When I’m home in Maryland, I eat about half my dinners at my restaurant (Firestone’s Culinary Tavern), and about half at home, where I’m my own chef. I do this for variety (good as it is I can’t eat restaurant food all the time), and also because I like to cook.
I do about the same thing on vacation. The local restaurants around Carmel, and in the Carmel Valley where I’m staying are good, but it’s fun (and cheaper!) to whip something up at my temporary “home” some of the time.
The biggest problem with that is finding where everything is. Jim Haxton, the owner of the house I’m renting for a month, has a very well equipped kitchen. It’s nicely organized, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to figure out where everything is. It takes me about a week. Of course, when I use things, I’ve got to remember where I got them!
I don’t follow recipes, but just rely on experience or experimentation. I look to see what’s there and try to put it together. For example, the picture above is the result of putting together a meal from two other meals. I had fettuccine one night and a turkey burger another night, and left over ingredients from both. So, I cooked the pasta, sautéed ground turkey, put them together with leftover baby kale for color, threw in a little half and half to make it a little juicy, seasoned with salt and pepper and some fresh thyme I happened to have, sprinkled ground parmigiano-reggiano on it, and there I had it! It was delicious, especially with a little Sauvignon blanc.
Another favorite is seafood, of which there is plenty around here. A local seafood store is piled high with fresh product. They have everything you can imagine. Two of my favorites are Pacific coast specialties: petrale sole, and sand dabs. Both are flatfish, smallish, with the sand dab smaller, and they provide nice meaty fillets, sweet in flavor, that are great when sautéed and seasoned simply with salt and pepper. (I would put a picture here, but I haven’t figured out how to do it!)
I’m not a pro, but I have fun!
Here’s to good food,