Radicchio and Sautéed Mushroom Salad with Frisee, Point Reyes Blue Cheese, Toasted Pine Nuts, Golden Raisins Garlic Chives, Warm Balsamic Vinaigrette
Deeper colors, warm earthy mushrooms, and crisp bitter lettuces make this a perfect salad to serve as we transition into Fall. Creamy pungent blue cheese and rich toasted pine nuts harmonize with the smooth flavors of a fine balsamic vinaigrette. And to bring the entire salad into balance, golden raisins add the perfect touch of sweetness.
Speaking of balance, today, the earth will be rotating upright on its axis. The northern and southern hemispheres will have equal sunlight and the sun will be rising due east, and setting due west. Happy Autumnal Equinox!
Bay Shrimp and Bean Sprout Omelette
Mirin, Tamari, and Sesame Dipping Sauce
Chive and Chinese Chive Blossom Garnish
As a kid, one of my favorite dishes on “Chinese Take-Out Sunday Night” was the mysterious egg foo young. Back then, the only ingredient that I knew it contained for sure, was egg. I adored those deep-fried thick egg patties smothered in gravy. It was years later that I would re-create egg foo young in my own kitchen. Mystery solved. The filling was mung bean sprouts. Really?
I often fill my omelettes with bean sprouts now, they are high in protein and low in calories. They have a delightful crunch and a mild sweet earthy flavor. Here I pair them with bay shrimp for a light and lovely filling. A dipping sauce of mirin, tamari, and sesame oil takes the place of egg foo young’s traditionally rich gravy. The sweet, salty, toasty flavors are a refreshing complement to the omelette.
As much as we have a passion for food and cooking – holidays, of course – have significance beyond what we’re eating. In addition to roasting a big beautiful turkey on Thanksgiving, we spend time giving thanks and sharing our gratitude. On Independence Day, while we relish our BBQ chicken and burgers, we celebrate our LIBERTY and FREEDOM!
While the presentation may look a bit familiar, the dish itself is unique. It is inspired by one of my all time favorite chefs ~ Yotam Ottolenghi. His fans will recognize the Japanese eggplant presentation from the cover of his innovative vegetarian cookbook Plenty, where he adorns them with pomegranate arils and za’atar. Try Ottolenghi’s dish in autumn when pomegranates are in season, but try my version this summer with bursting ripe tomatoes and vibrant fresh greens.
I simply could not resist those U-10 scallops at the fish market. U-10 (under 10 scallops per pound) are the largest available. These dry pack, wild caught Atlantic sea scallops have a sweet, rich buttery taste. They contain no preservatives or additives and do not ooze liquid during the cooking process, unlike wet scallops that have been soaked in a phosphate solution.
The dilemma was how to showcase the (not inexpensive) scallops, yet keep the dish simple and simultaneously interesting? Lemon and basil naturally pair well with scallops, so that became the sauce. I mingle tomato, nasturtium, and mache for a light salad-y effect. And then add the unexpected farro, an Italian grain with nutty, chewy, earthy flavors and textures. This unique dish has an irresistible appeal of land and sea. Bright blue borage flowers add that contrasting splash of color.
“I think it is a sad reflection on our civilization that while we can and do measure the temperature in the atmosphere of Venus we do not know what goes on inside our soufflés.” —Nicholas Kurti
It’s the ultra-modern style of cooking. Although, all the way back in the 1800’s cooks and scientists were interested in understanding food chemistry. But it was not until 1988 that the term “Molecular Gastronomy” was coined by French chemist Hervé This and Hungarian physicist Nicholas Kurti. They began holding workshops to investigate the transformation that occurs when food is cooked.
The molecular or modernist cuisine movement really began when chefs took those scientific discoveries and applied creativity to that body of knowledge. They take the basics of classic cooking and craftsmanship then apply chemical compounds and elements such as liquid nitrogen for instantaneous freezing and techniques such as spherification (forming a liquid into a solid orb which remains liquid on the inside) and gelification (turning a liquid into a gelatinous form by using a gelling agent) to push the culinary envelope.