December 9, 2023


Learn new things

Experts dish on crisp salads, clever toasts and cold mezze

It is incredibly hot. And turning on the oven feels like torture.

But Livermore’s Rebekah Culp is a master of no-prepare dinner cooking. Even when summer season temperatures tick above 100 degrees, Culp does not break a sweat, because she gets hundreds of meal inspiration from the imaginative, jewel-like “toastinis” and major, bountiful salads served at her artisan cafe, The Press.

At The Push, which has spots in Pleasanton and Livermore, Culp and her crew use Acme complete wheat sourdough and housemade ricotta to create stunning seasonal toastinis like Peach and Coppa with honey and basil or The Eloté-Ro with nearby roasted corn, bacon, warm sauce and “summer fairy dust,” which is just Tajin. But we’re calling that chile pepper-lime combination summer months fairy dust from now on.

“You have your carb, include your superior fat and protein, sprinkle some garnishes for texture, and it turns into a comprehensive food,” claims Culp, founder and co-proprietor, with her husband, Marshall, of the popular Tri-Valley cafes.

LIVERMORE, CALIFORNIA - JULY 22: Strawberry toastini, left, avocado and egg toastini and peach and coppa tostini are some of the menu items served at The Press artisan cafe in Livermore, Calif., on Friday, July 22, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
Strawberry toastini, left, avocado and egg toastini and peach and coppa tostini are among the specialties served at The Push artisan in Livermore. (Ray Chavez/Bay Space Information Team) 

So when the temperature soars, and you only simply cannot try to eat a different no-recipe salad with keep-bought rooster on major, there are some outstanding possibilities. Go all in on Culp’s toastinis, or serve them as the best accompaniment to other California chef- and food stuff blogger-accredited no-prepare dinner dishes, from mezze or charcuterie platters to Andrea Potischman’s spicy sushi bowls, Andy Baraghani’s chilly noodles with lemony peanut sauce, watermelon-laced gazpacho or a citrusy take on burrata.

Culp came up with the open-faced notion back in 2015, following leaving a career in company eating to commence her very own business in Pleasanton. Given that then, that little cafe on Santa Rita Road has doubled in dimension. In 2018, the Culps opened their next place on First Avenue in downtown Livermore, where they provide 10 kinds of toastinis together with Chromatic Coffee.

LIVERMORE, CALIFORNIA - JULY 22: The Press owners Rebekah Culp, left, and her husband Marshall Culp pose for a photo with some of the menu items served at their artisan cafe in Livermore, Calif., on Friday, July 22, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
The Push proprietors Rebekah Culp, left, and her partner Marshall Culp at their artisan cafe in Livermore. (Ray Chavez/Bay Place News Group) 

“People told me they did not want the standard breakfast with significant pancakes and potatoes,” she says. “So I arrived up with an avocado and egg toast. And each yr, we retain including more.”

Her ideas: Get started with a hearty bread sliced thinner than you typically would and toast it at medium heat. Distribute the toast with a layer of goat cheese or ricotta and leading it with fresh new slices of regardless of what you have on hand — tomato, beets, stone fruits. Insert depth with a drizzle of superior olive oil or honey, and crunch from microgreens, seeds, bacon crumbles or sea salt. Avocado is fantastic rather of ricotta. And any nut butter works excellent with contemporary fruit.

“They’re just so effortless to make and so functional,” Culp says.

If you are a planner, like Michelle Tam of Palo Alto, you can get ahead of the warmth by cooking extra batches of protein in advance of temperatures start to climb. The Nom Nom Paleo blogger and award-profitable cookbook writer checks recipes for a residing, so she can not step away from the kitchen even when she would like to.

“If I know the weekend is likely to be sizzling, I’ll throw two flank steaks on the grill as a substitute of 1 or make an added batch of ginger-poached chicken,” Tam states. “Both flavor fantastic chilly and can be employed in various ways.”

Her family’s most loved way is in salads brimming with fresh, crunchy veggies, like carrots, cucumbers and daikon radishes drizzled with sesame ginger dressing. On scorching days, Tam stays absent from the oven and stove but relies on lesser appliances that do not heat up the house, like the microwave, Instantaneous Pot or Air Fryer. She cooks full chicken in her Air Fryer.

Her mystery weapon is a piece of microwave cookware called Anyday. Invented by a feminine Chinese-American and backed by Momofuku chef David Chang, the tightly-sealed and vented glass bowls locks in moisture, steaming meat and veggies in minutes. “It’s really existence transforming — and I promise I don’t operate for them,” Tam says, laughing.

When her loved ones of four craves far more than salad, Tam favors cold or place temperature egg dishes, like frittatas, or noodles created from kohlrabi or daikon (as a gluten-totally free eater, she will get zoodle fatigue). “Just recall to blanch the daikon 1st to decrease its bite,” she claims.

At Beth Lee’s home in San Jose, the OMG! Yummy blogger and Jewish cookbook author assembles bowls, mezze platters and charcuterie boards by foraging her fridge.

“You’re generally a little considerably less hungry when it is incredibly hot so just pour a glass of chilly lemonade or rosé and decide on at these points,” claims Lee, author of “The Critical Jewish Baking Cookbook” (Rockridge Push, $17).

Glance through the cheese drawer, discover cold cuts, fresh fruit or parts of fish, Lee suggests, and by no means undervalue the electrical power of proscuitto — no matter if it will come from Eataly or Trader Joe’s. She’s been recognised to make a meal from crisped-up leftover grains sauteed briefly with herbs or tomatoes and an egg in the middle, á la egg-in-a-gap toast.

On the best evenings, Lee will place collectively a platter with retail store-purchased hummus and zhush it up with za’atar and a drizzle of good olive oil. She’ll toast leftover pieces of bread as a automobile for avocado, canned fish or smoked salmon. Or she’ll marinate extra-business tofu with soy sauce, sesame oil, rice or black vinegar, chopped green onions and togarashi.

“We appreciate chilled tofu,” she suggests. “It’s so refreshing. Get out a bag of edamame. Maybe you have some leftover rice. Out of the blue, it’s a food.”