This is the recipe I wrote for the Sunday meal at Rancho La Puerta during my week as visiting chef. Originally, I’d planned on serving the polenta with slender spears of broccolini, but we had a giant box of snow peas and beautiful bok choy fresh from the garden, so Chef Eddy and I changed it up a bit. I love searing squares of this polenta in some hot olive oil—or charring it on the grill as I do here—and serving it with just about anything: An egg and some greens in the morning, a mushroom ragu or tomato sauce at night. It’s super versatile and a great thing to have in the fridge for easy meals throughout the week.
I made this sweet potato side dish for a class I taught in Guatemala to a dozen youth group kids. They were skeptical (to say the least) about the chile powder, at first, but embraced it wholeheartedly after I dubbed them “food adventurers.”
I was lucky enough to nab a leg of organic, sustainably-raised lamb from Montana’s Willow Spring Ranch at Shelton’s Market for this and was rewarded with succulent, juicy meat spiked through with Moroccan spice. To find a source for grass-fed lamb (and other meats) near you for your Easter meal, check out Eat Wild. Serve this with quinoa, mixed greens, sliced black olives, thick slices of orange, thinly sliced fennel and red onion tossed with the dressing from this salad here.
5 garlic cloves
1/2 medium onion
1 small lemon, trimmed of top and bottom, quartered and seeded
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup pomegranate syrup (or 1/2 orange juice and 1/2 honey)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
5-6 pound boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of excess fat
Puree garlic through olive oil in a blender or food processor. Stir in salt. Lay lamb in a shallow dish or roasting pan and carefully pierce deeply all over with a paring knife. Slather on the marinade, pushing into the holes, then coat all over with any remaining marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 325. Transfer lamb to a Dutch oven, cover and roast for 3-1/2 to 4 hours, until lamb is fork tender. Let rest for 20 minutes, then pull apart into large chunks to serve.
I’ve been leaning more and more towards eggs as a quick meal, especially with the girls laying regularly nowadays. This is one of my simple go-to’s–meaty roasted asparagus spears topped with a luscious poached egg and crispy prosciutto. If you want to go meatless, saute some mushrooms and shallots in lieu of the prosciutto … mmmm.
I got an e-mail this week from a reporter for our local paper asking about heirloom fruits and vegetables that are native to Sonoma County. I mentioned the famed Gravenstein apple. And the Crane melon. But what got both of us the most excited was the Bodega Red potato. Our local Slow Food chapter has been actively involved in bringing this humble spud back from the brink of extinction. And I have two plants growing in my backyard. Long story short, John the photographer and I unearthed a few potatoes last night for the article and I was chomping at the bit to cook them up in a way that would showcase their flavor and texture, rather than mask it. And I have to say, this is it. These potatoes are creamy and rich with a bite that pushes back, lifted by a freshness from the lime and salt. I’m going to give a disclaimer here, though; if you’re using store-bought potatoes you’ll probably need to amp up the flavor (I’d add a dash of cider vinegar or Dijon mustard or even soy sauce). This one is meant for potatoes from garden or farmers’ market, as close as you can get to being pulled from the ground.
I’m a big fan of cooking cauliflower until it’s almost creamy … especially in pasta dishes like this one. It becomes part of the sauce, adding heft and health to just a handful of fettuccine.
1 cup thinly sliced leeks (tender white parts only)
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
12 ounces fettuccine (preferably whole grain)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 lemon (Meyer lemon is great), zested and juiced
1/4 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
Flake sea salt
1/4 cup snipped chives
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Pour 1/4 cup water into a large skillet over medium heat, and add leeks and cauliflower. Cover and cook for 4 minutes, until cauliflower is just becoming tender. Start cooking pasta. Drizzle olive oil into the pan with the cauliflower and toss with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until cauliflower and leek start to color a bit and cauliflower becomes fork tender, about 5 minutes.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup water. Pour the pasta water into the pan with the cauliflower and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and swirl in the butter, lemon zest and juice. Pour pasta back into the pot and scrape cauliflower mixture over it. Mix very well using tongs and a stiff spatula. Add cheese and toss again.
Divide the pasta mixture among four plates and top with flake sea salt, chives and additional cheese if desired.
Yes, you can have from homemade corned beef the same day the light bulb goes off that it’s Saint Paddy’s Day … TONIGHT. Just pull out your pressure cooker and this from-scratch corned beef. It’s better than any store-bought version you’ve tasted, and blissfully free of all those preservatives they’re soaked in. You can get this on the stove in under ten minutes and on the table in less than three hours. Serve with creamy horseradish sauce (I like to mix a couple tablespoons raw horseradish with 1/4 cup sour cream) and Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Bacon and Juniper Berries.
The subtle spice rub and fragrant fennel make this easy roast fish dish something special. Use any type of medium- to firm-flesh fish, such as sustainably caught cod, haddock or Pacific halibut. What’s sustainable and available varies, depending where you live. That’s why we’re fans of the SeafoodWatch Regional Guides.
When chicken salad comes to mind, I always think of a mayonnaise-bound concoction (not that I don’t enjoy that). But this chicken salad recipe, from Alison Lewis’s new book 400 Best Sandwich Recipes (Robert Rose) updates an old favorite with a fresh, bright-flavored, colorful spin. There’s no added salt in this recipe, because the feta and Kalamata olives add plenty of salty kick. If you don’t want to buy a whole jar of olives, look for Kalamatas that you can purchase by the pound at the supermarket salad bar, olive bar or deli case. Lewis recommends using leftover grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken. Or, to change it up, sub chopped, cooked shrimp for the poultry. Use whole wheat pita bread, if you can find it.