Monday, April 26, 2010

Fresh Chickpea Hummus

This Middle Eastern staple just might be one of the World's oldest food with origins dating back to the ancient Egyptians. Nutritionally its a super food that's high in iron, vitamin C, also a good source of protein and dietary fiber. Eat it with the classic combination of pita bread and it's a complete protein. I have seen and used fresh-in-the-pod chick peas before, but still get excited by it's rare appearance. One pound of fresh pods will yield about 2 cups of hummus. It has a creamy texture with a rich nutty taste and over tones of citrus, garlic and oregano.

Fresh Hummus
1 pound fresh shelled chickpeas
1 clove garlic
2 T sesame tahini paste
Pinch fresh oregano or dried
juice of one lemon
3 T extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste

1. Cook chickpeas in boiling salted water for about a minute, drain.
2. Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend till smooth, a touch of water might be needed.
3. Add salt to taste.

Serve with a flat bread such as pita and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Note: the color is not wrong -it really is green when fresh.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Latin Style Breakfast

This was a saute everything in the pan type of thing using ingredients I had on hand. Torn corn tortillas, black beans, Queso fresco, eggs, chopped cilantro, diced avocado and my own very hot sauce. This type of breakfast is closely related to the classic Chilaquiles recipe using some of the same ingredients. I just like the flavors and make this on most Sunday mornings.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lamb Loin Salad

Tied and Marinated

Pan Roasted Lamb Loin

Lamb and Arugula Salad

A popular Springtime food is lamb and I wanted to use it in a simple salad. I made a variation of this salad for a cooking interview with Chef Bradley Ogden many years ago. This time a lamb loin was tied with kitchen string and marinated overnight with Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, fresh rosemary and garlic. Next I seasoned it with salt and pepper and browned in a hot saute pan in a touch of olive oil, then put the pan into a hot oven to finish cooking. While the lamb was cooking, I put together a few ingredients for a simple salad, arugula, caramelized onions and a creamy tarragon dressing. The cooked lamb after a brief rest was thinly sliced and place on the dressed greens. I did get the job many years ago, and doing this salad always reminds me of that.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fresh from the Garden

This variety of radish is known as French Breakfast Radish, these are very easy to grow and only take about a month from seed to harvest, I am going to experiment with other varieties as well.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Night Burgers

Painted Hill Ranch Burgers
Fontina Cheese melting on the grill
Balsamic Red Onions

Fontina Cheese Burger with Balsamic Red Onions and Arugula

Eating hamburgers is a very rare thing for me, maybe only one or two a year, I really have to be in the mood for them. Tonight as the standard what to make for dinner question is asked, my daughter said "lets make burgers" So off to the store with burgers in mind, the trusted guys at the meat counter recommended a sirloin 80/20 blend of Painted Hills Ranch natural ground beef, so I ordered a pound, next I picked up crusty bread, arugula and Fontina cheese. At home I made a relish of red onions and balsamic vinegar slowly simmered till glossy and tender. With all the hamburger ingredients ready the hand formed burger patties go on a hot grill pan with the Fontina placed on top after they are flipped, when the burgers are done they go on sliced grilled bread with a bed of arugula and a spoonful of red onion relish. Wow was it good, I might have to eat three burgers this year.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

Tomatillos are the primary ingredient in Mexico's other common salsa, they are in the same family as tomatoes just green with a paper like husk covering them. To make the salsa, remove the husk and wash the sticky green vegetable, it will need to cook in a pot with a touch of water, jalapeno, diced onion and garlic. This simmers for about 20 minutes, then into a blender it goes with salt and lots of cilantro, blend till smooth and its ready to eat. Mild and tangy with a good fresh flavor. Fresh avocado blended in is a really delicious addition.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

My kind of fast food

The kitchen is clean and I don't want to make a big mess or spend a lot of time cooking tonight. With just a few ingredients, dinner's ready fast.
To start Asian egg noodles go into salted boiling water to cook while sliced mushrooms, bok choy, grated ginger go into a hot saute pan with a touch of vegetable oil. When the noodles are done they are strained and added to the cooked vegetables with a splash of soy sauce and scallions to finish.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Creole Style Pacific Snapper

A nice bite of Fish

Blackened Red Fish with Creole Sauce

The Cajun and Creole foods of the state of Louisiana are one of the big draws to this Southern United States region, I am not even close to being a expert on the cuisine but I have learned the basics and when I am in the mood I will cook the classics. I really like the regions bold and spicy flavors and when I came across some nice looking local Snapper at my local market I thought of doing this immediately I made a dry spice rub for the fish which the fish was dredged in and sauteed in a very hot pan with a touch of vegetable oil. The sauce for the fish is tomato based with the famous Louisiana "trinity of aromatic vegetables" green bell pepper, celery and onions. Many years back chef Paul Prudhomme became known as the godfather of Cajun cooking and this dish was one of his signatures, he was responsible for the whole blackened redfish craze and his famous restaurant K-Pauls Louisiana Kitchen in New Orleans became the place to go when in that region. I met Chef Paul many years back when he was visiting the kitchen a was working at in San Francisco, I was very impressed by him and remember him even shaking hands with the dish washers and saying "everyone one is part of the team and is important" The fish turned out great and reminds me that I need to visit the Southern region soon.