Potato Leek Cheddar Tart with a Buckwheat Almond Crust

This Potato Leek Cheddar Tart is a delectable treat!  The combination of potatoes, leeks, cheddar and jalapeno is a soul soothing experience.  Combine that with the buckwheat tart crust and it is a taste of heaven.

4-Tart I had planned to post this recipe during our trip to Hood River, Oregon but I just couldn’t make myself do it.  Sometimes, you just need a break!  Am I right?

Robby and I basically ate our way through Hood River.  On our first night, we walked downtown and had dinner at Brian’s Pourhouse, which was the location of my old restaurant Purple Rocks.  It was fun to show Robby the house I turned into a restaurant with the addition of the kitchen and stone patio.  The next day, we met up with my friends Cari and Rory for lunch at a new spot called River Daze Cafe.  I had a grilled cheese with tomatoes on their homemade gluten free bread and it was incredible!  We had a great time with them.

After lunch, we met up with my mom and her boyfriend Clyde for an afternoon walk by the Columbia River on the Washington side at Catherine Creek.  It was an incredibly gorgeous day with sunny skies.  We really lucked out with the weather.  It had been raining for days prior to our arrival and we were very fortunate to have 3 sunny days in a row.  That evening we went to my friend Sarah and her husband’s amazing restaurant across the river in White Salmon called Hennie’s.  I was so psyched to check it out because it opened up after I left Hood River.  Well, let me tell you, it was phenomenal!!!  I was also stoked that I was able to see Sarah.  I almost missed her because she was about to leave right when we arrived.  We caught up for a bit and before she left, she hooked us up with a few appetizers that were absolutely to die for!  It was definitely the best food of the whole trip!

 Friday was our one-year wedding anniversary.  My mom, Clyde, Robby and myself met up with my friend Tami for lunch at Divots, which is the restaurant in a golf course clubhouse.  It has an incredible view of Mount Hood that is insanely gorgeous when viewed on a clear day.  The food was good and the conversation was even better.  After lunch, we headed on to Cathedral Ridge Winery.  It uses to be Flerchinger’s Vineyard where I had worked for 4 years.  They have changed it quite a bit.  I was happy to see that the mural my friend Mark painted was still there.  Later that evening, Robby, my mom, Clyde and I went to pFriem Brewers for our anniversary dinner.  We had a really nice mellow evening.

Saturday afternoon I had a nice visit with my friend Lorin while my mom did hypnotherapy on Robby.  After my mom was finished with Robby, we all met up for dinner at Solstice with Clyde, Tami and her date Christopher along with my good friends Kim and Gavin.  It was a lot of fun with great conversation.  The next morning Robby and I lounged around for our last day before we met up with my mom and Clyde in the Dalles.  We piled into one car and drove up to the Maryhill Museum for lunch and took a tour of the museum.  After we were done at the museum, we went to the Maryhill Winery and tasted a number of white wines.  They had more white wine available for tasting than any other winery I have ever been to.  We bought the Rosé of Sangiovese and a Viognier to bring back to Clyde’s house for the amazing Thai dinner he made for us.  We all had a really great time full of heartfelt conversations.

 This trip was a needed break for Robby and I.  It was really nice to visit Hood River after so long to see how much it all had changed.  I used to make many different vegetarian tarts at Purple Rocks because they were always a big hit, which makes this tart a perfect pair with our trip to Hood River.

Tart This is a perfect summer tart that pairs well with a cold glass of Viognier, Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Gris.

Tart-Tart Potato Leek Cheddar Tart Recipe:
6 to 8 servings
  • 1 Recipe Almond Buckwheat Crust – recipe below
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 White Onion – diced
  • 1 Garlic Clove – minced
  • 2 Leeks – about 4 Cups uncooked – quartered lengthwise – washed – white and pale green parts only – thinly sliced
  • 3/4 Pound Yukon Gold Potatoes – sliced rounds about 1/8th inch
  • 2 1/4 Cups (8 ounces) Cheddar Cheese – shredded – divided
  • 8 oz. Creme Fraiche
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 2 Jalapeno Peppers – thinly sliced
Tart Dough
  • 3/4 Cup Ground Almonds
  • 1 Cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Salted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Ice Water or until it sticks together (don’t over do it)



In a food processor, grind the almonds into small crumb size.

Add flour & salt In the food processor, pulse several times to combine.

Add 1/4 inch piece of butter.

 Pulse a few times to evenly break up the butter then add ice water slowly as you pulse, until it resembles a coarse meal with tiny pieces of butter.  It will be crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers, do not over process.

Press the dough into a tart pan then refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees

Bake on the middle rack for 10 minutes with pie weights or beans 10 min without.


Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the leeks, stir occasionally until tender about 8 minutes.


Slice potatoes into thin slices (about 1/8-inch thick).  Add potatoes to a pot and cover with water then bring to a boil, continue to boil for 2 minutes.  Make sure and keep an eye on them.  Use a timer.  Drain potatoes in a colander, rinse with cold water.

Cheese and Creme Fraiche

In a small pan, mix together the 1 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar, creme fraiche, salt and pepper.  Melt together on medium low heat.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Sprinkle a 1/4 cup of cheese over the crust.  Add a layer of potatoes, a little sauce (about a 1/4 of it), spread out half the leeks and a 1/4 cup of cheese.  Repeat, then top with potatoes and the remaining sauce and the remaining cheese.  Arrange the jalapeno slices on top.
Bake for 30 minutes on the middle rack or until golden.
Health benefits:

Leeks allicin content reduces cholesterol production, blood pressure, blood vessel stiffness and protects the lining. Leeks help chronic low-level inflammations like in diabetes, obesity and rheumatoid arthritis. They contain polyphenols that are known to be strong antioxidants that fight against free radicals, which help with chronic disease and aging. They are a good sources of vitamin-A, C and K.

Yellow Potatoes – Yukon gold’s content of potassium is higher than many foods and can help reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke. They have twice the amount of vitamin C as a Russet, which helps protects your cells from free-radical damage. Yukon’s are rich in B6 and antioxidant properties. It has a bit of Iron but the C helps the body absorb it. They contain fiber that helps reduces cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, helps prevent constipation and aids in weight loss.

Buckwheat Flour is a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel.  It’s a great alternative grain for people who are sensitive to wheat glutens. It is high in insoluble fiber and is incredibly good for the heart, cholesterol and high blood pressure.  It’s great for diabetics as it it lowers blood sugars more slowly than rice or wheat.  It is awesome for the digestion and it helps to clean and strengthen the intestines.  Buckwheat contains more antioxidants that most other grains.

Mediterranean Farro Salad with Toasted Walnut Caper Vinaigrette

This beautiful healthy Mediterranean Farro Salad is extremely satisfying and it has an amazing depth of flavors!  There is an array of textures going on with the combination of the slightly chewy farro, crunchy veggies and creamy fresh mozzarella.  You can leave out the cheese if you want to keep it vegan. The vinaigrette adds a significant amount of flavor so you won’t lose flavor if you lose the cheese.  You can serve it as either a side or as a main dish with the addition of some crusty bread.

Mediterranean Farro Salad I am really psyched right now because Robby and I are going on a road trip to visit my mom in Hood River, Oregon to celebrate our one-year anniversary.  Hood River was my home for many years and was the location where I opened my restaurant Purple Rocks.  We rented a cute studio close to town we found on Airbnb.  I haven’t been back for 8 years.  I can’t believe how fast time flies.  I am looking forward to showing Robby around Hood River and introducing him to my friends and all the cool things to see and do in the area.  My friends tell me a lot has changed since I left and I am very excited to try some of the new restaurants, wineries and breweries.  The weather can be a bit iffy this time of the year.  So, I have my fingers crossed that there will be some sun or at least that it will not rain during our entire stay, but we are ok with it either way.  As an added bonus, we are stopping over in Ashland Oregon a long the way for one night both ways.  I have never been to Ashland so I’m excited to check it out.

Farro I enjoyed a nice glass of a dry Rose with this farro salad.  It also goes great with a Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Cava or a Prosecco.

Mediterranean Farro Salad Farro Vegetable Salad
Recipe: 6 – 8 servings
  • 1 1/2 Cups Dried Farro – 3 Cups Cooked
  • 6 Cups Filtered Water
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Toasted Walnuts – or to taste
  • 2 Cup Purple Kale – chopped into small pieces
  • 1 Fennel Bulb – about 1 1/2 Cups – stalks removed – bulb quartered – thinly sliced – diced
  • 2/3 Cup Pomegranate Seeds – or to taste
  • 1/2 Cup Red Cabbage – minced – or to taste
  • 1/2 Cup French Breakfast Radishes – thinly sliced – or to taste
  • 1/2 Cup Fennel Stalks – thinly sliced – or to taste
  • 1 Container Mini Fresh Mozzarella Balls – sliced and quartered
  • Parmesan Cheese – peels (use peeler) – to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Sun-dried Tomatoes – minced – optional
Toasted Walnut Caper Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 Cup Toasted Walnuts
  • 1/2 Cup Roasted Walnut Oil
  • 1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Capers – drained
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1 Tablespoons Champagne Vinegar
  • 1 Small Garlic Clove – minced
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Shallot
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • Dash Pepper
  • Fennel Fronds

in a medium saucepan add the farro, water and salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a medium heat and cook, uncovered, until tender.  About 30 to 35 minutes.  Drain and let cool completely.  It should be a little chewy but not hard or mushy.

Toasted Walnuts

While farro is cooking, start toasting the walnuts for the vinaigrette and salad.

Preheat oven to 375°F and spread the walnuts on a baking sheet.  Roast walnuts until they start to brown and smell toasted about 7 to 10 minutes.  Make sure and check them frequently so they don’t burn.


In a food processor, add the walnuts and grind to a fine crumble.  Add all the other ingredients and turn on until smooth.


Prep all the vegetables and cheese.  Set aside some fennel fronds for garnishing.

In a large bowl, massage the kale with a drizzle of olive oil and then mix in the farro.  You can either spread the farro and kale onto a large plate or bowl and sprinkle on all the vegetables and cheese or just mix everything together in a large bowl.  Serve the dressing on the side.  Garnish with fennel fronds.

Mediterranean Farro Salad Mediterranean Farro Salad Health benefits:

Farro has four times as much fiber than brown rice. Fiber helps reduce the risk of heart problems, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. Farro is really high in Iron and also rich in protein, magnesium, zinc, vitamins B and E.  It is an excellent source for complex carbohydrates that stimulate the immune system with its high antioxidant content.

Kale is low in calories, high in fiber and it is a loaded with antioxidants which helps detox the liver. It is also an anti-inflammatory with omega-3 fatty acids, which is helpful for arthritis, joint pain and asthma.  Kale has more Iron than beef and more calcium than milk which helps prevents osteoporosis, joint flexibility and helps maintain normal bone health. It is great for cardiovascular support that helps in lowering cholesterol.  It is really high in vitamin A, C, and super high in the powerful antioxidant vitamin K (anyone taking anticoagulants should avoid kale because the high level of vitamin K that may interfere with the drugs.)  More on kale

Samosa Soup with Cilantro Mint Chutney

  I started with the ingredients of my samosa recipe and morphed it into this heartwarming samosa soup.  I topped it off with my cilantro mint chutney and created an explosion of flavors.  I like to serve it with some naan or crusty bread

I am such a sucker for soups so turning my samosa recipe into a soup just made sense!  I have a real soft spot for samosas.  My introduction to this Indian treat was at the Hari Krishna restaurant, Govindas in Culver City.  It was love at first taste.  I couldn’t get enough!  The potato filling was warm and comforting and the cilantro mint chutney that they served with them with was to die for!


Many years ago, my mom and I traveled through Sri Lanka.  We rented a room for 3 weeks from two sisters on the beach in Unawatuna.  They cooked us some of the most amazing Sri Lankan dishes.  I decided that I would make them something special in thanks for their hospitality.  I came up with the idea to make them something they had never tried before and decided on my vegetarian lasagna.  My mom and I went with one of the sisters, Chandra, to Galle in search of the ingredients.  Of course they didn’t have lasagna noodles.  I was determined to find something close and ended up with a pasta that was the same length as lasagna noodles but were tube shaped as opposed to flat.  We then brought all the ingredients back to their home.  I cooked the pasta and arranged them out in a single layer.  I then topped them with veggies, tomatoes, green chilies, tomato sauce and cheese.  I repeated the layering a few more times and voilà, a Sri Lankan lasagna was born.  I also made some delicious garlic bread, which was also new to them.  They were pretty excited and impressed.

 The coolest part was how we had to cook the lasagna.  They had a sort of fire pit that they used to cook most of their food in.  They burned wood and dried palm leaves to control the heat.  I also thought it was cool how they cooked in these huge black clay pots.  They had about 35 to 40 in all different sizes.  They would be used for soups, curries etc.  Here is a video of how to make an authentic dal where they use these clay pots.

I had some of the most amazing food of my life in Sri Lanka.  I find it strange that the one thing I didn’t experience there was samosas.  How did I miss them?  We ate dal, rice and curry dishes, flatbreads, vegetable roti, lotus root, mango chutney etc.  My all time favorite was an insanely delicious avocado ice cream that I discovered at a tiny hole in the wall.  I don’t think I have ever had anything better than that avocado ice cream in my whole life!  The food in Sri Lanka is very colorful, spicy, comforting and multicultural.  Oh how I would love to go there again!

Samosa Soup This samosa soup is best with a white wine like a Riesling, Pinot Gris, White Rioja, Verdejo or a Sauvignon Blanc.

Samosa Soup Samosa Soup
Recipe: 10 to 12 servings
  • 2 Tablespoons Expeller Pressed Grapeseed Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 White Onion (about 3/4 Cup) – diced
  • 1 – 2 Serrano Chilis – minced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 2 Teaspoons Fresh Ginger – microplaned
  • 1/4 Cup White Wine – optional
  • 2 Tablespoon Coriander Seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 2 Teaspoon Yellow Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 2 Teaspoon Turmeric
  • 8 Cups Filtered Water
  • 6 Large or 3 1/2 lb Yellow Potatoes – cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 Carrot – sliced and quartered – about 3/4 cups
  • 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt – or to taste
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro – minced
  • 1 Cup Frozen Peas
Cilantro Mint Chutney – click here for full recipe
  • 1 1/2 Cups Cilantro
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Mint
  • 1  Serrano Peppers (optional)
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Fresh Ginger Root – microplaned
  • 2 Tablespoons Expeller Pressed Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 Tablespoons Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 3 Tablespoons Filtered Water (if you like it thinner add a little more water)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to Taste

*Serve with some naan or crusty bread.

Add the onions to a 5 1/2 quart pot with the oil and saute on medium-low heat for 5 minutes or until they become translucent.  Next, add the garlic, ginger and serrano and continue cooking for 5 – 7 more minutes until the garlic starts to brown.

Add the white wine and cook until wine is reduced and syrupy.

Add the water, potatoes and carrots to the onions.   Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium high heat.  Measure coriander seeds, cumin seeds and mustard seeds and pulse in a coffee grinder until it becomes a powder and stir into the soup.  Cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until potatoes are opaque and soft.

When the potatoes and carrots are soft scoop out about 2 to 3 cups to puree then add back to the soup.  Add the peas and cook until peas are hot.  About 5 minutes.


While the soup is cooking, add all the chutney ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until desired texture.

You can either add the chutney on top of individual bowls or stir some into the whole batch to your desired taste.

Samosa Soup Health benefits:

Yellow Potatoes content of potassium is higher than many foods and can help reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke. They have twice the amount of vitamin C as a Russet, which helps protects your cells from free-radical damage. Yukon’s are rich in B6 and antioxidant properties. It has a bit of Iron but the C helps the body absorb it. They contain fiber that helps reduces cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, helps prevent constipation and aids in weight loss.

Cilantro is an extreme anti-oxidant immune-booster that helps detoxify the body by loosening them from the tissue, binding to and pulling out toxins and heavy metals.  It helps promote a healthy liver function and is an overall digestive aid.  It is a powerful anti-inflammatory that may help symptoms of arthritis and joint pain. Cilantro can lower bad cholesterol level and increase the good cholesterol level.  It also helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar. It is rich in essential oils, vitamins and is one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K and dietary fiber. It is also an excellent source of omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids and calcium.

Mint activates the salivary glands just by the aroma alone, which helps promote digestion. It relaxing the muscular lining of the digestive tract and improves the flow of bile through the stomach and soothes the stomach, indigestion, inflammation, abdominal pain, nausea and discomfort associated with IBS. People who suffer from allergies and asthma can benefit from regular use because it is a relaxant and relieves congestion. Mint contains potent antioxidants that decrease levels of free radicals that can cause damage to cells. It is an excellent source of potassium, calcium, iron, manganese and magnesium.

Oregano Feta Hummus with Greek Pico de Gallo

This Oregano Feta Hummus and Greek Pico de Gallo is Greekalicious!!!  The oregano and feta adds a nice twist on the classic hummus while the Greek Pico de Gallo adds a delightful fresh quality.

Oregano Feta Hummus As you may know from my prior post, my dear friend Brian passed away a couple weeks ago and it was time to pay my respects.  Beto and I drove down to Venice Beach for his paddle out last weekend.  On our way down we met our friend Carl and went for a really spectacular hike at Pinnacle National Park.  The cool thing was that we all felt like we could feel Brian’s presence with us during the hike.

 Every time someone in our Venice/Santa Monica community passes on we have a paddle out to celebrate their life.  A paddle out is when a whole group of surfers paddle out into the ocean and form a large circle.  They say a prayer; offer flowers and splash the water vigorously while the lifeguard shoots out a huge stream of water into the air from the lifeguard boat.  They then spread the ashes into the water and everyone cheers.  It’s quite beautiful.  Before the paddle out, everyone gathered around some of Brian’s closest friends who each told stories about experiences they had with Brian.  All of the stories were very funny because Brian was hysterical. The stories helped to lighten the mood.  It was an overcast morning, yet the sun came out during the storytelling and then quickly retreated once again behind the cloud cover once the storytelling ended.  After the paddle out, everyone headed to a local bar and we continued to tell stories of our many experiences with Brian.  There was a lot of laughter and a lot tears.

Greek-Pico-de-Gallo Life is so precious and easy to take for granted.  When we lose someone close, we tend to realize how precious life really is.  A few post back I talked about the bike Brian and Beto gave me.  I was thinking how I wanted to call Brian to tell him that Robby had fixed it up and to show him on Facetime.  Unfortunately, I procrastinated and then it was too late.  If you have a feeling that you should call someone, don’t hesitate, just do it!

Oregano Feta Hummus I like a crisp dry white wine with these dips.  Like a Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Riesling or a even a Dry Rosé.

Oregano Feta Hummus Oregano Feta Hummus Recipe: 2 Cups
  • 3/4 Cup Dried Garbanzo Beans – 1 1/2 Cups Cooked
  • 1/3 Cup Feta Cheese
  • 2/3 Cup Roasted Tahini
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Oregano
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3/4 Cup Filtered Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 Cloves Garlic
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
 Greek Pico de Gallo Recipe:
  • 1 Cucumber – diced
  • 1 Container Cherry Tomato – halved – or quartered
  • 1/4 Red Onion or 1/2 Cup – minced
  • 1/3 Cup Feta – crumbled
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Oregano – roughly chopped
  • 1 – 2 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt – or to taste
Baked Pita Chips
  • 4 – 6 Pita – cut each pita into 24 wedges
  • Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Preparing garbanzo beans

You can cook the garbanzo beans two different ways: one is the quick way, the other is by soaking the beans over night which is better for your digestion.  This is how I prepare them plus if you are going to make falafels this is the way to go.

Place them in a large bowl and cover with filtered water, they will expand to over double their size, make sure you cover by several inches of water to allow for expansion.  Soak overnight for at least 12 hours then drain and rinse.

Quick method

Place the beans in a pot and cover with at least 2 inches of water above the beans and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let the beans soak in the warm water for 1 hour then drain the water and rinse.  Follow cooking the beans instructions below.

Cooking the beans

If you want extra smooth hummus you can do as Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi do from their cookbook “Jerusalem”  and remove the skins from the garbanzo beans.

Just add chickpeas and 1 teaspoons of baking soda to a large saucepan over high heat.  Stirring constantly for about 2 – 3 minutes.  Covers the chickpeas by about 2 inches of water and bring to a boil and reduce to simmer on medium heat for about 30 – 60 minutes or until soft, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer.  Skim off the foam and skins that float to the surface.  They should be very fairly tender pressing between your fingers but not too mushy.


Put the beans back in the pot and cover with several inches of filtered water.

Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer on medium heat for about 30 – 60 minutes or until soft, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer.   They should be very fairly tender pressing between your fingers but not too mushy.


Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.

Greek Pico de Gallo

Mix all ingredients together and set aside to let flavors incorporate.  I like to serve it at room temperature.

Baked Pita Chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Cut each pita into 24 triangles and place on one side of a parchment lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt and gently toss.  Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until crispy.

Oregano Feta Hummus

Health benefits:

Garbanzo beans are are super high in protein and extremely high in fiber, just one cup provides 50% of the Daily Value.  Because of the fiber they are great for your heart, lowering blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart attack as well as help prevent constipation and digestive disorders.  Just one cup provides 84.5% of the daily value of manganese, which is a antioxidant that acts as a monitor of the free radicals in the body.  If you are low in energy the high iron content will help and will transports oxygen from the lungs to all the cells in the body.  They also help to balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. Garbanzo beans are helpful for weight loss as they keep you full longer.

Oregano is one of the highest sources of antioxidants. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is great for the respiratory system. It helps to get rid of phlegm in your lungs. Oregano is a rich source of dietary fiber that helps to control blood cholesterol levels. Oregano can help liver function and helps speed up toxin elimination.

Pecorino Roasted Potato Salad with Toasted Walnut Caper Vinaigrette

This Pecorino Roasted Potato Salad has multi-layered flavors from the pecorino roasted potatoes, roasted pepper, capers, toasted walnuts and the delicious toasted walnut caper vinaigrette.


I write this post with a heavy heart.  I would like to honor the passing of my very dear friend Brian who sadly passed away last week.  His loss has left a hole in many lives!  Like this potato salad, Brian was a multi-layered individual to say the least! Brian was one of the most funny, jovial, warm-hearted individual I have ever had the privilege of knowing.  Brian has done a lot of cool things in his life.  He played the character Montoya in the movie “Lords of Dogtown“.  He was so stoked to be a part of it.  At the time he was in a relationship with the director Catherine Hardwicke and he was very instrumental in the making of the movie.  The fact that we all grew up with all the people that are portrayed in the movie made him a great advisor.  Another accomplishment and one he was so very proud of was that he co-wrote and starred in a short film called “History is Myth” which won the best short film award at the Venice Beach Film Festival.  The last time I talked to him he was working on finishing a screenplay.  Brian was a great surfer and skateboarder, he was an amazing home chef and he treated his dogs like humans.  So much so that whenever he ordered takeout he would order them their own meal.

I will miss his infectious laugh and his big cheesy grin!  May you “Rest in Peace” Bri!!!

Pecorino Roasted Potato Salad This salad goes with a light red or white wine.  Try it with a Tempranillo or a light Pinot Noir for a red or a Soave, Pinot Gris or a Verdejo for a white.

Pecorino Roasted Potato Salad Pecorino Roasted Potato Salad Recipe:

8 – 10 servings

  •  Toasted Walnut Caper Vinaigrette – recipe below
  • 2 Pounds Yellow Potatoes – cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3/4 Cup Pecorino Cheese – finely grated
  • 2 – 3 Garlic Cloves – minced
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Red Onion – thinly sliced or diced
  • 1/2 Cup Red Cabbage – minced
  • 2 Red Bell Pepper – 1 roasted and diced – 1 thinly sliced or diced
  • 1/2 Cup Chives – cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Toasted Walnuts – to taste
Toasted Walnut Caper Vinaigrette – you can double this if you like a lot of dressing or to have on another salad.
  •  1/4 Cup Toasted Walnuts
  • 1/2 Cup Toasted Walnut Oil
  • 1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Capers – drained
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1 Tablespoons Champagne Vinegar
  • 1 Small Garlic Clove – minced
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Shallot
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • Dash Pepper
Start by toasting the walnuts.  If you are going to add some walnuts to your salad then toast more.
Preheat oven to 375°F and spread out the walnuts on a baking sheet.

Toast walnuts until they start to brown and smell toasted about 7 to 10 minutes.

Make sure and check them frequently so they don’t burn.  Let cool completely.

In a food processor, add the walnuts and grind to a fine crumble.  Add all the other ingredients and turn on until smooth.

Roasted Peppers

Roast the peppers on the stovetop at medium high heat.  A gas stove works the best but it will work fine on an electric stove.

Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs.  When good and charred, steam them for 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.

Take a paper towel and rub off the char.  It’s ok to leave a little of the char.  Slice in half and remove the seeds and stems.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Rub a baking sheet with olive oil or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl add the olive oil, pecorino cheese, garlic, potatoes, salt and pepper.  Mix well and spread in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Roast on the middle rack for 30-35 minutes or until golden, turning once.  Then turn the oven onto broil and place the baking sheet on top rack for 3 – 7 minutes or until it becomes golden brown and crispy.
Prep the veggies while the potatoes are roasting.
Toss the potatoes with the vinaigrette and top with the veggies and chives.  Add walnuts to individual salads.
*Note – if you don’t plan to eat it all, you can keep the veggies separate so you can heat up the potatoes on their own.  Or scoops some into a frying pan, add a little cheese and cook on medium low heat until the cheese starts to crisp up.  Sooo good!
Health benefits:

Yellow Potatoes – Yukon gold’s content of potassium is higher than many foods and can help reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke. They have twice the amount of vitamin C as a Russet, which helps protects your cells from free-radical damage. Yukon’s are rich in B6 and antioxidant properties. It has a bit of Iron but the C helps the body absorb it. They contain fiber that helps reduces cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, helps prevent constipation and aids in weight loss.