We have had quite a busy travel schedule in the month of June. Two weeks after returning from China, we went to Chicago for a wedding and spent 12 days in the midwest, returning on the evening of July 4th, just in time to see the fireworks in San Francisco on an unusually clear San Francisco Summer night.
I always miss cooking when we travel, so much that I often find a cooking class to attend while away. In Hong Kong, we went to the Culinary Academy and learned how to make rice dumplings, glutinous rice wrapped up in bamboo leaves. It's a seasonal dish usually only available during the dragon boat festival. The legend says that the people threw the dumplings into the sea to keep the fish from eating some hero's body.
This is a picture of me forming the bamboo leaf packet which we filled with glutinous rice and then tied with twine.
In Chicago, I didn't have a chance to go to cooking class, but did spend a little time at the Taste. Unfortunately, it wasn't as "tasty" as I had hoped or remembered. (the last time I had been to the Taste of Chicago, I was in college) I tried some bland gumbo and drank lots of beer. There was a "gourmet" tent where you could eat a full dinner prepared by local chefs, but instead we decided to go straight to the restaurants. We did get a chance to peek in at the "cooking corner" and watched Carlos Garcia of La Strada Ristorante prepare Dover Sole Munier.
While in Chicago, we experienced Avec with Lou's aunt and uncle from Ohio and thier kids. This is a cool new restaurant that has a phenomenal PR person who's gotten the place mentioned in numerous food publications. So much so I found myself "having" to go there. The golden wood and glowing hearth exuded a warmness that contrasted with stainless countertops. It was comfortable for out of towners from San Francisco as well as for an Ohio corn farmer and his family. We sat at communal tables and shared small plates of chorizo stuffed dates and chicken with raisins and a sauce filled with moroccan spice. The slow roasted pork shoulder was our finale and a grand one it was. Washed down with a few bottles of wine, these small plates were a big hit for our varied tastes.
Today was my first day at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market in quite a while. I picked up some of the amazing Shogun Salmon, lots of cheese and some fresh cherry tomatoes. They are so fresh and sweet, I think I can taste the warmth of the sun in them. I'm looking forward to cooking with them in the comforts of my own home now that I'm back to the cutting board.