Barbecued Oysters


It’s our tradition to serve oysters on Thanksgiving.

This year, we have Tori & Tom’s special recipe: Pacific oysters on the grill with a pat of butter, minced garlic, smokey barbecue sauce, a dash of Crystal Hot Sauce, and freshly grated horseradish.

Ooooh! Were these ever good! We could have eaten another 3 dozen…

A special thank you to Tori, Oyster Shucker Extraordinaire!

These oysters are from Hood Canal, Washington.“Oysters adore Hood Canal. The water is kept brackish, cold, and oxygenated by the Olympic rivers.” Rowan Jacobsen

Cook’s Tip: Barbecuing the oysters takes one dish and guests out of the kitchen while you’re preparing the big meal ūüôā

Cauliflower Soup with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Balsamic Drizzle


The cauliflower soup was served with a vanilla chestnut cream swirl on Thanksgiving.

But for this “Leftovers Soup,” I coarsely chopped the leftover roasted Brussels sprouts, heated them in the microwave, and combined them with the cauliflower soup, drizzled with balsamic reduction and a sprinkling of gray salt crystals.

To make Vanilla Chestnut Cream: In a food processor – combine one jar of whole roasted chestnuts, creme fraiche, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Puree until smooth, add water or cream to get the right consistency to swirl into the cauliflower soup upon serving.

Cauliflower Soup: Saute onions, celery and leeks in a good amount of butter until soft, then add chicken stock and cauliflower, cook until tender. Puree with an immersion blender, then season with salt, pepper, nutmeg.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts: Toss Brussels sprouts in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast until tender and the outer leaves are brown and crispy. Toss with a balsamic reduction.

Mushroom, Leek & Sage Dressing


This “nothing fancy” dressing always gets rave reviews.

I make the bread cubes from rustic French loaves, and let the cubes dry out for a couple days, then they can soak up the broth and butter.

Sauté equal amounts of celery and onions and leeks in butter until soft, season with salt and pepper.
Sauté mushrooms separately in butter, season with salt and pepper.
Use an equal ratio of bread to veggies.

In about 2 cups of good chicken stock, melt 1/2 to 3/4 stick of butter.

Toss bread cubes, onion mixture, and mushrooms together.
Pour butter-broth over the mixture, add enough to just moisten the bread.
Add plenty of fresh chopped parsley and sage in a 2:1 ratio. Season and toss again.

Pack loosely in a baking dish, dot with butter.
Cover with foil and bake 30-45 minutes, at 350, remove the foil about half way to get a browned top layer and watch it so it doesn’t burn.

Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to All!

SEA SMOKE World-Class Pinot Noir


We thoroughly enjoyed a bottle of the rich and elegant Sea Smoke TEN 2005 Pinot Noir at Melisse Restaurant in Santa Monica.
Appellation: Santa Barbara County, Santa Rita Hills.
Named after the afternoon marine fog (sea ‚Äėsmoke‚Äô).

From their website:
The 2005 Sea Smoke Ten Pinot Noir shows deep extraction and intensity of flavor, maintains good balance across the palate, and culminates in a firm, but velvety finish. Aromas of dark plum, black cherry, currants, as well as cedar and a hint of earthiness are characteristic of this wine.

At Sea Smoke we believe that the vineyard is the wine. For this reason, we produce Pinot Noir grown exclusively on our estate vineyard.

100% Pinot Noir (Ten Clones, from which the wine takes its name)

We recommend decanting thirty to sixty minutes prior to drinking, particularly if consumed before 2009.

Burrata! Three Ways!

“Burrata is to mozzarella as foie gras is to chicken liver.” Russ Parsons

Burrata – fresh mozzarella stuffed with “rags” of mozzarella and heavy cream. It is a regional speciality in Italy, from the area around Bari. It is always served raw, cool, but not too cold, so all the wonderful delicate creamy, sweet, sour, and earthy flavors come through.

Keep it simple!
In a salad: Burrata on freshly made chilled tomato sauce, over arugula dressed with olive oil.

I make the tomato sauce with olive oil heated gently with garlic and red pepper flakes. Then I add crushed Italian tomatoes and finish with fresh basil, and sea salt.

On bruschetta, with high quality olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

A combination I heard about from Valentino restaurateur, Piero Selvaggio. He says he likes his burrata topped with caviar.

So…I gave that a try. Here the burrata is topped with ikura (salmon roe). It was fabulous!

We had a great time learning how to make fresh mozzarella and burrata while attending the Cal Poly Farmstead Cheesemaker course which I highly recommend for those with a passion for cheese.

Burrata tip: use a serrated knife to cut the ball into quarters.

POST post 11/18:
A Burrata Bonus – Burrata Four Ways!
After posting about this delicious cheese, we went to dinner at Melisse Restaurant in Santa Monica. Chef Josiah had burrata on the menu…his was heavenly, topped with an ethereal basil foam.