Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Green Bean Salad with a hint of Asia

In getting my kids to eat more vegetables I came up with a simple salad of cooked and chilled blue lake green beans. Beans are good with any type of vinaigrette, but I have a lot of Asian products in my pantry, so I made a simple vinaigrette with rice wine vinegar, Mirin (sweet rice wine) miso paste, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and olive oil. The cooked beans are tossed in the vinaigrette then placed on a mound of mixed greens, a little drizzle of dressing on the greens and its done.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Grilling on the Water

It might as well be summer with absolutely flawless weather, its sunny and warm with rain as only a distant memory. Today I took my two girls out for a late afternoon sail and dinner on my boat. My youngest daughter likes to sail and helps me with handling the boat, she also had taken on the role as the head bartender, my older daughter is different, she went below and slept during the whole sail. When we got back to the dock at sunset it was time to fire up the stern mounted grill, the easiest food to cook on the boat is sausage, which cooks with little mess. Our menu today were sandwiches made with grilled Italian sausages, roasted peppers, Fontina cheese and arugula. I also had made some Yukon gold potato salad earlier in the day to serve as a side. A couple of bunches of grapes to finish (note: seagulls eat grapes) It was all good and a good day with my girls.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fresh Pasta with Mushrooms and Arugula

I made a big batch of fresh pasta sheets for a lasagna that my kids are going to have for dinner, I took some of the extra sheets and cut them into wide pappardelle noodles. These fresh noodles cooked very fast, I combined the cooked and drained pasta with sliced mushrooms, garlic and arugula that were quickly sauteed in extra virgin olive oil. Its very good and the only fast food I will eat!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Best of Spring Vegetables

Farmers markets are loaded with beautiful spring produce right now and many of the stalls have big bins of fava beans, artichokes and asparagus. I loaded up on fava beans which I love and have a short growing season. When buying favas, remember that one pound of the bean pods will yield only about half a cup of cleaned beans, so buy a few pounds. I also bought really nice central coast baby artichokes and wild arugula for a salad which I was planing on making. The artichokes are cleaned and trimmed then cooked till tender, the favas beans are removed from the large pods, then quickly blanched in boiling water, the thin skin on the beans will come off very easy after this brief cooking. Next I slice ciabatta bread and grill the slices with olive oil to use as a base for the salad. The washed and dried arugula, cooked fava beans and artichokes are then tossed in extra virgin olive oil, fresh pepper, sea salt and a splash of white balsamic vinegar. The salad is then arranged on top of the crostini. It doesn't get any better then this, except with maybe Parmesan cheese shaved on top.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pan Roasted Sea Bass

I have a special dinner coming up in a few months and I wanted to try out some Sea Bass ideas. This Sea Bass is known as Mexican bass, in a month or two when summer comes and the Mexican waters warm up, these fish will swim North to cooler American waters and then the fish will be known as California Sea Bass. I really want to cook and serve the fish with the beautiful skin on, not only will it be golden and crispy but it will help retain the moisture. I pan seared the simply seasoned fish fillet skin side down in a mixture of olive oil and butter. Adding the olive oil brings the smoke point up, which means the oil and butter mixture will reach a higher cooking temperature before it starts to smoke (burn) After a few minutes of cooking on the stove, the pan goes into a 400 degree oven to roast for about 6 minutes.
I served sauteed spinach and garlic and a mixture of wild mushrooms with the Bass. It turned out moist and flavorful, I have a few more ideas to try but this might make the menu.

Asian Inspired Noodle Breakfast

Its six AM and the first hour of work in the kitchen is the most peaceful, everything has been cleaned and put back in its place the night before. At this time I can relax a little before the deliveries and morning kitchen crew shows up. Today I decided on something different to eat when I found some pre cooked udon noodles, shredded bok choy and mushrooms from the previous days special. It all went into a hot saute pan to cook, then to finish I cracked a egg into it, tossed for a minute and it was done. Hot sauce would have been good but it was 6:20 AM after all.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Mediterranean Stuffed Eggplant

I had this idea for a vegetarian dish borrowing some of my favorite Mediterranean flavors from Italy and Greece. To assemble, I first sliced eggplant very thinly which I then brushed with extra virgin olive oil, then grilled, the filling was made with cooked sliced baby artichokes, spinach, cannellini beans, feta cheese all tossed in a lemon vinaigrette. After placing a spoonful of stuffing on each piece of eggplant they were rolled up and baked at 375 degrees for about ten minutes. I placed two eggplant rolls on a roasted tomato and olive vinaigrette and added crispy fried shallots for a crunchy garnish.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Posole Soup

Posole is one of my favorite Latin soups, it has layers of flavor and different textures from all the different ingredients. It can be made with your choice of meat, such as poultry, beef or pork, it can alsobe made as spicy or mild as you wish by adjusting the amount of chili you add. I like the hominy which gives it the familiar flavor of corn tortillas.
1 pound pork butt, diced
1 can white hominy
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 tomato, crushed
2 dried New Mexico chili pods, crushed
2 cloves garlic, crushed
cilantro to taste, chopped
juice of one lime
1. Season and brown the pork in a heavy pot.
2. Add the onions, tomato, chili and garlic, saute for a few minutes.
3. Add 1 quart of water or stock and the hominy, bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer.
4. Skim surface of soup for any access fat as needed.
5. After simmering for about an hour and the meat is tender,its done and can be ladled into bowls.
Garnish with the chopped cilantro, crispy tortillas strips and a squeeze of fresh lime.