Monday, February 8, 2010


My mother is a great cook. I probably don’t get her enough credit; I don’t want her head to get too big. But she really is amazing; definitely one of the reasons I cook for a living. She taught me at a very young age the importance of home cooking and about using quality ingredients (local, organic beautiful ingredients). Enough bragging. She makes a mean chili. The key, great spices. Yes the quality of your spices makes a difference.

Black Bean and Hominy Chili

We like to soak our own black beans (Rancho Gordo of course) and hominy. But you could use canned. For the spices, toast your spices in a pan to release all the flavors. And add more to your liking. We get our spices from Tierra Vegetables at the SF Ferry Building Farmers Market.

1 medium onion diced

1 large can of tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic thinly sliced

2 red bell peppers (or one green, one red) diced

3 cups Black beans or 2 cans black beans

1 ½ cups Hominy

1 tablespoon Smoked onions (this gives it a nice smoky flavor, while being vegetarian. If you are not a vegetarian, you could use ham hock or bacon – or some delicious pork product of your choosing)

½ tsp. Cayenne gold

¼ tsp. Chili powder

½ tsp. Paprika

½ tsp. Cumin

Salt to taste


Cilantro chopped

Grated Monterey jack cheese

Thinly sliced scallions

In a large pot, sweat the onion, garlic and pepper with a large pinch of salt and the toasted spices. When translucent, add the canned tomatoes, the beans (with liquid – if you cooked your own, keep the liquid and add about a cup). Add the hominy and the smoked onions. Let it simmer to let the spices and flavors meld, about an hour. Adjust seasoning. Serve and garnish with cilantro, scallions and Monterey jack. I also like crema, avocado, queso fresco or thin strips of tortilla chips.


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 Quiche Quiche is also working with 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 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....