Chermoula Pork Confit Hash

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My hash history is painted with comforting meals of corned beef, romesco pulled pork, homemade merguez… and now pork confit and chermoula. A bit of satisfaction comes with a successful leftover transformation and hash is one of the easiest way to do that. In this transformation bits of pork confit were sauteed with yukon gold potatoes, white beech mushrooms, chermoula and parsley. The coriander, cumin and paprika from the chermoula gave a nice warmth to the dish. The only thing left to do was add a poached egg whose deep yellow, warm, runny yolk would runneth over all that deliciousness.

Osso Bucco, Saffron Risotto, Asparagus & English Pea

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I love that osso bucco mean “bone with a hole”.  This dish of braised veal shank will make you melt just like the marrow is in the middle of bone. My osso bucco had a tiny small hole though that would be not let up the warm marrow. It was so deep in flavor and unctuous that the marrow thwart quickly became a thought of the past.

I used Marcella Hazan’s recipe for the veal shanks and paired it with the saffron risotto, channeling Suzanne Goin. A gentle saute of asparagus and English pea garnished the dish for a seasonal uplift. I get a certain level of pure pleasure shelling, sorting and blanching the green little babies. There is calm in the repetition. The osso bucco, like many stews and braises, was exponentially better after it rested in its juice a day. It made the best “brown bag” work lunch.

Ricotta Gnocchi, Pancetta, Fava, Mint

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The warm seasons of Southern California brings with it such a bounty of beautiful produce. We are so lucky to be spoiled with this climate. When I start seeing fava beans at the farmers markets I always get a little jolt of happiness knowing that spring has finally arrived. Not much need to be done to a beautiful fresh ingredient. Ricotta gnocchi, pancetta and mint joined the bright green blanched favas for a delightful spring combination.

Fresh Pasta with Corn Jus, Bacon & Basil

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Bacon makes the world a better place. The smokey, cured pork goodness even makes long-time vegetarian mouths water. Over the years it’s been paired with even sweet ingredients such a chocolate and caramel, to delightful results and pleased palates.

However, I think one of my favorite partnering is a conventional one. Bacon and corn. Delicate, fresh pasta combined with smokey bacon and sweet corn juice, lightened by floral basil. Hello summer.

Vadouvan Chicken Pot Pie

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I never liked chicken pot pie growing up. It’s never been the go-to comfort dish for me. Even to this day friends rave about Marie Callender’s chicken pot pie. Really? In the dish’s defense my first taste of it was probably a frozen version. Perhaps Marie Callender’s.

Unfortunately many food preference hang on that initial encounter. Oh how many edibles have been passed over after a sub par bite. When I was seven I tried mustard for the first time at Disneyland, the kind that comes in a little plastic pouch. The kind that is almost practically glowing yellow. I didn’t eat mustard for a very long time after that. Of course now I am bonkers about mustard. I digress though.

Chicken Pot Pie.

Recently after gobbling down Good Girl Dinette’s delicious curried chicken pot pie I felt motivated to try out my own version at home. I had the last bit of Le Sanctuaire’s vadouvan hangin out lonely style in the freezer. It was calling me.

The vegetables needed a tune up though. Frozen peas? Sure they are great, packed at the greenest and freshest. But with the abundance of seasonal vegetables available I took a more autumnal route. Parsnips, butternut squash, carrots and pearl onions (I cheated and used frozen ones). The pie was missing the pretty green but it wasn’t missed much with the golden warmth of the squash and curry.

The pastry was a basic pie crust with crushed chicken chicharron. Why not? It’s the holidays after all.

English Pea Soup

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So. Vibrant. Green.

Reminds me of when I attended summer school in the U.K. and how deeply saturated green the scenery was. I really didn’t expect the soup to come out so green. What an invigorating visual pick me up though. English peas were blanched, shocked then blended with homemade vegetable stock. I decorated the surface with Pecorino shards and lemon oil. Simple, straightforward and fresh. Just what beautiful spring produce deserves.

Pork Confit Sandwich

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What better way to celebrate Fourth of July than with great food and friends? I was lucky enough to be invited to Jeni and Dylan’s bbq for some serious eating. If you don’t already know they are a pair of serious cooks and eaters so I had to really think about what dish I was going to contribute to the festivities. I settled on Grilled Pork Confit and turned it into a sandwich using homemade brioche buns, mustard relish, cress and everyone’s favorite, Zuni Cafe pickled red onions.

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Leek Bacon Comte Tart

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This tart came about one cold winter day. I was actually sick during that time and had lost my sense of smell and taste. But instilled with an urge to cook. Perhaps it was all the laying about doing not a single thing.  If I woke up tomorrow minus my ability to taste I would be thrown into turmoil, stripped of life meaning.  How I longed for the aroma of sizzling bacon and leeks cooking in butter. Thank goodness my sickness was only temporary. The day after I made the tart I was fully able to taste again. Hooray. Sweet leeks, nutty comte and smokey bacon topped the homemade Zuni Cafe rough puff pastry. The house smelled absolutely wonderful to everyone’s pleasure.

Holiday Dinner

The rampant holiday eating and cooking continued the day after Christmas. My brother and I hosted a dinner for a few of our friends.

The menu:

no knead bread, preserved lemon butter
roasted walnuts in the shell
chestnuts in warm sage oil, prosciutto
sweetbread nuggets, honey mustard
roasted cauliflower, coriander, paprika, anchovies
merguez corndogs
warm peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, whipped cream

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