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Monday, December 30, 2013

Salmon Burgers for a Happy and Healthy New Year

With the New Year just around the corner;
 many of us (oh yes.....myself included) have vowed to eat healthier.
I thought I would share a recipe to help.
Salmon burgers can be a great way to eat more Omega-3 Fatty Acids! Those lovey little wonders that support everything from brain function to maintaing strong hair and nails.
The recipe for this burger is simple and full of flavor.
It can be made with just about any fish (from yellowtail to shark). It can also be flavored with all your favorite herbs and spices (I chose Asian flavors, but I encourage you to play with your food).
Salmon Burger
Serves 4 to 8

2.5 lb                    Salmon 
4                           Green onions, sliced thin
1 tbsp                   Lemon zest
2 tsp                     Fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 tsp                     Mirin
1                           Egg, scrambled
½ cup                   Panko bread crumbs
4 tbsp                   Mayonaise (or low-fat Greek yogurt)
2 tsp                     Peanut oil
4                          Hamburgers buns
8 thin slices         English cucumbers
1cup                    Arugula


Salmon Burgers:
Discard salmon skin and any bones.

Finely chop salmon by hand.

In a bowl stir together salmon, green onions, lemon zest, ginger, Mirin, egg, bread crumbs and salt and pepper to taste and form into 4 patties.

Refrigerate for 1 hour before cooking.

In a non-stick skillet heat oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and sauté patties 4 minutes on each side, or until just cooked through.

Transfer salmon burgers to buns and top with mayonnaise, cucumber, and arugula.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Recipe from Farm to Table Suzie's Farm CSA Cooking Class

Curried Roasted Winter Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

Serves approximately 6 half cup servings


2 cup                              Butternut, delicata or other winter squash; peeled and small dice

1 cup                              Sweet potato, peeled and small dice

8 tbsp                                      Olive oil

1 tbsp                                      Unsalted butter

1                                    Small onion, small dice

1 tsp                              Curry powder

2 cups or as needed       Low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

To taste                          Salt and pepper



Preheat an oven to 450° F.

Microwave the squash for 8 to 10 minutes to soften; then cut squash in half, remove seeds, peel and cut into small dice. Season squash with salt, pepper and 3 tbsp olive oil. Place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until tender and golden brown.

Season potatoes with salt, pepper and 3 tbsp olive oil. Place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until tender and golden brown.

In a saucepan heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat till it is hot (or moves like water in the pan).

Add onions to the pot and cook till translucent.

Add curry powder and cook till fragrant.

Add roasted squash, potatoes, and chicken broth. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.

In a food processor (or in a blender) place soup and puree until smooth, add enough broth or water to allow the food processor to puree ingredients. If you prefer your soup thin add more broth accordingly.

Return soup to the stove and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper, ladle into a bowl and serve.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pickeling Summer Produce

I recently posted some pictures from my Suzie's Farm cooking class at Great News cooking school in Pacific Beach; and thought I would share a little something from that class.
This simple recipe is my basic pickeling "mix" and can be used to pickel just about anything (from carrots and jalapenos to cucumbers).
If you wana see me live and in person you can check me out this Saturday on a small family farm in Encinitas, teaching you how to cookgreat vegetarian dishes.

Pickled Wax Beans
Makes 3 to 5 Pint Jars
1 tbsp                   Pickeling spice
4 cups                  White wine vinegar
½ cup                   Sugar
6 cloves                Garlic, peeled
1 tsp                     Kosher salt
1 lb                      Wax beans, stem end removed
1 cup                     Onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
6                           Bay leaves


Sterilize preserving jars* and lids.

Place pickeling spice in cheese cloth a secure with butchers twine into a small bundle.

In a small sauce pot combine pickeling spice bundle,  kosher salt, white wine vinegar, sugar, and garlic cloves; bring to a boil and cook till sugar and salt are dissolved; stirring occasionally.

Place half of the onions into sterilized preserving jars. Top with green beans (upright)  and cover green beans with remaining onions and bay leaves. Divide vinegar mixture into jars and filling to within ½ inch of rim.

Using a chop stick, remove any air bubbles in the jar.

Wipe off rim of jar.

Top with cover and twist on seals.

In a large pot cover jars with water and allowing 1 to 2 inches of water to cover jars (you may need to add extra water for this). Cover and gently boil for 10 to 15 minutes.

After processing, remove jars and set them upright on a towel to cool 12 to 24 hours. Do not retighten bands. Once jars are cool, test each one for a seal by pressing the center of the lid. The lid should not flex up and down (if it does, immediately refrigerate or reprocess with a new lid for the full length of time).

Label, and store jars in a cool (50° - 70° F/10° - 20°C), dry, dark place for up to one year. After opening, refrigerate, and use within 1 month.

For additional information on canning go to

* Wide mouth jars are best for ease of filling



Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Nothing goes to waste- Broiled Tuna Collar with Citrus Soy Dipping Sauce

When I was in culinary school in Miami, a hurricane scare sent me running for shelter at a friend’s house. Lucky for me I picked a friend with a Tuna head in the freezer. This is how I was introduced to the best part of the fish you can get.
Now I go to my local fish monger at Catalina Offshore; it is not something they have daily. Every so often I walk through the doors and spot those beautiful tuna heads in the case and I know I am in luck. Or you can call in the morning (early in the morning- the earlier the better) and order them.
To make your life easy start with cooking the collar; think cooking a steak verses cooking a roast. Your fishmonger should remove most of the head and split the collar in half. This makes it super quick and easy to cook. But if you have the time to stew the whole head (I like to use a classic Jamaican curry style preparation)...go for it!!
If you love this recipe and want to learn how to make it; I am doing a joint cooking class with Tommy Gomes from Catalina Offshore on June 12 at Great News in Pasific Beach. The class will feature a variation of this recipe along with Heirloom Tomato, Avocado and Crab Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette; Low Country Shrimp and Clam Boil; Grilled Salmon Topped with Tomato, Caper, Basil Vinaigrette.
Broiled Tuna Collar with Citrus Soy Dipping Sauce
Serves 2 to 4

                       Tuna collars (about 3 lb. total), cut in half and fins removed
As needed  Grape seed oil
As needed  Kosher salt

1/3 cup                Whitesoy sauce (Shiro)
½ cup                  Orange juice
1/8 to ½ tsp         Rayu (or Hot Sesame Oil).*
3                          Green onions, thinly sliced

½ cup                  Grated daikon radish

Preheat oven to 450°.
Lightly rub fish collars with oil and sprinkle both sides of fish lightly with salt.
Place a cookie cooling rack onto a foil lined cookie sheet; put collars skin side down, onto the cooling rack. Cook until collars turn golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove collars from the oven; pour oil off of pan and rotating collar to skin side up.
Increase oven temperature to broil.
Return collars to the oven and cook until skin crisps and caramelizes, about 1 minute.
While the collars are cooking, prepare the sauce. Mix soy sauce, orange juice, hot sesame oil, and green onions in a small bowl.
Serve collars with a dipping bowl of citrus soy sauce and a small amount of daikon radish.

*If you don’t like spice replace the Rayu (or Hot Sesame Oil) with sesame oil.

This recipe is great for a hot summer night. I did it in the oven in this recipe but it could easily be done on the BBQ. The collar of the fish is very fatty (not a bad thing at all- for those that don't know the fattier the fish the less dry and the less likely you are to overcook it). Be very careful not to burn it.

Start by getting the grill super-hot; then reduce the flame to medium heat. I like to get a nice crust on the flesh side and then move it to the upper rack, being very careful of flare ups. Close the grill and cook for the same amount of time listed in the recipe. Checking every so often to make sure your fish has not caught on fire.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Local Yellowtail Tacos

This morning on San Diego Living I was cooking up local Yellowtail fish tacos. Showing San Diego how to make simple, delish tacos from fresh fish from Catalina Offshore Products.
But waite there is more- you can also come to Sea Rocket Bistro in North Park for a hands-on fish taco cooking class.

Here is a sneak peak at what we will be making in class; reservations are required for the cooking class and can be made by calling 619-997-8043 or e-mailing Elena at A credit card number will be required to hold your reservation. We hope you can join us for this fun, tasty, and unique hands-on cooking class.

And here is the recipe for those amazing fish tacos.

Baja Grilled Fish Tacos
Serves 4

1 tbsp                   Dried oregano, crushed by hand
1 tbsp                   Garlic salt
1 tbsp                   Ground coriander
1 tsp                     Ground pepper
1 tsp                     Chipotle chile powder (or 1/4 tsp for less spice)
3 tbsp                   Peanut oil or grape seed oil
1 ¼ lb                  Yellowtail; without bloodline, or any firm fleshed white fish               
skinned and cut into ½ inch sticks

2 cups         Cabbage, finely shredded
3                 Limes, cut into wedges
6-8              Corn tortillas
2                 Avocados, sliced
1 cup          Salsa fresca
1 cup          Mexican crema sauce
In a small bowl, combine the dried oregano, garlic salt, ground coriander, pepper, and chipotle chile powder; whisk to combine. Add the oil and stir  until a loose paste is formed. Rub the fish with the spice paste and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.  
Preheat grill pan over medium high heat.
Place fish onto grill pan and cook for 4- 5 minutes, turning half way through.
To assemble the tacos, take 2 tortillas, top it with chunks of fish, a dollop of the crema sauce, a spoonful of the salsa fresca, avocado and some of the cabbage. Squeeze a wedge of  lime over the filling, fold the tortillas, and eat.

For the Mexican crema sauce:

1 cup                    Crema
3 tbsp                   Minced fresh cilantro
1 tbsp                   Fresh lime juice
1 tbsp                   Water

Combine all the ingredients and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate up to 4 hours until ready to use.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

What to do with local Octopus

This morning I saw a post on Facebook from an amazing local fish monger, that he had over a thousand pounds of local Octopus in stock. Well I had to share this recipe so everyone had something delicious to make with this one of a kind local specialty.

In a recent cooking class at Great News in Pacific Beach I made a Grouper Ceviche, but let everyone know my true favorite was Octopus for my ceviche.

Unlike most recipes my recipes calls for removing the "skin" from the Octopus after you cook it; removing the off putting texture that it can sometimes have. Make the super tender octopus a star!!



Octopus Ceviche
Serves 4 to 6

Cooking Octopus:
1                 Octopus, about 3 lb
4                 Green Onions
1/2 bunch   Cilantro
1                 Jalapeno, cut in half

1 1/3 cup    Cherry tomatoes (multi colored), quartered
1/2 cup       English Cucumber, finely diced
2                 Jalapenos, seeded & diced
1                 Green onion, diced
1/4 cup       Cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tbsp          Extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup       Tomato ketchup
¼ cup         Tomato juice
¼ cup          Lime juice
Salt & fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 200°.

Clean octopus of any innards, ink sack; remove beak and eyes.

Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Add octopus, cover and bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 5 minutes.

While the octopus is boiling; using butchers twine to tie together green onions and cilantro (into a bundle).

Place the bundle into a braising dish (with a lid) and top with two halves of jalapeno.

Remove octopus from the water and remove the head.

Place remaining octopus on top of the jalapeno halves and cover with the lid.

Add to the oven and cook for 5 hours; or until soft and tender (test this by cutting into one of the tentacle, a knife should cut easily).

Remove octopus from the oven and cool till room temperature.

Once cool enough to work with; remove fat or “skin”. Using your fingers; run them along the legs stripping off any gelatinous fat exposing the white flesh.

Chop the tentacles into bite-size chunks. 

In a large bowl, stir together tomatoes, cucumber, jalapenos green onions, cilantro, olive oil, ketchup, tomato juice and lime juice. Add octopus and season with salt and pepper. 

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight; before serving with good quality white corn tortilla chips or tostadas.