Friday, September 29, 2017

Wine and Food Bash after Birthday

What wonderful old wines, Lucky us!

Fantastic Crab Cakes



Add caption


John and Renaldo from San Francisco came down to celebrate Cathy's Birthday. In addition to fantastic wine, John brought us Crab Cakes that his brother had sent him from Maryland. These cakes were absolutely fabulous. We fried them in a combination of Butter and Grapeseed Oil. I know we will order crab cakes from Angelina's of Maryland in the future!

John brought fantastic old wines with him to help us celebrate Cathy's birthday. The wines called for meat and we obtained grilled Dry-Aged Rib-Eye Steaks from McCall's Meat and Fish. They were perfect! Darryl brought us a vegetable dish.

For dessert we had an Apple Pie from from McCall's followed by a bottle of Chateau Yquem that we provided.

This was probably as excessive dinner as is possible, a fitting dinner for Cathy Birthday!

Okonomiyaki and Bloody Mary's

One of my favorite Japanese dishes is Okonomiyaki which is like the Chinese Egg Foo Young. Only it is better! Pat and Doshi offered to make it for us for brunch. I LOVED it! It was better than any I could get at a Los Angeles Japanese Restaurant. Since it was brunch, I felt it called for Bloody Mary's. I thought I would make them from scratch, but when I was at Silverlake Wine I saw they sold a Bloody Mary Mix that looked intriguing. In addition they had Garlic Pickles that went into the glass with the mix and Vodka. I thought the mix was excellent. Brunch was definitely a hit! The Bloody Mary Mix and Pickles are available at, if you aren't near Silverlake Wine.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Grilled Lamb Chops with Pomegranate Molasses

We made Grilled Lamb Chops with Pomegranate Molasses. It is an excellent preparation for grilling Lamb. You can find the recipe on our blog of September 5, 2012. Click the date to get the recipe.

We started with Tomato and Pomegranate Salad from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi. The salad was excellent and because it doesn’t have greens, it won't wilt and can be kept for a few days in the frig. The flavors intensified over time.

We cooked Green Chile Country-Style Potatoes from East Meets Southwest by Michael Fennelly. The potatoes are easy to make and have a kick that balances the sweetness of the Pomegranate Molasses covered Lamb Chops. A good find!

Tomato and Pomegranate Salad
Plenty More
Yotam Ottolenghi

I rarely rave about my own recipes, but this is one I can just go on and on about It is the definition of freshness with its sweet-and-sour late-summer flavors, and it is also an utter delight to look at but the most incredible thing about it is that it uses a few ingredients that I have been lovingly cooking with for many years, and believed I knew everything there was to know about yet had never thought of mixing them in such a way. That is, until I traveled to Istanbul and came across a similar combination of fresh tomatoes and pomegranate seeds in a famous local kebab restaurant called Hamdi, right by the Spice Bazaar. It was a proper light-bulb moment when I realized how the two types of sweetness—the sharp, almost bitter sweetness of pomegranate and the savory, sunny sweetness of tomato—can complement each other so gloriously
I use four types of tomato here to make the salad more interesting visually and in flavor. You can easily use fewer, just as long as they are ripe and sweet.

1-1/2  cups red cherry tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1-1/2  cups yellow cherry tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch/ dice
1-1/2  cups tiger or plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice
about 1 lb medium slicing tomatoes (about 5), cut into 1/4-inch dice
1         red pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
1         small red onion, finely diced (rounded 1/4 cup)
2         cloves garlic, crushed
½        tsp ground allspice
2 tsp  white wine vinegar
1-1/2  tbsp pomegranate molasses
¼        cup olive oil, plus extra to finish
1        large pomegranate, seeds removed
1         tbsp small oregano leaves salt

1.   Mix together all the tomatoes, the red pepper, and the onion in a large bowl and set aside.
2.   In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, allspice, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, and a scant h teaspoon salt until well combined. Pour this over the tomato mixture and gently mix.
3.   Arrange the tomato mixture and its juices on a large, flat plate. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds and oregano over the top. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and serve.

Green Chile Country-Style Potatoes
East Meets Southwest
Michael Fennelly

3       carrots, peeled and quartered crosswise
5       medium-sized russet potatoes, quartered
1/3    cup.sour cream
4       tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
5       dashes Tabasco sauce
¼      cup chopped green onion, including 2 inch of green tops           
½      cup chopped fresh green chile
Pinch cayenne pepper
1       teaspoon kosher salt
½     teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To make the mashed potatoes, combine the carrots, potatoes, and water to cover in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes; test with a fork.

Preheat the oven to 200°F. Drain carrots and potatoes and coarsely mash with a hand masher or in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Add all the remaining mashed potato ingredients and continue to mash until desired smoothness is achieved. Taste and correct seasonings; cover and keep warm in the oven.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Rigatoni With White Bolognese

I really liked this pasta: Rigatoni With White Bolognese. The sauce is delicious! This is one of those pasta dishes where the sauce is combined with the noodles and mixed before serving. Not all pasta sauces need tomatoes! You can find the recipe on our blog of: March 30, 2017. Click the date to get the recipe.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fettuccine with Rock Shrimp, Corn & Jalapeno

We decided to make a summer pasta when corn as at its best. Fettuccine with Rock Shrimp, Corn & Jalapeno is excellent. The sweetness of the corn is offset to the tanginess of the shrimp. You can find the recipe on our blog of: July 24, 2013. Click the date to get the recipe.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


We started with a Pear and Burrata Salad. Pears have just come into season.

We then had a wonderful preparation of Swordfish: Grilled Swordfish with Beurre Noir from The Balthazar Cookbook. We purchased the Swordfish from McCall's Meat and Fish.

On a rainy Saturday in New York City, Cathy and I dashed into the restaurant Balthazar to get out of the sudden downpour. We had lunch, it was delicious and memorable. I am not sure if we had purchased their cookbook before or after that lunch, but every time we cook from it, I remember that day. Almost all of the recipes in the book are excellent, and most are relatively easy to make. I highly recommend this one. You can find the recipe on our blog of: October 29, 2012. Click the date to get the recipe.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mushroom Lasagna

We made this recipe for Mushroom Lasagna. The recipe read better than it tasted to us. I think it was a little too moist. I guess I like a dryer Lasagna.

Mushroom Lasagna
New York Times

This lasagna tastes very rich, even though it really isn’t. It combines an olive oil béchamel with a simple mushroom ragout and Parmesan cheese. I prefer no-boil lasagna noodles because they’re lighter than regular lasagna noodles. But I still boil them because I think the results are better if they’re cooked until they’re flexible (a couple of minutes) first.



1 ounce about 1 cup dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
½ cup fruity red wine, such as a Côtes du Rhône or Syrah
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
 Freshly ground pepper


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced shallot or onion
2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour
2 cups milk (may use low-fat milk)
 freshly ground pepper

½ pound no-boil lasagna noodles
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated 1 cup
 A few leaves of fresh sage(optional)

1.   Place the dried mushrooms in a glass measuring cup and pour 2 cups boiling water over them. Let soak 30 minutes, while you prepare the other ingredients. Place a strainer over a bowl, line it with cheesecloth or paper towels, and drain the mushrooms. Squeeze the mushrooms over the strainer to extract all the flavorful juices. If using shiitakes, cut away and discard the stems. Then rinse the mushrooms, away from the bowl with the soaking liquid, until they are free of sand. Squeeze dry and set aside. Chop coarsely. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid and set aside.
2.   Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add the shallots or onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir together for about 30 seconds, then add the fresh and reconstituted mushrooms and salt to taste. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms begin to soften and to sweat, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and turn the heat to high. Cook, stirring, until the liquid boils down and glazes the mushrooms, 5 to 10 minutes. Add thyme and stir in the mushroom soaking liquid. Bring to a simmer, add salt, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the mushrooms are thoroughly tender and fragrant and the surrounding broth has reduced by a little more than half, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in some freshly ground pepper, taste and adjust salt.
3.   Meanwhile, make the béchamel. Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. Add the shallot or onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until smooth and bubbling, but not browned. It should have the texture of wet sand. Whisk in the milk all at once and bring to a simmer, whisking all the while, until the mixture begins to thicken. Turn the heat to very low and simmer, stirring often with a whisk and scraping the bottom and edges of the pan with a rubber spatula, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce is thick and has lost its raw-flour taste. Season with salt and pepper. Strain while hot into the pan with the mushrooms.

4.   Assemble the lasagna. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil or butter a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously and add 3 or 4 lasagna noodles, just the number you need for one layer. Cook only until flexible, and using tongs or a skimmer, remove from the pan and set on a kitchen towel to drain. Spoon a thin layer of béchamel and mushrooms over the bottom of the dish. Top with a layer of noodles. Spread a ladleful of the mushroom/béchamel mixture over the noodles and top with a layer of Parmesan. Cook the next layer of noodles and continue to repeat the layers (I get three layers in my pan), ending with a layer of the mushroom/béchamel mixture topped with Parmesan.  Cover with foil and place in the oven. Bake 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and if you want the edges of the noodles crispy and the top lightly browned, continue to bake uncovered for another 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot or warm.