Rhode Island Clam Chowder

Rhode Island Clam Chowder

Rhode Island Clam Chowder aka Clear Broth Clam Chowder

My apologies to the fine folks of Rhode Island for preparing their eponymous clam chowder with bivalves from Florida. Our local fishmonger carries Cedar Key Sweets, littleneck clams grown in certified clean Florida waters whose aquaculture farm has the highest quality standards. I have been buying them for years, and they are always tender, fresh and flavorful.

With nary a tomato nor cream in sight, Rhode Island Clam Chowder is made from a clear broth and is lesser known than its more popular cousins – Manhattan Clam Chowder (the red) and New England Clam Chowder (the white).

The true briny clam flavor shines through in this lighter version. Bacon and potatoes play supporting roles, while Asian fish sauce adds a layer of depth and umami qualities. Italian parsley and dill bring bright fresh notes as well as adding nice color to the monochromatic soup.

Rhode Island Clam Chowder Recipe

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Saffron Lemon Shrimp with Bucatini

Saffron Lemon Shrimp with Bucatini

Saffron Lemon Shrimp with Bucatini
Feta, Kalamata Olives, Oregano, Red Chile Flakes

These large plump shrimp have a striking golden hue. Here, the exotic flavor of saffron – that heady spice derived from the dried stigmas of a crocus – takes a simple shrimp and pasta dish to another level.

Traditional Greek ingredients – kalamata olives, oregano and feta play supporting roles as lemon “two ways” adds bright tangy notes and red chile flakes bring piquant qualities.  And while spaghetti or linguini shapes would work just fine, those robust bucatini noodles magically weave this super-satisfying dish together.

Saffron Lemon Shrimp with Bucatini Recipe

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Kasha Varnishkes

Kasha Varnishkes

Happy Hanukkah and Kasha Varnishkes

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

The dish never fails to bring back sweet memories of my Nana and Aunt Edythe. My 2017 version of Kasha Varnishkes includes mushrooms and walnuts. It has more pasta and vegetables in relation to the buckwheat, and uses plenty of heart-healthy olive oil.

I remember that Auntie Edythe would prepare hers with lots of kasha in proportion to the bows and no doubt used plenty of schmaltz. It was more of a buckwheat dish than a pasta dish. She was such a terrific cook. It has been decades since her passing, but none of us will ever forget her cooking, especially her banana cake…and that she served real whipped cream made from scratch in the 60s when everyone else’s whipped cream came out of a can.

Feeling nostalgic with Hanukkah approaching, I was looking through boxes of my mom’s old photographs and came across the one below. Sadly, everyone in the photo except my cousin Robert has passed away. This image, taken at the iconic Palmer House in Chicago c. 1956, is a true treasure.  I believe that we bless them and they, in turn, bless us each and every time we think of them. Our memories keep the people who have passed on forever close to us.

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 some sort of machine accident that was never explained to us as children. And now that there is no one left to ask, it will remain a mystery.

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

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

I remember one day when we were kids, my Dad asked us if we knew Papa’s real name. I thought about it and said “Is” because that’s what Nana called him. Then I fell into a fit of giggles, “What kind of name is Is, Dad? That’s a verb!”

Our extended family always called Papa by the name Izzy (from Isadore) and Izzy is now my nephew Jett’s middle name. Jett celebrated his Bar Mitzvah in Chicago this past summer. Jett’s older brother Stone has Leonard as his middle name. Leonard sadly passed away in 1971 when he was just 49 years old. Stone, his would-be first grandson, was born in 2001. By keeping their names alive, we bless them.

Kasha Varnishkes 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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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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Braised Short Ribs over Chickpea Fusilli #glutenfree

Braised Short Ribs over Chickpea Fusilli #glutenfree

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs over Chickpea Fusilli
Roasted Cardamom Carrots, Horseradish Cream, Chives

Braised Short Ribs over Chickpea Fusilli is the second of two very popular dishes we served at “Sip & Savor: A Gluten-Free Experience” to support the Celiac Disease Foundation on behalf of Explore Cuisine.

Often, gluten-free dishes are vegetarian, as many health conscious consumers fall into both categories. However, there are several people with Celiac disease that are neither vegetarian nor vegan and simply crave dishes that are traditionally made with wheat, such as short ribs with buttered egg noodles.

Our dish is a gluten-free version of that crave-worthy meal. We substitute Explore Cuisine chickpea fusilli for the noodles and use gluten-free flour in the preparation.

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