pomodorini e mozzarella ciliegine

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pomodorini e mozzarella ciliegine

Sorry but I really am tired of the Caprese Salad and all its incarnations. Caprese grilled cheese, caprese kabobs, caprese bruschetta, caprese pasta salad, caprese pizza, caprese schmaese. But when I saw a photo of cherry tomatoes paired with cherry-sized mozzarella and edible flowers from a restaurant called “Salt” I just had to make my own version. The idea of the colors alone had me hooked.

After all, there truly is something magical about the classic pairing of tomato and mozzarella and basil. Especially in summer. And of course, with limited ingredients in the dish, the best quality of each component is required. Heirloom cherry tomatoes from the farmers market. Flowers and herbs from my own garden. Balsamic vinegar, gran riserva.  Fresh mozzarella crafted in the Italian style. My favorite fruity olive oil from California Ranch.

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Inspired by Chef Dustin Trani: Truffle Scented Tortellini, Veal Reduction

Truffle Scented Tortellini, Veal Reduction
Truffle Scented Tortellini, Veal Reduction
Beech Mushrooms, Olive Oil Toasted Bread Crumbs, Crispy Sage Leaves

Chef Dustin J. Trani is the Executive Chef at J. Trani’s Ristorante in San Pedro as well as DOMA in Beverly Hills. Earlier this year, Chef Trani was well-deservedly named as one of the Top 5 Rising Chefs in the U.S. by Gayot Magazine. On June 6th J.Trani’s Ristorante hosted their first wine dinner.

It was an extraordinary meal. With nearly three decades of dining in San Pedro, I can confidently declare that this meal was the best served in our town. Ever. Chef Trani paired a five course menu with wines from Napa Valley’s Franciscan Estates. Every element of every dish had a purpose, each in perfect balance. He deftly orchestrated a symphony of wine and food. It was an absolute pleasure to experience the Chef”s passion and commitment to perfection first hand.

My version of the Chef’s pasta course is simplified, to say the least. Where the Chef studied pasta making in Italy, I bought packaged cheese tortellini from Trader Joe’s. Where undoubtedly, the Chef simmered his veal stock in an hours-long process, I purchased French Demi-Glace from Whole Foods Market. My recipe is an everyday version of that extraordinary plate served at the outstanding wine dinner.

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A Farmers Market Dinner Featuring Salmon & Truffle Cream

farmers market dinner

Pan-Roasted King Salmon with White Truffle Cream
Farmers Market Wild Arugula, Heirloom Baby Cherry Tomatoes, Avocado
Pine Nuts, French Lentils, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Inspired by a trip to the Farmers Market, fresh king salmon was pan-roasted and served over organic French lentils seasoned with just a kiss of my Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette along with wild arugula, irresistible baby cherry tomatoes, lightly toasted pine nuts, and avocado.

The sauce is made with La Tartufata blended with creme fraiche which added a velvety nuance to the dish. A preserved truffle product from Gourmet Attitude, La Tartufata is an earthy intense white truffle cream. This dinner was a delightful marriage of earth, garden, and sea. It’s the third in a series of three meals, each featuring one of the preserved truffle goodies in the “Trio Boutique.” We especially liked dipping the little heirloom tomatoes in the truffle cream sauce…

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A Heavenly Dinner Featuring Truffle Carpaccio

cucumber carpaccio, truffle carpaccio, gourmet attitude

First Course:
Cucumber & Truffle Carpaccio with Bucheron
Olive Oil, Verjus, Fleur de Sel, Chives

ilet mignon, mushroom duxelles, potato cake, truffle carpaccio, bordelaise reduction

Second Course:
Filet Mignon Wrapped in Speck
Duxelles with Truffle, Potato Cake, Creme Fraiche, Truffle Carpaccio
Painted Bordelaise Reduction

Jupiter aligned with Mars. Our Creative Cooking Crew challenge for the month of February was to put an imaginative spin on “meat & potatoes.” A gift of Truffle Carpaccio arrived in the mail. My dear friend and savvy cook, FA, was coming to town. Meat. Potatoes. Truffles. Sounds like a party. Dinner party.

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