Thursday, June 24, 2021

Chicken with Figs


We love Little Gem Lettuce and this recipe for Garlicky Almond Dressing was excellent. We then had leftover: Chicken with Figs Figs are fresh twice in the year. This is an absolute favorite recipe for us. You can get the recipe on our blog of: June 27, 2007. Click the date to get the recipe.

Little Gems Salad with Garlicky Almond Dressing

New York Times


This tart, garlicky dressing is made with toasted almonds and sherry vinegar for a simple but delicious green salad. Little Gem lettuce, a cross between romaine and butter lettuce, has become justly popular for a crunchy salad. Crisp and bright green with small crinkly leaves, it won’t immediately wilt when dressed. If unavailable, look for similar small sturdy heads of lettuce or choose hearts of romaine.





4 to 6    heads of Little Gem lettuce (more, if very small)

¼          cup crushed toasted almonds (See Tip)

3           tablespoons sherry vinegar

2           garlic cloves, minced

½          cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper




1.            Remove wilted exterior leaves from each head of lettuce. Cut stems from the lettuce heads, separate leaves and swish in a large basin of cold water, letting any sand or dirt sink to the bottom. Lift the leaves from the water and transfer to a colander. Shake away excess water. Wrap in kitchen towels to dry or use a salad spinner.

2.            Make the dressing: Put almonds, vinegar and garlic in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

3.            Put leaves in a wide salad bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Dress lightly just before serving, using 2 or 3 tablespoons of dressing and coating leaves well. Taste and add more dressing as necessary. Store any remaining dressing in refrigerator for up to 3 days.



To toast almonds, place them in a pie pan in a single layer, and place them in a 400-degree oven. Shake the pan occasionally and bake until almonds are fragrant, crisp and browned, about 10 minutes. To test, cut an almond in half to see that the interior is light brown.


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Lentil Pasta

Sliced Tomatoes before cooking

Tomatoes after Cooking

We were made Lentil Pasta. We have made the Lentil Pasta many times. If you are reading this, you have seen it repeatedly described. I hope you have made it. It is wonderful. 

In the summer when tomatoes were at their best we made several batches of Oven Candied Summer Tomatoes from: The Italian Country Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. We then freeze the tomatoes for use in the winter when delicious tomatoes are hard to come by.

We Candied the Tomatoes before we used them. You can find the recipe on our blog of: July 22, 2008. Click the date to get the recipe. It is easy to candy Tomatoes and they can then be frozen for future use.

I read an article about a new shape for Pasta: Cascatelli. Of course I had to try it. It turns out you can only purchase 10 pounds at a time. I did. I am gifting it to friends, I have so much. The pasta actually is rather thick. More like a thick lasagna noodle texture. I can't say I can recommend it, hence the gift to friends. You can read about here: Sporkful.

We started with a Nectarine Salad with Speck. We liked the smokey taste of Speck better than Prosciutto.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Garden Tomatoes, Chicken with Figs

Homegrown Tomatoes

We have a good crop of Tomatoes this year. We used our homegrown tomatoes to make a Tomato Salad with Burrata Cheese. What a treat to eat food from your own yard.

We then had a favorite: Chicken with Figs. Fresh figs are available twice in the year. This is an absolute favorite recipe for us. You can get the recipe on our blog of: June 27, 2007. Click the date to get the recipe.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Salmon with Garlic Sauce

One of the few benefits of the Pandemic is finding some restaurants that have great home meal kits and ingredients. Black Hogg near us has been wonderful. They get the best meats and fish. This Salmon was perfect. They provide a sauce called "Liquid Gold" which is in reality Garlic and Butter. We paired the Salmon with left over sheet Roasted Potatoes. You can get the recipe on our blog of: September 26, 2020. Click the date to get the recipe.

We started with a White Nectarine Salad with Prosciutto

Monday, June 14, 2021

Spaghetti With Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce

Summer means fresh Tomatoes. One of our favorite pastas is Scott Conant's Spaghetti With Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce. It is so simple: Tomatoes and Basil. The key is the Pasta is half cooked in boiling water then immersed in the sauce to complete the pasta cooking as it absorbs the sauce directly into the pasta. The other key is to use an excellent Parmesan Cheese. You can the recipe on our blog of: September 16, 2019. Click the date to get the recipe.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Grilled Steak with Tokyo Negi and Oca Potatoes

We discovered Girl and Dug. They are located both near San Diego and in Oregon State. I can't overstate this: They have the best produce we have ever purchased. They don't have a store, but ship directly to you,  in refrigerated boxes, overnight. The foods arrive totally fresh. They also have unique vegetables. They have a Potato that is absolutely amazing: Oca Potatoes. These were the creamiest best potato we have ever eaten. They are very small but amazing. We will always order them in the future when they are available.

I also learned a great cooking technique. Tokyo Negi are like giant Green Onions. Lay them on a cutting board and place a chop stick on either side. Then slice down till the knife hits the chop stick. Repeat along the length of the Tokyo Negi. This prevents the vegetable from being cut in separate pieces, but rather creates a flexible vegetable that absorbs flavors at the cut and cooks easier. We served the Girl and Dug vegetables with a great grilled Steak.

Try Girl and Dug!

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Shu Mai-Style Burgers

We love Shu Mai Burgers. Shrimp and Pork are excellent independently and together make for a perfect combination. You can get the recipe on our blog of: June 30, 2010. Click the date to get the recipe. We served the Shu Mai Burgers with Japanese Mustard, Rice and Pickled Korean Vegetables.

Friday, June 04, 2021

Steak and Asparagus Donburi

Among the vegetables we received in our box from Girl and Dug were Radishes. We found a recipe that used them (once we pickled them). We had left over Steak. We decided to make Steak and Asparagus Donburi. We were unimpressed by this dish. Oh well win some, loose some. Try it you might like it better than we did.

Steak and Asparagus Donburi

Washington Post


This Japanese-style rice bowl dish delivers in flavor and texture for the omnivore who’s looking to cut back on ounces of meat per serving. 

If making fresh rice, put it on to cook before starting the recipe. You’ll need an instant-read thermometer for monitoring the meat. Note: You’ll have nori butter left over, which can be brushed on grilled foods such as potatoes, scallops and chicken.


Total time: 25 mins.

Storage Notes: Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Where to Buy: The Japanese seasoning blend called togarashi is typically composed of dried chile peppers, dried orange peel, sesame seeds and more. It, the nori (dried seaweed) and the furikake (rice seasoning blend) are available on the Asian foods aisle of most large grocery stores.




Three 7-inch nori sheets

8        tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Pinch togarashi seasoning blend (may substitute furikake seasoning blend or bonito flakes; see headnote)

12      ounces sirloin steak

½       teaspoon flaked sea salt, plus more as needed

1        bunch (14 ounces) asparagus

Extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

6        cups cooked brown or white rice, warmed

Pickled radishes, for serving (see NOTE; optional)




1.    Tear up 2 sheets of the nori into small pieces. Working in batches as needed, pulse them in a spice grinder or food processor to a coarse powder.

2.    In a medium bowl, stir together the butter with the powdered nori and togarashi, until well incorporated. 

3.    In a large skillet over high heat, heat 2 teaspoons of oil until shimmering. 

4.    Pat the meat dry and season lightly with the salt. Add to the pan and cook until browned on both sides, turning the steak(s) over half-way through, until the center of the steak registers 140 to 145 degrees (medium-rare) on the thermometer, about 5 minutes total. Do not overcook. Transfer the steak to a cutting board to rest; keep the pan over high heat.

5.    While the steak is cooking, discard any woody or tough asparagus ends, then cut the stalks across in half and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with a little oil, season lightly with pepper and toss to combine.

6.    Add the dressed asparagus to the pan and cook, using tongs to turn them often, until a little charred but still a bit crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the cutting board with the steak.

7.    Divide the rice among individual bowls. Cut the remaining nori sheet into thin short strips and divide among the bowls. Cut the rested steak into 1/2-inch-thick slices, then divide it and the asparagus among the bowls. Brush the steak with some of the nori butter or, if the butter is soft enough, spoon it on top and let it melt. Serve with the pickled radish, if desired.


NOTE: To quick-pickle radishes, rinse 8 of them, about 4 ounces, well and cut into quarters, trimming them as needed. Combine 1/4 cup plain rice vinegar, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat, add the radishes and let sit for 15 minutes before serving or storing (in their cooled liquid).



Rotisserie Chicken Day 2

With 2 huge Rotisserie Chickens we had plenty of leftovers. We served the Chicken at room temperature. With the Chicken we made Asparagus with Parmesan Cheese. To make the Asparagus - place Asparagus flat in a pan of boiling water to cover. Boil 3 to 4 minutes until just cooked. Remove from the water and plate. Pour Brown Butter over the Asparagus and top with grated Parmesan Cheese.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Rotisserie Chicken


Click the Video to watch the Chicken Spin

We made a Rotisserie Chicken and Tom brought a homemade Blueberry Crisp. 

We like Rotisserie Chicken with its crispy skin. The juices from the Chicken drip down into the pan of Potatoes and Onions. Cathy decided to par-boil the potatoes for a few minutes before dicing and putting them in the rotisserie. In the past, sometimes the potatoes would not get completely cooked. This ensured that they would be perfect!

We stuffed the two chickens using the recipe for Roast Chicken for Two and from The Balthhazar Cookbook by Keith McNally, Riad Nasr & Lee Hansen. This is a great recipe that keeps the chicken very moist. You can find the recipe on our blog of: June 23, 2012. Click the date to get the recipe.

Friday, May 28, 2021

White Asparagus and Porcini Mushroom Pasta

Spring means White Asparagus imported from Europe. It is expensive but a special treat. White Asparagus is much more creamy than regular Green Asparagus. It must be peeled becuase the outside is tough. After peeling them, we boiled for 10 minutes then Cathy smothered them in Brown Butter before serving.

Porcini's are also expensive, but what the hell we are celebrating being alive after the deprivations of the Pandemic! We were able to buy the Porcini's and White Asparagus from Four Star Seafood. They ship it from San Francisco overnight.

It was a luxurious and satisfying dinner. Hope we can repeat it.

Porcini-Style Shiitake Mushroom Pasta Sauce

Marcella Cucina

Marcella Hazan


¾      pound fresh white cultivated mushrooms

½      pound fresh shiitake mushrooms

3       tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½      cup chopped onion

1-1/2         tablespoons chopped garlic

2                tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley


½      cup heavy cream

2       tablespoons butter

Black pepper ground fresh

¾      cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Enough sauce for 1 pound of pasta, making 6 adequate servings


Late in spring and early in the fall, puddles bring mushrooms, and mushrooms in Italy bring their gatherers, both professional and amateur, who scour the woods with bent back and a large potato sack in hand. As I am writing this, at the end of September in Venice, baskets full of fresh wild mushrooms are glorifying the Rialto market, display. mg porcini (Boletus edulis), yellow and black finferli (chanterelles), spugnole (morels), chiodini ("little nails,” a long-stemmed, densely clustered variety), and ovoli (orange-capped agaricus).


When Italian cooks say funghi—mushrooms—they are referring to the wild variety, because the cultivated ones are a poorly regarded synthetic version of the real thing. Ovoli are highly prized for salads; but to cook with, the intense musky scent and juicy flesh of porcini makes it by far the most desirable of all funghi.


When working with cultivated mushroom,  I try to find methods that will excite from them flavor reminiscent or Boletus, An example is the combination of dried porcini and fresh cultivated white button mushrooms that I discovered years ago; it is described in my earlier books. Recently I found that I could achieve a comparable result by using white mushrooms and fresh shiitake together. The exchange of flavor that takes place between the two varieties produces such a remarkable evocation of the aroma that one looks for in Boletus that, as long as I have shiitake, I am more peacefully resigned to the absence of fresh porcini from American markets.


There is nothing like olive oil for bringing out the woodsy accent from mushrooms, and that is how I start them. But I love to serve mushrooms with homemade pasta, whose porous texture thirsts for butter and cream, so I add the two in the final cooking stage to achieve both objectives, full flavor from the mushrooms and an elegant sauce for fine homemade egg pasta.


Suggested Pasta:  Any of the homemade noodles; the square ones known as tonnarelli, pappardelle, or fettuccine,


1.            Rinse all the mushrooms quickly under fast-running water. Cut the white mushrooms from cap to stem into thin lengthwise slices, detach and discard the hard shiitake stems, and slice the caps into thin crescents.

2.            Put the olive oil and chopped onion in a 12-inch sauté pan, turn on the heat to medium high, and cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until it becomes translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking, stirring, just until the garlic begins to release its scent, without letting it become colored any darker than a pale gold.

3.            Add the parsley, stir quickly once or twice, then add all the mushrooms. Add salt—do not be salt-shy if you don't want a bland-tasting sauce—turn over all ingredients a few times, then cover the pan and turn the heat down to medium. Cook for about 10 minutes or more until the liquid that the mushrooms shed has simmered away.

4.            Add the cream, butter, and liberal grindings of pepper to the pan, raise the heat to maximum force, and reduce the cream to half its original volume, stirring frequently.

5.            When the pasta is tender but firm to the bite, drain it, and toss it immediately in a warm serving bowl with the mushroom sauce. Add the grated Parmesan, toss thoroughly to coat the pasta well, and serve at once.


Ahead-of-Time Note: You can cook the sauce up to the end of step 3 several hours in advance. Reheat briefly before proceeding.



Monday, May 24, 2021

Roasted Chicken with Fish Sauce Butter

Roasted Chicken with Fish-Sauce Butter is a great recipe. It reminds me Zuni Chicken in a way, because of the Toasted Bread. I liked this sheet pan recipe. We will make it again!

Roasted Chicken with Fish-Sauce ButterNew York Times

Roasting chicken thighs in a hot oven is a hands-off way to achieve two of life’s greatest pleasures: crispy skin and golden schmaltz. And you want that chicken fat because it will crisp hand-torn bread into croutons. This meal is made even more lovely thanks to a bold but balanced fish-sauce butter that you whip up on the stovetop while the rest of the meal takes care of itself in the oven. Be sure to start with cold butter; the gradual melting of the fat helps thicken the sauce without breaking it.




4       bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)

Kosher salt and black pepper

2       tablespoons olive oil

¾      pound bread, crusts removed, bread torn into bite-size pieces (about 4 cups; see Tip)

1       tablespoon dark brown sugar

1       tablespoon fish sauce

1       tablespoon lemon juice

3       tablespoons cold unsalted butter, kept whole

Cilantro leaves with tender stems, for serving


1.   Heat oven to 450 degrees. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season lightly with salt and pepper. (The fish-sauce butter is plenty salty, so don’t overdo the salt here.) Arrange the chicken skin-side up on a sheet pan and drizzle the oil over the chicken skin, coating it evenly. Roast until the chicken is light gold and the sheet pan is pooling with hot, rendered chicken fat, about 25 minutes.

2.    Take the sheet pan out of the oven, scatter the bread around the chicken and toss gently to coat in the chicken fat. Place the pan back in the oven and roast until the chicken is golden, crispy and sizzling (you’ll hear it), about 15 minutes.

3.    While the chicken roasts, combine the brown sugar, fish sauce and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, occasionally swirling the pan or stirring the sauce with a wooden spoon, until bubbling vigorously and the mixture has reduced by about half, 2 to 3 minutes. This part is fun: Turn off the heat and add the butter, constantly swirling the pan or stirring with a wooden spoon, until all of the butter has melted and incorporated into the fish sauce mixture.

4.    To serve, scatter the cilantro all over the chicken and bread and spoon some of the fish-sauce butter over each chicken thigh, reserving some to add to each plate for dipping the chicken and croutons while eating (which is divine).



Many breads will work here, especially stale loaves that you’re trying to use up. Crusty sourdough lends pleasurable tang for instance, while chewy tender milk bread tastes comfortingly sweet. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Gochugaru Salmon With Crispy Rice


We made this Korean Style Salmon. I must have had a strong Martini, I don't remember if we liked it or not! Try Gochugaru Salmon With Crispy Rice and let me know what you think!

Gochugaru Salmon With Crispy Rice

The New York Times


Gochugaru, a mild, fragrant red-pepper powder, bedazzles this quick salmon dinner. As a key ingredient in Korean home cooking, gochugaru proves that some chiles provide not only heat but fruity sweetness as well. Here, that’s especially true once it’s bloomed in maple syrup, vinegar and butter. If you like shiny things, you may find great pleasure in watching this pan sauce transform into a mirrored, crimson glaze. Try to get long center-cut salmon fillets for uniform thickness and even cooking. Their crispy skin tastes wonderful with white rice, which toasts in the rendered salmon fat. To balance the richness of the fish, serve it with fresh, crunchy things, like cucumbers or pickles, or a big green salad.




4       skin-on salmon fillets (6 ounces each) 

Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal) and black pepper

1       tablespoon olive oil

4       cups cooked white rice, preferably leftovers

4       teaspoons gochugaru (see Tip)

2       tablespoons maple syrup

2       tablespoons rice vinegar

2       tablespoons cold unsalted butter, kept whole

Sliced cucumbers or pickles, for serving (optional)




1.            Season the salmon on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and sear the salmon fillets skin side down until the skin is browned and crispy, 2 to 5 minutes. The salmon’s orange flesh will begin to turn pale coral as the heat slowly creeps up the sides of the fish; you want that coral color to come up about two-thirds of the way at this point for a nice medium-rare. Carefully flip the salmon and cook the second side until the flesh feels firm, another 1 to 2 minutes. When you press it, it should not feel wobbly. Transfer the salmon to a plate skin side down and keep the pan with the rendered fat over the heat.

2.            Add the rice to the fat in the pan and spread in an even layer, packing it down as if making a rice pancake. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the bottom is lightly browned and toasted, about 5 minutes. You should hear it crackle. Flip the rice like a pancake, using a spatula if needed. You may not be able to flip it all in one piece, but that’s OK. Cook until lightly toasted on the second side, another 1 to 2 minutes. Go longer if you want crispier rice, but the trifecta of crispy-chewy-soft tastes wonderful.

3.            While the rice is cooking, stir together the gochugaru, maple syrup, rice vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. When the rice is done, divide it evenly among the plates. In the now empty pan, add the gochugaru mixture and cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until it bubbles up and reduces significantly, 15 seconds to 1 minute. It should look pretty sticky. Turn off the heat and add the cold butter, stirring with a wooden spoon or tongs until fully melted and incorporated into the gochugaru mixture. Pour this glaze over the salmon and serve with cucumbers or pickles if you’d like.




You can find gochugaru, or red-pepper powder, at Korean or Asian supermarkets and at most grocery stores, as well as online. It sometimes comes in larger bags, which is not a problem because it freezes beautifully and tastes great dusted over just about anything.



Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Rishia Zimmern’s Chicken With Shallots

This is a go to dish. We really like Rishia Zimmern’s Chicken With ShallotsIt is best when Cherry Tomatoes are at their best. It absolutely calls for a good hot crispy French Bread to dip in the sauce! We highly recommend it! You can find the recipe on our blog of: April 2, 2014. Click the date to get the recipe.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Asparagus Pasta

Once again we made Asparagus Pasta. It is an absolute spring favorite for us. We will make it many times till Asparagus season ends. You can get the recipe on our blog of April 17, 2007. Click the date to get the recipe. Add the to the list of dishes that could make me a vegetarian. It is an excellent and easy to make Pasta.

We started with a Necterine Salad with Toasted Almonds dressed with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar.