Saturday, July 30, 2011


Bicycling to downtown Menlo Park's Farmers Market is my Sunday morning ritual. There are quite a few other farmers markets around this area -- Palo Alto has a good one on Saturday. But I like the Menlo Park market, because they don't sell other products such as baked goods, etc., only vegetables, fruits and flowers. You have to smell vegetables and fruits -- very important for judging freshness and quality. And it's so enjoyable! There are plenty of nice looking vegetables and fruits on display at the nearby fancy supermarket, but they just do not smell fresh. Farmers markets' products are not only local and seasonal, but they are usually ripe, ready to eat and keep fresh longer. 

French-style carrots

Super-fresh shallots

Early Girl Tomatoes

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Cocoa Espresso Cookies

My expertise is not in making pastry, but I do love to eat it! So occasionally I make some simple but classic goodies like in these pictures:

White Chocolate Custard

Double Chocolate Fudge

Chocolate Fudge with 2 kinds of Nuts

Orange Custard Tart with Meringue

Brownie with Walnut and Pistachio 

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream


These photographs are from last year's special Oktoberfest dinner. There was a mountain of food for 100 guests: German sausages, cold cuts, a variety of cheeses, and of course thick and juicy steaks, as usual. I did not have time to take many pictures, because I was too busy managing staff and cooking all day long!

20 pounds steamed asparagus.

30 pounds Yukon creamer mashed potatoes 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Sushi is the most popular and requested meal at our house. It is a lot of work to make, and ingredients are very expensive. Plus, the kids go crazy and eat a lot. I need to save some money from the weekly food budget in order to give sushi dinners once every two months or so. To make the huge quantities, I need to bring in my sushi chef friend. We spend almost 5 hours to make about one hundred of these large rolls (1,000 pieces) and one hundred of Nigiri sushi (individual sushi). They are all eaten in 15 minutes.

I do not consider these kinds of sushi rolls authentic in Japan.
They were created in California in the last 25 years.

Nigiri Sushi
This is real traditional/authentic Tokyo-style sushi.
You can taste and enjoy a single ingredient at a time.

Assorted California Rolls

My friend and sushi chef, "Mr. Apple"

These are assorted vegetarian rolls.


It was a lucky day. Our meat vendor mistakenly sent us top-of-the-line 4-week, cool-air dry-aged bone-in strip loin (entrecote). It was so delicious -- some of the best meat I have had in recent years. However, my clients were not so impressed. They told me they want less fatty, boneless meat. OK, I am sorry, I will do that next time.

Here you can see how many steaks I need for a single dinner.


Chicken wings are back. I do not know why, but they're getting very popular again. I see that a chain restaurant that specializes in wings has appeared in the Bay Area. Don't get me wrong -- I do like them. In fact they are quite delicious cooked many different ways:  You can grill, bake, fry and even steam them. They're also great for making broth. This one is seasoned with just salt, pepper and chili powder, then simply fried without flour. It comes out very crispy outside but soft inside.

We don't have a large-capacity commercial fryer, so we use these 1-pound oil capacity mini-fryers. My assistant spends about 45 minutes to fry 15 pounds of chicken wings. They're gone a few minutes after we serve them.


New York Steak, aka strip loin steak, aka top loin steak, is the most popular cut of beef in the house. I use only USDA Choice -- not cheap, of course, so we normally only serve it once every 2 weeks. I trim off almost all the fat (that's what they want) and make steaks of about 14-ounces.  I need to grill 65-75 pieces for a single dinner, because many of the guys actually want to eat 2 of these.

I usually use Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning. That is all you need for a good cut of meat. I occasionally make some maitre d' butter. But they like A-1 Steak Sauce... so it makes my job easy.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Caesar salad with grilled chicken breast and Blue Lake string beans. Great salad for summer lunch!

Linguini with summer vegetables, olive oil, fresh basil and Ciabatta bread. And of course a glass of Chianti Classico. This is a my typical summer dinner dish.

Ripe peach for dessert. Their beautiful appearance, smell and taste... I just love it.