Some of My Favorite Recipes from the Chef Days




1 c.       Butter - softened ( 1/2 lbs. )
3/4 c.    Brown Sugar
1/2 c.    Granulated Sugar
1 t.       Vanilla
1/8 c.    Molasses
1          Egg

2 1/4 c. All Purpose Flour
1/2 t.    Salt
1/2 t.    Baking Soda
1/2 t.    Baking Powder

1 c.      Chocolate Chips
1 c.      Pecans or Walnuts, chopped
1 c.      Rice Crispies
1/2 c.   Golden Currants
1/2 C.   Dried Cherries, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 deg. In a small mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the Kitchen-aide mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg and molasses. Beat well.

Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Mix well. Choose an appropriate sized ice cream scoop, and portion out the batter onto a heavy sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake in preheated oven for 5 min. - BE SURE TO FLATTEN THE COOKING BATTER BALLS WITH A GREASED SPATULA AFTER 5 MIN. - using a twisting motion to keep the cookies symmetrical. Cook for 3 to 5 more minutes, until the flattened cookies are just beginning to brown. Remove from oven immediately and place on rack to cool. Wrap or consume as soon as the cookies are cool.


Stuffed Mushrooms
with Smoked Gouda and Almonds

1 cube   Melted Butter
½ c.      Almonds, toasted, chopped finely in food processor (pulse 4-5 times for ½  sec.)
1 c.       Smoked Gouda Cheese, grated fine
1 c.       Jack Cheese, grated fine
¾ c.      Bread Crumbs
1½ c.    Mayonnaise
1/8 t.     Liquid Smoke

Gush all ingredients together, by hand, in a mixing bowl. The stuffing should hold together when you squish it in your hand, making sure that all the clumps of cheese get mixed well. (Squishing with hands works best, forget the spoon)  Makes about 4 c. - add enough mayonnaise to have the mixture clump together in your palm in a ball. Add almonds and breadcrumbs to pick up moisture.

Break stems off of the appropriate number of mushrooms, taking care not to damage the caps. Brush the caps to make sure they are clean, and then toss them in a large bowl with enough melted butter to coat them. Place them in a bag and put them on the correct shelf in the fridge, if party is tommorrow.

Stuff mushrooms to where the stuffing is in a little mound. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake until cheese is melted and a little dark on top and the mushroom itself is a little brown and soft to the touch, about 10-15 minutes.

Please cool before serving.

This recipe came from Julii Ashby of Zocalo Catering.


Grilled Vegetable and Wild Mushroom
Red Curry Tofu

Award winning - never defeated at the
Annual Fairfax Festival Tofu Cook-off


Curry Sauce
3 red bell peppers - rough chopped
1 yellow onion - rough chopped
2 T. peanut oil
2 T. chopped garlic
2 T. copped ginger
1 16 oz. can coconut milk
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
1 T. freshly roasted and ground cumin seed
1/2 T. Freshly ground caraway seed
1Tbsp.  Thai Red Curry Paste
Salt to taste

Place all ingredients , except coconut milk, in a thick bottomed sauce pot, and saute til soft. add coconut milk and cook for 1/2 hr. Puree in blender. Salt and a slpash of Lime Juice to season


1 Portabello mushroom - roasted and sliced
5 Shitake mushrooms - sauteed
1 Yellow summer squash - grilled
1 Yellow and red bell pepper - grilled
1 Bunch asparagus - sliced thin and blanched

Just prior to serving, add vegetables to curry sauce and garnish with cashews, black sesame seeds, marinated red cabbage and/or cilantro.
serve over jasmine rice

Serves 6


Basil Trapanese Sauce
a Sicilian traditional

Great on fish, meats, or grilled Vegetables, this was another Zocalo Catering favorite

6 garlic cloves
2 peeled and seeded Ripe Roma tomatoes
2 c. blanched, peeled, toasted almonds ( or Pine nuts )
4 c. firm packed picked, washed Basil leaves
1 c. pitted green olives ( Picholines are the best, but even cocktail olives will work, get pitted ones w/o pimentos)
Salt and Fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 c. Extra Virgin Olive oil

In the food processor, put the garlic, basil, olives, and tomatoes and grind to a rough paste, add almonds and pulse until they are chopped fine in the paste. Pulse olive oil into the paste, with the desired consistency being one of a rustic, thick pesto - don't over mix into a gooey glue,. Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.



Yields 6 cups
Fantastic on grilled fish, yet another Zocalo Catering favorite at many summer weddings.

4c. Cilantro leaves (washed, picked and tightly packed)
2c. Almonds (blanched, slivered and toasted)
4   Small Garlic Cloves
1   Seeded and Diced Jalapeño

1/2 tsp. salt

Combine in Cuisinart and process until a chunky paste forms, then add:

1c. Fresh Lime Juice


3/4c. Sour Cream
3/4c. Mayonaise

Pulse until combined.



I don't know where Julii Ashby found this recipe, but it was a no-fail dessert for the restaurant trained chefs, unaccustomed to having to bake, who would work in the kitchen at Zocalo Catering, for years

YIELDS  (1) 12” by 18” Baking Pan

1 lb.      Butter, melted
4 c.       Milk
4 c.       Sugar
4 c.       All purpose flour
2 1/2 T. Baking Powder
8 c.       Berries or fruit
2 c.       Sugar for topping


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour melted butter into 12” by 18” baking pan

In a mixing bowl, combine milk, sugar, flour and baking
powder. Stir until just blended ( batter will be lumpy ).
Pour over melted butter. Do not stir.

Arrange fruit over top, sprinkle with 2 c. sugar. Do not stir.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until top is golden. Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold, with Vanilla ice cream.