Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thanksgiving: Holiday of Food

I love Thanksgiving, its one of the only times of year that my propensity to make WAY to much food is considered apropos.

This year I went a little crazy even for me. Today's pictorial post is a bit of the tasty tasty evidence of my insanity.

The dinner menu: Housemade Tofu Roast, 24hr Brined Clementine Glazed Turkey, Slow Roasted Tai Snapper w/ Wild Rice -Date Stuffing, Brioche-Sage-Cranberry Stuffing, Vegetarian & Turkey Gravy, Mashed Potatoes w/ Crispy Shallots, "Brown-N-Serve" Dinner Rolls, Cranberry Gelee

My cooking adventure began on the Saturday & Sunday before the big day, that vacuum sealer I got from Mike a couple years ago xmas really came in handy.

Sealed goodness includes: Almond-Peanut-Sesame Stick snackmix,
Garlic Sage Cashews, Honey Truffle Popcorn, Almond Butter & Cranberry-Cornmeal Cookies &
Homemade Brioche

Homemade Brioche Fresh out of the oven

Housemade Tuna Belly Rillettes w/ Ankimo (Monkfish Liver, the foie gras of the sea) Butter.
Served w/ the brioche, microgreens and truffle oil

Another use for the brioche, mixed w/ sage and dried cranberries for a buttery delicious stuffing.

Tried my hand at making baguette as well. While its wasn't pretty it tasted great.

And paired wonderfully w/ my housemade chevre.

A beautiful sight ready for guests, Not pictured the 2002 vintage Josephine brut champagne.

My take on crudite, w/ housemade chevre dip & truffle-cranberry dijon

The Table is set

Its time for the bird

And of course its not Thanksgiving if your not stuffed to the gills, wanting to sleep but wait wait wake up its time for dessert.

And lots of it.
(not pictured: Allison's delicious apple pie
and my homemade vanilla ice-cream w/ cinammon-caramel swirl.)

It was indeed a day of gluttony, and unfortunately I didn't get pictures of everything I prepared but I think you (whoever you are) get the gist.

Monday, June 8, 2009

fromhils' Quick Chicken Recipe (Submission to @fandw)

RT @fromhils: @fandw chix leg, rub thym, truffle mustrd, oil. Brown chix. Chix+wedge potato w/ garlic-shallot in oven 375, 20m. Deglze pan sherry+butter 4 sauce

This recipe is one of my favorite old standbys. It is quick, very easy and delicious. The best part is that the short active time makes it perfect for a weekday evening diner party.

Roasted Chicken w/ Fingerling Potatoes

(Prep to Table approx. 45 minutes, Active time 15)

Serves 4


4 P. Organic, Free-Range Chicken

(leg and thigh, attached)

4 T Honey Truffle Mustard (Far West Fungi makes a great one:

10P. Sm. Fingerling Potatoes

4T Chopped Thyme - Fresh

1 Sm. Shallot (finely chopped)

4 T Olive Oil

1 Sm. Garlic Clove (finely chopped)

3T Sherry

3T Butter

Salt & Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 375°

For Chicken:

Clean and trim the Chicken as needed, leaving the skin intact

Mix together, Mustard & 2T each of the Olive Oil and Thyme.

Spread mixture evenly and lightly over the chicken (both over and under the skin). Salt and Pepper generously (preferably coarse kosher or sea salt & coarse fresh ground black pepper)

Heat a large deep-sided (at least 2") oven-safe skillet on high until just smoking. Place the chicken, skin side down to brown.


While the chicken is browning, slice the potatoes into small wedges and toss with remaining Olive Oil, Thyme, Shallot & Garlic. Salt and Pepper generously (preferably coarse kosher or sea salt & coarse fresh ground black pepper).

Once browned transfer chicken to a plate. Close the fire and deglaze pan w/ 1T of the sherry. Transfer the potatoes to the waiting pan and toss gently in pan juices.

Return chicken to the pan, skin-side up, placing directly on top of the potatoes, add 1T of the butter (cut into little pieces & spread throughout the dish) and approx 3T water (or white wine) cover and place in the waiting oven.

Cook approx. 25 minutes . Until potatoes are slightly softened and browned (a little bite should remain, the crunchy bits are delicious) & chicken is cooked through.

Transfer Chicken and Potatoes to a warmed serving platter.

Return pan to stove-top on Medium and deglaze with remaining Sherry, add butter and mix till fully incorporated. Pour sauce over chicken and potatoes.

Accompaniment: A simple salad of mixed lettuce w/ red wine vinaigrette

Wine: Serves well with white, rose and lighter reds. Such as: Elyse Rose 2006, Kistler “McCrea” 2006, or Hirsch Vineyards Pinot Noir 2006

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Chilaquiles Raul y Hilery

Years and years ago, back when I was a pastry chef at Wolfgang Puck's cafe at south coast plaza, there was a line cook named Raul. One Sunday morning he made breakfast for the kitchen crew. It was an amazing dish made with cheese, eggs and tortilla chips, I was instantly in love.

I would beg him every Sunday to please create this dish again. Knowing he was having a good laugh at me, a vegetarian at the time he assured me he was not using chicken stock. I of course knew better and simply didn't care it was that good...

I soon started making a variation of his recipe for Mike and I, whenever possible. Mike was similarly enamored with this Mexican peasant dish.

Now Mike and I try this dish, called Chilaquiles (, whenever we find them on a menu whether here in SF or on vacation in Mexico. We have come to realize that there are many regional variations of this dish, some covered in green sauce some in red and others with no sauce at all. Raul's version (as well as mine) is most closely related to what you find in Guadalajara.

Over the years I have developed my own variations, however it stays true to the origins of that first magical incarnation created by Raul.

With no further ado here are the pics and recipe hints for Chilaquiles Raul y Hilery.

This morning I had some blue corn tortillas that were beginning to dry out so the first step was to cut them into triangles and lightly fry them.

In a deep-bottomed skillet sweat (in 2T of butter) half a yellow or white onion and large clove of garlic, once they are just beginning to go transparent I add two sliced Serrano peppers -- cook covered. Mike and I tend to like things pretty spicy so i do not seed them, however the spice level can be moderated to your taste.

Chilaquiles a great way to use up old chips...

Once the onions garlic and peppers are fully cooked (about 5 mins) you'll add the chips, I used the blue corn chips I made earlier as well as the remnants of a bag of white corn chips I had laying around.

Stir to mix with the onions etc. then add about a cup of chicken or veggie stock. In this case I dissolved half a cube of veggie bouillon into a cup of hot water. Mix gently and simmer, covered, for about 5 mins or until the chips begin to get slightly soft.

I then add 2 diced Roma tomatoes, cumin, cayenne, salt, and this pico de gallo seasoning I get from the corner store, ah the beauties of living in the mission.

I stir gently and add about half a cup more liquid, regular water works fine at this point. Cover and simmer for another five minutes until the tomatoes just begin to fall apart.

Now its time for the greens, in this version I used an Arugula blend but spinach is excellent too. Toss with the other ingredients and cook uncovered until the greens are ever so slightly wilted.

Then pour in 6 lightly beaten eggs. Salt the eggs lightly and stir to begin scrambling. I usually cover for a couple minutes here, it allows the eggs to steam a bit as they scramble and gives a nice texture.

Be sure to stir often so the eggs don't stick to the bottom of your pan as most of the butter and liquid has already been soaked up by the tortillas.

Once the eggs are cooked to your desired consistency, I like them on the undercooked side, Add about 1.5 cups of a mellow cheese -- Jack works beautifully. Stir lightly and close the fire.

Once plated I add, sliced avocado, creama fresca casera, a smokey hot cause, a little cilantro and crumbled queso fresca. Served with refried black beans leftover from Nachos we made earlier in the week.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Rainy Saturday Baking

I had oginally planned to do gardening this afternoon but since the weather didn't look like it was going to cooperate I decided baking was in order instead.

Made my flourless almond butter chocolate chunk cookies and some banana walnut muffins.

First the cookies.

This is my favorite cookie recipe, I modified it from a flourless peanut butter version by Michael Recchiuti,

I love the richness of flavor created with the almond butter, the toasted almonds and rough chopped 70% chocolate for the chips.

The final modification is to combine fleur de sel and vanilla salt together and sprinkle a small amount on the cookies just after they come out of the oven.

The cookie in all its glory

For the Banana Walnut muffins I modified a recipe for banana bread from the new farm vegetarian cookbook,

The farm is a commune in Tennesee where an old friend of mine grew up. I always loved this banana bread, so I decided to try a muffin version. Ended up modifying to the point of near unrecognizability.

In place of the margarine the recipe calls for I used clarified butter, which was blended with medium brown sugar.

In place of the all purpose flour I used cake flour, which gave the finished product a cupcake feel.

For the bananas I froze very ripe bananas then let them thaw into a mush. Then I added toasted walnuts and some burnt caramel I had in the fridge.

After placing in the muffin tins, prior to baking, I swirled some additional burnt caramel around the mixture using a toothpick (for the mini cupcakes) and a paring knife (for the standard).

The finished muffin here is from the standard batch.

An afternoon well spent.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pizza Night

Two posts in one week. I wonder if that means I have finally shaken off my winter cyber-hibernation?

Had a good Sunday, went and picked up a bunch of veggies for my garden. I'll be potting them throughout the week.

I also got ambitious with dinner and decided to make pizzas with homemade dough and mozzarella.

This was definitely my best batch of mozzarella yet. The consistency, flavor and melt point were all excellent.

Took some pics along the way.

Here is a pic of the supplies I used.
I was able to find unpasteurized (raw) cows milk at whole foods.
I think this may have been one reason this batch was so good.

Here are a couple pics of the different milk stages after adding the rennet.
When the curd pulls away from the side and the whey is basically clear its time to start ladling it into a large bowl.

Pre-stretching/ post-draining

(modified the recipe and stretched once rather than twice, I think this helped with the melt-ability)

For storage, petite mozzarella balls in olive oil w/ chili peppers and parsley.

Pizza Pics:

Ingredients: Mike's had Dino Kale lightly sauteed w/ chili oil and fluer de sel, House-Made Arugula Pesto, House-Made Chili Oil, Fresh Mozzarella & a Fried Egg. Mine had Rapini lightly sauteed w/ chili olive oil and fluer de sel, Truffle Oil, Prosciutto de Parma, Fresh Mozzarella and a Fried Egg.

Both were served w/ a lovely Rose of Pinot Noir from Robert Sinskey Vineyards, Caneros.

Mike's pizza pie

Hilery's pizza pie

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I'm Back...

Don't have any new garden or cheese making photos right now. So thought I post some photos from the Taste of the Nation ( benefit my friend Steffi and I attended on Thursday.

fore warning I've said it before and I'll say it again a photographer I am not, especially once the wine starts flowing. I think you'll get the idea though. Remember clicking the photos makes'm bigger.

The Menu, sorry I know its hard to read, did my best w/ it but using crappy iphoto software and was pretty buzzed by the time I remembered to take a photo of it.

The line from were we sat, if you squint or click and enlarge the photo you'll see Jamie Lauren, Absinthe, Top Chef. Her Crudo of Kampachi w/ pickled peppers and lemongrass oil ended up being the favorite dish of the evening for our entire table (of course we all forgot to take a photo of it).

Our table, Steffi and I were assigned to table 62 and had great table mates in Rick and Luis.

And now to the food:

Grilled Asparagus salad w/ Meyer Lemon and Smoked Mozz by Koren Grevson, Avec Chicago

The soup, Onion Veloute w/ spring garlic puree and crispy frogs legs, Gavin Kaysen, Cafe Boulud NYC. Man those frogs legs were delicious.

Chris from Incanto, SF's Braised Beef Shank w/ Bone Marrow Horse Radish Creme Fraiche. This was definitely my favorite of the main courses. The next pic is all of the main courses, the snapper was good but wrapped in grape leaves and dill, which made it a bit bitter for my taste. C'est la vie.

The dessert prepared by Elizabeth Falkner, Citizen Cake, Orsen both SF. She called it Earth, Air, Fire. The fire was the chocolate mouse w/ Cayenne Pepper. The air was a meringue and the chocolate cookie crumbs along side were the earth. They had a nice explosive quality too, a "pop rocks" feel.