Suzanne Goin’s Grilled Duck Breasts with Roasted Grapes

This past Saturday I had the pleasure to chat with the always busy Los Angeles chef Suzanne Goin at the Little Mercato, the farmers’ market in Little Italy.  Suzanne somehow manages to balance her life as the mother of three young kids, plus her at least as demanding other kids, her restaurants Lucques, A.O.C., the Hungry Cat (with her husband David Lentz), the Tavern, and the Larder. We chatted about her book, the A.O.C. Cookbook. While I haven’t had a chance to start cooking my way through A.O.C., I have had many delicious meals at the restaurant and cannot wait to dig into the book. The small-plate concept is especially appealing and will no doubt provide inspiration for my next cocktail parties.

Grilled duck breasts with crème fraîche and roasted grapes

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Lunch at the Hake

The Hake is a new restaurant that opened a few months ago in La Jolla. It is located on Prospect next to George’s. Even though it is located downstairs, there is plenty of light and they did a good job decorating the space, which looks like a European bistro. The menu is heavy on local seafood with Latin American influences. We had a chance to go there for a late lunch recently. It was very quiet and there were only 2 or 3 other tables due to the late hour.

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Rustic fruit tarts

Last weekend I was looking for an easy dessert that I could bring to a picnic. When I realized that I had a lot of fruit from my CSA, I decided to make a tart. Usually I go for a classic French presentation where I use a tart pan and carefully arrange uniform fruit slices. It is pretty for sure, but it’s also time-consuming and difficult when using fruit of various sizes together.

One of my usual tarte aux pommes (apple tart)
Apple tart, apples from Julian

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More chilled soups

Picture yourself – it’s already late at night and you had some snacks, maybe some charcuterie or cheese with your cocktails, but you still haven’t made anything for dinner. You don’t feel like turning on the oven (it’s the middle of summer) and are looking for something simple and nutritious.

Chilled summer soups are great for the occasion. Here are a couple more ideas. One is this very straightforward cucumber sorrel gazpacho based on a recipe by Russ Parsons in How to Pick a Peach. The book is a fairly complete list of fruit and vegetable grouped by season that provides an overview for each together with recommendations about storage, preparation, and a few simple recipes. I find that it’s a good starting point and I use it quite a bit to figure out ways to use the sometimes not-so-familiar vegetables in my CSA.

SorrelCucumber sorrel gazpachoCucumber sorrel gazpachoCucumber sorrel gazpacho

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