Sunday, April 29, 2012

Restaurant (Re)creation: Las Ventanas' Chipotle Shrimp & Chorizo Tacos

On a recent trip to Mexico, I had the pleasure of taking a cooking class with Fabrice Guisset, the Executive Chef at Las Ventanas. The pleasure quadrupled when I found out everyone else in my class cancelled, so I had my own private class.  I had put in some dish requests the night before and Fabrice took all of my requests and put together a great little menu.  We made ceviche (recipe to come), shrimp & chorizo tacos, and fresh guacamole. I choose to share the shrimp & chorizo tacos and guacamole now since I figured it would be the perfect Cinco De Mayo dish to cook for your friends. The guacamole is a simple traditional Mexican recipe and the shrimp taco is the perfect blend of sweet and spicy with a kick from the chorizo and chipotle peppers.  Nothing will compare to Fabrice's al fresco cooking class, but at least we can make some authentic Mexican dishes on Cinco de Mayo (and dream of poolside margaritas in the process!)

Serves 4



  • 3 Avocados
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño chili, seeds removed and diced 
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • salt

Shrimp & Chorizo Tacos

  • 1 pound raw medium size peeled shrimp, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz chorizo
  • 1 pound finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup sliced white onions
  • 2 pieces canned or dried chipotle chilies, cut into strips
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 piece holy leaf (optional)
  • 1 tbsp dry oregano
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • Vegetable (or corn) oil
  • Small tortillas



-Cut the avocado in half and take out the seed.
-Scoop avocado into a bowl and mash with a fork to blend.
-Add the rest of the ingredients finely chopped and season with salt and lime juice.

Shrimp & Chorizo Tacos

-Heat a skillet over low heat and drizzle with vegetable oil.
-Crumble the meat of the chorizo into a skillet and cook until the fat is rendered out. 
-Add the onion to the pan and fry for about 5 minutes.
-Add the raw shrimp, brown sugar, herbs & chilies to the skillet.
-Adjust the seasoning and cook for about 10 minutes.
-Serve on a tortilla (or a tostada) with refried black beans, sour cream, queso fresco, and guacamole.

¡Buen Provecho!

Las Ventanas
Transpeninsular Hwy 23400 
San Jose del Cabo, 
Baja California Sur, Mexico

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Restaurant (Re)creation: Seven Hills' Ravioli Uovo

The Ravioli Uovo is the signature dish at Seven Hills, and for good reason.  It was featured as one of the top 101 Most delicious Noodle Dishes in the Country by New York Magazine and Seven Hills has become famous for it.  To quote a review from SF Food Critic, Michael Bauer, the raviolo is a "saucer shaped packet plump with ricotta, and spinach that becomes a nest for an egg yolk.  It's surrounded by a pool of brown butter and a drizzle of truffle oil.  As you cut into the pasta, the yolk lubricates the brown butter and after the final bite was consumed, I used bread to sop up every last drop."  I wasn't going to use Bauer's quote in its entirety, but I simply couldn't have described the dish better myself.  It's like magic.

My (re)creation for this ravioli is not directly from the chef, but rather, it was pieced together from some hints and pictures from the chef, and by scouring the internet for techniques and ideas.  I cheated and used wonton wrappers, which made smaller ravioli than the restaurant version, but they worked quite well and are much simpler than making homemade pasta.  Don't get me wrong, there is nothing better than homemade pasta, but that was going to be a little too time-consuming.  I decided to top the ravioli with shaved parmesan, which melted onto the warm ravioli.  I just used white truffle oil and omitted the brown butter because it was perfectly delicious without, but if you want to stay true to the original, just drizzle with a little brown butter on top.  Your friends will love you forever if you make this decadent treat for them.  If they don't, they're crazy.  Michael Bauer would agree with me on this one. 

Makes 6 ravioli

  • 12 round (or square) wonton wrappers
  • 6 organic eggs
  • 1/3 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 1 small handful of spinach
  • white truffle oil (for drizzling)
  • 2 tbsp shaved parmesan
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste


-Warm a skillet over medium heat and drizzle in some olive oil.  Toss in the spinach and cook for about a minute, or until wilted. 
-Remove spinach from heat and let cool.  Then chop and set aside. 
-In a small bowl, mix the spinach and ricotta together and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
-Place 6 wonton wrapper on a dish or tray and scoop 1-2 tsp of the ricotta mixture into the center of each wrapper.  Make a small indentation with a teaspoon in each ricotta mound, creating a "bed" for the yolk.
-Crack 5 eggs, one by one, and cup in your hand, letting the egg whites drip into the sink.  You should be left with just the yolks (intact).  For the last egg, crack it and cup it in your hand as before, but do it over a bowl, catching the egg white (to be used for brushing/sealing the wrappers.)
-Place one yolk in each ricotta "bed."  Brush the perimeter of the wrapper with a little egg white and top with a wonton wrapper, sealing carefully.
-Meanwhile, bring a medium-sized pot to boil.  Place ravioli, two at a time, in the boiling water and cook for 90 seconds.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate. 
-Once all the ravioli are cooked, place them on plates and top with shaved parmesan (or brown butter) and a generous drizzle of truffle oil. 

Seven Hills
1550 Hyde Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 775-1550