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Apple-Chorizo Hash


Apple-Chorizo Hash

I promised plenty of apple recipes these first few weeks of autumn and I ain’t done yet. Apples aren’t just for the lunch pail or the teacher’s desk. Apples make great inspiration for breakfast too. Apple-Walnut Muffins. Dried-Apple Granola. Cinnamon-Apple Danish. I often start my day with an apple. Though it’s rarely in the form of something as sugary as the treats I just mentioned. Apples, eaten raw and out of hand, are sweet enough for me. However, there are special autumn mornings when I’m inspired to start my day with savory apples, as in Apple-Chorizo Hash.

Recently I made the rather beleaguered point that I was a bit tired of brunch. Especially brunch at trendy restaurants with long lines. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to partake in long (late) breakfasts on the occasional Sunday (at home). Waffles always sound good on these mornings, but honestly I don’t know anyone with a waffle iron who has used it more than once or twice (me included). So when the leisurely breakfast bug bites I’ll usually whip up an egg dish. Scrambled. Sunny Side Up, or Shirred. It’s all eggs to me.

I like eggs. I’m hardly complaining. It’s just that I’m a cook. Eggs take very little time and attention and require absolutely no divine inspiration. They make a fine breakfast when my breakfast muse is getting her beauty rest. However, there are some Sundays when she sings loudly in my ear. These are the mornings I add hash to the menu.

radishesApple-Chorizo HashApple-Chorizo Hash

Apple-Chorizo Hash

Hash is an odd sounding word with a surprising amount of romance attached. Hash gives us a reason to gather around the stove on a chilly autumn morning. Apple-Chorizo Hash has enough romance to beat back every argument I can think of for “healthy” breakfasts. I honestly don’t think that a foggy Sunday morning is the time for a healthy breakfast anyway.

Which is why Apple-Chorizo Hash is Sunday food. But sadly Sunday food is getting to be rarer and rarer in my household. I remember when Sunday mornings were lazy mornings. Breakfast was served after reading the paper and often replaced our lunch as lunchtime melted into supper. Before we knew it the day was pretty much done. Fortunately I’d made enough Apple-Chorizo hash to nibble on before bedtime. GREG

Apple-Chorizo Hash

Spicy Apple-Chorizo Hash

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Published
Apple-Chorizo Hash


  • 1 large tart, crisp apple (about ½ lb)
  • 1 large red potato (about ½ lb)
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil (divided, plus more as needed)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper (as needed)
  • 9 ounce raw Mexican pork chorizo
  • 1 red bell pepper (halved, seeds and ribs removed and cut into ½-inch dice)
  • 1 onion (peeled and cut into ½-inch dice)
  • 1 medium jalapeno (halved, seeds and ribs removed and cut into tiny dice, optional)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 4-8 soft poached eggs (optional)
  • halved radishes (optional)


Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Cut the apple and potato into 1⁄2-inch dice. Place them into a medium bowl and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, season with salt and pepper, toss to combine. Spread potatoes and apples onto a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet, keeping them in as close to a single layer as possible. Roast in the heated oven 30 to 40 minutes until tender and beginning to brown on the edges. Toss them once or twice during roasting to ensure even cooking.

Meanwhile put a large, heavy bottom cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and add chorizo to the skillet, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring and breaking up chorizo, until lightly browned and beginning to look dry and crumbly, about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer chorizo to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Leave the fat in the skillet, adding extra olive oil to bring the volume of fat to about 2 tablespoons if necessary.

Add the diced bell pepper, diced onion and diced jalapeno (if using) to the skillet which the chorizo was cooked. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Stir in minced garlic and cook 1 minute more. Turn off the heat. Gently fold in roasted apples, potatoes, and cooked chorizo. Turn the heat to low and cook, folding gently, until the flavors come together, about 2 minutes.

Serve warm with poached eggs on top (if using) and halved radishes on the side (if using).

Best Apples for Baking: Apple & Cream Cheese Hand Pies


Apple and Cream Cheese Hand Pies

Apples. You eat them every day (if you’re trying to keep the doctor away). That’s because some sort of apple is typically available in our supermarkets 365 days a year. It’s easy to reach out and grab whatever apples are featured without giving the variety a lot of thought. Which is a good thing because the most popular way to eat apples is out of hand and raw. Top of the heap apples best enjoyed this way include: Honey Crisp, Braeburn, Granny Smith, and McIntosh. Where I live Fuji can also be had without too much effort. I love apples and I’m happy for their wide availability.

However, when I’m cooking with apples I want to choose the best apples for the job. The best apples for baking, the best apples for braising, the best apples for sauce, etc. My general rules of thumb is this: for sweet apple recipes like pies and cakes I choose tart apples such as Granny Smith and for savory preparations I choose sweeter apples like Honey Crisp, and my favorite all-purpose apple (snacking, sweet baking or savory cooking) is Braeburn.

Choosing the “best of” anything is at best murky. I usually roll my eyes when we bloggers bestow titles like “the best” on anything (and everything). I figure we’re either being lazy writers or SEO whores. However since I am both a lazy writer and an SEO whore, I will say this – when it comes to cooking there are some things that are just plain proven fact – water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, cooking bacon starts in a cold pan, dry ingredients go in the bowl before wet ingredients and buttercream frosting requires magical skills that I do not possess. Most of the rest of those supposed cooking “rules” are just personal preference.

Well almost most of the rest. When it comes to choosing the best apples for baking, the truth is some of the information is proven fact and some of it is personal preference.

Best apples for baking Apple and Cream Cheese Hand Pies

Best Apples for Baking

As I said, Granny Smith is my default apple for baking sweet desserts. It’s crisp and tart and stays that way even under high heat. It may seem counterintuitive to choose a tart apple for a sweet treat. However, I think a nicely acidic apple gives the sugar in a recipe balance. That’s an example of personal preference. My own personal preference.

Texture however falls in to the category of rule. The rules and standards of apple pie demand that the fruit not be mushy. McIntosh makes nice apple sauce because it’s a soft apple. However, they aren’t the best apples for baking – they make a mushy apple pie. There are other crisp beauties that work as equally well as Granny Smith. Braeburn, Cortland, Honey Crisp and Rome Beauty all get high marks. So these apples are often included on the best apples for baking blogger lists. If you’re unsure what your favorite apple for baking is try a combination of these apples. In my opinion that’s “the best”.

However, just when you think the rules are decided I have more information for you. This information falls under personal preference. There are plenty of apple varieties out there that are considered heirloom or regional. So I suggest you taste what is available in your area raw and out of hand, then make up your own mind. Like I said personal preference can be murky. GREG

Apple and Cream Cheese Hand PiesApple and Cream Cheese Hand Pies

Apple Cream Cheese Hand Pies with Cardamom

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 8Published

Choose apples that are crisp and tart and stay that way even under high heat. I used a combination of Braeburn and Granny Smith.

Apple Cream Cheese Hand Pies with Cardamom


  • 14 ounce cream cheese (at room temperature, divided)
  • 7 tablespoon unsalted butter (at room temperature) 
  • 2 tablespoon heavy cream (or more as needed)
  • 2 3/4 cup (390 grams) all purpose flour scooped & leveled (plus more as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large, tart, firm apples (peeled, halved, cored and cut into ½-inch dice)
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg yolk (mixed with 1 teaspoon water, as egg wash)
  • turbinado sugar (as needed)


Put 6 ounces cream cheese, butter and cream into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Process until well combined and fluffy, about 20 seconds. Add flour and salt. Pulse mixture 5 or 6 times. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Process an additional 15 or 20 seconds, until dough just comes together and begins to pull cleanly away from the sides of the bowl in jagged clumps. If this doesn’t happen within 15 or 20 seconds add another few teaspoons cream as needed.

Move the dough to a lightly-floured work surface and gently knead 2 or 3 times. If dough seems quite sticky or at all wet sprinkle in another few teaspoons flour. Give dough another couple of quick, gentle kneads. Divide dough in half, shape into 2 squares about 5-inches wide and 3/4-inch thick. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate dough at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days), or freeze up to 1 month.

Place oven rack in the center position. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium bowl use a hand-mixer to beat the remaining 8 ounces cream cheese, ½-cup granulated sugar, lemon zest, and egg until very smooth. In a separate bowl toss diced apple with lemon juice, remaining ¼-cup granulated sugar, cardamom and cinnamon. Chill both bowls at least 20 minutes and up to 8 hours.

Remove dough from refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out one square of cold dough to about 10 or 11-inches square, a generous 1/8-inch thick. Use a paring knife to trim the edges squarely and neatly. Then cut into four 5-inch squares. Lay squares onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, about ½-inch apart. Repeat with second square of dough.
Working with dough squares in place on baking sheet place a generous 2 tablespoon dollop of the cream cheese mixture onto the center of each square, leaving about a 1-inch border all around. You will have extra cream cheese for another use. Place a scant ¼-cup spiced apples on top. Working one at a time, fold all four corners over the filling, so that the points meet near the center but do not touch (leave about ¼-inch of space between them). Press lightly to distribute the filling somewhat, being careful not to let any escape. Repeat with the remaining squares of filled dough. Refrigerate until chilled, about 20 minutes.

Brush the exposed tops and edges of the dough of each hand pie with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake in the heated oven, until pies are golden brown and filling is oozing out a little, about 30 minutes. Move to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Honey-Glazed Chicken Breasts & Apple-Potato Purée Today


Honey-Glazed Chicken Breasts & Apple-Potato Purée

“An apple a day…” You know the rest of that phrase in the traditional sense. I know you do. But here at Sippity Sup that phrase means I’ve slipped into one of my moods and I plan to post quite a few apple recipes over the next week (or maybe even two). I live in Los Angeles (where autumn is summer). So I’m probably jumping the gun seasonally speaking. But I can’t help myself. There’s something in the (hot) air everywhere I turn. It may still feel like summer, but I know better. The seasons are changing.

Even in Los Angeles you can sense the subtle shift – as summer turns to autumn. The days seem bluer and the nights last a little longer. Hollywood Blvd crackles under the bright blue light. The Hollywood Farmers Market starts to feature Apples, Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower. I’ve been missing them and I’m ready to welcome them back to my kitchen. So I’m going to ignore the thermometer and pay attention to the calendar. The calendar says October. That’s autumn in this hemisphere and autumn recipes I shall provide. Starting with Pumpkin Spice Latte with Nutmeg Sprinkles (which contains no actual pumpkin)!

No. I’m just kidding. Starting with apples.

Sauteed Apples and PotatoesRoast Chicken Breasts with potatoes and applesHistory of Apples in North America

Apples have become part of the culinary culture of these United States (Canada too I bet).

There are historical reasons why the apple is so popular, especially in the northeastern parts of this country. Pilgrims (yes of Thanksgiving fame) brought both seeds and cuttings to America. And though there is some discussion about the authenticity of a chap named Johnny Appleseed there is no denying that the tree has indeed found its way from “sea to shining sea”.

In the early days of this country sweet things were expensive, difficult to store and were just not the same sort of staple that they are today. In fact they were a luxury. Thanks to the Pilgrims, apples were an exception to this rule. They were local, prodigious, and kept well in cellars. Meaning sweets would be available all throughout the winter.

However, apples certainly do not belong to the good people of New England. Apples fed the pharaohs. In ancient Greece tossing an apple at a young woman could get a young man married – should she decide (and be athletically inclined enough) to catch it! And of course in 1665 apples were responsible for introducing the theory of gravity into the mind of Sir Isaac Newton.

Wine Pairing

Concha y Toro “Amelia” Chardonnay 2011

Concha y Toro “Amelia” Chardonnay a lightly oaky chardonnay
Ken Eskenazi

Price $35

Pairs well with grilled, seared or roasted shellfish, roast chicken, wild mushrooms, sea bass with fennel purée, corn soufflé with bacon.

Savory Apple Recipes

So you see apples ain’t so new. But they’ve certainly caught on. There are about 2,500 known varieties of apples grown in the United States. That’s because there’s an apple variety suited to every micro-climate we have here. There are commercially viable apples as well as heirloom varieties. In other words, there’s an apple for everyone and anyone.

One reason for their success is the fact that they stand well in savory preparations as well as sweet. This makes them a standard in many cooked applications, especially in the autumn, when they are plentiful. I find them to be a terrific seasonal accompaniment to everything from roast chicken to cornbread.

I’m not saying that you won’t see a pie or a tart on these pages featuring apples in the coming days, but there are plenty of ways to showcase crisp, sweet-tart apples without having dessert on the menu.

So with that in mind I’m going to start this series of apple recipes with a savory apple recipe. Honey-Glazed Chicken Breasts with Apple-Potato Purée and Sautéed Apple Slices. I’ve even got a wine pairing to share with this apple recipe because you can’t toast the change is seasons with an empty glass. GREG

Honey-Glazed Chicken Breasts with Apple-Potato PuréeHoney-Glazed Chicken Breasts with Apple-Potato Purée

Honey-Glazed Chicken Breasts with Apple-Potato Purée & Sautéed Apples

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Published
Honey-Glazed Chicken Breasts with Apple-Potato Purée & Sautéed Apples


  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ cup raisins
  • boiling water (as needed)
  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter (divided)
  • 1 tart crisp apple (halved, cored and thinly sliced)
  • 2 large chicken breasts halves (bone-in and skin attached)
  • salt and pepper (as needed)
  • 6 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 4 clove garlic (peeled and halved)
  • 4 thinly sliced lemon rounds (from the center of the lemon)
  • 2 medium onions (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 1 large russet potato (peeled, small diced and boiled until just tender)
  • 1 tart crisp apple (peeled, halved, cored and small diced)
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup heavy cream (plus more if needed)
  • fresh thyme leaves (to taste)


Make the glaze: In a small bowl, combine the honey, lemon juice and soy sauce. Stir until well incorporated. Set aside.

Prep the raisins: Place the raisins in a small heatproof bowl. Add enough boiling water to cover by about ½-inch. Let them sit undisturbed 15-20 minutes, (or until plump) then drain and set aside at room temperature.

Prep the sautéed apples: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium sauté pan set over medium heat. Lay the sliced apples in the pan in a single layer and cook turning once, until soft and nicely browned. Turn off the heat and set aside in the pan for reheating later.

Roast the chicken: Set the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 425°. Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel then place, skin side up onto a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Season generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Tuck half the rosemary sprigs, garlic cloves and lemon rounds under each breast. Brush with glaze and roast 15 minutes, turn the sheet and baste with more glaze. Continue to roast 15 to 20 minutes more, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, or until the juices run clear and the skin begins to char. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest for 15 minutes.

Prepare the purée: Once the chicken is in the oven, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add onions, season with salt and cook, stirring often, for 10 to 12 minutes or until well-softened and just beginning to brown at the edges. Move ½ of the onions to a small bowl, stir in the reserved raisins and set aside. Add the boiled, diced potatoes, diced apples and stock to the onions that remain in the saucepan. Cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer 10 to 12 minutes, or until the apples are very tender. Scrape the warm mixture into a food processor, add cardamom, nutmeg, remaining 2 tablespoons butter and cream. Purée the mixture until smooth. It should be less stiff than mashed potatoes, adjust consistency with more cream if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Assemble the dish: Gently reheat the sautéed apple slices and the apple-potato purée. Once the chicken has rested, remove the meat from the bone in one piece. Slice each breast into ½-inch thick slices, leaving the skin attached. Place a small mound of the warm onion and raisin mixture onto the center of each of 4 dinner plates. Top each with 3 or 4 slices chicken and spoon a ring of purée around the chicken. Lightly spoon some of the remaining glaze over the chicken. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with warm sautéed apples and fresh thyme.


Concha y Toro “Amelia” Chardonnay 2011


Concha y Toro “Amelia” Chardonnay a lightly oaky chardonnay

I like an oaky chardonnay. There, I said it– don’t judge me. I realize that stainless steel is all the rage in everything from white wine fermentation vats to kitchen appliances, but as with most things preferences depend on circumstances. Saying you don’t like oaky chardonnay is like saying you don’t like rain. Sometimes you need rain, as we (desperately) do here in California.

And sometimes you need an oaky chardonnay. For instance, if you’re choosing a wine to complement a rich, complex dish featuring creamy, sweet, savory and bright elements. Like Greg’s Honey-Glazed Chicken Breasts with Apple-Potato Purée and Sautéed Apple Slices.

Concha y Toro “Amelia” is a Lightly Oaky Chardonnay

This oaky chardonnay hails from the Casablanca Valley in central Chile, west of Santiago. Closer to the sea than the Andes, Casablanca’s cool breezes and mild winters allow for a relatively long growing season which in turn allows concentrated flavors to develop. The winemakers of Concha y Toro were Chilean Chard pioneers, planting high quality vines way back in 1982. The “Amelia” is a limited release offering from their Las Petras vineyard.

This is not a shy wine. Aromas of green wood, pungent fruit (apple, nectarine) and a bit of funk (resin) assault the nose. A swirl in the glass reveals a high alcohol content. On the palate the wine is both tart and sweet– my strongest impression is of lemon curd (and I love a good lemon bar for desert). Golden apple notes mirror the (sweetened) apple in Greg’s dish. The richness of the apple-potato purée tames the assertive acidity (needed to prevent a cloying quality). And the sweet raisin accents bring out the caramel notes imparted by the toasted oak barrels.

So don’t dismiss an oaky chardonnay out of hand. To paraphrase the Mounds versus Almond Joy quandary, sometimes you need oakiness, sometimes you don’t. KEN

Concha y Toro “Amelia” Chardonnay 2011

Pairs With Honey-Glazed Chicken Breasts & Apple-Potato Purée Today

Concha y Toro “Amelia” Chardonnay a lightly oaky chardonnay

Grouper Sandwich: Maximo Seafood Shack, St. Petersburg FL


Maximo Seafood Shack, St. Petersburg, Florida

I don’t want you to call me a Parrothead (i.e. Jimmy Buffett fan) but something strange happens to me whenever I visit Florida. I find myself tapping my toes to the tunes of my youth, and it won’t take but a day or two in “Margaritaville” before I start craving a Grouper Sandwich. Ask anyone along the West Coast of Florida to define paradise and they will tell you: a sunset over the water, a cold beer, and a giant Grouper Sandwich. New York has its pizza, Los Angeles owns the taco, and chowder reigns supreme in Boston. In St. Petersburg, Florida the Grouper Sandwich is iconic.

It’s a simple sandwich and only succeeds when the freshest fish possible is snuggled between the ubiquitous fluffy bun and dressed with core condiments of leaf lettuce, a thick tomato slice, and homemade sauce. It can come fried, broiled, grilled or blackened. There are arguments to be made for each preparation. On a recent trip to Florida I set out to find my favorite Grouper Sandwich, and I succeeded. Drippy. Messy. Perfect. The Blackened Grouper Sandwich at Maximo Seafood Shack in St. Petersburg, Florida is served dockside. Which is the first hint that this Grouper Sandwich is the Grouper Sandwich of my balmy Floridian dreams.

Grouper sandwich, Maximo Seafood ShackMaximo Seafood ShackMaximo Seafood ShackMaximo Seafood Shack

The dockside location of Maximo Seafood Shack of course guarantees a focus on fresh fish, but it also creates a casual waterfront ambiance that makes the grouper taste all the sweeter. Which attracts a crowd. On warm weather weekends, when the sun glitters off Boca Ciega Bay, the Maximo Seafood Shack can get as rowdy as a church basement on bingo night. When I arrived every pine-planked picnic table was filled with groups of weekend boaters, locals in the know, and quite a few pink-faced tourists in Tommy Bahama shirts. Which is how I found myself, the only solitary diner, pressed into the corner – a window sill as my dining table. I’m not complaining, I consider that window the best perch in the place. You get to sit shoulder to shoulder with other diners eating sweet as candy peel-and-eat Gulf shrimp, hot conch fritters with spicy rouille, and of course that delicious Grouper Sandwich. It’s easy to linger long into the afternoon, listening to yacht-talk while watching skiffs and pelicans float by.

Maximo Seafood Shack

I realize that sipping beer and watching pelicans sounds like something Jimmy Buffet might do. It does have its allure, and it’s how I first noticed a particular pelican. He was impatiently bobbing around just outside the open-air kitchen window. I watched in amusement as he defended his territory. I soon spied two tattooed arms tossing freshly-filleted red grouper carcasses my feathered friend’s way. The tattooed arms belonged to Wendy who had been my server. I found Wendy to be sharp as malt vinegar and as salty as the air! She’s the main reason I idled my way through a second beer long after the lunch crowd began to thin. It’s also when I found the Parrothead in my DNA humming “Son of a Son of a Son of a Sailor.” GREG

Red Grouper Fillet, Maximo Seafood Shack Conch Fritters, Maximo Seafood Shack Maximo Seafood Shack Grouper Sandwich Maximo Seafood Shack, St. Petersburg, Florida

Maximo Seafood Shack

4801 37th St S, At the End of the Main Dock
Saint Petersburg, Florida
(727) 498-8847




I Baked an Egg Inside a Buckwheat Pancake and Ate it


I Baked an Egg inside a Buckwheat Pancake and Sprinkled with Cheese

Egg-Filled Buckwheat Pancake. This is alone food for me. The kind of thing I slap together to feed myself when Ken is out of town. I almost made an omelette. That’s alone food too. Because either way all I need is a lightly dressed pile of greens and I have dinner done for one. You’re seeing alone food because Ken is indeed out of town. I made this and posted this to prove to Ken that, yes– I’m eating. He has this crazy idea that I don’t eat if I’m not cooking for him. As if…

I could have called this a crêpe. Because basically it is a crêpe. But it has such a casual, rustic quality to it that it just feels more like a pancake to me.

Egg-Filled Buckwheat Pancake

It starts out just like a crêpe. Buckwheat flour, eggs, milk and a pinch of salt. Once I decided to “bake” an egg inside I did make the batter a bit thicker than I might were this intended to be a more elegant crêpe presentation. I wanted to be sure that the pancake had enough structure to carry the egg. Also, I wanted to be sure that the pancake could stay in the pan longer than it might otherwise. Thicker turned out to be a good call, because the bottom of this pancake got quite brown and a bit crunchy. I think that crunch was my favorite part of the meal. Although the cheese was good too (damn good). I used a French cow’s milk cheese called Beaufort. It’s a lot like a French Gruyère (not to be confused with a Swiss Gruyère).

You’ll notice the recipe is for 4. That’s because it’s sorta pathetic to make only enough batter for one pancake. I may be alone but I’m not pathetic. Or at least not yet. I don’t usually get pathetic until Ken’s been gone for 3 days. Check back. Pathetic may be in my future. GREG

Carton of fresh farm eggs from FreeFoodPhoto.com

Egg-Filled Buckwheat Pancake

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Published


  • 3 ounce grated french cow's milk cheese ( such as beaufort, comte or gruyère)
  • ½ cup sifted buckwheat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 large eggs (divided)
  • 1 ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon melted butter
  • 1 pinch each salt & pepper


In a medium bowl whisk together the buckwheat flour and salt. In a separate large bowl beat 2 of the eggs lightly then whisk in 1 ½ cups of the milk. If the mixture is too thick, add the remaining milk until a velvety consistency (neither thick nor thin) is achieved. Cover and refrigerate batter for at least 30 minutes. Stir to recombine before using.

Heat an 8-inch non-stick skillet or crepe pan with a lid over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add the butter, swirling to coat the pan. Ladle about ½ cup of the batter onto the middle of the skillet and immediately start swirling the pan to distribute the batter over the surface. Cook for 45 to 60 seconds or until lightly golden brown. Flip over and immediately sprinkle the surface with about 1/8 of the cheese, crack one egg into the center then sprinkle with another 1/8 of the cheese; season with salt and pepper. Fold the side edges of the buckwheat pancake over the egg, leaving the yolk exposed and unbroken. Place the lid on the skillet and cook until the yolk is barely set, about 3 to 5 minutes or to your liking. Serve hot. Repeat 3 more times with remaining eggs and batter.

Egg-Filled Buckwheat Pancake

Eggs photo: FreeFoodPhotos.com

Flat Iron Steak Hot off the Grill with Crispy Shallots and Fresh Grapes


Flat Iron Steak

Nothing hits that sweet spot of satisfaction quite like a juicy grilled steak simply served with something seasonal. Rib Eye, Porterhouse, and Filet are steaks we meat-eaters all know and love. However before you reach for one of these the pricier, more expected cuts of beef I want you to consider one of the Butcher’s Cuts. These are the choice bits that butchers have traditionally set aside for themselves. There are often too few of these cuts on one animal to make a decent display (as in Hangar), or they simply don’t show well (as in Flap Meat). Either way they never developed much demand from consumers — so the butcher kept these cuts for lunch. Times have changed and today’s beef-eaters have made it more difficult for butchers to keep these secret cuts to themselves. That’s because these cuts have got character. Savvy meat-eaters demand character.

Butcher Cuts: The Flat Iron Steak

Despite the growing awareness of these cuts of beef many remain difficult to find outside of a restaurant. There are exceptions. Many specialty markets carry these cuts, however they’re often priced in the same category as the best steaks they carry. Hmmm, I don’t like that. However, I’ve found that if you rummage through the styrofoam trays of the meat section of even the humblest of grocery stores you’ll likely come across another of these Butcher Cuts: The Flat Iron Steak.

The versatile Flat Iron (also known as Top Blade) comes from the shoulder of the cow. It can be grilled, braised, pan-fried, marinated, and most anything in between. When handled well it has the perfect texture, not soft like a filet, but tender and chewy. It’s well marbleized and very beefy. It’s affordable too. So get creative. Just be sure not to overcook it. It’s best between rare and medium-rare. For my money, it’s one of the tastiest cuts on the cow. GREG

Flat Iron Steak Hot off the Grill with Crispy Shallots and Fresh Grapes

Flat Iron Steak with Crispy Shallots and Fresh Grapes

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4-6Source Adapted from CIA GreystonePublished


  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 6 sprigs lightly crushed fresh thyme (divided)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper (as needed)
  • 2-3 medium shallots (peeled and thinly sliced into rings)
  • canola oil (as needed)
  • 2 ounce red onion ( finely chopped)
  • 1 cup fruity red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 flat iron steak (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • 4 ounce blue cheese (crumbled)
  • fresh raw red seedless grapes (to taste)


Marinate the steak: Combine 1 cup olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, and 3 sprigs thyme in a small bowl; mix well. Place the steak in a non-reactive dish just large enough to hold it laying flat. Pour the marinade over the steak, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours, turning several times.

Make the crispy shallots: While the steaks are marinating, place the flour in a medium bowl, season the flour well with salt and pepper. Toss the shallot rings to coat lightly with flour mixture.

In a small saucepan set over medium-high, heat the canola oil (about 2 inches deep) to 360 degrees. Working in batches, carefully add the shallot rings and fry until crispy and golden brown, about 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; set aside.

Make the red wine sauce: In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add red onion and sauté until softened but not brown, about 2 minutes.

Increase the heat to high, add the wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the wine to a thick sauce, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the stock and reduce by at least half or until it thickens, about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in remaining thyme sprigs.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in the butter to finish the sauce. Season with the salt and pepper. Re-warm when ready to use.

Grill the steak: Light a charcoal fire or turn the grill to medium-high heat.

Remove the steak from the marinade and scrape off any marinade still clinging to the meat. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

Grill the steak 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the steak over and grill for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the steak registers 125 degrees F. for medium-rare.

Serve the steak: Place the steak on a cutting board and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes.

Cut the steak across the grain into ½-inch slices, keeping the slices together. Place the steak on a serving platter and strain the red wine sauce around the steak. Discard solids. Sprinkle the cheese and crispy shallots on top. Garnish with fresh, raw grapes and serve immediately.

Fresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad


Fresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad

When it comes to potluck parties, pasta salad makes a lot of sense. It’s sturdy and portable and has enough starch to fill the bellies of my gluten loving friends. However, a pasta salad can also be a bit boring. So I say, don’t let it. Look around for inspiration and put together a salad that inspires you. This Fresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad is quite a plateful. Sweet and juicy tomatoes are the star here. In Los Angeles end-of-summer tomatoes burst with flavor and need little embellishment to create a spectacular dish. However, I have a wondering eye and I have to admit that sweet corn often catches that eye and demands attention too. I’ve dressed these beauties with a special red-wine oregano vinaigrette that has colorful hue of its own.

Fresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad

I guess you could say that the colors of the season inspired this pasta salad. This is the time of year when North American Farmers Markets are literally pumped up with colorful produce. It seems all the brightest vegetal hues make themselves prominent during these last throes of a long hot summer. Green herbs, crimson tomatoes and golden corn embellish the stalls at my Farmers Market with all the flair of a Hello Kitty Lunch Box. So I threw a few of these eye catching colors into a bowl and made an end-of-summer Fresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad that is anything but boring.

Which is a good thing. We’ve been beaten down by some brutal heat here in Hollywood this past few weeks, and honestly I’m sick of the heat. So when a pool party invite came my way I opted for a cool pasta salad full of warm colors.

I know I sound like a wimp, but when I signed on to the whole ‘LA lifestyle’ thing it was the 70-something and sunny part that really sold me. I’d lived in Santa Barbara for several years before I moved to Los Angeles. I moved here because Santa Barbara can be way too cold (all year-long). Not snowstorm cold, but still it’s chilly and gray– a lot.

I know it sounds like I’m whining. Santa Barbara is too cold. Los Angeles is too hot (blah, blah, blah). So instead of opening my mouth to complain about the weather I should probably stick a forkful of Fresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad in and shut up. Cooler days are ahead. I know they are. GREG

Tomatoes and CornRed Wine Oregano VinaigretteFresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad

Fresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad with Red Wine-Oregano Vinaigrette

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 6-8Source Red Wine-Oregano Vinaigrette adapted from The Lemonade CookbookPublished
Fresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad with Red Wine-Oregano Vinaigrette


  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 12 kalamata olives (pitted and chopped)
  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano (leaves only, plus plenty more as garnish)
  • 2 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for grill)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (plus more for seasoning)
  • 4 ears of fresh corn (husked and silks removed)
  • 1 pound dried orecchiette pasta
  • 4 large heirloom tomatoes (about 3 pounds)
  • 5 ounce crumbled feta


Make the Red Wine-Oregano Vinaigrette: In a blender, combine vinegar, lemon juice, olives. oregano, garlic, honey, oil, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Blend on high speed until very smooth, about 1 minute. Pour the vinaigrette into a lidded jar. Keep covered in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Char the corn: Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Rub corn with oil. Grill, turning frequently, until corn is charred and heated through, 10-12 minutes. Remove from grill; when cool enough to handle, cut kernels from cobs and transfer to a large bowl. Corn can be made 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature until ready to continue.

Assemble the salad: Bring a large pot salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 12 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta and place the pasta in a large serving bowl. Add about ⅓ cup Red Wine-Oregano Vinaigrette to the pasta while still warm, stir to combine. Set aside to cool completely, stirring occasionally and possibly adding more vinaigrette to prevent sticking.

Meanwhile halve, core and cut the tomatoes into bite-sized chunks.

Once the pasta has cooled add tomatoes, corn, and feta cheese to the serving bowl. Toss to combine. Garnish generously with extra oregano leaves and black pepper. Serve with additional Red Wine-Oregano Vinaigrette on the side.

Fresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad

Frittata Sandwich with Potatoes, Olives and Peppers


Frittata Sandwich with Potatoes, Olives and Peppers

Why aren’t there more potato sandwiches in this world? I’ve read Elvis Presley was rather fond of a sandwich piled high with fried bacon, onions, and potatoes. He smeared it with yellow mustard and served it on soft white bread. There’s no arguing that’s one heck of a potato sandwich, but it doesn’t sound like something I’d eat. In Indian cuisine curried potatoes find themselves tucked or rolled into sandwiches. But here North America potatoes are usually considered a side dish. Well I’ve decided to move potatoes, if not to the center of the plate, then at least to the center of a bun. I’ve made a potato frittata sandwich and served it on a ciabatta roll with baby kale and homemade garlic-caper mayo. That’s the whole enchilada. Well, I mean frittata.

Let’s start with the potatoes. I called this a potato frittata sandwich because I couldn’t resist putting the words frittata and ciabatta on the same plate. However the potato filling in my frittata sandwich is closer to a Spanish potato tortilla than it is to an Italian frittata. The Italian version tends to be puffy and custardy. It’s often stuffed full of whatever eats you have hanging out in the refrigerator. However, a Spanish tortilla is much more simple. It rarely uses more than 3 or 4 ingredients. It has a more solid texture too – with just enough cream and egg to bind the potatoes together. It’s a combination that snuggles nicely between two pieces of bread.

Potato Frittata Sandwich

So I turned a Spanish-style tortilla into a sandwich stuffer. After all, I like sandwiches. I like them for their portable appeal. I like them even more for their nostalgic appeal. I probably had a sandwich a day from age 6 to 17 because sandwiches reigned supreme in my grade school lunch pail. However, what I most admire about the humble sandwich is its nearly unlimited potential. All you need is two slices of bread and your imagination (and in this case potatoes). GREG

Frittata with Potatoes, Olives and PeppersGarlic Caper MayoFrittata Sandwich with Potatoes, Olives and Peppers

Frittata Ciabatta Sandwich with Potatoes, Olives and Peppers

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 2Published

The peppers and the frittata can be made up to two days ahead of time. Store, covered in the refrigerator. Toast the ciabatta just before assembling the sandwiches.

Frittata Ciabatta Sandwich


  • 1 egg yolk (at room temperature)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided, plus more for tasting ciabatta))
  • 2 tablespoon chopped capers (drained and rinsed)
  • ½ pound sweet peppers (seeded and cut into strips)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (divided, plus more as needed for seasoning)
  • freshly cracked black pepper (as needed)
  • 6 large eggs (at room temperature )
  • 2 tablespoon whole milk (or cream)
  • 1 large, Idaho russet potato (peeled and cut into ½-inch dice)
  • ½ large onion (peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 2 ciabatta rolls
  • baby kale (as needed)


Make the garlic-caper mayonnaise: Place egg yolk, garlic, and lemon juice in a blender or mini-food processor. With the machine running slowly add ½-cup oil in a thin stream until thick and well emulsified. Scrape the mayonnaise into a small bowl or jar. Stir in the capers. Cover and refrigerate up to 4 days.

Make the sautéed sweet peppers: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Add sweet peppers; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers are just tender, about 10 minutes.

Scrape the sweet peppers onto a plate to cool. They can be made up to two days in advance. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Bring to room temperature before use.

Make the frittata: In a medium bowl combine eggs and milk (or cream); season generously with salt and pepper. Beat lightly until blended. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes with water by about 1-inch; season generously with salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Stir the the olives to the egg mixture; set aside.

Heat remaining ¼-cup oil in a 10-inch cast iron or other nonstick ovenproof skillet set over medium heat. Add onions; cook, stirring often, until soft and just beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Add the potatoes to the skillet, gently spread them evenly across the bottom.

Increase the heat to medium-high. Pour the egg and olive mixture over the onions and potatoes, gently shaking the pan to evenly distribute mixture. Cook the frittata, without stirring, until its edges begin to set, about 3 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven. Bake frittata until golden brown and center is set, 25-30 minutes.

Once cooked, cool frittata a few minutes then slide or flip it onto a cutting board. Cool completely, then cut into two rectangular slabs, sized to fit the ciabatta rolls. Save scraps as a snack.

Assemble the sandwiches: Split the ciabatta rolls in half and remove a little of the inside crumb creating a shallow well in the center of each of the top halves. Arrange tops and bottoms, cut side up, in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the top surface of each ciabatta lightly with olive oil. Place baking sheet into heated oven. Bake until bread is lightly golden on the edges; about 12 minutes. Take baking sheet out of the oven and let ciabatta cool slightly before assembling sandwich.

When ready to serve, spread both interior sides of each ciabatta roll with some garlic-caper mayo. Top the bottom halves with a generous helping of sautéed sweet peppers and place a frittata slab on top of each. Generously fill the indentations of the top rolls with baby kale. Put the sandwiches together, cut in half and serve within a couple of hours.

Frittata Sandwich with Potatoes, Olives and Peppers.

Shrimp and Grits for a No-Hassle Brunch at Home


Shrimp and Grits for Brunch

Are you in the mood for brunch? Well get in line. I mean that literally. Big city brunches have changed in the decades since I moved to the big city. When I first came to Los Angeles brunch was a carefree, last-minute dining decision we made on any random weekend just because the sun was shining and A Flock of Seagulls inspired us all to “walk along the avenue”. There was a certain “New Wave” optimism running along that avenue and brunch was a part of the thrill. It was a time when colors were bright, hair was big, and punk was fun.

Well, call me a grump but it seems to me that 80’s joyful brunchtime camaraderie has been replaced by insane lines of proudly bedraggled grumpsters wearing sunglasses to hide their hangovers or anxious helicopter parents who insist on bringing screaming children into public places.

I should probably apologize for this unexpected rush of grumpy brunchtime nostalgia. It was brought on by Shrimp and Grits.

On its face Shrimp and Grits seems to have no relevance to brunch. However, I decided to put an egg on these Shrimp and Grits. Put an egg on anything and brunch comes to mind, right?

I know it sounds weird, but (for me) brunch in Los Angeles defined what it meant to be young and in charge of your own destiny. I’ll admit with some hindsight that my dining habits weren’t necessarily responsible choices. I can’t say exactly where I found the money in my young budget to pop into Tommy Tang’s, Angeli Caffé, and Trumps as often as I did. Of course there were cheap eats too. I remember pierogies at Gorky’s, gut-stuffing pancakes at Tick Tock, and the lingering vegetarian grooviness of The Source on Sunset. I loved the outdoorsy elegance (and blossoming romance between me and Ken) while brunching at Butterfield’s on the Sunset Strip, and of course egg-centric classics from Canter’s Deli and Duke’s Tropicana. Maybe there were lines at these places. I don’t remember. I had a music mix in my Walkman and the mood was bitchin’.

Brunch Mix Cassette/ ShutterstockIt didn’t seem to matter where we ate either. Life was rad and the big city seemed limitless. It was a time when all you needed was a pair of Wayfarers and the address of the latest hot spot! Maybe I’m romanticizing my youth (or Los Angeles) but the older I get the thought of knocking back bottomless mimosas makes me wonder: is brunch worth all the hassle?

It’s not that I don’t like brunch. Stick an egg on Shrimp and Grits and you’d be a brunch lover too. Serve these Shrimp and Grits with something bubbly and I wouldn’t complain. Just don’t make me wait in line to eat it. These days, when it comes to brunch, you know for sure that you’re gonna have to wait with puffy-vested-bearded-young-men who have no issues about vaping in your face.

As I say, brunch out in the big city seems to have changed. However, every time I think about giving up brunch for good I try to remember one truism about life: what goes around, comes around.


Maybe we didn’t wear fedoras and stare at our devices (instead of our friends), but we had loose, blousy Ton Sur Ton shirts and acid-washed jeans. I guess we were the annoying hipsters of our time, out to ruin Ozzy and Harriet’s quiet brunch with our fishnet stockings (for girls) and shocking blue eyeliner (for boys).

Which means I can live and let live when it comes to brunch. However, all the chipotle hollandaise in the world won’t make me stand along a congested avenue waiting for artisanal barnwood-smoked bacon. So I made Shrimp and Grits at home and put an egg on it for old time’s sake. GREG

Shrimp and Grits for BrunchStone Ground GritsShrimp and Grits for BrunchBrunch mix cassette Illustration courtesy of my editorial partnership with Shutterstock.

Shrimp and Grits

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 6Source Adapted from separate recipes by John Besh & Ginger MadsonPublished
Shrimp and Grits


  • ⅓ cup smoked paprika
  • 3 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper (plus more for seasoning)
  • 2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 tablespoon kosher salt (plus more for grits and seasoning)
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon granulated onion
  • 4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 30 large shrimp (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • 1 stalk celery (quartered)
  • 1 carrot (quartered)
  • ½ onion (peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 6 clove garlic (peeled and lightly smashed)
  • 1 big sprig fresh thyme
  • 8 cup water (divided)
  • 1 cup yellow grits (not instant)
  • 5-6 tablespoon unsalted butter (divided)
  • ½ cup mascarpone cheese
  • 4 thick cut bacon strips (sliced crosswise into ½-inch strips)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 2 tablespoon minced jalapeno (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (canned and drained or fresh)
  • 2 tablespoon fresh, minced chives
  • 6 large eggs (optional)
  • sliced sweet pepper (as garnish)


Make the Creole seasoning mix: In a medium bowl combine paprika, dried oregano, ground black pepper, dried basil, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, granulated onion, dried thyme, and granulated garlic. Stir to combine. This is much more seasoning than you need for this recipe, store the extra in an airtight container for up to three months.

Make the shrimp stock: Rinse, dry and peel the shrimp, pinching and pulling gently on the tail section to remove the peel without breaking off the tail meat if possible. Place the shells into a medium sauce pan. Add celery, carrots, onion, smashed garlic and thyme. Pour in 4 cups water, and simmer for one hour over low heat, skimming the muck off the top as needed.

Strain, cool and reserve the stock. You should have a generous 2 cups, if not add a little water or clam juice. The stock may be made up to 3 days ahead. Keep covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before using.

Make the grits: Bring 4 cups water to a rapid boil in a large saucepan; season generously with salt. Gradually whisk in grits, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring almost constantly, until grits begin to thicken; about 20 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter and mascarpone; season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Make the shrimp: Toss the peeled shrimp in a medium bowl with about 1 tablespoon prepared Creole mix. The shrimp should be uniformly seasoned but not heavily coated.

Meanwhile, heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add bacon; sauté until fat begins to render, about 3 minutes. Add minced jalapeno, minced garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon butter; stir until butter melts. Raise the temperature to medium-high, then cook until the bacon begins to brown; about 2 more minutes. Add shrimp and sauté until they begin to brown and turn pink, but are not cooked all the way through. You want to color the shrimp not steam them, so work in batches for best results. Carefully remove the shrimp to a platter as they cook, leaving mostly everything else in the pan. Add the shrimp stock and 2 tablespoons butter. Lower the heat to medium and reduce, stirring occasionally, until thick enough to coat a spoon; about 6 to 8 minutes.

Return the shrimp as well as any bits and juices that accumulate on the platter to the skillet and simmer until shrimp is cooked through, no more than 1 to 2 minutes. Finish the dish by stirring in lemon juice, diced tomatoes and chopped chives.

Make the fried eggs (optional): Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to skillet; swirl to melt and cover bottom of pan. Crack eggs into pan and cook until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Work in batches if necessary.

To serve: Place 4 generous tablespoons of grits in the middle of each of 6 shallow bowls. Arrange 5 shrimp on top of each. Spoon over some of the sauce. Top with fried eggs (if using). Garnish with sliced sweet pepper and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.