Saturday, February 24, 2007

Chicken gumbo

This is a old favorite of mine that is true comfort food with many layers of flavor. I met Chef Paul Prudhomme once at a restaurant I was working at and was very impressed by his attitude and style of cooking, he is known as the godfather of Cajun style cooking and there is a little bit of his style in every bowl I make. My Gumbo is made up of a combination of flavors, the southern "trinity" of onion, celery and green bell pepper cooked till soft and caramelized, smoked spicy sausage, shredded chicken meat and nutty brown roux added at the end to thicken. Slow simmered then ladled over a mound of simple steamed rice. Maybe garnish with chopped green onions and for me a healthy splash of Louisiana crystal hot sauce!
Note: Okra can be used but a lot of people don't like it, so its optional if you want to use it.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Local Farmer's Markets

The local farmer's market can be found in most city's now and getting more popular as people are taking the time to learn and appreciate how and where their food comes from. Its almost like being a rebel against the big supermarkets with mass produced foods from the other side of the world. We are lucky here in the bay area to have a market somewhere everyday of the week, with the big one in Marin County on Sunday. You will find everyone from Marin county foodies, local chefs and lot of families, its a year round, rain or shine operation. Besides vegetables, seafood and meat, there are also local food stands selling Indian, Mexican and organic cooked foods. I have been coming here for the last 12 years and I love it, nothing like buying from the farmer who grew the food and picked it that morning and it goes into my saute pan that night!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Chicken cordon blue

Doing another version of chicken tonight and came up with this, no its not my idea, but new to the kids and they love it. Crispy panko breaded chicken stuffed with ham and melted swiss cheese oozing out. Start by butterflying and pounding flat a chicken breast, add a slice of ham and a slice of cheese, fold over and secure with toothpicks, flour, eggwash and panko breadcrub, put in hot saute pan with olive oil for a few minutes, then flip over and put in 350F oven for 20-25 minutes or till done.

"Try different variations like prosciutto and mozzarella or sun dried tomato, basil and jack cheese"

Slow food

Allot of people are becoming more concerned about unhealthy mass produced fast foods that are being spreading around the world in the form of franchise food chains. A non-profit organization called slow food originating in Italy in 1989, with the idea of holding on to food traditions and the simple cooking of fresh local foods before the days of microwaves and mass processing. I am all for it, I was never really into fast foods and now I stay away completely. My kids haven't been to Mc Donald's in years and have no desire to eat frozen processed foods. I love the fact that my kids are now learning to cook from scratch using fresh local organic foods, often from the local farmers market. Only a occasional can of tomatoes might be used in the winter and only because winter tomatoes are poor quality and have traveled across a few time zones.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Farmer's market strawberries and puff pastry for dessert

This last weekend I made a trip to the local farmers market and between rain showers I found a lot of nice fruits and vegetables. There were beautiful strawberries, 10 for a dollar kiwi and blood oranges at a dollar a pound, on and on. The strawberries I bought with the idea of dessert for the kids tonight. To start I thawed some puff pastry that I always keep in my freezer (you should too) and cut a square design, then a little egg wash and into a hot oven to cook while the kids finished eating, when the pastry is done I let it cool and fill with sliced organic strawberries, top with a dollop of whip cream and the kids are promising to clean there rooms and help around the house.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Crab Feed!

Northern California Dungeness crab with chili and garlic

Around the world people celebrate local foods and here in Northern California there are many seasonal foods that are enjoyed, but when its crab season, watch out, fresh cooked and cracked dungeness crab, sourdough french bread and a great Napa Chardonnay is all you need! Local organizations will hold fund raisers by having all you can eat crab and pasta dinners. I went to a fund raiser for my kids school last night and it was amazing!. San Francisco restaurants donating wines, salads, antipasto, fresh pesto pasta, local crabs done two ways and Italian desserts. It was a food lovers paradise.