Friday, June 29, 2012

Taurus to Taurasi - What happens at Remi stays at Remi!

It's OVER:)!:)!  Of course many of you are wondering what in the hell I'm talking about.  I've been cheffing up in Bel Aire for a rather exclusive showcase of Remi Martin's best booze:  Charles Heidsieck Champagne and Louis XIII cognac ($2200 per bottle).  It's been a snippet of journey through purgatory; neither quite hear nor hither.  I've always said God doesn't want me and the Devil is scared of me . . . thus, I was mostly contented at this event but I can't say the same for my staff.

Regardless, 26 days was enough Groundhog Day of edamame-pinot grigio tapenade in a parmesean tuille, passionfruit lace rock shrimp ceviche and  . . . I can even pucker my mouth to formulate the word . . . deviled quail eggs.  It's OVER and my lotus bereft tears will only be shed for the lack of company from Dan, Luchana, Barbara, DJ, Fabrizio and all the other little & belittled people who helped pull this thing off; have I mentioned lately - It's OVER!

Now on to much older yet recently relished libations - Taurasi!  Taurasi is actually a town and comune in the province of Avellino, Campania, Italy producing one single bottle of great vino (the pride of Compania) named after the city to which it the trio of Aglianico, Piedirosso and Barbera grapes are so lovingly grown.  I first learned of this wine some 14 years ago (being a Taurus and all . . .it was a potential name for a restaurant I was working on) and finally, after fruitless endeavors at countless Italian restaurants throughout SoCal . . . did I find it at Il Cielo in Beverly Hills.  It wasn't cheap ($130 I think) but then again I wasn't paying the bill.  The verdict?  LOL well after all that build it up it was very likely to fall short of any premonitions (hmm, Spago swap and spit?) . . . it was tasty, deep and delicious for what it was/is & likely will always be.  Il Cielo's entrees where nothing short of very good Italian, calamari not so much, bruschetta not so much . . . so hard to please, maybe I should open another restaurant or take up the reigns at Eden again.

That's a wrap for today - I'll post my spice of life pork belly with caramelized plantain hash & cuban roasted red bell pepper sofrito tomorrow . . . for now - it's in the oven, crispy cerdito simmering away next to a blanket of sweet plantain . . tonight I bathe in pig fat, tomorrow this Taurauen take a leap towards epicurean enlightment  . . .  bounding to new professional heights . . now where and the flip did I put my red boots?

with Culinary Blessings,

                         Chef Scotty 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The infamous Spago - What the Wolfgang Phuck?

Ok - I am a epicurean snob and any evaluation of a restaurant comes from a perfectionist perspective on my best day (or that of my culinary team); henceforth, please forgive me for my direct candor.

The afternoon was delightfully sunny, the company both cheerful & uplifting . . . then we walked into Spago.  The 1982 Midwestern Casino decor didn't exactly excite me and what in the hell is this squiggle little thing embossed, engraved, painted & perturbed onto every surface? (turns out it's "the flame of life") The setting at the table mildly distrupted, the service and speed not exactly "on point" for the level of expectation . . rather lacking the anticipation mostly notable of   veteran waiters & bussers.  As for the food, we were served the tuna tataki as a complimentary amuse bouche (my gentlemen company being a Spago VIP).  This was quite nice, the brandy laced tuile embedded with a tuxedo spattering of seame seeds . . maybe a little wakame in their, ponzu, sesame oil and obviously tuna tartare. 

My first course was the beet "cake" which was delicious and absolutely stunning to the eye by all standards.  The next Wolfgang Puck signature dish was the sweet pea agnolotti; I feel great pain for the prep cooks/chefs that have to assemble some 10,000 little pasta pockets of what I can only believe to be pea baby food.  Peas - bad memories of canned peas and while these still had the bright green kermit th frog color, the flavor was the same as those canned peas.  Why not add mint, tarragon, leek, shallot, sake, pinot grigio, basil, lemon thyme . . . anything green with flavor to assist, to augment, to enlighten this ever so pale pate verde.  The beurre blanc was traditional and pleasant but again - overly simple as a dish . . and probably meant to be so for the grazing and gazing clientel of quaffed hebrew heritage, sporting magenta lipstick and overly sprite upholestry . . . I mean clothing.

Dessert was point on even if the coffee took 6 minutes to land before me.  A fig tart with a PERFECT crust (couldn't have been better, two heaven floors above the best Pate Brise) and the ice cream so very, very incredibly vanilla bean . . . yum to the tum (minus my lactose intolerance issue).  The chocolate gelato was great but nothing compared to my vanilla conoccotion and whilst currant look beautiful - they certainly are not in season yet and bastardingly tart to thought let alone tongue.

Ok - that's a wrap on Spago, apparrently they are gutting the space in two weeks for a revamp.  GREAT IDEA!!!!!  My friend, bless his soul - thinks the world of this place and for what's it's worth . . . I'm sorry for being a bitchy inspector of prudence & overtly vocal veneer (BTY - the entering artwork with the caviar containers looks like a 3rd grade art project I made for my Grandma LaVerna).  Here's my remake of Wolfgangs sweet pea agnolotti dish.

Rabbit Confit & Fig Cannelloni with Sweet English Pea Sauce 
Chef Willis Loughhead of Biscaya Grill, Ritz-Carlton, Coconut Grove - Miami -Summertime Adaptation by Chef Scotty June, 2012
Yield:12 Servings

1 whole Rabbit (or substitute chicken if you have too much love for Thumper)
1 bottle white wine
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons of fresh tarragon
4 shallots
1 pound Cippiolini onions
1 pound fresh, local adriatic figs (green figs), sliced
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons whole unsalted butter
8 Fresh square pasta sheets
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste

English Pea Strut your Stuff sauce:
1 pound of fresh English Peas
1 cup of White Rhone Wine
2 tablespoons of Shallot, chopped
1 Tablespoon of Mint, chopped
1 Tablespoon of Basil, chopped
1 solid dash of white pepper
2 tablespoons butter
Maldon sea salt to taste

To prepare rabbit confit cannellonni: Salt the rabbit and place it in a small heavy braising pan with oil. Sear until golden brown on all sides. Add the onions and garlic and caramelize. Add the butter, tarragon and sauté the figs. Deglaze with white wine and add enough olive oil to cover the rabbit ¾ of the way. Add salt, water and pepper to the liquid. Gently simmer for about one hour, or until the rabbit meat is falling off of the bone.

Take the rabbit out of the liquid and allow it to cool. Reduce the cooking liquid by 1/3 then strain the ingredients and set aside.

Pull all of the meat off of the rabbit and shred loosely into a mixing bowl. Roughly chop the reserved ingredients of fig, onions and shallot and roughly chop. add the mixture to the rabbit. Reduce the liquid to sauce consistency. Add liquid to the rabbit mixture - add enough to suspend the mixture to make a filling. Reserve the liquid.

Place mixture on the pasta and roll to form the cannelloni. Chill until ready to serve.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place one cannelloni per person in a shallow baking pan and cover with the reserved braising liquid. Cover and place in the oven for twenty minutes.

To prepare english pea sauce: Reduce white wine by half, then add peas, shallots, herbs and pepper.  Immediately remove and blend away before tosing in a few cubes of butter.  Salt to taste.

To plate: Place cannelloni on plate and sauce with english pea, sport a bit of mache and tear some fresh herbs herbs (tarragon, italian parsley and touch of mint) sprinkle over cannelloni, and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with Maldon sea salt & one adriatic fig cut on a bias.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

5-Spiced Shark Skewers & a bit of Dip leftover

Twizzled by the infectious grounds of Sumatra Coffee still lodged between my front incisors (note to self: must brush before making an appearance in public), I begin this fine afternoon with some refined reflection.  It's been a year now since I've made my debut (or shall we say - Entered the Dragon) in Los Angeles.  I wouldn't have volunatarily moved here or left my near perfect life in San Diego had it not been for the rather unfortunate circumstances surrounding my businesses there. 

A bad buddhist I most certainly am!  The compassion has dried up worse than the Adriatic Sea - caviarless only for the lack of actual Sturgeon swimming around in my immediate reality.  The good news is, I kick ass without all of my lovingly sweet Midwestern morales . . . limitations are torn away like the leftover scraps of pages no longer holding on to the notebook.  No purpose - get rid of it.  No more looking back - too much promise of serenity on the very near horizon.

I'm grateful for this French Onion Dip of a life just wish I had more crispy kettle chips to finish off the petite tub.  Beggars can't be choosers and wilst owning my accountabilty and lack of frugality . . .I also acknowledge my many gifts including some wonderful new friendships (merci beaucoup Neal) that stimiulate my culinary passion as much as drive me to be a better individual.

Le cuisine of the hour . . hmm. I just finished up a little Caribbean inspired menu and this recipe goes back ten years for me. It's not sustainable so you should take note to substitute opah, ono or any other fatty Pacific fish.  El Tiburon is not doing so well in our waters - we need less people, not more fish.  With the 4th of July right around the corner and grilling on the mind, grilling on the spirit, grilling of my self-control . . . . its all too appropriate. 

with Culinary Blessings,

                   Chef Scotty  (ps: sort for the scattered thoughts)

Marinade for Chinese 5-Spice Shark & Plum Skewer
Spice up your life with this recipe from Chef Scotty

Prep: 5 minutes
           3 lbs of shark, cubed no less  
                                 0than 1" by 1"
           2 cups of dried prunes
cup plum wine
Tbsp. ginger, fresh, minced
cup ketjap manis
cup sesame oil
tsp. cilantro, fresh, chopped
tsp. Chinese five spice blend
tsp. sea salt
Tbsp. fresh black pepper (or szechaun peppercorn if you got it/find it!)

Mix all ingredients well. Coat each piece of shark completely - do not just pour marinade over the fish. Turn shark  every 15 minutes while marinating.
Marinate for 30 minutes.  Soak bamboo skewers in water (substitute wooden chopsticks or sugarcane spears) and assemble skewers by alternating pieces of shark with prunes (or plums or substitute any fresh stonefruit)
Grill on each side for two to three minutes and serve.
     *Feel free to add Fennel Bulb & Red Onion to this Kabob!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Old news, No news . . . still puff & want to be buff


Damn it!  I had just mastered “” and then they slam us with techy-turn-table change;  Just like Facebook and it’s amazingly enforced upon “Timeline” template (which I am proud to say that I successfully abstained from conforming up until last month!).  A non-conformist, that is exactly who I am and yet on this day as I stare at the tender fleshy arm, grinding my teeth, salvating like a rabid possum in a watermelon patch .  . . I will conform, I will quit smoking cigarettes at last.
What was the trigger?  The catalyst from which some mental neuron finally snapped into it’s proper socket allocating the necessary serotonin to promote “au natural happiness” in place of it’s Indiana raised tobacco and subsequent nitrates, preservatives, fertilizers and other chemical candies of the addictive sort.   And no, it wasn’t for some date to impress or a client of influential status . . but it was Tom Whitman & Kyle (his bf) with their perfect white teeth matching my friends perfectly bleached linen shirt.  There comes a point where you either need to toxify the white in your eyes or bleach out the damn teeth -  everyone really needs to match at such close proximity.

The other factor . . cost.  Tired of it, really . . . that’s $6 a day, times 30 days for a minimum $180.  Health comes in last as a priority (sadly-my lawsuit stress superseded the vegan lung). 

It's June 25th now, I didn't quit for more than 3 days.  Screw it.  I enjoy for the moment and there's enough peripheral chaos going on in my life to validate the consumption of 20 cancer sticks a day.  Tomorrow I will go to the gym.  I highly expect a bolt of lightening to strike me down dead upon entering.  The Bstrds have made their money off me these last few months without so much as me thinking about Spin class.  Trade the bad for the good = balance???  Good enough enough for me as I snarf down some dark chocolate coated pretzels (oh, but I did have a wild rocket salad for lunch . . . there's that balance again).

What are everyone's thoughts on the cigar/tobacco pairing when it comes to food??  Sort of goes with the whole coffee encrusted, cocoa nib theme and sincerely has a place in my heart.  But then again, I'm biased when it comes to caramelized shallot-cocoa nib encrusted Denver lambchop spoiled by a sangiovese a la Kona coffee demi-glace.  Thoughts?  Interaction?  Convesation?  Or world of one word by Chef Scotty?

with Culinary Blessings,

                               Chef Scotty

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Turkish Feud or is it Delight?

Not too sure about this new format for Blogger but I guess I don't have a choice in the matter.  Somethings are free in life, and when they are . . . well, one must go with the flow.  Life is at it's all encompassing peak right now with fortunes unfolding yet still no winning lottery ticket.  I've got spunk and a rather annoying hangover from the three Patron laced margaritas from last night . . hardly worth the subsiding headache having come home to my own bed without even contemplating some Mike Jagger moves on the dance floor.  My feet desire the beat, my heart spreading the word apart, my passion conceding to compassion . . . . let's get this party started!

Bel Aire, Remi Martin, Louis XIII, too much champagne, too many consecutive days of promotionary events . . . starting to feel a bit like Bill Murray in groundhog day.  It's been real, but I don't want to see a quail egg for a good decade, candied kumquat - no thank you; edamame tapenade and parmesean tuilles haunt my foggy dreams . . it all ends Thursday - thank flipping Jesus!!!

Something to type about . . . hmm, just finished a Turkish menu for a client and I can honestly say - I don't think I've really experienced much authentic Turkish food.  The world of the Kabob & Rice has long since been known to dominate the Persian empire cuisine (and that of awful mainstream Greek/Ottoman Empire fast food) and while most know not the merits of sumac or nigella seed (also known as Kalonji or Black Caraway) we all know hummus, dolmas, taziki (that minted yogurt cucumber dip), baba ghanoush (eggplant dip . . I like to smoke mine before emulsifying it up into a pasty dip) . . and of course, bakclava (the phyllo, honey, toasted pistachio or walnut pastry that sticks to your tongue and stimulates your . . . well, a bit of an aphrodisiac it is).  My menu isn't quite authentic in its entirety but then again, I can formidably lay fault upon those undersalted margaritas.  Not much of an audience to comment, but I'd appreciate any Casablanca thoughts or inspirations be they of the negative, postive or imperative sort.  Happy Sunday all.


Mediterranean Platter
Organic Sheep Feta, House Pickles, Walnuts, Figs, Dolma, Imported Olives and Lavash

Cumin corrupted Angus Beef with English Pea and Shallot in Turkish Flatbread

Falafel Favacake
Organic Fava Bean Petite Patty, Tahini-Soy Sauce, Parsley, Fresh Dill, Pickled Red Onion

Grilled Pita Pizzatas
Fire Roasted Eggplant-n-Tomato Marinara, Marinated Artichoke Heart, Oregano

Caramelized Fig Chutney, Sheep Feta Crumble, Mint Chiffonade & Toasted Walnut
Lollipop Lambchop
Fried Walnut-Pomegranate Molasses encrusted Lollipop Lambchop

Family Style Dinner

Summertime Salad
Black Sea salted Watermelon, Mizuna, Red Onion, Persian Cucumber, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Braised Free Range Chicken Thighs with Honey, Apricots, Almonds, Currants and Cracked Black Pepper served over Safffron Rice Pilaf

Lemon-Pinot Grigio poached Turbot served over Fresh Potato Slices, Parsley Confetti

Roasted Spaghetti Squash, Egg, Red Onion, Fresh Dill

Charcoal Grilled Kebap
Kofte Kebap (Lamb with Mint, Oregano & Shallot) and Patates Kebabi (Potato with Bay Leaf)

Petite Pastries
Turkish Delight, Pistachio Baklava, Cardamom induced Rice Pudding, Rosewater Petite Four

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Smelt Shock

Getting into the swing, off the tater tots and on to the big picture.  Got a call this morning at 6am from my Mother Mary Cleo.  "Joel Johnston is dead."  Never a good thing when the phone is ringing that early.  Joel was a neighborhood best friend and his mother, Kay Johnston, actually imparted some Midwestern home cooking into my repertoire.  I would actually make it a practice to stay late, playing Ninendo or shooting hoops with Joel in hopes of being invited to dinner at the Johnston household.  You see, my Mom was, is and most likely always will be - a shitty cook.

Memories of our childhood always come with some recipes of success, happiness and sorrow.  They continue to uphold our individual perceptions of what is right and what is in need of some rather drastic attention.  Joel wasn't the best friend in the end, but the times we did have were unpretentious as kids with High School staining the merits of our bond and then forgiveness and time settling our differences.  Regardless, Joel was a great a guy all around and at the age of 36 he will be missed.  I can tell you that everytime I see a Bruce Lee Ninja movie, a Charlotte Hornets basketball game (are they even around anymore?), or a dirtbike . . . I'll smile and reminisce on those times of childhood heart and laughter.

In the meantime, Kay always made the best fried smelt . . . I know, the majority of you are absolutely clueless right now.  Smelt?  Is that a hand-stitched scarf presented to a Mormon on his day of reckoning?  No, no - Smelt is name of the petite olfactory organ that distinguishes stench from sweet.  Nope, it's a little fish.  Sort of like a sardine but found in fresh waters and whence fried up (head, bone & all) it's quite delish.


  • 1/2 lb fish fillet, of Smelts which is the name of a family of silvery fishes found in cool waters of the Northern Hemis
  • 2/3-1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • oil or Crisco (for frying)


  1. Place flour in gallon or quart size storage bag add fish shake to coat.
  2. Mix egg and milk together and dip fish to coat. Then reflour the fish.
  3. In a large hot pan add frying oil or Crisco to cover bottom of pan, heat oil then place fish in till browned on one side flip and brown. About 2 minutes.
  4. Remove to paper towel or brown paper to drain oil season generously with salt and pepper and garnish if desired with lemon.