#92 | 🐝 Buzz Free Honey
Frozen Pizza Renaissance
I’ve never seen the land of milk and honey, but at the Iowa State Fair I glimpsed a cow fashioned of butter. It lived behind a window in an icy room, beneath klieg lights. I filed past as one files past a casket at a wake. It was that sad: a butter cow without a butter calf. Nearby I spied a butter motorcycle, motorcycle- sized, a mechanical afterthought I thought the cow might have liked to ride. You don’t drive a motorcycle; you ride it. But not if you’re a butter cow, not if you’re a butter cow who’s seen, if not the land of milk and honey, the land of milk, and dwelled within it. It had a short life span, the butter cow. Before it died, I looked deep into its butter eyes. It saw my butter soul. I could have wept, or spread myself, for nobody, across dry toast.
—Andrea Cohen (photo: butter cow)
We miss going to the county fair! They just aren’t the same since most of them don’t have livestock barns anymore. 🐄
By the way, I'm Bruce Cole, Publisher of Edible San Francisco. If you’re new here, welcome to EAT.DRINK.THINK., a newsletter spotlighting seasonal recipes, the latest SF Bay Area food news, poetry, and more!
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💚 Green Goddess: Does this look good or what? Hetty McKinnon’s spinach and chickpea curry with paneer is a simple dish that leans on pantry staples like canned chickpeas, canned coconut milk, and rice with a trip to the store for spinach, paneer, and what she calls a “simmer sauce” (presumably curry sauce). We’ve got most of these ingredients on hand, including a spicy Thai green curry sauce from Kitiya we picked up at the farmers market, and we’ll grab some spinach and paneer tomorrow. Follow our stories on Instagram if you want to see how it turns out when we make it this week: @ediblesf
Frozen Tofu: Since we don’t have all the ingredients to make the spinach curry ☝️ tonight, but we do have tofu in the freezer, we’re making this pan-fried tofu recipe from Food52 and Chef Lucas Sin of Junzi Kitchen. A reminder of the technique: when tofu is frozen, the water molecules turn into ice crystals and expand, creating small, sponge-like holes. After defrosting, you gently squeeze out most of the moisture resulting in tofu that is firm yet airier and chewier, and all of those sponge-like holes absorb sauces, marinades, vinaigrettes, etc. Watch: Lucas Sin make pan-fried (previously frozen) tofu with a classic Chinese sauce, and be sure to note his technique for squeezing the water out of the thawed tofu blocks. You don’t want to squeeze too hard or the blocks fall apart.
We’re Living In a Frozen Pizza Renaissance: Sealing frozen pizzas in transparent packaging has given the category new life and it seems like everyone is getting in on the game. Locally, Delfina, Del Popolo, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, and The Pizza Place are slinging pies in a grocery freezer section near you. Our current fav is The Dimitri (sausage, pepperoni, and mushroom) from The Pizza Place, named after Dimitri Vardakastanis of Gus’s Market. If you have a pizza stone in your oven, it takes about 8 minutes at 425ºF to slide a perfectly baked pie onto your dining room table.
“Clear packaging isn’t just smart marketing. By removing air from the package, the vacuum seal keeps moisture out and prevents ice crystals from forming on the pizza to retain that crucial crispy crust after the rebake.” Emily Wilson for Taste
Trail Of Breadcrumbs: Anna Wiener, author of Uncanny Valley, traces the humble beginnings of Tartine Bakery, from a small cramped corner on Guerrero, to its expansion to locations in South Korea and Southern California, and its employee’s ongoing union negotiations for a contract (they were recognized by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in March 2021). “How can something still be artisanal if it has six branches in Seoul?” The New Yorker
🍯 Honey Without The Bees: Vegans are abuzz over Oakland’s Melibio lab’s bee-free vegan honey. It’s made from fructose and glucose derived from fruits and vegetables, and sourcing varietal flavor compounds from plants honey bees typically pollinate. Larissa Zimberoff of Technically Food notes:
“Bee-free honey is tasty, and it’s a win for vegans and new moms. But whether or not it could solve complex food system problems, like pollinator biodiversity, remains unclear.” Bon Appetit
🏅 Bay Area James Beard Award Winners: The Beard Awards, the Oscars of the food world, were announced last Saturday:
Understory, a worker-cooperative restaurant in Oakland received an emerging leadership award.
The SF Chronicle’s restaurant critic Soleil Ho won the award for criticism.
Brandon Jew, chef-owner of San Francisco’s Mister Jiu’s, and co-author Tienlon Ho, won the restaurant and professional cookbook award for Mister Jiu's in Chinatown: Recipes and Stories from the Birthplace of Chinese American Food.
Kristina Cho won the baking and desserts cookbook award for “Mooncakes and Milk Bread: Sweet and Savory Recipes Inspired by Chinese Bakeries,” and an award for emerging voice.
Zuni Cafe chef Judy Rogers was honored posthumously for “The Zuni Cafe Cookbook,” which was inducted into the foundation’s cookbook hall of fame.
The Daily Moo: A film from Andrea Arnold that “details the life of dairy cows with unflinching and empathetic precision.”
“We are nature. We are animals. The top of the food chain. But we are still animals and we have many animal instincts. Denying this, separating our selves and disconnecting from this is starting to seem more and more at our peril. Our relationship with the millions of non-human lives we use is very much part of our existence. I made Cow to invite engagement with that.” Andrea Arnold for The Guardian
🇺🇦 Anna Voloshyna's Food Memories Run Deep: Voloshyna, San Francisco food writer and author of the upcoming Ukrainian cookbook Budmo! Recipes from a Ukrainian Kitchen (fall 2022 ), reminiscences about her grandmother's dark damp root cellar and the culinary treasures it stored, including her mother's spicy and sour pickled tomatoes which she shares at the pop-up dinners and cooking classes she hosts in the city. Now she tells the sad story of how her family in the town of Snihurivka had to take cover in her grandmother’s root cellar as Russian troops advanced.
“Nine people were trapped 12 feet below the ground in a room no larger than a typical walk-in refrigerator at a restaurant, surrounded by jars of pickles, vessels with sauerkraut, and sacks of potatoes and beets. My family stayed there for two weeks, wrapping themselves in blankets, shivering from cold and terror.” The Washington Post
Reminder: Food Prices Are Going 🚀
LISTEN: On repeat this week, Billie Bossa Nova by Billie Eilish from her 2021 release Happier Than Ever. YouTube
That’s all for this week.
We’re outta here. Be well and take care,
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