Archive | Spring


Courtesy Tim Wood, executive chef, Valley Kitchen at Carmel Valley Ranch

Serves 8 to 10

1 large onion, finely diced (same size as grains of rice)
1 pound Arborio rice
1 cup white wine (Chardonnay)
Hot water or stock, simmering
3 tablespoons butter
1½ cups Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
1 cup Spring Asparagus Purée (see recipe here)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat a medium size, heavy-bottomed pot. Add a small amount of olive oil. Sauté onions until translucent. Add rice and stir until combined. Deglaze pot with the wine.

When the alcohol has cooked off, begin adding the liquid in small amounts, about a cup at a time. This much rice needs about 9 cups of liquid. When he’s at home and doesn’t have homemade stock to use, Wood … Read More

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Courtesy John Cox, chef-partner, Cultura–comida y bebida in Carmel and The Bear and Star in Los Olivos

Serves 2 to 3

1 1½- to 2-pound whole rock cod
5 egg whites
3 cups kosher salt
7 tablespoons ground pink pepper
Zest of 1 orange (zest with microplane)
Zest of 1 lemon (zest with microplane)

Prepare the fish by gutting, scaling and remove the gills. (Your fishmonger or fisherman may be willing to do this for you.) Rinse and thoroughly dry the fish.

Whip the egg whites with whisk attachment in a standing mixer bowl or by hand until they are glossy and hold soft peaks when you remove the whisk. Fold the remaining ingredients into the whipped egg whites.

Place the fish, belly side down as though it were swimming, … Read More

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Courtesy Jordan Champagne, chef and proprietor, Happy Girl Kitchen Co. in Pacific Grove

Chèvre is a rich creamy cheese that you can only make with goat milk. It is a wonderful place to start for the home cheesemaker, as there is very little that can go wrong! You will need to source the vegetable rennet and mesophilic culture. I source mine from a website called New England Cheesemaking, and it is often available at Mountain Feed & Farm Supply in Ben Lomond. Both cultures are very inexpensive for a year’s supply. The rennet helps separate the curds from the whey, and if you find your cheese is too firm, then add a little less. If your cheese is not separating enough, then perhaps your rennet has expired. The mesophilic culture … Read More

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Courtesy Tim Wood, executive chef, Valley Kitchen at Carmel Valley Ranch

Yields 6 to 8 3-ounce portions

This recipe is truly as simple as it looks. Mother Nature made the ratio easy to remember—one bunch of asparagus to one onion— and the keys to the purée’s success are simply the quality of the ingredients and the technique of sweating of the onions. Another beauty of the recipe is its versatility as a sauce, purée or a simple soup. For soup, adjust the consistency with more liquid, as desired; for a sauce or purée, less liquid is necessary. The pan used should be large enough to hold the asparagus and onion—a 2-quart saucepan with a heavy bottom to allow for even cooking should do.

1 pound fresh asparagus
1 medium onion… Read More

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Courtesy Tim Wood, executive chef, Valley Kitchen at Carmel Valley Ranch

Serves 6

One of our most important local ingredients is Monterey Bay king salmon. We are fortunate to have our own fisherman, Jerry Wetle, and his fleet of well-trained professionals who supply us twice a week with fresh local fish. I met Jerry on a fishing boat here in Monterey 17 years ago, and we have been working together like family. Jerry is featured on our menu at the Valley Kitchen with his line-caught fish of the day, which rotates based on seasonal availability.

My advice for where to purchase fresh fish would be to seek out a good market or your favorite restaurant, where you feel the quality is above par, and simply ask places they would recommend … Read More

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