A great thing about being a chef in Rancho Santa Fe is being close to Chino Farms, where I’ve shopped almost every day since 1985. It’s been my routine to start my work day at the Chino Farms stand. This time of the year you will notice the beautifully arranged cauliflower heads glowing in four different colors: there are yellow – or what some call “golden cauliflower” – green cauliflower, purple cauliflower and of course the popular snow white variety. I’m routinely asked which I like the most and my boring answer is always, “Ah, they’re all delicious. I like them all.”
However, I must say that I don’t enjoy eating cauliflower raw, and in all my years growing up in my home country of Germany I never saw anyone eat raw cauliflower. I think it tastes so much better when steamed, and if not steamed it should be parboiled in lightly salted water. It can be enjoyed still warm in a light dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and grated parmesan, or it can be pan fried in bread crumbs after being coated with slightly whipped egg whites (for this, use clarified butter or canola oil). Cauliflower can also be served with homemade mayonnaise, capers, anchovies and hard boiled quail eggs or chopped hard boiled hen eggs – and don’t forget to garnish your dish with some green leaves of arugula, frisée or mizuna.
During a recent dinner I served a small “amuse” of purple cauliflower soup sprinkled with toasted almonds and a dash of sharp parmesan. It was a big hit! Yet, I still think my mother made the best cauliflower preparation (of course, who doesn’t think Mom was the best cook?). She would remove the leaves and cut it up in big bite size florets, boil them in just enough water to get them soft and remove them from the (now tasty) water. Then, she would add our cow’s fresh milk to the water and boil it, thickening it with a flour and butter paste. After boiling this cream sauce for about 10 minutes, the cauliflower would go back into the sauce, which would be seasoned with very little salt and a pinch of fresh ground nutmeg, this preparation is so easy and tastes so good…
And, just one more note about steaming or boiling multi-color cauliflower: Keep the purple cauliflower separate from the other colors. Like red beets, it will stain.
I’ll tell you about my current favorite vegetable next month, but in the meantime I suggest you take the time to cook your cauliflower. It really tastes so much better than raw!
As we toast a remarkable year of fine dining, OpenTable (NASDAQ: OPEN), the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations, is pleased to celebrate the 2013 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Best Restaurants in America and highlight the Top 10 honorees. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for approximately 19,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
It’s been a wonderful year, and Mille Fleurs is happy to announce that we have been selected by OpenTable diners as one of 2013’s Top 100 Restaurants in the United States! Thank you to all of our guests who reviewed Mille Fleurs throughout this year, and we look forward to providing you with our top quality service and cuisine in 2014. Read U-T San Diego’s interview with restaurateur Bertrand Hug about this exciting award here.
You were born and raised in Southern Germany, what cooking inpirations from your childhood are likely to be reflected in this year’s upcoming Oktoberfest? Can you give us a preview of what we should expect?
Having been born and raised on a dairy farm in Southern Germany, right at the Bavarian border, I’m often inspired to cook the traditional food from that region. So much of the cuisine is at its best at this time of year, with fall and winter just around the corner and many people beginning to crave warm and savory comfort food. People also naturally tend to eat these heartier types of foods – and more of them – toward the end of the year in order to, as I say, survive the cold winter (although this is only true back in Germany)!
It is around this time that I begin to look forward to bringing Germany’s Oktoberfest to Mille Fleurs’ menus. I’m always excited to create traditional dishes like Bavarian cheese on a Limburger with raw onions, radishes, vinegar and oil, black pepper and chives; home-smoked trout; fresh mushrooms with bread dumplings; headcheese; spätzle in various preparations; braised pork shanks in sauerkraut; crispy suckling pig with red cabbage; authentic pretzels; apple strudel; and wiener schnitzel – to name a few.
I love recreating the cuisine of my childhood for Mille Fleurs’ guests, and hope that you’ll visit the restaurant between September 24 and October 31, so that I can share my favorite Oktoberfest dishes with you.
I am so confused!
It seems that only yesterday they were 30 or 40 wineries in Napa Valley, a dozen in Sonoma, a few in Alexander and Russian River Valley and I had only barely heard of Santa Barbara or Paso Robles wineries.
The wine books pages of California labels were all familiar names, once in a while a new comer would show up, but it was all the same routine: BV, Chateau Montelena, Beringer, Silver Oak, etc… Now, new wine brokers are popping up daily and the same for wineries some with names a little strange: Holus Bolus, Black Sheep Finds, Ground Effect Wines, Folk Machine, Scholium Project, Wind Gap, Dirty Pure, etc…
I am so confused! What about you the consumer?
Nowadays, everybody wants to make wine: farmers that use to sell their grapes to major wineries, dot com billionaires, super rich lawyers and doctors, Chinese magnates, famous restaurants sommeliers, winemakers going on their own and an assortment of partnerships that co op a winery. Winemakers are moving around like carousels, established wineries start secondary labels, help!
Wine shops and restaurants need a new wine road map! Over 500 wineries in Napa Valley alone, over 400 in Sonoma, 400 in the Santa Barbara region, wow!!! That is when I come in, tada! Your dedicated beverage counselor!
I have my marching orders: get the tasting glasses ready, twirl the tongue around, make a few inward whistles, lubricate the elbow and start pouring, I have to brief my staff and enlighten my customers, my guess is that if I sample 30 wines per day, I should have tasted it all by 2050…
It is a vicious job but somebody has to do it, cheers!
Beginning Tuesday, September 24, Chef Martin will take our guests to his homeland of Germany with Mille Fleurs’ annual Oktoberfest celebration. Between mid-September and throughout October, Mille Fleurs will offer traditional German cuisine.
Join us for a selection of hand-crafted dishes only available during this highly anticipated time of year. Specials will include sauerkraut, speckknodel, herring, black forest ham, headcheese, smoked trout, warm potato salad, suckling pig, crackling pig skin, pork chop, blaukraut, authentic pretzels, venison bratwurst, apple strudel, pumpkin tart and many more traditional German dishes. Whether enjoying an appetizer of Red Cabbage-Apple Slaw or a main course of Beef Rib Stew in a smoked paprika sauce, Mille Fleurs will enter this fall catering to your German palate in upscale style.
Born and raised in southern Germany, Mille Fleurs’ highly regarded Chef Martin Woesle’s first cooking memories are of spending time with his mother in their German family kitchen. He brings these early experiences to Mille Fleurs for the restaurant’s Oktoberfest celebration, and in addition to Chef Martin’s special German fare a regular menu will be offered which guests know to change daily.
Mille Fleurs will also offer German wine pairings and unique beers to further enhance the experience.
While there is no question that Pinot Chardonnay is king, as it pairs well with rich seafood and many fowl dishes and has become America’s favorite wine for any time sipping; during the warm days of late spring and summer, many other varietals are better suited for casual enjoyment.
I always prefer a crisper, more refreshing, less tropical and cleaner white wine: so Sauvignon Blanc is well suited and is getting increasingly more popular (as reflected by sales in my restaurants) but one should look to the light Rhone varietals like Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier or Grenache Blanc either from France or California, an AustrianGrunerVeltliner,the Verdicchios and Vermentinos of Italy, not to discount a well-made Pinot Griggio, or sip on the low alcohol Rieslings of Germany.
They are too many of these varietals to name them all here but the idea is to broaden your wine horizons by trying different “cepages”, making your wine drinking a more interesting experience, introducing your friend to your latest find! Most of them will also be far less expensive than a well-regarded Chardonnay.
A knowledgeable wine consultant in your favorite wine shop will certainly be willing to help you in that quest. Now, “Cheers”!
I am now into my chef’s territory but I have to tell you, Spring has sprung and with it all these delicious spring vegetables, among these, fresh peas and I have to confess: I am a fresh pea addict but just not any peas: Chino’s farm peas.
The season is just now starting according to the foremost authority: Tom Chino!
I love them every way: sautéed, steamed, raw in salads or just picked on the farm!
My all-time favorite is the way grandma Gabrielle prepared them: just lightly sautéed in duck fat with escarole, baby carrots and pearl onions, Oh My!!
Peas will be omnipresent on our spring menus here at Mille Fleurs , we have even created a sweet pea martini, served straight up! Pity the season will only last a couple of month!
Night + Day
Mille Fleurs in Rancho Santa Fe will serve both an a la carte brunch and a dinner on Easter Sunday.
Whether from California, Oregon, Burgundy or other wine growing regions of the world, there is no question that nowadays, Pinot Noir rules!
Merlot gave way in the turn (the Sideways movie pushed it in the grave), Cabernet is galloping, Sauvignon Blanc is gaining ground, Chardonnay is puttering down the stretch but Pinot Noir is winning by several lengths!
Why the craze?
Pinot Noir is reputed to be the most romantic of wines but also the most temperamental of grape. Andre Tchelistcheff declared that “God made Cabernet but the devil made Pinot Noir!”
The wine tends to have a light garnet color with aromas of black or red cherry, cassis and raspberry. Whereas Pinot Noir wines from Burgundy will break the bank, we are able to find very affordable and delicious labels from California and Oregon, trust your favorite wine store! At Mille Fleurs we like to pair Pinot Noir with our Duck Confit, chef martin incomparable Wiener-Schnitzel, all veal dishes and our Wild Salmon recipes.