Every five years or so things change in subtle ways where we wonder what happened and how come this or that no longer fits the scene described in magazines and talk shows. Food fads change faster now than ever before. I watched and worked through the dark hours of the culinary world when nouvelle and cuisine mincuer ravaged the landscape of the collective unconscious of chefdom and left the diner curious as to where the food went and why what remained was so high priced. That’s what prescribed fashion will do for you when there is no firm basis to hold the image for more than the flash of a celebrity chefs smile. The restaurant, as champion of taste, was almost run over by corporate downsizing as a result of the backlash to the way food was handled from the late 1980s until the last five years. In honor of the history of food we will celebrate around the grill with duck breast, salmon steak, and a tenderloin of beef.

We are in a boom time of dining now and it is the task of every cook, chef and home cook to test, taste and experiment wisely because if we are not careful then the closings, corporate takeovers and general rip off for the consumer will surely ensue. What to do? Be honest. That’s all it takes. Just be honest to your plate, to your customer, to your family and friends and the best of the new foods. Fashion and flash will rise to the top and we will again be on a culinary adventure as wonderful as the one set forth by California cuisine in 1980, and then again by Fusion in the late 1990s. That’s what fashion does for us in the culinary world, it takes us on an upward spiral of curiosity and conquest where the best of our challenges become new standards and the worst becomes a joke about ‘what were we thinking.’ Even the dishes that don’t work out so great can still be fun. Remember, live to eat, and do so with full heart. OK, so let’s go stand around the grill and think about foods that last and things that bind our world together.

The duck breast and salmon will both be marinated. The beef tenderloin will be rubbed with garlic and coarse sea salt and finished with melted Gorgonzola cheese. This is a low carbohydrate delight of a meal… almost. It is all only meat but we will have fruit juices in the marinades. The duck is a new recipe, the salmon is a new standard, and the beef is as old as country clubs and dirty martinis. If you do not drink don’t be afraid of the alcohol in these marinades. They are only marinades for the flavor, the alcohol cooks out on the grill and all you have then is the refined flavor of sour mash corn and aged grapes.


We are using the more familiar Pekin duck, which has a low fat content and is lighter colored meat than the huskier, fattier, and burgundy flavored Muscovy duck of fine restaurants. You can find whole ducks in the frozen section of all the grocery stores. Ask ahead about duck breasts to see if the grocer can get it in for you. If this is not possible then buy the whole duck, cut it in half and then in portions of breast, leg and thigh with the bone intact. Marinade the same as with boneless breasts. The cook time will be a little bit longer. The good thing about duck is that you can cook it to temperatures the same as with beef. Medium rare duck grilled this way is a very, very tasty treat.

If you are ever in the mood for some of the best Hong Kong style duck you can eat in Athens then contact Fooks Market on Baxter Street and ask when she is getting it in. Usually it is Thursdays and there are a lot of requests for this kind of Chinese Barbecue duck so get your order in early so that they can have it ready for you to pick up after work.

2, 8 ounce                                     duck breasts, boneless

1 cup                                                cranberry-raspberry juice

1/3 cup                                    soy sauce

1/3 cup                                    Chianti

1/3 cup                                    sesame oil

2 tablespoons                        allspice, ground

1 tablespoon                                    ginger, ground

1 tablespoon                                    cinnamon, ground

1 teaspoon                                    cayenne pepper, ground

Combine liquid ingredients and spices. Place duck breasts skin side down in glass dish. Pour marinade over the duck breasts, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 24 hours.


When this marinade first appeared twenty years ago it was considered radical. Funny how time changes things. The salmon really does have to be Pacific Ocean King, Coho, Sockeye, Silver Bright (chum), and Pink salmon. These fish are part of what made the West Coast possible and their value to nature is matched on a level with shrimp, sardines, krill and on up to the mighty mackerel family. Wild salmon is to be cooked to any desired temperature from rare to medium. If you should cook the fish over medium it will lose the moist texture and taste of the sea. Well-done salmon has that chalky and fishy texture that unpleasantly lingers around. Try not to go over medium with fresh salmon that is labeled sushi or sashimi grade. Most frozen wild salmon is immediately frozen when it is butchered so it is safe for rare and medium rare temperatures. Did you know that salmon in sushi restaurants is almost always from frozen stock? The freezing kills off a lot of bacteria and retains the moisture and fat necessary for the best tasting sushi. Unless you are right on the water or the fish is no more than two days old this is the best way to have it for sushi. I have eaten sushi salmon right out of the ocean and it tastes the way you would expect velvet to taste. The miracle of air transit, UPS and Federal Express really do make it possible for the home cook to get seafood of the same grade as restaurants.

Hint, wild salmon does not have dyes or injected hormones and antibiotics as do the farmed Atlantic variety. Also, wild Pacific salmon is a vital part of our oceans whereas Atlantic salmon farmed in the Pacific Ocean is a threat to our oceans. You will also notice an extreme taste difference between the wild and farmed species. Farmed is cheaper and more readily available, and that is the only advantage over wild salmon. Georgia used to have Atlantic salmon in our rivers but that is a story long ago before the Savannah River plant. Sometimes the plight of our oceans and rivers seems bleak, but with studied and optimistic approaches to preserving and renewing the life of our waters we can see a revitalization of our waters. After all, Australia recently declared the entire Great Barrier Reef as a preserve. This means that the living coral can be protected from commercial and recreational destruction. Also, the rivers of Northern California, Oregon, Washington Western Canada and Alaska are all being marked for greater protection from chemical plants and irrigation runoff, dams (from being overheated and the addition of water steps for the salmon to make it upstream), and with seeding inland areas of the rivers with salmon eggs so that they have a greater chance of filling our oceans and tables with this highly necessary part of our diet, the wild salmon. Wild salmon swim up waterfalls. What is great than that in the fish kingdom?WHERE TOSHOP? Earthfare, Publix, Kroger, and I have even seen whole sockeye salmon (frozen) at Wal-Mart. Ask your grocer when it is coming in, and if they can reserve the best for you. They will do what you want; all you have to do is ask.

2 pounds                                    Pacific Ocean salmon

1/2 cup                                    Kentucky Bourbon

1/3 cup                                    Molasses, unsulphured black strap

1/3 cup                                    Leas and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 cup                                    corn oil

2 tablespoons                        Cracked black peppercorns

Combine the liquid ingredients and the pepper. Place the boned salmon into a glass dish. Pour the marinade over the fish, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours but not more than six hours.

If you want to add a more island and vacation style feel to your Pacific salmon then pierce it with rosemary stalks and grill on top of thin slices of pineapple. Even if you don’t want the pineapple part try out the rosemary.

It’s one of my favorite additions to grilled salmon.


Next up in our protein feast is beef. Not chicken and not pork (they are for later summer grills), but beef, king of the West and the engine of our trail blazing manifest destiny. I use two kinds of beef, grass fed drug free and lean, which comes from various ranches in the US and Australia. The other is American grown Kobe. Kobe is the greatest of all possible beef and is raised in an environment of being corn fed, taken for short walks, no drugs or hormones, and is the richest beef you will ever eat. The Kobe that I buy is raised at a ranch by the name of Wagyu. There are other Kobe ranches in the US but this is my favorite. When buying beef, as with all foods read the labels and ask questions. Not all foods that are good for you are overly expensive, you just need to shop well and shop often for what you want. When the demand is there your grocer will meet that demand without overcharging you.

Meat thermometers are relatively inexpensive and readily available on the market. Buy one or two so that you always have it around. To set the thermometer to correct temperature insert it into a glass of ice with just enough water to cover the ice. The temperature will be 32 degrees.

Here is a temperature scale for red meat:

VERY RARE:            115, red cold with just a little brown on the edges

RARE:                        116 to 120, cold red center, light gray edges

MEDIUM RARE:   121 to 13o, warm red center

MEDIUM:      131 to 145,warm, bright pink center

MEDIUM WELL:   146 to 155, pink hot center, mostly gray

WELL:      156 to 160, gray all the way throughout the meat


4 six ounce                                    beef tenderloin filets

3 tablespoons                        coarse sea salt

2 tablespoons                         ground black pepper

2 tablespoons                        ground garlic

3 ounces                                     extra virgin olive oil

4 ounces                                    Gorgonzola cheese

(Melt the cheese on steaks during the last three minutes of cooking)

Mix the salt, pepper and garlic with the oil. Rub the filets in the oil and let them set for thirty minutes. When it is time to grill make sure that there is still pepper and garlic on the steak.


Cheese production is one of the more interesting conventions of the food trade that is prominent in our diet yet also little understood. There are three primary ways of ripening cheese.  Keep in mind that the process of making cheese is like that of certain grains and grapes, in that cheese is made by a system of controlled and limited spoilage. The simplest way for me to present these ways of incorporating the penicillin are cheddar, blue and Brie. Blue and greened veined cheeses become what they are by the injection of penicillium roqueforti into the center of the cheese part way through the aging process. Cheddar and Swiss type cheeses are cured with a mold mixed in with the starter, and Brie style cheeses are cured with the bacteria from the outside of the formed cheese. So, blue from inside, regular throughout, and Brie from the outside for the bacteria in the curing process. If Brie has a slight ammonia scent that means that it is over-ripe and should not be purchased.

We are using Gorgonzola for the beef. Gorgonzola is a green veined cheese. It is softer than traditional blue cheese, and the way it crumbles is in larger chunks than blue or feta cheeses. There is salt in cheese so if your diet is strict about salt then limit your cheese intake. Cheddar cheese is salted from the beginning in the started curd. Swiss type cheeses are salted in brine for up to two weeks during the curing process. Feta style cheeses are heavily salted (pickled actually) so that the microbe growth is almost halted, hence the chalky and salty texture of dry feta. Parmesan is salted by rubbing it on the outside of the rind, and if it is overly salted and allowed to cure too long in the salt it will dry out. I have this problem of too dry Parmesan just a few times where I was unable to cut through a 30-pound block because it was simple too tight and dry as a result of inattention during the curing process. I tried to explain the problem to my purveyor and he had no idea what I was talking about. Again, it is good to be informed so that you what is wrong or right with your food and what to do depending on the condition of the product. The best Parmesan will be slightly salty and just moist enough to stick to your fingers when grated. That’s all the information today on cheeses.

The grill and the charcoal used. I mostly use hickory. Hickory is the standard for slow, smoky, full flavored grilling and bbq smoking. Mesquite is the most popular for fish and chicken because it cooks at a higher temperature and the smoke flavor is less defined than hickory. Fruit tree charcoals like apple and cherry are excellent for smoking and for water smoke grilled meats like poultry and game. I have used coconut charcoal for really fast high heat grilling, which is great for oily fish like wild salmon and mackerel varieties.  Pecan is great mixed with hickory chips. If you are looking for mixing it up with grilling and smoking by raising the grill screen and closing the lid during cooking then use mixes of charcoal and wood chips. Soak the wood chips at least five hours or overnight for the smokiest and slowest heat.

Use hickory for this combination of meats. If you have a banana leaf, or need to buy one do so at Fooks Market or Wal-Mart (strangely enough!). Cactus leaves are available in just about all the markets. Why do I mention these leaves?

You can lay the banana leaf over the duck and salmon while they cook to hold the smoke in while keeping the meat moist. The cactus leaf is great for putting over the beef while it grills to add extra seasoning to the meat, and also to set the beef on after it has cooked to keep it from burning on the grill. Cactus leaf is tasty and there are no pins and needles in the ones in the grocery store sold for eating so don’t fret about that sticky problem. Banana leaves can be reused so don’t throw it away.

Remember that you have to keep each area of the grill clean and distinct from the other so that the meat flavors do not interfere with each other. Nothing worse than fishy tasting beef and that can be avoided by keeping the grill clean with a grill brush. The fastest to grill is the salmon so cook it last. Duck is the slowest at 20 minutes and one and half-inch to two inch thick meat is in between at about fifteen minutes.

You will need a pound of hickory charcoal, and a pound of hickory chips soaked in hot water. Oil the grill screen with corn oil by rubbing a corn oil soaked towel on the grill screen/rack. When the charcoal has turned gray add the water soaked chips. When the coals have started to turn color put the duck on the grill. After ten minutes turn on the duck, place the beef tenderloin filet on the grill and cook for five minutes, turn both meats. Add more hickory chips and then place the salmon on the grill. Cover with the banana leaf, or close the grill and let it all smoke for a few (three) minutes. Raise the cover and check to see that the heat is not too hot by holding your hand five inches over the grill screen. You should be able to hold it there for about thirty seconds, if longer then the coals are too cool, if shorter then they are too hot. All of the meats will have been turned 3 times for complete cooking. Remember to put the cheese on the beef for the last three minutes of cooking so that it melts into the meat. Check the meats with your thermometer so that the meat is cooked to your desired temperature.

If you want grilled vegetables with this meal think corn, peppers, onions, and squash. After it has all cooked divide the meats among the plates and dig in for a fun bbq in the backyard or on the deck. What’s more fashionable than being friends or family and just having a good time being together in the early evening?


Sometimes a warm summer night is all we need

To see how beloved this Southern life can be,

For me it’s how I cherish, how I care and prepare,

For others it’s just the way the day crawls by,

How we sit and chat and watch the flowers in the breeze,

And any way you slice it there’s no better way to live

Than passing the time on a sun porch in June,

It’s one of those things my Mother taught us all,

To love the life we live and to share this love with everyone.

And if you don’t believe, well, gather round the grill

And start talking about the world,

Pour a tall glass of sweet orange pekoe tea,

And tell me, can you feel the urge to tell history and myth?

Can you feel the desire to hold your loved one?

Can you tell her she is beautiful in the glow

Of a hickory smoke fire at sunset?


MAYONNAISE AND AOLI (food, article, poetry, Omnivore, Luis Osteen)

Thinking about a lot of things as the season begins to wind down and the cold weather says Hello. Today it is mayonnaise. Aioli and mayonnaise is one of the five Mother Sauces and is recognized as “egg sauce”. Yep, humble, proletarian, a food of the country and the city alike. There ain’t a thing wrong with egg sauces. Of course I’m going to tell you why. We will make the classic aioli and a couple of mayonnaise variations. Hollandaise is part of the egg sauce family, but today we are all about mayonnaise and aioli. I am interested in Hellmann’s, Dukes and Kewpie mayonnaise debates. I know I know where’s Miracle Whip, but a line must be drawn…or must it…OK I will include Miracle Whip. No, I can’t include it; it just doesn’t hold a fascination for me.
Mother Sauces? Espagnole (brown/roux thickened), béchamel (cream), tomato, egg (aioli, mayonnaise, hollandaise) and veloute (stock and vinaigrette) are the Five. These are the basis for all Western sauces and soups. Everything we learn as we apprentice to become a chef concentrates on these Five Sauces as the root of all that is delicious. The great Escoffier gave this set to us. It has been adjusted with the times to meet each decade’s culinary needs. His first list was Hollandaise and not egg. But really, can we ignore the variations of the miracle, the egg? Aioli walks the line because it was originally simply an emulsion of roasted garlic and extra virgin olive oil. As time passed and cooks became more adventurous it developed into the aioli we know today. If you are served a sauce aioli and it has no egg then this is the great Roman gift in it’s crudest, purest form, so say “thank you” to your server and enjoy.
Roasted garlic is not difficult. Take five cloves of garlic and place them on a sheet of aluminum foil. Rub the cloves with extra virgin olive oil. Roll the foil over the garlic and pinch the edges of the foil into a tight cylinder shape. Put this in on a baking pan and cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool. Unroll the foil and there you have it, roasted garlic.
Eggs that are beaten at room temperature will whip more easily than eggs taken directly from the refrigerator. Temperature is important to both egg white meringues and for egg sauces. Denaturing is done by the addition of the vinegar and the whipping itself, which raises the temperature of the eggs. Denaturing is a kind of cooking without heat, we see thin when making ceviche and poke (Hawaiian style ceviche) where the vinegar changes the composition of the protein to a status the same as having been cooked to high degrees. So, a room temperature egg will give you a fluffier and better bonding mayonnaise/aioli and a lighter meringue (we are not making meringues today).
Also, fresh eggs matter. The fresher the egg the quicker it forms a sauce or foam/meringue. Since eggs act as a colloid here we can really have fun in understanding all of the miracles that exist in/from eggs. This means that the egg both bonds like glue AND becomes a part of the oil and garlic by becoming a part of it, which in turn gives us a unified sauce. The sauce aioli is a thing unto itself at this point. All colloids have this ability, like cornstarch, flour roux, tapioca and corn variations like maltodextrose and methocel; these are natural components to many food substances in our lives today. From the capsules that contain pharmaceuticals for your health, dental bonding agents, the yeast that makes your bread and the things that make a sauce or ice cream hold together are glutinous/glue like/bonding agents that become what is added to them or they are added to. Hydrocolloids make gels and this is done with various agents such as gelatin, agar agar, maltodextrose, gum Arabic, guar and xanthium. All natural substances, gum Arabic, guar and anthem are basically bushes. Eggs can also be used as gelling agents if you think about the way that crème brulee and custards react when baked. Cool stuff to know!
So even what appears simple is the result of a complex combination of diverse particles. We give you the aioli, in all its simple glory:
Add the oil in a steady, thin stream so that the ingredients incorporate without breaking or becoming too thick. If you add it too slowly then it will become too thick. Add a teaspoon of water to thin. You can eventually use any kind of vinegar you like in order to have the aioli match the meal. But first, you must learn the basics.
In the beginning was roasted olive oil and olive oil. They were crushed together into a paste. And that was how it wall began until some enterprising cook beat an egg into that lava rock mortar and pestle and found that the ingredients bonded and rose into a smooth, long lasting flavor and that flavor is what makes aioli and mayonnaise such popular sauces.
5 egg yolks
5 cloves roasted garlic
½ teaspoon lemon juice
1/2-cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup corn oil
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2-teaspoon salt
Put egg yolk and garlic in food processor and turn it on. While it is running slowly pour in the oils, then the vinegar and then the salt and sauce. Once it has emulsified (blended to soft peaks) turn off the machine. This is a basic aioli. Now you that you have this under your belt you will learn to make variations on the theme of the egg.
Basic aioli is good to have in your cooking arsenal because at any time you find yourself wanting a fresh approach to seafood and chicken dishes.
Pesto aioli is very good with roasted meats, turkey and pork dishes as well as any number of vegetable dishes.
10 leaves fresh basil
4 tablespoons fresh parmesan, grated
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
10 cloves roasted garlic
4 tablespoons pine nuts (they are expensive so you can use almonds, sunflower seeds, cashews or hazelnuts instead of pine nuts if you want to)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Blend in food processor until it is chunky. Then add the basic aioli.
2 cups basic aioli
After blending the pesto to a coarse texture add the basic aioli and blend again until it is smooth. Do not over blend or it will become a paste!
This is too easy, isn’t it? Well, this is why egg sauces are so popular. You can make anything you want from them. This pesto aioli is incredible with grilled steaks, artichoke hearts, vegetable dips and roasts.

4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon molasses
5 cloves roasted garlic
1 cup basic aioli
Add the honey and molasses at the end of the mixing process. This is very good with grilled chicken. To turn this into crazy good seafood aioli then adds a teaspoon of wasabi paste to the mix.
These are a few basic ways of building on an aioli. Once y0u start making aioli you will find yourself and your family craving it more and more. There are ways to take it a step further into the way of the North European, American and Pan Asian.
So here we are at that great white sauce that people are all over the place in their likes, dislikes, favorites and alternative favorites. As far as I am concerned we should just throw them all away except for home made, Hellman’s, Dukes, Kewpie and Kraft. Kraft because they are almost Hellman’s, at least they want it to be. Dieters all over the nation enjoy Miracle Whip but that is made more with egg white than egg yolk and we are here to praise the yolk.
Dukes has the most sugar and mustard, Hellman’s is what it is by way of extra egg yolk, longer whip time, garlic and onion starch, and lastly Kewpie, the Hawaiian delight, Kewpie has no mustard, and does have the most lemon of them all. I like each 0ne for it’s own purpose and do have them in my refrigerator at home. We don’t have to restrict ourselves from the varieties available. Enjoy each one.
Grilled mahi-mahi with Hellman’s mayonnaise brushed on it for the last turn gives us one of the best tasting reasons for why this is a delicious fish. Seriously, fish grilled with mayonnaise painted on is a West Coast, Island and Pan Asian thing and when first had it I laughed, but then when I ate it I laughed some more but with pleasure not sarcasm.
Dukes make the best potato salad for all Southern cooks. Boil the potatoes then cut them into the chunks for potato salad when they have just cooled. This keeps the flavor in the potato and not in the boiling water. They also are easier to chop when cool and the knife does not stick as much to the potato.
Kewpie is the partner to that famous and decadent lunchtime powerhouse of a meal, spam and eggs with mayonnaise. Sear the spam in an iron skillet with onions and peppers. Fry an egg in the pan with the Spam. Drain the fat and place the Spam and egg on a plate. Brush the Spam with Kewpie. The lemon in the mayonnaise makes it feel like you are really eating the rich and strange meal that you just ate. When I was cooking this to try it out I felt all kinds of fun guilt. Then I remembered those sizzling little hot circles of late night sandwiches, the fried bologna sandwich on white bread with yellow cheese and Dukes. What is good for the East is good for the South and vice versa. I use Kewpie a lot. I like it blended with other things and it does make for very brightly flavored hunger inducing tarter sauce. Try mixing it with peaches and spicy mustard and see what happens.
5 egg yolks
3 egg whites, lightly whipped so that they turn white no peaks.
2 cloves garlic, not roasted
1 cup extra virgin olive oil, prefer Spanish, fruity
½ cup corn oil
½ cup Sweet rice vinegar, like Mirin
2 tablespoons lemons, the juice
1 teaspoon Coleman’s powdered mustard
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soda water
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon white sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
In your food processor: egg yolks and garlic. Slowly add half the olive oil, and then add the dry ingredients followed by the vinegar. Keep blending; add the corn oil and then the olive oil. Add the Worcestershire and water. Keep blending. Add the egg whites and blend. Blend it until it is white and smooth.
Now that you have made your own mayonnaise you need to make the biggest most decadent sandwich that you can imagine. Put it all on there from pickles and olives to havarti and American cheese, ham, salami, smoked turkey, sliced tomato, roasted peppers and lettuce, then the mayonnaise and then shut the doors and have a blast with your own designer egg sauce.

I don’t know why it is,
I like to have your attention,
I roll stones in the dirt and skip them
Across the waters.
Looking over the lakes,
Walking beside the horse by the woods,
I see your smile,
A funny, heheheh laugh.
You lean next a banana tree
And the soft colors of your skin shine
With the embers of the sun
Your smile
Your eyes
Your elegant small fingers holding
The day in your palm
And I wish I were that day,
That light in your eyes
I wish that I could always stand
As the one you see
As the man across the waters
In the lane walking
Walking towards you
To hold you
To brush back your deep black hair
And with a hand to your cheeks
To your own hand and heart
I am always trying to get your attention
Because I see you fully
I see the happiness,
The humor,
The thrill of being alive
Of round and round
And back again to this day
To you
To me
To you and I

A TASTE OF HONEY (food, article)


The grande dame of delicious and sweet, of timeless and flavorful, of our flowers and the bees this my all time favorite sweetener: Honey. Honey comes in as many flavors as there are flowers. Honey has no shelf life as proven by the recovery of jars of honey from the Valley of the Kings in the North African desert. The tombs of Egypt have taught us many things about the ancient world that reflect upon our lives today from architecture and painted languages (hieroglyphs) to grains, sweets and the fermented drinks that followed. Honey was a favorite among my more vulgar ancestors as molten cup of courage by the name of mead. Mead is a fermented honey beverage that is a predecessor to beer and ale though higher in alcohol content. The Roman armies used honey as a salve to increase healing of open wounds. Honey is seen as a nice way to thwart allergies as well. I eat a lot of tulip poplar honey because tulip poplars surround my house. Does it make a difference? I really don’t know but it does taste great. Honey, like wine, reflects the soil, the weather and the flower. The nuances and flavors in honey is one of those wonderful things in the food world. In my house right now there is: blueberry, wildflower, sour wood, buckwheat, orange blossom, tulip poplar and star thistle (many in the area), tupelo, Hawaiian white honey, leatherwood from Tasmania and a crazy fireweed honey from Alaska. It is actually spicy. So here we go honey, there’s a lot to learn.

Eighty percent of the honey in a batch must be from a particular source to be named as from that source. Bees that make honey in America have had a tough time of it over the years due to pesticides, weather, population explosion and our attempt to cure a bee “cold”. We should have let nature run its course on that one. A hive will kick the queen out of the hive if she is not reproducing. If a hive becomes disorganized then they will kick out the queen as well. The hive is only as good as the queen. Hive collapse is widespread in the U.S. but we can help them along with proper husbandry and control of pesticides.

One third of all crops are pollinated by bees. Honey is not vegan because it comes from an animal. Honey should not be heated above 140 degrees as the properties change and it loses it’s honey flavor and value, and honey should not be chilled below 55 degrees because it will crystallize and become somewhat firm or solid. Bee trucks are driven through agricultural regions so that the crops can be pollinated, like the almond and hops groves in the Central Valley of California. Bees make honey, bakers make bread, and me, I’m a chef and I make things with bread and honey! What incredible things yeast and honey are, and the way that each appears throughout our diet is just as amazing as the fact that honey lasts forever and that yeast is a living organism.

Honey orange butter for plain white French bread, whipped wild flower honey with rosemary and lavender for creme brulee (custard dish with burned sugar on top), honey and Makers Mark glaze for arctic char, lemon and truffle honey for thyme roasted chicken breasts, blue cheese and brie with honey, mint, raspberries and cashews, figs and almonds roasted with honey, orange blossom honey ice cream, honey muffins and honey breads, honey on granola, granulated honey rubbed into a slab of ribs before smoking, honey in black and green teas as well as herb teas and a spoonful of honey does help the medicine go down, honey and peanut butter on Kava wafers and so it goes. Honey is good anywhere it appears. How do we even begin? How can I really grasp what honey is in a few paragraphs? Probably not, but we can at least explore how to taste and use the flavors in this bounty of the bee.

My personal from the hive favorites are orange blossom, Hawaiian white (rare, expensive), granulated and sourwood. My favorites to make by infusing the honey are truffle, licorice (REAL licorice root), lavender and sichuan pepper. We will make honey infusions so don’t worry. Best all round honey in any class is clover. Most of the honey you find in pantries across America is wildflower. Wildflower honey is a durable all purpose honey whose value as a sweetener should never be overlooked. Granulated honey is high up as my favorite powdered/granulated sweetener because of it’s earthy yet slight flower sweet, and that it can be sprinkled in on hot or cold dishes/liquids without worry of it sinking to the bottom of the container or being overly sticky. You can’t stir honey into a cold glass of tea but you sure an dissolve granulated honey in that same glass. Granulated honey can be found in all grocery stores that specialize in Korean products and in most large chain grocery stores.


Honey does not have to stay the way it is after  you bring it home. You must treat it with care or else it will crystallize. If it does do this then a few seconds in the microwave will return it to liquid status. If you don’t have a microwave then heat the bottle over steaming water and that will loosen the honey up as well. Storing at room temperature is fine as long as don’t live in an ice house or a home over 100 degrees!

You can add corn syrup or brown rice syrup to the honey you are infusing. Generally, honey used for this purpose is all purpose wild flower. Generally. If you are making an rosemary honey then orange blossom is perfect. If you are making a rosemary lavender honey then wildflower or lavender honey will do the trick. Truffle honey is best made with sourwood or buckwheat because the deeper flavors then do not act against each other, they compliment and lift the earthy, mineral sweetness to the sides of your tongue when tasting or eating it with strongly seasoned meat.

Tasting honey. People who hate food will say that there should not be method to tasting. They will also be the ones who say that food must be bold and fatty to satisfy them. This is OK, there is room for everyone in the world, but don’t rely on them when developing menu items or when cooking for a group of people that you want to impress.

Tasting, as an exploration of flavor is in essence, how we taste things. The tongue of course has different areas that identify and react to different flavors or primary ingredients such as hot, sour, salty, sweet and umami/savory, right? BUT NO! The flavors are experienced all over the tongue, the specific areas is more or less that they are more sensitive. How about that? It was once believed that the front, sides and backs were THE regions, but this is not the fact, we taste all over. I like that because it gives credence to the technique of tasting that involves blowing air across your tongue with mouth closed.

For the sake of gustatory history though we will acknowledge that the flavors are tasted from front to back as: sweet, salty, sour, umamai/savory, bitter. Makes sense in a way, doesn’t it? When I was researching this one article instructed that honey is to be tasted from the tip of the tongue and then moved around to the back of the tongue. It is also of note that umami is to the back side closer last edge of the mouth where there is a good bit of saliva action going on. Umami is that sensation that makes the mouth water, which in turn makes it easier to taste things. Chocolate, green tea, red wine, sea salt, sea weed and fish in the mackerel family (tuna) and grass fed beef have this ability to increase our ability to taste, hence umami. Think about this for a bit and then do your own taste tests with our honey examples, with chocolate, unfermented teas and sea salt.

Wine tasting is a good example of tasting all over at once, then the after taste echoes that arise once the wine has been swallowed is one of those wonders of life. This blowing pushes oxygen over the liquid/solids and allows the taste receptors to be opened even more to allow saliva, air and food to be fully tasted. Enemies to food will argue and have argued that if a technique is required to fully taste something then there must be something wrong with the food. These are the same people who never got past simple sentences, burning hot flavor, the knowledge that the world is round and man landed on the moon. Avoid them. Life is for the living.

Never heat your honey over 120 degrees when infusing. Never. Smokers have dulled papillae (the little “buds”) due to the constant deadening by tar products. Never trust a smoker when they try to tell you about how things taste as what they taste is always “smoked”


Take one of the most expensive things you can find and add it to the sweetest and there you have truffle honey. Don’t bother with saffron honey, I have tried making it but could never get it to that perfect spot between plastic and floral. It is just too expensive for the experiments. The truffle can be whole, shaved, fresh or canned. Fresh gives you the best flavor while using the least amount. Canned is more available and at a lower price. You can use dried porcini or dried Chinese black mushrooms as well in order to get that dirt basement aroma. Come on, you know you love the smell of root cellars, caves and dirt basements.

4 ounces buckwheat honey

1 ounce brown rice syrup (Korean and health food)

1 teaspoon truffle shavings

a very few grains of sea salt

Combine and heat at 90 degrees on the stovetop for 15 minutes. Do not let it get over 100 degrees. Do not stir. So not shake the pan. Best thing for this is stainless steel or copper. Remove from heat and store in a sanitized glass container. This honey is perfect with blackened meats like beef filet or any fish in the jack family. A little bit on roasted lamb really does charm the fat right onto the fork!

If you are preparing some really spicy hot foods then use a bit of truffle honey on one part of the meat and leatherwood honey on the other. You will be amazed at what flavors are suddenly awakened.


We are making this with the assumption that you do not have lavender honey readily available. This kind of infused honey is one that I keep mainly for desserts but is also great with lemon-garlic roasted chicken. Think about it, can you imagine the taste?

Not so good in drinks, like truffle honey, it is designed for cooked foods. This would be nice drizzled over sliced oranges and Texas grapefruit though, wouldn’t it?

Paint this on the top of creme brulee after it cools so that when it is time to burn the sugar on top it will be even more glassy textured and flavorful.

4 ounces orange blossom honey

2 ounces light karo corn syrup

½ teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, this is 24 leaves

10 blossoms lavender, find them dried

Combine and heat at 100 degrees for 15 minutes. Do not stir. After 15 minutes remove from heat and let it sit until the temperature goes down to 78 degrees. Strain. Store in sanitized glass container in pantry where the temperature remains stable.


Yes, you will never understand why there was ever a chewy black licorice whip after trying a little bit of this nice stick of flavor. Licorice is a bush. The dried wood is what WAS used to make the candy in years gone by. Licorice can be bought in many places on line. A little goes a long way. I keep one jar of sugar with a broken licorice stick and one with a vanilla bean. There is always flavor. Granulated honey is nice with a stick of cinnamon in to season it. Small containers with differently seasoned sugars and honey granules makes dessert time and spicy food dinners all the more pleasurable because of the surprise of such great flavor with so little effort.

1 stick licorice, this is about a 1/3 of an ounce

1 cup fireweed or clover honey

No  need to heat this, just bust up the true licorice stick and store it in the honey jar, also can be stored in container with mix of granulated cactus honey and turbinado sugar. Licorice honey is very good drizzled over chocolate mousse, grilled figs and roasted dates stuffed with feta and pistachios. I have even added a small amount of licorice honey granules to ceviche to add a sense of mystery to an already simply complex small set of ingredients. Mystery as in “what kind of seaweed is this”?

If you have never had licorice freshly grated onto your palm so that you taste what it really is then come by the restaurant and I’ll turn you onto this aromatic wonder called licorice. You’ll be mad that imitation has been forced upon us all for so many decades. Actually, you should be mad about all the imitation foods that are marketed to us day in and day out. Tasting what is real can never be matched by buckets of white sugar, fat, salt and vegetable oil with flavor enhancers and saw dust thrown in to bind the  flavor profile into something identifiable as “food”.


One of my best peanut butter memories was white bread with whipped honey and peanut butter sandwiches. I think it was somewhere in the third or fourth grade that this was fed to us at Tucker Elementary School. I was forever impressed. Food memories are great things. Let’s put together a variation on this theme so that as adults we can swoon over our little sandwich with a nod to the truth that fat and sweet just go together well. Nuts as the fatty, honey as the sweet and the bread as a little bit of both.

6 ounces chunky peanut butter, buy the best

6 ounces roasted cashews

3 ounces clover honey

Put the cashews and honey into a food processor and run it just long enough to crush up the nuts and honey. Then add the peanut butter and run the machine until it is smooth. There ya go! Peanut butter and honey for grown ups. Just add sour dough bread and it’s an afternoon pick me that is all good and all fresh.

I limited the list to infused honey because of the widespread uses that can be had just by a small change in composition. Few things truly are “simple”. Simple is misunderstood. Think of all the things necessary for bees make honey and baker makes bread, that the butcher sees in meat and the chef his next creation. It takes a lot to make things nice, it takes even more for complex and unified. Honey. A taste of honey; and with a taste of honey all things can be romantic.

Saying Yes is the thing

Where living it is even more.

Sometimes love looks a lot like this:

On a stairway leaning big smile and laugh,

On the back porch singing to cicadas and gnats,

On horseback racing along 10 mile beach,

On a table resting looking over a plate of barbecue,

On the bedside whispering about the beauty of the day,

On a sandy dock peeling fresh shrimp at dusk,

On a walk on a bridge on a life together,

On a promise to believe in what is yes.

Ceviche and Poke recipes


Mix cocoa butter powder for all of these if they are going to be served a day later.


8                                    fresh in the shell bay scallops

8                                    fresh oysters in the shell

1                                    lime or lemon

1                                    jalapeno, seeded and minced

1/3 teaspoon              sea salt

Shuck the oysters and scallops. Squeeze the lime over the meat, sprinkle with jalapeno and salt.


8 ounces                        sliced between the thin membranes of flesh, thin

1                                     lime

10 leaves                      cilantro

1/3 teaspoon                sea salt

(½ ounce                    extra virgin olive oil, optional for crudo style)


8 ounces                        corvina or snapper species, boneless/skinless

1                                     orange

1                                     lemon

1/3 teaspoon                 red aji pepper, ground (New Mexico Red Pepper)

½ teaspoon                   sea salt

½ ounce                       cilantro, leaves and stems

1 ounce                        olive oil, a mild one

1 tablespoon                poblano pepper

1 tablespoon                        red bell pepper

Thin slice the fish between the grains so that you have very thin slices with no membrane or silver skin. Place between sheets of plastic wrap or butcher paper and gently tap with the back of a cleaver, or use a flat meat hammer, gentle. Mash the rest of the ingredients into a paste. Rub a small amount on each slice of fish, let set five minutes and then eat. This is good with fresh fruit or on lettuce leaves.


8 ounces                        tilapia, cut into small cubes, very small cubes

1 tablespoon                  celery, minced

1 tablespoon                  red onion, minced

1 teaspoon                      jalapeno, minced

2 tablespoons               cilantro, minced

1 clove                              garlic, minced

1                                     lime, juiced

1                                     orange, juiced

½ teaspoon                   sea salt

1 teaspoon                    granulated sugar

1 ounce                        sweet rice or apple cider vinegar

1 ounce                        corn oil

Combine ingredients and let marinade 15 minutes


8 ounces                        white mackerel, small cubes, very small

2                                     lemons, juice

6 ounces                        pineapple, small dice/mince

6 ounces                        tomato, no seeds, small dice/mince

1                                    green bell pepper, minced

2 cloves                        garlic, minced

6 stalks                        green onion, thin sliced from root to pale green part

1 tablespoon                        poblano pepper, minced

½ teaspoon                        jalapeno, minced

½ ounce                        mint, leaves

½ ounce                        cilantro, leaves

1 teaspoon                        sea salt

1 ounce                        Worcestershire sauce

5 ounces                        olive oil

Combine ingredients in large bowl and refrigerate. Let chill 30 minutes before eating. Presentation on this kind of ceviche would be nice in a martini glass with shredded lettuce. Also, if you have a mandolin slicer use this to cut very thin spaghetti style zucchini and carrots. Mix them with a little olive oil and coconut juice and then toss with the ceviche, serve as a light appetizer


8 ounces                        mahi mahi, almost minced

4 ounces                        ketchup

1                                     lime, juice

1                                     orange, juice

1 tablespoon                        chipotle

½ cup                                    cilantro, chopped

1 stalk                                    celery, minced

1 cup                                    cucumber, peeled, seeded and minced

1 teaspoon                        sea salt

½ cup                                    clam juice

1 ounce                        Worcestershire sauce

1 ounce                        olive oil

Combine ingredients and refrigerate 15 minutes. Serve with nacho chips or fried won tons. Also, something like this with the ketchup is good with fried plantains or fried sweet potatoes.


8 ounces                         red drum or snapper chopped

3 ounces                        young coconut juice

2                                     lemons, juice

1 ounce                        olive oil

½ cup                                    white onion, diced

1 cup                                    papaya, peeled, seeded minced

5                                    green tomatilla, chopped, par boil and drained

1 ounce                        soy sauce

1 ounce                        cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon                        coriander

1 teaspoon                        Guajilla pepper

1 teaspoon                        sea salt

Combine and eat within a few hours. Keep chilled until ready to eat. You can eat it right away.


8 ounces                        sushi grade yellowfin or big eye tuna, thin sliced into strips

1 ounce                        ponzu vinegar

½ cup                                    seaweed salad with sesame seeds

½ cup                                    macadamia nuts, chopped

1/2 cup                        tomato, chopped

1/3 cup                        red onion, chopped

5 stalks                        green onion, chopped

1 tablespoon                        red chili pepper, chopped

2 ounces                        mushroom soy sauce

3 ounces                        firm tofu, chopped (one of the things for modern poke)

2 tablespoons            tobiko (flying fish roe, crunchy)

Combine ingredients and eat as soon as you can. It will hold overnight, but why wait? Eat this with chilled nishiki or jasmine rice, with pita bread, over lettuces, in a tomato or avocado.


8 ounces                        Chinook or sockeye salmon in season (best May to October)

2                                     limes, juiced

1 ounce                        mandarin olive oil (a mandarin orange olive oil)

Combine and set aside.

1                                    mango, peeled and minced

1                                    Asian pear, peeled and minced

1/2 each                        poblano and red bell pepper, minced

1 stalk                                    celery, minced

1 ounce                        cilantro, chopped

½ ounce                        basil leaves, chopped

10                                     chives, minced

½ ounce                        fresh ginger, minced

4 ounces                        white peach puree or unfiltered peach juice


8 ounces                         halibut, slice very thin, broad cuts into 10 slices

1                                    blood orange, juice

10                                     blood orange wedges, no pith or skin

1 ounce                        Spanish extra virgin olive oil

5 shots                        Cholula Sauce

1/3 teaspoon                        Hawaiian pink sea salt, coarse

10 leaves                        oregano, fresh, chopped

10 leaves                        mint, fresh, chopped

Lay the halibut slices under plastic wrap and gently pound so that the fibers in the meat separate just a little bit. Set the fish slices around on a plate and place an orange on each slice. Sprinkle with the juice, sauce, salt and herbs. All you need are green olives, cucumbers, peppers, artichoke hearts and you have a really impressive array of fresh foods.


8 ounces big eye or yellowfin tuna fillet, thin sliced

1 lemon, juiced or two tablespoons juice

1 tablespoon celery, shaved thin with microplane grater

3 cloves garlic, shaved thin with microplane grater

3 tablespoons red bell pepper, shaved thin with microplane

1 teaspoon jalapeno, shaved thin with microplane

1 tablespoon sundried tomato, thin sliced softened in hot water

10 leaves oregano, sliced

5 leaves basil, sliced

5 leaves mint, sliced

1/3 teaspoon sea salt

1 ounce Spanish or Tuscan olive oil

mussels w/lemon grass & tomato, sesame chicken, bananas & coconut cream






Please don’t be afraid of buying mussels. Just plan this meal when the grocer gets them in. Make sure they are all closed tightly. Don’t use any that are open, which means they are dead and you really can’t eat them. Place the mussels in cold water with a handful of cornmeal. This will plump them, and they will pass any impurities possibly gathered in the shipping and storing process. You can keep them in the water for at least an hour and as long as overnight. Lift them out of the water under cold running water, throw away any that have opened. Now you are ready.

If, and only if, you cannot find fresh black mussels, then look for the frozen New Zealand green lipped mussels. They are bigger and meatier but the flavor is not as acute. This kind of mussel is a picture of neon drama. They have bright green and black rippled shells, and pale yellow flesh, it fairly jumps up off of the plate.

You will need a pot of boiling water, a cone-shaped strainer, and a large high-sided skillet for this dish.


20                                                black mussels

1/4 cup                                    pure olive oil (virgin isn’t necessary for this)

2 tablespoons                        chopped garlic

2 stalks                                    green onion, diced up to the deep green

part. Use the green for garish.

1 stalk                                                lemon grass, peeled and chopped

use the first two inches from the

root. If you can’t get fresh, try to obtain

the dried stalk and then grind it in your

mill. Powdered works, but use extra. Like any

powdered herbs the taste is a shadow of what

you’re looking for. Powdered = 2 tablespoons.

2 tablespoons                        fresh ginger. Peeled and minced.

2                                                 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons                        basil, chopped

1 cup                                                tomato sauce

1 teaspoon                                    salt and pepper mix

Wash the mussels in very cold water and place them into the strainer, lower the strainer into the boiling water and let them cook until they all are opened. Lift the strainer out and set it aside in the sink to drain.

Heat the oil in the skillet on high heat. Add the garlic and onion, then lift the pan off of the stove and turn the heat to medium high. Stir, add ginger, tomato and tomato sauce, heat until it begins to bubble and add the mussels. Be careful at this stage, the sauce may pop if you’re too rough in stirring the mussels and sauce. Stir the mussels so that they take in all the sauce. Add the basil, salt and pepper, and lemon grass. Stir. Let them cook in the sauce for a couple of minutes so that all the flavors blend and incorporate into the mussels. The taste will be deep and flowery, with a hint of citrus.

A splash of lemon juice, red wine or both adds a nice touch to this dish. The lemon or wine will brighten the flavor.  As with all recipes, when you’ve got it down and can replicate the dish, then experiment and build on what you like. Use lime, orange, guava puree, peach juice, pear juice, currant juice, etc.

Slowly, ice melting around the shells,

sleek, black ships waiting,

smell of the sands and tides

rising from the refrigerated air…

and she turns from the mounds

of chopped tomato and vidalia

to the stalks of lemon grass

and deep green fresh basil.

“Come here, peel away the skin

from the base like this,”

and the room filled with the fragrances

of crushed tangerine and lemon leaves

from the single bulb of lemon grass.

And if I didn’t know better I would swear

I was standing in the groves

of the Indian River,

but I wasn’t, it was we in the kitchen

with the greens of Mandalay,

with mussels from the heart of Hudson Bay.

<Note for side panels:> OK, let’s talk about herbs. It’s a known conceit of chefs and gardeners to use fresh herbs as much as possible and we expect everybody else to do the same, and that’s not fair. Granted, we cannot replace the flavor and beauty of fresh, herbs, but we can at least approximate in a pinch. We all have a cabinet full of dried herbs, or at least a few essentials such as oregano, thyme, basil and bay, and now we hope that lemon grass and cilantro are there as well. Here’s what you do to get the best out of the dried stuff: Wash and dry your hands. Place the herbs in your palm, now clasp your hands together with your thumbs opposing, and rub the herbs into a powder. Open your hands and smell. Pretty neat, huh?

The oil from your hands, plus the flavor release from mashing the herbs does the trick. That’s as close as you are going to get to fresh from dried. It’s a primitive version of the mortar and pestle, and that’s not a bad thing, it works. When you try this method do it directly over the dish as you prepare it so that you get the most out of your effort.

The coffee mill. This thing is great for quick grinds and the powdering of peppercorns, dried lemon grass, coriander seeds, kosher salt, chilies, et al. Use and wipe out with a dry cloth or paper towel.

The mortar and pestle. Marble or wood. Use this and use this often. It is as old as food. Some prefer the wooden variety for its earthy feel and texture. I like the clink and clean sound and feel of marble. They are most useful for blending herbs and seeds, for curries and compound spice mixtures. Just put your coriander or cardamom seeds in and mash them around with the pestle. Inhale, yep, that’s what dinner smells like. It’s nice to use when two are cooking together, which is what this book is all about, because you can blend herbs and talk and move around in the kitchen without getting in the way if you are the one doing the grunt work, uh, being the assistant.

<End panel note.>

The next dish is a stir-fry and I recommend that you use a wok. Otherwise use a very large, high sided skillet. You need even heat for optimum cooking.

The wok: Use a carbon steel, stainless steel or copper-bottomed

wok. Carbon steel is the best because of its ability to evenly transfer heat. Season by rubbing with corn oil and rock salt and heating it on medium heat for about thirty minutes. Maintain by cleaning with warm water only, no soap. If it rusts then clean with an abrasive cleaner and soft sponge. After you have cleaned it reseason the pan. There are non-stick woks on the market now that are pretty good, you don’t have to worry about acidic reactions staining the pan. The choice is yours, authenticity or modernity that actually works.

The hottest part is the bottom. The sides are where you push the parts of a dish that require less rapid cooking, or when a sauce is reducing and you don’t want the particular ingredient to overcook. An average wok will hold about a gallon and a half of liquid. They require very high heat for the best results. Even heat is essential; this helps you to cook an entire dish in one place with speed and control over the process.

Always oil the wok before cooking in it. Don’t use virgin olive oil, as it will catch fire. The oil with the highest resistance to burning is corn oil. Use corn, peanut, vegetable or a blend of olive and canola, or a blend of olive and corn or peanut oil. If you are using butter then add it late in the stir- fry. Once you are used to using a wok you will find it difficult to just use a regular sauté pan. The wok, like the iron skillet is essential to a well-rounded kitchen. The iron skillet holds heat longer. The wok returns to high heat faster. You blacken Cajun dishes in an iron skillet, you sauté in a wok.

As the book progresses and your skill increases you will more fully understand how the wok works. Experience and, trial and error teach more than any volume of literature can.


1/2 cup                                    all purpose flour

3 tablespoons                        butter

1 tablespoon                                    sesame oil

10 ounces                                    chicken breast sliced thin into 20 strips

2 tablespoons                        brown mustard

2 tablespoons                         honey

1 cup                                                sesame seeds

Dust chicken in flour.

Coat chicken in honey mustard mix. Roll chicken in

sesame seeds so that it is completely covered. Set

aside on plate.


5 medium stalks                        asparagus sliced long and thin

2 medium                                     carrot peeled and very thin sliced

1 medium                                    yellow squash cut in 4ths and sliced thin

1 large                                    yellow onion cut in 4ths and sliced thin


3 tablespoons                        apricot preserves

1 teaspoon                                    prepared horseradish

1/4 cup                                    soy sauce

1 tablespoon                                    brown sugar

1/3 cup                                    apple juice (optional)


8 ounces                                     fettuccine (will yield 12 oz cooked)

<Note for side panel> If you have access to fresh pastas, then by all means be experimental and buy them. Just remember that cooking fresh pasta is quite different from the cooking methods for dried. Just drop it in boiling water for about a minute or two, stir it around and immediately mix it with the sauce. A flavored pasta such as tomato, lemon or orange would go well with this dish. Otherwise, stick to the recipe until you feel more comfortable with branching out which we will do in later chapters. <end note.>

Cook the pasta, rinse in cold water and set aside until ready to mix with entree.

In a large skillet or wok, sauté the chicken and onion in butter. Stir with care, you don’t want to burn or dislodge the sesame seeds. Add sesame oil. Add the vegetables, turn up the heat and cook until the asparagus is shiny and just crisp. This is the very definition of stir-fry.

Add the juice and horseradish and cook until it begins to boil. Add apricot, soy and sugar. Stir. Reduce heat to simmer. Taste. Adjust if necessary.

NOTE Is it to your liking? Does it need anything?

This is the part where you have the chance to design the dish to your personal tastes. If you are happy with it then by all means continue, if not, then think about what you have added and what you might like more or less of. If more, then add, if less, then add more liquid to cut the flavor. Maybe you like ginger or garlic, basil or cilantro. This is your moment and no one else’s. Both of you taste it, that’s what this book is all about, cooking together for your own happiness and pleasure. END NOTE.

With the pasta still in a colander wash it under very hot water, then shake off all the water and drain.

Turn heat on sauce up to high. As it begins to boil add the pasta, and stir so that it is all mixed together and hot. Remove from heat and divide between two plates. Eat.


You are going to make more than you can eat in one sitting for this dish. Why? Because you will freeze the leftovers and make milkshakes with it for a later menu. YUM!

4 cups                                                coconut milk. Shake the can before you

open it so that the milk and cream mix.

2/3 cup                                    sugar

1/4 cup                                    honey

1 teaspoon                                    salt

2 pounds                                    bananas, firm. If red bananas are

available use them and cook longer,

they are great for cooking.

Place everything except the bananas in a medium saucepan and bring to a low boil, simmer and stir occasionally with a whisk for about ten minutes. There should be no lumps and it will be slightly thick, just enough to coat a spoon with a thin film. Don’t let it rise to a hard boil, this will separate the milk and scorch the pan!

Peel and cut the bananas in two-inch long slanted slices. This is called cutting  “on the diagonal.” It looks like an oblong circle. Add to the mixture and stir with a spoon until it returns to a low boil. Simmer two to three minutes.

Remove from heat and pour into small bowls. You may eat this warm or at room temperature.

If this seems too unusual and you want to do something to make it a little more familiar, then pour it over thick slices of pound cake. It’s good either way. Freeze the leftovers. There’s a recipe for that later in the book.

So it’s like this, OK?

You cook, I’ll chop,

I’ll do anything,

Anything to be here

Where we are close,

We are doing,

We are in our lives together.

Together. . . through the steam

And color of our finished table

It is just you and I

In a moment shared,

In a moment here.

Gluten Free “Flour” mix list

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General Baking Mixes
Simple Substitute makes 1 cup 1 cup brown rice flour
General Baking Mix #1 makes 2 cups 1 cup rice flour

1/2-3/4 cup potato starch

¼ cup tapioca starch/flour

General Baking Mix #2 makes 9 cups 3 cups garfava bean flour

2 cups potato starch

2 cups cornstarch

1 cup tapioca flour

1 cup sorghum flour

Original formula makes 3 cups 2 cups rice flour

2/3 cup potato starch

1/3 cup tapioca starch/flour

Four Flour Bean makes 3 cups 2/3 cup garfava bean flour

1/3 cup sorghum flour

1 cup cornstarch

1 cup tapioca starch/flour

Featherlight makes 4 cups 1 cup rice flour

1 cup cornstarch

1 cup tapioca starch/flour

1 Tbsp. potato flour

Specialty Mixes
Pastry mix makes 1 cup 1/8 cup potato flour

7/8 cup Ener-G Foods©

rice flour

Cookie mix makes 2 cups ¼ cup chickpea flour

1¾ cup sorghum flour

¼ cup sweet rice flour

Bread mix makes 2 cups 1 cup brown rice flour

½ cup potato starch

½ cup sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin

Where The Wild Meats Roam (food, article, A Romance With Food)

A Story About Why Roast Pork Butt With Persimmon And Plum

Rod Stewart And Faces had an album, Every Picture Tells A Story, well, for me, so does a recipe. Born of a family going back to the 17oo’s on the same soil, in the same tracts of Georgia land, sharing the same names, church and graveyard, there are tales and legends as deep as any pecan root, and yet also as shallow as the creeks running all around the suburbanized and cemented maze that now stands on that once fertile ground. I will be buried in the same common earth as my first Irish American ancestor, Finn or Sinn, Cofer and Thomas, off of First Street in once tree lined and pasture rich Tucker, Georgia. Before I die I will have to eat a last meal, I hope, and that involves pork. Some want fried chicken, veal chops or carbonara, fat scallops or fried crappie, me, I want pork roast with persimmon and root vegetables.
The Finns, Englands and Cofers settled and fought, farmed and built railroads, general stores and family neighborhoods. The ground gave a lot of produce and tobacco, and then in the Depression it was all taken away, even my grandfather served time for throwing sacks of corn and wheat off the railroad cars as they mounted the hill that was Tucker. The Robin Hood thing was real. When a nation hungers, it hungers for real. The food that arose from these times became legendary, as they were then lost in the era of canned and frozen convenience foods. The Great Depression changed the way that people shopped and cooked. In my hometown we had two butchers, a couple of grocery stores, lots of vegetable stands, and of course Matthews Cafeteria.
Food dominated the cultural landscape. This is the South. This is the Deep South. Ethiopian and Irish, French and German, our foods developed from their kitchens and from their tilled ground. All cultures have “their” food that is often delicious in the place of origin. Learning how to approach indigenous or ethnic cuisines is challenging, and even moreso if it is the food of one’s own ancestors. Many times I’ve coaxed Chinese Chefs to trade the “good stuff” with me by eating Hunan style sweet and sour intestines. Cracks me up, Soul food is soul food all over the world. Wild and fresh killed meat is always good for no matter what part of the body, it is always good.
Plum trees were all over my neighborhood by a nameless creek and the small bream, perch and crappie filled lake below. Maypops, blackberry, pecan, peach, persimmons, muscadines and gone wild watermelons showed up here and there. Our own small yard had three purple plum trees. They were toys to me, things to throw around, to toss at rabbits and squirrels, and of course to play fetch with mix breed beagles that my father raised for rabbit hunting.
My Mother married without the slightest idea of how to cook. She was the bobby sockser, the pretty girl, The Southern Belle of the Cofer/England family. So, my grandmothers and aunts would fix dinner for her and then bring it over before my wild Thomas father came home from the hard labor brick mason jobs he held all over Dekalb and Fulton counties. We ate everything that my grandparents and their grandparents ate. And Mother, well, she became to me the best cook in the world; she learned and she handed it down. We loved her Sunday suppers of beef pot roast, and the yeast rolls that rose by the heater vents while we were at church were the best. But pork, the rest of the week, pork was a food of the people, affordable, high yield, fatty and adapts to just about any kind of preparation.
Buffets were the best part of births, deaths, new homes and marriages, of church socials and Tucker Days celebrations. It was an elaborate and tasty youth. These gatherings are now called “Taste of (insert city name)” where restaurants display their foods. I still envy the ways they handed down, yet much was lost in a land overpopulated and built up to the extent that town halls and mainstreets were to become the “Make believe” property of developers and sell out relatives. I miss the South of community and closeness, safety, and of course great fresh food.
I miss the foods the most. Great thing is that we are now bringing these foods back home in the home as more natural meats and local produce become available. Who would have ever thought that fried green tomatoes would be a restaurant dish? This was something we cooked at home when there were just too many tomatoes growing. Today this is tapas or amuses bouche in restaurants, and that’s cool. You gotta love the food. I keep trying to work out a fried green tomato bruschetta that can pass as a nod to Mediterranean or Pan Asian styles.
Today our South foods come close to what gave the food so much flavor, and I mean outside the family farm, the fresh killed meats, the iron skillets and 200 year old bbq pits, I mean the good love between us all, the setting aside of grief and anger, the lifting up of the love and the song that is a long family history, the worship in the only church around, the Tucker First Baptist (land donated by my maternal Grandfather), the only High School around, Tucker High (some of the land donated by my paternal Grandfather), the whole thing, the hanging out at my Grandfather Thomas’ general store, butcher shop, gas station and lunch counter, going to Matthews Cafeteria because that is where we went to eat out and socialize, not because it was charming and kitschy, but because that was where we went out to eat, period. Well, except for the Dairy Queen or Fountain’s Drugs. We ate together. We lived. The mention that we were quaint or kitschy can piss off landed gentry or two, and sometimes even me. That was the life before Atlanta was again the Phoenix in the late 70s and 80s.
The food has been revived and that’s the beautiful thing, our bloodline lives, our accents live and our food is being revived. Now if only the love and comradery could be resurrected. How can I touch this? By food cooked at home. My wife learned to cook collard greens with ham hock from my niece! Yeah, the family meals follow a twisted path but they always lead back to the family. Rough economies push us back to the family table, a place of conversations and true adoration of the food.
As an American Chef my foods have traveled the globe, my culinary path is the World, but my history, my training and much of my style belongs to what I saw in my Mamaw England’s and Mother’s kitchen, and of course from what Daddy Bill and Gertrud Thomas cooked one strange Sunday in the long ago. Long ago before appropriating the magic and hardships of dirt and clay, pine tree and pecan hard luck life became a marketable influence, long ago when it was real and it was now, when it tasted so warm and sweet. Warm and sweet, cold and sweet, that’s how I remember, that is the South I adore. Fusion began in the South. This stands as a kind of culinary confessional, doesn’t it? But it’s richer than this; the world of food unites us all beyond boundaries and beyond languages.
Why this long introduction to one dish built in so many ways for three hundred years? Why do all these New South restaurants get on my nerves? There is no ‘New’ South; we’ve always been here, welcoming everyone home. The ingredients have changed a lot now that the world is drawn in so close with modern farming, even for the small local there is modernity, this is how we survived, by change, by adaptation, and yet the main thing about the food never changed, the cooking style and the pork.
The variations are many, but persimmon, plums and sweet potato are what it takes for this roast pork butt to be the best Sunday dinner of the month, that’s for sure. And always remember that slow food is not our invention nor is it a novelty act for a hundred same menu farms to table restaurants to espouse. The only places not cooking fresh or natural are the big box chains that tell you they are cooking fresh and natural.
The pig itself is of importance. I use the breed known as Duroc. Berkshire and Ossabow are very popular among pork connoisseurs and rightly so for the rich, fatty flavor, but I like an in between kind of pig and Thomas Jefferson’s pig is a perfect fit for me. If you want Ossabow pork there is a ranch in Georgia that is now producing them so you don’t have to sign up for hunts in South Georgia and the islands there. The name of the ranch is Nature’s Harmony.
Fuyu persimmons work best for this recipe. If you have a persimmon tree then that’s just even more value to the meal. They can be found at Super H and many of the Farmer’s Market’s, organic grocers and Whole Foods.
Plums? What is there to say other than “alright, plums in a savory dish”.
Use the big dark firm slightly sweet ‘n sour Damson ones. If not fresh then just pass this over and use apricots or nectarines, and apples or pears.
The flavor in a pig is always in the butt, leg, shoulder, bacon and country ribs. Since we cook with electricity and natural gas now instead of propane and whatever wood would fit in the stove some of the details are lost. I was finally able to cook my Mamaw’s fried chicken while cooking on a wood burning stove on the wild Mendocino Coast one home sick lonely long rainy winter. I am forever thankful for a Big Green Egg that my brother, Gary Lyle, gave to me last Christmas. I have learned again how to cook more natural, more to the heart of what I love about food.
Same for this butt recipe except that I was cooking wild boar. Northern California wild boars tend to be Berkshire, good stuff. Something about being away from home that brings home all the more close. So, I learned to cook the foods of my home by being away from home. I love this life, I really do.

6 pound butt
2 large yellow onions, or vidalia if available
3 carrots, chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
½ cup fresh mint, or a handful of stems and leaves
2 sweet potatoes cut into medium sized cubes (1 x1 inch)
1 pound plums, Damson, cut in half, remove stone
1 pound ripe persimmons, washed, peeled and cut in quarters
1 ½ tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup peach moonshine or light rum
1/2 cup sugar, light brown
½ cup molasses
2 tablespoons lard
Day before cooking chop the herbs. Rub the pork down with the salt, pepper and sugar. Mix the herbs with the molasses and rub this over the pork. Refrigerate overnight. The day of cooking preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat a deep iron roasting pan or clay Dutch oven on the stove top on medium heat. Add the lard. Add the onions and carrots. Stir and let them cook for a minute. Add the pork butt and sear on all sides for a minute each turn. Add the sweet potatoes, plums, persimmons and heat for three minutes. Be careful not to let the herbs and sugars burn. Add the liquids. Simmer for three minutes.
Cover the pot and put it into the oven. Cook two hours. Remove the lid and cook for fifteen minutes. The pork should have a temperature of 150 to 160 degrees. Remove from oven. Take the butt out of the pot and set aside. Put the pot on the stove and bring to a boil. From here you will adjust the seasonings. Add more Damson plums if you need it to be richer and thicker. Simmer to a thin sauce. Strain and pour sauce into serving bowl.
Slice the pork. Serve persimmons, plums, sweet potatoes on the same tray and the sliced pork. Best eaten with yeast rolls, brunswick stew and any kind of cabbage or slow cooked collards or turnip greens.


So…Did I really think
the sun would shine down in my house out on hillbilly row?
When the rains flowed and fed great fields of kudzu and honeysuckle
I watched my gardens fade and fall, dry and die in the granite mothered

barren soil, and all the bream and bark in the world just wouldn’t
fertilize, wouldn’t hold the sands long enough to seed, but still I believe,
still I try. And when it’s good, on the front porch above the haze

it’s a vision of green mountains and steaming thin rivers cutting
through the gorge, beautiful. And when it’s corn and bean shucking time
I still have the heart to whistle “In the Pines”,

and I hope someone can hear me, I hope someone will shout back
through the woods, maybe even cross over to this plot of land.

Dried flowers, a dusty letter, Japanese figurine, yellow light on the brick
mantel shines, wipe my eyes, look again, and still it shines a cracked
and dingy pastel, and the morning itself seems like a postcard,

a loved memento of the life I’ve had. But waking always brings this pause,
this gaze into the past…wish it was easier to shake away the dreams,
just set them on the shelf beside the light, turn around and go my way.

Sitting in the kitchen staring at the rusty well water in my James Joyce mug,
have a smoke, try to forget those other warmer mornings and fonder beds,
sip and think about how with today I begin again, yes again, yes.

Daybreak walking down the hill, chestnut and red clover line the path,
wild strawberries and may pop vines perk up beneath the early dew,
think about it: this is my life? Here, earthsongs grew and flourished,

and I knew all the talk about whispers on the wind and the life of the wee
folk was more than legend, it simply was. It simply was the way of things.
River rock and Cherokee rose lead the way creekside to the barbwire line
that marked the place grandfather had his still, and there today I see
the blue tagged stake for the county tax man, fresh, deep, weak nonetheless,

and there today I just kick it down and keep on walking, glad this is a place
where I feel and feel, and feel so much the today of it all, just the today.
Strange water, this mountain blood: Black bear heart and Appalachian spirit,

Van Gogh hands given to the land, knowing the light is sweet and giving,
yet the Adam in me still curses anyway, and I pace in and out of the creek
and moss like this here is the one true baptistery, and I do dare it all

to come to pass……….yeah, these Ecclesiastic days will surely pass,
but until then there’s another song waiting, another blues, another hymn
to hard work and struggle, another reason to stomp and wail,
and then another day to fight the silence on the hill.

Pompano Steamed In Banana Leaf (food, article, Lily)

The first time I had this dish was at the Thai Cafe on California Street in San Francisco in 1980. I literally shed a tear of happiness over this dish. I had never had anything better before in my life. There are several variations of this dish. It is kin to a fish mousse in French cuisine, but, then again it’s not.
4 dried chilies
1 stalk lemon grass
6 large leaves basil, use holy or purple basil
if it is available, for a slight cinnamon or anise taste
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped=2 cloves
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon soy sauce
10 Sichwan peppercorns crushed
4 tablespoons coconut cream: get this by scooping
the cream off the top when you open the can.
1/2 teaspoon sugar
8 ounces pompano, cut in thin 1 inch pieces
1 banana leaf. Buy more if you’re nervous and it’s the first time.
2 limes, zested on grater, use the zest.
10 medium leaves spinach
Cut and discard the seeds from the chilies. Chop and soak the chilies in hot water.
Use the bottom three inches of the lemon grass, peel away the tough outer skin and slice crosswise as thin as you can.
In your mortar, or food processor, make a paste from the drained chilies, garlic, shallot, lemon grass, turmeric, soy and peppercorns. Remove to mixing bowl.
Add coconut cream, sugar, and the fish. Stir so that it is well mixed and pasty. Set aside.
Cut the banana leaves into 8 X 11 inch rectangles. Cut two more rectangles at 3 X 5 inches. Cut six long thin, string-like strips of banana leaf for tying the packets. Set the large leaves on a cutting board, shiny side down. Place small leaves inside large leaves. Divide and stack spinach on each, then stack basil leaves on top of spinach.
Go back to the fish mix (it is a curry). Stir in the lime zest. Divide the mix between the banana leaves. Fold the edges of the leaves over so that each overlaps in the center.
You will have a tube shape. Now, fold the ends over to close it. Turn each over. Lay the strings down, three per pack on the cutting board. Set the packets on top of the strings.
Tie it up. Not too thick, you don’t want to squeeze out the mix.
Fill the bottom of the wok with water, set the steamer of top of the water. Bring to furious, propulsive boil. Place packets in steamer rack. Cover. Cook ten minutes. No more, no less. At the end of that time, lift the steamer off of the pan and set it aside. With a spatula, and be careful, lift the packets off of the steamer and place on vegetables.

It is also very easy to just lay this on the rack in a high heat ceramic smoker grill like a Big Green Egg.

A Whisper In My Life

Everything is poetry,
there is nothing before
and there is nothing after,
every kiss and every shout,
even when I walk across the dining room floor,
even when I don’t know what It’s all about,
like the waking and the snores,
like a hot shower or hot at work,
everything is poetry
and nothing bores.

Fried Mango Chevre With Basil Poblano Vinaigrette [food, article, Lily And Sweet Fire]


4 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces montrachet goat cheese
½ mango peeled and pureed=3 tablespoons puree
Mix it by hand until smooth. Don’t over mix, stop when smooth and light yellow. Refrigerate for one hour. Pat into 8, one ounce little cakes.
The next stage is flour, eggwash and roll in breadcrumbs. Use the dry hand-wet hand method when breading. One hand for dry ingredients and one hand for wet ingredients, this way you never cross over from batter to flour and your hands aren’t caked up with the breading.
In three separate pans:
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon water, whisked into egg
½ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
Cover with flour and then place into the egg wash pan. Coat with egg and then roll cakes in the breadcrumbs, then egg and breadcrumb them again to make sure they are completely encrusted with the breading.

1 cup corn or peanut oil
Heat to 350 degrees in iron skillet. Fry for 90 seconds per side. Turn again and remove when crust begins to brown.

1 poblano pepper
1 ounce fresh basil
1 tablespoon grain mustard
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup corn oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon ground black pepper
Roast the peppers until the skin blisters and turns black. Wrap and chill. Peel them in cold water and remove seeds. Use the flesh for the vinaigrette. This is also how you roast red bell peppers to get that smooth sweet and slight heat from them.
In food processor: peppers, basil, mustard. Slowly add olive oil, corn oil, vinegar, sugar, and then salt and pepper. Chill.

H Lamar Thomas, Executive Chef
East West Bistro
This recipe is for the restaurant section of the August Southern Distinction magazine. If you use it just remember where it came from and give me a kind word. Food is for everyone, there are no boundaries or limits to what can happen when science and love combine!

Cooking Mussels in the Shell [article, food, Ginger]

Discovering love in the cold months takes a little imagination. The use of aphrodisiacal foods helps. A Puccini opera and an open fire can’t hurt either. Romance and love are two different things, related, but different. Mediterranean and Pan Asian may seem as distant as planets, but this is one earth and many seas, seas that were traveled in the 15th and 16th centuries by Spanish and Portuguese sailing ships. They landed and made their imprint from St. Augustine, Florida to Argentina, Hawaii to Singapore and back again. We will experience this connection by cooking fresh black mussels and the frozen New Zealand green lipped mussel.
Black mussels simmered in coconut water with cilantro, ginger, bird chili peppers, seafood broth, lime and glass noodle is our Pan Asian dish. Steamed with tomato, lemon, garlic, scallions, Pinot Noir and oregano with a garnish of fried shoestring sized potatoes is our Western recipe. Green lipped mussels baked with crabmeat and mascarpone cheese, topped with panko breadcrumbs and baked is our third and last recipe. You can accompany these dishes with rice, couscous, linguini, quinoa and any variety of french fry potatoes.
The Latin influence not only touched the architecture, language and culture but the food and romance as well. When we see similarities between the foods of different cultures we experience also the Romantic nature of the human spirit. Food crosses barriers first; language and romance then follow in like kind. This is why we always seem to set the stage for romantic love with exquisite foods. Love, as in the deeper sense of romance and friendship, needs a little help from time to time to find its way back into the heart. Food is the bridge. Mussels are our way across that bridge today.
When we watch travel cooking shows it is always through the food that the culture speaks. The narrator will give an American perspective first and then taste the food as a native to that country. “Tasting as” is the key. Put yourself into their perspective and then fully entertain the flavors. Experience new foods and cultures as prejudice free as you can. This culture speaks similarity and vast difference.
We will explore this duality by cooking black mussels two different ways and then baking the green lipped mussels. I’ve never seen fresh green mussels in America. In restaurants we use farmed Prince Edward Island mussels (PEI mussels) or white water mussels, which are wild, saltier and larger than PEI mussels. The wild are often called Mediterranean mussels. It is easier to find frozen green than fresh PEI in regular grocery stores. Call to various Farmer’s Markets and specialty grocers to see if they have what you need before planning or setting a date for your dinner.
ALIVE: check to see that your mussels are alive by gently tapping the base on a cutting board. The base is the smaller section where each shell meets. Mussels are “bivalves”, two shells. If they do not close then they are dead. Throw the dead ones away. Rinse them under very cold water and then put in a slotted colander. Cover with ice cubes and then refrigerate until time to cook. Don’t take them out ahead of time and DO NOT put a tight lid over the container, as they will die if deprived of oxygen. They will keep for 14 days from the date that they are harvested. You can plan on keeping them for 2 to 3 days.
Besides being food mussels purify the water. Cleaning the water is the function of bivalves as they clutch to rocks, boats, piers and the bottom of the sea; they purify the water. Most all seafood falls into the category of aphrodisiacs. For the mussel it is because of their shape, and the fact that they are all protein. Mussels have been found, along with shrimp, crab and sea worms alongside deep water volcanoes and chimneys. The temperatures here are over 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Something with that kind of versatility has to be an aphrodisiac.
As the title suggests these are mussels as I had them in a Cantonese restaurant in an ancient, multicultural and sleepless city on the river. Infused with British, Japanese, Shanghainese, Sichuan, Cantonese and Han/Mandarin Chinese, and then Dutch and Swiss influences it is no surprise that some restaurants will have several different takes on a dish. Shanghai has it all. When I first had this one the broth included chopped duck tongue with a bit of beak in for good measure. I just ate away at it crunching from spoonful to spoonful.
Saving the gentle cook from Sichuan specialties like duck tongue and chili pepper tapanade we will forego the genuine for the restrained. Adding it to a mussels and glass noodle dish is purely modern Shanghai; the only thing missing was a dumpling in the dish. You won’t find this in The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook.
I have an option of wheat free or aged tamari for this recipe. If you are on a gluten free diet then use the wheat free tamari. Aged tamari will give you a deeper soy flavor with a hint of oak.

36 mussels, rinsed, cold and alive
1.5 ounces cilantro, leaves, stalk and roots, chopped
1 ounce ginger, shaved thin
4 Thai bird chili peppers or serrano
6 ounces young coconut juice with pulp
4 ounces clam juice
1 lime, juiced and zest
1 ounce Sake
1 ounce wheat free tamari sauce or aged tamari
6 ounces (wet) glass/cellophane/mung bean noodles
soaked in the clam juice

Use a large wok or clay Dutch oven. Put everything except the mussels into the pot and bring to a boil. Keep it boiling for two minutes. Add the mussels and put a cover over the pot/wok/dutch oven. Let it cook for three minutes at a boil. Turn it off. Let it set for two minutes with the lid on.
Divide the mussels between two large serving bowls and then spoon the noodles and broth over the mussels. This is very country style that is very enjoyable with sour dough bread, sesame bread or french bread.
I call these “Mussels George Gore” out of respect for a man whose palate and leadership helped to place Atlanta on the culinary map. He was General Manager for the Abbey and Mansion, two of Atlanta’s premier restaurants along with The Midnight Sun, La Versailles, Pano and Paul’s, and Nikolai’s Roof, which was at one time THE best restaurant in Atlanta. They were devoted to Russian style service that is the basis for Michelin stars. It was all before the next generation of chefs and their restaurants: Gunter Seegar, Linton Hopkins, Michael Touhy, Shaun Doty, David Larksworthy, Hector Santiago, Richard Blaise, Muss and Turner, Nicholas Bour, Scott Peacock, Kevin Rathbun and not so great, myself. That is a strong group of Chefs and they took Atlanta the rest of the way to becoming the expanse culinary landmark that it is today. George Gore sounded like James Earl Jones; he had that forceful presence and always seemed to stand taller than anyone in the room. All were humble before him, really. George loved to charm people and that is the stuff that makes for a superior restaurateur. And his daughter is a UGA graduate.
George was the man behind the helicopters bringing in first vintage Beaujolais from France for banquets celebrating this great wine. He fronted many a Chaines de Rotisseire banquet, the reception for Ronald Reagan’s second term in office and innumerable culinary functions in Atlanta. He really and truly was one of the most influential people in my career. Mussels were a favorite of his.
He commanded a restaurant with an enviable ease and yet could turn around and send the mightiest chef quivering to the kitchen battery. His wine lists are legendary. He was the force that for twenty years kept The Abbey and The Mansion at the top any list. He once told me that when he retired all he wanted to do was be a gentle maitre d’ for a country French restaurant. He has now simply retired but his stamp upon the food industry in Georgia will always be present. I can only hope that this recipe makes it way to him so that he fully understands the beauty of his way with wine and food. Louis Osteen was the inspiration to my career but it was George Gore that made me respect what is at the heart of cuisine and service. (The Mansion property is now the site of luxury condos and the Abbey has been turned back into a church.)
36 mussels, rinsed, chilled
4 ounces Pinot noir
12 stamens saffron, simmered in the wine
½ cup tomato, chopped and seeded
2 lemon, juice and zest
10 scallions, chopped white to light green only
24 fresh oregano, leaves only
4 cloves garlic, slices as thin as possible
Combine all of the above and bring to boil. Cover and simmer for five minutes
Divide into serving bowls and spray with the vodka:
½ ounce Peppercorn vodka in spray bottle
1 pound russet potato cut into very thin strips
1 cup peanut oil, heat to 350 degrees
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seafood seasoning
Fry the shoestring cut potatoes to crispy, drain and sprinkle with the Old Bay. Set fries on top of the mussels.
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated fine
Sprinkle over the mussels and frites.

The New Zealand green lipped mussel is a major export. The green lipped mussel is so called because the shell is green and there is a green tinge around the edge of the inner shell. It has only one section so when you hold it up the meat does not open slightly like black mussels. I love these things and used to have them on the menu waaaaaayyyy back in 1995-98. Only reason I took them off was because the black mussels were coming in as a better overall fresh product. The only frozen these days are calamari and some of the shrimp. There is nothing wrong with the green lipped frozen product. It is plump, full flavor of the clean waters and easy to manage.
They are so high in antioxidants that green lipped mussel extract and powder is used for arthritis pain. The naturally occurring anti-inflammatory lipids make this a valuable tidal crop. Imagine that, all the reasons you are told that seafood is good for you are true. Of course we are here to enjoy their flavor, the energy that they produce and for the exalted joy of sharing a romantic meal.
2 ounces backfin crabmeat
2 ounces crab claw meat
2 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon madras curry powder
4 ounces panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
Gently combine and set aside.
16 green lipped mussels, thawed in the refrigerator
Put teaspoon of the mix on top of each mussel. Set mussels on baking pan.
Turn oven onto 450 degrees, or cook them on the grill with light smoke like apple wood. Cook 10 minutes. Remove from pan using a pair tongs because they will be hot.



politics philosophy phenomena

Poems for Warriors

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Ps 147:3


Pen to paper

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

Musings and books from a grunty overthinker

Eclipsed Words

Aspire To Inspire


Poetry by Charles Joseph


garden ponderings

𝓡. 𝓐. 𝓓𝓸𝓾𝓰𝓵𝓪𝓼

𝙳𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚋𝚒𝚐! 𝙻𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚋𝚒𝚐𝚐𝚎𝚛!

Flutter of Dreams

Dreaming in Music and Writing by Mel Gutiér


Immature poet imitate...but the mature one steal from the depth of the heart



My Cynical Heart

Welcome to my world.

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Harry nu je hier bent. Welcome to the Discobar Bizar blog, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Harry whilst you are here!

the poet's billow

a resource for moving poetry


confessions are self-serving


politics philosophy phenomena

Poems for Warriors

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Ps 147:3


Pen to paper

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

Musings and books from a grunty overthinker

Eclipsed Words

Aspire To Inspire


Poetry by Charles Joseph


garden ponderings

𝓡. 𝓐. 𝓓𝓸𝓾𝓰𝓵𝓪𝓼

𝙳𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚋𝚒𝚐! 𝙻𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚋𝚒𝚐𝚐𝚎𝚛!

Flutter of Dreams

Dreaming in Music and Writing by Mel Gutiér


Immature poet imitate...but the mature one steal from the depth of the heart



My Cynical Heart

Welcome to my world.

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Harry nu je hier bent. Welcome to the Discobar Bizar blog, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Harry whilst you are here!

the poet's billow

a resource for moving poetry


confessions are self-serving


politics philosophy phenomena

Poems for Warriors

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Ps 147:3


Pen to paper

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

Musings and books from a grunty overthinker

Eclipsed Words

Aspire To Inspire


Poetry by Charles Joseph


garden ponderings

𝓡. 𝓐. 𝓓𝓸𝓾𝓰𝓵𝓪𝓼

𝙳𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚋𝚒𝚐! 𝙻𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚋𝚒𝚐𝚐𝚎𝚛!

Flutter of Dreams

Dreaming in Music and Writing by Mel Gutiér


Immature poet imitate...but the mature one steal from the depth of the heart



My Cynical Heart

Welcome to my world.

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Harry nu je hier bent. Welcome to the Discobar Bizar blog, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Harry whilst you are here!

the poet's billow

a resource for moving poetry


confessions are self-serving

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