Tuesday, November 10, 2009

MangerLaVille proud to announce QuicheQuiche

While I do like writing on my blog, I love cooking far better. Sometimes I would rather not deal with computers at all, but spend all my hours cooking and baking. Due to my high entrepreneurial spirit, I have a new food venture. Quiche Quiche provides seasonal quiches and salads. Check out my website www.quichequiche.com. Quiche Quiche is also working with www.mealnextdoor.com providing delicious weekday lunches. You can order directly on the site and we deliver to all San Franciscans. I am very excited about this project and I look forward to cookin' up some great lunches. If you don't live in the SF, tell a friend who does.
Here is a nice quiche picture for all of you to lust after.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Open Faced Portobello, Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese sandwiches

If you didn’t know, I moved to SF. Along with this, I have started working in restaurants and the only chance I get to cook for myself is for lunch. SO lunch is a big deal now. And I like to make it special and delicious.


When the tomatoes start to fade, (like when they over-ripened on your counter), I slice them drizzle with olive oil, salt, thinly sliced garlic and thyme and roast them in the oven at 375 for about 15 – 25 minutes. The tomato flavor becomes hyper concentrated and well seasoned, perfect for any sandwich.

I thinly slice Portobellos, first taking out the gills with a spoon. I thinly slice onions and I sauté them in olive oil, until very translucent and starting to caramelize. I add the portobellos and cook. I like my mushroom to have some color. I deglaze with balsamic vinegar and cook until dry. Don’t forget to season.

I toast up bread in the same pan in some olive oil until golden brown. I spread some pesto on the toast. I make a lot of pesto and freeze it. It actually works out really well. Slice my favorite goat cheese, from Bodega Goat Cheese. Honestly his goat cheeses are incredible. Plus he shows me really cute goat pics. I deviate; I put a slice on the pesto-smeared toast, pile on the mushrooms and onions and top with your roasted tomatoes. Chiffonade some basil and sprinkle on top and drizzle some finishing olive oil (this means use the good stuff – I like McEvoy)


Yes…I had to show two pictures, because they were that good… and that pretty.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lunch in Four Small Plates:

1. Salmon with a couscous salad and lemon mint vinaigrette
2. An early girl and orange cherry tomato salad with basil
3. Fresh peaches with a lemon pound cake
4. Figs and peaches with an aged goat cheese

I love making small plates so your palette isn’t tired but your stomach isn’t left empty. One of my favorite things to do is to challenge myself to use of EVERYTHING in my refrigerator. Couscous transforms into a salad with sautéed summer squash, pine nuts and fresh herbs. A quick vinaigrette of grated lemon zest, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, minced shallots, olive oil and lots of mint gets poured over the salmon and drizzles down onto the couscous. The key to a great tomato salad is to season appropriately. Many times we forget to add enough salt because they already taste acidic. But trust me, adding salt to tomatoes balances out the acidity and actually brings out the more sweet complex flavors. And use the best vinegar and olive oil you can get. Tomatoes only deserve the best. I find it better to toss them first with vinegar, salt and pepper. Then taste and adjust the seasoning. Then drizzle on some fruity olive oil. I like a lot of basil, almost to the point where it becomes an herb and tomato salad. And for dessert a cheese plate and my grandma’s lemon pound cake paired with fresh peaches.

If you want any particular recipe please let me know, I would be happy to post it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Publican: A Chicago Shrine for the Hog

Visiting Chicago was such a treat. I know of their culinary reputation, full of heavy hitter chefs and molecular gastronomy. But perhaps due to missing New York, I picked the newest and most New York-ish to try. Publican is situated right outside of the loop next to some very swanky club. And to be honest, Publican seems more crowded and noisy than its neighbor. Communal tables stretch over the long dining room. Placed intermittently throughout are standing tables, kind of like bar seating. A throw to the past bar lines one wall, while other walls are adorned with large almost grotesque pictures of pigs. The assorted country-style plates are mismatched to give it a more rustic feel. Their beer selection was remarkable. They have quite a few beers on tap, ones that are very unique and are rarely seen on tap. Not too mention their extensive bottled beer and wine list seems endless. The beers we tried were complex yet well balanced and very very drinkable.
The menu is divided unconventionally, not by appetizers, mains and sides but by category like seafood, pork (yes pork is a category) and vegetables. Things are meant to be shared and vary in portion size. While everything looks delectable, we had to start with pork rinds. Now the one’s you get in bags at your grocery store will pale in comparison, unremarkable to say the least and unnatural in pigginess. These pork rinds seemed freshly fried, delectate with a subtle porkiness. They were lightly coated in what seemed to be chili oil. The next dish we tried were mussels done with ale and beautiful crusty baguette. The mussels were succulent and the flavors were spot on. I truly enjoyed the ale version than the common white wine. We then tried their infamous half chicken, summer sausage and fries. The chicken in brined in molasses and brown sugar and then grilled. Brining ensures deep penetrating flavor throughout and a moistness that can’t be beat. (I have gone one in length about the virtues of brining) The chicken was almost perfectly cooked; one side of the breast was a tide dry while the other side was tender and plump. The summer sausage was spectacular especially with the chicken. They are known for their vast charcuterie, making various hams, terrines and sausages, and this sausage demonstrated their expertise. The fries were very different than a common fry; they had an earthiness to them, which I couldn’t figure out how they acquired it.
For dessert, a strong cup of coffee and their famous Belgian waffle with strawberries and honey butter. I will say the waffle was my least favorite part of the meal. While crispy and buttery, the dish seemed to be lacking. I am not one to complain about simple desserts, I believe those are the one’s you crave and yearn for most. But it just didn’t strike me as exceptional and a sauce was desperately needed.
Publican is a restaurant dedicated to PIG, yet they execute everything with ease. The tension between refined restaurant and country home seems to find a balance here at Publican. Overall, this popular new restaurant lives up to his reputation and shouldn’t be missed if in Chicago.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Grilled Chicken Summer Salad

Yes its true, no salad as a meal. At least that is the name of one of my favorite blog's and Jeffrey Steingarten devotes a whole chapter in The Man Who Ate Everything about the hazards of salad. But I think this salad can truly be considered a delicious meal, bursting with summer flavors. A quickly made radish and cucumber pickles elevates this salad from the mundane starter to a fully satisfying meal. It is fun festive and not at all mine. I have Gourmet magazine to thank for this delicious salad. Yes, it is a lot of work, but if you have left over chicken and pesto (we keep some homemade in the freezer) you can whip this up in no time. Don’t want to make pesto. I say just make a basil vinaigrette, and it will still have that herb-y punch.





5 Tbsp red-wine vinegar

1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1 small garlic cloves, minced

¾ tsp sugar

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup chopped chives


4 cups water

1/3 cup kosher salt

2 Tbsp sugar

4 garlic cloves, smashed

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 bunch radishes

4 Persian cucumbers or 1 seedless cucumber

½ cup packed flat-lead parsley leaves


1 (15- to 19-oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

¼ cup finely chopped red onion

1 Tbsp chopped mint


1 lb haricots verts or other green beans

½ cup whole almonds with skin, toasted and coarsely chopped


¾ lb fresh cremini mushrooms, halved

¾ lb fresh shitake mushrooms, stem reserved for another use and caps halved

2 lb skinless boneless chicken thighs

1/3 cup basil pesto


2 medium tomatoes, cut into ½-inch thick wedges

¼ cup thinly sliced basil


4 cups thinly sliced romaine, Bibb, and/or Boston lettuce

EQUIPMENT: a perforated grill sheet

MAKE VINAIGRETTE: Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients, except oil and chives, with ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Whisk in chives.

MAKE RADISH-CUCUMBER SALAD: Boil water with salt, sugar, garlic, and peppercorns in a 4-qt pot, uncovered, 10 minutes. While brine boils, trim and halves radishes. Halve cucumbers lengthwise and cut crosswise into ½-inch thick slices. Remove brine from heat. Add radishes and cucumbers and let stand, uncovered, 10 minutes. Drain in a colander, discarding garlic and peppercorns. Transfer radishes and cucumbers to an ice bath to stop cooking, then drain well in colander. Transfer to a large bowl and chill, uncovered, about 20 minutes.

MAKE CHICKPEA SALAD: Stir together chickpeas, onion, ¼ cup vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste.

COOK GREEN BEANS: Cook green beans in a large pot of well-salted boiling water, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 3 to 6 minutes. Drain. Transfer to a large ice bath to stop cooking. Drain again and pat dry.

GRILL MUSHROOMS AND CHICKEN: Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over hot charcoal (medium-high heat for gas). Toss mushrooms with 2 Tbsp vinaigrette and marinate 10 minutes. Grill mushrooms in 2 batches on oiled grill sheet, covered only if using a gas grill, stirring frequently, until golden-brown, about 5 minutes per batch. Toss hot mushrooms with 2 Tbsp vinaigrette. Season chicken with ½ tsp each of salt and pepper. Oil grill rack, then grill chicken over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas), covered only if using a gas grill, turning chicken occasionally and moving it as necessary to avoid flare-ups, until just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. Cut into ½-inch thick slices and toss with pesto in a large bowl.

DRESS SALADS AND ASSEMBLE DISH: Toss brined cucumbers and radishes with parsley, 3 Tbsp vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir mint into chickpea salad. Toss beans with 2 Tbsp vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with almonds. Toss tomatoes with 3 Tbsp vinaigrette, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss lettuce with 1 Tbsp vinaigrette. Arrange chicken, mushrooms, and salads side by side on a large platter and serve remaining vinaigrette on the side.

COOKS NOTES: Vinaigrette, without chives, can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Add chives just before serving. Radish-cucumber salad, without parsley, can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Add parsley just before serving. Chickpea salad, without mint, can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Ass mint just before serving. Haricots verts can be cooked 1 day ahead and chilled in a sealable bad lined with paper towels. Mushrooms and chicken can be cooked in batches in an oiled hot 2-burner grill pan over medium-high heat.

JUST FOR FUN: Check out Little Girl in the Kitchen Videos. Watch one of my favorite 11 year old's cook like she is the next Giada. I have been cooking with her for some time and she truly has exquisite taste. Plus, all recipes in her videos are hers truly.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Apology and a long needed break....

I am sorry I haven't posted in a long time, neither have been reading as many blogs.
Writing a blog is hard work. And lately I have been short on time. A lot is happening in my life, cooking school, internship and a job...plus I am trailing at various restaurants to find an externship. I promise to be back, when my energy is up. I appreciate your readership and I hope I haven't driven all of you away. And I will be back hopefully in a week....

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Asian Carrot Slaw

This Asian carrot slaw makes use of beautiful winter carrots that comes in all colors. Although with this light fresh flavors, it will remind you that spring is on its way.
I know I should give you quantities. But I don't measure too often and I believe the best way is to taste, 1. you will develop your palette 2. you can fine tune it to your likes and dislikes.

1 bunch assorted carrots cut thinly on a bias
1/2 a head of cabbage, thinly shredded
1 large red bell pepper in a small julienne
4-5 scallions thinly sliced on a bias
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves and stems (yes you can eat the stems!!) finely chopped and some wgole for garnish

To make the vinaigrette, combine:
You want to taste to have a balance of sour, sweet and spicy:

Rice wine vinegar
Sugar (or use agave or honey)
Sesame oil (just a few drops)
Peanut oil
Sambal (hot sauce)
Sesame seeds
Grated ginger

I served this slaw with a miso marinated piece of halibut. It was delicious.

You might not know this, but I am highly interested in all issues pertaining to food, especially how our food is produced in America. I try to be open minded about new ways to create sustainability. I thought this article "Spoiled: Organic and Local is so 2008" was well researched, and yet controversial. Not everything I agree with. But I do think the ideas addressed in the piece are compelling: 1. We need to take action now, not later, now 2. And we might want to look at sustainability from all angles, to food miles, pesticides, feeding everyone, cost and so forth. Let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Duck Confit: How To

Duck confit is a process, like anything good it takes time, care and a lot of love.
Confit means braising in its own fat.
I prepared duck confit for my wonderful boyfriend. We love eating it at the Modern (NYC), as well as Balthazar, even Egg (Brooklyn) has a pretty swanky southern version. I paired mine with a blood orange sauce, a simple arugula salad with blood oranges and pommes lyonnaise (a thinly sliced potato cake). But it can be eaten a number of ways.
Duck confit was a way to preserve the duck during the winter. After being braised in its own fat, it is stored in a cold place. It lightly ferments giving it a more complex flavor, kind of like cheese. The duck leg can be taken out of the fat and reheated, pair it with a cabbage, chestnut and walnut salad for a winter meal, or serve it over mushroom risotto to complement the richness. Any way you serve it, you will sure enjoy the benefits of your very own duck confit.

The duck confit process is a long one, but not unattainable for the home cook.

1. Remove the thigh bone from the duck legs, but keep in the bone for the drumstick. Trim off excess fat.
2. Make a rub of salt, shallots, thyme and parsley in a food processor. Liberally rub all over the duck legs. Places in a colander or perforated pan with a pan or bowl underneath. Place a weight on top of the duck legs. This is to draw out excess moisture.
3. Put in the fridge overnight.

1. Scrape off the rub and heat a lot of duck fat into a large rondeau.
2. Add bay leafs, thyme and black peppercorns. Just a decent sprinkling of all.
3. Place duck legs in the fat and place a plate on top.
4. Put in a 300-degree oven. They will probably take 3 hours. They will be tender and delicate.
5. Store the duck legs in their own fat and refrigerate. The more they sit, the more they ferment.
6. When you are ready, carefully lift the duck out of the fat and place on a rack over a sheet tray. Bake at 400 until skin is crispy and delicious.
7. Serve and enjoy the duck of your labor!!!

Where to buy duck legs ( make sure they are Moulard):

  • D’Artagnan :http://www.dartagnan.com/
  • Citerella sells Hudson Valley Foie Gras
  • And check out the Farmer's Market in Union Square for other local purveyors.

I would like to apologize for not posting in a while. I got addicted to a TV show, “Friday Night Lights.” Don’t start you will be addicted…it will suck you in and consume endless hours. But I am back….and ready to blog!!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Here are a few of my favorite things…

This post is dedicated to my delicious food discoveries that I have made. I hope to share a few of them with you every month. Feel free to send me an email with your recommendations.

Jasmine Pearl Tea

Jasmine pearl is a fragrant but light green tea. Each grey/green leaf is left in tact, and rolled into a little ball, looking like a cocoon of a moth. Actually it is supposed to look like little pearls. In hot water, the leaves unwind from their ball and release their full aroma. This tea is a perfect afternoon treat, mellow, perfumed and sweet.

These tea leaves are plucked from the Fuding Da Bai Cha plant, processed like green tea and then scented with jasmine flower. They are hand rolled into pearls. For that reason, this tea is a bit pricier but worth it.

I purchased my tea at the Imperial Tea Court at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. You can also purchase it online at many websites.

Whole Foods Organic Seeduction Bread

Maybe this could be a great Valentine’s day loaf? I mean the bread is called “seeduction.” But I have my own theory. Once you get one bite, you will become seduced by all the seeds and you won’t be able to stop. Good, since its chock full of seeds and whole wheat.
Did you know birds don’t really have a sense of taste, they like the tactile experience of food, that is why they like crunchy things, like seeds. I am not saying this loaf would be good for a bird, but to be honest, it does have a lot of the same seeds you might feed to one: millet, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds.

This is definitely a bread for the seed lover, if not, you might be surprised that you were (again not trying to say you are a bird.) It is nutty, dense but not too dense, makes you feel a bit healthier , and has a subtle sweetness.

What it taste great with: honey and bananas, farmers cheese with fresh herbs, shallots, a little olive oil and vinegar, or some high quality butter.

Want to try to make this loaf yourself: check out this recipe.

Pickled Eggs

Who would have thought this southern specialty (and an English bar food) would be so immensely delicious. These pickled eggs are pickled with beet juice (the water the beets were cooked in), apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, bay leaves, thyme, onions and garlic. The hard boiled eggs taste pre-seasoned, and with their unusual color it make them an oddity that would be the talk of your next party. Or you can make some for your acidic hungry boyfriend ( like I did.)
Check out this pickled egg chow hound post to get inspired to make your own:

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Brown Sugar Pound Cake Cupcakes with a Brown Butter Glaze

I am kind a sick of all these cupcakes. That’s why I chose to make more of them. I am a girl of many contradictions. But these cupcakes are such that in my mind they don’t necessarily qualify as one, ( honestly anything in a cupcake shape is a cupcake. If it looks like a cupcake, it is.) Yet, the pound cake texture makes them less of a cupcake more of a dense brown sugary individual pound cake, glazed with a brown butter glaze. I loved the nutty roasted flavor of the brown butter; it really complemented the brown sugar pound cake, making the flavors a bit more intriguing.
You can find the recipe for these delicious cupcakes at Martha Stewart's website (the cupcake queen. She is even coming out with a cupcake book!) Click here for the recipe.

Perhaps you don’t know what it is, or perhaps you think it is simply burnt butter. It is not and learning how to make it will prove very fruitful:
1. You can make this cupcakes.
2. Brown butter or beurre noisette in French makes such a nice accompaniment to many other things: gnocchi, pasta, winter squash, sautéed sole and much more.

How to properly brown butter:
First you need to realize what your outcome should be: Burnt will taste well, burnt, acrid and highly disagreeable. Browned butter will taste highly aromatic, nutty and roasted. Browning butter is simply caramelizing the solid milk fats. Harold McGee says:” Their flavor is deepened by heating the butter to about 250F until its water boils off and the molecules in the white residue, milk sugar and protein, react with each other to form brown pigments and new aromas.” I think the best way is to slowly heat it. This way you have much more control. You can see the colors start to slowly change. I would take it off the heat right before it hits that deeper nutty color, due to carryover cooking.
For instance, in this recipe, the butter needs to cool. By cooling it you can easily pour off the brown butter and not the milk solids floating at the top.
To see pictures and a step-by-step tutorial, check out Michael Rhulman’s blog.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Artichoke Pizza

After doing what seems like endless amounts of dishes in culinary school, I am exhausted. I want to:
1. Get away from my classmates who decided to be lazy and did nothing but watch some of us do all the dishes
2. Sit down and never get up
3. Vegetate and distract myself with fun things (eating anyone?)

When I got to accomplish all these activities, I was in a much better mood. I met my friend and decided to try a decadent and giant pizza at artichoke. Artichoke Pizza has an old New Yorker appeal, but with a gourmet sophisticated touch. It is simply a storefront, no tables, just a counter, where you order your pizza or slice and huddle on the sidewalk (no matter if it is a cold winter night.) The ceiling is an art decoWe ordered a whole pizza (for two-quite ambitious seeing as though they serve one size 18 inches.), the artichoke and spinach. This creamy white pizza, with bubble up brown cheese and crispy chewy crust was filling and amazing. It was a very comforting pizza. It taste as though someone smeared artichoke spinach dip over the pizza, added a few tender artichoke leaves and some mozzarella and baked it to oozing savory perfection. It was a very different pizza than I was used to, not a bad thing. But different. I have never really had a creamy pizza. It is something you can’t eat too much of, or maybe you can and just get really sick. We paired this pizza with woodchuck hard apple cider, which seemed like the perfect beverage with this pizza. Sweet granny smith cider cut the heaviness and creaminess of the pizza. For that day, after all those dirty dishes, artichoke pizza was what I definitely needed. It is an indulgence for sure.

Artichoke Pizza
328 E. 14th street
NY, NY 10003

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Commitments to Being Healthy

Going to cooking school is hard. You are probably thinking, all the burns, the standing on your feet, the endless repetition. You are wrong; it is the endless consumption of food, good food, but fatty and rich (most of the time.) So this year is a fresh start and that means battling my cooking school consumption. How will I do it? Cook more…. By cooking at home, I can make healthy and flavorful meals. I don’t really think it terms of healthy, but what I enjoy eating. It just so happens this recipe is both healthy and delicious. I used the recipe from Martha Stewart Living. Asian fish en papillote contains in its pouch wild fluke with bok choy, lime, hot chili, and cilantro. I made a side of rice (I used brown) with shitake mushroom and scallions. I added a few touches to bump up the flavor. I sautéed the shitakes in sesame oil.
And I also add a splash of soy sauce to the papillote which when cooked creates a balanced sauce.
I make extra brown rice and mushroom so I can make fried rice the next day, with veggies and tofu. 2 healthy meals in one.
Here are the recipes:

Fish en papillote
Serves 4
Zest from 2 limes, finely shredded
3 limes juiced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 piece (2 inches) ginger, peeled and julienned
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 mild to spicy red chilies, halved
4 fillets (6 oz ach) black bass, halibut, or striped bass (I used fluke)
4 head baby bok choy
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
8 sprigs fresh cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 450. Mix lime zest and juice, garlic, ginger, onion and chilies in a medium bowl. Fold four 20-inh pieces of parchment in half lengthwise. Unfold and place 1 fillet and 1 head of bok choy along each crease. Rub both with 2 tablespoons oil, and season with salt and pepper. Top each fillet with some onion mixture and 2 sprigs of cilantro. (Here is where I sprinkled a little soy sauce over the top.)
2. Fold parchment over fish, making small overlapping folds along the edges and sealing with a paper clip. Place on rimmed baking sheet. Roast until parchment puffs, 10-12 minutes. Carefully cut packets, avoiding escaping steam and serve.

Jasmine Rice with Shitakes and Scallions
1 ½ cups water
1 cup jasmine rice, rinsed well
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and pepper
4 oz shitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps cut into ¼ inch thick slices
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon rice-wine vinegar
1 scallion cut into 2 inch-long pieces, thinly sliced lengthwise

1. Bring water and rice to a boil in a small pot. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in 1 tablespoon oil, and seasons with salt and pepper. Cover and let stand.
2. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil (I used a little sesame oil) in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add shitakes in a single layer, and cook, stirring often until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes more. Add garlic and cook until light golden brown. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Transfer rice to a platter, top with shitake mixture and sprinkle with scallions.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

White Bean and Fried Sage Crostini

It is always hard to find appetizers that are seasonal, delicious and bite size. I love the white bean crostinis at Otto, Mario Batali’s pizza place in New York. They are drizzled with olive oil and hot pepper flakes. I used to only go to Otto’s on Tuesday, because that’s the only day they have them. So, I decided to make my own. I used Rancho Gordo beans. They are the most fabulous beans and honestly, if you try them, you will never want to eat a canned bean again. Yeah, they take a little bit of work, you have to soak them for hours and them cook them for another hour or so. But your hard work pays off. I think when people realize the versatility and diversity of legumes; they will be bean lovers for life. My boyfriend has become one, and it makes me really proud.
To honor these delicious white beans, I like to keep it simple to really taste the creamy interior. I mashed them up slightly with garlic and garlic oil, as well as the oil the sage was fried in, topped with crispy fried sage and hot pepper flakes, just like Otto’s. Serve them on the finest slice baguette you can find, quickly toasted. (I like Acme bread in San Francisco; you can’t beat it.) This makes such a perfect nibble before dinner. And with leftover beans, you can make salads or soups.

I didn’t really measure, but I will do my best. You can use cannellini, butter beans or navy beans, any white bean will due.
1. Soak a bag of beans in water, at least 2 hours. But this depends on freshness. If the beans are relatively fresh they only need to soak 2 hours, if not, they need longer. If you don’t have dried beans, skip to step 3.
2. Strain the beans and put into a stockpot, cover with water, add 2-3 garlic cloves, some black peppercorns and bay leafs. Do not add salt during cooking, this toughens the beans up and they will take much longer to cook. Simmer beans uncovered (this allows the gas to release – so you don’t later) until tender. Add salt when beans are tender. And drain the beans.
3. In a small pan, add garlic cloves and oil and do not let them brown. Cook until soft. Pour the oil and garlic and mash with white beans.
4. Fry sage in a small sauté pan with olive oil. Remove when crisp and drain on paper towel. Season with salt when removed from oil. They should be crisp and have turned a darker green. Add oil from cooking sage to mash the beans. Mash the beans, but keep some whole, you want to see some shape and keep their integrity. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
5. Slice baguette, brush with olive oil and toast in a 400 degree oven. Bake until golden brown.
6. Place bean mixture on top of baguette, sprinkle with red chili flakes and top with fried sage.

If you like a smoother mixture, puree in a blender. And for an added kick, drizzle aged balsamic before adding the fried sage.

Rancho Gordo Beans
Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building (San Francisco)

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Shrimp Cesar

Shrimp marinated in lime, sautéed until lightly golden pink perfection with home made croutons, romaine, sliced thin red onion, and Parmesan curls all tossed in my white balsamic and tangerine oil vinaigrette. This salad is inspired from a Martha Stewart Living recipe, but then re-interpreted by yours truly. It is light refreshing, bursting in fresh flavors. The citrus livens things up, but you still get that Cesar salad fix. It makes for a perfect light meal, that is sure to please.
I have to take a second and talk about the olive oil that I use in this recipe; it is just incredible. It is tangerine olive oil from StoneHouse. It is a bright orange color with a sweet citrus-y aroma, still having the full-bodied complexity of olive oil. It livens up salads, or could be drizzled on top of fish or seafood. I used it in my re-interpretation of this Cesar salad, but I just recently used it on some roasted beets.
Here is a quick recipe for Shrimp Cesar; I don’t think it needs much explanation:
De-vein and peel wild gulf large prawns and toss with salt, pepper, lime juice and lime zest.
Sauté quickly in a sauce pan over high heat until pink and lightly caramelized. Be sure not to over cook.
Cut cubes of baguette, toss with olive oil and salt and bake at 450, until golden brown. I love homemade croutons, and it is a great way to use up day old bread.
Chop romaine and thinly slice red onions. Combine with croutons and toss with a vinaigrette of tangerine oil and white balsamic. (If you don’t have this fantastic olive oil, feel free to add orange zest, with a little orange juice to red wine vinegar and olive oil). Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add shrimp and Parmesan curls. Plate, Serve and EAT!

To get StoneHouse oils, check out www.stonehouseoliveoil.com or visit the Ferry Building and stop by their stall.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Nettie's Crab Shack

Nettie's Crab Shack is situated in the Marina of San Francisco, a place I rarely visit, due to its infamous reputation of elitist snobbery, without the good food to match. But when Michael Bauer, SF food critic mentioned his new top picks for 2009, Nettie’s crab shack made the list. With enticing descriptions of fresh crab and a modern take on American classics it sounded delicious and perfect for my crab addiction.
Nettie’s Crab Shack is a simple, slightly nautical themed restaurant with an open kitchen and blackboard specials. The cocktails are nothing short of fun and whimsical like a Boston freeze with bourbon, a spiced Louisiana lemonade, and a stellar bloody Mary. All delicious!
We ordered the manila clam steamers, which were highly aromatic with bay leaf and celery. A few clams had a little grit, but it wasn’t too bad. With the clams, we ordered a pail of shoestring potatoes, super crispy and rosemary scented.
I tried the crab roll served with pickled vegetables and homemade potato chips. The crab is simply prepared in tossed in drawn butter served on a soft fresh brioche like bun. The pickled vegetables added some needed acidity. And who can beat home made potato chips. The crab Louis salad, a San Francisco salad was re-invented with lil’ artichokes, beets, green olives and crab tossed in a peppery vinaigrette. The olives and beets worked really well with the crab. All the crab was succulent and fresh.
I also tasted the whole grilled petrale sole served with sweet and sour onions and roasted brussel sprouts. The whole grilled fish was light and flaky and the onion “marmalade” made the dish!
While Nettie's is no fine dining, it does classic American Crab shack well, really well.
Desserts were retro and cute, but nothing special. Pictured are the little lady caramel apples, the best ones we tried. But common, I was here for the crab anyways. Plus try Crab Sunday which offers a bountiful spread with a whole crab per person.

Nettie's Crab Shack
2032 Union Street
San Francisco, CA

Monday, January 5, 2009

Root Beer Chocolate Bundt Cake by BAKED

What better way to start the New Year than indulging? To be honest, I made this before the New Year and brought it to a Benefit Concert at Death by Audio (a Brooklyn venue), and who ever donated money got a slice. It is good to give. This chocolate root beer bundt cake is supremely moist and flavorful. Root beer is used not only in the batter but also in the frosting. We used the best root beer we could buy: Virgil's. It isn't made with corn syrup, it is micro-brewed and you can truly taste notes of wintergreen, vanilla and sasparilla. I am not sure it was necessary to buy the best root beer, since it is going in the cake. Hey, never hurts to start with quality. And for all those who cannot make it to Baked, the wonderful shop in Red Hook Brooklyn, you can now try their decadent sweets. Baked is all about whimsical and retro desserts, plus they taste amazing. The root beer chocolate bundt cake is no different, delicious and sumptuous. Even my grandmother has been begging for the recipe.
The root beer flavor was more present the first day, even though they say in the cookbook it will be stronger the next. This cake is slightly decadent but a sure crowd pleaser, plus it makes everyone feel nostalgic and wonderful (well maybe a little bigger in the waistline.)
You can either buy the Baked Cookbook or just click here for the recipe.

Happy New Year!

Also, I am writing about my culinary school adventures on a great website called Chef’s Blade, a resource center for culinary professionals. I talk about my culinary experiences… the people I admire, techniques and fundamentals. If you can’t get enough of me, go check it out.