A Californian Menu



International Recipes

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marga@lacabe.com



I'm from California, so I'm quite familiar with Californian food - which at this point I don't think differs much from upscale American food in general. Californian cuisine, unlike most other cuisines I've cooked (if not all), was actually born in restaurants, in particular Chez Panisse in Berkeley and Stars in San Francisco. It has an emphasis on fresh and local ingredients (and recently, at some restaurants, organic) and somewhat simple preparations. The dishes are mostly European in origin (French, at first, but in latter years the influences of other Mediterranean countries became particularly strong), sometimes with accents of Asian and even Latin American cuisines. Restaurants, at least in the Bay Area, often go through ingredient fads - there was a time where seared scallops were all over the menus, as well as sides of polenta, Israeli couscous and chimichurri sauce.

If I had wanted to be true to the origins of Californian food, I would have cooked from one of the many Chez Panisse cookbooks, or those of other well known restaurants in the area. However, I came across the book Recipes from Historic California: A Restaurant Guide and Cookbook by Linda and Steve Bauer at my local library, and I decided to be lazy and cook exclusively from it. The book contains modern recipes from "historical inns" in California and they seemed Californian enough - in other words, I selected recipes that had similar ingredients to those I've eaten at local restaurants.

Rather than doing a whole menu (something that has become quite difficult for me since I had kids), I cooked different dishes in different nights. I mostly served them with steamed vegetables. The dishes I cooked were: