Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A story of "Gregs World on a Plate" in my local paper

I was recently interviewed for a story by the a local newspaper the Marin Independent Journal. They're doing a series on local food blogging for their Lifestyles section. This is the recipe that was featured in the article. I chose to do this because it highlights some of my favorite ingredients and quick cooking methods. Give it a try; it's really quite easy and delicious.

Oven Roasted Salmon with Mediterranean Tomatoes

Pan Seared Salmon
4 skinless king salmon fillets, 5 ounces
1 lemon, segments and juice
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed in water
2 tablespoons country olives, pitted and quartered
½ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 pinch flat leaf parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 big bunch kale, washed and rough chopped
6 Yukon gold potatoes, sliced thick
Kosher salt/fresh cracked pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. In a small bowl mix together the lemon segments, lemon juice, capers, olives, cherry tomatoes, parsley and two tablespoons of the olive oil. Set aside.
3. Season the sliced potatoes and the salmon fillets.
4. In a large heated nonstick pan, add a splash of olive oil and the potatoes and place pan in oven.
5.   In a separate heated nonstick pan, add a splash of olive oil in pan, when hot place the salmon fillets in pan and put in oven.
6. After about five minutes, bring the pan of potatoes back up on to a burner and add the kale, tossing till just wilted, taste and season if necessary.
7. After five minutes, flip the salmon over, continue to cook in the oven till just done.
8. Using four oven-heated plates, divide the potato/kale mixture in the center of each plate.
9.  Place a salmon fillet on top of each and spoon the tomato relish on top.
Yield = 4

Note: Any other type of fish, or chicken breasts can be substituted in this recipe.
Wine: A big Napa Chardonnay or maybe even a Russian River Pinot Noir would go nicely with this dish.

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Breakfast Alaskan Style

Smoked salmon hash, my kind of breakfast

Real Alaskan gold
Nothing is more satisfying to me then a hearty breakfast on a lazy Sunday morning and sometimes it's a form of hash. This recent weekend I made one using all of my normal ingredients including potatoes, onions, and bacon but with the addition of the somewhat luxury ingredient of smoked Alaskan King Salmon.  To finish I added a still-runny fried egg on top for even more richness, and the salmon adds a whole new dimension of flavor and smokiness. Go ahead and splurge with a glass of good rose champagne to go with it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Slow Club, Still a Cool Spot

San Francisco's Slow Club Restaurant is celebrating 20 years in business. It's one of the first hip, modern warehouse restaurants in the up-and-coming Potero Hill neighborhood. It was started by my buddy and fellow Chef Jim Moffet, who would then go on to open several other cool neighborhood spots such as 42 Degrees and BarAcuda in Hawaii. His original style of food is still largely unchanged, simple, seasonal and sustainable. The restaurant space is modern with lots of concrete, steel and glass housed in a condo converted warehouse. The crowd is mostly young and local with lots of drinks flowing in the evenings. I loved it twenty years ago, and I still like going there any chance I get.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Romanesco Broccoli


Simply Roasted Romanesco

I visited my local Marin County Farmers Market this last weekend and one thing I like about it is that year 'round you will see foods appear as they come into season. The dominate item I saw everywhere flooding the market right now is Romanesco, a form of a cauliflower borrowing some of broccoli's color and flavor. It's a beautiful large bud with a series of smaller spiky buds that give it a very distinctive look.With all the different vendors selling this vegetable I was able to shop for the best quality and price, I found some nice Romanesco for a cheap $1.00 a pound from Coachella Valley, California, other vendors were selling it for as high as $3.00 a pound. My favorite way to prepare it, is to cut it into small pieces and roast at 400 degrees tossed in extra virgin olive oil and fresh garlic. Roasting it gives it a almost smoky taste and intensifies the flavor. I am becoming quite fond of this vegetable and have the idea of maybe making a gratin out of it as well.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Flour from Grapes? Yes.

Cabernet Grape Flour Pasta with Prawns

I recently discovered a California company called Marche Noir who have developed a type of flour made from spent grape skins from the wine industry; actually it's more of a powder to be used along with wheat flour. This powder is derived from Cabernet grape skins and after drying it is ground to a fine powder. Because the bitter tannins make the flour too strong to used by itself, a 10-15 percentage of this powder mixed with flour will produce the color and flavor which makes this product so unique. Marche Noir also makes a line of dried pastas and brownies using this special flour. The color and somewhat strong flavor of the pasta reminds me of pastas made with squid ink, and it can look very dramatic on the plate.

Marche Noir
949.852.5122 (USA)

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Meat & Potatoes Night

Pork T-Bone Chop with Glazed Carrots
Potato cakes in the Cast Iron Pan
A classic combination. Tonight for me it was thick-cut pork chop with a crispy potato cake and honey glazed carrots. I started by brining the pork using water, sugar and salt and let it sit overnight to allow the brine to soak in and season the meat. For the potato cake I used both a russet potato and sweet potato. The sweet potato was cut into small cubes and cooked with sliced yellow onions and bacon and the russet was peeled and cut in big chunks, boiled in water until soft then drained and mashed. I combined the cooked sweet potato mixture with the russet mash and then formed it into thick cakes using a ring mold. The cakes were browned in a saute pan and finished in the oven until hot. The peeled and cut carrots went into a pan covered with water and a dash of honey, and they were simmered until the liquid reduced and a sweet sticky glaze formed. The pork was simply grilled and went on a plate with the carrots and potato cake. So simple and good.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Weeknight Halibut Dinner

Pan Seared Halibut with Fennel and Kale

My common weeknight theme is often quick and easy, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring. Tonight I chose to do a one-pan meal with halibut, fennel and Dino kale. For a flavor boost I added a touch of smoky bacon which as most people will agree, makes everything taste better.

Pan Seared Halibut with Kale

4 halibut fillets, 4 ounces each
1 bulb fennel, quartered
1 head Dino kale, washed, chopped
2 strips smoky bacon, diced
1 splash extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt/fresh pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. In a large nonstick pan, add the olive oil and bacon, cook for a few minutes.
3. Next season the fish and fennel, add to pan.
4. Place pan in oven for about five minutes, add the kale to wilt and cook.
5. To plate, divide the cooked kale on four preheated plates, next the fennel, then the halibut on top.

Yield = 4

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Cauliflower Steak Curry

Cauliflower Curry
Tonight I was in the mood for a vegetarian dish and a spicy curry was exactly what I had in mind. Normally I would incorporate cauliflower florets in the fragrant vegetable stew but I had the idea of slicing the head of Cauliflower into thick "steaks". These thick cuts were then simply sauteed in olive oil till tender and then the chick pea curry was spooned over the Steaks. The end result was a vegetable dish that had to eaten with a knife and fork just like a real steak.