Saturday, January 31, 2009

Braised Beef Short Ribs

I saw some very nice beef short ribs in the meat case at my local market and I had to have them. Slow braised meat is great in the cold winter months, but right now its not much of a winter here on the West coast of California with record high temperatures. Here's how I made them.


4 beef short ribs, 3 inch cut
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 fennel bulb, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 bottle, dark beer
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 quart water
2 bay leafs
1 pinch saffron
kosher salt/pepper


1. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper and brown well in a heavy pot, drain fat.

2. Add the vegetables and saute for a few minutes, add the rest of the ingredients.

3. Bring to a boil then turn down to a gentle simmer, cook for about two hours while skimming the fat off the surface as needed.

4. Remove the meat and vegetables to a plate when done and tender, boil the braising liquid till it thickens, then return the meat and vegetables to the sauce. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Serve with buttered pasta or mashed potatoes, I used boiled potatoes and a garnish of fennel germolata for added texture and flavor.

Note: gremolata is a garnish of chopped parsley, lemon zest and garlic

Monday, January 26, 2009

No Reservations, a Cool Food and Travel Show

Most cooks I know would give up professional cooking to be able to travel all over the world and hang out in cool places, then eat a lot of Pork products washed down with many cold drinks. Yes, we all want Anthony Bourdain's job! Imagine being paid to travel around the world and eat. Tony started out washing dishes and then cooking on the East coast, he ended up in New York city as the chef of a French Brasserie. Next came writing a book about true behind the scenes life in the kitchen, "Kitchen Confidential" it became a international best seller and if you ever worked professionally in a kitchen then you will relate to most of his experiences. Next came "A cook's tour" TV show followed up by "No Reservations" on the cable travel channel in the United States. I always watch it to see what kind of trouble he gets into and to see and get ideas on the amazing food he encounters.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Mediterranean Style Fish Stew

Some of my favorite flavors are fennel, tomato and saffron, so I made a fish stew incorporating them with the addtion of garlic and onions. All these flavors make a very intense and flavorfull soup, a nice addtion would be clams or mussels.

6 ounces Sea bass, large dice
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/4 yellow onion, sliced thin
1/4 fennel bulb, small diced
1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced
1 pinch saffron
2 cups water or fish stock
1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Saute the vegetables in olive oil till soft.
2. Add the fish, saffron and liquid.
3. Simmer till the fish is cooked, about five minute.
4. Adjust seasoned to taste and garnish with parsley.

Yield= 1

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sea Bass Ceviche

I bought a really nice Pacific Sea bass fillet and had the idea to do ceviche with it. I like it because it tastes fresh and light with spicy citrus flavors. The fish cooks in the acid of the citrus juice and slicing the fish thin will speed up this process, I use fresh squeezed lime juice, chili peppers, thin sliced onions and cilantro. There are other components that can be added such as avocado or corn, but sometimes its just better simple.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Swan Oyster Depot Restaurant

Crab & Shrimp Louie Salad

Fresh Shucked Oysters on Ice

New York has the oyster bar in grand central station, in San Francisco we have the legendary Swan Oyster Depot. It has a amazing selection of very fresh fish and shellfish available to eat in a variety of ways including salads, soups and raw on ice. The restaurant only has maybe twenty seats at a long counter where the guys take your order and prepare your food in front of you. I went with a dozen local oysters then finished with a cold local crab and shrimp salad, it was all locally fresh and very good.

Swan Oyster Depot, 1517 Polk Street, San Francisco, Ca. 415.673.1101

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wild Mushroom Ravioli

Tonight I decided on making fresh pasta ravioli, which I will stuff with ricotta cheese and a mixture of wild mushrooms. When using all fresh ingredients like pasta and mushrooms, the sauce should be of the same quality and made fresh too. To start I roast cherry tomatoes with garlic and olive oil. The cherry tomatoes are a good choice because they have a very intense tomato flavor, when the tomatoes are done roasting they are then blended till smooth. The next step is to make a basic fresh pasta dough using flour, eggs, salt and a little water, this is then rolled out thin using a pasta rolling machine. The third step is to make the filling, I used a assortment of wild mushrooms which are sauteed in good olive oil with a little chopped garlic, then hit with a splash of white wine at the end to finish. The mixture is then chopped fine and mixed with ricotta cheese and chopped parsley. To assemble the ravioli, small spoonfuls of the mushroom and cheese mixture are placed on to the pasta sheets, the sheets were then folded over, sealed and cut into individual dumplings. Next they go into boiling salted water to cook for a few minutes then drained and into the warmed tomato sauce. They are carefully spooned onto a plate and its garnished with fresh chopped parsley, which gives it a nice bright flavor, they light and delicate and very delicious. Give fresh ravioli a try with your favorite fillings and sauce.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

One Paella with Everything Please

I needed to do food for a group of 8-10 people, so a big pan of paella came to mind. I chose to use a variety of ingredients including chicken, sausage, little neck clams, mussels and Maine lobster. The trick is to prep all ingredients ahead of time so they can be added to the rice in order not over cook, all the shellfish needs to be precooked and their liquid added to the rice cooking liquid. For 8 people I used two cups of rice in a 18 inch wide and shallow paella pan. First the short grain rice is toasted in good olive oil with shaved fennel, smoked paprika, sliced onions, chopped garlic, red and green peppers. Next the chicken and sausage go in and are browned. The next step is adding the cooking liquid which is made of chicken stock, white wine, saffron and the clam and mussel cooking juice. After the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, all the precooked shellfish are added to reheat and garnished with a squeeze of lemon and chopped parsley. The flavors are complex, rich and Delicious. Serve with a simple salad and crusty rustic bread, for wine which is a must, try a light red or white.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Total Comfort Potato Gratin

Always thinking about what to cook on a cold winter night? How about a rich and creamy potato gratin. Very easy to make with just russet potatoes and cream, options can be grated Parmesan cheese and maybe seasoned breadcrumbs on top for a little crunch. Start by peeling russet potatoes and slicing thin with a mandolin if you have one or just use a sharp knife, layer the potatoes in a oven proof pan with seasoned cream, chopped garlic and grated cheese added between layers. cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes at 350F, remove foil to finish cooking and to brown.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Farmers Market Breakfast

Sunday mornings are lazy and sometimes I am too, so this last Sunday I packed up the kids and hit the local farmers market, before I could go explore the fresh picked goods we came upon a stall cooking giant sweet and savory stuffed buckwheat crepes, my kids instantly got in line and the rest is history. They went with banana, strawberries and a small mountain of whipped cream. With breakfast taken care of and fresh vegetables in hand it was time to go back to being lazy at home.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Marinated Vegetables

While the pasta is cooking and you are sipping the first glass of that just opened bottle of wine, try a little dish of marinated vegetables and olives drenched in extra virgin olive oil, even better with crusty bread and cheese.

Cuban Style Chicken

Chicken Legs Simmering
Cuban Style Braised Chicken Legs

I love the bold flavors of Cuban food and I used them in these braised chicken legs served with rice. I started with chicken legs marinated in fresh lime juice, ground cumin, oregano and garlic. They were then browned and simmered till tender in a sauce of yellow onions, diced tomatoes, pinto beans, roasted peppers and green olives. Served with steamed rice and a squeeze of lime juice. Best when eaten on a tropical island beach.