stuffed sole 
You may already know papa’s brand new bag, but this little number is sure to awaken the funky spirit within you.  Stuffed with a blend of chanterelle mushrooms, capers and thyme, this sex machine of a dish will have your guests begging please, please, please for seconds.  Say it loud: I cook and I’m proud!
(Note: If you’re not rolling your eyes right now, you’re probably related to me.)

Makes: 2 people feel good (nah-ne nah-ne nah-ne-ne)
Total kitchen time: 30 mins

Shopping list:

  • 2 fillets of sole
  • 2 oz. chanterelle mushrooms (fresh if you can find ’em)
  • 2 tbsp. capers
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 2 tbsp. coarse bread crumbs (a few crumbled crackers will do the trick)
  • 1 tbsp. coarse cornmeal
  • 1 pat butter
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • coarse salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Set the upper rack in the top third of the oven.
  2. Thoroughly clean and rinse the mushrooms.  Dry them well with a paper towel and chop into 1/4″ cubes.
  3. Heat the butter in a medium skillet over high heat.  Add the mushrooms and sauté until they have browned slightly, about 5 minutes.  Add the lemon juice and cook for another minute or so.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Roughly chop together the mushrooms, capers, thyme and breadcrumbs. Lightly salt and pepper the sole fillets.  Place a small mound of the mushroom and caper mixture in the center of each fillet and roll into a tube.  The fillets will be delicate, so be extra careful when handling them.  Dust each fillet with cornmeal.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium heat.  Once the oil has started to glisten like a rhinestone cape, add the fillets.  Once they’ve hit the pan, don’t even think about moving them unless you want to end up with Godfather of Sole Helper.  Sear the bottom of the fillets until golden brown, about 2 minutes. 
  6. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the fish is cooked.  It should flake when you poke it with a fork.  I’ve always thought this was dumb advice, though.  Like saying your tire pressure is correct if the tire pops when you stab it with a needle.  The fish is done when it’s done.  Use your eyes.

Plate and serve with a mushroom risotto and a parmesan red chili fritter.   Git up and git down!

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Reading time: 2 min

lobster with white chocolate and pomegranate 
If you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day treat, this recipe screams Besame Mucho!  In an unusual but spot-on pairing, the white chocolate and pomegranate bolster the delicate flavor of the lobster without overpowering it.  Plus, your date will think you spent years at culinary school for pulling off this dish.  You can skip the Panther Musk cologne tonight – this meal is the only aphrodisiac you’ll need.

Makes: 2 lovers swoon
Total kitchen time: 30 minutes

Shopping list:

  • 2 fresh lobster tails (as large or small as your budget)
  • 1 pomegranate (or, if you’re in a hurry, 1/2 cup pomegranate juice)
  • 4 Oz. high-quality white chocolate
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Set the top rack about 10″ below the heating element.  This recipe also works great in a toaster oven, if you’ve got one.
  2. Cut off the top and bottom of the pomegranate.  In a large bowl filled halfway with water, peel apart the pomegranate.  The arils (they look like purple corn kernels) will sink to the bottom and the pith will float to the top.  Discard all but the arils. 
  3. Using my favorite squeezing tool, a potato ricer, squeeze as much juice as possible from the arils and reserve.
  4. Prepare each lobster tail by removing the membrane that covers the meat.  Turn the tail upside down (as pictured) and cut away the transparent exoskeleton by trimming along the edges. 
  5. Arrange the lobster tails, meat side up, on a rimmed baking sheet.  If necessary, make a “U” out of a tin foil log to help keep the tails stable.  Divide the butter between the two tails and bake for 15 minutes or until the lobster is just tender.
  6. Reduce the pomegranate juice in a small skillet over very high heat.  You’re looking for the juice to reduce by about half, or until it starts to look slightly syrupy. 
  7. Melt the white chocolate in a small saucepan over VERY low heat.  White chocolate will burn easily if it is overheated.  If this happens, throw out the chocolate and start again. 
  8. Once the white chocolate is melted, drizzle in the reduced pomegranate juice.  Use a spoon to swirl the pomegranate into the white chocolate so it looks pretty.
  9. Plate the lobster and spoon the white chocolate sauce onto the meat.

Serve hot atop a bed of julienned asian pears.  As a side, try a souffle or a panzanela salad.  You and your date will be quite happy for your efforts.

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Reading time: 2 min

DSC_0145 
Hi readers.  It’s me, the modern man.  Like my ancestors, I am predisposed to certain indulgences: domestic beer, ball park hot dogs, sandwiches measured in board-feet…  However, decades of instinctual evolution have led me to master the elevation of my desires.  I present to you now, the modern man’s potato chip.  Crunchy, salty and faithful in spirit to the ancient bagged recipes found at 7-11, these chips are the missing link between Monday Night Football-era Doritos and pre-Symphony crostini.

Makes: 1 Jumbo-Sized Mega Bag
Total kitchen time: 30 mins

Shopping list:

  • 2 lbs. russet potatoes, skin-on, cleaned well
  • 1 tbsp. safflower oil
  • 2 tbsp. red Hawaiian sea salt

Note: The oil and salt you use will really define the flavor of these chips.  Don’t use olive oil, since the smoke point is too low.  I used safflower oil, but you can also try canola oil, or any other oil suitable for frying.  Please, for the sake of modern men everywhere, don’t use table salt.  Find the spice aisle of your nearest (finer) grocery store and peruse their collection of finishing salts.  You’ll undoubtedly uncover some interesting varieties – experiment and find the flavor that you like best.

  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F.  Set the top rack about 10″ below the heating element.
  2. Set the depth on your mandoline or v-slicer to .75mm or 1mm.  If you don’t have a mandoline, you can use a knife to slice the potatoes but you had better be a samurai to get the slices thin and even.
  3. Slice the potatoes into discs.  Blot the potato discs with paper towels to remove some of the moisture. 
  4. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the safflower oil and salt.  Lightly grease a baking sheet and arrange the potato slices so they don’t overlap.  You’ll need to do this in several batches (working 2 at a time) to get through all 2 lbs. of potatoes.
  5. Bake for about 6 minutes, or until spots of brown appear.  Pay very close attention to the potatoes towards the end of 6 minutes – they’ll go from light brown to burnt quickly.
  6. Remove the chips from the baking sheet with a board scraper or spatula into a large bowl.  Serve promptly!
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Reading time: 1 min
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