Poor Man’s Cane Rosso

One of my big rules for myself is to buy chickens whole and break them down.

They are usually so much tastier and less dry.

In the summer I usually grill, but in the winter, I roast.

When, I roast chickens, I usually spatchcock them, rub with herbs and olive oil, place them on my oven’s broiling tray, and then convection roast at 375 F.

However, at a couple of Bay Area restaurants, they do a cool thing where they cook their potatoes under the rotiseries where they roast chickens. The potatoes become saturated with delicious fat and meat juices. Mmmmm…

Leaving aside any issues of cross contamination, and a lack of pan gravy, I wondered if I couldn’t do something similar. Anyway, unlike myself, Mrs Flannestad isn’t a big fan of gravy.

Roli Roti Chicken

Preheat your oven to 400F (375F if convection).
Spatchcock and rub your chicken with oil and spices as desired. Cut up your potatoes and toss with a little oil, salt, and pepper. I’ve discovered the potatoes need a bit of a head start on the chicken, so put them in the dripping pan of your broiling rack and place in the oven for 15-20 mins or until they start to cook. After 15 mins, move the potatoes around a bit and then place the chicken on the broiling rack. Put the broiling rack on top of the dripping pan and potatoes. Cook until desired degree of doneness is reached (internal temp of around 150F). Remove chicken to rest. Remove potatoes from pan, scraping to get all the good stuff, carve chicken, and serve with a salad or other vegetable.

Chicken Dinner

For bonus points, serve Persimmon Pudding for dessert with Mitchell’s Pumpkin Ice Cream.

Persimmon Pudding

Chinese Style Curried Chicken with Squash

There’s a specific kind of Chinese American comfort food which you will often find on a menu in San Francisco.

The Chinese version of “Curry” doesn’t really have much to do with the Indian version of same.

Basically, it is meat or tofu served in a curry powder flavored gravy thickened with corn starch.

Mrs Flannestad wanted stew and I wasn’t really feeling like American/European Stew.

Well, Curry is stew, isn’t it? I’ll adapt my Chicken Gumbo recipe and instead of flavoring the ‘gravy’ with ‘Creole Seasoning’, I’ll flavor it with Curry.

Cooking the Chicken

Cover a quartered chicken with water and add to the pot some roughly chopped garlic, onion, and ginger. Bring to a simmer, and reduce heat. Cook until the chicken is done. Cool enough to handle, and remove chicken from bones. Chop and reserve meat. Return bones, skin, and cartilage to liquid and continue cooking as time allows, at least an hour.

Aromatic Vegetables

Mince Garlic, Ginger, and Jalapeno chiles. Make Curry Powder*


In a heavy pot, make a roux, about 1/4 cup vegetable oil (or Ghee) and 1/4 cup flour. Cook flour until it no longer smells like raw flour. Drain


Chop a winter squash and set aside. Chop a Turnip and set aside. Chop some potatoes and set aside. Chop a large onion. Add Minced Garlic, Ginger and Chile to roux. Cook briefly, and add chopped onion. Cook until onion is clear and wilted. Strain solids from stock and pour into roux, stirring vigorously to avoid clumping. When it reaches a simmer, stir in curry powder and check salt level. Add chopped squash, turnips, and potatoes to liquid and cook until vegetables are just about tender. Stir in cooked chicken.


Check seasonings again and serve over rice and garnish with cilantro and yoghurt. It’s better the second day.

*Curry Powder

1 tsp Whole Coriander Seed
1 tsp Whole Cumin Seed
1 tsp Whole Fennel Seed
1 tsp Whole Fenugreek
1 tsp Whole Brown Mustard Seed
4 Whole Cloves
1 Small Stick Cinnamon, Broken
1/2 tsp White Peppercorns
1/2 tsp Black Peppercorns
3 Whole Chili de Arbol
1 tsp Ground Tumeric

Toast whole spices in a dry pan until fragrant. Grind in Coffee Mill or Spice Grinder. Add Tumeric.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I can’t resist fall flavors.

When I read David Tanis’ article, A Taste of Fall in a Bottle of Hard Cider, I knew I would be making the accompanying recipe, (more or less,) Pork Chops with Apples and Cider.

“But now, with piles of new-crop apples at the greenmarket and a stand selling local handmade cider, too, dinner seems practically predestined. I’ll pan-fry boneless pork chops and serve them with butter-browned apples and a Normandy-style sauce made with cider and cream. And to drink, a chilled bottle of sparkling New York hard cider.”

Sutton Cellars Gravenstein Cider

Sutton Cellars Gravenstein Cider

Since we’re on the West Coast, I am using Sutton Cellars delicious Gravenstein Sonoma Apple Cider for this dish!

Rub the chops with the spice mix and allow to stand at room temperature.

Saute apples until tender.

Flour chops and brown on both sides.

Remove chopes and drain excess oil from pan. Add cider to deglaze pan. Reduce until syrupy. Add Chicken Stock and thicken slightly using corn, potato, or arrowroot starch. Check seasoning and strain out any undesirable solids. Return sauce to pan and add (IMHO not optional) Calvados. Cook off excess alcohol then add apples, chops, and fresh sage (I left out the cream in the original) and place in a hot oven until desired degree of doneness is achieved. I served the chops with some roasted winter squash and a braise of dino kale and abalone mushrooms.

You’re not going to make me get up, are you?

Bonus Monty picture!

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Mushrooms and Pecans

Tasty enough that I am writing this down, so I don’t forget.

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Mushrooms and Pecans

2 Whole Pork Tenderloins
Tree Oyster Mushrooms
1 large Shallot, Chopped
Pecans, chopped
Dry Vermouth or White Wine
Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper


Pre-heat oven to 400.

Clean Oyster Mushrooms. Saute in Butter until lightly browned. Add Shallots to pan and continue sauteing until cooked. Deglaze pan with White Wine and stir in breadcrumbs, sage, thyme, and pecans. If necessary, moisten with chicken stock and additional butter. Check seasonings and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Cool stuffing mixture.

Make a Slit in the underside of each pork tenderloin and fill with Stuffing mixture. With the large ends opposite from each other, use twine to tie tenderloins together, stuffing sides together (see picture, below).

Roast in oven until temperature reaches your desired level of doneness.

Slice and serve with oven roasted potatoes, a vegetable side, and a nice wine.

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Mushrooms and Pecans

BOTW–Ovila Saison

Ovila Abbey Saison

For centuries, the monastic tradition has followed the Rule of St. Benedict–Ora et Labora (prayer and work.) This Saison farmhouse ale is in honor of the noble labor in which the monks engage. Hazy blonde in color, these rustic ales are designed to be complex and contemplative but also refreshign and drinkable after a day in the fields. With earthy and spice aromas this Saison has notes of green grass, and a faint citrus tang. The body is light and layered with fruit and spice accents and a dry, peppery, and refreshing finish. Released June 2011.

Sliced tomatoes, Basil, and vinaigrette.

Cap of the Saison. A very, very enjoyable beer. You’ll often catch me enjoying a small one of these when I’m off the clock after Savoy Night at Alembic Bar.

Steak rubbed with salt, pepper, and spices.

Heat that cast iron skillet up hot and sear the first side.

If you don’t set off the fire alarm, you’re doing it wrong.

Roasted potatoes, coming out of the oven.

After searing, we rest.

Tomatoes with Basil and Arugula in a Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Joseph Swan 2006 Zeigler Vineyard Zinfandel

According to winemaker Rod Berglund: “Noticeably sweeter with aromas of fresh blackberry cobbler. In the mouth it is a big wine with the richness and acidity of a light port. The fruit is bright and focused, and, like the Stellwagen, it has excellent balance. Great by itself, with cheese or with dessert. I can’t wait until the wild blackberries ripen as I am going to pick a bunch and make a blackberry cobbler to try with it. Yum!”

Cast Iron Seared Ribeyes, Braised Russian Kale, and oven roasted fingerling potatoes.

Who can resist a St. George Single Malt Whiskey Flavored Gelato Bar?

WOTW–Wild Hog 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir


Pumpkin Bolani with early girl tomatoes.

Pork tenderloin with roasted vegetables and braised russian kale.

Wild Hog 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.

2007 Wild Hog Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir

From our own organic vineyard. This vintage is a bigger, more fruit driven wine than the 2006. Smooth,round mouth feel. Fruit, fruit, fruit. It’s bright and big. Delicious and big. A great vintage.

WOTW–Gypsy Boots

Romano Beans Roasted with Maitake Mushrooms, Garlic and Herbs.

Steelhead, ready to be topped with sauteed aromatic vegetables.

“I am trying to be patient with your shenanigans.”

Lighting the Candle.

When the beans and mushrooms were roasting, I added some Early Girl tomatoes from Two Dog Farms on top of them. Then I tossed them both with Frisee, sort of a vegetarian variation on the normal warm french salad. I was on the fence about adding cheese, but a poached egg would have been really nice. Still, a very tasty salad.

Souvenir from our last trip to New Orleans.

Michele was taken in by Winfred Wong’s glowing writeup of this wine on the BevMo shelf and the back label. “One travels the world over in search of what one needs and returns home to find it…the Sonoma Coast.” As much as I appreciate the sentiment, and as much as I do like the Sonoma Coast, Gypsy Boots’ Pinot Noir was really not very good. Barely above “plonk” level. At least it was not expensive.

“No, really, I am being very, very patient with your goofiness, and I would like some fish, please.”

Steelhead braised with aromatic vegetables, quinoa pilaf.


It’s funny, a lot of my friends got the Momofuku cookbook and the first thing they tried to make was the ridiculously complicated Ramen recipe.

To me, though, the first thing that stood out was the Bo Ssäm.

All you do is order a pork shoulder from your favorite butcher, say Avedano’s Holly Park Market. Make a sugar and salt rub for a pork shoulder.

Let it sit in your fridge for a day or two. I will warn you, the smell of the semi cured pork shoulder will draw neighborhood dogs. Ignore their pleading eyes and throw it in the oven at 300F.

Get the rest of your dinner in order, like a Plum Frangiapani tart from Mission Pie.

Baste the roasts every hour. Really, who needs air fresheners when you can slow roast a pork shoulder?

And something like 6 hours later, you have a delicious dinner. This was about half way.

Discussing exactly how much longer for the roast. Seemed pretty tender to the fork.

Have some friends over who know how to shuck oysters.

Get set up…

Have them teach you how to shuck.

Though you have to be careful not to stab yourself.

Get rolling on the shucking…

Have some friends over who make beer. My favorite comment of the evening: “You have no idea how hot it is watching my Jewish wife learn to shuck oysters.”

Heck, it never hurts to have a scientist around to remind you about the potential dangers of eating raw shellfish…

Unfortunately, after this things got a little greasy and somehow none of the rest of the photos turned out. Suffice it to say, a good time was had by all.

Reform Club

First, just a reminder that Sunday, September 25, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

One of the nice things about working in restaurants, is when you can go out and enjoy the fruits of your friends labors.

In this case, a popup in the Specchio space called Reform Club. The meal and beverage pairings below were done by Allyson Harvie (Citizen Cake, Ragazza), Becky Pezzullo (Undercover Supper, Bar Bambino), and Dion Jardine (Slanted Door, Heavens Dog). I don’t know Allyson or Becky very well, but I worked many, many nights with Dion when he was working at Heaven’s Dog.

corn soup, eggplant caponata,
tomato, basil, balsamic
(and pork)

Dry Gin, Blackberry puree, Sherry.

roasted fig salad,
ham, almonds, ricotta salata

Aged Rum, Lime, Ginger Syrup, Egg White.

mixed heritage pork roast: belly, sausage, loin,
mustard spätzle, braised chard, market fruit

baked gravenstein apple
cinnamon, raisins, butter, brown sugar
(and pork)
Paired with a Chenin Blanc from Chatueau Soucherie.

There may also have been shots of Angostura Bitters…

The next Reform Club Dinner is planned for October 16, with a menu and chef soon to be announced. Join the mailing list, follow the twitter, “like” them on facebook, read their tumblr, support my friends’ labor of love, and have some awesome food and drink!