Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jasmine Rae deLung
Jasmine Rae Bakery

Blowing minds since 2005. Jasmine Rae, just 27 years old, started very young without any formal training; nevertheless she’s transformed the San Francisco baking scene. She takes wasabi and transcribes it into savory butter cream frosting. Walking into her kitchen you are lambasted with creamy wafts of marzipan, spicy ginger, sweet sugar and you feel like you’ve been transported into a retro Willy Wonka scene.

There are cookies and muffins everywhere and large bowls of frosting jam-pack the counters. Loaves of bread are quietly steaming up their plastic bags in the corner. Jasmine Rae relies on a small team of confidantes and fellow (small, local) entrepreneurs to provide support and inspiration. Operating out of a third floor warehouse space converted into kitchen she has plans to open her own retail space before 2009 finishes.

1. Would you rather star in your own TV show or have your own cookbook series? Cookbook series – it’d be more like a novel that demonstrates my life experiences in relation to food.

2. Who are your heroes? My artist friend Catherine Mackey for her strong sense of self. My partner Rob for his fearless encouragement. My best friend Elsa for her comfort and vulnerability.

3. What are your food policy rules? Not too sweet, use fresh fruits and everything should be homemade.

4. What inspired your sweet path in life? Proving to myself that I can be bold and ballsy. I don’t have formal training and I want to expose people to food experiences that maybe aren’t familiar. Y’know – challenging the concept that basil is a savory herb. Oh! The smiles from my cupcakes.

5. How do you gauge success? By a lack of anxiety! (Laughs). By feeling happy and pleased with what I’m putting out into the world.

6. If someone gave you 1 million dollars for a Small Business loan, how would you use it? I’d open a few bakeries to ultimately fund an alternative school education school. A K-12 school – it’s been a lifelong dream of mine. I’d give the school my bakery so it could be self-sufficient.

7. What’s your favorite dessert? Well my dream dessert would be a manifestation of creamy, crunchy, Meyer lemon, burnt caramel and some kind of herb. Creative combinations.

8. Besides bold syrah, what’s your favorite style of wine? Dessert wines! You need things that sing well together. I used to hate scallops until I had them done really well. Just because you don’t like, say Merlot, doesn’t mean you will hate ALL merlots.

9. What is happy? What’s your happy place? Music is a very happy thing. It could be just driving down the freeway listening to Sly and The Family Stone.

10. What are 3 things you’ve learned on the job?
a. Education comes in all forms b. My time is more valuable than I think it is c. It’s important to work toward happy results above everything else

11. Last meal on earth? My Aunt Julie’s Christmas Dinner! Roast beast, white wine gravy, Yorkshire pudding, creamed onions…vee-rrry New England. Also the meal is very Syrah friendly. Aunt Juli sounds like an amazing cook! .
12. Favorite Travel Destination? Italy! It’s so vibrant.

13. Of all of San Francisco’s quirky holidays and celebrations what’s your favorite? I don’t really go out and do that stuff. But I believe San Franciscans are primed to receive art. Everyone in LA is an actor and everyone in San Francisco is an artist. When it’s hot outside, and you’re in the Mission, and everyone’s out and about around. Nothing is shocking. That is what is great!

14. Obsessed with any flavors these days? Meyer Lemons, definitely obsessed with Meyer Lemons.

Jasmine Rae can be contacted through her website:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

EWE not EW

photo credit: Ben

Sheep's Milk Cheeses are incredibly earthy, creamy and mouth-coatingly rich. They set the perfect stage for Syrah. Especially Santa Barbara Syrah, in all its bold, bright purple gem beauty.

Nancy's Hudson Valley Camembert is a creamy, soft-ripened cheese made from the milk of the Old Chatham Shepherding Company's herd of 100 East Fresian sheep combined with hormone-free cow's milk from a neighbor's farm. A gold medal recipient at the 2007 World Cheese Awards, Nancy's Camembert is meltingly smooth and buttery with the texture of a triple-crème and pairs beautifully with Champagne as well as Syrah.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chez Daniel

Grilling gives food a more assertive flavor, so the wine you drink needs to be equally assertive, with lots of fruit. This isn't the time for a delicate older wine that would be overwhelmed. Wines with lots of fruit also hold their own against any sweetish sauces, like many barbecue sauces.

SYRAH: Syrah has become my go-to wine for grilled meat and poultry. The wine's ripe fruit, accented by spicy, sometimes peppery notes, makes syrah the perfect companion. Plus, you can find good examples at a range of prices.

-Laurie Daniel

Laurie Daniel has been a journalist for nearly 30 years and has written about wine since 1993.

photographs by Philip Wartena

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Be Bold

Jasmine Rae deLong is an artisanal baker in Potrero Hill in San Francisco. She combines savory herbs and spicy components into her cupcakes, breads and cakes. She likes surprising people with her illicit combinations like wasabi frosting or raspberry basil filling.

I really enjoyed meeting her in a warehouse space on Bryant Street. She showed me these aprons she makes by hand with leftover fabric from an old upholstry company.

When I asked her how she gauges success she replied "By being as bold as I can be everyday."

Stay tuned for her Culinary Profiles interview, next month. In the meantime her website is:

Monday, May 11, 2009

EWE not EW

photo credit: Ben

Sheep's Milk Cheeses are incredibly earthy, creamy and mouth-coatingly rich. They set the perfect stage for Syrah. Especially Santa Barbara Syrah, in all its bold, bright purple gem beauty.

Abbaye De Belloc

Provenance: Pyrenees, France
Type: Pasteurized Sheeps Milk

Abbaye de Bel'loc is still made in the traditional manner by Benedictine Monks at the abbey of Notre-Dame de Belloc. A French Pyrenees sheep's milk cheese, Abbaye has a fine, dense texture and is high in fat. The milk comes from the red-nosed Manech ewes (an old local breed) whose milk is brought into the monastery from neighboring farms. Abbaye de Belloc has a true Basque character, and it is believed that many centuries ago the monks from the Belloc Monastery first taught the Basque shepherds how to make cheese. Proper care in the right maturing conditions will accentuate the rich, caramelized flavors that make this cheese so addictive. Pair Abbaye de Bel'loc with Zinfandel

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


A faux "President Obama" responded to us on Twitter that he likes Beaujolais best.
Some people have the time to not only be themselves but other people as well. If I had a fake Twitter account I think I'd be Regis Philbin. Because that's funny...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Camp Drinkalottawinee

What are people's preferred Syrah/Rhone style?

We've come to the conclusion that there really are only two Syrah camps.

1. Features Producers like: Alban, L'Aventure, SAXUM, Mollydooker, Torbreck, Red Car and Rhone Valley producers as Cuilleron and Domaine Marcoux. Think of this camp as the thick, dense, VERRRRY fruit forward, ripe and lavishly oaked kids.
THINK: The big kids, sometimes the bullies, the kids who were strong and really good at sports, football quarterbacks and head cheerleaders who usually had the BEST fake i.d.'s.

2. This second camp is smoothly acidic, more edgy, aimed at spice, earthy, leaner, hints of smoke and wood. This camp includes such producers as Peay, Radio-Coteau, Wind Gap, Shane, Sanguis, Lagier-Meredith, Failla, Samsara. This group also includes the Rhone Valley traditionalists such as Chave (JL), Beaucastel, Graillot and Guigal.
THINK: The debate team, the artists, the all star long distance track stars, the kids who could figure out intense math problems but still rock out the school dance.

So we ask YOU. Our readers.

What style do you prefer and why? What is your favorite Syrah?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

You're the rhone that i want, ooh ooh ooh

Paso Robles, California
Hospice Du Rhone

Hospice is the wine festival celebrating Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Roussanne, Viognier and the other 17 varietals from the Rhone. Whole cluster fermentation, de-stemming completely, barrel programs, vineyard designates and vineyard block designates, cheese pairings, swirling, aromatics, terroir expression.

The key take aways are endless, and surely Winemaker Pete will have more technical information for you.

My take away? What did I learn?

I learned that I need to travel with secret weapon Ginger more often. She's 4 years old and is already planning to be a "scary minnie mouse" for halloween. She is sassy and gorgeously cute. She's also the daughter of one of the wine wizards behind the curtain. She's pretty much a mini-wizard. Pure magic.

She loves to dance. We danced to fast songs, slow songs, 50s songs and hip hop. And she owns a dancefloor like a supreme Vegas Showgirl meets Burlesque Pussy Cat. Her signature dance move is the floor slap and she means it. When she slaps the floor you best move out of her way. She is about to unleash a hurricane of twirls that generate enough wind to make your bouffant blow.

She helped me sniper all the pop rocks, pixie sticks, candy lipgloss and candy matchsticks from all the tables. And she did it with sashay style.

Wine events come and go. Vintages wow and disapoint.

But I am pretty sure this Hospice Du Rhone was my most favorite and will stand out for years to come.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lauren Danziger
Lauren’s Gluten Free Kitchen

A tough as nails New Yorker producing sweet, sweet treats that are good for your mind, body and soul? Only Lauren Danziger could make such juxtaposition possible. A seamless chef and artful food culturist - Danziger has immersed herself in food for the past ten years.
After serving as a corporate drone for many years, Danziger was laid off and decided to turn the frown upside down. Starting her own enterprise was the best decision of her life and makes her life full and fulfilling.
Her current project, Lauren’s Kitchen is a gluten free-baked goods operation inspired by her own diagnosis of Celiac Disease. She still wanted to appreciate and eat good food and decided to do it the right way with incredible ingredients and a labor-intensive recipe practice.
" Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley -- and any derivative of
them. An estimated 1 in 133 Americans suffer from celiac disease, an
Autoimmune disease triggered by eating gluten. A growing number of people
are discovering wheat allergies and are eliminating gluten as a treatment
for autoimmune diseases and to improve general health. Lauren's Kitchen
baked goods are 100% gluten free. "

1. What are your favorite flavors? Anise & Licorice (I love licorice, but it’s not gluten free), Garlic (I use it like its going out of style) and Ginger (Obsessed!).

2. How do you stay focused and upbeat? The economy makes it difficult right now, but food is like air for me. I love food so it’s easy to stay focused. I enjoy what I’m dong and that makes it easy to get up in the morning. Loving what you do is so important.

3. Where will you visit for your next inspiration? Charleston, South Carolina for Southern Cuisine. My parents live there now and I’m really excited to start delving into that style of food. Also, I’ve re-connected with some of my Brooklyn family. I am really getting into 1940’s Italian Jewish Brooklyn Food Culture.

4. Past, Present or Future who would you invite over for dinner? Ayan Hirsi Ali, Ayn Rand, Julia Child, Michael J. Fox (Sooo Inspirational) and lets seeee... a man, a music man probably.

5. How many versions of a recipe do you make before you consider it yours? It’s only mine if I’ve spun it around and changed it and made it least 10 times. You’ve got to add your own ingredient changes and really practice it.

6. What is your favorite food & wine pairing? A nice, dry Tuscan (Italian) white wine and pears with pecorino. I love the crunch of pears with the pecorino cheese. Only in summer time. It reminds me of being a girl living in Italy. When I was just a hopeful kid living in Italy.

7. What’s the most frustrating thing about baking? *Laughs* Baking is scientific and specific as an art form. Cooking is liberal. I almost failed my baking section in culinary school. Baking is so detailed and creative. Its’ both. But you have to WATCH IT.

8. Why Gluten Free? I have Celiac Disease. I can’t eat anything with gluten in it. I love food and I missed eating pizza, pasta and sweets. I had to find a way to enjoy food again.

9. How does Syrah marry well with your style of cooking? Did you taste my meat sauce?!?! We’re both hearty, bold and vibrant. My food is deep and soulful. Just like Syrah it’s a gooey, fulfilling experience.

10. What is your favorite scent? Most of my memories are based on scent. My favorites are fresh, clean laundry and Spring Days when the scent of bud break and fresh, cut grass permeate the air.

11. Where do you see gluten free cooking and baking going? Up and Out. It’s one of the largest growing populations in the world. There’s very little you can’t do gluten free. It’s healthier, too.

12. You’re stranded on a desert island with magic growing trees that can grow anything. What are your magic trees growing? Hmmm. Magic Trees, eh? They’d be growing these cookies that my great-great-grandmother used to make in the old country. My mother used to make them. I can never have them again and on my desert island I’d eat the cookies and I’d gluten again. Those cookies were so amazing.

Rose Bud, indeed.

Lauren Danziger can be contacted through her website
and she encourages you to test out gluten free baking at home.

Syrah Sweeties
(Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Syrah Sandwich Cookies with Mascarpone Frosting)

Set oven at 350F

7 Tbsp, dark chocolate cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Cup, gluten free flour (I use Pamela's)
5 tblsps butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar, white granulated
1/3 cup, light brown sugar
1/2 cup, low fat, plain yogurt or sour cream
1/2 cup, Kinton Syrah
1 1/2, tsp gluten free vanilla

Combine the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda in a bowl and sift
together evenly. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
Once melted, remove from heat and add the cocoa powder and sugars to the
butter creating a sand-like mixture. Alternating the yogurt and the wine,
mix into the cocoa/butter mixture; half the yogurt followed by half the
wine. Repeat. Stir in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet
and stir until combined - do not over stir or dough will become tough. On a cookie pan sprayed with gluten free cooking spray, bake the cookies off for 8 mins.
Makes 30 cookies.

Place cookies on a cooling rack and make sure they are thoroughly cooled
before filling them with frosting.

For the frosting
Mascarpone cheese, 1 8oz container
1 Cup, confectioners sugar (you can add more if you want it sweeter and
2 tsp gluten free vanilla
1/4 tsp, cinnamon

Using an electric mixer, combine the mascarpone with the sugar, vanilla and
cinnamon, whipping until just combined - DO NOT over whip! Frosting can be
made ahead and kept for several days.

Take one cookie and using a small offset spatula, smear the cookie with the
frosting. Top the filling with another cookie to make a sandwich. Continue until you have iced two cookies together, using all cookies. Refrigerate the sandwiches to set for an hour. Serve chilled.