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Back to the Kitchen: A Taste of San Francisco

Posted By Karen Young On September 25, 2012 @ 10:30 pm In American,Bar/Pub/Taverns,Catering,Eat,Featured,Food,My Daily Find,Recipes | No Comments


Celebrate the food of San Francisco.                          Photo: Karen Young

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay area it was a real treat to go into the city for meals. From North Beach to Fisherman’s Wharf to Ghirardelli Square I could happily eat my way across town! When I am not able to get there I have my own versions of some of the most famous culinary delights. I love to sip a good Sonoma Pinot and dream of the marina as the fog rolls in.

Gilroy Garlic Fries

This lighter take on the Gilroy Garlic Fries at the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park forgoes the deep fryer in favor of a hot oven so it is much easier to make at home! It is so yummy and my daughter and her friends eat these up! You can also add a few shakes of Tabasco at the end if you like a little heat!

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

2 1/4 pounds russet potatoes cut lengthwise into 3 x 1/3 x 1/3-inch batons

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 450. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Toss potatoes with 2 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet. Roast the potatoes, turning occasionally, until browned and tender, about 30 minutes. Increase heat to 500 and continue roasting until fries are deep brown, about 5 more minutes.

Whisk remaining 1/2 tablespoons oil, garlic, and parsley in a large bowl. Add hot fries, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.

Lovely Lisa’s Minestrone

2 tablespoons olive 0il

2 yellow onions, diced

6 stalks of celery including leaves, thinly sliced

3 carrots, chopped

1 tablespoon Italian herbs

Sweat above ingredients in covered large soup pot 5 minutes

Uncover and add

4 cloves garlic, minced

Sauté 5 minutes


12 cups of chicken or veggie stock

3 cups canned chop tomatoes

2 Yukon gold potatoes diced

2 cans 15 oz cannelli beans, drained

1 small head savoy cabbage, quartered and sliced

Bring to boil and simmer 30 minutes


8 oz pasta of your choice

6 more cups of stock

2 cups green beans cut into 1-inch pieces

3 Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped in ½ inch pieces

1 green pepper, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2-cup water

1 teaspoon Kosher Salt

½ teaspoon white pepper

Splash Tabasco and Worcester Sauce, to taste

2 cups raw clams with juice

2 cups heavy cream

Sauté bacon until crisp in a large stockpot. Add onions, potatoes, green pepper, celery and garlic. Add 2 cups of water and season with salt and pepper, Worcestershire and Tabasco. Cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes. In a separate pan heat the clams and their juice for 3 minutes. Add the clams and juice to the pot, pour in the half and half. Heat, stirring until piping hot. Makes 6 servings.

Fish Soup (Zuppa di pesce or cioppino)

1 lb white fish fillets

1 lb salmon filets

1 lb mussels

1 lb little neck clams

1 lb cleaned squid, cut into rings

6 shallots, thinly sliced

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper

4 tbsp olive oil

2 14-ounce cans imported Italian plum tomatoes, diced

1 small can tomato purée

1 chunky sprig oregano

1 chunky sprig of thyme

4 cups fish stock

Salt and Pepper

Chopped Italian parsley, chopped foe garnish

Cut the fish fillets into chunky pieces. Scrub the mussels clean, pull away any beards and rinse thoroughly in cold water. Throw away any that have broken shells. (Mussels that are gaping open should be tapped firmly on the work surface. If they close up they are fine, but if they remain open discard them.) Rinse Clams thoroughly and discard any that do not close when tapped firmly.
Sautee the shallots, garlic and red pepper gently in the oil until the shallots are tender and translucent.
Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, thyme, oregano and a little salt and pepper. Simmer down until thick. Stir in the fish stock and wine and bring to the boil. Simmer for two minutes, taste and adjust seasoning. The stew base is now ready. Shortly before you wish to eat, bring the base back to the boil. Add the mussels and clams cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the fish and the squid, cover again and simmer gently for another 5 minutes until the mussels and clams have all opened (discard any that stay firmly shut). Serve right away in large bowls sprinkle with Italian parsley.

Sourdough Bread

1 cup starter

1 package dry yeast

2 cups warm water

2 teaspoons sugar

1-teaspoon salt

6-7 cups flour


Let starter come to room temp. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle yeast over 1/4 cup of warm water. Add sugar and let stand for about 5 minutes. Stir in the rest of the water and the starter. Add four cups of flour. Mix to blend then beat at medium speed until smooth and elastic about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in 2 cups more flour, then add up to 1 cup more to make a stiff dough. Turn dough out on to a board coated with remaining flour. Knead until dough is springy and small bubbles form just under the surface. (15-20 minutes) Or place in bowl of electric mixer fitted withy a dough hook and process for about 10 minutes.) Turn dough into a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel; let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk about one hour.

Punch dough down and let rest for a few minutes. Divide into 2 equal parts and shape each one into a ball and place on greased cookie sheets that have been lightly dusted with cornmeal. Cover lightly with a towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour. With a very sharp knife cut a Chris cross in each loaf about 1/4 inch deep. Preheat oven to 400. Bake until golden brown and loaves sound hollow when tapped about 1/2 hour.

Sourdough Starter

1 package dry yeast

1-cup warm water

1 cup warn nonfat milk

2 cups flour

In a medium bowl mix yeast over water. Stir and let stand for 5 minutes. Mix in warm milk. Add flour; mix to blend then beat until smooth. Transfer to a large container. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and then with a towel and let stand at room temperature 24-48 hours. Stir down upon occasion. It will be quite active for several hours after it is prepared. Use starter or refrigerate in a tightly covered container until ready to use.

Joe’s Special

I can remember my dad cooking a handful of things! He made Joe’s special a few times a month and I remember it being so very tasty! He said that he had a special relationship with the chef and that they gave him the recipe! Ground beef, spinach, onions and eggs! Who knew that it could taste so good!

During the 1920’s, a group of entrepreneurs decided to open a new restaurant on Broadway Street in San Francisco. “New Joe’s” became the first restaurant in San Francisco to do exhibition cooking where food was prepared in full view of the customers. It was also the restaurant where the “Joe’s Special” was created. Folklore has it that a customer ordered a spinach omelet very late on night. The customer asked the chef if he had anything else available to cook. The chef replied he had some hamburger left. The customer asked him to throw some of the hamburger into his omelet. The dish became so popular that they eventually put it on the menu.

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds lean ground beef

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely minced

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

1/4-teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon dry oregano, fresh ok

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2-pound fresh spinach, rinsed

8 large eggs, lightly beaten

Heat oil in a wide frying pan over high heat. Crumble in beef and cook, stirring often, until browned. Drain excess fat. Add onions, garlic and mushrooms; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in salt, nutmeg, pepper, oregano and spinach; cook for about 5 more minutes. Add beaten eggs. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, just until eggs are softly set. Serve with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese and perhaps hard crust Italian sour dough bread.
Ghirardelli Chocolate Truffles

12 ounces Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate chips

1/2-cup ground chocolate

1 stick butter

In a double broiler, melt the chocolate over simmering water, stirring constantly. (Or a metal bowel over a pot of boiling water, just remember to be careful.) Remove from heat. Add butter stirring until melted. Chill until firm enough to form into small round pieces. Roll in ground chocolate. Chill overnight in refrigerator. Makes about 40.


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