Tag Archives: Pasta Shop

Recipe Review: Perfect Roast Potatoes

I had been very excited to try Nigella Lawson’s Perfect Roast Potatoes but in the end they didn’t wow me.  Admittedly I didn’t procure goose fat, I used bacon fat.  I like the semolina coating and the crisp exterior-to-soft-interior factor was good, but they didn’t send me.  Here’s a pic of my creation:


I ended up sprinkling my serving with some 5% black truffle salt I picked up at Pasta Shop, which had a lovely affect.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Amazing Cheese

Last night I stopped by the cheese counter at Market Hall’s Pasta shop looking for some Fleur Verte (a/k/a raison d’etre de Rockridge) and they were OUT.  Naturally I was devastated.  But my kind friend behind the counter suggested that I sample something new that had come in–the new robiola made by La Casera.  Phenomenal.  And he was proud to report that it had just been featured in the New York Times!

This goat cheese is exactly what I’ve been looking for a soft, creamy, complex goat that is magically both tangy and sweet.

Fleur Verte will always be my true love, and one of the most visually stunning cheeses (pure white goat’s milk coated in tarragon and pink peppercorns from the Loire Valley):


but the robiola from La Casera is nothing to turn up your nose at:

04cabbage_650I think the savoy cabbage fastened and rafia tie gives it a distinctly Piedmont-ian feel.  The robiola just might become a new constant in ARL. It’ll be perfect for hors d’oevres while I’ll set my FV aside for breakfast and dessert.


Filed under Uncategorized

Last Minute Christmas Shopping Part II

I had some good luck.  Santa was on my side.  Now allow me to make some recommendations.  Most gifts are in the $20 range.

For the lazy gourmand:  Truffle salt, in 5 and 10% truffle content.  $20-$30 at Pasta Shop.  Amazing on pasta, french fries, or any vegetable.  Who needs to cook?

For anyone who loves Paris, tea, or both: Pasta Shop has an excellent selection of Mariages Freres tea.  I picked up the Provence Green ($22.50) for my sister in law who lived in Kyoto and speaks French.  Porquoi pas?!


For book lovers: Diesel does soothe, but Pendragon is the place to go if you’re looking to save some dollars to keep food on the table in the new year.  They have some AMAZING deals right now.  Tons of new Taschen coffee table books (Atget, Doisneau, etc.) on sale for less than $10 (!!!).  I got my aunt- and uncle-in-law Art of the 20th Century, also published by Taschen.  So beautiful.  I found it in the used section a month ago and have been lusting over it.  It’s almost impossible to even tell that it is “used,” and priced at $50.  



For a good laugh: I’ve never had success at Rockridge Home, but I have to give it to them.  That place is banging for the holidays.  The price is right and options abound, so much so they get their own section.

The “NPR Map of the United States” is amazing for the liberal Rockridge/Berkeley business traveler in your life.  Maps local AM/FM NPR channels across the US.  

For the Catholic grandfather who has done it all I suggest the How to be Pope book.  

For the miscellaneous and omnipresent oppressed woman in a committed relationship with a messy man: I suggest Porn For Women now available in the XXX version.   

I picked up the necktie napkins for my adorable MBA holding brother-in-law who can’t get through a meal, much less a business meeting, without spilling on himself.



For the girls who work too hard and just want to have fun:  I picked up $20 gift certificates at Pretty Penny and Crush on College.  Pretty Penny has an AMAZING selection of vintage shoes, denim, and (just for the season) gold lame and sparkly dresses.  It’s a brilliantly styled place AND the accessories are phenomenal.  Prices are gentle too.  Crush on College was the perfect place for my high school-age cousin-in-law who digs fresh styles at low prices and hasn’t gotten into the vintage thing.  

prettyThe Pretty Penny window

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Huffington, Stewart, Obama, Chili

Last Monday on my Virgin America flight JFK->SFO I watched Arianna Huffington embarrass the entire blogosphere on John Stewart:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Friday night rolled around and I’d invited some people over for drinks. Never one to open the door without something scrumptious to offer, and knowing I. and I needed dinner ourselves, I set about the habitual and lengthy debate about what to cook. I was desperate for some cassoulet, but it was absolutely out of the question. Duck confit and a 3 to 48 hour cooking process was just not going down that night.

So I thought soup, bean soup? Chili? Lentil? Rimpletide tried to get me to make Turkey Chipotle Chili, which I was totally into until I got to Market Hall and realized I needed 2 lbs (!) of tomatillos. Do you understand how many tomatillos that is? All of a sudden I started reading the recipe more carefully–what kind of chili was this? GREEN? No, I was feeling like a red-blooded American on Friday and wasn’t about to get down with some soupy-green-tomatillo based fusion fare. Disaster! The guests would arrive in less than 2 hours!

Standing at the Produce Market at Market Hall I started to panic and wildly Googled chili recipes from my iPhone. My search terms were “chili recipe.” I didn’t trust what I saw on page one of the results, so I went to page two. There, at the top of the second page of search results was Obama’s Chili Recipe, courtesy of none other than the Huffington Post. The rich bitch saved the day after all!

I went for ground Turkey instead of beef for reasons of health and got a deal at Enzo’s because the guy recognized me from my days at Bloomies. I didn’t need many ingredients, so I grabbed two bottles at Paul Marcus (a brilliant $14 Barbera among them from the Bargain Red section), grabbed two sweet Acme baguettes, a wedge of D’Affinois (available by mail from Murray’s if your and outside of the Bay reader), and a creme-based French goat from Pasta Shop and I was on my way home.

I made Obama’s recipe but had to make a few adjustments. If I’d stuck to the recipe I think the chili would have been quite dry, with hardly any broth element. My results were still thick and viscous but I added 3/4 cup dry red wine and 1 cup chicken stock.  To slightly modify Obama’s selection of flavors I doubled the basil and oregano, added 3 bay leaves, and used 2 tablespoons minced Anaheim chile (long and thin, can be found in green or red).

The results were a hit. I would say that the wine and additional basil and oregano gave it a slightly more Euro twist, while the Anaheim chile gave it an unexpected kick.

It was quick and easy for a hearty crowd-pleasing dinner after a long week. Highly recommended.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized