Archive | Entrees

Breast of Sonoma Duck in Saba and Mustard Glaze

Saba-Glazed Breast of Liberty Duck with Herbed Duck Fat Fries

Yield: Serves 4


  • 1/2 cup saba
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons prepared Dijon mustard
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 fresh sage leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 2 whole duck breasts, lobes separated, skin on (I source my duck from Sonoma’s Liberty Ducks,


Preheat oven to 325°. Prepare the glaze by whisking the saba and mustard together in a saucepot. Add the thyme sprigs and sage leaves and heat gently over a medium-low burner for 2 minutes, then set the pan aside to cool. Prepare the duck breasts by scoring the fat with a knife in a diamond pattern, being careful not to fully penetrate through the fat to the meat below. Place a wire rack over a shallow pan for roasting, and set it aside. Preheat a large, heavy skillet (cast iron is ideal) over a medium burner. When the pan is very hot, season the duck well on both sides with salt and pepper, and arrange fat-side-down in the dry pan. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the fat is crisp and brown, then turn on the flesh-side and cook 2 minutes more, … Read More

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Perfect Sushi Rice

Yield: 4 cups


  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons mirin


Do not follow the directions on the bag of rice! Rinse the rice only 3–4 times—the water does NOT have to run clear as it will instruct on the bag. Allow rice to drain thoroughly—45 minutes in winter, 30 minutes in the summer. (Trust me here.)

While rice is draining, combine vinegar, sugar, salt and mirin in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.

Add the rice and water to a pan and bring quickly to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes before removing the pot from the heat, keeping the lid CLOSED. Absolutely no stirring or sneaking a peek!

Let rice rest for 10 minutes, then remove the cover.

Spread the rice in a wide glass or ceramic dish to cool and lightly fan the rice while adding the vinegar mixture. Mix rice gently, being careful not to break or mash it.

Cook’s note: If you have a rice cooker, follow the directions for “sushi rice” and … Read More

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Hand Ball Sushi or Temarizushi


Sushi rice (see recipe here) Toppings of your choice such as: toasted sesame seeds; nori (toasted seaweed), cut out with a hole punch or cut into shapes; carrot, zucchini or cucumber ribbons; cooked fresh pumpkin; corn; sliced black olives; tofu, cut into animal shapes with small cookie cutters; leftover chicken, salmon or scrambled eggs; edible flowers; or thinly sliced deli meats like turkey or ham For a sweet option, add cinnamon sugar to the rice and top with thinly sliced apples.


Tear or cut a dozen 4- by 4-inch squares of plastic wrap and set aside on a clean, dry work surface. (Note: If you lay them down with half extending over the edge of the counter it makes them easy to grab when you need them.) Place a small amount of your chosen ingredient on a sheet of the plastic wrap. Drop approximately 2 teaspoons of room-temperature sushi rice on top of your ingredient of choice. If it is sticky, dampen your hands with a bit of water.

Gather the plastic wrap up around the rice ball, then twist the plastic wrap tightly, firmly pressing the rice into a ball shape. Continue with new ingredients until … Read More

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Chef Jason Hull’s “Ridiculous” Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Chicken and Cauliflower


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
  • 2 cups cooked cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 2 cups garlic croutons, crushed


Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour 1 tablespoon at a time; whisk between each addition. Cook while whisking constantly to prevent mixture from burning. Add milk a half cup at a time, whisking slowly to thicken. Add fresh cracked pepper. Reserve 1/2 cup of cheese for topping. Add cheese to roux and stir until incorporated. In a bowl, add cheese mixture, chicken, cauliflower and macaroni and mix until incorporated. Put into buttered baking dish and top with reserved cheese and crushed croutons. Bake for 25 minutes until bubbly and light brown on top.

This would be tough, given a budget of only $1.35 per plate, but each team needed to prove that a fresh, locally sourced, organic school lunch was possible within the USDA per student allocation.

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Creamy Grits with Collard Greens and Wild Mushrooms

I continue to explore ways to cook and serve wild mushrooms. This is a Southern-style version of mushrooms over toasts that I once had at a French friend’s house after a mushroom hunting day. Here, instead of toasts, I use creamy grits and julienned collards, a green I confess I only recently started to cook. Any kind of mushroom can be used.

Yield: 4 servings


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits (not instant)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 bunch collards (about 12 leaves), stems removed and leaves julienned
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons minced yellow onion
  • 4 cups mixed wild mushrooms (8 to 12 ounces), any kind, trimmed and left whole if small, quartered or halved if large


In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the grits slowly, stirring to prevent clumping. Reduce the heat to low. Cook, uncovered, stirring from time to time, until most of the water has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

While the grits are cooking, in a frying pan or sauté pan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons … Read More

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Beer-Steamed Mussels alla Puttanesca

Like clams, mussels are best cooked quickly. They turn rubbery and dry if left too long in the pot. The trick is to add them to a small amount of rapidly boiling liquid in the bottom of a pot and cover immediately. Whatever you do, get hungry bodies to the table before you start cooking, because steamed mussels are best eaten freshly cooked and very hot. Good bread for sopping up the delicious spicy broth is essential. Grill bruschetta with a brush of oil and a rub of garlic to accompany the dish if you are feeling ambitious.

Yield: Serves 2 as an entree, or 3 to 4 as a starter


  • 2 pounds fresh Blue Mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded. [Note: Hog Island Oyster Farm in Tomales is a great source of sustainably farmed mussels in our area. For a list of where they can be purchased visit]
  • 2 tablespoons quality olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, cracked with the heel of your hand
  • 2 cups roughly chopped ripe tomato (substitute canned diced tomatoes when tomatoes are out of season in your area)
  • 1½ tablespoons brined capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup green Cerignola or other mild, fleshy olives, pitted
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Chard Quiche

Recipe from the St. Helena Montessori Middle School kitchen. Chef Grant Showley and the school kids created this recipe specifically for the purpose of using all the chard that they had grown in their garden.

Yield: One 9-inch quiche


  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • ¾ cup chilled water


  • 1 large Bermuda or other mild onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, washed and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  • 4 tablespoons Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cups milk or cream

Special tools needed: 9-inch flan ring or pie pan with removable base


Sift the flour with the salt and baking powder into a bowl. Blend the shortening and butter into the dry mixture using only your fingertips or a pastry cutter. Do not blend in completely—the mixture should still have pea-sized pieces of the butter and shortening. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Beat the egg yolk (reserve the egg white for later use) and the water together. … Read More

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Grilled Quail Salad with Roasted Mushrooms and Honey-Coffee Vinaigrette

Yield: 6 servings


  • 2 to 3 tablespoons brewed espresso or double-strength regular coffee
  • ¼ cup aged Spanish sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil


  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 6 partially boned or bone-in quail, cleaned Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
  • Grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • 4 to 6 cups frisée or curly endive or escarole chicory leaves, white and light green parts only
  • 2 cups wild or cultivated arugula or watercress, tough stems removed
  • About 1 tablespoon coffee beans, crushed, or cocoa nibs, for garnish


In a small bowl, whisk together the espresso, vinegar, honey, shallot, salt and pepper until the honey is well incorporated and the salt is fully dissolved. Gradually whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream and continue to whisk until well emulsified. Reserve until needed.

Mix together … Read More

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Italian Stuffed Artichokes

A few years ago, I picked 35 artichokes from my garden and prepared this first course for Easter lunch. The freshly torn bread absorbs the vinegar, olive oil and seasonings to make a light, flavorful stuffing. The coarser the bread, the better. Preparing these a day ahead gives plenty of time for the seasonings to blend and for the cook to be relaxed on the day that they are served.

Yield: 4 servings


  • 4 medium to large artichokes
  • 1 cup water, plus additional for steaming
  • 4 cups fresh breadcrumbs from a coarse country bread such as ciabatta or a rustic baguette
  • 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 1 bunch)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon sea or kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


Cut off the stem flush with the base and cut off the top one-third (the prickly leaf ends) of each artichoke. Pour water to a depth of about 3 inches into a large pot or deep pan, place a steaming rack in the bottom of the pot or pan and bring the water to … Read More

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Chicken with Sherry and Morels

Yield: 4 main course servings

This is a poor man’s version of the very elegant French regional dish, chicken with vin jaune/Chateau Chalon. You can make it with dried, fresh, or canned morels.


  • 8 chicken thighs with bone in and skin on (you can use any chicken parts or even a whole chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups dry sherry Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • At least 1 cup dried morels, but more if you’ve got them (see note)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


Heat the butter in a large heavy casserole with a fitted lid over a medium heat. Add the chicken and lightly brown all over, about 20 minutes. Add the sherry, salt and pepper, and the dried morels (if you use fresh, add them later: I will tell you when). Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat to low, and cover. Gently boil the chicken in the sherry for about 40 minutes, until it is very tender. If using fresh, frozen or canned morels, add them in the last 20 minutes or so of cooking. Remove the chicken and keep warm. You will probably have about 2 cups of sauce (sherry and … Read More

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