Friday, March 30, 2012

Z is for: Zocca {Seven Hills Restaurant Review}

You need to try this ravioli before you die.
According to Wikipedia, Zocca is a municipality in the Province of Modena in Italy.

It's also the last name of my friend Sophia, who I recently had the pleasure of dining with at Seven Hills Restaurant in Russian Hill.

(Yes, I realize that doesn't start with Z...but I promise you don't want to wait 20 weeks to hear about this place).

Sophia knows a thing or two about good Italian food. Her father lived in Trapani, Sicily until he was 17, and the family owns Trattoria Pinocchio in North Beach. So when Sophia suggested Seven Hills, I had a feeling we were in for a treat.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Z is for: Zanahoria {Carrot Soup}

I know what you're thinking....

"There she goes again...loosely interpreting the alphabet for the sake of the blog."

And you would be right.

Sort of.

Yes, zanahoria is the Spanish word for carrot. But this is actually a recipe from my host mom, Delores, while I was living in Barcelona back in 2002. So, using "zanahoria" instead of "carrot" is actually the right thing to do.

First of all, if you've never been to Spain, I *highly* recommend adding it to your list of places to visit. Barcelona captured my heart in a way no other city ever will, and for that I'm forever grateful and nostalgic.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Z is for: Zucchini Bites {two ways}

So I know I said this right after the holidays and didn't totally follow through, but it's detox time.

No, I'm not doing some sort of cayenne pepper/lemonade cleanse. No, I'm not doing South Beach Diet. But what I am going to do is not consume any alcohol for a few weeks (not even wine!) and I'm going to be eating a lot of veggies and fish.

What brought this on? Well, a combination of things. Mostly it stems from the fact I've been on a lot of trips lately, and it's super hard to eat healthy when you're eating out all the time. (Chicken fingers, fries, and margaritas by the pool certainly don't help either).

However...eating healthy doesn't mean eating gross diet food. It means controlling your portions and eating lots of green vegetables. I will never, ever, ever be able to cut cheese out of my diet, so that stays. I will just be choosing more low-fat cheeses for awhile (but NEVER non-fat...that's gross). That said...I present my latest creation: Zucchini Bites!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Y is for: Yellowfin Tacos and Yam Chips {guest post}

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I'm taking off for a few days to celebrate my friend Kim and her upcoming nuptials. I was feeling a little guilty about only posting two recipes this week until one of my faithful Twitter followers, Jullie Anne Caparas, was so kind as to volunteer to share not one, but TWO of her delicious (and beautiful) recipes.  

She grew up in a large Filipino family, so she's always loved cooking (and EATING!) After 2 years as a Business major, she made the switch to culinary student a and never looked back. (Following her it! What an inspiration). As you might imagine, she is always posting yummy food photos on Twitter and Instagram, so I knew they would be fabulous. I can't wait to try her tasty (and healthy!) version of "fish and chips."
When Jaymee asked me if I had any “Y” recipes in mind, I instantly thought of Yellowfin Tuna…also known as AHI Tuna! I love Yellowfin. I love it in sushi, I love it as a seared steak, and I especially love it in Poke (a traditional Hawaiian dish). Recently, I was able to try Yellowfin in the form of fish tacos. I went to Hawai’i for the NFL Pro Bowl, and I had the opportunity to stay at the Aulani Resort in Ko’ Olina. Aulani has a unique, open-air restaurant that overlooks the lagoon, called Ama Ama (named after a local fish!)

My first time there, I ordered the “Catch of the Day Tacos” for lunch (pictured above). Fresh, local fish with a sweet slaw and served with thick-cut sweet potato fries. I’m sure most of you have had fish tacos at some point. But these? These were awe-some. (Or maybe it was just the sunshine and all the shirtless surf instructors walking by…just kidding). But, personally, I love to take dishes I try at restaurants and put my own spin on them. This is exactly what I did with these tacos once I got home. So, now, I find myself pulling out that Fish Taco recipe, and sharing it with all of you for E is For Eat’s “Y” week. I give you: Grilled Yellowfin Tacos with Yam Chips!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Y is for: Yellow Rice {Arroz Amarillo}

I apologize in advance, but the blog will be a little lean this week. (Lean as in, not a lot of posts....not lean as in healthy...we already established that with the pound of potatoes I ate yesterday).

The reason? I'm taking my talents to South Beach. (Don't worry...I'll be back).

Yup, I'm going to Miami Wednesday night to celebrate my friend Kim and her last few weeks as a single lady. (Kim made the beautiful Upside Down Cake a couple weeks back). Kim is originally from Florida, so her one request on our trip is to eat some Cuban food. One of her favorite things is yellow rice, or Arroz Amarillo.

Well, since it's "Y week," I figured what better way to get us primed for our trip than with some traditional Yellow Rice. Fortunately, I had Kim as a resource on this one because there are quite a few variations of this dish online.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Y is for: Yukon Gold Triple Threat Potatoes

I love March Madness.

I love the drama, the upsets, the storylines, the raw emotion you see when these college players win (and lose) games. I wanted to do something basketball themed for the blog, but I didn't necessarily want to make basketball-shaped food items.

Last night, I was falling asleep thinking of things to make with Yukon Gold potatoes (isn't that what everyone thinks about when they're falling asleep?) Suddenly "Triple Threat" popped into my head.

In basketball, a triple threat is when a player receives the ball but hasn't dribbled yet. From there, he can either dribble, pass, or shoot. Hence...triple threat.

But in this case, the triple threat is a potato made three ways: Baked, Mashed, and Fried.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

X is for: Xacuti {Viva Goa Restaurant Review}

Months ago, I learned there's an Indian (specifically...Goan) dish called Xacuti. I filed it away, determined to make it once X week rolled around.

Well, I just didn't have time this week to tackle this one. First of all, you need a ton of Indian spices to make the masala. Spices which I don't have and didn't have time to hunt down. I'm sure once you have them, the recipe would actually go pretty fast, but I just didn't have the time or the energy this week.

So I did the next best thing. I found a restaurant in San Francisco that serves it! Viva Goa is located on Lombard Street in the Marina. I would have never noticed it had I not been looking for it specifically.

X is for: Xavier Steak & the Irish Car Bomb Jello Shot Experiment

People always ask me, "How in the world do you have time for a blog??"

It's a valid question. I love the blog, and as crazy as my life can get juggling job and social life and cooking/photographing/blogging, I usually find a way to make it work.

Until today when everything came crashing down. Literally. Boy am I having a week. I won't get into specifics, and I don't say that to solicit a pity party of any sort. I think it just provides some back story to the epic fail I had when I *attempted* some super cool Irish Car Bomb Jello Shots for St. Patty's Day.

But let's start with the steak.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

X is for: Xeri Mizithra Cheese {Spanakopita Cups}

If I was ever on Jeopardy and there was a category entitled “Foods that start with the letter X,” I would totally clean up. Speaking of game shows, remember “Family Feud?” That’s sort of what I felt like trying to prepare for “X week.” (Big red X's flashing across my screen as I searched for foods starting with X).

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I spent over an hour last week wandering around Chinatown looking for Xigua, a type of watermelon grown in China.

As some of my followers pointed out, since it’s technically just the Mandarin name for watermelon…why couldn’t I just use a regular watermelon? Well, because I’m obsessive, and when I get fixated on something, I can’t let it go. I wanted the Chinese watermelon with the almost-black skin. Turns out, they aren’t in season yet.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

X is for: Xanthan Gum {Gluten Free Pound Cake & Chocolate Fondue}

Being good friends with someone who has Celiac Disease, I’ve learned a lot about gluten free cooking. Gluten free spaghetti and meatballsEggplant Parmesan, and Noodleless Butternut Squash Lasagna, are just among some of the many things I’ve made with/for my friend Devon. Not to mention, she also contributed to the blog with Gluten Free Udon Noodle Soup and Venison Chili, so gluten free recipes are definitely well-represented here on Eisforeat.

When I was doing some research for “X week” and l discovered that Xanthan Gum is a common binding component in gluten free baking, and I was thrilled. (As you might imagine, finding ingredients or dishes that start with the letter “X” is not the easiest thing in the world).

Xanthan Gum can be pretty pricey, but fortunately, my favorite Grocery Store, Rainbow, sells it in bulk. So I literally was able to purchase a teaspoon of it for about 16 cents.

Now for what to make. Since I was having girls over for theBachelor Finale Monday night, and the final episode was shot in Switzerland, I knew we just had to bust out my fondue pot, which has been sitting in a cupboard, unused, for years. I decided to make a gluten-free vanilla pound cake for dipping in a chocolate fondue.

Friday, March 9, 2012

W is for: Waffles with Bacon

You need these waffles. 

You don’t even know you need these waffles. But you do. And you should definitely make them. Like, now.

But before we go any further, can we take a moment to appreciate the photography work on the right? 

If you could see me in my apartment photographing food you would laugh. Reflector propped up on the chair, bottle of maple syrup in my fully outstretched left hand, trying to capture it with my macro lens in my right, with a Tasmanian Devil-like trail of dirty dishes in my wake.

Somehow, that hot mess of a situation produced this photo. A pile of toasty, bacon-y waffles literally dripping with maple syrup. It's a beautiful thing.

But I digress. Back to actually making these waffles that you need so very badly.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

W is for: Wayfare Tavern {Restaurant Review}

Very few places can offer up a plate of deviled eggs for $11 and have them be worth it. Afterall, that probably cost them, what, $2-$3 at the most?

But at Wayfare Tavern, they are most certainly worth it, as are the rest of the food on the menu. I've been wanting to try this place for awhile, but I rarely venture over to the Financial District for dinner. This is Tyler Florence's restaurant, and it features a lot of comfort food classed up a bit.

The deviled eggs are topped with crispy shallots and capers, and they are as creamy as they are delicious. Instead of just the standard bread, they serve warm, flaky popovers. And even though you most certainly don't need a second one, you simply can't refuse it when the server comes around offering to fill up your empty bread plate.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

W is for: Watercress & Walnut Pesto

Is it spring yet?

While I really do love winter fruits and vegetables, after awhile, you start to get a little sick of them. Let's face it...there just isn't as much as a variety available in the winter months.

One of the things I am looking forward to most is  fresh, leafy basil. There's definitely basil available in the stores in California, but it's kind of sad looking and nothing like what you see in the warmer months. So in the meantime, things like pea shoots, arugula and watercress actually make a lovely base for a nice, bright pesto in the wintertime.

This pesto was actually made by my friend Kim on the day she made the Upside Down Cake. I merely helped snap photos and eat the delicious lunch of vermicelli with watercress pesto and grilled green beans. MMMMM!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

W is for: Winter Citrus Salsa with Pistachio Crusted White Fish

Eating out every night for two weeks really makes me realize how much I love to cook. Sure, we ate at some fantastic restaurants in Scottsdale, AZ (and you can check them out by clicking here), but I'm happy to be back home in my kitchen. (Tiny as it may be).

I wanted to make a winter citrus salsa for "W week," and I was going to leave it at just that. But the night I made it, I was cooking for my friend Andrea, and the fish turned out so yummy, I had to include that too. But since I didn't take any photos of it on Friday, I made it again Sunday and it was just as tasty. (That's how much I liked this dish).

Overall, this is a pretty light and healthy dish, and it works great anytime of the year depending on what citrus is in season. I used tilapia, but any white fish would be great! (Or even salmon!)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

V is for: Venison Chili {guest post}

Home sweet home.

Arizona was great, but it sure is good to be back in San Francisco...and in my kitchen again! How I've missed cooking. One last guest post, courtesy of Devon. Lots of back story behind this one...I'll let her explain!
When Jaymee first asked about guest blogging while she was at Spring Training I immediately jumped on board. And when she said "V" week, the first thing that popped into my mind was venison. Not because I have ever worked with it before, but because we both work in sports and several athletes fill their off season time with hunting. I thought it would be fitting to cook some up while Jaymee was down at Spring Training covering baseball!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

V is for: Veal Ripieno {guest post}

If you've been following my blog from the very beginning, you might remember my dear friend Kasey from the night I made her Delicata Squash Pasta recipe, or from her visit last month when we had an amazing dinner at NOPA.

Kasey and I were paired as roommates in Barcelona, and quickly became joined at the hip for most of our time in Europe. Although she now lives in Chicago, we still share our love of cooking through our blogs. (Click here to check out her fabulous food blog, Chow Bella, and to learn more about her Chicago-based company, Culinary Gatherings).

For her guest post, Kasey made a fabulous-looking stuffed veal...with the option of using chicken as well. I'll let Kasey explain from here, but it doesn't get more authentic than this dish. Enjoy this taste of Italy!
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