Lactose-free Panna Cotta with Strawberries and a Cinnamon Graham Crackers Crust

It is estimated by the American Dietetic Association that approximately 75% of the world's population is at least partially lactose intolerant.  Thus, 75% of the world's population must also be Panna Cotta intolerant.  What a drag.

That's why we jumped at Lactaid's Gourmoo Cookoff and decided to show everyone that, "You too can eat Panna Cotta without gastrointestinal discomfort!"  We made lactose-free Panna Cotta with Strawberries and a Graham Cracker Crust.  This is a really easy recipe, the only skill it requires is patience.


Lactaid Gourmoo Panna Cotta


Lactose-free Panna Cotta with Strawberries and a Cinnamon Graham Crackers Crust (printable recipe)
  • 4 cups Lactaid whole milk (or Lactaid half-and-half)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 packets powdered gelatin
  • 4 Cinnamon Graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 pound of strawberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Prepare everything at least 2 hours ahead, that will allow time for your Panna Cotta to set up and your strawberries to macerate.  We are using 2 types of bowls, one slightly larger than the other so that when we un-mold them there is room for the strawberries.

Our recipe calls for four cups of Lactaid, we’re using whole milk but you could also use the Lactaid half-and-half.  2 packs of gelatin, 1/2 cup of sugar, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Measure the Lactaid and add it to a saucepan but reserve a little bit in the measuring cup and sprinkle the gelatin over it.  Heat the Lactaid in the saucepan and add the sugar so that it dissolves completely.

Kill the heat, add the vanilla extract, and pour into the measuring cup.  Whisk to combine.  Pour them off into your bowls and place them into the fridge to chill and set up.  If you are letting them set up over night, cover with plastic wrap.

Process 4 cinnamon graham crackers in a food processor while melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a mug in the microwave.  When the butter is melted, add it to the crackers in the food processor and pulse a few times to incorporate well.  Pat the mixture at the bottom of your serving bowls.

Slice your strawberries and add 1/4 cup of sugar, mix well and allow them to sit and macerate while the Panna Cotta sets.

Once the Panna Cotta is set (at least 2 hours, but up to 24), run a knife along the inside edge of the bowl to separate it and invert it over your serving bowl to un-mold.  Scoop copious amounts of strawberries and serve.

Serves 4

As a promotion with the Foodbuzz Tastemakers Program, we received a thing of Lactaid milk. 


Authordavid koch

I didn't make a slideshow last week so this one is doubly special.  We have been doing more take-out and cereal, and our wine consumption is up.  Highlights included a trip to a Peruvian place in Encinitas called Q'ero, a wine bar in Del Mar called La Tienda, and the Rotary Club's Oktoberfest in Carlsbad.

There has been some tasty waves in San Diego lately and those keep me hungry.  In between meals, I've been grinding on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Olivia's Organic Croutons, and Special K.  You've got to keep your energy up, you know, for riding parallel stance in the tube...

This week was brought to you by New Belgium Brewing Company, the Boston Brewing Company, Cameron Hughes Winery, and two of our favorites (we've been dipping into the cellar lately) Ridge and Curtis.

Authordavid koch
Hearty Vegetarian Salad with Mushrooms and Yogurt Dressing

This salad was built from the bottom up with a solid foundation of big hearty flavors that could appease any carnivore (as long as there’s still ice cream for dessert).  We have incorporated some of our favorite ingredients we often add to salads, the only thing special about this one is how many of them come out to make their cameo.

The more I eat mushrooms, the more I want to eat mushrooms.  I am always floored by the shear number of varieties out there and the dramatic differences between them.  We used some Baby Bellas (AKA Crimini, AKA Brown, AKA Baby Portobello, AKA Roman, AKA Italian) but you could use any ‘shroom you like.  Mushrooms add a ton of meaty, umami flavors that are a key component here.

Goat cheese adds creaminess, sunflower seeds add crunch, carrots add sweetness and color, chickpeas add heft.  All of those listed above have a mild earthiness that, along with the mushrooms, give the salad weight that a meat would otherwise provide.  The yogurt dressing ties everything together with a tangy-ness that makes it sing.

Hearty Vegetarian Salad with Mushrooms and Yogurt Dressing (printable recipe)
  • 1/2 pound of mixed greens, we used a 50/50 spinach/greens blend
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 pound of mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 can of chickpeas, rinsed well
  • 1/4 cup of dry roasted sunflower seeds

The Dressing:
  • the juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons yogurt, we used Greek-style

Add a tablespoon of olive oil or butter to a medium-hot pan then add the mushrooms.  Let them sit, undisturbed, for 2 minutes to allow them to brown a little.  Then add a pinch of salt, a twist of pepper and turn occasionally until they are soft, about another 5 minutes.

For the dressing, combine in a jar or other container with a lid and shake well to combine.  Set aside.  When the salad is ready to serve, dress the greens and the carrots and plate.

Crumble the goat cheese, dish out the sauteed mushrooms, top with the chickpeas, and sprinkle on the roasted sunflower seeds.  Sit back and enjoy a salad fit for a meal.  It pairs well with a big white wine like a Chardonnay or a Viognier.

Serves 2
Authordavid koch
Authordavid koch

Dr. Nammy Patel, the Toothhugger

Green dentistry pioneer, Dr. Nammy Patel is the first dentist to make a serious commitment to green sustainable business practices in San Francisco.  She takes a unique approach to combine dentistry and conserve the environment, using non toxic products, reducing waste and being minimally invasive.

Dr. Nammy conducts research and development to set standards in Green Dentistry and serves as a Enviro-mentor for the San Francisco Environment Agency to help small business become green.

Here is a recent interview we had:


1) Why the name Tooth Hugger?  You can't really hug a tooth unless you have really small arms!

It’s metaphoric, you see tree huggers save the trees, and toothhuggers save natural teeth!  That’s why we use small tools rather than arms to "hug" the teeth.

2) I'll bet you get this question all the time.  Do I really have to floss?

Absolutely yes!  Flossing is more important than brushing because it gets the bacteria in the gums and in between the teeth, so it cleans areas a toothbrush cannot reach.

3) By being green, do I have to use hemp floss that tastes like patchouli?

NO!  When it comes to flossing, you have the find the one that feels most comfortable for you. Some times people like thicker floss because they have larger spaces, some like it thin because their contacts are tight.  My personal favorite is Glide.


4) Can I use regular toothpaste, or do I have to use Tom's of Maine?

You can use any toothpaste that is SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) free. SLS causes sores in the mouth.

5) What natural things are good for my teeth, is there a secret blend of 13 original herbs and spices?

It’s great to eat foods that wash away easily. For example a apple is great becusec it does not get stuck to your teeth and saliva washes it away quickly.  Almonds are a great source calcium and protein, which helps maintain calcium in the teeth.

6) Can I still eat chocolate?  Coffee?  Marbles?

You can eat whatever food you like as long as you brush and floss!  Avoid the marbles they will crack your teeth!

7) What about mouthwash?  Most mouthwash that I've used in my life is already the color green...  

You technically don't need mouthwash!  The bacteria is removed by mechanical act of brushing and flossing. Mouthwash makes your breath fresh. It is best to avoid  mouthwash that has alcohol because it dries the mouth out.

8) I started using a tongue scraper recently, I'm not scraping my taste buds off am I?

 No, using a tongue scraper is like exfoliating your skin. Your body makes taste buds have a natural exfoliation process. Just don't scrape too hard.  My rule of thumb is scrape ten times.

9) If only do one thing to help my teeth last longer, what would it be?

FLOSS, use an electric toothbrush, and see your dentist



Thanks Nammy!

360 Post St. #704
San Francisco, CA 94108

Authordavid koch

Grown-up French Toast with Strawberries in a Honey Balsamic Reduction

I'm a huge fan of French Toast but while sometimes I like to slather on the butter and drench it in maple syrup, sometimes I want something more refined, something more grown-up.  We sought to incorporate a range of flavors besides just sweet - because French Toast at your local diner can be so cloying.  

While the French Toast aspect of this recipe is pretty standard, maybe a little extra salt than usual, maybe a finer grade of cinnamon, and using a nice, hearty whole wheat from Nature's Pride; it is the toppings that make these golden brown slices pop.

We begin with a balsamic and honey reduction with which we toss over fresh strawberries and allow them to macerate.  This lets the strawberries soften a bit and in return they give off a lot of their juices, thus making our "syrup."

We toasted up some slivered almonds to give some crunch, because in my opinion, texture is a big miss with your average soggy French Toast.  Lastly, we added some uber-thick Greek-style yogurt for some richness, color contrast, and adding another component to customize each bite.

What we came up with takes a little bit more time but the result is something that the adults can enjoy as much as the kids, and they can feel better that the little "nose-miners" are getting something with much nutritional value than usual.

Grown-up French Toast with Strawberries in a Honey Balsamic Reduction (printable recipe)

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 pound strawberries, sliced thin
  • 8 slices of whole wheat bread, we used Nature's Pride 100% Whole Wheat
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 cup of Greek-style yogurt

Add the vinegar and the honey to a pot over medium heat and reduce by about a half or until you see that the bubbles start to thicken.  Pour the reduction over the strawberries, you should have to use a spatula to get it out because it is so thick.  Toss well over the strawberries and set aside.

Add the eggs, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and milk to a large flat-bottomed container - one that is wide enough to dip your bread into.  Whip these together so that everything is incorporated well.

Dip the bread in the egg mixture on both sides so that it soaks up the batter.  Using a non-stick pan, bring it to medium heat with a little butter just until the butter foams.  Add the battered bread ad cook on both sides until they are golden brown.

Top 2 slices with a few tablespoons of the strawberries along with some of the juice they gave off, a dollop of the yogurt, and a sprinkle of the toasted slivered almonds.  Serve piping hot. 

Serves 4


This was part of a promotion with the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a loaf of Nature's Pride bread.

Authordavid koch
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There has been a lot of swell lately and with work, I've been incredibly busy.  We went to a beautiful wedding last weekend in Long Beach (my hometown), thank you Eric and Laura, it was amazing.  Earlier that day we were able to make a pit stop at one of my favorite joints, The Yardhouse, and take a ride on the Big Red Bus.

The following morning, nothing was going to soak up the previous night's debauchery better than an egg, potato, bacon, cheese, and chorizo Breakfast Burrito from Nick's Deli in Seal Beach.  I even broke up the two halves of my burrito with a bowl of ice cream, that's what I was feeling at the time.

This week was brought to you by Red Bull, the Sauvignon Republic, and Country Bob's Spicy All-Purpose Sauce.  "I'm a Yummy, Chummy, Funny, Lucky Gummy Bear."

Authordavid koch
Authordavid koch

A Mocha Fillet Mignon, a amazing Shrimp Cocktail from a Mexican Mariscos spot, and Gyros from another Greek Festival.  I got really sick last week, antibiotics and all, and was craving peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and cereal.  That's my comfort food.

I've also been working in the Inland Empire/High Desert and thus have been consuming a lot of froyo.  After baking in 100+ degree heat, nothing sounds better to cool off with before the drive home than a big bowl of Tart covered in Fruity Pebbles and Mochi.

I've also really been enjoying the complimentary/promotional Bora Bora bars they sent us to check out.  They are much more delicious than Power Bars (which are my normal go-to pre surf snack).

This week was brought to you by Bora Bora Foods, the Wine Garage in Calistoga, Hillas Beer, the Bridewood and Four Sisters wineries, and Palm Beer. 

Palm Beer

Authordavid koch
Your author, having fun  
This is an entry for Project Foodbuzz, so get out there and ROCK THE VOTE for me!

In high school had a pair of shorts that read on the inside label, “Life is a lot more fun when you're having fun.”  It was written upside down and really, the only time it would have ever been seen was when the person wearing them happened to be on the toilet.  The people who made the shorts knew that oftentimes those moments are spent in reflection, and that mantra has been with me ever since.

There are many ways to have fun while cooking. You can have fun by creating new things: Hibiscus Bubbles, Lemon Verbena Fruit Salad, Spanish Almond Soup, Tomato Martinis, Oven Dried Persimmon, Gaucho Chili Verde, and Chelada Turkey Tacos.  What is more fun however - is making the mundane interesting.

Let me show you some of the fun things we have incorporated into our daily lives.

Make your own pepper blendMake your own pepper blends:  Black pepper (Piper nigrum) goes in nearly every savory dish in western cuisine.  Boring.  Make your own pepper blends to "spice things up a bit" - get it?  Never mind.  While green peppercorns are the unripened seeds of the same species, pink peppercorns are not.  Many blends come with those three, black, green, and pink, but have fun by adding more exotic spices that play nice with the black pepper profile.

Grains of Paradise (Afrimomum melegueta) are in the ginger family and taste like a cross between black pepper and nutmeg.  Our current grinder (yes it's a plastic disposable that's earned a second life) currently grinds out a 50/50 black pepper / Grains of Paradise blend.  It’s delicious, and it adds such a delicate nuance, unsuspecting guests cannot tell.  For the next blend I think we’ll introduce some Sichuan pepper.

Make your own Seasoned SaltMake your own Seasoned Salt.  Salt is boring too.  When I was a kid, I became intrigued by the salt alternatives like Accent, Spike, and Mrs. Dash.  I still am.  How could something taste salty if it doesn't have any salt in it?  Lowry's built an empire on their Seasoned Salt and nearly every home in the US has a jar, but that doesn't mean that you can't make your own.  Currently our consists of Kosher salt, paprika, smoked paprika, Tony Chachere’s Cajun blend, and sumac.

Try interesting oilsTry interesting oils:  There are other cooking oils besides olive oil.  Of course you should keep some great olive oil on hand, but branch out!  We have been through bottles of Avocado, Walnut, Peanut, Almond, Sunflower, and Grapeseed Oil.  My current oil of choice is Coconut Oil; the poor guy has been accused of being unhealthy but has a ton of healthy lauric acid.  Next on my list is cold-pressed Canola, it is supposed to be much more flavorful than the normal Canola you cook with.

Never buy salad dressing:  At the very least, an acid, an oil, and salt, make dressing.  Use some fun oil (besides olive oil) and mix it up with different citrus fruits and different vinegars.  Tangerines and Grapefruits make excellent dressings, as do Sherry and Champagne Vinegars.  Add some Brewers Yeast, and try adding different mustards.  One of my favorite dressings is with red wine vinegar, brewers yeast, grapeseed oil, salt, pepper, and stone ground mustard.  Try it on a Spinach Salad.

Make the most amazing cup of coffee every morningMake the most amazing cup of coffee each morning:  Every day brings a new world of possibilities.  Start it off right with the best cup of Joe you can muster.  It has taken me 18 years of making my own coffee each morning, and I’ve got it nearly to a science.  It starts with buying beans from your coffeehouse and I have them grind it on a #2.  This is fine like an espresso grind.  I know what you’re thinking, I ground my own for more than a decade.  If you drink coffee every morning, don't worry, you will easily go through that pound of beans before it gets stale.

Next buy a plastic cone and some paper filters.  Boil your water and I add a heaping tablespoon for each mug, maybe a little extra for those mornings when the eye boogers are especially thick.  If you like sugar, add it to the coffee in the filter.  This, I assure you, will be the best cup you’ve ever had.  Mess around with the extras, different sugars, soy, almond, and hemp milks.  There’s no need to mess with the process.

When it comes to the kind of coffee, mix it up.  Different regions produce different styles of coffee; the major ones are South East Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and South America.  Go through each one to become familiar, then start working on blends.  Make them your own.  If your coffeehouse sells loose beans, ask them to mix them for you and grind them up together.  Peet’s sells an excellent blend called Major Dickason’s that was developed by one of their customers.  Maybe one day you’ll have your own blend named after you.

Brew your own beerZymology, brew your own beer:  People have been doing it for thousands of years.  It’s easy and your results will often be better than anything you can find in a store.  I make my own beer and I have been since before I could legally buy it.  They don’t ID for yeast, hops, and malt.  I have been to the edges of good taste and back.  Some of my creations include: Kava Kava Cranberry Mint, Agave Lime beer with Chilies, Mocha Stout, Multigrain Light and Multigrain Dark (they included barley, wheat, oats, rye, and rice), and a Hoppy Hard Cider.  

Brewing is easy.  If you drink beer, you should make beer.  Read a book, buy a kit, and make some.  My dad made his own wine when I was growing up and although I’ve taken a home-winemaking class, I don’t have the storage for it right now.

Brew your own vinegarBrew your own vinegar:  A friend gave me a vinegar mother about two years ago and I’ve been brewing my own red wine vinegar ever since.  I started with a bottle of Petit Syrah and, whew, it is intense!  Now, whenever we don’t finish a bottle of red wine, we add it to the jar and it continues.  Call it a cuvee if you will.  This is how the ancients did it.  There is nothing I’ve ever tasted like real red wine vinegar.  It not only makes salad dressings amazing, but a little splash adds that note of acidity that make dishes pop.

Brew your own kombuchaBrew your own kombucha:  I started drinking kombucha with the rest of the masses about two years ago and when I finally read up on it, I realized how simple it is to make.  I ordered a kombucha mother on eBay for about $10 and have been cranking it out.  I have made mint, cranberry, orange, lemon, basil, and pomegranate.  Sipping a kombucha after a good workout really hits the spot.  

So there you have it.  Change up your nuts and bolts routine to make things more interesting and you will have more fun in the kitchen.  Listen to my shorts, “Life is more fun when you’re having fun.”  Or, if you don’t listen to my shorts, listen to Vince from the Slap Chop commercials, “Stop having boring tuna.  Stop having a boring life.”


Authordavid koch
CategoriesHumor, Science
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Chicken Sausage and Spinach Risotto

The thing I love about risotto is that it is a blank slate in which you can add a wide array of flavors. You can just let your imagination run wild!  I love the flavor combination of sausage, peppers, and dark greens so came up with this easy recipe.

I wanted my risotto on the lighter side so I used chicken sausage, but you could use pork if that is what you prefer.  Also, don’t limit yourself to just spinach since any dark green would be great in this!  Use whatever is fresh and in season.  Enjoy!

Chicken Sausage and Spinach Risotto (printable recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4-5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 10 ounces of sweet Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 12 ounces arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 ounces baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup basil, chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnish
  • Salt and pepper

In a small saucepan heat chicken stock and keep warm.

In a stockpot, heat butter and olive oil on medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add in sausage and break up meat with a large spoon until crumbly and cooked through. Add in bell pepper and arborio and saute until the rice is coated with fat and slightly toasted, about 3 minutes.

Pour in white wine and bring to a simmer. Let wine reduce completely, while scraping up any sausage that is stuck on the bottom of the pan. Stir in tomato paste then ladle in warm stock so it just covers rice. Stir and let simmer. As stock reduces, keep adding liquid, about 1 cup at a time, and continue stirring.

Once rice is almost cooked through, about 10-15 minutes, fold in spinach. After the spinach has wilted and the rice is completely cooked, stir in basil and Parmesan cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary. Ladle risotto into bowls, garnish with a little more Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Serves 2-4


AuthorAmy Koch
Authordavid koch

Mocha Fillet Mignon with Saffron Rice

We purchased a case of Clone 6 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Wine Garage some time ago and I was itching to open one and reap the rewards of my patience.  Knowing that Cabs, especially young ones, can have a high astringency from their tannins I began to think of ways I could doctor a steak to make it pair even better with these purple gromets.

Cabs often have notes of black pepper, smoke, dark chocolate, and coffee (along with their fruit) so I decided on a mocha dry rub and to fire the steaks on the grill as opposed to a pan-sear and finishing them in the oven.  I knew that the key was not to make the mocha obvious; the success would be in its subtlety.

If you couldn’t tell already, this blog is not our only job, and one of the guilty time-savers we have been implementing in our diets has been instant rice.  I know, I know, their texture is way off but when you make instant brown rice instead of white it keeps the yin and the yang of the universe at balance, right?

Maybe not completely in balance, but if you add enough butter and saffron to instant brown rice the result is pretty darn good.  That’s our little “pearl” for the week.  Tell a friend.

Mocha Fillet Mignon with Saffron Rice (printable recipe)

The dry rub for each steak:
  • 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground coffee
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Rub down each steak very well, working it into all the nooks and crannies (if steaks have nooks and crannies, find them, and rub the mocha into them).  Allow them to sit for at least 15 minutes to come to room temperature, but no longer than 30.

Cook the instant brown rice according to the directions on the box (they usually come in a box, with directions on them); however, add 50% more butter then called for, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of saffron.  Unfortunately, you’ll still know it was instant but it will at least taste good.

Grill the steaks until they are to your desired done-ness.  Pair with a Cabernet Sauvignon or another bold red with a backbone of tannins like a Merlot or a Syrah.  

Serve the steaks with the saffron rice and a side salad.  Since the wine and the dry rub have a lot of bitter in them, add a little honey or even a pinch of sugar to your salad dressing.  The sweet will be a counter-point to the bold flavors of the steaks and help balance your palate.
As a final touch, we added some of Olivia's Garlic and Herb Croutons to the salad.  They are buttery and delicious and have a great crunch to them.  They sent us some as a promotional gift and we are thankful for them, they are wonderful.



Authordavid koch
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The week started off with sushi, a forest fire, and froyo.  We received a promotional gift basket of Bora Bora all-natural snack bars and they're delicious!  I don't snack much, but I like to keep things like these in the car.

We went to the Hermosa Beach Fiesta and they wouldn't let the four month-old in the beer garden, I don't blame them, his ID is clearly fake.  We showed Alex a vintage surfboard from 1935, it was hollow and made from wood, although he wasn't nearly as impressed as his father was.

We wrapped up the weekend at the Greek Festival in Long Beach and had not only a Gyro but a Lamb-a-Rama, which is gyro meat in a pita with French fries and a spicy feta sauce.  Not exactly my cup of tea, but still tasty.

This week was brought to you by Samuel Adams, Bud Light, Stone Brewery, the wineries of Sapphire, Ridge, Rias Baixas, A to Z, and Wolf; and the letter "M."

Authordavid koch

The $8.16 Donut - photo by Antoinne Rimes

Is it worth it, and why would anyone pay $8.16 for a single donut?  Ok, I agree with you.   I think it is an outrageous price too, but I was emotionally compromised at the time.  You see, my birthday was on 08/26/10, and I wanted to treat myself to something spectacular.  And since I have an addiction to sugar, and love sugary things like lonely guys love porn. 

I made a pact with myself at the beginning of the year to refrain from eating or buying donuts until my birthday, and then to splurge on the greatest expression in the art of donut making I could find.  So I suffered and suffered, and suffered some more, vacillating between what donut could fulfill the bill as the best donut ever. And since I grew up on Krispe Kreme, I was too use to them.  I thought of tapping Voodoo Donut in Portland, Oregon, and then there was this place in Texas that makes giant size donuts…..


 But one night while I was watching the Food Network, I saw a segment on the Donut Plant in New York City.  The donuts I saw on that segment blew my mind. They were big and richly glazed and had intriguing, exciting flavors----crème brulee, chocolate black out, and tres leche.  For god’s sake—tres leche!  A tres leche donut!   I had to have them. But how could I get them?  I live in San Francisco and after a quick Google search I found out that the Donut Plant only has locations in NYC, Tokyo and Seoul.  Tokyo!  Seoul!  Come on, man!  And they don’t deliver from any location!  


I was bummed, but not defeated.  I started pricing flights to New York (yes, Tokyo/Seoul was still a crazy option) and coming back the next day.  That little plan was budgeting out to be around $500.00.  I love donuts, but that was Paris Hilton pricey for a dozen donuts.  I thought, you know, NYC is open 24/7, right?  I could take the red eye, and roam the streets of New York City for eight to ten hours until my return flight that same day.  The phrase “roam the streets of New York City” sounds as  ridiculous now as it did when I first conceived it.  I might as well have said why not see how long it will take me to get mugged, stabbed, and killed while holding a box full of donuts as I waited for my plane back to San Francisco. 


I dropped that plan, and went plan B.  I call it the sane option plan. I have some good friends who live in Brooklyn, and who work in the City.  They are both super nice, but also super busy people and the last thing I want to do is to put them out by asking them to schlep around NYC buying me a box of donuts and overnight mailing them to me in SF.  But I did.  I contacted my friend Leinana, a serious foodie like me, and I broke down my scheme and obsession to her. 


She understood and agreed, but with one condition.  She also had a craving for a sweet, sweet confection that could only be had on my coast.  She wanted some cinnamon rolls made in Berkeley, and like the Donut Plant they also did not ship their product.  Sweet!  It would be a fair exchange, East Coast Donuts for West Coast Cinnamon rolls.  The Day came and Leinana shipped me my box of 6 yeast glazed, 1 Crème brule, 1 Peach, 2 Tres leche, and 2 Blackout donuts. 


One dozen donuts: $30.00.   FedEx overnight shipping: $68.00.  My reaction----Ouch!


So the deal was struck and the donuts came carried by an unsuspecting FedEx driver, who I am sure if he had known what was in the box would have pulled some lost in transport scheme.  I opened the box and inside was sexy glazed bits of brown geometry.  Each donut was wrapped in a delicate paper, like fragile fruit or dynamite.  Where to start first?  Let’s begin at the béguin I told myself. First the Great Baker created the glazed donut, and the other’s followed.  I picked up one of the glazed donuts the way Godzilla picks up little Japanese people…examines them quizzically, and then Chomp!



 The texture (now talking donut) was not the soft pillowy bite of a Krispy Kreme donut.  It was more substantial than that.  It had a little tug and chewy to it, sort of like an ultra soft bagel. The glaze was sweet but not teeth aching sweet.   My fingers were sticky from the glaze but not greasy from the donut, and that told me they used new oil and fried the donut at the correct temperature.  I munched on the donut, savoring the flavor, thinking, “yeah, this is good, but $8.16 good?  


Hummm…chomp…chomp…chomp. Good. How much?! Chomp…chomp…chomp, who cares?”   To an addict like me, I can justify the expense, it being my birthday and all.  But next time I plan to hop a flight to the Big Apple and take a less expensive bite out of some pretty good donuts.

AuthorAntoinne von Rimes
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Green Goddess Dressing
Tip - make your Green Goddess Dressing ahead - it should sit in the fridge for at least 3 hours.  I have a tendency NOT to read recipes before jumping in... this one only sat in the fridge for an hour and was a little mild, the flavor develops with time.
I got this from Bon Appetit Magazine in my favorite feature, "Molly Wizenberg's Cooking Life."  Everything she writes about sounds delicious. This was from their May 2009 issue.  My husband Steve and I love the bottled goddess dressings but she says they are no comparison to the real deal.

  1. 1/2 ripe medium avocado (about 7 ounces)
  2. 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  3. 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  4. 1 oil-packed anchovy, very finely chopped
  5. 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  6. 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  7. 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  8. 3/4 cup olive oil
  9. 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  10. 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  11. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  12. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  13. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  14. 1 small shallot, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)

Blend first 7 ingredients in processor until coarse puree forms.  With machine running, gradually add oil through feed tube; blend well.  Transfer mixture to bowl; whisk in cream.  Add parsley, tarragon, cilantro, basil, and shallot; whisk to combine.  

Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.  Cover and chill at least 3 hours (dressing will separate if not chilled).  Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes and re-whisk before serving.

Can be made 1 day ahead.  Keep chilled.
AuthorHeather Ward

Salad and Italian food mostly, broken up by an occasional burrito and bagel (reads like a weather forecast).  Rocked an In-N-Out for the first time an at least 6 months and it reaffirmed the fact that I could never be a complete vegetarian.  I played a croquet tournament that had quite the table of grinds at it.  The south swells that lit everything up last week petered out but I still logged about 5 hours in the water anyway.

I found a horn worm (?) eating our tomato plant and it was huge, like 6 inches long!  We recycled 120 pounds of cardboard to the tune of $5.40 and can now see the walls of the garage for the first time since we moved in.

Nothing really out of the ordinary food-wise but some highlights include some Nova Lox on on of my bagels, homemade chicken and dumplings, a Chili Relleno Burrito, and a 2005 Babcock Pinot Noir from the Santa Rita Hills.

This week was brought to you by Sessions Beer, Fat Tire, and the wineries of Tamborine, Westerly, and Babcock.

Authordavid koch

Grilled Corn and Zucchini Salad

This is ultimate summer salad; fresh, seasonal vegetables combined with the BBQ.  I came up with this salad while at my local farmer’s market where I bought all the produce for this great dish.

We served the salad along with some grilled BBQ chicken breasts but it would also go great with any grilled fish or steak. Stop by your local farmer’s market, invite some friends over, fire up the grill and give this salad a try this weekend!


Grilled Corn and Zucchini Salad (printable recipe)

  • 3 ears of corn, shucked
  • 2 zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil plus one tablespoon
  • Juice of 1 lemon, divided
  • 3 ounces of feta cheese
  • Salt & pepper


Preheat grill.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup olive oil and half the lemon juice. Using a pastry brush, apply lemon oil all over zucchini and corn then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

Once grill is ready, add the zucchini and corn, turning as necessary until vegetables have grill marks and are cooked through. Remove and let cool. Once they are easy to handle, cut kernals off the cob and cut zucchini into 1 inch chunks.

Place in bowl, then add scallions, cherry tomatoes, basil, feta cheese, juice from the other 1/2 a lemon, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Taste salad and add salt and pepper as necessary.

We also grilled some chicken breast with the same marinade, sliced thin, and topped with Country Bob's Spicy BBQ Sauce.  It is sweet, tangy, and just the right amount of heat.  Enjoy!


Serves 4

Country Bob's Spicy All Purpose was sent to us as a promotional gift.

AuthorAmy Koch

Tzatziki Guacamole

Take the creamy coolness of guacamole and combine it with the refreshing crisp crunch of cucumbers, zip of yogurt, and zest of lemon; assemble them and they form like Voltron into quite possibly the greatest dip ever.

Not to toot my own horn [beep beep] but this is really good - and since the cucumber lightens things up, you don't feel nearly as bloated or guilty when you devour and entire bowl with a half a large bag of tortilla chips to the dome.

This didn't last long enough to top a dish but I could see it being great on chicken or lamb.  It is of course excellent with chips, especially tortilla chips, eating it with a spoon, or your fingers; just don't dip past the second knuckle because that's rude.

Tzatziki Guacamole (printable recipe)

  • 2 ripe avocados, cubed
  • 1/4 red onion, minced fine
  • The juice of 1 lemon, the zest of half of it
  • 1 large ripe tomato, diced
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • 1/2 a large cucumber, seeded and diced small
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced cilantro

Combine everything into a large bowl. Try not to eat it all before you blink. If you have anywillpower, it can be stored up to a day in the fridge if you cover the surface with plastic wrap.  



Authordavid koch