Thursday, February 25, 2010

Yoghurt Bread

My friend Emily introduced me to lacto-fermented bread - that is, yeastless bread that rises from soaking wheat in yogurt, sour milk, or buttermilk (basically anything with active cultures). I would talk about the science behind it and the biological health benefits, but it went completely over my head. She even went above and beyond by making her own whole wheat flour by grinding up wheat berries. Now THAT is all natural.

Here is the flour after soaking in the yogurt and fermenting in a warm place for 24 hrs. It felt like a slice of bread crumpled up, very dense and dry.

After adding in some eggs, butter, and other stuff, the dough was like a super thick batter

It actually had a pretty nice crumb! Coarse, chewy, and super healthy!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Please excuse the craptastic photos - Commis' signless storefront intimidated me enough to not bring my camera, though it didn't stop me from snapping a few with my phone.

I had read a lot about this restaurant since its anticipated opening, followed by Michael Bauer's griping review and others mixed. I am not one to ever take him seriously, so I was still curious and decided to go a few weekends ago. Despite its lack of any signage and overall pretentious aura from the outside, I found the ambiance to be comfortable and not sterile at all, the service warm and friendly, and the food subtle and unexpected.

To address a few of MB's complaints - Yes, it was strange that the utensils were placed upside-down, but after asking the hostess she explained that it was really just the design, and if they were placed right-side-up they would rock back and forth. Odd choice, but really a minor detail. The walls were bare, yes, but there were so many live plants and other decor that I didn't feel like I was in a lab at all.

Let's get to the food. Their signature amuse (poached egg yolk surrounded by onion cream) was quite unctuous - fatty, rich, and delicious. I wasn't a fan of everything we had (broccoli soup tasted like strong ginger to me), but one app was a revelation - crispy sweetbreads with cereal grain and fowl juices (think savory oatmeal). The cod entree felt like Asian comfort food with its clear broth, turnips, and cabbage. The food was surprisingly accessible and familiar, yet still refined in technique.

The third course, however, was a bit underwhelming. Presented with 3 options (fruit, chocolate, cheese), we went with the goat cheese panna cotta with beet-blood orange sorbet, blood orange segments, beet foam, and candied pistachios. The pistachios had the perfect texture, but something went awry with the panna cotta which seemed to have tiny air bubbles and seemed to foam in the mouth. Instead of the chocolate, I thought the cheese course sounded interesting, but while the menu said "warmed," I was not expecting melted cheese on puff pastry! The lavender onion marmalade accompaniment was interesting, but it was really a waste of a dish.

While not every dish was stellar, there were definitely a few winners that made the meal satisfying. The wine pairing was also spot-on, and our servers were extremely knowledgeable in each bottle's story. I don't know if I would go back since it was over $100 per person, but I'm glad I tried it.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Here and There

Apple galette with almond frangipane and really great homemade puff pastry (I didn't peel the apples so there would be some color - the reds are from pink ladies); chicken adobo burrito with garlic fried rice from papalote's annual mexi-pino menu mmm



Underdog (hot dogs) and Underdogs (sports bar + taco shop) can get easily confused, especially since they are just about 2 blocks away from each other on opposite sides of 19th. Underdog feels like a hippie version of Top Dog with their extensive list of vegetarian and vegan "sausages," except significantly more expensive by $2+. The meat versions are all organic, and they also include some grassfed options as well as a Let's Be Frank dog, which would explain the higher prices, though it isn't more satisfying than a $1.50 Polish from Costco. Good and healthier I suppose, but how healthy are hot dogs anyway?

A bouncer was collecting cover before the UFC fight... not a shocker, we ate and left before it started. =P Mmm fish taco Nick's way and a cold beer.


Monday, February 01, 2010

The Challenge: Complete

Brunch galore: Mama's and Cafe Fanny (far R)

I've made it. Well.... I have a little confession to make. This weekend on 30-Jan, just 2 days left in the month, I was at Korean BBQ and enjoying my vegetable bibimbap, and I picked up some of the banchan that I thought was tofu. Well... it turned out to be fishcake! UGHHHHHHH FAILLLLLLLLLLLLLL

While I would like to discount that because it was a pure accident right before I was home-free, I know I can't call this challenge a success without feeling guilty. I was sooo close. Oh well!

French onion soup and a glass of wine at the Absinthe bar on a rainy day! Blue Bottle's toast and latte

Do I feel different? Did I miss meat? Will this change the way I eat from now on? I feel exactly the same, and like I said before, the only difficult part was eating out or in social gatherings. Since my last post, Rhonda was gracious enough to make a special mushroom ragu for me at a party, I tried the house-made veggie burger at Monk's Kettle (Can't Fail is much better), Mike and I have had a lot of red hot catatoes, and I've been enjoying many a veggie burrito from La Taq after church. I've been saving money from the discipline of bringing my lunch to work instead of spending $10/day on overpriced FiDi salads, and hopefully I can continue to do that since it's also healthier.

Every time a new article was posted about meat contamination or something just as disturbing, I definitely thought "I'm glad I don't have to worry about that." Now that I will again, I think I might stay away from questionable products like hot dogs, bologna, etc unless I know that they are sourced from actual substantial pieces of real animal that hasn't been sitting in its own feces and disease. But who am I kidding. It's so difficult to really track that down, so maybe I will just try to only eat meat when I eat at non-sketchy places (since most SF restaurants grind their own meat, etc). We'll see! Maybe I'll try it again another month, but in the mean time I will be enjoying the nduja that has been sitting in my freezer, waiting for this day to come.