Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Restaurant (Re)creation: Firefly's Yummy Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan + Truffle Oil

Firefly Restaurant is another favorite neighborhood gem on my regular rotation. These delicious brussels sprouts pop up on the menu at Firefly every year around this time, and I'm always thrilled when they do.  The recipe stays the same year to year, and the dish is consistently memorable.  The preparation is simple, but the flavors complement each other perfectly, yielding a wonderfully indulgent side dish.  I used a cast iron skillet to complete the (re)creation, since I liked the ones at Firefly so much, but any baking sheet or dish will do.  It may not be the exact same recipe, but I don't think you'll be disappointed...

Serves 4


  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp freshly shaved parmesan
  • 1/2 tbsp truffle oil, for drizzling
  • salt, to taste


-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
-Wash, trim, and halve the brussels sprouts.
-Toss the brussels sprouts with olive oil and place in a cast iron skillet or baking dish, cut side down.
-Roast for about 35-40 minutes, or until the leaves start to brown, tossing occasionally.
-Remove from heat and top with shaved parmesan and a pinch of salt.
-Drizzle with truffle oil and serve immediately.

Firefly Restaurant
4288 24th Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 821-7652

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Recipe (Re)creation: Mini Pumpkin + Pecan Pies

These little pies are the perfect treat to complete your Thanksgiving feast.  Not nearly as intimidating as a whole slice of pie, these mini pies give you a little taste of dessert without taking you over the edge.  You can make a variety of different types, but I just focused on my two favorite Thanksgiving flavors and based my creations off of this recipe from Dashing Dish.  These would make great little treats at a holiday party too.  The possibilities are endless...

Makes 30 Mini Pies


For Pecan Pies

  • 15 mini phyllo shells
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted

For Pumpkin Pies

  • 15 mini phyllo shells
  • 1/3 cup egg whites
  • 1/3 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup whipped cream (optional topping)

-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and distribute phyllo shells on two baking sheets.
-In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the pecan pie, except the pecans.
-Then stir in the nuts and scoop 1 small spoonful of the mixture into 15 of the phyllo shells.
-Next, mix all the pumpkin pie ingredients in a blender until smooth.
-Scoop 1 tsp or more of the mixture into each phyllo shell, distributing evenly.
-Bake each sheet of mini pies for 10-15 minutes, watching closely.
-Let the pies cool and top the pumpkin pies with a dollop of whipped cream.
-For an additional treat, serve the mini pies with a generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

~Now you may give thanks~

Monday, November 12, 2012

Restaurant (Re)creation: La Ciccia's Spaghetti with Bottarga

La Ciccia is a cozy little Sardinian gem in Noe Valley.  Though it may appear unassuming from the outside, the food will blow you away.  Reservations at La Ciccia are highly coveted and tricky to get, so try for an early or late dinner on a weekday.   If you do have the luck of snagging a resie, you absolutely must get the spaghetti with bottarga.  I was skeptical at first since the thought of salted mullet roe on pasta didn't really appeal to me, but it surprisingly doesn't taste fishy in the slightest.  It actually just adds a unique, salty, and creamy dimension to the spaghetti.  After my first bite, I decided this definitely needed to be added to my (re)creation list.  The most difficult part of making this dish is procuring the bottarga.  I went to numerous gourmet and specialty stores and struck out.  I ended up finding it online, but if you live in San Francisco, you may be able to find it at Lucca in the Marina or at Bi-Rite in the Mission.  Once you get your hands on the bottarga, the rest is a breeze.  Credits go to La Ciccia for sharing this DELICIOUS treat!

Serves 4


  • 4 tbsp bottarga (grey mullet roe)
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper, crushed
  • salt


-Fill a medium pot with water and a sprinkle of salt.
-Bring to a boil and add the spaghetti.
-In a small saucepan, sauté the garlic and crushed red pepper in olive oil over low heat.
-Once the garlic is fragrant, stir in half of the bottarga, and remove from heat.
-When the pasta is cooked al dente, strain, and then add the pasta to the saucepan.
-Mix in the rest of the bottarga with the pasta and sprinkle with parsley.
-Enjoy immediately with a generous glass of Vermentino.

La Ciccia
291 30th St.
San Francisco, CA
(415) 550-8114

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Restaurant (Re)creation: Nobu's Black Cod with Miso

I have had this little gem on my list for quite some time.  I first discovered Nobu's mouth-watering miso glazed black cod while in Dubai, and we ordered a second one within second.  Yes, its that good.  Luckily, this too can me made at home, and even on a weeknight.  This recipe is based on the one from the fantastic Nobu Cookbook, but I made a few tweaks to save some time.  The chef recommends that you marinate the cod for at least 4 hours, but 3-4 days is best.  Clearly, that was not in the plans for me, since I rarely have a meal in the works 4 days in advance.  Instead, I marinated the cod for 1 hour in the fridge.  It tasted perfectly delicious to me.  If you have the time, by all means, marinate the fish for longer to get a richer and more pronounced flavor.  However, if you are like me, 1 hour certainly will suffice.  The sweetness and flakiness of the fish is unparalled no matter how long you marinate it.  This dish is notorious worldwide, and once you make it, you will instantly see why.  If you don't, we'll talk. ; )

Serves 4


  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 4 tablespoons white miso paste 
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 black cod fillets (1/2 lb each)


-Bring the mirin and sake to boil in a saucepan over high heat.
-Boil for 20-30 seconds to evaporate the alcohol.
-Turn down the heat to low and stir in the miso paste.
-Once the miso has dissolved completely, add the sugar and turn up the heat.
-Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves completely and remove from heat.
-Allow the marinade to cool completely.
-Meanwhile, take the cod and pat dry with paper towels.
-Place fish in a large bowl or tupperware and slather with marinade.
-Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 3 days).
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and preheat a grill pan or indoor grill.
-Wipe any excess marinade from the fillets.
-Place the fish on the grill (or grill pan) until the surface of the cod begins to brown.
-Next, bake for 10-15 minutes.
-Remove from heat, top with extra marinade and serve with sautéed bok choy.


Nobu Restaurants

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Recipe (Re)creation: Na'ama's Fattoush

This recipe is from Ottolenghi and Tamimi's long-awaited cookbook, Jerusalem.  I never thought I'd say it, but I like this cookbook even more than Ottolenghi's other cookbook, Plenty.  This one features both Jewish and Arab dishes, and there are both vegetarian and meat-laden dishes to keep just about everyone happy.  This fattoush salad reminds me of my trip to Lebanon and fattoush was one of my absolute favorite discoveries from the trip.  This recipe is delicious as is, but I just added a few twists to make it slightly more satisfying.  I used pita instead of naan and I toasted it so that it kept its integrity and didn't get soggy.  I also topped the salad with a little crumbled feta for some added salt and creaminess.  You can serve this salad with some grilled sausage or extra pita and hummus and you are all set for a perfect weeknight meal.

ps. Buy the Jerusalem cookbook- you won't regret it.

Serves 3-4


  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 large pitas, toasted
  • 3 large tomatoes, diced
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 mini cucumbers, peeled and diced
  • 2 green onion, sliced thinly
  • 5 mint leaves
  • 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta (optional)
  • salt & pepper


-To make the buttermilk dressing, start 1 hour in advance.
-Whisk the milk and yogurt together in a bowl.
-Set aside, or place in the fridge until bubbles form to the surface.
-Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces and place in a large mixing bowl.
-Add the buttermilk dressing, and all the other ingredients and mix well.
-Allow flavors to mix for 10 minutes and then spoon the fattoush into serving bowls.
-Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.
-Garnish generously with sumac and a sprinkle of feta cheese.