Sacramento Magazine's Home Cookin’

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Home By Marybeth Bizjak

Photography by Create + Gather








s the days get shorter and temperatures grow colder, we tend to turn to comfort food for, well, comfort. Food professionals—chefs, bakers, restaurant owners and the like—are no different. At

this time of year, homey braises, filling pastas and old-fashioned desserts are on their menus at

home. When we asked eight local food pros to share their favorite winter dishes, the ones they

serve family and friends, we got recipes that run the gamut from an intoxicatingly complex pork-

and-hominy stew to a simple meal ender of wine-poached pears with mascarpone whipped cream. Delish!

Black - Eyed Pea Soup When ROB ARCHIE was growing up, his grandmother used to make a rich, nourishing black-eyed pea soup. Later, his wife took over the soup-making duties. Archie, who owns three Sacramento restaurants (Pangaea Bier Café, Urban Roots and Bawk), looks forward to eating this soup every winter. “It’s warm, wholesome and delicious,” he says.

½ pound bacon, sliced 1 hot link, diced 1 tablespoon avocado oil 1 onion, diced 1 green bell pepper, diced 2 ribs celery, diced 2 carrots, diced 1 ham shank or ham hock 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight in water, drained and rinsed 3 cups chicken bone broth 3 cups water 1 tablespoon Knorr Caldo de Pollo seasoning

2–3 teaspoons red pepper flakes 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning ½ teaspoon ground cumin 2 bay leaves 1 tablespoon fresh thyme 2–3 cups chopped collard, mustard and/or turnip greens 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes Kosher salt Black pepper Parmesan cheese

In a frying pan, cook bacon over medium heat until it begins to brown. Add hot link and cook until bacon and hot link render their fat and begin to crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove meats from pan and place on a paper towel to drain.

Rob Archie

In the same pan, add the oil to the bacon fat and sauté the onion, bell pepper, celery and carrots over medium heat until softened, 2–3 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients except the greens, tomatoes, salt and pepper to the pan and stir. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer on low until the black-eyed peas are tender, 2–3 hours. Remove the ham shank/hock. Take the meat off the bone, chop it up and add it back to the pot. Discard the bone. Stir in the greens and canned diced tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue simmering until greens are cooked through. Top with shaved Parmesan and serve. SERVES 8–10

SACMAG.COM December 2020


Homemade Pasta & Meat balls

ANDREA LEPORE owns a Jewish deli in downtown Sacramento, but her heritage is pure Italian. When she was growing up, both her Italian grandmothers served “amazing” homemade pasta every Sunday. Before her maternal grandmother died, Lepore watched her make pasta and meatballs and wrote down every step. Says the owner of Solomon’s Delicatessen, “With a loaf of ciabatta or pugliese, a bottle of Italian red wine and a table of friends and family, that’s a good life!” SERVES 6


½ pound ground pork

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup high-quality breadcrumbs

1 cup chopped red onion 1 cup chopped carrots 1 cup chopped Castelvetrano olives 1 6-ounce can organic tomato paste 3 28-ounce cans whole peeled organic tomatoes

To make the sauce: In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the carrots and olives and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and canned tomatoes. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer for at least two hours and up to all day. Add salt and oregano to taste. To make the meatballs: Place ground meats, breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, eggs, cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Using your hands, quickly and gently mix the ingredients together until evenly combined. (Do not overmix.) Form the mixture into 3-inch meatballs. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs. Cover the pan with a lid and cook, turning the meatballs occasionally until brown on all sides. Add to the sauce and simmer 30 minutes.



1 garlic clove, chopped ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley 2 eggs, lightly beaten Grated Pecorino, Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese to taste Salt and pepper to taste

Salt to taste

⅓ cup olive oil

Fresh or dried oregano to taste



1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 pound ground beef

2 eggs

½ pound ground veal

1 teaspoon salt

To make the pasta: Mound the flour on a large wooden board and create a well in the center. Break the eggs into the well and add the salt. With a fork, begin whisking the eggs and slowly incorporate the flour into the eggs. When you have a messy, wet dough, begin to knead the dough with your hands, incorporating the rest of the flour into the dough. Continue kneading the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

(Don’t overcook your pasta!) Drain. Return the pasta to the pot over medium-low heat. Spoon 1½ cups of the sauce over the pasta and toss to coat. Add more sauce if necessary. Place the pasta and sauce into a large bowl and top with meatballs.

Divide the dough into two equal parts. Using a pasta machine, roll each dough portion into a long, thin sheet. Cut the sheets into noodles. (Tagliatelle noodles, which are about ¼- to 1⁄3-inch wide, are perfect for red sauce and meatballs.) Lay the noodles flat onto a board dusted with flour so they don’t stick. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the noodles until al dente.

Andrea Lepore

Poached Pears Wit h Mascarpone Whipped Cream

As the manager of Oak Park Farmers Market, JOANY TITHERINGTON has access to fabulous fresh food. So it’s no surprise that, come holiday time, she makes a show-stopping dessert for family and friends that spotlights products from the market—in this case, local pears and honey. SERVES 6

1 cup water ½ cup lemon juice 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey (divided)

1½ cups Moscato wine or other dessert wine

1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg

2 cups cold whipping cream

1 cinnamon stick

1 pinch salt

3 whole star anise

6 firm Bosc pears

8 ounces mascarpone, softened at room temperature

In a saucepan large enough to hold all the pears, combine water, lemon juice and 1 cup honey. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until honey dissolves. Add Moscato wine, cinnamon stick, star anise, nutmeg and salt and bring to a simmer. Peel the pears, keeping the stems attached. Place the peeled pears into the poaching liquid and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until tender, rotating the pears every 5 minutes to ensure they poach evenly on all sides, including the tops. When the pears are tender, remove them from the liquid and allow them to cool. You can then refrigerate them until serving or serve them at room temperature. Continue to simmer the poaching liquid until it thickens to a syrup and is reduced by half, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Remove the cinnamon stick and star anise and discard. Set aside. To make mascarpone whipped cream, whisk the heavy cream and the mascarpone in a chilled bowl until soft peaks form. Add 2 tablespoons honey and continue whisking until medium-stiff peaks form. Use immediately or refrigerate until serving. Place one pear on each plate. Pour a little of the syrup on top of each pear and serve with a large dollop of mascarpone whipped cream.

SACMAG.COM December 2020


Nikomi Udon

At their Southside izakaya restaurant, Binchoyaki, TOKIKO SAWADA and CRAIG TAKEHARA are known for their exquisite grilled foods. But when it comes to cooking for their family on cold winter days, they love noodles. “Nikomi” means “braised” in Japanese, and this dish is pure Japanese comfort food. “Japanese food can be more than sushi and teriyaki,” says Sawada. “We love teaching and spreading the love of Japanese soul food.”

4 cups water 8 tablespoons Miso & Easy Original Broth Concentrate (in red bottle) 2 medium garlic cloves, grated 2 large shiitake mushrooms, sliced 4 bunches bok choy, bases trimmed and leaves separated 2 carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias

Craig Takehara and Tokiko Sawada

2 packages precooked udon, rinsed in hot water 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 boneless skinless 2 tablespoons chopped chicken thighs, scallions for garnish cut into strips In a large pot, bring water, miso concentrate and garlic to a simmer over medium heat. Add the vegetables and chicken and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the udon noodles and the butter, bring to a boil and cook until the noodles are tender. Divide into two bowls and garnish with chopped scallions. SERVES 2



Parsi Lamb

RAVIN PATEL comes from a family that simply loves lamb. For tenderness, he prefers to braise lamb rather than roast it. “I apply the flavors we love but cook it the way I would at the restaurants to yield the tenderest meat and allow flavors to develop through layers,” says Patel, who once worked at Ella and now oversees culinary operations for Davis’ Seasons and the Hilton Garden Inn. He’s also executive chef for the new downtown Hyatt Centric, set to open in late spring 2021. SERVES 6–8

½ cup canola or other neutral cooking oil, divided

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

2 large onions, sliced

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons kosher salt, divided

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

2 tablespoons fresh garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons ground red chili

3 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped 2 bay leaves 2 tablespoons cumin seeds

1 tablespoon ground turmeric 2 teaspoons paprika 1 whole boneless lamb shoulder, 6–8 pounds (you can substitute boneless lamb leg)

3 tablespoons coriander seeds

1 cup red wine

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 cup mint leaves for garnish

Heat ¼ cup oil in a large, heavybottomed pan over high heat. Add onions to the pan and lower heat to medium. Cook until onions start to caramelize around the edges. Add 1 tablespoon salt, garlic, ginger and bay leaves and continue to cook, stirring often, 4–5 minutes. Place the mixture into a deep, ovensafe casserole dish. Reserve the pan for cooking the lamb.

Ravin Patel

4 tablespoons tomato paste

In a dry fry pan, toast the whole spice seeds and peppercorns until fragrant. Remove from heat and cool. Place the cooled seeds and peppercorns in a spice mill or grinder and grind them into a powder. In a small bowl, toss the ground spices with cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, red chili, paprika and 3 tablespoons kosher salt. Set aside. Cut the lamb into large pieces, approximately 3 inches square. Coat the pieces thoroughly with the spice mix. In the large, heavybottomed pan in which you cooked the onions, heat ¼ cup oil over high heat. Once the oil begins to smoke, reduce the heat to medium and add the lamb, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Sear the lamb on all sides. Remove the seared lamb pieces from the pan and place them in a single layer on top of the onion mixture in the casserole dish.

Suggestion: Serve lamb on top of hummus.

Reduce the heat on the heavy-bottomed pan to low. Add the wine and tomato paste to deglaze the pan, scraping and stirring continuously. Remove from heat and scrape the mixture onto the lamb. Add 1–2 cups of water to the lamb; the water should come halfway up the meat. Cover the casserole dish with foil, ensuring the foil does not touch the lamb. (There should be 2–3 inches of space above the lamb.) Bake at 300 degrees for 3–4 hours. The lamb should easily fall apart when it’s done cooking. Let the lamb cool in the casserole dish for 1 hour at room temperature. This allows the meat to absorb the cooking liquid and ensures the lamb stays tender and juicy. When ready to serve, transfer the lamb and onion mixture to a deep serving platter. Spoon some of the cooking liquid onto the lamb. Add mint leaves for garnish. SACMAG.COM December 2020


Sugar Pie Pumpkin Tart

RAMON PEREZ is the genius behind Puur Chocolat, an artisanal chocolate boutique. But at the holidays, this pumpkin tart is one of his favorite things to make for family and friends. “It’s amazing how something so simple can have so much life,” says Perez, who runs Puur with his wife, Nicole. MAKES 1 12-INCH TART

Tart dough:


½ cup sugar

2 cups flour

2 cups whole almonds

3 tablespoons brown sugar

¾ cup powdered sugar

1¼ cups sugar, divided

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup water

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 ounces butter

1 sugar pie pumpkin

½ cup whole milk

½ teaspoon sea salt

Grapeseed or vegetable oil

3 eggs

⅓ cup almond flour

1 egg

beans or pie weights. Freeze 15 minutes, then blind-bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment and pie weights. To make the filling: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. On a large cookie sheet, toast the almonds in the middle of the oven until fragrant and golden, 15–20 minutes.

To make the tart dough: In a food processor, process flour, almond flour, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, butter and salt until butter is just dispersed throughout the mixture. Add the egg and pulse until the dough comes together in a ball. Remove dough from processor and flatten into a ½-inch-thick square. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours. (Overnight is best.) On a lightly floured board, roll dough out to a ¼-inch-thick round. Lay the dough into a round 12-inch fluted false-bottom tart pan and gently press into the pan. Roll the rolling pin across the pan to cut off excess dough. Pierce the bottom of the dough with the tines of a fork, then lay a sheet of parchment on top of the dough and weigh down with



In a heavy saucepan, bring ¾ cup sugar and water to a boil over moderate heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Boil syrup, without stirring, until it turns a deep golden caramel. (It will register 360 degrees on a candy thermometer.) Place the almonds on a lightly oiled piece of aluminum foil. Pour the caramel syrup over the almonds and let cool. Using a food processor, grind the nut-caramel praline into a paste. Measure 1⁄3 cup of the paste for the filling. (Reserve the remaining paste for future baking projects.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. Lightly oil the pumpkin’s interior with grapeseed or vegetable oil and season liberally with salt. On a cookie sheet, roast the pumpkin, cut side down, until tender, approximately 30 minutes. Cool. Scoop the

¾ cup heavy cream

pumpkin flesh from the skin and blend in a blender or food processor until smooth. Measure 1¾ cups pumpkin puree for the filling. (Reserve the remaining puree for soup or another pumpkin tart.) In a mixing bowl, combine 1⁄3 cup almond praline paste, 1¾ cups pumpkin puree, ½ cup sugar, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Using an electric mixer, blend at low speed. Slowly add milk and cream, then the eggs, mixing until evenly incorporated. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pour pumpkin filling into the baked tart shell until mixture reaches the top of the shell. Bake until the center is slightly jiggly, 30–35 minutes. Cool.

Ramon and Nicole Perez

Ramon decorates his tart with Tahitian vanilla Chantilly cream, roasted almonds and milk chocolate “twigs.”

SACMAG.COM December 2020


Pozole Rojo

PATRICIO WISE serves this warming pork-and-hominy stew at his popular Roseville restaurant, Nixtaco. “Pozole is a classic winter dish back home in Mexico,” he says. “People say it feeds the soul; it’s especially good on cold days.” This recipe calls for fresh nixtamal, which is corn treated with an alkali substance. You can buy it at Nixtaco by the pound, or you can substitute canned hominy. “Whatever you do,” Wise says, “don’t skip this ingredient.”

1 pork shoulder, 4 pounds

2 dried chipotle chilies

Salt and pepper

2 dried arbol chilies (omit if you don’t want it spicy)

1 white onion 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 large head garlic, peeled 1 tablespoon paprika 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano

1 dried ancho chile Juice of 2 limes Accompaniments: Diced avocado Toasted hulled pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons cumin seeds

Diced radish

1 pound fresh whole-kernal nixtamal (or 1 25-ounce can hominy)

Diced white onion

2 dried guajillo chilies

Lime wedges

Chopped cilantro SERVES 8–12

Cut the pork into large pieces, approximately 3 inches square. Coat the pieces thoroughly with salt and pepper and refrigerate overnight. The next day, peel the onion and char it over an open flame. (Skip this step if you don’t have an open-flame stovetop.) Slice the onion in half from top to bottom. Then, laying the flat side down, cut each half in quarters and set aside. In a deep, heavy-bottomed pot, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Break apart with a wooden spatula and cook until fragrant and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and continue to stir until fragrant. (Don’t let the garlic burn.) Add the pork to the pan and brown the meat on all sides. Add enough cold water to cover the meat by 3–4 inches. Add the paprika and oregano. While the water comes to a boil, toast the cumin seeds in a small dry pan. When they are fragrant, add them to the water. When the water begins to boil, reduce heat, add the nixtamal and simmer 3–4 hours. (If using canned hominy, add to stew 30 minutes before end of cooking.) In the meantime, seed and devein the chilies. Place them in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. After 1 minute, turn off the heat and let the chilies sit in the water for 20 minutes. Strain and discard the water. Place the chilies in a blender, cover with fresh water and blend completely. You will end up with a bright-red liquid; add it to the simmering pork and mix well with a wooden spoon. Continue simmering the stew, monitoring the liquid level and adding small amounts of water if it gets too low. You’ll know it’s done when the pork shreds easily. Turn off the heat and taste for salt and acid. It might not need salt, but it will need acid. Add lime juice a little at a time, tasting each time until it reaches your liking. Let sit for a couple hours and taste again for salt and acid. At this point, serve with accompaniments or store for future use.



Patricio Wise

Potato Lat kes & Homemade Apple Sauce The holidays are crazy busy for MARLENE AND WALTER GOETZELER, who own Freeport Bakery in Land Park. But every year, they look forward to making—and eating— latkes at Hannukah. “I grew up eating them, and my sister took over making them,” says Marlene. “Now, Walter makes them for me.” For Marlene, a great latke is all about texture. They should be “crunchy on the outside, pillowy on the inside,” she explains.

For latkes: 4 Russet potatoes Canola oil ½ medium onion, minced 1 large egg, lightly whisked

2 tablespoons matzo meal or flour Salt Apple sauce Sour cream

For apple sauce: 3 apples Water Optional: sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves SERVES 2–4

To make the latkes: Peel the potatoes and coarsely grate by hand, transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated. When all potatoes are grated, drain well in a colander. Spread grated potatoes on a kitchen towel and roll up, jelly-roll style, twisting the towel tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Transfer potato mixture to a bowl.

In a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Transfer the onions to the bowl with the grated potatoes. Add egg, matzo meal and a pinch of salt. Gently stir the ingredients together with a fork. Heat ¼ inch oil in a frying pan over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches, spoon 2 tablespoons potato mixture per latke into the skillet, spreading into ½-inch thick rounds with a fork. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until undersides are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn latkes over and cook until the undersides are browned, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Serve with apple sauce and sour cream on the side. To make the apple sauce: Peel and core the apples, then cut in wedges. Fill a saucepan with ¼ inch water and add the apple wedges. Cover and cook over low heat until the apples are soft enough to make a lightly chunky sauce, about 30 minutes. Uncover pot and let apples cool slightly. Pass the apples through a food mill, or mash with a fork or potato masher. Season with sugar, cinnamon and ground cloves to your taste. Apple sauce can be made 4 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.

SACMAG.COM December 2020