Fluke Crudo, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Fluke Crudo, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Fluke Crudo, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
Dragon Fruit, Meyer Lemon, Parsley, Mint, Borage

Our fluke crudo with Korean picked radish, nasturtium, and gochugaru vinaigrette was such a hit, we had to share another. A member of the flounder family, fluke has a clean, delicate, fresh taste that is excellent served raw (known as hirame sushi). While dragon fruit also has a mild flavor, it has unique visual appeal, esoteric charm, and a cool name. The taste is enhanced by the delightful Meyer lemon sweet-tart vinaigrette. Together, fluke and dragon fruit make a stunning raw dish.

Borage, my favorite edible flower, is very versatile as a garnish due to the light cucumbery flavor that can be paired with either sweet or savory dishes. And the striking blue color and star shape make every dish pop. Borage grows like a weed in my Southern California garden. I simply sprinkle seeds in a sunny spot, water regularly, et voilà!

growing borage for edible flowersMeyer lemon rinds are soft and edible. This lemon’s texture and lemony-orange flavor pairs wonderfully with the fresh fish. Cold fish and warm weather – an uncomplicated dish with fresh ingredients is simple, harmonious, and spring-pretty.

meyer lemon recipe

Fluke Crudo, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe

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Fluke Crudo, Gochugaru Vinaigrette

Fluke Crudo, Gochugaru Vinaigrette

Fluke Crudo
Gochugaru Vinaigrette, Korean Pickled Radish, Bird’s Eye Chili
Luxardo Cherry, Scallion, Nasturtium

Its texture is firm and smooth and the taste is mild, fluke is an excellent fish to serve raw, Italian style – with oil, acid, and salt.

An intensely flavorful vinaigrette of olive oil and toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar and mirin, is enhanced with gochugaru, a Korean red chili powder. The coarsely ground powder is definitely spicy – but also has a balanced fruitiness, slight smokiness and depth of flavor from the sun-dried red peppers.

Korean yellow pickled radish, danmuji, brings sweet, sour and crispy notes while dark Italian Luxardo cherries add a dense, chewy sweet-tart unexpected counterbalance to the fish.

Finished with whimsical scallion curls and petite peppery-green nasturtium leaves, this Korean-Italian raw fish dish has delightful visual appeal and complementary global flavors.

Fluke Crudo Recipe

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Oatmeal Pancakes

Oatmeal Pancakes #glutenfree

Oatmeal Pancakes

Good morning! How are you?

I started to write that this is the first time in almost 10 years that I am sharing a pancake recipe…but that is not true. I have posted several Potato Pancake recipes (latkes) AND Korean Pancake recipes (jeon), but those were savory pancakes, not traditional breakfast pancakes.

For those attempting to eat oatmeal every morning for its soluble fiber and cholesterol lowering benefits, good for you! But let’s face it…the whole-grain, high-fiber, gluten-free, steel-cut or old-fashioned rolled oatmeal in a bowl can get boring fast.

So you might be excited to see this recipe for oat pancakes! These oatmeal pancakes are made from two types – oat flour and rolled oats. It was adapted from the package recipe on Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Oat Flour.

I made a few changes to Bob’s recipe – leaving out the two tablespoons of sugar; substituting extra virgin olive oil for vegetable oil; and cooking the pancakes until the edges are nice and crispy.

These are not light and fluffy pancakes with a homogeneous spongy texture. They are super-hearty…and uber-delicious.

Although I photograph them in a stack of five, there is no way anyone would eat that many. Unless you are training for something big, or you are my teenage nephew.

Additionally, instead of the traditional big scoop of butter on top of the stack, I serve a dollop of non-fat Greek yogurt. It is equally satisfying, and healthier.

Oatmeal Pancakes 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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Not Your Average Crudités Platter

Crudités Platter with Lemony Cauliflower Dip

Crudités Platter with Lemony Cauliflower Dip
Three Oils, Three Seasonings

There are literally hundreds of flavor combinations waiting to be discovered on this one platter. Try a crisp slice of cucumber with lemony cauliflower dip, dunk a sweet cherry tomato into chili oil then crust with sesame seeds, dip a peppery radish into olive oil then coat with za’atar…

Cauliflower makes its appearance as a lemony dip. Three oils (fruity olive oil, fiery chili oil, and toasted sesame oil) plus three seasonings (Maldon sea salt flakes, za’atar, and toasted sesame seeds) complement a vibrant array of fresh vegetables. Castelvetrano olives, basil, and edible flowers add another layer of flavor and interest to this appealing platter where guests can enjoy discussing their favorite combinations over cocktails.

Crudités Platter with Lemony Cauliflower Dip, Three Oils, Three Seasonings

Not Your Average Crudités Platter

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Michel Richard’s Asian Bistro Soup

Michel Richard's Asian Bistro Soup with Shrimp

Michel Richard’s Asian Bistro Soup with Shrimp

Last month another world-class chef joined Escoffier in the Grand Kitchen up in Heaven. Legendary Chef Michel Richard was 68 years old. I was introduced to the Chef’s innovative style of cooking over lunch with my old colleagues at his restaurant Citrus in LA back in the late 1980s and have been an ardent fan ever since.

After hearing of his sudden passing last month, I immediately pulled Happy In The Kitchen from my bookshelf and spent a good part of the day re-reading his recipes and perspectives.

Before each recipe the Chef writes a paragraph or two about the dish – from where the inspiration came; what is important for the cook to note; or his keen observations on taste, texture, presentation, what-have-you. Yes, he is a most accomplished chef, but he is also a very effective teacher – employing humor and ingenuity as skillfully as he does the knife.

Thomas Keller wrote, “Michel did something that’s almost unheard of in the pastry world: he crossed over and became a chef, opening one of the best restaurants in the country, Citrus, in 1987. It’s difficult to overemphasize how unusual this is. Pastry chefs and savory chefs rely on a completely different set of skills and use their intellects in different ways. Pastry chefs are mathematicians. Savory chefs, we’re like free-thinkers. Michel, amazingly, has been able to combine the precision of the pastry chef’s mind with the freethinking nature of the savory chef in a way that no other chef in America has done.”

Michel Richard’s Asian Bistro Soup Recipe

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Mandilli di Seta al Pesto {Handkerchief Pasta} #glutenfree

Mandilli di Seta al Pesto (Handkerchief Pasta) #glutenfree

~ Mandilli di Seta al Pesto ~
Silk Handkerchief Pasta with Creamy-Style Pesto
Edible Begonia, Basil, and Pecorino Romano Garnish

Imagine a pasta that is a gorgeous shade of olive green, higher in fiber and lower in net carbs than traditional noodles. One that is full of plant-based pea protein, organic, and gluten-free. My friends at Explore Cuisine make such an extraordinary noodle. It is produced in Italy of green lentil flour (50%), green pea flour, and brown rice flour.

Usually used for lasagna recipes, here the rectangular green lentil sheets stand in for handkerchief pasta in a beautiful mandilli di seta adorned with edible begonias. The basil pesto is an elegant creamy-style, unlike its more grainy rustic cousin. The method of plating mandilli di seta is also unique – pasta handkerchiefs are dipped in the pesto, coating the entire noodle with the dreamy sauce, then they are artfully folded onto the plate.

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Pretty Watermelon Gazpacho with Blackberries

Pretty Watermelon Gazpacho with Blackberries, Tomatoes, Edible Flowers

Pretty Watermelon Gazpacho with Blackberries

watermelon cubes, grape tomatoes, micro cilantro, nasturtium whorls
edible flower petals, celery leaves, fruity olive oil

I purchased the obligatory feta cheese, tangy Bulgarian Feta to be exact, to garnish my watermelon gazpacho. But when it came time to plate my chilled soup, I thought watermelon + feta is way too predictable and the homogenous pale red soup needed some extra visual pizzazz. Additionally, I wanted to serve a soup that would appeal to my #glutenfreevegan friends… enter blackberries, grape tomatoes, and edible flowers.

The soup recipe is quite intriguing – a balance between sweet and savory -a summery marriage of juicy watermelon and red ripe tomatoes. Spicy green chile, cool cucumber and pungent red onion round out the flavors while my beloved vinagre de jerez is the spark that gives gazpacho its unique character. Good fruity olive oil adds a rich mouthfeel.

Watermelon Gazpacho Recipe


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Pretty Petite Potato Salad, Vinagre de Jerez Dressing

Pretty Petite Potato Salad, Vinagre de Jerez Dressing with Grilled Okra, Celery, Peperoncini, Radish, Cucumber, Red Onion, Herbs and Edible Flowers

Pretty Petite Potato Salad, Vinagre de Jerez Dressing
Petite Red Skin Potatoes, Grilled Okra, Celery
Peperoncini, Radish, Cucumber, Red Onion

Herbs and Edible Flowers

Complex and assertive, Vinagre de Jerez turns up the music on ordinary potato salad. Chef José Andrés says, “…you add just a touch of (sherry) vinegar and you have this wonderful flavor that sparkles.” Vinagre de Jerez is one of just three vinegars in the EU from a designated appellation. Spain’s classification system, Denominación de Origen, regulates the quality and geographical origin of the product.

Okra is excellent grilled. (Use a grill pan so it doesn’t fall through the grates). The mucilaginous properties that make people say they “hate” okra are mitigated by quickly cooking over a hot fire. Combine grilled okra and petite red-skinned potatoes with lively peperoncini, peppery radish, crunchy celery and cool cucumber. Toss with a vivacious dressing and an array of complementary flowers and herbs for a show-stopping summer salad.

Vinagre de Jerez Dressing

Recipe for Vinagre de Jerez Dressing. Excellent with Potato Salad. #saladdressing

  • 1/4 c. good quality mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c. yogurt
  • 1 T. vinagre de jerez
  • 1 t. dijon mustard
  • 2 T. fruity olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper. Thin with warm water so the dressing will make a smooth elegant coating for the vegetables (as opposed to a thick, gloppy mayo).

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Shrimp and Grits with Lobster Butter

Shrimp and Grits with Lemony Lobster Butter and Grilled Corn, Okra, Tomato, Shishito

Shrimp and Grits with Lemony Lobster Butter
Grilled Corn, Okra, Tomato, Shishito Peppers
Gremolata, Feta Cheese, and Chive Flower Garnish

Shrimp & Grits gets a make-over. White corn grits are topped with fresh summer vegetables from the farmers market. For a smokier-than-usual version, the vegetables and shrimp are grilled instead of sautéed. A heavenly lemon-lobster butter (try it on popcorn!) adds sophistication. Tangy sheep’s milk feta takes the place of the ubiquitous cheddar cheese, while gremolata makes the shrimp sing out with bright citrusy-garlicky notes. And it’s interesting how a single purple chive blossom in the center gives the whole dish a visual pop.

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