Welcome, bienvenidos to Cook and the Fly
In this blog you'll find Mexiterranean food pictures and recipes, fishing stories, random thoughts and snippets of my new life in Southern Baja.


Eat local, eat fresh

As you all know I live, fish and cook in Baja California Sur, a hilly peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez. Between the bounty of our waters and the year around crops of our farms we're blessed with an obscene abundance of fresh, local seasonal and mostly organic ingredients.
Where am I going with this? Out for a stroll with Tony, my dog, earlier this morning I was snooping around restaurants alleyways ( a bad, long time habit that's hard to kill..) and, by a good downtown restaurant with a great rep, saw an empty box of scallops, from China. That got me thinking and kind of pissed me off more than a bit.
We live in scallop central and, to top it off, we're in the middle of scallops season, which means LOTS of FRESH, local scallops from just up the peninsula! And that reminded me that most of the restaurant and hotels in town sell frozen New Zealand lamb, when there's tons of very good, local lamb or an "organic" restaurant using frozen Asian fish for its fish'n'chips ( maybe if it comes from the local supermarket, in their book it can be considered "local"? ) and so on and on and on till when I got home and on Twitter my friend and chef Emanuele shared this post by Mark Bittman which I'd like to share with you here:

A Letter that all Chefs (and Anyone Who Eats) Need to Read

I’ve known George Faison for 25 years or more; he was a co-founder of D’Artagnan and is now a co-owner of Debragga and Spitler, a New York meat wholesaler that’s been doing business since 1924, and a main supplier to many of the city’s best restaurants. This is a letter George sent late last week to a well-known chef, and one he’ll be sending to others. (It’s worth noting, if for no other reason than to answer the inevitable question, which I asked myself, that George doesn’t only sell naturally-raised meats – he sells industrially-produced stuff as well. But he’s on a campaign to persuade the chefs who insist that’s what they want to change their minds, and I know he’d like to supply only the right stuff.) I’ve changed nothing except misspellings.

Hey Chefs:
This note explains my thinking about why I believe that you should be pursuing clean agricultural ingredients as standard practice in your restaurants.
Our food supply system is broken. Badly. 80 percent of the U.S. beef production is controlled by four industrially producing companies. Three of these companies also process 60 percent of the nation’s pork.[1] Too much chemical fertilizer and pesticides are used to produce our crops. The variety of crops produced around the world has diminished dramatically in the last 60 years. There are now nearly 5,000,000 fewer American farmers since the 1930s.
Yes, this industrial structure has significantly lowered the monetary cost of the food we consume. But this is misleading. While the amount of money we spend on food has declined, the quality and nutrition supplied by this food has deteriorated. As a country, about one third of all adults are obese, and since 1980, the incidence of obesity has tripled among children ages 2-19.[2]
In 1960, we spent 18 percent of our take home pay on food and 5 percent on health care. Now we spend 9 percent of our take home pay on food and upwards of 17 percent on health care. According to Michael Pollan, during his Oprah interview in February, “We spend less of our money on food than any other people at any other time on this earth.” What’s wrong with this picture?
People have gotten used to eating cheap food and it is killing them. There is little flavor and little nutrition and we eat more and more, because so much of it has been engineered to trigger consumption (salt and sugar have been proven to be addictive, like nicotine in cigarettes).
Regarding meat and poultry, here is what drives me to promote naturally raised meats.
By clean I mean the following:
1. Antibiotic free: Over 70 percent of the antibiotics used in this country are fed to the animals we eat. 70 percent! The practice is banned in Europe. The antibiotics are fed to animals housed in Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). They are so densely housed that they get sick. The producer gives them feed treated with antibiotics so they won’t get sick. Hogs are crammed into concrete and metal pens with grates that allow the excrement to fall through. Chickens are packed into closed houses where the lights are turned on four times each day to make them eat more often. Conditions like these would make any animal sick.
The key problem when antibiotics are overused is that it can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It is a great threat to our country’s health. In fact, there is an antibiotic-resistant Staph bacteria called MRSA that is definitely impacting employees working on hog CAFOs. According to the CDC, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that in 2007, 18,650 people died of MRSA, whereas approximately 16,000 died of AIDS. Additionally, JAMA reported that MRSA was also responsible for upward of 94,000 life threatening illnesses.[3]

Commodity cattle that are fed hormones are moved to a feedlot after as little as 9 months. There, they are given antibiotic-laced feed to keep them healthy while they adjust to a largely grain diet (that’s like you moving from a salad-based diet to an all-cheese diet overnight). These cattle are intensely fed for 75-100 days. Very efficient. Very cheap.
Naturally raised cattle are on pasture for 16-20 months before transferring to a low density feedlot where they are fed a mixed diet (dried grass/grain for 200 days in a naturally raised, clean program; 400 days for a wagyu program). It takes a lot longer to raise clean, healthy cattle, and this is why they cost more. But they taste a lot better and they marble better. Our naturally raised, clean beef program typically grades over 20 percent Prime, and that’s a lot more than commodity at 1.5 percent.
But the impact of hormones in our food system is becoming increasingly controversial. The practice is banned in Europe. The use of hormones in our food supply has been linked to the earlier onset of menstruation in young women in western societies over the last 40 years. (These dates coincide with the introduction of hormones as an additive/growth stimulant in dairy and beef cattle.) The issue with earlier onset of menstruation is that it is associated with a vastly greater incidence of cancer in women, breast and cervical.[4] That is just one reason why many of our retail customers are ordering DeBragga’s grass fed or naturally raised beef.
So why does this matter to you? Maybe it doesn’t. But from where I sit, I see more and more of our chef/restaurateurs making the switch to naturally raised meats and poultry for the reasons I describe above, and more (like animal welfare, for example). We know that a greater and greater number of our clients, especially in New York City, are looking for these ingredients, even expecting us to be offering them. As an industry, restaurants are on the cutting edge. Not just in culinary technique and quality, or décor and service, but in the quality and production standards used to make the ingredients in our recipes.
Yes, naturally and humanely raised meats cost more. Maybe you can counter the higher monetary cost by offering smaller portions. Or expect chefs to charge more money for it.
I do not think the solution to our food supply problem is to use poorer quality ingredients because they cost less money. In the long run, the true cost of these meats is so much higher.

[1] Hendrickson, Mary and William Heffernan. “Concentration of Agricultural Markets.” Department of Rural Sociology, University of Missouri. April 2007.
[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
[3] Journal of the American Medical Association, October 17, 2007.
[4] Sellman, Sherrill, “The problem with precocious puberty,” Nexus Magazine, Vol 11, 3, April – May 2004.

Interesting, right?
 Till the next time,
Buon appetito and tight lines,


Making gnocchi is boring

Ok, I started with all my best intentions and I was ready to make 4 pounds of gnocchi...but motivation faded rather soon and I got stuck with a couple pounds of riced potatoes.
Don't believe the overpaid tv and overly famous chefs when they tell you that making gnocchi is "fun" and "entertaining" for the whole family...it's not, it's tedious and boring, and repetitive and monotonous and...where was I'
Yes, the potatoes...

I added a couple tins of tuna in water (well drained), a couple eggs, s&p and half a cup of A.P.flour.
Mixed it up nicely and started rolling it out on a floured table top... and that's when I thought to start taking pics..

So, roll'em up, 1 inch diameter,cut it with a plastic spatula in 4 inch bits, roll in flour, then egg, then in bread crumbs...I don't use panko because I feel retarded using Japanese bread when I have bags of dry bread in the pantry.

Once your soon to be croquettes are breaded, fry them in a blend of butter and vegetable oil, till nice and golden on all sides.
Frying in butter and corn oil...

...till nicely golden on all side  : )
Take them out, roll them on a lenght of kitchen paper and serve them.

I served mine with a Mexican salsa verde, the raw one that, I think, has a little more zest than the cooked version...but you can use whatever you want; thinking about it a good spicy tomato sauce or a Puttanesca sauce would be quite good too...


Beet "zuppetta" with vanilla & basil gelato, balsamic and black pepper

I was going through folder of older pictures and found this dessert that I totally forgot about.
I love it..it's a little "out there", but be open and give it a try.

At the restaurant we made our own gelato, but what you can do, in a pinch, is to blend a handful of basil leaves with a couple spoonfuls of vanilla ice cream ( the richer and the fatter the better ), mix it in the rest of the pint and put it back in the freezer, till the end of the dinner.

The other prep you'll have to do ahead is to reduce the vinegar by placing 2 cups of balsamic into a skillet and reduce it to at least 50% over low heat.

Now, for the beet zuppetta, just peel your beet (s), diced them somewhat small and blend them with a bit of lemon juice and sugar adding a tiny bit of water if the blender screams for it.

That's it...just pour the beet in a glass, cup or bowl, scoop some gelato on it, drizzle with the reduction and add a basil leaf, touch of freshly ground black pepper and very few sea salt crystals.



Lavender pork fillet

Spring is here and so is fresh, tender arugula...a great pairing to many proteins.
To me, when it comes to mea, nothing scream "SPRIIING" like this little pork number...

Sorry...this time I couldn't wait....

Very easy: Place equal amounts of lavender seeds and sea salt in a mortar and grind.
Use the "lavender salt" to rub your room temperature pork fillet ( I like to use the points, or tips, called solomillo in Spanish ).
Heat a skillet, preferibly cast iron, and drizzle with just a few drops of vegetable oil.
When it's HOT, sear the meat on every side and finish in the oven till pale pink ( 145° ) if you " dare" or 165° if you like to "play it safe".
Even faster: sliice the pork in one inch thick medallions and skip the oven part...
As the meat is ready, slice it in medallions and place it over a bed of tender spring arugula and drizzle with the very best olive oil you can put your hands on..  ; )
Same more sea salt and perhaps a tiny squeeze of lemon and I¿you'll thank me.
Another great side for this would be a pretty clean and simple cauliflower puree ( you'll find it somewhere in the blog, looking for the label...).
The wine...I'd say a lighter, crispier red or white like a good Traminer would cut it really really well....

Just a little note on the temp: Trichinosis is today pretty much absent from US and Canada pork.
More info here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trichinosis

In defense of "pastasciutta"

Here's a little piece on artisanal pasta from my other blog  www.iCookCabo.blogspot.com :

The kneading of flour and water was perhaps one of man's first actions if you look back through his history. The first bread was simply dough made from flour and water without yeast: even today, among some primitive populations, the use of yeast is completely unknown. However, all cultures have known the art of kneading, even if they have not all used the same ingredients, which are usually chosen according to what is available locally: the flour of various cereals either mixed with water alone or enriched with eggs and perhaps oil, and so on.Pasta casalinga ( home made pasta ), or so called fresh pasta, now generally means egg pasta; it contains one egg for every 2 1/2 ounces of American all-purpose white flour and is extremely nutritious. Why not indulge in it every now and then in order to rediscover forgotten aromas and flavours especially since you can acquire readily through purveyors like us?Some have objected that home-made pasta is a food that is hardly suitable for the sedentary life of modern man because it contains too many calories: in fact a normal plate of pastasciutta contains about 360 calories, most of which are derived from carbohydrates, with only a few coming from protein.The most up to date nutritional science has now accertained that pasta is not fattening if it's properly seasoned and and included in a correct and well balanced diet. Indeed, it is advisable to introduce pasta into the daily diet because wheat flour, especially "natural" wheat flour that has not been treated chemically during refining and that has been cultivated using natural fertilizers, contains minerals salts and many important vitamines including some from B and E groups. Moreover, pasta made with one egg ( or more ) every2 1/2 ounces of flour has considerable nutritional value. If soft -grain wheat flour is less rich in proteins than the hard-grain durum wheat flour used in making industrial pastas, the deficiency is largely compensated by the nutritious substances contained in the eggs: albumin, other proteins of animal origin, and fatty substances.After the above considerations, it is easy to realize how important this food is in our diet. If one also considers that fresh pasta is mainly seasoned with foods that are also very nourishing - cheeses and other such ingredients- or that it may be stuffed with succulent meat, fish and vegetable fillings, one can definitively conclude that it has great chances of becoming a dish with unmatchable flavour, within everyone's means and ready to satisfy even the fussiest and most refined palates.


Ban Mi meatballs; the bread is inside... DOH! : )

Just wrap them up in lettuce, paint them red with Sriracha and eat eat eat eat eat....

Calling all pork lovers with a foot fetish...

What did you think? Dirty minds you...
Just messing around with some pig trotters the other day and came up with this...purely experimental for now, but I think it's worth sharing!

Pig's trotter and fava beans terrine

I started by boiling dry fava beans till "al dente" .
While this was going on, I was slowly boiling a pig trotter in lightly salted water, covered, along with a good splash of cider vinegar and onion, some garlic cloves, a couple ribs of celery, couple carrots ,all roughly chopped.

After a couple hours, I drained the meat and the vegs and added the drained fava beans to the pig stock and cookes a little longer until done.

In the while I picked and chopped the meat, rind and cartilage.

Drained the favas, again, and added the bones of the trotters to the stock and let reduce by more than half, slowly and uncovered.

Time to get it all together:
In a skillet I warmed up equal parts of vinegar and stock, a couple cloves, a few berrie of allspice, a sliced jalapeño pepper, salt and sugar.

When all this started boiling I poured it over the meat and vegs, along with some fresh cilantro and thinly sliced red onion.

I let it pickle for a while, waiting for it to cool down.
Once cold, the fava beans and the reduce fatty, sticky stock went in too and I transferred everything to a mold

which I wrapped with film and set to chill overnight in the cooler.

The next day, yesterday, I just took it out, carefully scored the edges with a knife and inverted it onto a plate.  GOOD!

We'll have it today at lunch, sided by a fresh garden salad to fight back the guilt trip....

Try it and let me know....


Excited! The dawn of a new project

After a little tooling around with the idea of a return  to clean, proper Italian food, my friend and now partner Giulio and I came up with iCook ( Twitter handle @iCook_Cabo).
This logo, thet I consider brilliant, is the brainchild of my virtual friend Phil Googins, and avid angler as well...
thank you.
I hope to meet him soon and put him on some nice roosterfish...fly only, of course  :  )

The successful CookAndTheFly private dinners and catering operation couldn't reach the local middle class and most of the year round residents so, in order to do just that, we came up with this simple idea: let's get back to basis and cook beautifully simple, clean and honest, authentic Italian food and make it affordable to all.
Good food doen´t have to be expensive..it has to be prepared with love and passion and with great local, seasonal and hence fresh ingredients. We live in Southern Baja and the bounties of the sea and of the fertile valleys just North of Cabo are a source of igredients that is hard to beat.

What follows is the link to a sample menu, something to give you guys an idea of what we do:


As things evolve I will post recipes and pictures of some of these dishes as well.

As some of you know already I am always ready to take on a new challenge...I think it's in my nature and I believe that's also the reason why I chosed to chase large open water fish with a fly rod instead of just chucking a piece of bait out there and wait.

I hope I'll have the pleasure to cook for some of you if/when you´ll come down to Los Cabos.

Till then: "Petri Heil!"

Orange pudding

Really good and aromatic pudding/flan.... and super easy to make.

Start with making caramel in a pan...1 cup of sugar + a tiny splash of water...let cook till golden, over med/low heat and pour the caramel into 4 individual molds or into a 6" round one.

Beat 5 eggs with 374 cups of sugar till frothy and pale.
Now, carefully, incorporate  the juice of 3 oranges, a generous teaspoonful of grated orange zest and   a good splash Grand Marnier.

Place the mold (s) in a baking sheet filled with lukewarm water up to 2/3 of the mold and bake for 45 to 60 minutes in a 150°C oven.
 To check if it's ready, stick ( can't come up with a better word...) a toothpick in it ; if it comes out CLEAN it's ready.

Let cool and serve ...

 Note : The onein the pic has been cut out of a rectangular mold with a ring mold and flipped upside down onto the plate.


Pumpkin and saffron pie

OK guys, this is my take on a traditional Northern Italian pumpkin pie.

II don't usually post exact measures and quantities in my recipes, but this is one of the few exceptions.

Start by thinly slicing 500 grams (net) of pumpkin and boil it, gently, in 500 ml of WHOLE  milk until there's no liquid left.

Now add 100 grams of sugar, one good pinch of saffron, a smaller pinch of cinnamon and 3 whole eggs to the cooked pumpkin and what's left of the milk ( solids and fat) and mix well with a wooden spoon, smashing as you go.

To this add another 100 ml of milk, mix well and pour in the crust of your choice (raw); I like a brisee made with half butter for flavour and half margarine for flakiness.

Bake at 180° for 45 to 60 minutes, or till firm .

Pasta with olive oil poached yellowtail, potatoes, garlic and arugula

OK.. this was lunch today...an experiment inspired by my garden.

While waiting for the pasta water to boil, I cubed a nice piece of yellow tail loin and placed it in a pan with a load of evoo, lots of garlic slivers, a touch of hot peppers and a good pinch of coarsely cracked black pepper and poached it on very low heat.

Poaching the cubes of yellowtail a side at the time

Once the fish was almost done I added a diced boiled potatoe

cooked the thing a while longer, till the fish got just a hint of color and then added the pasta

I don't think I have to tell you how to cook pasta, don't I?
Once  pasta, potatoe, fish, garlic and oil got to know each other and started to get along, I added a bunch of fresh, tender arugula from the garden, tossed it all together again

and served it with a few mustard sprouts thrown in there, more as a second thought than to give it more flavour.

Got to admit it was good...not over the top, but a good, light pasta dish after all.

Try it and let me know.
Buon appetito

Mexiterranean St. Patty : Nopal gelatine

Ok, ok...I tried not to get caught up in the St. Patty thing but old habits are hard to die.

Here's a GREEN, think out of the box, dessert: a gelatine made with nopal (cactus), with a foamie top and tomato marmalade on the side.

It's very easy to make and for sure it will raise some of your guests' eyebrow..."wow effect" guaranteed!  HAHAH

Start by blending 2 cups of cleaned and chopped up nopal with 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar.
Blend it like you want ot kill the thing...and then blend some more.

In 1 cup of water hydrate 2 envelopes of gelatin. Add to this another cup of water and bring to a boil.

Combine the blended nopal and the boiling gelatin base and whip very hard until a froth forms on the top.

Pour the green thing into a square baking mold, making sure the froth stays on top,cover tight with plastic wrap, punch a few holes in the wrap to allow steam to escape and refrigerate overnight.

For the marmalade : equal parts of peeled tomatoes, the riper the better, and sugar.A bit of lemon juice and cook down till ready.

Cut a square of gelatin from the mold, place it on a white plate, pour a spoonful of marmalade next to it and, if you have it, a cactus flower, a slice of prickly pear  or some ground toasted pumpkin seeds (pepita )for garnish.

That's it...provecho!


Fish carpaccio with 2 pestos and grilled vegs

Colder waters, in this part of the world, mean lots of yellow tail; it's a great fish, totally sustainable and I substitute it as much as I can to marlin, swordfish, mahi and tuna.

  Sierra mackerel and trigger fish are also very viable options, with two totally opposite textures and flavours...very interesting, both.

Start planning your prep:

1) in a baking pan place 2 parts of seeded red bell peppers, 2 parts of tomatoes, 1 part of onion and 1/2 measure of garlic. Froth with olive oil and bake until well done.

2) In the meantime prepare the olive and parsley pesto by blending 3 parts of good black olives, 1 part of flat leaf ( Italian ) parsley, garlic to taste..a lot, in my case, a few capers, evoo ,S&P

3) In a dry skillet toast some nuts,almonds or pumpkin seed and reserve; in the same skillet toast a couple slices of country bread and reserve; lastly toast a couple of guajillo chiles, until they puff, add a generous splash of water, shut the flame and let rest/soak.

4) Grill your choice of vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, peppers, green onions,...) and toss them in a bowl with some balsamic vinegar, chopped garlic, parsley and S&P.Reserve.

When the peppers, onion, tomatoes and garlic are ready place them in a blender along with the seeded guajillo pepper, a good pinch of Spanish paprika ( hot or sweet is up to you...), a splash of sherry or balsamic vinegar, one slice of bread and the nuts.
Start pulsing and add some of the soaking water to help the blender. Once you achieve a nice smooth paste, start adding olive oil till the whole thing turns pretty fluid. Taste for S&P and adjust.

Now you're ready to slice the fish, quite thin but not paper thin and assemble the plate.

Start with the 2 pestos , then the grilled vegs and, lastly, the fish.

I like to add a crunchy element to mine, in the form of baked hot and spicy tortillas strips or , if working with a rectangular or wide plate, extremely thin baguette toasts ( freeze the baguette for 30 min, slice it lenghtwise with a very sharp knife or a slicer, rub with oil and bake..)

As wine pairing goes, well, this is a tricky one  ; )  and I don't really feel like pointing you in any particular direction, even though I would go on a limb and say : "heavier, full bodied and buttery white...".




"La tera l'e' basa"..the ground is very low...

..is what old people say in Northern Italy when somebody (me...) complains about how hard it is to "work the land".

I've been quite busy the past week ; victim of a sudden "I want to grow my produce" virus I started working on the garden and building beds.

IT IS hard work..specially if, like me, you do it with improvised tools! Dumb? Cheap? Maybe... hehe

Got my first salad made with my own arugula yesterday and yes, it tasted good.... been using my fennel sprouts to garnish delicate scallops carpaccios and peppers and cilantro sprouts to top Mexican fusion dishes...

Now I can't wait for the eggplant, squash, mustard, dill, bell peppers Roma and heirloom tomatoes to grow... of all these babies though, a very special place is occupy by the cutest, tiniest lavander sprouts I am trying to grow into gorgeous plants.

Also, to top it off, while I've been cleaning and organizing my old restaurant inventory I came across some pretty neat stuff I totally forgot about and that found its way onto my kitchen wall at home

Yes, I'm a sucker for old kitchen stuff..cast iron, terracotta, etc...


Mexican lamb barbacoa

Although a truly traditional Mexican barbacoa is prepared in a hole in the ground, using a whole lamb, it can be prepared in a more "urbane" fashion by using a steaming dish and a large stockpot or even a pressure cooker.
I don't really like to use ´pressure cookers for a variety of reason so here's how I make it in a stock pot.

To recreate the smoke taste of the underground cooking, the best way to go is to char a piece of aromatic wood (like mesquite, mango, hickory...) and toss it in the pot along with the water you'll use to steam the meat.

Start by rubbing the chunk of lamb of your choice (I like chuck, for the nice proportion of bone, lean and fat meat) with a liberal amount of coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Next wrap the meat in banana leaves that you'll have previously softened by passing them over an open flame_ or you can hit them with a propane torch, if you prefer ....   ;  )

Now get the stock pot and place a soup bowl, inverted, on the bottom.
On top of the bottom of the bowl place a metallic steaming dish or a colander and in it place the meat, wrapped in the banana leaves.

Add water to the pot, just enough to almost level with the bowl and add:
°a bouquet made of bay leaves, oregano, marjoram and thyme
° a whole head of garlic, cut in two crosswise
°a large onion, cut in two
° a fair amount of dry, unsoaked chickpeas
° the piece of charred wood

Close the top of the pot with aluminium foil, making sure to achieve the tightest fit and place a lid on it.
Put the pot on medium high heat until it it starts to boil, then lower to heat to the lowest setting your stove allows and let cook for around 4 hours for a 4 pounds piece of meat.

Note:obviously, cutting the meat in smaller pieces will reduce cooking time, but some of the magic will be lost

Once ready, unwrap the meat,pass the stock through a colander and recover the garbanzos.
Discard the herbs and the wood  and serve the meat with tortillas, chopped onion, cilantro, the garbanzos and a cup of the stock on the side.

Here comes my "twist":
°reduce the stock to a gravy consistence;
°bled the chickpeas into a puree
°roast a poblano pepper, liquefy it and use it to make green tortillas
and serve it like this:

atop the green tortillas, with a few dollops of the garbanzo puree,some smashed avocado, cilantro and peppers sprouts/buds, sliced fresh serrano chiles and the reduction on the side.

Pop a few cold beers, or a nice cab and buon appetito!


Spring is coming...

Thank God February is over..as for as far as I can remember it has been the worst month of the year for me; March is here at last and it started with a good kick in the right direction!
Last Friday night I cooked for 10 beautiful and really fun ladies from the US,; the occasion was a birthday and what follows are some pics of part of the courses taken by my friend and collegue Giulio Lupori ( @Actorando, his Twitter handle).

We started wit a fillet of roasted red pepper rolled around a smoked tuna panzanella, flavoured with Spanish smoked hot paprika and served with a sliver of aged sheep's cheese, as sharp as they come, and a drizzle of 25 y.o. balsamic vinegar.

Next was a light salad of grilled peaches, heirloom tomatoes, basil, mixed greens and dry ricotta that I featured once already on these blog.

The first of the two main courses was this great yellowtail carpaccio

served with a roasted tomato and peppers sauce, on the lines of a Romesco, a black olive and parsley pesto, an assortment of grilled vegetables and spicy hot tortilla crisps.

The lamb barbacoa followed... I tried to give this traditional Mexican lamb dish a little contemporary twist and I think I pulled it off.

The lamb has been cooked in the traditional barbacoa style but I choosed to sear it a bit before serving it. It caame atop roasted poblano peppers tortillas, with a puree of the chickpeas it's been cooking with, some smashed avocado and a reduction of its own stock.
On the side we served a little salad of grilled new nopales and red onion lightly pickled in sherry vinegar.

The dessert was a little spicy chocolate number with a spicier tequila creme anglaise.

The event was a round success and a great time was had by all...yours grumpy truly as well....

Left to right: Giulio, CookAndTheFly, Lupita

Recipes will follow, starting tomorrow...
From the Land of Mañana,
E.  : )