|Sole teaching a pasta-making class|
Home (+ hometown swap): I live and swap in San Francisco!
Profession: I am an adjunct professor of Italian cinema, literature and Women and Gender Studies at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University.
How did you first get involved in food swapping? How long ago? I think the first swap I attended was about 4 years ago, here in San Francisco. I think I read about it in a local food newsletter and thought, “That sounds so fun!” – because for me fun = food + people.
What did you make for the last food swap and what inspired your choice?
The last thing I made for a swap was focaccia with three jars of topping: pesto, pickled eggplant, and roasted red pepper. I try to make something different for each swap. In the weeks leading up to the last swap I had been making a lot of focaccia and had been loving the summer eggplant harvest so I thought I would put something together with those items.
What’s your favorite thing about swapping? I love seeing recipes other people are testing out and being inspired by their choices. I often go home and try to recreate or transform some of the creations I tasted at the swap. The nice thing about the swap is that it is one of the few spaces left where you can talk about and eat food without being caught up in the world of commerce. I often use the swap as a testing ground, trying out new recipes and looking for feedback (pop tarts was a fun one!).
|Sole and her co-chef, Chris|
Who or what most influences your cooking? My cooking is very much a product of my biography. I grew up in Santa Cruz and in Italy, in my cooking that means an Italian palate with a California-hippie attention to nutrition, balance and seasonal produce. This is particularly clear in my pasta-making classes. Every couple months I lead a series of classes with my friend and co-chef Chris. Under the name “Delizia SF” we teach students how to make a variety of traditional Italian pastas and then we put a little California spin on the sauces, side dishes and antipasti. These classes bring me so much joy, we always have a wonderful time in the kitchen and the class ends with a great big group meal. We started with orecchiette, a semolina pasta my grandmother often made; most recently we made squash tortelloni in a hazelnut and sage-butter sauce. For more info contact: email@example.com or find us on Facebook.
What’s your favorite kitchen tool? My black wooden spoon. It is wide and round almost flat, the wood feels good in my hand and doesn’t burn my tongue or get stained if I leave it in tomato sauce. I love it!
Your current flavor or ingredient obsession? Carrots have been particularly delicious this year. I am currently roasting a batch for a carrot-pepper soup and have been tossing them in just about everything from chile verde and ragù. Usually we think of roasted carrots as being a fall food but these late summer carrots are so sweet; a nice summer dish is to take roasted carrots and toss them with olive oil and my herbed salt (rosemary, thyme, oregano and garlic) and add them to a salad of charred corn and ricotta salata.
Biggest food surprise? Jellyfish salad. I had no idea what to expect when I tried it for the first time many years ago at little Japanese restaurant in the outer Richmond. I was blown away but how delicious and textured the dish was, not too salty and not slimy at all, just a little crunchy and deeply refreshing. I love coming across ingredients that are new to me, that is a big part of why I love to travel; last fall in Portugal my adventurous palate led me to discover amazingly delicious warm cod and chic pea salad, and a deeply disappointing candied egg yolks! Jellyfish salad was a wonderful surprise but definitely a special-occasion dish!
If the Rapture came tomorrow, what would your last meal on earth be? My impulse is to list the richer, saltier items that I save for special occasions: prosciutto, raw oysters, Spanish-style clams in garlic and white wine, grilled tri-tip, tortellini in brood… But if I'm honest I would probably want something comforting (it is the end of the world after all!) so I might have a carbonara (with lots of garlic, pancetta, pecorino and peas).
When I'm not in the kitchen I'm _________.
Teaching, reading, and thinking about food in other parts of the city.
Favorite local food experience: Chile verde from Puerto Alegre; walnut bread with burrata and mushroom-truffle honey from Beretta; and the Alemany Farmer’s Market.
Recipe by Sole:
|Handmade Orcchiette with Broccoli Rabe Pesto|
Download Sole's recipe here.