Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Meat prices on the rise just as backyard grilling season begins

Just in time for grilling season, prices are rising for beef, pork and poultry.

Wholesale prices for pork, for example, reached a 14-year high last week in futures markets, while beef is up 22 percent this year. Chicken's gain in March was the most in 20 months, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Many grocers and restaurant owners have passed on some of those costs to consumers, who had benefited from lower prices for a long stretch until this year. Retail prices may even set records in the next 90 days as demand peaks during the summer grilling season, said John Nalivka, a meat industry consultant in Vale, Ore.

One major Kansas City area grocer, Hy-Vee, said a pound of 85 percent lean ground beef now costs about $1.99 a pound, up 30 cents from two months ago. During that same time, T-bone steak has gone from $5.99 a pound to $7.99.

Ruth Comer, a spokeswoman for the West Des Moines, Iowa-based chain, said prices could be up to 25 percent higher than prices a couple of months ago.

Read the original story Here.


Crab Feed FAQ’s
Q. How many pounds of crab will I need?
A. Figure at least 2 pounds per person of gross weight. This equals one pound per person after it has been cleaned and cracked. Order more if you expect people to eat more than their share, or if they are serving themselves.

Q. What should I do with leftover crab? A. You can always bag them up and sell them at the end of the feed, or raffle them off as raffle prizes, so that you are not stuck with the remaining crab.

Q. What is green crab?
A. Green crab is crab that is weighed before it has been cooked. Make sure that you are comparing apples with apples when pricing. Some purveyors quote on green crab, which will be a lesser amount for your dollar, because you are paying for the weight before it is cooked. You lose approximately 15%, so you will be paying for product that you don't really receive. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Q. What do I need for a crab feed?
A. Here is a list of possible items:
Crab picks
Cocktail sauce
Cioppino sauce
Shrimp meat
Raffle tickets
Hall rental
Raffle prizes
Music / D.J.
Bags /Containers
Trash cans

Q. How much cocktail sauce do I need?
A. Approximately one gallon (128 oz.) per 64 people. This is based on an average of two ounces per person.

Q. How far in advance of the event do I need to place my order?
A. One week (a few rare exceptions are available - ask your sales consultant).

Q. Can I get a Saturday delivery?
A. Yes, for orders over 1,000 pounds. Otherwise, we will deliver on regularly scheduled delivery days. You may also 'will call' (pick up) your product during regular business hours.

Q. What is an average price for a crab feed ticket?
A. $20.00 - $25.00

Q. When ordering crab, how come I pay for 2 pounds then receive only 1 pound?
A. You pay for the whole crab, which weighs 2 pounds (approximately). Then after we clean and crack it, and discard the waste, you are left with one pound of finished crab, ready to eat.

Q. What is the best way to sell tickets?
A. Advertise! Word-of-mouth, flyers, use the people in your organization to sell tickets.

Q. How do I advertise?
A. Flyers, newspaper, word-of-mouth.

Q. Do I pay for my crabs when I receive them?
A. Yes (there are some exceptions - ask your sales consultant).

Q. Is there a preferred day or time to have a crab feed?
A. Generally, evenings / dinner are best (Friday or Saturday nights)

Q. What type of raffle prizes draws most interest?
A. Anything from cars to vacations, golf equipment, lobsters, etc.

Q. How many people does it take to run a crab feed?
A. Depends on how many people you have planning to attend. Some suggested crab feed roles are:
Pasta person
Crab - 2
Salads - 2
Ice cream

Beverage sales

Q. How do the crabs come packed? Will the boxes leak?
A. The crabs come packed in shipper boxes lined with plastic. The crabs will be covered with ice. The plastic lining keeps the boxes from leaking.

Q. If I have extra crab left over, what should I charge for them? A. You should charge at least what you paid for them, if not a little more.

Q. Which is better: serving the people buffet style, or allowing the people to serve themselves?
A. If you are serving the people, you maintain control over portions. If they serve themselves, it can (and will) turn into an all-you-can-eat event.

Q. If I want to sell alcohol, where do I apply for a license and what will it cost? A. It varies by area. Check with your local City Hall

Q. What other types of foods should I serve?
A. Some suggestions might be salads, pasta, prawns. clams, clam chowder, fruit plates, veggie plates, etc.

Q. When is the latest I can add to my crab order if I know more people are attending than originally anticipated?
A. That Monday morning (if feed is on Friday) - generally 5 days before. Contact your sales consultant for emergencies.

Q. Which would generate more revenue, a crab feed or a Cioppino feed?
A. Both are equally good for creating revenue.

Q. What about cooking preparations?
A. Normally, the Dungeness crab is chilled and ready to serve, right out of the box. It's very easy - preparation is kept to a minimum.

Q. What does the cleaned and cracked crab look like?
A. Usually they come 1/2 bodies with legs attached, cracked and ready to go.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stay Tuned For Double Meat Tuesdays

City Hall Watch: Mondays now meat-free in The City
By: Joshua Sabatini
Examiner Staff Writer
April 6, 2010

Monday in San Francisco is officially the meat-free day of the week.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved legislation Tuesday declaring the first day of the week meat-free Mondays, now known as Vegetarian Day or Veg Day.

“With this resolution, San Francisco can join the growing list of communities that have taken action to encourage citizens to choose vegetarian foods as a way to protect the planet and their health,” said Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, a vegetarian for 40 years who introduced the resolution.

As first reported by The Examiner on Tuesday, the legislation urges “all restaurants, grocery stores and schools to offer a greater variety of plant-based options to improve the health of San Francisco residents and visitors and to increase the awareness of the impact a green diet would be on our planet.”

San Francisco resident Abigail Wick supported the board taking a stand on a green diet.

“It promotes a healthier environment and also a healthier body politic,” Wick said.

Eating less meat “reduces serious ecological problems involved in livestock production” and “plant-based diets are good preventative medicine and could help reduce medical costs,” the resolution said.

Also on Tuesday, the board unanimously approved a resolution, introduced by Maxwell, commending those San Francisco businesses that use only eggs from cage-free chickens.

April 2010 Menu Market Update...

A recent wave of menu introductions has breathed new life into the breakfast daypart. Subway has rolled out a new line of breakfast sandwiches available on English muffins, flatbread or their regular sandwich bread. Burger King rolled out the BK Breakfast Muffin Sandwich available for $1, as well as the BK Breakfast Bowl. Jack in the Box extended their grilled sandwich line to include a new Grilled Breakfast Sandwich and is also testing Breakfast Pita Pockets in select markets. Cosi added three new breakfast wraps to their menu including the Spinach Florentine Breakfast Wrap. Now available at Au Bon Pain is the Egg and Broccoli Baked Sandwich and customers can order a Jalapeno & Cheddar Bagel Breakfast Sandwich at Panera. Finally, Breakfast is now more Bueno thanks to the new Ranchero Bowl and Ranchero Burrito, both loaded with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and ranchero sauce, available at Taco Bueno.

A few of the other new breakfast introductions in 2010 include Hardee's with a Double Sausage Egg 'n' Cheese Biscuit, Dunkin' Donuts with a Waffle Breakfast Sandwich, Bruegger's with a Maple & Sausage Breakfast Sandwich and McDonald's began testing a Fruit & Maple Oatmeal. Most recently, Burger King announced they are testing a brunch menu at select locations including a Ciabatta Sandwich and a non-alcoholic Mimosa.


{NEW} Southwest Chipotle Chicken Salad [Friendly's] - This Southwest-inspired creation is a zesty medley of crisp salad greens, tender Chipotle seasoned fresh grilled chicken, corn and black bean salsa, sweet red onions, and green peppers all served in freshly-made tortilla bowl. Recommended with a creamy and spicy Salsa Ranch dressing.

{NEW} Mojo Grilled Mahi Mahi with Pineapple Salsa [Tony Roma's] - Seasoned mahi mahi basted with Tony's exclusive citrus and brown mustard mojo sauce and grilled to perfection. Topped with pineapple salsa made in house and served with rice and a fresh vegetable.


(LTO} Apple Streusel & Butterscotch Flatbread [Claim Jumper] - Hearth baked flatbread topped with cinnamon-spiced apples, homemade granola-streusel, walnuts and cheddar cheese. All drizzled with butterscotch sauce and a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

{LTO} Hummus & Veggie Pita [Baker's Square] - A grilled pita slathered with hummus, then layered with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese and pesto grilled vegetables. Served with French fries, fresh fruit or creamy coleslaw.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Salmon Wellington


Frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
4 3/4-inch-thick 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets
6 tablespoons minced shallots
4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 egg beaten to blend (for glaze)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled butter, diced

Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll out each pastry sheet on lightly floured surface to 12-inch square. Cut each in half, forming four 12x6-inch rectangles. Place 1 salmon fillet in center of each rectangle, about 3 inches in from and parallel to 1 short edge. Sprinkle each fillet with salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon shallots and 1 tablespoon tarragon. Brush edges of rectangles with some glaze. Fold long sides of pastry over fillets. Fold short edge of pastry over fillets and roll up pastry, enclosing fillets. Seal edges of pastry. Place pastries, seam side down, on baking sheet. Brush with glaze.

Bake pastries until dough is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, boil wine, vinegar and 2 tablespoons shallots in heavy small saucepan until liquid is reduced to 6 tablespoons, about 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add butter 1 piece at a time, whisking until melted before adding next piece. Whisk in 2 teaspoons tarragon. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Cut pastries into thirds. Place sauce and pastries on 4 plates.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Beef En Croute with Truffled Mushroom Duxelle

1 16-20oz Center Cut Tenderloin
1 Sheet Puff Pastry
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 whole egg beaten with 1/4 cup water
1 lb crimini mushrooms
1 shallot finely diced
1 tsp white truffle oil
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup chardonnay
1 jar reduced balsamic
Salt and Pepper to taste


Mince mushrooms and garlic while heating a small sauté pan over medium
heat. Add butter, shallots, garlic and mushrooms. Season to taste and allow all
moisture to cook out. Add white wine and reduce for approximately three minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in white truffle oil. Cool to room temperature.
Heat a 12 inch skillet over high heat. Add two tablespoons of olive oil. Season the
tenderloin liberally with salt, and pepper. Place in pan and sear all sides. Remove
from pan and allow to rest. Once cooled, lay out the sheet of puff pastry,
and apply a thin layer of mushroom mixture directly in the middle. Place
the tenderloin the over mushrooms and roll to enclose the filet completely. Fold up the long sides of the dough to enclose the fillet brushing the edges of the dough with some of the egg wash to seal them. Transfer the filet, seam side down to a baking sheet and brush the dough with some of the egg wash. Chill for at least 1 hour. Bake the filet in the middle of a preheated 400°F oven for 20 minutes until the meat thermometer registers 120°F. Remove en Croûte from oven and rest for five to ten minutes.

Slice and serve over gorgonzola crème and drizzle with scallion oil and balsamic reduction.

Gorgonzola Cream
2 cups crumbled gorgonzola
1/2 cup manufacturing cream
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp finely chopped rosemary
Add all ingredients to saucepan and heat over low heat until cheese is completely

Scallion Oil
3 bunches of scallions (white parts removed and discarded)
1 1/2 cups of olive oil
Blanch and shock scallions and towel dry completely. Add oil and scallions to
blender and puree. Let stand for one day. Strain through coffee filter and store in

National Zucchini Bread Day

The exact history of zucchini bread is not known but most quick breads were not developed until the 18th century after the discovery of the first leavening reagent 'pearlash'. And zucchini as we know it didn't exist until the 19th century where it was the result of a mutation of a squash plant (which did originate in the Americas) that occurred in Italy.

None the less on April 25, 2010 we celebrate National Zucchini Bread Day.


3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coat two regular loaf pans with vegetable cooking spray. Can also be done as muffins.

In a large bowl beat the eggs with the sugar until creamy. Beat in zucchini, oil, and vanilla.

In a small bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, soda, and baking powder. Stir into the zucchini mixture, just until moistened. Divide between prepared pans and bake for 45-60 minutes or until large moist crumbs come out on a toothpick inserted in the middle. (May need to cover loosely with foil after 30 minutes, to keep it from getting too dark.)

Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes and then lift out with the foil and cool completely.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

National Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day

The American Farm Bureau Foundation's Dates to Celebrate Agriculture recognizes today 4/24 as National Pigs in a blanket day.

Pigs in a Blanket, also know as biscuit dogs, are biscuit, pancake or crescent roll covered hot dogs or sausage. Other names they are known by are devils on horseback, wiener winks, kilted sausage, pigs in the blanket and pigs in blankets. They are popular in the United States, Australia, Canada, Germany, and United Kingdom as an appetizer or side dish. Condiments

Cut hot dogs lengthwise 3/4 of the way through. Insert a piece of cheese or 1/2 teaspoon caramelized onions into each hot dog, if using; set aside. If not using cheese or onions, poke hot dogs several times with the tip of a knife.

On a lightly floured work surface, working with one sheet of puff pastry at a time, roll into a 14-by-11-inch rectangle. Cut lengthwise into seven 1 1/2-inch wide strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 rectangles, each about 3 1/2 inches long.

In a small bowl, beat together egg and 1 tablespoon water; set aside. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside. Place a hot dog on the narrow end of one piece of pastry. Roll to enclose, brushing with some of the beaten egg to adhere; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining hot dogs and pastry. Brush the tops of puff pastry with egg and sprinkle with seeds, if using. Transfer to refrigerator and let chill for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Transfer baking sheets to oven and bake until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool briefly before serving with mustard and ketchup.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Top Chef Trends for 2010: Ethnic Cuisines and Flavors

The National Restaurant Association asked more than 1800 Chefs what they felt were going to be the most trendy items going into 2010. Here is a snapshot of their results.

1 Regional ethnic cuisine
2 Ethnic fusion
3 North African/Maghreb
4 Latin American/Nuevo Latino
5 Southeast Asian (e.g. Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese, Malaysian)

For a complete list of the survey go to the National Restaurant Association Website at

Thursday, April 22, 2010

US Foodservice San Francisco on Earth Day 2010

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. It is a day focused on protecting and enhancing our planet.

Brian Isaeff, Territory Manager with US Foodservice San Francisco demonstates how easy it is to pick up trash and save the planet

Some media outlets estimate that over 1 billion people across the globe will participate in activities in some small way. Some assist with area clean ups while others may ensure that they only use environmentally friendly products, or recycle a little more.

With these items in mind, I would like to share a few facts with everyone here regarding the US Foodservice San Francisco Division:

We are a certified Green Business and continue to focus on new ways to reduce our carbon foot print and protect the environment while reducing costs.

Examples would include:
Researching Solar Power for use at our facility
Using Bio Fuels for tractors and material handling equipment
Using automated systems to maximize efficiencies with our refrigeration system
Reducing Electrical use at the facility by 10%
Participate in a Storm Water Program ensuring waste and pollutants do not enter local estuaries
Recycling of card board, stretch film, mixed paper and other items within the facility
(This has totaled over 2 MILLION pounds since we started the Green Initiative in 2007)
Reducing standard waste by 13% a year over the past 3 years (all that recycling not going to land fills)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

US Foodservice Supports a Food Revolution

You may have seen employees from the U.S. Foodservice-Hurricane, W.V., facility featured extensively on the hit ABC television show “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” last Friday, April 16. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver visited the division as part of his efforts to teach healthy eating to residents of Huntington, W.V., which has been called "the fattest city in America" by The Associated Press.

The episode was the most watched television show in its time slot among adults aged 18-49 and can be viewed at: (choose episode 105).

U.S. Foodservice supported Oliver’s efforts on a number of the television episodes by supplying food and supplies to help Huntington residents learn how to cook healthy meals on a budget for their families and improve the quality of school lunch programs at the city’s schools.

Their sponsorship was a great way to demonstrate their commitment to giving back to communities where they do business. The show also enabled US Foodservice to demonstrate the quality of our products to a large number of current and prospective customers around the country.

Mark Eggerding (pictured above) helped Oliver select fresh meat, vegetables and fruit available
from the Hurricane division, including locally grown and organic offerings.

“I was really pleased because, to have U.S. Foodservice on our side, we could get good food to every single school in the county,” Oliver said. “Now I know that the distribution channel that feeds all of these schools and these kids can actually handle fresh food.”

Be sure to tune in for the final episode which airs Friday, April 23, 2010 at 8 p.m. Central Time!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Caymus Winemaker Dinner at Club XIX

Club XIX at Pebble Beach Contemporary Dining Welcomes

Caymus Winery From NapaValley


Reception at 6:30 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m.

For one evening only, Club XIX’s Chef de Cuisine Ressul Rassallat and Corporate Pastry Chef John Hui welcome Caymus Winery of Napa Valley.

Conundrum 2008 and hors d’oeuvres will be served during the reception followed by a superb multi-course meal.


Crispy Langoustine Fritters
Tomato Concassée with Pistou Sauce
2007 Mer Soleil, Chardonnay

Wild Mushroom Tarte Tatin
Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, Petite Salad
2008 Belle Glos, Clark & Telephone Pinot Noir

Parmentier of Liberty Duck Confit
Soft Poached Egg, Madeira Sauce
2007 Caymus, Cabernet Sauvignon

Seared NebraskaBeefFilet Mignon
Heirloom Baby Carrots, Cipollini Onions, Sautéed Spinach, Port Jus
2000 Caymus, Special Selection
Cabernet Sauvignon

Citrus Olive Oil Cake with Macerated Oranges
White Chocolate Mousse with a Pineapple Gelée Coconut Tuile & Pineapple Sorbet
2004 Mer Soleil, Late Harvest White Wine


$150 Per Person Exclusive
of Tax & Service Charge

Corporate Pastry Chef,
John Hui

Chef de Cuisine,
Ressul Rassallat


Fava Bean Crustini Topped With Ricotta and Basil

1 1/2 cups shelled fresh fava beans
8 diagonal slices of a french baguette cut in half crosswise
8 garlic cloves, cut in half crosswise
15 ounces fresh ricotta cheese or whole-milk ricotta cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

Cook fava beans in salted water until just tender, about 1 1/2 minutes. Rinse under cold water; drain well. Peel fava beans if using; set aside. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Arrange bread pieces on baking sheet; toast in oven until light golden, about 12 minutes. Rub 1 side of each bread piece with cut side of 1 garlic half, pressing firmly to release juices into bread. Top each bread piece with 1 heaping tablespoon ricotta cheese, then fava beans, dividing equally. Place 2 bread pieces on each of 8 plates. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with sliced basil

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fava Bean Puree

3 cups shelled fava beans (roughly 3 pounds unshelled)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the beans, reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are tender, about 20 minutes.

Drain the beans and puree them in a food processor or blender. Add melted butter, cream, and salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Top Chef Trends for 2010: Produce

The National Restaurant Association asked more than 1800 Chefs what they felt were going to be the most trendy items going into 2010. Here is a snapshot of their results.

1 Locally grown produce
2 Superfruits (e.g. acai, goji berry, mangosteen, purslane)
3 Organic produce
4 Exotic fruit (e.g. durian, passion fruit, dragon fruit, paw paw, guava)
5 Micro-vegetables/ micro-greens

For a complete list of the survey go to the National Restaurant Association Website at

Thursday, April 15, 2010

National Eggs Benedict Day is Tomorrow

A breakfast or brunch specialty consisting of two toasted English muffin halves, each topped with a slice of ham or Canadian bacon, a poached egg and a dollop of Hollandaise Sauce. The most popular legend of the dish's origin says that it originated at Manhattan's famous Delmonico's Restaurant when regular patrons, Mr. and Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, complained that there was nothing new on the lunch menu. Delmonico's maitre d' and Mrs. Benedict began discussing possibilities and eggs Benedict was the result.

Another version had a retired Wall Street stock broker named Lemuel Benedict. In 1942the year before he died, he did an interview for "Talk of the Town" column of The New Yorker. He claimed that in 1984, suffering from a terrible hangover, he wandered into the Waldorf Hotel desperate to find a cure for his suffering. He ordered buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon and a hooker of hollandaise. When Oscar Tschirky, the famous maître d'hôtel heard about the order, added it to the breakfast and luncheon menus but with a small change. He added a toasted English muffin instead of the toast and ham instead of the bacon.

Mrs. Isabella Beeton's Household Management had recipes in the first edition (1861) for "Dutch sauce, for benedict" (p. 405) and its variant on the following page, "Green sauce, or Hollandaise verte", so it undoubtedly precedes the 20th century claimants above.


Yield: 4 servings

Sugar 1/4 C
Medium Egg yolks 3 each
Champagne 1/4 Cup
English muffins 4 each
Eggs 8 each
Smoked salmon 1 Oz
Butter as needed
Chives, chopped as needed
Freshly ground black pepper as needed


1. Whisk sugar and egg yolks in top of a double boiler. Stir in Champagne.

2. Place over simmering water, whisking constantly, until mixture becomes thick and foamy. Chill until firm.

3. Toast English muffin. Top with 2 eggs that have been poached in little salted water with a little vinegar in it, until the whites are set and the yolk is still runny.

4. Heat smoked salmon slices in butter until warm. Place on the English muffin top with poached egg, then spoon sabayon over eggs and sprinkle with chopped chives and black pepper.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Plastic Clam

Where Everybody Wins!

At Plastic Clam they list gift cards that directly benefit your favorite local businesses and charities. On their site at consumers can browse through special promotions on gift cards to save money and/or donate portions of the purchase to a local charity.

For businesses this is a way to generate business and support local charities. Owners have the option of offering a discount on the purchase of the the card "$50 discount card for $45" and $5 to a charity of your choice!

Pasta with Fresh Fava Beans and Peas

Extra virgin olive oil 4 Oz
Fresh scallion bunch, chopped 1 each
Fresh baby fava beans, shelled 1 Lb
Fresh peas, shelled 1/2 Lb
Bay leaves 2 each
Hot red pepper flakes 1/4 tsp
Freshly ground sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Linguine, broken into 2-inch pieces 1 Lb
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved to taste


1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot. Add scallions and sauté until translucent. Add fava beans and peas. Stir; add bay leaves and seasonings. Add 1 gallons of water. Stir and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 1 hour or until fava beans are tender and liquid is reduced by 1/4.

2. Add pasta. Stir. Cook till pasta is al dente. Drain. Remove bay leaves before serving. Serve topped with shavings of the Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Seasonal Local Ingredients: California Fava Beans

Fava Beans have been found in some of the earliest-known human settlements. Most often associated with Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern cuisines, the Chinese have also enjoyed them for more than 5,000 years. Also known as Horse, Broad, Windsor, English Dwarf Bean, Tick, Pigeon, Bell, Haba, Feve and Silkworm beans. In California, fava beans are grown as seed crops along the coast from Lompoc to Salinas and in the Northern Sacramento Valley.

Not everyone loved Fava Beans. Pythagoras told his followers to avoid Fava Beans.
For some people, we now know, fresh fava beans can be poisonous. This fairly common genetically transmitted condition called favism, was recognized only at the turn of this century and has been explained fully just in the last decade.

Whether the poisonings were the basis of Pythagoras' pronouncement or not, no one can say for certain. While today's cults seem determined to tell all about their religious beliefs, the Pythagoreans were notoriously close-mouthed.

Iamblichus tells of the time a group of Pythagoreans were being pursued by their enemies when they came across a field of favas in bloom. Rather than disobey the master's dictates and flee through the field, they were slaughtered. And when two who were captured were questioned about their beliefs, they refused to answer. The husband chose death and the wife, a Spartan, bit off her tongue and spit it at her captors to avoid spilling the beans.

Fresh California fava beans are available from April through June and the early crop is coming packed in bushel and 1/9th cartons. Fava Beans have a distinct flavor and creamy texture that makes them a great addition to a wide variety of dishes. Fava beans should be shelled and peeled before eating they are great steamed and served with a little olive oil.

Favas are nutrition superheroes. They are high in fiber and iron, and low in sodium and fat. They have no cholesterol but so much protein, they are called the meat of the poor.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Top Chef Trends for 2010: Kid’s Meals

The National Restaurant Association asked more than 1800 Chefs what they felt were going to be the most trendy items going into 2010. Here is a snapshot of their results.

1 Nutritionally balanced children’s dishes
2 Fruit/vegetable children’s side items
3 “Kid cuisine”/gourmet children’s dishes
4 Children’s entrée salads
5 Ethnic-inspired children’s dishes

For a complete list of the survey go to the National Restaurant Association Website at

Friday, April 2, 2010

Top Chef Trends for 2010: Breakfast/Brunch

The National Restaurant Association asked more than 1800 Chefs what they felt were going to be the most trendy items going into 2010. Here is a snapshot of their results.

1 Ethnic-inspired breakfast items (e.g. Asian- flavored syrups, chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes)
2 Traditional ethnic breakfast items (e.g. huevos rancheros, shakshuka, ashta, Japanese)
3 Fresh fruit breakfast items
4 Seafood breakfast items (e.g. smoked salmon, oysters, crab cake)
5 Prix fixe brunches

For a complete list of the survey go to the National Restaurant Association Website at

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Shrimp Facts

The world consumes over 3 billion pounds of shrimp a year. Only canned Tuna sells more.