HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.
Showing posts with label California Cuisine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label California Cuisine. Show all posts

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Butternut Squash and Bacon Bread Pudding



         Last October, when I was out in California visiting my son Alex’s family, I picked up a freebie publication called California Home Design.  In it was an article about a wine making family in Healdsburg who, with the help of local chef, put together one of those classic wine country dinners.  Held in the middle of a vineyard, these parties are wildly photogenic as you can see in this photo from the magazine.  And the menus tend to contain things that this Easterner has never heard of before or at least in combinations that I’ve never even imagined.  California Cuisine, as defined by Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley and Michael McCarty of Michael’s in Santa Monica, emphasizes freshly prepared local ingredients incorporated into recipes that are often a fusion of cooking styles as diverse as the population of the Golden state itself.  Among the items on the menu at the Healdsburg dinner was a very different take on a Bread Pudding.  In fact, the ingredient list made me wonder whether this was savory or sweet, a dessert or a side dish.   So I set out to make it and to figure out when to serve it once I had.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tyler Florence's California Osso Buco with a Classic Gremolata



         When I started cooking Osso Buco, it was a sumptuous meal on a beer budget.  The Veal Shanks at the center of the dish were afterthoughts at the butcher’s counter.  It’s hard to imagine but I think they ran about $4.99 a lb. at most.  Andrew is fond of pointing out that I have no concept of how many years ago that was and that in 25 years almost everything is more expensive. But, like fresh tuna, which at one point was practically given away, the huge popularity of this Italian masterpiece has upped its price mightily.   Osso Buco means ‘bone with a hole in it’ and it’s gotten to be a very expensive bone.  But it’s a triumph of taste—the meat is tender to the bone, the sauce is filled with fresh vegetables stewed to perfection in red wine and tomatoes—even the marrow in the center of the bone is a guilty pleasure.   The recipe hails from Lombardy, the region that’s home to Milano, where it is classically served atop risotto.  Since risotto needs constant attention until the minute it is served, I use mashed potatoes instead.  Because I find Osso Buco is one of the greatest ideas for weeknight dinner parties.  We were entertaining my nephew, Michael and his wife, Valery who were here from Canada.   Leaving out the risotto meant I could spend all the time I wanted with them and then take all of about 5 minutes to mash the potatoes.   Like so many other braised dishes, this one too improves considerably when left a day or three in the fridge.  So it’s perfect to make over on a Sunday afternoon to serve later in the week.  I’ve published a recipe for Osso Buco before. So why is this one here?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fig-Almond Tart from Marinus Restaurant at Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley, California


  
         Andrew made this recipe not once but twice and it was big hit. He encouraged me to post it.  But for the life of me, I could not find it. I must have used every search word combination I could think of.  The truly pathetic thing is that Andrew keeps a log of everything he bakes. But that log was at the beach and we are in city most weekends this time of year.  I finally trekked out there on Monte’s Ham business and Eureka!  I found it listed in Andrew’s blue book.  Finally, I could post this wonderfully moist tart with its cake-like interior. Finally I could share its secret: Frangipane, a classic French pasty filling of almonds, eggs, butter and sugar.  At last I could give you a look at its beautiful fresh figs atop this perfect piece of pastry.  Or could I…

Monday, July 11, 2011

An encounter with Wolfgang Puck and his recipe for Chinois Chicken Salad


       
      I was fortunate that, for most of my Advertising career, I traveled very frequently and almost inevitably, first class.  My clients generally hailed from places where great restaurants were few and far between.  Whenever they would get to world-class cities, they reveled in staying in the best hotels and eating at top-rated restaurants.  It was heaven on an expense account.