Getting on the Banh-wagon


As summer draws to a close and bids us goodbye with a last fiery embrace, we turn to the kitchen with a muted enthusiasm. Our last chance for grilling is passing us by! Did we take advantage of this summer? we ask ourselves with a bittersweet regret. Did we spend enough time relishing the warmth of sunshine, enjoying the childlike sense of freedom which has not quite faded? Now, in the final flare of warm weather after so many months of fog and fitful sun, we try to capture the summery spirit before fall wraps her chilly arms around us. This recipe, shared with us by a friend, is a wonderful way to take advantage of the Indian summer. Grilling tofu and fresh, plump zucchini in the backyard while a breeze rustles the leaves of the magnolia tree is the very essence of the season. The result, a fusion of flavors and cuisines, fits our palate perfectly and does justice to the variety of options available to us in this wonderful place we call home. Whatever can be said about its weather, the Bay Area provides a wealth of culinary options that dazzle and delight, no matter what the season. We took advantage of the fresh produce and local products to construct this mouth-watering sandwich, which embodies the soul of a California summer and celebrates its final encore. (more…)

When Life Gives You Cabbages


One of the benefits of living in the Bay Area is the even, mild climate we enjoy nearly year-round. Coupled with the rise of urban gardening and the subsequent ease of finding resources and support, it makes nurturing your own backyard garden an achievable goal for most of us (I say “most” because some of us, regardless of the availability of local fertilizer or community-sourced tips, will never be able to keep a plant alive long enough to see it bear fruit). Having once managed to produce an edible head of lettuce, I can tell you that the result of this achievement is a distinct and deep-seated pleasure. To cook with food tended by your own hands is supremely satisfying. Even if you only have room for a window box, grab a basil plant at Trader Joe’s; plucking the fragrant leaves and scattering them over your pasta offers a visceral sense of gratification. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this is my favorite recipe that we have prepared so far.