Sunday, January 28, 2007

Chicken posole soup

Its been a very mild and dry winter so far this year, but when it rains hot chicken soup sounds like a good idea. This is basic chicken soup with a little help from Mexico. The key ingredient is Hominy which is corn with the outer skin of the kernel removed, very common ingredient in southern states and Mexico. Start with diced yellow onions, garlic, carrot, celery and pasilla chili pepper, saute till soft then add hominy, chicken leg meat, oregano, water or chicken stock and chili powder. Bring to a simmer for a hour, check for proper seasoning then finish with a squeeze of lime.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Super bowl chili

Here is a basic coarse ground beef and red bean chili that I make often for my friends that like chili. Other ingredients can be added to make different variation's, options are endless using different beans, meats and seasonings. Great to make in a huge quantity for a crowd and to freeze for future meals.

1 pound bulk country sausage
1 pound bulk chili grind beef
2 T cumin
3 T red chili powder
1 T smoked Spanish paprika
1 fresh diced pasila chili pepper
3 diced yellow onion
1 bulb diced garlic
2 cans organic diced tomato
1 small can tomato paste
3 quarts water
2 pounds dry red beans

1. Saute all the vegetables in vegetable oil.
2. Add meat and brown.
3. Add the beans and cover with water, bring to a simmer and cook till beans are tender, about 2-3 hours, Check seasoning before serving.

Note: Garnish with your choice of grated cheese, diced onion, chopped cilantro, hot sauce, sour cream, etc.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Apple pastry dessert

This is a quick make ahead dessert using store bought frozen puff pastry sheets and a filling of apples and raisins. Start by thawing the pastry sheets, during this time make the filling by peeling and cutting the apples into half inch cubes, the tart Gravenstein apple are great for cooking.
Cook these in a saute pan with a little butter, raisins, brown sugar and Cinnamon till tender, Let cool to room temperature. Cut puff pastry into 6x4 inch rectangles, spoon filling onto half of the square and fold over, crimp the edges and cut slits on the top to allow steam to escape while baking. Brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle coarse raw brown sugar on top. Bake on sheet pan in a preheated 375F oven and bake for around 15-20 minutes or untill golden brown. Serve with vanilla ice cream while its still hot. Note any kind of fruit can be used in the filling.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Rombauer Vineyards

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon

"All wine drinkers are always on the hunt for a new wine discovery"
And many years ago a glass of Rombauer Chardonnay found its way into my hand and the rest is history. Rombauer wines are produced and bottled in upper Napa valley, California. They produce many varietals, but I think they are known for its Chardonnay. A huge release party is held every summer when the new vintage of Chardonnay is ready to hit the streets. The winery is a family business overseen by Koerner Rombauer who is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. I can not sip a glass of Rombauer without thanking about the rolling hillsides, green vines and all the people who put it all together. Its allot like someone cooking for you, instead its a glass of wine. I love it. Visit them, drink there wine! Note: If the name Rombauer sounds familiar? look at your copy of the Joy of Cooking on your shelf, Rombaer is the same family who authored the book.

Rombauer winery,

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Roast chicken, my way!

"They say a sign of a good cook is how well he or she can perfectly cook
a chicken"

This is how I do it, first get a fresh local free range organic bird, wash well inside and out(please don't use soap), dry with paper towels, season with salt and fresh cracked pepper inside and out. I stuff a whole lemon that has been pricked with a fork into the cavity along with crushed garlic and fresh rosemary. place in a pan on top of a pile of chopped onions, drizzle olive oil over and place sprigs of rosemary around bird. Potatoes cooked along side the chicken are a good idea because of the flavor that the garlic, rosemary and the chicken fat will give them and also one less pan to clean. Chicken will roast more evenly if allowed to come to room temperture, about an hour. In this time the oven will reach 350 F, cook the chicken for about one hour or till the internal temperture reads 160 degrees, let rest for about 15 minutes till you carve it. This will keep all the juices from running out when cut. Save the carcass and freeze for making chicken stock.
Note: be carefull when handling raw chicken, wash hands and all sufaces well after touching.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

East bay road trip for the best Indian food

Top: Cold potato dumplings in cilantro yogurt sauce, Middle: spicy ground lamb in crisp pastry, Bottom: assorted Indian pastries

This is Vic's Indian restaurant in Berkeley California. It has my vote for the best Indian in the bay area! On one side of the building is a Indian grocery store and the other side is the restaurant. The open kitchen is filled with up to 20 people prepping and cooking, there are young kids and maybe someones grandmother at the stove. They seem to put all their effort in food, not the warehouse style seating, but that's OK because its clean and there is enough room for the huge crowds that come on weekends. The menu is written on a huge blackboard on a wall in the kitchen. Its divided into cold, hot and vegetarian items. Most items are priced between $4.00-$7.00 dollars. The food is serving as it is cooked, so after you order and take a seat the little cardboard plates will come every few minutes (you pick up at the counter) Go with a group of people and try a lot of the different foods. Viks restaurant 726 Allston street between 4th and 5th streets, Berkeley California 510 644 4412

Monday, January 08, 2007

Homemade Fresh Pasta Ravioli

Homemade sausage filled Ravioli
are fast and easy to make!
These were made with a basic dough of flour, water, salt, egg and olive oil. Rolled out in to a long wide sheet*, tablespoon sized dots of a filling made with raw sweet Italion sausage, garlic and parmeasan cheese. The pasta sheet is folded over sealed and all air bubbles are pressed out, cut into two inch squares and into boiling salted water, done in only about two minutes. To finish drain, plate and top with sauce or just butter and gratted cheese. Ravioli can be made all year long, just use fresh seasonal ingredients for the fillings. The pasta texture is so soft and light you will have a hard time using the dry store bought kind.
*(You will need to have a pasta rolling machine which can be bought at any good cooking supply store)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Weeknight curried cauliflower

I am sure that I will get tired of eating this curry, but for now any given weekday night its simmering on the stove. its just Cauliflower, onions, ginger, garlic, curry powder, peas and cilantro.

Sake time!

Back in the old days it was cheap hot sake at the sushi bar

Now a good sushi bar can have anywhere from 10 to 40 different variety's on the Sake list. I have really got into cold unfiltered sake and one of the favorites is Momokawa Pearl, it has a milky pearl color and is dry to slightly sweet. Great with Asian foods, grilled meats and fish.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Southeast Asian Vinaigrette

I made this today at the restaurant for a Asian rice noodle salad. Its been awhile since I have done it and I forgot how good it is, all the Asian flavors of sour, sweet, spicy and cool. You are going to love it!

1/2 c lime juice
1/2 c rice wine vinegar
3 T Thai fish sauce
1 T soy sauce
1 c vegetable oil
3 T sugar
1/2 jalapeno
1 bunch mint
1 bunch cilantro
1 small knob ginger
3 clove garlic

Blend all ingredient's well, check seasonings, you won't need salt, the fish sauce is salty enough.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New years eve won tons

My daughter and I spent new years eve together and came up with the idea to making something like pot stickers.
We had a recent trip to San Francisco's other Chinatown which is on Clement street in "the avenues". We always go to her favorite noodle restaurant and the pot stickers are the first of many things that hit the table. We made won tons and cooked them like pot stickers.
1 pack won ton wrappers
1/2 pound ground pork
1/4 head green cabbage, sliced
1/4 yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic
small knob ginger, sliced
vegetable oil
1. Saute ginger, garlic, onion and cabbage.
2. In food processor, blend pork with cooked vegetables.
3. Spoon a teaspoon of filling in the middle of each won ton wrappers.
4. Wet edge of wrapper with water and fold over into a triangle.
5. fold the two corners together.
6. Steam covered for five minutes covered and enjoy with the dipping sauce of your choice.
For me I always grab the hot chili sauce!