Warm Chocolate & Cherry Bread Pudding with Anglaise Sauce


I don’t eat dessert’s very often for a variety of reasons!  Usually they are too sweet for my palate, they aren’t very special (meaning you can get them in most restaurants) and they don’t work very well with most dessert wines.  In general sugar is not my friend. For me it translates into a big, bad, very ugly migraine headache. So for that reason alone I usually steer clear.

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Crostini with Point Reyes Blue Cheese, Roasted Bosc Pears, Hazelnuts & White Chocolate


This is an adaptation of an Italian Appetizer from Venchi that calls for Gorgonzola Cheese and Dark Chocolate.  In this recipe I used a milder blue cheese from the coast of California called Point Reyes Blue Cheese and white chocolate instead of dark chocolate.

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Cocoa & Spice Dusted Port Tenderloin Medallions over Chocolate Risotto with Dried Cranberries & Soubise Sauce

porkMichael Chiarello has written several outstanding cookbooks and has several successful cooking shows over the past decade.  I love his newest cookbook “Fire” which discusses all of the various methods to cook something outdoors.

This dish was inspired from his spice blend called “Cocoa Spice Rub” which he talks about in “Fire”.  Although I have made a few modifications to his original recipe because I love spices like cumin and garlic, his recipe is equally outstanding.

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Honey Lemon Curd Tart with Torched Meringue


Meringue is a little tricky to make. If your utensils have any oil or dirt of any kind it will ruin the meringue.  When you crack the eggs the white should not be contaminated with any yolk.  Also when separating the eggs they separate better if they are cold.

After separating the eggs bring them to room temperature to ensure a good volume when whipped.  Another trick is to use eggs that are several days old, not fresh ones!  Older eggs will give the meringue more volumn!

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Seared Foie Gras Steak with Cherry Gastrique topped with Mousse de Foie Gras


As soon as chef Sherrie mentioned a dinner with foie gras as the main course I could not wait to make it.

For me pate, mousse de canard, foie gras steaks are worth all the work and calories.

When I was in France a couple of years ago I had the opportunity to stay with a wine maker that also was an awesome cook.  She showed me a special room where she stores all her terrine, country pates and compotes. Since then I do not pass an opportunity to make any of the above items.  Also that same year I had a one-on- one training with a french chef. The training was all about foie gras, duck a l orange and his techniques for making pate.  This was such an opportunity to learn about one of the great cuisines I love to eat and make.

Let us start by buying a frozen or fresh lobe of foie gras .  If you get it frozen let it thaw in the fridge for about two days then take it out and put it in a bowl of cold water to defrost completely before working on it.  For mousse ,terrine and pate you need to devein the lobe. When searing a foie gras steak you can omit this step.


As you see in the picture above the lobe is split and you have to run your fingers gently and feel where the veins are. You can use twizers if it is easier or a pairing knife to pull it out. You will notice a big long vein in the center.  If your foie is a little damaged by working with it, don’t panic ,once put together and covered with fat, or put in a torchon it will reform.

Recipe for the Mousse de Foie Gras

1 1/2 lb of fresh or frozen foie gras, Grade A

2 tsp of fleur de sel

7 juniper berries, crushed

3 tsp of quatre epices a french spice (you can find it in specialty herbs and spice stores)

1/8 c of cognac

1/2 c of heavy cream

2 1/2 c of milk to soak the lobe of foie gras in

A couple of thin white cloths for the torchon(french word for cloth used to wrap the foie gras). I used a fine woven cotton dish towel.

A roll of plastic wrap

A  large pot 3/4 filled with water

A few strings for tying the end of the torchon

As a first step you need to clean the foie as shown above.

As soon as this is done soak it in the milk and let it rest for a couple of hours at least. This helps draw the blood out.

Remove the foie gras and  pat it dry with a clean cotton towel.

Meanwhile prepare the pot of water and let it come to a boil.  Turn the heat off. Roll the foie gras in the plastic just like making compound butter.  It has to be tight. Repeat the process twice so you have two layers of plastic surrounding the foie gras.  Twist the ends tightly and knot.  Then get the white cloth to make a torchon, using the same process you did with the plastic wrap. Tie the ends with the string.  Insert into the hot water.  Leave it there until the water is luke warm to the touch. I left the torchon in the water for around 1 hour.


Take the torchon out of the water and remove all of the wrappings. Place the foie gras and all of the ingredients for the mousse and blend till smooth.  Line a rectangle terrine with a plastic wrap and pack the mousse in it and smooth the top.

The mousse should be packed down like you do when making a meat loaf.

Pour the cognac gelee over it to seal it.  Refrigerate for a few days .  IMG_0840

For the gelatin follow the instruction on the  gelatin box.  In this case I used one envelop of gelatin powder with 1/2 c of cognac and 1 tsp of sugar.  Dissolve and pour over the mousse. Let sit for a couple of days. The unmold and cut into portions.  I cut about 3/4 inch slices then cut each slice in half to top the Foie Gras steaks and potato galettes.

To Prepare the Foie Gras Steaks

I used another 1.5# lobe of Foie Gras.

Cut the Foie Gras into 1/2  – 3/4 inch thick slices, salt and pepper, crisscross with a pairing knife to score a diamond pattern into both sides of the steaks.

Bring a dry saute pan to very high heat. Place the  Foie Gras steaks in the pan and sear each side for 40 seconds.  This is one of those recipe where you can not turn away to attend to anything else. If you leave the steaks in longer the fat in the Foie Gras could completely melt and turn the steaks into a puddle of mush!!!! Not exactly what you probably had in mind after spending upwards of $100 per lobe for Foie Gras!

Remove the seared steaks.  You can keep them warm in a 170 – 200 degree F oven for a short time till serving.


Potato Galettes

5 potatoes

2 eggs

5 tbsp of flour

1/2 onion diced

1 1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of pepper

After shredding the potatoes squeeae the water out of them.  In a bowl put together all the other ingredients and add the potatoes.  Make a pattie in the palm of your hand.  Place the potato pattie in a hot skillet with a little melted butter and fry till lightly golden brown in color and potatoes are cooked.  Set aside on paper towels.


Cherry Gastrique

2 c of sugar

1 c of water

1/2 c of cherry juice

1/2 c of white vinegar

1 c of fresh pitted cherries

1/4 of a vanilla bean pod (open and scraped)

In a pot cook the sugar until it turns into a nice caramel  brown color.  You will need to constantly stir your sugar so it does not burn. It should be a pretty amber brown color.


Slowly add the liquid if the sugar consolidated don’t worry.  Keep stirring until it dissolves again.  Add the cherries and cook for half hour until the sauce reduces a little.  You might want to add 1 tbs of corn starch of it is too runny.  Do not add too much starch since it will change the flavor of the sauce and make it grainy. Strain the cherries from the sauce and reserve. Set aside.

Caramelized Onions

1 yellow onion, sliced as thin as possible using a mandoline

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp sugar

Heat a medium-sized skillet and add the butter and oil and heat on medium heat.  When the butter and oil are hot add the onions and let them sweat.  Stire frequently.  After the onions become transparent add the sugar to help the onions caramelize. This took about 45 minutes – 1 hour.  Remove the onions and place on a plate and set aside.

Cooked Apples

2 Granny Smith Apples, washed, quartered, sliced thin

2 tbsp butter

1/2 cup apple juice

Melt the butter in a large skillet until hot. Add the apples and sauté for a 5-10 minutes until the apples begin to slightly soften.  Add the apple juice and continue to cook until the apples are soft but not falling apart.  Remove from the heat and place in a bowl so the apples will not cook any further.  Set aside.

Assembly of Dish


To assemble the dish use a pastry brush to lay a strip of the cherry gastrique on the plate.  Nest place a few slices of the cooked apples.  The place a potato galette on top of the apples.  Next place the seared Foie Gras Steak on top of the potato galette. Then place another potato galette on top of the Foie Gras Steak.  Add the caramelized onions followed by the Mousse de Foie Gras.  Last sprinkle with a few micro greens and a few of the cooked cherries.

I wish I had a plate of this to eat right  now!

Maple Bacon “Pops”


Is there anything on earth better than one bite of bacon deliciousness?  For the life of me, if you put me on a desert island and told me I could only have one thing to eat I would want BACON! Sweet, salt, and fat! Yum, Yum, Yum!

The bacon I cure and smoke (usually on applewood) has a texture similar to canadian bacon.  It is meaty, with a small layer of fat, and has a nice outer smoke layer.

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Gastro Pub 4 – Course Dinner


Wine and food pairings by Claude Robbins


Corporate Executive Chef – Sherrie Robbins

Chef de Cuisine – Jocelyne Fay

Aperitif and Amuse Buche

Chef’s House Cured Maple Bacon “Pops”

With A Hint of Maple Syrup

Veuve Clicquot, Champagne, Brut, NV

Course I

Crusted Medley of Winter Squashes With The Chef’s Homemade

Dill Creme Fraiche Dipping Sauce

Marqués de Cáceres, Rioja, Crianza, 2010

Course 2

Wild Mushrooms Purses with Cream and Pernod

over Mushroom and Pea Risotto

Faiveley, Vosne-Romanée, 2009

Course 3

Layered Pan Seared Foie Gras Steak and Mousse de Foie Gras over Potato Galettes, Onion marmalade, Pan Fried Apples, and

Burnt Sugar Sherry Cherry Gastrique

Lustau, Jerez, Sherry, Amontillado, Seco, Los Arcos, NV

Dessert Course

Honey Lemon Curd Tart with Torched Meringue

Marchesi di Gresy, Moscato d’Asti, La Serra, 2013

A gastro pub (or gastropub) specializes in high-quality food.  It is a relatively new concept, first occurring in London in 1991, and introduces the concept of fine dining in a very casual dining situation.  Think about going to your favorite sports bar and discover they are serving fine dining with a great wine list.

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Tres Leches Crepe Cake with Espresso Whipped Cream & Chocolate Nibs



OMG this recipe is the ultimate dessert if you ask me. Chocolate crepes filled with a mixture of Dolce de Leche, salted caramel on the bottom and topped with toasted hazelnuts and cocao nibs.  Just reading the ingredients makes me want to have it now.  The fusion of French and south American ingredients are phenomenal in this recipe.  The good news is this dessert is not too sweet, and is very decadent.

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Puff Pastry Open Faced “Duck Confit Ravioli” with Manchamanteles Sauce


This recipe has several different parts.  I worked on the presentation of this dish and created the puff pastry base and window pane for the duck confit while Sherrie worked on the Manchamantels fruit mole sauce for the duck confit.

This was truly a France Meets the America’s fusion dish.  The duck confit is a dish that comes from France. The Manchamanteles  Mole Sauce whose nickname is “tablecloth stainer” is from Mexico. The two dishes combined was a real hit at our recent October 4-Course Dinner.

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Salvadorian Pulled Chicken Tamals with Mole Verde Sauce


There is a distinct texture and flavor difference between Salvadorian tamal’s and Mexican Tamale’s even though both are made with corn masa.

The Salvadorian tamal’s have a rich brothy savory flavor and the texture is somewhat like a congealed thick rich corn pudding filled with pulled chicken, potatoes and chickpeas and olives. They also have a distinct flavor from the banana leaves. These tamals are almost like a masa souffle-like texture!

The Mexican Tamale’s are prepared from a raw corn dough made of corn treated with lime, lots of delicious pork fat and leavening and are usually wrapped in corn husks, the Salvadorian one’s are prepared with a dough that is pre-cooked, with a type of sofrito called “recaudo”, and  are wrapped in pre-cooked banana leaves.

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