Sunday, July 22, 2007

Cooking Demo by Joyce Goldstein

I was at the Ferry Building's farmers' market yesterday and along with all the great fresh vegetables and fruits you also learn some things about cooking. The next time you visit (market is every week on Saturday), make sure you're there around 11 a.m. because that's when they have their featured cooking demonstration at the makeshift demo area on the north side of the building facing Embarcadero.

Yesterday's featured guest was San Francisco chef and restaurant consultant Joyce Goldstein. I have to admit, I never heard of her, but I saw her book Antipasti and currently curious about anything charcuterie, I went to check it out. Of course, she didn't do a recipe from her book! :( Instead, she made some tapas dishes from her upcoming book featuring Spanish cuisine. Oh well, since I loved traveling to Spain, I stuck around and watched.

She demonstrated two quick and easy tapas that featured grilled bread, basically a crostini. Her Spanish version featured a base called Samfaina, which she called a Catalan version of the French ratatouille. (Hey, ever since Pixar made that film of the same name, EVERYONE has to talk about ratatouille these days. Ugh, and I hardly eat ratatouille.)
Goldstein basically put her base ingredients of Japanese eggplant, onions, garlic, zucchini, green and red peppers, tomatoes and parsley into the roasting pans and started to cook them down. For flavor, she added sweet pimenton, which is Spanish smoked paprika. (I use this often when making my paella.) Samfaina sounds a lot like sofrito, because the idea is to cook the vegetables all the way down until it's almost like mush. Then you can use it as a base for other dishes or sauces.
The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA for short) is the sponsor of the demos. And they got this big grill yesterday to grill the Acme bread for Goldstein's recipes. Sigh, if I had such a big grill, I would do more than just grill bread. But that's just me.
Goldstein's helpers were busy grilling bread in the back and rubbing each one with a garlic clove.
This is not the Samfaina, but another recipe Goldstein demonstrated. It was a simple white bean puree with olive oil and sea salt (reminded me of humus) and she topped it with swiss chard that was cooked down until it was soft and drizzled with red wine vinegar and more olive oil. Very Mediterranean.
Here's the grilled bread with Samfaina. I had to wait so long for this to be cut and passed around because they had to wait until the Samfaina cooled down before they could top the bread. Now basically, Samfaina would be cooked slowly at a simmer for a while before it's ready. But Goldstein, for her demo yesterday, did a shortcut and cooked it on high with a cover. So I can't say if it turned out how it typically should be. But it tasted all right. A quick and easy snack.


Anonymous said...

Samfaina! Sofrito!

Mrs. L said...

I had dinner years ago at Joyce Goldsteins restaurant 'Square One' in SF. Amazing. It was one of the first really "gourmet" meals I remember.