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About Amy Sherman

Amy Sherman is a San Francisco–based food writer, recipe developer, and restaurant reviewer. She is creator of the award-winning food blog Cooking with Amy, chosen one of the top five food blogs by Forbes. Amy is a guest contributor on Epicurious.com, and frequent contributor to the KQED food web site Bay Area Bites and has written for regional magazine such as VIA. She is also a restaurant reviewer for SFStation.com

Amy Sherman's Articles

The Lee Bros Simple Fresh Southern

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Written by Amy Sherman   
Saturday, 17 April 2010
List of viewable recipes from "Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern" by Matt Lee and Ted Lee

Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern by Matt Lee and Ted Lee (Clarkson Potter, 2009) is a 2010 James Beard book awards finalist in the American Cooking category. For a list of all the finalists check out the Project Foodie James Beard Finalists' Guide.

Win a copy of Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern! - details

ImageTruth be told, on the surface, Southern food seems like a bother. I imagine long cooking times, lots of butter and cream, and bacon in most everything. Well think again. The Lee Brothers have presented a new face of the South and it's fresh, fast and easy but still retains the flavors you'd expect.

Many of the recipes in The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern, have about five ingredients or less. There are cocktails and beverages like the amazing Ginger Lemonade, which combines fresh lemons, fresh ginger, honey and a pinch of salt to make a most refreshing drink that can be mixed with bourbon or tequila, if you desire. The brightness and clean flavor in the lemonade is something you'll find in seafood and soups and salad recipes.

There are some rich dishes too, such as the Pimento-Cheese Potato Gratin, but I have found myself drawn to the simplest preparations such as the Radish Butter, a smart twist on the French tradition of eating radishes with salt and butter. While I think of the South as the land of bacon and lard, there are a ton of vegetarian dishes in the book. The salads and sides with dishes like Cherry Tomato and Soybean Salad, Carrot and Turnip Salad with Dill and Field Pea Salad with Gingered Beets and Lemon make me long for Summer picnic weather.

Win a copy of Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern! - details

Radish Butter

From The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor by Matt and Ted Lee. Copyright © 2009 Clarkson Potter.

Serves 6 

Time: 10 minutes

This simple veggie spread will knock you out first with its speckled-magenta beauty. Then you'll be impressed by how it synthesizes the old-school delight of peppery, cool radishes from the garden, dabbed with a dot of good butter and a pinch of salt. Spread it on rye toast points, unsalted crackers, celery sticks, endive leaves, or crunchy romaine hearts.

We got the idea for radish butter from our Nashville friend Mindy Merrell, the co-author, with her guy, R. B. Quinn, of Cheater BBQ: Barbecue Anytime, Anywhere, in Any Weather. For folks who call themselves "cheater chefs," they sure don't skimp on anything, and they come up with ideas that are simple and original and damned delicious. We think you'll agree "clever chefs" is more like it.

1/2 pound round red radishes, trimmed, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, completely softened
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or 1/2 teaspoon Maldon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white or black pepper
About 24 thinly sliced rye toast points, toasted slices of French bread, water crackers, 2-inch celery sticks, endive leaves, or romaine heart halves

Put the radishes in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the radish is chopped into very fine dice, four or five 3-second pulses. Transfer the contents to a length of cheesecloth or a double thickness of paper towels and wring out the excess liquid. Transfer to a medium bowl and add 4 tablespoons of the butter. With a rubber spatula, cream the radish and butter together, adding more butter 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together in a smooth, pliable mass. Transfer the mixture to a 2-cup ramekin or bowl, sprinkle the salt and pepper over the top, and serve immediately. (The butter will keep, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Remove it from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving to let it soften. Sprinkle the salt and freshly ground pepper over the radish butter before serving).

Win a copy of Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern

The registered Project Foodie user that leaves the most memorable or creative comment below will win a copy of Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern.  Keep the comments clean and relevant - tell us what attracts you to Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern and/or what you feel makes this book award-worthy and we'll select one to be the winner of Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern.

Please note that you must be registered to enter this giveaway and upon winning provide a US postal address for us to ship Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern to.  We'll announce the winner on May 2nd.

If you have not yet registered with Project Foodie, please take a moment to do so right now--it's absolutely free; and we promise never to share your email address with spammers or other unsavory types.

Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 April 2010 )
 

Tasty Gifts

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Written by Amy Sherman   
Saturday, 05 December 2009

ImageSometimes you want to make something from scratch or give something made from scratch, but you don't have the time. There are numerous convenience oriented products to choose from, but not all of them are worth the time or the money. The following snacks each would make fantastic gifts for those who are too busy to think let alone plan, but also would be appreciated by anyone who wants to elevate snacking to something practically homemade and 100% craveable.

Image479° Popcorn is hands down the tastiest popcorn I have ever eaten. The basic corn is good, but it's the unique and tantalizing flavors that will make you swoon. My favorite is the Madras Curry Coconut + Cashews, but I am dying to try the Ginger Sesame Caramel, and on the savory side, the Black Truffle + Cheddar and the Pimenton de La Vera which not only includes smoked Spanish paprika, but also the flavors of tomato and onion. The popcorn is fresh and vibrantly flavored and now you can make it to order. The latest offering from 479° Popcorn is a kit that includes:

  • -32oz Multi-Colored, Organic Heirloom Popcorn, Shaman Blue, Yellow Topaz, Dakota Black, White Diamond
  • -16.5oz La Tourangelle Organic, High-Oleic Sunflower Oil
  • -4 Gourmet Salt & Sugar Blends
  • -Toasted Coconut Sugar
  • -Aromatic Curry Salt
  • -Fiery Habanero Sugar
  • -Roasted Onion Salt
  • -10 Glossy Paper Popcorn Cones
  • -Recipe Cards + Popcorn-Making Instructions + Pairing Suggestions


It's a whole lotta popcorn for $35. Fun for the whole dorm, but also a nice choice for moms, hostesses and movie fans everywhere.

ImageMe & Goji is one of a number of companies offering you the option to customize your own granola or cereal mix. You choose the flavors and ingredients online and it arrives in your mailbox in a large handsome canister not long after.  After choosing a base, you can add various grains, fruits, spices, nut, seeds and more.  The multitude of ingredients they offer is staggering. They have everything you might expect and then exotic ingredients you might never have heard of, like goji, mulberry, and chia. You could create a blend for a friend, but why not let them choose? A gift certificate is the best way to go. Prices vary based on the ingredients you choose but the average price is about $12 and contains about 15 servings.

ImageIf you've ever tried cookie mixes you have probably found them to be disappointing. That won't be the case with The Lazy Baker. I've tried their Chocolate Chip and the Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbread and both were outstanding. They are easy to make, and require very few ingredients such as butter or eggs. They are pricey, but not compared to buying cookies at a bakery, and the cost of homemade - let's just say priceless. The cost is $9.99 per mix which makes at least two dozen cookies. Some of the cookies are made in a mini-muffin pan so make sure you or your intended gift recipient has one if you order either one of the shortbread style cookies. Other varieties include Oatmeal Cherry Raisin Spice and Double Chocolate Chip as well as a Holiday Gingerbread Cookie Kit.  They are available in stores or on Foodzie.

Disclosure: Samples of products discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or manufacturers.

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Last Updated ( Monday, 07 December 2009 )
 

Tasty Sweets

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Written by Amy Sherman   
Tuesday, 14 July 2009

At Project Foodie we get a variety of product samples to try. Lately, we've gotten a bunch of sweets - here are a few of our current favorites.  Want to try some?  Check out the details below for a chance to win a sample…

Crofter's Organic Superfruit Spreads

ImageCrofter's has a line of organic "superfruit spreads" that tout their antioxidant properties. While they may have more vitamins than some conventional jams, they are by no means health food. However they are wonderfully tangy jams with very unusual fruit combinations. The North American blend is cranberry and blueberry, the South American blend is maqui berry a native of Patagonia and passion fruit, the European blend is pomegranate and black currant and the Asian blend contains yumberry and raspberry. I never heard of yumberry or maqui berry before trying these products. They are a very good value at $4.99 for 11 ounces of organic fruit spread with no artificial flavors, no preservatives and no corn sweeteners, for those of you looking to avoid them.

My favorite is the Asian variety, but all of them are fresh tasting, tangy and intensely flavored blends that will make your morning toast, a very pleasurable experience.

Kusmi Tea

ImageWhile tea comes from Asia, some of the best tea purveyors are based in Europe. Russia has a strong history of tea drinking and now a Parisian company is selling Russian style teas here in the US. The founder of the company, Pavel Michailovitch Kousmichoff began selling tea in 1868 in St. Petersburg and relocated to Paris after the Russian revolution. To this day, the Kusmi Tea company specializes in Russian tea blends.

Before you even try the teas, you will no doubt be enchanted by the lovely packaging. Tins of the tea are decorated in vibrantly colored art nouveau designs. Though Kusmi sells green, herbal and wellness teas, it's the Russian blends I recommend. The Prince Vladmir is Chinese black tea flavored with citrus, vanilla and spices. The St. Petersburg blend is also Chinese black tea flavored with citrus, red fruits and caramel. Brewing instructions are available online. Whether for yourself or as a gift, these are really special teas to treasure.

Amano Jembrana Milk Chocolate

ImageChocolate cognoscenti may have already discovered the exquisite dark chocolate bars from American artisanal producer, Amano. Now Amano offers a milk chocolate bar.  Like most milk chocolate, it has luscious caramel tones and a milder flavor, but the richness actually seems to intensify as it melts in your mouth. It's made exclusively from cacao beans from the Jembrana Regency and its surrounding areas of Bali, Indonesia. This award-winning chocolate will win over dark chocolate fiends and milk chocolate lovers alike.

And now for the chance to win a sample.  Crofter's Organic is offering a set of the four superfruit spreads to one lucky visitor. Leave a comment here (if you're not already a registered user you'll need to sign-up for an account first) and one reader (with a US mailing address) will be chosen on July 24th.

Disclosure:  All items discussed in the Taste Test posts are provided by vendors, publicists, and/or manufacturers to Project Foodie. 

Disclosure: Samples of products discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or manufacturers.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 15 July 2009 )
 

Remarkable Rum

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Written by Amy Sherman   
Friday, 12 June 2009

ImageRum has a long history, with precursors dating all the way back to ancient India or China. But the modern and best known versions of rum are from the Caribbean and Latin America. In 1493 Columbus introduced sugar cane to the islands of the Caribbean from the Canary Islands and the distillation of rum is well recorded as early as the 17th century. It was made from molasses, a by-product of the sugar refining process, and used as currency to buy slaves and to pay workers and was rationed among sailors in the Royal Navy.

For many people, rum has a tropical flavor that conjures up romantic images of swashbuckling pirates, sunshine and sea breezes.  Today, rum is made from sugar cane juice, syrup or molasses. It is generally aged in oak whiskey or bourbon barrels, giving it both color and flavor. Rum is an amazingly varied spirit, it can be light or dark, young or aged, dry or sweet. It can be used for mixed drinks or for sipping.

Remarkable Rum

Because of its complexity, rum is a very enjoyable spirit, even for those who tend to prefer wine over hard liqueur. If you have only ever tried mixed drinks with rum, here are three highly recommended sipping rums to savor.

Image1. Mount Gay 1703: This rum, two years in the making, was just recently introduced, and the bottle bears the familiar image of a map of Barbados. The name Mount Gay refers to an early caretaker at the distillery. It consists of reserve rums that have aged from between 10 and 30 years and is extremely smooth and elegant with a very long finish. It has luscious notes of banana, leather, spice, caramel and oak.

 

Image2. Ron Zacapa Centenario 23: Produced from a blend of vintage rums of up to 23 years in the barrel and fermented with pineapple yeast. It is made in the solera method used to make sherry. This rum from Guatemala is made from virgin sugar cane syrup, also known as honey. It has spice and caramel notes of molasses and fudge.  It is creamy, sweet and slightly viscous.

 

Image3. Ron Barcelo Imperial: From the Domincan Republic, aged up to 8 years in Kentucky bourbon barrels it tastes much older. It is very rich with vanilla, toffee and dried fruit, orange and a touch of tobacco. It's balanced, medium bodied, delicate and a bit on the drier side.

 


For more reviews and information about rum check out Rum Dood, Scotts' Rum Pages and Ministry of Rum.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 11 June 2009 )
 

Bitters: From home remedies to flavor enhancer

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Written by Amy Sherman   
Sunday, 26 April 2009
ImageIf bitters sound like old fashioned medicine that's because originally, that's what they were. Based on home remedies, bitters were made with an alcoholic base and botanicals such as herbs, spices and citrus. Before the Food and Drug Act of 1906, anyone could bottle and sell potions in the United States and make wild unsubstantiated health claims and they often did.

With the rise of cocktails, bitters became a valued ingredient, creating balance, adding depth of flavor and masking poor quality alcohol. One of the earliest and most well-known bitters, available to this day is Angostura Bitters. Created by a doctor, the exact ingredients remain a secret. In addition to being a bar ingredient, Angostura claims their bitters can be used as a mosquito repellent and a flavor enhancer for cooking.

ImageBitters come in many different flavors and variations, most use alcohol as a base though a few do not. One of the only American brands of bitters to survive prohibition is Peychaud's Aromatic Cocktail Bitters. It is used in cocktails such as the Manhattan, Old Fashioned and famous New Orleans cocktail the Sazerac.

Artisanal bitters to try include Fee Brothers bitters which sell such flavors as Mint, Peach and Grapefruit, and bitters from The Bitter Truth which include Celery, Lemon, and a version inspired by Jerry Thomas, the father of American Bartending. You can also make your own bitters, check out theses recipe on Saveur (save recipe), the Washington Post (save recipe) for Orange Bitters.

Old Fashioned


  • 2 oz bourbon or rye
  • 2 dashes bitters
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup (or teaspoon each sugar and water)
  • 1 maraschino cherry
  • 1 orange slice

Mix simple syrup and bitters in an old-fashioned glass. Add the cherry and orange. Muddle into a paste using a muddler or the back end of a spoon. Pour in whiskey, fill with ice cubes, and stir.

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 26 April 2009 )
 
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