1) The Kitchen’s Tomato Soup

Courtesy of www.thekitchencafe.com
(Serves 8-10)

When using canned tomatoes, we recommend the San Marzano brand, available at Whole Foods and online. If you cannot find San Marzano, any good-quality canned, whole peeled, organic tomatoes should work.

  • 1/3 pound (1 1/3 sticks) good-quality unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • sea salt
  • 3 16-ounce cans good-quality whole peeled, organic tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing

In a large pan, melt butter over low heat. Add onion and a good pinch of salt. Reduce heat to very low, cover, and cook onions for about 30 minutes or until translucent and soft (not browned).

Add tomatoes with their juices. Increase heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes.

Working in batches, blend tomato-onion mixture in a food processor or blender, adding cream while blending. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot, drizzled with a little olive oil.

2) Café Bisque’s Buttermilk Lemon Poppy-Seed Pancakes

Courtesy of executive chef Alex Gurevich
(Makes 12 4-inch pancakes)


  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons fresh-grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • *Garnish with whipped cream, poppy seeds, and vanilla syrup (recipe below)

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and buttermilk. Add to dry ingredients bowl and mix gently. Do not over stir, batter will have small lumps.

Vanilla Syrup

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Add all ingredients to a medium stockpot, bring to boil and then reduce heat to medium. Reduce liquid amount by half, until consistency reaches thickness of typical syrup, approximately 30 minutes.

3) Bang!’s Gingerbread

Courtesy of Bang! Restaurant

This cake refrigerates and freezes well, and is best served reheated for a few seconds in the microwave oven.

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark molasses
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter or oil a 9″ x 13″ cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper for easier removal.

Bring water and baking soda to a boil. Take off heat and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine minced ginger, lemon zest, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, ground cloves, and salt. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add molasses and continue creaming until light in color.

Add flour mixture and water and soda mixture, alternately, in three parts. Mix well between additions.

Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions. Scrape bowl and mix well for 2 minutes.

Pour batter into greased, lined cake pan. Batter should come up to the halfway point in the pan. Spread evenly. Bake at 350° for 45-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool for 30 minutes in the pan. Slice into squares and serve warm with lightly sweetened, fresh whipped cream.

4) Duo Restaurant’s Chimichurri Sauce

Courtesy of executive sous chef Tyler Skrivanek

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • ¼ cup oven-dried tomatoes
  • 1 Meyer lemon zest and juice
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 1 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • salt

In a food processor or blender, grind garlic, oregano, parsley, capers, oven-dried tomatoes, and lemon juice. Fold in olive oil, lemon zest, chile flakes, and sherry vinegar. Salt to taste. Let stand several hours to let flavor develop. Drizzle over grilled meat, fish, chicken, or use as a sandwich spread.

5) Fruition’s Roasted Beet Salad with Arugula, Blood Orange, and Hazelnut Vinaigrette

Courtesy of executive chef Alex Seidel
(Serves 4)

  • 2 each medium red beets, roasted at 350° until fork-tender
  • 2 each medium gold beets, roasted at 350° degrees until fork-tender
  • 1 each fennel bulb-thinly sliced and marinated in olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • 2 each blood oranges, segmented into supremes
  • 1/2 pound baby arugula
  • 4 each goat cheese croutons
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnut vinaigrette

Goat Cheese Croutons

  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 ounces breadcrumbs
  • herbs such as parsley, thyme, and oregano
  • 1 ounce butter
  • salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a sauté pan and add the breadcrumbs to give them moisture. Once cooled, add the herbs that have been chopped finely along with salt and pepper. In a mixing bowl, combine both cheeses just until incorporated. Form in to small hockey puck shapes. Put together a breading station with flour, eggs, and the herb breadcrumbs in three separate bowls. Put the formed cheese into the flour first then the beaten eggs, and finally the breadcrumbs. Hold in the cooler until ready to use.

Toasted Hazelnut Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/4 each small red onion, finely diced
  • 1tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 3 ounces blended oil
  • salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Once beets have cooled, peel the outside skin and slice paper thin. Line the bottom of the salad plate alternating colors of beets. Heat oil in a sauté pan and lightly brown the goat cheese crouton on both sides at medium-high heat. Keep warm until plating. In a bowl, toss arugula, fennel, blood orange, and the hazelnut vinaigrette together and plate on top of the beets. Finish the salad with a goat cheese crouton and enjoy.

6) Vesta Dipping Grill’s Rock Shrimp Tempura with Soy Butter, Jalapeño Ponzu, and Sambal

Courtesy of executive chef Matt Selby
(Serves 4 as an appetizer)

  • 3 cups vegetable oil
  • 5 ounces rock shrimp
  • 1/4 cup togarashi flour (recipe follows)
  • 2 tablespoons jalapeño ponzu (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup wakame (seaweed salad, found in Asian markets)
  • 1 each lemon wedge
  • 1/2 ounce jalapeño ponzu
  • 1/2 cup sambal (spicy Indonesian condiment, found in Asian markets)
  • 1 leaf shiso, sliced thin (Japanese herb, found in Asian markets. Basil, mint, and/or cilantro may be substituted.)

Begin by pouring the vegetable oil into a deep sauce pot, and place the pot over medium-high heat. Using a candy thermometer, bring the temperature of the oil up to about 340°-350°, suitable for frying the shrimp.

Prepare a paper towel lined plate for the fried shrimp.

Just before frying, place the rock shrimp in a mixing bowl. Pour the togarashi flour over the rock shrimp, and toss to coat the shrimp. Pull the shrimp out of the bowl, and pat off excess togarashi flour. Using a slotted metal spoon, carefully place the shrimp in the hot oil. Use the spoon to stir and separate the shrimp.

Fry the shrimp to golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Immediate remove the shrimp with the slotted spoon, onto paper towels to soak up excess oil.

Heat the 2 tablespoons of jalapeño ponzu in a sauté pan to slightly reduce it, and then thicken with the butter.

Add the fried shrimp to the soy butter, and toss to coat. Remove the sauced shrimp to a small serving bowl, and place the bowl onto a plate. Garnish shrimp in the bowl with the sliced shiso.

Place the wakame salad to the side of the bowl, onto the plate, and place the lemon wedge on top of the wakame. Pour the half-ounce of jalapeño ponzu into a dipping sauce cup, and do the same with the half-ounce of sambal. Place the two sauces to the side of the bowl, onto the plate.

Togarashi Tempura Flour
(Makes 1 cup)

  • 1 cup tempura flour
  • 1 tablespoon togarashi (fiery Japanese spice mix)
  • 1 teaspoon powdered dashi (Japanese fish bouillon)

Find all three ingredients in Asian markets. Combine ingredients in a clean and dry bowl, and mix together with a wire whisk. Store, covered, for up to one month.

Jalapeño Ponzu
(Makes 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons mirin (sweet cooking sake, found in Asian markets)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, chopped, wrapped in cheesecloth
  • 1 each jalapeño, thin sliced rounds
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons yuzu juice (found in Asian markets)
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

In a small sauce pot, combine first amount (1/2 cup) of rice wine vinegar, mirin, sugar, and ginger wrapped in cheesecloth. Place sauce pot over high heat, and bring mixture to a boil. Allow it to lightly simmer until the sugar has dissolved, about 3-5 minutes.

Remove from heat, and pour mixture into a mixing bowl. Add fresh jalapeño slices to mixture, and finish by adding soy sauce, yuzu juice, and last amount (1 teaspoon) of rice wine vinegar.

Store chilled for up to two months.

This article was originally published in 5280 March 2008.
Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.