Calafia’s Grilled Asparagus Salad*

There are restaurants and Restaurants and that is because there are chefs and Chefs.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer those that start with a capital letter because Food – and consequently Cuisine – must not be taken lightly since we are what we eat, remember?
Cuisine is a form of art because it takes as much talent, creativity, skill and knowledge to create a good recipe as to paint a beautiful painting or to sculpt an elegant sculpture.
A good Chef can really make the difference not only by creating pleasure to the palate but also by contributing to your well-being.

One of these Chefs is Charlie Ayers of Calafia’s in Palo Alto, California.

Every time I open the menu Calafia’s I feel like a girl in the candy store: I want everything. I love the freshness of their food, the excellent quality and seasonality of the ingredients, and the original ways the Chef has to combine them into delicious dishes. But, most of all, I like the fact that I can digest what I eat. That for me is the best way to know that I have had good, nutritious, and organic food.

My gratitude goes to Chef Charlie Ayers for generously allowing me to publish two of his wonderful recipes in my blog.

Ingredients:

(serves 2)  Sp  Sr  V  B  Gf

  • 1 pound medium to small asparagus, bottom portions removed, and bottom third of the stalk peeled
  • 2 small heads of baby frisee lettuce, washed and spun dry, tough leaves removed
  • 6  Easter egg radishes, thinly sliced on a Japanese mandolin
  • 1 bunch fresh chives, cut into 1/4-inch-long batons
  • 4 tablespoons Evoo
  • 9 tablespoons Eureka lemon juice
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste Continue reading

Golden Beets with Queso Seco*

Ingredients:

(serves 2)   Sp  Sr  V  B  Gf

  • 1.5 cups cooked, peeled, and diced golden beets
  • 2 cups raw English peas
  • 1 shaved clove of elephant garlic (use a razor blade) super thin
  • 1 lb. fresh pea shoots
  • 1 bunch of pencil asparagus (cut on a severe bias) leave tips intact (blanched)
  • ½ lb. teardrop cherry tomatoes (l like the red & golden mix)
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • ¼ cup minced shallots
  • ¼ lb Queso Seco (grated)
  • 1 Tbsp freshly toasted & ground cumin seed
  • 3 Cups sliced 1/4 in thick crimini mushrooms (tossed in salt & lemon juice, then drained)
  • 2 Cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Boil beets until almost fork tender (about 15 mins). Continue reading