Monday, July 18, 2011

San Francisco Goodness

A hot steamy bowl of chicken Pho with plenty of hot chillies; it will warm you on those cold foggy "Summer" nights.

Cured Pacific Sardines

Salt & Citrus Cured Sardines on Crostini
Fresh Pacific Sardine Fillets
Sardines in Cure of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic and Citrus

Its Sardine season here on the West coast and now is the time to get them before the quota of 18.530 tons is caught, a few short weeks to a month depending on weather conditions. You can also feel very good about buying and eating them, first you will not contribute to them being over fishing which puts them on the Monterey Aquarium's seafood watch list as a "best choice" fish, second your doctor will give you the thumbs up because of the vitamins and the omega-3 fatty acids you will ingest. For me I like the bold fishy flavor that it adds to foods. Good on classic recipes like Caesar salad, Pizza or new ideas. For me just put on Crostini with a splash of good olive oil.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sea Beans

In my neighborhood and other marshy areas near the ocean grow a type of plant known in the culinary world as Sea Beans or Glasswort. It's a plant with long thin stalks that grow directly in the coastal sea water; it is a type of succulent with a salty asparagus flavor. It's best to eat in small quantities due to its high salt content, more of a garnish that's good with seafood. Simply boiled, I think it could be a different and interesting substitute for french beans in classic salad Nicoise.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Arancini, Risotto Rice Balls

The best use for a leftover! These crispy, cheesy bite-sized balls are made from cooked risotto rice and are stuffed with cheese and fried 'till golden brown. Next time you make a risotto, cook a little extra for these; they can be made ahead and kept frozen 'till you need them. The large texture of panko bread crumbs will give a more crispy crust then regular bread crumbs.



Risotto rice (Arborio), cooked and cooled

Fontina cheese, cubed

Panko bread crumbs

Oil for frying

1. Using a small ice cream scoop (1 oz) scoop out as many balls of rice as you want.

2. Push a small cube of cheese into the rice ball and form back into a smooth ball.

3. Roll the rice ball into panko bread crumbs, no need to dip in egg, its already somewhat sticky.

4. Deep fry at 350F till golden brown, drain and season with kosher salt, serve warm.

Note: Any kind of melting cheese will work and any kind of bread crumbs also.

Tuesday Night Dinner on the Grill

Grilling on a blazing hot fire

Beef Rib Eye Steak with Salsa Verde

I was in a steak and potato mood last night and decided on a rib eye steak. To start I started a charcoal fire, while this was getting hot I cut Yukon gold potatoes in small dice and boiled till tender to be cooled and mixed with chopped pickles and some mayonnaise. For the sauce it's just parsley, capers, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice in a blender 'till smooth. The room temperature steak only gets garlic, Kosher salt and fresh pepper then on to the grill for about four minutes per side; dark and crusty on the outside and juicy tender inside. It's plated with a big spoon of sauce over the steak and the potato salad on the side. Dinner's ready!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Pacific North West Oysters

Malsipina Oysters, Vancouver Island, Washington

Ready to eat with a great view

Just back from a nice weekend trip to the Pacific Northwest; we had stayed just West across the sound from Seattle in the area of a small town called Poulsbo. When ever I am up here visiting I just have to have the local shellfish whenever possible as it is simply amazing. At our family gathering with the grill fired up. me and my brother cooked local Malsipina Pacific oysters. So easy to just wash and rinse clean, place flat side up on the hot grill, they are ready to eat when the shell opens slightly, this allows a oyster shucking knife to finish opening them up, a spicy sweet BBQ sauce was spooned on the plump oyster then its time to eat. These big oysters will shrink slightly when cooked but will remain soft and tender and the briny oyster juice mixes with the sweet glaze to make a delicious sauce. I always recommend a local cold beer to go with them.