Sauces

Emulsified Sauces and How to make Hollandaise

August 10, 2014
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Emulsified sauces are one part chemistry, one part culinary magic. Take two ingredients which, “like oil and water”, should not blend together, and with a little effort, they become one delicious whole.

An emulsified sauce is literally the blending of fat (butter or oil) and water (wine, vinegar or egg yolk- which is more than 50% water). Combine them together with heat, centrifugal force, or just a vigorous whisk and you suddenly have one sauce where there were once two separate ingredients which typically do not play well together.

The scientific term for this refusal to mix is “immiscible” which is defined as two liquids that are incapable of being mixed, caused by surface tension between two molecules. However, when it comes to emulsified sauces, there are other forces at play (heat and/or movement) which will cause one part to incorporate into the other.

The best known emulsified …

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Crab Cakes with Spicy Yogurt Remoulade

February 8, 2014
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Are you the type of person who if you see a particular item on a menu, you will order it without fail? Typically this is something you would never make at home, right? When I see duck with a crispy skin, there’s a 99.99% chance I will order it, but duck is something I never make at home.

If I’m ever in a restaurant with my husband and there is a crab cake on the menu I know exactly what he’s ordering. When I was a chef we had a running joke; if I saw a ticket come into the kitchen with a seared ahi and a crab cake on it for a single diner at the bar, I knew he was in the restaurant. He’s that predictable when it comes to a menu.

Crab cakes aren’t really that difficult to make at home, but I’ll be honest, they’re not …

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Stone Crab Claws with Mustard Sauce

October 19, 2013
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October is the beginning of stone crab season which runs through May. If you’re not familiar with stone crabs, you might recognize their distinctive black tipped orange claws. Stone crabs are best known and most often associated with the 100 year old Miami Beach institution, “Joe’s Stone Crab” restaurant. People may know the succulent claws and their famous mustard sauce, but most don’t know the story behind how the crab claws made it to the plate for the first time.

In 1913 New Yorker Joe Weiss moved to Miami Beach Florida and opened a restaurant named Joe’s. In 1921 he met a marine biologist visiting from Harvard University, who was working on building a local aquarium. The biologist asked Joe if he ever cooked the indigenous stone crabs, which were plentiful, but had a peculiar taste. Joe started experimenting with the crabs and discovered that if they were eaten hot …

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Tips for Buying and Cooking Sustainable Fish and Seafood Plus Recipe for Grilled Mahi Mahi with Tropical Salsa

September 29, 2013
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In the last post, we discussed sustainable fish and seafood and how we can be responsible stewards of the world’s oceans in what we choose to order, buy and eat. But do you know what to look for when buying fresh fish and seafood in terms of freshness of the product? And once you get that fish home, do you know the best way to cook it. If you don’t know your poaching from your pan roasting, read on below for

Tips for buying fresh fish and seafood:

  • Trust your fishmonger. Have a conversation with the person behind the fish counter. Can they answer questions as to where the fish comes from, how it was raised or how it was caught? If not, reconsider where you buy.
  • Trust your nose. Fish should never smell “fishy”. If whole, the eyes should be bright and clear and the flesh should be firm
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Poached Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce

June 29, 2013
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Summer has arrived with a bang, seemingly overnight. There are “excessive heat warnings” all over Southern California this weekend with temperatures expected in the 100-110 range. If you’re still willing to cook, I’ve got the perfect meal for a warm night or a Sunday brunch served al fresco. And if you’ve never poached fish before, it’s an easy method which every cook should have in their repertoire, so now is the time to learn!

Poaching fish and shellfish is one of the lightest, healthiest ways to cook seafood and it showcases the true flavor of the fish because the cooking method is gentle and lets the flavor of the fish shine.  Traditionally, poaching is done in a court bouillon, a French culinary term which translates to “short boil”, and refers to a lightly flavored broth traditionally used to poach fish, shellfish and even vegetables. Court bouillon usually contains …

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Slow Simmered Pork Ragú With Handkerchief Pasta

September 26, 2011
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In Southern California summer starts early and ends late. Some people say we have no real “seasons” here, but that’s not really true. We have them, they’re just a little more muted than in other places. That, and we don’t have to suffer things like ice storms or 90% humidity, so really, I can’t complain. Still, as we head into October, I find myself craving those heartier dishes which say “Fall” even if the temperature outside is still hovering near 80 degrees.

Recently I made this slow simmered ragú using one of the last roasts from our pig. I decided to serve it with handkerchief pasta, a cut of pasta I’ve wanted to make ever since I had it at Delfina in San Francisco a couple of years ago. There are a lot of different recipes out there for a “traditional” Italian ragú; some have beef, some pork. Some …

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