Category Archives: Recipes

August 2012

Alright, June was a month of experimentation, and July was too busy to focus on myself at all, so August is going to be all about me!

I was inspired by this post on ZenHabits on simplifying your life. Give it a read. NO REALLY, READ IT NOW! IT WILL TAKE YOU TWO MINUTES. I don’t mind waiting.

For the entire month of August:

1. I’m not spending any money. If you want to hang out with me, either you’re coming over and letting me cook you dinner (I warn you, it will probably be healthier than what I have cooked for you in the past. Seriously, I bought a kick-ass juicer) or you’re buying me drinks or a ticket to Outside Lands, to which I will drag my heels and only go kicking and screaming, because…

2. I am going to be a hermit. The last week of July, I’ll be in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail. I am spending 8 days in the Big Easy at a liquor industry conference. I will indulge in all manner of debauchery, degradation and delinquency. I will do shameful things and yet I will feel no shame… until I get home. This introvert must endure over a week of events, parties, networking and hotel living, so when I get home, I’m going to need a month of very little, so to prevent lethargy, sloth and the effects of inertia…

3. I’m going to go to yoga every day. By September, I will be able to scratch the back of my head with my toes. I won’t actually do this, but I will take great comfort in knowing that I could if I wanted to. I will be in the best  shape of my life, just in time for the whatever comes after bathing suit season.

4. I’m gonna get shit done. When I return to the city, my department will have moved from a shared, open space to private offices, which is going to be a–may–zing for me and my ADD. I already get more done than everyone else, but I’ve been so much less productive through this past year in the bullpen. I’m going to redesign, finish all of the half-written articles saved in the “draft” folder of this site and on Libation Lab, build out my portfolio site, purge my worldly possessions, take more photos, create the wood-block prints that have been back-burnered too long, and more!


Bonus: Here’s a picture I took of a fish and a new recipe I’ve been working on– it’s not pretty enough to be photographed, but it tastes great on crackers, buttered toast or as a sandwich spread.

Chicken Liver Pâté

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 medium shallot, sliced 1/4 inch thick
Salt and pepper
1/2 pound chicken livers
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon capers
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 anchovy or sun-dried tomato, fine dice
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons cream

1. Cut fat and connective tissue from the livers.
2. Brown 1 tablespoon butter in a large pan over medium heat . Add shallots and sauté 1 minute. Add the livers, spaced out, so they brown well.
3. Season with salt and pepper and flip livers once the first side browns, about 2 minutes. Once the second side has browned add garlic, capers, thyme, and anchovy or tomato and sauté another minute.
4. Remove from heat and add brandy. Raise heat to high and boil down brandy to the consistency of syrup, 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat and allow the mixture to cool.
5. Add remaining butter and cream and blend with an immersion blender, or just in a blender. Chill before serving.

Radicchio Caesar

My last trip to Portland, OR was another culinary delight, and one favorite was the selection of salads at Nostrana and her sister restaurant, Oven and Shaker. The Dinosaur Kale salad at O&S was superb, but the Nostrana Salad, on offer at both restaurants, was absolutely killer. It was just a very rich radicchio Caesar, but it’s unforgettable. Here’s my best shot at an homage.

Radicchio Caesar

Note: all three components can be prepared a day in advance and combined (step 4) just before serving.

1 large head of Radicchio
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon white wine
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (or less)
1 clove garlic, minced
5 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper
3 cups focaccia, cut to 1″ cubes
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

1. Slice the Radicchio and soak for 2 hours in ice water (it crisps the leaves and leeches out the bitterness).
2. In a mason jar or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid, combine vinegar, wine, mayo, yolk, garlic, anchovy, and sugar. Shake vigorously until emulsified, season with salt and pepper and shake again before serving.
3. Preheat oven to 400F. Toast bread on a baking sheet on the center rack until golden on all sides, 6-8 minutes. While toasting, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, add the rosemary and sage and saute until the herbs are fragrant, about 2 minutes. In a large bowl, pour the butter mixture over the bread and toss to coat. Store in an airtight container at room temperature if preparing ahead.
4. Toss radicchio with dressing, grate a generous amount of cheese into the salad and top with croutons.

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

The one time I don’t really enjoy cooking is when I am under the weather, but canned chicken noodle doesn’t cut it, so this is my solution, just in time for Cinco de Mayo. Despite including no fresh ingredients and using every Sandra Lee shortcut in the book, it’s pretty damn good, especially when you are sick.

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 quart chicken broth (not low sodium; you’ll just have to add salt)
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (with jalapenos if available)
1 10-ounce can red enchilada sauce
1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles
1 tablespoon minced garlic (from that jar in the back of your fridge)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 bay leaf
1 12-ounce package frozen corn
1 10-ounce package frozen onion
1 pound of rotisserie chicken (shredded)
Shredded cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips

Note: Fresh options for the garlic, onion, corn, etc. are great, but I wasn’t up to the challenge today.

1. Put everything but the chicken, cheese and chips into the crock pot, and leave it covered on low for 8 hours (if you are going to bed) or 3 hours on high (if you are just taking a nap).

2. Add chicken to pot before serving. Garnish each bowl with cheese and chips. Sour cream and fresh cilantro are also good garnishes.


Have I ever mentioned that I’ve mapped out the concept for my first cocktail bar?  As incredibly pretentious as it sounds, the theme is Freudian, fin-de-siecle Vienna, but way more fun and playful than that makes it seem.

I won’t get into it more than that, because I have surely horrified you, but one of my favorite bar snacks from when I lived in Austria, which will certainly be on the menu, is Liptauer, a zesty cheese spread that’s easy to make in advance, and can be served simply.


  • 16 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 4 tablespoons capers
  • 8 gherkins, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 2 teaspoons course-ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  1. In a food processor, whip the cream cheese and cottage cheese until very smooth.
  2. Add everything but the oil and last 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and blend to incorporate.
  3. Transfer the spread to a quart-size bowl or a half-dozen ramekins.
  4. Drizzle the oil over the top and slap some plastic wrap over it and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  5. Serve cold with crisp bread or crackers and more gherkins. Some people like a little red onion as well.

Potato Leek Soup

I’ve been sick, so I’ve been eating a lot of soup.  Now that I have drained every Thai and Vietnamese restaurant in the neighborhood, it’s time to make my own.  I want something creamy and coating with strong flavor, since I can barely taste anything. This recipe requires no skill and is simple, but even more so if you have a mandolin slicer and an immersion blender.

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, plus more for other nefarious purposes
  • 3 medium size leeks, cleaned and dark green ends removed but reserved
  • 1 quart broth or stock (chicken, beef, veg, whatever – you can even use bullion)
  • 3 medium-large Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • salt and pepper

  1. In a medium-size stock pot, melt butter over medium low-heat, add the leeks and cook uncovered for 30 minutes, until soft, stirring occasionally.
  2. While the leeks are cooking, peel and slice the potatoes as thin as possible. This is where the mandolin comes into play, because if you can cut paper thin, the next step can take 20 minutes instead of 40.
  3. Add the broth and potatoes, and let simmer, covered, until potatoes start to break down, stirring occasionally. Don’t be startled; the broth becomes a thick, starchy goo as soon as it reaches a boil.
  4. Turn off the heat and blend until smooth, if need be, in a traditional blender in batches.
  5. Stir in all the dairy products, season to taste and bring slowly back up to temperature if need be. Finish with a knob of butter stirred in at the end.
  6. For garnish, lemon zest, and/or take the leftover green parts, slice thinly across the grain and saute over high heat in butter until crispy.



Crispy Crab and Pea Ravioli

On assignment from Newman’s Own, I shot my first ever cooking video. They were kind enough to furnish me with snacks and a video camera to shoot this piece, as well as a replacement for the first camera, which didn’t work. Now that we have the federally mandated compensation disclosure out of the way, I will just say that I had fun shooting this, but it was kind of stressful.  I think that has a lot to do with working in a small, counterless kitchen, but it was a rewarding experience, and I think I might just do this again.


Award Winning Mac And Cheese Recipe

I always knew my mac was money, but it was nice to get an affirming 2nd place medal at the SF Food Wars Competition last week!

Here is the recipe. You may want to scale it back.

The Crusty Vermonter

Makes approx. 800 bites (you had to be there)

  • 5 pounds elbow pasta
  • 2 sticks salted butter
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for pans
  • 12 cups panko flakes
  • 2-pound bag shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons black pepper
  • 8 pinches (1/3 teaspoon?) red pepper flakes
  • 3 quarts whole milk
  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 4 pounds Velveta
  • 3 pounds Flagship Cheddar
  • 1 pound Beehive Seahive Cheddar
  • 1 pound Beehive Promontory
  • 1/2 pound asiago
  • 1 pound fontina
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons sriracha (more or less to taste)
  • 3 pounds chorizo, cooked (recipe here)
  • 2 pounds prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 5 granny smith apples
  1. Preheat oven to 400, and cook the pasta in salted water (the only salt used in this recipe, so don’t forget). Butter four 12×20-inch aluminum pans and grate cheese while pasta cooks. Drain the pasta, reserving 3 cups pasta water.
  2. Working in 4 batches, combine 3 cups panko and 1/2 pound Mexican cheese blend in large ziptop bags, shaking to combine. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons salted butter and integrate one batch panko-cheese blend, melting to integrate. Remove from pan and set aside, rebagging when cool. Repeat with 3 remaining batches.
  3. In a large pot over medium heat, melt the unsalted butter and add flour, red pepper flakes and black pepper, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.
  4. Whisk in milk, bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Add cream, cheese, mustard, sriracha and pasta water, and turn off the burner. Stir until sauce is smooth.
  6. Incorporate the cooked pasta and chorizo, and pour into the buttered pans.
  7. Top each pan with 1/2 pound prosciutto and bake 10 minutes.
  8. Spread panko mixture across the top and bake another 10 minutes.
  9. Julienne apple over the top and serve with a side of spicy slaw or homemade pickles.

Homemade Chorizo

When I mentioned to my friend Christopher that I was putting chorizo in my mac and cheese, he mentioned that his father makes a mean chorizo and offered me the recipe.  I hadn’t considered making it myself, and although I didn’t follow his dad’s recipe to the letter, it was a great jumping-off point.  Here is the recipe I created:

Photo above by Tavallai

Chorizo Recipe

  • 1 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon rendered bacon fat
  • 1 pound of Jimmy Dean All-Natural Pork Sausage
  • 1 tablespoon rubbed sage
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin (if your chili powder is light on cumin)
  • 1/ teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  1. Combine tarragon and vinegar and let sit out overnight.
  2. Add vinegar and bacon fat to sausage and knead until uniformly loose.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and knead into the sausage until evenly distributed.
  4. Refrigerated overnight in a zip-top bag.
  5. Over a hot, dry skillet, snip off a bottom corner of the bag to create a 3/4-inch hole. Squeeze the chorizo onto the pan until the resulting sausage snake covers approximately half the pan.
  6. Working with a wooden spoon, break apart and flatten the sausage, turning as needed, until the sausage has browned and separated into small pieces.
  7. Remove to a bowl and repeat until all of the sausage is cooked.

Bored Stiff With Brussels Sprouts

I love Brussels sprouts, but I was getting a little bored with the usual preparations.  Here’s the alternative.

Brussels Sprouts

1/2 pound bacon

1 pound brussels sprouts

2 large shallots

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons maple syrup

salt and pepper

1 pomegranate (optional)

    1. In a large saute pan, cook the bacon until crispy, remove to a cutting board (don’t drain) and dice.
    2. Pour off the bacon fat and wipe out the pan with a paper towel, but don’t wash.
    3. Cut off the stem end of the brussels sprouts and place any loose leaves into a large mixing bowl.
    4. Slice the brussels sprouts thin with a knife or with mandolin, peel shallots and slice into the thinnest rings possible and add both to the bowl.
    5. Drizzle olive oil and maple syrup into the bowl and toss everything to coat evenly.
    6. Return pan to  high heat until almost smoking.
    7. Working in small batches, fry sprouts, seasoning with salt and pepper.
    8. Plate sprouts in a mound and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

    Mini Mac And Cheese

    I realize my mac and cheese recipe is a beast, so I am fine tuning it for people who don’t want a 30-pound batch (fools). This one (barely) fits in a standard 8×8 Pyrex baking dish. With the proper cheddar, it is probably the best mac and cheese in the entire world.

    Macaroni and Cheese

    3/4 pound elbow pasta
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter plus more for the dish
    1.5 cup panko flakes
    1 pound extra sharp cheddar
    4 ounces Monterrey Jack
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    1.5 cups whole milk
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1 rounded teaspoon dijon mustard
    1 teaspoon sriracha (or other hot sauce)
    Optional: 1/2 cup cooked mushrooms, chorizo, or cubed ham; a handfull of fried shallots or crumbled bacon.

    • Note 1: the only salt used is in the pasta water, so season the water before adding noodles.
    • Note 2: In place of a baking dish, you can use several ramekins for individual portions. These can also be frozen before baking.

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, butter a square Pyrex baking dish and grate cheese while pasta cooks.
    2. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water.
    3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter and integrate the panko and one cup of cheese. Remove from pan and set aside.
    4. Return the pan to the stove and melt the remaining butter.
    5. Add flour and pepper and stir constantly over medium heat for three minutes.
    6. Whisk in milk, bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly and simmer for 3-5 minutes to thicken.
    7. Add cream, cheese, mustard, sriracha and pasta water, and turn off the burner. Stir until sauce is smooth.
    8. Incorporate the cooked pasta and pour into the buttered baking dish.
    9. Spread panko mixture across the top and bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown on top and bubbly.