Spring menu today

 Mixed greens with orange, walnuts, and goat cheese
 Cream of asparagus
 Ono, mango salsa
 Langostino and spinach frittata
 Chicken with wild mushrooms
 Beef liver, sherry sauce
 Quinoa with asparagus and peas
 Braised greens
 Sautéed cauliflower and broccoli
 Herbed sweet potatoes

Ono with mango salsa (Manila mango, red bell pepper, red onion, cilantro)

Chicken breast stuffed with wild mushrooms (porcini and chanterelles from Mendocino sautéed with spring garlic and thyme; white wine sauce)

Langostino and spinach frittata

Sautéed beef liver with shallots and sherry reduction

Quinoa with asparagus, peas, and lemon

Za’atar spiced sweet potatoes

Sautéed baby broccoli and cauliflower florets, white balsamic glaze
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Happy New Year 2016!

Happy New Year from Caliblini Personal Chef Service!

The last dinner party of 2015 was:

Roasted garlic and herb focaccia

Cream of mushroom soup
Fennel and orange salad with walnuts

Chicken roasted with garlic and thyme
Roasted Brussels sprouts with pomegranate
Smashed red potatoes

Fruit and berry crumble

Now working on menus for 2016!

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Menu today

 Creamy curried cauliflower soup
Fennel and orange salad with toasted walnuts
Cod baked with tomatoes and sweet onions
Rabbit stew with wild mushrooms Honey mustard pork tenderloin Parmesan meatballs, onion gravy
Baked sweet potatoes with chai spices
Polenta with wild mushrooms
Brussels sprouts with pomegranate and feta
 Honey roasted winter squashes

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Location:Mill Valley, CA

Ecuadorian cuisine with Chef Alejandra

Today I volunteered to assist an Ecuadorean-born, French-trained chef Alejandra Espinoza with teaching her class on Ecuadorean cuisine. Chef Alejandra puts a slight French twist on traditional Ecuadorean dishes, like seasoning the fish with lime juice and piment d’Espelet, or using shallots, white wine, and cream to turn an otherwise simple quinoa with vegetables into a delicious risotto. She uses freshest local seasonal ingredients for her menus, but her pantry items come from South America, Europe, and all over the world.

The menu:
Guacamole, green plantain chips
Shrimp ceviche with chulpi

Grilled ling cod in lime sauce
Quinoa risotto with squash, white corn, pecorino cheese

Tres leches with fresh strawberries

The beauty of working alongside a chef with such a unique and diverse background is that you learn a lot.

– Use slightly overripe avocados for easy mashing into a guacamole
– You can get the best, freshest local catch if you come to Pier 33 very early in the morning
– Ecuadorean ceviche is not spicy (unlike the Peruvian ceviche that I was familiar with). The aromatic broth used to cook the shrimps is then strained, chilled, and added to the marinade, alongside the lime juice, red onions, and cilantro. No chilies!
– Ecuadorean guacamole, on the other hand, is almost too hot for me to eat
– Green plantain, thinly sliced and deep fried, makes wonderful crunchy chips
– Chulpi, the South American snack of salted roasted corn of a particular variety, is dangerously addictive
– Having a housecleaner help during a cooking class makes the chef’s work 100x easier. Thank you, Dina!
– Parking in Cow Hollow is a nightmare, but it’s doable after 6 pm

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Location:San Francisco, CA

Menu today

Menu today for a family of four:

Sole with lemon-cream sauce
French green beans
Baked French lentils with chicken sausage
Honey-glazed winter squashes
Pork medallions with peaches
Farro pilaf
Braised beef short ribs

The beautiful fruits and vegetables for these meals come from Marin Farmers Market.

People often ask me how to cook thin delicate fish fillets, like Dover sole, so that they don’t fall apart. One way is to season them, then roll them up and cook:

And the fish turner spatula helps a lot!
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Location:San Rafael, CA

Shaken and Stirred. Trinity School parents annual party

This year the annual gathering of Trinity School parents was a cocktail party instead of the usual dinner. “Shaken and Stirred”. The heavy appetizers menu theme was fast food with a twist.


Tomato soup shots with grilled cheese sandwich
Caviar potato chips
Tuna tartare potato chips
Lobster rolls
Grass-fed beef sliders with foie gras on brioche rolls, heirloom tomato slices, cornichons
Truffle French fries, saffron aioli
Pizza Margherita, morel mushroom and goat cheese pizza, pancetta and arugula pizza
Mac’n’cheese with variety of toppings

Tuna tartare: sushi grade tuna, lemon juice, wasabi powder, sesame oil, tamari soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds, micro greens, homemade potato chips.

Bellweather Farm creme fraiche and sevruga caviar on homemade potato chip.

Langostino, shrimp, and lobster salad on sweet Hawaiian roll.

Fresh ground beef chuck sliders, havarti, seared foie gras, heirloom tomato, cornichons, on brioche roll.

Tomato soup shots with wasabi grilled cheddar and Gruyere sandwiches.

Thank to my hard-working sous chef Brenda for dealing with all these potatoes and hot oil, to super-professional servers Paula and Jim, to the wonderful bartenders, to Trinity moms Gilliam and Stephanie for organizing the party, and for providing all the ingredients for the pizzas, and beautiful, imaginative and fun desserts, and of course to our dear hosts, Wendy and Stefan!

Cigarette cookies

Panna cotta martinis with chocolate olive

Piña colada jelly; Irish coffee cupcakes.

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Location:Palo Alto, CA

Paleo menu this week

Mixed green salad with strawberries and walnuts
Mushroom and spinach frittata
Garlic green beans

Salmon, salsa verde
Steamed broccoli with almonds
Chicken roasted with fennel and apples
New potatoes with pesto
Chicken cacciatore
Raw zucchini and carrot “spaghetti”
Pork medallions, balsamic glaze
Sautéed cauliflower

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Vegetarian dinner party tonight

Because it’s spring, I used lots of fresh herbs and edible flowers from the garden to garnish the dishes. I was also fortunate to find ramps and fresh porcini mushrooms at Sigona’s Farmers Market, and got Italian heritage polenta from the Front Porch Farm, they really made my appetizer shine.


Polenta crostini with wild mushroom ragout

Green pea and spring garlic soup
Butternut squash and goat cheese ravioli, lemon cream sauce

Ice cream with hot chocolate sauce and port-soaked fig

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Location:Los Altos, CA

Because it’s spring

Because it’s spring, the menu today is fresh, colorful, and full of spring vegetables and herbs from the farmers market. Green garlic and spring onions take the place of garlic and onions in most recipes.

For the salad, I selected the thickest asparagus spears and shaved them with a vegetable peeler into thin juicy ribbons. I rolled bite-size pieces of goat cheese in parsley, oregano, chive and kale flowers to top the salad.

Recently I heard a client’s kid say that she had asparagus every day last week. Yes, girl, this is called asparagus season. it won’t last long, we need to enjoy it now. Today the first fava beans showed up at the farmers market. The strawberries are not yet their sweetest, but already taste great. And I have picked a few alpine strawberries in my garden already!

The beautiful tender spring lamb loin from Olivier’s Butchery I roasted and paired with a simple green sauce made with parsley, chives, green garlic, capers, lemon, and olive oil, garnished with chive flowers.

The tree-like cauliflower “steaks”, cut from the center of the head, are seasoned with a pinch of mild curry powder and sautéed in a mix of olive oil and butter; the loose florets from the sides are roasted and blended into cauliflower puree for the sauce.


Spring vegetables minestrone

Mixed greens and herbs with shaved asparagus and goat cheese

Sautéed halibut, lemon-herb butter
Chicken cacciatore
Spring lamb loin, salsa verde
Braised beef brisket

Carrots and peas
Polenta with wild mushrooms
Borlotti beans with greens and tomato
Cauliflower “steaks”

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Location:Burlingame, CA

Small organic menu today, plus the simplest, tastiest soup recipe

Curried cauliflower soup

Salmon cakes, homemade quail egg and olivemayonnaise
Sautéed butternut squash

Baked French lentils with chicken sausage
Zucchini ribbon salad

Chicken roasted with fennel and apples
Potato and fennel gratin

This soup, oh, this soup! It has five ingredients (I’m not counting water and salt), is vegan, healthy, creamy without added cream, has about 45 Kcal per serving, comes together in about 30 minutes, and is everyone’s favorite. For more complex and exotic flavor, use 1-2 cups of coconut milk instead of some water, but keep in mind that this will increase the calorie count.

Use either mild or hot curry powder, your preference – it’s the curry aroma, not the heat, that makes the cauliflower shine. It feels refreshing not having to separate cauliflower into florets, or to cut it into even-thickness “steaks”. Just hack it into pieces to fit into the pot. Include some stem and the fresh-looking inner leaves – it all will be pureed in the end.

Refrigerate the leftovers, the soup will be even better the next day.

Curried cauliflower soup
Makes a lot
2 Tbsp mild olive oil, or coconut oil
2 medium onions, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 heaping tsp yellow curry powder
2 large white cauliflower heads, stemmed and cut into chunks
Water to cover

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and curry powder. Cook, stirring, until the onions are tender but not browned, 8-10 minutes. Add cauliflower and water to cover. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil, decrease heat to maintain slow simmer, simmer until the cauliflower is very tender, 20-25 minutes. Puree in a blender, add salt to taste. Enjoy!

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Location:Menlo Park, CA