• Posted by Califia Suntree on March 21st, 2011, 10:37 AM

    Happy spring! To celebrate, pick up these cheery, colorful melamine confetti bowls by Zak Designs. Inspired by vintage Melmac, the bowls are ready for picnics and potlucks, and seem especially right for Easter: one for a pile of colorful eggs, one for Peeps, one for chocolates, and the big one for hot cross buns.

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on March 18th, 2011, 9:19 AM

    Slow Food International presents an event that celebrates “small-scale fishers: a threatened species.” From the website: “Slow Fish is an opportunity for retracing the story of artisanal fishing, learning how it works, what cultures it involves, its hardships and skills, as well as discovering how much small-scale fishing has changed today, how it relates to the world and how it has suffered from globalization.” The event features tastings, conferences, and a marketplace featuring small-scale sustainable fishers—no threatened species allowed and not a bluefin tuna, eel, swordfish or salmon in sight. What there will be, however, are Fishwiches: artisanal Triora bread filled with fresh Ligurian seafood. One pressed octopus with celery fishwich per favore!

    When: Friday, May 27 to Monday, May 30, 2011

    Where: Genoa Pavilion B, Fiera di Genova, Piazzale Kennedy 1

    A four-day pass is 15 euros. Special events are additional and must be booked in advance.


  • Posted by Califia Suntree on March 17th, 2011, 9:15 AM

    While I love Irish Soda Bread, I always found our family recipe a little…austere. Granted, there’s good reason for that austerity. It’s meant to be slathered in country butter, or eaten with dishes like stew or corned beef; plus, it’s poor-people’s food. So while I have such warm memories of my mom and grandmother whipping up my Irish great-grandmother’s version of Soda Bread, I decided to tart it up a bit this year.

    And I mean “tart” like my grandmother would mean it—a little too adorned, a little too seductive. That’s because I dolled up the family recipe with dried cherries (instead of raisins) and chunks of bacon. It’s sweet, salty, and ready to party. Here’s to the Irish!

    Makes one 6 1/2″ loaf Read on… »

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  • Posted by Califia Suntree on March 16th, 2011, 9:18 AM

    Amy Thielen left a career cooking in Manhattan’s most esteemed restaurants (“the tour of duty went Bouley, Boulud, Vongerichten, Gallante, in that order”) to move with her husband back to their home turf of Northern Minnesota. Going rural, I’ve always noticed, usually makes hard-charging chefs even more creative and inspired—although, as Thielen, writes, her “brunoise may not be it used to be.” She now writes about food for various publications, teaches cooking classes, and maintains the excellent and informative (and funny!) blog Sourtooth.

    One of my favorite posts is about cooking steak in the sauna (pronounced “sown-ah” per a native Northern Minnesotan I know), inspired by her haute-cuisine experience with cooking sous vide and a Finnish tradition of cooking sausages while you shvitz. Another favorite is a recipe for Vietnamese Shaken Venison, a gamy take on one of my favorite dishes. (If you like that, you will also enjoy Lisa Ramsey’s recipe for Deerloaf.) Turns out, venison is common in parts of Southeast Asia. Writes Thielen, “maybe it was Minnesota deer hunting that drew the Hmong people to Minnesota, not the Lutheran Church, as widely thought. They certainly didn’t come for the weather.”

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