Monday, September 3, 2018

Red Grape Varieties

Monday, August 27, 2018

Braised Beef Short Ribs over Wide Egg Noodles

This dish is not unlike luxurious beef bourguignon, or beef Burgundy but is better as the meat is better. Dried porcini are available in many supermarkets, but don’t worry if you can’t find them. Many recipes use tomato paste in lieu of tomatoes. Gordon Ramsey tops his version with cremini mushrooms sautéed with wonderful crispy pancetta which is splendid idea. Julia Child and the French use baby pearl onions in the stew which further enhances the appearance of the final product. Go ahead, and try it, just do not use frozen onions as that have the wrong character producing the wrong mouth feel. The only laborious thing about this dish is that it requires time and attention but anyone with patience can pull off a fabulous result worthy of the finest French restaurant.

Olive oil, for frying
8 Large beef short ribs
4 Cloves garlic, chopped
32 Ounces diced tomatoes
1 bottle of burgundy (Pinot Noir), Chianti, merlot or zinfandel wine
1 cup chopped salted pork
Beef stock as required
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 Vidalia onion chopped
10 bay leaves
Fresh Thyme
Fresh Oregano
Fresh rosemary, chopped
Good pinch of crushed red pepper
10 Dried porcini mushrooms
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Balsamic vinegar, to taste at the end
1 Tablespoon of sugar, to taste at the end

Thicken sauce with wonder flour a little at a time, at the end of the cooking cycle. Chopped Italian parsley and chopped scallion greens to garnish

Preheat the oven to 360 F

Heat a Dutch oven adding a 1/3 cup olive oil when hot. Brown short ribs on all sides really then remove to a plate. Pour off all but four tablespoons of the oil. Add the mirepoix (celery, carrots, and onion) and salted pork cooking on medium until onions begin to clear. Add all the spices (except Bay leaves which are added later whole), salt1 and pepper and garlic. Cook one minute while stirring. Add diced tomatoes, dried mushrooms and all of the wine. Deglaze the pan, scraping up the bits at the bottom.  Cook on low until the wine is reduced by half 10-20 minutes. Add in the meat, bone side down. Pour in beef stock so meat is covered to a depth of an inch or so but not so the meat is covered. Tuck in the bay leaves careful not to break as these will be removed at the end of cooking as inedible) Place tight fitting lid on Dutch oven making a good seal (use tin foil if necessary.)

Braise short ribs in preheated oven for 2 ½ - 3 ½ hours, basting now and then until the meat is fork tender and falling away from the bone. During the basting, check the stock level, replenish with added beef stock as indicated.

Remove and discard bay leaves. Thicken sauce a bit with flour. Correct the seasoning as required adding a bit of balsamic and sugar, salt to taste. When the short ribs are ready, gently serve over buttered wide egg noodles topped with spoonfuls of the sauce and garnished with parsley and chopped scallion greens.

  1. Initially, use less salt than you might be inclined, as the salt pork is quiet salty. At the end, you will correct, as necessary.
  2. For variations, add port, brandy, scotch, Madeira to the wine reduction stage to bolden the flavors.
  3. Additional garnish might include a sauté of wild mushrooms.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Molly’s Dog Food

Molly is an active 5-year old 50 pound boxer with a high metabolism.

7 Cups  chicken stock
3 Heaping cups rice
¼ Pound butter
¼ Cup dried parsley
1 Cup carrots, chopped
1 Cup chopped green beans, or peas, or spinach
4~5 Pounds Chicken breasts
Chicken livers, sautéed and chopped
1 Sweet potato, peeled, chopped into smaller pieces
Oatmeal, 1 cup, cooked, the chopped
6 Hard boiled eggs, chopped

Cottage cheese
Mashed banana
Apple sauce
1/2 tablespoon of fish oil (Omega 3 Fatty Acid Fish Oil)

Cook carrots, parsley and chicken in chicken broth on low for an hour. Remove chicken and retain. Bring stock to a boil. (Should be about 7 cups) Add butter, green beans, rice, chopped sweet potato, stir briefly. Add lid, bring to a boil, place in a 360F oven for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the oatmeal in water, microwave on high for two minutes. Set aside. Sauté chicken livers in butter. Set aside. Remove rice from oven then remove the lid. In15 minutes, fluff the rice with a fork. Chop the oatmeal, chicken, chicken livers, eggs, and add into a large bowl all these ingredients and combined with the cooled rice.

Separate cooked dog food into manageable plastic ware with lids. Freeze some for later.

Top individual meals with one or more of:
Cottage cheese
Mashed banana
Apple sauce

Monday, July 23, 2018

Monkfish Bisque

Pare this fine French Bisque with a Napa or California Central Coast buttery1 Chardonnay or a Viognier. This is an elegant starter for any meal especially a medley of seafood. Monkfish is called the poor man’s lobster” due to its sweet, firm white flesh. Do not infer that, somehow, that implies it’s a second class ingredient.

1 Pound Monkfish fillet cut into ½ cubes

3 Whites of leeks, washed, chopped
2 Medium Idaho baking potatoes, peeled, chopped
¾ Stick of unsalted butter
1 Teaspoon white pepper
½ Teaspoon each of tarragon and nutmeg
1 Cup heavy cream
2 Cups Free Range Chicken bone broth
Sea Salt to taste
Teaspoon of lime or lemon juice

Melt butter in a heavy sauce pan. Sauté leeks over medium until they start to clear. Add potatoes. Sauté and stir of five minutes. Add chicken stock and simmer covered until potato is done. Process to almost smooth with a post blender. Add white pepper, tarragon, and nutmeg. Add the cut up monkfish. Add cream, simmer covered for 5 minutes. Correct seasonings.  A touch of lemon brightens the flavor.

  1. These wines are put through a secondary fermentation process, called malolactic fermentation. This process softens the acidity and gives the wine the characteristic round, soft mouth feel and rich, buttery flavor
  2. Cutting the Monkfish into 1/2 inch cubes insures it cooks quickly, an important step.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Pork and Chicken Ramen

A traditional Japanese dinner or lunch, that serves the appetite and the eyes. When properly executed, ramen is proof that a chef loves his patrons.

1 Pound chicken parts (no giblets), well washed
5 Pounds pork neck bones, well washed
2 Large leeks, cut lengthwise, and well washed
2 Carrots cut into large segments
2 Bay leaves
2 Crushed garlic cloves
1 sliced piece of ginger
8 Ounces dried ramen curly noodles, boiled until al dente
3 Ounces baby spinach, blanched 2 minutes
1 Diagonally cut carrot segment, sliced vertically into equal thin slices
8 Sugar snap peas, pull string from stem ends, cut peas diagonally in half, and blanched 2 minutes
2 Large 6 minute free range soft-boiled eggs, peeled and soaked for 1 hour in equal parts light soy sauce and Marin
2 Diagonally thinly sliced scallions
2 Slices of broiled seasoned pork
Fresh tender shiitake or cremini mushrooms, sliced
4 blanched shrimp

Season hot broth to taste with:
Soy sauce
Rice wine vinegar
Fish sauce
Toasted nori pieces
Sesame seeds
Fried tofu
Bean sprouts
Kamaboko - Japanese Fish Cake
Optionally, brown sugar

Immerse chicken and pork pieces in ample boiling water for three minutes. Drain and wash with repeated rinses of cold water until water is clear.

Make a chicken and pork broth without salt by slowly simmering (low) chicken parts and pork neck bones, bay leaves, whites of leeks, garlic, carrots in cold water for five hours skimming the deep stock pot several times of scum. Use enough water to completely cover ingredients. Strain the stock and then refrigerate overnight to solidify fat. Remove all fat and pour off 90% of stock into a saucepan being careful to leave any solids in the bottom of the stockpot. If you want, clarify the broth.)

Cook the noodles al-dente in boiling water and immerse in cold water to stop further cooking. Divide the drained cooked noodles into two large portion bowls. Separately, and in turn, blanch carrots slices, spinach and snap peas.

Broil two seasoned thin pork cutlets (or use Char Sui) until just done on each side and keep in a warm oven. Sauté mushrooms in a little butter until tender.

Bring the broth to a boil and correct its seasoning with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce and Marin. Taste as you go while incrementally adding first soy, a little fish sauce, and then Marin first. Now add a bit of vinegar. Taste again. (Optionally also add a hint of brown sugar.) Ladle broth over noodles until bowl’s level just covers noodles.

To each bowl, attractively add the spinach, mushrooms, carrot slices, and snap peas each in a separate pile.
Ladle more hot broth over vegetables if they were added when cold. Drain the eggs, cut each one in half lengthwise and place in each bowl. Add a pinch of diagonally cut scallions, Kamaboko and sesame seeds. Arrange a slice of broiled pork. Serve the ramen with chopsticks and Japanese spoons. At the table, offer rice vinegar, lime wedges, soy and Shichimi Togarashi

  1. Shichimi Togarashi - Toasted sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, orange peel, white poppy seeds, Hungarian paprika, Chinese chiles, Szechwan peppercorns, ginger and toasted seaweed
  2. kamaboko - Japanese Fish cake comes decorated in many styles and colors adding a touch of elegance

Monday, April 2, 2018

Tex-Mex Enchilada Chilli Blend

Chili Peppers are blended for fruity, spicy, and aromatic effects to build the best possible taste. Ancho, Pasilla and Guajillo make up the “holy trinity” widely used through out Mexican cuisine. Add the smokiness of the Morita (smoked Chipotle) and the subtle fruity flavor of the Peruvian favorite aji Amarillo with hints of raisin, passion fruit and mango imparts additional unique flavor to the blend. To extend the spicy of the blend, we added ground hot New Mexican pods. As a variation, I cut back on the portion of hot New Mexican chili and add a single half-dose of ground Caribbean red Habanero which contributes a strong floral aroma. Using the Caribbean red Habanero variety will also add additional citrusy - smoke flavor. By adding beef bouillon, the flavor deepens for a more Tex-Mex flavor. Many of these powders are available from the Savory Spice Shop.

1 part Ancho powder
1 Part Guajillo powder
1 Part Mulato powder
1 Part Pasilla Negro Powder
1 Part Morita powder or use Chipotle for added smokiness
1 part Aji Amarillo powder
2~5 Parts of mild or hot New Mexico ground chile pow­der
1~2 parts beef bouillon (start with 1 part as is salty)
2 parts garlic powder

Over medium heat, make a flour and rendered pork fat (Manteca) roux. Stir in 2~3 tablespoons of chili powder mix. Add 2 cups homemade rich chicken stock stirring until smooth.  Cook on low for an hour, adding water as necessary. Corrent the seasoning using more of any specific ingredient as required including salt until the flavor is perfect. Add sour cream to mellow the end result, if desired.

Orrington Farms Beef Flavored Broth Base


  1. Aji Amarillo Chile is also known as Aji escabeche and is sometimes referred to as Peruvian chiles or yellow peppers. They are from South America, predominantly Peru, where they are the most commonly used chile. The chile pods are 4-5 inches long and burnt orange in color. They have a thin flesh and are medium hot, rating a 6-7 on a heat scale of 1-10.
  2. Anchos are the sweetest of all dried chiles. Also known as poblano when fresh, they are only a 1 on heat scale of 1 to 10. Anchos are the most commonly used chile in their native Mexico, long used to thicken sauces and spice up tamales. The dark rich color of the whole chile isn’t lost in the grinding. In fact, the rich burgundy color of ground ancho can be found in many spice blends.
  3. Moritas, moras and Colorado chile peppers - Chipotles are fully ripened jalapenos, meaning they’ve been allowed to mature and turn red on the vine. They are dried by smoking and it takes about 10 pounds of fresh peppers to make one pound of dried. They register about 6 on heat scale of 1 to 10.
  4. Ground Guajillo - In Mexico this chile is second only to the ancho in common use. This quajillo chile powder has a tangy, pleasantly sharp taste with hints of berry and pine. The guajillo rates at a 3-4 on a heat scale of 1-10.
  5. Red Habaneros chiles -  are one of the hottest varieties of peppers known to man, measuring a whopping 175,000 to 300,000 Scoville units. That’s a 10 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. Underneath its superior heat level is a papaya and berry like flavor. Use ¼ teaspoon to start with, then taste.
  6. Mulato - originates in Mexico and is similar in appearance to an ancho, but its flavor is sweeter and has smoky characteristics. This large, flat chile is chocolate brown in color and rather mild, rating a 2-3 on a heat scale of 1-10. Commonly used in mole.
  7. Hot Red New Mexican - This chile is of the same variety grown in and around Chimayo, New Mexico. Only select New Mexican red chile pods are chosen for this excellent tasting gourmet powder. There is great care taken with the production as all the stems and seeds are removed before grinding, leaving a slightly sweeter and much smoother tasting chile powder.
  8. The pasilla negro is called for in many traditional Mexican recipes. Fresh pasilla negro is known as a Chilaca chile but it is the flavor that develops as it dries that is sought after; rich and berry like with noticeable notes of herbs. This dark purplish brown chile powder rates a 4-5 on a heat scale of 1-10.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Dim Sum Spareribs (Pai Guat) with Black Beans

Dim sum is an integral part of Chinese cuisine  found all over China and in many parts of the West. Dim sum is usually served in the late morning through the early afternoon which  should be lingered over, in multiple courses which is a lively and varied meal. Pai Guat

2 Pounds pork sparerib tips1, cut into bite size pieces, soak in cold water for several hours
1 Teaspoons  fermented  black beans )(Douchi), rinsed in water twice
1 Tablespoon Shao Hsing wine
1 Tablespoon Sesame oil
1 Tablespoon cornstarch or potato starch
1 Teaspoon MSG
Pinch of hot red chile flakes (Crushed red pepper)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
2 Tablespoons oyster suace (optional)
1/2 Teaspoon ground white pepper
1 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 Teaspoons finely minced ginger (optional)
1 Teaspoon salt

Combine ingredients except black beans and red chile, mixing well in a stainless bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate at least 2 hours.

Plate 3 tablespoon portion on a small bowl that will fit within your steamer. Top with a teaspoon of black beans and pinch of red chile. Cover and steam for 8~15 minutes until done. Garnish with chopped spring onions.


  1. Sparerib tips available Chinese butcher (the tips of spare ribs have a significant amount of cartilage) but are meltingly tender, and fine gnawing when steamed.
  2. aka pai kut (kuat)
  3. Crushed red pepper is most often produced from cayenne peppers