These crunchy juicy sweet red bell peppers were just asking to get stuffed and baked, so we obliged with lots of savory stuff like spinach seared in tons of garlic and Italian olive oil, smoked Cajun sausages and Italian sausages, lots of feta cheese along with three other cheeses like Pecorino Romano grated inside with smoked Provolone and Gruyere on top, held together with our own spiced Jasmine rice… all made really creamy with roasted red pepper and tomato sauce. They are crazy tasty awesome wonderful.
This is the Chicken Roulade of our dreams, the one we first experienced in Florence and the hill towns of Tuscany… the extravagant chicken roll that incorporates every savory ingredient we ever wanted to include. Each roll is packed with so many layers of delicious that they must be tied together with cord, like culinary presents from the Umami Gods. Ingredients… First, air chilled free range chicken thighs pounded thin. Then a very thin layer of aged Prosciutto ham from Italy for that crazy umami ham vibe. Then the thin layer of bright green fresh basil from the garden. Then a layer of smoked Provolone cheese, even more savory and when it melts together with all the other crazy stuff, just fabulous. Now a layer of creamy fragrant Piquillo peppers from Basque Country, with that eye dazzling iridescent red color. And finally, at the center of this Roulade, a core of caramelized onions, garlic seared spinach, olive tapenade, creamy goat cheese with the herbs of Provence, bright red sun dried tomatoes and sauted porcini mushrooms to complete the roll. In a 14 inch cast iron pan, we saute in olive olive oil these cord wrapped packages until they are seared and melty inside, about 20 minutes. When each Roulade is sliced open, revealed are all these layers of savory other worldly flavors. But THEN we serve this crazy sumptuous Roulade with a Mushroom & Thyme Cream Sauce with Dijon Mustard for an umami explosion. Ingredients for the sauce… 1 pound brown cremini or porcini mushrooms, cut into thick slices2 – 4 shallots (depending on size) or 1 large onion, minced4 – 5 garlic cloves, crushed1/2 cup chardonnay1/2 cup Marsala (or Sherry)1/2 cup chicken broth (bone broth)1 1/2 cups cream1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil2 oz butter (1/2 stick)1 tablespoon duck […]
We first saw this gorgeous meatloaf (named Polpettone) in Tuscany, when we came across one of those big glass storefronts you find on the main streets in Florence, and the hill towns, with endless mind boggling dishes of food stretching from the doorway all the way across the wall, behind glass cases, with the whole store a dizzying aroma of umami goodness. When I tasted the amazingly complex flavors of this meatloaf, I instantly realized this was not my mom’s meatloaf.
This feast is your ticket to Umami City. This is a fusion feast, as if it were cooked by two lovers, a lady chef from the South of France, bringing her thyme, cream, bacon, duck fat, Dijon mustard, butter and Chardonnay… and her chef lover from Tuscany, with his Porcini powder, Marsala, olive oil and garlic. It’s a magical dish for all lovers.
Paella is the signature meal of Spain, a national pride, and yet almost no one fully agrees on what it is or how is should be made. It is a controversial meal for many reasons… starting with the simple fact that it is a huge shallow pan loaded down with complex and expensive ingredients which completely vary from home to home, town to town, restaurant to restaurant, and from region to region in Spain. Paella in Madrid is very different from that in Seville. But at the same time, like Bouillabaisse from France, Paella is a classic meal so identified with the soul of the country that it naturally comes laden with emotion, memory, tradition, pride, and a sensory longing for the authenticity of the time and place of one’s upbringing.
On a winter’s evening in Central California, with the fireplace warming the house and lighting up the dining room, a creamy clam chowder is deeply satisfying. And the California twist on the meal, the baby asparagus, gives it a garden fresh quality that cuts against the density of the cream… while the oven roasted garlic and the smoked bacon brings the umami flavors to a sumptuous natural high. It’s like riding a 50 foot wave from Mavericks Beach… right into Boston Harbor.