Chocolate Dipped Cardamom Biscotti

This is a fabulous twist on the more common anise biscotti.  The cardamom gives the cookie an exotic taste and matches perfectly with the chocolate.  It goes great with coffee, tea, or even ice cream.  You can eat it for breakfast, as a dessert, or even a mid-afternoon snack. 

I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart's but increased the cardamom and added the chocolate to give it more of a kick.  Some may be intimidated to make biscotti but I think you will find that they are actually very easy to do.  You don't even need an electric mixer.  Give these a try for your next dinner party and watch your friends be impressed!


  • 1 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup blanched almonds, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 oz chocolate (I used Ghiradelli 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate chips)

Instructions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and sugar. Using a whisk, mix ingredients together so there are no lumps in the flour and everything is incorporated. Add the almonds to the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs and vanilla. Using a spatula, fold egg mixture into the dry ingredients until it forms a dough.  On a parchment lined sheet pan form dough into a long flat log, about 2 inch X 10 inch.

The Biscotti's first bake

Place in the top third of the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, or until crispy on top but still soft in the center. Let cool for 10 minutes. Using a long serrated knife cut into 1 inch slices on a slight diagonal. Lay slices back onto the sheet pan and bake 7-8 minutes. Turn biscotti and bake for an additional 7-8 minutes. Let biscotti cool for 10 minutes before dipping in chocolate.

Slice and bake again

Melt chocolate in a glass bowl using either a microwave or a double boiler. In a microwave, heat for 1 minute, then stir with a heatproof spatula and heat for an additional 30 seconds. Dip cooled biscotti cookies into the chocolate halfway down and place on parchment/wax paper to dry.  Once chocolate has hardened serve or store in airtight container.

Dip Biscotti in Chocolate

Makes 20-30 cookies.

AuthorAmy Koch

Pesto, Piquillo Pepper, and Classic Deviled Eggs

We made our Deviled Easter Bunny Eggs in a few different variations: a Pesto version and a Roasted Piquillo Pepper version added green and red next to the yellow of the Classic Deviled Eggs. The three different colors really stand out on the platter.

I saw photos of deviled eggs somewhere on the internet that looked like bunnies. They were so funny, they inspired us to do this but when I searched for them again, I couldn't find them anywhere. So, thanks mysterious egg decorator out there, we owe you a link.

To make them into bunnies, slice a small piece of the egg white off the bottom. Do this before you fill them and that slice allows them to lie flat too. Cut the slice into two. Make three small incisions into the egg white, one about a quarter inch in front of the yolk space and two in front into the edge on either side of the pointy side of the white.

Carefully insert the two slivers into the incision near the yolk space and a chive into each slot in the front. Make some eyes from sesame seeds. Lastly, place a small piece of chive in the very front for a nose. Have fun with decorating and get the kids involved! Give these a try in lieu of coloring eggs, they are much more delicious.

Pesto, Piquillo Pepper, and Classic Deviled Eggs


Roasted Piquillo Eggs

12 cooked egg yolks
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
6 roasted Piquillo peppers
1/2 teaspoon of smoked Spanish paprika
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a mini food processor, puree peppers with mayonnaise until smooth. Add in egg yolks, paprika, salt and pepper and puree once more until combined. Pipe the filling into the empty egg whites, we used a plastic bag with the corner cut off. Garnish with more paprika.

Pesto Filled Eggs

12 cooked egg yolks
3/4 cup mayonnaise
6 Tablespoons prepared basil pesto
6 Tablespoons chives
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth. Pipe the filling into the empty egg whites, we used a plastic bag with the corner cut off. Garnish with finely chopped chives.

Classic Deviled Eggs

12 cooked egg yolks
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth. Pipe the filling into the empty egg whites, we used a plastic bag with the corner cut off.

Hi all, I had an office call looking for their free goods. It was a 1+1 on an SDR intro. Shelly wasn’t able to find anything on it. They purchased it in early February.





(760) 439-5515


Can we send one out and expidite it? Thanks,


AuthorDave and Amy Koch
12 CommentsPost a comment

Spinach Salad with Beets, Walnuts, and Goat Cheese

Green, brown, white, and deep crimson.  The colors scream to be consumed.  We threw this together to accompany a pasta dish on a sunny Sunday but this salad is so hearty it could also be a weeknight meal.  We cheated by using Trader Joe's vacuum packed pre-cooked beets, but you could roast your own easily in about 45 minutes (technique below).

Use a basic balsamic vinaigrette to accent the flavors and not overpower them.  Balsamic vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper do the trick nicely.  Lightly toast the walnuts in a dry skillet.  Open the bag of spinach and dress the leaves.  Slice the beets thin and place on the greens.  Drop gobs of goat cheese, and I like to finish with more fresh ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

If you want to roast your own beets.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Cut the greens off about an inch over the bulb, wash very carefully as they are often quite sandy.  Rub some olive oil all over them and either fold up into an aluminum foil pouch and/or place on foil-lined baking sheet.  Roast for 45 minutes.  Remove the skin, it skin should come off easily under running water.

If you want to make your own cheese, read a book.

If you ever get red pee after eating beets, like I do, don't be alarmed.  Not only is it relatively common, but they have a name for it, Beeturia.  There is some evidence to suggest it may be more prevalent in individuals with iron deficiency but they also think that the specific gut flora plays an uncertain role.  Well, now you know.

Authordavid koch
4 CommentsPost a comment

Home made Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

My mother in-law roasts fresh pumpkin seeds on a regular basis.  Almost weekly.  They are a wonderful snack; delicious, healthful, and have an amazing crunch.  I asked her recently how she makes them because I wasn't seeing piles of pumpkin carcasses laying around everywhere.

She simply uses the ones from Trader Joes, tosses them in a little olive oil, and roasts them at 350 degrees until they begin to pop, about 15 minutes.  She uses Trader Joe's brand because they are not too salty.

If you can only get your hands on David's pumpkin seeds (and you can, they're ubiquitous, they're even at 7-11).  You'll need to soak them in water for about 10 minutes to remove most of the salt.  I've had them before and they are unpalatable.  They then will need to be dried with paper towels and roasted longer as well.

Once they come out of the oven, add salt as needed.  Let them cool, and store them in an air tight container.  They'll keep for weeks.

I thought it was interesting to read David's nutritional facts.  Besides showing they are high in zinc, iron, and magnesium, I was baffled they that they only stated 10mg of sodium.  "But they're indelibly salty," I protested in my head. Who do they think they are?

I also noticed they only showed 1g of fiber per 30 gram serving.  What gives?  Pumpking seeds are mostly fiber!

Eureka!  At the bottom of the facts, it states, "Nutrition facts are for the Pumpkin Seed Kernal.  Eating the shell as well would bring the sodium total to 940mg (39% Daily Value)" - Unfortunately, they fail to mention that it would also bring the fiber total to a whopping 10 grams!

Americans don't eat enough fiber.  Eat more pumpkin seeds.

Authordavid koch
2 CommentsPost a comment
Gaucho Chili Verde

This recipe has nothing really to do with Argentinian Cowboys (Gauchos) except for the fact that UCSB's Basketball team made it to the Big West finals last Saturday and we don't get to celebrate sports very often.  UCSB is most known in sports for throwing tortillas at games, not winning them.  We decided at the last minute to have some friends to cheer them on over and make a big pot of Chili Verde.

This is a great dish for entertaining because it is A) relatively inexpensive B) can sit on the stove for hours and be served from its cooking vessel C) is freaking delicious.  We served it with some Mexican rice, a black bean salad, tortillas, and a bunch of fixin's... beer too, obviously.  This is a crowd of Gauchos after all.

The Verde (green, in Spanish) must have brought out the luck of the Irish because UCSB triumphed over Long Beach State and we're going to March Madness!  We're going to need a lot more than luck this Friday the 19th, unfortunately, to make it past Ohio State who is favored by 17 points.  We may need a truck full of tortillas too.


The recipe was adapted from Joanne Weir's recipe Slow Braised Pork in her book Tequila.  Among other changes, we omitted the tequila because there were some pregnant ladies running around.  Feel free replace a 1/2 cup of water with a 1/2 cup of tequila

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2 large pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 jalapeños, seeded and minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 cups chopped tomatillos (fresh or canned)
  • 2 cups water
Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat.  Make sure it is one that you have a lid for.  Season the pork well with salt and pepper.  Add the pork to the pot and sear until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes total.  Remove the pork from the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeños.

Cook everything, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, 10 to 12 minutes.  Add the garlic, cumin, and oregano tomatillos, water, and pork and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the pork is very tender, about 1-2 hours. 

Take the lid off, remove the pork, increase the heat to medium, and simmer until the sauce thickens.  Shred the pork with a pair of forks and add it back to the pot.  Served with warmed corn tortillas and accoutrement like sour cream, chopped cilantro, hot sauce, avocado, chopped scallions, and diced onions. 
AuthorDave and Amy Koch
3 CommentsPost a comment

Wonton Vegetable Soup

You can find bok choy anytime of year but its peak season is during the winter months. I like the baby bok choy for this soup but if you can't find it feel free to substitute for the larger bok choy or even Napa cabbage. 

I kept this soup on the simpler side with just the wontons and vegetables, but it would also be great with some shrimp and chicken thrown in. Also, don't feel you have to limit yourself to these vegetables, throw in whatever you like or may have on hand!

This recipe makes a good amount of wontons, so if you have extra throw them in the freezer and save for later use. This recipe was adapted from Emeril Lagasse.  



  • 20-30 wonton wrappers
  • 8 oz ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoon scallions, finely sliced


  • 1/2 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 slices ginger root, 1 inch thick
  • 10 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon, fresh ginger juice**
  • 2 medium carrots, peel and sliced
  • 2-3 baby bok choy, sliced
  • 4-6 cremini or shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Scallions and chili paste for garnish

**grate ginger and then squeeze out the liquid


To assemble the wontons: In a bowl combine pork, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and scallions. Lay wontons on counter and place 1 teaspoon of pork filling in the middle of each square. 

Brush all four edges of the wrapper with a little water and fold corners together so it forms a triangle. Seal tightly so that all the extra air is removed from inside.  Continue to fold the 2 bottom corners together so they stick together. Let wontons sit while you make the soup.

For the soup: Add oil to a large pot over medium heat.  Add garlic and ginger and saute for 1-2 minutes then add in broth and bring up to a boil.  Reduce heat and let soup simmer for 20-30 so the garlic and ginger infuse into the soup. Once it has infused, remove garlic and ginger pieces and add in soy sauce and ginger juice.

Add in carrots, bok choy, and mushrooms and let simmer 3-5 minutes or until they begin to get tender. Add in wontons and simmer an additional 5-10 minutes or until pork is cooked through.  Check soup for seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle in soup bowls and serve.  Garnish with sliced scallions and pass around chili paste for those who like a little heat.

Makes 4-6 servings

AuthorAmy Koch
3 CommentsPost a comment

I have traveled twice to Hungary, both times as a youngster to play water polo.  It is their national sport and outside Southern California, Hungary is one of the few places you can find formidable opponents.  They have more Olympic medals in water polo than any other country; and there, everyone plays.  In some of the towns we visited the pool was akin to their community center. 

Ever since my first visit, Goulash has forever been forged in my head as one of the most delicious things you can do with a cow.  I remember going to a "hunting lodge" about an hour's drive outside Eger where a big cauldron of Goulash was literally suspended outside over a wood fire.  One of the hosts was telling me that you can't call it Goulash unless it cooks for 24 hours.  Otherwise, it is simply beef soup.

This may have been my first cooking lesson, I was 13.

It was amazing.  The meat dissolved in your mouth and the paprika warmed you up from the inside.  They served it over spätzle.  At the hunting lodge it was also customary for everyone to drink palinka, the local fruit brandy, even the kids (us).  We played kickball [I think] and someone threw up on the way home.  It was awesome.

Amy recently made a big batch of Goulash and based the recipe on the one from Cook's Illustrated.  She used a little less meat, a little less paprika, wine instead of vinegar, and a little less onion.  She has made it now with both the Hungarian sweet paprika and with Spanish smoked paprika and she highly recommends not to use the smoked stuff; it is just too overbearing.

We don't expect anyone to have a spätzlemaker so you can serve it over boiled potatoes or egg noodles.  We used egg noodles.


  • 3 lbs. boneless chuck roast (or any stewing meat), trimmed and cut into 1-2 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup Hungarian (sweet) paprika
  • 1-12 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 teaspoons white wine
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced small
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch long rounds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup beef broth, warmed
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, plus additional for a garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 325.  Sprinkle the meat with a teaspoon of salt and allow to sit while you blend the sauce.  In a food processor or blender, add the paprika, roasted peppers, tomato paste, 3 teaspoons of the white wine, and 1/2 cup of the beef broth and blend well.  Stop and scrape down the sides as needed.

In a large pot (that has a lid and is oven proof) or Dutch oven, add the onion, vegetable oil, and 1 teaspoon of salt, stir briefly and cover over medium heat.  Cook stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes, but don't let the onions brown.

Once the onions are softened, add the paprika and red pepper mixture and cook until the onions start to stick to the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes.  Add the beef, carrots, and bay leaf and stir so that everything gets coated well. 

Scrape down the sides of the pot, cover, and place in oven until meat is tender, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  Be sure to stir about every 30 minutes.  If the Goulash becomes too thick, use the remaining 1/2 cup of beef broth to thin it to your desired consistency. 

Keep the level of the sauce about 1/4 inch from the top of the meat.  The key here to developing deep flavors is that the top of the meat is browning in the oven while the bottom half of the meat braises.  Then you stir it and incorporate that top layer back into the sauce. 

The Goulash done when the meat if fork-tender.  When you are getting close, boil your potatoes or egg noodles so that they are ready when the Goulash is also. 

If there is any fat or oil on the surface, skim it off.  Add the remaining white wine and sour cream and fish out the bay leaf.  Add salt and pepper as needed, garnish with more sour cream if you like and serve hot.

Authordavid koch
6 CommentsPost a comment

Mint is a nearly global herb (genus: Mentha) with native species occurring on every continent except Antarctica and oddly enough, South America.  It is found in almost every culture's cuisine and is one of the rare herbs that works to flavor both sweet and savory dishes.  Fresh mint can be found easily at almost every market in America, year round.  I know I take it for granted, and I'll be you do to.

Mint and Lamb dance together like a pair of Olympic ice skaters, but I wanted Carne Asada tacos, and I knew some of that mint-y green freshness would pick them up nicely. The mint plays well with the earthyness of the cumin and the heat from the cayenne.  It elevates the flavor of the beef and really brings it out.

With an extra pair of hands I whipped these up in about 20 minutes.  There is really no trick except warming up the corn tortillas properly so that they stay pliable, which I messed up, but I will do better next time. 


  • 1 pound skirt steak, flank will do or really anything, it doesn't matter - they're for tacos
  • 2-3 large ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large pile of chopped iceberg or Romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup minced mint
  • 1 package of corn tortillas, sometimes flour will suffice but today is not one of them
  • 2 tablespoons of ground cumin
  • 1 -2 teaspoons ground cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • about 1 tablespoon each of salt and ground black pepper
  • standby with your favorite hot sauce


Mix the salt, pepper, and spices in a bowl and coat both sides of the meat well with them, rubbing then in a little bit for good measure.  Talk to them.  Tell them how delicious they're going to be. Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and then in foil and place them in the oven at 200 - you can use the toaster oven too, we did.

Over high heat in a grill pan or skillet (yes, you could use a BBQ but it was February in California and must have been a miserable 55 degrees out there!) - place the meat on and get a good sizzle going.  Cook the meat to medium, about 3 minutes per side.

Have all your accouterments ready for assembly and ready to go.  When the meat comes off give it a few minutes to rest, and be sure to slice it against the grain.  Pull the tortillas a out and start making tacos!  Sprinkle on the mint last so that it is on top of everything, its aromatics will hit your nose first and it adds a nice dark green pop to the tacos.

Serve with sliced radishes.  Enjoy.


Authordavid koch

I recently went to a cool Persian joint for some kabob and came across a bottle of Abali Yogurt Soda.  I thought to myself, "I like yogurt, and I like soda.  How bad could it be?"  The bottle showed some separation with a thick white layer towards the bottom.  I asked if it is supposed to be shaken first.  The purveyor said yes, shake it first then give it a few minutes so that it doesn't explode on you.

Stoked, I bought one.  I shook it up, and while I waited, I read the ingredients.  Soda water, yogurt, mint, salt.  I can pronounce all of those!  When it settled I took a sip and was a little surprised at how salty it was.  It wasn't incredibly salty, I've just never had a savory soda before.  I found it quite pleasant after a few more sips, and completely delicious over ice.

I had never heard of yogurt soda before and was kind of shocked to find how ubiquitous the drink is in the Middle East.  It can be called doogh, dugh, do, abdugh, shlombay, sheneena, or tahn depending where you might be.  Yogurt + soda = most Americans getting grossed out, but it really isn't much different from India's Lassi, as in Mango Lassi served everywhere.

While I was looking on the web for more information about it, I found this cool food blog, Yogurt Soda.

I went to the store to make my own.  I picked up:

  • One 18oz. bottle of Crystal Geyser unflavored sparkling mineral water
  • One pint of lowfat yogurt
  • One bunch of mint
  • I had salt at home

I boiled about three cups of water and dumped the bunch of mint in to steep until the water cooled to room temperature, about an hour.  To each glass I added a pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons of the cooled mint water, 3 tablespoons of yogurt and stirred.  I topped off each glass with some ice and the soda water.  Mmm, just like Abali.

Authordavid koch
CategoriesDrinks, Recipes
6 CommentsPost a comment

Back in the 80's my mom used to love the Mexican Pizza from Pizza Hut.  Unfortunately, it didn't last as a permanent fixture on the Pizza Hut menu so I decided to recreate it for her.  You could use store bought pizza dough or make your own favorite dough recipe.  I actually made this pizza dough in our bread machine, you just put the ingredients in and let the machine do all the work.... brilliant!

To season the meat we just used a taco spice packet since that was on hand, but you could easily make it without.  Just cook up the meat in a skillet with any combination of mexican spices you have (cumin, cayenne, chili powder, salt, pepper, a pinch of oregano).  Here is how I made it, and feel free to make it your own with your favorite mexican toppings.


  • 1 package or 1 recipe of pizza dough
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 lb of cooked taco seasoned ground beef
  • 4 oz mozzarella, shredded
  • 4 oz shredded Mexican cheese blend, (cheddar, monterey jack, queso fresco)
  • 2 cups shredded romaine or iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp of your favorite hot sauce



Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Roll out pizza dough to desired thickness (I like it on the thinner side for this pizza) and place on pizza pan or sheet pan.  Bake in oven until crust just begins to turn a golden brown (about 8-10 minutes).

Remove from oven and spread on refried beans, then sprinkle with taco meat and mozzarella cheese. Place back in the oven for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until toppings are hot and cheese is melted.

Remove from oven and top with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and mexican cheese. Combine sour cream with hot sauce and place in empty squeeze bottle, then drizzle over the top of pizza.  If you don't have a squeeze bottle you could just serve on the side.

Cut pizza into slices and serve!


AuthorAmy Koch

I can't bake because I cannot, I will not, follow directions.  I don't have the patience to be a lemming (just kidding), but part of me thinks that if someone else came up with this recipe, I can make it better.  Unfortunately, this experimental attitude which makes cooking with me entertainment, makes baking with me a complete disaster.

Enter the in-laws' bread maker.  I attempted French Bread first and I followed the instructions to a "T."  I really, truly promise that I did.  By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way came.  Although the scent which permeated the house would have made someone with Celiac Disease drool, the brick that emerged was completely inedible.

I next tried this recipe for Poppy Seed Lemon Bread from Allrecipes (they have 5 to chose from).  It looked simple enough, I love lemons, I love poppy seeds, I love bread.  I followed the directions again (which was nothing much more than dumping everything into the bread maker and turning it on) and this time we were successful.

They suggest whipping up a little Nutmeg Butter to spread on top, which I have not tried yet but it sounds delicious.  The recipe also called for some ground nutmeg in the dough which I forgot so I'm including it in the list but I makes great bread without it.  The Poppy Seed Lemon Bread is great alone, toasted with some butter, with a cup of coffee or even a beer.  Enjoy.

PS:  If you don't have bread maker, too bad, I have no idea how to make bread.


  • 3/4 cup of warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • The zest of the lemon, done with a microplane or minced fine
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast (one package)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, omitted

I proofed the yeast in the water for about 20 minutes while I threw everything else in the machine.  Once the yeast started to bubble a little bit, I added them and turned the machine on.  I used our basic bread setting with a medium crust.

Nutmeg Butter

  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Authordavid koch
4 CommentsPost a comment

Putting the Muff in Muffaletta

Every 5 or so years, the Sports Gods look down from that sports bar in the sky and bless us with a great theme for the greatest food/sports combo know to man: The Super Bowl. New York is playing? Sausage and Peppers, Pizza. The Niners? Crab artichoke dip. Miami? Cubanos. Dallas or KC? BBQ.

You can count on the great city of New Orleans hosting the Big Game every 5 years or so, but this year, the year of our lord 2010, the often down-trodden yet extremely loveable Saints are actually playing in the Big Game, hopefully giving this great City a much deserved and karmically fitting championship.

What this means is an excuse to roll even harder with Etouffee, Gumbo, Po-Boys, Beingnets (sweet and/or savory), Jambalaya, Abita Beer, Hurricanes, Blackened Gator, fatty gulf oysters, beads, titties, the whole nine yards.  In honor of this city that had given so much to the global culinary landscape, today I choose to honor the Crescent City's Sicilian ancestry with a classic NOLA nugget, the Muffaletta.

How can anyone not love a something called a Muffaletta? Then when one realizes that this a briny delight of freshly baked bread, cured meats, provolone and some type of olive relish, we know that we truly have something special here.

For more history on this sandwich and where to indulge in one of every in the Big Easy, click here. I've eaten the famed sando at the Central Market and I'm pretty sure I can do it better. Yeah.


Making Muffaletta

Matt's Muffaletta:
Serves several.
Homemade Foccacia (by all means, store bought is fine, as is Ciabatta loaf or really and quality artisan loaf from a good source):

1 envelope (1/4-ounce) active dry yeast 
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F.)
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Using an electric mixer with a dough hook, whisk the yeast, sugar, garlic, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, warm water, and caramelized onions together for 2 minutes to dissolve the yeast. Add the salt and flour. With the mixer on low, mix until the dough starts to come together.

Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and crawls up the dough hook. Grease a mixing bowl with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Place the dough in the greased bowl and turn once. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft free place until the dough doubles in size about 1 1/2 hours.

Grease a half baking sheet pan (17 by 12) with 2 teaspoons of the oil. Turn the dough out onto a baking sheet. Punch the dough down and press the dough out to form the pan. Brush the dough with remaining 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Sprinkle the dough with kosher salt and sesame seeds.

Lightly cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 1 hour. Bake the dough for 30 to 35 minutes or until the dough is golden brown. 


Mixing Muffaletta

Olive Relish:

1 pint assorted olives from the olive bar - get pitted - it will save time. I also took a few marinated mushrooms because that's how I roll.
1 jar (12oz) roasted red peppers
1 jar (6.5 oz) marinted artichoke hearts
10-15 pepperoncinis
Generous pinch dried oregano

Small chop all ingredients, combine and let sit for at least 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before assembling sando.

Meats & Cheeses:

1/2 lb Provolone
1/2 lb Mortadella
1/2 lb prosciutto
1/2 lb Salame Toscano


Setting up the Muffaletta


Whatever bread you've chosen to use, slice it and stack your meats/cheeses/olive. It's not rocket science - you're making a sandwich. I prefer a layering technique - mortadella, cheese, spread, proscuitto, spread, cheese, salame, cheese, so the cross section looks more interesting.

After the meats, cheeses and olive salad are looking pretty, wrap your muff in plastic wrapand let sit for another hour before slicing.

Go Saints!!!!!!! 

AuthorMatt Haas

I was watching Daisy Cooks! on PBS the other day and my mouth began to water as Daisy Martinez made her Chicken Chilaquiles.  Daisy was so excited that she was dancing around and singing "Chilaquiles, chilaquiles"!  Her enthusiasm inspired me.

Last Friday we were going to attend a pot luck dinner party at a friend's house and I couldn't wait to make this recipe.  With only a few minor adjustments I followed Daisy's method.  This recipe takes some time; however, you could easily make a quicker version by using tortilla chips and your favorite store bought green enchilada sauce. 

This homemade tomatillo sauce is very refreshing when you use cilantro and mint.  I decreased the mint and increased the jalepeno in order to give it more of a kick.  Feel free to play with the proportions to make it to your liking. Here is the recipe I used or you can view Daisy's original recipe on her website: 

For the sauce:

  • 1 ½ pounds tomatillos, peeled, washed and cut into chunks
AuthorAmy Koch
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Photo by Trina Sustersic

I made a batch of these in preparation for Super Bowl to fine tune the recipe.  I plan on starting the marinade the day before so that the flavors penetrate completely into the meat.  That way all the prep is done and the only thing left to do on game day is to throw them on the barbie.

I thought of Paradise when I tasted some of the tangerines we have come across as of late.  Ginger, garlic, and soy sauce round out an Asian-inspired sweet-n-sour.  I decided on combining all those flavors with Grains of Paradise, a wonderful spice that could really use a Public Relations Agent.  

Grains of Paradise are like a cross between black pepper and nutmeg; they impart a je ne sais quoi that seems familiar to - albeit still different than anything you've ever tasted before.  They are pretty inexpensive and we keep them in a separate pepper grinder to twist a few turns over dishes where one would normally use pepper.

For each pound of wings:

Authordavid koch

Over the past few years, you can find much better stocks now in the supermarkets.  These are great for quick cooking, however, there is just no replacing the real thing. To make a rich beef broth the secret is in the roasting.

This is the method that was taught to me at Tante Marie's Cooking School in San Francisco, where we would make a beef and chicken stock on Mondays to use for the rest of the week.  Never season your stocks with salt until you use them in your dish as reducing a stock with salt will essentially make it too salty.  

Also, always make the biggest batch of stock you can since it takes so much time and you can easily freeze any leftover for later use.

  • 4-5 lbs of beef bones (use a combination of 2-inch marrow bones and shank)
AuthorAmy Koch


We nabbed a ton of citrus from visiting relatives in Palm Desert.  This was one of the results.  Lately, I've been enjoying salad dressings made with lemon juice more than those made with vinegars.  Maybe it is because citrus fruits are in season and they are just so delicious right now.  Maybe it's a blast of freshness during the winter.  The cold, dreary, California winter.  Maybe that's it.

The tangerine makes for an extra burst of flavor to build on when lemon by itself sometimes adds little more than just acidity.  The salad is a base of mixed greens with some red onion sliced thin for some earthiness and pungency.  Toasted almond slivers bring some crunch and another layer of flavor to the bowl.  Lastly, avocado adds body and this could suffice for a weekday meal as far as I'm concerned.


AuthorDave and Amy Koch
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Ahh the marvelous bounty of the sea. 

There is nothing in food that mimics so closely a dip in the ocean as a big bowl of mussels.  When you serve these fancy Green Lipped Mussels from New Zealand with Chorizo, you'll make a Surf & Turf that would make Forrest Gump himself hang up his Shrimp Boat Captains hat for good and go scraping bivalves off the docks.

With the American League and the National League Championships coming up this weekend and then the granddaddy of all sports events, The Super Bowl, this is a great party dish.  Moule et Chorizo has all the air of a bourgeois snack but none of the dent in your wallet.  I grew up on shrimp cocktail poured over a brick of cream cheese and served with crackers, which is delicious, but lacks any wow-factor. 

We picked these up from Whole Foods and they weren't any more expensive than the normal mussels they always have, $4.99/pound. They are much larger, sweeter, and a heck of a lot prettier than the black ones.  With their emerald lips, the spattering of parsley, and the bright orange glow of the paprika-filled Chorizo, these are a rainbow of delight.

The whole transformation from bag to table took about 20 minutes and ended up something really worth writing home about.  Even the fishmonger at Whole Foods gave us "Ohh, that sounds good..."  when we told him what we were up to.  And don't forget, those guys are spoiled rotten!  Served with really good bread to soak up the juices.


Authordavid koch
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Creamed Spinach?  I know, I know.  But seriously folks, Creamed Spinach is one of my favorite, most guiltiest pleasures.  I've loved the stuff since I was a kid.  It may have been because I was big fan of Popeye the cartoon, it may have been the fabulous rendition of Popeye by Robin Williams.  In any case, I can hear the lyrics to the theme music now as I type.

I'm Popeye the Sailor Man, 
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man. 
I'm strong to the finich 
Cause I eats me spinach. 
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man. 

I'm one tough Gazookus 
Which hates all Palookas 
Wot ain't on the up and square. 
I biffs 'em and buffs 'em 
And always out roughs 'em 
But none of 'em gets nowhere. 

If anyone dares to risk my "Fisk", 
It's "Boff" an' it's "Wham" un'erstan'? 
So keep "Good Be-hav-or" 
That's your one life saver 
With Popeye the Sailor Man. 

I'm Popeye the Sailor Man, 
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man. 
I'm strong to the finich 
Cause I eats me spinach. 
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man.

So, I love spinach, I always have, and I think I love it most, in "creamed" form.  My pops found this and developed the recipe for our latest mock Christmas dinner, I have tweaked only a little bit.


Authordavid koch

I was inspired after picking up some fresh Hachiya persimmon cheap at a farmers market.  They were just so freaking orange, I couldn't resist.  Unlike the apple-shaped Fuyu persimmon, the acorn-shaped Hachiya need to be completely squishy-ripe before you eat them, otherwise, they are too astringent to be palatable.

Now, a year after my first experiments with persimmon, I found myself looking around on the internet to find something new to do with the them when I came across Hoshigaki - a Japanese technique for drying out the fruit on a string for several weeks.  They give persimmon a little massage every few days to draw out the sugars and the result is shriveled and white because it is covered in natural sugar crystals.

I have not had the opportunity to try Hoshigaki yet, unfortunately, but if I ever see some I will be sure to snatch some up.  I still may end up ordering a box this winter from another orchard, Penryn Orchards.  They look delicious.

Hoshigaki has been added to Slow Food USA's Ark of Taste; a list that is being

Authordavid koch
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