Sour and Spicy Kimchi Soup with Soba and Swordfish

Sour and Spicy Kimchi Soup with Soba and Swordfish

Sour and Spicy Kimchi Soup
Beef Broth, Buckwheat Noodles, Swordfish, Seaweed

It’s not the elegant soup I would serve at a dinner party, but rather a rustic soup I absolutely crave on a winter night. This soup is kimchi guk on steroids.

Kimchi guk is a simple Korean soup where chopped napa cabbage kimchi is simmered in beef broth. Sometimes daikon, meat, or tofu are added. It is usually garnished with scallions.

This version with ground beef, buckwheat noodles, seaweed, and swordfish is much more hearty, and served as a meal. The broth is sour, spicy, savory, salty with a hint of sweetness, and really explodes with flavor.

There are a few non-traditional foods that I like to pair with napa cabbage kimchi such as cheddar cheese, mashed potatoes, and BBQ oysters. Swordfish is another, with its mildly sweet flavor and a juicy meaty texture with a good balance of fat, it just goes well with sour and spicy kimchi.

Sour and Spicy Kimchi Soup Recipe

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Risotto Milanese (saffron and bone marrow)

Risotto Milanese (saffron and bone marrow)

Risotto alla Milanese

I had been traveling for the holidays. When I came home I wanted to reward my sweet old pooch McIntosh with a bone. He loves these bones from the butcher, and with his old teeth, he does not break the bones into dangerous bits like some of our other dogs would have done. He simply gnaws and licks the bone to his heart’s content. And then he saves them in his boneyard (see below).

Risotto alla Milanese Recipe

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California Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

California Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

A Very California Salad
and a bit of Oregon too

Roasted Red and Golden Beets, Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese
Willamette Valley Hazelnuts, Turmeric-Black Pepper-Maple Yogurt
Arugula, Arugula Flowers, Beet Vinaigrette

A soft-ripened goat cheese accented with a line of bluish ash reminiscent of the fog often blanketing the expansive Humboldt County, California coastline is the centerpiece of this salad.

Pioneering American cheesemaker Mary Keehn of Cypress Grove conceived Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese in the early 80s in homage to cow’s milk French Morbier, with ash separating its light cakey layers.

Beets are available at California Farmers Markets year-round. And hazelnuts come from our wetter neighbor just to the north, Oregon (close enough).

Peppery arugula, earthy beets, toasty hazelnuts, and a tangy yogurt harmonize with the elegant and luscious goat cheese in this quintessential West Coast salad. A sweet-tart beet vinaigrette adds sunny notes with hints of herbs and fruit.

Arugula Flowers

Blooming in January, pretty arugula flowers come from my Southern California garden. Arugula flowers make a delightful garnish, they taste like light arugula leaves, maybe with a hint of sweetness.

Roasted Red and Golden Beets, Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese, Hazelnuts, Turmeric-Black Pepper-Maple Yogurt, Arugula, Arugula Flowers, Beet Vinaigrette

Cypress Grove describes their cheese with flavors of buttermilk and fresh cream, complemented with floral notes, herbaceous overtones, and a clean citrus finish. As Humboldt Fog matures, the creamline develops, the flavor intensifies and the subtle tanginess grows more pronounced.

California Beet and Goat Cheese Salad Recipe

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Ski Lodge Theme Holiday Party: Baby It’s Cold Outside!

Ski Lodge Theme Holiday Party: Baby It's Cold Outside!

Ski Lodge Theme Holiday Party
Baby It’s Cold Outside!

Ninety of us gathered at the Bluewater Grill at sunset in King Harbor, Redondo Beach amidst the sailboats and palm trees to celebrate the holiday season.

It was my pleasure, once again, to host our annual Rolling Hills Country Day School holiday party. With the help of fabulously creative colleagues, a super-fun theme, and a waterfront venue that exceeded expectations – this gala was another smashing success.

Guests arrived for Après Ski in ski lodge attire, presumably after a day on the slopes, as the sun was setting over the Pacific. They mingled during a cocktail hour with an open bar enhanced with an array of passed appetizers.

As the sky turned from hues of blue to shades of red, orange, violet and yellow – the DJs played a nostalgic mix of Christmas music and our favorite songs (saving those hot dance tunes for after dinner). The photo booth was a big hit as groups of skiers grabbed props to strike a pose.

Ski Lodge Theme Holiday Party: Baby It's Cold Outside!

To set the holiday mood, just before dinner, guests gathered around the “piano and fireplace” (actually the DJ booth and cocktail tables with candles) for a group sing-a-long. With lyrics in hand, everyone joined together, enthusiastically belting out White Christmas along with Bing Crosby. Dean Martin’s Let It Snow was sung in verses alternated by the guys and the gals. So fun!

Immediately after the sing-a-long guests took their seats for dinner. Waiters served the award-winning New England Clam Chowder, then table-by-table guests were invited to the buffet featuring carved-to-order prime rib roast. The meal concluded with a Dessert Station and Hot Beverage Bar brimming with whipped cream and all the accoutrements to warm a winter evening.

The night continued with general merrymaking, dancing, photo booth pics with ski lodge antics and prizes. Before leaving, guests picked up a cozy blanket and made a trip to the Hot Chocolate Bar to personalize hot cocoa to take home.

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Holiday Entertaining: Scrambled Eggs, Caviar, Crème Fraîche

Holiday Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Caviar, Crème Fraîche

Holiday Breakfast
Scrambled Eggs, Caviar, Crème Fraîche, Chives

Last but not least in a series of 4 Holiday Entertaining Dishes, scrambled eggs with caviar is a wonderfully extravagant way to celebrate Christmas morning or New Year’s Day brunch.

Served in charming mini Lodge cast iron skillets, this breakfast is simultaneously elegant and rustic. Fluffy scrambled eggs paired with puffed popovers and butter are irresistible, but for the ultimate breakfast experience, add creamy-tangy crème fraîche and burst-in-the-mouth pearls of rich-brown nutty ossetra caviar .

Holiday Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Caviar, Crème Fraîche, Chives

Holiday Entertaining Series

Holiday Entertaining: Oysters with Caviar

Hors d’oeuvre: Oysters, Ossetra Caviar, Crème Fraîche (here)

Foie Gras with Sweet & Salty Palmier Cookies, Passionfruit, Pistachios

First Course: Foie Gras with Sweet & Salty Palmier Cookies (here)

Asparagus, Hollandaise, Caviar

Holiday Side Dish: Asparagus, Hollandaise, Caviar (here)

Scrambled Eggs and Caviar Recipe

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Holiday Entertaining: Asparagus, Hollandaise, Caviar

Holiday Entertaining: Asparagus, Hollandaise, Caviar

Holiday Entertaining
Asparagus, Hollandaise, Caviar

More caviar? Yep, ’tis the season after all! Asparagus with Petrossian Ossetra Caviar is served as a fancy side dish to a standing prime rib roast of beef for a very special holiday meal.

The briny dark brown eggs create a striking presentation when draped over bright green asparagus with a pale yellow sauce. Silky hollandaise and crunchy roe make for an exquisite contrast of textures. The subtle flavor of the sea plays well with the earthy elegant taste of the asparagus. It’s an extraordinary dish – perfect for Hanukkah, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve.

Asparagus, Hollandaise, Caviar Recipe

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Holiday Entertaining: Foie Gras with Sweet & Salty Palmier Cookies

Foie Gras with Sweet & Salty Palmier Cookies, Passionfruit, Pistachios

Whole Duck Foie Gras
Warm Sweet & Salty Palmier Cookies
Passionfruit & Pistachios

The second in a series of four impressive Holiday Entertaining dishes, here luxurious Whole Duck Foie Gras is the shining star. Whole duck liver that has been poached in a bouillon flavored with authentic Périgordian seasonings has a velvety texture and is an extravagant delight for the palate.

Warm-from-the-oven palmier cookies are simultaneously sweet and salty. Each bite of foie gras and palmier cookie, composed with a small spoonful of tart tropical passionfruit and a sprinkle of pistachio nuts, is a melt-in-the-mouth experience of immeasurable pleasure.

Foie Gras with Sweet & Salty Palmier Cookies, Passionfruit, Pistachios

Holiday Entertaining: Oysters with Caviar

Holiday Entertaining Series

Hors d’oeuvre: Oysters, Ossetra Caviar, Crème Fraîche (here)

First Course: Foie Gras with Sweet & Salty Palmier Cookies

Holiday Side: Asparagus, Hollandaise, Caviar (here)

Holiday Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Chives, Caviar, Crème Fraîche (here)

How to Make Sweet & Salty Palmier Cookies

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Holiday Entertaining: Oysters and Caviar

Holiday Entertaining: Oysters with Caviar

Holiday Entertaining
Oysters and Caviar

For the holiday season we’re serving a most thrilling luxury, the world’s most sublime delicacy – the roe of a mature sturgeon!

It’s a connoisseur’s dream – a fresh shucked oyster topped with crème fraîche and a generous dollop of royal ossetra caviar.

Elegant jewel-like eggs with that fabulous, famous burst of the sea sit atop a crisp, firm-textured bivalve with a sweet aftertaste that sparkles with salinity. Crème fraîche adds a nuanced enhancement to the roe with its creamy tang. Pulling out all the stops, this opulence-in-a-shell is paired with Champagne to complement the caviar’s briny zest.

Exquisitely rich, gloriously complex, utterly delectable. Happy Holidays, my friends!

Holiday Entertaining: Oysters with Caviar

Oysters and Caviar

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Got Frozen Salmon? Make This.

Smoky Salmon Stew with Tomato, Potato, and Fennel

Smoky Salmon Stew with Tomato, Potato, and Fennel

We live in Southern California, where we can walk to the docks and pick up local fresh fish arriving by the hour. Our markets are full of fresh fish that is flown in daily from around the world. So, why buy frozen fish?

  1. Convenience of having protein in the freezer, on hand, ready to thaw.
  2. Value where frozen is typically 20 to 25% less per pound than fresh.
  3. Availability when fresh fish is not in season, frozen is always there.
  4. Taste and texture are not sacrificed, especially in a recipe like this stew.

The frozen farm-raised Atlantic salmon comes from Whole Foods Market where they source from responsibly managed fish farms that aim to help maintain sustainable seafood supplies. Their salmon are raised in carefully monitored, low-density pens and tanks without antibiotics, pesticides or added growth hormones.

This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart Living. For a cold weather meal, I loved the idea of a smoky fish stew and added another layer of smoky heat with Korean chili threads (shilgochu). They are finely-sliced dried chilis that are reddish brown in color with smoky red pepper and fruity flavors, and a medium degree of heat. Along with fennel fronds, the chili threads add a savory embellishment to the final presentation.

Smoky Salmon Stew Recipe

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It’s Back – The Stuffing Everyone Loves!

The Stuffing Everyone Loves Recipe

The Stuffing Everyone Loves!

It’s been 5 years since I’ve shared The Stuffing Everyone Loves recipe. So for 2016, it’s back!

What makes this recipe different from the familiar mushroom sage dressing served on dinner tables all over the country at this time of year? Not much, and that is the beauty of it. It’s just like you remember, only better. And everyone loves it.

Rustic ciabatta, with its porous, chewy texture is the perfect bread for this stuffing. A homemade rich-flavored giblet stock, eliminates the need to cook the stuffing inside the turkey, while retaining that classic turkey flavor.

A 50-50 ratio of vegetables (mushroom, celery, onion, and leek) to the volume of ciabatta creates a balanced, not overly bready-y dish. Cooking the stuffing in a shallow baking dish allows for the desirable contrast of buttery toasty bread atop a moist stuffing beneath. Plenty of butter, Italian parsley and butter-fried sage bring the classic flavors of the season.

And with no “surprise” ingredients (oysters, nuts, fruit, chestnuts) it simply appeals to everyone…and exceeds expectations.

The Stuffing Everyone Loves Recipe

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