I love to cook.  More than that, I love to eat.  So its very easy to make the jump of combining the two loves into one big fat delicious LOVE.  Here you will find some great recipes for dishes like Steamed Mussels, Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic, Pumpkin Soup, Roasted Fennel with Anchovies and Sambucca, Blueberry Pancakes.  You get the picture, good stuff!  You can post a recipe too and together we can be chefs of the city (or the country if that is where you live).  Also, I'll be telling you about some of my favorite restaurants around town.  So enjoy!   

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Urban Food


Shrimp Lime Pepper Pasta

This is a dish, I invented.  I call it shrimp lime pepper pasta!  Its incredible.  Its delicious.  It will make you melt with its heat, its tangyness, and its inability to peg to any category.  Is it Italian?  Asian?  Mexican?  You decide.  To make it you will need a blender or food processer.  I use the processer section of a Cuisinart immersion blender.  First I'll show you how to make the sauce, which is more like a chutney and which gives the dish its name.  

1/2 cup fresh cilantro

1/2 cup italian parsley

3 cloves garlic

1 shallot

juice of 1 lime plus a splash of bottled lime juice

1/2 fresh serrano pepper,  1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper

splash of extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon ground comino 

salt and pepper to taste

   Process on pulse the parsley and cilantro.  Add the garlic and shallot which you have already chopped somewhat and the peppers which have had the seeds removed.  Pulse.  Add the lime and lime juice, olive oil, comino, salt and pepper.  Blend until smooth.  Use a small rubber spatula to scrap down the sides and continue to blend untill pureed.  Place into bowl and put in refrigerator.  You want it cool, cold, fresh!  Just like you right?  Next:   The shrimp

1 1/2 lbs fresh or fresh frozen medium shrimp.  

extra virgin olive oil to cover bottom of pan

2 cloves garlic

1/4 stick unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 lemon for juice

1/2 cup crisp white wine

sea salt to taste

   In a large 12" stainless pan  heat oil on high.  Add the chopped garlic and the shrimp which have been swabbed of excess water with a paper towel.  Turn them over right away with tongs or a wooden spoon.  Add butter, wine, red pepper flakes, lemon.  Keep stirring and add more butter, wine, lemon etc to taste.  Its a work of art and when you find the correct balance between silky butter and sharp tangy lemon/wine, you'll know.  Or I hope you will....good luck!  

   Serve over linguine which you have been boiling in a large pot with 1/2 teaspoon salt and oil respectively while all the rest of this is going on.  

   Put linguine in plate, pour shrimp and butter/wine sauce over and last, spoon the crisp, cold lime sauce in dollops over the shrimp and pasta.  Garnish with avacado if you so desire.  This dish pairs well with a buttery chardonnay like Bogle that cuts some of the acidity or you can go full tang and serve it with a pinot grigio or a mineraly French chablis.  Or if you're a man's man like me, serve it up with an ice cold beer!  Serves 2.

   Shrimp lime pepper pasta!   BON APPETIT!  


Clafoutis. A delicious French desert! Oh yeah!

This is a fantastic simple custard that takes about 40 minutes to make.  You can use cherries which I like in June when they're fresh, or blackberries, rasberries and blueberries.  Here's the recipe:


Enough berries/cherries, to cover the bottom of a medium sezed cast iron pan or baking dish.

2 eggs

1 egg yoke

1/2 cup sugar

2 1/2 oz butter (about 3/4 a stick) melted

2/3 cup all purpose (plain) flour

1 cup milk

powdered sugar

*Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  

*Butter your cast iron pan or bakeware and put the berries in a single layer.  Don't overfill.  Combine the eggs and yolk in a bowl.  I like to use a heavy ceramic one.  Add the sugar and whisk until the mixture is pale in color.  Whisk in the melted butter.  Sift in the flour and mix well, then mix in the milk.  Make sure you use a flour sifter, it really makes it better.  Continue beating until the batter is smooth, then pour over the berries.  

*Bake for 40 minutes or until browned.  Remove the clafoutis from the oven and sift some powdered sugar on it.  Let it rest for a bit.  Serve lukewarm.    


Garlic Aioli

Do you like garlic?  Well, do mice like cheese?  Do bees like honey?  Well, actually they MAKE honey, but you get the picture.  EVERYBODY loves garlic!  As a matter of fact, I don't trust someone who doesn't, there's something wrong there.  So, in the interest of 'spreading the wealth' as it were, I'v decided to show you how to make a garlic aioli, which is a French mayonnaise.  If you make it right, its so good you have a strong chance of becoming addicted.  

   Its fresh, its garlicky, its salty and its tangy.  Like many things of fragile beauty, it only lasts a few days.  But oh what a few days!  You spread it on a crusty baguette, or crisp raw veggies.  Or you can slather it on cooked broccoli, slop it on scrambled eggs or put a dollop on steamed asparagus.  I"v put it on grilled Pacific salmon.  And you serve it with a crisp rose or a French Chablis.

    1 1/2 cups canola oil

    1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

    3 large cloves garlic

    sea salt

    2 egg yokes

    1 lemon, halved

    2 to 3 tablespoons water

    Combine the oils in a 2 cup measure and set aside.  

    Crush together the garlic and 1 teaspoon salt in a mortar with a pestle until the garlic is completely turned into a paste.  You keep scraping down the sides of the mortar as you mash with a soft rubber spatula or some such implement you may have on hand.  Scrape the resulting paste into a large ceramic bowl, add the egg yokes and a pinch of salt and whisk.  Using a ceramic bowl is really helpful because you want sturdiness.  And you want a narrow bottom, not a broad one.  Also, make sure its room temp or even a bit warm.  NOT COLD, NOT HOT.  

    While whisking constantly, begin adding the blended oils 1 drop at a time.  This is time consuming and you don't have to be EXACT, but try, and you will find your own method of accomplishing this.  I put the oil in a shot glass and drip it down.  After adding 1 to 2 tablespoons oil, the mixture will become very stiff.  Whisking constantly, blend in 1 tablespoon of the water.  This will thin it out a bit.  Then resume adding the oil drop by drop until the mixture again becomes stiff.  Don't be obsessive about this, but do take your time.  

    Whisk in the juice of 1/2 lemon.  When the mixture smothes out, resume adding oil, this time in a thin stream.  Yes, it will become stiff again.  YOU'RE ALMOST DONE, HANG IN THERE.  Now you whisk in 1 more tablespoon water and add the remaining oil in a thin stream while whisking constantly.  

     Taste it and add salt as needed.  It should taste more garlicky than lemony and it should be looser than mayonnaise.  But if you like a bit more lemon, go ahead.  If its too thin you can add a bit more water.  Refrigerate.  It will last for about 3 days.   

     If, in the early stages the aioli turns thin and grainy, it means the emulsion has 'broken'.  Set it aside and place another egg yolk in a clean, deep bowl.  Start whisking and add the broken aioli drop by drop until you have restored the emulsion.  But this probably won't happen.  Its never happened to me.  

      Its a bit hard to make, and takes a bit of time but the effort is WELL worth it!  It really is sooo good!

      I must give credit where credit is due.  I found this recipe at The Wine Country, my favorite wine store in Signal Hill Ca.  




Steamed mussels!!

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