Move Over Avocado Toast!

Fresh Pea and Ricotta Toasts

English Pea and Ricotta Toasts
Lodge Bread German Style Rye

Sometimes we want a different kind of toast for breakfast, especially when there are fabulous hand-shelled, sweet and tender, English peas available. So, no disrespect, but move over avocado, and make room for Fresh Pea and Ricotta Toasts.

Fresh sweet peas and crunchy pea shoots, fresh basil and mint, and lemony ricotta top an extraordinary German style rye by Lodge Bread.  This heavenly bread is bold and sturdy – made of 100% whole grain dark rye, buttermilk, local beer, sprouted rye berries, and filled with seeds – sesame, nigella, sunflower, pumpkin, and poppy.

Serve this breakfast with tea. English peas, and tea. Of course it’s lovely.

German Style Rye Bread

English Pea and Ricotta Toasts Recipe

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Cook The Cover

Cook The Cover

Veggie Broth, Crispy Tofu, Gai Lan
Watermelon Radish, Carrot, Bok Choy, Sesame Chili Oil

Have you received a copy of a food magazine in the mail with a cover photo that absolutely floors you? February 2018 Bon Appetit did that for me. There was no way that I wasn’t going to “Cook The Cover” and make that gorgeous Crispy Tofu in Shiitake Broth.

Alas, time passed and I didn’t make it. But, last Saturday’s trip to the Torrance Farmers Market gave me the inspiration…it came from a vegetarian Korean food booth called Dave’s Gourmet Korean Food with a sample of his hot “Vegee Broth.” It was amazing – complex flavors in a vegetarian broth made with fermented vegetable juice, sea salt, low sodium gluten-free soy sauce, and miso.

As I walked the market, watermelon radish and bok choy remembered from that February magazine cover ended up in my basket. I already had carrots and firm tofu at home.

One ingredient that is not in Bon Appetit’s recipe was beautiful Gai Lan, also known as Chinese broccoli. Slightly bitter and slightly sweet, with tasty broad leaves, petite buds, a few pretty white flowers, and tender stems – this had to be added to my version of the vegetable soup.

Here is the link to the original recipe by Bon Appetit, and my adaptations are listed below. Those in the Los Angeles area can find Dave’s Vegee Broth at various Farmers Markets across the county. If you are not in LA, simply follow the original broth recipe. It will take a little longer but be, no doubt, worth your time.

Veggie Broth, Crispy Tofu, Gai Lan Recipe

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Chicken Fricassée à la Chef Paul Bocuse

Chicken Fricassée à la Chef Paul Bocuse Chicken Fricassée à la Chef Paul Bocuse

The Chef of the Century had a crowing Gallic Coq tattooed on his left arm, one he would often flaunt proudly. The rooster is the national bird of France. But could the tattoo also symbolize Paul Bocuse’s veneration for Poulet de Bresse?

Upon learning of the Chef’s passing on January 20th at 91 years-old, French President Emmanuel Macron lamented that his death had chefs everywhere weeping in their kitchens.

Mais oui. Here too.

My love affair with “Chicken and Morels Paul Bocuse” began decades ago in Chicago at a long-gone restaurant named Bistro 110 where fricassée of chicken was served on a bed of fresh sautéed spinach with a morel cream sauce.

The combination was brilliant. The creamy mushroom sauce infused the sautéed spinach and turned it into a French version of steakhouse-creamed-spinach. The synergy of earthy-nutty morels and impeccably cooked chicken resulted in a timeless dish. It was rich but not overly so, it was balanced in the style that the Chef was known for…classic yet modern.

Chicken Fricassée à la Chef Paul BocuseIn 2011 when Paul Bocuse was named “Chef of the Century” by the Culinary Institute of America, Jacques Pépin said, “Certainly he did more than any other chef in the world that I can think of to bring the chefs in the dining room and to make the profession respectable and to make us who we are now…Now the chefs are stars and it’s because of Paul Bocuse.”

For my birthday, I hosted a luncheon in honor of the Chef and served Chicken Fricassée inspired by him. Here is my recipe.

Chicken Fricassée à la Chef Paul Bocuse

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Curried Red Lentil Soup

Curried Red Lentil Soup

Curried Red Lentil Soup
Tomato, Coconut Milk, Lime, Cilantro
Frizzled Shallots

I never met an Ottolenghi recipe that I didn’t like. And Curried Red Lentil Soup is no exception. The Israeli-British chef describes his soup as “healthy and hearty, spicy and straightforward, frugal and fragrant in equal measure.”

He touted his svelte recipe as an antidote to rich holiday foods…but since those holidays are now a distant memory, I’m garnishing with a generous topping of irresistible crispy fried shallots.

Curried Lentil Soup with Tomato and Coconut Recipe

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Palos Verdes Pastoral – An Enchanted Dining Experience

Palos Verdes Pastoral - An Enchanted Dining Experience

Palos Verdes Pastoral
An Enchanted Dining Experience

Al fresco dining with magnificent views of Catalina Island, on a warm Autumn evening at sunset – this is Palos Verdes Pastoral, an enchanted fundraising event that brings people together amidst nature for an exclusive experience at Terranea Resort.

In addition to the camaraderie, gourmet foods, stellar wines, and ambiance that is truly second to none – the evening increases awareness of the important work of the Conservancy in protecting and stewarding our open space and nature. We celebrate the mission of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy to “preserve land and restore habitat for the education and enjoyment of all.”

The Palos Verdes Peninsula is part of one of five regions in the world that enjoys the Mediterranean climate, with all its bounty and biodiversity from our aromatic hillsides to the deep blue ocean.

The cuisine that has been borne out of this land and sea inspired Terranea Resort Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra to create a captivating menu reflecting those flourishing textures, colors, flavors and aromas of our unique region.

Mediterranean life revolves around the table, so it is fitting that this year’s Palos Verdes Pastoral is a dinner where 200 people gather to partake in these regional foods and flavors, where we celebrate and support the land and open spaces we adore so much.

Palos Verdes Pastoral

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Chef Bernard Ibarra’s Moroccan Spiced Free Range Chicken

Chef Bernard Ibarra's Moroccan Spiced Free Range Chicken

Seared Moroccan Spiced Free Range Chicken
House Dried Fruit, Bulgur, Catalina Farm Vegetable Couscous
Salted Lemon Vinaigrette, Fez Spice Mix Paint

The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy in partnership with Terranea Resort and Whole Foods Market recently hosted their annual Palos Verdes Pastoral Garden-to-Table Dining Experience. This year’s super-successful event highlighted foods and flavors native to Mediterranean Climate Regions.

Terranea Resort Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra showcased the best of California handcrafted, organic, and sustainable food and wine unique to our California climate, 1 of only 5 Mediterranean Climate Regions in the world.

These include the Mediterranean Basin, California, Central Chile, Western South Africa, and South and Western Australia. While comprising only 2% of the earth’s surface, these regions are home to 20% of the earth’s plant species.

Chef Bernard takes advantage of this biodiversity in his menu. The Chicken Course alone featured Mediterranean herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables including chili, cumin, coriander, fennel, paprika, honey, olive oil, lemon, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, bulgur, couscous, parsley, almonds, apricots, mustard, saffron, squash, and, of course wine.

The Chef graciously shares his recipe for Seared Moroccan Spiced Free Range Chicken below.

Chef Bernard Ibarra's Moroccan Spiced Free Range Chicken

See the entire menu and read about the fabulous 2017 Palos Verdes Pastoral Dining Experience and the important work of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy here.

Chef Bernard Ibarra's Moroccan Spiced Free Range Chicken

Moroccan Spiced Free Range Chicken Recipe
by Chef Bernard Ibarra

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