Monday, July 30, 2012

To Rise or Fall & the Mexican Gherkin

Galloping galaxies, this past weekend was more packed than a 1938 South Carolina speakeasy!  So many great faces and friends, heartfelt hugs delivered with mixed emotions of "congratulations & I feel yah, bro." Scotty has been simmering on more than a few items of both personal & professional evolution.  One thing is for certain, I am full-fledged Chef again.

This evolution concept was part of my discussions this past Sunday, as my nearest and dearest girlfriend Ms. Sheliqua Veraquat and I sipped from our Blood Maria's (served up at R-Gang Eatery - thanks Rich Sweeney!).  One must apply themselves to a course of action and yet . . one must pleasantly abide the incantations of what this most intriguing Universe will allow.  Push & Pull. Skip & Jump. Rest & Run.  The vexing nature of neither here nor there . . . please call me, or email me, or text me with confirmation of this most Olympic opportunity of epicurean battle.  Chef Scotty is ready.

Options are presented before me, perhaps too many as usual.  I've contemplated, sorted and stricken those little demons from my meek little realm; and with unlimited virtue - rehired those insistent angels.  My shoulders are lifted by Mallard Duck wings (my angels have a different look to them - more gargoyle meets Garfield if you will) and whilst I've yet to adhere to the life lesson of "balance" . . . the powers that be seem to be aligned.  On to the grub, spit and rub!

I visited the Hillcrest Farmers Market this yesterday morning (dragged my ass out of bed at 6:16am with a whooping cough that can only be attributed to my switch to Winston Lights . . . purging bronchials replacing any need for an alarm clock).  This is where my menu begins, a menu for LA's Grammy royalty this Thursday - sort of important you could say.  Like a mad squirrel I sequestered the perfect bite size heirloom fingerling potatoes from Phil/Sage Mountain Farms (my favorite farmer), a few pints of Mexican Sour Gherkin (f'ing adorable & delish) from Suzie's Farms, some fresh little Ula Poni, Red Walnuts, Organic dried Nectarines and other Organic Fruits that beckoned my wallet to flow like a free falling tree-frog (figs weren't very plentiful, so please excuse the delay).  The menu only partial roughed out in my head - I must divert to last nights paralytic moment in offering you:  Apricot Clafoutis

with Culinary Blessings,

                     Chef Scotty

Recipe: Apricot-Almond Clafoutis


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butters
  • 6 Apricots, halved
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 1 tblsp each of vanilla & almond extracts
  • 1/4 cup evaporated cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon ground canela 
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • sliced almonds for garnish

How to make it

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter in an 8-inch nonstick skillet.
  • Using a whisk, mix the flour, almond meal, eggs (beaten already), extracts, sugar, yogurt, canela (mexican cinnamon), pinch of salt and 2 tablespoon of the melted butter from the skillet and mix until you have a smooth batter.
  • Pour the batter into the butter remaining in the skillet and arrange the apricot halves on top, spacing them evenly. Place the skillet over high heat for about 2 minutes and then transfer it to the oven. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffy. Remove from oven.
  • Serve the clafoutis directly from the skillet in wedges or unmold. To unmold, make certain that the clafoutis is free from the sides of the pan; if necessary, run a sharp knife around the edge to release it. Slide it gently onto a plate. Cut into wedges, and serve.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fumbling for Figs

Reconnecting today, which accounts for collecting kindling or better put – sharing conversation & reminiscing over memories with friends and colleagues.  The weather is quite beautiful here in San Diego . . it pretty much is always beautiful.

It was an early morning, no alarm needed as I called it an early night at 9:34pm (I decided against attending the last night of Eden).  I breezed down the 405 FWY humming to my Ethiopian Reggae tunes and taking in the “Universal Flow”  You know that feeling when you walk into a dark room, unknown to any subconscious memory; carefully proceeding with arms stretched out, fumbling for the light switch?  That’s me right now.  No fear, none at all – halfheartedly content in the dark as my iris dilates and with calculated procession. . I am able to make out the general presence of objects.  Don’t get me wrong – I still can’t see shit . . but I’m working with the variables and making my way forward.

With eyes wide open, I am but a dancing duet of Yin & Yang.  The vibe is glorious and couldn’t be any sweeter (lest this here lottery ticket proves to exponential increase my monetary wealth).  One of my friends sort of called it the other day, “you’re on the verge of returning to you!” I’m feeding my asymmetrical hearth with wedges of creativity, a gentle breeze and gallons of filtered water -  vibracioso bread anyone? (vibracioso: flipping over the top, gyrating results).

Molecular marvels or marbles, or miracles . . . whatever's clever - take your pick & eat some figs (they're in season & I plan on buying a boatload tomorrow at the Hillcrest Farmers Market!

With Culinary Blessings,
                   Chef Scotty      

Friday, July 27, 2012

Closure & Strawberry Scallop Sashimi "Shortcake"

Today marks a fairly big day as Eden closes the doors . . . my dream having been dragged through the dirt and dissolved. Yet, it is from the very earth, the same stuff we call mud, that we are able to sculpt something useful, something beautiful be it a vase, a vessel or an empty plate.  This metamorphic process can only occur with a tender hand, a keen eye for detail and assertive diligence balanced proportionately with patience.  I was and still am very proud of my accomplishments in building San Diego's top catering company ChileCo and reincarnating Universal into a new vision as Eden Restaurant & Nightclub. 

Of course, those accomplishments were only made possible by the efforts of so many people that believed in me.  Some of those people no longer believe in me and garner emotions that I simply can't ever hope to rectify.  It's true, I built long-standing relationships based upon passion, organic cultivation and artisan intent and while the majority still see me as an inspiration it is my own evaluation of my self that matters the most.  I guess Eden and I have more in common than just bricks and mortar.  Tomorrow is just around the corner.

Closure allows for growth.  I've finally finished this cheap ass, red bucket of Folgers as such I decided to splurge on some quality Kings Cafe dark roast this morning.  Hell, I'm even forgoing my lactose intolerance and melding my steamy cup of joe with full fat manufacturers whipping cream.  I'll pay for it dearly in the coming hour but enjoying the moment. 

On the moment, there is a most promising future ahead and I'm all to eager to fill my plate once again.  Having lost everything twice, I still believe in myself today as much as I did at day one.  I am an entrepreneur, I am an artist, I am environmentalist & humanitarian . . . my bank account doesn't say success, not right now at least, but with one foot in front of the other . . . 

with Culinary Blessings,

                      Chef Scotty

Recipe: Strawberry-Merlot n' Bay Scallop Sashimi "Shortcake"

Ok, not so much a recipe as a description. I served this as one of my appetizers last night at the "Face Forward" fundraiser held at Unici Casa.  Some overly ripe strawberries inspired this little Summertime canape and I would say that it went over quite well.

Jam:  Fill a pot of strawberries and dose it with a good amount of red wine
Base: Slice some angelfood cake 1/4 inch thick, spray with olive oil and toast
Cream: I used yogurt blended with a little sourcream and added orange blossom water
Scallops: Sashimi - I used fresh bay scallops and let them marinate in champagne
Garnish: Basil works here or Black Tobiko caviar or both

Monday, July 23, 2012

Genghis Khan Eyebrows & "Just Beat It" Beet Soup

July something, 2012

This past week was full of revelations, inspirations & reunitations (cause it sounds good!)

Last Monday - the heads of state at 24 Carrots & I mutually decided it was in my biggest britches to shuttle off on my own path of Chef Scotty.  It was a brief but savory run and the first of it's kind in over 12 years; that is to say - I like being my own boss.  Not that I manage my own self that well, everything goes into my work, my clients, my colleagues . . . my eyes say sleep, my heart says win it all back, my Buddhist amigos . . .well, hopefully they're chanting for me. 

"No Dad, I didn't exactly volunteer to step off on my own right then and there . . . it was a discussion of what was/would be in everyone's best interests."  Simple put - I am a novelty of excessive uniqueness that does not necessarily jive with the likes of corporate structure.  I am untainted, unrestrained and perhaps the most comical chef you'll meet . . . I guess it all works out "how it should"

Ironic that my two previous blog posts encapsulated a feeling of Freedom & Go with the Flow Scenerios & Relationships.  I'm standing, still smoking and not one little bit worried about tomorrow.  Blessed by the surroundings of too many gifted and amazing individuals, I will finish this Dr. Seus spirited 2011 race and build a few new tracks to boot.  Should the Mayans fail in delivering the premeditated destruction of the world this December. . I do believe 2013 will be my year of redemption; Bob Marley swirls in my head every time a say that word as does the memory of being blitzed on Costa Rica's Playa Samara and not waking up until the water was laping right up my shorts towards Mr. you know who.  I wouldn't recommend drinking Guaro unless you were broke as I was at the age of seventeen.

With the impossibility of typing out this weeks chain of unparalleled upsies & sidewazies; I am pleasantly forced to keep this brief & to the point.  I love life and relieved that I can write whatever the hell I want again.  For our food segment:  let's see . . . pink and slippery, summertime chilling with a snitch of spice.  I give you a bloody red-n-chilly soup.
with Culinary Blessings,
                         Chef Scotty (

"Just Beat It" Soup Recipe


2 medium onion
1 half jalapeno (seeds removed)
1 fresh bay leaf
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
1 small potato
1 pound raw beets (skinned removed)
2 tablespoons EVO
6 cups vegetable stock or water with a splash or two of white wine
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 fennel bulbs, cored removed - brunoise or as close as you get (ie: small pieces)
1 teaspoon
Salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream or yogurt to garnish (optional)
Better yet:  Add some caraway-rye croutons, fennel fronds & grilled shrimp

1. Chop vegetables.
2. Heat pan, add oil, and saute onion until transparent. Add jalapeno, bay leaf, tarragon, potato, beets, and veggie stock or water and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Allow to cool before blending in small batches in blender then strain
5. Add vinegar, fennel brunoise, salt and pepper.
6. Before serving, top with a dollop of sourcream, caraway rye croutons, fennel fronds and grilled prawns.
May be served warm or chilled.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Exhausted!!! Give & Take Brownies

Exhaustion doesn't quite capture the state of my mind, body or soul.  My room looks something like a meritage of a cluttered garage and Staples.  I don't have the energy to clean it and with some 400 emails to bulldoze through . . I don't think it's gonna happen.

Last night 24 Carrots sponsored the food & wine for an extraordinary event at Unici Casa - LA's latest and greatest venue located in Culver City.  The concrete walls and Middle eastern Contemporary decor are accentuated with about 12,000 pounds of Murano glass coming out of the ceilings and walls like artistic stalactites.  We had about 800 guests to pound out food and quite honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by the volunteer culinary students that worked with me in the kitchen (along side Chef Abby, Mark, Dan & Crystal).  Blink, Blink, Blink -

I spilled coffee all over myself only one hour ago, thank you Marvin Gaye for gettin'it on!  I suppose some quality coffee would spruce up this old goose better than some late 70's groove but Folgers will have to do for the moment.  I was in Chef Scotty form last night; that I know and it feels good to be back.  Of course, this new crew doesn't exactly have a ton of experience in working with me - loud barker, louder laugh.  I don't think I scared anyone . . . too much that is:)

Relationships.  I'm talking industry folks and personal here.  In the past two weeks I've been mildly reprimanded for not being "available" or communicating properly (ex: bailing out on previously arranged meetings).  Is that I sign that I'm doing my job?  Overworking/Perfectionist?  Perhaps that's all I know.  Be everything for everybody but yourself . . . hmmm, I thought I had corrected this - bad Buddha!  I'm stepping forward, more like sprinting towards an ever diminishing finish line but at least I'm wearing a smile.

I accept what you Universe.  I accept you for what you take and what you give.  I am ready, I am not waiting .  .  . I will take what is mine and give what I've got.  A recipe that captures these feelings?  Hmm, let's see what I can muster up how about a cookie dough meets spicy chocolate brownie.

with Culinary Blessings,

                     Chef Scotty

Give & Take Brownies

Yield: 16 brownies
Prep Time: 30 min + chill time
Cook Time: 25 min


3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature or almost melted
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk or cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup miniature chocolate chips
additional miniature chocolate chips & kosher sea salt if desired (to garnish the top)


Prepare the brownie layer:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x9-inch pan with nonstick spray, then line with a strip of parchment paper so that it covers the bottom and comes up two sides of the pan. Spray the parchment with nonstick spray too.

2. In a microwave safe bowl (or in the top of a double boiler or pan set on top of a pan of simmering water), microwave in 30 second bursts to melt butter and chocolate chips together until all is melted and smooth. Whisk in the sugars, then whisk in the eggs, vanilla, cayenne and salt. Sift flour into the bowl and stir that in too. Scrape the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the brownie layer is cooked through (toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean). Place the pan of brownies in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process (or cool at room temperature and add the cookie dough layer later).

Prepare the cookie dough layer:

3. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the butter, sugars and salt until soft and creamy (1 to 2 minutes). Mix in the milk and vanilla. Sprinkle in the flour and mix in until combined. Stir in the 1 cup of chocolate chips. Scoop the cookie dough onto the top of the brownies and spread onto the brownie layer. I find that it's easiest to do this if the brownie layer is chilled and firm. Wet your hands or spray them with nonstick spray and pat the cookie dough on top in a even layer. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top to create a nicer, visual appearance. For easy, clean cutting, chill the brownies (wrap the brownies with plastic wrap and chill until firm- 1 to 2 hours or up to 2 days).

4. Cut the brownies: Run a knife along the sides of the brownie pan and then use the parchment paper to lift the brownies from the pan and onto a cutting board. Slice the brownies with a sharp knife, wiping the knife with a paper towel between cuts. If you'd like all of your slices of brownies to look clean-cut without edges, use the knife to cut the sides of the brownies off before cutting pieces. Keep brownies slices covered and chilled until ready to serve.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Independence Works of Self Service

The 4th of July, 2012

Where the sparks fly & the love rekindles, the night ignites, the grill smoulders from neglect of yet one too many Sangria's porously pulsing through ones veins - yes, this was my 4th of July.

Did I cook?  Of course!  It was for a a very good friend who has been kind enough to stick by me through these years of entrepreneurship and adventures of self-preservation, chef conservation and unpredicatable temptations.  The menu was nothing over the top yet it pleased everyones palettes of comfort whilst formidably raising the bar . . . or was that leaving the spout of Sangria open and piddling good vino onto the floor?

My midnight shopping spree (long weekend in San Diego before making it back on the 3rd) provided me just enough time to bust out two brines that bite on the tongue yet balanced bit of sugar & salt quite contright.  Pork & Chicken always needs some layering in my mind as such it deserves a good 24 hour bath (minimum - I prefer 48 hours).   The results of my impromptu menu:

  • Wild Rocket Salad with Truffled Beet, Chevre, Basil, Black Walnut & Lemon Vinaigrette
  • Sweet Corn & Potato Salad with Tarragon induced Creme
  • Garam Masala Pork Tenderloin with Mojo Aioli
  • Roasted Garlic n' Rosemary Angus Burgers with Grilled Pineapple & Fixins
  • Stone Smoked Porter-n-Chipotle Grilled Chicken Legs
  • Canela Apple Cobbler with Oatmeal Cookie Crumble
A bit of miracle?  Not really, I'm that good (LOL) but seriously it was da'bomb diggity for what it was and then we all split for the firework display . . well, almost all of us.  On the route over to the premiere Pacific Coast Beach, we happened to see a Range Rover stuck in the stand.  Stuck might actually not prove to be the best adjective . . . it was damn, outright wedged, sunken and spitting without corrosive action.  My party traveled on.  I made my stand as an American citizen, a Midwestern patriot, a semi-lit moralistic fool envisioning a better world where people cared enough to help a blind stranger (ok, he wasn't really blind, probably loaded to the hilt with this brand new Range Rover and not a bloody clue that he shouldn't ignore the publically posted signs - DO NOT PARK HERE - SAND WILL LAY YOUR over-priced, house mortgaged to the hilt, step over the Nile River from feast to famish, STUPID ASS DOWN!!!!  He saw no sign, he was blind to the obvious; but I would help him none the less.

"Sir, I'd be happy to help you out of this predictament . . I'm from Wisconsin, the Midwest where we have quite a bit worse climat or obstacles that are presented to our everyday lives and most definitely our vehicles"  The fireworks went on without me as I finagled cardboard benath tires and on my white armani knees; scooped ridiculous amounts of sand from underneath the SUV's steel ladened belly.  Took about 25 minutes total but in the end he genuinly thanked me and drove off. 

So what did you do for the 4th?  Gluttony or Giving . . . or combination thereof?  We all need to step it up in this crazy world if we're going to make things better.  I'm no saint, but I can confidently say that I got's skills and that exceeds the epicurean realm with down right morales and ethics.

With Culinary Blessings,

                      Chef Scotty

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Soar/Sore/Sure/Shore/Sofrito 4 Shizzles

Soar = ascending to new heighths, I did quite well in yesterdays competition on to the interview 7/5

Sore = made it to two Spin classess & two workouts this week . . my body is beaten in a good way

Sure = sure that I'm on the right path and beyond grateful for the many that have held me up till now

Shore = a trip to San Diego for 4 days work, I'm thinking some Ocean mediation along the route

Sofrito =   an mixutre of surreal sexiness & friend to beans, rice or in my case pork belly for shizzles!

Ominivorous intentions have me climbing out of the elephants ass and quite lovingly embracing a most luxurious ephinany - I am without limitation.  "On point"might be a better manner of phrasing but I rather enjoy twisting my vocabulary . . that way it is consistent with the perilous thoughts that revolve in my head (much like a 16 year old Maytag Dryer loaded to the hilt, spinning away, the thumps and clicks of forgotten change, a lighter, two buckles & shit . . . . I left a ballpoint pen in one of those chef uniforms!).

Heading to my old turf in a few hours and wickedly wondering just how I'll cope.  You see, San Diego always manages to stir up so much  . . so much, hmm introspection and interrogation for me.  I decided yesterday that I will be taking this mid-summer month off of my "situation down under" as such there will be no further mention of it - the ultimateum can just sit on the back burner unti August; as can my lawyer bills.

I'm putting it out there.  Putting it all out there.  I'm ready for a real realtionship, ready to make it all back yet again, ready to be the best chef I can imaginably be, ready to make a difference and climb, crawl, cling, cut, carve, contour any obstacle that presents itself before me.  I'm all heart, all ears and all open to the wonderful opportunities - Bring it on!

For the food swingers out there - Sofrito is the equivalent of our ketchup to the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Cuba (as well as a few other Caribbean islands).  When I state equivalent in no way to I condone the use, taste, purpose of ketchup - I think the rotten tomato puree does nothing for food, well not good food at least.  My dish yesterday manifested from it's original conception of exclectic caribbean fusion into a more subdued yet balanced Puerto Rican nouveau plate.  The caramelized plantain hash was replaced with a Roasted Garlic n' Sweet Corn Bread Pudding.  The papaya pickle tamed down in both acidity & complexity.  The sofrito enrichened with five types of roasted peppers, vinegar, cumin & fresh basil which complemented my perfectly cooked pork belly (that I opted not to spice with Garam Masala but crushed fennel & black caraway seed instead) in the way that a cala lily excites the overly sensitive gay man.  My plate of food was hot, not warm . . but hot and that was the intent of design that lead to these little alterations.  I received a big smile and a  . . . well, I can't tell y' everything!  Let's just say that it wasn't my best dish by far, but it was better than almost most.

with Culinary Blessings,

                       Chef Scotty

Recipe: Puerto Rican Sofrito
makes about 5 cups
*feel free to use some roasted poblanos and hit the mixture with some organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar for a bit more punch!


  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 10 ajies dulces peppers, tops removed
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 onions, cut into large chunks
  • 3 medium heads garlic, peeled
  • 25 cilantro leaves with stems
  • 25 leaves recao, or culantro
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper


  1. In a food processor, combine green peppers, red peppers ajies dulces, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. Add cilantro, recao, salt, and pepper. Process to the consistency of semi-chunky salsa (not watery). Place in a ziplock freezer bag, and use as needed, or freeze in portions.


  • Recao is a popular Caribbean herb with many aliases. Among them, Culantro, long coriander, ngo-gai, and Mexican coriander. It may possibly be found in Latin grocery stores, or substitute with cilantro.
  • Aji Dulce is a common ingredient in Puerto Rican recipes. It is a small, sweet red pepper. If you can't find it, use red bell pepper.