The $100.00 Sandwich

3

The $100 Abalone Sandwich - Photo Courtesy of Eddie B., Brian L. & the Abalone Diving Crew

Guage, iron, float and fins,
Mask, snorkel, second skins.

Dive into the cold and dark,
Watch out for that Great White shark.

Why they cost a small nest egg?
Cuz you just might lose a leg.

Relax into the ebb and flow,
Or suffer a bit of vertigo.

Look for a foot that’s large and black,
Now pry away, don’t push it back.

Give it time to suction down,
And you’ll be down there ’til you drown.

If the legal size you fail,
You might even go to jail.

But score one for the frying pan,
And they’ll be calling you, “Da Man!” (Pathetic, I know)

Lay it on the sourdough,
With bacon, heirlooms and avocado.

Top it with an egg that’s fried,
And serve it up with joy and pride!

ABALONE!! No recipe necessary. It’s just one delicious (and expensive) sandwich!

Roasted Potato Leek Soup

5

Outside cold, a blustery, muddy goop.
Inside warm, a calming, hearty soup.

The Barefoot Contessa’s Roasted Potato Leek Soup
Why mess with perfection?  There is nothing to add to this delicious soup that would make it any better. Just one thing, make sure to clean the leeks thoroughly, otherwise you’ll be eating dirt soup. Make that two things, 6-7 cups of stock is a lot of liquid. I didn’t use that much, especially since the recipe also calls for heavy cream and creme fraiche. Wait, one more thing. A little bit of this soup goes a long way!

FOR THE SOUP

2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch chunks

4 cups leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned well (4 leeks)

1/4 cup good olive oil

Kosher Salt and Coarse  Pepper

3 cups Baby Arugula, lightly packed

1/2 cup Dry White Wine, plus extra for serving

6-7 cups Chicken Stock

3/4 cup Heavy Cream

8 ounces Creme Fraiche

1/4 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish

Crispy Shallots (see below)

Preheat oven to 400.

Combine the potatoes and leeks on a sheet pan in a single layer.  Add the olive oil, 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper and toss to coat the vegetables evenly.  Roast for 40-45 minutes turning them with a spatula a few times until they are very tender.

Add the arugula and toss to combine.  Roast 5 more minutes.

(Ina’s Recipe is a little different here but this worked perfectly well) Place the vegetables in a pot and make sure to scrape up the crispy roasted bits, stir in the wine and 1 cup of chicken stock.  Cook over low heat for a few minutes.

Unless you have an Immersion Blender, which is so much easier, transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor fitted with a steel blade, adding the liquid and about 5 cups of the chicken stock to make a puree.  Pour the puree back into the pot or large dutch oven.  Continue to puree the vegetables in batches until they’re all done.  Add enough of the remaining 1-2 cups of stock to make a thick soup.

Add the heavy cream, creme fraiche, 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper and taste for seasoning.

When ready to serve, reheat the soup and gently whisk in 2 T of white wine and 1/4 cup Parmesan.  Serve hot with extra Parmesan and crispy shallots.

FOR THE SHALLOTS

1 1/2 cups Olive oil

3 T butter

5-6 shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings

Heat the oil and butter in a pan over medium-low heat.  Reduce the heat to low, add the shallots and cook 30-40 minutes until rich golden brown.  Stir them ocasionally to make sure they brown evenly. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon, drain well and spread out to cool on a paper towel.  Once they have dried and crisped, they can be stored at room temperature, covered, for several days.

Serves 6-8.

Makloube (Upside Down) Lebanese Chicken & Rice

6

Years ago, I lived in Fresno.

Spent many a day, in a special cafe.

Ate only one dish, to vary no wish.

Home in each bite, the flavors so right.

To my dismay, the chef went away.

The doors were locked, I was truly shocked.

No bye declared, no recipe shared.

My palate bereft, just a memory left. :(

I made this dish today mostly from memory.  I know the chef used shredded turkey, but I had chicken on hand.  The tahini is also something I added because I have been trying this dish for years and have never been able to recreate the “sauce” if you will.  It was not laban or labne, although both would be delicious as well.  I also got a few ideas, like the eggplant, from Greg and Lucy Malouf’s, “Saha – a chef’s journey through Lebanon and Syria.”

This can be prepared in individual bowls but for a dinner party, turning it out onto a large platter makes for a spectacular presentation.

CHICKEN & RICE

FOR THE POACHED CHICKEN

3 Bone-In Half Chicken Breasts

1 large Onion, quartered

2 stalk Celery, cut in thirds

1 Lemon, cut in half

1 tsp. Cinnamon (optional)

2 tsp. Allspice (optional

2 sprigs Thyme

FOR THE RICE

1 Eggplant, peeled and sliced

1/2 cup sliced Almonds

1/ 2 cup Olive Oil

2 cups Long Grain Rice

5 cups of stock

Salt (see directions below)

1/2 tsp. Pepper

1/3 cup Sumac

1 small Sweet Onion, sliced very thin

FOR THE TAHINI

1 cup Water

3/4 cup Tahini (well-stirred)

1/4 cup Lemon Juice

1 clove Garlic

1/2 tsp. Coarse Salt

For the poached chicken, place the breasts in a pot and fill with about 6-8 cups of water or until the chicken is just covered.  Add the onion, celery, lemon, cinnamon, allspice and thyme.  Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn the heat off and let the chicken sit in the hot water for 20 minutes.  Take the chicken out to cool and reserve the stock for the rice.

For the tahini dressing, place all of the ingredient in a food processor.  Mix until well blended.  Taste for salt.  Set aside at room temperature.

For the rice, begin by placing the eggplant in a colander.  Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 20 minutes.  Rinse and pat dry.  Heat the olive oil in a pan and saute the eggplant on both sides, until they are golden brown.  Place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.

In the same oil, saute the almonds until they are lightly golden. Place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Lightly salt.

Pour the stock into a bowl and wipe out the pot.  Measure out 5 cups of stalk and add it to the pot along with 1 tsp. salt.  Bring to a boil.  Add the rice and then turn the heat to low.  Cook the rice for at least 20 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, finely shred the chicken.

Finally, when the rice is done, take a deep bowl and lightly oil the inside.  Begin by placing the shredded chicken at the bottom, about 3/ 4 of the way up the sides.  Layer the eggplant on top of the rice.  Spoon the rice on top of the eggplant and pack it firmly.  Place the serving plate on top of the bowl and quickly turn it upside down.  The chicken and rice should come out perfectly formed.  Place the almonds around the plate.  Drizzle heavily with the tahini dressing.  Place the onions on top of the chicken and sprinkle on about 1/2 tsp. sumac per individual bowl.  Serves 6.

Tortilla Española – Wordless (Meatless) Wednesday

5

Posting on this wordless day, I’m tired of talking anyway. :)


TORTILLA ESPAÑOLA
1 large Russet Potato, very thinly sliced
1 medium Sweet Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
1 Dozen Eggs, whisked
2 T Heavy Cream (optional)
Coarse Salt
Coarse Pepper

Coat the bottom of a *frittata pan, with olive oil. Add the potatoes, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and cook on medium high until they are soft. Add the onions and continue cooking on medium low until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Whisk the eggs and the cream.  Pour them on top of the potatoes and onions. Add 3/4 tsp. salt. Cook on medium low. With a spatula, gently pull the firming egg from the sides of the pan and let the runny part of the egg take its place to firm. Continue doing this until the eggs are no longer runny.

Place the second pan on top and flip the eggs so that the top is now on the bottom. Continue cooking until the bottom is nicely browned. You may have to flip it a couple times to make sure the tortilla is cooked all the way through. Serve warm or room temperature. Serves 6.

* If you do not have frittata pans – once the eggs are ready to be turned, slide them onto a plate. Put your pan on top of the plate and flip it quickly so the runny part of the egg is now on the bottom of the pan.

CHICKPEAS – NOT YOUR AVERAGE FRIES

7

Chickpea Flour Fries with Dipping Sauce

These fries are not the kind from France,
They make me do the Dubke dance!

Cumin, Sumac, Seven Spice
Aromas melding to entice.

These flavors from the Middle East,
Will make you want to grab and feast.

CHICKPEA FLOUR FRIES
4 cups Water
2 cup Chickpea (garbanzo) Flour
1 tsp. Cumin (optional)
1 T Kosher Salt
2 cups Vegetable Oil
1/3 cup Sumac

Place the water in a pot with the salt and bring to a boil. Add the cumin to the chickpea flour. Pour into the water and whisk vigorously until all of the water is absorbed and there are no lumps, about 2-3 minutes. You are looking for the consistency of polenta. Take the pot off the heat.  There should be plenty of salt but now is the time to taste and make sure.  These fries are all about the salt.

Line a baking sheet with a silpat or wax paper. Pour the chickpea mixture onto the baking sheet and spread evenly. Set aside to firm for about 30 minutes.

After thirty minutes, take a knife and gently cut the mixture into rectangular pieces. Use your judgement as to the size.


Add the vegetable oil to a deep pan. Turn the heat to medium high. Once the oil is hot enough (you will get a nice sizzle) add some fries (about 8 at a time) and cook until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside. Take them out and place on a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle lightly with sumac. Transfer to dish and serve immediately.

7 SPICE DIPPING SAUCE
1 Cup Yogurt (thin – not thick Greek style)
2 tsp. 7 Spice (found at any mediterranean market)
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Shatta (Harissa or any other hot sauce will do)

I would leave out the cumin in the chickpea fries if you are using this sauce.  There is enough flavor in the seven spice mix. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Place into a bowl for dipping.

YOGURT MINT DIPPING SAUCE
2/3 cup Yogurt (thin – not thick Greek style)
1 small clove Garlic
1 1/2 T mint, chopped fine
1/8 tsp. Kosher Salt

CHEESY BREAD, CABBAGE & KALE SOUP

4


Great food is more than just a meal,
It’s who you’re with and how you feel.

This soup was rustic, tasty, fine,
Great friends to share with made it divine. :)

This is Jamie Oliver’s Recipe for Italian Bread and Cabbage Soup with Sage Butter.  It is comforting and filling, and perfect for a winter’s night.  I made very few changes to the recipe.  I used anchovy paste instead of fillets, which I added after the bacon was adequately cooked.  After all the cheese (I’m sure I used more than the recipe called for) I could not bring myself to add butter on top of it all.  I’m sure it would have been lovely but I can assure you it was delicious without the butter.

As Jamie suggests, I layered this soup in a casserole dish but, if I were to do it again, I would prepare it in separate ramekins.

After layering, I would suggest keeping any leftover broth –  you may need extra to serve with each bowl.

Thanks to Gina at BowlLicker for so much fun in the kitchen.

RECIPE PER JAMIE OLIVER

  • 3 quarts good-quality chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 Savoy cabbage, stalks removed, outer leaves separated, washed and roughly chopped
  • 2 big handfuls cavolo nero and/or kale, stalks removed, leaves washed
  • and roughly chopped
  • About 16 slices stale country-style or sourdough bread
  • 1 clove garlic, unpeeled, cut in 1/2
  • Olive oil
  • 12 to 14 slices pancetta or bacon
  • 1 (4-ounce) can anchovy fillets, in oil
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked
  • 7 ounces fontina cheese, grated
  • 5 ounces freshly grated Parmesan, plus a little for serving
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Couple large knobs butter
  • Small bunch fresh sage, leaves picked

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan and add the cabbage, cavolo nero and/or kale. Cook for a few minutes until softened (you may have to do this in 2 batches). Remove the cabbage to a large bowl, leaving the stock in the pan.

Toast all but 5 of the bread slices on a hot griddle pan or in a toaster, then rub them on 1 side with the garlic halves, and set aside.

Next, heat a large 4-inch-deep ovenproof casserole-type pan on the stove top, pour in a couple of glugs of olive oil and add your pancetta and anchovies. When the pancetta is golden brown and sizzling, add the rosemary and cooked cabbage and toss to coat the greens in all the lovely flavors. Put the mixture and all the juices back into the large bowl.

Place 4 of the toasted slices in the casserole-type pan, in 1 layer. Spread over 1/3 of the cabbage leaves, sprinkle over a 1/4 of the grated fontina and Parmesan and add a drizzle of olive oil. Repeat this twice, but don’t stress if your pan’s only big enough to take layers – that’s fine. Just pour in all the juices remaining in the bowl and end with a layer of untoasted bread on top. Push down on the layers with your hands.

Pour the stock gently over the top until it just comes up to the top layer. Push down again and sprinkle over the remaining fontina and Parmesan. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper and drizzle over some good-quality olive oil. Bake in the preheated oven for around 30 minutes, or until crispy and golden on top.

When the soup is ready, divide it between your bowls. Melt the butter in a frying pan and quickly fry the sage leaves until they’re just crisp and the butter is lightly golden (not burned!). Spoon a bit of the flavored butter and sage leaves over the soup and add another grating of Parmesan. Such a great combo!


CHALUPA

3

 

Pork and smoky chile’s green,
Marry with the pinto bean.

Chalupa is it’s formal name,
It’s in my family’s hall of fame.

Cook the beans and shred the pork,
So tender you just need a fork.

Serve it at your next big party,
It’s healthy, spicy, warm and hearty.



This is a great recipe for an informal party. In fact, I might just make it again for Super Bowl Sunday. With 3 pounds of pork and 2 pounds of beans, it makes quite a big pot. All you need are the accoutrements, such as tortillas, guacamole, salsa, cheese and chips.
*Preparing this is easy but there are 6 hours of cooking time so you may want to start early.
*Read through all of the directions before starting because they are different depending on how you prepare the beans.
Thank you again, Mom, for another great recipe!

CHALUPA
3 lb. Boneless Pork Roast
2 lbs. Pinto Beans, dry
2 large yellow Onions, chopped
4 cloves Garlic, chopped
2 cans Ortega Green Chile
5 T Chile Powder
3 tsp. Oregano
1-2 T Kosher Salt
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 cups Chicken or Beef Stock
4-5 cups Water

To save cooking time, prepare the beans by soaking them over night in cold water. Rinse them thoroughly.

If you do not have time to soak the beans, saute the onions and garlic in a large pot coated with olive oil until they are tender, about 8 minutes.

Add the stock, water and beans. Bring to a boil and then down to a simmer. Cook the beans, onions and garlic for 1.5 hours.

If you soaked the beans over night, add them to the sauteed onions and garlic along with the pork, green chiles, chile powder, oregano and salt. Add the stock and water, making sure that there is just enough liquid to cover the pork. Bring to a boil, then down to a low simmer for 6 hours.

After 6 hours, the pork should be falling apart. Take it out of the pot, remove any remaining fat, and shred the pork into small pieces. Add them back into the pot and mix thoroughly.

Serve in bowls topped with tomatoes and cheese, in burritos with all of the fixings or with tortilla chips. Serves 12-15

POPOVERS with Rose Petal Preserves

6

 

From York the pudding came to Maine,
But changed upon its new terrain.

Beef drippings on the other shore.
Butter here at our front door.

No longer cooked in one big pan,
Small tins were part of our game plan.

The eggy batter rises high,
Gravity the buns defy.

Golden crunchy outer shell,
Velvet drapes inside do dwell.

Slather it with fruit preserves,
Honey won’t mess with your curves.

Just try one so that you can taste,
What those before us so embraced.

The best popovers I’ve ever had are the ones from the restaurant upstairs at Nieman Marcus in San Francisco.  If you have a chance to try one, I highly recommend it. This recipe is almost exactly the same except for the very small pat of butter that is placed at the bottom of each tin.  If you are using the regular-sized popover tins, it would be best to double the recipe.

MINI POPOVERS

2 cups Flour

3/4 tsp. Salt

1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

3 eggs, room temperature

1 3/4 cups milk, warm

1 T butter

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Spray the mini popover tin with non-stick spray.

Crack eggs into work bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk, and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until foamy and pale in color.

Turn down mixer to low and add warm milk.

Combine the flour, salt, baking powder.  Gradually add the mixture to the bowl and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Turn machine off and let batter rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

Add very small amounts of butter to the bottom of the tins and place in the oven for 2 minutes or until the butter is sizzling.  Remove the pan and fill the tins with the mixture almost to the top.  Place back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

After the first 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.  Serve immediately with preserves or butter spread.

BUTTER WITH ROSE-PETAL PRESERVES

1 stick butter, room temperature

1/2 cup rose-petal preserves (found at any Mediterranean market)

Just mix the two ingredients together for a delicious spread.  The preserves are good enough to eat without the butter!

Roasted Cauliflower

3

 

Cauliflower was just OK,
Until I tried a whole new way.

Break the head into it’s curds,
I love it when I find new words. :)

Pepper, salt and olive oil,
Set atop a pan with foil.

Bake for 30, add some cheese,
Broil for 5, done with ease.

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH PARMESAN CHEESE

Thank you to my mom, Karen, for this delicious vegetable dish. Although this cauliflower will also taste good spiced up, sometimes simple is better.

2 heads cauliflower, broken into curds (florets)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1  tsp. coarse salt

1/2  tsp. coarse pepper

3 T Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Place the cauliflower curds in a mixing bowl and add the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Mix until the cauliflower is well-coated with olive oil.  Transfer to a foil-lined baking pan (easy clean-up) and bake for 30-35 minutes.  Take the pan out of the oven and sprinkle the cauliflower with Parmesan cheese.  Change the oven setting to broil (high) and cook the cauliflower for approximately 5 more minutes or until the curds become brown on the edges.  Serve warm as a side or cold as a snack.

Potato, Onion, Gruyere Tart

3

Bought too many fingerlings,
What should I do with all these things?

Slice ‘em up into a tart,
That sounds like a decent start.

Add sweet onions, caramelize,
Gruyere will make this tart a prize.

Bake it ’til there’s golden crust,
Rosemary sprinkle is a must.

Slice it up and serve it warm,
Careful ‘cuz your guests will swarm. :)


My friend, Sara, from OneTribeGourmet, inspired me to make this tart when she posted a pissaladiere just like this but with different ingredients. I made her recipe and it was so good I thought I would make one of my own. Any potatoes will do, although I think Yukon Gold would be best. I just happened to have fingerlings on hand.

Potato, Onion, Gruyere Tart
8 Fingerlings or 4 Yukon Gold (medium-sized) potatoes, sliced thinly
1 sweet Vidalia onion (medium-sized), sliced thinly
2 tsp. fresh rosemary (and some extra for garnish)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. coarse pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
1 egg yolk + 1 tsp. water, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add potatoes, onions, rosemary, salt, and pepper to a saute pan coated with olive oil. Cook on medium for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are just tender. Set aside.

Roll out the puff pastry to the length and width of the tart pan and transfer it on top of the pan. Fill the pan’s wedges in with the dough. With a fork, prick the dough all over the bottom and sides. Brush the pastry with the egg wash.

Fill the tart pan with the potato and onion mixture and top it with the Gruyere. Place it into the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Garnish with chopped rosemary.  Slice and serve warm.