Kasha Varnishkes

Kasha Varnishkes

Happy Hanukkah and Kasha Varnishkes

Roasted Whole Grain Buckwheat, Bow Tie Pasta,
Caramelized Onion, Sautéed Mushrooms, Walnuts, Parsley

This dish never fails to bring back sweet memories of my Nana and Auntie Edythe. This year my version of Kasha Varnishkes (also called Kasha & Bows) includes mushrooms and walnuts. I remember that Auntie Edythe would prepare hers with lots of kasha in proportion to the bows and no doubt used plenty of schmaltz. My recipe has more pasta and vegetables in relation to the buckwheat.

I was looking through boxes of my mom’s photographs and came across the one below. It is so wonderfully perfect for sharing my Kasha Varniskes recipe and celebrating Hanukkah. Sadly, everyone in the photo except my cousin Robert has passed away. We bless them and they bless us each time we think of them. Our memories keep the people who have passed on close to us.  May their memory be for a blessing. Always and forever.

Kasha and Bows
The Palmer House Chicago c. 1956 Left to Right: Dad Leonard, Mom Joyce, Cousin Robert, Auntie Edythe, Uncle Sydney, Uncle Syd’s Mother Rose, Papa Irving, Nana Fanny.

My Nana (paternal grandmother) was born in Kiev, Russia 1894. The family fled to Canada to escape the pogroms when she was a young girl. Her birth name was Vitte but she took her sister’s name, Fanny, after Fanny was killed in a machine accident.

She met my Papa (paternal grandfather) when they were teenagers and their families were living in the same apartment complex in Montreal. His name was Yitzcok when he was born in Romania 1891 but changed it to Isadore upon arrival in Canada when he was 13 years old. They say he celebrated his Bar Mitzvah on the boat.

Fanny and Isadore married then made their way to America and settled in Chicago where Papa took the name Irving, and they raised their children, (my aunt) Edythe and (my dad) Leonard.

Our extended family always called Papa by the name Izzy (from Isadore) and Izzy is now my nephew Jett’s middle name. And Jett’s older brother Stone has Leonard as his middle name. By keeping their names alive, we bless them.

Wishing a very Happy Hanukkah to my big dear family, near and far…past and present.

Kasha Varnishkes Recipe

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Totally Captivating Yuzu Tea

Yuzu TeaTotally Captivating Yuzu Tea

We harvested the last of this year’s yuzu fruit today. It is a neat fruit to grow in the garden because it can be used in so many different recipes and is edible when young and green all the way into the late fall when it is ripe and yellow. An extremely aromatic fruit – a basket of yuzu perfumes the whole room. And it makes an equally aromatic tea: a heady floral elixir with notes of mandarin orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit.

The yuzu tea recipe is quite simple. Cut the fruit in half around the equator and remove the seeds. The seeds are large and plentiful but easy to extract. I use the skinny end of a teaspoon to pop them out. Slice the fruit into slivers. Without taking too much trouble, remove as much pith as possible. Place cut fruit in a bowl and muddle with a good amount of sugar. Once well-muddled, place the yuzu/sugar mixture in a teapot and pour in boiling (filtered) water. Steep only briefly then pour the sweet citrusy tea into mugs, along with some of the soft rinds and flesh which are edible too.

Spaghetti alla Bottarga

Spaghetti alla Bottarga

Spaghetti alla Bottarga

A sea breeze, a multi-leveled palate of peat and iodine, a very long citrus aftertaste. That is how Trikalinos describes their grey mullet bottarga. I serve this gastronomic delicacy in a traditional manner – over a simple pasta prepared with olive oil, garlic, lemon, red chili, and parsley.

It is a special dish for connoisseurs of the sea. Lovers of caviar, sea urchin, anchovy and oysters will be enamored with spaghetti alla bottarga with its briny, complex captivating flavors and luxurious texture.

Spaghetti alla Bottarga Recipe

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Pork Chop, Pink Peppercorn Sauce

Brined Pan-Seared Pork Chop, Pink Peppercorn Sauce, Fried Sage

One Pound duBreton Pork Chop
Pink Peppercorn Sauce, Fried Sage

Those who are familiar with San Pedro, our charming seaside corner of Los Angeles, know we are blessed with several beautiful feathery peppertrees that line our quaint streets. Recently, I harvested a bunch peppercorns for a still life photography session.

Pink Peppercorns

Now what to do with this cornucopia of pink peppercorns? Pink peppercorn brine and pink peppercorn sauce were paired with gorgeous one pound duBreton pork chops.

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Palos Verdes Pastoral – An Enchanted Dining Experience

Palos Verdes Pastoral - An Enchanted Dining Experience

Palos Verdes Pastoral
An Enchanted Dining Experience

Al fresco dining with magnificent views of Catalina Island, on a warm Autumn evening at sunset – this is Palos Verdes Pastoral, an enchanted fundraising event that brings people together amidst nature for an exclusive experience at Terranea Resort.

In addition to the camaraderie, gourmet foods, stellar wines, and ambiance that is truly second to none – the evening increases awareness of the important work of the Conservancy in protecting and stewarding our open space and nature. We celebrate the mission of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy to “preserve land and restore habitat for the education and enjoyment of all.”

The Palos Verdes Peninsula is part of one of five regions in the world that enjoys the Mediterranean climate, with all its bounty and biodiversity from our aromatic hillsides to the deep blue ocean.

The cuisine that has been borne out of this land and sea inspired Terranea Resort Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra to create a captivating menu reflecting those flourishing textures, colors, flavors and aromas of our unique region.

Mediterranean life revolves around the table, so it is fitting that this year’s Palos Verdes Pastoral is a dinner where 200 people gather to partake in these regional foods and flavors, where we celebrate and support the land and open spaces we adore so much.

Palos Verdes Pastoral

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Chef Bernard Ibarra’s Moroccan Spiced Free Range Chicken

Chef Bernard Ibarra's Moroccan Spiced Free Range Chicken

Seared Moroccan Spiced Free Range Chicken
House Dried Fruit, Bulgur, Catalina Farm Vegetable Couscous
Salted Lemon Vinaigrette, Fez Spice Mix Paint

The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy in partnership with Terranea Resort and Whole Foods Market recently hosted their annual Palos Verdes Pastoral Garden-to-Table Dining Experience. This year’s super-successful event highlighted foods and flavors native to Mediterranean Climate Regions.

Terranea Resort Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra showcased the best of California handcrafted, organic, and sustainable food and wine unique to our California climate, 1 of only 5 Mediterranean Climate Regions in the world.

These include the Mediterranean Basin, California, Central Chile, Western South Africa, and South and Western Australia. While comprising only 2% of the earth’s surface, these regions are home to 20% of the earth’s plant species.

Chef Bernard takes advantage of this biodiversity in his menu. The Chicken Course alone featured Mediterranean herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables including chili, cumin, coriander, fennel, paprika, honey, olive oil, lemon, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, bulgur, couscous, parsley, almonds, apricots, mustard, saffron, squash, and, of course wine.

The Chef graciously shares his recipe for Seared Moroccan Spiced Free Range Chicken below.

Chef Bernard Ibarra's Moroccan Spiced Free Range Chicken

See the entire menu and read about the fabulous 2017 Palos Verdes Pastoral Dining Experience and the important work of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy here.

Chef Bernard Ibarra's Moroccan Spiced Free Range Chicken

Moroccan Spiced Free Range Chicken Recipe
by Chef Bernard Ibarra

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