Saturday, June 30, 2007

Linguine With Lobster And Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Lobster Linguine
I was at Henry's today and they had lobster tails on sale for $5 each! So, of course I bought some. I came up with this recipe because I really wanted the comforting taste of a pasta dish, but I also wanted the fresh, buttery taste of the lobster meat. All of my measurements on this recipe are approximate because I forgot to measure my ingredients. I also used curry because I love the flavor of it with a heavy cream sauce, but this is optional. By the way, this is enough for two servings.


  • 1 large red bell pepper, roasted and peeled (if you don't want to roast your own red pepper, you can use jarred roasted red peppers)
  • Chicken broth
  • About 1/4 cup your favorite marinara sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of finely minced Serrano pepper or poblano pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 generous pinch of curry powder (optional)
  • Unsalted butter
  • Heavy cream
  • 5 asparagus spears, cut into 1" pieces
  • A few basil leaves torn
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 large or 2 small fresh lobster tails
  • About 1/4 cup red onion, finely sliced
  • 1/2 lb Linguine pasta
  1. Add the roasted red pepper to your blender. Add about 1/4 cup of chicken broth, and 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce. Puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Taste for seasoning, and add salt, if necessary and puree a few seconds more. Set aside.
  2. With kitchen sheers, cut a slit in the underside of the tail. Remove the meat, using a fork if necessary. Pull the meat from the wide end to the tail tip.
  3. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large, heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the lobster tails and sauté until done, about 5 minutes, turning a couple times to cook evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and chop the tails into 1/2" pieces. Set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add the Serrano pepper, onion, garlic, curry powder, if using, and a pat of butter. Cook for about 3 minutes, until soft and tender and fragrant.
  5. Add the white wine and let this cook out thoroughly, about 5 minutes more. Add the roasted red pepper puree and cook a few more minutes. In the meantime, start to boil water in a large pot. Cook your linguine until al dente.
  6. Add a few splashes of cream to the roasted red pepper sauce, and bring it to a simmer (I think I added about 1/3 cup of heavy cream), and the asparagus spears. Cook 2 more minutes then add the cooked lobster pieces and torn basil leaves, and remove the sauce from the heat so that the lobster doesn't overcook.
  7. Drain the pasta and place on a serving platter. Pour the sauce over the pasta and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pasta e Zucca

I was watching Giada di Laurentiis's huge forehead on T.V. and she was at this restaurant in Capri where the chef made a pasta e zucca, which translates to pasta with squash. I immediately looked for the recipe online and all I could find--in English--was one from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food. Go figure!

Anyhoo, this recipe makes about 4 cups of sauce. I halved the recipe because I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. And, although it was good, I felt it was too much work just for a simple pasta sauce. You can toss the pasta sauce over rigatoni or over cheese ravioli. Also, I tweaked my recipe by adding a pinch of curry to my squash puree and just a touch of freshly grated nutmeg to the tossed pasta.


  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 cup half-and-half

  • Pasta (such as rigatoni, or cheese ravioli or any short pasta), for serving
  • Toppings, such a toasted walnuts, pine nuts or fried sage leaves (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a large, sharp knife, trim the squash ends, then halve the squash crosswise to separate the bulb from the neck. Peel with a vegetable peeler. Cut both pieces in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out seeds; discard.
  2. Cut squash into 2-inch chunks. Transfer to a small rimmed baking sheet. Toss with oil and sage. Season generously with salt and pepper. Scatter garlic around squash. Roast until squash is very tender, about 40 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Remove and discard skin from garlic.
  3. Transfer squash and garlic to a food processor. Puree. With motor running, add half-and-half through the feed tube; process until smooth. Add 1 to 2 cups water. Continue to process until smooth, adding water to thin if necessary--you want the same consistency as a regular tomato sauce. Taste and season more, if necessary.
  4. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water. Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour sauce over pasta; toss to coat. Add some pasta water to thin sauce if necessary. Serve with desired toppings and Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Flautas de Papa

When I was little, my mom used to take us kids to a restaurant we named "El Ranchito" in Tijuana, because it reminded of us a dirty old ranch. Yes, I know what you're thinking: why would our mom take us there? Seriously, back then (like 23 years ago) that was an outing we all looked forward to. And my absolute favorite dish was the potato flautas. This dish is so easy to make especially if you have a lot of leftover mashed potatoes. You can definitely add other fillings like chicken or shredded beef, but you can not go wrong with the potato filling!


  • Leftover mashed potatoes
  • Corn tortillas
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying
  • Toothpicks, for holding
  • Toppings: shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, crumbled Mexican cheese (or substitute crumbled feta or farmer's cheese), guacamole, sour cream, etc...

For flautas: Heat 4 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil in a skillet. Cook corn tortillas, one at a time, in hot oil until soft, about 5 to 10 seconds; drain on paper towels.

Lay a corn tortilla on the counter or on a plate. Spread some of the potato filling (a heaping tablespoon) in the middle of the tortilla. Be careful, or it will spill out when you roll it up.

Fold the bottom half of the tortilla over the filling towards the top. Fold the top half of the tortilla tightly down over the bottom. Secure with a toothpick, pushing it centrally through all of the layers, or use two; one on each end. Repeat until the filling is gone.

Heat up about 1/2" inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet that's 2" to 3" deep to medium high. Fry however many taquitos will fit on the bottom of the pan without overlapping. When the bottoms are golden brown, flip them over and cook the second side the same way. Drain on paper towels, sprinkle a little salt on them while hot and remove the toothpicks.

To serve: place two to three flautas on a plate. You can serve the toppings on the side or top them yourself with shredded lettuce, guacamole, diced tomatoes, cheese and a dollop of sour cream. I usually just eat my potato flautas with crumbled cheese on top and a side of guac.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tenderloin of Wild Boar in a Béarnaise Sauce

When I travelled to Minnesota a few months ago, I tried wild boar for the first time, and you know what? It was amazing. It tasted like rib-eye and filet mignon combined. Really!

But of course, here in San Diego we don't have wild boar available at Ralph's, but there are a couple of places you can order it online: or Below is a replica recipe of the great wild boar entrée we had at Fermentations Bistro in Northfield, Minnesota. I don't have the cabernet risotto recipe yet, but I'm working on it!


  • 1 to 1½ pound tenderloin of wild boar
  • salt
  • pepper
  • oil (grapseed or canola)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly coat cast iron pan with oil. Heat several minutes at high. Season the boar tenderloin with salt and pepper. Sear tenderloin until medium brown on both sides. Transfer pan to a 350-degree oven and roast for 12 minutes (for medium-rare) to 18 minutes (for medium-well) or until internal temperature reaches 140 F. Remove from oven and transfer tenderloin to a plate. Tent with foil and allow to rest. Slice into one inch pieces.


  • 2 tablespoon minced sweet onion, such as Maui or Vidalia
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh leaf tarragon, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten and room temperature <-- very important!
  • dash of lemon juice
  • dash ground cayenne or chipotle chili pepper

Combine minced onion, vinegar and tarragon in small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, stirring constantly, until liquid has evaporated. Add the butter and cook until melted; pour in 1/3 cup cream. Bring to a boil. Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolks to temper and whisk rapidly to incorporate—you do not want scrambled eggs! Return the mixture to saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Stir in remaining cream for a creamier sauce. Add dash of lemon juice and ground cayenne or chipotle pepper to taste. Serve immediately as the sauce for the wild boar.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Easy Shrimp Ceviche Tostadas

My entire family loves to grill during the summer. It gets everyone outside and you don't have to be in a hot kitchen because, believe it or not, most homes in San Diego do not have air conditioning! Besides grilling, another method I like to use during the hot California days is to make ceviche. You positively do not have to cook a thing, the citrus juices do it for you. Make sure you use freshly squeezed lime juice and lemon juice, and although the mayonnaise on the tostada is completely optional, you better believe it makes these tostadas super yummy!

If you're a little weary about the raw shrimp, you can just make a batch of the imitation crab meat ceviche and use that instead. It's still delicious!


  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. small raw shrimp, peeled and cleaned
  • 5 limes, juiced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro leaves, lightly chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Tostadas
  • Mayonnaise
  1. Lay out shrimp in the bottom of glass baking dish. Pour lemon and lime juice over them and refrigerate for 3 hours. The juice will "cook" the shrimp.
  2. Toss into the "cooked" shrimp the jalapeño, tomatoes, red onion, and the cilantro leaves. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the fridge for and additional hour.
  3. Just before serving, put the ceviche into your serving dish. Dice up two avocados and add it to the ceviche and gently mix to combine. Add a bit more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve with a side of tostadas. Slather a little mayo on the tostada then top it with the ceviche and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Balsamic Red Onion Salad

Lately, I've been eating a lot of beef and once in a while is nice to just have a big salad for dinner. I found this recipe when I was looking for a marinated balsamic onion recipe for tapas. I suppose if you really want meat, you can also toss in chunks of grilled meat or leftover chicken, but this is a very delicious simple salad. I sprinkled a little bit of toasted walnuts on my salad and used herbed feta and it was still nummy!


  • 4 - 6 medium-sized red onions, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lettuce mix
  • feta cheese, crumbled
  • olive oil for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 300ºF.

Place the cut onions into a baking dish, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar, a little brown sugar and season with salt and pepper. Bake covered for 45 minutes.

Remove cover and bake for a further 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely at room temperature.

Toss with salad greens and crumbled feta. Before serving, drizzle with a little olive oil.