I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas by Anna Getty – ISBN: 0811867676

  • Full Title: I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas: Gifts, Decorations, and Recipes That Use Less and Mean More
  • Autor: Anna Getty
  • Print Length: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books
  • Publication Date: September 30, 2009
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811867676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811867672
  • Download File Format | Size: pdf | 16,62 Mb
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This holiday season, Anna GettyGÇöenvironmental advocate, writer, television personality, chef, mother, and organic living expertGÇöhelps families reduce their carbon footprint and save money without sacrificing style or tradition. Anna advises how to best choose a tree (real or fake?), mitigate the negative effects of necessary travel, recycle post-holiday, and more. She shares favorite holiday recipes for organic appetizers and homemade craft ideas such as pinecone wreaths and recycled sweater pillows. With inspiring photographs, extensive resources, and advice from the ‘Lazy Environmentalist’ Josh Dorfman, Seventh Generation’s Jeffrey Hollender, and other leading eco-experts, families might just find that these tips help them stay green all year longGÇöthe perfect New Year’s resolution!


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This holiday season, Anna Getty chef, mother, organic living expert, environmental advocate, and writer helps families save money and reduce their carbon footprint without sacrificing style or tradition. Anna advises how to choose the best tree (real or fake?), mitigate the negative effects of necessary travel, recycle post-holiday, and more. She shares favorite holiday recipes for organic appetizers and homemade craft ideas such as pinecone wreaths and recycled sweater pillows. With inspiring photographs, extensive resources, and advice from the ‘Lazy Environmentalist’ Josh Dorfman, Seventh Generation’s Jeffrey Hollender, and other leading eco-experts, families might just find that these tips help them stay green all year long the perfect New Year’s resolution!

Q&A with Anna Getty

Q: How can being green save you money?

Getty:  When you use less you buy less. If we buy less ipso facto we save money.

Q: How does the book help to teach your kids to be green?

Getty: This book is about creating family traditions. This book is about being more green during a very wasteful time of year. If we incorporate our children into these new traditions of crafting with what we already have, making gifts and not buying gifts, we help our children become more green and more conscientious about respecting the planet. Children learn through example. If we make changes with our own wasteful habits , our children will adopt these changes as their own.

Q: What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Getty: Baking Christmas cookies with my daughter and her little friends.

Q: What is a good place to start if you are new to the green movement?

Start with easy doable steps. If you are not recycling, start recycling, if you still use stores plastic bags switch to paper (many paper bags are now made from recycled paper) or better yet bring your own cloth bags. Do one or two things and let them become a part of you rather then too many at once and then give up. In terms of the holidays, ditch the store bought wrapping paper. Most store bought wrapping paper uses virgin paper stock and toxic dyes or ink. Go for recycled wrapping paper or reuse paper (just be careful when you open gifts so you can save it to rewrap). Or find alternative ways of wrapping like using old maps or music sheets, or pages out of magazines or old newspapers and books.

Q: Are there any tips from the experts in the book that surprised you?

Getty:  Darren Moore of www.ecovations.com surprised me with the information that having ones home Energy Star Home Performance tested could cut ones energy consumption in half. I also really loved Jeffrey Hollender of Seventh Generation’s tip about being reflective and appreciative during the holiday time.

Q: What’s your favorite recipe or craft from the book?

Getty:  Hard to pick as I love so many of them but my favorite recipe hands down is the Trufled Goat Cheese Macaroni and Cheese and the Recycled Christmas Card Gift tags is pretty high up there in the crafts.

Recipe Excerpts from I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas

Truffled Goat Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

Salt Dough Ornaments

About the Author

Anna Getty is a leading green living expert. She works with the Organic Center, Global Green, NRDC, and Seventh Generation, among others, and is the author of the upcoming Easy Green Organic. Anna lives in Los Angeles.

Ron Hamad is an acclaimed photographer and director who lives in Los Angeles.

Zem Joaquin is ecofabulous.com’s founder and editor-in-chief. She lives in San Francisco..



of cooking

Measurements and techniques

Seasonal eating and aromatics


Healing juices

Power smoothies



Breakfast baking

Soups + stocks

Salads + dressings

Fermented foods


Small bites

Something sweet

Yummy extras


Publisher details



I started learning how to cook with my Polish aunt (Ciocia) when I was about three or four. Ciocia and my uncle (Wujek) were my inspiration – through them, I began to find out about food in all its glory. They came to Australia from Poland, to set up a new life in Western Australia. Ciocia worked long hours at the local hospital but still managed to cook every day. Her food was quick, simple and nourishing and that no-fuss style of cooking has stayed with me ever since.

Wujek built a massive kitchen garden at the back of their property. The garden had a constant supply of fresh fruit and vegetables that would nourish them all year round. They also had a chook pen and the chickens provided fresh free-range eggs and meat for their chicken soups as well as fertiliser for their fruit and vegetable garden.

As well as being a great cook, Ciocia was an incredible baker. She would be mixing cakes by hand with a wooden spoon and churning out babka and sernik to feed our family and friends on a weekly basis. I can still remember watching with excitement and helping out in the kitchen. She would get me to sift flour, prepare all the ingredients and shape piroshki with my little fingers. In Ciocia’s kitchen, I truly fell in love with cooking and there began my passion for delicious wholefoods made with love and care.

On my website www.thehealthychef.com I always talk about making food yourself and knowing what’s in the food you eat. Still, to this day, cooking to me is about the essence of the ingredients that will nourish your body and be lovingly prepared by you, or someone who loves you.

I remember Ciocia used to make the best raw sauerkraut in town. The Polish community would flock from everywhere just to get a jar of this fermented miracle. She used to feed it to me regularly, to help build up my immune system and to make me stronger.

Wujek worked as a station-master on the railways and I often woke up super early to catch him making his breakfast before he started work. He would tear up a European style of rye bread into his enamel bowl, pour over freshly made espresso and steaming hot milk, then sweeten with a little honey. It was sort of like a hot porridge and I remember it tasted really good, especially on cold, frosty mornings.

Ciocia and Wujek bought me my first bike and taught me how to ride. They encouraged me to go riding with them after school – it was the best exercise. They had never owned a car and used to ride their bikes or walk everywhere. Both of them were still riding around in their late eighties. Their example inspired my love of bicycles and all things cycling.

Mum had come from Poland to live in Australia when she was 21 and was brought out by Ciocia and Wujek. Three months later she married my dad who is also Polish but came to Australia from Persia when he was eight years old. My mum was an artist back in Poland and she taught me how to paint and use colour, but in Australia she used to work at a nearby hotel and would always bring back recipes and cooking tips from the chefs who worked there. Mum would often test out the new recipes on our family, to see if we enjoyed them, and she gave me many cooking tips as she was cooking our dinner.

My dad was a MAD-keen fisherman. He taught me how to use a handline and fish for tailor and catch whiting with a rod off the beach, I knew how to scale and gut a fish and peel blue mannas before I was 10, and most weeknights I helped dad catch king prawns from the estuary with the drag net.

At 14, my first after-school and weekend part-time job was at a hot bread shop and it was awesome! I served customers and got to do the fun things like spreading the icing on the fresh-baked cinnamon buns, filling the doughnuts with jam and whipped cream and help make pumpkin scones and sausage rolls. The bakers would give me all kinds of tips so I could go home and experiment. Baking came naturally to me. I was hooked and I loved it!

After finishing Year 12 at high school, I started my hospitality career working as a waiter at a newly built hotel. I had thoughts of being an artist like my mum but soon realised my career was in the kitchen cooking purely delicious food. And so, my hobby and my passion became my career.

I was quick and eager to learn as much as I could when I started my apprenticeship working in the fine-dining section of the five-star hotel. My job consisted of cooking all the hot and cold entrees, as well as designing the palate teaser for the night and assisting the sous chef with the
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tants, and to learn what they do, what disturbs them and how they can be nurtured or defeated. Welcome to the microbiome, the trillions of microbes that live in your intestines.

This book will introduce you to some of these tiny guys busily working away to keep you happy and healthy. More importantly, it will show you how you can help them help you; how you can feed them the variety of fibre and nutrients they need and top them up with probiotics, the healthy microbes found in fermented foods.

In recent decades, we have abandoned traditional ways of eating, relying on instant and processed foods, which more often than not are high in sugars. The average adult eats some 200 sandwiches a year, and the most common choice of filling is cheese, followed closely by ham. A limited diet of this nature is bound to have a negative impact on our health and particularly on our gut health. Nor is it enough to live on a ‘healthy’ diet of avocados, sweet potatoes, bagged spinach and cherry tomatoes and think you’ve got it sorted…

Like us, our microbiome thrives on variety, which is why the recipes here offer a diverse range of proteins, whether plant-based, seafood or meat. It is why we encourage you to eat veg of every colour and try new foods and flavours.

You may be reading this book because you have trouble with your gut. Perhaps you suspect a food intolerance or that you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and feel that your gut is in need of a reboot (see page 24). Or maybe you are doing this simply to broaden your horizons and improve your diet with some gut-friendly recipes – in which case try as many as you can. This is not a diet focused on weight loss, though this can happen as part of the process, particularly if you incorporate the 5:2 approach (see page 18).

As someone who loves experimenting with food, I hope most of all that you enjoy the meals we have put together and that they make you feel well and content with life.

The Clever Guts Diet

Based on the Mediterranean way of eating

This diet is based on ‘real food’ – plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, olive oil, cheese, meat and oily fish, but relatively little starchy pizza, pasta, potato or bread. We call it ‘Mediterranean style’ because although many of the recipes have a Mediterranean twist, the recipes draw on healthy cuisines from all over the world. Most of the ingredients you will be familiar with; some (such as fermented foods and seaweed) will be more surprising. Where it is convenient we go back to more traditional ways of preparation that may have been lost in the era of fast, processed and packaged foods. That said, none of the recipes are particularly complicated or time-consuming. The emphasis is on freshness, good flavours and being ‘doable’. I have plenty of patients who don’t particularly like to cook and I keep them in mind when I am creating recipes. We recommend using natural single ingredients where possible: that way you know what is in your food and don’t have to decipher the secret code words of a dozen or more added ingredients.

We love this diet because as well as being incredibly tasty, it is the best researched on the planet. Big studies have shown that compared to a diet that is low in fat and high in starchy carbs, this form of Mediterranean diet – based on eating fairly low Glycaemic Index (GI) foods which tend to be higher in fibre and release sugars more slowly – will help you keep the weight off, halve your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, reduce your risk of developing cancer (particularly breast cancer) and keep your brain in good shape. Last but by no means least, it will help you maintain a healthy microbiome.

Low in sugars and starchy carbohydrates

Eating lots of white carbs and sugary, processed foods will not only damage your waistline, but your microbiome as well. These foods will encourage the growth of unhealthy microbes, which in turn cause inflammation.

The problem is that sugars and starchy carbs are everywhere, not just in the obvious items like fizzy drinks, biscuits and donuts. They are in pretty much every processed food you buy – often listed as separate ingredients, such as glucose, maltose syrup, maltodextrin, dextrose, fruit juice concentrates, corn fructose, high fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, raw sugar, lactose, cane sugar… There are over 60 different names that may appear on food labels, most of them sounding fairly innocuous. Another reason to avoid processed foods if you can.

Retrain your palate and your microbiome by cutting back on sugar. Believe it or not, as your gut biome changes, the cravings will fade. Feeding up the good microbes with a healthy diet will gradually silence the messages being sent out by the sugar-loving ones that are calling for more. You should notice a difference within a few weeks.

Skip the sweeteners too – these cheat your system into e
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209. RumSpiked Horchata

210. Screwrita

211. Spinach Strawberry Agua Fresca

212. Strawberry Beer Margaritas

213. Top Shelf Sparkling Margarita JellO

Chapter 7: Mexican Fajitas

214. Beef Fajitas

215. Charred Corn and Heirloom Tomato Steak Fajitas from Mission

216. Chicken Fajita Bake

217. Chicken Fajita Melts

218. Chicken Pineapple Fajitas

219. Cinnamon and Lime Chicken Fajitas

220. Colorful Vegetable Fajitas

221. Crunchy Shrimp Fajitas

222. Easy Flank Steak Fajitas

223. Jans 20Minute OnePot Fajitas

224. Margarita Shrimp Fajitas

225. MexicanStyle Fajitas

226. Pollo Fajitas

227. Quick and Easy Shrimp Fajitas

228. Seitan Fajitas

229. Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

230. Shredded Pork Fajita Tacos

231. Smoky Avocado Fajitas Meatless

232. Sombrero Fajitas

233. Spicy Beef Fajitas

234. Spicy Chicken Fajitas

235. Steak Fajitas

236. Steak Onion and Pepper Fajitas

237. Swannys Killer Fajitas

238. Tempeh Fajitas

239. Vegan Fajitas

240. Vegan Tofu Fajitas

241. Veggie Fajitas

242. Venison Fajitas

243. Weeknight Skillet Fajitas

Chapter 8: Mexican Salads

244. Black Bean Salad

245. Chop Chop Salad

246. Corn Chip Salad

247. Easy Dorito Taco Salad

248. Elotes Mexican Corn in a Cup

249. Esquites Mexican Elotes Salad

250. Firehouse Shrimp Bowl Salad

251. Jens Nine Layer Dip

252. Jicama Corn Salad

253. Lazy Katies Taco Salad

254. Mexican Chicken and Rice Salad

255. Mexican Cucumber and Carrot Salad

256. Mexican Mango Salad

257. Mexican Orzo Salad

258. Mexican Salad

259. Moms Hot Mexican Salad

260. Simple Mexican Coleslaw

261. Spicy Southwestern Slaw

262. Sues Taco Salad

263. Taco Salad

Chapter 9: Mexican Side Dishes

264. Avocado Stuffed Yams

265. Buffys Refried Beans

266. Calabacitas con Elote MexicanStyle Zucchini with Corn

267. Cheesy Jalapeno Corn

268. Cheesy MexiRice Casserole

269. Chef Johns Refried Beans

270. Chef Johns Santa MariaStyle Beans

271. ChiliLime Grilled CornontheCob

272. Easy Mexican Rice

273. Easy Spanish Rice

274. Frijoles I

275. Gmas Rice

276. Hominy and Cheese Casserole

277. Hominy con Queso

278. Kikis Borracho Drunken Beans

279. Mexican Corn Casserole

280. Mexican Grilled Corn

281. Mexican Pintos with Cactus

282. Mexican Potato Pancakes

283. Mexican Quinoa

284. Miguelinas Poblanos and Cheese

285. Rajas Con Crema Elote Y Queso Creamy Poblano Peppers and Sweet Corn

286. Rush Hour Refried Beans

287. Shiitake Mushroom Ceviche

288. Southwest Squash Casserole

289. Spanish Rice

290. Spicy Cheesy Refried Beans

Chapter 10: Mexican Soups & Stews

291. Beccas Taco Soup

292. Busy Night Turkey Taco Soup with Avocado Cream

293. Chicken Enchilada Soup II

294. Chicken Tortilla Soup in the Slow Cooker

295. Dry Mexican Noodle Soup Sopa Seca de Fideos

296. Easy Turkey Taco Soup

297. Healthier SlowCooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

298. Healthy Mexican Soup

299. Mamas OldFashioned Albondigas Meatball Soup

300. Masa Soup

301. Melissas Green Chile Stew

302. Menudo de Sonora Menudo Soup SonoraStyle

303. Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder

304. Mexican Rice Soup with Mushrooms

305. Pork Stew in Green Salsa Guisado de Puerco con Tomatillos

306. Quick Spicy Tomato Soup

307. Sopa de Fideos

308. Southwest Black Bean Chicken Soup

309. Southwest Stew

310. Taco Soup I

311. Taco Soup VI

312. Ten Minute Chipotle Spiced Beef and Bean Chili

313. Tomatillo Soup

314. Tortilla Chicken Vegetable Soup

Chapter 11: Mexican Tacos

315. Acorn Squash Wonder TacosChalupas

316. Anaheim Fish Tacos

317. Authentic BajaMexican Street Tacos Carne Asada

318. Avocado Tacos

319. Bacon Potato and Egg Taco Ole

320. Baja Fish Tacos from KRAFT

321. Baja Style Fish Tacos

322. Basic Chipotle Chicken Tacos

323. Buffalo Chicken Tacos from Mission

324. Chard Tacos

325. Chicken Tacos

326. Chipotle Roast for Tacos and Sandwiches

327. Chipotle Shrimp Tacos

328. Crunchy Corn Chip Tacos

329. Crunchy Fish Tacos

330. Easy Chili and Lime Fish Street Tacos

331. Easy Fish Tacos with MangoPineapple Slaw

332. Easy Tacos

333. Eggplant Tacos

334. Fiery Fish Tacos with Crunchy Corn Salsa

335. Firehouse Machaca Taco Filling

336. Fort Worth Fish Tacos

337. Fried Fish Tacos with ChipotleLime Salsa

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Remove the crostini from the oven. They should be just crisp. Cut the garlic clove in half and rub the cut edge all over their tops.

+ Now, to assemble, simply spoon the tomato mixture onto eight of the crostini. Arrange the rocket on eight more, dollop the crushed beans on top, then lightly scrunch up the prosciutto and arrange on top of each one. Finally, spread the goat’s cheese over the remaining eight crostini, arrange a couple of pieces of fig on top of each, scatter the mint leaves over and drizzle with a little balsamic and honey.

+ Arrange the crostini on a large serving platter or cake stand and serve.

Crispy, crunchy chicken strips with honey mustard dip

Being a tactile person at heart, eating food with my fingers is pure luxury for me. I have a favourite surf-and-turf restaurant I frequent with the family and I regularly order their crispy chicken tenders for a starter. The piquant honey mustard dip has me getting right on in there with a spoon and eating up every last morsel.

Time from start to finish: 25 minutes

Serves: 4

Equipment: Baking tray, 2 wide, shallow bowls, small bowl

Vegetable oil (or spray oil)

2 medium eggs

100g dried natural breadcrumbs (or polenta)

1 tsp English mustard powder

2 stalks of fresh flat leaf parsley or thyme (optional)

4 medium skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Honey mustard dip

100ml mayonnaise

3 tbsp wholegrain mustard

2 squidges of honey

2 limes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

+ Preheat the oven to 200°C, (fan 180°C), 400°F, Gas Mark 6. Lightly grease a baking tray with oil and set aside. I like to do this quickly with a spray oil.

+ Crack the eggs into a wide, shallow bowl and beat lightly to bring together. Tip the breadcrumbs (or polenta) and mustard powder into another wide, shallow bowl. Pick the leaves from the parsley or thyme then finely chop them before tossing through the breadcrumbs with some salt and pepper.

+ Cut each chicken breast lengthways into three strips. Dip each piece into the egg, shaking off the excess, and then into the breadcrumbs to coat evenly. Arrange on the baking tray as you go. I tend to get in a sticky mess with this as the egg on my hands becomes coated with breadcrumbs, but the end result is so worth it.

+ Bake in the oven for around 12 minutes, turning each piece of chicken over halfway through.

+ Meanwhile, to make the dip, put the mayonnaise into a small bowl with the wholegrain mustard and honey and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

+ Cut the limes into quarters and add the juice of one piece to the dip, squeeze by squeeze, tasting as you go until you are happy. The lime lifts the dip’s flavours a little and gives a nice balance. Spoon the dip into a small serving bowl and place in the centre of a large plate.

+ Remove the chicken from the oven. When cooked, it should be piping hot in the centre and crispy and golden brown on the outside.

+ Arrange the chicken around the dip on the plate and serve with the remaining lime wedges.

Pancetta & Parmesan puffs

I know, I have done it again. Pancetta. It’s that porky, tasty yumminess that I love so very much. Now these cheesy little numbers are made from choux pastry, which for me is the easiest pastry on the block. A positive word of warning: these are incredibly moreish. A just-cooked bowl of them will disappear in literally minutes.

Prep time: 25 minutes

Time baking in the oven: 25 minutes

Makes: about 25

Equipment: 2 baking sheets, small frying pan, medium pan, grater, 2 medium bowls, disposable piping bag (optional)

50g butter

125ml milk

50g pancetta cubes


25g Parmesan cheese

75g plain flour

1 tsp chilli powder (optional)

Pinch of salt

2 medium eggs

+ Preheat the oven to 170°C, (fan 150°C), 325°F, Gas Mark 3. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment and set aside.

+ Put a small frying pan on a medium heat for the pancetta.

+ Put the butter and milk in a medium pan over a low heat and leave the butter to melt.

+ Meanwhile, place the pancetta into the frying pan with a drizzle of oil and cook for about 4 minutes, turning every so often.

+ Once the butter has melted into the milk, whack up the heat and bring to the boil.

+ Meanwhile, finely grate the Parmesan and tip it into a medium bowl. Stir in the flour, chilli powder, if you like, and a pinch of salt.

+ As soon as the buttery milk boils, remove the pan from the heat and add the flour mixture to it. Beat it really hard with a wooden spoon until the mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan. Then tip it into a medium bowl, spread it out all around the inside and leave it for a few minutes until cool to the touch.

+ Once the pancetta is crisp and golden, remove from the heat and tip onto kitchen paper to drain off excess fat and set aside.

+ Once the flou
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Monkfish ~ mild-flavored and firm-textured. Often used as a substitute in stews for lobster or scallops.

Salmon ~ medium to full flavored, very rich with a medium texture. Trout or char are substitutes.

Mako shark ~ moderate flavor and firm texture. Often used as a substitute for swordfish or tuna.

Swordfish ~ firm fish with moderate flavor. Substitute halibut, shark, or tuna and use the same cooking techniques, but each has its own individual flavor.

Tuna ~ yellowfin, bluefin, and albacore. Moderate flavor and firm flesh. See swordfish above.

“Taste of the Vineyard”

EVERY SUMMER, The Black Dog, along with nearly sixty other Vineyard food establishments and beverage merchants, participates in an epicurean extravaganza known as Taste of the Vineyard.

Black Dog chefs love to “strut their stuff” and the competition can produce some delicious results. Those lucky enough to buy tickets enjoy the Island’s best ~ all donated for the benefit of The Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust. This fine organization, active on the Vineyard since 1946, has rescued, restored and preserved historic landmarks well known to Islanders and visitors alike. Properties under their care include The Flying Horses, the nation’s oldest carousel, and the Vincent House, built in 1672, along with The Old Whaling Church and others. If you happen to visit our Island, try to include this wonderful (and tasty) event in your plans.




Morning Breads

Start every day off with a smile and get it over with.


* * *

OUR BREAKFAST COOKS start the day with a smile ~ often twisted ~ but sure to bring a laugh! Just read through our morning menu and you’ll find big bountiful plates of Rasputin’s Revenge (whole wheat pancakes with chocolate chips and strawberries doused with pure maple syrup, immortalizing one of our sugar-driven dishwashers) or Double Bypass (for a cholesterol packed way to start the day) among the breakfast fare. Some breakfast entree combinations, originally intended as an inside joke years ago, have won their place as favorite dishes ~ you’ll find them in the following pages. So, picture yourself on the porch at The Black Dog, looking out on the vessels moored in Vineyard Haven harbor at the start of a summer day, and make yourself a sunny plate of Melancholy Babies (scrambled eggs with cauliflower and a side of melon). How about some fresh-squeezed OJ with that?


Classic Black Dog Omelet

Several years ago Manhasset Farm, up the road from the Tavern, was run by a bunch of well intended hippies who would bring us vegetables whenever they had a surplus. We bartered produce for meals and had established a balanced symbiotic relationship until their broccoli crop came in, and in, and in. These big beautiful bunches overran our menu and we served broccoli with everything. A favorite was broccoli with eggs, the basis for the Classic Black Dog omelet.

1 tablespoon butter

3 eggs

dash of salt and pepper

½ cup broccoli, steamed and diced

½ cup of grated cheddar cheese

lots of Black Dog Sauce (see page 14)

Melt butter in skillet until frothy, while whisking eggs with salt and pepper.

Add egg mixture to pan. Shake pan back and forth until mixture is lightly set.

Now add the steamed broccoli, fold the omelet over, and continue cooking until lightly golden.

Serve smothered with warm Black Dog Sauce and sprinkled with cheddar cheese. If you don’t have Black Dog Sauce on hand, you may substitute your favorite marinara sauce.


All in the town were stiff asleep

When the sun came up with shout and a leap.

In the lonely streets, unseen by man,

A Little dog danced, and the day began.


Black Dog Sauce

When the restaurant first opened in ’71, our cooks made a lot of chowder, day in and day out. Black Dog Sauce is an evolutionary creation that began when the cooks decided to go out on a limb and make something else. Tomato sauce seemed a good choice because of its versatility ~ you could put it on eggs, omelets, pasta, meats, or chicken. The best way to describe it is a chunky marinara, the chunks being whatever vegetables or herbs are fresh and available. Just make sure your tomatoes are really ripe and tasty. If not, substitute canned for better flavor. Ad lib to the basic recipe ~ we do!

¼ cup olive oil

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced carrot

8 to 10 ripe plum tomatoes, or one 28-ounce can of plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 six ounce can of tomato paste

½ cup red wine

5 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 tablespoon dried

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, sauté the diced vegetables in the olive oil until tender.

Add the
HE story I am about to relate, I suppose I had gained a measure of notoriety and a good deal of experience, and I was extremely pleased to accept an invitation to create the food for a charity dinner and after party following the 2005 Academy Awards.

In fact, a fellow had approached me the year before to cook for the same affair, the “Children Uniting Nations” Awards Celebration & Viewing Dinner. I was then under contract as executive chef at Caesar’s in Atlantic City and was constrained to decline with regret, but this time, a year later, I was on my own and was about the business of establishing myself as what I would describe as an independent culinary operative.

My career to date had been a peripatetic one. Since my stint with the Royal Family, which in itself was characterized by constant travel, I had been executive chef in a number of places, opened and closed many, many restaurants for various employers, on land and sea, in hotels and casinos and on cruise ships. I had literally fed multitudes. I had been given wide latitude to exercise my ideas on food and management and had increased my portfolio of skills to such a degree that I thought I might be able to create a different kind of future for myself. I founded a consulting company, called The Irvine Group, with a business partner, Randall Williams. Mainly, I was looking for my freedom, for the ability to control my own destiny. I saw myself as a sort of an ambassador, an autonomous agent at liberty to pursue my own ideas, to develop products, to advise on and participate in culinary projects, to make live appearances where I could come in contact with audiences who were interested in my food and my ideas, to cook for private individuals, for parties, in restaurants or for largescale affairs, whilst always reserving the right to come and go as only I saw fit. The Oscars seemed to be a fantastic opportunity for this young enterprise.

The event was to take place on the night of the Academy Awards ceremony at the Factory in West Hollywood, sandwiched between the Vanity Fair party and Sir Elton John’s In Style party. I was certain that there would be lights, cameras, and plenty of action…there would be palm trees and crystal blue skies and ocean breezes…there would be stars aplenty, glittering in their red carpet finery, some holding golden statuettes, others dazzling onlookers and basking in the flashbulb-illuminated glow of celebrity. And there would be publicity and accolades for the food, which would be spectacular, and its praises would linger on people’s lips long after they’d sampled my wares.

Instead, it wasn’t long before I felt as though I’d been plunged into the seventh level of culinary hell.

Now, let me state at the outset that the organizers of the event started with every possible good intention, that the charity was well served that night, and that I’m sure they performed wonderful work on behalf of their intended beneficiaries: at-risk youth and children in need. They are humanitarians and deserve full marks for the good work they’ve done.

They simply had no concept of what it takes financially and logistically to get a truly spectacular dinner and hors d’oeuvres on the table for nearly five thousand people.

Their first thought was to make the food preparation for the party an allstar team event, and names like “Alain” and “Jean-Georges” were bandied about. I thought that was a terrific idea, but warned them that the chefs they were discussing were at the top of the profession. They would need to be handsomely paid, would require first-class travel and accommodations and the finest ingredients and equipment with which to work. “We can do that!” was the incessant reply.

However, soon after having heard repeated promises of private air travel, donated food, and “all expenses paid,” and with nothing to show for it, I started to see the writing on the wall. It was clear that the responsibility would fall to me, or the event simply wouldn’t happen. I was forced to bring my Rolodex of chefs, vendors, and purveyors into play; my beautiful, unspoiled Rolodex. I began making calls.

There is an implied brotherhood among chefs, especially among those of us who care to venture out regularly into the world beyond our kitchens. I have a very low resistance to appearing before live crowds for charity whenever and wherever I am asked, to cooking for fund-raisers wherein I feel I can do some good for worthy causes and meet new and interesting people, and for participating in fun and exciting events built around the premise of professionals coming together to create and share great food. I love to mingle with my fellow chefs at James Beard Foundation dinners, at theme dinners, at festivals, or at their home restaurants, where we can play and eat and show off our latest and greatest ideas about new dishes. You can make a lot of friends that way.

They came when I called, and agreed to d


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