Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Slow burger

This Marin Sun Farms grass fed burger sits on top of a pile of wild arugula, and a thick slice of heirloom tomato. It is garnished with sautéed crimini mushrooms, sharp cheddar, grilled bacon, marinated red onions, and fried sage. I skipped the bun and fries - why bother? - and ate it with knife and fork. Tastes like meat.

For the burger:
1/2 lb ground grass fed beef
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Sea salt, fresh ground black pepper
Olive oil for the grill

Season beef with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Shape into a ball, then flatten on a cutting board to about 1 inch thick burger. Make a shallow depression in the center to allow for expansion while cooking. Preheat gas grill. Oil the grill, cook burger over direct heat, covered, 3-4 minutes per side. Add toppings and cheese for the last minute of cooking.

For marinated onion (makes about 1/2 cup, keep unused portion refrigerated for up to a week): Slice 1 small red onion into very thin rings. Rinse under cold running water, drain. Season with a pinch of sea salt. Toss with 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar and 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar. Let sit 30 minutes at room temperature.

For fried sage: Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 6-8 large sage leaves. Cook until crisp, 3-4 minutes, turning carefully with tongs. Dry on paper towels. Use to garnish grilled meats, soups and salads. Cool and reserve the aromatic oil for use in salads.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:San Rafael, CA

Friday, September 16, 2011

September fruit, cheese and wine pairing

Fruit: Black Mission figs
Cheese: Chevre rolled in fine herbs
Wine: Beringer Knights Valley Alluvium Blanc 2008

Summer, I'll miss you! Long sunny days. The pool. Grilling in the park. Sitting outside on a warm evening, with the stars above me and a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc in front of me. Heirloom tomatoes. Bell peppers. Spot prawns with mango salsa. Peaches, nectarines, pears, melons. I'll even miss the zucchinis, no matter how tired of them I feel now. But most of all I'll miss the figs.

You just cannot get figs out of season: they have to be picked very ripe, they don't keep, and they don't travel. The season is short, and it is now.

Like all fruits, the only food created by the nature that was designed to be eaten, figs are great when you just eat them out of the basket. However, they really shine paired with cheese and wine.

I have selected Beringer Alluvium Blanc for it's fruitiness and chewy texture, not unlike my figs. The wine is deep golden color, it smells of exotic flowers and sweet citrus, and the taste is lush and tropical. And it has a hint of fig! Composed mostly of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion grapes and aged in oak, it has a creamy start and a long, spicy and herbal aftertaste.

A soft goat cheese is a natural partner for the figs. Usually, I don't like any flavorings on my cheese, but for this pairing I picked a Chevre rolled in fine herbs, to honor the herbal character of the Sauvignon Blanc in the wine. And the wine supports it perfectly!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:San Rafael, CA

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Market find: candy stripe figs

These pretty "candies" come from the farmers market and are actually a variety of figs, properly named Candy Stripe. Lighter in flavor than popular Black Mission figs and with a hint of citrus, they go well into sweet-savory dishes.

Quarter them for arugula salad with almonds, figs, and sherry vinaigrette; or cut a cross on top and insert a dab of goat cheese, season with a drop of honey and fresh ground black pepper; or wrap them in prosciutto slices; and enjoy the flavor of the early fall.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:San Rafael,United States