Grilled Corn with Spicy Miso Butter and Furikake

Camper Mike's corn!

Camper Mike’s corn!

Ryan and I were camping in the Eastern Sierras recently at a gorgeous locale called Silver Lake (also the name of our neighborhood in Los Angeles so I guess it was meant to be).  My friend Sienna, who you may recognize as the talented artist, food stylist and Hudson Workshops founder, her hubs Dallas and their mini-them, Dakota have been vacationing there for a while so this year we decided to tag along.  And thank god we did.  This was some postcard camping, boating, fishing and hiking at its finest.

Our neighbor at the campground, a happy well-fed man named Mike rolled in with his family to celebrate his 40th birthday and upon smelling the bacon I had sizzling on the camp stove, he promptly came over to say hello.  We got to talking about food (what else!) and both quickly discovered that we were crazed for it.  He showed me photos of his homemade grilling rigs, filled in Ryan on all the best fishing spots in the area and gave us some corn his coworker grew that was kicking around in his camper.  In some ways he reminded me of my dad, in others like every guy I grew up with in Wisconsin.  I like guys like Mike.  And the corn wasn’t too shabby either.

Sunset on Silver Lake

Sunset on Silver Lake


6 ears of corn

Cooking spray

1 stick butter, softened

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp miso (white or red)

1 tbsp gochujang*




Heat the grill or grill pan to medium high heat.

To make the miso butter, mix together the butter, sesame oil, miso, and gochujang.  If you are making a large batch of this, you can use the food processor and the butter doesn’t have to be softened.  This compound butter freezes well so you can wrap it in small bundles and keep in the freezer for future use.

Shuck the corn and spray it with cooking spray.  Grill until slightly charred, turning the cob so that it is cooked evenly, about 10 minutes.

Remove the corn from the grill and rub with the spicy miso butter.  Squirt some lime juice  and give them a nice dusting of furikake.

*Gochujang is a Korean chili paste that’s in like everything they make.  It’s delicious and you should go on the interwebs and buy some if you don’t have access to it where you live.

**Furikake is a Japanese dry seasoning that has sesame, seaweed, salt, sugar and dried fish. It is traditionally sprinkled on rice which is delicious.  Clearly also awesome on corn. Again, interwebs it if you can’t find it in your town.

Sienna Fishing for Trout

Sienna Fishing for Trout



Peach and Thyme Clafoutis

It’s stone fruit season, hell yeah!!!  Peaches are one of my all-time favorite fruits and this time of year I tend to put them in everything.  This week alone I’ve already planned some recipes sweet, savory and alcoholic: Old Fashioned Peach Pie, Grilled Peach and Carrot Salad with Carrot Top Mint Pesto and Boozy Peach Slush, to name a few.

Clafouti is traditionally made with cherries and I managed one in a few weeks back with some beauties from my buddy Pete’s CSA.  Yesterday, though, the peaches at the Los Feliz Farmer’s Market were sweet, juicy and on point, so that’s what I used.  This is a delicious custard dessert best served luke warm with a dusting of powdered sugar and some whipped cream or crème fraîche.

Serves 6


¼ stick butter, room temperature

1 ¼ cup milk

¼ cup sugar

3 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla

Splash brandy

Pinch salt

2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

½ cup AP flour

4 ripe peaches, sliced

¼ cup brown sugar

Whipped cream or crème fraîche, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Butter an 8-cup baking dish and set aside.

In a blender, add the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, brandy, salt, thyme and flour.  Blend until smooth.  Pour a ¼ inch layer of the mixture into the prepared dish and bake for approximately 3-5 minutes to set the batter.  Remove the baking dish from the oven and spread the peaches evenly throughout.  Top with the brown sugar and pour the rest of the batter over the peaches.  Bake for until the clafouti has puffed up, is golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  This takes approximately 35-45 minutes.

Serve the clafoutis warm with a dollop of whipped cream or crème fraîche for added extravagance.


Ratatouille Succotash with Herb Pistou

Summertime in a bowl!

Summertime in a bowl!

In honor of Bastille Day, I decided I wanted to make a ratatouille with all the beautiful summer vegetables I found at the farmer’s market in Prospect Park this past weekend.  It’s always such a pleasure to make ratatouille when all the veggies are in peak form, and in my mind, it’s a dish that should never be attempted out of season.

Then a shipment of Rancho Gordo beans arrived at Pete and Susan’s casa, so of course I decided some sort of white bean though certainly not traditional, would be appropriate to add to the mélange.  Then several ears of leftover corn appeared from a Sunday cookout, so why not throw them in too, screw it! My ratatouille très francaise started becoming a bit americaine, as if Succotash was taken by a Provençal lover and this was the result of their rolling around in a field of lavender.

This is a superb vegetarian dish this time of year that can stand on its own, act as a side dish, or be made a bit heartier with the addition of a poached egg on top.  It’s also a great topping for crostini with a bit of chèvre, and makes a killer room-temp pasta salad with penne.  All that being said, make sure you make a big batch so you have all these options to nosh on throughout the week.  Happy Bastille Day and Bonne Fête Nationale!


For the Herb Pistou:

3 cups fresh herbs; could be basil, parsley, tarragon, chervil, mint or any combination thereof

1 scallion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/2 cup toasted almonds

1/4 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano

1/4 cup water

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup olive oil

Sale and pepper, to taste

For the Ratatouille Succotash:

Olive oil

1 large eggplant, chopped

3 medium zucchini, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

2 bell peppers (whatever color you prefer or a mix thereof), chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 large tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup white vermouth

small bunch fresh thyme, leaves only chopped

1/2 lb. cooked lima beans

4 ears of cooked corn, kernels cut from the cob

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt and pepper, to taste




To make the Herb Pistou, combine the herbs, scallion, garlic, almonds and Parmesan to the bowl of a food processor.  Blend until everything is broken up and combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl and process again.  Add the water and lemon juice, pulse again and scrape down the sides of the bowl.  With the food processor running, add the olive oil through the spout in a slow stream.  Season with salt and pepper, scrape into a sealed container and set aside.  Herb pistou can be made as early as 3 days ahead of time and held in the refrigerator.

To make the Ratatouille Succotash, in a large pot over medium high heat add 1/4 cup olive oil and toss in the eggplant making sure not to crowd the pot.  If necessary, do this in two batches so that the eggplant browns and retains its shape.  Season with salt and pepper.  Leave it alone for 5 minutes, then stir and cook another 5 minutes.  Remove the eggplant from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl.

Add 2 more tablespoons olive oil to the pot and toss in the zucchini.  Season with salt and pepper.  Again you do not want the zucchini to crowd the pot so do this in two batches if necessary.  Cook the for 5 minutes, stir and cook another 5 minutes.  Remove the zucchini from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl.

Add 2 more tablespoons olive oil to the pan and add the onion and bell peppers.  Sweat until they turn translucent, about 7 minutes.

Then add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.

Deglaze the pot with vermouth, scraping up any browned bits (sucs) on the bottom with a wooden spoon.

Return the eggplant and zucchini to the pot and toss in the thyme.

Turn the heat down to medium and cook the vegetables for another 10 minutes.

Add the lima beans, corn, fresh lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Serve with a big dollop of the Herb Pistou, crusty bread and hefty glass of wine.

14 Juillet




Green Machine Breakfast Shake

Drink your greens!

Drink your greens!

There was a glorious period of time in the mid-2000s when 4 of my beer guzzling friends from The Blind Tiger and I started The Burger Club after reading a list of NYC’s best 100 burgers.  We decided it would be a good idea to check each place off the list once a week and we even gave ourselves names. There was Professor Patty, Pete Meat, Medium Ray, Philthy McNasty, Jew C. Licious, and me, Madame Presidente which I later changed to Greazy Weezy.  Considering none of us had smart phones at the time, there was no FB, Twitter or Instagram to document every waking moment of one’s life and we were too drunk and stuffed with meat to ever start a blog, the only proof that we actually ate burgers every week is Professor Patty’s cholesterol report from 2005.

It was at this time that he, née Matthew, started in on the kale shakes and I soon got hooked.  I figured that if I was going to eat a drippy burger once a week for the following 2 years, I needed to combat it with a smoothie full of nature’s scrub brush.  The shakes have taken many forms over the years with a variety of different greens, fruit, yogurt, milks, supplements and they even have different monikers depending on my mood; Shit Shake, Ass Blaster, Sludgie, Smoove Move, etc..  I try to drink one more mornings than not and considering all the beer I drink, the least I can do is start off my day with a buttload of nutrients.

Serves: 2


1 cup spinach

1 cup kale

½ cup fresh parsley

10 mint leaves

1 green apple, cored and roughly chopped

1 cup green grapes

½ cup plain low-fat greek yogurt

1 cup almond milk

1 tbsp. flax powder

Agave, to taste

Salt, to taste


Put all ingredients into a blender and process until smooth.  Add water and/or ice to desired consistency.

The Statue of Liberty Cocktail

Mmm, 'erica!

Mmm, ‘erica!

For the past few weeks I’ve been living in the basement of Pete and Susan… who the hell has a basement in NYC?  Well they do and Tía Weezy has been hibernating there. Last night Pete made a delicious Manhattan of sorts while Perrin was having a meltdown from the lack of Dora the Explorer.  Holy crap, these shows are crack rock for the kids!! He put a few splashes of cognac in it to clean out a rogue bottle, shook it up, strained it into little coups and Happy Hour was in full force.  We brainstormed on what to call it and decided that because it’s equal parts American and French, it reminded us of that gorgeous copper Lady that sits in New York Harbor.  Quite elegant, delicious and unpretentious, it proved to be a great drink for this 4th of July.


1 oz cognac

1 oz bourbon

1 oz sweet vermouth

2 dashes bitters, aromatic (Angostura or Hella Bitters, a local from our friends here in Brooklyn)



Throw it all in a shaker, let it rip and strain into a pretty little cocktail glass.

Wisconsin Beer Brats with Pickled Sweet Onions

Wisconsin Beer Brats with Pickled Sweet Onions

If there’s one thing you should know about a Sconnie bratwurst is that they are nothing like the ones you find in Germany, or anywhere outside the Midwest, for that matter.  The great ones, like you’ll find at a brat fry in Sheboygan are the shorter, stubbier and spicier cousin to the long, pale versions you’ll find in Bavaria.  Every supermarket, big or small, and butcher shop throughout the state has their own recipe and people are pretty proprietary about their favorite.  Both the German and Midwest versions certainly have their merit, though I’m sure the Europeans would scoff at the notion of adding cheddar or jalapeños to their beloved tubed meat.  But hey, this is ‘Merica and we break the rules.  Speaking of the U-S-of-A, the 4th of July is right around the corner and if there ever were a day more mandatory, almost religious for grilling, it’s this one. In Wisconsin, no matter what the menu is, no matter how fancy or exotic, there will always be the obligatory brats, lest you piss off Grandpa!  If you don’t see them on the grill, you can pretty much bet the host is an imposter, most likely a FIB from some fancy Chicago suburb like Winnetka.

Serves 6


For the Pickled Sweet Onions:

1 sweet onion, such as a Vidalia, thinly sliced

1 cup white wine vinegar

3 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp salt

2 sprigs thyme, leaves chopped

For the Brats:

6 fresh bratwurst*

3 cans of beer

1-2 cups water

1 tbsp Worcestershire

1 onion, chopped

2 bay leaves

Salt, to taste


Hard rolls or pretzel rolls



Whole grain mustard


Heat the grill so that one side is very hot and the other is cool.  If you are using a charcoal grill, natural briquettes are your best option and wood chips can be added too for extra smokiness.

While the grill is heating, make the pickled onions.  In a small bowl, add the onions, vinegar, sugar, salt and thyme.  Mix well and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.  Afterwards, these onions will keep in the refrigerator indefinitely.

Once the grill is hot, put the brats on the cool side of the grill.  Make sure the vents on the bottom and lid of the grill are slightly open.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes.  Flip the brats, cover and cook another 10 minutes.  It is important to cook the brats over low heat so that you do not split the casings, which would result in a dried out sausage.

While the bratwurst are cooking, prepare the beer bath.  In a medium pot bring the beer, water, Worcestershire, onion, bay leaves and salt to a simmer.  Cook over for 10 minutes or until the onions are soft.

In a medium pot, heat the sauerkraut with a splash of beer.

Once the bratwurst are done, transfer them to the beer bath and simmer over low heat for another 10 minutes.

Butter the rolls and grill until toasted.

To serve, place a brat on a buttery grilled roll, top it with sauerkraut, pickled onions and a smear of mustard.  Prost!

*My bratwurst of choice are from Sheboygan Bratwurst Company, Miesfeld’s, or Nueske’s.  If you happen to live in WI, every supermarket has their own recipe and the ones from Sendik’s in the Milwaukee area are the bomb!



Veracruz-Style Grilled Fish (Pescado Veracruzano)

Nothing says summertime more than whole fish on the grill, accompanied by some fresh veggies, salsas, and various ecoutrements.  If you can manage to get a pretty backdrop of the ocean, some cold adult beverages and a beautiful sunset, I’d say you’ve got life figured out my friend.  The tomato-based sauce for this fish is herbaceous from the oregano, parsley and cilantro, briny from the olives and spicy from the jalapeños rendering it the perfect sauce for fish, chicken or grilled veggies.  I usually serve this with some Spanish rice, a big green salad and of course, Margaritas, vino and cerveza.

Serves 4


For the Fish Marinade:

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 sprig fresh oregano, leaves only minced

2 sprig parsley, leaves only minced

Juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

2 whole snapper (1 ½ – 2 lbs.), scaled and gutted

For the Veracruz Sauce:

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 jalapeno, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 large tomatoes, chopped

Juice of ½  lime

1 sprig oregano, leaves chopped

1 sprig parsley, leaves chopped

1 bay leaf

¼ cup green olives, such as manzanillas, pitted and chopped

1 tbsp capers

Black pepper, to taste

¼ bunch cilantro, chopped


For the Garnish:

1 lime, cut into wedges

Corn tortillas


Heat up a grill to medium heat.

Score the fish 2-3 times on each side, down to the bone.  Whisk together all the ingredients for the marinade and cover the entire fish, inside and out with it.  Let sit for a minimum of 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes in the refrigerator. While the fish is marinating, start the sauce.

In a saucepan over medium high heat, add the olive oil, onion and jalapeno and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, tomatoes, lime juice, oregano, parsley, bay leaf, olives and capers.  Season the sauce with black pepper.  Cook until the tomatoes just start to break down, about 10 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking, grill the fish on a well-oiled grill for about 7-8 minutes per side.  Wrap the tortillas in foil and place on the grill for the last few minutes to heat.

When the sauce is done, remove form the heat, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary and add the cilantro.

Serve the fish whole on a platter, topped with the sauce and garnished with lime wedges and warm corn tortillas.





Creamy Sausage Gravy on Toast with Tomato Relish

I think we all can agree that we have been eating loads of food other than butter and jam on toasted bread long before the food cognoscenti decided that 2015 was the year of “toast”.  I realize that as I write this, fancy “toast” is probably out and crostini is back in.  How do you say toast in German, toastbrot?  Maybe that’s what we’re supposed to call it now so we sound really, really forward and cool.  SNL, can you please resurrect Dieter and maybe in the skit he and Arnold Schwarzenegger are eating toastbrot covered in caviar?  I hear the old man has a movie coming out soon, just a thought.  All I know is that this here toast is awesome and this is a recipe for all you out there craving sausage gravy but don’t feel like making biscuits.  The tomatoes and scallions brighten everything up and if you want to really be hip, slap an egg on it!

Serves 4


1 tbsp butter

1 lb. breakfast sausage

8 sage leaves, chopped

3 tbsp AP flour

3-4 cups milk, more if you like it loose (heehee)

Dash hot sauce

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

Sliced bread, toasted

2 tomatoes, sliced

2 scallions, sliced


Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium high heat.  Add the sausage and sage and cook until all the sausage has browned and the fat has rendered, about 5 minutes.  Make sure that you break up the sausage into bite-sized bits as you are cooking it.  Add the flour to coat the sausage and soak up the oil and cook for another 2 minutes.  Using a whisk, slowly add the milk, making sure to scrape up all the tasty bits that are stuck to the pan.  Cook, whisking continuously, until a creamy gravy forms, which should just coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.  If the gravy becomes too thick, just add more milk.  Stir in the hot sauce and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, top each piece of toast with a hearty spoonful of gravy.  Top with some sliced tomatoes and scallions.

You made toast. I'm as happy as a little girl!

You made toast. I’m as happy as a little girl!

Cardamom Rice Pudding with Golden Raisins and Mango

When I land in the nursing home, I want you all to do me a big favor (I’m looking directly at my nephews Bennett and Harrison) and please make sure you give this recipe to the cooks.  In my diapered, toothless state of decay I would much rather eat this glorious version of rice pudding than the gelatinous instant garbage I would otherwise be fed.  Rice pudding is one of those desserts that is mostly just okay 99% of the time and I will never understand how that weird place in SoHo, Rice to Riches is still in business.  In fact, I’m partially offended that I have to see it out the window when I’m having morning beers at The Spring Lounge; a constant reminder that NYC dive bars are dying because people would rather pay $8 for a cup of pudding than sit next to a toothless old man drinking beer and regaling days of yore.  All this complaining aside, I do think rice pudding deserves better than it is mostly treated.  It is an extremely economical way to use up leftover rice and with a few jazzy ingredients like rose water and cardamom, it becomes almost elegant considering it’s still a pudding.  It can also be made ahead of time, served at room temperature or cold, and it’s great for all ages, especially for our dentally challenged young and old.

Serves 4


1 cup cooked rice

½ cup whole milk

½ cup heavy cream

1 can coconut milk

1 tbsp rosewater

¼ cup sugar

½ tsp cardamom, ground

¼ tsp cinnamon, ground

Pinch salt

½ cup golden raisins

½ cup mango, diced


In a medium pan, add the rice and milk and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down and add the cream, coconut milk, rosewater, sugar, cardamom, cinnamon and salt.  Simmer, stirring frequently for 10-15 minutes or until the rice has thickened.  Remove from the heat and stir in the raisins.  Transfer the pudding to individual serving bowls.  Garnish with the mango.

*Note:  This pudding can be served at room temperature or cold.  If you are planning on chilling the pudding, make sure that you put a layer of plastic wrap on the surface of each pudding to prevent a film from forming.


Pernod Gravlax

Food Styling - Pernod Gravlax

I’ve been making this recipe for a long time and it never gets old.  In the beginning, it was for a project that I did for Pernod Ricard, creating savory recipes using their spirit to entice the American public to buy and cook with Pernod, as opposed to drinking it.  Apparently booze hounds stateside had never really acquired a taste for pastis, at least in beverage form.  Too bad because the Milk of Provence (1 part pastis, 5 parts water over ice) is a particularly great drink to waste away a hot summer day.

In recent years this recipe comes out on Christmas day at my in-laws for our Swedish/Midwestern/Venezuelan/Miamian and Truly American Mash Up Buffet.  Swedish Meatballs+Deviled Eggs+Pan de Jamón+Homemade Pretzels+Gravlax+Stone Crab+Chocolate Stout Cake+Coquito+Key Lime Pie+Jello+Beer+10 other rotating dishes=AWESOME.  I love how versatile making a cold cured dish like this is and how it can seemingly fit into any occasion: brunch with cream cheese, bagels and eggs; lunch with black bread, mustard sauce and watercress; cocktail hour with blini, creme fraîche and caviar; dinner with boiled potatoes, cold beet salad and horseradish cream.  Need I go on?  The best part also is that Gravlax can live in your refrigerator for a few weeks for continual noshing pleasures. Pair with my Red-Headed Mary to take the whole shebang completely over the top.  Skål!


3/4 cup sea salt

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp white peppercorns

1 tbsp fennel seed

1 tbsp coriander seed

2 bunches dill, roughly chopped

1 head fennel; bulb thinly sliced, fronds and stems reserved

1, 2-lb. filet of salmon, skin-on and deboned

¼ cup Pernod


In a bowl, mix together the salt and sugars.  With a mortar and pestle, bash up the peppercorns, fennel and coriander seeds and add to the salt mixture.  Mix in the dill.

Line a baking dish with a few layers of plastic wrap, long enough to wrap around the filet of salmon.  Add half of the salt/spice/dill mixture along with half of the fennel fronds on top of the plastic wrap.  Put the salmon on top of this mixture.  Top the salmon with the remaining salt mix and fennel.  Pour the Pernod over the top of the fish and wrap tightly.  Place another baking dish on top of the fish to weigh it down and put in the refrigerator for 36-48 hours.

After the salmon has cured, remove from the plastic wrap and rinse off the seasoning.  Slice the gravlax into thin strips and serve with any number of condiments, such as bagels, black bread, crackers, cream cheese or mustard.  Gravlax will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks wrapped tightly.