Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chicken with Dates, Olives, and Cinnamon

This is outstanding!

One of the best chicken dishes ever. Ever!

Photo by Bruce Barone.
Note: The recipe calls for chicken thighs. I used boneless chicken breasts and I made this for two people; therefore, I cut the recipe by about two-thirds, give or take an olive ot two!


  • 12 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups sliced onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 18 pitted manzanilla (or green) olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup whole pitted dates, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves


  • 1. Sprinkle chicken with pepper and salt. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 10-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 6 chicken thighs to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon butter, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and remaining 6 chicken thighs.
  • 2. Add onion and ginger to pan; sauté 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add olives; sauté for 1 minute. Add flour and the next 4 ingredients (through cinnamon stick); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook for 1 minute. Return chicken to pan. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 12 minutes. Stir in dates; simmer 10 minutes or until chicken is done. Stir in juice, and garnish with basil.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Seared Scallops with Cauliflower, Capers and Raisins

From 2007 (self portrait with food)

Self Portrait. Bruce Barone.

Recipes for Food and Lighting Follow:

Seared Scallops with Cauliflower, Capers and Raisins
Food & Wine April 2007

Chef Way: A cauliflower puree and a drizzle of balsamic reduction accompany tender sautéed scallops.

Easy Way: Cook bits of cauliflower in the skillet with the scallops, omitting the time-consuming puree. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end of cooking—no reducing necessary. (Note: This is what I did but I saute the cauliflower in oil for 10 minutes before adding scallops.)

1/2 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets (4 cups)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
12 jumbo scallops (1 1/2 pounds), side muscle removed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped roasted almonds, preferably marcona
2 tablespoons drained small capers
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and boil over high heat until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain, shaking off the excess water.
In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Season the scallops with salt and pepper; add to the skillet in a single layer and cook over high heat until golden and crusty, about 2 minutes. Turn the scallops. Add the butter, cauliflower, almonds, capers and raisins and cook undisturbed until the scallops are white throughout and the cauliflower is lightly browned in spots, about 1 minute longer. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir gently to coat. Transfer to plates, garnish with the parsley and serve.

Sommelier Choice Blanchard suggests the 2005 Vinum Cellars Vista Verde Vineyard Viognier, which is as exotically rich as these sautéed scallops are.
Easy-to-Find Choice Richard Bruno, co-owner of Vinum Cellars, also makes wines for Smoking Loon, a much larger brand; try the refreshing 2005 Viognier.
We drank a 2005 Clos Du Bois Pinot Grigio.
TREMENDOUS DINNER!!!!!! Served with Parmesan Couscous and Green Salad.

Softbox 3 1/2 feet away to my right. 4 feet off ground.
Strobe with White Umbrella 7 1/2 feet away from me and 6 feet off ground.
Camera 6 feet away; 4 1/2 feet off ground next to strobe.
Sync fired. Assisted by my partner, Susan, who also made the salad and poured the wine.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Grilled Cod with Fried Garlic and Chilies

 Best ever!!!

Photo by Bruce Barone.
 The recipe from Bon Appetit, July 2009, called for Black Cod, which the store did not have so I bought Cod. Black Cod and Cod are not related. The meal was delicious; one of the best fish dinners I ever made!

A sprinkle of sea salt, a splash of vinegar or olive oil—these are the seasonings favored by the majority of Basque grill masters. Consider this simple grilled cod topped with olive oil and fried garlic—inspired by Beti-Jai ("always a holiday"), a popular restaurant tucked away in the warren of narrow streets in the old quarter of Donostia-San Sebastián.


  • 6 7- to 8-ounce black cod fillets (about 1 inch thick)
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (preferably Spanish)
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 dried guindilla chile, crumbled, or 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • special equipment

    Fish grill basket (optional)
  • Ingredient Tip:

    The traditional chile for the garlic sauce is guindilla, a small, elongated, medium-hot Spanish chile that's usually sold dried. This chile may be difficult to find, but ordinary dried crushed red pepper makes an excellent substitute.


  • Lightly brush fish grill basket with oil (if using), or brush grill rack with oil, and prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Sprinkle fish on both sides with coarse salt and pepper. Place fish in grill basket (if using) or directly on grill rack, skin side down. Grill fish until opaque in center, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to platter; cover to keep warm.
  • Heat 6 tablespoons oil in small skillet over high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant and light golden, about 1 minute. Add crumbled chile or crushed red pepper; stir 15 seconds. Immediately pour garlic-chile oil over fish. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

Pizza Food Porn

Well, that is what people said to me regarding this photo, this pizza; no recipe---just do it.

Photo by Bruce Barone.

I call this pizza "The Austin Pizza" in honor of my son who is now in Austin, Texas attending graduate school.

I simply marinated roasted red peppers, artichokes, onions, roasted corn, Jalapeno peppers, Cubanelle peppers,  and oven-roasted cherry and grape tomatoes (which I made).