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




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.





Surf and Turf Kabobs with Spicy Sesame Butter

Let’s pretend it’s 1965, you’re wearing a fabulous muumuu poolside and a man who eerily looks like Don Draper is making Mai Tais.  Your friends are coming over, you probably have Don Ho playing in the background and you need something to nosh on at this fabulous make-believe party.  I’m thinking Ramake, Crab Rangoon, a pineapple carved out like a boat and filled with fresh fruit and these delicious, sorta fancy Surf and Turf Kabobs.  You can mix up the seafood to your liking; prawns, scallops, firm fish such as mahi or halibut work well and colorful veg like bell peppers or onions won’t disappoint.  The real kicker with this recipe is the spicy sesame compound butter so don’t be stingy with it.  I’m pretty sure I’d eat a dirty sock if it was covered in that fatty goodness.

Serves 4


For the Skewers:

2 lobsters (1 ½ – 2 lbs.)

3 cloves garlic

2 inch piece of ginger, grated

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

2 lbs top sirloin or filet, cut into ¾ -1 inch cubes

For the Butter:

½ lb. cold butter, cubed

2 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp Asian hot sauce, such as Sriracha

Zest of 1 lime

Salt, to taste

1 tbsp black sesame seeds


½ bunch cilantro, chopped for garnish



Bring a large pot of water to a boil and par-cook the lobster for 4 minutes.  Plunge it into an ice bath to cool and prevent from further cooking.

In a bowl, whisk together the garlic, ginger, lime, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper and set aside.

By now the lobster is cool and you can remove the meat from the shell.  Crack the claws with the back of a knife and twist from the body.  Carefully remove the meat and put it in a bowl.  Cut the underside of the tail using either a knife or kitchen shears and remove the tail meat.  The small tentacles are of no use for the skewers, but are certainly tasty to snack on while you’re cooking.  Discard the shells and chop the lobster meat into 1-2 inch pieces.

Either using bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water or metal skewers, begin to assemble the surf and turf, alternating between the steak and the lobster.  Place the skewers in a baking dish, cover with the marinade chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill to high heat.

To make the compound butter, in the bowl of a food processor add the butter, sesame oil, hot sauce, lime zest and salt.  Process until it is smooth.  Scrape the butter into a bowl and stir in the sesame seeds.  At this point, you can also roll the butter into a tube using plastic wrap and then it is very easy to cut a piece off whenever you want to use it.

Grill the skewers over high heat for 2 minutes per side for medium rare.  To serve the surf and turf skewers, serve them on a bed of butter lettuce and top with the spicy sesame butter and cilantro.


Strawberry Rhubarb Fool

People from cold climes have many reasons to be jacked up over Springtime; no more long johns, baby birds, mud pies and our tart friend rhubarb.  Growing up in Wisco, it grew wild outside our farmhouse and so we would end up with loads of rhubarb jam for the rest of the year.  I don’t really remember my mom cutting it with strawberries, rather I think she just added a butt load of sugar to sweeten it up.  Here’s my take on the English dessert, fool, which uses cooked fruit or jam as a base to be layered with custard or whipped cream.  It’s so easy Mr. T be yellin’ “I pity the fool that doesn’t make this fool!”

Serves 4


½ lb rhubarb

½ lb strawberries, hulled and quartered

½ cup sugar

Pinch salt

1 small vanilla bean, scraped

Juice of 1 orange

1 cup heavy cream

1 tbsp sugar


Wash the rhubarb and trim away the tough ends.  Cut in half, put in a bowl filled with cold water and soak for 20 minutes.  This will help to retain its color while cooking.

After the rhubarb has soaked, slice it into ½ inch pieces and put into a medium saucepan.  Add the strawberries, sugar, salt, vanilla and orange juice and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the rhubarb is tender, about 7-10 minutes.  Only stir a few times so that you do not break up the rhubarb.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour or until it is thoroughly cool.  This can also be done 1 day ahead of time as well.

Either using a stand mixer or by hand with a whisk, whip the heavy cream and 1 tablespoon sugar until soft peaks form.

To assemble the fools, start by first layering the strawberry rhubarb mixture into the bottom of a glass.  Top with the whipped cream, then another layer of the strawberry rhubarb mix and then a final layer of whipped cream.

"Nice job on the fool, fool!"

“Nice job on the fool, fool!”



Golden Beet Blue Cheese Dip

Beets and blue cheese are damn tasty together and they live quite nicely in this dip that is a crowd-pleaser with vegetarians and dirty meat eaters.  Stick a chicken wing in and you’ll know what I mean.  By the way, check out how pretty this ceramic bowl is!  It was made by my friend Tina who runs Little Cat Pottery in the Highland Park neighborhood in Los Angeles.  She also took the photo, so basically all I did was show up and make some dip.

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Miso Sweet Potatoes

I love sweet potatoes and yams but I’ve never understood the need to make them any sweeter than they already are.  The traditional candied yams during the holidays are lost on me, as is the casserole topped with marshmallows, though I’m sure many of you reading this think I’m crazy for feeling this way.  I like my sweet potatoes savory so what better way than adding a bit of miso?  Sweet, salty, buttery and slightly spicy are these and I’ve yet to meet a person that didn’t love them.  I make them in hobo packs for the grill but they can also be made in the oven in a covered baking dish.  Take them camping or live on the edge and add them to your Thanksgiving spread.  They taste great with cranberry relish.

Serves: 6-8


½ cup butter, room temperature
3 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp. miso (white or red)
2 tbsp sriracha
4 large sweet potatoes, sliced
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, quartered
Herbs such as chives, cilantro or parsley for garnish
Sesame seeds, for garnish


Heat the grill medium over medium heat.

In a large bowl, mix the first 6 ingredients into a smooth paste. Add the potatoes and onions and using your hands mix until coated well.

Tear off as many sheets of foil as there are guests to make hobo packs (a nifty name for anything cooked inside foil on the grill or over a fire pit!). Divide the potato mixture amongst the foil sheets and close them tightly. Place the hobo packs on the grill and close the lid. Cook until the potatoes are soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Make sure to flip the hobo packs halfway through cooking and rotate them so they cook evenly.

After the sweet potatoes are done, open up the foil and garnish with a squeeze of lemon, some chopped herbs and sesame seeds. Guests can either eat right out of the foil or scoop them onto their plate.