ensalada de papas a la huancaina (peruvian-style salad with potato cake, egg, and yellow chile)

ensalada de papas a la huancaina (peruvian-style salad with potato cake, egg, and yellow chile)
ensalada de papas a la huancaina

peruvian-style salad with walnut, olive, feta, lime
yellow potato cake with aji amarillo, cilantro
poached egg, huancaina sauce

Starting with some yellow-yellow potatoes I set out to put a new twist on the Peruvian Papas a la Huancaina, a classic potato dish with a spicy cream sauce from the city of Huancayo. The sauce is traditionally made with evaporated milk and vegetable oil, here I lighten the recipe by using non-fat Greek yogurt instead. Rather than slice, I form the potatoes into a cake flavored with the hot fruity aji amarillo paste – and I replace the usual hard-boiled egg garnish with one that is poached taking this from a side dish or first course into a main vegetarian meal.

ensalada de papas a la huancaina recipe

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Chèvre Chaud Salad, Limoncello Dressing

Chèvre Chaud with Grape Arugula Salad, Limoncello Dressing
Chèvre Chaud over a Salad of  Arugula, Grapes, and Marcona Almonds
Limoncello Rosemary Dressing

How did this fall off my radar? Often, I would serve a Salade de Chèvre Chaud at dinner parties. It’s been years  – but now, fried goat cheese back. This time with arugula, grapes, marcona almonds, and a zippy limoncello rosemary dressing.

Food Network is featuring grapes this week, so I was thinking about foods that might pair well: goat cheese, almonds, lemon, rosemary, arugula, alcohol… Alcohol? Yes – like wine, cognac, brandy, rum. How about limoncello? The dressing is bold, lemony, and definitely zippy.  It adds unexpected character and balances the rich fried cheese. All the ingredients just came together and voilà – this bodacious “adult” salad was born.

Chèvre Chaud Recipe

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Palate Pleaser: Frozen Fig with Rose, Almond, Rosemary

Frozen Fig with Rose, Almond, Rosemary

Palate Pleaser: Frozen Fig with Rose, Almond, Rosemary

Fresh ripe California Black Mission Figs are frozen overnight then run through my trusty vintage Champion Juicer. The result is pure fig, but you would swear it is gelato. The texture is extraordinarily creamy and custardy. I add a whisper of rose water to add to the mystery. Then the frozen fig is topped with salty marcona almonds, fresh piney rosemary, sweet rose crystals and a slice of fresh California Kadota fig. Petite glasses of this palate pleaser are presented on a platter lined with fresh fig leaves and rose petals.

Frozen Fig with Rose, Almond, Rosemary Recipe

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healthy & light: zucchini “pappardelle” with avocado “cream”

healthy & light: zucchini "pappardelle" with avocado "cream"

healthy & light: zucchini “pappardelle” with avocado “cream”

In preparation for my kitchen remodel next month, I was speaking with one of the designers at the kitchen showroom …I wanted to show her the remodel of my bar area from last summer so I pulled up my blog post titled “Construction Dinner.” In addition to photos of my bar remodel, the post also contains a recipe for Orecchiette with Warm Avocado Cream. While interested in the bar, she was also intrigued by the avocado cream. She loved avocado but was trying to keep carbs to a minimum. So I suggested to try it with zucchini instead of pasta. If I was suggesting she try my recipe, I thought that I had better test it myself first!

Stephanie – definitely try it with the zucchini!

zucchini “pappardelle” with avocado “cream” recipe

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The BLP Sandwich {bacon, lettuce, peach}

The BLP Sandwich {bacon, lettuce, peach}

The BLP Sandwich

Thick Smoky Bacon, Crisp Green Lettuce
Rosemary Balsamic Grilled Summerflame Yellow Peaches
Sharp Salty Bleu Cheese, Saffron Mayonnaise

Oh heavens no. I’m not trying to improve on the classic BLT sandwich. But…this week Food Network is featuring peaches and somehow BLP got stuck in my head. A cute play on BLT, no? I start to imagine other foods that might pair well with the summer peach. Rosemary, syrupy balsamic vinegar, black pepper, bleu cheese, saffron. And just like that the BLP Sandwich was born.

peaches

And it just so happens that my absolute favorite wine this summer is MacMurray Ranch Pinot Gris 2011 from the Russian River Valley in Somona. Damn, if this wine doesn’t taste like peaches. And baked apples and figs. Oh gosh, it is round and creamy and balanced and just plain luscious. Please try it with my BLP, sweet summer happiness will ensue.

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Watermelon Carpaccio, Blistered Shishito, Mitsuba, Lime

watermelon carpaccio
Watermelon Carpaccio

Blistered Shishito Peppers, Mitsuba, Tiny Watermelon Balls
Radish Sprouts, Pistachio, Feta, Lime Vinaigrette, Korean Red Chili Powder, Lime Zest

The namesake of the Venetian Renaissance painter known for his use of brilliant reds and whites, “Carpaccio” was the inspiration for this summer treat. Giuseppe Cipriani, owner of Harry’s Bar invented the dish in 1950, the year of the great Carpaccio exhibition in Venice. It was inspired by the Contessa Amalia Nani Mocenigo, a frequent customer at Harry’s Bar whose doctor had placed her on a diet forbidding cooked meat. The original dish was simply paper-thin sliced raw beef topped with a mustard sauce. In the 63 years since its invention, the culinary term “carpaccio” has come to mean almost any dish composed of thinly-sliced raw food spread out on a platter.

In a challenge to make an elegant watermelon dish, I turn to carpaccio… plus mitsuba, a Japanese herb with a fresh, wild, sweet flavor similar to angelica which adds the herbaceous note. Then smoky grilled shishito balance the cool crisp watermelon. Radish sprouts add a pungent peppery characteristic. Just a little bit of feta adds richness and saltiness, while roasted pistachios add that nutty character. Gochugaru (Korean red chili powder) brings the heat and lime adds the bright citrusy notes. Elegant Watermelon? It’s possible.

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