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Book Review: Living Coastal: Inspirations for Entertaining, Decorating...

Living Coastal: Inspirations for Entertaining, Decorating and Cooking California Style


Living Coastal: Inspirations for Entertaining, Decorating and Cooking California Style is a beautiful book by Jolee Pink with fantastic photography by Mike Pawlenty. This book celebrates San Diego art and cuisine by area artists and chefs inspired on what is in their backyard - the breathtaking Pacific Ocean. The book is broken into celebration chapters: Retro New Year’s Eve, It’s Game Day, Movies & Munchies, Spring Fling, Tapas by the Sea, Shower Sweetness, Trip to the Tropics, Surfside Serenity, Baja-Style Bash, Breezy Beachside Picnic, Cockleshells & Birthday Bells, Date Night, Chill’n & Grill’n, Haunting Halloween, Weekend Brunch, and Home for the Holidays. Each chapter contains decoration ideas, decorative table settings, recipes from San Diego chefs, and artisan food & beverage products produced in San Diego.

Mahi-mahi to be marinated in Stone IPA.
OC Food Diva

In the It’s Game Day chapter, Chef Alex Carballo, of urbn coal fired pizza, shared his recipe of Stone IPA Marinated Mahi-Mahi Skewers with Pineapple Chimichurri. Local products used in this recipe are locally caught mahi-mahi and Stone Brewing Co.’s IPA (India Pale Ale). I found the Stone IPA had a very strong hops aroma and you can almost sense the higher alcohol content with your nose. The flavor was very strong yet crisp. Mahi-mahi was a little hard to find last week in Orange County, but finally found some at Whole Foods. This recipe is a great idea for a game day party as it is pretty quick to make. Mah-mahi has a firm texture so it holds up on skewers really well. The Pineapple Chimichurri was a perfectly sweet counter-balance to the fish. The final product is good, but I think some changes could be made to make it great. The fish actually marinates directly in the Stone IPA. I would probably change this around a bit to have it marinate for a shorter time or maybe just baste the fish before grilling as it was too strong. Mahi-mahi has a strong fishy aroma that may be unappealing but the Stone IPA actually neutralizes it so I would definitely use it in some fashion. The chili spice on the fish was a little too strong as well. I would probably use half the amount next time. Also, I would definitely do a much finer grind or maybe puree to make a dipping sauce for the skewers in order to disperse more of the sweetness from the pineapple to each bite.

In the Breezy Beachside Picnic chapter, Chef Tommy Fraioli, of Sea Rocket Bistro (closed in December 2013), shared his recipe of Sea Urchin Crostini with Roe-Herb Butter, Jalapeno Jam and Lavender Salt. Chef Tommy sources his sea urchin from the San Diego Fishermen’s Working Group headed by Peter Halmay. If you follow me, you know that uni (sea urchin) is one of my favorite foods on the planet so you know I had to try this. I was in luck as uni was on sale at Mitsuwa Marketplace (largest Japanese supermarket in the U.S.) last week. This recipe is very easy to make. Just make your first order of business to take the butter out from the refrigerator in advance so it softens. The flavor was creamy and sweet. The jalapeno jam wasn’t spicy at all but the sweetness and slight pepper flavor worked really well with uni. Uni is such a delicate flavor and you don’t want anything to overpower or compete for its attention. The only thing I would change is toasting/grilling the bread for a little longer for a crunchier texture. Chef Tommy never disappoints! Can’t wait to see your next restaurant adventure!

In the Weekend Brunch chapter, Chef Matt Gordon, of Solace & the Moonlight Lounge, shared his recipe of Sockeye Salmon Benedict on Cheese and Chive Biscuits with Ancho Chili Hollandaise. This recipe is for a more advanced cook and requires a lot of prep. But if you have the skills and the time, the final product is well worth it and will be the hit of any brunch. I would definitely make the biscuits first as the cutting of the butter into the dry ingredients takes a long time if using a pastry knife. It will be much quicker if you have a paddle attachment on your mixer. Poaching eggs can almost be an art form, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be turning out poached eggs by the dozen. If you plan on making your own clarified butter, I would suggest doing it the day before as it takes a while to filter out the milk solids. A time saver would be to use ghee (clarified butter used in Indian cooking and can be found at Whole Foods). The hollandaise was probably the easiest and quickest part of this recipe and was absolutely delicious! I served this to a party of 12 and they all loved it. Accept all of the compliments as you’ll deserve it from all of your hard work!

There were many other recipes I wanted to try in the book like Baja Lobster Roll Au Jus and Crispy Whole Bass Tacos. This cookbook is also great as coffee table book.

For more information:
Living Coastal: Inspirations for Entertaining, Decorating and Cooking California Style
by Jolee Pink