I've got all sorts of interesting things to fill you in on.
- Let's talk about food equality. It's all well and good to be an ardent foodie, but in the San Diego area alone, according to Network for a Healthy California, 480,000 people face the threat of hunger daily, and that includes 181,000 children. Want to help do something about it? A coalition of the San Diego Hilton Family of Hotels has formed a coalition called Hunger at Home and on Friday, Nov. 21, the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines will host the Hunger at Home international tasting gala. The gala will feature over 25 international cuisines. Proceeds will be donated to the San Diego Food Bank with a portion going to The Network for a Healthy California. Hunger at Home is hoping to raise half a million dollars, which would be enough to provide 1.6 million clients with 1.5 million meals, as well as nutrition education for low-income women, single parents with kids under age six and fixed-income seniors. For more information or to buy tickets, go to www.hungerathome.com.
- On a different note, if you're a fan of Saffron, as I am, you love the authentic Thai food that Su-Mei Yu offers. Next month, from Nov. 12 to 16, Saffron will be celebrating the holiday of Loy Krathong, an annual celebration of renewal in Thailand. A special menu of traditional dishes will mark the holiday, including Kanum Gean Geand Ped Gai (spicy red chicken curry with cool rice vermicelli), Kao Tom Mud (boiled rice with coconut cream, black beans and banana wrapped in banana leaves) and Rice Crispy Treats made with palm sugar and freshly harvested, glutinous rice. Saffron is loated at 3737 India St. in Middletown.
- I love a great kitchen tool and found one at the market recently that will make freezing chicken, fish and other proteins much more palatable. Sure, I'd love to go to the market everyday for that day's meals but it's just not practical. The Ziploc vacuum pump and bags are an inexpensive way to draw air out of the freezer bag, which is what contributes to the deterioration of frozen food. It's easy to use and I'm impressed by how much air gets sucked out. Below is the salmon filet I'll be able to eat next week for dinner.
- Olive harvesting is just beginning and I'm hurrying to finish my current batch of Temecula Olive Oils so I can get more oils from the new harvest. Today, I made croutons from a sourdough baguette from Bread & Cie. I sliced the baguette and tossed the slices in a bowl with Temecula Olive Oil Company's Roasted Garlic Olive Oil, minced fresh thyme and a little salt. Bake them for about seven minutes at 400 degrees. Watch them to make sure they don't burn. Mine came close!
- I just bought a fascinating new book called The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. It's a compendium of ingredients and the herbs, spices, condiments and other foods that go with them. This is going to be a great resource for the times when I have something unusual that I've never cooked with and need to figure out what would work with it or to rethink and reconceive familiar ingredients to bring out new flavors.
- Finally, Rey Knight of Knight Salumi Co. told me that he's setting up shop on Clairemont-Mesa Blvd. near the 163 freeway. Not only will you be able to buy his amazing products but he's going to offer tours to show how his salumi and other products are made. He expects to be opening sometime in mid-November. Stay tuned. Currently, you can find him at the Little Italy, Hillcrest and North Park farmers markets.