Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Flavors of the Month- February

  • Kitchit- Want to a chef to come to your house and cook dinner for your next party?  Starting at $30 per person you can select from a number of famous chef's to get their groove on in your very own kitchen.  Impressive?  Very. 
  • Cookstr- A website featuring recipes from well-known chefs worldwide.
  • Massimo Gelato- AMAZING local gelato company with a variety of mouthwatering flavors (i.e. caramel balsamic, matcha green tea & lemon ginger).
  • Flamous Falafel Chips- Perfect for dipping in hummus and they happen to be organic, high in fiber, and gluten-free.  Totally virtuous...
  • B.R. Cohn White Balsamic Vinegar- This vinegar is light, fruity and zesty on the palate and is more versatile than other vinegars.  Plus, it comes from a great winery so you can buy yourself some good wine while you're at it.
  • La Ciccia Restaurant- Wonderful little Sardinian Spot in Noe Valley with authentic rustic italian cuisine.
  • Tartine Bakery- Mouthwatering pressed sandwiches, bread, and pastries in the Mission
  • Shun Knives- These are the BEST knives to have in your kitchen and they require very maintenance (in comparison to so many other high-end brands).
  • Mini Cuisinart- We got this as a wedding gift and its the perfect size for sauces, pestos, and dips.  Its also great for kitchens that are short on counter space.

* Please email weekdaygourmetgirl@gmail.com with recommendations for the next month's list

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Restaurant (Re)creation: Pomelo's Brussels Sprout and Butternut Squash Panzanella Salad

Holy Yummmmm!  I ordered a salad like this for brunch at a little spot in Noe Valley called Pomelo and have been dying to (re)create it ever since.  I loosely based my version on this recipe, but I roasted everything together, topped it with bacon and pecorino cheese, and drizzled it with balsamic reduction.  When I made it for the first time, I DEVOURED it.  Literally, I could not stop.  This dish makes me very very happy.  Its like seasonal winter comfort food.  I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner DAILY!

Serves 4


For croutons:
  • Olive oil
  • 5 cups cubed ciabatta
  • 3 tsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 4 tbsp finely grated parmesan
  • Salt & pepper

For salad:
  • 4 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 1 cup cremini mushrooms, halved
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup Italian parley leaves, chopped
  • 4 strips bacon (regular or turkey)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil

  • Shaved Pecorino
  • Balsamic Drizzle


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Mix bread, olive oil, garlic, thyme and parmesan and place on a baking sheet.

Season with salt and pepper and bake croutons for 10-12 minutes, or until crispy.  Set aside to cool.

Soak the sliced onion in  sherry vinegar and a pinch of salt.

Mix the squash, brussels sprouts, mushrooms and sage with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the brussels sprouts are lightly browned and the squash starts to caramelize.

Add 1/2 cup olive oil to the onions and sherry and season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the croutons, squash, brussels sprouts and mushrooms.  Drizzle with vinaigrette and top with chopped parsley.

Garnish with Pecorino cheese and balsamic drizzle.

Eat up!

1793 Church Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 285-2257

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Recipe (Re)creation: Crispy Low-Sodium Sweet Potato Wedges with Lemon-Chive Yogurt Dip

I developed this recipe for a LOVE YOUR HEART RECIPE RALLY that a friend of mine does annually.  Her blog, SODIUM GIRL, is totally inspirational and full of mouthwatering low-sodium dishes. This recipe rally was particularly challenging for me because I happen to LOVE salt. However, many people (and their bodies) do not love salt and obviously need to find other flavor boosters to make up for the absence of salt.  That is where herbs and spices enter the picture!  I usually cook with herbs and spices anyways, but if you kick them up a notch, you don't even miss the salt.  I promise.

Our recipe rally mission was to take a typically salty, crave-worthy dish and create a low-sodium version of it.  I chose sweet potato wedges since they are a current obsession of mine and I wanted to see if I, the lover of salt, would still like a salt-free version.  After seasoning the sweet potatoes with different combinations of herbs and spices (and doing a lot of taste testing- thank you husband!), I decided on not one, but two different versions that I just had to include.  One is a hot and spicy version, and one is a mixed herb version.   The cooling yogurt dip is also low-sodium and pairs beautifully with those savory little sweet potato wedges.  So easy, breezy, and totally low-so (haha, and no one will even know).

Serves 6, as a side


For sweet potato wedges:

3-4 medium sized sweet potatoes, unpeeled
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chipotle chili powder
1 tsp chili flakes
2 springs of rosemary, stems removed and chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1/2 tbsp dried (or fresh) oregano
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp corn starch
Olive oil

For yogurt dip:

1/2 cup greek yogurt (Fage 2%)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Slice sweet potatoes in even wedges (about 8 wedges per potato).

Generously brush each wedge with olive oil and a little sugar and a little corn starch (it helps them caramelize and get crispy).

Put the spices on one plate and the mixed herbs on another.

Rub half of the wedges (individually) in the spices and half of the wedges in the herb mixture.

Make sure that each wedge has ample spices or herbs covering it.

Place wedges on a baking sheet and spread out evenly.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then take the sheet out, rotate the wedges and return them to the oven for another 10 minutes, or until they start to brown.

Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degree F and bake for another 5 minutes, or until crispy.  Remove from oven to cool.

Meanwhile, scoop the yogurt into a small bowl and mix with lemon juice and most of the chives.  Garnish the top with the remaining chives.

Serve the sweet potato wedges with the lemon-chive yogurt dip.

Who knew low-so could taste so good?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Recipe (Re)creation: Easy Mini Chocolate Souffles

You will not believe how easy it is to make this souffle.  It is light and airy and wonderfully chocolatey (plus, its low-fat).  The souffle recipe is based on this recipe from Cooking Light.  It offers the perfect amount of indulgence without being too gluttonous.  I made this for Valentine's Day and it was a hit.  After it was devoured, the words uttered in our dining room were, "this needs to go into the weekly rotation."  I believe it just has.

Serves 2


  • Cooking spray
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dutch process cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar (for sprinkling)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Coat 2 ramekins with cooking spray and sprinkle each with 3/4 tsp granulated sugar.

Combine 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, flour, cocoa and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat.  

Cook on medium heat for 2 minutes and stir until smooth.  

Remove from heat and scoop in a small bowl to cool for a few minutes and stir in vanilla extract.

Place egg white in a medium bowl (or standing mixer) and beat on high until soft peaks form.

Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar until stiff peaks form and the mixture thickens.

Gradually stir the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture until smooth.

Evenly spoon the mixture into two ramekins.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until fluffy and set.

Sprinkle eat souffle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Top with berries or gelato for a fun twist.

Enjoy (AKA devour)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Restaurant (Re)creation: Kokkari's Grilled Lamb Chops and Roasted Potatoes

~ From top: Lamb chops on the BBQ, Perfectly Grilled Chops,
(Re)creation plated and ready to be devoured ~

If you know kiwis (like my husband), you know they love their lamb.  I was racking my brain for the perfect dish to serve on Valentine's Day and then it came to me: grilled lamb and potatoes!  (I mean, what guy wouldn't love that combo?)  Kokkari is very well known for their lamb so I decided to use a recipe from the Kokkari Cookbook that I recently bought.  This recipe is simple and requires very little time.  While it may look like a lot of ingredients, many are repeated in each preparation, so you don't have to buy very many items.  Perfect for a weeknight Valentine's Day meal.  (And yes, the kiwi thoroughly enjoyed it).

Serves 4 (generously)

Ingredients for lamb: 
  • 2 8-rib racks of lamb, trimmed and cut into single rib chops
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 2 lemons, cut in wedges
  • Fresh Oregano springs for garnish, optional

Ingredients for potatoes:
  • 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, each peeled and cut lengthwise into 6 wedges
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt and ground pepper

Ingredients for Kokkari Dressing:
  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp capers, rinsed and minced
  • 2 tsp minced shallets
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh oregano 
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • (Optional: bunch of arugula)


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  

Put the potatoes wedges in a large bowl and toss thoroughly with olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper.  

Arrange the wedges in one layer a non-reactive baking dish.

Drizzle with lemon juice and 1/2 cup of water around (not on) the potatoes.

Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 20 minutes (or until potatoes are browned and the water has evaporated.  

Remove from heat and let cool for at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat grill on high (for lamb).

Put the lamb chops on a work surface and pound with your fist until it is evenly thick.  

Combine the garlic powder, pepper, and oregano in a small bowl.  

Press the seasoning blend on both sides of the meat, including the meat on the bones.  

Before grilling, drizzle olive oil on the seasoned chops, using your fingers to coat the meat evenly.  Season with salt.

Grill the chops, turning once, for about 3 minutes on each side (for medium rare). 

While the chops are cooking, whisk together the dressing ingredients.

Squeeze 2 lemon halves over the chops before taking them off the grill.

Serve the chops hot with a side of potatoes and a bunch of arugula (optional), all drizzled with dressing.

Garnish with lemon wedges and oregano sprigs.

Kali orexi (enjoy)

200 Jackson Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 981-0983

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Recipe (Re)creation: Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Sautéed Corn and Mushrooms

~ From top: close-up of the finished (re)creation, corn and mushroom sauté cooking,
plated corn and mushrooms sauté topped with bacon wrapped scallops ~

This bacon wrapped scallop (re)creation is loosely based on this recipe by Tyler Florence.  It is INCREDIBLY easy and has become one of my weeknight staples.  I use turkey bacon instead of regular bacon, but you can use either.  I also serve the scallops over sautéed mushrooms and corn because those happen to be two of my very favorite foods.  I typically eat this dish as a main course, but if you can find small-medium sized scallops they would make a great passed appetizer (without the corn and mushroom sauté).  Either way, you can't go wrong!

Serving size: 2


6 medium/large scallops
3-4 strips turkey bacon, sliced in half lengthwise
3 ears of corn, cut off the cob
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
6 toothpicks


Preheat broiler.

Wrap each scallop with 1/2 slice bacon and secure with a toothpick.  Place scallops in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside until oven is pre-heated.

Meanwhile, heat 1-2 tbsps in a large skillet.  Cook the mushrooms until tender.  Then add the corn and thyme and cook on low.  Remove from heat after 10 minutes.

Place scallops in the oven and cook 13-15 minutes, turning once.  Remove scallops from the broiler once the bacon is slightly crispy.

Scoop equal portions of the corn and mushroom sauté onto two plates and top with 3 scallops each.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Recipe (Re)creation: Roasted Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce

~ From top: roasted eggplant,
close-up of (re)creation, finished and plated (re)creation ~

This is another recipe (re)creation from the Plenty cookbook, which has become a staple in my kitchen.  I highly recommend the cookbook- so many great recipes to choose from!  This recipe is incredibly easy and looks absolutely beautiful (almost too beautiful to eat).  Its a great starter that you can make for yourself any weeknight.  Its also sure to impress if you make it for a dinner party.  The elegant combination of the tender eggplant, creamy sauce, and garnish of pomegranate seeds is pretty ingenious.   Thank you chef Ottolenghi for creating this one!

Serves 4-5 as a starter


2 large eggplants
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp thyme leaves, plus a few whole sprigs to garnish
Maldon sea salt & black pepper
1 pomegranate
1 tsp za'atar (or dried oregano)

8 tbsp buttermilk
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 small garlic clove, crushed
pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut each eggplant in half lengthwise and make 4 cuts in the flesh of the eggplant in the shape of a diamond.  

Place the eggplant slices, cut-side up, on a baking sheet.  Brush them with olive oil and keep on brushing more oil on until the eggplant absorbs most of the oil.

Sprinkle the eggplant with thyme leaves and salt and pepper and roast for 35-40 minutes (or until flesh is soft and nicely browned).

Meanwhile cut the pomegranate and break it apart, releasing the seeds into a bowl.  Remove any bits of white skin from the pomegranate seeds.  

To make the sauce: whisk together all of the ingredients and keep cold until needed.

Serve each eggplant slice with a generous drizzle of buttermilk sauce, and garnish with za'atar, thyme and pomegranate seeds.  Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Restaurant (Re)creation: Delfina's Spicy Cauliflower

This dish is a favorite at Pizzeria Delfina.  Its unique, spicy, crunchy and satisfying.  I actually found the real recipe from an SFGate article online (which is totally delicious as is), but I decided to do a somewhat "lighter" version.  I used all the same ingredients as Delfina's version, but I omitted the Calabrese peppers and I roasted the cauliflower first to minimize "frying" time.  This may go against the goal of most of my (re)creations since it adds time to the preparation, but I would rather add minutes to the cook time than inches to the waistline!  (I mean seriously, if a girl is going to eat like this most nights, she needs to make a few tweaks here and there to keep her pants fitting ; ).  So, I roasted the cauliflower (rather than deep frying it) and then just finished it off on the stovetop.  It tastes almost exactly the same as the restaurant version and only takes a little more time.  Try the recipe either way- both are perfectly delicious and flavorful.

Serves 4 (as a side)


1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup chopped italian parsley
1/4 cup drained capers, dried
2 large garlic cloves, sliced thinly (lengthwise)
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tbsp panko breadcrumbs


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Separate the cauliflower into large uniformly-sized florets.

Place the cauliflower in an oven and stove-top safe pan and douse in olive oil and salt.  Mix the cauliflower around so that the salt and olive oil are evenly distributed.

Roast the cauliflower for 25-30 minutes or until it starts to soften and brown.

Once the cauliflower starts to brown, remove it from the oven and place it on the stovetop on medium heat.  Cook for 5-7 minutes.

Add a little more oil (as needed) and the capers, garlic, and breadcrumbs.  Cook for 1-2 more minutes, adding the chili flakes at the end.

Remove from heat and serve.


Pizzeria Delfina (Mission)
3611 18th Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 437-6800

Pizzeria Delfina (Pacific Heights)
2406 California Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 440-1189