Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Take it from two chefs- sometimes the secret is in the simplicity.

As Gonzalo stepped off the plane in Ft. Lauderdale, I was there to meet him.  In his usual way, he had a big smile on his face and I could tell he was excited to be there.  We headed to baggage claim where we picked up boxes of all the salsas and masa he’d packed up and brought from Copita to do a charity event for the Boca Raton Historical Society together.  One of the first dishes we served was a Citrus and Pomegranate Ceviche.  It was fresh, flavorful, stunning yet simple, and a recipe that sums up what makes Gonzalo such an incredible chef.  When the raves and applause came, I clapped the loudest.  Gonzalo is the true hero at my restaurant, I just lend a guiding hand. 

We hope to see you at Copita soon!  In the meantime, try these two versions of a dish we love to serve at the restaurant and prepare for a round of applause.


1 ¼ pounds super fresh sea bass or halibut

1 cup lime juice
1/2 pound plum tomatoes, diced
½ pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small red onion, diced
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, leaves and stems
2 to 3 teaspoons minced Serrano
Kosher salt
Tortilla chips

Cut the halibut into ½-inch pieces and place in a bowl with the lime juice.  Stir and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  

Pour off half of the lime juice and add the tomatoes, red onions, cilantro and serrano chilies.  Season well with salt.

Serves 8 

And here's how Gonzalo takes it up a few notches:

1 pound fresh sea bass or halibut
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup blanco tequila
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/4 cup blood orange juice
2 teaspoons finely grated blood orange zest
1 cup pomegranate seeds
½ cup pickled red onions
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
½ serrano chile, seeded, minced
6 kumquats, thinly sliced
2 avocados, diced
Kosher salt 
Tortilla Chips

Cut the fish into 1/2-inch pieces and place in a bowl.  Add 1 cup lime juice, stir together and let sit 30 minutes.  Drain and discard half of the lime juice.  

Add the tequila, agave nectar, orange juice, orange zest, pomegranate seeds, red onions, cilantro, serrano chile, and kumquats.  Stir together well to mix.  Add the avocado and season with salt.  Add additional lime juice and salt as needed.  Place in a bowl and serve with tortilla chips.

Serves 8 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter Eggs

Years ago I planned this fabulous Easter picnic in Sonoma. It was a gorgeous blue-sky day and I couldn't wait to enjoy it outdoors with friends.  I packed up a big picnic basket with lots of delicious food, including my famous deviled eggs.  I was carrying the basket to the picnic table with ease until the container holding the deviled eggs somehow inadvertently got turned over.  When we opened the container, instead of the deviled eggs looking like this photo, they looked more like egg salad!  The best part, everyone said, “They still taste good!”

Enjoy springtime!


6 large eggs
2 tablespoons homemade or prepared mayonnaise
2 tablespoons non-fat yogurt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 green onions, finely diced
1/4 small red bell pepper, roasted, 1/4" dice
1 very small pinch saffron threads
2 teaspoons boiling water
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon finely snipped fresh chives

Fill a large saucepan three-fourths full of water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium, add the eggs and boil, 10 minutes.  Remove the eggs and plunge them in a bowl of ice water.   Let the eggs cool 30 minutes.

In the meantime,  combine the mayonnaise,  yogurt, mustard, garlic, lemon juice, cayenne, paprika, green onions and red pepper.  Place the saffron in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over the saffron to moisten it.  Add the saffron and water to the mayonnaise mixture.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Peel the eggs and cut each egg in half from top to bottom.  Place the yolks in a bowl and with a fork mash them and break them into small pieces.   Add the yolks to the mayonnaise mixture.  Reserve the whites.   Spoon the egg mixture into the hallows of the egg white, distributing evenly.  Sprinkle with chives.

Serves 6