Friday, October 11, 2013

artichoke bread

One of the appetizers from the last dinner@Tate's Kitchen event.
It's ridiculous. 
I was going to make it again and take a few more photos - but the demand for this recipe was so great so quickly I figured I should get it up and let you all take your own photos!

Make this.

Keep in mind I was feeding 10 people.


1 loaf of good french bread - or sourdough
(I used french bread but use whichever you prefer)
couple tablespoons of butter
3 cloves of finely minced garlic
2 14oz cans artichoke hearts packed in water - drained - squeezed to remove more water - chopped
1 cup shredded medium or sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 or 2 shallot (depending on their size) - chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chives
olive oil

parsley for garnish



oven to 375
middle rack

slice the bread lengthwise.
set aside.

in a saute pan - melt your butter.
add the shallot and garlic - cook just until fragrant.
remove from heat.
let sit a few minutes to cool.
stir in the artichokes and everything else in the above list.
(except the parsley)
taste for seasoning and add if needed - those cheeses can be pretty salty so I barely used any.

drizzle olive oil over the bread slices.
spread the mixture over the top of the bread slices.

into the oven about 10 minutes - just until everything is gooey and oozing.

once out of the oven grate some fresh pepper.
garnish with chopped parsley.

let cool 5 minutes or so then slice and serve.
(seriously - let it cool - it's too hot right now)


dinner @Tate's / september 2013

It just occurred to me that I have not shared the September dinner@Tate's event.....oops.....
And since the October table is already full I figured I would get the photos up here real quick and then try to share some recipes. Good idea?

We started with a warm artichoke bread done with artichoke hearts, two kinds of cheese and fresh herbs.
My husband would like for me to make this bread every day! (

Followed by these little stuffed mushrooms filled with Boursin then topped with crisped Prosciutto and Chives.

I then served a seafood soup filled with cod and mussels and homemade croutons.

Next up was a main course of what my family calls "Special Mash". This is buttery mashed potatoes with artichoke hearts, fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese. This pile of goodness was served alongside slices of a spiced, grilled tri-tip.

I think there was a salad somewhere in here as well...hmmm......

This next photo was a gift to ME!
No reason for it being in this presentation other than I love beer! It was good! No - I don't remember what was in this bottle! Yes - it is empty!

Lastly, dessert. Of course.
Homemade fresh Mint and Chocolate thread ice cream.

Served with everybody's favorite - bittersweet chocolate Beignets!
Might I add...that chocolate that has oozed out and gotten all crispy and almost burnt tasting is the BEST part of this tray.

I also made these - quiet little unassuming shortbread cookies with Lays POTATO CHIPS! 
Holy Hell I love these.

Okay.....I think that was it! 
Fall/Winter menu is officially upon us.
And yes - everyone tells me they need to roll out the front door then go sit in their cars for a bit before driving home.
That's a good thing right?

Looking forward to seeing you all at our table.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

60 Faces ~ Sacramento Farmers and Chefs

Thank you Greg for this poster! Love it! Pomegranate Design

What is it? It's an Art project. And those of you who follow me on Facebook know I teach art during the school year so this project is not a huge stretch for me. Is it a food movement? I don't really think it is. I think the word "movement" can be left to the group driving Farm to Fork. They are doing an amazing job promoting an identity for a city that is ginormous in it's agricultural industry and almost as ginormous in it's restaurant and food options (is ginormous even a real word?)

Sacramento Farmers & Chefs is a much simpler concept. SF&C is an art project and 60 Faces is an art show. A show with the faces of 30 chefs and 30 farmers on giant glossy prints and many, many other local celebrities that will be featured in a slideshow. 

I guess a little back story is needed here, yes?

The artist is Janine Mapurunga. She's a little woman from Brazil. She likes to take pictures. I have also come to know she likes to know all the why's and how's and what makes people do what they do. She's also a bit of a control freak and likes to make sure she is a part of every bit of minutiae involving every step of the process. And she is most likely going to choke when she reads that last sentence. None of this is bad (except maybe the choke part) Any individual that loves their craft is going to be more possessive than a momma bear. That's just how it is. And that is a-o-kay.
Janine started this project with a few faces and her camera. This turned into so many faces, and then interviews, and then an idea to share what she was learning. Thus SF&C began to form and on September 14th will completely come to fruition. 
By the way, here is a little photo of her I took one day while at her home. And right after she had harvested a bagful of tomatoes for me to take.
She is lovely and her heart is huge. She is a person who loves food, loves seeing the process of growing food and like myself, loves to see her friends enjoy food. She wants to share with the world what she loves about Sacramento and how huge the food culture is here in our city. Thus she has dedicated a year of her life to documenting the process and photographing all these individuals who are involved. Janine wanted a way to get close to each person. To share not only what they do - but to show what makes them tick - and to understand why. I also think she wanted to make the viewer question and wonder. Raising the curiosity level will heighten awareness will it not? And wont this in turn cause a greater appreciation for our surroundings? Or in this case - for the persons responsible for the food we love in Sacramento? 
Janine found a way to show the smallest tomato plant in someones' backyard - up to the biggest restaurants in the Capital City. And it is this project - Sacramento Farmers and Chefs.

My part in this project is large or small depending how you want to view it. This past June she asked me to be one of her 30 chef faces and wanted an interview. I agreed. We met. She took some photos. We chatted. And I left.
Here is my photo.
Yup - that's me. Thank you Janine for photo-shopping all the wrinkles and dark circles out of this image!

Then a few weeks ago she needed someone to take over as the Event Coordinator and called me (all those years being owned by Macy's have come in very handy these past few years) We met again. I said yes. And now here I am. Putting together an Art Show happening September 14th at Sunh Fish Market (how's that for a little shameless self-promotion?)
In fact - while I'm promoting - let's add a link to purchase tickets!

What started out as a whisper of a thought has grown into this beast of a concept. There are now over a hundred images. Hours and hours of interviews have been recorded and are being transcribed. Flyers and posters can be found everywhere in the city. All of this to promote the 60 Faces exhibit happening September 14th. There will be live jazz, delicious edibles provided by several local chefs, wine and beer from a few local spots. What else can I tell you? This will be big. Bring the kids and enjoy the evening. Whether chef or farmer or culinary teacher - their photo will be found in this archive. And Janine is not done. There will be many more added to this growing list of Farmers and Chefs and many more events to come. 

Will we see your photo next?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

dinner @Tate's / august 2013

What do you mean school starts in exactly two weeks??? For some reason this realization just hit me and sent me into a slight panic. Needless to say, I am not ready. Not ready to no longer have my little sidekick with me most every minute of every day. Her and her little antics and constant dialogue and dancing and singing around the house are already missed. I'm a somewhat sad mom right now. Yes...I know...all of you are rolling your eyes at me...why am I here? the reason you're here? oh dinner post...(sniff...sniff...)

The Summer of Seafood has run it's course. For now anyway. Who knows what will show on the menu for September. In addition to testing recipes for all sorts of seafood I've also been dealing with all the produce that has been given to me. An unbelievably fantastic array of pears, peaches, apples, plums, grapefruit, onions, peppers, tomatoes, on and on this has gone. It has been AWESOME. I have canned and pickled. Made jams, jellies and chutneys. Cooked all of it every which way I think my family will eat it. And for this months dinner I wanted to try and incorporate some of the items that have been swallowing up my kitchen and my fridge. Therefore, we started Sunday dinner with a simple Caprese salad.
(I know - that whole list of produce I just mentioned and I threw some tomatoes and cheese on a plate???!!! What kind of kitchen is this? HA)

Next up was a Brie wheel baked in puff pastry with my homemade spiced peach jam - served with wheat crackers (I was trying to add some nutritional value to this appetizer...think it worked?)
This is one of the worst photos ever but you get the idea.

I let this settle with the guests for a bit and just kept the wine flowing (Best Hostess Ever!) Then served this salad of grapefruit, garlic and ginger marinated shrimp on a bed of arugula, radishes and more heirloom tomatoes with toasted panko crumbs. Additional marinade was quickly boiled and served as dressing - Delicious!

This was followed by an entree of mussels cooked with beer, bacon, tomatoes and thyme. Served with a little homemade wheat pasta and pretzel bread toasts.
I also had a bunch of corn and cherry tomatoes from my market visit so I did a quick succotash sort of dish with fresh basil.

Now I REALLY needed to let everyone sit and rest for a minute (and of course kept the wine flowing) I think everyone was pretty full at this point but I had already made dessert soooooo.....buck up little's some homemade plum and brandy ice cream with a drizzle of hot fudge sauce and toasted almonds

Followed immediately by these apple handpies served with the same hot fudge sauce on the side - just in case anyone wanted to put themselves completely over the edge.

WHEW! So what should we have for September dinner@Tate's Kitchen? Thoughts? Suggestions? I promise to not let my tears from missing my daughter get into the food.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

cherry and plum bruschetta

One of the appetizers at the last dinner @Tate's Kitchen. Fresh cherries and plums from my morning Farmers Market visit. A loaf of good bread. A little sweetened ricotta. Salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil. 
Serve it up!

Filling - but light and refreshing all at the same time.

adapted from a recipe in Bon Appetit magazine


2 plums - halved, pitted, thinly sliced
1 cup cherries - halved, pitted, sliced if desired
1 tablespoon sugar 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 of a fresh vanilla bean 
(you can use vanilla extract - but the bean is so much better)
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1 tablespoon lavender honey 
(if you have - if not use a good regular honey)
1 teaspoon (or so) herbs de Provence
fresh mint

a loaf of really good french bread 

(you're not going to use it all for this but who buys a half loaf? not me...)
sea salt
fresh cracked pepper


oven to 350

halve and pit all that stone fruit.
(and if anyone has a magic way to do this with cherries without using some fancy device please let me know)
all fruit into a large bowl.
scrape the vanilla bean and add the scrapings to the fruit. 
add the 1 tablespoon sugar (I actually used a little less - but taste and see what you think) and a pinch of salt.
mix well.
set aside.

in a medium bowl add the ricotta, honey, herbs de provence and a little salt and pepper.
mix well.
add salt and pepper as needed.
i would now leave this in the refrigerator until you're ready to use.
and By The Way - this can be made a day ahead of time - just wrap and cover well and store.

slice the baguette.
brush with olive oil.
bake until top is golden brown and edges are just getting crispy.
about 10 minutes or so.

let the toast cool for a few minutes then assemble.

spread some ricotta cheese mixture on top.
gently place some slices of plums and cherries.
drizzle very little extra virgin olive oil across the top.
couple turns of pepper.
sprinkle a bit of freshly chopped mint.

serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

pan seared scallops with raisin caper sauce and cauliflower puree

My summer of seafood continues. This past dinner at Tate's Kitchen featured these buttery, pan seared scallops served on a bed of roasted cauliflower puree with a golden raisin and caper sauce.

Yikes that is quite the mouthful when I say all of it out loud. 
Anyway, I got this idea from a very late night episode of Iron Chef - very late. One of the chefs made a cauliflower puree and this sauce and served both over some sort of fish. I knew I wanted to make scallops for the next dinner so I figured this would be a fun experiment! Yes, a rather pricey experiment, but why not right? Let's try something new!
Totally worth it!
I hope you can give it a go.

roasted cauliflower puree
raisin caper sauce
fresh parsley for garnish

roasted cauliflower puree
Here's the link since I've posted this before - but I'll do a quick review below.

1 head of cauliflower - washed and broken apart
1 red onion - very large chop
5 cloves of garlic - sliced
fresh thyme
pecorino cheese - grated - you will need about 1/2 a cup
(you could also use Parmesan - but I actually prefer Pecorino)
1 cup milk or heavy cream
olive oil

oven to 425

chop everything and spread out on a baking sheet.
drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper.
toss in 4 or 5 thyme sprigs.
into the oven for about 20 minutes.
remove - carefully toss all this and add the cheese.
back into the oven about 15 minutes - or just until the vegetables are tender.
let cool.
when ready - add all the cauliflower, a couple chunks of onion and 2 large garlic slices to the food processor.
pulse 5 or 6 times.
add 1/2 cup of the milk or cream.
pulse a few more times and see if you like the consistency.
add more cream as needed.
add salt and pepper as needed.

golden raisin and caper sauce - 
1/4 cup golden raisins (do not use regular raisins - only golden raisins)
1/4 cup capers - rinsed
2 tablespoons water

all of this goes into a small saucepan.
bring to a gentle simmer.
once it is simmering let it cook just until the raisins are plump.
let cool.
dump all of it into the food processor.
pulse until you are happy with the consistency.
add a few turns of salt and several turns of pepper.
set aside.

scallops - 
couple things about this...
- I don't think it should be done in a non-stick pan - you just do not get the same crispy caramelization thing happening as you do when using a regular ol stainless steel pan 
(in my personal opinion) (and what a horrible sentence)
- Everything else needs to be done and pretty much ready to serve before you do scallops. They are definitely a cook and serve immediately type item.
- Do not add too much butter and oil to the pan - again, you will not get the crispy browned sides. They are still tasty but they are now poached instead of seared (another horrible sentence...sorry) I only add a pat of butter then a tablespoon or so of oil and just add more butter and oil as needed.

okay.....the scallops...
gently pat them dry.
salt and pepper both sides.
sprinkle a scant amount of sugar on them as well - sugar helps with the whole 'crispy caramel outside edge' thing

in a saucepan heat a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil until bubbly and browned.
sugared side first - gently lay the scallops in the pan - no one should be touching.
if you purchased the large scallops they will be ready to flip in two or three minutes - as soon as you see a lovely caramel color forming around the edges.
flip and cook the second side - adding a little more butter if needed.

little cauliflower puree on the plate.
the scallops next.
drizzle with the raisin caper sauce.
garnish with some fresh parsley and a lemon wedge if desired.
serve immediately.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

dinner @Tate's / july 2013

Another dinner on the books! I guess this is becoming somewhat of a habit? This summer I wanted to do the "Summer of Seafood" which is trickier than it sounds since no one in this house will eat it! Husband is allergic and daughter refuses to eat anyone that might have been friends with Nemo (yes...the animated clown fish - Dory's buddy -you know who that is right?) I decided to muddle forward anyway and carry out my plan. They can have hotdogs.

The July dinner started with two appetizers,
Olive oil bruschetta with a lemon, honey ricotta spread, seasoned with herbs de Provence - topped with macerated plums, tart little cherries and fresh mint,

Entree for the evening was buttery, pan fried scallops served on a roasted cauliflower puree, topped with a golden raisin and caper sauce,

Sides were straight from my morning visit to the Farmer's market (actually most of this menu was and usually is) - green beans and caramelized onions garnished with toasted almonds and parsley,

And oven roasted baby carrots finished with a little butter, brown sugar and thyme, not real pretty but definitely tasty, 

I also did some small accordion potatoes with bay leaves and thyme and which could have used a touch more salt - but were still pretty good,

Bittersweet chocolate filled beignets for dessert (everyone's favorite)

And a little scoop of homemade cinnamon, vanilla ice cream,

Hopefully no one left our house hungry?
(silly....i know)

Thank you again to all the attendees!
Hope to see you soon.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

bittersweet chocolate cremeux

I'm on a roll today with the computer so I figure I'll just keep going until my eyeballs fall out of my head. Edit edit edit...upload 9 bajillion photos to Flikr and Facebook...edit some more...label...tag...organize...someone pour me a beer stat!

This was one of the desserts served at the June TK dinner - in addition to Florentines and Lemon curd filled thumbprint cookies - I know...I'm nuts for making all those treats. But this little dish just HAD to make an appearance because it is delicious! I served it with a raspberry coulis, fresh berries, cream and chocolate shavings. All gone.
From the July issue of Food and Wine magazine. 
If you love chocolate this is the dessert for you.


1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
9 ounces dark (or bittersweet) chocolate
sweetened whipped cream
chocolate shavings
fresh berries for garnish (optional)


chop the chocolate - place into a good sized heatproof bowl - set aside.

medium saucepan - add the heavy cream and whole milk - bring to a simmer over medium heat.
turn off heat.
in a bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar and salt until creamy.
add very little of the hot cream to the egg mixture whisking continuously.
gradually add the hot mixture to the egg mixture until it is all incorporated.
everything back into the saucepan and back onto the stove - medium low heat.
stir constantly! until custard is thickened and coats the back of a spoon - 
5 to 6 minutes.
pour the custard over the chopped chocolate.
let stand until chocolate is melted - just a couple of minutes.
whisk the cremeux vigorously until smooth.
pour into a shallow glass or ceramic dish.
press plastic wrap directly onto the surface and refrigerate until set - overnight is best.

when ready - spoon into bowls - add a dollop of cream - add chocolate shavings - berries - serve.

avocado lime soup with fresh crab

What can I tell you about this? I served this soup as one of the appetizers at my last TK dinner and it received quite the rave reviews. I could probably have served this as a meal in itself with just some good bread - but there was a lot of food still to come out so appetizer it was. It comes together pretty quickly and in this Sacramento heat is quite refreshing. I think I originally found this in an old issue of Food and Wine. I of course made a couple changes based on flavor and the need to prep ahead of time. I also HIGHLY recommend you only use fresh crab - we did do a tasting with imitation crab and that was a definite "no go". If you love avocado you will truly enjoy this dish.


4 avocados - pitted, peeled, cut into chunks
2 or 3  cups vegetable stock or broth
1 cup cold milk
3 to 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
(I like lots of lime juice - I may have used almost 1/2 cup)
about 1/4 pound crabmeat
4 radishes - sliced thin
cilantro - rough chop
cayenne pepper


puree the avocados in a food processor with half the lime juice, the milk and 2 cups of vegetable stock until smooth.
add a pinch of cayenne pepper and salt and pepper.
give it a couple more pulses and taste.
here i added another couple tablespoons of lime juice and a couple more pinches of cayenne pepper.
at this point it's pretty thick - keep adding vegetable stock until you reach a consistency you like.
taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.

when ready - ladle into bowls, garnish with a sprinkling of fresh pepper, the sliced radishes, the crabmeat and the cilantro.

serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

kale and zucchini bread pudding

True confession time. I don't really like bread pudding. I usually find these dishes to be too mushy, too dry, too lacking in flavor, too just plain yuck (did I already mention mushy?) So when I see a recipe in a magazine that uses broccoli and Pancetta I think maybe it is time to give this another go - Pancetta? Yes please! And the family loves broccoli and croutons so how bad could this be? I didn't love it - but liked it well enough to give it one more try with a few alterations. The next time around I used kale - since it is overflowing at the farmer's market right now. I used a grated zucchini to help with the moisture factor - you're not really going to taste the zucchini, but it did make a big difference in the texture of this dish. I used the fresh garlic as well as garlic powder for a little smokiness. Added some red pepper flakes for a little heat. And just a little more Pancetta in the egg mixture because...why not...
Here's the final dish,

and here's how I went about this...

3 garlic cloves - minced
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
7 cups good white bread - cut into small pieces
1/2 cup parmesan cheese - plus more for topping
1 medium zucchini - grated
1 bunch kale - washed, dried, stems removed (or most of them anyway)
1 sweet white onion
8 to 10 thin slices of Pancetta - set 6 aside for topping
1 or 2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons garlic powder.
a tablespoon or so of olive oil


oven to 350

lay all those pieces of bread on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes.
remove and set aside.

prep the kale.
grate the zucchini.
chop the onion.
chop the garlic.
chop up all but 6 pieces of the Pancetta.

heat the oil - then add the garlic and pepper flakes.
cook until fragrant then add the chopped onion.
cook 8 to10 minutes until translucent.
add the kale.
add the garlic powder.
stir well.
cook just until softened.
add the Pancetta - mix all this up.
add salt and pepper and taste - add more if needed.
remove from heat and set aside.

in a large bowl whisk the eggs and milk with 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and a few turns of pepper.
add the parmesan cheese and mix well.
add the bread and stir to coat all the pieces.
add the grated zucchini.
add the kale and onion mixture.
mix all this then pour into a casserole dish.

lay the 6 reserved slices of pancetta on top of the pudding.
sprinkle more parmesan cheese on top.
grate some fresh pepper all over this.

into the oven 40 to 45 minutes.

Now if you are as neurotic as I can be (sometimes)
You will happen to have a cookie cutter that is the exact size of the Pancetta slice and will use that cookie cutter (and a spatula) to get each piece out of the casserole - and it will look like this when you serve it,

I know...I have got to learn to let things go...


Monday, July 22, 2013

dinner @Tate's / june 2013

Cook, cook,, eat, eat...
and it's a bajillion degrees in this house with no real air conditioning!
Is it worth it?
Of course it is.
LOVE hearing everyone at the table chatting and laughing and then the moments of silence when someone takes a bite and encourages all others to do so.

Here was the June dinner...

We started with a mushroom bruschetta,

And an avocado, lime soup with fresh crab, red radishes and cilantro,

Next up was a spicy grilled shrimp served with a traditional risotto and some kale chips,

Also a Tilapia with paper thin slices of potato baked until crispy and delicious,

Another photo of the Kale chips which everyone MUST try soon,

I also tested this recipe for a kale and zucchini bread pudding which I have made 3 times since this dinner - I will get that recipe up very soon,

Finally it's time for dessert,
Some lemon curd filled thumbprint cookies,

Some Florentine cookies,
And a bittersweet chocolate Cremeux served with raspberry coulis, fresh berries and a little touch of fresh cream,


Until next time...