food finds: piment d'Espelette

If ever there was a spice that Chef Caals absolutely could not live without, it would be his dearest piment d’Espelette. Just about every one of his dishes got a pinch (or two) of it and every time, Chef would ask us, Pourquoi pas? “Why not?” Being that he was trained by Master Chef Alain Ducasse we had very little doubt that he knew what he was doing. And naturally, of course, once we tasted his food, whatever doubt we had disappeared faster than [...]

food finds: san marzano tomatoes

Once you’ve had homemade tomato sauce, there’s just no turning back. Jarred tomatoes sauces like Ragu and Prego will never be able to measure up =P Standing in the pasta aisle at the supermarket, with those crystal clear glass jars filled with pre-made sauce glaring back at you, you might just be tempted by their convenience, but only for a second. Because after that one second, that unbeatable taste of homemade pasta sauce… the rich, bold tomato flavor, personalized with your own selection of fresh [...]

food finds: pancetta

With a bucket full of salt and a handful of spices you can turn any meat into deliciously cured meat and pancetta is surely no exception. Similar to bacon, Italian pancetta is made from salt-cured pork belly, but it’s usually rolled up like a jelly roll and left to dry unsmoked. Sliced thin and pan-fried to a crisp, pancetta adds extreme flavor to just about anything, especially pasta sauces. Mixed into stuffing, topped on a gourmet slider, or tossed into macaroni & cheese… the possibilities [...]

food finds: wines @ tj's

Trader Joe’s is definitely the place to go to try out new wines since their bottles are so reasonably priced and they always have a great selection on hand! They’re also the exclusive distributor of Charles Shaw brand of “extreme value” wines, which include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and White Zinfandel. Since these wines sell for a mere $1.99 at TJ’s across California, they’ve been dubbed the ‘Two Buck Chuck’. Quite suitable, don’t you think? They’re great if you’re really on [...]

favorite things: maldon salt

Oh, how can I express my love and devotion for this pure, flaky sea salt? It’s nearly impossible to put into words, but the late, great Pablo Naruda somehow managed to depict these feelings beautifully in his ‘Ode to Salt’:

This salt
in the salt cellar
I once saw in the salt mines.
I know
you won’t
believe me,
but
it sings,
salt sings, the skin
of the salt mines,
sings
with a mouth smothered
by the earth.

….

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