Roasting poblano peppers

Roasting poblano peppers

Poblanos, as I’ve discovered, are the most versatile of green chillies, my go-to heat. I use puree them for this corn and poblano chowder, cut into strips and fried with potatoes to stuff in tacos, simmered with pulled pork, even diced to season bacon jam. They have a rich flavor that’s almost fruity with relatively low heat, registering at 1,000-2,500 on the Scoville Scale, right between pimientos (100 – 900) and jalapeños (3,500 – 8,000). Steamed, stuffed, or blended, they are delicious either way.   I discovered the bitter way that ripe green poblanos are not best raw.  The very simple must-do prep step is seeding and roasting them before use to bring out their flavor. Before handling your poblanos, cover your hands with plastic bags. (This is a great way to recycle your empty bread wrappers!)  If you do have to do this bare-handed, please don’t do like I did and like scratch your eye. Capsaicin is an oily substance and takes some time to wear off of your skin. I cut the in half, discard the inner white membrane along with the stem and seeds. Sometimes I cut them into half again. Then I pop them directly over the gas burner on my cooktop, over a medium-high flame. Do not leave them alone. Use tongs. They will start smoking and crackling, and the outside of the pepper will blacken and char. Poblanos have a very thin skin that is loosened by the charring. Once it’s cool it’s easy to rub off. I also use this technique to roast red bell peppers....
Pear, arugula, and gorgonzola pizza

Pear, arugula, and gorgonzola pizza

My friend Bridget suggested this pizza combo to me after a meal she had at Santa Cruz’s Tramonti in Seabright. It was an all-white pizza featuring pears and blue cheese; she thought some arugula would add some zing and make it sing. She was right. The base of this is a thin layer of Trader Joe’s Quattro Formaggio blend (asiago, fontina, provolone, and parmesan), topped with thin slices of ripe Asian pear, a handful or arugula, and finally a drizzle of gorgonzola. The sweetness of the pear substitutes nicely for tomato; the asiago and fontina give it a zing, arugula adds texture and contrast, and the gorgonzola makes it elegant. A...
Great Food In San Francisco

Great Food In San Francisco

Back in the 1960s, San Francisco made it onto the television screens of nearly every home in America, accompanied by strains of “Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat.” While the ad campaign was a huge success, putting Rice-a-Roni on the map, it also did a huge disservice to San Francisco’s image as a gastronomic capital. Indeed, San Francisco has some of the most enticing foods and confections in North America, if not the world. It’s worth taking a trip there just to sample all the different cuisines that are on offer. Let’s start with chocolate. San Francisco is home to Ghirardelli, which has been making luxury chocolate products for more than 160 years. It was founded by Domingo Ghirardelli all the way back in 1852, who set up the company during the California Gold Rush. His genius lay in the realization that miners coming back from the gold fields were starved of luxury goods, and so he started to sell high-end chocolates to fill the need. So, if you are in San Francisco, why not drop in to the Original Ghirardelli Chocolate Manufactory in Ghirardelli Square and pick up a taste of heaven? For completely authentic Chinese fare, head up to San Francisco’s Chinatown, the largest and oldest Chinatown in the United States – in fact it has the largest Chinese community outside of Asia. Established in 1848, it continues to maintain its own unique identity, languages and customs, immersing the visitor in a world filled with herbal shops, pagodas, and dragon parades. To sample what Chinatown has on offer, drop in to one of the many excellent restaurants and...