Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cali: The Cottage Eatery

written by Martine Boyer

Snugly nestled in the corner of a strip mall parking lot, the Cottage Eatery is a delectable reason to venture into tiny Tiburon, a small seaside town, in the Marin Headlands, no more than 15 minutes outside of
San Francisco.
Envisioning a cottage by the sea, the location was a disappointment quickly forgotten once we stepped inside the softly lit room. Run by Edward Carew and Jennifer Rebman, a husband and wife team, the year-old Cottage Eatery offers a stylish an inventive menu, created from locally sourced ingredients.

We were welcomed warmly, seated immediately, and quickly charmed by our rustic surroundings. Our informal yet informed server turned out to be Chef Carew’s wife and partner, Jennifer.

What followed was a two-hour progression of ooh’s and aaah’s. Lightly marinated Monterey Bay sardines, quickly followed by braised tripe served piping hot. These were a delicious start to our eventual six course meal. Our next starter, seared foie gras, a creamy combination of layered flavors, was one of the highlights of the evening. Unable to resist, we ordered two main dishes, the spaghetti dish, which belied the simplicity of its name by leaving us wanting more, and the Duroc suckling pig, perfectly cooked and armed with crackling skin and melt in your mouth tender meat.

Finally, dessert was an unpretentious peach tart. Effortlessly wowing us, with flaky crust and warm sweet peach flavor, it was a delicious complement to the velvety vanilla ice cream accompaniment.

We left reluctantly, but satiated, and planned our return to the cottage by the parking lot. A worthwhile incentive to cross the Golden Gate Bridge.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009


written by Anthony Ramos
Memories linger from my 4th of July holiday in Michigan and interfere with my “back to work” reality. Lazy days at our lake house are now replaced with the daily grind that is NYC.Happily over the long weekend I was able to cook casual meals for us to enjoy al fresco.

We all had a hankering for ribs, so I reached for my iPhone to reference some recipes on BigOven – my latest app obsession. List in hand we headed to a supermarket. I loaded up on all the necessary spices and ingredients to satisfy our current craving.
Back at the homestead, I mixed together a dry rub of smoked paprika, garlic, chili and onion powder, cayenne and white pepper, salt, and sugar. I generously applied the dry rub to the meaty ribs and let them relax in the refrigerator for two hours.

After kicking back on the pontoon boat for a leisure putt-putt around the lake I returned to preheat the oven to 300 degrees and to start making the saucy glaze. Equal parts of cider vinegar, brown sugar and Dijon mustard are slowly heated in a saucepan and reduced to a thick syrupy sauce. Taste testing along the way, I added more brown sugar to balance the acidity of the vinegar.

With two racks of ribs in the oven I basted them every half hour for the next three hours. The house was filled with the scent of aromatic spices and the zing of cider vinegar.

To keep my stomach distracted and my head occupied I focused on building the evening’s bonfire. S’mores are traditionally on the dessert menu and there’s really nothing like a fire-toasted marshmallow, melted chocolate and graham cracker treat.

Every visit to the oven door was in anticipation of dinner. Fresh corn on the cob was prepped for the grill with silks and husk removed. Each cob was nestled in a foil blanket with pats of butter, salt and cracked black pepper. With the grill heating up I removed the ribs from the oven and placed them on the grill with ears of corn outlining the two beautiful racks. Basting once more helped the ribs attain a crispy caramelization and I rushed them to a serving platter. The ears of corn were sweet, buttery and the kernels were slightly charred and meltingly tender.

And the ribs,… meaty, succulent, sweet, spicy, smoky, and fall off the bone perfect accompanied by sticky fingers and smiles. Memories like this will just have to sustain us until we return.
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