Posts from March 2014

Sun is Out, Let's Celebrate with Ouzo Mayonnaise Shrimp Cocktail, Smashing Recipe from Smashing Plates

Finally sun is out and it feels like Spring.

Let's celebrate with Greek flavors courtesy of Smashing Plates (Kyle Books USA, April 2014) by Maria Elia.

Maria recently made her U.S debut as executive chef of Jimmy's Restaurant at Landing Resort & Spa in Lake Tahoe.

Ouzo mayonnaise Shrimp cocktail

Serves 4

14oz cooked jumbo shrimp, shell on
3/4 cup Ouzo Mayonnaise (see opposite)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or dill
1 tablespoon lemon juice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch Romaine lettuce, or 1/2 head iceberg lettuce
(I prefer the Romaine leaf for garnish)
1/2 bulb of fennel, finely sliced widthwise
1 avocado, diced
paprika, for sprinkling


To serve:

1 lemon, cut into wedges
crusty bread and butter (optional)

Peel all but 4 of the shrimp, cut them in half, and combine with the mayonnaise, herbs, and lemon juice and mix thoroughly. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Select 4 good-looking Romaine leaves and set aside for the garnish. Shred the crisp inner leaves and mix with the fennel.

Place a Romaine lettuce leaf down the side of each of 4 glasses and place the lettuce mixture in the bottom, followed by some avocado. Spoon the prawn mayo over the top and sprinkle with a little paprika to add that retro touch! Garnish with the remaining shrimp and lemon wedges and serve immediately, preferably with buttered crusty bread!

This is a retro classic with a Greek twist that always makes me smile!

You could use crawfish tails, large prawns, lobster meat, or cooked octopus (see page 49) as an
alternative to the shrimp.

Ouzo mayonnaise

Don’t be tempted to make this with extra-virgin olive oil. It’s too harsh and overpowering for mayonnaise and also a waste of money. One option would be to use 1 cup of something like a grapeseed
or sunflower oil plus 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. For a quick version, you could of course add a dash of ouzo to a store-bought mayonnaise.

Makes about 1 cup

2 free-range egg yolks, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
sea salt
1 cup + 2 tablepoons light olive oil
3 tablespoons ouzo
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Whisk the yolks, mustard, and a pinch of salt together in a bowl with a hand-held blender (or by hand) until thick—if you sit your bowl on a damp kitchen towel it’ll stop it from spinning around. (Alternatively, you can make the mayonnaise in a blender.) While whisking slowly, add the oil a little at a time until it
forms a thick consistency. Stir in the ouzo and the lemon juice. Season with a little sea salt and refrigerate until required. Use within 3 days.

Variations: To make a lighter mayonnaise, stir through a tablespoonful or two of Greek yogurt. You could also add chopped fresh dill or tarragon, anchovies, or olives and some crushed garlic and use on new potatoes for a salad.

(* Recipe excerpted from Smashing Plates by Maria Elia -Kyle Books USA, April 2014- Photography by Jenny Zarins, all right reserved)

Smoked Pork Loin with Blackberry Chutney from 'Smokin' in the Boys Room'

Most of what, if not eveything, you wanted to know about smoking, hogging and flavoring meat, shall be found in Smokin' in the Boys' Room: Southern Recipes from the Winningest Woman in Barbecue (Andrews McMeel. April 8, 2014) by Memphis Barbecue Co Melissa Cookston. 

Smoke and chutney is on the menu for this first excerpt.

Smoked Pork Loin with Blackberry Chutney

Serves 3 to 4

I spent many a summer day crawling through weeds and fighting off chiggers and snakes just to pick a bucket of luscious blackberries. Blackberries are the flavor of my youth, and I still try to sneak out in June, when the berries are at their plumpest and juiciest, and pick a few to make into cobblers and jellies. This chutney uses blackberries to bring a rich sweetness and beautiful contrast to the pork.

Blackberry Chutney

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 jalapeos, finely diced (seeds removed for a milder chutney)
1 pound fresh blackberries
⅓ cup sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Pork Loin

1 (3 to 4-pound) boneless pork loin
3 tablespoons Grill Seasoning
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard


To make the chutney, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the jalapeño and blackberries and cook for 4 minutes. Add the sugar and vinegar and bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You’ll serve it hot here, but it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and reheated for serving.

Prepare a smoker to cook at 250°F with cherry wood. Rinse the pork loin and trim off the silverskin and excess fat. Sprinkle with the Grill Seasoning, slather with the mustard, and massage it into the loin.

Place the loin in the smoker and cook for 2 hours or until the internal temperature registers 150°F on a meat thermometer. Remove from the smoker, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, slice into 1-inch chops and top each with a tablespoon of hot chutney.

(* Recipe from Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room: Southern Recipes from the Winningest Woman in Barbecue by Melissa Cookston / Andrews McMeel Publishing, LCC 2014, Photography by Angie Mosier)

Arles Stays Up for 3 Days, Feria de Paques 2014, Easter Feria, April 18-21

Feria means fiesta in southern France so it is a good bet that Arles will stay up for 3 days during Feria de Paques 2014 (April 18-21).

Feria de paques

Besides corridas, cow races for amateurs are also on the menu, be agile, alert and ready to run if you think of participating.

Full program is Available Online (in French only).

6 Florentins from Crepe Dentelle to Ginger to Salted Butter Caramel, Henri Le Roux Spring Offerings

Caramel and Chocolate maker Henri Le Roux gives Swiss specialty Florentins cookies a French twist and includes them to his Spring 2014 offerings.

6 florentins

From Ble Noir-Crepe Dentelle to Ginger and Salted Butter Caramel to Honey Cherry, I am sure they will grace many cupboards...not for long...until they get devoured.

(* Image courtesy of Henri Le Roux)

Making Best of Bad Situation, Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival by David Pilling

David Pilling new book Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival (Penguin Press, March 2014) offers the author's take on contemporary Japan and how it strives to recover from challenges like its ageing population and natural disasters like the March 2011 earthquake.


Title is based on an old proverb. Japanese equivalent of making lemonade out of your lemons.

Read an Excerpt here...

Flexing brain and muscles for Tokyo Thursdays # 282

Previously: Get 21 21 Design Sight with KOME, The Art of Rice Exhibit, Tokyo, Until June 15

Sketching, Ferran Adria 'Notes on Creativity', Book out Now, Museum Exhibit Tour starts in Cleveland, Sept 26

Sketching is not limited to painters, sculptors and architects as Ferran Adria 'Notes on Creativity' shows.

Work is out in book form as Ferran Adria: Notes on Creativity (The Drawing Center, 2014).

"This publication accompanies the first major museum exhibition in the world to focus on the visualization and drawing practices of master chef Ferran Adrià. His complex body of work positions the drawing medium as both a philosophical tool--used to organize and convey knowledge, meaning and signification--as well as a physical object--used to synthesize over twenty years of innovation within the kitchen. Emphasizing the role of drawing in Adrià’s quest to understand creativity, the book features an interview between Ferran Adrià and Brett Littman, and also includes a reprint of the artist Richard Hamilton’s essay about the relationship of food to contemporary art and Adrià’s participation in Documenta 12 that first appeared in Food for Thought: Thought for Food (2009)."


The museum exhibit tour starts at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, OH, September 26, 2014 - January 18, 2015 followed by Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN, Sept 17, 2015 - January 3, 2016; and Marres House for Contemporary Culture, Maastricht, The Netherlands, March 20 - June 12, 2016.

No-Bake One Bite Vanilla Almond Butter Cups from Almonds Every Which Way

Allergic to dairy or just taking a breather from it, Almonds Every Which WayMore than 150 Healthy-Delicious Almond Milk, Almond Flour and Almond Butter Recipes (Da Capo Lifelong, March 2014) by Cheeky Kitchen Brooke McLay offers alternatives.

This second excerpt (first was Creamy Almond Butter and Honey Apple Dip ) will work if your food profile is dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo, vegan, vegetarian...long list...

One-Bite Vanilla Almond Butter Cups

(Dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo, vegan, vegetarian)

These no-bake almond butter cups are super for Christmas cookie plates and for gratifying your chocolate cravings in a healthier way. The original version, inspired from a recipe in Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet, is made with peanut butter, but I think this almond butter rendition is better. Vanilla bean seeds can be expensive but lend such intense gourmet flavor to this recipe that I couldn’t help but add them. However, feel free to substitute 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, if you’re feeling particularly happy about having money in the bank, instead of spending it in the baking aisle.

½ cup butter or Earth Balance
¾ cup almond butter
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup raw honey or maple syrup
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1 cup dark chocolate chips (for vegan, must be labeled “dairy-free”)
¼ cup coconut milk
¼ cup chopped pecans (optional)

Special Equipment: Muffin tin; cupcake liners

Almond Bites

1. Place 12 parchment cupcake liners in a muffin tin. In a microwave-safe bowl, cook butter and almond butter together until melted, about 60–90 seconds. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs, honey, and vanilla bean seeds. Spoon the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner.
2. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and coconut milk. Heat in the microwave until the chocolate chips are melted, about 60–90 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir until smooth. Spoon it on top of the almond butter mixture. Top with chopped pecans, if desired.

TIP: Make It for You!
Go paleo:­Swap­the­graham­cracker­crumbs­for­finely­shredded­coconut. Use honey as the sweetener and add coconut oil instead of butter.
Go Vegan: Use graham cracker crumbs, Earth Balance Butter, and maple syrup or maple sugar. Grain-sweetened, no-dairy chocolate chips will make this recipe totally vegan.
Go Gluten-Free: Gluten-free graham cracker crumbs will keep this recipe celiac-friendly.

Makes 12 Almond Butter Cups

Per serving (1 Almond Butter Cup)
Calories: 286
Calories from Fat: 202
Total Fat: 22.5g, 35%
Saturated Fat: 8.6g, 43%
Total Carb: 20.2g, 7%
Dietary Fiber: 1.2g, 5%
Sugars: 12.4g
Protein: 4.7g
Cholesterol: 20mg, 7%
Sodium: 102mg, 4%

(Recipe from Almonds Every Which Way by Brooke McLay. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014, Photo Credits: Brooke McLay, Franklin Bennett, and Melanie North.)

Little Red Grains that Can, Les Petits Grains St. Nicolas de Bourgueil 2012

A new favorite red on my dinner table is Les Petits Grains, St. Nicolas de Bourgueil 2012, not far from Saumur in the Loire Valley.

It is 100% Cabernet Franc as all wines from St. Nicolas de Bourgueil appelation are.


Grapes for this easy drinking red by Frederic Mabileau were harvested by hand and certified organic. 12.5% alcohol.

Selected for U.S market by Jon-David Headrick Selections...

Lulu's Miso Salmon Recipe as Served at Lulu and Me Restaurant, NoMad, New York

When in New York's NoMad (NOrth of MADison Square Park) head to Lulu & Me restaurant and taste this recipe where it was created.

Otherwise give it a try at home.

Lulu’s Miso Salmon


6 6 oz. skinned filet of Scottish or North Atlantic Salmon

Miso Butter

¼ lb. unsalted butter at room temperature

¼ lb. white miso paste

1 tbsp. honey

¼ tsp. sesame oil

Mushroom Broth

3 qt water

1 ½ qt mixed, chopped and washed mushrooms

1 medium diced onion

1 carrot

3 ribs celery

1 clove garlic

2 sprigs each of parsley and thyme

Sauce for Salmon

1 qt mushroom broth

½ c. dried porcini mushrooms

1 tbsp. soy sauce

4 tsp. rice wine vinegar

Pickled ginger

¼ c. water

¼ c.  c. rice wine vinegar

1/8 c. sugar

Pinch salt

½ c. fresh ginger, thinly sliced and cut julienne

Photo (3)



Prepare mushroom broth: Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan.Bring to a boil.Simmer for 30- 40 minutes. Strain out vegetables. Reserve broth.

Prepare miso butter: Blend ingredients together until smooth Reserve 4 tbsp. at room temperature. Chill the remaining miso butter.

Prepare pickled ginger: Peel ginger. Slice into thin discs.Cut julienne. In a small saucepan, bring water, sugar and rice wine vinegar to a boil. Add salt and ginger. Remove from heat and let ginger cool in liquid.

Preheat oven to 400

Prepare Salmon Sauce: Rehydrate porcini mushrooms with 1 c. hot water. Let stand 5 minutes.Strain off porcini mushroom water. Chop mushrooms. In a medium saucepan, place chopped porcini mushrooms, 1 qt mushroom broth, and reserved porcini mushroom liquid. Bring to boil, simmer until sauce is reduced by half. There should be about 8 oz. mushroom sauce. Add 1 tbsp. soy sauce, 4 tsp. rice wine vinegar. Keep warm.

Prepare Salmon:

Lightly salt each salmon filet. Heat a heavy ovenproof skillet. Add 2 tbsp. canola oil. Sear filets skinned side up two to three minutes. Remove from heat.

Turn each filet over.Brush each filet with room temperature miso butter.

Place skillet in preheated oven for 5-6 minutes. Remove skillet from oven.

Place salmon on warm plate.

Pour off oil from pan. Wipe pan with paper towel. Add mushroom sauce. Bring to a boil. Whisk in 4-5 tbsp. chilled miso butter. Pour over salmon. Garnish with pickled ginger.

Instead of wine, you might want to try one of the micro-brews they offer.

For advice in beer and salmon pairing check Which Beers go Best with Salmon (Verlasso, October 2012) a Q & A on topic with 8 Brewers.

(* Recipe and photo courtesy of Lulu & Me restaurant, 253 Fifth Avenue, NoMad neighborhood, New York)

April Brings Sonoma in the City to NY, 200 Wines from 16 AVA, April 2, City Winery

Having a spring break of sort this week gives me a chance to catch up on office work and (more fun) register for upcoming wine events in New York City.

First in line, is Sonoma in the City which after stops in Los Angeles and San Diego brings 200 wines from 16 AVA's (American Viticultural Areas) to New York on  April 2, 2014.


Among the producers present are Anakota & Cenyth, Benovia Winery, Flowers, Gary Farrell. Patz & Hall, Peter Michael, Seghesio, Williams Selyem.

The afternoon Trade-Media tasting will be followed by Consumer Grand Tasting open to general public, from 6 to 8:30 PM.

Tickets for Consumer Tasting can be Purchased Online for $80 per person

Both sessions take place at City Winery.