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Lilly Bulb, Black Garlic, Cilantro, Japanese Pepper


Lilly Bulb, Black Garlic, Cilantro, Japanese Pepper

Lilly bulb is a root vegetable that is commonly used in Chinese medicine and is thought to have a long list of healthy properties.  They are easily grown in all climates so when you can get your hands on this sweet delicate flower by all means do so.  Some of the lilly bulbs can be bitter but the ones I bought where sweet and crunchy.  In Chinese cooking it can be used in stir fry's or grated into a soup for thickening, and raw.  I noticed when it was raw it had a sweetness to it that was really refreshing.  When it's cooked it becomes a lot more starchy. The lily bulbs is a great product, great vehicle, for a vegetarian meal with it's sweet and crunchy attributes. Normally you can find lilly bulbs dried, but when you can get fresh ones by all means buy them.  I found these in a local japanese market in L.A. a few weeks ago  One of the things that you have to do first when preparing this lilly bulb, is you have to separate the petals and wash them thoroughly because there's a lot of dirt in between the petals (Mine also had saw dust as well to keep them fresh). simply cut the core out of the bottom and then separate the petals and place in cold water, rinse, and dry. Because I had never used this product before I ended up sous vide one bulb and keep the other one raw.  Eloise absolutely loved this dish and couldn't get enough of it.  I pared this lilly bulb with black garlic puree, jalapeno and cilantro creme friache, enoki mushrooms, and charred green onions.  Here's the recipe I hope you enjoy!

2 lily bulbs cored, washed, and cleaned
1 bulb of black garlic peeled and puréed
1 bunch of you enoki persimmon mushrooms
1 bunch of green scallion or spring onions charred

For the sauce
1 bunch of cilantro
1 jalapeño
1 cup of whipped creme friache
Salt to taste

Cilantro flowers

Sous vide (2 kaffir lime leaves, 2 tbsp of butter, )

Take the petals from one lilly bulb and place in a cryovac bag with kaffir lime leaves, and butter.  Seal up and place in an water bath set at 140 degrees for 30 minutes.  Take out and let it come to room temperature.   

For the creme friache simple take 1/4 creme friache, jalapeno, and cilantro and place in a blender. Puree until smooth and then strain into the remaining 3/4 whipped creme friache.  Season with salt and set aside.  

For the black garlic puree simple take a fork and mash all of the black garlic cloves together to make a smooth paste.   

To Finish,

Simply take half of the sous vide petals and half of the raw petals and place in your serving bowl. Then place a little jalapeno creme friache in each petal along with a tiny bit of black garlic puree.  Add the enoki mushrooms, charred onions,  cilantro flowers, and sprinkle it all with japanese pepper (Togarashi).  Serve and enjoy!



Carrot, Sorghum, Almond, Turmeric


Carrot, Sorghum, Almond, Turmeric

I have been preparing a lot vegetarian dishes lately per request from my boss lately.  They want to eat less meat and more vegetables on a regular basis.  A direction or challenge is always welcomed, especially with all of the readily available ingredients locally.  One way to easily heighten a dish is with the addition to wood.  By that I mean either smoking, roasting or grilling vegetables infusing the flavor of the wood.  There is a 3 star michelin restaurant in San Francisco Saison that uses this philosophy and almost every dish has something they has been touched by their open fire or grill.  Just think would you rather boil something in water or have a tasted of roasted, charred, wood flavor.  Nothing wrong with blanching some items from time to time but your not enhancing that ingredient, you are just par cooking it.  I roasted these carrots on the green egg, with harissa spice.  I made the sauce from carrots, turmeric, and vegetable stock.  I made sorghum popcorn with curry oil.  Added some almonds and cilantro to round out the dish.  The only thing I forgot was the dates.  I had all of these wonderful dates from the farmers market but forgot to add them to the dish.  Of course it is optional but that would have definitely add another amazing flavor to the dish.  The mixture of the sauce with the smokey roasted carrots with spices turned out to be a great vegetarian dish. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it.


2 lbs of tri color carrots

1 tbsp of harrisa 

1 tbsp of oil


Carrot Turmeric sauce

6 large orange carrots sliced

1 shallot sliced

2 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp of fresh minced ginger

1 tsp of jalapeño minced

4 pieces of turmeric peeled and sliced

2 cups of carrot juice or vegetable stock

1 tsp of curry

1 tsp of cumin 

1 tbsp of oil 

Salt to taste


Popped Sorghum 

1/3 cup of sorghum

1 tbsp of curry oil


1/3 cup of chopped almonds 


Curry oil

1 1/2 tbsp of curry powder

1 cup of vegetable oil 


1/2 cup of curry oil

1/4 cup of micro cilantro 


For the Carrot Turmeric Sauce 

In a medium sauce pot on medium high add oil, carrots, turmeric, onion, jalapeño, garlic, and ginger.  Cook for 3 minutes then add the dried spices and cook for another 2 minutes then add the juice or stock.  Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.  Then pour into a vita mix and puree until smooth.  Season with salt, set aside and keep warm

For the Carrots,

Get your green egg, or grill up to temperature with wood or lump coal.  (preferably around the 400 degree area).  Season carrots with oil, harrisa, and salt.  Place on a piece of aluminum foil and place on the grill off to the side not on top of the hottest part of the grill.  Let them roast for 30 to 45 minutes until tender and smokey.  Take off and keep warm

For the Curry oil,

In a small pot add 2 tbsp of the oil and the curry powder and cook over medium heat for 30-45 seconds to release the flavor of the spice.  Then pour in the rest of the oil and slowly bring the oil up to 165 degrees and then turn off and let the oil steep for 2 hours. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a squirt bottle.  Set aside.  

For the Popcorn Sorghum,

Add a 1/4 cup of sorghum into a brown paper bag.  Microwave for 2-3 minutes until it popped like popcorn.  Then pour out and squirt with oil and season with salt.  Repeat the process if need be.  

To plate,

Add a large spoonful of the sauce onto the plate Then add one whole carrot and a few carrots cut around the sauce.  Add the almonds, popcorn, and drizzle with curry oil and finish with cilantro.  Serve and enjoy!  


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


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



Nasturtium Taco, Salt Baked Sunchokes, Esplete and Garlic


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!


Smoked Grape Tart with Humboldt Fog


Smoked Grape Tart with Humboldt Fog

When I was in France a few years ago in the Alsace region I had a very simple grape tart that was great.  Never had a dish quite like it.  It was really just grapes and a laminated dough.  I was talking with a friend the other day and he mentioned he had a cheese plate with smoked grapes that basically exploded with smoke flavor.  Paired with the cheese he said it was really amazing.  So we kept talking about doing something with the smoked grapes, so here is what the end result was.  It also helps to have grapes that are picked just days before consuming this dish.  Right now in Malibu they have one farmer who has this amazing crunchy, soft, and extra sweet black grapes.  I've been buying them and trying to use them in different dishes.  This was the starter for a business lunch I did a few days ago.   Here is the this simple recipe, hope you enjoy it!

2 cups fresh sweet black grapes (or any variety you can find)

1 sheet of puff pastry cold but not frozen

4 oz of Humboldt fog cheese

1 oz of aged balsamic

Micro greens to finish


small apple and cherry wood chips

For the grapes,

Place a wood chips in a bottom of a stove top smoker.  Place the rack and pan on top with the grapes on top of the tray.  Cover the smoker and turn on the gas.  Once the smoker starts smoking let it smoke for 1-2 minutes.  Then turn off the heat and set aside for 25 minutes. Then take out and cut in half and set aside

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

For the tart, 

Take the puff pastry out of the refrigerator and mold into a large tart pan.  Trim off the excess.  Then take a piece of parchment paper and place on top of the dough.  Add pie weights or dried beans on top of the paper to keep the pastry weighed down during the cooking.  Cook the dough for 25 minutes.  Then take the paper off the tart and line the tart with the halved smoked grapes.  Place back in the oven for another 15 minutes or until the dough is fully cooked.  Take out and let it cool.  Cut into desired pieces when ready to serve.  

To finish simply add a few pieces of the humboldt fog cheese to the tart.  Drizzle with a touch of the aged balsamic on top, finish with the micro greens.  Serve and enjoy!


"Peas and Carrots" with Apricots

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"Peas and Carrots" with Apricots

This recipe is a cheeky one, having peas and carrots as the theme.  Apricots are also in season right now and I had some inspiration from a dish I recently ate in L.A. with apricots and carrots paired together.  I decided to take this concept and make it my own, revolving it around fresh peas.  The original dish I prepared actually contained a piece of seared black cod that I placed in the center of the plate.  So you could add this to the recipe if you wanted to make it a little heartier, but it has enough flavor and substance to stand on its own without the fish.  All great food comes starts with great ingredients.  Growing your own food or sourcing from local farmers who grow great produce is the first step.  The second is execution, here is the recipe and I hope you enjoy it.

2-3 bunches of mixed color carrots (white, orange, purple)

3 tbsp of olive oil

1 tsp of cumin 

Salt and pepper to taste


Pea Sauce

1 cup of blanched english peas

1/2  can of coconut milk

3 sprigs of mint leaves

Salt to taste


Curried Carrot-apricot puree

2 orange carrots sliced thin

6 small apricots cut in half and seed removed

1 tsp of curry powder

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 tbsp of sugar

water as needed

salt to taste


1 cup of blanched english peas

1 tbsp of chopped fresh mint

1 tbsp of olive oil

salt and pepper


6 apricots cut in half and seed removed

2 tbsp of olive oil

Micro pea tendrils and carrot greens

1/4 cup Dehydrated peas ground up into powder


For the English pea sauce,

Place a small pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil.  Place the english peas in the water to blanch for about 1  1/2 minutes or until the peas are tender.  Strain out and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.  Then place them in a blend with coconut milk and mint.  Puree until bright green and smooth.  Season with salt, strain the sauce and set aside.

For the Carrot apricot puree,

Place olive oil, carrots, and apricots in a medium size pot on medium high.  Add 2 pinches of salt to the pot and cover.  Cook for 7 minutes and then add curry powder, and sugar.  Cover and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add 1/3 cup of water and cook for another 7 minutes or until the carrots are tender and the apricots have broken down.  Place in a vita mix and puree until smooth.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer and set aside.  

For the carrots,

Divide the carrots evenly into 1/3's by color.  There is three different preparations and you want about the same amount in each preparation.  One preparation is shaving the carrots paper thin and keeping them in ice water.  The second preparation of the carrots is blanching them.  The third preparation of the carrots is tossing them in olive oil and cumin and then grilling the carrots with a slight char on the outside.   After the carrots are blanched and grilled you can cut them half or whatever desired shape you want and set aside.  

To finish,

Take the 6 apricots that are cut in half and drizzle with olive oil and salt.  Place on the grill and grill for 2 minutes or until they have a nice grill mark then flip over for 1 minute.  Remove the apricots from the grill and set aside.  Take a few spoons of the pea sauce and spread in a circle around the plate.  Then in a bowl add blanched english peas, olive oil, and chopped mint.  Season with salt and pepper; distribute the peas around the sauce.  Then add 2 spoonfuls of the apricot puree to the plate.  Place three halves of grilled apricots down on the plate.  Then distribute the 3 varieties and preparations of carrots around the plate making sure they are all seasoned well.  Finish with pea tendrils, micro carrot, and pea powder.  Drizzle the whole plate with olive oil, serve and enjoy!

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Artichokes, Parsley root and Fried Olives


Artichokes, Parsley root and Fried Olives

Right now we are getting some beautiful artichokes from JBG and I wanted to come up with a dish that celebrates them.  This dish is nothing more than execution.  If you eat at some of the top restaurants around the world, a lot of it comes down to great ingredients with perfect execution. You can't get any better than fresh, local, organic vegetables. Nothing out of the ordinary, as far as ingredients or the way they are used, it really is straight forward with some love and care.  The fried olives idea comes from Italy which is very typical in the south. This recipe is just a classic combination of Mediterranean flavors presented in a little different fashion. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it.  

12 baby artichokes 

4 lemons

1 1/2 cup of white wine

6 cups of water or stock

1/3 cup of olive oil

4 garlic cloves

1 carrot 

1 parsley root

1 bunch of leek tops

2 sprigs of thyme 

2 shallots


parchment paper


Parsley Root Puree

5 large parsley root peeled and chopped

3 tbsp of butter 

5 tbsp of cream

4 tbsp of finely chopped parsley 

salt and pepper to taste


8 oz of grape red tomatoes

3 tbsp of olive oil

1 sprig of rosemary

salt and pepper


1 cup of castlevetrano olives

1/4 cup of rice flour

1/4 cup of cornstarch

1/3 cup of water

1 cup of panko crumbs

1 1/2 cup of oil for frying


For the Baragouile 

Take the artichokes and pull off the outer tough leaves (wearing gloves helps you not to get pricked). Then take a pairing knife, cut off the tops and trim the bottoms of the green outer skin trying to keep the stem intact.  Trim the stems as well of all the green tough skin.  Immediately take one half of a lemon and wipe the artichoke all over to stop the oxidation process.  Place in a bowl of water with 2 cups of water and 1 lemon juiced.  Continue until you have all the artichokes peeled.   Then in a pot on medium low heat add olive oil and artichokes.  Cook for 1-2 minutes without browning then add the wine and water and the rest of the vegetables.   Take your parchment paper and cut a square.  Then fold it over in half and then in half again.  Then fold it diagonally into a triangle.  Then fold two more times continuing the triangle.  Then cut the point of the triangle off and cut around the outer edge to fit the size of the pot. Open the paper up (This is called a Cartouche), the paper should be a round circle that fits inside the pot with a whole in the middle of the paper.  This is basically a lid for the artichokes to keep them submerged under the water.  Bring the pot up to a slowly to up to much to temperature where the water is just barely bubbling.  Cook the artichokes until they are just tender all the way through.  Test the artichoke with a cake tester to check the doneness.  Take off the heat and let the artichokes cool to room temp.  

For the Parsley root puree,

Peel and chop the parsley root keeping care that they are the same size so they cook evenly. Place them in a pot filled with water.  Add salt to the pot and bring to a boil.  Cook for 20 minutes or so until the parsley root is tender all the way through.  Strain off the parsley root and put into a vita mix.  Add butter, cream, and puree until smooth.  Season with salt, pepper, and chopped parsley.  Set aside and keep warm.

For the tomatoes 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a small oven proof pan add grape tomatoes, a sprig of rosemary, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place them in the oven to roast for about 20 minutes.  Take out and keep warm.  

For the olives,

Set up a pot with oil for frying at 350 degrees

Simple mix rice flour and cornstarch in a bowl.  Add salt and water to make a smooth semi-thick batter.   Add the olives to the batter and then into a bowl of panko crumbs.  Continue until you have all the olives breaded.  Then in small batches fry the olives until golden brown (about 1-2 minutes.) Strain out the olives onto a paper towel and season very lightly with salt if need be.  Repeat until all are fried.  Keep warm.

To finish.  

Take 2 tbsp of of the baragouile and place in a sauté pan and bring to a boil  and then whisk in butter to make a buerre monte.  Then add the artichokes to the buerre monte and cook for 3 minutes on the lowest heat just to warm through.  Season with salt and pepper if need be.  Then using a ring mold spoon a few spoonfuls of parsley root puree and spread evenly on the plate.  Add the artichokes around the puree.  Add the fried olives and roasted tomatoes.  Spoon a little extra buerre monte around the vegetables.  Finish with parsley and chives flowers to garnish.  Serve and enjoy!



Beet Salad with Jalapeño Pesto, Fried Avocado


Beet Salad with Jalapeño Pesto, Fried Avocado

Here is a great spring/summer dish using all the beets, and fresh herbs blooming in the garden.  This dish takes on a very Texas feel.  The Jalapeño pesto really is what takes this dish and gives it some life.  Add a little lime vinaigrette and cilantro, and french feta helps round the dish out.  This really is an easy dish that anyone at home can replicate.  Doesn't have to be all day in the kitchen slaving away at the stove.  Sometimes quick, simple sauces can bring a dish together without having to work too hard.  Here's the recipe I hope you enjoy it!

3 large red beets roasted peeled, diced

2 candy stripe beets roasted, peeled sliced

8 small baby yellow beets roasted peeled half kept whole, the rest cut in half

1 small candy stripe beet shaved raw.


2 large avocados

1/4 cup of rice flour

1/4 cup of corn starch

1/2 cup of soda water (maybe a touch more)

1 cup of panko crumbs

salt to taste


Jalapeno Pesto

2-3 large jalapeños 

2 small bunches of cilantro 

1/3 cup of roasted pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup of grated cotija cheese (or parmesan)

2 small cloves of garlic

1 cup of olive oil

salt to taste


Lime vinaigrette 

1/4 cup of fresh lime juice

1/4 cup of olive oil

salt to taste


Oil for frying

1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup of french feta diced

beet micro greens for garnish


For the beets,

You can either roasted them in the oven with a little olive oil wrapped in foil, or you can boil them in salt water.  Or outside in your wood oven if you have one.  Once cooked and tender then peel.  Dice the red ones, keep some of the yellow ones whole and cut the rest in half.  Slice the candy striped ones.  Set aside on parchment paper keeping them separate. 

For the jalapeño pesto,

Slice the jalapeño's into four pieces including the seeds.  Place all of the slices into a vita mix.  Add pumpkin seeds and garlic.  Turn on the vita mix for 10 seconds just to break the big pieces up a bit.  Then add cilantro, cheese, and olive oil.  Puree until completely smooth.  Season with salt and set aside.  (you might need to add a touch more oil to make a smooth puree)

For the avocados,

In a small pot add oil for frying (about 1 1/3 cup) set at 350.  Place rice flour and cornstarch in a bowl.  With a whisk, stir in the soda water to make a slurry.  Season with salt.  In another bowl place panko crumbs. Take a melon baller and scoop out balls of avocado and place in the slurry, just enough to coat.  Then into the panko crumbs.  Continue until you have all the avocado's balls breaded.  Then in small batches fry the avocados until golden brown.  Scoop out the avocado balls onto paper towels and season with salt immediately.  Continue until you have all the avocados fried.  (if you want to simply serve raw avocados you can)

To Finish,

Take the jalapeño pesto and spoon on to a plate.  Take the sliced red beets and place in a mixing bowl. Spoon a little of the lime vinaigrette over them and season with salt.  Disperse the red diced beets randomly on the pesto.  Then take the yellow beets, placing them in the bowl, seasoning them with lime oil and salt.  Place one of the whole ones and halved ones onto the plate.  Repeat with the candy striped beets.  Then add the feta cheese and fried avocados.  Finish with a few raw candy striped beets, pumpkin seeds, and micro beets.  Drizzle with a little extra lime oil, serve and enjoy!


Butternut Squash Variations


Butternut Squash Variations

This recipe comes from wanting to do something a little different with butternut squash.  Winter time is the season when you get all of your different varieties of squash.  I didn't just want to make a soup, or risotto, or salad.  I tried to use the butternut in a few different ways to explore the textures and flavors.  In one case I used it like a protein.  This is a fun starter and one that I used as an opener recently at the  Dinner Lab dinner I did at the end of January.  That version of the recipe I used a roasted orange sauce and this one is a roasted lemon sauce.  Either one works well.  This recipe is definitely has a few steps that can be done ahead of time.   Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy

2 Large long straight butternut squash peeled

2 tbsp of cumin powder

2 tsp of butter

2 tbsp of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Lemon Ricotta

3 cups milk

1 cup of cream

4 tbsp of lemon juice

2 tsp of salt


Roasted Lemon Sauce

8 lemons washed and dried

2 star anise pieces, 2 cinnamon stick, 

200g of pulp

50 g sugar

5 g agar

1/8 cup of olive oil

1 lemon zested and juiced 

touch of simple syrup 


Butternut "butter"

12 oz of small diced butternut squash scraps  (use scraps or bottoms of butternut)

3/4 cup of sugar

1 1/2 tsp of 5 spice

1 tsp of salt


1 cup of shaved butternut for frying

Red sorrel to garnish


Preheat oven to 325 degrees

For the roasted lemon sauce

divide the 8 lemons into 2 groups of 4.  Take a large square piece of aluminum foil and place the 4 lemons in the middle with 1 of each of the spices.  Wrap tightly.  Then wrap the whole bundle again and place on a sheet pan.  Repeat the same process with the remaining 4 lemons.  Then place in the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until tender.  Take out and let it cool for 15 minutes.  Then unwrap the lemons and cut them in half.  Get a bowl with a fine mesh strainer that fits easily in the bowl.  Then scoop out the lemon pulp into the strainer (reserving the rinds).  Mash the lemon pulp through the strainer into the bowl.  Repeat with the remaining lemons.  Then take half of the lemon rinds that you have scooped out and clean away any of the white membrane.  You can use a knife to cut it away or even the back of your knife sometimes can scrap it away easily.  Once you have half of the roasted rinds cleaned place in a blender with lemon pulp and sugar.  Puree until smooth.  Then place in a pot with agar and bring to a boil.  Cook for 3 minutes and then turn off the heat.  Allow to cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Then place back in the blender with lemon juice and zest.  While blender is on add olive oil and a touch of simple syrup if needed.  Adjust seasoning and set aside.

For the butternut.

Take the peeled butternut squash and cut into 2 or 3  1inch pieces in length depending on the size of the butternut squash.  You should have 5 to 6 inch rounds or sections of butternut squash.  Take 4 of those slices and turn them flat on their round side.  With an apple corer, core out as many cylinders out of each round that you can.  Again it all depends on how big the butternut is.  Place the cylinder in a cryovac bag with butter, olive oil, and cumin powder.  Place in a water bath  at 155 degrees for about 30-40 minutes or until tender.  Take out and cool to room temperature.   Meanwhile with remaining 2 rounds of butternut squash, trim all the sides to have a 1 by 1 inch block.  Then with a mandolin try and shave the butternut squash almost paper thin.  Continue until you have both pieces shaved.  Then in a pot of boiling salted water, blanch the shaved pieces of butternut squash for 1-2 seconds. With a spider scoop them out onto a sheet pan to cool.  Literally in the water and out.  Set aside until later.  With the scraps dice up for the butternut "butter"

For the butter, 

Take 12 oz of scraps and place in a small pot with 1 1/4 cup of water and salt.  Boil for 10 minutes until most of the water is gone and the butternut is softened.  Then add sugar and 5 spice and cook for another 10 minutes.  Adjust the season if need be and puree with a hand immersion blender.  Cool and set aside.

For the lemon ricotta

Place milk and cream in a pot with salt. Bring to 190 degrees and then add lemon juice and stir twice.  Let it sit for 25 minutes and then strain through a cheese cloth.  Adjust the seasoning if needed.  Place in a pastry bag and chill for at least 30 minutes.  Then take out and lay the blanched paper thin butternut squash pieces flat on the surface.  Take the pastry bag with ricotta and pipe a line of cheese across the butternut squash pieces.  Then roll up the pieces like a cannoli or cigar.  Continue until all are filled and rolled.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

With a peeler take the bottoms or any other left over scraps and peel paper thin strips of butternut squash.  Then in a small pot with oil at 315 degrees lightly fry the butternut squash until golden brown.  Skim off butternut squash on to a paper towel and season with salt.  

To finish,

In a saute pan on medium heat add the butternut cylinders and some of the cooking liquid into the pan.  Season with salt and just warm through.  Then on the plate add a spoonful of the lemon sauce.  Take 2 cannoli's and cut them in half.  Stand each half up on the lemon sauce.  Then add two cylinders of butternut squash.  Add a quenelle of butternut "butter".  Finish with fried butternut squash, sorrel leaves and a drizzle of olive oil. In later variation of the dish I add pumpkin seeds, with pumpkin seed oil for added flavor.  Serve and enjoy!


Brassicas and Rye


Brassicas and Rye

It has been a little while since I posted a recipe.  I have been concentrating on posting some restaurants lately, but cauliflower and broccoli are in season so I wanted to post a dish I made last week.  The dishes inspiration came from our garden and JBG weekly box.  I also bought some rye berries and had some rye bread left over from ruebens I had made the day before.  That is really where the dish was born.  This is a great appetizer or vegetarian dish that uses local produce mixed with earthy flavors.  Here is the recipe hope you enjoy it.

1 cup of rye berries  (water, carrot, garlic cloves, thyme sprig)

4 oz of mitake mushrooms

1 tbsp lemon zest

1 tbsp of chopped dill, chives, parsley

1 tbsp of olive oil

1/2 head of purple cauliflower blanched

1 small head of broccoli blanched

2 tbsp of butter

splash of sherry vinegar


1/2 cup of almond milk

1/4 cup of yogurt

1/4 cup of goat cheese

salt to taste


broccoli flowers, micro beet, rosemary flowers, rye croutons, shaved radish

For the rye,

Rinse rye berries in cold water and discard the water.  Then fill a pot with 3 cups of water, carrot, garlic cloves, thyme, and a tsp of salt.  Bring to a boil then add your rye berries.  Cover and turn down to a simmer.  Cook for 45 min- 1 hour or until the berries are tender.  Strain off excess water and pour onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper to cool.  Discard garlic, carrot, and thyme.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  Once cooled place rye in a bowl.  Add lemon zest, olive oil, dill, chives, and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper

In a saute pan on medium high heat add butter, 1 tbsp of olive oil, and mushrooms.  Saute for 3 minutes and then add your broccoli and cauliflower.  Cook for another 2 minutes and then season with salt, pepper, and a splash of sherry vinegar. 

For the sauce simply add yogurt, almond milk, and goat cheese together in a bowl.  Mix with a hand immersion blender.  Season with a pinch of salt. 

To finish add a spoonful of the rye berries mixture down in a bowl.  Then place the broccoli, cauliflower, and mitake mushrooms on top.  Garnish the plate with broccoli flowers, micro beet, rosemary flowers, shaved radish and rye crouton crumbs.  Spoon the sauce around the plate.  Serve and enjoy!



Miso Turnips, Kale, and Lapsang Tea


Miso Turnips, Kale, and Lapsang Tea

Here is a dish that really came from a few different places.  First, was having these beautiful fresh local ingredients from JBG.    Then taking an Asian approach with subtle flavors.  Vegetarian is always something JP and Eloise are trying to have more regularly.  This dish is about 98% vegetarian but could easily be 100% with the change of vegetable stock as oppose to chicken stock which is what I used.  A lot of flavors going on in this dish that really mend together seamlessly.  Nothing too over powering.  This was a huge hit with both JP and Eloise.  I was working with two ingredients that aren't my most favorite kale and turnips.  I like turnips a little more than kale though.  With this dish though I think I could eat a lot of both.  Here's the recipe, hope you enjoy it!

4 scarlet turnips

Miso glaze

1/3 cup of blond miso

3 tbsp of Aji Limo

4 tbsp of mirin

2 tbsp of water

1 egg yolk

Lapsang Souchong Broth

2 cups of rich chicken stock

3 tbsp of lapsang souchong tea

salt to taste

1 bunch of dinosaur kale finely chopped

1 tbsp of finely grated ginger

1 tbsp of finely grated garlic

1 shallot minced

1 tsp of orange zest

1 tbsp of finely chopped cilantro

1 tbsp of finely chopped basil

1/2 cup of chicken stock

2 tbsp of olive oil

1 tbsp of butter

2 pinches of salt

1 red radish shaved

1 watermelon radish shaved

1 patty pan squash shaved

4 oz of brown beech mushrooms

2 tbsp of sesame oil

1 tbsp of butter


1/4 cup of thinly sliced green onions

3 tbsp of sesame seeds

For the turnips,

Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.  Wash turnips and place in a steal or bamboo steamer and place over the boiling water.  Steam the turnips for 25-30 minutes depending on how big they or until they are tender but not overcooked.  Allow to cool slightly and then peel off the outer skin.  Slice into 1/4 thick pieces. Then you can take a round cookie cutter and make perfect rounds (optional).  Set aside for later.

For the kale,

In a medium pot on medium heat add oil, butter, garlic, shallot,  and ginger.  Sweat for 2 minutes and then add your chopped kale, orange zest, and a pinch of salt.  Cook for another 2 minutes and then add your chicken stock.  Cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes, then take the lid off and cook until the kale is tender and the stock is completely evaporated (5 more minutes).  Adjust the seasoning and then pour the kale mixture onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Allow to cool.  Then chop the kale mixture finely and fold in chopped basil and cilantro.  Set aside for later.

For the spicy miso,

In a small bowl add miso, aji, mirin, water, and egg yolk.  Mix well with a small whisk until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  

For the Lapsang broth,

Place a well flavored chicken stock into a small pot.  Bring to a boil and pour in the lapsang souchong tea.  Allow to steep for 5 minutes.  Then adjust the seasoning with salt and strain out the tea.  Keep warm

Preheat oven to 350

To Finish,

With small pastry spatula spread an even thin layer on top of each turnip.  Repeat until all the slices have a thin layer of the miso paste.  Then place in to the oven for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile take a small sauté pan on medium high heat and add sesame oil, butter, and beech mushrooms. Cook for 3-4 minutes and season with a pinch of salt.  Then place the kale mixture in a pan and heat until warm.  In a bowl place the same size round cookie cutter in the place and add a layer of the kale mixture.  Take the turnips out of the oven and garnish them with green onions and toasted sesame seeds.  Place the turnip on top of the kale mixture.  Add a few mushrooms and a slice of each radish and squash.  Then pour the lapsang broth over the raw vegetables and around the bowl (could also do this table side in a tea pot).  Serve and enjoy!





Well this isn't a traditional borscht recipe but it does have a lot of the components of the traditional recipe. Borscht is an eastern Europe soup that can be served hot or cold.  The cold version usually has some sort of yogurt or fermented dairy in it.  The hot version usually has a broth and beets are one of the main ingredients of both versions.  Some of the other ingredients could include onion, carrot, potatoes, cabbage, parsley root, parsnips, radish, cucumber, dill and parsley.  In this recipe I wanted to use most of these ingredients for a traditional borscht but either change the flavor or texture of the ingredients or in some case both. I wanted more of an appetizer than a true soup as well.  So this is definitively a modern take on the classic recipe. For the beets I created a really deep flavor by roasting them in a salt crust.  For the cabbage I pickled it and then made a "pudding" with it.  For the parsnips I made a deep and rich foam.  For the potatoes I used fingerlings that I first smoked, then roasted them.  For the carrots I charred them to give it another depth of flavor.  I left the radishes raw and combined all of it with a dill yogurt sauce and finish it with olive oil.  This turned out to be a real winner with the dinners especially one of them who was Noel Lee, founder of Monster cable products.  It was a great start to the dinner because it was light and refreshing but still had a lot of flavor without being overwhelming at the beginning of the dinner.  The rest of the dinner was a huge success because I had at least 5 different times that others commented on how awesome the dinner was. 

Pickled Cabbage

1/2 red cabbage sliced thin

1 cup of raspberry or red wine vinegar

1/2 cup of water

1/2 cup of sugar

2 tbsp of salt

1 jalapeno cut in half

3 cloves of garlic

1 bay leaf


Red Cabbage Gel

1 1/4 cup of vinegar

1 cup of pickled cabbage

2 tsp of agar


Parsnip Foam

300 g of parsnips peeled and sliced

100 g of  water (cooking water)

125 g of cream

35 g of olive oil

salt to taste

2 isi charges



3 each large red and large yellow beets

3 lb of kosher salt

3 egg whites

1 sprig of rosemary and lavender

splash of water


4 Red radishes

1 shaved and the others quartered


Fingerling Potatoes

2 lbs of fingerling potatoes


1 lb of carrots peeled and blanched

Dill yogurt

1 1/2 cups fage yogurt

1 large bunch of dill

1 lemon

salt to taste


Olive oil

Rosemary flowers

Dill sprigs


Preheat oven to 400 degrees,

For the beets,

Place salt and egg whites in a bowl.  Mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes like wet sand.  You can add a little splash of water if it is too dry.  Then in a roast pan add a thin layer of salt on the bottom.  Then place the beets on top of the thin layer of salt.  Place the rest of the salt all on top and around the beets making sure they are completely covered with salt.  Then place in the oven for about an hour and half.  The salt should have formed a brown hard crust.  Let it cool for 20 minutes and then take a meat mallet and break the shell of the salt crust.  Take the beets out of the salt and brush off the excess salt.  Peel the skin off and set aside for later.  The salt crust gives a deep and richer flavor of beets that can't be achieved without the salt crust.  

For the potatoes,

In a stove top smoker add apple, pecan, and mesquite wood shavings.  Place the fingerling potatoes inside and smoke for 5 minutes on high.  Then turn off the heat and allow the potatoes to sit in the smoker another 25 minutes.  Then take the potatoes out and place in a bowl.  Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and place them on a sheet tray in the oven.  Roast for 15-20 minutes until tender.  Take out and set aside.

For the Pickled cabbage,

Place all the ingredients except for the cabbage into a pot and bring to a boil.  Place the red cabbage in a bowl or canning jar.  Pour the hot boiling pickle juice over the cabbage and immediately cover it.  This can be done easily a day in advanced.  If doing the same day allow at least 2 to 3 hours.  Then take a cup of the cabbage and 1 1/4 cup of pickling juice and place into a blender.  Puree until smooth.  You can either strain it through a fine mesh sieve or just pour the contents into a pot.  Add agar to the pot and bring to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.  Then pour into a shallow baking pan and place into the refrigerator until it has cooled and hardened.  Then cut the gel into squares and place into the blender to puree until smooth.  Adjust seasoning if need be and place into a squirt bottle in the refrigerator until later. 

For the dill yogurt,

Place half of the yogurt, dill, and lemon juice into a blender.  Puree until smooth.  Then strain the yogurt sauceinto the remaining half of the yogurt.  Mix well with a whisk, adjust the seasoning with salt and reserve in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Parsnip foam,

This recipe was adapted from El Bulli. Place peeled and sliced parsnips into a pot with just enough water to cover the parsnips.  Bring to boil and then turn down to a simmer until the parsnips are cooked through. Strain off all the water except 100 g.  Place the 100 g of water in a blender with the cooked parsnips, cream, salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Puree until extremely smooth.  Then pour into a isi container and charge with 2 cartridges.  Keep warm in a pot of water until ready to use. 

For the carrots,

Peel the carrots and blanch them in salted water.  Toss the carrots in olive oil and salt, then place them on a grill and char the outside of the carrot ( about 6-8 minutes ).  Set aside until ready to serve

To Plate,

Slice yellow beets into quarters and toss them with a little olive oil and pinch of salt.  Take the red beets and slice them on a mandolin tossing them in olive oil and pinch of salt as well.  Place a few spoonfuls of the dill yogurt on the plate.  Then Add your beets to the plate.  Then make two mounds of the parsnip foam in the middle of the plate.  Cut the carrot in half if it is big and place in the middle.  Then slice the fingerling potatoes and toss in olive oil and place on the plate.  Slice and quarter the radishes and place on the plate.  Add the pickled cabbage gel to the plate.  Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with dill and rosemary flowers.  Serve and enjoy!


Sweet Potato with Cocoa nibs


Sweet Potato with Cocoa nibs

Here is a recipe that is a great vegetarian dish with some different combinations then what you are probably used to having.  The sweet potatoes are roasted which is really straight forward, but I add some chipotle powder and cocoa nibs for a little different flair.  I finish the dish off with a lime-jalapeno foam.  A great appetizer for a anyone to enjoy.  Cocoa nibs is a great addition to the dish to add not only crunch but a little bit of that cocoa flavor.  Here is the recipe

3 white sweet potatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp of chipotle powder

3 tbsp of cocoa nibs

Salt to taste


Lime Foam

1/2 cup of lime juice

1/2 cup of water

1 lime zested

1 tbsp of sugar

1 tsp of gelatin

2 egg whites


cilantro to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Take sweet potato and drizzle with olive oil and salt.  Place the sweet potatoes in a roasting and place in the oven.  Cook sweet potatoes for about an hour or until tender.  Take out and let them rest. 

For the foam,

Take 1/4 cup water, lime juice, zest, sugar, salt and place in a pot.  Bring to a boil reduce by 1/3.  Take the other 1/4 cup water and bloom the gelatin.  Then pour the lime juice mixture over the gelatin.  Let that cool to room temperature and then place in a isi siphon with egg whites and 2 charges.  Shake well and set aside. 

To plate,

Simply slice the sweet potatoes in 3 pieces, dust with chipotle powder, cocoa nibs, and a pinch of salt.   Add your lime foam to the plate and garnish with cilantro






Spinach and Ricotta Tortelloni


Spinach and Ricotta Tortelloni

Normally you will find recipes with spinach and ricotta filling for ravioli's.  In this recipe I decided to make the pasta out of the spinach and fill the tortelloni's with ricotta and parmesan.  I used some spring vegetables like fava beans and asparagus to round out the dish. This recipe screams spring because of the vibrant green colors that reflect mother nature.  Simple ingredients for an easy dish.   Here is the recipe

Spinach Pasta

2 bunches of spinach blanched and drained

3 eggs

2 egg yolks

3 1/2-4 cups 00 flour

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 tsp of salt

Ricotta filling

1 lb of ricotta drained

4 oz of grated parmesan

1 egg

1 lemon zested

Salt and pepper to taste


2 cups of chicken stock

1 stick of butter

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup of fava beans blanched and peeled

1 bunch of asparagus, stalks shaved and tips cut in half

1 garlic clove minced

Parmesan Foam

4 oz of parmesan rind

2 cups of milk

1 tsp of lecithin

1 tsp of salt

For the spinach pasta,

Take two bunches of spinach and blanch in boiling salted water for 15 seconds and then strain out and place in an ice bath to cool.  After the spinach is cooled take it out of the ice bath and squeeze as much water out of the spinach as possible.  Place the spinach in a blender with the eggs and olive oil.  Puree everything until smooth and bright green.  Pour the mixture into the center of a bowl.  Place 3 1/2 cups of flour around the outer edge of the spinach in the bowl.  With a fork stir the flour into spinach mixture until it starts to form a ball of dough.  Then use your hands to form the dough.   Add more flour if the dough is wet.  Knead the pasta for 5 minutes and then cover and rest for at least 30 minutes.

For the ricotta filling,

Place all the ingredients except the egg into a food processor. Puree everything until smooth.  While the food processor is still running add your egg.  Season with salt and pepper and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

To make the tortelloni,

Take your pasta and cut in half.  Leave one half covered while you work with the other half.  Take one half of the pasta with a rolling pin and roll until the dough is thin enough to fit inside the biggest setting on your pasta machine.  Then run the pasta all the way down to the lowest setting twice.  Then on the third time run it down to the second to last setting.  Use a little flour for dusting.  Using a big cookie cutter cut rounds in the pasta.  Then take out your ricotta and get a small bowl of water and a pastry brush.  Place a big spoonful of the ricotta filling in the middle of the pasta circle.  Brush water around half of the outer edge of the round pasta. Fold over the pasta.  Then take one corner of the past and fold it under the opposite corner.  Repeat until all the filling is gone.  Place on a sheet pan lined with flour or cornmeal.

For the parmesan foam,

Add milk and parmesan rinds in a pot. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the milk taste like parmesan.  Season with salt and add the lecithin with hand immersion blender.  Foam by just blending the top of the milk.  Keep warm and set aside.  

To finish the dish,

Get a pot of boiling salted water for the pasta.  Meanwhile in a saute pan with a tbsp of olive oil add the asparagus tips, garlic, and fava beans.  Cook for one minute and then add your chicken stock.  Place 20 tortelloni's in the water and cook for 3 minutes.  Reduce the chicken stock by half.  Then strain out the tortelloni's into the chicken stock and vegetables.   Add your butter to emulsify the sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.  Finish with the shaved asparagus stalks.  Spoon on to the plate and add the foam.  Drizzle a little olive oil over top, serve and enjoy!


Smoked Celery Panna Cotta


Smoked Celery Panna Cotta

I recently went to a scotch tasting and needed to bring a couple of snacks.  I am not a big scotch fan but wanted to see what would pair well with scotch.  I had read online that smokey food items go well with scotch so I thought that would be a good direction to go in for the appetizers.  The recipe I came up with was smoked celery root panna cotta.  Celery root is in season right now and I thought that would lend itself well to smoking.  I topped the panna cotta off with fried celery root and a black garlic puree.  At the party I decided to make a celery crackers to add another level of crunch and celeriac flavor (although not shown in the picture).  I think it is a great hors d' oeuvre that I will keep in my repertoire of recipes.  Here is the recipe

Smoked Celery Panna Cotta

285 g of celery root peeled and medium diced

3 cups of milk

1 cup of 1/2 and 1/2

5 tsp of gelatin (beef)

Salt to taste


Black Garlic Puree (Gel)

2 black garlic bulbs peeled 

2 cups of water

1 tsp of agar


Celery Cracker (not shown in picture, optional)

1 1/2 cup of ap flour

1/2 cup of water

2 tbsp of olive oil

1 tsp of celery salt

1 tsp of celery seeds

1 tbsp of sesame seeds

1 tbsp of poppy seeds



1/4 cup of minced celery

1/4 cup of celery leaves and flowers

1/2 cup of fried celery root


For the Celeriac Panna Cotta

Take the 285 g of celery root and place in a stove top smoker with cherry, hickory, and mesquite wood chips.  Smoke for 4 minutes on medium high heat and then turn off the heat.  You can let the celery root stay in the smoker to few minutes to continue to absorb the smoke.  Take a half cup of milk and bloom the gelatin.  Then place the remaining milk, half and half and a tsp of salt in a pot along with the smoked celery root. Bring the pot to a simmer and cook on medium low heat until the celery root is tender ( about 20 minutes). Make sure you stir to prevent it from burning.  Then transfer everything to a vita mix.  Puree until smooth and then pour about a 1 cup of the puree in with the bloomed gelatin.  Stir well and then add the remainder of the puree with the gelatin mixture until all is combined.  Season with salt and place in a shallow baking dish or sheet pan to cool in the refrigerator.


To make the black garlic puree (gel)

Simple add black garlic, water, and pinch of salt to a pot.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Then blend with a hand immersion blender.  Place it back on the burner and stir in your agar.  Cook for 5 minutes and then pour into a shallow dish to cool in the refrigerator.  Once cooled and gelled, take a knife and cut into squares.  Place the squares into the vita mix and blend until smooth.  Then place in a squirt bottle for later.


For the fried celery root.

Take the left over scraps of the celery root if you have any or take a cup of chopped celery root.  Combine it with 2 cup of water in a food processor.  Puree until you have a mixture kind of like wet sand or until the celery root has been chopped into tiny pieces.  Then strain out all of the water making sure you squeeze the celery root.  Place on a paper towel to absorb any excess water.  Meanwhile take small pot filled with 2 cup of vegetable oil for frying.  Bring the oil to 335 degrees and then pour in your celery root.  Fry until golden brown.  I just strain out the whole pot of oil with a fine mesh strainer into a metal bowl and this catches all of the celery root in the strainer so there is no loss and keeps the oil in the metal bowl which won't hurt anything.  Then pour the celery root from the strainer onto a paper towel and season with salt.  Save the oil for another use once cooled.  

For the cracker ( not shown in picture, optional)

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees

If you don't want to serve the panna cotta on a spoon like in the picture the alternative I did was to serve it on a cracker.  In a bowl combine flour and all the spices.  In a measuring cup add water and olive oil.  Pour the water mixture into the flour mixture and combine until a smooth dough is formed.  Cover and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.  Then using a pasta machine roll out the dough until you have reach the thickness desired of the your cracker.  Take a small cookie cutter and cut out little rounds of the cracker.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  Then place the crackers on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.  Take out and cool

To bring all together is easy.

Take a small round mold and cut out small rounds of the panna cotta.  Then place on a spoon or on top of your cracker.  Take a small dollop of black garlic gel in the center of the panna cotta.  Finish with a little minced celery, fried celery root, celery leaves and flowers.  Serve and enjoy!



Hot and Sour Soup


Hot and Sour Soup

This is one of my favorite soups to order when I go out to eat for chinese food.  I love the contrast between the spicy and the sour.  Normally you have a wide range of vegetables in the soup including mushrooms, bamboo shoots, tofu, and green onion to name a few.  I added some baby corn and water chestnuts to mine just because I had them in my pantry and for a little crunch.  This recipe is great for the long winter days that seem to never end.  The recipe is straight forward and doesn't take all day to make.  

Hot and Sour Soup

4 oz of beech mushrooms

1 onion sliced

1 tbsp of ginger minced

3 garlic cloves minced

2 tbsp of sambal

1/4 cup of black vinegar

1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup of soy sauce

1 qt of chicken stock

1 qt of mushroom stock (Optional you could just use all chicken stock)

8 oz of baby corn sliced

4 oz of sliced water chestnuts

4 eggs

3 tbsp of sesame oil

2 tbsp of sugar

3 tbsp of corn starch with 3 tbsp of water

1/2 cup of bamboo shoots julienned

Salt to taste

1/4 cup of chopped green onions

2 cup of fried wonton skins

Mushroom Stock

8 oz of dried shitake mushrooms

2 qt of water

3 garlic cloves

1 shallot

1 cup of mushroom stems and scraps from any other mushroom

For the mushroom stock

Add all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and reduce by half or until you have a strong mushroom flavored stock.  Strain off and set aside

For the soup

In a soup pot on medium high add sesame oil, ginger, and onion.  Saute for 2 minutes and then add garlic and mushrooms.  Cook for 2 more minutes and then add both of the vinegars.  Reduce them by half and then add your stock (chicken and mushroom) and soy sauce.  Take your eggs and whisk like your going to make scrambled eggs.  Bring the stock to a boil. Place a fine mesh strainer over the soup and pour your eggs into the the strainer over the soup.  Push the eggs through the strainer into the boiling soup.  This will give you the egg texture in the soup that is the same as egg drop.  Add your bamboo shoots, corn, water chestnuts, and sambal.  Cook for 3 minutes and then add your corn starch. Cook for 5 more minutes and Season the soup the with a little salt if and sugar if needed.    Finish the soup with green onions and fried wonton skins.  Serve and enjoy!


Mosaic of Root Vegetables with Green Goddess dressing


Mosaic of Root Vegetables with Green Goddess dressing

This recipe's inspiration came from the old rubiks-cube toy and a terrine that Daniel put in his latest cookbook.  The terrine that Daniel made has nothing really to do with mine other than the pattern, his dish had foie gras, radish, and vension.  I just wanted to use the vegetables that are season like turnips, beets, carrots, and purple potatoes.  I wanted to make it into a terrine and slice it but I thought that the beets would bleed too much into the other vegetables so I just decided to plate it like a terrine.  I had a bunch of dill that I thought would go great with all the vegetables so I made a old classic dressing using buttermilk.

Green goddess dressing

1 1/2 cup of buttermilk

1 bunch of dill

1 small bunch of parsley 

5 sprigs of tarragon with just the leaves pulled off

4 anchovies' 

2 garlic cloves

4 tbsp of sherry vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

1 large beet roasted, peeled, and medium diced

1 large yellow beat roasted, peeled, and medium diced

2 carrots medium diced simmered until just done

2 turnips medium diced simmered until just done

4 purple potatoes roasted, peeled, and medium diced

3 tbsp of olive oil 

salt and pepper

1/4 cup of dehydrated beets ground 

The key to this recipe is cooking all the vegetables until they are just done.  You don't want mushy vegetables here but you also don't want crunchy undercooked vegetables unless that is you're going for.   Take the beets and drizzle with olive oil and salt and wrap in foil and place in a 400 degree oven until they are tender. You could also use a pressure cooker for 18-20 minutes if you have one handy.  For the carrots simply simmer in salted water with a tbsp of butter until they are tender and then strain off.  For the potatoes drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and roast in the over for about 30 minutes.  You have to really watch the potatoes because if they are too done they will fall apart.  The potatoes are probably the least forgiving of the vegetables.  For the turnips you can roast or cook the same way as the carrots either way will work.  Once all the vegetables are tender, cooled, peeled you can dice them to a medium size.  

For the dressing

In a vita mix place garlic, anchovies, sherry vinegar , and all the herbs.  Puree for 5 seconds.  Then add the buttermilk and puree until smooth and green.  Season with salt and pepper.  You want the dressing to have a bit of a bite of all the ingredients because this will carry the dish.  

To plate 

Place each vegetable in a separate bowl or one at a time drizzle each vegetable with olive oil salt and pepper.  Place in pattern one row diagonally at a time. Then repeat with the remaining vegetables.  Spoon the dressing to the side of the vegetables and sprinkle with dehydrated beets and few sprigs of dill and flowers.  Serve and enjoy.  These vegetables could also be served warm for variation or with a sprinkle of bacon, egg, or even some steak.  


Sweet Potato Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage  (chile, lime, meringue)


Sweet Potato Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage (chile, lime, meringue)

Going into fall there seems to be an endless amount of sweet potatoes.  I am always looking for a different ways to serve vegetables; I thought of a little twist to the classic pumpkin ravioli with sage.  Sweet potato is great substitute for this classic because of the natural sweetness in the sweet potatoes.  I love fresh stuffed pastas and I don't know many people who don't.  This is a perfect dish for this time of year when the weather is getting cooler.  I added some abalone mushrooms along with some trumpet royal.  Also added a little spinach for greens.  For the pasta I used the traditional 00' flour from Naples that is extra fine ground.  Finish the dish with with brown butter and as an added twist, try a little chili lime meringue.

For the Pasta

3 cups of 00 flour

3 eggs

2 egg yolk

2 tbsp of olive oil

1/2 tsp of salt

For the filling

2 sweet potatoes roasted and peeled

1 oz of Parmesan cheese grated

Salt and pepper to taste

8oz abalone mushroom diced

4 oz trumpet royal mushrooms sliced

2 garlic cloves minced

1 lb of baby spinach 

3 tbsp of olive oil

3 tbsp of butter

salt and pepper to taste

1 stick of butter

15 leaves of sage

2 cloves of garlic

salt to taste

Parmesan to finish

For the pasta, 

Place the flour in a bowl, make a well or hole in the center of the flour.  Place the eggs, olive oil, and salt 

into th

e center.  Using a fork, beat the eggs and oil until smooth.  With the fork,  gradually stir in the flour little by little working your way to the outside of the bowl until the egg isn't so sticky.  Then use your hands instead of the fork, begin forming the dough by folding the flour into the mixture.  Continue the folding action until the dough is smooth and not sticky.  Adjust the amount of flour depending on how sticky the dough is. Once the dough is formed,  knead it for 5 minutes,  wrap it in plastic and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.  

For the filling,

Place roasted sweet potatoes and parmesan cheese into food processor along with salt and pepper.  Puree until the mixture is completely smooth.  Then place into a pastry bag with a plan tip.  Set aside until ready to fill the mixture. 

After the filling is ready take your pasta dough and cut in half.  Keep one half covered in plastic while you work with the other half.  Take the half and roll out slightly with a rolling pin until the dough is thin enough to go through the pasta machine.  Working your pasta through the pasta machine, lowering the setting after every time through.  Repeat this process 3 times to work the gluten in the dough and make it really smooth.  You might have to add a little flour if it is a little sticky.  On the  third time through take the setting down to number 7 if you are using a kitchen aid pasta attachment.  Then lay the dough flat on your surface making sure that there is enough flour on the bottom not to stick.  Cut the dough in half.  Then take your filling and pipe a good amount of filling every 2 1/2 inches on one half of the dough.  Brush water around the edges of the dough and filling.  Then place the second half of dough on top.  Making sure to seal around the filling so there aren't any air pockets.  Then take a fluted wheel cutter or a round cookie cutter and cut out your ravioli's.  Place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper dusted with a little flour.  Repeat the process with the remaining dough and filling.  Set aside until ready to use.

Bring a pot of salt water to a boil.

In a large saute pan add olive oil, butter, and mushrooms.  Cook for 7 minutes and then add the garlic.  Cook for another 2 minutes and then add the spinach.  Cook for 2 minutes season with salt and pepper and keep warm. 

In another large saute pan on medium high heat add your one stick of butter.  Then place 20 raviolis into the water.  Cook the ravioli's 2 to 3 minutes.  Once the butter starts to brown add your sage leaves and garlic.  Cook for 20 seconds and then add a little of the pasta water to the pan.  Strain your ravioli's into the brown butter.  Season with salt and pepper.  To plate add 3 to 5 ravioli's to the plate add your mushrooms and spinach in the center of the plate.  Add a little of the brown butter sauce around the plate and finish with parmesan. 

Now this is a slight variation to the recipe.  I recently had a dish with sweet potato with a chili, lime meringue.  Think sweet potato with marshmallow and a little heat.  Since I had some egg whites I thought of adding this as a little variation.  I can tell you this brought a whole new dimension to the dish. 

2 tbsp of fresh chile powder ( ancho, anaheim, new mexico, pasillia )

1 lime zested and half juiced

1/3 cup of sugar

3 egg whites

pinch of salt

Simply add all the ingredients together except the lime zest and juice.  Heat over a double boiler stirring constantly until the egg whites reach 160 then pour into a isi canister and charge with two cartridges shaking after each one for at least a minute.  Then foam a little onto the plate next to each ravioli.       


PB & J Macaron

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PB & J Macaron

Who doesn't like peanut butter and jelly?  I love peanut butter and jelly and so does my boss.  This recipe is definitely not your average peanut butter and jelly.  I wanted to use a modern technique I adapted from the Voltaggio brothers 

Volt Ink

 cookbook.  In the book they do a savory macaron with celery root and foie gras.  I never want to steal another chef's recipe but what I like to do is take techniques and adapt them to my style and flavors.  Well in this case I can't say that I came up with peanut butter and jelly either, but I did try to add a little spice to it to make this amouse bouche or hors d' oeuvre a little something special.  It is a very playful dish taking you back to those childhood PB & J's with a little extra kick.  I have to admit it, the first time didn't work out as well as I would have liked.  Not sure if I had not whipped the mix long enough or because I think I might of deflated the mix by transferring the batter two different times because I ripped my plastic pastry bag.  At any rate I was determined to try again because I thought the technique was pretty clever and I really wanted to see if I could make it come together.  I will say it is a bit time consuming but the final product is pretty interesting.  I used this technique because I had never done it before, but I think next time if I was doing a sweet application like this one, I think you can make an Italian meringue recipe using the grape juice to make your syrup and then add to the egg whites and make normal meringues.  It is a great technique for making savory meringues so next time I will probably make a more savory dish.

2 1/2 cup of fresh black grape juice

2 tsp of beef gelatin powder

3g Methocel F50

12 tbsp of dried egg whites

1/2 vanilla bean cut in half

1/3 cup of sugar

few drops of grape (purple) food color

pinch of salt

Habanero Jelly

1 habanero in 3 pieces with not seeds or stems

1 very small jalapeno cut in 4 pieces with not seeds or stems

1 cup of fresh black grape juice (left over from above)

3/4 cup of sugar

2 tsp of pectin 

pinch of salt

3 oz of cream cheese

1 cup of creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup of roasted salted peanuts chopped

rosemary flowers

If you need some of these ingredients go to 

Modernist Pantry

For the Macarons,

Add 3/4 cup of grape juice to a blender. Take another 3/4 cup of grape juice and place in a small sauce pot with vanilla bean, sugar, and a pinch of salt.  Bring juice slowly up to temperature so that the sugar dissolves but don't bring to a boil or even a heavy simmer.  You don't want to over heat the juice because it will be too hot for the methocel and gelatin to form a gel.  Then add the gelatin to the pot of grape juice and vanilla once the sugar has melted.  Stir in gelatin and then pour the mixture into the blender with the other grape juice.  Turn on the blender and add the methocel f50 for 5 seconds.  Then add your dried egg whites and puree for another 5-10seconds so you have a very smooth batter.  Transfer the batter to your stand mix with the whip attachment and whip the batter for 8-10 minutes until you have stiff peaks (about half way into mixing, I added a few drops of food coloring to help the grape color).  Then transfer you meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip.  Pipe little meringues onto a silpat leaving an 1/2 inch in between each one.  Then place into a food dehydrator over night at 130 degrees or you can place into an oven at 175 degrees for 6-8 hours until they are completely dried. Mine needed overnight more like 12 hours because the bottoms were not completely dry after 6.  Once the meringues are completely dry you can store them for a few days in air tight container.  

For the Habanero Jelly,

Place the remaining 1 cup of grape juice with peppers, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.  Then stir in your pectin and cook for another minute.  Then turn off the heat.  Then I took my habanero's out and discarded them.  With a hand blender and puree the jalapeno in the jelly.  Pour into a container to cool.

For the peanut butter,

simply mix peanut butter and cream cheese until completely mixed.

To finish the peanut butter and jelly macarons, simply take the macaroons and with a melon ball scoop  hollow out the meringue making sure not to break the meringue.  Then spoon in some of the habanero jelly and add a small spoon full of peanut butter mixture on top of the jelly.  Add a tiny glaze of the jelly on the bottom side of the peanut butter.  Then dip the bottom of the macaroon in the roasted chopped nuts.  Place on a plate and take your rosemary flower and dip it into the jelly and place on top.  Eat immediately!  If it sits more than a few minutes the meringue will soften.  Enjoy a crunchy, sweet, spicy, and salt peanut butter and jelly!

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Watermelon Salad with Feta Salad, Lime, and Chile


Watermelon Salad with Feta Salad, Lime, and Chile

This has to be one of the fastest and easiest salad there are.  Watermelon is in season and with the weather still extremely hot in Texas, a fresh watermelon salad is a perfect fix for those sweltering days. You could get more in depth by pickling the rind or compressing the watermelon to give more textures to the salad but this post is all about simplicity.  Yes I do put create simple dishes and more often than not those are the ones that people want the most.  This is all about freshness and simple clean flavors.  I served this as a starter the other night and really just gives a little added flavor than just eating a slice of watermelon.  Anyone  can put together this simple watermelon salad.

3 cups of medium diced watermelon

1 lime zested and 1/2 juiced

1/4 cup of french feta cheese

3 tbsp of fresh ground chile mix ( dried 2 ancho, 2 pasilla, 2 new mexico)

2 tbsp of olive oil

micro arugula


For the Salad

Take dried chiles and place them in a spice grinder without seeds and stems.  Pulse for 15-20 seconds so that the chiles are ground but not powder.  I look for a coarse texture here so you don't have to pulverize the chiles until it is dust.  Take out and set aside.

Place the watermelon in a bowl.  Add olive oil, lime zest, juice, and chile spice.  Season with salt.  You can let the watermelon sit for a few minutes if you want and let the flavors mend together.  Then spoon some on to a plate with the juice.  Crumble the french feta over top and garnish with micro greens.  Serve and enjoy!