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Thursday, July 07, 2005 

The Best of Gourmet - Featuring the Flavors of San Francisco

OK...I'm back. A little emotionally bruised and slightly tattered. I quit my job at Williams-Sonoma due to the ongoing discontent over the lousy management. What can you do when you catch the manager lying to you time and time again? How can you handle a fellow employee with some serious emotional problems? It was a part time job.....it was supposed to be fun but it turned into this hellhole and I can honestly say that the management direction of the company is going down the drain. They are no longer really looking for people who cook...they are looking for highschoolers with "energy". Forget knowledge and experience. They are banking on the hype. Anyway...tears have dried...a little.

Let's get back to food, shall we.

Good ideas are hard to come by, especially when dinner should have been on the table ten minutes ago. That’s when Gourmet comes in handy. Month after month, readers rely on the magazine for quick solutions as well as planned feasts, and they’re never disappointed. The Best of Gourmet, Featuring the Flavors of San Francisco is a collection of 33 menus and more than 325 recipes that were created in Gourmet’s test kitchens during 2002. If you’re looking for inspiration, look no further.

As well-traveled foodies know, some of the most exciting, culturally diverse fare in America can be found in San Francisco. In preparation for this year’s Cuisines of the World section, Gourmet’s food editors gathered there to taste their way from one ethnic community to another. One food editor, inspired by the Northern Italian dishes of North Beach, decided to create an ambitious San Francisco Celebration with the Tuscan, Ligurian, and Piedmont flavors of the area. Her menu includes clams oreganata, heady with plenty of garlic, fresh oregano, and lemon zest; pansoti (“little bellies” ravioli) with a rich cured ham, caramelized onion, and walnut filling; roasted leg of lamb infused with little pockets of garlic, fresh thyme, and rosemary; baby bell peppers stuffed with onions, anchovies, cheese, and capers; and an ethereal finale–fluffy ovals of meringue with pistachio custard and chocolate drizzle.

Since zucchini is in season....


Active time: 20 min Start to finish: 1 1/4 hr

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (8 oz)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
pecial equipment: a 3-quart bundt or fleur-de-lis pan

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter bundt pan well and dust with some flour, knocking out excess.

Sift together 2 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down side of bowl occasionally, then beat until very smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes more.

Reduce speed to low and add all but 1/2 cup flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
Toss zucchini, chocolate chips, and walnuts with remaining 1/2 cup flour mixture and add to batter, then mix batter with a rubber spatula (batter will be thick).
Spoon batter into bundt pan, smoothing top. Bake in middle of oven, rotating pan halfway through baking, until side begins to pull away from pan and a tester comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes total.

Cool cake in pan on a rack 30 minutes, then run a thin knife around outer and inner edges. Invert rack over pan, then invert cake onto rack. Cool completely.

Cooks' note:
• Cake keeps 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Williams-Sonoma...where the new trendy Deruta specially made for WS costs twice as much as the Real non WS stuff...gotta love it.

Now I must go bake a cake.....

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