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2007 Chowing with the Hounds (SF Bay Area) Picnic Recipes

There is a report here:


on the annual picnic/get together of SF Bay Area hounds. This board is the place to post recipes and recipe requests, so I will start it out: everything was delicious! For me personally, the carrot pudding was a standout. I believe it was a repeat from a prior year hit, but would love to see this recipe again: perfect for Thanksgiving!

I also loved Ruth's potato/bacon thingies, the corn salad, the fattoush salad, and Urmi's basil chicken! Can we have recipes?

oh yes, and the ginger truffles......and the bbq picnic sandwiches! I could go on and on...

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  1. I actually made David's carrot pudding for T-Day a couple of times, and it was indeed a big hit, taking the place of sweet potatoes (which no one in our family is crazy about).

    Thanks for all the compliments about my Cheesy Potato Bites -- potatoes, cheese, bacon, how could I go wrong? I cobbled the dish together doing what I often do: read a bunch of recipes and use elements from different ones (techniques from one, ingredients from another, etc.). The amounts are very approximate, since I'm working backwards from the batch I made for the picnic (six pounds of potatoes). Depending on how much other food you have, I'm guessing this would be enough for 8-10.

    Ruth's Cheesy Potato Bites

    One pound small (15 to a pound) Yukon Gold potatoes

    6 oz good quality bacon (not thick sliced -- I used Niman Ranch dry-cured applewood smoked bacon)
    2 oz blue cheese
    2 oz St. Andre cheese
    2 oz chevre
    2 oz ricotta
    (or any blend of cheeses to taste -- the ricotta adds moisture, other recipes I looked at added mayo and/or sour cream)

    2 oz finely grated parmesan
    truffle oil

    Note: I bought all these ingredients, except the potatoes, at Trader Joe's. The quality of the bacon makes more of a difference than the quality of the cheese.

    Steam the potatoes until cooked through but still firm enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Let cool (but don't refrigerate or they get wrinkly).

    Cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat is well-rendered and the bacon is crisp but not burned. Cool and mince finely into bacon bits. Cream all the cheese except the parmesan together (I used a food processor) and fold in about two-thirds of the bacon bits, reserving the rest.

    Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees

    When the potatoes are cool, cut in half and use a small melonballer or teaspoon to scoop a hollow in the center of each half. Put the parmesan and truffle oil (or melted butter or olive oil) into saucers or small bowls. Tap each potato half cut-side down in the oil, then in the parmesan (parmesan should be mostly on the flat edge, not filling the hollow) and set on a baking sheet. Bake until just starting to turn golden brown (about six minutes). Remove from oven and let cool slightly (just until they won't make cheese filling too runny to work with). Put a blob (a scant teaspoon) of the bacon-cheese mixture in each hollow and top with a pinch of the reserved bacon bits. Return them to the oven and bake until they look good to you (about 10 minutes). Serve warm.

    This sounds more complicated than it was -- I made the batch for the picnic (slightly over 150 pieces) in less than two hours. The filling can be made ahead of time, and the assembled potato bites can be held for a while before baking.

    Oh, and I used the rendered bacon fat to make this recipe -- easy and delicious:

    Swedish ginger cookies:


    4 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      I'd certainly recommend making Ruth's potato apps! They were quite delicious and got lots of kudos. They were also quite good at room temp (actually outdoor temp).

      1. re: oakjoan

        I agree, those were amazing!

        I made the fattoush:

        8 tomatoes (I used smallish Early Girls, if you're using bigger ones you could use less), seeded and chopped
        1 big English cucumber, seeded and chopped
        1 bunch green onions, chopped
        2 cloves garlic, minced
        1 big handful each of mint and parsley, chopped
        a good sprinkling of kosher salt

        Mix all of the above together. Over it all, squeeze a half a lemon, and then drizzle with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and toss.

        While you're doing all of the chopping, toast 2-3 rounds of pita (cutting them first, if possible, so that they're one layer), and let cool. Then break up all of the pita with your hands or scissors all over the rest of the salad, and sprinkle it all with about 1/2 a teaspoon of sumac, and toss again.

        To bring it to the picnic, I toasted and cooled and broke up the pita, and then took the pita seperately from the rest, and tossed it all when I got there so as not to get the pita too soggy in advance.

        Those ginger truffles were fantastic! As was that calamari salad!

      2. re: Ruth Lafler

        Those sound incredible - and a good way to use up odds and ends of cheeses. Do you think I could mince the bacon before cooking it?

        1. re: MMRuth

          Thanks, MM! I don't think it matters how you make the bacon bits, but I've had better luck getting the right amount of rendering without burning with larger pieces rather than smaller -- with small pieces I always end up with some pieces that are underdone and some that are burned (or little burned fragments mixed in) and it's easier to separate the good from the bad if it's in big pieces.

      3. I was just looking at the picnic pictures, and I was reminded -- I want the recipe for that butterscotch boudin! I have a million recipes for chocolate, but a delicious butterscotch recipe like that is a rare bird indeed!

        9 Replies
        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          I made the butterscotch budino from the Pizzeria Mozza recipe published in the NYTimes. I followed the recipe (the budino part, at least) pretty much to the letter, so I'll just post the link:

          Helpful hints:
          1) It's really hard to tell by sight when the caramel has caramelized enough, since you're starting off with brown sugar - the first time I made this, I panicked and pulled the pan way too early. I found that the point when all of the liquid becomes bubbles is the time to take the pan off heat.
          2) If both your cornstarch and your baking powder are made by Clabber Girl... check the label first. I made my first batch with 5 Tbsp of baking powder. That was hideous.

          The original has a warm caramel sauce and whipped creme fraiche on top of the budino... I figured it was dicey enough, bringing a dairy dessert to a picnic, without messing around with warm sauces and whipped toppings, so I made a pine nut brittle (with cayenne and rosemary) and mixed in some Maldon sea salt to top the budino.

          1/2 c pine nuts
          1 1/4 cup sugar
          1/2 cup water
          1 sprig rosemary
          3 TBSP corn syrup
          2 oz unsalted butter
          1/4 tsp salt
          1/4 tsp baking soda
          1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
          1/4 tsp black pepper
          Maldon sea salt

          Preheat oven to 375. Toast pine nuts (about 10 minutes


          Heat with rosemary sprig to simmer, take off heat (if anyone can come up with a better way to infuse rosemary into brittle, please let me know. This method didn't give me much rosemary flavor in the final product. Maybe blending with corn syrup and water, and straining?).

          Line sheet pan with Silpat.

          In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar and water and bring to a boil, without stirring. Add corn syrup, continue to boil, brushing down sides of saucepan with a brush dipped in water to force down sugar crystals forming on walls of pan.

          When sugar reaches 250 degrees, gradually add butter, without stirring. Continue to cook until mixtures turns light brown. Remove from heat and add salt, baking soda, and peppers. Mix in pine nuts, immediately spread on Silpat, sprinkle with Maldon sea salt. Cool.

          1. re: daveena

            Thanks so much, daveena (nice meeting you, btw!). Good call on the brittle: it was the finishing touch that really made the dish. I think I liked the bit of crunch from the brittle better than I would have liked sauce and cream.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              I also loved the butterscotch boudin. Everything I tried was delicious. I loved the Thai dishes - massaman curry, garlic noodles and chicken with basil - I'd love to get all these recipes.

              I also really liked the carrot pudding, corn salad, roasted pepper salsa, Ruth's potatoes, aloo chaat, two types of fried plantains, the ground cherries, the chocolate sorbet, the vanilla chocolate truffles (I preferred these to the ginger ones - although I might be alone on that) and sesame peanut noodles. So hopefully people can post the recipes for those, and any other dishes I am forgetting.

              I made one of the two spanekopetas, and I can post the recipe soon. I'd love to get the other recipe as well.

              Dave MP

              1. re: Dave MP

                Here is the spanekopeta recipe. I used frozen spinach and frozen phyllo dough, though it could be done w/ fresh/homemade too. I also used all parmesan instead of romano. This style is more caserole like, unlike the other spanekopeta at the picnic which was in individual triangular pieces. Also, I assembled the spanekopeta on Wednesday, and then froze it until Saturday morning for the picnic.

                Spanakopeta (recipe from my grandmother)

                1/2 lb. phyllo dough (cut 1 lb. package in half)

                2 packages frozen spinach, leaf or chopped (or one of each)

                2 T olive oil

                1 medium grated onion

                1 T dried dill

                1/2 lb. feta cheese, crumbled

                2 T grated romano cheese (or parmesan cheese)

                2 T large curd cottage cheese

                1/2 to 1 cup grated parmesan cheese

                2 eggs

                1/2 tsp. baking powder

                1 stick butter, melted

                1 egg for glaze

                Thaw phyllo dough according to package.

                Saute onions in oil until wilted. Add frozen spinach to onion and cook together until defrosted. Cool. Add dill.

                Beat 2 eggs well. Add baking powder, feta, cottage cheese and 2 T romano or parmesan.

                Combine spinach and cheese mixtures.

                Butter 13 X 9 inch pan. Construct Spanakopeta as follows:

                Layer 5- 6 sheets of phyllo in pan, overlapping each other, covering the sides of the pan (overlap 1 inch over sides of pan). Brush each sheet with melted butter. Put half of spinach/cheese mixture in pan, spread evenly, sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Repeat with 5 or 6 more phyllo sheets, brushing with butter. Spread rest of spinach/cheese mixture, sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Top with rest of phyllo sheets, brush with butter. Fold sides over to seal. Brush with one beaten egg.

                With sharp knife cut diagonally into 3 to 4 inch squares.

                Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes, until brown. May be frozen and baked for 1 hour at 350.

                1. re: Dave MP

                  Here is a link to Cece's post where she reveals the secret of the other spanekopetas:


                  1. re: susancinsf

                    ahha! I suppose mine could be made in the same style using the same filling. I haven't tried that before, but I might do it soon.

                    Dave MP

                  2. re: Dave MP

                    Hello everyone,

                    Thanks for a great picnic. Nice meeting you and tasting your food. I enjoyed every dish I tried -- it was quite a spread. I'll definitely be cribbing your recipes from this thread. Here's the recipe for the corn salad, a version of Peruvian choclo con queso.

                    8-10 Fresh Corn Stalks
                    8 oz. Danish Havarti Cheese
                    1 Red Bell Pepper
                    1 Lime

                    Steam or boil the corn, shock them in ice water to cool them. Cut off the kernels. Cube cheese, and chop bell pepper to pieces that are roughly the size of a corn kernel, mix together and drizzle lime juice to taste. If you have a bbq grill fired up, you can grill the corn and get a little bit of char on it instead of steaming it.

                    The idea is for this to be very simple, be able to taste every ingredient and enjoy the produce, so definitely use fresh corn.
                    Photo of the original: http://www.flickr.com/photos/14506668...

                2. re: daveena

                  daveena, the butterscotch budino was fabulous, thanks so much for making this for us! Didn't know it was yours, and kudos for being so impeccably organized in portioning it out in individual servings. Great to meet you!

                  1. re: daveena

                    Oh no! I missed butterscotch! Butterscotch Budino? I guess I'll just have to make it. Thanks, daveena, for the link.

                3. The Thai garlic noodles with roast pork, praised on the SF board report, sounds a lot like a dish we learned how to make at Kasma Loha-Unchit's amazing weeklong intensive cooking class in Oakland (though I wasn't at the picnic to see for myself). Would the creator be willing to share if that was the recipe used?

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: david kaplan

                    That was Marlon's contribution if I am not mistaken, and he told me he was going to bring the 'garlic noodles from his Thai cooking class'....so I am guessing your guess is correct. Marlon, can you confirm?

                    1. re: susancinsf

                      That's what he told me (those were fantastic!) and I'm eagerly anticipating the recipe!

                      1. re: JasmineG

                        Actually all the three Thai dishes at the picnic were made from Kasma's recipes. We are all Kasma alum so to say :). I will post the basil chicken recipe later!
                        Urmi (aka jhinky)

                        1. re: jhinky

                          Three more cheers for Kasma! That garlic noodle recipe is among my favorites.

                          1. re: david kaplan

                            Basil Chicken:
                            Actually I used pretty much the recipe that Kasma has on her website (I used about 5x the recipe) - see http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/reci...
                            I use ground chicken instead of coarsely chopped up chicken as I find the taste distributes better and thats the way my favorite Thai restaurant made it :) And use as much chilli as you can - it adds to the flavor.

                            1. re: jhinky

                              YUM, thanks! I can't wait to make that!

                              1. re: jhinky

                                I didn't see the garlic noodle recipe on there. Can someone post that?

                                1. re: jhinky

                                  You got the chiles just right for me: hot enough that I said "wow, that's hot" but still kept eating it. :-)

                      2. Since everyone is clamoring for it, here's a link to the recipe for David's carrot pudding, which he posted when he brought it to the 2005 picnic:

                        Carrot Pudding:


                        1. Darn! I am kicking myself since I wasn't able to make it to the picnic this year. I saw the post a little late, and had plans already. Sounds like it was a great time, with lots of good food.

                          Ruth I am going to make your potatoes for a party the 27th, should I use a warmer? (I think that I Iove potatoes just about any way they're prepared) The party is going to be fairly informal
                          do you recommend that I keep them warm in a serving dish? All the food is going to be appetizers, or walk about food, but I want to serve them the best way. What do you think?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: chef chicklet

                            People seemed to think they were good at room temp (or rather, air temp). Since it uses soft cheeses, they don't get hard and congealed when they cool. They also retain heat well, so if you put foil over the baking sheet when you take them out of the oven, they should keep warm for a while.

                          2. My basic truffle recipe was originally based on this: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/...

                            As I used it, it gradually underwent some revisions until it became this:

                            But since then, it's undergone some more revisions, so I'll see if I can approximate what I actually did for y'all here.

                            Ingredients are for a single batch. You can make multiple batches of the same flavour as a single batch, but it gets a lot trickier on the timing. I recommend that if you want to make lots of truffles, you still work with about these quantities at one time, otherwise you'll never get them all rolled before they start to melt, etc. I do, however, pipeline the process, so I end up making/melting one batch while another is cooling in the bowl, etc. I don't do a whole set right to the end and then start the next one. And I save all batches up and coat with chocolate together so I only have to #%@$ing temper chocolate once.

                            Ingredients for regular truffles, makes 42-48 truffles
                            16 ounces of chopped or grated chocolate
                            6 ounces of heavy cream
                            1/4 cup of sugar.
                            1 ounce butter
                            1.5 - 2 ounces of liquid flavouring. If you use a powdered flavouring, or something heavily concentrated, then replace this liquid content with more cream.
                            8 ounces of chocolate for coating + extra (see notes below) In Temper!

                            Chop or grate your chocolate into a mixing bowl. I use my food processor's cheese grating plate for this -- it's messy, and you lose a little chocolate to the heat of the mixer (measure your 16 ounces after you chop, rather than before), but it's about 80 zillion times faster and easier on the hands than chopping block chocolate by hand. If you're chopping try to keep the largest pieces below the size of a large pea.

                            Heat your cream, the sugar, plus flavourings if appropriate (vanilla pods or any dried flavourings, should be included with the cream), until bubbles start to appear around the edges, but not until it boils. Poor this over the chocolate and butter stirring together with a spatula until the chocolate and butter melt and the ganache is smooth.

                            If the chocolate hasn't completely melted and the mixture is cooling off, put the metal mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water, as a double boiler, and finish melting the chocolate. This is more likely to be necessary if you didn't chop the chocolate very finely.

                            At this point, add any other flavourings and mix together. The ganache should be nice and shiny. Let the ganache cool until it's nearly set--hard enough to hold a shape, but not so hard that you can't work it a little. It should get to this stage just left out in a cool room after a few hours, but who has that kind of time? Throw it in the fridge for 30-60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. No wimpy-assed stirring! Stir it well and truly, scraping the edges thoroughly.

                            Once the ganache is holding shape, I use two spoons to work it into a rough shape and plop it onto a piece of parchment paper. (Waxed paper also works. Getting the chocolate back off your silpat is a pain in the ass, thus, silpat not recommended.


                            You could, at this stage, or after chilling the rough shapes for 10-15 minutes, roll them into a round shape. You could, but no one I've ever served a truffle too has complained that the rustic shapes were somehow less delicious than they would be if they were closer to round, so I don't bother. I'm lazy that way.

                            Coat your ganache with something. If they're not travelling far and are going to be eaten soon, I'll often opt for rolling them in sugar or another dry coating of a flavour that works with the filling (mixing powdered ginger with white sugar for ginger truffles for example, or rolling a nut truffle in toasted almond slivers). In the case of the picnic truffles, though, they needed to travel long distance, so I opted for a chocolate coating to help them hold up to the abuse.

                            It takes about 8 ounces of chocolate coating to do a 16 ounce batch of truffles. But if all you're doing is one batch of truffles, you won't be able to coat it in only 8 ounces of chocolate, because the coating process requires a messy excess that you can dip your fingers into and shake off and such. Use a minimum of a pound, and if you're doing multiple kinds of truffles, save them all up and coat them together out of a communal pot of tempered chocolate 8 ounces per batch plus 8 ounces extra. You can save the extra and do something else with it later. I often use El Ray for the shell, since a better quality of chocolate does show up nicely here, but Whole Foods was out, so the shell on the picnic truffles was the same Callebaut dark as the ganache.

                            Bring the coating chocolate into temper. (Notice how I gloss over how to do that. I'm bad at it, I barely manage it at the best of times. You'd be better off searching for someone else's method.) Dip one hand into the chocolate and bring up a small amount in your cupped fingers. Use the other hand to drop one of your ganache fillings into the middle of that pool and then wrap your fingers around it quickly and make sure it gets thoroughly coated in the chocolate. Return it to the waxed paper or to new, clean, shiny waxed paper, if you prefer, to set.

                            About 5 minutes after you coat the last truffle, they should all be set in their shells and basically ready to go. I usually leave them overnight before I pack them up, and if I'm planning on, say, taking them on an airplane and flying them across the country, will usually throw the boxes into the fridge until the last minute so they're extra hard and resilient when baggage handling is throwing them on the ground and driving a 747 over them. Refrigeration is generally not the best thing for chocolate, and this does tend to make it bloom a little if it wasn't in absolutely perfect temper to start with. That said, much like roundness, few people complain about a little blooming. It doesn't really negatively affect the taste.

                            The flavourings I used:

                            1. Vanilla -- a couple of vanilla beans, cut open and heated with the cream then scraped and pods removed. Also, an ounce and a half of relatively weak vanilla (I normally use less, stronger vanilla, but I had a bottle of vodka and vanilla beans in the freezer to use up).
                            2. Pomegranate -- 1 ounce of pomegranate molasses, 1 ounce of fresh pomegranate juice. The molasses really provides all the flavour, the fresh juice just brightens it up a little. You could probably replace the fresh juice with lemon juice or something with no noticeable ill effect on the taste, since it isn't enough to really taste the flavours in all that chocolate anyway. You know, if you don't want to buy a $4 bottle of juice and use 1oz of it.
                            3. Ginger - About 3 inches grated fresh ginger, plus 1/2 cup finely chopped candied ginger mixed in with the chocolate after it's melted. I use Penzies candied ginger because it's got a lot of sugar and a lot of kick.
                            4. Chipotle -- One large dried pepper cut up a little and heated with the cream. Pass the cream through a wire mesh strainer when pouring over chocolate to get all the seeds out unless you'd like to burn a few of your guests at random.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Jacquilynne

                              Jacquilynne, the truffles were absolutely delicious. The texture, as well as the taste, was perfect. I thought the least successful were the chipotle because I couldn't detect much of a chile taste. Maybe I got one with less chile, but even that was great because of the texture and taste of the choc.

                              Good job!

                              Oh, yeah, and the presentation was so elegantly simple.

                            2. Here's a recipe request for the Morrocan bell pepper "salsa," attributed to Cyrus. Color was amazing and flavors popped. Great starter.

                              1. Moroccan Pepper Spread
                                (This is probably the easiest recipe in the world)

                                3-6 cloves of garlic
                                2 jars of roasted peppers
                                A bunch of cilantro
                                A bunch of parsley
                                A dash (or three) of olive oil
                                A dash (or three) of vinegar
                                Multiple dashes of red chili pepper
                                A dash of cumin

                                Assemble all in a blender and blend for 1-3 minutes. Eat with pita or bread of any kind.


                                1. We handed out copies at the picnic but for those who were not there.

                                  Fresh Rice Noodle Rolls

                                  BBQ Pork cut into matchstick size
                                  Scramble Eggs cut into matchstick size
                                  Cooked bean sprouts with very thin ginger strips
                                  Thin strips of green onions
                                  Chinese parsley leafs
                                  Thinly sliced sweet mini cucumbers ( available in Asian market)
                                  Wasabi Hoisin Sauce
                                  Fresh rice noodles sheets.

                                  Lay the rice noodle sheet flat on a flat surface. You will need to roll it away from you. The roll should be as long as possible so you need to roll the side of the sheet.

                                  Lay a good amount of the bean sprouts, scramble eggs, and BBQ pork in that order. Then top with the parsley, green onion and finally the sweet white mini white cucumbers.

                                  Then make two to three roll of the noodle around from you until there is only one final roll. Squeeze a little of the wasabi hoisin sauce in a nice design on the inside of the last fold. Then complete the final roll. Then lightly squeeze the roll tight but be gently not to break the rice noodle.

                                  Scramble eggs are just a few eggs cooked in a little oil and when cooled cut into strips

                                  The wasabi hoisin is just some bottled hoisin with just enough wasabi mix in for a little bit to the sauce.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: yimster


                                    Didn't you put a few cilantro sprigs or something at the far end of the roll. Right before the hoisin/wasabi sauce?

                                  2. Garlic Noodles, Bamee Haeng (recipe from Kasma Loha-Unchit Clark)

                                    1/2 cup peanut oil
                                    1 head garlic
                                    1 lb chinese thin noodles
                                    1/4 cup tianjin vegetables
                                    6 green onions
                                    4 cups bean sprouts
                                    3 tbs fish sauce
                                    3 tsp sugar
                                    15 lettuce leaves
                                    chopped peanuts
                                    1 lb charsiew pork

                                    heat oil. fry garlic chopped. set aside

                                    cook noodles, drain.
                                    toss with vegetabl;es, onions, sprouts, garlic, fish sauce,
                                    sugar and some chili flakes. toss well to wilt sprouts.

                                    put on platter, top with peanuts and pork.

                                    serve warm or at room temp.

                                    serves 6-8.

                                    I made 5 times the recipe!!!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: marlon

                                      Yes! Thank you! This dish was amazing and I can't wait to make it. What are tianjin vegetables?

                                      1. re: Dave MP

                                        Tianjin pickled vegetable is sold in a cute little earthenware clay pot at 99 Ranch and lots of other Chinese markets. They look to me like little pickled cabbage pieces. They're very salty.