Tag Archives: Ingredients

Carnitas to Die For


  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 lbs pork shoulder roast
  • kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 3-4 dried chili peppers
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 white or yellow onion, sliced into rings
  • juice of 1 orange
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 32 oz chicken stock


Rub meat all over with salt and a good sprinkling of cumin, chili powder and black pepper. Heat a large dutch oven on the stove and add olive oil. Sear the meat thoroughly on all sides until the surfaces are crispy.

Add everything else into the pan including the rest of the spices: more cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.

Bake covered for 3-4 hours at 350. It’s done when so tender it’s falling off the bones.

Remove from the dutch oven and place into a 9×13 baking pan. With a pair of forks, shred the meat. Discard the bone and layer of fat from the bottom. If there is remaining liquid spoon about a cup and a half over the top.

Place uncovered into a 500 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the ends are carmelized.

Serve with fresh corn tortillas.

Serves: 6-8

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: approximately 4 hours



Seafood Paella

My grandmother taught me that Spanish cooking tends to include whatever is fresh and available. In otherwords, to make a good paella, you need to go to the market and see what looks good. Some ingredients, like the sofrito, should not be substituted. But the meats and seafoods really need to come from local stock.

I made this paella last night for a house full of hungry guests who gave it rave reviews.


  • About a cup of olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 6 cups of chicken broth


  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • salt

Everything Else

  • 4 large fresh Spanish Chorizos, chopped into 1/2″ slices
  • 5 cups of Bomba Rice
  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 lb live clams
  • 1 lb live mussels
  • 1 lb whole shrimp with heads on
  • 1 lb whole langostine with heads on
  • 2 tsp saffron, crumbled
  • 2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika


Pour the chicken stock into a pot and heat to not quite boiling. Cover and leave over medium-low.

Place an 18″ paella pan over two burners on high to get the pan hot. Add about 3 tbsp of olive oil and heat. It’s hot enough when you drizzle a few drops of water into the oil and its sputters. Turn the heat down a little and throw in the garlic cloves. Toast until golden brown and remove them from the oil. Put the garlic in a bowl and save for later.

Make the Sofrito

You may need to add another splash of olive oil. Toss the chopped bell peppers an onion into the hot olive oil and heat on medium-high with a pinch of kosher salt until the vegetables are soft. Remove the mixture from the pan leaving as much oil in the pan as possible. Place mixture in a bowl and set aside.

Make Everything Else

Toss the chorizo into the pan and brown on both sides. Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl. (Are you starting to sense a theme here?)

Leave enough oil in the pan to cover the surface, but not more than about 1/16 of an inch deep. Drain the rest and pour it over your dog’s kibble. She’ll love you forever!

Cut each tomato in half and grate the soft part on a box grater. Throw out the skins. Set aside.

Pour the rice into the pan of hot oil and stir. Heat until the rice is evenly coated with oil for a minute or two. You want the rice to get a little bit clear, so you can see a white dot in the middle of each grain.

Now add in the hot chicken broth, the tomatoes, the garlic, the sofrito, saffron, paprika, plenty of salt and the chorizo. Stir and simmer on med-low for about five minutes.

Stir in the peas.

Add the shellfish to the the mixture. Don’t stir it in but layer it evenly on top. Simmer on medium-low without stirring. Rotate pan 1/4 turn about every ten minutes so that it cooks evenly. Paella is done when the rice is tender, the clams and mussels have opened and the shrimp and langoustine are red. There should be a slightly burnt, brown not black, crust on the bottom, called the soccarat.

Serve with french bread and red wine.

Barcelona Mercat Boqueria – the Ultimate Super Market

Mushrooms at La Boqueria, Barcelona

Wild Mushrooms at La Boqueria, Barcelona

You already know how much I detest the American Supermarket. If you ask me, local merchants are the way to go. While I love San Francisco farmers markets, I’d never seen anything like the Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona, Spain.

I just returned from a vacation on Barcelona; a place where food is serious business. We rented a little flat which was just across from the Boqueria, an open air market which has been running daily since the mid-nineteenth century. (Read more about the history of the Boqueria.) Here you can find every manner of delicacy from whole pigs, to wild mushrooms, spices, foie gras, game, every manner of vegetable, shepherd-made cheeses, cured meats and even snails— and I’m not even scratching the surface.

I will admit, that the amount offered, is a bit mind boggling. Add that to the winding aisles of vendors and it’s quite easy to get lost here. We seemed to get lost every time we visited. Thankfully, there are a few places to sit down and have a drink or a snack.

Like everything in Barcelona, it’s open late. They officially close 8:30pm, although, if you wander in at eight, don’t be surprised to see merchants who are more interested in cleaning up than answering your questions.

If you’re visiting this glorious market and curious about what you can bring back to the states, I found this guide, Bring It on Home very helpful. In a nutshell, no produce, no meats (cured or otherwise), and no cheese runnier than brie. The good news is that you can bring home most of those wonderful stinky cheeses, as well as candies and spices!

For my photos of Barcelona’s Boqueria see my flickr set.

Bacon Camp, Bacon Man, Bacon Memes

Bacon Camp

We’re SO excited about Bacon Camp, San Francisco, on Mar 21. I get to be a judge. If you haven’t heard about this event, you’re in for an excitingly culinary treat. It’s produced by my dear friend Karen. Tickets are available here. So come out for the bacon and meet me and a host of other baco-celebs.

I’m also a little tickled that Steve’s and my creation, Bacon Man has a cameo in the Bacon Meme Video, a trailer for Bacon Camp!

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Miso-Bourbon Chicken

Sorry I don’t have photos but this dish was so good, I’m sharing the recipe right away. This was a spicy fusion spin on miso chicken.


For the Chicken

  • 1 lb chicken thighs (remove skin)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • ground ginger powder
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper

For the Sauce

  • 4 tbsp red miso paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp dark molasses
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 bunch finely chopped scallions
  • 2 tbsp grated chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp Sriracha sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 cup bourbon


Heat oven to 350°F. Remove skin from chicken and cover each side with a generous sprinkling of salt, pepper, garlic powder and ground ginger. Heat the oil in a skillet, preferably cast iron. Brown the chicken on both sides. Place entire skillet into oven for about 45 minutes or until done in the middle (about 170°).

While chicken is baking, add all of the sauce ingredients except the bourbon to a bowl and whisk together until miso is completely dissolved.

When chicken is done, take the skillet out of the oven and move the chicken pieces to a plate. I placed them in the broiler with the heat off just to keep them warm. Deglaze the pan by placing it over high heat and then adding the whiskey. Lower it to medium and stir until all that lovely chicken juice begins to dissolve into the whiskey. Now stir in the rest of the sauce and simmer over medium for about ten minutes or until the scallions soften.

Plate the chicken and pour sauce over each piece. Garnish with a sprinkling of freshly grated ginger.

Cook time: about an hour

Prep time: about half an hour

Servings: four

Tilapia as a Great Seafood Option

Fresh TilapiaWith salmon being virtually unavailable this year, and the list of over-farmed seafood growing, I feel like the fish choices keep getting slimmer all the time. Luckily, tilapia is still a great choice*.

I really like this fish. It’s available at any decent fish market or Asian grocery store, usually live or very fresh. It’s also much less expensive than other seafood choices, usually about $3/lb. And unless gutting fish is your thing, ask the guy at the meat counter to clean it for you before you bring it home.

Here’s one of my favorite ways to prepare tilapia. Herb Stuffed Tilapia makes a great summer main dish that’s low fat and full of delicious flavor.

For more tilapia recipes, Tessa Evans has a blog devoted to them. You can also find a list of tilapia recipes presented by the American Tilapia Association.

Herb Stuffed TilapiaHerb Stuffed Tilapia

Prep time: about 20 min. Cook time: about 30 min. Skill Level: medium to easy.

1 large whole tilapia, cleaned
1 lemon sliced into thin wedges
1 lemon sliced into rounds
2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped
3 or 4 green onions, sliced vertically
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 stick butter
1 cup white wine
1 tbsp peppercorns

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, mix dill, thyme, rosemary, chopped onion and garlic. Place fish into 9″x13″ baking pan. If the tail sticks out, just trim it with a pair of scissors. Next, lay 4 or 5 slices of butter into the body cavity of the fish, spread out. Stuff the fish with most of the herbs mixture leaving out about 1/4 cup. Pour 3/4 cup of wine into the fish. Now seal the opening off with the lemon wedges (see picture). Pour the remaining wine over the top of the fish and salt. Sprinkle the rest of the herb mixture over the top. Lay the sliced lemons over the top. Arrange the other onions on the bottom of the pan.

Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until fish is done and tender. It should just fall apart with a fork.

* Just be sure that you’re getting tilapia farmed in the US or Central America as the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch warns against the fish if it’s farmed in China.

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Avoiding Safeway

Buying Locally Offers Better Prices & Selection

Avoid Safeway

I avoid Safeway as much as possible. I used to think I didn’t have much of a choice for buying groceries. Now I’m learning that there are plenty of options that beat chain grocery stores for both price & selection.

Growing up in a nuclear family, I always thought that big grocery stores were necessary to supply my house with staples. Mom made the weekly trip to Stater Brothers or Alpha Beta and collected Blue Chip Stamps to save up for free appliances, long before the days of club cards. It seemed like back then, there were more major grocery stores as well as plenty of small markets you could choose from.

Nowadays, in San Francisco, you’re pretty much limited to Safeway and the Vons that’s out on Sloat. Calla Foods closed up a couple years ago. So are we stuck buying groceries from huge national chains that truck in supplies lord-knows-where and set prices however they please? Hell No!

San Francisco has plenty of small mom-pop markets with much better selection of produce, meats, and seafood than the Mega Marts. You just have to be willing to look for them.

While Safeway charges fifty cents per lime, my corner market sells them ten for a dollar. El Chico markets have wonderful produce and a fantastic meat counter too. I frequent the one on Mission in the Excelsior but they have locations all over town. Chain grocery stores also tend to have a very limited seafood selection. Try J.R. Seafood on BayView or Mission Meat & Poultry Market at 22nd & Mission for unbeatable quality, price and selection. In fact, Mission Poultry only sells sushi-grade fish. Your neighborhood Asian market is also going to be a great place to pick up fresh seafood. My favorite butcher, also at 22nd & Mission is Mission Meat Department. The staff is always so friendly and ready to offer recipe suggestions. They carry a variety of delicious hand-made sausages, too.

The best part about avoiding Safeway is that I am supporting local businesses and directly affecting the local economy. I may have to make a few more stops, but in my opinion, I get a much richer shopping experience and the access to greater variety of foods that chain stores just don’t carry.

I’ve listed a few of my favorite stores. I’d love to hear where you shop, whether or not you’re in San Francisco.

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