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A Press Democrat Blog

Proximal Kitchen

Cooking locally, with really sharp knives

In Praise of Street Food

I just got back from job-hunting in New York and, in case you haven’t read a paper in the last two years, the labor market blows. On the other hand, I ate well and cheap, because Manhattan without street food would be like the movies without popcorn, the Internet without porn. Plus or minus the thrill of wondering if you’ll wake up with intestinal parasites. In point of fact, for all the years I’ve been eating street-meat, I’ve suffered no… Read More »

Get her tipsy, feed her chocolate.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not above whetting my wife’s more carnal appetites with enough wine and chocolate to impair her better judgment. I’m sure that’s all very un-PC and certainly, as the father of young daughters, I live in mortal fear of the effects of alcohol on sensibility; but my wife’s a big girl, and above all, she knows how I think, so I’m pretty sure our pending Valentine’s Date – a savory symphony of handcrafted chocolate and wine at J Winery – will be consensual.… Read More »

Braised Lamb with Bitter Chocolate, Rosemary, and Syrah

Lamb shoulder, braised with Syrah, Chocolate, and RosemarySometimes, despite all the planning, the wearing-thin of cookbook pages, the carpal-tunnel-clicking through epicurious, I’ll find out the hard way that it’s what I didn’t plan for that determines whether my food ultimately succeeds, or merely sucks. Typically, I’m undone by good, old fashioned pilot error; typically, but not always, because sometimes it’s the black swan crapping on my mise, and it’s just such an exception to the rule that inspired this edition of Meat, Braise, Love: A slow braise of shoulder of local lamb with bitter chocolate, rosemary, and bad-ass Syrah.Read More »

Meat, Braise, Love

Beef Short Ribs in a Zinfandel Chili BraiseProducing a braise in your own kitchen is a bit like making porn in your own bed: It rewards practice, because when you get it just right, it’s the best you’ll ever see, and all the times you don’t, it’s still a very long way from sucking. Similarly, there is just so much to love about the braise: Purely from a gastronomic perspective, no other cooking technique so easily employed by the home cook comes close to creating the depth and concentration of flavor than does the properly executed braise.… Read More »