2 minutes on each side, then remove and set aside when the mushrooms start to brown (add more olive oil as necessary).
-Pour white wine & vegetable broth into the same skillet.  
-Next, lift the porcini out of its soaking water (squeezing to remove excess water) and set aside with the other mushrooms.
-Pour the porcini water into the skillet with the broth & wine and add thyme and salt.
-Simmer the broth until it has reduced to about 1 cup (20 minutes) and remove from heat and set aside.
-To poach the eggs, fill a small saucepan with just enough water to cover an egg, add a splash of vinegar and bring to a boil.
-Crack an egg into a small cup and carefully pour into the boiling water.
-Immediately remove the pan from heat and let the egg "poach" for 5 minutes.
-Lift the egg out of the pan and place in a bowl of warm water.
-Repeat this process for each egg and once all the eggs are poached, dry them on a paper towel.
-Reheat the broth and add the mushrooms, sour cream, most of the chopped herbs and salt and pepper.
-Once the mushroom mixture is hot, divide the bread croutons on two plates and spoon the mushrooms ragout over the croutons evenly. 
-Top with 1-2 poaches eggs, the remaining herbs, and some freshly shaved parmesan to top it all off.

~Simply divine~

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Restaurant (Re)creation: Park Tavern's Brussels Sprout Chips

~From top- Brussels sprout leaves,
My Brussels Sprout Chips (Re)creation,
Close-up of (Re)creation~
Park Tavern and its sister Restaurant Marlowe have both become famous for their crispy brussels sprout chips.  You feel healthy because you are ordering a "vegetable," but they certainly do not taste virtuous.  The lemon and salt added a little zest and make the dish anything but ordinary.  Similar to the padrón peppers, these are a great appetizer or anytime snack and they are perfect for entertaining.  I decided to roast them instead of fry them and roughly followed this recipe and they turned out beautifully.  Perhaps they are even a tad healthier than the restaurant version?  Cheers to the New Year and all those healthy-eating resolutions!!


  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 lemon, for juice and zest
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Trim brussels sprouts and remove leaves.
Place brussels sprout leaves on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crispy.
Garnish with lemon zest.


Park Tavern
1652 Stockton Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 989-7300