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Appetizer

Ratatouille Tart

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Ratatouille Tart

Ratatouille, a classic.   Summer is filled with eggplant, tomatoes, and squash.  This recipe is a little take on traditional.  Typically in ratatouille you have tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, onion which are stewed together.  This recipe takes the same ingredients but with a slightly different approach.  The result is something familiar but a little different.  I made this recipe for one of the Kennedy family members that came to dinner and I will say that all the guests cleaned their plates.  Always a great sign of a good dish.  Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it! 

Ratatouille Tart

1 large eggplant roasted or 7 japanese eggplant
2 tbsp of creme fraiche
1 zucchini sliced thin
1 onion lightly grilled
2 heirloom tomatoes sliced 1/4 inch thick

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half

Charred tomato butter
6 tomatoes grilled
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup of cream
1 stick of butter
4 leaves of fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste 

1 Puff pastry Du pont
4 ring molds

Garnish, basil leaves, oregano flowers, chive blossoms, and olive oil

For the eggplant,

You want to roast the eggplant.  3 simple ways to do this.  You can either place the eggplant in an oven at 425 degrees and roast until tender.  Second option: if you have a gas stove simple turn on the burner and place the eggplant directly on the flame and rotate occasionally (it doesn't matter if the eggplant gets completely charred on the outside, it will be peeled ).  Third option: is the same as the last except on your grill.  

Once roasted place in a bowl and cover with a plastic for 30 minutes to allow to keep steaming.  Then peel the skin off the eggplant and mash with a fork or hand blender until smooth.  Add creme fraiche and season with salt and pepper

For the charred tomato butter,

Take tomatoes and cut in half.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt.  Place on the hot part of the grill and grill for 3-4 minutes until charred a bit.  Place the grilled tomatoes in a small pot and add cream.  Cook for 5 minutes on low heat, then add to vita mix with basil and puree until smooth.  Slowly add the butter to the blender until all is incorporated.  Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

For the tart,

Take 4 large ring molds and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Spray the inside of the ring molds with non-stick spray. Take two sizes bigger of the ring molds you have on the sheet pan and cut a round disk (you can use a small round plate if you don't have ring molds) Place the disks of puff pastry inside each of the ring molds.  You should have something that looks like a tart shell. 

Now place a few spoons of the eggplant puree into the bottom of the dough.  Then add slices of raw zucchini on top, season lightly with salt.  Then add a lightly grilled slice of onion on top of the zucchini slices.  Finish with a slice of tomato.  Again season each one with a little salt and pepper.  Now place the sheet pan in a preheated oven at 400 degrees.  Cook for about 40 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and cooked through.  Take out and let it cool for 10 minutes and then cut around the inside of the molds to release the tart from the ring molds.  

To finish,

Simply place a spoonful of the sauce on the plate.  Then add the tart on top of the sauce.  Add a few fresh cherry tomatoes on top and drizzle with olive oil and salt.  Finish with fresh herbs.  Serve and enjoy!

 

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Proscuitto, Melon, and Verjus

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Proscuitto, Melon, and Verjus

Here is a classic combination of melon and prosciutto with a little modern touch.  We had these fantastic crenshaw melons growing in the garden that were so sweet and juicy.  I had picked up some duck prosciutto from gwen  in LA, (Chef Curtis Stone latest endeavor).  Duck prosciutto is something I had for the first time over 13 years ago when I went to france.  I actually think I bought some in the airport if i'm not mistaken.  Duck prosciutto is absolutely delicious, and the product from gwen was no disappointment.  The product was flawless and a perfect compliment to this classic pairing.  I made a simple terrine with mascarpone, lemon, and poppy seeds with the melon.  Instead of balsamic I pickled some strawberries and also made a gel with verjus.  Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it.  

Verjus gel
1 cup verjus
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp agar

4 oz Mascarpone
2 tbsp poppy seed
1/2 lemon zest
Salt to taste

1 ripe sweet melon
4 oz duck prosciutto (recipe here)

Pickled strawberry see recipe
Radish sliced

For the verjus gel,

Place all the ingredients into a pot and bring to simmer.  Cook for 5 minutes and then pour into a shallow pyrex pan.  Allow to cool completely (approx 1-2 hours)  Then with a knife cut up and place into a vitamix and puree until smooth.  Place into a squirt bottle and keep cold

For the melon terrine,

Peel the melon and slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces around the core.  Take mascarpone, lemon zest, poppy seed, and salt and mix well in a bowl.  Using an offset spatula spread a thin layer of the mascarpone mixture in between each layer of  melon until you have 4 layers of cheese.  Then wrap gently in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.  Continue the process until you have most of the melon used.

For the duck prosciutto see recipe

To finish,

Take out the terrine and slice carefully and place on a plate.  Add the verjus gel, pickled strawberries and radish.  Finish with slices of duck prosciutto, chervil, and chive flowers.  Serve and enjoy! 

duck melon.JPG

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Foie "Marrow" hearts of palm, passion fruit, pickled strawberries

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Foie "Marrow" hearts of palm, passion fruit, pickled strawberries

Here is a faux marrow dish I came up with when I bought some fresh hearts of palm earlier this summer.   Fresh hearts of palm are a real treat if you can get your hands on them.  Not a cheap ingredient because of the sourcing and the amount of work it takes to get fresh hearts of palm.  But being on the west coast for the summer availability from hawaii is a little easier to come across.  Hearts of palm can be eaten raw, depending on what variety you have sometimes than can be a bit woody raw.  If that is the case you want to boil to the hearts of palm in water, salt and vinegar until they are tender.  You can then place in a jar to preserve them or use them over the next few days.  

Once the hearts of palm were tender I cut them in half.  If you take out the inner layer it sort of looked just like a bone split down the middle.  I thought why not fill it with a "fat" and call it a faux marrow.  So I made a foie gras pate or terrine and filled the heart of palm with it.  I paired it with another ingredient that is prevalent in the summer which is passion fruit.  A flavor that is also common in the tropical regions as well.  Add a little spice with a serrano sauce and pickled green strawberries for a little acid.  Here is the recipe, I hope you enjoy it. 

 

Pickled Green Strawberries

1/2 cup of rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup of champagne vinegar (white wine)

1/2 cup of sugar

1 tbsp of salt

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp of coriander

3 garlic cloves

1 jalapeno

 

5lbs fresh  hearts of palm

1 gallon of water

1 cup of apple cider vinegar 

1/4 cup of salt 

 

Foie Gras (Prepared one day in advanced)

1 lobe 1 1/2 lb roughly A Foie gras cleaned of veins 

3 tbsp of salt

2 tbsp of sugar

1 tsp of pink curing salt (Prague powder #1)

2 tbsp of Cognac

 

Passion Fruit Sauce

1 cup of passion fruit juice (10-12 large passion fruit, save the seeds)

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp of salt 

1 tsp agar

 

Serrano Sauce

3 serranos grilled 

3/4 cup of mayo/veganaise 

salt to taste

 

Toasted bread crumbs, micro greens and herbs to garnish with sliced red radish

 

For the pickled green strawberries,

Add all the ingredients into a small pot except for the strawberries and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 2 minutes to let the salt and sugar dissolve.  Place the strawberries in a preserve jar or into heat proof container and pour the hot brine over the strawberries.  Cover and let it come to room temperature.  (should be done at least 1 day in advanced.)

For the hearts of palm,

Place all the ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer and cook for roughly 20 minutes or until the hearts of palm are tender. (Time really depends on how thick and big the palms are).  Once tender allow to cool to room temperature and you can pour all the liquid into a container to keep and preserve the hearts of palm.

For the foie gras,

Take the "A" foie and allow to come to room temperature.  On a sheet pan lined with parchment paper clean the lobe of any of the blood veins that are in the foie with a paring knife (I like to wear gloves when doing this).  Try to not touch the foie with your hands as much as possible because the heat from your hands will melt the foie (think butter).  Alternative method would be to push the foie through a fine mesh tammi.  Once cleaned of all the veins mix the salts and sugar together in a small bowl.  Drizzle the cognac all over the foie and then season heavily with the salt sugar cure mix.  Then take two long pieces of plastic wrap and overlap them slightly.  Place the foie in the bottom 1/3 of the bottom piece of plastic.  Roll the foie up into a log or sausage (using a cake tester or toothpick and make small holes in the log as you are rolling it up to allow air gaps to escape from your log.   Once rolled up twist both ends of your plastic as tight as you can until you have a tight log.  Then place into a cryovac bag and seal air tight.  Allow to cure overnight (24 hrs).  The next day bring a pot of water to 140 degrees using a sous vide machine if you have one.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Then place in an ice bath to stop the cooking.  Allow to cool for a few minutes.  At this point you can take the foie out of the bag and place it all into a food processor.  Puree until completely smooth.  This will help emulsify the foie and attain a smooth product.  Once pureed and smooth place half of it into a plastic pastry bag (tip not needed) The other half of the foie you can place into a mold (terrine) or sheet pan, or roll it back up into plastic wrap for a torchon.  You can keep in the freezer if you don't want to use right away.  

Take your hearts of palm and cut in half. Take out the inner layer and use for another recipe.  Take your pastry bag of foie and fill each heart of palm.  Should look something like this.

Take an offset spatula and wipe each one smooth.  Place into a refrigerator for at least an hour to harden the foie.   You can clean them up more after they chill if need be.  

For the Serrano sauce,

Place all the ingredients into a vita mix, puree, season and place into a squirt bottle

For the Passion fruit sauce,

Place all the ingredients into a small pot.  Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer.  Cook for 5 minutes and then pour into a shallow heat proof dish.  Place into a refrigerator until the gel has set.  Then take the gel and place into a blender and puree until smooth.  place into a squirt bottle and keep cool.  

To finish,

Take the hearts of palm and place on a plate.  Add dots of passion fruit sauce and serrano sauce around the plate.  Add some of the seeds to the passion fruit sauce for a little crunch if desired.  Season the heart of palm with fleur de sel and top with toasted bread crumbs. Add the pickled strawberries and radish.  Finish with micro greens and serve and enjoy!

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Smoked Black Cod, Cucumber Sorbet, Yogurt, Coconut

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Smoked Black Cod, Cucumber Sorbet, Yogurt, Coconut

Here is an appetizer I served just the other day for a small dinner party. This dish is light, refreshing, and absolutely delicious.  This was a huge hit, one definitely to keep in the vault of recipes.  This recipe is really highlighting the cucumbers that grow wild in the garden along with the stalks of celery we had as well.  Combined these flavors with a buttery smokey black cod and the result is really fantastic.  Lastly you get a bit of acid from the yogurt which has been foamed a  little bit to create a yogurt cloud

 

1 whole fillet Smoked Black Cod recipe here (Done at least 3 days before)

Cucumber sorbet
4 cups cucumber juice
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp inverted sugar
2 tbsp glucose
1 lemon juice
1 tsp salt

Aerated Yogurt
5oz fage yogurt
1 lemon juiced
4 tbsp of water
1 tsp of salt
2 cartridges of n2o 

Cucumber Compote
3/4 cup of brunoise cucumber
1/2 cup of brunoise celery
1/2 cup of brunoise young coconut meat
2 tbsp of capers
1 tsp of white balsamic
1 tsp of lemon oil
Salt to taste 

Chive oil
8 oz of chives blanched
1 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
pinch of salt

Cucumber Celery Broth
1 large cucumber
6 large stalks of celery
1 lemon
Salt to taste

Garnish Celery leaves, dill, chive blossoms, borage flowers 

Cucumber Sorbet,

Place water, sugar, glucose, and inverted sugar in a small pot.  Turn on medium high and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 2 or 3 minutes until sugars dissolve.  Pour into a bowl and chill completely. Once completely chilled add lemon juice, cucumber juice, and salt to the simple syrup.  Pour into ice cream machine and use according to your machines instructions.  Once sorbet is done place in the freezer.  

For the Aerated Yogurt,

Place all the ingredients into a isi foamer.  Add one n2o cartridge and shake the canister for a good 30 seconds to distribute the gas. Then add the 2nd cartridge and do the same.  Then place in the refrigerator until ready to use.  

For the Chive oil,

In a hot salted pot of water blanch the chives for 10-15 seconds.  Then place in a ice bath to stop the cooking process.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Drain off the water from the chives, squeeze the chives to release any excess water.  Place in a vita mix and add the oil.  Puree smooth for 30-45 seconds.  Then strain through a fine mesh strainer (do not push the oil through the strainer, allow to drip, this way you won't get any of the pulp in your oil.

For the Cucumber-celery broth,

Juice cucumber and celery in a vegetable juicer.  Squeeze in lemon juice and salt.  Set aside and keep cool.

For the Coconut compote,

Add diced cucumber, celery, young coconut meat, and capers into a a small bowl. Drizzle with lemon oil, white balsamic, and a bit of salt to season. 

To finish

Slice black cod thinly and place 6 slices in the middle of the bowl.  Using a round cookie cutter add a few spoonfuls of the cucumber compote.  Then add the cucumber sorbet.  Foam the yogurt using the isi siphon.  Then pour in the cucumber broth.  Add the flowers and herbs.  Finish with the chive oil in the cucumber broth.  Serve and enjoy!

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Tuna, Zucchini Pakora, Curry, Finger Lime

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Tuna, Zucchini Pakora, Curry, Finger Lime

Here is an appetizer I made a few days ago that Jp absolutely was in love with.  He had one after another.  He just loved the hot, spicy pakora (fritter) with the buttery wild tuna.  I try not to buy and serve a lot of tuna because of the years of overfishing but this was wild and from the area of fiji and looked way too good pass to up. This is a very easy appetizer or hors'd oeuvre that packs a big punch, here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it!

Tuna appetizer 

1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup shredded carrots
2 tbsp tandoori spice or ras al hanout
1/2 cup garbanzo flour
1/3 cup rice flour
4 tbsp sparkling water
1/4 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp curry powder and 1 tsp salt 

6 oz tuna sliced thin (think half the size of sashimi)
2 tbsp of curry/turmeric oil (recipe here just change butter for oil)
Salt
1/4 lime juiced
4 finger lime 

1 cup curry mayo ( 2 tbsp of curry powder, 1 cup of mayo, 1/2 lime, salt to taste)
Coconut julienne
Chives

Oil for frying 325 degrees

For the Pakora,

Place both flours in a bowl with spices, salt, and baking powder.  Add zucchini and carrots to the batter.  With a whisk add in the water until a smooth batter is formed.  In a small sauce pot heat oil for frying to 325.  With a small spoon or mini ice cream scoop place batter into the frying oil. Fry for 2-3 minutes flipping the pakora half way through.  Strain out the pakora onto a paper towel and season immediately with salt.  Continue in batches to keep the pakoras warm until your out of batter.

For the Curry mayo,

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir with a whisk until well combined.  Adjust seasoning if need be.  Place in a squirt bottle

To finish 

Take your tuna slices and drizzle with curry/turmeric oil.  Squeeze lime juice over the top of the tuna.  Then season lightly with salt.  Then take pakoras a dozen or so at a time and place one slice of tuna on top of each pakora.  Then add a dollop of curry mayo.  Add finger-lime "caviar" , a sliver of young coconut, and finish with a chive "stick".  Serve and enjoy this hot and cold appetizer!

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Asparagus, Olive, Hollandaise, Radish

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Asparagus, Olive, Hollandaise, Radish

Here is a simple spring appetizer that anyone can do.  It takes minimal prep and this is really something that can be put together in no time.  I made this one just the other day at the peak of Asparagus season.  I just landed off the plane and had a dinner to make that evening for guests.  By the time I made it to work I had two hours to basically make a 3 course dinner.  Here was the first course in that dinner.  It takes a classic pairing of asparagus and hollandaise.  I added a few other ingredients to put a little twist on a classic dish.  I added olive, petite basque cheese, and some radish.  There is only a few ingredients to use in this dish so the execution must be perfect.  Nothing to hide behind in this dish. When these ingredients all come together it is a perfect marriage of flavors. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy!

 

2 bunches of large asparagus peeled

2 red radish juilenned

2 oz of petit basque 

1 cup of black beldi olives de-seeded and pureed 

 

Hollandaise

4 egg yolks

2 tbsp of white wine

8 oz of melted butter (clarified if you have it)

1 small lemon juiced

Salt to taste

 

Radish and chive flowers to garnish

 

For the asparagus,

Bring a small pot of heavily salted water to a boil.  The salt needs to be very heavy so the water taste salty. Trim the asparagus of the bottom stalks and peel the rest of the stalk up to the tip.  Place the asparagus in the water and cook until they are just done.  This is the crucial point.  You want to cook them for about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes until they are just tender.  You don't want a heavy crunch to the asparagus.  Believe me this was one thing I learned from a french chef.  The way I was taught normally was to blanch them so they are still crunchy.  But leave these ones in just a little longer until they just have cooked all the way through without over cooking and turning to mush (shouldn't happen in 2 minutes).  I know this might sound contrary to what most teach.  But believe me when the asparagus still have their integrity and cut almost like butter paired with the olive and hollandaise it truly is magical.  Immediately take out and place in a water bath.  Take out and drain on a paper towel.  Place beldi olives in a food processor and pure until smooth (I didn't add any oil).  I trimmed the stalks of the asparagus a little more and used them as little pieces on the plate.  Take a piece of plastic wrap and place flat on the counter.  Take a tiny off set spatula and place a small rectangle of olive puree on the plastic wrap.  Then take one asparagus and roll the olive around the asparagus using the plastic wrap.  Use your fingers to flatten and make it unified.  Then unwrap the plastic and place on a plate for later.  Continue until 2/3 of the asparagus are done.  I left a few without for the top of the dish.

For the hollandaise,

Place egg yolks and white wine into a stainless steel bowl.  Place over a double boiler or a pot with a little water in it simmering.  With a whisk continuously stirring, whisk the egg yolks until they are thick and a airy but not scrambled.  Take the bowl off the heat.  Make a ring with a towel and place the bowl in the ring (this allows you to pour the butter with one hand and stir using the other hand without holding the bowl).  Slowly pour in the butter, a ladle at a time stirring constantly.  Season with salt and lemon juice.  Keep in a warm place.  

To finish,

Place a large spoonful of hollandaise on the plate.  Place two asparagus on the hollandaise.  Then place a few of the stalks around the sauce and in between the asparagus.  Add the radish and finish with strips of petite basque cheese, radish, and chive flowers. Serve and enjoy this simple but delicious dish!

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Belgium Endive, Buerre Rouge, Marcona Almond

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Belgium Endive, Buerre Rouge, Marcona Almond

Another vegetarian dish that was really a great surprise.  Endive and bitter greens in general aren't my favorite ingredients to use but sometimes when cooked they take on a milder flavor.  Pairing bitter greens with a sweet balsamic vinegar is always a great easy direction to take when trying to mask the bitterness of the green.  In this case I made a buerre rouge or a red buerre blanc mixing half red wine and half balsmaic vinegar.  The result is a luscious sauce that goes perfect with the roasted endive.  The rest of the dish is a little crunch from bread crumbs, marcona almonds and a quick pickle radish with verjus.  This recipe is very simple and really takes minimal time.  Here it is, I hope you enjoy!

 

4 belgium endive cut in half

2 tbsp of butter and olive oil

salt to taste

1/2 cup of toasted panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup of marcona almonds

 

Buerre Rouge

1 cup of red wine

1 cup of balsamic 

1 sprig of thyme 

1/3 cup of heavy cream

10 tbsp of butter

salt to taste

 

1 watermelon radish slice thin

1/4 cup of verjus

1 tbsp of salt

Micro cilantro to garnish 

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees,

In an oven proof pan on medium high heat add 2 tbsp of butter and olive oil.  Cut the endives in half and place them face down into the pan.  Season with salt and cook for 3 minutes and then place into the oven.  Roast for 20-25 minuted until the endive is tender all the way through.  Test with a cake tester to make sure it can go through the endive easily all the way through.  Take out and let it rest.

For the Buerre Rouge Sauce,

Place red wine, balsamic, and thyme into a small pot on medium high heat.  Reduce by 2/3 and then add the cream.  Reduce that by half and then add the butter.  Season with salt and keep warm.  

For the Radish,

Slice the radish thin and season with salt.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes and then add the verjus.

To finish,

Simply Add the belgium endive to the plate.  Top with toasted bread crumbs.  Drizzle the buerre rouge around the plate.  Add almonds and radishes to the plate.  Finish with a little micro cilantro, serve and enjoy!  Try adding a little blue cheese to this dish and it is amazing!

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Peas, Mint, Coconut, Lima Beans

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Peas, Mint, Coconut, Lima Beans

Here is one of the courses I served recently when Smokey Robinson came to dinner.  This was a light course full of flavor that contrasted nice with the rest of the meal.  This was mainly a vegetarian meal and this dish was one that screamed Californian cuisine with hints of the pacific rim from the coconut and mint with the fresh peas from California.  This was a fantastic dish that everyone simply devoured.  The amount of gelatin I used was just enough to set the pudding or panna cotta to give the dish a little extra texture.  Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it. 

Pea mint and coconut 

2 cups of coconut milk

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp of salt or more

1 1/2 cup of blanched fresh peas

1 cup blanched fresh mint

2 1/8 tsp of gelatin

2 tbsp water

 

1 cup of solid coconut pulp 

1/4 cup gourmet blend coconut white balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup oil

Salt to taste

 

1 cup of blanches fresh peas

1 cup of blanched Lima beans

1 cup of blanched snap peas

1/4 cup of pea flowers 

Mint leaves and pea tendrils 

 

1 cup of sourdough bread croutons (slice bread thin and cook with butter, olive oil and salt)

For the panna cotta,

Combine gelatin and water in a small bowl.  Place coconut milk and sugar in a small pot and bring to a boil.  Then pour into a vita mix with blanched peas, and mint.  Puree until smooth.  Season with salt.  Melt the gelatin and water mixture in a warm water bath until the gelatin melts. Pour the gelatin into the pea mixture and mix well.  Then (strain optional) pour the pea panna cotta onto a half sheet pan and place in the refrigerator until set.  

For the coconut vinaigrette,

Place 1 cup of coconut pulp (from canned coconut milk) into a bowl with vinegar and oil.  Season with salt and set aside. 

To finish,

Place peas, lima beans, and snap peas in a small bowl.  Toss with olive oil and salt.  Then take the panna cotta and cut or scoop out a portion and place on a plate.  Then add the legumes around the plate.  Add the coconut vinaigrette around the panna cotta.  Finish with croutons, pea tendrils and pea flowers.  Add fresh mint leaves, serve and enjoy! 

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Consomme'

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Consomme'

Here is a classic french soup called consomme'.  This can also be called bouillon, which is basically a rich stock that has been clarified.  The process for this soup starts off by making flavorful broth or stock. Roasting the bones is normally the practice here. Then the next step in the process is creating a raft by using vegetables, ground meat, and egg whites.  The egg whites do two things, first they help bind together the raft, secondly and more importantly they help clarify the soup by bringing all of the sediment and fat to the top.  It can be a process that takes a day or two depending how long and how big a batch you are making.  The end result though is something that is worth the time and effort.  Once you have your consomme, you can garnish or use it in many different ways.  You can garnish the soup or add to the soup about anything you think of.  Any vegetable or meat would go great with it.  A lot of classic recipes actually serve it cold and gelatinous.  I used this for the soup and later I braised osso bucco with it and the sauce from it was absolutely amazing! So rich and deep in flavor.  Part of the this recipe uses bones of meals I've made and just froze the roasted bones for a later use like this recipe.  Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it.

Consommé 

1 leg of lamb bone roasted
4 marrow bones roasted
2 chicken carcasses roasted
1 lb of chicken feet
1 duck carcasses roasted
2 onions chopped
4 shallots chopped
4 carrots chopped
4 stalks celery chopped
2 leeks chopped
10 garlic cloves or 1 head
4 sprigs of thyme
1 sprig of sage
2 bay leaves
Water

Raft
1 lb of ground meat
1 lb of chicken breast
2 carrots diced
2 stalks of celery diced
1 onion diced
4 egg whites
Scraps of chives

Garnish
3 Okra sliced thin
1 red orange and yellow carrot cut in shapes
4 baby corn roasted and sliced

For the stock,

Preheat oven 400 degrees. First roast your bones for 30 minutes stirring them after 15 min (if your using raw bones. Then caramelize all your vegetables in a large 3-5 gallon stock pot (or the biggest pot you have ) with a little olive oil. Cook for 15 minutes or until nicely browned but not burned. Then place all the roasted bones, chicken feet, and herbs in a stock pot .  Fill it up with cold water.   Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.  Let it cook for or reduce by half.  You want to skim off the fat periodically as it rises to the top with a ladle.  Once it has reduce by half or strain off and set into a ice bath to cool.  At this point you can chill over night and finish the next day  or you can let it cool slightly (mine was still a bit warm because I did mine in the same day) and then finish.  

For the raft,

In a bowl, mix egg whites, vegetables, and ground meat.  Place the stock back into a pot and turn on medium heat.  Pour all the ingredients  of the raft that you mixed together into the pot with the stock.  At this point depending on how cold or warm your stock is your raft might sink to the bottom.  If it does the stock will slowly heat up and the raft will slowly start to rise to the top of the pot. The key to clarification process is doing it slowly and not letting the pot boil and boil. A very light simmer is what you want.  Once it comes to simmer you can make a little hole in raft and this allows you to see the consomme', sediment to rise to the raft, and ultimately strain it from this point.   Let it cook for another two-three hours or until the consomme' has a very deep flavor to it.  Then with a chinois lined with a coffee filter, ladle out the consomme' out of the hole you made in the raft.  Continue until the consomme' is all strained.  Season with salt and either chill in an ice bath or serve.

To serve,

Simply add vegetables to a bowl and ladle the consomme' over it.  Garnish with chive flowers and your favorite herb.  Serve and enjoy!

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Hamachi, Tomato water, Koji, Grapes, Tomatoes

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Hamachi, Tomato water, Koji, Grapes, Tomatoes

This recipe is a variation of one I've done in the last few years.  The original has basil, lemon, and more of a Mediterranean feel to it.  This recipe is more a pacific rim type dish.  It has the asian flavors that are subtle and yet the Californian flavors of summer with tomatoes, grapes and herbs.  If there was a dish that I just love because of the freshness and just clean flavors, this has to be one of them.  Its not an overly complicated dish, but you get different flavors literally with each bite.  You have the tomato water, which is rich in tomato flavor, then you have hamachi with koji and topped with shiso-kosho.  The next bite could have fresh crunchy grapes with pickled mushrooms.  And you have the different varieties of fresh and roasted tomatoes.   The dish has a lot going on in simplistic way.  This recipe could be one of my signatures if I had one.  Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy!

 

1 lb of hamachi large diced seasoned with 1 tbsp of rice koji


Pickled mushrooms (see recipe)

10 grapes shaved thin
1/4 cup of chopped Chinese celery


Shiso- kosho
4 oz of shiso
2 Thai chiles
1 jalapeño
1 orange juiced and zest
2 lemons juiced and zest
3 limes juiced and zest
1 tsp of garlic, sesame oil, white soy

Tomatoes
2 green zebras sliced
3 indigo quartered
4 cherry red tomatoes halved
4 yellow tomatoes halved

1 cup of baby yellow tomatoes roasted
1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 sprig of rosemary


Tomato water (consommé) 
700g tomatoes
1 tbsp of koji (liquid)
Salt if needed

8 oz of chives blanched 

1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil

For the Tomato water

Juice tomatoes in a vegetable juicer.  Then take juice and place in a pot, heat over low heat. Simmer for 15 min until solids separate from the liquid.  Remove from heat skim the pulp from the top.  Then strain through a fine mesh strainer that is lined with cheese cloth or coffee filter.  You should be left with a clear tomato broth.  Place in an ice bath until completely cooled.  Then season with liquid koji and salt if needed. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees,

Place yellow tomatoes in a small roasting pan with olive oil, salt, and rosemary.  Roast for 25-30 minutes, tossing them periodically.  Take out and let them cool to room temperature.

For the Shiso Kosho

In a small food processor place, shiso, chili's, jalapeno, garlic, and zest.  Pulse for 30 seconds.  Then place the contents into a mixing bowl.  Then add the juice from all the fruit, sesame oil, and white soy.  Cover and set aside until ready to use.

Chive oil

Take chives and blanch for 15 seconds and then place in an ice bath.  Drain chives and place in a blender with oil.  Blend until completely pureed, then strain through a fine mesh strainer naturally with out pushing the pulp with a spoon or ladle.  Then place in a squirt bottle until ready to use.

To Finish,

Place diced hamachi in a small bowl and season with 1 tbsp of rice koji.  Then take all of the heirloom tomatoes except the roasted ones and place in a small mixing bowl.  Season with salt and olive oil.  Place 5 to 6 pieces of hamachi in a bowl.  Add a tiny pinch of shiso kosho on top of each piece of hamachi. Place different heirlooms around the bowl.  Add two pieces of roasted tomatoes to each bowl.  Add the sliced grapes to each hamachi.  Place pickled mushrooms around the bowl.  Add the tomato water.  Drizzle chive oil around the bowl.  Finish with chive flowers and micro arugula.  Serve and enjoy!

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White Asparagus, Quail Egg, Escabeche

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White Asparagus, Quail Egg, Escabeche

White Asparagus, can be a complex ingredient that can be very different from its brother the green asparagus.  White asparagus are grown completely underground so which allows it to stay white and free of chlorophyll.  I have experienced when I didn't peel the stalks it can leave a bitter flavor to the asparagus.   Spring is filled with great ingredients and this being one of them.  I took this dish into the direction of vinegar applying the escabeche technique of preserving.  I paired it with another great spring ingredient and that is wild (leek) onion or ramps.  This dish has a lot of the Mediterranean flavors of vinegar, olives, oil, capers, garlic and lots more.  A dish that really screams spring and the boss loved it.  One option that you can do and I did but is not in the picture is chorizo. I did add a little bit of chorizo the Jp's dish but not to Eloise she hasn't been eating any meat or fish (eggs okay) for months now so the picture reflects her dish more than Jp's dish with a little added ground chorizo.  Easily added if you want it and easily left off for those who don't want it.   Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it.

White asparagus escabeche 

2 bunches of white asparagus peeled and bottoms cut off and blanched
1 dozen quail eggs
3 radish  Parisienne
1 finger lime
1 oz of radish sprouts
Rosemary flowers
 
Escabeche
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 shallots minced
1/4 cup of capers
3 garlic cloves minced
1/4 cup of green olive slices
4 oz of persimmon mushrooms
1/2 cup of ramp bottoms
2 tbsp of salt

Ramp sauce
3 oz of ramp tops blanched
1 oz of parsley tops blanched
1 cup veganaise or aioli
Salt to taste. 

For the Asparagus,

Take a pot of salted water and bring to a boil.  Blanch the asparagus for 8 seconds and place them in a heat proof baking dish (pyrex).  Then add the persimmon mushroom to the pan with the asparagus.  Next place the rest of the ingredients in a pot (vinegar, oil, salt, capers, olives, ramp bottoms and garlic.  Bring the pot up to a hard simmer (195 degrees) and then pour all the contents over the white asparagus so that it covers them completely.  Take a piece of plastic wrap and cover leaving one edge open for steam to escape.  Let it cool and marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.  Let the asparagus come back to room temperature if you let it go over night.  

For the Ramp top sauce,

Blanch ramp tops, and parsley for 15 seconds and then shock in a ice bath.  Let it cool completely and then ring out excess water.  Place in a blender with aioli and puree until smooth. If you need to add a little water to make a smooth consistency then do so.  Season with salt and set aside.

To Finish,

Take a small pair of scissors and cut the tops off of the quail eggs.  Then in a non stick pan with a little butter or oil fry the eggs until the white is cooked completely (about 1-2 min).  Then take out of the pan and cut the with a ring cutter to make a perfectly round little fried egg.  Season with salt.  Then place a spoonful of the sauce on to the plate.  Take 3 white asparagus and place olives slices, capers, persimmon mushrooms, finger limes "caviar", and radish all along the white asparagus. Drizzle with a little extra escabeche marinade.  Option add a little cooked chorizo (not shown in picture).  Place the asparagus on the plate carefully.  Then add two quail eggs, rosemary flowers and radish sprouts.  Serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

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Hay smoked Porcini, Comte, Jujube Tea

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Hay smoked Porcini, Comte, Jujube Tea

Trying to get back into the blog.  I have been cooking a lot of good dishes I think recently but haven't wanted to put the time into sitting down and writing the recipe.  Porcini's (Ceps) are prevalent come spring time, a very sought after ingredient and expensive.  In Italy they are every where to be found in the fall from what I remember.  A very deep and rich tasting mushroom that needs to be bathed in butter.  I had bought a bunch of hay from a local animal feed shop in Malibu and decided to smoke the porcini's first lightly and then finish them with some butter in pan.  I made a light foam from comte cheese and finished the dish off with jujube tea.  This one local farmer has the sweetest dried jujube's and he suggested that I make tea with them.  It is a medicinal ingredient in Asia.  Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it.

1 lb of porcini mushrooms
8 oz of beech mushroom
2 small onions sliced thin
4 tbsp of butter
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 cup of blanched fava beans
3 tbsp of sniped chives
Splash of sherry vinegar 

14 jujube dried cut in half
6 cups water
2 bay leafs
1 garlic clove 

Comte bechemel
2 tbsp of butter
2 tbsp flour
4 cups of milk warm
4 oz of shredded Comte
2 oz Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste 

Garlic flowers to garnish

For the porcini's,

Cut the porcini's in half and score.  Then place them on a tray that fit's into your stove top smoker.  Grab a hand full of hay (alfalfa, timothy hay or orchard) or a combination any of them and place them in the bottom of a stove top smoker.  Turn the heat on until the hay starts to smoke.  Then put the rack on top and tray with the porcini's.  Let it cook gently for 5 minutes. Then turn off the heat and allow to sit in the smoker for another 30 minutes.  Meanwhile.

For the Comte Bechemel 

In a medium sauce pot on medium heat melt your butter in the pan and then add the flour to make a roux once all the butter has completely melted.  Stir with a whisk for 1 minute.  Then add your warm milk stirring constantly.  Bring the milk to a boil and turn down to a simmer.  Cook for 5-10 minutes.  The milk should thicken.  Once the milk has been thickened to a heavy sauce consistency add both cheeses stirring with the whisk until completely melted.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour into a isi canister half way and charge with two N2O cartridges shaking for at least a minute for each cartridge so the air gets distributed evenly .  Place your canister in a pot with hot water to keep the foam warm.  

For the Jujube Tea,

Cut the dried jujube's in half and remove the seeds.  Then place all the ingredients in a pot and bring to boil.  Turn down to a very low simmer and let it cook for about 30-45 minutes or until the water has a sweet aroma and flavor.  Set aside and keep warm.

To finish the dish,

In a large saute pan add olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter along with porcini's.  Cook the porcini's for 4 minutes and then add onions, beech mushrooms, and another tbsp of butter.  Let that cook for 5 minutes until the mushroom and onions start to caramelize.  Then add 4 oz of the jujube tea to the pan along with a splash of vinegar.  Let it cook for another 3-4 minutes until there is just a little broth left in the pan.  Then finish with the rest of the butter, fava beans, salt, pepper, chives, and maybe another splash of vinegar.  Then add a few spoonfuls of the ragu to a serving bowl.  Then ladle another 2 oz of tea on top of the ragu.  Then take your canister with your comte bechemel and foam cheese foam on top of it all.  Finish with chives and garlic flowers.  Serve and enjoy!

 

 

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Puffed Rye Cracker, Cured Ivory Salmon, Radish, Bottarga

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Puffed Rye Cracker, Cured Ivory Salmon, Radish, Bottarga

Here is a fun hors'd oeuvre that really packs a lot of punch in a single bite.  The technique is from Alinea cookbook where they have their puffed cracker.  I took that idea and some ingredients that I had on hand and tried to make a dish out of it.  The results where great.  Ivory salmon which I cured a really long time.  Radishes that I fermented in a sous vide bag.  Tzatziki sauce which I actually filled the cracker with.  Finished the dish with celery leaves, pea sprouts, and bottarga (dried fish roe).  This could be a great appetizer for the spring.  Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it.  

Puffed cracker dough
215g Water
13g Fresh Yeast
4 g Sugar
235g AP Flour
235g Rye Flour
4 g Salt
55g melted butter
Salt on top

1 Fillet Ivory Salmon Cured ( Recipe Here )

1 bunch of red radishes
1 tbsp of kosher salt
1 sous vide bag

1 Bottarga

Tzatziki Sauce
1 cup of greek yogurt
1/2 english cucumber brunoise
1/2 lemon juiced and zested
2 tbsp of dill chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

 

For the Cracker

In a stand mixer mix water, sugar, yeast. Add flour butter and salt. With hook on low speed beat for  6 minutes until the dough forms a firm ball. Rest the dough for 25 minutes then refrigerate overnight.  Take out let it come to room temperature. Cut into 4 parts, using pasta machine roll out 1/16 inches or to number 3 on a kitchen aid pasta machine. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut into bit size squares.  Bake 6 min. Puffed and golden brown.  Once cooled completely take a small knife or meat thermometer and make a small hole in the top of the cracker and set aside.    

For the Tzatziki

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Place in a squirt bottle and keep cold

For the Salmon (see Recipe )   You can do this cure in 24 hours.  I did mine for a week because I went out of town and then came back.  The texture will be much different  the longer you leave the cure on.  

For the Radishes (done at least 5 days in advance)

Place salt and radishes together in a cryovac bag seal air tight.  Then leave in a window for 5 days.  Flip the bag over once day to distribute the juices evenly.  Then place in a refrigerator until ready to use.  

To Finish,

Take crackers and fill the hole in the cracker with tzatziki sauce using the squirt bottle.  Then take the salmon and slice thin.  Place one slice on top of the cracker covering up the hole.  Take the radish and slice it thin and place on top.  Finish the appetizer with celery leaf, pea sprout, and grated bottarga.  Serve and enjoy!

You can check out reviews on stand mixers here

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"Almond Crack"ers Pink Peppercorn, Horseradish, Meyer Lemon

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"Almond Crack"ers Pink Peppercorn, Horseradish, Meyer Lemon

Here is a recipe that I know was a huge hit.  This cracker is addicting like crack not that I would know but the combination of peppercorn, horseradish, and sweet makes for a snack you can't put down.  I can't take all the credit by any means on the core of the recipe, that would go to the guys over at Chef Steps They developed this cracker they called the "Bird Feed".  I took the technique and added my flavors, to change the dynamics of the appetizer.  You could easily start the meal off with one of these little crackers or end a meal pairing nicely with sorbet or possibly chocolate.  It would have been a little better for eloise if it didn't have sugar but she still at about 10 of them.  This is definitely one to keep in the recipe file. The recipe is fairly easy just need to have the ingredients.    This cracker has a great contrast between sweet, crunchy, salty, spicy, tangy.  Really you have to try this cracker to understand the depth of flavor achieved here.  That's all I can say.  I made a whole sheet tray for dinner a week ago and it didn't last through dinner.  Absolutely delicious.  Here is the recipe hope you enjoy it

Cracker Dough

150 g Almond Flour
90 g Butter, room temperature
120 g Confectioners’ sugar
4 g Salt
1 Egg
20 g oil Olive (olive, garlic, vegetable, etc.. anything you want)
100 g Isomalt granulated

Toppings

1 piece of fresh horesradish peeled

4 tbsp of sesame seeds

1/3 cup of pink peppercorns crushed

 

Meyer Lemon Sauce 

1 1/2 cups of meyer lemon juice

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup of sugar

2 tsp of agar

 

Micro cilantro 

 

Preheat Oven to 275

In a stand mixer add almond flour, butter, salt, and powdered sugar.  Mix well and then add egg and oil to make a smooth dough.  Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile line a sheet pan with silpat and take out an off set spatula.  After 20-30 minutes take out the batter and using the off set spatula try to spread as evenly as possible. Then take a microplane and grate the horseradish all over the thin batter. Next add the crushed pink peppercorns and sesame seeds.  Finish with a dusting of the granulated isomalt (I used a small fine strainer) and sprinkle of salt. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Rotate the pan halfway through the cooking process for even baking.  Take out and let it cool for at least 5 minutes.  Set aside in a air tight container.

For the lemon gel

Place all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer and cook stirring consistently for 7 minutes.  Then pour into a shallow baking pan.  Place in the refrigerator for 3 hours or until set and firm.  Then take a knife and cut up the solid lemon gel and place all of it in a blender.  Puree until smooth and thick about 20 seconds.  Place in a squirt bottle in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

To finish, 

Simply take your almond peppercorn cracker and place on a serving tray.  Then dot the cracker with lemon gel and place micro cilantro on top.  Serve and enjoy!




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Salsify Pave with French onion Sauce and Mustard

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Salsify Pave with French onion Sauce and Mustard

Here is another salsify recipe this winter that really turned out great. Pave is another word for pavement, layers, or terrine could be used as well.  Here thin layers of salsify and mixed with cream and truffle butter in a small terrine pan or loaf pan.  It is then baked, cooled, and pressed. Definitely a little labor intensive, rich recipe, but for presentation and flavor it definitely was worth the time.  Part of this dish was a french onion soup that I ended up taking the left overs and blending it together to make a "french onion sauce".  A great way to add flavor to this dish and also get rid of some leftover soup.  Another accent to the dish were chanterelles mushrooms along with some mustard greens for a bit of a bite.  I took the left over scraps of salsify and puree them.  Here is the recipe and I hope you enjoy it. 

5lbs of salsify

3/4 cup of cream

1 tsp of salt

4 tbsp of truffle butter (1 lb of butter, 2 oz of fresh truffles, 1 tbsp of truffle oil, salt )

Salt and pepper to taste

 

French Onion Sauce

1 red and yellow onion each sliced thin

2 garlic cloves chopped 

4 tbsp of butter

2 fresh bay leaves

3 sprigs of thyme 

1 cup of red wine

3 tbsp of flour 

1 quart of good beef stock

Splash of sherry vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

 

Salsify puree

1 1/2 cup of scraps from pave chopped

3 tbsp of cream

4 tbsp of olive oil

salt and pepper

 

1/4 cup Ruby Streaks Mustard Greens

1 cup of Small Chanterelle Mushrooms

1 tbsp of butter

1 shallot shaved thin

1/4 cup of chervil

For the Salsify Pave (Best when done a day in advanced)

Get a bowl full of cold water (you can squeeze a little lemon juice in the bowl if you have it) and then peel all of the salsify and place in the cold water bowl to prevent oxidation.  Take a terrine or loaf pan and spray in the inside with non stick spray.  Then layer the pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper so that it hangs over the terrine. Then in another bowl place cream and salt and mix together. Take out one or two salsifies at a time trying to get as much water off as possible and using a mandolin thinly slice the salsify into the bowl of cream. Tossing lightly in the cream.  After slicing place an even layer in the terrine pan.  After you have 2 layers add a few pieces of truffle butter and then repeat the process until all the salsify is used. When you are cutting the salsify and it is getting too close to the mandolin blade just set it aside for the puree, Don't risk cutting your finger off.   Take the excess plastic wrap or parchment paper and fold over the top of the pave.  Place the lid on the terrine and place it in a preheated oven at 375 degrees.  Cook for 45-55 min or until a cake tester can easily go to the bottom of the terrine without resistance.  Take out and let it cool completely.  Then place in a refrigerator for at least an hour.  Then take a piece of cardboard cut to the exact shape of the terrine, place on top and with a weight on top and weigh done the terrine overnight.  

For the French Onion

Add butter, onions, and herbs to a medium hot sauce pot.  Cook for 20 or so minutes until the onions are really caramelized but not burned.  Then add your garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes and then follow with the red wine.  Cook the wine until there is only about half left.  Pour in your beef broth stirring constantly to avoid lumps and bring to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer and cook for 25 to 30 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Then transfer half of the french onion soup to a blender and puree until smooth.  Strain through a strainer, adjust seasoning if need be with a splash of vinegar and keep warm. Save the rest for soup.

Salsify Puree,

Chop all of the salsify scraps to a uniform shape, place in pot with water and salt.  Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer.  Cook for 15 minutes or until done.  Strain off and place in a blender with cream.  Puree until smooth and slowly pour in olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper, set aside and keep warm

To Finish, Preheat Oven to 350

In a small saute pan add butter and chanterelles.  Cook for 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper and keep warm.  Take the Salsify pave out of the refrigerator; un-mold upside down on top of a cutting board from the terrine pan discarding the plastic wrap.  Cut the pave in rectangular portions.  Then take a pan on medium high with a little extra truffle butter and add 4 portions of the pave.  Cook on the one side for 4 minutes and then place in the oven for 5 minutes.  Take your place and add a spoonful of the salsify puree.  Add a spoonful of the onion sauce.  Add some of the chanterelles and mustard greens.  Take the salsify pave out of the oven and flip over onto a paper towel to drain any excess fat.  Place the golden brown pave on top of the puree, add shallots to the plate along with chervil.  Serve and enjoy!

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Grilled Puntarelle, Feta, Gremolata, Fig Balsamic

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Grilled Puntarelle, Feta, Gremolata, Fig Balsamic

I have cooked and eaten my share of chicory's before and to be honest with you most of them are two bitter for my liking.  But grilling and roasting chicory's is a great way to dilute that bitterness especially with radicchio.  Here I found a breed I have never used before, the name is Puntarelle.  The leaves look almost the same as dandelion and they are quite bitter.  The base looks like a bunch of fat hollow fingers or tubes.  A very dense head of "lettuce" even though the fingers or tubes of puntarelle are hollow. Talking with the farmer she said they prepare the puntarelle by roasting it sometimes in the oven.  It has been unusually hot here in L.A the last week or two so I thought of grilling the puntarelle.  I'm sure glad I did because the results were fantastic.  I paired the dish with slices of bartlett pears, some fig balsamic, feta, and gremolata.  A great way to start a meal or even as an entree.  Easy recipe, straight forward and not a lot of ingredients.

 

1 large head of Puntarelle (cut each tube of puntarelle away from the core of the head)

3 tbsp of Extra Olive Oil

4 oz of Feta (I used Goat)

4 oz of roasted salted almonds

1 bartlette pear sliced thin

 

Gremolata 

1 cup of toasted bread crumbs

1 lemon zested

3 tbsp of chopped chives and parsley

Salt and pepper to taste 

 

1/4 cup of fig balsamic 

 

Preheat Grill to 450-500 degrees

Drizzle Puntarelle tubes, with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Take the puntarelle out to the grill and grill for 3 minutes on each side or until tender but still with a little crunch.  In a separate bowl add toasted bread crumbs, lemon zest, chives, and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.    Place 3-4 puntarelle tubes on a plate.  Add a spoonful of the gremolata on top of each tube.  Then add sliced pears, almonds, and feta to the plate.  Drizzle with the fig balsamic and a touch of olive oil.   Serve and enjoy!


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Salsify, Roasted, Confit, with Tops, with Black Truffle,

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Salsify, Roasted, Confit, with Tops, with Black Truffle,

While spending a little more time out here in L.A. it is almost amazing that I can go to the farmers market once a week or every other week and tend to find something I haven't seen before.  In this case I've definitely seen salsify before but not with their tops, but I also found something i've never heard or seen before and that was Minutina, originally from Italy the farmer said, is a specialty green with an earthy flavor.  If you wanted a title for this dish I would call it "Flavors of the Forest"  This dish has a lot of earthy notes to it, the salsify looks like a piece of wood or log and I smoked it as well before I roasted it.  I have chanterelles, truffles, and the tops of the salsify that really has those woodsy flavors.  When you have multiple dishes in the course of one dinner, you can't have every dish be salty, spicy, sweet, and sour, crunchy, and soft.  You can have a few dishes that have just one or two of those elements and let a few of the other dishes you are serving concentrate on the other flavors.  Enough of the philosophy on my take on cooking.  Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy

12 small salsify 

2 bunches of salsify tops blanched

1 lemon juiced

1/2 cup creme friache 

1 tsp of black truffle oil

 

1/2 cup of fresh lima beans blanched

1 red radish sliced thin

1 black truffle 

6 oz of chanterelles 

2 tbsp of butter

1 tbsp of olive oil

 

3 cups of duck fat or grape seed oil

1 sprig of lemon verbena

1 shallot

2 cloves of garlic

2 sprigs of thyme 

 

Minutina (Italian)

Olive oil

For the salsify,

Take half of the salsify and peel and place in a small pot with the duck fat, lemon verbena, shallot, garlic , and thyme.  Place on the stove over medium heat until it comes to a very light simmer.  Turn down to low and cover and cook for roughly 25 minutes or until the salsify is just done.  Turn off and allow to cool in the oil

The other half of the salsify place in a stove top smoker with a cherry, and hickory wood chips.  Smoke for 3 minutes on high heat and then turn off the heat.  Allow to sit in the stove top smoker for 30 minutes.  Then preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Take the salsify out of the smoker, drizzle with olive oil and salt and roast for 20 minutes or until tender.   Set aside and keep warm.

For the Salsify Top Truffle Sauce,

Place the blanched tops in a vita mix with lemon and creme friache and puree until smooth.  Strain through a strainer.  Season with salt and truffle oil.  Set aside.  

For the Chanterelles,

In a small sauté pan oil, butter, and chanterelles and cook for 7 minutes until they are tender.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.  

To finish,

Take a plate and spoon some of the tops sauce onto the plate.  Toss lima beans with a little oil and salt and place on top of the sauce.  Take the confit salsify and cut them on an angle and place on top of the sauce.  Add the chanterelles, truffles, and shaved radish.  Take the whole roasted salsify and place next to the sauce.  Finish with Mintuna, sea salt, flowers, and a drizzle of olive oil.  Serve and enjoy

 


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Burrata, Persimmon, Fermented Persimmon, Cayenne Sauce

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Burrata, Persimmon, Fermented Persimmon, Cayenne Sauce

If you have ever had the opportunity to spend time out in California during the November/December time and gone to the farmers market then you would have seen droves and droves of Persimmons. There are two varieties of Persimmons you will typically find Fuyu which all more round in shape and can be eaten when firm or crunchy. , Hachiya is the other common variety, More oval (heart-shaped) and larger in size, usually you wait until they are soft , extremely ripe and sweet.  The skin can be eaten on persimmons.  In most grocery stores that I have notice they normally only sell the Fuyu which tend to be extremely under ripe and have that astringent consistency or chalky taste in your mouth.  The Fuyu you find here in L.A. are not chalky at all, if anything they are the opposite.  Sweet, full of flavor and a wonderful fruit that we get to enjoy towards the end of the year.   The more times goes on the more I realize that when you have great ingredients you don't have to do a million things to it.  Let the ingredients speak for themselves and let the food do the talking for you.  Here is a really basic recipe that was really a great starter to the evening.

1 burrata store bought or recipe here

1 ripe Hachiya persimmon

1 firm fuyu persimmon

5 tsp of salt

 

Cayenne Sauce

6 fresh cayenne peppers

2 garlic clove

1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar

1 jalapeno

1/4 cup of olive oil

1 tbsp of honey

salt to taste

 

Mache

For the Fermented Fuyu Persimmons,

On a mandelin slice fuyu persimmons 1/8 inch thick and place in a bowl.  Then sprinkle liberally with salt all over the slices and place them in preserve jar (fido) packing them in tight.  Place a zip lock bag inside the jar so that the bottom of the bag touches the persimmons.  Then fill the bag up with water and close the lid to the jar (the bag acts as the weight to keep)  Keep the jar outside in 77 degree temperature for at least 4 days up to 7.  Then its ready to refrigerate.  

For the Cayenne Sauce,

Place all the ingredients in a vita mix machine except for the olive oil.  Puree until smooth and then drizzle in the olive oil.  

To serve 

On a plate add a little of the cayenne sauce.  Then place a small piece of burrata on top of the sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.  Then take a little of the fermented fuyu persimmons and place on top.  Take a slice of the ripe hachiya persimmon and place on the side.  Add a little mache and flowers.  Serve with toast and enjoy this sweet, salt, sour, cheesy recipe!


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Nasturtium Taco, Salt Baked Sunchokes, Esplete and Garlic

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Nasturtium Taco, Salt Baked Sunchokes, Esplete and Garlic

This appetizer recipe came out of chance, so to speak.  I had all of these ingredients on hand but wasn't necessarily planning on putting it all together, but it really turned out to be a great dish. It is really easy to make and eat, you simply pick it up and eat it like a little taco. I would say this could easily be one of my signature dishes for appetizers.  This is a great vegetarian dish that really packs on a big punch.  One of the guys said "this is an explosion of flavor".  Doesn't look like much but you eat this appetizer like a little taco.  The flavors all come together, some hit you in the beginning, some in the middle, and you also get a little lingering flavor of pepper from the nasturtium.  Some of the great chef's around the world come up with dishes either by chance because they have things to work with either in their refrigerators, or cellars with fermented items, or in their pantry.  This type of cooking is easy because you have things on hand that can quickly impact a dish.  One of the techniques I have been using for vegetables is salt baked sunchokes.  The salt forms a crust and infuses and intensifies the natural flavor of what ever you are roasting.  I think it is one of the best ways to prepare sunchokes. When they are prepared just right they will have a creaminess to them but still having their texture in tact.  Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it.

1 lb of sunchokes washed

3 cups of kosher salt

1 egg white 

3 tbsp approximately of water

 

1 bunch of nasturtium leaves (approx. 20)

1/4 cup of roasted garlic

1/4 cup of mayo ( or aioli)

Salt to taste

 

Esplete Sauce (romesco)

6-7 fresh esplete peppers roasted, peeled and deseeded

2 small cloves of garlic

1/4 cup of marcona almonds

1 oz of parmesan cheese

1/3 cup of olive oil

Salt to taste

 

1 oz of onion sprouts for garnish

 

For the Esplete romesco,

Place all of the ingredients into a vita mix except for the olive oil. Turn on and puree, while the blender is still on slowly add the oil until it is a smooth puree.  Season with salt and set aside.   

For the Salt baked sunchokes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a small oven proof sauté pan add little of the salt to cover the bottom of the pan.  Pour the rest of the salt into a bowl with egg white and water.  Mix thoroughly so the mixture should look like wet sand.  Place the sunchokes in the bottom of the pan.  Then pour the wet salt mixture on top of the sunchokes so that they are completely covered.  Place into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes.  Take out and let them cool for 5 minutes. Then take a hard spoon and crack the salt shell that has now hardened.  Take all of the salt off of the vegetables and either brush or lightly rinse off any excess salt.  Set aside.  

For the Garlic mayo,

Simple place roasted garlic and mayo in a bowl and puree until smooth.  Season with salt and set aside.  

To Finish,

Take your nasturtium leaves and place flat on a cutting board.  Add a small dollop of garlic mayo on top of the nasturtium leaves.  Take the sunchokes and cut them in half lengthwise and place on top of the garlic mayo.  Add a spoonful of esplete romesco on top of the sunchoke and garnish with onion sprouts.  Serve and enjoy!


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Eggplant and Miso Panna Cotta with Shitake, Watermelon "Kimchi"

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Eggplant and Miso Panna Cotta with Shitake, Watermelon "Kimchi"

Here is one of the dishes I prepared for the second soil and seed pop up dinner series I have putting on lately.  The menu's I do for the soil and seed dinners revolve around ingredients that we have locally and are in season.  Eggplant? one of those vegetables where you have a few basic recipes like eggplant parmesan, ratatouille, Soup, "caviar" etc....  Eggplant is not an easy ingredient to make shine and also deal with the natural bitterness of the vegetable.  How can you make eggplant different and delicious?  The combination of eggplant and miso is not new, and it really works well together.  I don't know if that combination has ever been prepared as panna cotta before but I decided that was the approach I was taking.   I paired the panna cotta with a red curry gel, shitake "bacon", watermelon rind "kimchi", salmon roe, and roasted peanuts.  Finished the dish with soy glaze, fresh thai basil, mint, and garlic flowers.   I would say that this was definitely a bit of a risk, since I had never made this dish before, never seen it anywhere else, never heard about it anywhere else,  but the reward was big because half of the attendee's said it was one of their favorite dishes of the night.  That is really the joy at the end of the evening for a chef or cook.  To create something you haven't done before and have it be a hit and not a flop.

Hopefully more creative dishes and soil and seed dinners soon to come.  Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it!

 

Eggplant Miso Panna Cotta

2 large eggplant roasted (1 tbsp of oil)

1/2 cup blond miso

4 cups of cream 

3 1/2 tsp of gelatin powder (4 tbsp water)

1/2 lime juiced

A few pinches of sugar to taste (optional)

Salt to taste 

 

Red Curry Gel,

1 finger of ginger sliced

1 lemongrass stalk sliced

1/2 onion sliced

4 garlic cloves

1 star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 limes Kaffir lime leaves (if you have them)

2 red peppers chopped

2 cans of coconut milk

4 oz of red curry paste

2 1/2 oz of palm sugar or granulated sugar

1 tsp of fish sauce (optional)

2 tsp of sesame oil

2 tsp of agar

1/4 cup of each fresh thai basil, mint, cilantro leaves

 

Shitake "bacon"

8 oz of shitake mushrooms sliced thin

1 tbsp of sesame oil and 1 tbsp of grape seed oil

salt to taste

 

Watermelon Rind "Kimchi"

2 cups of watermelon rind julienned 

2 tsp of sansho spice

1 tbsp of sambal

1 cup of rice wine vinegar

3 tbsp of sugar

1 tbsp of salt 

 

Soy Glaze

1 cup of soy sauce (reduced sodium if you have it)

1/2 cup of water

1/2 cup of sugar

 

1/2 cup of roasted salted peanuts

3 oz of salmon roe

Garlic flowers, fresh petite mint leaves, thai basil leaves

1/2 cup of minced Fried Garlic

 

For the Eggplant Miso Panna Cotta,

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the 2 eggplants in half lengthwise.  Drizzle with oil and salt and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment or foil.  Place in the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes or until tender.  Take out and let it rest for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile in a pot heavy cream bring to light simmer.  Add eggplant pulp and miso to the pot.  Adjust the seasoning with lime and salt; then turn off the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes.  Then in a small bowl bloom powdered gelatin with water.  Add a ladle of the cream mixture into the gelatin mixture to melt.  Then pour the gelatin mixture back into the cream mixture.  Taste again and adjust seasoning if need be and then pour onto a half sheet tray and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.  

For the Red Curry Gel,

This is basically a red curry sauce with the addition of the agar (for gelling purposes), so if you don't have agar you can simple use the sauce.  In small sauce pot on medium heat add sesame oil, onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, cinnamon stick, red pepper, star anise and kaffir lime leaves.  Cook for 10 minutes without browning.  Then add sugar and red curry paste and cook for 1 minutes or until the sugar dissolves.  Then add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer.  Stir in your agar and cook for another 3 minutes.  Turn off the heat, add fish sauce and your herbs to steep for 10 minutes.   Then discard the herbs, and take out the cinnamon stick, star anise and the ginger and discard.  Pour the rest of the ingredients into vita mix and puree until smooth.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer.  Adjust the seasoning and then pour into a shallow baking pan.  Place in the refrigerator until firm (2 hours).  Then take a knife and cut the sauce and place back into the vita mix.  Puree until smooth and place in a squeeze bottles until ready to use.  

For the Soy Glaze,

Place all the ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes until the sauce coats the back of a spoon in a semi-thick consistency.  Place in a squeeze bottle and set aside,

For the Watermelon Rind "Kimchi" (Prepared at least 1 day ahead of time)

In small bowl place salt, sansho, and watermelon rind.  Mix well.  Then place into a preserving jar or similar heat proof container.  Place the rest of the ingredients into a small pot and bring to a boil.  Once it comes to a boil pour over the rind making sure it is completely covered.  Cover with lid or plastic and set aside it until it comes to room temperature.  Then place in the refrigerator until ready to use.  

Shitake "bacon"

2 ways to make it.  First toss the sliced shitake's with oil and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment and back until golden brown and crispy (375 degrees for 30-45 min). Second way is simply in a large sauté pan on medium add oil and shitake mushrooms.  Cook for 20 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Drain on a towel and season with salt.  

To finish,

On the plate add red curry gel.  Then take out the panna cotta and cut into rectangles.  Place on the plate.  Add salmon roe, (dice if you prefer) watermelon rind kimchi, shitake bacon, and fried garlic.  Finish the panna cotta with fresh thai basil, mint, and garlic flowers.  Finish the plate with a drizzle of soy glaze and roasted peanuts.  Serve and enjoy!      Photo by EYHOP


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