Sharing a recipe for tomato sauce other than my mother’s is risky business. Blasphemy really. But when I saw this Pressure Cooker Tomato Sauce in Modernist Cuisine at Home, I was intrigued. In this recipe, onion, carrot, garlic and tomato are cooked under pressure until the flavors melt together, forming a vibrant marinara sauce. Finished with a drizzle of rich extra virgin olive oil and a handful of fresh herbs, this sauce is bright, well-balanced and full of flavor. You can use this pressure cooked sauce in any way you would use a regular tomato sauce: chicken, pizza and pasta to name just a few. Personally, I love to tear off chunks of crusty bread, and dip into a bowl of hot tomato sauce. Now you may be wondering, which sauce is better? This sauce or my other Homemade Tomato Sauce? My answer: neither! Each sauce has a unique, delicious flavor. I would be more inclined to make this Pressure Cooker Tomato Sauce during the week (because of the shorter cooking time), and my Homemade Tomato Sauce on Sunday afternoon. Well that’s it! I’m just hoping the Italian side of my family will forgive me 😉 Continue reading for the recipe.
Today I’m going to share illustrated step-by-step instructions on how to make the most amazing chicken stock you’ll ever have. I decided to go into great detail with this recipe because it really is a game-changer. I made the transition from canned stock to homemade last year and I’ll never turn back. Use stock as a flavorful base to soups, sauces, risottos and grains (just to name a few). If you start with a super tasty stock, your end result is almost guaranteed to be delicious.
A few notes about this recipe: The amount of steps may seem a bit daunting, but really, the process breaks down into four easy techniques – prep, caramelize, simmer, strain. Simply spend a few hours (mainly unattended) on a Sunday afternoon making this recipe and you’ll have flavorful stock at your fingertips for a month. I should also mention that I don’t add salt to my stock. I prefer to salt whatever the stock is going into. Continue reading for a comprehensive guide to my homemade chicken stock.
This recipe for Homemade Tomato Sauce is a family classic that I’ve been preparing for over 10 years. Growing up, I remember my mother cooking tomato sauce almost every Sunday afternoon. The whole house would smell of sautéing onions and garlic. Today, I make this sauce every few weeks. I find the entire process very comforting. The chopping, sautéing, stirring, simmering, tasting, etc. I’ve made a few slight adjustments since my mom first taught me how to make the sauce, but nothing drastic. Crushed tomatoes are slow-simmered with onions, garlic, oregano and basil. Flat leaf Italian parsley is stirred in at the last moment before plating. The finished sauce is hearty, bold and oh, so satisfying. Continue reading for the recipe plus a video from my recently segment on San Diego Channel 6 – San Diego Living.
Each Autumn, I find myself missing the changing of the leaves that I had experienced over the many years I lived in New Jersey. It always amazed me to see the lush, green landscape of central Jersey transform to an almost surreal sea of vibrant reds, oranges, yellows, pale greens and browns. Living in San Diego, I rarely get to see leaves changing. Last week, I was strolling through my local farmer’s market when I noticed a striking arrangement of green and purple basil. The contrast between the two varieties somehow reminded me of the fall phenomenon I have been missing so much. With a fresh bunch of purple basil in hand, I headed home to create this cocktail called The Fallen Leaf. Fresh, fragrant basil is muddled then shaken with white rum, lemon and honey. Adorned with a single basil leaf, this cocktail satisfies both my palate and my yearnings for the changing leaves. Continue reading for the recipe.
So I’m really hoping that my Italian relatives do not read this article! I can almost see them shaking their heads at my brazen deviation from traditional Eggplant Parmesan. Rarely do I stray from my family’s Italian recipes (I’ve been making my mother’s tomato sauce for 10 years now!); however, when I saw this recipe in the Times, I almost immediately felt compelled to give it a try. Lighter and healthier than its traditional counterpart, this Deconstructed Eggplant Parmesan is made by preparing each individual component separately (eggplant, sauce, bread crumb topping) then combining them into single serving bites that are nothing short of scrumptious. The rustic sauce, made of sweet cherry tomatoes, garlic, fresh oregano and basil, is so simple to make and comes together in about 15 minutes. If you are steeped in Italian tradition and looking at this recipe with a skeptical eye, I urge you to take a brief hiatus from the norm and give this dish a try. So tasty. You won’t be sorry! Continue reading for the recipe.
Figs. Basil. Goat Cheese. Pomegranate. Pure yum. I’ve been on a bit of a health kick recently, testing out new salad recipes and vegetarian accompaniments. What I’ve discovered is that the key to a truly exciting vegetarian dish is balance. Balancing the flavors and textures of a dish can provide a unique experience that’s far from mundane or monotonous. This recipe for Figs with Basil, Goat Cheese and Pomegranate Vinaigrette is sweet, salty, fresh, earthy, spicy and peppery. The texture is both crunchy and creamy with a toothsome bite from the figs. Super balanced. Super yummy.
The next time you make a vegetable dish, try adding some new elements to balance the flavors (if they aren’t balanced already!). Brighten up a side of roasted potatoes with fresh herbs and pickled onions. Top a serving of al dente asparagus with a creamy poached egg and salty bacon bites. Roast tender butternut squash with coarsely ground, crunchy spices (pepper, cumin, coriander and/or cardamom) then accent with lime and chile (yes, this is a short description of last week’s squash recipe). The next time you make a salad or vegetable recipe, I urge you to take a moment and consider balance. A small change or two can take a dish from good to spectacular. Continue reading for the recipe.
This past Thursday, I hosted my first Kitchen Konfidence Live event at the west elm here in San Diego. It was such an amazing experience. First, the setting was really spectacular. Attendees sat in an array of perfectly mismatched chairs, benches and sofas. My station was positioned in the middle of the store surrounded by gorgeous kitchen and entertaining product. I even had a gargantuan image of green beans entitled ‘Market Fresh’ towering behind me. Second, I couldn’t have asked for a better audience. The attendees seemed engaged and interested, asking valuable questions between presentations. With each sampling, I heard various mmmms and ahhhhs escaping from the crowd. Seeing others enjoy my food truly does make me happy. It’s one of the main reasons why I love to cook. Finally, the entire event went off without a hitch (other than one minor electrical issue). The west elm staff was so helpful and accommodating. Unfortunately, I don’t have any high resolution images of the event to share with you right now; however, I will eventually release a video of the event and some behind the scenes footage at my house.
Over the next two weeks, I will be featuring the four recipes that I presented at my Kitchen Konfidence Live event, starting with this Watermelon Basil Agua Fresca. Juicy watermelon is blended with fresh, fragrant basil, bright lime juice, water and sweet agave nectar. The finished beverage is a light, refreshing concoction perfect for a warm summer afternoon. Continue reading for the recipe.
I’ll have to admit that I’ve been feeling a little unhealthy over this past week – minimal time spent doing physical activities and maximum time spent consuming large quantities of processed junk. In an attempt to turn things around, I made this Heirloom Tomato and Peach Caprese Salad last night. Topped with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette, this salad is a fresh mix of heirloom tomatoes, sliced peaches, mozzarella cheese and chopped basil. Followed by a lengthy walk through Balboa Park, this dinner was just what I needed to go from feeling no good to so good. Continue reading for the recipe.
I’ve prepared a countless number of pan pizzas over the years; however, recently I decided to test a new method of making pizza. Heating a cast iron skillet on the stove top provides the high heat needed to achieve a brick oven-like crust (without the brick oven!). The finished pizza has a crispy, slightly charred crust. Topped with seasoned tomato sauce and melty mozzarella cheese, this might just be the perfect homemade pizza! Continue reading for the recipe.
A good friend of mine once said, “The key to a successful dinner party is to start with great cocktails.” His reasoning is that if your guests are boozed up, they won’t notice any of the mistakes you make and your food is guaranteed to taste good! While I certainly think this is valuable advice, I like to serve mixed drinks for a different reason. Providing your guests with signature cocktails can really give your party an elevated, restaurant-like feel. Continue reading for two Summer Cocktail recipes: Cucumber Lime Basil Martini and The Rosebud.