What's Tasty at Sigona's Farmers Market

December 15, 2010

Chef’s Corner featuring Zest Bakery

Filed under: Chef's Corner — Sigona's @ 10:41 am

Chef’s Corner featuring Zest Bakery

The peninsula is bursting with fantastic restaurants and specialty food shops, most of which are dedicated to using local and fresh ingredients, just like what we carry at our store. Each Chef’s Corner will feature a local restaurant or chef (and a recipe, of course) in the hopes that you’ll grow to love the chef’s passion for food and their business as much as we do. Enjoy — Carmelo Sigona

Patrick Luke of Zest Bakery brings gluten-free goodies to the Peninsula

At last! Gluten-free, fresh baked goods and pastas that taste fantastic!

Carmelo Sigona chats about gluten intolerance with Patrick Luke, owner of Zest Bakery in San Carlos.

Patrick Luke, a former IT industry member-turned-baker, reports now for duty much earlier than his former colleagues. In order to successfully operate his gluten-free bakery, a 4 a.m. start time is an absolute necessity in order to have freshly baked pastries and goodies ready for the early morning commuters and my wife who occasionally stops by to buy me gluten-free baguettes. More on the baguettes later.

In September 2009, Patrick, 17-year veteran of the IT industry, found himself unemployed. As boredom set in, Patrick, who had been diagnosed five years ago with celiac disease (a gluten intolerance or wheat allergy), began baking gluten-free goodies to pass the time. Soon, he wasn’t only baking for himself, but he was perfecting gluten-free recipes and producing pastries and other goodies that were always the first to disappear at parties. With this new-found passion, Patrick even looked into options for selling his gluten-free creations, such as breads, pastas and cookies, at local farmers’ markets.

“In January 2010, my wife and I looked for all gluten-free kitchen space in order to bake items to sell at farmers’ markets, but it was difficult to find kitchen space as well as a booth at the markets,” said Patrick. “I’ve always believed that if something is going to happen, it should be easy to do. Despite a few road blocks in the beginning, we made the decision to move ahead and within one week we found this available facility in San Carlos, connected with the owner and walked away with the keys to our very own kitchen and store front. The rest – from permits to equipment – just fell into place after that.”

Zest Bakery, which Patrick and his crew refurbished and rebuilt from scratch, opened its doors July 15th, 2010 and has been a running success ever since. Though Patrick knew, from his own searches, that the Bay Area was undersatisfied in the gluten-free department, specifically for fresh-baked and savory options, he wasn’t expecting the immediate success they’ve had with their business.

Zest's gluten-free multigrain bread loaves are one of the more popular menu items.

Patrick says the Triple Ginger cookie "is amazing with a cup of coffee."

“I figured we’d go at least a month without needing to hire additional employees,” said Patrick. “We lasted one day. We hired Andrea Boje as a kitchen manager and she’s been a blessing. We also have two other ladies to help with baking, and my wife and sister-in-law also assist with other projects, such as the fresh ravioli. The bakery has been an extreme success and business is growing.”

Always first to fly off the bakery shelves are the seasonally inspired muffins (think pumpkin chai and raspberry chocolate), the multigrain bread loaves and the baguettes, as well as their triple ginger and oatmeal cranberry cookies. “The triple ginger cookie is amazing with a cup of coffee,” said Patrick.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, the three most commonly used flours used in the United States. This protein can be used in almost anything, from salad dressings to soy sauce and beer, for example, not just pastries and pastas. It’s also commonly used as a filler or thickening agent. At Zest, Patrick uses a combination of different flours, such as brown rice, potato and tapioca, to create gluten-free sweet and savory products.

People who are gluten intolerant or who have been diagnosed celiac disease often suffer from joint pain (like me), irritability, intense heartburn, IBS, fatigue, headaches and more when they ingest gluten. It’s often hard to pinpoint and is diagnosed after testing. I discovered I was allergic to wheat and gluten after years of suffering from joint pain and exhaustion.

I haven’t been diagnosed with celiac disease, but I kept track of what I ate and noted my reactions. Eventually I narrowed it down to a wheat allergy, did some research and started incorporating gluten-free foods to my diet. I’m so glad I did – I simply feel better on a day-to-day basis. I’ll tell you this, though; being a Sicilian with a gluten intolerance really puts a damper on eating traditional meals with the family. Pastas and breads, after all, make up most meals and it’s been difficult for me to find gluten-free options that not only taste good, but are fresh and readily available.

With this in mind, imagine my excitement when Gloria, a Sigona’s crew member of more than 25years, told me about Zest Bakery’s gluten-free bakery in San Carlos!

The baguettes, made with gluten-free flours, were Carmelo's absolute favorite. Here they are before they're baked.

Patrick Luke and Andrea Boje, the Zest kitchen manager and Patrick's right hand woman, behind the counter at Zest to offer samples of the pumpkin chai muffins.

My wife Jackie and I visited Zest on a Saturday in October, and it was at the bakery that I experienced love at first bite. Especially with the baguette and the foccacia rolls. Oh how I’ve longed for a fresh baguette! I asked Patrick for samples of a few other items, such as their fresh, hand-made gnocchi, pastas and seasonally stuffed ravioli, their famous raspberry chocolate muffins, the black Mission fig oatmeal cookie and the cream puffs. I couldn’t wait to get home and partner the baguette with some of our awesome La Trinidad extra virgin olive oil from Spain. As it turned out, I only had half of the baguette left by the time I got home!

As noted on the Zest Bakery website, there are many health benefits to avoiding traditional bakery ingredients. Refined, bleached flours, for example, can damage your digestive system and stimulate cravings. For me, wheat gluten causes my joints to ache and I experience stomach pain, so it’s definitely worth it for me to avoid gluten products. There has been a spike in demand for gluten-free products from non-celiacs who have made the choice to be gluten free simply to be mindful of how their diet impacts their weight, health and overall wellbeing. We’re glad to know Zest Bakery is dedicated to creating products that don’t contain flours with gluten, but taste just as great as traditional foods.

The Zest crew also strives to use local, seasonal and organic products whenever possible by shopping at local farmers markets and specialty food stores. Their stuffed ravioli, for example, featured a squash filling earlier this fall, and they’ve recently switched to an in-season wild mushroom filled ravioli, as well as a beet and goat cheese stuffed ravioli that is simply delightful.

Zest Bakery keeps a blog where they post stories about adventures in baking, as well as recipes featuring their gluten-free ingredients, such as this recipe for their Ricotta Gnocchi & Spicy Cilantro Pesto. Simply looking at this dish online will whet your appetite enough to get you to your car and to their bakery for a bag of ricotta gnocchi.

From one small, entrepreneurial family-owned business to the next, we welcome Zest Bakery to the neighborhood and wish them all the best!

Zest Bakery — 1224 Arroyo  —   San Carlos, CA 94070

www.zestbakery.com

Zest hours are as follows:

Monday: closed

Tuesday – Friday: 8 am – 6 pm

Saturday – Sunday: 8 am – 2 pm

Note: Zest will be CLOSED Saturday 12/25 through Monday 12/27 for the Christmas holiday. Normal hours of operation resume at 8 a.m. Tuesday, December 28th.

You can also follow Zest on Facebook or Twitter.

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February 23, 2010

Chef’s Corner: Donato Scotti, owner and executive chef of Donato Enoteca

Filed under: Chef's Corner — Sigona's @ 5:44 pm

Chef’s Corner: Donato Scotti, owner and executive chef of Donato Enoteca

The peninsula is bursting with fantastic restaurants, most of which are dedicated to using local and fresh ingredients, just like what we carry at our store! Each Chef’s Corner will feature a local restaurant, chef & a recipe in the hopes that you’ll grow to love the chef’s passion for food, and their restaurant, as much as we do! Enjoy — Carmelo Sigona

1041 Middlefield Road, Redwood City, CA

Carmelo and Donato Scotti chat over an espresso at the lounge in Donato Enoteca

You wouldn’t believe it was only January when we visited Donato Scotti, owner and executive chef of the new restaurant Donato Enoteca in Redwood City. The sun was out, some trees were pushing out early blossoms and people were bustling down the sidewalk, but there was still a bite in the air that led me to accept the espresso Scotti offered when he welcomed us into his restaurant.

Donato Enoteca is in a prime position on Middlefield Road, straight across the street from the city library. My son Dante and I had dined there just days before to scope it out as we knew Chef Scotti made weekly visits to our Redwood City store. The dining atmosphere and lounge area were perfect and the authentic Italian food, made with local ingredients, was so out-of-this-world fantastic…we’re talking Risotto Nero, Risotto cooked in squid ink, and Calamarettie e Fagioli that were cooked so Italian I didn’t hesitate to ask Scotti if we could feature him in our next Chef’s Corner. The dishes brought back the great memories of the feasts we had at our big family get-togethers. The whole package was too great to let go.

“The building offered everything I’ve always wanted in my own restaurant; casual dining inside with a quiet dining area and lounge in the back, lined by an outdoor patio that is gorgeous when the weather is nice,” said Scotti. “It was like getting dealt a new hand when playing cards. I could have folded, but I had to play it. You can’t pass up an opportunity like this.”

Donato gives Carmelo a sneak peek at the kitchen as the crew preps ingredients for the day.

Donato Enoteca features a contemporary Italian menu that changes weekly to incorporate the freshest and just-peaking produce of the season. From homemade pastas (try making some yourself using Scotti’s recipe below!), to meat and fish courses, to a uniquely-designed wine list, it’s obvious that Scotti pours his heart and soul into the food and the business of restauranterring.

“You have to give your all when you run a business with your name on it,” said Scotti. “I’ve worked to bring my business to a point where I’m comfortable saying to people, ‘this is who I am and this is what I’ve got.’”

My brothers and I can definitely vouch for that sort of mentality – when your name is on your business there is no excuse for putting forth half the effort or for presenting your customers with mediocre products. There’s so much self-satisfaction in knowing that you are giving the best of what is good for your customers. Scotti takes the same approach to his cooking – with so many fresh, local ingredients at our fingertips, there is no reason not to use them.

Donato shows Carmelo the oven used for baking bread, pizza and other delicious dishes.

“It’s an Italian thing,” said Scotti. “The Italian approach to cooking is to find local ingredients and enhance them by introducing other local flavors and products. Fresh, good ingredients, such as local artichokes, lettuces and beets, create good dishes, as long as you don’t do too much to the recipe. It’s a simple and natural way of presenting what terrior brings to the plate and it’s the closest I can bring my customers to Italy.”

Take porcini mushrooms, for example. It was porcini season when Christine, our marketing manager, and I visited with Scotti. He told us about how he grew up hunting mushrooms in Italy and has found great pockets of wild porcinis to pick right here in the Bay Area. “I love going to get them myself,” said Scotti. “And no, I won’t tell you where I found them,” he added with a laugh.

Scotti came to the United States from Italy about 20 years ago, landing first in New York City, which he found to be a bit too big of a city having come from a small town in Italy. Scotti then made his way to Los Angeles where he secured a position at Valentino, a legendary restaurant known for using California’s fresh and local ingredients. Scotti became Chef during the six years he worked at Valentino before making his way north to Fresno and then to Sacramento. In Sacramento, Scotti accepted a position with Il Fornaio which eventually led to transfers within the chain to sites in Walnut Creek and, ultimately, Palo Alto.

Have you been to La Strada in Palo Alto? Scotti opened La Strada in 2004 and focused the menu on the foods of Northern Italy, incorporating fresh and local ingredients, which earned the restaurant the excellent reputation that holds true today. It was in the last year that Scotti saw an opportunity to strike out on his own and opened Donato Enoteca in Redwood City in June 2009.

Though Scotti worked at Michelin-starred restaurants in Italy and studied at the Instituto Alberghiero di San Pellegrino culinary school, working with local, seasonal ingredients was not something he had to be taught – eating seasonally and living from the local land was second nature to him.

Carmelo had an opportunity to help brown some of the beef for a dish the crew were preparing.

Growing up in small town of Bergamo, near Lake Como, Italy, Scotti’s roots, as it says in his bio the restaurant’s Web site, “were planted from a young age for his future career as a chef.” His grandfather raised chickens and other game such as rabbits, his father tended a large garden and the family practiced eating farm-to-table everyday. Gathering foods every day for a meal is not a new concept to Scotti.

My family, once our family moved from San Francisco to Morgan Hill when I was a teenager, did the same thing. My father still works his small farm daily, taking little breaks on the folding chair he totes around on his regular route through the property. It’s a way of life just as his father had done in Italy before relocating to the United States.

“I’ve always loved food, and always loved to eat,” said Scotti. “I was just 12 or 13 years old when I asked my mother if I could go work in the local bakery during the summer. I would deliver loaves of freshly-baked bread in the mornings to wives waiting for the delivery so they could make lunches for their husbands to take to lunch. I loved working there, smelling the flour and the bread coming out of the oven. A.G. Ferrari makes the dough we use for our bread, but I was able to do taste testing and give my input on the recipe.”

Scotti has a tip for future customers: when looking over the menu, feel free to say to the waiter, “tell Donato I’ll eat whatever he makes.” Making up meals on the fly, based on customers likes, dislikes or sense of gastronomic adventure is a challenge Scotti likes to face. “It gives me an opportunity to use my ability and my talents.”

One of the dishes I absolutely love at Donato Enoteca is the Crostata Di Baccala, a salted cod cake dish. The last time I had salted cod was in Pozzallo, Sicily, the home of my grandfather. Scotti says he put a twist on an old recipe from Venice where the cod is cooked in milk, chilled and made into cakes before it’s fried. Scotti knows this dish is sought out by people from Northern Italy and he’s proud to offer it on his menu. Be sure to check out the Donato Enoteca menu online to plan your next visit, or, to hold you over, try out his recipe for Foiade with a mushroom sauce below!

Recipe from Donato Scotti

Fresh Foiade with a Mushroom and Parsley sauce

Foiade are very simple and very tasty short strips of pasta, and are often found served with mushrooms such as porcinis, but you can use any variety such as chanterelles (they’re so hot right now!). You’ll need a pasta machine or the pasta attachment on your KitchenAid to complete the pasta portion of this recipe.

Foiade

  • 1.5 lb. buckwheat flour, 1/2 lb. regular flour
  • 10 eggs
  • Olive oil, salt, water (as needed…see directions)
  • Rice flour (for dusting)

Make batch of flour and create a well in the middle, add 8 whole eggs, some olive oil, a pinch of salt.  Mix by hand. Add 2 whole eggs and a little water to moisten the dough so that it will stick.  Work by hand until smooth and homogeneous, cover with a damp towel and set aside in a bowl.

To make foiade, use a pasta machine. Start with a coarse sheet of dough, run through machine, fold, run through machine again, setting the machine to a finer thickness each time.  After each fold sprinkle with a little rice flour.  Stop folding, keep making machine setting finer until the desired thickness is achieved.  Buckwheat is harder to work and it tends to rip.  Dust with rice flour to keep dough from sticking.  Cut final sheet into odd assorted shapes with a knife.

To cook, use plenty of water and boil hard.

Mushrooms sauce

We encourage you to make as much or as little of the mushroom sauce as you need for this dish…it all depends on how much foiade you make or how many people you’re serving. Cooking a dish like this allows you to be creative with measurements! Tip: Don’t drown the mushrooms in oil or wine – they’ll soak up some of the liquid, but don’t need to swim in it to begin with. See Donato’s note about adding a little water or vegetable stock if the mushroom mix is too dry.

  • Wild mushrooms (may be more than one kind combined)
  • Olive oil
  • Chopped garlic
  • Italian parsley
  • White wine
  • Grana padano (may substitute fontina or piave cheeses)

Saute chopped garlic in oil, add mushrooms, add Italian parsley, cook for two minutes.  Add salt, splash of wine, cook another four minutes.  If too dry add a little water or vegetable stock, toss with buckwheat foiade, add grated grana padano, serve.

January 27, 2010

Chef’s Corner: Jose Luis Ugalde, executive chef & owner of Cafe Gibraltar

Filed under: Chef's Corner — Sigona's @ 10:56 am

Chef’s Corner: Jose Luis Ugalde, executive chef & owner of Cafe Gibraltar

The peninsula is bursting with fantastic restaurants, most of which are dedicated to using local and fresh ingredients, just like what we carry at our store! Each Chef’s Corner will feature a local restaurant, chef & a recipe in the hopes that you’ll grow to love the chef’s passion for food, and their restaurant, as much as we do! Enjoy — Carmelo Sigona

By Carmelo Sigona

Cafe Gibraltar -- 425 Ave. Alhambra -- El Granada, CA

Recognized by foodies and their favorite industry publications stretching from San Francisco, Calif., to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, Chef Jose Luis Ugalde, owner of Café Gibraltar in El Granada, has made his mark on the West Coast as a culinary genius. Café Gibraltar is another restaurant I absolutely love for its wonderfully creative dishes and warm, friendly feel. The short distance over the hill is well worth the drive.

Chef Jose Luis has created a menu featuring authentic Mediterranean cuisine with dishes from Italy, Turkey, Greece, Spain, Morocco, and France, as well a few dishes using a style after his own namesake. Menu items with a Ugalde notation are of Jose Luis’ own creation; they are generally of the Basque persuasion, as tribute to his heritage.

The menu is also all-organic and Jose Luis sources his ingredients as locally as possible. For example, he brings in seafood from Monterey, tomatoes from Watsonville and Swiss chard, onions and cabbage from Pescadaro. In fact, just as Christine and I were leaving, a local farmer pulled up to the back of the restaurant with fresh, local artichokes. Jose Luis pointed in their direction and said with a smile, “those will be artichoke soup later today.” He feels just as blessed to be in the Bay Area with such fantastic resources as we do!

The artichoke soup is a famous, seasonal menu item at Café Gibraltar, as well as the lamb. “We change our menu about every three months to incorporate in-season items, but we keep a few of the dishes or ingredients we know our customers love. For example, we always have a dish that features lamb, though the cut and the preparation may vary on each menu or every other menu; people definitely come for the lamb.”

What a view! Cafe Gibraltar looks right out over the ocean. Perfect place to catch the sunset.

The unique seating at Cafe Gibraltar adds to the cozy atmoshpere - these seats are great for sunset gazing.

After a quick search on Yelp, we’ve proved that to be true. One reviewer wrote:

I would come back here for the lamb shank and the lamb shank alone.

I love the story about Jose Luis’ passion food and restauranteering as he didn’t follow the usual path of most executive chefs or restaurant owners. “When I was about 10 years old, living in Mexico City, the city had just selected a new governor and to celebrate they brought in chefs from all over the world,” said Jose Luis. “They interviewed the chefs on TV where each talked about what they would be making and how they would do it. That really captured me. It made me realize that’s what I wanted to do.”

Jose Luis then told us briefly about how he moved from Mexico City to Los Angeles at the age of 16 and worked in various food- and field-related positions before moving to the Bay Area where he took a position as dishwasher and busser at Via Venetto in Oakland, Calif. It wasn’t long before the owners noted his drive and skill and moved him to the position of lead line cook.

Having gained a new expertise, Jose Luis eventually took a position at La Brasserie Francaise under Chef Eric Branger who taught Jose Luis more about French cuisine. From here Jose Luis and his wife, Liam, traveled to Seattle to take a position at Spazzo, a Mediterranean restaurant, and from there moved into a position at the Grand Aleutian resort in Dutch Harbor, Alaska before returning to Seattle where Jose Luis took a position as the opening chef at Carmelita, a vegetarian restaurant with a Mediterranean twist. Here he developed the entire menu, which was 70 percent vegan and 90 percent vegan-optional. As a result of the stellar menu, Carmelita was voted Seattle’s best new restaurant against competitors such as Roy Yamaguchi and Wolfgang Puck!

Hot and fast...that's Jose Luis' secret to fantastic calamari.

As most of us do eventually, Jose Luis and Liam felt the tug of home on their heartstrings and moved back to the Bay Area in 1998, where soon thereafter they opened Café Gibraltar at its former location in Montara, north of El Granada.

And we certainly are happy they did! My wife Jackie and I have been to Café Gibraltar a few times and we always order from the tasting menu, which allows you to order any five of the entrees, including dessert, for $60 per person (see their entire menu here). I love asking chefs for a sampler plate of all their menu items at restaurants so in one sitting I can get a real feel for the chef’s style. When Jackie and I go, we both order from the tasting menu and dine from eight different, all organic entrees and two desserts throughout the night. It’s perfect!

Offering all-organic dishes is one thing Jose Luis said he was proud to dedicate himself to doing at his restaurant. “There are many reasons people may say they ‘go organic,’” said Jose Luis. “I look at it as coming down to the flavor of ingredients and a way of acknowledging our history and respecting the earth. Eighty years ago there wasn’t a question of organic or conventional; it just was, it was that simple, and that’s how I like to operate.”

Carmelo takes a turn with the calamari

Another dish I think is absolutely fantastic is the Spanish-style Chipirones al Ajillo, or calamari; it’s most like the calamari I had as a kid since I grew up with authentic Sicilian cooking. Knowing this, Jose Luis made us a plate of our own when we went to visit him for Chef’s Corner. His secret, aside from his house-made Meyer lemon sauce and a garnish of microgreens (tender and tangy young lettuce and mustard greens), is a high cooking heat and little cooking time. Fast and hot, if you will, as you can tell from the accompanying photo. These are a must try!

Jose Luis graciously sent us home with a few Café Gibraltar recipes to share with our customers, and most of the ingredients are available at our stores. Enjoy!

Carmelo and Jose Luis share a few secrets of the trade, including how Jose Luis makes his own lemon sauce.

Recipes from Jose Luis Ugalde

Artichoke Soup

A Café Gibraltar favorite!

  • 1 lb Potatoes, peeled, cooked & diced
  • 4 lbs artichoke hearts, cleaned & cooked
  • 1 lb butter beans, cooked
  • 1 ea onions, diced large
  • 4 cups celery root, diced large
  • 4 ea carrots, peeled, diced large
  • 4 qts vegetable stock (see below for a recipe)
  • to taste, salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • for garnish roasted almonds

Heat oil in a stock pot, add onions, season and cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes.  Add carrots, celery, butter beans, potatoes and artichokes, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Add stock, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes.  Remove, puree, strain and serve garnished with roasted almonds.

Vegetable Stock

  • 1 cluster celery, large diced
  • 2 ea yellow onions, cut in 1/2
  • 4 ea carrots,  peeled, cut in chunks
  • 1/4 cup  canolve oil
  • 8 quarts water
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 ea bay leaves

Spread oil on sheet pan, mix veggies together, season, spread on sheet pan.  Roast in oven for 30 to 40 minutes until veggies caramelize, remove, add to stock pot with water, simmer on low for 30 minutes. Turn off, strain immediately.

Kaskasu bi’l-Lahm

Try one of Jose Luis’ famous lamb recipes for yourself!

  • 4 shanks shoulder or shank lamb meat, braised and pulled (see braising liquid below)
  • 1 basket pearl onions, whole
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Lg. carrots, blanched, diced large
  • 1 cup fresh fava beans
  • 1 basket cherry tomatoes, cut in 1/2
  • 4 TBL harissa (recipe follows)
  • 2 cups  reserved sauce from braising
  • 2 quarts chickpeas, soaked for 24 hours, braised
  • eggplant, roasted (optional)

Directions: Braise the lamb shanks in a 325 degree oven for about 2 hours in the braising liquid (below), or until the meat, pulls easily from the bone. Remove the lamb and set the liquid aside.  In a hot skillet with oil, add all ingredients except cherry tomatoes, mix well and immediately transfer to a tajine, bake in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees, until the vegetables are tender and have started to simmer.

Remove and garnish with mint leaves, roasted eggplant and cherry tomatoes, serve.

Braising liquid

  • 6 cups  Beef stock
  • 1 Lg. yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 stocks celery, chopped
  • 10 dried chiles, deseeded
  • 1 Lg. carrots, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf, whole
  • 12 dried apricots, cut in 1/4’s
  • 10 prunes
  • 1 sprig each mint & parsley
  • a pinch salt & pepper

Directions: Combine everything and braise according to the directions above.

Harissa

  • 1 cup cumin seed, toasted, ground
  • 1 cup cumin, ground
  • 2 cups smoked paprika
  • 1 TBL chile flakes
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 cups lemon juice
  • 6 cups canolive oil
  • 2 cups garlic, chopped

Directions: Add all ingredients and blend in a food processor until smooth.

Patatas con Chipirones al Ajillo

This is one of my favorite dishes. It reminds me of the calamari I had as a kid, growing up with authentic Sicilian cooking.

  • 2 lbs Calamari, tubes and tentacles, peeled and cleaned
  • 1 cup Ajillo Sauce (see recipe for this sauce below)
  • Flour, for dusting
  • Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 TBL Canolive Oil
  • 2 cups  Braised Potatoes

Directions: Heat a skillet over high heat until smoking, add oil, rotate to cover entire surface. Pat dry calamari, season with salt and pepper, coat with flour, shake to remove excess.  Add to skillet and saute over high heat for thirty seconds to a minute.

Add sauce and stir, saute for another minute, add lemon juice and stir.  Remove and serve over braised potatoes.

Patatas

  • 6 lg Russet potatoes, peeled, diced large
  • 1 Tblsp Garlic, chopped
  • 1 lg Yellow Onion, diced medium
  • 1 bunch Green Onion, diced small
  • 4 lg RomaTomatoes, shredded
  • 1/2 cup            Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tblsp Butter, room temperature
  • *4 cups Vegetable Stock * or enough to cover potoates
  • 1 Tblsp Canolive Oil
  • To Taste Salt & Pepper

In a large braising pan, heat up oil over medium heat, add yellow onions, cook for five minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, add tomatoes and garlic, stir and cook for three minutes, add potatoes, remove and enough stock to cover the potatoes.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about thirty minutes, or until most of the stock has evaporated and the potatoes are cooked but still lumpy.  With a wooden spatula, mix well and add butter and cream, then green onions, and season if needed.  Keep warm until served.

Salsa Ajillo

  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 TBL Garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp Parsley, chopped
  • Pinch Chile Flakes
  • 1/2 tsp  Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 TBL Flour
  • 1 Btl Dry Spanish Sherry
  • 2 TBL Butter
  • 1 bunch Green Onion, green only, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions: In sauce pan empty sherry bottle, bring to boil until sherry flames and burns off most of the alcohol, with about two cups remaining in the pan. In another sauce pan melt butter over medium heat, add garlic, cinnamon, chile flakes, parsley and paprika, season with salt and pepper, stir. Add flour, stir until flour absorbs butter and all ingredients become a little pasty.

Add sherry reduction, with a hand whisk break down paste with the sherry until smooth and even consistency, slightly thicker than gravy. Add green onions and cook for two minutes over low heat.  Sauce can be added to calamari hot or cool.

December 30, 2009

Chef’s Corner: Michael Dotson of Martins West

Filed under: Chef's Corner — Sigona's @ 12:40 pm

Chef’s Corner: Michael Dotson of Martins West

The peninsula is bursting with fantastic restaurants, most of which are dedicated to using local and fresh ingredients, just like what we carry at our store! Each Chef’s Corner will feature a local restaurant, chef & a recipe in the hopes that you’ll grow to love the chef’s passion for food, and their restaurant, as much as we do! Enjoy — Carmelo Sigona

It was a mutual friend named Natasha who first mentioned Martins West and Chef Michael to me just a few months ago while at a dinner party in San Carlos. I had been describing the purpose of our new Chef’s Corner feature when Natasha told me about the fantastic new restaurant in Redwood City whose chef, Michael Dotson, is very interested in sourcing locally. Having learned more about our feature, Natasha said, “you two have so much in common, you should meet Michael!”

A few days later, Christine Thompson, our marketing manager, and I connected with Chef Michael and made our way down to Martins West. As Martins West is a new restaurant, they opened their doors for business in May 2009, the first question we asked Michael was if he’d been to Sigona’s. “I have been to the store, and if we are short on something that is were we go,” said Michael. “I love that I can get almost anything I need there at a moments notice and know that it is going to be fresh and local. I know I can find things at Sigona’s you don’t always see in some farmers markets – the store is very engaged in what’s in season.”

You should have seen the smiles on our faces!

Chef Michael and me chatting about the abundance of local ingredients we're blessed with in the Bay Area.

Martins West Gastropub, located at in the old Alhambra building at 831 Main Street in downtown Redwood City, is both a pub and a restaurant with Scottish flair. As it says on their site, being called a gastropub means that in addition to an amazing menu, you’ll find variety of local and global beers both on tap and by the bottle, as well as a wine list designed around the casual but refined cuisine.

We didn’t have time to grab a drink during our visit, but I can definitely vouch for the “casual but refined cuisine.” Michael detailed menu items from haggis (yep…real haggis!) to the Farmers Market Vegetable Pie to the Lambs Lettuce Salad made with Belgium endive, forelle pears, and Strathdon blue cheese, topped with an almond-banyuls vinaigrette while telling us about his passion for sourcing locally…a sentiment that is repeated in his bio on the Martins West Web site which starts:

An unwavering reverence for the freshest seasonal ingredients has been the common thread through Michael Dotson’s career…Dotson credits his apprenticeship with Master Chef Norbert Schultz at Brigitte’s in Santa Barbara, CA from 1991 to 1993 for laying the groundwork for his farm-to-table approach to cooking. While working with Shultz, Dotson connected directly with the purveyors of his ingredients for the first time.

Michael detailed menu items from haggis (yep…real haggis!) to the Farmers Market Vegetable Pie to the Lambs Lettuce Salad...all made with locally sourced ingredients.

“You can’t beat fresh, local ingredients,” said Michael. “In fact, I’m waiting for my mushroom guy to come by any day with a delivery of what he’s picked nearby. The quality is incomparable.”

Chef Michael has much experience under his chef’s hat; experience he’s gathered abroad and right in our very own California. Chef Michael has served as the Executive Chef in restaurants near and far, from San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in California, to Italy and France in Europe, and also from the Napa Valley to Manhattan. However, it was in Manhattan when Chef Michael realized the Bay Area had a hold on his heart with its abundant farmers markets.

The move back to San Francisco eventually inspired Chef Michael to start a venture of his own, which led him to a partnership with Moira Beveridge and Derek Smith, two restaurateurs he met as the executive chef at Evvia Esitiatorio in Palo Alto, CA. The three partners then began plans for Martins West, a name and atmosphere inspired by Martin Irons, a family friend of Beveridge’s who owned the original Martins restaurant in Edinburg, Scotland.

Martins West is really a cool place to hang out. It’s has a very warm and friendly feel and the husband and wife team of Derek and Moira really adds something special to the experience; they make it comfortable and fun. In fact, we held our next business meeting at the restaurant because Christine and I didn’t have enough time to try all the amazing-sounding dishes and desserts on the menu! More power to you, haggis lovers!

Carmelo and Chef Michael, who credits his apprenticeship with Master Chef Norbert Schultz at Brigitte’s in Santa Barbara, CA from 1991 to 1993 for laying the groundwork for his farm-to-table approach to cooking.

When my brothers and I went back, we ordered seven of the eight items on the lunch menu…and at $6 a plate, it was extremely reasonable for the three of us! I’m not as familiar with the Scottish style of cooking as I am with, oh let’s say Sicilian, so the entire time I kept repeating how very impressed with the uniqueness and taste, which no doubt was enhanced by the fresh and local ingredients.

On a side note, consider hitting up Martins West for New Year’s Eve or join them for Highland Scotch Tasting & Education on January 27, 2010 (call for more info: 650/366-4366). Until then, try out some of these Scottish-inspired recipes, courtesy of Chef Michael!

Recipes from Chef Michael

“Chicken and Leek Pie”

  • 4 – Airline chicken breasts (skin on), from a heritage or free range chicken
  • 4 thin slices of natural smoked ham
  • Parsley-endive puree – from below
  • 1½ cups leek ribbons
  • 8 oz cream sauce – from below
  • 4 pieces puff pastry cut into 3”x5” rectangles
    • Brush puff pastry with egg wash and cook according to manufactures directions. When cool enough to handle split length wise into 2 rectangles.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper and place a slice of ham between the skin and meat of each chicken breast.

Place breasts skin side down In a large oven safe sauté pan with 2 tablespoons of oil in it over a medium heat; cook for 3-4 minutes. Transfer pan to oven, cook through for about 12-16 minutes.

In a sauce pan warm leeks and cream sauce until hot and season with salt and pepper. When breast is ready, transfer to plate skin side up to rest and get ready to plate.

Divide parsley puree between 4 large plates; place bottom piece of puff pastry on each plate. Place leeks on top of pastry, dividing amongst plates, and then a chicken breast. Spoon remaining sauce around puree, place puff pastry top on chicken and serve.

For Cream Sauce:

  • 1 TBL minced shallot
  • 1 whole clove
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 TBL minced ham or bacon
  • 2 TBL butter
  • 3 TBL flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf – tied with 3 sprigs of thyme
  • Salt & fresh pepper
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 good shakes favorite hot sauce

Place first 5 ingredients in a sauce pot and sweat over medium heat until soft but not brown. Add flour and cook 3-4 minutes.

Take pot off heat and slowly whisk in chicken stock; add thyme and bay leaf. Bring to simmer. Add cream, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Then strain through a double mesh strainer and chill if not using right away.

**Sauce can be made a day ahead but must be cooled with plastic wrap in contact with sauce so no skin forms on top of sauce.

For Parsley Puree:

  • 2 shallots, julienned
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 heads endive, sliced ¼ inch thick – do not cut until ready to cook
  • ¼ cup vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup purified water
  • Salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar
  • 1 large bunch parsley leaves

Place parsley leaves in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 seconds and then scoop them directly into an ice water bath to shock and chill. Drain and squeeze out excess water.

In a sauce pan, sweat the shallots and garlic in 2 TBL butter until soft, but not brown. Add endive and cook for 2 minutes, then add remaining ingredients and cover with a piece of parchment paper. Cook over low heat until very tender.

Transfer mixture to a baking pan and chill in refrigerator. Once cool, strain the liquid very well, reserving and puree mixture with blanched parsley. Add a little of cooking liquid if needed to puree.

**Can be made a day ahead and stored, chilled.

Spring Lamb and Sweet Pea Pastie

Makes 12-14 appetizer size portions. This is a great springtime treat!

Lay out 2 racks of lamb riblets on sheet pan; brush both sides with 2 cloves crushed garlic, 2 tsp. tamarind paste and 3 TBL olive oil.

In a small bowl, mix together 2 TBL salt, 1 tsp. pepper, 1 TBL ground coriander, 1 tsp. allspice, 1 tsp. rubbed dry oregano. Massage mix into lamb; let sit over night or at least 8 hours.

Lay riblets in roasting pan add; 3 cups of veal stock, ½ cup minced onion, 2 T tomato paste, ¼ cup of HP sauce, to cover ribs by half.

Seal with foil to braise in 300-degree oven until tender and stock glazes the ribs; about 3-4 hours.

When cool enough to handle, pull meat from bones and shred. Skim fat from any remaining juices, reduce over medium heat and add to meat.

To prep for filling, add 2 cups of shucked and English peas to the braised lamb and mix well.

For Pastry Dough:

  • 35 ounces unbleached flour
  • 12 ounces pork lard
  • 2 TBL grey salt
  • 1 TBL finely chopped rosemary
  • 6 ounces very cold water – more if needed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Cut lard into flour & salt until it resembles bread crumbs; working quickly as to not melt fat. With a cold spoon stir water into flour until it comes together, if it seems a bit dry add more cold water.

Wrap in plastic wrap and rest at least 30 minutes.

Roll dough into 6 inch rounds and place about 3 ounces of meat mixture in center of pastry circle.

Moisten edges with egg using a pastry brush, fold over creating half moons and pinch edges closed.

If not baking straight away refrigerate or freeze if using at a later date.

Before baking, brush the pasties with egg wash and poke vent holes with a fork. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven until brown and toasty.

**Note: dough makes more than is needed for recipe but rounds can be cut and stored in well wrapped in the freezer for up to a month.

December 1, 2009

Chef’s Corner: Chef Edwin Caba of CreoLa, A New Orleans Bistro

Filed under: Chef's Corner — Sigona's @ 3:52 pm

Chef’s Corner: Chef Edwin Caba of CreoLa, A New Orleans Bistro

The peninsula is bursting with fantastic restaurants, most of which are dedicated to using local and fresh ingredients, just like what we carry at our store! Each Chef’s Corner will feature a local restaurant, chef & a recipe in the hopes that you’ll grow to love the chef’s passion for food, and their restaurant, as much as we do!  Enjoy! — Carmelo Sigona


Chef Edwin Caba of CreoLa Bistro in San Carlos discusses kitchen secrets with Carmelo Sigona.

From his early days as Chef de Cuisine to his current role as owner and head chef for CreoLa, a New Orleans Bistro in San Carlos, Chef Edwin Caba has been dazzling the Peninsula with his zeal for Cajun/Creole cuisine.

I absolutely love this restaurant. It reminds me of the cooking from my mother’s side of the family. Coming from Sicily, the Franzella side settled in New Orleans. You can definitely taste the Cajun influence that has been blended with our Sicilian cooking.

With a menu featuring everything from jambalaya to the catfish Po’ Boy and a true-to-region atmosphere complete with live Jazz every Thursday night, CreoLa presents an authentic New Orleans dining experience. Though Chef Edwin flies in some key ingredients, such as seafood, direct from the Louisiana Gulf Coast and Bayou regions, he relies on the freshest local produce to bring patrons the absolute best and authentic taste of New Orleans. Edwin also proud to note that CreoLa’s menu is 80 percent gluten free!

“I source many of my fresh ingredients locally and know I can always count on Sigona’s to have what I need for my menu,” said Edwin. “We continually add new items or specials to our menu to keep it seasonal. Our relationships with local farmers and vendors, such as Sigona’s, allows us to easily understand what’s in season now so that we may create dishes made with the freshest, seasonal ingredients; some even picked that day.”

The green tomatoes marinade in a bath of oils, herbs and spices before they're fried.

Edwin also made a Caprese salad with wedged heirloom tomatoes, basil and mozzarella.

We spent an afternoon earlier this fall in the kitchen with Edwin, who attended the New England Culinary Institute in Mont Pelier, Vermont. During our visit, Edwin told us about his apprenticeships under top chefs in San Diego and San Francisco and explained it was during these apprenticeships that he discovered his passion and skill for Cajun/Creole cuisine, which was surprising considering his Dominican roots.

Edwin explained that he turned this passion to expertise through apprenticeships which led him to Northern California in 1996 to help open CreoLa as the Chef de Cuisine. Edwin became head chef and owner of CreoLa in 2000 and has since remained dedicated to the fusion of California/French cuisine.

Revisiting our time with Edwin makes me think of the fried green tomato dish he made during our visit to CreoLa last month…my mouth waters just thinking of it, and I simply can’t write anymore without sharing the delicious details! Edwin marinades the sliced green tomatoes a bath of secret herbs, oils and spices overnight, and then dusts them with a special cornmeal mix before they’re fried. Don’t think it stops there!

Chef Edwin puts the finishing touches on his fried green tomatoes.

Before the dish is finished, Edwin dresses them in what you might call their Sunday best. He starts by balancing a Florida Rock Shrimp that has been dunked in remoulade sauce atop the fried tomatoes then drizzles house-made basil oil around the plate. As a finishing touch, Edwin adds a traditional sprinkle chopped egg for a true Creole dish. It’s absolutely fantastic.

Finished! CreoLa's Fried Green Tomatoes. My mouth waters just looking at them.

I love to see Edwin’s dedication to seeking out the absolute best ingredients from local farmers and vendors. We could easily bring in produce that travels long distances before it reaches our store, just as a chef could settle for the least expensive ingredients, but knowing Edwin’s passion for perfection drives him to fly in catfish from Louisiana, you can be sure he’s not going to cut corners on other ingredients; especially when some of the best are grown less than 100 miles from CreoLa’s door.

Chef Edwin is armed arsenal of Creole cooking tips, tricks and recipes, many of which are kept under lock and key, but he graciously sent us back to the store with recipes CreoLa’s famous crab cakes and  roasted tomato salsa that we’re excited to share with you. See below!

Ready to dig in! Christine Thompson, our marketing manager, and I have been eating like royalty at the restaurants we visit for Chef's Corner!

Recipes from Edwin Caba

Creola’s Crab Cakes

  • 1 lb. Dungeness Crab meat, EXCESS MOISTURE REMOVED
  • ¾ cup onions, diced small
  • ¾ cup celery, diced small
  • 1 ½ cups Mayonnaise
  • 2 cups Panko Bread crumbs
  • 1 TBL Creole seasonings (usually a blend of salt, garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika)
  • 1 TBL chopped parsley
  • ¾ oz. lemon juice
  • 1 TBL Creole mustard (a smooth or stone ground mustard flavored with herbs, peppercorns, citrus fruits, honey, champagne or sherry. Flavor can be hot to mild)
  • 1 egg yolk

Mix all ingredients. Measure out to 4 ounce portions and form to 4 inch round cakes. Brown one side in a skillet, flip, and finish in a 425 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes.

Roasted Tomato Salsa

  • 1 lb. Roma tomatoes, cut in half
  • ¼  onion, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 clove whole garlic
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 TBL fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 TBL olive oil

Toss all ingredients together and roast in a 450 degree oven for about 15-18 minutes, until the sides of the vegetables are lightly charred. Remove and place in a blender or Cuisinart, then add:

  • ½ Chiplote pepper
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp Rice Wine vinegar

Add everything and puree until smooth finish with salt to taste. Stir in ¼ cup olive oil and then strain the mix through a fine mesh strainer. Enjoy!

November 17, 2009

Chef’s Corner: Charlie Ayers of Calafia Cafe and Market A Go Go

Filed under: Chef's Corner, RECIPES — Sigona's @ 12:02 pm

Chef’s Corner: Charlie Ayers of Calafia Cafe and Market A Go Go

The man who fed Google now operates a new, fresh & local focused restaurant in Palo Alto

The peninsula is bursting with fantastic restaurants, most of which are dedicated to using local and fresh ingredients, just like what we carry at our store! Each Chef’s Corner will feature a local restaurant, chef and a recipe or two in the hopes that you’ll grow to love the chef’s passion for food, and their restaurant, as much as we do! Enjoy! — Carmelo Sigona

Calafia

Starting off our Chef’s Corner feature is Chef Charlie Ayers of Calafia Cafe and Market A Go Go in downtown Palo Alto. I’m absolutely loving this restaurant and loving Charlie’s way of putting local, healthy and high-quality ingredients in his dishes.

Charlie and Carmelo make pizza

Charlie has complimented our store quite a few times on our selection of local and organic products.

I spent a morning at Calafia earlier this fall with Chef Charlie and Christine Thompson, our marketing manager. We used this time to learn more about his cooking techniques, food practices and help make (and sample!) his irresistible pizzas…delicious! We also snagged some fantastic recipes (below).

Chef Charlie Ayers of Calafia Cafe and Market A Go Go in downtown Palo Alto operates his new café under the mantra “Slow Food, Served Fast.” Chef Charlie, as you may know, is the former chef for world-renowned music events and bands, including the Grateful Dead, though he is most famously known for holding the title of executive chef at Google. Yes, the Google.

DSCF2272

Charlie makes one of his delicious pizzas, "A Simple Pizza," with mozzarella, tomato sauce & fresh basil.

Chef Charlie started with Google in 1999 when the company was young and only about 40 employees strong. Being in the Silicon Valley, you’re probably familiar with the Google story and know that from what started in a garage near Menlo Park, Google now occupies a sprawling campus in Mountain View. When Charlie left the company in 2005 he had five sous chefs and 150 employees working for across 10 campus-based cafes that fed more than 1,500 Googlers!

During his time at Google, Chef Charlie established a new standard of “fine food for the fast crowd,” using the highest-quality organic and sustainably-sourced ingredients — ingredients that are good not only for you but for the community and entire planet. Chef Charlie also applies the same dedication at Calafia, and of all the things I admire about Charlie, I just love his standards and food practices.

DSCF2276

I met Charlie a few years ago when he started buying Micro Greens from us. He also participated in a TV shoot at our Redwood City store about how he uses local and organic products in his cooking!

“I’ve said it before, but I do what I think to be right using the freshest produce and organic ingredients to make the most exciting menu options,” said Charlie. “I source most of my products from small vendors and farmers markets to get the most unique, fresh and local items, and Sigona’s is on my list.”

At Sigona’s, we’ve always focused on sourcing as locally as possible, and Charlie applies the same “local radius” and mentality to sourcing food as we do:

“I like to impose a 150-mile (240-kilometer) travel limit on my food as much as possible. If you buy food that has been grown or raised locally, it will be fresher, cheaper and more delicious…buying local products will help sustain and nourish your local marketplace to ensure that bountiful fresh, local, clean food will continue to be available to you.” (Charlie Ayers, Food 2.0).

I chose to make the "Wolfgang’s Pizza" with shredded duck leg, pumpkin-hempseed pesto, mozzarella & goat cheese. Absolutely fantastic!

Charlie’s cookbook, Food 2.0, is packed with more than just recipes. The introduction, which starts by asking, “You’re smart. So why don’t you eat that way?” is composed of more of his thoughts, food beliefs & practices and tips on making smart choices about what you eat. We carry the books at both of our locations, too!

Charlie designed Calafia Cafe & Market A Go Go to appeal to a wide range of audiences, from students to busy professionals and parents looking for wholesome, affordable fare for their families. His design has certainly worked because Calafia recently won three awards in the Palo Alto Weekly reader poll: “Best New Restaurant,” “Best Organic Eats,” and “Best Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurant! If you haven’t tried out Calafia yet, we most certainly recommend you do soon! Until then, try out one of the following three recipes Charlie uses at Calafia. See below!

finished product

Finished product! The "A Simple Pizza" and "Wolfgang’s Pizza." The Wolfgang pizza is one of my absolute favorites. That and the Calafia Quinoa Salad (recipe below).

Calafia location


Recipes from Charlie Ayers

Calafia Quinoa Salad Recipe

This salad has a fantastic, high-flavor profile.

  • 2 cup water
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 cup quinoa, well rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup chopped celery, blanched lightly
  • ½ cup dried currants
  • 1 cup roasted beets, diced small
  • ½ cup beet puree (recipe follows)
  • 1 TBL lemon zest
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • ½ red onion, minced
  • 2-3 TBL olive oil
  • Handful arugula
  • 1 good squirt of red wine vinaigrette

Directions: Place water, cumin and rinsed quinoa in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed, approximately 15 minutes. Cool and transfer quinoa to a large mixing bowl, add in beet puree (recipe follows), add in cooled roasted diced beets, celery and lemon zest and currants. Season with salt pepper, mix well and refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour.

Remove from refrigerator; add in chopped parsley and red onion and olive oil.

Toss arugula with red wine vinaigrette arrange on plate, followed by quinoa beet salad. Serve.

To make beet puree: Add 2 cups diced medium beets to 2 cups cold vegetable stock, place in bar blender and puree until ultra smooth, taste, add salt if needed. Keep in refrigerator covered when not in use.

Calafia Glamour Smoothie

Following is a list of ingredients and equipment needed to make this drink.

  • ½ ripe avocado, peeled, no pit
  • ¼ Honeydew melon, skinned and seeded
  • ½  English cucumber, peeled
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • A well made vegetable juicer. I recommend the Breville vegetable juicer.
  • A well made bar blender / food blender. I recommend Vita Mixer.

Directions: After manipulating your ingredients according to the recipe, place everything in the juicer, one at a time, EXCEPT the avocado.

Once all of your juice is contained in the vegetable juicer pitcher, pour into the bar blender along with the avocado ½ and 12 oz of ice cubes.

Cover blender and blend away until you have a smoothie texture. Pour into wine glasses or juice glasses or on the go with a lid and a straw.

Calafia Lamb and Garbanzo Bean Saute

Ingredients

  • 6 oz ground fully cooked lamb sausage
  • ½ cup fully cooked garbanzo beans
  • 1 ½ cup pea shoots
  • 3 TBL medium diced carrots
  • 3 TBL sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 2 TBL sliced Kalamata olives
  • 1 tsp Harissa paste
  • 1 cup oz chicken stock
  • 1 TBL extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBL whole butter
  • ½ TBL chiffonade of mint (thin ribbons of mint)
  • 1 oz Queso Fresco, for garnish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Heat saute pan with small amount of oil, add in ground lamb sausage brown a bit more, add in garbanzo beans, carrots, season to order, followed by Harissa paste. Toss a couple times and add chicken stock. Allow to simmer for a moment and reduce. Finish with pea shoots, olives and tomatoes and mint and one TBL whole butter.

Serve in large bowl, sprinkle with small amount of Queso Fresco on top.

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