Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I left my heart in San Francisco

I'm heading out to San Francisco this week... a little family vacation. I always love going back to the city where my "culinary dreams" began. I was 18 years old and I had the choice to go to college or do what my heart was telling me I should be doing with the rest of my life... go to Culinary School. We all know which one I chose! That's right, I went to college and became an astrophysicist!!! Ok, that's not what happened, but what did happen was that I got to spend two years in a city that was just phenomenal and dined at some of the greatest dishes that this city has to offer.

There's just something about San Francisco. I'm not sure if it's the fact that it's such a melding pot of different cultures and nationalities, the actual terrain of it being so hilly and surrounded by the water or that there's just so much great food to choose from!

So, it would only make sense for me to give you a recipe that is uniquely San Franciscan. It's one of my favorites and it reminds me of all the great memories that I had during the two years I lived there.

Cioppino, what exactly is it? Well think of it as a version of the French fish soup called Bouillabaisse. It's actually pretty similar, but a little more "hearty." The origin and the name of Cioppino come from the Italian fishermen in the early 1900's when Fisherman's Wharf was still called Meiggs Wharf. Someone would make the rounds of the moored fishing boats, calling out for the contributions to a common festive stew. One fisherman would toss in some scallops, another some prawns another some Dungeness Crab, another some herbs and vegetables... and before you knew it they'd all be saying, "Chip In! Chip In!" But coming from an Italian accent, this American slang had to end in a vowel... and there in lies "Chip-een-o" And so over 100 years later Chippino is a common staple in just about every seafood restaurant around this city.

One of my favorite places that I used to go to when I lived here was Scoma's at Fisherman's Wharf... sure it's touristy but the Lazy Man's Cioppino is just delicious!!! And if you like seafood and shell fish in particular, you will absolutely love this recipe! I hope that you try it... I know my heart's left there every time I leave San Francisco... (sorry, I had to!)


  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 cups fish stock or clam juice
  • 6 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
  • 1 lb rock cod cut into 1" cubes
  • 1.5 lbs clams
  • 12oz prawns (deveined and peeled)
  • 1 lb cooked crab meat
  • 8oz bay shrimp
  • 12oz scallops
  • Salt and pepper

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat and cook garlic for one minute.
  2. Add the onions and let them sweat for two or three minutes.
  3. Turn heat to high and add the wine to de glaze. Cook for 2-3 minutes (or until reduced in half) then reduce heat to medium.
  4. Add fresh oregano and basil.
  5. Add the tomato sauce and bring to a boil.
  6. Slowly add fish, shellfish, and shrimp meat.
  7. Bring the Cioppino back to a boil and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until all the seafood is cooked.
  8. Add cooked crab meat.
  9. Thin the Cioppino to your liking with fish stock or clam juice.
  10. Adjust the seasoning with salt & pepper.
  11. Serve in a large bowl with fresh sourdough bread and enjoy!

This goes perfectly with Linguini, Spaghetti or Angel Hair Pasta

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summertime Memories

So it’s Sunday... not just any Sunday but the last of 5 remaining summertime Sunday’s. Naturally summertime means, outdoors, swimming pools, parties and BBQ’s. So, for the first time ever I’m gonna share something with you all, since you’ve been so kind as to start following me and my blog…

Michelle’s famous (and yes, I do mean famous) Marinade! Think of this as yummy deliciousness in a bottle! You can use this on grilled beef, pork, chicken or fish as a marinade... or as a dip for breads & veggies...

So I hope you enjoy it and I can somehow be a part of your summertime BBQ memories!

Michelle's Marinade

1 bunch of curly or flat leaf parsley
4-6 cloves of garlic
1 whole or 1/2 large onion
1 whole green bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
1 tbs red pepper flakes
1 tbs garlic powder
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup oil (can use olive oil, canola, corn)
salt & pepper

Fresh Cilantro, Fresh Rosemary, Fresh Jalepenos

Wash and roughly chop parsley, peppers, onion and other fresh herbs. Put all ingredients into the blender and pulse until everything is emulsified. Pulse to desired consistency. I usually blend it into a puree.
Pour onto your meat, fish or chicken and marinate for at least an hour. The longer you marinate it the more intense the flavor will be. Can marinate overnight for best flavor.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Some of my favorites....

Mussels, Clams, Shrimp & Calamari over Angel Hair Pasta

Grilled Vegetables with Fresh Mozzarella in a Balsamic Vinaigrette

Chinese Chicken Salad

Roasted Chicken with Herbs

Whole Red Snapper Fried with Lime

Spaghetti & Meatballs

So tell me... what are some of your favorites?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Food From The Heart

Eating food has to be one of the most versatile things... it could be at work taking bites in between getting your job done... you could be in a park copping a squat basking in the sun... In the car rolling out of the drive thru or my personal favorite, being surrounded by all of your treasured family and friends making memories...

As long as I can remember any time there's ever been a big memory to think back on, most of the time there's been some sort of meal associated with it.

So what's this blog all about you ask? Food... your stories, your memories and I'm here to help you with the recipes. Share with me some of your favorite times, the story behind it and hopefully I can help you bring some of it all back to life!!! So let's get started!

To get a better idea... click here!

or go to

THE MEMORY: Jolene & her Grandad in the kitchen and his famous Chicken Piccata


Grandad's Chicken Piccata

  • 4 Boneless Skinless Breasts of Chicken Pounded 1/2 inch thick
  • All purpose flour seasoned with salt & pepper for dredging
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. white wine
  • 6 tsp butter
  • 1/4 c. chicken broth
  • 1/3 c. capers
  • handful of chopped parsley
Season chicken with salt & pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.

In a large skillet over med/high heat, melt butter & olive oil. When the butter and oil start to sizzle, add the chicken and cook on each side for 3-5 minutes. When the chicken is a golden brown on each side, remove from skillet and place on a paper towel to drain.

Into the same skillet add all remaining ingredients... make sure to scrape up all the bits from the bottom of the pan for all that extra flavor!

Return the drained chicken to the pan and continue cooking in the sauce for an additional 3-5 minutes.

To serve, remove chicken from the pan and place on a platter and pour sauce over chicken and garnish with the chopped parsley!

Goes great with some angel hair pasta on the side!

So start sending me those memories, stories & favorite dishes... be it from your childhood, the best dish you've ever had on a vacation, your honeymoon, you aunt's house, the diner on the corner... share them with me and let's bring them to life again!

Till the next time.... "where food brings memories to life!"