Crab Soup


We all do it. I mean, honestly, it's hard not to. No matter how much we plan, we all end up wasting food. That tomato, those fresh herbs, some lettuce. Whether I had forgotten or just didn't use it, I seem to have food that goes to waste.

Yesterday I decided to change that. I went to my kitchen and looked at what I had before I planned our meal. I remembered I had a pound of cooked crab that I had to use this weekend. But how? I looked in my cookbooks, but really found nothing that appealed to me. Back in the kitchen I looked again at what I had and besides the crab I had buttermilk, potatoes, carrots and parsley. I felt like I was on Chopped. I knew exactly what I would make - Crab Soup.

This super easy recipe is almost a chowder. However, by using low-fat buttermilk it's actually figure friendly, unlike many chowders. The buttermilk gives it creamy richness without all the calories.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound shelled cooked crab
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth
  • 3 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
  • Salt
  • Fresh-ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Peal potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch chunks.
  2. In a 4- to 5-quart pot over high heat, combine potatoes, carrots, and broth. Cover, bring to a boil, and cook until potatoes and carrots are tender when pierced, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Lower the heat.
  4. Slowly add buttermilk to pot and stir until hot, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Add crab, mixing gently for a minute or so.
  6. Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
  7. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with parsley.
  8. Serve with sour dough or crusty bread.

Joey Recommends - Paxti's Pizza



After our excursion at the King Tut exhibit in Golden Gate Park, we were looking forward to having pizza at Paxti's Pizza in Hayes Valley. The near hour walk definitely helped build our appetite. Anyway, once there we were welcomed with the friendliest of greetings and the glorious smell of pizza! Our server was very outgoing, helpful, and made us feel at home.

We started off with the antipasto plate which came with olives, grapes, crackers and a choice of three meats. From the list we selected Spanish chorizo, aged prosciutto, and Genovese salami. It was a nice little start to our lunch.

Next we had the salad wedge with fresh, crisp iceberg lettuce topped with bleu cheese dressing, tomatoes and bacon. This was a very refreshing interlude while we waited for our pizza.

Paxti's is renowned for their Chicago style pizza so we had to try it! We were wrestling between getting a 10” for 2 or 12” for 3 people because we love bringing home leftovers to enjoy at home. After some serious consideration, we decided on just getting a 10” pie with three toppings: Italian sausage, mushrooms, and kalamata olives. They do have specialty pizzas but we wanted to build our own. It took about thirty minutes so the antipasto plate and salad were a good way to keep us happy. When the pizza finally got to our table I was pleasantly surprised at the size of this little monster. Our server dished it out for us and I was happy to see all the cheesy goodness ooze from the pie. The pizza was cut into six sections but we could only finish one each. It was that filling! The crust was perfectly made, there was the perfect amount of sauce, and a generous enough amount of toppings.

The only things that I wish they had were a bigger selection of appetizers and some sort of dessert to satisfy my sweet tooth. Other than that, this was a very good experience and we will definitely come back again. Next time I’d like to give their thin crust pizza a shot!

Paxti's Chicago Pizza
511 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA

Sun - Wed 11am - 10pm, Thurs - Sat 11am - 10:30pm


Website | 415-558-9991

Let's Cook Japanese Food!


I have an embarrassing number of cookbooks. Really, I do. Probably close to 100. What's worse is that more often than not I go online to search for recipes rather than go to my cookbooks to find a recipe. When there is a book I find myself going to again and again, then that's a great cookbook. Let's Cook Japanese Food is that kind of cookbook for me.

Having lived in Japan for eight years I found myself missing some of the more comforty foods I used to have there. Chicken Kara-age, Fried Rice, Croquettes, Okonomiyaki, Doria - the list goes on and on. These are not foods you find readily in Japanese restaurants. These are really home foods or foods you would eat in a tiny little restaurant on your way home from the train station. When I did find them, quite frankly, they were horrible. Even in Japantown. Actually, especially in Japantown.

One day when I was particularly obsessed with finding a seafood doria recipe online I came across this book. I was skeptical, but being the online shopper that I am I naturally bought it. When I received it I was happily surprised to see what it had in store for me. All the foods I have been missing for years all wrapped up in one little cookbook!

Amy Kaneko knows what she's doing with Let's Cook Japanese Food and was obviously well tutored by her Japanese mother-in-law. This book is chock full of Japanese comfort foods. All the foods I love, but couldn't find here in San Francisco.

The book is divided into four sections:

  • Tofu and Eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Fish and Shellfish
  • Meat and Poultry
  • Rice, Noodles, and Dumplings
Within each section is a great introduction and each recipe also has a nice history of explanation of the dish. The instructions are easy to follow and the ingredients are very easy to find. More importantly they taste just like "mamasan" used to make! Recipes I could never find online. I have made so many of these dishes and have been pleased with the outcome each and every time.

If you lived in Japan, have a Japanese mom and want to cook like her, or are just curious about Japanese food, this is the ideal book for you. You will be going back to this cookbook again and again.

Hungarian Hot Sausage and Lentil Stoup


While spring has sprung some things always remain the same in San Francisco. One of them is the weather. It's never going to get very hot or very cold here. That has some definite advantages. While the rest of the country may be packing up their sweaters and dusting off their shorts, I can wear the same clothes year round and it's never too hot or cold to make my favorite dishes.

This is definitely one of my Rachel Ray favorites and one of the first recipes of hers I ever made. Now it's very easy; and, in some circles trendy, to criticize her cooking. To those of you who do, I challenge you to try this recipe and not like it. It's not only delicious buy very healthy and figure-friendly. The combination of the hot sausage and the smoked paprika give this a very homey, old-world flavor. The chard is a great way to get some healthy greens in while adding texture and flavor. Since this is what Rachel Ray calls a "stoup" it's combination of a soup and a stew. Served with some crusty bread you have a one-dish meal that will please everyone - even those who don't like Rachel Ray. While this is a "30-minute Meal" it really takes longer to make and if you make it ahead the flavors just get better and better!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 1 1/2 pounds bulk hot Italian sausage
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, gills scraped out, chopped
  • 1 cup pre-shredded carrots, available in sacks in produce department of the market
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 large starchy potato, peeled and chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (or substitute a mix of 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon sweet paprika and 2 pinches cayenne pepper)
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, in tact on stems
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fire roasted chopped tomatoes, such as Muir Glenn or, regular diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups kale or chard, a small bunch, veins removed and chopped
  • Crusty pumpernickel bread, to pass at table
  • Butter, for bread
Instructions
  1. Heat a medium soup pot over medium high heat.
  2. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, then add sausage to pot and brown and crumble it, then add garlic, onions and mushrooms.
  3. Cook a few minutes, then add carrots, lentils, potato, salt and pepper, bay leaf, paprika or substitute mixture and rosemary (leaves will fall from stems as stoup cooks).
  4. Add tomatoes and broth and cover pot then raise heat to high and bring to a boil.
  5. Uncover pot and place heat back a bit but keep stoup at a good rolling boil.
  6. Cook 15 minutes until lentils and potatoes are tender.
  7. Wilt in greens in small bunches, remove rosemary stems and turn off heat.
  8. Let stand 5 minutes.
  9. Serve in shallow bowls with bread and butter to mop up stoup.
  10. Reheat leftovers thinning it with broth or water.

Joey Recommends - Triptych




Triptych exudes so much charm that I couldn't help but really fall for it. First of all the food is excellent. I had the pork osso bucco with garbanzo beans and crispy pancetta. The meat was extremely tender and delicious. Another must have at this restaurant are the sweet potato fries which are crispy but not oily. The secret is that they are double fried! As for dessert I indulged myself in the warm chocolate molten cake, which was everything you could ask a warm chocolate molten cake to be! Pure gooey goodness!

The service was nothing less than excellent. Our waitress was very attentive and engaging. And I just love the decor of this place down to the disco themed bathroom. There's nothing like going to the bathroom with Charlie's Angels. I would definitely go back here when I'm in the area and in need of food.

Triptych
1155 Folsom Street (Between 7th and 8th)
San Francisco, CA 94103

415-703-0579

Website
| Reservations

Grateful For My Mom


Today marks the one year anniversary of my mother passing. I remember that day so vividly. I was feeling the best I had felt in my life. Joey and I had just finished the Master Cleanse, I had been going to a trainer for a month and all was well in my world. I was feeling amazing. My mom was in the hospital, but was doing well and was expected to be going home the next day. All was well in my world. Then I got the phone call. The poor doctor stammered around for a bit talking about a pea (yes, a pea) and I finally asked, "Did my mom die?"

"Yes," he said, "she swallowed a pea and it went into her lung. She died while we were operating to get it out."

"My mother doesn't eat peas."

"Well, she did today. I'm so sorry."

At first I couldn't believe it. Not that she died, but that she died from a pea. Of all things she had done in her life and to her body it was a pea that killed her. We are taught not to find humor in death, but I know mom would laugh about this one. A PEA!

I have missed my mom a lot this past year, but I have also been grateful. Grateful that my mother and I were so close, grateful for all she taught me and even grateful for the way she moved on.

My mother and I didn't spend a lot of time together when I was growing up, but we made up for that when I became an adult she was my best friend. A lot of what I am is because of her. We are amazingly alike in many ways - good and bad. On the good front, I embrace all those qualities of myself that remind me of her. On the bad qualities, she did her best to teach me how to work with them. She always told me that she thought she went through so many hard times to teach me what not to do. She sure did teach me and I listened. Not always at first, but I did listen.

So, today I celebrate all that is my mother. I can still feel her touching my life and if I listen closely enough she is still there guiding me down the right path. I will always be grateful to have this amazing woman in my life.

Life is Perfect


Yesterday was an extraordinary day. It's not that anything out of the ordinary happened. The day was quite typical. I got up, had coffee, made the bed, went to work, came home. All the usual things one does during the day. What was extraordinary was my attitude towards life has finally seemed to shift in the right direction. I finally realized that life is perfect the just way it is right now.

I have spent most of my life trying to make to make things perfect. When I played clarinet as a boy I would practice for hours and hours on end because I was never good enough. When I started singing it was the same thing. Hours and hours of practice and I was never good enough.

As a young man I became obsessed with my appearance. I would spend hours in front of the mirror doing my hair, ironing my clothes and making sure the pastel blue of my socks was the exact shade of blue in my shirt (it was the 80s so I get some slack here) and I never looked good enough.

In the 90s I went on this journey of self discovery where I would examine each and every thing that was wrong in my life and was wrong with me. I didn't really do anything about it, I just looked at it. I examined my inner child so closely that my outer adult grew weary. Nothing was good enough.

In my late 30s I started obsessing about the "shoulds." I should be further in my career. I should own a house. I should have these kinds of friends and those kinds of things. Nothing was good enough.

The last year I completely spiraled deep into a little midlife crisis. Now I knew it was me that not good enough and it was too late. For so long I have never been completely satisfied with anything, mostly myself. I was certain I was too old to change and life was what it was - not good enough. I have spent a lot of time regretting the past and looking for more in the future. I have never sat and just enjoyed the present. I mean really enjoyed the present until yesterday.

Last night when I was getting ready for bed I had this new and wonderful feeling - contentment. I don't think I have ever really felt that so strongly or so completely. This really didn't come out of the blue. I have been working on this for a long time and recently I have been working really hard at it. Well, it paid off. This feeling, though, is not what I expected. It's better. I finally know that my life, right now, is perfect. Everything about it is perfect. My job, my friends, my partner, my birds, my home and most importantly me! Everything is as it should be. Right here, right now.

Yesterday really was an extraordinary day. It was perfect.

Bread Machine Sour Dough


What a glorious day! I woke up in such a wonderful mood and was quickly rewarded by the Universe: the sun was brightly shining and the boys were particularly happy to see me. Their excitement and love for me each morning is a great way to start the day. It feels good to be needed. Maybe that's why I like making sour dough bread. It kind of needs you to get started.

I have been obsessed with making sourdough bread since we got a bread machine last October. I tried endlessly to get my sourdough starter going with poor results. Everything always started out right, but in a couple of days I would only have a sad jar of yuck. I tried again and again. I finally discovered the King Arthur Flour website and they had just what I needed - Classic Fresh Sourdough Starter and complete directions. Apparently, it is descended from a starter in New England that has been nurtured since the 1700s. Wow, it's more than just an ingredient, it's almost like a pet!

My little plastic jar of started arrived with complete instructions and the request to feed it. I placed it right in the jar that I just had to buy and fed it according to the instructions. Four hours later that starter was going to town! It had more than doubled in size and was bubbling like mad. Finally, I had a happy starter. After a couple of weeks feeding I was ready to make my bread!

Since I was determined to make this in my bread machine, I went to one of my many cookbooks and found what I thought looked like a good recipe. The result? Failure. Boo! The bread was doughy inside. Determined not to give up I searched the web and it didn't take long to find a recipe on Recipezaar. Not only did it have great reviews, it was surprisingly simple. The result? Fantastic sourdough bread. The crust was crunchy and the inside was soft and chewy, just like it should be. I have made this bread four times and each time it's been delicious. I have no idea how it stacks up to other recipes besides the one I tried because this one is a hit!

The recipe below makes a 1 1/2 pound loaf. Use the basic bread setting on medium or light. (We prefer light.) Don't use the delay function with this recipe.

Oh! By the way, this starter is honestly going to town, so if you live near me and want some hit me up!

Ingredients

  • 2 2/3 cup bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast*
  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 3/4 cup water

Instructions
  1. Take your starter out of the refrigerator and feed it about 4 - 12 hours before you want to make the bread.
  2. Add all the ingredients to your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer.
  3. Bake on the basic cycle with medium or light crust setting.
  4. Remove and cool immediately when finished.

Notes

Depending on the brand of yeast you have you might need a little less. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 teaspoons of yeast, but I have found in general that my machine and yeast brand usually requires more than the recipe so I used 2 teaspoons.

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About Sean & Joey

Joey and I are just a couple of guys living in San Francisco. I love cooking and we both like trying new things. Planning our meals is one of our "together" things. I hope you enjoy our blog! - Sean

Dedication

This blog is dedicated to the two most important people in my life - my mom, Ernee Jean O'Brien, and my partner Joey Concepcion. They both have showered me with unconditional support and love and have always encouraged me to be myself. I will always miss my mom and I don't know what I would do without Joey.

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