I prepared this recipe the week before our departure to the “nano-kitchen,”  (which I’m still adapting to), but using only the appliances I took with us, as a warm up for the “adventure.”   I’d also  like to say that this is a simple and straightforward recipe.   In some ways it’s not, but in other ways it is:  it takes  time and effort in the prep work, but once that’s completed it’s painless.  After tasting it, I predict that you won’t mind the road you traveled to make it.  I suggest that you assemble it on a weekend afternoon with nice music playing, perhaps this excellent  CD from Yo Yo Ma (skip the Metallica, or you may lose some fingertips).  I made individual servings with 3″ ring molds that I originally bought for cakes, but never used for that purpose.

(adapted from Michael Bauer’s Secrets of Success)

for the tomato sauce:
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 lb tomatoes, seeded and diced
2  garlic cloves
5 basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste

for the veggies
1/2 pound eggplant, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/2 pound zucchini, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/2 pound kabocha (or other squash), peeled, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/2 pound celery root, peeled, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/2 bunch basil  + 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 pound soft goat cheese (Montrachet type)
salt and pepper

Make the tomato sauce by sauteeing the garlic in olive oil for 30 seconds, adding the tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper.  Cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes and reserve.

Heat a non-stick skillet (or preferably a large electric griddle), sprinkle each slice of vegetables with a little salt and pepper, and add to the hot surface of your non-stick pan (or griddle) for a couple of minutes on each side, until it just starts to show some color.  Do not let it burn, or completely cook.  Reserve the slices.

Mix the olive oil with the basil (you can use a food processor or finely slice the basil to help releasing its flavor.

Assemble the dish: coat a 8 x 8 inch baking dish slightly with olive oil to prevent the veggies from sticking.  Layer the eggplant slices, zucchini, squash, and celery root.  Add a little basil oil as you form each layer.  Continue layering the veggies until they are all used up.   Spoon some tomato sauce over the top, crumble the goat cheese and bake in a 450F oven for 10-15 minutes until the veggies are hot and the cheese shows some golden brown spots.

(If making the dish in individual rings, coat them slightly with olive oil to help removing the rings before serving – bake on a baking sheet, and use a flat spatula to remove each ring to the serving plate).


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Michael Bauer states that the secret of this dish is to thin-slice the vegetables,  and he’s absolutely right.  By doing so, the different layers bake into a single entity in which each flavor mingles with that of its  neighbors. It’s a feast for the taste buds.   I advise you to avoid excess  tomato sauce, because this is not about the tomatoes,  which just give it some extra moisture and flavor.  This recipe lets the veggies do the talking.  I couldn’t find celery root, so instead I used butternut squash, for its texture and color.  “Dry sauteéing” is an interesting, low-fat technique.  You’ll still need some oil while layering the dish, but it will finish lighter than similar versions that rely on “regular” sauteéing.  Eggplant, in particular, absorbs oil and I usually avoid frying it, so this preparation suits my style.  Play with different vegetables, as it’s fun to change this basic recipe.  It’s perfect for entertaining:  assemble it ahead of time, and bake it just before serving.

ONE  YEAR AGO: A peachy salad for a sunny day!

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If you’re intimidated by the prospect of making a souffle, then this recipe is a special gift for you.  This double-baking method (oven time separated by hours,  if convenient) is great for entertaining: no more guessing about when’s the correct time to put the souffle in the oven;  no more anticipating when the guests will be ready to eat the puffed-up, gorgeous masterpiece.    Plus, I’ve always felt that  individual servings (in this case individual souffles) makes each guest feel special. 😉 The recipe comes from Secrets of Success, one of my favorite cookbooks.

(from Michael Bauer’s Secrets of Success, original recipe from Barbara Mulas & Mark Drazek)

butter for greasing ramekins, plus 3 Tbs
1 cup bread crumbs
3 Tbs cake flour
1 cup milk, warmed slightly in a microwave
10 ounces goat cheese, divided
3 large egg yolks
salt and pepper
1 cup egg whites (about 7 large eggs)

Heat the oven to 425F.

Butter 8 ramekins (5 ounce size), and coat them with bread crumbs. Reserve remaining bread crumbs.

Melt the butter in a saute pan, add the flour and cook, stirring, for 20 seconds. Whisk in the milk, cook stirring until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Crumble 8 ounces of the goat cheese in a large bowl (you will have 2 ounces left), add the hot milk/flour mixture, stir to combine. Add the egg yolks one at a time, mix well, and season with salt and pepper.

Beat the egg whites by hand or with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Delicately mix half the egg whites into the cheese mixture to lighten it a little. Then, fold the rest of the egg whites. Fill the ramekins halfway with the mixture, crumble a little goat cheese on top, and fill the ramekins to the top with the remainder of the souffle mixture. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs.

Place the ramekins in a large baking dish, and fill it halfway up the sides of the ramekins with very hot (or boiling) water. Bake on the center of the oven until golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, let it sit in the water for about 15 minutes, then carefully unmold them, by running a knife around the edges and inverting the ramekins over a plate. Transfer them to a baking dish. They can be held at room temperature for up to 6 hours.

When you are ready to serve them, bake at 425F until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.



to print the recipe, click here


Comments: I’ve used this recipe many times in the past few years, sometimes with feta cheese instead of goat cheese, but always with the same delicious outcome. It is important to coat the ramekins well with butter, so that they easily un-mold.   One or two of pieces of bruschetta on the side  completes the perfect opening for a special dinner.

The recipe comes from Zax, a now (unfortunately) defunct restaurant in Berkeley.   You can find old reviews online praising this dish, and once you try it, you’ll praise it too!

Note to self:  try this method with other flavors.   According to Bauer, the key to making a twice-baked souffle is the use of cake flour:   it gives the final product a more refined texture.

ONE YEAR AGO: Hearts of Palm Pie

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receita em portugues na proxima pagina…..

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…. so Happy Together!

Here’s a great combination, in a recipe from Bauer’s Secrets of Success, a cookbook quite popular in this bewitched place

(cookbook Secrets of Success, original recipe from chef Ruggero Gadaldi)

1 qt water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pickling spices
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
2 pork tenderloins
6 large skewers (metal or bamboo)
olive oil

for sauce:
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper

Make the brine for the pork by bringing the water to a boil, adding the brown sugar, spices, vinegar, carrot, celery, onion, and salt. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, allow it to cool to room temperature. Cut each tenderloin in 10 medallions, and submerge the pieces in the brine (you can use a plastic bag). Refrigerate from 4 hours to overnight.

Turn your grill on high, remove the pieces of pork from the brine and pat dry. Thread the pieces onto skewers (if using wood skewers, allow them to soak in water for several hours to prevent burning). Season lightly with salt and pepper and brush the meat with a little olive oil. Grill for about 5 minutes per side, until medium-cooked.

Make the sauce by pouring the cream in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until it starts to thicken (5-10 minutes), add the gorgonzola cheese, and stir until dissolved.

Serve alongside soft-cooked polenta.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This is a perfect recipe for weeknights, as the pork can brine during  the day.  I normally prepare the brining component  in the evening, and submerge the tenderloin early next morning, before leaving for work.   The brine does two great things for the meat:  it imparts a subtle sweet flavor, and it promotes browning on the grill, thanks to its sugar content. The gorgonzola sauce couldn’t be easier to prepare;  it comes together in minutes.  In his restaurant, chef Gadaldi’s serves the medallions alongside soft-cooked polenta.  I did the same, but also included broccoli.  It was  nice dinner in less than 30 minutes (and I’m not even Rachael Ray…  ;-)).

(if prepared without the polenta, this meal is appropriate for people on low-carb diets)

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I don’t know Michael Bauer, so I have absolutely no ulterior motives for returning to the recipes of his book ‘Secrets of Success,” except for the fact that many of them result in absolutely delicious dishes 😉

This recipe comes from Fabrice Marcon, who was a sous chef for Paul Bocuse, and then opened his own restaurant in San Francisco, Hyde Street Bistro. His cuisine falls into the category of “French-Californian,” simple words that attract me the way that flowers attract bees. France and California: two places I called home in the past, that always bring a nostalgic smile to my face.

Try this dish, it’s very good.

(receita em portugues na pagina seguinte)


(from Michael Bauer, Secrets of Success, original from Fabrice Marcon)

4 russet potatoes, scrubbed
8 ounces firm Roquefort cheese, crumbled
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper
2 Anjou pears, diced
1/2 pounds salad greens of your choice
1 tsp fresh tarragon, chopped
hazelnut oil

for vinaigrette

1 T red wine vinegar
1 t Dijon mustard
1 shallot, minced
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 375F, and bake the potatoes until tender (about 1 hour). Let them cool until you can handle them, peel them, and transfer the flesh to a bowl. Mash slightly, add the roquefort and 1 T olive oil. Stir until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, going light on the salt as roquefort is salty. Form the mixture into 4 equal patties, 1/2 inch thick. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Make the vinaigrette by whisking the vinegar, mustard, and shallots in a small bowl to blend well. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to form an emulsion. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat the oven to 350F. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the potato patties and brown on both sides until golden brown, 7 minutes total. Transfer them to the oven and bake for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the salad. Toss the pears with the salad greens and tarragon. Add the vinaigrette and place in a serving bowl, or divide into individual plates. Top the salad with the potato cakes, and drizzle with a little hazelnut oil.

(serves 4 regular guests, or 2 very hungry people… )


to print the recipe, click here

Comments – Great food is all about contrast. A little spice, a little sweetness, something smooth, something crunchy, teasing your palate at every bite. This dish is it. The roquefort cheese (which must not be too soft or the cakes will not stand up to the frying), counteract the sweetness of the pears extremely well, and the hazelnut oil ties it all. Who doesn’t like cheese, fruit and nuts? 😉 The cakes are wonderful by themselves, but please follow Marcon’s take on it, you won’t regret it.

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