Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Capellini with Fresh Ricotta over an Arrabbiata Sauce


  • 8 ounces capellini or angel hair pasta
  • 26 ounces (about 2 cups) tomato sauce (jarred or homemade)
  • 1/4 cup good quality olive oil, plus more for thinning the ricotta and drizzling
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta (preferably homemade)
  • Chopped parsley and grated Parmesan for garnishing
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  • Saucepan
  • Stock Pot and Strainer for Pasta


  1. Bring a large pot of salty water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. It will happen quickly with a thin pasta like capellini.
  2. In the meantime, combine the tomato sauce and olive oil in a saucepan to warm. In a bowl, mix the ricotta with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and enough olive oil to loosen it up. Spoon the warm tomato sauce into bowls.
  3. Use tongs to lift the pasta straight from the pot and into the waiting bowls. Twist it into high mounds, then top with the ricotta mixture and drizzle with olive oil. Top with fresh pepper, parsley, and Parmesan as desired.

*Serves 3-4

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Grilled Banana Leaf Packets of King Salmon and Yukon Potatoes with Herbs and Mojo de Ajo

A favorite as it’s versatile, impressive, delicious, simple, and a one-dish meal. You can ditch the foil for a banana leaf that also imbues a subtle flavor, and you can use any fish here, simply adjust the cooking time for thinner fillets.


  • 4 medium size Yukon Gold potatoes, about 1 1/2 pounds (Pick potatoes that are similar in size so that they cook evenly)
  • 6 – 6 ounce skinless salmon fillets, about 1 inch thick
  • 3/4 cup Slow-Cooked Garlic Mojo (stir before measuring)
  • Salt and coarse ground black pepper
  • Fresh herbs such as basil, chives, cilantro, lemon verbena, marjoram, parsley, thyme
  • Lime wedges
  • (Optional) 6 – 10 x 5-inch pieces of banana leaf (either fresh or thawed from frozen)


  • Grill
  • Stock Pot for Potatoes
  • Non-stick Aluminum Foil


  1. Put the potatoes into a 4 quart pot and cover with water. Bring the potatoes to a boil, and continue cooking until the potatoes are just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Drain and let cool completely. Remove the peel and cut into 1/4-inch slices. You can cook the potatoes the day ahead.
  2. Cut 6 – 12 x 24 inch pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil. We prefer the easy release non-stick version for this dish. Fold each piece in half to make a 12 x 12 inch square. With the dull side up, place 3 to 4 slices of potatoes in a row down the middle of the square. (If you’re using the optional banana leaf, you would place it down on the foil before adding the potato slices.) Spoon 1 tablespoon of the Garlic Mojo over the potatoes, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the salmon fillet on top, and drizzle on another tablespoon of Garlic Mojo. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the fish, then place several sprigs or leaves of whatever fresh herb you’d like on top. Repeat these steps with the remaining pieces of salmon.
  3. Seal the package by bringing the top and bottom of the foil up to the center and folding the two sides together. Fold the top over a second time to ensure a good seal. Double fold both ends to create an airtight package.
  4. Slide the packages onto a medium-high grill and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the grill and place on individual plates, along with several wedges of lime. Let each guest open their own package and add a squeeze of fresh lime over their fish.

*Serves 6

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Roasted Chilean Sea Bass with a Simmered Tomato-Habanero Sauce and Garlicky Mojo Side Salad

Habanero adds real complexity to a basic yet versatile roasted tomato sauce. It keeps for a few days in the fridge, but also freezes well, and as such is great to make over the weekend for weekday dishes such as this. Roasted the fish, spooned a healthy amount of sauce over (left somewhat chunky) and served with greens tossed in some Mojo de Ajo with lemon juice and zest.

Ingredients, Sauce

  • 1 1/2 pounds (3 medium-large or 9 to 12 plum) ripe tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rich-tasting lard or olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 small (4-ounce) white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh habanero chile, halved
  • Salt, about 1/2 teaspoon


  • Stovetop and Cast Iron Pan (or oven and cookie sheet for broiler method)
  • 2 to 3-quart saucepan
  • knife, cutting board
  • Food processor or blender


  1. Roast the tomatoes. The griddle method: Line a griddle or heavy skillet with aluminum foil and heat over medium. Lay the tomatoes on the foil and roast, turning several times, until blistered, blackened and softened, about 10 minutes. Don’t worry if some of the skin sticks to the foil.
  2. The broiler method: Lay the tomatoes on a baking sheet and place about 4 inches below a very hot broiler. Roast until blistered and blackened on one side, about 6 minutes; flip the tomatoes and roast the other side.
  3. Cool, then peel, collecting any juices with the tomatoes. Coarsely puree tomatoes and juices in a food processor or blender.
  4. Make the sauce. In a medium-size (2 to 3-quart) saucepan, heat the lard or oil over medium. Add the onion and fry until deep golden, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chile halves and simmer 15 minutes or so, stirring often, until nicely reduced but not dry (it should be an easily spoonable consistency). Taste (it will be wonderfully picante and nicely perfumed), season with salt, remove the chile if you want, and it’s ready to use.

*Courtesy Rick Bayless. Makes about 2 cups.

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Grilled Flatfish with a Salsa of Charred Tomato, Nopal, Cipolina, and Hungarian Wax Chiles

Not likely a salsa you’d use on chips, this cactus-based chutney of sorts was nice over a mild flatfish such as Halibut, but Chef Rick Bayless used a grilled Yellowtail. I marinated my halibut in a similar fashion, but I passed on the crispy chicharron (Mexican crisp-fried pork rind) he suggested to keep the dish pescatarian, but that would have added some much-needed texture and really rounded the dish out.

Ingredients, Salsa

  • 4 medium (about 8 ounces total) fresh cactus paddles (nopales)
  • 5 knob onions (about 7 ounces, I used Cipolina instead)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds (6 to 8 plum or 2 large round) red-ripe tomatoes
  • 5 (12 ounces total) torito chiles or hot banana/Hungarian wax/guero chiles
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • Salt


  • Tongs
  • Grill
  • Knife, bowls, and cutting board


  1. Clean the nopales. Holding a paddle with a pair of tongs, trim off the edge that outlines the paddle, including the blunt end where the paddle was severed from the plant. Slice or scrape off the spiny nodes from both sides of the paddle.
  2. Make the salsa. Heat a gas grill to medium-high or light a charcoal fire and let it burn until the charcoal is covered with white ash. Lay the nopales and onions on the grill and drizzle with oil. Add the tomatoes and chiles to the grill and cook, turning everything at least once, until the vegetables are charred on all sides and very soft, about 10 minutes for the nopales and 15 minutes for the onions, tomatoes and chiles. Cool, then peel the chiles and tomatoes, if you wish. Stem and seed the chiles, then cut them into 1/2-inch pieces and scoop into a bowl. Chop the tomatoes and nopales the same size and add to the bowl. Using only the white part of the onion, slice them 1/4-inch thick and add to the bowl. Sprinkle in the oregano and mix well. Taste and season with salt, usually a generous teaspoon and your salsa is ready to serve.

*Courtesy Rick Bayless. Serves 4.

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Seared Scallop in a Fire-Roasted Chipotle Sauce with Mexican Rice and “Bouquet” of Zucchini

I used this sauce, this technique for the zucchini, seared the scallops in this fashion, and made Rick Bayless’ Mexican rice but with a rice cooker. In my rice cooker I used 1.5 cups rice and 2 cups of broth.

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Garlicky Linguine with Seared Shrimp, Chipotle and Queso Anejo


  • 2/3 cup Slow-Cooked Garlic Mojo (stir before measuring)
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and (if you wish) deveined
  • Salt
  • 1 to 3 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 pound dried linguine
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped watercress, parsley or cilantro
  • 3/4 cup grated Mexican queso anejo, Parmesan or Romano


  • Saute Pan for shrimp
  • Cutting Board, Knife, cheese grater
  • Stock Pot with Strainer


  1. Fill a very large (6- to 8-quart) pot about 2/3 full of water. Add 2 tablespoons salt, cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, spoon 2 tablespoons of the oil from the mojo into a very large (12-inch) skillet. Set over medium-high heat. Pat the shrimp dry, sprinkle with salt and, when the oil is hot, lay them in the skillet. Cook until the shrimp just lose their translucency in the center, about 1 minute per side. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the chopped chile(s) and the rest of the mojo.
  3. Slide the pasta into the boiling water, stir, then let boil until the pasta is as done as you like—usually about 6 minutes for al dente linguine.
  4. Remove 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then pour the pasta into a colander set in a sink. Return the pasta and the 1/2 cup water to the pot. Scrape in the shrimp mixture, sprinkle with the chopped watercress, parsley or cilantro, toss together and divide among warm plates. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and serve without hesitation.

*Rick Bayless…Serves 4.

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Woodland Mushrooms with Mojo de Ajo

Great as either a tapa over toasted baguette (for mushroom “montaditos”) or as a taco filling, these hearty and satisfying mushrooms are great and impressive to serve in parchment packs.


  • 12 ounces mushrooms—I love a mixture of cultivated shiitakes and oysters with a handful of wild mushrooms (porcini, chanterelle, hedgehog) thrown in, sliced 1/2- inch thick (you’ll have about 6 cups of slices)
  • 2 large (or 4 small) hoja santa leaves (or 32 large epazote leaves, or cilantro)
  • 2 medium-thick slices of bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (Use Fakin’ Bacon for a veg option, or simply omit)
  • 1/3 cup Slow-Cooked Garlic Mojo (stir before measuring)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 or 2 limes, cut in wedges


  • Baking Sheet, Oven
  • Cutting Board, Knife
  • Parchment paper and Rafia for Packets


  1. Soak the parchment. Cut four 12-inch squares of parchment paper, loosely roll them together submerge them in a large bowl of tap water and weight with a light plate to keep them submerged. Soak 30 minutes.
  2. Form and bake the packages. Turn on the oven to 325 degrees. Lay the soaked parchment pieces out on your work surface. If using the hoja santa, place 1/2 leaf (or a whole leaf if you’re using small ones) in the center of each parchment square. In a large bowl, mix the sliced mushrooms, bacon and garlic mojo (throw in the epazote leaves that’s what you’re using). Sprinkle with the salt, stir to coat everything evenly, then scoop a portion into the center of each parchment piece. Gather up the corners of each one to form a pouch. Pinch the parchment together just above the mushrooms and tie securely with a piece of string or raffia. Slide onto a baking sheet, then slide the sheet into the oven. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling vigorously in the packages.
  3. Serve. Open the packages in front of your guests so they can enjoy the explosion of aroma into the room. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze on plus fresh tortillas for making soft tacos or toasted baguette for making montaditos.

*Yet another Rick Bayless treat…Serves 8 as a tapa or soft taco filling.

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Seared Fish Fillets in Fruity, Nutty, Garlicky Mojo


  • 2/3 cup Slow-Cooked Garlic Mojo (stir before measuring, include about 1/4 cup oil in this quantity)
  • 1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) coarsely broken or chopped pecans
  • 1 cup (about 5 ounces) coarsely chopped dried fruit—I love a mixture of dried apricots and prunes, though made with a single fruit it’s good, too
  • 1/2 cup fruity red wine
  • Salt
  • 4 5- or 6-ounce fish fillets – try meaty fish like halibut, snapper or mahi for good results
  • About 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley (or cilantro)


  • Large Skillet
  • Cutting Board, Knife
  • Sauce pan for Mojo


  1. Spoon a couple of tablespoons oil off the mojo de ajo into a very large (12-inch) skillet. Scrape the remaining mojo into a small saucepan and add the nuts, dried fruit, wine and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer over medium heat until the wine has reduced and the nuts and fruit start to slowly sizzle in the oil, about 5 minutes; reduce the heat to low.
  2. Set the skillet with the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, sprinkle both sides of the fish fillets with salt and lay them into the oil. When brown underneath, about 3 minutes, flip the fillets over and cook the other side until the fish is as done as you like—about 3 minutes more for medium-done halibut or snapper. Transfer to warm dinner plates. Stir the parsley into the fruity, nutty mojo and spoon it over the fish. Serve right away.

*Courtesy Rick Bayless. Serves 4.

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Orecchiette with Salsiccia and Roasted Peppers

Freshly roasted peppers give this hearty pasta a smoky taste. If you like, you can use jarred peppers, thinly sliced, instead of making your own, and skip step 1. To skin the peppers, char them and then cover tightly with plastic wrap. This will produce steam and make the skins come off easily. Note: When cooking pasta, save a little of the cooking water before draining — drizzling a little of it into the finished dish will improve the consistency of your sauce.


  • 2 medium red bell peppers, four flat sides sliced off core, ribs and seeds discarded
  • 2 medium yellow bell peppers, four flat sides sliced off core, ribs and seeds discarded
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound orecchiette or other short pasta
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  • Foil-Lined Baking Sheet and Oven
  • Stock Pot and Strainer for Pasta
  • Cutting Board, Knife


  1. Heat broiler. Place peppers, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; broil 4 inches from heat until charred, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; steam 2 to 3 minutes. Using a paper towel, rub off pepper skins, reserving any juices in bowl. Thinly slice peppers crosswise into 1/4-inch strips; return to bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook sausage, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Add roasted peppers; cook until heated through.
  4. Transfer sausage mixture to bowl; add pasta, butter, reserved pasta water, and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

*Serves 6.

All recipes stolen/borrowed from somewhere, butchered/adapted exclusively by CHEF BOY/R/C.