Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Summer Succotash

No longer just made with lima beans, today this dish is a colorful medley of vegetables, herbs, nuts and even chilies to provide a nice accompaniment for fish, fowl, or meat of your choice.
Homemade by Holman- Uses edamame

If you cannot find fresh fava beans, use shelled frozen edamame or baby lima beans. The salt pork adds both sweet and savory. If you like, try using crisp pork rinds (Chicharron1). Virtually any herb you like will add character including thyme, parsley, cilantro, chives, or basil. Nuts work well for another layer of texture; try pinenuts, pecan bits or toasted almonds. If you like hotter add favorite chilies. Crunch from uncooked bits of celery, mango or even cucumber are enthusiastically received.

1 Pound blanched fava beans, beans removed from pods
3 Tablespoons rendered pork lard
3 Tablespoons sweet butter
3 Cloves garlic, minced
½ Red bell pepper, chopped in ¼ cubes
2 Ears corn kernels
½ Small red potato, chopped into small cubes, cook until slightly browned
½ Vidalia onion (or shallots), minced ¼ cubes
3 Ounces salt pork, fried crisp, drained on paper towels
Sea Salt and pepper to taste
A chiffonade of basil leaves
Optional, sprinkle crushed red pepper
Optional, pine nuts

Blanch the fava beans in boiling water, cooking for 2 minute. Plunge into ice water, and, when cooled, remove and discard outer pod shells.

In a heavy frying pan, heat 3 lard then sauté salt pork until crisp. Remove to drain on paper towels. Now add onions and bell peppers sauté until onions clear. Add garlic and corn, precooked red potato and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the fava beans and butter, cooking an addition minute. Correct seasonings. If you like spicy, kick it up with red pepper flakes. Stir in a chiffonade of basil leaves and serve hot.


  1. Chicharrón is popular in Andalusia, Spain, and in Latin America and other countries with Spanish influence. It is part of the traditional cuisines of Argentina.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How to tell if Great French Restaurant

French is more than a nicoise salad and soup with bread. These are NOT a good indication of fine French cuisine. When I am looking for Great French is expect to see classic dishes that quintessentially say the chef has mastered great cuisine. I expect to eat several courses which may or may not begin with a soup or salad. Entrees are a chance for people slow down. The main course is eaten in leisure. Variety is an essential part
Of dinning. Entrees are a chance for people to relax a bit, slow down.  The main course is not eaten in a big hungry hurry. The menu should be thoughful and today are sustainable.


It is a great sign if some or many of these appear on the menu:

Quiche Lorraine

Baked Cheese Dishes

Cheese Soufflé

Onion or leek Pie

Onion Soup

Poached Eggs

Coquilles Saint-Jacques

           Foie Gras

Salad Lyonnais

Moules Marinières

Blanquette de Veau


Cassoulet of duck, goose or pork



Confit de Canard

Gratin Dauphinois

Oeufs en meurette (a classic dish of poached eggs in divine meurette sauce: red wine mixed with onions and/or shallots, seasoned with thyme, parsley and bay leaf and mixed with a few drops of Espanole sauce.)

Ris de veau (sweetbread)


If none of these items appear on the menu, its time to throw in the towel. Maybe you are in Malta.

It a good sign if they have a sommelier

They must have French pressed coffee on the menu. The desserts may include Apple Tarte Tatin, Clafouti, Chocolate Mousse, or Poached Pears.

How to tell if Great Italian Restaurant

Many establishments hope to lure you in with pasta and pizza mainly because they are low overhead high profit entrees. These are NOT a good indication of fine Italian cuisine. When I am looking for Great Italian is expect to see classic dishes that quintessentially say the chef has mastered great cuisine. Here are some criteria for suspecting a superb dinner.

It is a great sign if some or many of these appear on the menu:

Carciofi Romano
Cannelloni ala Romano
Osso Buco
Veal Piccata
Animelle (sweetbreads)
Abbacchio al Forno
Spinach Gnocchi
Frito Misto

Mellanzani al Forno

Suppli ala Telefono



Bucatini all’amatriciana

Coniglio all a Cacciatore


If none of these items appear on the menu, I am pretty sure this is some American Restaurant that maybe mediocre or perhaps not really Italian.


High-end places may include:

Chianina Beef - Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Aragosta Americana

Roman Entrées on the menu are a very good sign that you should try the offerings. Some of these might be bread soup, panzanella salad, puntarelle salad, fried zucchini blossoms,

It a good sign if they have carafe of the house wine that when you taste it you are amazed at how good it is.

They must have espresso and cappuccinos on the menu. The desserts may include zabaglione, Panna cotta, and tiramisu. They should offer a digestive alcoholic drink, such as Limoncello, amaro, or grappa

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Frijoles Negros- Black Beans

A staple of Mexican cuisine  Frijoles negros are easy to make, a great side dish to any Mexican meal or a filling for black bean burritos. One cannot compare the results of homemade to those that come from a can. Black beans do not need to be soaked.

1 Pound dried goya black beans
1 Spanish onion,chopped
2 Cloves garlic, crushed
1 Teaspoon dried oregano
1 Teaspoon dried summer savory3
Optionally, Aji Dulce, chopped1
4 Bay leaves
1/2 Teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 Tablespoons flavorful rendered pork lard
2 Sprigs of dried epazote2 (6 inch long) added the last 30 minutes of cooking
½ Sweet onion, chopped finely added the last 10 minutes of cooking
Salt and pepper to taste
Added as a garnish, Chopped cilantro

  1. Aji Dulce looks just like the fiery red habanero, but without the heat! Fruits grow to 1.5", with a wrinkled skin, just like the habanero. Retains the fruity flavor of the habanero making this pepper extremely popular in Central and South America for dishes needing that classic habanero flavor without its sometimes overpowering heat. 
  2. Epazote (akaWormseed) is an annual herb, native to tropical regions of Central and South America Its green jagged leaves emit aromas of petroleum and citrus while its flavor is pungent, lemony with a sharp finish that increases with age. Epazote is used in many traditional Mexican dishes (especially in Yucatecan dishes.) including tamales, mole de olla, salsa, traditional black beans, pinto beans and enchiladas. It is also a carminative, which means it reduces the gas associated with beans. To maximize flavor, the herb is added during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
  3. Summer savory is an herb that belongs to the mint family. It is the dark green, narrow leaves of a bush grown widely throughout Yugoslavia and the United States. Savory is one of the most versatile herbs and enhances almost every dish from soups, stews and bean dishes to succotash, cabbage and sauerkraut.

1. Aji Dulce - Sweet Chillies

Aji Dulce Sweet Habanero - A True Venezuelan Heirloom Pepper

When we mention “Aji” we naturally think of Peru the origin of many South American chiles  but today, Venezuela is supplying a seasoning pepper with a Sweet Habanero flavor. Ají dulce (South American Spanish ají, "chili" + Spanish dulce, "sweet"), aji cachucha or ajicito, is any of a variety of sweet perennial peppers found in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is most widely known in Venezuela, where it refers to a specific native variety of Capsicum chinense related to the habanero, but with a much milder, smoky flavor. In the english speaking Caribbean it is known as Seasoning Pepper and essential for a variety of traditional dishes. Taste: Sweet, spicy and pungent, absolutely delicious, with only a mild trace of heat! This is a fruity pepper with a sweet, spicy flavor without the heat.

Aji Dulce  Pepper #1

The rarer of the main aji dulce's, this variety bears flattened, pendant shaped pods that ripen to red. The wrinkled pods look like habanero's, but lack the heat. Flavor is very mild, with a little bit of heat, but with an aromatic and unusual taste that combines fruit and spice. The plants themselves bear well and are very ornamental when in fruit.

Aji Dulce  Pepper #1

Aji Dulce  Pepper #2

(Capsicum chinense) 15 seeds per pack. Looks just like the fiery red habanero, but without the heat! Fruits grow to 1.5", with a wrinkled skin, just like the habanero. Retains the fruity flavor of the habanero making this pepper extremely popular in Central and South America for dishes needing that classic habanero flavor without its sometimes overpowering heat. 

Aji Dulce  Pepper #2

Friday, September 29, 2017

Cream of Celeriac Soup

A seasonal winter soup to start a great meal.
The Fleming 55 Play d'eau. Beaucette Marina, Guernsey,  Channel Isls

3 Tablespoons sweet butter
1 Celeriac, peeled and cubed
1 Potato, peeled and cubed
1 Leek white section, trimmed, washed and roughly sliced
3 Shallots peeled and roughly chopped
1 Clove of Garlic, chopped
2 Cups homemade chicken vegetable stock
1 Cup heavy cream
White pepper and sea salt to taste
Lemon juice to taste
Chopped chives and a splash of Crème Fraiche for garnish

Trim the celeriac and remove the outer layer of skin. You only want the white flesh. Use caution as this root is tough and requires a sharp knife to cut it. 

Melt the butter in a large, thick bottom pot over a medium heat. Add the celeriac, leek, potato, garlic and shallots, sauté vegetables until they are starting to soften approximately 10 minutes.
Add the stock; bring the soup just to a low boil, then simmer covered until the celeriac is completely tender.
Use a post blender to smooth the soup. Reheat before serving adding cream and correct seasonings. Garnish with fresh chopped chives.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Haricots Verts French Green Beans

Haricots Verts are longer, thinner than American green bean varieties and tenderer and have a more robust flavor.

Haricots Verts are not the same as immature American green beans. They have a full green bean flavor early in their development and are tender at a thin size, unlike American green beans, which are much thicker and not tender until the latter stages of bean growth. The string bean was an ancestor of the American green bean and today these commercially grown green bean varieties lack strings.
Recipes vary, but steamed (or briefly blanched in boiling water) and sautéed in butter and garden fresh herbs (and or garlic) is common. These are also often served cold in vinaigrette.

1 ½ Pound thin green beans (haricot vert), ends trimmed                                                 
¼ Cup shallot, chopped fine                                                                       
3 Tablespoons unsalted sweet butter or 50-50 with olive oil                                        
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley                                                                          
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped thyme or lemon thyme 
2 Tablespoons chopped tarragon

Optionally, 8 ounces freshly toasted cashews  

Sea Salt and white pepper to taste                         

Trim Haricot Vert, place in a bowl of cold water, place bowl in refrigerator until ready to cook (at least an hour). Steam Haricot Vert in a steamer for three minutes then sauté in butter with fresh herbs until tender. Add nuts and season to taste.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Mexican Beans with Epazote

Epazote (Mexican Tea and Wormseed) is an annual herb, native to tropical regions of Central and South America Its green jagged leaves emit aromas of petroleum and citrus while its flavor is pungent, lemony with a sharp finish that increases with age. Epazote is used in many traditional Mexican dishes (especially in Yucatecan dishes.) including tamales, mole de olla, salsa, traditional black beans, pinto beans and enchiladas. It is also a carminative, which means it reduces the gas associated with beans. To maximize flavor, the herb is added during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Epazote (Fresh and Dried) (Click Image to enlarge)

1 Pound pinto beans, dry - Soaked overnight in cold water
2+ Tablespoons rendered pork lard for a shoulder roast
1 chopped onion
1/2 Teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 Sprigs of dried epazote (4 inch long) added the last 30 minutes of cooking
Salt and pepper to taste

Add water to cover to a depth of three inches and throw away any floaters. Soak overnight. Drain soaked beans. Rinse twice then add fresh water to just cover by 1/2 inch, add lard, crushed red pepper, chopped onion, simmer slowly until almost tender (90 minutes). Now add epazote. Cook another 30 minute until just tender, adding water as necessary. Correct seasoning. Remove pieces of epazote and discard. It is amazing how tasty these beans are.

Garnish cooked beans with chopped mint and crumbled queso fresco. Make a fine burrito with left over spiced roast pork, pico-di-gallo, with your favorite tortillas.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Going Green – Delicious Lionfish

The lionfish is an explosively invasive fish and probably the worst man-made ecological disaster ever witnessed. By out-breeding, out-competing and out-living native fish stocks and other marine species, the consequences impact the food security and economies of the entire world. Efforts to eradicate the invasive lionfish are finally getting a seat at the big kids’ table: Whole Foods markets announced last week it will offer lionfish for sale.

According to Scott Harrell1 , "Lionfish is a white flaky fish, firmer in texture than halibut, no “red line” with a flavor profile somewhere between a thin grouper fillet and mahi mahi (dolphinfish or dorado depending upon where you live) with a touch of butter."

One way to control their population-females can produce two million eggs in a year--says Erin Spencer, a National Geographic young explorer--is to eat them.

Try these recipes


  1. L. Scott Harrell is the co-founder of the World Lionfish Hunters Association. He now owns a scuba diving marketing consultancy in Cozumel, Mexico.
  2. A splash of vinegar can brighten, your sautee sauce.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Chiles Rellenos

For me, there is no better signature dish then great Chiles Rellenos to bring Mexican cuisine to its rightful place. When served with a tomatillo sauce it is a marriage made in heaven.

Make a tomatillo sauce that is needed to serve these.

4 Large poblano chilies
Small brick of Monterey Jack cheese
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 eggs, separated and beaten
Salt to season the flour
2 Tablespoons of lard and a cup of corn oil.
Chopped cilantro for garnish

Preheat oven to 450F. Roast chilies on cookie sheet until skin is brown and blistered on all sides. Keep oven door closed to retain heat after removing toasted chilies. Cool until you are able to touch peppers, and then peel off skin. Make a slit down one side of the pepper in preparation of stuffing with cheese. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, cut a slice of cheese shaped to fit each chile cavity. Leave seeds and stems on.

Cover a plate with tin foil. Put flour on the plate. Separate the eggs beat the yolks until pale. Wash whisk and dry thoroughly. Do not whisk the whites until ready to cook the rellenos.

Warm the tomatillo sauce on low. In a large frying pan, add oil, lard, and begin to heat. Whisk the whites to stiff peaks; mix half the whites into the yolks. The gentle fold in rest of whites. It is not necessary to make a uniform mixture. The oil should be hot. Dip two chilies in the flour and then, into the egg batter. Fry each chile not touching each other. Spoon the hot oil over the tops and edges. The turn over with 2 forks. Cook remaining chiles retaining the cooked rellenos warm on a paper towel covered plate in the warm oven. Spoon tomatillo sauce over plated rellenos and garnish with chopped cilantro.

1. Adding a bit of flour to the egg yolks will stabilize the mixture of yolks and eggs whites if doing the rellenos in batches. The flour lessens the "airyness" of the resulting finished result.

Mexican Green Tomatillo Sauce

 I  use this sauce for serving Chile Rellenos. It brings out the flavor of that dish in a beautiful way.
3 tomatillos, husks removed
½ Ripe tomatos
½ Spanish onion
1 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon lard
¼ Cup best chicken stock
Pinch Mexican oregano
1 Teaspoon sugar
Salt and black pepper to taste

Chop tomatillos, onions and fry on low in lard. When the onions clear, add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer 20 minutes. Puree to desired texture with a post blender. Reduce to thicken as sauce necessary. Correct the seasonings,

Monday, August 14, 2017

Yangzhou Fried Rice


Yangzhou (yang Jo) is city of east-central China east of Nanjing on the great Yangtze River. Yangzhou fried rice is a perhaps the most well known dish of the city of Yangzhou, in the Jiangsu province. The recipe was invented by Qing China's Yi Bingshou (1754–1815) and the dish was named Yangzhou fried rice since Yi was once magistrate of Yangzhou. This fried rice is one of the classic dishes served towards the end of the Chinese New Year banquet. It is lightly seasoned and devoid of soy sauce so that the rice stays white.

2 Tablespoons peanut oil

½ Cup bay shrimp

4 Cups cold leftover Jasmine white rice

½ Cup frozen peas

½ Cup diced Char Sui (Chinese-style grilled pork)

½ Cup thinly slices lap cheong Chinese sausage1

½ Cup chopped scallions plus more for garnish

½ Cup diced cremini mushrooms

3/4 Teaspoon salt

¼ Teaspoon white pepper

2 Beatened eggs cooked slowly in butter until just firm, chopped.

Place wok over high heat, add oil, stir fry sausage and Char Sui until aromatic. Add scallions and shrimp. When shrimp are orange add and stir fry rice and mushrooms. Toward the end, add frozen peas, and chopped pre-cooked egg to warm. Correct seasoning. Garnish with remaining scallions and serve.

Image from Epicurous


1.       When buying lap cheong, look for those seasoned with sugar, rose water, rice wine and soy sauce.


Fake Food

Most Parmesan Cheese in America is fake as well as other “supposedly” Italian products especially most canned 'San Marzano' tomatoes. Chianti must be made in the Chianti region of Italy to be labeled as such, San Marzano tomatoes are special plum tomatoes that must be grown in Agro Sarnese-Nocerino. When they are canned, they come with a DOP emblem on the label, marking their authenticity. The real product is expensive as shipping cost is high, but the fakes are inferior and no bargain at all.

Your first clue should be price. If it is cheap then it is fake. The real products have a DOP marking to insure the real products are protected. Parmesan does not mean “parmigiano-reggiano”. The words Parmigiano-Reggiano embossed all over every square inch of the rind, as shown in the accompanying photos, must be evident.

San Marzano DOP Markings

 Great cooks require great ingredients but be wary, not all is as its seems. In my book and blog, I try to point out salient information for informed decisions.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Seckel Pear and Colston Bassett Stilton Cheese with Wine

Seckle Pear
An 18th-century Pennsylvania farmer (for whom it was named) is credited with introducing the Seckel pear. It is a small, rosy fruit with a sweet, spicy flavor. The Seckel's firm flesh makes it excellent for both cooking and canning. It's available late August through December. It is often called the sugar pear.
The Seckel pear is tremendously tasty and sweet and is the super-star of tasty pears.

Colston Bassett Blue Stilton is certainly one of the finest Blue Stilton you can buy. Known for its consistent high quality and the subtle salty twang brought on by the blue veining. Established in 1913, Colston Bassett has been producing one of England’s finest blue Stilton for a hundred years.
This is the simplest of deserts but certainly one of my favorites. When you taste a sweet, juicy, ripe pear or smell its aroma, it is easy to see why this fruit has been prized for thousands of years. Poets extol the pear’s flavor and beauty and artists celebrate its classic shape and brilliant colors.

Homer, a Greek poet from the eighth century BC, called pears a “gift of the gods,” and many cooks today agree. Pears are incredibly versatile. They are a welcome addition to entrees, breads, salads, appetizers and desserts and are delicious fresh or cooked in a variety of ways.
Colston Bassett Blue Stilton

Pears take on a new character when combined with cheese and wine. The flavor, scent, and texture of each pear variety enhances both wine and cheese flavors, which is why this classic trio holds a place of honor on tables around the world.

Wine choice is up to you: Suggested wine: Sauvignon blanc, Viognier, Gewurztraminer, emerald Riesling, fume blanc, Beaujolais Nouveau.

Lancashire Hotpot

Meat and potatoes are a classic combination, beloved for its rustic charm but also for its comforting heartiness. The British version of meat and potatoes called Lancashire Hotpot. This dish has everything that we crave: hearty potatoes with a golden crispy top, stewed beef in creamy gravy, and lots of onions and carrots.

2 Pounds lamb shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and sinew and cut into cubes
4 lambs kidneys, cleaned, trimmed, cut into quarters
1/4 Cup All-purpose flour
3 Ounces rendered lard plus more for brushing the potatoes
2 Large Spanish onions, sliced
1 Cup finely chopped celery
1 Large carrot, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
1 3/4 Cups chicken broth
8 Ounces sliced fresh Cremini mushrooms
2 Teaspoons dried herbs (sage, rosemary, and thyme)
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon Kitchen bouquet
2 Bay leaves
White and black Pepper
3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 325°F. Oil casserole with olive oil. Heat the lard in a large frying pan.

Flour meat and shake off excess. Fry quickly on all sides until brown. Remove meat and line casserole.

Add a bit of additional lard, add sliced onions, chopped celery and carrot to pan and cook until onions begin to clear.

Place vegetables atop of meat.

Sprinkle remaining flour in frying pan and cook, stirring constantly until light brown.
Gradually pour in stock and stir until mixture comes to the boil. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper, herbs, bay leaves, Kitchen bouquet and Worcestershire sauce; simmering until sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Correct the seasonings1 and pour over meat and vegetables.

Place overlapping slices of potato to carpet the meat and vegetables. Salt and pepper the potatoes. Cover casserole dish with lid and place in the preheated oven.

Cook for one hour and 40 minutes or  more until the meat is tender. Turn up the oven to 400 F. Remove lid, brush potatoes with lard then continue cooking until potatoes are golden browned. Serve hot.


  1. Correct the seasoning could include a touch of vinegar, a teaspoon of sugar, more pepper (including red pepper), some port or Madeira. The gravy should jolly well taste great!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Chinese Sizzling Rice Soup

East Garden, Stockton Calif

3~4 Ounce baby shrimp
3~4 Ounce chicken breast (skinless and boneless) (cut into thin slices)
1 egg white, beaten
2 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Cup peanut oil (for frying)
1 Quart of homemade chicken bone stock made with onions, carrots, celery, ginger, and scallions
1 Ounce sliced cremini mushrooms, sautéed
1 Tablespoon water sliced chestnuts
1 Tablespoon sliced red radishes
1/3 Cup fresh snow peas
½ Large carrot, sliced thinly on diagonal, blanched
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon Shaohsing wine
1 Tablespoon Marin wine
2 Crispy oven-dried jasmine rice cakes1, fried

Mix the shrimp, chicken, egg white, and cornstarch. Let rest 10 minutes.

Bring chicken stock to a low simmer. In a very hot wok, quickly stir fry shrimp and chicken for 2 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Preheat a cup of peanut oil to 375 F in a pot, in preparation for frying the rice cakes.

Quickly stir fry mushroom, water chestnuts, snow peas, peas, carrots, Marin, salt and Shaohsing wine. Add cooked vegetables and shrimp/chicken to stock, simmer on low. Correct seasonings.

Fry two oven-dried rice cakes quickly on both sides in very hot peanut oil. These will puff up and cook in 10 seconds a side. Drain on paper towels, then, in the company of your diners, add rice to soup while still piping hot and sizzling.  Garnish with a bit of soy, diagonally-sliced scallion greens or garlic chives and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately,

Rice cakes can be made weeks in advance and store in plastic bags until needed, Make steamed rice as normal, except use less water. Store rice in an open tray for an hour in the refrigerator, then collect and store in a covered bowl overnight. Roll out some rice ¼ thick on parchment paper. Use a wet inverted rice bowl to stamp out “rounds”. Dry these on parchment paper on a cookie sheet for an hour at 300 F in a convection oven. They must be "bone dry" before go into plastic else the will mildew. If you don't think they are dry enough, reduce the heat to 170 F and leave in oven another 30 minutes. Let air dry for 20 minutes before bagging.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Crunchy Coleslaw

The satisfying character of crunchy coleslaw comes from dicing the pieces2 as opposed to grading or merely slicing. You may also make this using some red cabbage to add color and improved nutrition. Red tastes the same but has increased antioxidants, potassium, Vitamin A and more Vitamin C.

1 Large head cabbage finely diced
1/3 Cup diced carrot or more
2 Tablespoons onion powder1
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1/3 Cup granulated sugar or less
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon each of white and black pepper
1/2 Cup whole milk
1/2 Cup Best food mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Teaspoon tarragon

Peel the carrots. Cabbage and carrots must be finely diced. I do this by hand on a large cutting board but remove the cabbage’s stalk portion by cutting it out.

Pour cabbage and carrot mixture into large stainless steel bowl and stir in other ingredients thoroughly. Correct the seasonings. Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight before serving.


  1. Onion powder is made from oven dried yellow (Spanish) onions. See Ardeshir's-persian dried yellow onions 
  2. Diced style coleslaw is considered "southern style".

Ardeshir’s Persian Dried Yellow Onions

Ardeshir was the master librarian for Valid Logic in 1986. He was deeply interested in food especially his own Persian food. He taught me to appreciate the regional foods and how to shop for Persian ingredients. These Persian onions are great as a condiment for cooking such as rice, vegetable dishes, stuffing’s, dressings, sauces, soups and onion dip. The onions sweeten like raisins in the sun by this slow drying process.  It is best to do a whole lot of onions at a time as the oven is on for a long time and the volumetric yield is low. Onions reduce in volume 30:1 or more. Six whole chopped onions make a cup and a half of dry product.

Chop uniformly 6-10 large yellow onions. Set your oven on its lowest temperature. (170o F) Prop the oven door slightly open with wooden spoon. Dry onions on Teflon sheet pans on multiple racks. Turn onions over several times to expose wet onion with a spatula. Onions are done when all are a deep camel brown. They will begin to turn pink before this stage. (Five to six hours.) Store up to a year in an air tight jar.

These onions may be ground, once dried, into onion powder. Use the onion powder to make onion pastry dough or simply as a condiment. I use an old coffee mill for grinding.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Calçots (Spring Onions) in Tarragon Romesco Sauce

Romesco is red pepper pesto sauce that originated from Tarragona, Catalonia, in Northeastern Spain. The fishermen in this area made this sauce to eat with fish.  It is typically made from any mixture of roasted or raw almonds, pine nuts, and roasted garlic, olive and bitxo peppers (similar to New Mexico chiles) and/or nyora peppers (a sun dried, small, round variety of red bell pepper).

1 Slice  stale soudough bread
½ Cup toasted almonds
1 Fire roasted red bell pepper
1 Ripe tomato seeded and chopped
1 Head of roasted garlic, squeezed out
1 Tablespoon raspberry balsamic vinegar
¼ Teaspoon pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika)
Olive oil
White pepper
Sea salt to taste

In the spring, romesco is served with fire roasted calçots, a spring onion (Scallion) typical to Catalonia. Calçot barbecues called "calçotades", calçots are roasted over an open fire until their outer layer is charred (pictured below). The charred layer is then removed and the tender part of the onion is dipped in the romesco.

1. Calçots substitute large green onion

Thursday, May 4, 2017

St Louis Style Ribs BBQ

Baby bak ribs tend to dry out quickly are leaner, while St Louis are larger, meaty and full flavored. These are the ones you want for the fall-off-the-bone tender ribs. St Louis style ribs are spare ribs trimmed of the sternum and flap ends, leaving just the most desirable parts. In preparation, these have their membrane removed, dry-rubbed with your favorite rub, and set aside overnight to marinate. I include a smoke component in the rub but little sugar as the sugar has a tendency to burn. The key to fall off the bone tender is not to dry out the meat in the grilling phase and to allow a low slow fisnish foil-wrapped in a low oven.
St Louis Style Spare Ribs

Removing the Membrane
Each slab has a meat side and a bone side. The bone side has a membrane called the pleura covering it. It can be leathery when cooked, and, ideally, it is removed and discarded. Many butchers remove the skin or may be asked to do this. If the membrane has not been removed, you should remove it yourself. In the middle of a rack, on the bone side, insert a fork tine between the membrane and the meat. Work a finger in to help separate the membrane. Use a paper towel for a better grip; gently begin peeling it off, trying not to rip it. If patient, you should be able to pull it all off in one long strip.         

Ribs will be cooked on the upper rack of your grill not sitting over the direct heat. The grill will be lid down to keep a steady heat. Start out with just one center burner on medium high to see where the temperature will stabilize then adjust up of down as required for a correct temperature. Preheat the grill to low 220-270F. Grill ribs grill-cover down  for a total of two hours on low tuning once after first hour. After 30 minutes in the second hour of cooking, mop top of ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce. Cook 15 minutes, turn over ribs, mop this side of ribs, the finish grilling grill lid down for 15 minutes. Now that the ribs have some char and color, wrap in a double wrap of heavy-duty tinfoil. It is important to seal these so the moisture stays in while oven baking.

Pre-heat oven to 275 F.

Bake at 275 F for two hours. (You can cook longer if starting a a lower heat.) Let rest wrapped for 20 minutes, serve with one or more sauces on the side.

Mesquite and Chilies Rub

A good rub is a combination of fresh spices, seasonings and herbs. Let rest overnight, if possible, or several hours, the prep time is the same, but the depth of flavor is deeper if overnight.

Sea Salt
Mesquite Smoke Flavoring
Sweet paprika powder
Merken1 Mapuche Chile powder
Ground Pasilla Chile powder
Chile chipotle powder
Garlic powder
Black and white pepper
Onion powder
Ground Makrut2 lime powder
Optional ground Cascabel Chile
Optional ground aji amarillo
Optional ground ancho chile

St Louis Style Ribs BBQ

  1. Merken is a traditional Chilean seasoning created by the indigenous Mapuche people. The local version is made from Goat’s Horn chile (aji cacho de cabra), which is mildly spicy and smoky, but not nearly as strong as chipotle.
  2. Makrut lime leaves are indigenous to Southeast Asia. Many of the trees now thrive in Hawaii. They have a citrus-like, floral aroma and impart a unique flavor. 
  3. Serve  with garlic bread and Vicky's Potato Salad