Chef Tom – My Good Husband Dan

My good husband Dan’s birthday is April 1. I know, an April Fools baby. Explains a lot, really. I am counting on nine people being fully inoculated by then (three of us already are, including me), that we’re all on a sunny patio in lovely San Carlos drinking beautiful wine and eating multiple tasty courses over a four hour gathering. I’ve already started the menu.

Here are four highly recommended dishes (these are starters) from my foodiverse.

Thought I’d give you a taste.

Burrata Citrus Salad

Burrata with Blood Orange, Coriander Seeds and Lavender Oil

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 burrata balls

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoons runny honey

1/2 small garlic clove, crushed

3/4 teaspoon dried lavender

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

2-3 blood oranges (enough to make 4 slices of per serving)

flaky salt, to taste

micro basil (or torn basil leaves) for garnish

Directions:

Place the oil in a small saucepan with the honey, lavender, garlic, and 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and remove at once. Stir well and set aside until completely cool, then add the coriander seeds.

Use a sharp serrated knife to trim the tops and tails off the oranges. Cut down the sides of the oranges, following their natural curve, to remove the skin and white pith. Slice into rounds, not quite 1/2 inch thick, and remove any seeds.

Divide the orange slices between the plates, slightly overlapping, and place a burrata ball alongside. Spoon the coriander seeds and lavender oil over the cheese and orange, top with basil leaves—tearing them as you go—or micro-basil, left whole, and serve.

Hassan’s Eggs

Hassan’s Easy Eggs with Za’atar and Lemon

Serves 4

Ingredients:

6 eggs

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon za’atar

Salt and black pepper

2 green onions, finely sliced (1/4 cup)

1/8 teaspoon Aleppo (or any other) chile flakes

Directions:

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and carefully lower in the eggs. Boil for 5 to 6 minutes, then rinse at once under plenty of cold running water.

Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and za’atar and set aside.

Peel and roughly quarter the eggs, by hand so that they’re not too neat, and arrange on a serving plate, yolk side up. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of black pepper and drizzle the lemon juice–olive oil mix over the top. Sprinkle with the green onions and Chile flakes and serve at once.

Braised Chickpeas and Rapini

Olive Oil-Braised Chickpeas and Broccoli Rabe 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1 rosemary sprig

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

½ teaspoon dried chile flakes

1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 pound), woody stems trimmed

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Kosher salt and black pepper

Crusty bread, for serving

Directions:
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, combine the oil, garlic, rosemary, fennel seeds and chile flakes. Cook until the mixture is fragrant and the garlic is golden, 3 to 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat, then add the rabe and toss until coated in oil. Scatter the chickpeas around the rabe and stir to coat in oil. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Cover with a lid or foil and bake for about 40 minutes, until the chickpeas are soft and crispy in parts and the broccoli rabe is tender, but the stems are not mushy.

Let cool slightly. Before serving, remove the rosemary and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with crusty bread for mopping up the seasoned oil.

Beans and Garlic Toast in Broth

Beans and Garlic Toast in Broth

Serves 4

Ingredients for the Beans:
1 cup dried beans, such as cannellini or cranberry

1 small onion, peeled

2 garlic cloves, peeled

Up to 4 ounces Parmesan rinds

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

For Assembly:
4 thick slices crusty sourdough bread

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, peeled

2 tablespoons parsley leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon marjoram leaves, chopped

Flaky sea salt, finely grated Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper, for serving

Directions:
If you remember, soak the beans in cold water overnight, or for 10 to 12 hours. Rinse beans, and place in a large heavy-bottomed pot with onion, garlic, Parmesan rinds, olive oil and salt. Cover beans with water, so the water level is a couple of inches above the beans, and bring to a boil, then turn heat down so it’s simmering gently. Put a lid on the pot, and cook until beans are tender, adding more water as needed to keep the beans submerged. This could take 1 to 2 hours or more, depending on the beans and whether or not you soaked them. (If you’re using an electric pressure cooker: Add 5 cups water, set the machine to high pressure and cook for 25 minutes, then allow the machine to slowly depressurize on its own.)

Use a spoon to fish out the onion, garlic and cheese rinds; discard. Taste a couple of beans along with the broth. It should be opaque and slightly creamy; adjust the seasoning with more salt if needed.

Brush both sides of each piece of bread with olive oil, and place on a foil-lined sheet pan. Run the pan under the broiler for 2 minutes, so the bread is crisp at the edges and nicely toasted, then flip bread and repeat.

While the bread is still hot, rub a garlic clove along one side of each piece, as if you were grating the garlic on the bread, pushing just firmly enough for the clove to fray and dissolve slightly into the bread.

ON THAT NOTE

Last week you got a taste of a remarkably talented family of musicians. I thought a few more of their more popular pieces would be good. They are that talented.

Royal wedding cellist: Teenaged musician Sheku Kanneh-Mason wows guests

The Kanneh-Masons play “Monti’s Czardas” (rehearsing at home)

Beethoven Piano Concerto no 3 1st Movement (rehearsing at home)

BONUS TRACK 1

Britain’s Got Talent 2015

BONUS TRACK 2

Britain’s Got Talent 2015 S09E14 Semi-Finals

=CTH=

Chef Tom is currently transitioning from Personal Chef to Private Chef. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities. His motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

Check him out at www.hippkitchen.com

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