Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fava Beans, They're Back!

If fresh asparagus doesn't prove it's Spring, then the Favas will. So much work yet with so much reward, they are definitely labor intensive but worth it. You will need at least a handful of bean pods per person because of the low yield. First, remove the beans from the big pods and quickly blanch them in boiling water, next plunge them in ice water to quickly cool them and preserve the bright green color. The next step is to pinch the beans so that the skins come off. The cooked and cleaned beans are now ready to eat in your favorite recipes. I like them best with a very good olive oil, fresh cracked pepper and sea salt on warm grilled crostini, a little shaved Parmesan to finish. This is a top ten favorite.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Fish Curry on my Boat

Ingredients for Fish Curry and a Beer for the wait

Cooking on the boat stove

Thai Style Coconut Fish Curry with Rice

It's not what most people would eat on Easter Sunday, but it's a good quick lunch while cleaning and getting the boat ready for sailing this Summer. I changed the compressed natural gas tank on the boat thats fuel for its two burner stove and oven, so after a quick trip to the store to get some ingredients, I was ready to cook. A cold beer was also very important to drink while I prepped and cooked. 20 minutes later lunch was ready.

Thai Fish Curry with Rice


6 oz red snapper fillet, large dice

1 small can coconut milk

1 T Thai curry paste

3 Keffir lime leaves

1/2 bunch asparagus

2 cloves garlic

1 t ginger

1/4 onion

1/2 cup rice


1. Simmer the rice in water slowly 'till done.

2. Saute onion, garlic, ginger and curry paste.

3. Add fish, lime leafs, asparagus and coconut milk.

4. Simmer 'till fish is cooked, spoon curry over rice.

Serve with cold beer on boat hopefully anchored in a amazing location.

Farro, Old Grain with New Interest

The food world is rediscovering older foods and making them trendy, one of those is Farro. Its a wheat grain that has different names depending on where its from, in Italy its called Farro, in Germany it might be known as Spelt, in the US its often called Wheatberries or maybe Barley. I like it because it has a dense nutty and meaty texture. I have noticed that it has a flavor like Bulger so I made a Tabbouleh with it. The famous Syrian salad made with Bulger, parsley, tomato, lemon juice and olive oil. I had a nice peice of Feta cheese so I crumbled it and added to the salad.

Farro Tabbouleh


1 cup Farro, cooked

1 bunch Flat leaf Parsley, chopped

1 Tomato, diced

2 T Lemon juice

3 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Kosher salt, to taste

Fresh Pepper

Feta cheese (Optional)


1. Mix all ingredients together, serve at room temperture.

I served my salad along with a lemon and oregano infused roast chicken.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Brussel Sprouts and Pasta

Orecchiette pasta cooked and added to shaved brussel sprouts and pancetta all tossed with extra virgin olive oil. Good stuff!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Best of Spring Asparagus Risotto

The Best of Spring Asparagus Risotto

Asparagus is at its peak right now and the markets are flooded with huge quantities of this amazing vegetable. I am even getting some nice spears from my garden after only being planted last year. Tonight I chose to make a risotto with asparagus, yellow onion and pancetta. A trick I have for intense flavor and color is to blanch the asparagus first and rapid cool with ice water. Cut the tender tips off for adding to the risotto later in the final cooking stage, for the rest of the stalks combine with a dash of water or stock in a blender and puree till smooth, use this bright green liquid at the very end for a boost of flavor and color.

1/2 cup Arborio rice
1 T Yellow onion, diced
1 Garlic clove
1-2 oz Pancetta
1 bunch asparagus
2 cups water or stock
Pat of Butter
Dash olive oil

1. Blanch asparagus till tender, shock in ice water*.
2. Cut tips off, reserve.
3. Blend the rest of the stalks with water or stock.
4. Gently cook the pancetta, onion, garlic and rice in olive oil till translucent.
5. Add simmering seasoned water or stock little by little till rice is almost tender.
6. Add reserved asparagus tips and puree to rice, continue cooking till done and creamy.
7. Off the heat add a pat of butter and stir in, Parmesan cheese can be added if desired.

* If you jumped in ice water, you would be in shock too, it stops the cooking rapidly and retains the bright green color

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday Morning Breakfast

Besides a cup of coffee, nothing is better than a form of eggs for breakfast. For me it's going to be spicy too. I had some roasted pork on hand so I shredded it to go with some torn corn tortillas into a nonstick pan to crisp up with a dash of vegetable oil. Separately I charred Anaheim green chilies over my stoves gas burners, and then the roasted and cleaned chilies were blended with garlic and cilantro to make a quick sauce. The sauce was then added to the pork and tortilla mixture. In a separate pan I fried a organic egg to place on top of the pork mixture. All is set to go with my cup of coffee.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Poached Sable Fish with Haddock Baccala

I am doing a food and wine event in about a month and this is the idea I have for my dish. I have been given two different types of fish to use, sable fish and haddock. For me simple will be the key for plating hundreds of these little bites and for tasting the pure flavors of the fish. Haddock is a type of fish similar to cod so my first thought was to treat it like salt cod. I am going to cure the fillets in kosher salt for about 24 hours then leech out the salt by soaking in multiple changes of fresh water. The next step is to poach the fish in milk which will give good flavor and richness, the cooked fish will be flaked and added to unsalted mashed russet potatoes. The result will be my version of the classic French Brandade or Italian Baccala. Creamy potatoes with good fish flavor. The next component is the sable fish (aka black cod, butter fish) I will cut the fillets in small 1 ounce pieces and gently poach them in garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil, served warm on top of a quenelle of the Baccala. A spoonful of a sliced cherry tomato, Meyer lemon segments and caper relish placed on top. The acid in the lemon segments will help cut the richness of the oily sable fish, and the potatoes give a boost of flavor to the mild fishes. One plate down, 399 more to plate.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rock Snapper

Two good foods harvested within sight of each other, Central coast rock snapper and artichokes. This snapper is found in the clear and cold waters along the rocky California coast and has mild flaky meat which is a good balance from the crisp skin when pan seared. The artichokes grow well in fields cooled by the nearby ocean breeze and together on a plate are perfect. I like to cook very simply with just a few ingredients so the natural flavors and colors can stay intact. Just good olive oil, fresh herbs and kosher salt.

Wharf Style Dungeness Cocktail

San Francisco's famous Fisherman's Wharf has many sidewalk seafood vendors along it's crowded streets; many have what are called "walk away" seafood cocktails. Small cups of either crab meat or shrimp with the classic horseradish-infused tomato sauce. I made a more modern version at a dinner the other night using shot glasses made from ice, rubber molds filled with water and frozen to make one ounce glasses (28.34G) The ice cold containers are great for keeping perishable foods cold and can be flavored with citrus juice for more flavor.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Choice Rib Eye Steak

What on a Wednesday night? OK its a payday and I deserve a rare treat of a choice steak. Its not often that I eat red meat like this, due to working many long days of butchering endless cuts of lamb racks, squab and venison at Fleur de Ly's restaurant in San Francisco. But I do get a craving once every six months or so and I go for a big rib eye beef steak, it has the right ratio of fat to meat which keeps it moist with all that good flavor. Just kosher salt and fresh pepper with a splash of Extra virgin olive oil, next it goes on a smoking grill pan placed in waiting 5ooF oven for about five minutes then flipped over for another five, done! To balance out the fatty meat I chose tonight a side of simple saute of rainbow chard. With the flavorful meat a memory now its sometime in the summer before the craving comes back.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Beet Greens

You definitely won't find these greens in a can of beets, but if you have fresh beets with the greens still attached, save them! Cook them like you would any other greens or do like I do, just saute in olive oil with a splash of balsamic vinegar, awesome and you cant beat the value of getting two foods from one plant.

My Best Marinated Baby Beets

Farmers Market Baby Beets

These amazing baby beets were sold at stalls all over the local market this week and with the season ending soon I had to buy a bunch of each variety. My best way to cook these small beets are to trim them and season, then place in aluminum foil with a dash of extra virgin olive oil to roast. After about an hour in a hot oven they are done and the skin will peel right off, then they can be cut into any shape you want, sliced or quartered. My favorite dressing for beets is a ginger-infused orange vinaigrette, sweet and sour with good citrus flavors. Note: be sure to save the beet greens, these are awesome sauteed with olive oil and a splash of good vinegar.

Ginger-Orange Vinaigrette


orange juice, from one orange

orange zest, from one orange

ginger root, small knob

Rice wine vinegar, 2 T

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1/2 cup

Kosher salt, to taste

Fresh cracked pepper

Shallots, fine diced, 1 t


1. Simmer the orange juice, shallot and ginger till reduces and becomes thick like a syrup.

2. Add the zest, vinegar, pinch of salt and pepper (the salt will dissolve better without the oil)

3. Whisk in olive oil and taste for correct seasoning, maybe mild herbs can be added for color.

Kitchen Trick: The best way to dress beets is when they are still hot or warm, the vinaigrette flavors will absorb into the beets better.

Dungeness Crab Noodles

I had the good fortune to receive a huge bag of extra cracked Dungeness crab from a local high school crab feed. I removed all the meat from the shells which gave me a yield of about one pound (0.45kg). I had some nice fresh rice noodles from a recent trip to San Francesco's Clement street so I did a stir-fried crab and noodle dish. Simple ingredients were used such as garlic, ginger, scallions, fish sauce, cilantro, rice noodles and crab meat. I didn't use all the crab because I wanted to eat some plain just with a squeeze of lemon.