Category Archives: Main Course

Where to Find the Best Fresh Pasta?

The carb-y comfort of fresh pasta can be found locally, at exacting restaurants and pasta purveyors.

(To be published by South Bay Accent magazine)

One of the world’s most addictive carbs is pasta, from the dried, boiled spaghetti with red sauce from a jar that busy moms serve their hungry kids to exquisitely handmade noodles enveloped by made-from-scratch sauce in fine restaurants. Although it’s abundantly available in markets everywhere — typically dried or mass produced — pasta purists often seek out the fresh, local variety.  A must-have on Italian restaurant menus, pasta has slithered its delicious way into the happy mouths of patrons in many high-end restaurants in general, where a pasta dish or two is now common. Continue reading

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Utterly Delicous Albacore Tuna Crudo Recipe

“Crudo” is essentially an Italian way to present pristine raw fish — think sashimi but more interesting and varied — and this recipe is a winner.

Albacore Crudo with Strawberries and Nuoc Cham

This is a simple, absolutely wonderful recipe if you have super-fresh fish and want a quick way to prepare it.  Besides being utterly delicious, it’s pretty and lends itself well to adaptations.  For the uninitiated, “crudo” is the same concept as sashimi except the preparation is as varied as the cook’s imagination. While nominally an Italian dish, it’s prepared in all kinds of ways by fancy chefs and home cooks. In my dish, the richness of the fish is underscored by the light, slightly citrusy sauce with its Asian flavors, which I pump up a bit with the barest drizzle of lime oil.  The sweet/tart pop of strawberries goes quite well with this. Even if using strawberries with fish sounds weird to you, try it anyway and you won’t be sorry. Or use pomegranate seeds. Continue reading

(Recipe) Try Delicious Cauliflower “Steaks”

Cauliflower is definitely having a moment, being discovered in recent years by chefs and home cooks who resonate with its mild, goes-with-anything flavor and appealing texture. I love, love this veggie and cook it frequently, including making up recipes using a relatively new offering from Trader Joe’s called “riced” cauliflower that looks a lot like the grain and can be whipped up as a non-starchy substitute. TJ’s also sells riced broccoli but I prefer the white stuff.

Thus I was primed to like a new recipe from UK-based Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi that appeared in Bon Appetit that is the best thing I’ve tried from this popular cookbook author.  The dish consists of “steaks” of thick-cut cauliflower with a puree of the veggie underneath, punched up with a “salsa” of walnuts, capers, parsley and currants that takes the delightful dish into new territories of delicious. Continue reading

(Recipe) Easy, Delicious Chicken Enchiladas

mom-enchiladas

I fondly recall an enchilada dish my mom made that was notable for the colorful inclusion of black olives (the tasteless canned, sliced kind — she was busy) and sliced scallions.  Compared to the gloppy enchiladas in Mexican restaurants swimming in mud-colored sauce, hers was a pretty change of pace even though it probably relied on canned tomatoes and other convenient ingredients popular with her generation. So I set out to do a version with better ingredients.  Given that this is completely made up, I apologize for not having succinct amounts and detailed instructions. But enchiladas aren’t very hard to make so this should be easily put together. Note my alternative approach for the usual frying of tortillas called for in making enchiladas. Continue reading

(Recipe) Easy, Delicious French Chicken Entree

chicken with tarragon and creme fraicheThis simple entree — pan-roasted chicken breast with tarragon creme fraiche sauce — is impeccably French and ever so delicious. I saw it in a food magazine and tweaked it a bit. The most work involved is prepping and cooking the vegetables, so if you’re in a hurry, make just the chicken and sauce and serve with rice. Continue reading

(Recipe) Black Olive Caramel – Simple and Tasty “Sauce”

black olive caramelIt might sound weird, but this combination produces a subtle, exciting sauce that’s particularly great with lamb.

During a recent trip to Seattle, I dined at Mistral Kitchen and had an absolutely delicious entree of lamb loin medallions with black olive caramel. This led to the inevitable task of duplicating the sauce at home, where I discovered just how easy it is to make.  Some have said it’s a Catalan idea, but I’ve seen it accompanying all types of proteins and even dotting some dessert plates. The flavors are deep and interesting; earthy, slightly bitter from the olives and not particularly sweet, actually, although what sweetness is there helps to round out the flavors and add complexity. Continue reading

(Recipe) Herb Salad – It’s Great as a Sauce!

DSC_0007Herbs make a mouthful of taste when used as a salad and work as a great counterpoint to many savory dishes.

Many sauces include herbs as a key flavor agent — hollandaise and pesto are just the beginning — so why not lighten things up and use just the herbs?  It’s less crazy than it seems once you’ve tried it.  Plus, a little pile of lightly dressed greenery is a lovely addition to a plate. Continue reading