“It soothes my soul to just disappear into my own kitchen and begin creating with basic ingredients.”
1 pint Mango, fresh, diced
1 cup Roma Tomato, diced
1 medium Red Onion, fine diced
4 pieces Green Onion, chopped fine
½ cup Pineapple Juice, fresh
½ cup Lime Juice, fresh
1 ½ pieces Jalapeno, fine minced
1 Tbsp. Cilantro, fresh, chopped
1 Tbsp. Pickled Ginger, chopped fine
2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. Sambal Oelek Chili Paste
Prepare all ingredients, as directed in recipe. Combine and gently mix together all ingredients (10 minutes before serving “a la minute”, allowing the flavors an opportunity to meld). Present over any grilled item such as chicken or your favorite fin fish. Bon Appetite!
Yield: 8/10 portions
KITCHEN 101: Using a New Recipe
When looking for a recipe, you want to consider a couple of key things: harmony of flavors and balance. Harmony of flavors is quite simply whether the ingredients compliment each other. Do they work together or do they clash bitterly? Balance looks at whether there is too much or too little of a certain ingredient in relation to the other ingredients. If you have 5 ingredients in a recipe, you should be able to taste all 5 without one overpowering another. It's best that you use ingredients that are fresh and seasonal, harvested at their peak when flavor is optimal. Also you want it to have a good mouth-feel with textures that are not too soft or too dry. The final dish should do more than fill you, it should be a feast for the eyes, heavenly to your nose, and excite your taste buds.
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
6 oz. Chicken Thigh Meat, diced medium
2 oz. Green and Red Bell Peppers, diced, ½ inch squared
4 pc.(2 each) Large Shrimp, thawed
4 oz. Fennel Sausage, sliced
4 oz. Chorizo Sausage, chopped
¼ tsp. Fennel Seed, whole
½ tsp. Paprika, smoked
1 tsp. Garlic, fresh, chopped fine
1 Tbsp. Shallots, fresh, chopped fine
2 oz. Mushrooms, quartered
2 oz. Sherry
6 oz. Arborio Rice (Risotto), rinsed
1 qt. Chicken Stock
Dash of Saffron
2 oz. Parmesan Cheese, shredded
4 oz. Heavy Cream
½ cup Tomatoes, fresh diced
¼ cup Peas, frozen/thawed or fresh/shelled/cooked
8 pc. (4 each) Manila Clams, fresh
4 oz. Meyer Lemon Aioli, reserve for garnish
1Tbsp. Cilantro, chopped, reserve for garnish
Heat medium sauté pan (preferrably a Paella pan) to medium hot. Add oil, chicken and bell peppers. Remove when ¾ cooked and add shrimp and sausages, garlic, shallots and fennel seed. Cook for two minutes until seafood ½ done. Add mushrooms, sherry and paprika, cook until mushrooms are tender. Remove all ingredients, reduce heat to medium, add Arborio rice and slowly add chicken stock. Continue adding more stock as the liquid is absorbed, until the rice becomes tender, about 20 minutes. Add saffron, parmesan and cream. Simmer one minute and add back pre-cooked proteins and tomatoes and peas. Heat throughout, allowing flavor of ingredients to meld. Top with Manila clams and place in 350° oven until clams open, about 6-7 minutes. Drizzle with aioli and sprinkle cilantro over top for garnish. This is a wonderful dinner for two, so share it with your special loved one.
KITCHEN 101: What is Paella?
I love to expose people to new foods that they can't normally get without travelling great distances. There is a vast amount of cultural experiences that many will never discover. So let's come to the table and visit Spain. Paella (pah-eh-ya) is one of those traditional dishes that heralds from Valencia, Spain back in the 1800's. It is a rice dish that is filled with various combinations of seafood, chicken, meat and vegetables...and flavor! Saffron perfumes the dish and gives it a rich amber color. This was a dish of kings in Spain, using some of the best ingredients the Mediterranean coast had to offer.
KITCHEN 101: The Legacy of Cioppino
Growing up, I often heard the stories from my Dad about Grandpa being a fisherman in San Francisco. They tell of him being a part of a legacy...the legacy we know today as Cioppino (chu-PEE-noh). The story goes that at the end of the day, when all the fisherman came in to dock at the wharf, they would begin to trade their catch and pool it together for dinner. Being Italian, they would add a little spicy tomato sauce and some wine and then enjoy a wonderful stew with the freshest catch imaginable. The clams and mussels and crab would still be all in their shells, adding to the flavor of the dish as it simmered. The fisherman would dig in while recounting the folklore of the day.
A dish that many have never even heard of, or have even attempted to eat, let alone make, is really quite simple. Just take a variety of fresh fin-fish (deboned and cut) and shellfish and simmer them for about 45 minutes in a simple mixture 1 part of your favorite wine to 4 parts marinara sauce. That's it. Cioppino goes great with any wine that you love to drink with seafood. Don't forget the extra-sour sourdough bread and butter and definitely don't forget the napkins! Ciao.
Orange BBQ Sauce
2 cups BBQ sauce (any favorite of yours)
1 tsp. chopped garlic
2 Tbsp. chopped shallots
1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ cup beer (Blue Moon)
1 large orange (fully juiced + 1 Tbsp. zest)
Heat olive oil to medium hot in small saucepan. Sweat garlic and shallots. Deglaze with beer. Add BBQ sauce, juice and zest. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
2 lbs Butternut Squash, peeled
¼ cup Olive Oil
2 large Yellow Onions, cleaned, diced
3 ribs Celery, cleaned, diced
2 Tbsp. Garlic, fresh, minced
1 Bay Leaf
½ Tbsp. Thyme, dried
½ gallon Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup Heavy Cream
Cut squash into chunks lengthwise; coat with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in a baking pan, cover and bake in a 350° oven until tender, approx. 45 minutes; remove and cool. In large soup pot with a heavy bottom, sauté onion, celery and garlic until vegetables are translucent. Add squash, bay leaf, thyme and chicken stock and bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Blend stock and vegetables with an immersion mixer until smooth. Add roux one tablespoon at a time until soup reaches desired thickness. Add cream and heat through.
KITHCEN 101: Barbecuing Tips
Many things come to mind when I think of barbecuing. First off, no dishes to wash! With that said, there are a few tips that can make your barbecuing efforts a lot more rewarding and fun.
It's of utmost importance that your BBQ is properly prepared. The best meat and sauce in the world can't hide a soot-covered piece of charred animal flesh. So you will need to steal (borrow) a cookie sheet from the baking cabinet. Understand you will ruin it and that the chocolate chip cookies will never again adorn this pan once it has been sacrificed to the BBQ.
Next, turn your BBQ on high and place the flat pan atop the heating elements (but over the grill lstill), and let it burn for 10 minutes on high. At this point, remove the pan carefully so you don't burn yourself, someone else or catch the backyard on fire.
Next you will need to scrape the grill with a good hard wire brush. Don't be cheap, go and buy one and designate it for the BBQ. Once you've brushed the grill free of any excess debris, you will need to wipe it with a clean towel and then spray it with pan coating. Be careful no to blow up the can by getting it too close to the fire. You can choosed to simply place some oil on a rag and rub down the grates.
Now your grill is ready to cook, anything from th biggest roast to the most delicate thin seafood. Remember to always allow your grilled food to rest 10-15 minutes before cutting or serving, so that the juices remain inside the meat instead of pouring out all over your cutting board or plate. And generally, it's best to baste your BBQ items after they come off the grill, reducing any chances of additional soot developing on the food.