Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Squid with roasted tomatoes and potatoes

Squid with roasted tomatoes, potatoes, onions and chilies...

This is an awesome dish, trust me!  The combination of squid, slow roasted tomatoes and golden potatoes are the perfect match!

Recipe for two:

10 whole squid, cleaned, cut into rings, tentacles included
4 roma tomatoes, cut in half
4 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 red onion, cut in half and sliced
2 red chilies, chopped
handful of fresh spinach
salt & pepper
olive oil

First get tomatoes roasting at 300* with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes.  Cook for at least 1 1/2 hours or until done.   Remove from the oven.

Par-boil the potatoes, then drain and pat dry.  Place into the same pan the tomatoes were cooked in with a little olive oil and salt, and brown in the oven at 400*.

When the potatoes are almost done, saute the onions and chilies with 1 tablespoon of butter until nice and soft.  In another pan cook the squid in a little butter over high heat, they will take a minute to cook.  When done, drain and add to the onions.

Chop up the tomatoes and add everything together, over a medium heat, add the spinach and wilt.  Season with salt and pepper.

Serve onto warm plates.

Bon Appetit!  Chef Hobbes

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Grilled Squid Salad

This is a wonderful salad that takes me back to the Mediterranean.  Full of flavor that's both spicy and sweet with a nice acid balance!

Recipe for two:


1 T raw honey
Juice from 1/2 fresh lime
1/2 red jalapeno chili, minced, leave the seeds in if it's not hot!  If it's still not hot add a good pinch of chili flakes
pinch salt & pepper
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
handful of roasted peanuts

6 fresh squid, cleaned, then slice the bodies open so they lay flat, if you score the flesh a little they won't curl as much when you grill them
1 cup water cress
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
2 hearts of romaine, trimmed and cut in half
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced

First mix the lime juice and honey together and whisk until blended together.  Then add all the other ingredients except the olive oil, mix and let sit.  When ready slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking until the dressing is well emulsified.

Brush the squid with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  When the grills good and hot cook the squid quickly!  It's better to under cook it as you can always put it back on the grill.  If you over cook squid it will get really tough.

Toss the romaine hearts with the red bell pepper, avocado and cress in the vinaigrette and plate.  Place the squid into the leftover vinaigrette and toss.  Then place them on the salad.

Bon Appetit!  Chef Hobbes

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad

Grilled romaine caesar salad!

Try this version of a caesar salad, it will blow your socks off!

Recipe for four:

4 heads of romaine, trimmed, ends left intact and cut in half lengthwise
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 t Dijon mustard
4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
juice of one lemon
2 turns of freshly ground black pepper
2 egg yolks
olive oil

Mix all the ingredients together except the olive oil, when everything is mixed really well, using a whisk, ask your partner to start very slowly drizzling in the olive oil while you are whisking away.  If you do this too quickly the dressing will break and you will have to start over.  Keep adding olive oil until you get a nice light and fluffy dressing.

This can be done in a food processor if you like.

Lightly brush the romaine with olive oil.  Making sure the grill is really hot, quickly grill the romaine, this won't take more than a few seconds.  Serve with fresh sourdough croutons and a protein of your choice.

Bon appetit!  Chef Hobbes

Saturday, December 28, 2013

12 Minute Fried Chicken

This a fantastic dish and quick to put on the table!  Adding mustard and cayenne to the batter makes this chicken tangy and a little spicy, just awesome!

Recipe from Justin Chapple,  Food & Wine magazine

Recipe for two:

2 skinless chicken breasts, pounded
2 eggs
3 T Dijon mustard
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
salt and pepper

Dipping sauce:

4 T Dijon mustard
1 T honey

Place chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound until they are roughly the same thickness so they cook at the same rate.  Season with salt and pepper.

Put the eggs, mustard and cayenne in a bowl and whisk together.  Put the Panko into one plate and the batter in another.  In a large heavy skillet heat about 1/3 cup olive oil.  When the oil's hot, dip the chicken into the batter and into the Panko and place them into the hot oil and cook over medium high heat until brown, about two minutes, turn when golden brown and repeat.  Only turn them once.

Mix the dipping sauce ingredients together and pour into a ramekin.

Serve on warm plates with veggies of your choice.  We had our fried chicken with oven roasted sweet potatoes, rosemary and garlic.

Bon Appetit!  Chef Hobbes

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A wonderful warm bacon salad and a poached egg

A wonderful warm bacon salad with a poached egg.  This is one of my favorite salads, it's so comforting, the soft poached egg brings all the flavors together.  Very European and very wonderful...

To make this easy salad, first tear up some sourdough bread into rustic chunks and place on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle on a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Pop them in a 350* oven and cook until golden brown.

Cut the bacon into medium size pieces and fry them up in a heavy pan.  When done place the bacon on some paper towels.  Transfer the bacon drippings (about 3 tablespoons) to a large stainless steel bowl.

Poach an egg for 3 minutes, while that's happening place the stainless steel bowl on a burner with medium low heat.  Toss in a handful spinach and a handful of baby greens such as frisee', season with  some fresh ground black pepper and a pinch of chili flakes.  Pour in a teaspoon of sherry vinegar and toss the greens, when the greens start to wilt remove them from the heat and plate onto warm plates.  Add the bacon and croutons, then place the egg on top.

Bon Appetit!  Chef Hobbes

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Eggnog Martini

Eggnog martini, just in time for the holidays...

1 large shot vodka
1 shot Frangelico
2 shots eggnog
1 pinch nutmeg

Place all the ingredients into a shaker filled with ice, and shake the dickens out of it.  Pour the liquid only into a cold martini glass, top with a little more fresh ground nutmeg.

Cheers,  Chef Hobbes

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Making curry powder

Making curry powder to give as Christmas presents is a fun and different gift...

I make my curry powder on the mild side, I can always add cayenne pepper later if I want to heat things up a bit.

If you use whole seeds like I do, you must lightly toast them first, this will release the wonderful aromas and oils.  Do this by placing the seeds in a heavy skillet over medium heat, shaking the seeds back and fourth making sure not to burn them.

Christmas is the time when I dump out all my spices and buy fresh ones, making curry powder you must use fresh ingredients, Gourmet Galley in Friday Harbor has the best spices at a good price.

Recipe makes about a cup:

1 T brown mustard seeds
1 t cardamom seeds
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 t whole cloves
2 t coriander
1 T cumin seeds
1 T fennel seeds
1 T fenugreek seeds
1 t fresh grated nutmeg
1 t black peppercorns
1 t powdered ginger
3 star anise
1 T yellow mustard seeds
2 T ground turmeric
1 t paprika
1 t flaky maldon salt
1/2 t cayenne pepper

After toasting the seeds, combine everything in a bowl and mix.  Then grind all the ingredients in a vitamix, if you don't have one use a blender or coffee grinder working in small batches.

Bon Appetit!  Chef Hobbes

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cooking fish in parchment paper

Cooking fish in parchment paper produces really wonderful moist fish every time...

You can use any kind of fish, but remember the thicker the fish the longer you have to cook it.  I find that salmon takes about 40 minutes with the oven at 350*.

Here's how:

Lay out a piece of parchment paper on a flat service.  Then place a small amount of thinly sliced onions in the middle.  Lay a fillet of salmon on top, skin and pin bones removed.  Season with a good amount of sea salt and pepper, then place a handful of cherry tomatoes that have been quartered, some thinly sliced red bell pepper, a three finger pinch of fresh dill, stems removed, two pieces of thinly sliced lemon,  add a large knob of butter and a little extra virgin olive oil.

Close the packet up, so the moisture stays inside, if you have problems with folding up the edges, try using large steel paper clips.  Place the packet of fish on a baking sheet and pop it in the oven for about 40 minutes or until cooked.

I served our fish with a roasted cauliflower and white bean puree, but it works just as well with rice.

Bon Appetit!  Chef Hobbes

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Salmon Pot Pie

This is an awesome fish pie.  Not really a pot pie because it only has a top crust, but you make it with a bottom if you like.  The crust is puff pastry which you can make or use store bought frozen dough.  The trick to making a really good pot pie is making a Bechamel sauce also known as white sauce.  It's another step but this is what makes a fantastic pie.

Recipe for one 9" pie:

1/2 pound king salmon (not farm raised!)
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
handfull of frozen peas
salt & pepper

Bechamel sauce:

2 T butter
3 T flour
3 c whole milk
1 t sea salt
1/2 t black pepper
1 T fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 t fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped
pinch cayenne

First remove the skin and any pin bones from the salmon.  Now cook the salmon anyway you want, I popped mine into the oven just to get it out of the way so I had a free burner.  While that's happening make the Bechamel sauce.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, adjust the heat so the flour cooks but doesn't brown.  Whisk in the milk, lower the heat to keep the bechamel at a gentle simmer, whisking often, until the sauce has thickened and reduced to about 2 cups.  This takes about 40 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking, using a heavy pan over medium heat start sauteing all the vegetables (except the peas) in a little olive oil and butter.  When done season the veggies with salt and pepper, and place them in the bottom of the pie dish, then add the cooked salmon breaking it into pieces, add the peas.

Remove the bechamel sauce from the heat and add the herbs and seasoning and whisk.  Now pour this over the veggies and salmon.  Put the puff pastry on top cutting a hole in the middle to let the steam out.  Place the dish on a baking sheet and pop it in a hot 375* oven for about 30-45 minutes until the crust is flaky and golden brown.

Bon Appetit!  Chef Hobbes

Friday, October 25, 2013

Roasted Winter Squash Risotto

Roasted Winter Squash Risotto with a crunchy bread and anchovy topping makes this a fantastic tasting risotto.

Recipe for four:

1 cup good quality  organic arborio rice
1 pint chicken or veggie stock, heated
1 cup white vermouth or white wine
1 white onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 butternut squash, roasted & skin removed
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
extra virgin olive oil
2 handfulls sourdough bread
4 anchovy fillets
salt & pepper
pinch of chili flakes
2 T butter
parmesan cheese, grated

Quarter the squash and remove the seeds, place in a roasted pan with a little olive oil and salt & pepper. Place in a hot oven at 350* and cook until soft and golden brown.

Put the stock in a saucepan and place on a back burner on medium heat until nice and hot.

Whiz the bread and anchovies in a blender until you have bread crumbs.  Fry these in a little olive oil until brown and toasted.  Set aside when done.

In a heavy saute pan over medium high heat, put a little olive oil and butter in and cook the onions and celery until soft, (no color).  When done add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Season with salt and pepper and add the chili flakes.  When ready add the rice and allow it to start to fry, keep stirring, after a minute or two it will start to look slightly translucent.  Now add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring.  When the wine evaporates away turn the heat down to low and start adding the very hot stock a ladle a time, don't rush it, just keep stirring to massage the creamy starch out of the rice.

When done add the squash and butter, cook a little more until the butter has melted and the squash is warm.  Now test the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Plate onto warm plates with loads of good quality extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese and spinkle some of the toasted breadcrumbs on top.  Awesome!

Bon Appetit!  Chef Hobbes

Monday, October 21, 2013

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

Roasted Vegetable Pasta - A wonderful way to see the summer out by using up all of those lovely veggies that took us months to grow, and it's so simple to make...  Roasting the tomatoes slowly for a long time makes this dish the best.

 Recipe for four:

3/4's of a pack of pasta
4 medium size tomatoes, quartered
1 cauliflower, cored and cut up
1 large red onion, halfed and sliced
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 sweet peppers red & green, cubed
olive oil for roasting
extra virgin olive oil for serving
1 Tbs butter
salt & pepper
parmesan cheese

Set the oven to 325* and roast the tomatoes in a large roasting pan with some olive oil for about one and half hours or until caremelized.

When done take the pan out and remove the tomatoes and set them aside.  Add the cauliflower and cook for 45 minutes at 350*, then add the onions and peppers, season with salt and pepper.  Cook until browned then add the garlic and butter, return the tomatoes to the pan and cook for a few more minutes.  Mix the veggies with cooked pasta and serve onto warm plates and grate on parmesan cheese and a little extra virgin olive oil.

Bon Appetit!  Chef Hobbes


Friday, October 18, 2013

Minced Meat Pie

Minced Meat Pie - In England what's known in the US as hamburger is called minced meat or ground beef.  I grew up a poor Cockney boy in Hackney, London's roughest part of the East End known as the "smoke."  It was not unusual to see London's most notorious crooks and killers like the Kray Brothers, and a couple of the Great Train Robbers walking the streets.  My Grand Dad and Uncle were prize fighters (bare nuckle fighters) so it seemed like they were in the same circles, but I'm not sure.  My Grand Dad even traveled to the US to fight fights that the mafia arranged, they didn't last long with him, about three punches and it was all over, he was a real tough nut.  I remember when he was traveling from France to somewhere and he got into a verbal fight with my grandmother and he jumped off the ferry and swam home, roughly five or so miles!  Needless to say he was a very strong swimmer, he had arms like telephone poles and hands like hams.

My Mum made this meal when things were a bit tight money wise, it's cheap to make, and oh so good.

Recipe for one 9" pie:

1 carrot, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 piece of bacon, cut into strips
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves picked & chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves picked & chopped
1/3 stick of butter
salt & pepper
pinch cayenne pepper
splash of red wine
1 c beef stock
1 T flour

Add your favorite pie crust recipe.

Using a heavy saute pan, place the butter into the pan over medium high heat. When the butter starts to foam add the veggies and cook, don't get too much color on them, they just need, to be soft.  Set aside in a bowl when done, and then brown the bacon, set aside when done along with any of the fat.  Now brown the beef.  Transfer the meat to a bowl when done.  Return the pan to the heat and add the wine, reduce until it's almost all gone, then add back the bacon fat and stir in the flour, using a whisk, toast the flour to get some color on it, the longer you cook the flour the darker it will get, then slowly stir in the the stock and whisk.  Cook the stock down a little, then add all the ingredients together - the meat, bacon, herbs and mix well.

What you need to end up with is a somewhat wet mixture that has a little body to it.  Sounds complicated but it's not really.  Place the mixture into a 9" oven pie dish, and cover with your favorite  pastry, making sure to seal the edges and cut a hole in the pastry to allow the steam out.  Place on a baking sheet and cook in a 350* oven for about 20-30 minutes or until the crust is golden.

Bon Appetit!  Chef Hobbes

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Padron Peppers with Garlic Tarragon Aioli

I was inspired to make this dish after Deb and I went to happy hour at the Cask & Schooner last week and had some of these little guys.  Padron peppers are wonderful mild tasting peppers, enjoy with a lovely aioli which is simple to make.


2 big handfuls of padron peppers from the farmers market Sweet Earth Farms
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 sprig fresh tarragon, leaves picked & chopped
1 egg
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 t sea salt
2 turns of fresh ground black pepper (a pinch)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

This makes enough to fill two ramekins.

Toss the peppers with a little bit of olive oil, and lay them out on a baking sheet in one layer, then pop them into a hot 400* oven for about 20 minutes or until soft and starting to burn.

You can make the aioli in a food processor if you like, I prefer to make it by hand.  Place all the ingredients in a stainless steel bowl except the olive oil and whisk.  When everything is mixed up start drizzling in the olive oil very very slowly whisking as you go, if you go to fast the sauce will break.

Keep doing this until all the oil is gone, taking your time don't rush it you can always stop pouring in the oil and just whisk for a bit.

It's great if you have a helper to pour the olive oil, but if you don't just roll up a towel and make a little nest for the bowl so you can both hands free and the bowl won't be flying all over the place.

Use just like you would mayonnaise, it's wonderful on sandwiches.

Bon Appetit!  Chef Hobbes

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Wonderful Fall Vegetable Saute

Here's one for my veggie friends.  Just look at the color of these wonderful and tasty fall vegetables.

Try this combination of onion, carrot, beetroot, celeriac and garlic.

Chop all the veggies up in roughly the same size except for garlic, chop the garlic up finely.

In a heavy saute pan over medium high heat add the 1 tablespoon of butter depending on how many veggies you are cooking.  When the butter starts to foam add the onion, carrot, beet and celeriac.  Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of cayenne.  Cook shaking the pan once in a while, until almost done then add the garlic.

At the last minute you throw in a big handful of spinach if you would like.  I like this dish for breakfast with an over-easy egg on top.  This is a perfect mix of fiber, protein and fat.

Bon Appetit!  Chef Hobbes