Sunday, July 31, 2011

Scallop Ceviche

Today I feel old and tired as I take a lone and quite walk at our local cemetery and gaze across the markers, wishing I was back in my home town, unable to attend my friends funeral.  I’m only comforted by my memories of times long ago, we single chefs, making road trip after road trip up and down the California coastline, eating and drinking our way from one place to the next.  I recall our laughter, tears and deep conversation over matters I no longer can remember. 

More now than ever I feel time in my life running short, knowing that I have lived more than half of it already.   I have outlived my Mother, Father, and Brother with most of my relatives gone on my mother’s side and only my sister and I survive on my Fathers side of the family.  My fathers side has seemed to only barley continue generation after generation since the Nazi’s thinned out our family tree (my Great Grandfather changed our family name “Stetzel” too Applegate when they came over on the boat in January 1939) but enough about that.

My fondest memories of my time traveling up and down the Coastline with my friends were the many types of places we ate and drank at.  We were always enamored by the many types of cultural foods you can find in a short distance.  The one place I recall more than any was ‘The Fat Cat Cafe”, were all our trips started.

After closing down the restaurant were we all worked together, usually at 2AM we would head out for Avila Breach which we made our first stop in the morning to have breakfast.  Our menu choice was always the same.  Eggs Benedict, Biscuits and Gravy, and Seafood Omelets with LOTS of avocado.  After breakfast we would then plan our route either north or south on Highway 1. 

 Now that my friend Eddie is gone, all I’m left with are those memories.  Good Memories.  Memories that for now make me weep and smile at the same time.   

 Scallop Ceviche

1 pound scallops, sliced into quarters
1 cup cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 green Serrano chilies, seeded and minced
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup finely diced red onion
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
Salt to taste

1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

2. Spoon the Ceviche into small (4-ounce) glasses and garnish with cilantro.

Here is the reason I picked this recipe.  When all the ingredients are fresh and handled with great care, it always brings me back to my memories of everything California.  The sea air, foggy mornings, the sound of the surf, the sound of seagulls in the background, and so many other items going on around me that never seemed to matter until they were missed.  This recipe represents those memories. 


Monday, July 25, 2011


I don’t dig cooking in my kitchen during the summer.  Well, that’s not totally the truth.  I don’t like using my stove in the kitchen or any device that generates heat.  I blame all those summers as a kid growing up in California with no central air.  All we had was a swamp cooler that my dad swore by.  If you ask me all it did was make our house smell and forced my dad to walk around the house naked.  
During these hot months finding something cool and refreshing sometimes takes creative thinking.  Cooking without heat can be a daunting task but not impossible.  You just need to think out of the box.  I often think to the Mediterranean for inspiration.  The food has always seemed refreshing and creative to me.  Now, I’m fully aware that the food goes back several thousand years and nothing really is new under the sun when it comes to that region.   The food always strikes me as cool, refreshing, and easy to make, and when it comes to a hot sweltering day, nothing beats easy and quick that won’t require heating the kitchen. 

When I have one of those days, which seems more often than not lately, this recipe comes to mind. So since I promise a co-work I would put this recipe to print and share it with her I thought I ought to stop procrastinating and do the deed and hammer at the keypad.  I might add I’m writing this sitting in front of our AC vent.   Ahhhhhhhhh!


4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
Two 1-pound 3-ounce cans chick-peas, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup well stirred Tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1/2 cup olive oil, or to taste
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves

In a pestle and mortar, mash the garlic to a paste with the salt.

In a food processor purée the chick-peas with the garlic paste, the Tahini, the lemon juice, 1/4 cup of the oil, and 1/2 cup water, scrape down the sides, until the hummus is smooth and add salt to taste. Add water, if necessary, to thin the hummus to the desired consistency and transfer the hummus to a bowl.

Clean out your food processor.  Next purée the remaining 1/4 cup oil with the parsley until the oil is bright green and the parsley is minced.  Transfer the parsley oil to a small jar. The hummus and the parsley oil may be made 3 days in advance and kept covered and chilled. Divide the hummus between shallow serving dishes and smooth the tops. Drizzle the hummus with the parsley oil. Serve the hummus with the pita.