• 19Jun

    Here’s yesterday’s wheat and dairy free menu for a very nice couple…

    Roast Sea Bass with Rock Shrimp, Avocados & Persian Cucumber Salad in a Lemon Vinaigrette. With a side of Toasted Buckwheat and Sweet 100 Tomato Pilaf.

    Grilled Flanken Style Beef Short Ribs in a Soy Ginger Glaze with Sweet Sour Sesame Eggplant and Scallion Brown Rice

    Greek Lamb Meatballs with fresh Oregano, Mint, Lemon Zest and Garlic. With a Mint & Pine Nut Quinoa Pilaf and Blue Lake Green Beans

    Summer Corn and Roasted Red Pepper Chowder

    And today’s menu for another very nice couple and long time clients…

    Broiled Wild King Salmon with Nectarine Chutney. With sides of Mint & Pine Nut Quinoa Pilaf and Sauteed Baby Spinach

    Bluenose Bass, Prawns, Manila Clams and Glass Noodles in a Thai Coconut Broth infused with Lemon Grass, Lime Leaves and Galanga. With a Shredded Cucumber, Carrot and Jicama Salad in a Zesty Lime Vinaigrette

    Vietnamese Roasted Lemongrass Chicken with Fried Scallion & Pineapple Forbidden Rice and Sauteed Shanghai Baby Bok Choy

    Carrot Ginger Soup

    and my dinner tonight…some leftovers

    Tea Smoked Duck Leg and Chow Fun with Baby Bok Choy & King Oyster Mushrooms

  • 14Jun

    Today I cooked for a nice couple in the East Bay. I was kept company by a pair of beagles who quickly tired of me and spent the majority of their day snoring on the couch in the other room.

    Here is part of their menu:

    Basil Tofu Curry with Brown Jasmine Rice and Stir-Fried Bok Choy

    Tofu in Makhani Sauce with Cumin Roasted Potatoes and Sauteed Zucchini

    Eggplant Agro Dolce with Dried Cherries & Toasted Walnuts and a Summer Vegetable Quinoa Pilaf

    Aloo Gobi with Curried Chickpeas and Brown Basmati with Aromatic Spices

  • 03Jul

    I just read this great article by Joan Ryan on sfgate.com  

    It’s about a documentary filmmaker, Mickey Freeman, who relates the decline of the family meal as one of the causes of childhood obesity. The article also cites excerpts from Barbara Carlson, who co-authored “Putting Family First: Successful Strategies for Reclaiming Family Life in a Hurry-Up World.’’  

    The article brought back fond memories of our family table. We always had dinner together. My mom and sometimes my grandmother would help to make sure dinner was on the table the moment my dad got home. My job would be to set the table – setting out the rice bowls, soup bowls, Chinese soup spoons and making sure the chopsticks were placed just so to make sure they would not fall off the table – I was warned so many times a fallen chopstick was a calamity that would bringing on bad luck that I’m careful to this day. We (my parents, grandmother, two brothers and sister) would all sit around the table talking about our day – school, work, relatives, stories of my parents childhoods, local and world events and later as we neared the end of high school – debates on if, and then quickly, where we would go to college. And of course, under the watchful eye of the adults it was a surety that we ate a bit of everything thus ensuring we had a good nutritious meal.  

    The family table was one of the reason’s I started Tao de Kitchen – a personal chef service I firmly believe that the family table is deeply missed in our society today and it is such a great feeling to know I can help a few families build some fond memories of their own.

  • 29Jun

    This is our very first post…  

    We’re on an Indian food obsession these days. A few favorite clients love Indian food so in the quest to provide diverse choices and authentic tastes I have enbarked on the spice trail with my taste buds ready.  

    Yesterday I made Shami Kabab – this version from one of Madhur Jaffrey’s vegetarian books. It’s a great recipe – a complete protein with soybeans and rice. Of course I couldn’t help myself, I made a few adjustments to the recipe to punch up the flavors – I added more garam masala (even made my own to ensure the spices were fresh and punchy) and threw in a few dashes of…dare I admit it…balsamic vinegar. The balsamic kind of reminds me of tamarind chutney so I haven’t completely fallen off the continent! I don’t know, the Kabab mix just needed some acid to take away the flatness. In my humble opinion it worked. The family I cooked for yesterday love hot hot hot food so for yesterday’s batch I threw in a finely dice jalapeno…ouch. And then there was the texture – the original recipe called for white rice. The first time I made it the whole thing came out too mushy for me so now I use brown rice instead. The Shami Kababs are served with a nice zippy Tamarind Chutney. For yesterday’s sides, I did a saute of spinach and a bright yellow (from a bit or tumeric) coconut rice. Yesterday’s menu also included Aloo Gobi, Curried Lentils, Garlic Naan, Curried Summer Veggies with Tofu and Vegetable Biryani. All in all it was a very hot day of cooking.  

    Ok, a little aside. The bright yellow tumeric reminds me of the violin I varnished. One of the base coats is shellac colored with tumeric and saffron – Wow, talk about bright! Curiously enough, music played from said violin is quiet tasteful…at least in the right hands! 

     My next project – fluffy, bubbly Naan Bread….