Lemon Panna Cotta with Hood Strawberries and Fairy Floss

For father’s day, I made a very simple summer time dessert utilizing two of my favorite flavors, lemon and strawberries. It was the combination of two basic pastry components, Pierre Herme’s delicious lemon curd and a basic panna cotta recipe enhanced with a touch of zested lemon. I wanted to share this quick recipe with everyone. Sometimes simplicity is hard to beat.

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Pudgy Pies: A Midwestern Childhood Memory, Reborn

A pie iron, pudgy pie iron, sandwich toaster, jaffle iron, or Toastie iron, is a cooking appliance that consists of two hinged concave, round or square, metal plates on long handles.

I love camping in all its glorious forms; from car camping, back country camping, one night camping, six month camping to our own unique version of glamping. Glamping is a newish term used to define a style of luxury camping usually associated with staying in a posh tree house or hipster yurt that you drive to and do nothing but be pampered all weekend. Our style is slightly different, kind of the gourmand’s version – maybe call it Gourping. We still camp in the old fashioned way, with a tent staked to the bare earth, devoid of all modern luxuries like toilets and running water. The big exception is our fare; that might be more closely associated with the good life and fine dining than the usual dehydrated hiker meals. Not to say anything is wrong with stereotypical camp food; and after hiking 2,167.2 miles in one direction along the Appalachian Trail you quickly become a sort of Macgyver chef with the various incarnations of Kraft mac and cheese, Lipton dried noodle and various packets of condiments you squirrel away along the route. Oh I have seen miracles appear right before my eyes in the woods. For instance, my hiking buddy, known affectionately as Guerilla Pete, had a great hiker dish he dubbed “Bad Hunter” that was concocted from dried ramen noodles mixed with Velveeta cheese sauce packets – bright orange + no meat = bad hunter.

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Fava Beans, Three Ways

Fava Beans: The oldest and most loved harbinger of spring.

Since time immortal, favas have been appreciated for their buttery texture and nutty flavor. They have appeared on tables across the globe from Egypt to Mexico, and all point between. The tendency may be to complicate with elaborate recipes, but true lovers know they are best appreciated eaten simply.

Here are three simple recipes for you to savor favas this spring.

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Ramp Bloody Mary

Give me some (the ramp song) by the Loose Change Band (play in the background to get in the mood)

Well folks, it’s that time of year again when tables across America are besieged by mounds of fragrant ramps. Both Chefs and home cooks alike are running rampant with their creations. Ramps, also known as wild leeks, wild garlic or forest garlic are the country’s favorite wild foraged food.

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Lamb Head Tacos

A sheep farmer showed up at work with a lamb head tightly wrapped in plastic and wondered whether there was a call among America’s chefs for it. The idea of serving head, instantly brought me back to 1996 when I was lucky to do a stage for Joel Robuchon in Paris. I fondly remember a dish I was drawn to like a moth to an open flame, it was a slow-braised pig head served with baby vegetables in a mustard tarragon sauce on a pool of buttery mashed potatoes. I know it sounds incredibly simple, but it tasted great and left a huge impression that a dish so humble could be served at a three-star level. Every part of the head was utilized, the cheeks, tongue, ears and the brain. It encapsulated Robuchon’s approach to cooking: use simple, humble ingredients and elevate their stature on the plate.  …

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The Origins of Oysters Rockefeller

The sauce for Oysters Rockefeller is made by previously preparing parsley, spinach, celery and onion tops and other greens, in a meat grinder; the greens must be ground very fine; to this add the juice of lemon and melted butter. One tablespoonful of this sauce is poured over each oyster when being taken from the shells, and just before serving.

Recently I had the great pleasure of working with father and son restaurateurs Kaiser and Lee Morcus in reinventing their steakhouse menu at ‘Chop House’, located on Highway 111 in Palm Desert. If you are a bar habitué you may have noticed a lot of mixologists have sections for retro and classic cocktails alongside modern and sometimes very innovative creations. I have sampled forgotten classics like Corpse Reviver (late 19th century) and Police Gazette Cocktail (1901) next to modern takes on Bellini’s and Mai Tai’s to inspired combinations like the Snap Pea Southside. I always thought the same approach would be well suited for restaurants, particularly steakhouses where food expectations are more classically rooted….

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