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

Continue reading “Fluke Crudo, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette”

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

Continue reading “Oatmeal Pancakes”

Eat Flowers, Be Happy (Edible Flower Salad)

Edible Flower Salad with Wild Strawberries and Grape Tomatoes

Edible Flower Salad
Wild Strawberries, Grape Tomatoes, Chrysanthemum Greens
Texas Tarragon, Borage, Marigold, Lemon Thyme, Chive Blossoms

In honor of the first days of summer and the unveiling of a new category to my website menu, I present this EDIBLE FLOWER salad. A trip to one of our best local Farmers Markets, plus a stop at my favorite Korean supermarket, and a bit of foraging in my own garden resulted in a one-of-a-kind salad that just screams summer. Every ingredient has a purpose in the flavor/texture/color profile.

Wild strawberries and sweet little grape tomatoes have a particularly delightful affinity for each other. Their red color contrasts with the exotic greens. Radish brings peppery flavors while roasted sunflower seeds add salty flavors – eliminating the need for additional salt and pepper. Kimjaban, crunchy roasted seaweed takes the place of croutons while adding sweet and salty notes.

Dressing is not tossed with the salad mix, so the flower petals look fresh-picked and the seaweed retains its crisp texture. The dressing consists of three distinct high-quality oils – fruity olive oil, toasted sesame oil, and fiery chili oil that are balanced by aged balsamic vinegar. Using chopsticks, diners can coat the salad ingredients with the oils and vinegar. And they just may want to reserve a bit of the syrupy balsamic vinegar to pair with that last wild strawberry for a grand finale.

Continue reading “Eat Flowers, Be Happy (Edible Flower Salad)”

Figs and Sabayon à la Julia Child

Figs and Sabayon à la Julia Child

Celebrating Julia Child’s Birthday
with
Macerated Fresh Black Mission Figs and Marsala/French Vermouth Sabayon
Roasted Hazelnuts, Maldon Sea Salt, Borage

It has been a tradition since the beginning of Taste With The Eyes in 2007, to celebrate and honor Julia Child in the month of August. She passed away eleven years ago today, and her 103rd birthday would have been on Saturday.

With the happy confluence of the call for chilled desserts by my friends at the Food Network, the need for an elegant dessert course for my virtual restaurant – The Borage & Basil Bistro, and the annual tribute to our beloved Chef – it is my sweet pleasure to share Figs and Sabayon à la Julia Child.

Julia Child Tributes

Travel back in time and enjoy French food and revel in its perfection as Julia describes her very first meal in France in 1948. (here)

Sneak into Julia’s kitchen to watch her make the authentic Caesar Salad and Salmon in Papillote in her usual charming and un-fussy manner. (here)

Join Julia and her friends in a beautiful courtyard, seated at a little white table beneath a leafy trellis for a splendid lunch, while they uncover the secret of loup de mer. (here)

Joyeux Anniversaire Julia Child
Joyeux Anniversaire Julia Child

Julia Child
August 15, 1912 – August 13, 2004

“…A careful approach will result in a magnificent burst of flavor, a thoroughly satisfying meal, perhaps even a life changing experience. Such was the case with the Sole Meunière I ate at La Couronne on my first day in France, in November 1948. It was an epiphany. In all the years since that succulent meal, I have yet to lose the feelings of wonder and excitement that it inspired in me. I can still almost taste it. And thinking back on it now reminds me that the pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite – toujours bon appetit!“

  -Julia Child, My Life In France

Figs and Sabayon à la Julia Child Recipe

Continue reading “Figs and Sabayon à la Julia Child”

Unique Watermelon Salad

Watermelon Salad - Pomegranate Syrup, Feta, Cucumber, Red Onion, Borage, Cayenne, Olive Oil, Sprouted Watermelon Seeds, Basil

A Unique Watermelon Salad

Watermelon Brick, Pomegranate Syrup, Feta, Cucumber
Borage, Basil, Red Onion, Cayenne, Olive Oil, Sprouted Watermelon Seeds

Borage and Basil Centerpiece

 Welcome to My

BORAGE & BASIL
Bistro

The Borage & Basil Bistro is a bright sunny spot, a virtual place to enjoy summer’s bounty on a pretty plate. A relaxing place to sip a nice cool, crisp and melon-y Sauvignon Blanc. Fresh picked herbs and edible flowers dominate the menu.

Today’s salad special takes the ubiquitous combination of watermelon and feta and adds our eponymous borage & basil. Like bright stars falling from the summer sky…with it’s electric blue color and a faintly sweet flavor with hints of cucumber, borage makes the presentation pop! Pomegranate syrup adds sweet and tangy notes, while sprouted watermelon seeds add interest – they’re high in protein, with a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture. It’s a visually striking salad, light yet satisfying. And it just screams summer!

Watermelon Salad - Pomegranate Syrup, Feta, Cucumber, Red Onion, Borage, Cayenne, Olive Oil, Sprouted Watermelon Seeds, Basil

Unique Watermelon Salad Recipe

Continue reading “Unique Watermelon Salad”

A Virtual Merino Lamb Adventure in New Zealand

Silere Merino Lamb Loin Fillets Mustard Seed Sauce, Cannellini Beans Pickled Fennel, Carrot, Parsnip Cilantro, Mint, Borage

Silere Merino Lamb Loin Fillets
Mustard Seed Sauce, Cannellini Beans
Pickled Fennel, Carrot, Parsnip
Cilantro, Mint, Borage

Are you up for an adventure? Come with me on a virtual culinary trip to New Zealand. Our voyage of discovery takes us to the South Island where we climb high up in the Southern Alps. As we explore an area rich in flora, covered with tussock grasses and wild herbs and flowers, we navigate the pristine silence of nature in rarefied air and brilliant sunshine. We breathe in nature’s sweet fresh bouquet.

Notice the snow-capped peaks that feed the clear alpine streams. Take note of the fauna too. Exquisite Merino sheep, historically treasured for their fine soft wool, are nibbling on those herbs and lapping up that pure water. This is an ancient breed, originally from central Spain, whose fleece has been prized for centuries and is made into the finest luxury clothing.

In recent years, particular strains of Merino sheep have been bred for their meat and are recognized as the finest breed for eating. Breed (Merino) plus Appellation (Southern Alps) equals 5 star blue-ribbon meat suitable for the world’s top restaurants. And now, us! Merino lamb just became available to the U.S. market, courtesy of the fine folks at Marx Foods here. “Good on ya, mates!” And “chur” for the free lamb samples.

Unlike cattle, lamb meat has not been designated by breed. Chefs and diners alike know the difference between Angus beef and Wagyu beef. But lamb, up until now – has been marketed by appellation – such as Colorado or New Zealand, regardless of the breed. Like wine, though appellation is important, it does not tell the whole story. That fine glass of Burgundy you sip, reflects the terrior where the grapes were grown, yes. But are you enjoying Chardonnay or Pinot Noir? Very different, indeed.

Readily distinguishable from their lowland cousins who chew on grass and lollygag around the flat plains, Merino sheep are hearty. Their healthy athleticism makes them well suited to forage for their tasty meals in the steep mountain ranges where this highland lifestyle produces a meat that is naturally leaner and less gamy, in fact, barely gamy at all. Their slower rate of maturation results in a more nuanced and refined flavor of meat.

My friend, you must be starving after our long hike in the Alps. Do come back to the lodge with me, and I will prepare Silere Merino Lamb Loin Fillets for dinner – a dish designed to showcase the elegance of the meat.

The fillets are not coated nor crusted. They are simply rubbed with olive oil and seasoned with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, then seared in a hot pan. This way, you can focus your attention on its rich delicate savoriness. To accompany the meat, I pair it with a range of flavors, spices, and textures that are well-known to complement lamb dishes over the globe.

Merino Lamb Loin Recipe

Continue reading “A Virtual Merino Lamb Adventure in New Zealand”

Pretty Little Cast Iron Skillet Pizzas

Irresistible Mini Cast Iron Skillet Pizzas

Pretty Little Cast Iron Skillet Pizzas

Ricotta & Mozzarella
with
Roasted Butternut Squash, Agave Syrup, Fried Sage, Violas
and
Arugula, Toasted Hazelnuts, Hazelnut Oil, Borage

I just couldn’t put them away, not just yet. Those mini cast iron skillets in which I served Shrimp & Grits last week were still hanging out on the counter…ready for the next irresistible presentation.

Inspired by my borage plant which is thriving in January and my violas which are still hanging on (condolences to my Chicago peeps), I set out to make some really pretty little pizzas.

Borage Arugula Pizza

Pretty Little Cast Iron Skillet Pizza Recipes

Continue reading “Pretty Little Cast Iron Skillet Pizzas”

Crusted Ahi over Ponzu with Roasted Garlic Tahini

Togarashi Crusted Ahi over Ponzu with Roasted Garlic Tahini, Serrano, Kaffir Lime, Wasabi, Borage

Togarashi Furikake Crusted Ahi
Over Ponzu
Roasted Garlic Tahini Sauce
Garnished with Serrano, Kaffir Lime Shards, Wasabi, Borage

Choosing the right fish for your dish can have a positive impact on the marine environment and the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium would like to help educate local consumers on this important topic. Today, FRIENDS of Cabrillo Marine Aquarium hosted its first Sustainable Seafood Expo, a fun and delicious way to sample new seafood dishes, wines and craft beers while learning how to make the best selections when dining out or cooking at home.

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is one of 200 partners in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, which produces pocket guides and a smart phone app recommending which seafood items are “best choices,” “good alternatives” or “avoid.”

sustainable seafood

Seafood Watch recommendations consider the fishery, habitat, species, management, and a host of factors that affect each species. The goal is to help sustain wild, diverse and healthy ocean ecosystems that will exist long into the future. Consumers are encouraged to purchase seafood that is fished or farmed in ways that don’t harm the environment. (from Sustainable Seafood Expo press release)

yellowfin tuna

My “contribution” to the event is a recipe for sustainable Yellowfin (Ahi) Tuna, Pole Caught right here off our Pacific Coast.

Togarashi Crusted Ahi Recipe

Yellowfin tuna is found throughout most of the world’s oceans. Many types of gear are used to catch tuna. Not all yellowfin fisheries use ocean-friendly methods and some populations are overfished. Look for troll- or pole-caught yellowfin as the most sustainable option. (from SeafoodWatch here)

Crusted Ahi Recipe

Continue reading “Crusted Ahi over Ponzu with Roasted Garlic Tahini”

Wilson The Love Bug

One Eyed Boston Terrier
Wilson The Love Bug

Poor Wilson was brutally attacked by another dog, his eye severely damaged. And then, as if things couldn’t get any worse, his previous owners decided to dump him at a shelter. Boston Buddies (Southern California Boston Terrier Rescue) rescued Wilson, but their veterinarians were unable to save his eye. Yet, in spite of his bad experience, Wilson was a love bug.

After reading about Wilson on their website, I contacted Boston Buddies to say I was interested in him. I was told that he had already found his “forever home” and would be going there the next day. So, please, choose another dog. But I didn’t really have an interest in another dog, so I waited. A couple days later I got a call to say that his “forever home” had fallen through and could I meet him that day? I said that I was going to be out of town for the weekend and could take him on the following Monday. It turned out there was another family that wanted to take him that day, so he was placed with them. When I got home from the trip I received another call saying that Wilson did not get along with the other dogs in the home and did I still want him? YES! I WANT HIM! It sure seemed like we were meant to be together. That was in March of 2006, and he was three years old.

Continue reading “Wilson The Love Bug”

One Leg of Lamb, Two Presentations

lamb tower ten ingredient

Roasted-then-Grilled Leg of Lamb Medallion
Soy Sauce-Olive Oil-Garlic Marinade, Cracked Pepper Crust

Minted Edamame Puree, Whole Wheat Couscous
Grilled Zucchini, Shiitake, Tomato

lamb au poirve

Roasted-then-Grilled Leg of Lamb Medallion
Soy Sauce-Olive Oil-Garlic Marinade, Cracked Pepper Crust

Minted Edamame Puree, Whole Wheat Couscous
Grilled Zucchini, Shiitake, Scallion

Nine ingredients remain the same. Only one ingredient varies – swap a grilled tomato for a grilled scallion to create two totally different presentations. We served these leg of lamb dishes as a test for the “Lean on Lamb” challenge to create healthy recipes for entertaining. The challenge is to cook a leg of lamb as the main-course for 8 people using no more than 10 ingredients (excluding salt & pepper) with a prep time of under 30 minutes.

After preparing 4 lamb dishes over several days, we decided on Leg of Lamb, Curry Quinoa Crust as the one to submit to the contest. That dish, served over Steamed Spinach with a Curried Heirloom Tomato Salsa with Mint and Avocado & Serrano Chile with Lime had it all – color, flavor, texture, balance plus the seasonal element. Though our Lamb Medallion Stack, Warm Anchovy-Pine Nut Vinaigrette with a Dijon Mustard Anchovy Crust, Polenta Cake, Spinach, Parsley, Tomato was pretty popular too, especially with that warm savory vinaigrette.

Continue reading “One Leg of Lamb, Two Presentations”