Friday, August 24, 2012

Shota kun's Great Summer Lunch

I got sudden lunch invitation from my great foodie friend Junko san last weekend. His son Shota-kun is coming home and cook for us and a couple his friends. I had not seen him since he was in college almost 10 years. I knew he worked few years in the U.S. after graduated from the college, then he went to Paris for a business school then started his own firm there for last 5 years. I know him since he was 12 years old. I remember that he was very bright kid but also have great sense of humor and it was always fun to hung out with him. One occasion, I spent with him for a couple of week, day and night, I think he was about 14.....because Junko san had to go England with her husband for his business trip. I stayed at his home, cook for him, went to bike ride, movie, cafe, watch video together, which I still have a great fun memories. Of course he wasn't cooking at the time but he was quite gourmand already and showed me a big interest about cooking..........

When I showed up at his home last Sunday, he was already preparing food in the kitchen, he was cleaning raw shrimp, peeling shells and veining them. I was so impressed at first sight (nowadays most shrimp available in the super market is already cleaned and cooked). He was also doing things pretty fast with having good skills and accuracy! I was impressed again when I heard his lunch menu and he insisted me do not work any thing today because I am a his guest of the day. So I enjoyed every minutes watching and sipping Champagne what he was doing all way to end, impressed!  I only did is washing the strawberries.

Junko san made an excellent Mirabelle plum tart for dessert which was very delicious just like having one in France. Merabelle plum is not so often available in the Bay Area.

Here is his Lunch Menu:

Aperitif: Champagne

Tartines with seared sea scallop and white shrimp with tomato concassé

De Cecco Linguini with Reggiano Parmesan Cheese and rose garlic


Organic Heirloom Tomato Salad with fresh Basil with French vinaigrette

 Resé Wine

Tarte aux  Mirabelles

Organic garden strawberries



Italian Espresso 

 He told me he made a couple chef friends in Paris and learned skills from them.

We had lunch in the garden. It was super nice day!


He used Acme sweet Baguette for the Tartine

Shota kun  was born in Stanford Hospital, a native San Francisco Bay Area and  now speaks fluently 3 languages, Japanese, English and French and he learned Kendo (Japanese fencinging) and now going to be great cook! He is my hero.

 I enjoyed being as a guest and it was everything so delicious!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Gazpacho Soup

“WHAT’S UP WITH THE WEATHER” is the cover article of the September 2012 National Geographic Magazine. WEATHER GONE WILD, “rains that are almost biblical, heat waves that don’t end, tornadoes that strike in savage swarms—there’s been a change in the weather lately. What’s going on?”

I have seen and read many horrible stories in the news lately, and while I am not a superstitious person, I do think something is terribly wrong. It’s either by natural causes, human error, or “God must be very angry” (hopefully not with me). I must say that I am very lucky to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the weather has been very pleasant this year. We had a warm winter and mild spring, and summer has been great. My sympathies to those of you in the rest of the country.  I know the cruel pain of heat and humidity that those areas have been dealing with. Not only did I grow up in a big city with very hot summers, but I’ve visited places such Texas, Mexico, Crete and southern Spain in the summer. So while it’s not humid (or too hot) here, I am accustomed to having cold dishes in summer:  cold tofu, cold soba, cold cappellini, insalata Caprese, ceviche and gazpacho soup.  

This recipe is by a young woman from Seville who I met while traveling one very hot summer in Greece. She missed and craved gazpacho soup, so we went to get vegetables and made it at the kitchen in the campground near Sparta. Many recipes call for mixing in some bread, but her soup is made only with vegetables. It’s easy to make and great for a hot, steamy day. 

Gazpacho a la Andaluza
Makes about 1 ¼ quarts (5 cups)

1 lb good ripe tomatoes, such as Roma or Early Girl, cut in quarters
1 regular cucumber (or 2 Persian cucumbers), peeled, seeded and sliced
1 small bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced
1/2 small onion or 2 shallots, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
2-3 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Juice of ¼ lemon
1 cup cold water
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon hot paprika (optional)

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
Croutons (optional)

Purée all the vegetables with the vinegar, lemon juice and water in a blender or mixer for about one minute. Add the olive oil, salt, pepper and the hot paprika if using, and blend for another 40-45 seconds. Transfer to a container and chill at least 2-3 hours.

Serve with grilled rustic country bread drizzled with good olive oil, and Stuffed Baked Zucchini (instructions below) for a light meal.

Nutrition for 1/5 of gazpacho recipe (about 1 cup), not including croutons:
160 calories, 13 g fat (2 g saturated), 4 g protein, 75 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 20% DV vitamin A, 50% DV vitamin C, 10% DV potassium. To reduce calories and fat, simply use less olive oil.

Wine suggestions: Chilled dry sherry (e.g., Fino, Amontillado; or dry rosé or Cava.

 Stuffed Baked Zucchini  or summer Squash

Stuffing options:
-          Leftover cooked rice, chopped parsley, garlic and parmesan cheese
-          Chopped tomato, zucchini, garlic, parsley, bread crumbs and parmesan cheese
-          Chopped chicken (or mild pork) sausage, onion, garlic, parsley, bread crumbs and parmesan cheese

To create your own with whatever you have in your refrigerator:  Season the stuffing with salt, pepper and olive oil and put inside hollowed out zucchini “boats” or "cups".

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the stuffed squash for 20-25 minutes.

Finally, I had a little time to prep Flan al Caramelo and bake it at the same time as the stuffed summer squash. This post is dedicated to the FRESH LOCAL AND BEST blog. Her recipes are always FRESH and make me want to try them!