Friday, April 19th, 2013

Field Greens with Roasted Beets and Fresh Sheep’s Cheese

From James Beard Award winning Chef Melissa Kelly’s new book Mediterranean Women Stay Slim, Too, this healthy and fresh salad is super during the Spring, when beets are peaking.


  • 2 shallots, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 fresh beets, any type
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil (torn into bite size pieces)
  • 2 sprigs fresh Italian parsley (pick the leaves from the stems)
  • 1/2 bunch fresh chives, snipped into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 heads Belgian endive
  • 1/4 pound fresh sheep’s cheese (or goat cheese)


  • Cutting Board, Knife
  • Aluminum foil
  • Bowls for greens, vinaigrette


  1. First, make the vinaigrette. Place the shallots in a bowl and add the vinegars. Season with salt and pepper and let sit 15-20 minutes. Whisk in the olive oil and adjust the seasonings to taste. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the beets. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the beets and wrap each one in foil. Roast for about 1 hour or until a knife slides in with ease. Set aside to cool. When cool, peel the beets and cut into wedges. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the mesclun greens, basil, parsley, and chives. Pour half the vinaigrette over the greens and toss until all the greens are coated.
  4. To assemble the salads, arrange the endive on a platter or on four individual salad plates so that the leaves form a flower-petal pattern around the edge of the plate. Pie the salad greens in the middle. Arrange the beets on top of the salad greens and drizzle the beets with the remaining vinaigrette. Crumble the cheese over the top and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. You may serve it with crusty bread or pita wedges.

*Serves 4

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Seared Alaskan Halibut over Fork-Mashed Purple Potatoes, Whole Roasted Carrots and a Lemon Dijon Sauce.

Ingredients, Purple Potatoes

  • 1 pound Purple Majesty or other purple potatoes, washed
  • 4 small shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons good extra-virgin olive oil (we used half, and it was plenty for us)
  • Fleur de sel to taste
  • White pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Ingredients, Lemon Dijon Sauce

  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Fresh Herbs (I used more parsley but this is a versatile sauce)
  • 4 portions halibut fillet, each about 6 ounces

Ingredients, Roasted Carrots

  • 1 pound (medium) whole carrots, fronds removed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  • Baking Dish, Oven for Carrots
  • Stock pot, bowls for potatoes
  • Small Sauce pan for sauce
  • Large Saute pan for fish
  • Knife, Cutting board, and bowls for prep

Directions, Carrots

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. In a medium baking dish, combine the carrots with the water, garlic, oil and butter and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast for 30 minutes, until tender.
  3. Uncover and roast for about 30 minutes longer, until the water has evaporated and the carrots are lightly browned in spots. Transfer the carrots and garlic to a plate and serve.

Directions, Purple Potatoes

  1. In a large pot, cook potatoes with skins on in heavily salted boiling water until tender, approximately 15 minutes.
  2. Remove potatoes from pot, and peel them while still warm.
  3. Place potatoes in a large bowl and, using a fork, gently smash them, maintaining a fairly chunky consistency.
  4. Fold in minced shallots, lemon juice, olive oil, fleur de sel, and white pepper. Finish with parsley.

Directions, Fish, Lemon Dijon Sauce

  1. Melt butter over low to medium-low heat (do not boil) with dijon, add herbs (squeeze lemon into bowl for addition/emulsification before service)
  2. To cook the halibut fillets, heat a couple tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet large enough to hold them. Season the fillets with salt and pepper and saute until they are golden brown and cooked through, moist but still flaky when the thickest part of one is pierced with a knife tip, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  3. Add lemon juice and whisk to emulsify. Serve immediately.

*Serves 4.

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Poached Eggs

Currently loving the Wylie Dufresne method, but Alton Brown’s worked okay too and makes sense for 4-at-a-time kind of production. Or here’s Thomas Keller’s method. They’ll keep refrigerated for up to 8 hours in ice water, reheat in warm water but do not re-boil.

Shown above in a classic French lardon salad, or a Benedict topped with hollandaise.


  • Eggs
  • White Wine Vinegar (1 tsp per cup of water, other vinegar or lemon juice works too)


  • Ramekin(s)
  • Large Saucepan or Stock Pot
  • Big Slotted Spoon
  • Paper Towels


  1. Crack your eggs into a little ramekin.
  2. Bring a saucepan of water, with a little vinegar to help the proteins coagulate, to a boil, and then turn it off. Take a big spoon and stir the water vigorously in a circular motion, ten times or so, to really get it moving.
  3. Get the ramekin as close to the water as you can, and quickly slide the egg right into the center of the whirlpool. The motion of the water will cause the egg to wrap around itself, and you’ll get a really nice shape, and the watery bit of the white will break off and float to the top where you can skim it off.
  4. After about three and a half to four minutes, scoop out your eggs and put them onto a paper towel.
  5. Feel free to cut off odd edges with a spoon.

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Salmon with Fennel and Pernod

Think Licorice: Fennel, Anise, Pernod, Pastis, Absinthe, Sambuca, Ouzo, Arak…all that same sharp and sweet signature flavor. A one-pan meal, it’s Salmon with Fennel and Pernod, served with Bubbles.


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 large fennel bulb with fronds; bulb quartered, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices; 2 tablespoons fronds chopped, divided
  • 2 6- to 7-ounce salmon fillets
  • 2 tablespoons Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur


  • Large nonstick skillet with lid
  • Small bowl
  • Knife, cutting board


  1. Stir fennel seeds in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer seeds to small bowl; cool. Mix in butter, shallots, and 1 tablespoon fennel fronds; season butter mixture with salt and pepper.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter mixture in same large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add sliced fennel bulb and 1/4 cup water to skillet; cover and cook until fennel is crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. Uncover skillet and sauté until fennel begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer fennel to plate.
  3. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon butter mixture to same skillet and melt over medium heat. Add salmon; cover and cook 5 minutes. Turn salmon over; add 1/4 cup water to skillet. Cover and continue cooking until salmon is just opaque in center, about 5 minutes longer. Slide salmon to 1 side of skillet; return fennel to skillet. Add Pernod, 2 teaspoons butter mixture, and remaining 1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds; stir to heat through.
  4. Divide fennel mixture between 2 plates. Top with salmon; spoon remaining butter mixture over salmon.

*Serves 2

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.

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.

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