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

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