Saturday, September 29, 2012

Santa Barbara Etiquette, Prickly Tongue & Space

I sip from a stoneware cup, my coffee has notes of chocolate and nearly as silky smooth as a brick of Valhrona Majari.  I am at peace in mind, body & spirit in this quaint beach town of Southern California.  My stomach, wrestling with its traditional early bird hunger (partial due to my daily reappearance at the gym?), and my eager mind decided to wake me at 6am.  The comforting chinchilla like blanket enchanted my weariness to stay in bed yet somehow I mustered an effort; disrobing like a Galician Prince and headed for the patio.  The cigarette still wields power over all else, but who cares – I made it through another day of no alcohol.

I arrived in Santa Barbara at approximately 2pm in the afternoon, just enough time to shuck the LA vibes from my very cobb . . each kernel representing a percentage of true self – I might be at 60% and hope to return to the city of lost angels with no less than 86%.  I embarked on a journey through State Street, watching the potbellied homeless, hippy-high-noted college students, European tourists of various dialects & origins as well as the local residents working or patronizing anyone of the sophisticated to surf’s up establishments.  After scribing an article for Rage Magazine’s October issue, I meandered for a bit of R&D (for my next big business adventure) before contacting my host and arranging a convenient time to meet (RULE #1: Don’t show up unannounced & keep your host informed as to your touchdown time).

There are certain rules to being a house guest; at least I was raised to understand as much and beaten with a sabertooth, leather belt  should I have forgotten my lessons of “proper” and “polite”  I greeted my friend Paul with a large bottle of Cointreau and a bag of fresh coffee beans (RULE #2: Always arrive with gifts).  After the introductions to his fully feng-shui’d townhome we set-off for a gander up the hill . . a big, big hill (no, I don’t huff & puff despite my adoration for fumigating my lungs).  The reward revealed at the tip of the hill proved to be worth every stride as the sun crested the Northeastern mountains reflecting down upon this peculiarly perfect & tame village . . almost admiring her and casting just the right amount of light.  (RULE #3: Don’t set your own schedule or clarify upfront any time bearing events so as to avoid confusion or unwarranted obligation).  Our conversation both up & down was pleasant and intriguing if not for the prickly pear cactus thorns that were stuck to my lips, index finger & thumb and yes . . my tongue (some stories simply can’t be repeated).
Truly a veteran host well versed in the pleasantries, Paul put out a light spread of olives, hummus, chips and almonds all carrying the Trader Joe’s brand before informing me that he had made reservations for us at the prestigious Stonehouse Restaurant built in 1889 (originally serving as the packing house for a citrus farm) nestled in the hills of Montecito.  We arrived to smell of burning wood, dewed evergreens and freshly strewn mulch, shadow dancing ambiance and wait . . . is that Oprah over there ravenously noshing on a dessert hare?  No, maybe a gelding minotaur or a reincarnated Andrea the Giant . . much too light to be Oprah.  Dinner was superb, the menu neither radical nor bland sported organic and free range ingredients as well as a plethora of freshly cut herbs & gathered produce from their gardens.

Farmers Market was a blast, I think I was quiet enough this morning so as not to wake Paul (RULE#4, #5, #6: Don’t wake up your guest, be respectful & quiet, make your bed & assist with cleaning as deemed appropriate).  We had a great lunch (RULE#7: pay for a meal your host has already saved you a hotel room) at the Boathouse restaurant and now, now . . . . I have to bust out a dinner from all of farmers market acquisitions (and it has to be vegan – so I got’s to go!)

With Culinary Blessings,
                          Chef Scotty

Friday, September 28, 2012

After the Date, Panch Puran & Heading North!

Yesterday was one of those "good days" and by that I mean, everything seemed to be aligned.  My farmers market treasures of lemon verbena, lemon basil, petite melons, cherry tomatoes, honeycrisp apples, dill, pink peppercorn all contributed to an truly unique menu that I entitled "the Fall of Summer" (get it?  fall starting, summer ending themed cuisine).  The paired proteins of Marys Free Range Chicken, Line-caught Swordfish, Barramundi, Coho Salmon, Oregon Pink Shrimp & Baja Bay Scallops, lest its sufficient to say they all were honored for their sacrifice. This eclectic menu inspired by our seasons and local ingredients transformed into:

“The Fall of Summer”

1)      Free Range Chicken Taco with Organic Honeycrisp Apple, Mint, Late Harvest Viognier Aioli
2)      Sesame Wok’d Shishito Pepper for those that Despise Meat
3)      Galvanized Fig-Plum Jam with Disciplined Fromage, Crostini, Organic Fig
4)      Panch Puran encrusted Swordfish, Pomegranate, Opal Basil, Litchi-Rosehip Popsicle
5)      Wild Coho Salmon Tartare, Candy Cane Beet, Spearmint, Persian Cucumber Snow
6)      Kung Pao Beef Shu-mai Dumpling, Scallion Curl, Caramelized Peanut, Ancho Chile
7)      Passionfruit Bay Scallop & Pineapple Shrimp Ceviche in Organic Baby Romaine Cup
8)      Earl Grey Tea candied Barramundi with Pickled Kiwano Melon
9)      Organic Assorted Melon Sorbets by the Slice & Lemon Verbena Shortbread
We made quite the culinary impression at the Copper Willow "Graffix" open house and I think I made an impression on my date last night as well:)  While Chi Cuisine is ready to take it's place amongst LA's top caterers, I am ready for balance and perhaps romance.  Not likely to be with my date last night (great guy but I'm no fresh chicken and he is only 25 years old), but with someone deserving of my passion and vice-versa.  I am drinking my coffee black (refraining from any dairy), taking vitamins, brushing my teeth, daily visits to the gym, day four no alcohol, writing regularly and most definitely ready to make my move.   The Queen is strategically positioned.  It is time that Chef Scotty lives up to his God given talents.  Now off I go to Santa Barbara for the weekend!
With Culinary Blessings,
                       Chef Scotty
What is Panch Puran?
  Literally "Five Spices", all of which are seeds. Typically, panch puran consists of fenugreek seed, nigella seed, cumin seed, black mustard seed and fennel seed in equal parts

Cauliflower Dal with Panch Phoran

If you want a more assertive panch phoran taste, grind an additional 1/2 tablespoon of it and add it during the last 10 minutes of cooking.  I like to serve this with harissa date fritters - all vegan, all vegetarian and nearly fat free yet full of flavor!!!


  • 2 cups masoor dal or red lentils
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon canola oil (or canola oil spray)
  • 1 tablespoon panch phoran
  • 2 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste (or 1 tsp. minced ginger)
  • 16 ounces diced tomatoes (or 1 can)
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets)
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Pick over and rinse the lentils and add them to a pot with the water and turmeric. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the dal is tender, about 20 to 35 minutes. When done, add salt and set aside.
  2. While the dal is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Heat a large, deep skillet, preferably non-stick. When hot, add the canola oil and shake it to spread it around. Add the panch phoran and stir. (You may instead use oil spray; spray before and after adding the panch phoran.) When the first seed pops, immediately add the onion, garlic, pepper flakes, and ginger paste. Stir and cook until the onion softens, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cauliflower, and water, and stir. Cover and cook until the cauliflower is just tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. When the dal and cauliflower are both done, add the dal to the cauliflower mixture. Stir well, and check seasoning, adding more salt if needed. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve hot, over rice if desired

Saturday, September 22, 2012

She-Rah, 75% OFF with the Underwear, Thanks Mr. W.

She-Rah has left the couch folks!  A rather unpleasant, selfishly embroidered Armenian-American, overtly bitchy, gay "friend" of Mr. Wilson’s who has occupied the better half of this house for more than six grueling weeks.  I have had moments of insanity, wishing to graft my wrists with a Ballpoint pen rather than listen to his insistent, meaningless chitter-chatter about Pink’s “cute little baby Willow” or the latest developments in his lawsuit against his landlord.  A vortex of negative energy has been lifted from Mr. Wilson’s residence (I do inhabit what was once considered to be the attic) and in spirit of celebration we went shopping last night followed by a few cocktails with the gorgeous Ms. Whitney (yes, I did dance & it felt good).

Sporting some of my new threads, I sit here at the main hub WEHO Starbucks watching the meanders, the bodybuilders, the hawkers and  such.  This is a town of characters with more Estrogen than a Tammy Faye Clinic.  Deep breath – yes, spending that money does very much mean that  I have to earn more . . . but I got more than a few plans in motion and with the absence of Darth Serbiat I can finally get back into the groove.

I really haven’t properly acknowledged Mr. Wilson’s consistent and constant assistance over this past year.  Of course, none of this was meant to be permanent, I was to have won my rightful compensation by the hand of judicial righteousness; I was to have a stable base of income with 24 Carrots; I was to have catapulted my career forward as an accomplished Chef debuting on ABC’s “The Taste” . . .but at last, I got under served, over diverted & handed an unflattering  life lesson invoice.  Mr. Wilson isn’t perfect, much like a hobbit clinging to the hills of past both clutter & virtual memory; but he is a true friend through and through.  He is a peculiar blend of analytical rationalization and untempered sensitivity and often perceived as being a bit negative . . .  he really isn’t once you get to know him.  I think he just needs a pet to love him unconditionally and a bit of a cleansing from some of these quasi-evil “friends” such as She-Rah.  Here’s a recent conversation to give you an idear of our relationship:

“So . . . it has been long and painful, and I feel like I need to be shriven, and smudged, and .  .  I ddon’t know what else.”  Wilson (referring to She-rah finally leaving)

“Don’t be whipping your card out. You had charges dated 9/21 for $315.38 and $247.48 that I hadn’t seen receipts for.  Am Guessing those might be food bought Wed???  Touch base when you get the chance” Wilson (referring to my frivivlous spending habits)

“I will take a looks and try and make some semblance of my expenditures” me

“There are two bulldogs here and a really cute beagle mix!” me (nipping at Wilson's heals)

 Any word from you lawyer . . what!  No pets!  Ozzie is as much of a dog as I need.” Wilson (Ozzie being the neighbors dog)

“They are letting me take both and we can return whichever dog we don’t want” Me

“You had better be jerking my chain.  If not you can return both now.” Wilson

So, I never went to the Pound and I did ring another $360 at a clothing store . . . I am a torturous, reoccuring wart to Mr. Wilson’s life . . defiant to nearly all of his logical requests and cosmetic applications. The man has suffered along my side, I owe him more than a dog but he’s just going to have to settle for more fleas, barking & wandering walks as I haven’t quite crested the my state of impermanence.   I am getting closer, enlightened a bit and leaning towards action that will ultimately turn this grayscale sketching into a bold Miro depiction of borderless dreams.  Thank you Mr. Wilson for being the footing beneath my wandering ways without you I surely would be ever more aloof.

 a relieved & very grateful,
Chef Scotty

Saturday, September 1, 2012

FACE FORWARD GALA//White Trash Squirley Q's

Quote: “Why drop from the sky, when you can spread your wings and fly.  They are there just as the air.  Remove the limitations, excuses and procrastination . . . dream, believe and jump!” -chef scotty 

My neck is soar, stiff and all too riddled with iron like clumps that I can only hope to be knots rather than tumors.  A diet of black strap molassess, garlic, organic greens, freshly pressed grapefruit juice and unfiltered apple cider vinegar would likely be the cure all.  That and the absence of alcohol, coffee and cigarettes from my daily diet . . . perhaps go so far as to refute white flour, granulated sugar and honor my lactose intolerant genetic predisposition?  Nope!  The gym exists only as a noun in my life.  I’m fat, less sassy and likely to undergo a complete metamorphosis into one of the deep fried fritters that I made for the kids this morning.  Sprinkle me with some powdered sugar and that just about sums up more current vitals.  Doom spindling away in the web of Scottydom . . . God save the Queen!

Something about children breaks the icey barriers of bullshit and rakes ones reality beach until it resembles something of poured concrete – the microscopic, calcified shells no longer individualized.  My beach needs more combing but I feel like my hands are tied behind my back and I’m left to operate with a toothpick clenched between my teeth.  Nonetheless, I’m much better today than earlier this week with a profound sense of stability, a predictatory feeling of relief and a descent dose of “get your ass in gear!”  I got up at 5:14am this morning, so I guess that’s a start.

I have to tell you – there’s always somebody who has it worse . . way, way worse.  Two of the charities that I have supported (through the catering services of my catering company, Chi Cuisine) happen to work some miracles for those very people living a nightmare of disfiguration.  Both Face Forward & the Children of War Foundation share the honorable mission of remedying such atrocities, flying these folks to a venerable, board certified plastic surgeon  and providing accomodations throughout their  free treatment and recovery.  It is unfortunate circumstances, most often abuse by some unrelenting loved one or in the case of COWF – reckless warfare fighting over ownership of land, control of resources, greed & control.  Aren’t we just a marvelous world of disrepair?  For all our worses, our faults and our selfish tendencies . . . at least we possess the will to be better, the possibility to help one another and rectify that which we created, dissemated and disturbed.  I urge all of you to check out these organizations at: & pass along an open invitation to participate in caring at the upcoming gala for Face Forward this September.

If you’re not giving, you are only taking.  Share some of yourself with the world and you will find yourself all the better for it! 

*I am back in LA after a night at Sister Mary Cleo’s, my back feels a bit better as I took a nap and as I wasn’t certain of what recipe I would post – it literally fell before me, or at least Lewis did.  Two baby squirrels fell out of the now trimmed Date Palm tree that soars above a poorly fabricated fence that divides Mr. Wilsons property from that of his neighbors.  I’ve named them Lewis & Clarke with hopes that they will recover – they seem to be a bit more than just dazed from their fifty foot drop on to concrete.  Poor little guys.

With falling squirrel blessings,

                                     Chef Scotty


RECIPE: White Trash Squirrel

Now the story from my childhood cooking adventures would tell you that I grew up in the backwoods of Wisconsin.  The story would also tell you that Prince Arthur (my Brother) was a fairly descent marksmen who felt great joy in killing squirrels and that we had a whole chest freezer full of em.  It’s basically a tree rat that eats a varieties of nuts so . . . the flavor is a bit peculiar.  I don’t care for squirrel but when I do . . that’s right – beer braising! (the story would also tell you that my first adventure hunting I killed a squirrel on my first shot, despite it’s efforts to leap from one Butternut Tree to the next . . . after it fell and I held it’s warm body in my hands . . I balled my eyes out.  I never hunted again)
  • squirrel legs, front or rear, amount depends upon how hungry you are
  • 2 beer cans (preferable a porter or deep lager)
  • 3 Tbsp worchestshire
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp cracked black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 2 lbs hickory smoked bacon

Soak the legs in beer/worchestshire for  2 – 3 hours. Remove and drain.

Sprinkle to taste with garlic powder, pepper, salt and the minced onion (or if you have a favorite spice mix for grilled squirrel you can use that instead).

Wrap each leg with bacon. Secure with toothpicks if necessary.

Place on hot grill (charcoal grill recommended for a nice smokey flavor, although a gas or electric grill will do the trick). Cook over medium heat until cooked through, tend to the meat as your cooking to make sure you do not over cook.

Serve with your favorite sides.