Ahi and Avocado with Macadamias

Ahi and Avocado with Macadamias

With Valentine's fast approaching we wanted to share this oh so simple way to impress. Be sure and acquire some extra fresh sushi grade Ahi Tuna for the purpose.

1/4 pound Ahi, sliced into sashimi

1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Ponzu sauce


Arrange ahi and avocado on platter. Pour ponzu over fish so there is excess on platter, about 2 tablespoons. Sprinkle ahi and avocado with sea salt, then macadamia nuts. 


Serve immediately. A nice appetizer for two with some tasty bubbles. 

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Butter Poached Lobster and Beet

Butter Poached Lobster and Beet

The inspiration for this dish came from Thomas Keller of French Laundry and Per Se- considered two of the best restaurants in the United States. While we don't live in Maine and can't access lobster all the time we do consider it a complete treat when we can get it. This definitely takes a little prep time but is relatively straightforward to make. One of the big bonuses of this dish is that the leftover lobster infused butter can be stored in the freezer and used for making scrambled eggs - how decadent.

We thought the dish itself might be a nice one to share coming up to the holidays when we all should find a way to treat ourselves and our loved ones. Enjoy.


2 live lobsters - 1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds

2 medium red beets

1 pound unsalted butter (we're partial to KerryGold Irish Butter)

1 cup dry white wine

1 tbsp chives, finely chopped

¼ cup white vinegar




Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Trim greens and root from beets so there is about ½ inch remaining, then rinse in water and pat dry.  Wrap each beet in heavy duty foil, place on small baking sheet, then roast in oven until tender, about one hour.

Bring 12 quarts of water to a boil in a large stock pot.  Place lobsters in a wide pot, so they fit tightly.  When water boils, add vinegar, stir, then pour over lobsters.  Let sit for two minutes, then remove lobsters.  Separate the legs and claws and return to the water for five more minutes.  Remove meat from tail by snapping off the whole tail and back flipper, then pushing meat through with your thumb and set aside. (The meat will look translucent as it is not completely cooked) When ready, remove legs and claws from water, then remove meat by cracking the shell and carefully removing the whole pieces. 

When beets are nearly finished, create the poaching butter for the lobster.  Chop the butter into chunks.  Set a small saucepan over medium heat, add white wine, and bring to simmer.  Reduce heat to low, then whisk in pieces of butter, one chunk as a time, until it is all melted, but still emulsified.  Whisk occasionally to keep it emulsified.

Remove beets from oven.  Remove from foil and slice the top and bottom off.  Remove skin, then slice each into four equal rounds. 

Turn up heat on butter emulsion to medium low.  Slice each lobster tail in half lengthwise, then put all lobster pieces into butter and poach until just cooked through, about 4 or 5 minutes.  Stir occasionally to be sure all pieces of lobster are submerged in liquid.  While lobster is cooking, place one beet round onto each plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Stack second beet round on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Remove lobster from butter and stack on top of beets, being careful that each portion has a claw, a tail piece and knuckle meat.  Spoon some of the butter poaching mixture over top of lobster, season to taste with salt, then sprinkle chives over the top.


Serve immediately.  Serves four people as an entrée.


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Pork, Beans and Tomato Jam

Pork, Beans and Tomato Jam


Pork Rib Roast - 4-6 bones

1 1/2 pounds fresh cranberry beans, shelled

1 medium onion, diced

1 basket orange cherry tomatoes

6 tbsp butter

1 garlic clove, crushed

1/4 cup mirin (Japanese cooking wine)



Crushed red pepper (if desired)


Start a charcoal fire, separating coals in piles on both sides of grill for indirect heat.  Pour hickory (or other type) of wood chips into bowl and soak with water.

In a six quart saucepan, add cranberry beans and cover with water by 2 inches and bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer so it is gently bubbling.

Cook until beans are tender, about one hour, and remove from heat and drain.

In a small saucepan over low heat, add 4 tablespoons of butter and mirin.

When butter melts, add tomatoes, garlic and red pepper (if desired).  Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have melted and the entire mixture thickens, about 40 minutes.  Add salt to taste.

While these are cooking, remove pork from refrigerator and pat dry.  Score the fatty side until meat is just exposed and season liberally with your favorite spice rub (for better results, do this a day ahead and wrap until using).  Place roast on grill over indirect heat and roast.  Add a handful of coals to each pile every 30 minutes while cooking to maintain heat.  Add a small handful of soaked wood chips to each pile of coals every 30 minutes for smoky flavor.  When a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of roast (not touching the bone!) reaches 135 degrees, remove from grill and let rest.

While pork is resting, melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to skillet on medium low heat, add onions and cook until soft, about 15 minutes.  Add cranberry beans and continue cooking until beans are hot.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Reheat tomato mixture if needed.

Remove bones from roast and separate, then toss with some additional spice rub.  Slice pork into 1/2 inch thick steaks. 

Arrange all items on large platter and serve.  Feeds 4-6 for a main course.


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Best Grilled Cheese EVER (in our not so humble opinion)

Best Grilled Cheese EVER (in our not so humble opinion)

Mid September has hit us here in Sonoma County and while Harvest is in full swing, we're starting to think of those yummy and cozy fall days when the air is crisp and a warm comfort meal sounds really appealing after a summer of daily salads and cold meals.

This grilled cheese recipe is a family favorite, perfect with a hearty homemade tomato soup but also perfect chopped into smaller bites to offer as finger food at a large gathering. Super simple, it always delivers!


1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese

8 slices of Country Potato bread (or similar bread of your choice)

Dijon mustard

Butter (room temperature)


Preheat griddle to medium heat.

Combine all cheeses in a mixing bowl and mix until they are, well, mixed.  Lay out slices of bread on counter or cutting board.  Spread a small amount (about one teaspoon, or more if desired) of Dijon mustard on four slices of bread.  Divide the cheese mixture between the four slices of bread and add second slice on top to make the sandwich.  Butter top of bread on all four sandwiches.

Add sandwiches to preheated griddle, butter side down.  Butter the top of each sandwich while toasting on griddle.  Flip sandwich over when bread is crisp and dark brown, but not burnt (about three minutes).  Continue cooking until second side is dark brown, but not burnt and cheese is melted and oozing out the sides (about three minutes).

Remove sandwiches from griddle and cut diagonally into four triangles.  Serve immediately.

Serves four as a meal, or many for appetizers. And don't forget to store that extra leftover cheese in your trusty vault.

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Swordfish with Tomato Ginger Salsa and Radicchio

Swordfish with Tomato Ginger Salsa and Radicchio


1lb Swordfish  Salt
 1 head of radicchio  Pepper
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes Sumac
½ tbsp grated ginger Smoked paprika
½ tbsp grated garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small shallot, minced Moscatel vinegar


Start charcoal and build a hot fire, or start gas grill to medium high.  Season swordfish with salt, pepper and sumac as desired.  Core radicchio and remove all leaves.  Place in large mixing bowl and toss with olive oil.  Salt halved tomatoes on a cutting board.  Mix ginger, garlic, salt, pepper, 2 tbsp evoo and 1 tbsp vinegar.

When fire is ready, grill swordfish for four minutes, then turn and cook until firm, but not flaky, about 3-4 minutes depending on thickness.  Remove from grill and rest.  Add radicchio to grill and cook over direct flame until wilted and charred, turning frequently to prevent burning, about 3-4 minutes.  Add tomatoes to ginger, garlic mix and stir to combine.  Add more salt if necessary.  Toss cooked radicchio with 1 tbsp evoo, ½ tbsp vinegar, salt and smoked paprika.

Place swordfish on serving platter, top with tomato ginger salsa.  Add radicchio to platter and serve.

Serves 4 as an entrée


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Chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup

Chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup
We hope that summer is treating you well in your neck of the woods. Here in Sonoma County the sun is shining, warm and hot during the day around 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit while night times are cool at 50ish. Despite this perfect weather for grapes we still feel a little hot and bothered at 5-6pm so we thought this delicious cool gazpacho might work for you as it does for us. No idea where we picked up the recipe so can't give credit where it is due but hope you enjoy!


Ingredients (Serves 4)

1/2 Firm ripe avocado

1 3/4 Cucumber (we prefer the English style - less seeds to navigate) About 1 1/2lbs

1 (8oz) Plain Low or full Fat yoghurt

3tbsp Chopped Chives

1tsp Lime Juice

1tsp Salt

1/2 tsp chopped Jalapeno with seeds (more if you like it spicier)

1 cup small ice cubes

Peel and pit the avocado. Blend all ingredients in a blender until very smooth - Garnish with a few extra Jalapenos and some croutons if you're feeling fancy. That's it SUPER SIMPLE AND MIGHTY TASTY!


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Fava Beans and a nice Chianti?

Fava Beans and a nice Chianti?
The line from Silence of the Lambs will always be attributed to Fava Beans but they truly are a special vegetable and one we consider a fave at the Murpherills. We have grown them nearly every year since we started living together 20+ yrs ago.

Spring has sprung in a big way (nearly summer overnight) in Sonoma County and after a very rainy winter and spring we were very excited to recently start harvesting our Fava beans and Green Garlic. Walt came up with this great way to use up the bounty - so delicious - we hope you enjoy eating it as much as we did

Grilled Salmon with Spring Salad

 For the salad:

1 bunch asparagus

3 pounds of fava beans

2 tbsp spring (green) garlic

Olive oil

Moscatel vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring six quarts of water to boil.  Meanwhile, remove fava beans from pods and set aside.  Cut asparagus into one inch sections.  When water boils, add one cup of kosher salt and allow to return to boil.  Add asparagus pieces and cook until the water begins to boil again, about two minutes.  Remove and place in an ice bath.  Return water to boil and add fava beans and cook until water boils again, about two minutes.  Remove and add to ice bath.  Once cooled completely, drain vegetables and remove fava beans from skin.  Let dry on paper towels.

Coarsely chop the spring garlic and add to large mixing bowl.  Add vegetables.  When ready to serve, add one tablespoon of olive oil and mix.  Add ¾ tablespoon of vinegar and mix again.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.


For the seafood:

4 four oz salmon fillets (rinsed and patted dry)

8 large gulf white prawns (peeled and deveined)

Premade pesto sauce

Mache for garnish

Salt and pepper

Build a charcoal fire and set coals to create a medium hot grill (or use gas grill).  Clean grill and spray lightly with oil.  Season salmon with salt and pepper, then cook salmon skin side down for about four minutes.  Flip salmon and cook for two minutes.  Season prawns with salt and pepper and cook for two minutes.  Remove salmon and set aside, then cook prawns for two more minutes and remove from heat.


Place salad on front center of plate.  Place salmon fillet on top, skin side down (or remove skin if preferred).  Top salmon with a dollop of pesto, then top with two prawns.  Add mache to bowl in which salad was mixed and toss with tongs to pick up any residual dressing, then add to top center of plate.  Serve immediately.

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Cinco De Mayo Margaritas (let's face it not just for May 5)

Cinco De Mayo Margaritas (let's face it not just for May 5)

This recipe has been in our repertoire for some time and boy are they scary delicious. 


3 limes

2 lemons

Reposado Tequila or good quality Tequila

Triple sec (30proof - not cointreau or Grand Marnier)


Superfine Sugar (to taste)

Make mix

Zest one lime. Juice all of the citrus and mix with zest and a pinch of salt. Let stand for 30 minutes (up to 24 hours).

Make drink

Strain mix into pitcher. Taste mix and add sugar if desired. Measure equal parts of mix, tequila and triple sec, stirring to combine. Pour over ice and add salt to rim if desired.

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Pea, Radicchio Fennel, Parm Salad

Pea, Radicchio Fennel, Parm Salad


For salad

1 ½ cups shelled and blanched English peas

2 cups chopped radicchio

1 cup thinly sliced fennel

Parmesan cheese


For dressing

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp sherry vinegar

1tbsp minced shallot





 Mix all salad ingredients in a large bowl.

Add mustard and olive oil to small bowl and whisk until combined.  Add shallots and whisk to combine.  Add vinegar slowly while whisking to combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add 3/4 of the dressing to inside wall of mixing bowl and toss salad to coat.  Taste and add more dressing, salt and pepper as desired.

Divide salad among bowls or plates and shave parmesan cheese over the top as desired.  Serve immediately.

Serves four as a small appetizer.

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Rock Shrimp Pasta

Rock Shrimp Pasta



1 pound Rock Shrimp, deveined, rinsed and patted dry

4 tomatoes, chopped (preferably seeded and skinned)

4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

2 shallots, minced

1 cup dry white wine

2 cups dried penne pasta

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. butter


Pepper (preferably Aleppo pepper)

½ cup grated parmesan

¼ cup chopped Italian parsley


  1. Bring six quarts of water to a boil and cook pasta using package instructions.

    Heat a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil.  When fragrant, add shallot and sauté until soft, about one minute.  Add garlic and cook for one minute while stirring.  Add fresh tomatoes and cook until melted, about five minutes.  Add white wine and return to simmer.  Add rock shrimp and cook until shrimp are cooked through, about four minutes.  Turn off heat and add butter, stirring to melt.  Drain pasta and add to saucepan.  Season with salt and pepper, then toss to combine (check seasoning) and divide into four warm bowls. 

    Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and chopped parsley.


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