Homemade Magic Tomato Paste

I have read that homemade tomato paste is much better than the store bought (which I also love and live by), but wow, it is magic! I read in one of my cookbooks that someone referred to a stewed tomato sauce as tomato magic, I want to steal that! This is my Tomato Magic!

Red Snapper and Clam Hot Pot (Sugata Nabe)

Next weekend, we are throwing a huge Japanese-Hawaiian fusion dinner, so I wanted to get a head start on trying out some of the flavors. Red snapper is beautiful, it is one of my favorite fishes for dishes in which I want to present the whole fish.

For the dinner party, I will serve this dish alongside a second hot pot called Yose Nabe, generally referred to as the Anything Goes Hot Pot where I will have a plethora of flavors, so I will keep the broth simple for the Snapper Hot pot.

Tonight, I wanted to add a bit of nuance to the flavor by adding some clam meats to the broth. The pairing is delicious, but if you want to go for a more traditional flavor, omit the clams.

This can be cooked on a hot plate right at the table or cooked beforehand in the kitchen. If you are cooking it table-side, it might take a bit longer to cook through.

Burnt Eggplant Soup with Seared Wild Tomatoes

Eggplant is so tempting this time of year! My obsession lives on. My favorite way to prepare eggplant is by burning it directly on the stove top. Roasting the eggplant in this way gives the flesh a delicious smoky flavor which pairs magnificently with a bit of lemon juice.

This is a really simple and delicious soup on its own, but I love how elevated it becomes with the pairing of seared wild tomatoes. I find these little beauties at the Waverly Farmer’s market here in Baltimore, however, if they are not readily available, some heirloom cherry tomatoes will do the trick!

Roast Eggplant and Tomato Pizza

Eggplant is so tempting this time of year! I think I will try to grow some next summer! In the mean time, however, I keep buying it every weekend, so we have to keep cooking it. This week, I also wanted to make a bit of mozzarella and some pesto since my basil plant is getting pretty hefty.

Want to make your own pesto? I like a combination of arugula and basil for mine. I take about 4 cups of basil leaves and arugula leaves each, a half a cup of pine nuts, a cup of grated Parmesan, 4-6 garlic cloves, and enough olive oil to get to the consistency you like. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and adjust to your tastes.

Corn Uova da Raviolo – Egg Yolk Ravioli

During the summer (and all year really) my recipes revolve around the ingredients that I have surrounding me. This week I have plenty of eggplant and fresh corn on the cob. I decided I wanted to make a corn filled ravioli for a group of friends who were coming over for lunch. That lunch turned into a brunch, so I decided the most expedient way to solve my menu problem was to put an egg on it! Thus, I reinvented my Uova da Raviolo recipe from earlier this summer.

I really wanted to play up the corn, and didn’t want to waste the husks so I boiled them for about an hour and then used the water to both cook the pasta and flavor the sauce. It is traditional to use pasta water to thicken a sauce, so I figured the blending of the loose gluten from the pasta and the flavor of the corn would pair beautifully with a simple wine and sage butter sauce.

Roast Eggplant Caprese with Herb Lemon Vinaigrette

I was thrilled to find that my garden was gloriously producing dozens of tomatoes, so it was time to harvest them! I was missing my caprese salads in Hawaii (well not too much, since I was feasting on poke and fresh mango daily). I decided to add a bit more intricacy to the dish by roasting up some eggplant to make a bed for the sliced tomatoes and torn mozzarella. I marinated them in a bit of salt and pepper while the eggplant roasted, and drizzled the whole situation with a simple lemon herb vinaigrette. It was glorious. I am sure this portion was meant for at least four people, but Nico and I almost ate the entire dish!

Gulab Jamun

For over a decade, I have loved “Indian syrup balls,” those amazing little balls found at the end of every Indian buffet. It took me going to an Indian market with Gonzo last year to figure out what they were called. This was a challenging recipe, but I am glad I made it. There are…

Introducing Chez Nous – The Cookbook!

WHY CHEZ NOUS: COMMUNAL DINNERS? I have long dreamed of publishing a cookbook. In fact, over the past decade, I have made dozens of editions of cookbooks. They have made their way into Christmas presents and personal archives, finally, after years of work and research, I am thrilled to announce the first public edition of…