Sunday, December 09, 2007

Honey Vinegar Basted Rack of Pork with Whipped Sweet Potatoes

Bradley Ogden's recipes that I got while dining at the Cafeteria in Levi's Plaza, SF, CA

2 lbs Pork loin, center cut, small-eye, well marbled, 4-5 bone rack
1/2 tsp cumin seed, toasted and ground
1/3 cup honey
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups yellow spanish onion, peeled and sliced
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup fresh apple juice, pressed
(in a sachet bag: 1 sprig of thyme, 1 tsp peppercorns, 1/4 bay leaf, 4 parsley stems)
1.5 cup cranberry jam (recipe below)


  • Preheat oven to 350-375 degrees
  • Toast cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Remove from heat and grind in a spice grinder.
  • In a small bowl mix the ground cumin, honey, mustard, olive oil, 2 tbsp of kosher salt and 1.5 tsp of fresh ground black pepper
  • Arrange a baking sheet with a baking rack. Loosely cover the bones of each pork rack with foil
  • Brush a thin layer of the above mixture on all sides of the pork. Lay facing up on the rack.
  • Roast until internal temp is 160 degrees. Let rest in warmer until ready to serve.

Honey Vinegar Sauce
yields 2 quarts

10 each white onions
12 each garlic cloves
1/4 lb butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 gal chicken stock
1 quart apple juice
1 bottle white wine
1/2 gal apple cider vinegar
10 sprigs fresh thyme
2 each bay leaves
1/2 tsp chili flakes
to taste salt and fresh ground black pepper

  • Caramelize the onions and garlic together over low heat
  • Add the rest of the ingredients except the salt ad black pepper and reduce by 2/3 of until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.
  • Strain the sauce through a chinois, season to taste with salt and fresh black pepper

Cranberry Jam yields 1.5 cups

1 cup cranberries, clean and pick stems (discard any bruised ones)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice


  • Place all the ingredients into a small, heavy bottom stainless steel sauce pan and cook over medium heat just until the cranberries start to pop.
  • Pass through a fine grind food mill and let cool.
Whipped sweet Potatoes
serves 4

Ingredients 1.5 lb sweet potatoes
3/4 cup organic apple juice of apple cider
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp kosher salt
3/t tsp fresh ground black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Scrub the potatoes under running cold water. Place on a baking sheet and bake until soft, approximately 45 minutes.
  • While the potatoes are baking, add the apple juice and ginger to a non-corrosive saucepan. Place over a moderate slow burner to steep for 10 minutes. Strain and set aside until needed.
  • Remove the potatoes from the oven; cool slightly before handling. Remove and discard peels and rinse the potatoes.
  • Place the potatoes in a bowl of an electric mixer. Using the whip attachment, whip together the butter and the cream. Continue whipping while adding the apple-ginger juice.
  • Season with salt and black pepper; keep warm until ready to serve.
  • Combine the remainder of the ingredients together in a bowl, reserving the chilies.
  • Add the chilies as needed for taste. Add this mixture onions mixture and season to taste. Cover and refrigerate approximately 1/2 to 1 hour before serving so all the flavors have a chance to develop.

Note: Make sure the potatoes remain rather stiff. You may not need to add all the liquid to the sweet potatoes.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

BBQ Shredded Chicken on Tamale Pancake

This recipe is by Bradley Ogden that I picked up while dining at the Cafeteria at Levi's Plaza


4 ears of corn, shaved and scraped
1 cup milk
1 cup fresh masa
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 each, red, green and yellow peppers, finely diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
4 each, scallions minced
4 ears corn, roasted and shucked
1 tbl butter, softened
1/4 tsp baking soda

1 each white onion, julienne and lightly sauteed
1 cup bbq sauce (recipe below)
1.5 cups roasted chicken, shredded
2-3 tbl avocado salad (recipe follows)
1 tbl. cilantro cream (recipe follows)
4-5 each cilantro sprigs


  • Mix the scraped corn and milk masa, salt and pepper in a sauce pot and cook on medium low heat for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the stove and allow to cool slightly.
  • Fold in the fine diced peppers and scallions
  • Mix the butter and baking soda together and fold into the pancake mixture. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • Form into 1.5 to 2 oz patties. Cook on medium heat griddle with butter until golden brown on both sides. Remove and set aside.
  • Saute the onions, chicken and BBQ sauce together

To serve:

  • Place the pancake down on the plate first. Top with 2-3 tbls of avocado salad and then 2 oz of the chicken mixture. Lace with the cilantro cream and cilantro sprigs. Add a dollop of Cilantro Cream Fraiche.
Serves 4-6

1/4 cup white onion, minced
1 tablspoon fresh lime juice
1 medium tomato, cored and diced 1/4"
2 medium ripe avocados, chunked
1 each serrano chili, finely minced
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt


  • Mix the onions and lime juice together and set aside while preparing the remainder of the ingredients
  • Combine the remainder of the ingredients together in a bowl, reserving the chilies.
  • Add the chilies as needed for taste. Add this mixture to the onions mixture and season to taste. Cover and refrigerate approximately 1/2 to 1 hour before serving so all the flavors have a chance to develop
Makes 2 cups


3/4 cup chili sauce
1/3 cup molasses
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp red chili pepper flakes
1/2 each Anaheim chili, seeded and cut into 1" pieces
1/4 each green pepper, seeded and cut into 1" pieces
1/2 can chipotle in adobo sauce
1/4 cup fresh chives, minced
1/2 fresh horseradish, peeled and grated


  • Combine all the ingredients, except the chives and horseradish, in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat an dput the sauce through a fine strainer, using a wooden spoon to push as much of the sauce through as possible.
  • Stir in horseradish right before service.
  • Garnish with chopped chives

Serves 4-6

1/2 bunch cilantro, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cream fraiche
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper


  • Puree the cilantro and lemon juice in a blender until smooth.
  • Place the puree in a bowl and fold in the sour cream and cream fraiche and blend together well.
  • Season with the salt and the pepper
  • Refrigerate for a tleast 1/2 hour to allow time for all the flavors to blend.

Wad's Steamed Clams

We perfected this cooking technique over the bbq at another visit to the Hog Island Oyster Farm in Point Reyes.

1/4 stick butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, squeezed through a garlic press
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 bunch of parsley
salt and fresh black pepper to taste
2-4 lbs manila clams
fresh lemon juice

Melt butter on medium heat in a 3 quart saute pan. Add olive oil, garlic, stirring quickly for a minute. Slowly pour in the wine, then toss in the clams and parsley, mixing well then cover. Let cook for a couple of minutes. The clams are done when all of the shells are opened, should only take a few minutes.

Squeeze fresh lemon juice over all. Delicious served with a baguette to dunk into the broth.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Hog Island BBQ'd Oysters

Sweetwater oysters roasted in their own shell! Make extra, these will get eaten!

1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
juice of 1 large lemon
dash of Tabasco Sauce
cracked black pepper to taste
1/2 bunch of Italian parsley, chopped

Sweat the garlic in a little bit of the oil. Before it browns, add the butter and the rest of the ingredients except the parsley. As soon as the butter melts, turn off the heat. Spoon sauce onto raw, shucked oysters. Place oysters on grill, cover and cook for 5 minutes or until edges of oysters curl slightly. Add a pinch of chopped parsley to each oyster, cover grill again for 1 more minute. Serve hot with warm sourdough bread!

I made this but reduced it to 3 garlic cloves, 1/3 stick of butter and probably more like 2 tblsp of olive oil but with the rest of the recipe. I cooked the garlic in the butter beforehand and spooned some of the rather hardened garlic butter mixture onto the oysters. We found them to be perfectly cooked after the butter had melted and the oyster began to bubble in the heavenly elixir in its shell. We were working at a bbq pit at a picnic site and this worked very well without a grill cover...

Luc's Beer'd Clams

These pictures are from a lovely feast we recently enjoyed at the Hog Island Oyster Farm in Tomales Bay.

Hog Island clams served in a bowl of fragrant broth. Great with sourdough bread, more beer and big napkins. Luc Chamberland, manager of the Hog Island Oyster Bar, recommends making his recipe with Mendocino Brewing Company Red Tail Ale or Blue Heron Pale Ale.

I have modified the recipe to cut down on the amount of butter... You can get the full fatted recipe from their website

1 beer (one 12 oz. bottle)
1/2 stick (4 tblsp) unsalted butter
1 bulb of fresh fennel root, coarsely chopped
1 splash of extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch of sea salt, or to taste
2 pounds of Hog Island Manila Clams

Pour beer into a Dutch oven or large covered pot. Bring beer to a simmer over medium heat. Add butter, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add chopped fennel root. Let ingredients simmer for a few minutes. Rinse the clams in fresh water and add to the pot. Heat until clams open, ladle into large bowls and serve!

I have halved the recipe in approximately half and reduced the butter by a lot. I also added a couple cloves of garlic squeezed through the garlic press and found it to be greatly improved by the addition of fresh squeezed lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper. The fennel also needed to be cooked longer as it was still kind of crunchy, so I would also let the ingredients simmer for a few more minutes before adding the clams...

It was especially delicious with the bbq'd oyster recipe from the same site that we enjoyed on a recent visit.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Carrot Soup

8 servings

from Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Cooking

Melt in a heavy-bottomed pot:

4 tbl (1/2 stick) butter

2 onions,s liced
1 thyme sprig

Cook over medium-low heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Add:

2.5 lbs carrots, peeled and sliced (about 6 cups)

Season with salt

Cook for 5 minutes. cooking the carrots with the onions for a while builds flavor. Add:

6 cups broth

Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 30 minutes. When done, season with salt to taste, and puree if desired

Serve with chopped fresh herbs and creme fraich.

Fresh Herb Butter

From the Art of Simple Cooking, Alice Waters

Stir together in a small bowl, mixing well

8 tblsp (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped herbs (such as parsley, chervil, and chives)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
squeeze of lemon juice
salt and fresh-ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
Taste and adjust the salt and lemon as needed


chopped shallots and pounded garlic are delicious additions
For a more lemony flavor, add finely grated lemon zest
For a more pungent butter that is perfect with corn on the cob, flavor with dried chile peppers, soaked drained and pounded to a paste.

Braised Chicken Legs

Season the day before if possible:

4 chicken legs
with Salt and fresh-ground black pepper

Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add:
2 tbl olive oil
Place the chicken legs into the pan skin side down and cook until crisp and brown, about 12 minutes. Turn and cook for another 4 minutes. Remove the chicken and add:

2 onions, sliced thick (or diced large)

Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add and cook for 2 minutes:

4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 bay leaf
1 small rosemary sprig

Arrange the chicken in the pan, skin side up, and pour in any juices that have collected. Pour in:

1 cup chicken broth

The liquid should reach halfway up the chicken; add more if needed.

Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. cover and cook at a bare simmer or in a 325F oven for 45 minutes. When done, pour the braising liquid into a small bowl and skim the fat. Discard the bay leaf and rosemary. Taste for salt adn adjust as needed. Return to the pan and serve.

Garnish with lemon zest and chopped fresh herbs and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Pork Shoulder Braised with Dried Chilies

from the Art of Simple Cooking, Alice Waters

Make a dry rub by mixing together:
1 tblsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tblsp choped fresh marjoram or oregano
1 tsp ground ancho chili

Use the dry rub to season, the day before if possible:

One 4-lb., bone in pork shoulder roast, trimmed of excess fat

Cover and refrigerate until 1 hour before cooking. Put in a heavy baking dish or roasting pan that just fits the roast:

2 onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 carrot, peeled, anc coarsely chopped
3 dried ancho chiles, split and seeds removed
1 dried chipotle chile, split and seeds removed
1 large head of garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped.
A few black peppercorns
A few fresh marjoram or oregano sprigs.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place the seasoned meat on top of the vegetables and pour in:

2 cups chicken broth (or water)

Check the level of the liquid; it should reach about one quarter of the way up the roast. Add more if needed. Cook in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the roast over and cook for 30 minuts, then turn again. Check the level of liquid every once in a while, adding more broth or water if it gets too low. Cook for another 30 mintuest and test the meat for doneness, continuing to turn and cook until done. Remove the meat from the pan. Strain the sauce and skim well. ass the vegetables through a food mill and return to the skimmed sauce. Remove the bones, slice the meat, and arrange on a warm platter. Serve with the sauce poured over or pass it around in a pitcher or sauceboat.

Use any combination of dried chile varieties
Sprinkle with chopped fresh marjoram or oregano before serving.
Pound 4 garlic cloves and stir into the dry rub with 2 tsp olive oil. Rub this on the roast to season.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Crispy Skin Salmon with Tamarind Sauce

One of my favorite recipes from Ana Mandara Restaurant 891 Beach St. (at Polk Street) SF; (415) 771-6800

Yields about 1 3/4 cups


1/2 package tamarind pulp (about 7 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sambal oelek (ground fresh red chile paste)
4 tablespoons fish sauce

Instructions for the sauce:

Instructions: Combine tamarind and water in a saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 8 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pressing pulp to extract tamarind liquid into a bowl. You should have about 1 1/2 cups tamarind liquid. Add sugar, sambal oelek and fish sauce. Stir until smooth.

Crispy Skin Salmon
Serves 4

Chinese chives have long, slender flat blades and are normally dark green in color. Also called garlic chives, they have a hint of garlic flavor. When grown under cover without light, Chinese chives are light yellow color or a shade of "gold," which symbolizes gold or wealth in Asia.


1 pound salmon fillet, about 1 1/2 inches thick
Salt and pepper to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups of 3-inch long strips of yellow chives or leeks
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
A few swirls of Tamarind Sauce (see Recipe)
A few sprigs of cilantro

Instructions for Salmon:

Preheat oven to 375°. Cut salmon into 4 equal pieces that are approximately 1 1/2 inches thick. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add salmon fillets skin-side down and sear until skin is crisp, about 2 minutes. Turn and sear for 1 minute. Continue to sear all four remaining sides for about 30 seconds on each side. Put salmon skin-side down in skillet. Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add the garlic and saute until golden brown. Add the chives and saute until they begin to wilt. Add the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Reduce to a light glaze, about 3-5 minutes. Arrange chives on center of a plate, place salmon on top. Swirl tamarind sauce around perimeter of plate. Garnish with cilantro.

Per serving: 310 calories, 25 g protein, 14 g carbohydrate, 17 g fat (2 g saturated), 70 mg cholesterol, 277 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Shiso Tofu

From Eric Gowers Breakaway Japanese Kitchen

This would go very well on fish or meat too. It was a little bit too bright tasting, so I drizzled some sesame oil and soy sauce over it to balance it out.

Serves 2 or 3

20 fresh shiso leaves
1 heaping tablespoon baby ginger, minced (normal ginger will work too)
zest of 1 orange (or other orange citrus), a tblsp reserved
3 to 4 tablespoons juice of any orange citrus
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tblsp brown rice vinegar (or other vinegar)
sea salt
fresh coarsely ground black pepper
1 tub oborodofu, about 1/2 lb. I used fresh tofu from San Jose Tofu

Blend everything except the tofu in the blender. Divide the tofu into two or three of your prettiest bowls, and spoon over the sauce. Taste for salt, and garnish with the reserved zest.

Citrus zest addes a tremendous boost of flavor and complexity to whatever it touches, has virtually no calories, and costs almost nothing. I can't get enough of it. A ten-dollar investment in a microplane zester will reward you for years, but you certainly don't need one. Just slice off the peel of any citrus with a vegetable peeler or sharp knife, scrape away any bitter white pith clinging to it, and mince it up.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fried Black Beans

Using the last of the Marin Sun Farm eggs, Mr. K made me a delicious breakfast of fried eggs, leftover refried beans and chorizo from Snake River Farms. The quality of the chorizo is very good and it crisps beautifully and doesn't dry out at all. Anyways, he is a big fan of Rick Bayless's cooking and used this recipe from his Mexican Everyday cookbook. The beans freeze beautifully.

Makes 2.5 cups, serving 4-5

2 to 3 tablespoons rich tasting fresh pork lard, vegetable oil or bacon drippings (use 3 tbl for creamier beans)
2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or crushed through a garlic press
3.5 cups home-cooked beans or two 15-oz cans

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant but not brown, about 1 minute. Add the beans. As the beans come to a simmer, corasely mash them with a bean masher, old-fashioned potato masher or the back of a large cooking spoon. How smoothly you mash them is entirely a matter of personal preference - in most cases, I like them rather chunky. Cook, stirring nearly constantly, until the consistency of very soft mashed potatoes - expect about 10 minutes total cooking time. Taste and season with salt if you think necessary.

Beans for dinner: A super-easy dinner starts with frying a packed cup (8 oz) fresh Mexican chorizo sausage (casing removed), tipping off the excess fat, then adding the garlic and the beans. Cook until thickened, and serve with warm tortillas, a little salsa and a salad.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Chopped Stetson Salad

From Cowboy Ciao, Scottsdale, AZ

Makes 2 servings.

Israeli or pearl cous cous (cooked) 2 oz
Arugula 2 oz. chopped
Roma tomatoes 2 oz. diced
Smoked salmon 1.5 oz
Asiago cheese .5 oz
Pepitas .5 oz
Black currants .5 oz
Super sweet dried corn 1 oz

Pesto Buttermilk Dressing
Pesto .5 cup
shallot 1, rough chop
aioli 1 cup
buttermilk 1 cup
coarse black peper .5 teaspoon
1/2 lemon, juice only
salt and pepper to taste

Add first three ingredients for dressing to food processor and blend thoroughly. With motor running, pour in buttermilk. Add remaining ingredients to combine. Store in refrigerator.

Here's a slideshow of the waitress mixing it up for us at our table. They serve it with either smoked salmon or roast chicken breast. It was delicious either way!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hot Vegetable Summer Salad with Miso Vinaigrette

From Eric Gower's Breakaway Japanese Kitchen. This collection of recipes has a lot of really interesting combinations that I am sure will be challenging to the average palate. When I first got the book, I tried one dish, the Unplain Rice, which he claimed is his standard rice. I hated the recipe and tossed the cookbook into a dark corner in the bookshelf, but I'm glad I dusted it off and gave it another try.

The shiso and miso give these vegetables a "fresh" spin that people seem to love

I have several purple and green shiso plants growing wild in my garden, the seeds from last year's plants sprouted here and there which I ended up repotting into my official herb pot...

Serves 3 or 4

2 ears very fresh corn, shucked
2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small to medium zucchini, roughly chopped
1 small bag (about 1/4 lb) fresh breen geans, ends trimmed, cut in 1-inch pieces
sea salt

fresh coarsely ground black pepper
1 tblsp walnut oil
2 tblsp brown rice (or other) vinegar
1 tblsp miso
1 tsp apricot jam (I did not use any and substituted with 1/2 tsp sesame oil)
10 shiso leaves, minced
1 tblsp chives, minced

Cut the kernels form the cob into a bowl. Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the corn, zucchini, and green beans. Salt and pepper them, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the walnut oil, vinegar, miso, and jam in a cup and mix, to make a vinaigrette. Add this to the pan, mixing gently but thoroughly. Add the shiso and mix again. Taste for salt, and serve on warm plates. Top with chives.

I didn't have green beans, so substituted a bunch of chopped chard, which tasted very good instead. It was surprisingly good and had a rich buttery flavor from the miso, Mr. K and I had 2 bowls each before we knew it and the entire thing was gone...

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Prawn (Shrimp) Curry

I made the shrimp curry and cucumber raita (recipe below) and steamed chard sprinkled with lemon juice.

From Madhur Jaffrey's Flavors of India

When I arrive in Goa, the first dish I order is this simple prawn (shrimp) curry! It uses no oil as nothing in it requires frying or sauteeing. In many ways, it is the humbles of currries and may be made with very cheap fish cut into chunks, fish steaks or fillet pieces. I like it made with juicy prawns (shrimp), fresh from the sea. With a spicy red, coconutty sauce flowing over a bed of white, pearly rice - what else can one want? I rarely order this dish in the hotel that I stay in. I find a small beach shack ocvered with palm thatching, generally owned by real fishermen, and order it there. All I need with it is a cold blass of beer.

If you buy unpeeled, headless prawns (shrimp) you will need 1.5 lb (65 g). Peel and devein them, then wash them and pat them dry.

1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tblsp bright red paprika
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed to a pulp
1 (1-inch) (2.5 cm) piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated to a pulp
2 tblsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 (14 oz) (397g) can coconut milk, well stirred (I used one of those small cans, 6.5 oz - it was very good, not so rich and fatty)
3/4 tsp salt or to taste
3 pieces of kokum or 1 tbl tamarind paste
1 lb (450 g) peeled and deveined, medium-sized uncooked prawns (shrimp)

In a bowl, combine 1-1/4 cups water with the cayenne pepper, paprika, turmeric, garlic and ginger. Mix well. Grind the coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a clean coffee grinder and add to mixture.

Put the spice mixture into a pan and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. The sauce should reduce and thicken. Add the coconut milk, salt, kokum or tamarind paste, and bring to a simmer. Add the prawns (shrimp) and simmer, stirring now and then, until they turn opaque and are just cooked through.

I couldn't find tamarind paste at the market, but got this large box instead for $1.50.

Cucumber Raita

1 cucumber
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
2 tblsp. finely chopped, fresh mint leaves
1 clove garlic, finely minced

Peel the cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds with a spoon and thinly slice the remaining flesh.

Let the cucumber sit in a strainer to drain. Squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Set aside.

Put yogurt in a bowl. Beat lightly with a fork or whisk until it is smooth and creamy. Add the salt and garlic and mix well. Add the fresh mint and cucumber. Stir to mix, making sure all the cucumber slices are well separated.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lemongrass Beef on Cool Noodles

This is from the website. A lot of these recipes I post here because I want to save them. This has replaced my folder of clipped recipes...

Lemongrass Beef on Cool Noodles
(Bun Bo Zao)
Adapted from Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table by Mai Pham (HarperCollins, 2001). Copyright 2001 by Mai Pham.
Serves 4
The last time I was in Saigon, I went back to the lively Cho Vuon Chuoi market near our house. I was so excited to find the same stall that my mother used to take me to for noodles. The lady who once fed me had retired and her daughter had taken over. After squeezing myself onto a low community bench in front of the hot charcoal stove, I found myself indulging in a delectable bowl of noodles with beef that had just come off a sizzling pan. These days, this dish remains a favorite, both for lunch and for a light dinner. For a delicious variation, try it with shrimp or pork.
Rice Noodles with Fresh Herbs (recipe follows), ready for serving in noodle bowls Topping:
• 2/3 pound beef sirloin or another tender cut, thinly sliced into bite-sized strips
• 2 tablespoons minced lemongrass
• 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
• 1 tablespoon fish sauce
• 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
• 2 tablespoons Scallion Oil (recipe)
• 4 tablespoons chopped Roasted Peanuts
• 1 1/2 recipes Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (recipe)
Combine the beef, lemongrass, oyster sauce, and fish sauce in a bowl and let the meat marinate for 20 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the red onion and stir for 1 minute, then add the meat. Stir and cook until the meat is cooked and the onion is soft, 3 to 4 minutes.
To serve, divide the beef topping among the 4 prepared noodle bowls. Garnish each bowl with 1/2 tablespoon Scallion Oil, 1 tablespoon peanuts and about 1/4 cup dipping sauce. Toss several times before eating.

Rice Noodles with Fresh Herbs (Bun Voi Rau Thom)
Adapted from Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table by Mai Pham (HarperCollins, 2001). Copyright 2001 by Mai Pham.
Makes 4 main-course servings with toppings
If there's one dish that exemplifies just how flavors and textures are contrasted in Vietnamese cuisine, it would have to be bun. Made with small rice vermicelli layered on a bed of shredded fresh herbs and greens, it can be served with a variety of meat or seafood toppings. In Vietnam, bun is usually a meal in itself but it certainly can be served in smaller, appetizer-sized portions.
To create a complete bun meal, make this recipe and serve it with a topping. Make sure that the noodles are completely dry before assembling the bowls. Otherwise, the noodles with not adequately soak up the sauce.
• 2/3 pound small dried rice vermicelli (bun)
• 2 cups shredded red- or green-leaf lettuce
• 1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
• 1/3 cup cucumber, seeded and cut into matchsticks
• 1/3 cup green or red perilla leaves, fish mint, or mint leaves, cut into thirds
• 1/3 cup Asian basil leaves, cut into thirds
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the rice vermicelli and stir gently to loosen them. Cook until the noodles are white and soft but still slightly resilient, about 4 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Gently fluff the noodles and set them aside for at least 30 minutes. The noodles should be dry and sticky before serving.
Gently toss together the lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumbers, perilla, and basil leaves. Divide the salad mixture among 4 bowls. Top each with one-quarter of the rice noodles. The bowls are now ready for the topping.
Note: Ideally bun should not be refrigerated, because the noodles become dry and stiff. However, if you need to, store the noodles and greens separately. Just before serving, reheat the noodles (preferably in a microwave oven) just until slightly warm. This will help them become soft and a little sticky again.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Salmon with Spinach in Foil

I clipped this recipe from S.F. Chronicle a long time ago, it is a great quick and easy dish to make. We had corn with it (from my weekly organic box) that Mr. K grilled and served sprinkled with lemon juice and then chile powder.

Another coworker raved about some smoked salmon from Seabear Wild Salmon, so I order some filets which i got for a very good promotional price.

1 tbl. asian sesame oil
2 cups spinach leaves, lightly packed, rinsed and dried
8-oz. salmon steak
salt and pepper
hot cooked rice
lemon wedges
chili garlic sauce

Preheat oven to 275 and heat a baking sheet at the same time.

Spread 1 tsp. of the sesame oil in the center of a 12 x 16 inch sheet of foil. Stack half of the spinach leaves to the left of center and top with the salmon. Season to taste with salt and pepper to drizzle with 1 tsp. of the remaining sesame oil. Top with the remaining spinach and sesame oil. Fold the foil over the fish (like closing a book) and crimp the edges tightly together, forming a D-shaped package.

Place on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

Transfer to a plate, remove the foil and mop up excess moisure with a paper towel. Serve with rice, lemon wedges and a nice blob of chili garlic sauce

265 calories; 35 g. potein, 0 g. carbo, 12 g. fat (6 g. sat) 91 mg cholesterol; 194 mg. sodium; 0 g. fiber

from the SF Chronicle 7/26/95

Monday, June 18, 2007

Ravioli with Fresh Peas and Basil

I keep reading about peas which seem to be in season. I also love how they look in the pod, but my photographic skills were not able to capture that kodak moment with the pod cracked open and the peas all nestled in snugly... So here are peas that were blanched for a couple of minutes and starting to shrivel...

I also have some basil growing very nicely in the garden

2 shallots minced
1 clove garlic minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 cup chicken stock
1 oz dried porcini mushroom
10 leaves of basil shredded
1 cup shelled peas

1 package fresh ravioli
parmesan cheese for grating on top
salt and black pepper
fresh lemon

Heat the olive oil in a 3 quart saute on low and mix in the shallots and garlic. Cook on low, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes until the shallots are soft and translucent.

At the same time, heat the stock in a sauce pan with the porcini mushrooms until they soften. Remove the mushrooms and chop up and return to pan and continue to heat for 10 minutes until mushrooms are completely reconstituted.

Stir stock into the saute pan and keep temperature on low, barely simmering.

Heat a big pot of boiling water and blanch the peas for 2 minutes. Remove from water and rinse in cold water. In the same pot, cook ravioli according to instructions on package, drain. Toss the shredded basil, peas and ravioli into the saute pan and mix well. Adjust seasonings and you are ready to serve.

Top with grated parmesan, black pepper and a squirt of lemon juice if desired.

I also steamed the green beans from the organic veggie box I started receiving this week. They were so tender and sweet! We ate them plain, with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Grilled Spice-rubbed Salmon

I got a few tins of Potlatch Seasoning on sale and find it to be very tasty as a rub on fish, especially salmon. It has paprika, crushed red pepper, chili pepper, oregano, basil, coriander, safflower oil.

I minced 2 cloves of garlic and mixed it with 1 Tbl. of olive oil and rubbed that into 2 salmon fillets. Then I sprinkled the spice rub all over and then rubbed it in.

We grilled the filets over medium heat for 4 minutes, then lowered it down to low and cooked them for a 3 more minutes. Because the filets were so thin, we let them sit for just a minute. Then, it was time to eat.

I also made a sort of corn salad, because I stopped at Safeway and they had 10 ears of corn for $2!

kernels cut off from 2 ears of corn, scraped
1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 Tbl. olive oil

1 tomato diced
10 leaves basil, minced
red wine vinegar
balsamic vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

put olive oil in 3 qt saute pan and heat over med. low for 1 minute, add garlic and onion and stir for another minute. Throw in the corn and let cook for 3-5 minutes until the corn no longer tastes raw.

Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and then toss the cooked corn in. Let sit for a couple of minutes, adjust seasonings and serve.

This is a light and lovely summer time meal. A flash to prepare!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Wild Mushroom Risotto

An old favorite from Chez Panisse Cooking, Paul Bertolli with Alice Waters

I was listening to the Good Food podcast's farmer's market report and heard that the boletes or porcini mushrooms were in very fine form this time of year. I happened to stop at the Mushroom store at the Ferry building that afternoon and picked some up. I got the $5 basket which they said were not top notch, but they looked pretty good to me.

4 to 6 cups raw wild mushrooms (chanterelles, horns of plenty, dentinum, boletes)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper
2 shallots (2 ounces), finely diced
1-1/2 cups arborio rice
2 oz pancetta, diced
1 cup dry white wine
1-1/2 quarts turkey or chicken broth
1 tblsp chopped fresh italian parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

Brush off any dirt from the mushrooms with a small vegetable brush. Use a knife to cut away any implanted dirt. Slice the mushrooms. Melt 2 tblspn of the butter in a saute pan, add the mushrooms, salt and pepper them, and cook for 8 to 15 minutes (this depends on how much moisture they contain) until nearly all of the liquid they release has evaporated. You should end up with approximately 2 cups mushrooms. Set aside.

Melt 2 more tblspn of the butter in a 6-quart noncorroding pot. Add the shallots and let them soften over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the rice and the pancetta and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Do not allow the rice to brown. Stir in the wine and allow it to nearly evaporate. Then begin making the broth additions. Add only enough broth to maintain the level just above the rice. Maintain a gentle simmer and add broth when the level begins to drop but before the previously added amoung has been entirely absorbed. Stir the rice often, before and after each addition.

After 15 minutes, raise the heat and add the mushrooms. Readjust the heat so that the rice simmers. Cook for about 5 minutes more. During the final cooking, make broth additions judiciously and taste the rice frequently to gauge its progress. When it is nearly done (chewy but not firm in the center) stir in the remaining 4 tblspn butter and make any final corrections of salt and pepper. The risotto should be unified so taht the sauce does not separate form the rice, but should not be so reduced taht the rice becomes thick. The consistency should be nearly pourable. Stir in the fresh herbs and serve in warm bowls.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Mixed Spring Vegetables with Creamy Sherry Vinaigrette

1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup creme fraiche
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups mixed spring vegetables, blanched and shocked (fava beans, carrots, baby potatoes, asparagus)
1 tablespoon snipped chives

Soak the shallot in vinegar for 10 minutes. Whisk in creme fraiche, olive oil and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper. Toss vegetables with vinaigrette and top with chives.

recipe by Carol Cotner Thompson taken from KCRW Good Food

Simple Vinaigrette

1/4 cup wine vinegar (red, white, champagne, sherry)
1 small shallot, minced
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Dijon mustard
citrus zest
citrus juice
delicate herbs

Soak minced shallots in vinegar for 10 minutes. Whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

recipe by Carol Cotner Thompson taken from KCRW Good Food

Thursday, May 31, 2007


Clipped this from the Aqua Newsletter.

A traditional dish that can include nearly any fruit or vegetable, clafoutis originated in the Limousin region of southern central France. Delicious, satisfying, and easy-to-make, this venerable French classic is a great addition for a brunch buffet.


2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
1 tablespoon flour
6 cups red fruit, such as cherries, raspberries, or strawberries, pitted and halved
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Fruit sorbet, vanilla or pistachio ice cream (optional)

For the clafoutis:

Preheat the oven to 350 ° F. Butter and flour a 10" square or round ceramic or glass baking dish.

Whisk eggs and ¼ cup of sugar together, gradually adding salt, flour, and crème fraiche. Blend until smooth. Pour into dish and add 4 cups of the red fruit on top of mixture. Bake for 20 minutes.

For the compote:

In a medium pan bring 2 cups of red fruit, 1/3 cup of the sugar, water, and lemon juice to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.

To assemble dish:

Spoon clafoutis into bowls, pour compote over top. Garnish with sorbet or ice cream, if desired.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Zuni Cafe Cookbook: House-Cured Pork Chop

I went to the Ferry building and bought some beautiful frenched pork chops from Sonoma. The counterperson said that the bones are like an attached baby back rib on each chop.

For 4 pork chops (10 to 11z each and 1-1/4" thick), or 2 tenderloins (about 1 pound each)

A few crumbled bay leaves, dried chiles, and crushed juniper berries (optional)

5 cups room temp. water

6 Tbl sugar

3 Tbl salt (a little more if using kosher salt)

We have a juniper bush in the front yard that I picked some berries out of.

If using aromatics, place them in a small pot with about 1 cup of the water. Bring to a simmer, stirring and crushing with a wooden spoon, to encourage them to release their flavors. Remove from heat and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. Combine the remainder of the water, the aromatic mixture, if using, sugar and salt in a deep bowl or 3 quart plastic storage container. Rinse meat and pat dry. Place in the brine and use a plate to keep the meat submerged. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 4 days.

A couple of hours before cooking, remove the pork from the brine. Rub and massage the meat as you rinse it thoroughly under cold running water. Press between dry paper towels. Refrigerate until about 15 minutes before cooking.

Brush pork with olive oil and grill over medium coals, or cook in a heavy skillet with a film or olive oil over medium heat. Move the chops or adjust the heat if the sugar threatens to burn, and turn at least three times as they cook. Cold chops should take about 18 minutes to cook. They will hold well for another 10 minutes in a warm, protected spot.

I added a cup of apple cider vinegar and smashed a couple of garlic cloves to the brine, and then before cooking I rubbed the chops with olive oil and then with a spice rub for ribs from Williams-Sonoma.

Then we grilled them for 6 minutes on medium heat, then 5 minutes, then 3 minutes and let them sit for 5 minutes.

They were cooked just about right.

I served them with Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.
The recipe is so easy, I blanched the peas for 2 minutes, drained them and then tossed with 1 tblsp of sesame oil and 1/2 tsp salt, then sprinkled in some black sesame seeds.

We also had Caesar Salad from the same Zuni Cafe Cookbook, which is light and lemony and threw in some Semifreddi's Garlic croutons.

As usual, by the time we got to eating, I forgot to take a picture of the plate... It was very good too. I made mashed potatoes using chicken stock and yogurt butter, which is light and fluffy and yummy too.

Lynne's Classic Vinaigrette Dressing

Yet another recipe from I love the simplicity of this and it is so much better to have fresh home made dressing over bottled. The flavor of the oil in bottled dressing always tastes drab to me. Mr. K has the amazing ability to whip up a batch of zesty vinaigrette in a few minutes, but sometimes it's hard to corral him into doing it... This is a very nice substitute.

Copyright 2002, Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Makes about 2 cups and keeps for a week in the refrigerator.

This is the true Italian or French dressing. It's so basic, it's scary. But trust me, when made with good-tasting vinegar and oil this is a star.

Get a pint jar (2 cups) with a screw top. You're making this by taste, not by exact measurement so the quantities are approximations.

1/2 cup good tasting vinegar (ie a blend of rice vinegar and balsamic, or cider, wine or sherry vinegar)
1/2 cup good tasting extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine in the jar, shake, taste and then add more oil or vinegar to balance. Store in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Use at room temperature, shaking to blend. Remember a little goes a long way, so always start with a couple of tablespoons.

Variations. The key to each of these is tasting as you blend.

Herbs and Garlic: Each time you use the dressing, you could add herbs to the salad, or rub the bowl with garlic before adding the greens.

Dijon Dressing: Put about 1/2 cup of the dressing in bottom of salad bowl, add generous tablespoon Dijon mustard, some fresh tarragon and 1 shallot, minced. Blend, add greens and toss

Honey Mustard Dressing: Add to Dijon Dressing, brown sugar or honey to taste. Also a tablespoon of mayonnaise makes it creamy.

French Bleu Cheese Dressing: Take a little basic vinaigrette, blend in bleu cheese and garlic to taste.

Creamy Bleu Cheese: Add sour cream, mayonnaise and minced onion to bleu cheese dressing.

Ranch Dressing: Mix in salad bowl blend into some basic dressing minced garlic, chopped parsley, chopped scallions, and chopped basil with equal amounts of mayonnaise and buttermilk.

This recipe was featured on MPR's Tuesday Night Kitchen, a weekday online-only food program from The Splendid Table.

Chilled Zaru Soba with Dipping Sauce

Serves 4

Cook's Notes: When buying dried soba at Asian or health food stores, you may or may not be able to figure out the percentage of buckwheat to wheat flour from the package label.

Sometimes the labels are only in Japanese, sometimes they just don't say. Unless you know a good Japanese grocery store, the best bet for high-quality 80 percent buckwheat soba (hachiwari soba) is to mail order it (see Resources below).The loveliest and the most authentic way to present soba is on a zaru, the Japanese bamboo tray sold at Japanese markets and craft stores. The trays are inexpensive and elegant to have around. If you like, add flavors like grated ginger or orange zest to the dipping sauce.

12 ounces dry soba noodles, preferably 80 percent buckwheat
1 cup instant dashi (kelp and bonito broth), prepared according to package instructions
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons shoyu soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup mirin (sweet Japanese wine)
3 tablespoons katsuobushi bonito flakes, if available
1 sheet nori seaweed, toasted lightly over a gas flame and julienned
1/4 cup finely sliced scallions, for garnish
1/4 cup finely grated daikon, for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the soba and reduce the heat to medium. When the water comes back to a boil, stir the noodles with chopsticks and add about 3/4 cup cold water. When the water returns to a boil, add more cold water and repeat this process one more time. Cook the noodles until slightly al dente, 6 to 8 minutes. (If using soba with a high percentage of wheat flour, cook it in boiling water without adding cold water for about 6 minutes.) Drain the soba and rinse under cold running water, running your fingers through the noodles to untangle.

Transfer the soba to a tray lined with paper towels and drain until dry. Place in a bowl and refrigerate, covered, until cool. If the noodles clump together, rinse and dry again.

In a small saucepan, combine the dashi, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and mirin and bring to a simmer. Add the bonito flakes and remove from the heat. After 5 minutes, strain the sauce into a serving bowl, cool, and chill.

To serve, divide the soba among Japanese bamboo baskets or rustic ceramic bowls, and sprinkle each portion with toasted nori. Serve the garnishes and individual small bowls of the dipping sauce on the side.

To eat, either grab a tangle of soba with chopsticks and dunk it in the dipping sauce bowl, or spoon some dipping sauce over your portion.

Resources: Katagiri is a great source of high-quality soba and other Japanese ingredients (tel: 212-755-3566 or

Adapted from The Greatest Dishes: Around the World in 80 Recipes. © 2004 by Anya Von Bremzen. Published by HarperCollins, 2004.

from the

Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp

Excerpted from Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table: Recipes and Reminiscences from Vietnam's Best Market Kitchens, Street Cafes, and Home Cooks by Mai Pham (Morrow Cookbooks, 2001). © 2001 by Mai Pham. Used with permission.

Serves 4

This salad epitomizes the Vietnamese love of contrasting flavors and textures. The tartness of the dressing brings out the smoky, salty flavors of the shrimp and the peanuts add crunch and nuttiness. If you can't find green papaya, substitute with white cabbage.


1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 Thai bird or 1/2 Serrano chili, chopped
5 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons water

1 1/2 tablespoons minced lemongrass
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2/3 pound medium raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 medium green papaya, peeled and shredded into thin long strands (about 4 cups), rinsed and spun dry
1/3 thinly shredded carrots, soaked in cold water and drained
1/3 cup Asian basil leaves, cut in thirds
2 tablespoons fried shallots
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped roasted peanuts

1. For the dressing, combine the garlic, chilies, 4 teaspoons sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and water in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Place the remaining sugar, lemongrass, shallots, chili flakes, salt and oil in a mixing bowl and stir well. Add the shrimp; toss gently and allow to marinate for 20 minutes. Grill or pan-sear the shrimp in an oiled skillet over high heat until just done, about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. Put the cooked shrimp, shredded papaya, carrots, basil and fried shallots in a mixing bowl. Add the dressing and toss gently to evenly coat all ingredients. Sprinkle the peanuts into the bowl, then toss and transfer to a serving dish.

Classic Andalusian Gazpacho

From the website.

Adapted from The Greatest Dishes: Around the World in 80 Recipes © 2004 by Anya Von Bremzen. Published by HarperCollins.

Serves 6

A fruity Spanish olive oil, preferably from Andalusia, is important, as is a good sherry vinegar, preferably aged. Both can be found at specialty groceries or mail-ordered (see Resources). If you can spare the time, garnish the gazpacho with tiny bread croutons fried in olive oil.

Four 1-inch-thick slices day-old coarse country bread from a round loaf, crusts removed, torn into small pieces
3 pounds ripest, most flavorful tomatoes possible, washed and quartered (do not use Beefsteak tomatoes)
4 tablespoons good-quality sherry vinegar, preferably aged
3 medium garlic cloves
Small pinch of cumin seeds or ground cumin
Coarse sea salt
2 firm medium-sized Kirby (pickling) cucumbers, peeled
1 medium green bell pepper, cored and seeded
1 medium red bell pepper, cored and seeded
One quarter of a medium red onion, peeled
1/2 cup fragrant, fruity extra-virgin Spanish olive oil, preferably from Andalusia
1/2 cup bottled spring water, or more to taste

2 to 3 tablespoons each finely diced cucumbers, peeled green apples, slightlyunderripe tomatoes, and green bell peppers
Slivered young basil leaves

1. Place the bread in a large bowl, and squeeze out the seeds and some of the juice from the tomatoes over it. Crumble and massage the bread with your fingers. Add 1 tablespoon of the vinegar and let it soak for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic to a paste with the cumin and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

3. Transfer the bread mixture to a food processor along with the garlic paste, and process until completely smooth. Leave this mixture in the food processor while preparing the next step.

4. Chop the tomatoes, cucumbers, red and green peppers, and onion into medium dice. Place the vegetables in a bowl, stir in three large pinches of salt, and let stand for 15 minutes so that the tomatoes throw off some liquid.

5. Working in three batches, process the vegetable mixture in a food processor until as smooth as possible, adding a third of the olive oil to each batch. (The first batch will be processed with the bread mixture.) Transfer each finished batch to a sieve set over a large bowl.

6. Pass the gazpacho through a sieve, pressing on it with the back of a wooden spoon. Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons vinegar and the water. Adjust salt to taste. Chill the gazpacho for at least 3 hours before serving. (If making the gazpacho a day ahead, add the garlic 2 to 3 hours before serving, lest it overwhelm the other flavors.) Serve in glass bowls or wine glasses, with the suggested garnishes.

Resources: Tienda carries excellent Spanish olive oils and vinegars (telephone 888-472-1022 or

Goan Vindaloo Fish Curry

Another recipe taken from the website.

Excerpted from Nirmala's Kitchen: Everyday World Cuisine by Nirmala Narine (Lake Isle Press, 2006). Copyright 2006 by Nirmala Narine.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 pound white, firm-fleshed fish, such as kingfish or cod, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon whole black mustard seeds
1 tablespoon peeled, minced fresh ginge
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 small Thai red chiles, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
8 fresh curry leaves, or 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup canned, unsweetened coconut milk
1 small tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons grated unsweetened coconut (optional)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

In a medium bowl, combine the vinegar and salt. Add the fish and turn to coat. Cover and let marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat the ghee or oil over medium-high heat and add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, and mustard seeds. Cook for just about 20 seconds, stirring so that the oil evenly coats the spices. Add the ginger, garlic, chiles, onion, cayenne, and curry leaves or lime juice. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.

Remove fish from the marinade, letting the excess drip off, and transfer to the skillet along with the spices. Gently stir until the fish is coated on all sides. Add the coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, tomato, and grated coconut, if using. Gently stir; cover. Cook over medium heat until the fish is opaque and firm, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Transfer the fish to a heated-serving platter and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Variation: You can substitute 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast for the fish, but increase the cooking time from 5 minutes to 8 to 10 minutes.

EZ-Style Adobo Pork Ribs with Molasses-Chile Barbecue Sauce

I copied this from the website. I am a big fan of the podcast.

Excerpted from How to Cook Meat by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby (Morrow Cookbooks; Reprint Edition, 2002). Copyright 2002 by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby.

Serves 5

The "3 and down" spareribs used in this recipe are my (Chris's) absolute favorite type of ribs. These beauties are small enough to be manageable, but they have plenty of fat and incredible pork flavor. It just doesn't get any better than this in the rib department.

Here I'm taking a kind of nontraditional approach to these ribs. First I coat them with my dry adaptation of the Latin American adobo sauce, flavored with cumin, chili, oregano, and sour orange. Next I go the "cheater's route," putting the ribs in a low oven for 3 hours to cook them through, then laying them on the grill over a very low charcoal fire to give them a nice crust and some good smoke flavor. To finish it all off, there's a sweet-sour-hot barbecue sauce for drizzling or dunking.

For the Flavoring Paste:
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons chile powder
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
6 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
4 dashes Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
Two 3-pound racks pork spareribs

For the Flavoring Paste:

For the Sauce:
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup catsup
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 to3 tablespoons minced fresh chile peppers of your choice

Preheat the oven to 200°F.

In a food processor or blender, combine the paste ingredients and blend until smooth. Dry the ribs with paper towels, then rub them thoroughly with the paste. Place the ribs on two baking sheets and slow-roast for 3 hours, or until no red juice comes out when you poke the meat with a fork and the meat is tender and pulls easily from the bone. Remove the ribs from the oven. They can go right onto the grill, stand out for a while, or be refrigerated, covered, for 2 days.
While the ribs are roasting, combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well; set aside.

Light a fire in your grill. You want a very low charcoal fire with the rack set as high as possible.
Put the ribs on the grill and let them stay there as long as your patience allows. A light crust on the outside is the goal, and, depending on your fire, it can be achieved in 5 minutes per side or take up to 30 minutes per side, if you're into prolonging your guests' agony. Of course, the longer the ribs cook, the better. Brush them with the sauce during the last minute on the grill.
Cut the ribs apart between the bones and serve with the remaining barbecue sauce on the side.


The Cut: In the trade, these are called "3 and down" pork spareribs. The "3 and down" means that each rack weight 3 pounds or less, and the "spareribs" means that they come from the belly of the hog, right below the bacon. If you can get them, these are my #1 choice for ribs.

Other Cuts You Can Use: You can definitely use St. Louis-style spareribs here, and, in a pinch, you could cut your cooking times in half and go with the pork loin back ribs, even though they're really a different animal.

Cook Once, Eat Twice: If you are fortunate enough to have any of these ribs left over, reheat them in a low (250°F) oven and eat them with coleslaw. Or you can even just eat them room temperature—we certainly have.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Miang Kam

A Recipe of Kasma Loha-unchit Recipe Copyright © 1998 Kasma Loha-unchit.

Miang kam is a very tasty snack often sold as street food. It involves wrapping little tidbits of several items in a leaf, along with a sweet-and-salty sauce. Chewing all the myriad ingredients together gives taste receptacles on the tongue and mouth a thrilling experience – from the rich, roasted flavors of coconut and peanut, to the tanginess of lime with zest and the pungent bursts of diced ginger and chillies. It makes a great party food!

Ingredients for Miang Kam

Large leaves from 1-2 bunches of spinach; or 1 head of leafy lettuce, tear leaves into 3- to 4-inch round or square pieces

Miang Kam Filling Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
1/4 cup small dried shrimp
1/2 cup roasted unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup diced ginger (about the size of a pea)
1/3 cup diced shallots or onion the same size as the ginger
1 lime, cut into small peanut-size wedges, each with both peel and juice sacs
4 heads pickled garlic, stem removed and bulb cut into peanut-size pieces
6 serrano peppers, cut into thin half circles; or use Thai chillies ( prik kee noo), cut into thin rounds
1/3 cup cilantro leaves

Miang Kam Sauce Ingredients:

1/4 cup finely ground dried shrimp
1/2 cup roasted shredded coconut
1/4 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
1/4 cup palm or coconut sugar
2 Tbs. fish sauce ( nahm bplah), or to taste
1/2 cup water

To roast coconut, place unsweetened fresh or dried shredded coconut in a dry cast iron pan over medium heat. Stir frequently until the coconut shreds are evenly a golden brown and very fragrant. Pickled garlic is available in jars from Southeast Asian markets.

Arrange the spinach or lettuce leaves and filling ingredients on a large serving platter, piling each separately and aesthetically for a pleasing presentation.

To make the sauce, grind the dried shrimp, roasted coconut and peanuts separately and as finely as possible in a clean coffee grinder. (For the dried shrimp, measure out 1/4 cup after the shrimp is ground.) Place in a small saucepan together with the palm sugar, fish sauce and water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, stirring frequently to make sure all the ingredients are well blended and the sauce as smooth as possible. Cook about 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of light batter. Transfer to a sauce bowl and allow to cool to room temperature before using. The sauce will thicken more as it cools.

To eat, take a spinach or lettuce leaf, fill it with a little bit of everything, top with a dab of sauce, roll or wrap up, stuff the entire leaf packet into your mouth and chew everything all at once. Enjoy the explosion of flavors!

Kasma's Notes and Pointer for Miang Kam

Miang Kam is often sold as a street food in Thailand in an interesting form. The leaf used for making miang Kam in Thailand, wild pepper leaves (bai chapoo), is much tougher than spinach. The vendor places four or five ingredients in the leaf, a dollop of sauce, and then wraps up the bundle and skewers it onto a stick – Miang Kam on a Stick!

Recipe Copyright © 1998 Kasma Loha-unchit.

A version of this article was originally printed in the San Jose Mercury News.

Spinach Dal

This recipe comes from Anne Martin Rolke, author of Hands-Off Cooking: Low-Supervision, High-Flavor Meals for Busy People.

3 cups water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup red or pink lentils, rinsed
4 cups fresh spinach or chard or 3 cups frozen chopped spinach or chard (not creamed)
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes or one 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh crushed ginger or from a jar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt

1. In a large pot, combine the water, butter, lentils, spinach, tomatoes, onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, and salt and stir well to mix the ingredients.

2. Set the pot over medium-low heat and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Serve immediately, or cover and keep warm for up to 30 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Everyday Okra & Shrimp Curry

Serves 4

Oakland author and cooking teacher Ruta Kahate says if you don't like your curry soupy, which this is, boil it down before adding the shrimp. Increase the amount of okra if you wish. Serve with steamed rice.

1 teaspoon finely grated garlic (2 large cloves)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon cumin seed, finely ground
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed, finely ground
2 1/2 cups plus 1 teaspoon water
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 14.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk (well shaken)
1/2 pound tender okra, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup fresh tomato puree (about 1 medium tomato, skinned, seeded)
1 serrano chile, cut lengthwise into 4, seeds included
1 pound medium-size raw shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


Instructions: Stir together garlic, turmeric, cayenne, cumin, coriander and 1 teaspoon water to make a thick paste. Using a fork, mix together onion and canola oil, crushing onion slightly. Mix spice paste into onion.

Over medium heat, bring coconut milk and 2 1/2 cups water to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer. Stir onion mixture into coconut milk, making sure that the spice paste is well distributed. Add okra and salt, stir and simmer, uncovered, until okra is tender, about 30 minutes.

Add pureed tomato and serrano. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and simmer only until shrimp are cooked, another 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar and simmer for a few minutes more. Taste and adjust the salt, if needed.

Per serving: 375 calories, 19 g protein, 11 g carbohydrate, 30 g fat (20 g saturated), 135 mg cholesterol, 979 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.
Karola Saekel is a Chronicle staff writer. E-mail her at

Monday, April 23, 2007

Khao Soi Gai

In anticipation of our upcoming trip to Thailand, I am researching where we will eat. I keep hearing about this famous Northern curry noodle dish and am saving this recipe to try upon our return.

I clipped this from Chubby Hubby who went to the Four Seasons Cooking School in Chiang Mai. Sounds delicious.

Khao Soi Gai

100g chicken pieces
2 small portions egg noodles
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 pieces sawtooth coriander, sliced
1/2 tablespoon spring onion, sliced

3 teaspoons pickled mustard leaves, chopped
1/2 piece lime
1 tablespoon shallots, diced
chili oil

Heat some vegetable oil in a wok. Deep fry 1 portion of the egg noodles. Set this aside.

Blanch/boil the other portion of noodles in boiling water, drain and place in a soup bowl with some of the sawtooth coriander. Heat another wok and when hot, add half of the coconut milk, the red curry paste, the yellow curry powder, and stir until everything is blended together and it starts to boil. Add the rest of the coconut milk, the fish sauce and the sugar. When it starts boiling again, lower the heat and add the chicken and chicken stock. When the chicken is cooked, pour the chicken and the curry sauce/soup over the noodles that are in the soup bowl. Then put the fried noodles on top and garnish with some spring onion.

You can add more fish sauce and sugar to taste. Also, add in some of the mustard leaves and shallots and squeeze some lime juice over the noodles. If you like things hot, you can add some chili oil.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sea Urchin & Meyer Lemon Gelee with Fennel Cream, Caviar & Kalamata Oil

From Top Chef, Season 2

10 Meyer lemons, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
5 vanilla beans
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons powdered unflavored gelatin
12 sea urchins, spiny outer casing removed
1 bulb fennel, chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon olive oil, preferably Kalamata
2 ounces caviar for garnish

1. In a medium saucepan, combine lemons, vanilla beans, 3 1/2 cups water, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cook over low heat until lemon slices become transparent. Strain mixture, reserving lemons and liquid separately.
2. Sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup warm water. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add gelatin mixture to hot lemon liquid. Stir well until gelatin is dissolved, season to taste and cool to room temperature.
3. Divide sea urchins between bowls and spoon cooled liquid over sea urchins. Set bowls aside to for gelatin to jell.
4. In a medium saucepan, combine chopped fennel, cream and fennel seed. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until fennel is completely tender and cream has thickened.
5. Transfer fennel mixture to a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Puree until mixture is smooth. Strain liquid and discard solids. Season to taste. Transfer strained mixture to refrigerator until well chilled.
6. To serve: Spoon fennel cream over sea urchin gelatin mixture. Drizzle with olive oil and top with caviar.

Macadamia Nut Gazpacho with Pan Roasted Fish

Macadamia Nut Gazpacho with Pan Roasted Fish

From the TV Show Top Chef

Ilan: Finale

10 cloves garlic
1 cup macadamia nuts
5 slices bread, cubed
1/4 cup of water
1 Tbsp. champagne vinegar
4 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
One English seedless cucumber
One "Buddha's Hand" lemon, zested
1/4 lb of fresh bass

1. In a sautee pan, bring a light coating of olive oil to roughly 300 degrees. Fry 8 cloves of garlic, taking care not to burn. Remove from heat and set aside.
To make the gazpacho, add macadamia nuts, bread, water, champagne vinegar, 2 cloves of garlic, and 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a blender. Blend starting at a low speed.
3. Slice cucumber into 1/8" thick plackets, removing the skin, and then dice evenly. Place in a bowl and add extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss.
4. Bring 2 Tbsp. of olive oil to high heat in sautee pan. Lay bass in pan and baste for several minutes with remaining olive oil.

To Plate:
1. Place cucumber salad in the middle.
2. Lay the fish on top, skin-side up.
3. Spoon gazpacho around the fish and cucumber.
4. Place fried garlic slices around and on top of the fish.
5. Sprinkle "buddha's hand" lemon zest around the fish, onto the gazpacho.
6. Finish with toasted macadamia nut with smoked paprika sprinkled on top of the fish.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Nature's Bounty

I feel fortunate that I inherited some very fine things when we moved into our current home, especially in the garden. This lemon tree seems to have ripe fruit year round, and the picture shows just the part of the tree that hangs over the fence from our next door neighbor's backyard! The lemons are big and juicy and are mostly seedless.

The other fabulous thing is the herb garden, I have a huge bush of rosemary and another of oregano that grow wild in the backyard, and these also are thriving year round.

Along with these basics, I also have chives, mint, thyme, tarragon, savory and parsley that grow intermittently in pots nearby.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Bacon Toffee

This sounds very intriguing, I copied from the website.

WooHoo! Glad y’all enjoyed the bacon toffee.

First, don’t rush out and get a candy thermometer. This is the easiest recipe and although somewhat time consuming on the bacon end it is well worth it.

If you have a favorite toffee recipe you can just add bacon to your recipe instead of nuts. You can also use pancetta, guanciale or lardo. Prosciutto only works if it is sliced much thicker than you normally would.

Fry, bake or microwave bacon, dry and chop up.

Add 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp
1/8 tsp baking soda.
Set aside.

Grease a sheet pan or place a silpat mat on the pan.

In a pan:
1 1/3c sugar, 1/2c water, 1/4c light corn syrup, 2.5 Tablespoons unsalted butter. Cook for 12 min. on hight heat until you start to see caramel notes on the edges of the liquid. Continue to cook until you get more of a light color change. When it is all over caramel quickly add bacon mix and stir quickly and in invert onto your pan. Quickly smooth out mix and let cool.

Very important: To store you must store in a plastic container or the condensation of a bag or any other material will turn your toffee to goo. Do not store in the refrigerator. Don’t worry about the bacon going bad if not stored in the fridge….this will also turn it into goo too.

Coconut-Avocado Ice Cream

Snipped this from Tutti Foodie

Ice Cream

main image
This is the kind of ice cream you take a first bit of just because it's different.

But any bites you take afterwards are just because it's so good.

It figures, really. Avocado is technically a fruit, and when you put two of nature's richest fruits together, the results are heavenly. Our guest chef Chih-Chung Fang used lowfat milk to temper the richness of his recipe, but says you can use whole or nonfat milk instead.

Whatever you do, don't use cream. Your ice cream will be so full of fat that it'll taste almost like you're eating a stick of butter. And that warning comes from Chih, who subscribes mightily to the mantra that it's better with butter.

The Goods

1 lb. ripe avocado, pitted and scooped out of the skin

1 c. coconut milk

1 1/2 c. lowfat milk

Juice from 1 small lemon

Drizzle of vanilla extract

1 c. sugar

The How-To

Blend avocado, milk, coconut milk, lemon juice, and vanilla in a blender until smooth. (The mixture will be thick, so you may need to stop the blender and stir with a spoon several times to get a creamy consistency.)

Mix in the sugar.

Cover mixture with plastic wrap directly on the surface and chill for an hour or more.

Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

When frozen and set, scoop and serve.

With a stint in the Chez Panisse pastry kitchen behind him, Chih-Chung Fang now creates artisan breads and pastries at Arizmendi.