Monday, October 5, 2015

Paella for Two... (More like two more lunches and dinner)

We had a lot of fun this weekend- although I do love hitting the town, sometimes a weekend in staying cozy and casual is just what the love doctor orders. Saturday night I attempted a Steakhouse recipe I saw on "Giada at Home"- boy that was an epic fail. The cornstarch flash frozen chops done on the brand new indoor grill came out looking like Uncle Fester. Ya know... white, fleshy and with a chilling sense of humor.

To make up for that culinary stroke of genius gone wrong- I went for a more intermediate dish that never fails in the "ohhh and ahhhh" department. Paella is a traditional Spanish dish, which was taught to me by a dear friend Jose, a Sous Chef at Fish. Restaurant. One day, we were bored in the kitchen and I asked him to share with me, his secret family paella recipe. Knowing that he thought of me like another daughter, I could see how happy he was to share and pass this legendary knowledge down. He got out his spiral notebook and wrote down everything his madre taught him. Immediately after work I crossed off my list and loaded my cart with a plethora of amazing bites. Thanks Jose!

Shopping List:

- Arboria short grain Italian rice
- Tomato paste
- Paella spice mix (Best ever can be found at
-Yellow onion
-Red Bell Pepper
-White wine
- Flour
- Bread crumbs
-2 organic eggs
- Chicken stock
- Spicy chorizo
- Diver scallops
- Medium shrimp
- Black mussels
- Little neck clams
- Soft shell crab
- Lemon
- Fresh parsley/cilantro
- veg/EVOO

Alright- Let's get to work!

1) Fill a pan with 4 cups of chicken broth, cover and simmer near by your paella pan. Also, at this time preheat your oven to 425. Sear off scallops- simply to brown- and set aside.

2) Cut sausage and begin to saute in an oiled paella pan set to a medium heat. Next add 1 yellow onion diced with one red bell pepper diced as well. Saute for about three minutes and add 4 cloves chopped garlic. Let everything combine for another minute or two and then add in two cups of rice. Coat the rice so the fats allow the grain to become translucent. Stir everyone around to make sure nothing gets stuck on the bottom. Add in a pinch of saffron and a nice squirt of tomato paste and stir. Add in 1/4 cup white wine and notice how your kitchen begins to fill with an exotic scent. Next, paddle in about a cup of broth. Continue to check in every few minutes and when you see the stock is becoming absorbed, add in another 1/2 to full ladle. Continue this process until the liquid is 85% absorbed. Turn off the heat and arrange the scallops, shrimp, mussels and clams to your liking.

2.5) Coat a large frying pan with a generous coating of vegetable oil- get it heated to a med/high temp. Coat the soft shell crab in an egg wash, careful they are DELICATE, and dredge in a flour and bread crumb mixture. Fry roughly 3 minutes on each side. Lay on paper towels and set aside.

3) Pop into the oven for about 12 minutes under a foil wrap. Use a timer and when the lovely mechanism goes off- your all set to enjoy! But first, garnish with lemon wedges, parsley and cilantro mix and your fabulous fried soft shell crab!

4) This may be my most favorite step- open a bottle of your most favorite Spanish wine. Cheers!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Frisee Aux Lardon

Bouchon located in Yountville, California is a particularly dreamy restaurant. Located in the small strip of the downtown area, Bouchon invites you to come on in and enjoy the best the region has to offer. I personally prefer to dine at the bar, as I enjoy seeing the raw bar and chatting it up with the knowledgeable and fun tenders of the bar. The French Onion soup is a MUST as are the Moules Frites- above you will see a classic French salad of frisee, lardons, poached egg, chives and a crusty baguette made right next door at the Bouchon Bakery. Visitors beware- the line at the bakery can be up to 30minutes to order, luckily the classic scenery makes the wait all the more fabulous.

Today I decided to recreate this lovely salad for lunch- and I'd like to share my recipe with you! 

Shopping List:
- Organic Fresh Eggs (Belcampo I swear has the best)
- Slab thick cut bacon (Belcampo again is the winner) 
-White Vinegar
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Shallot
- Crusty Baguette (Rustic Bakery) 

Make it on your own:
First off, I feel as though frisee is an under appreciated salad option. The bitter lettuce is available year round and can be found in all markets. I always like to rinse mine under cold water before plating to insure it's nice and crisp as well as bright and green. Rinse the frisee under cool running water, then towel dry and set aside. 

Cut the bacon into nice sized cubes, and place into a deep skillet over medium heat. Remove once the bacon is golden and pat dry. Reserve the bacon fat for the dressing- trust me, you will be happy that you did. Add diced shallot into the bacon fat and begin to sauté over low/med heat. 

With a large spoon remove the sautéed shallots, try and scoop out some of the yummy bacon fat as well. In a small bowl with the shallots and heavenly drippings, add a dash of white and red wine vinegar. Dress the frisee and add salt and pepper to taste. 

I have had a hard time mastering the traditional way of poaching eggs, so I found something that we can all do! Sur la Tab sells a handy dandy egg poaching device which hooks onto your saucepan and guarantees the perfect poach every time.

Next, top your dressed salad with a poached egg and garnish with thinly diced chives and fresh cracked pepper. Sever with some crusty bread and a glass of your favorite french wine. Jouir! 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Load Your Basket for the Perfect Summer Picnic

I'm reading posts all over the web saying that summer is over- well according to general rules, we still have until September 23rd, and if you live in the Bay Area you know that our summer doesn't technically start until September and usually lasts until mid October. That being said- there is still plenty of time to pack up your picnic basket and head to the beach to enjoy a day in the surf and sand. Picnic food does not need to be too complex; rather, it should be simple. It's about enjoying the time with your companions and mother nature.

Our top picks for the perfect picnic include: A chilled white or rose wine, dried & fresh fruit, a hard goats cheese, multigrain crackers, a prosecco cured salami, chili infused chocolate, bottled water and lots of sunscreen! 

(Photo Cred- The Compass Points Here @ Courtney Michalik Photography)