Photo: Erica Lovelace Cooks

Come with me on this spicy journey into the Chinese pantry

When I was a kid, my favorite thing to do with my grandmother was to visit the local Asian grocery store. While she shopped, we’d trot past aisles and aisles of colorful labels we couldn’t read, vacuum-sealed bags full of mysterious fungi or cartons adorned with neon, bug-eyed characters. Fast-forward 20 years, trips to the Asian grocery store are key to keeping my pantry well-stocked with things like dark soy sauce, rock sugar, hot pot fixings, hard-to-get vegetables, and frozen dumplings.

If you’re lucky enough to have an Asian grocery store in your backyard — whether a local shop or…


Piri-Piri-ish Chicken with Roasted Potatoes by Molly Baz in her latest, Cook This Book.

Reflecting on the best things we cooked or at least tried to cook in a year of isolation.

Tuesday, March 17th San Francisco Mayor London Breed ordered the first of several stay at home orders. At the beginning, it felt like we were getting a temporary reprieve from long working hours and commutes. My husband, then my boyfriend, was looking forward to working from the apartment. Personally, I was looking forward to being closer to my new sourdough starter, being able to feed it every 24 hours.

Cooking seemed like the natural way to pass time, to slow down. In…


A resurgence in the timeless activity has gotten people outside and interested in mycology again.

A species of polypore mushrooms known as Conifer Mazegill, not Turkey Tails.

Disclaimer: I am not a biologist, mycologist or even avid mushroom hunter. The information I am presenting purely comes from the expert I hunted with plus my own research. Here’s what you can expect from hunting with a professional.

“SHIT, I missed the turn,” I screamed inside my Jeep as we were driving down a winding road somewhere just south of the town of Jenner. It was a hazy morning on the Northern Coast of California and the sun was just starting to crest the clouds. The other intrepid adventurer was my friend Trapper who just spilled cold coffee on…


Photo courtesy of Canva.

An unpopular opinion on the double standard in cultural appropriation and authenticity of food.

I am not a philosopher, sociologist or anthropologist. The other day, I was swimming along the usual social media waters when a Korean content producer I admired commented ‘you need to stop cooking your watered down versions of Asian food. It’s not authentic.’ This caught me by surprise.

Authenticity is subjective and acts as the foundation of the cultural appropriation argument. Today, it’s taboo to challenge any claims of cultural appropriation. Sticking your neck out with a different way of seeing things has consequences — any…


Beef and sweet potato meatballs with almond yogurt sauce, dill and chili oil.

Resetting the eating habits of a persnickety eater without drab diet recipes and monotonous meal prep.

Six months into shelter in place orders and eating our feelings, my partner and I decided to take control of something…our diet. We did some research on various resets, diets and cleanses. I contacted my friends who had previously done one this year. Every single one of them had nothing but good things to say about Whole30. ‘It’s awesome…such a great program’. ‘You’ll love it but beware the sugar crashes, you can do it!’ Sounds intimidating but it has to be healthier than using…


Making the best of a terrible situation, furloughed chefs are spinning up exquisite delivery pop-ups

A plate of Mount Tam cheese pierogi topped with caramelized onions and cabbage. Photos: Erica Lovelace

It was a cool evening in June. I popped downstairs to the foyer of my apartment building, where a fellow in a face mask and gloves stood carrying a large bag of food in to-go containers. We politely greeted one another, and he replied, “Thanks so much for supporting us!” I peeked over the stairway ledge and saw a woman standing below next to a blue Nissan; she waved enthusiastically at me. On the way back to my apartment, I quickly Venmo’d $20 to an account called @sfchefshuffle.


At Gizdich Farms in Watsonville, you pick berries and pay at the end by the pound. Masks required in the field of course and dogs are welcomed as long as they stay around the perimeter of the growing space.

A slightly new take on a classic spread using strawberries from Gizdich Farms located in Watsonville. It’s a short drive from San Francisco in Santa Cruz county. Gizdich, a combination farm and small dry goods shop, is busy in June during the peak of strawberry season. Thank you Serious Eats for the inspiration for this recipe.

Couple of helpful hints:

1. When using this recipe, think of this as guidelines, not exact directions. If you have less berries, scale down the recipe in ratios.

2. When you’re picking strawberries and turning them into jam, it’s hard to gauge how much you pick in the…


How a weekend in the Mount Shasta Wilderness can mend your soul.

Caveat: This is for car camping, easy-going outdoor enthusiasts. If you prefer to backpack or camp alone, this is not the article for you.

A view of the mountain’s peak from Panther Meadows.

A friend told me a story about getting lost and winding up at a mystical, mountain retreat. Upon arrival, a man told her that she was destined to end up there. She stayed, meditated, and drank from the mountain’s well. The mountain, she said, produced water so coveted that people would drive from all over the country to collect it for its supposed healing powers. I knew I had to go.


Campsite candid from a recent trip in July 2020 just outside of Oakhurst, CA — a gateway to Yosemite and Sierra National Parks.

Caveat: This is for car camping, easy-going outdoor enthusiasts. If you prefer to backpack or camp alone, this is not the article for you.

No one wants to be unprepared when in the middle of nowhere. Use these checklists and guidelines to make sure you eat well and make the most of your time with your fellow outdoor enthusiasts.

Is there anything better than cooking outdoors? I get giddy about the prospect of cooking without consequence of smoke or smells lingering in the kitchen, listening to music and blissfully drinking from a vintage Coleman mug. Sure, I like camping in…


This tasty treat can be paired with a salad platter or a fresh plate of bun (rice noodles) with the same nuoc mam dressing.

The crispiest, fried Hanoi spring rolls paired with a platter of herbs and greens. Only acceptably served with traditional nuoc mam dipping sauce and ice cold beer.

This version is adapted from Jerry Mai’s cookbook, Street Food Vietnam: Noodles, salads, pho, spring rolls, banh mi.

Ingredients

Rice paper sheets, a widely available brand is Banh Trang

Full container of vegetable or peanut oil for deep-frying

Nuoc mam dipping sauce (recipe below)

Filling:

1 lbs of ground pork

75 grams of wood ear mushrooms, roughly chopped*

50 grams of cellophane noodles, cut with shears

25 grams of shredded carrots

2–3 cloves of…

Erica Lovelace Cooks

Hapa Southerner living in San Francisco | North Beach. Documenting recipes, collecting cookbooks, and writing. Marketing by day.

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