Family Meal

by Chef David Ferguson




Filtering by Tag: Winter Recipes

Seared Blackened Tuna, Pickled Shiitake Mushrooms, Ruby Grapefruit, Purple Potato Chip, Green Onion Soubise, & Ginger Bell Pepper Puree

Prep Time:  60 mins    Cook Time:  1 hour    Serves:  2

A spate of warmer than usual weather had me thinking outside of typical Winter fare.  The bright colors and flavors of this dish can warm up your kitchen no matter what the weather is like outside.  I made my own blackening spice with chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, and cayenne.  However a store bought blend will do just as well.  Tuna can be cooked like steak, so a temperature range can be used.  I would suggest cooking the tuna quickly, just searing the outside in a very hot pan.  This keeps the texture and flavor you pay for in a nice piece of tuna, in tact.  

There are more than a few steps to this recipe, but don't be intimidated.  Completing each item before moving on to searing the tuna and plating is the easiest way to go about it.  



  • 1 lb fresh Ahi or higher grade Tuna; trimmed and cut into 2"x2"x4" logs
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 4 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • cilantro for garnish
  • grapefruit supremes for garnish


  • 1 cup cleaned shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 3" piece of ginger; pealed and sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp kosher salt

Ginger Bell Pepper Puree-

  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup carrots; sliced
  • 1 3" piece of ginger; peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • salt to taste

Green Onion Soubise-

  • 1 large yellow onion; thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  • 1 large bunch fresh green onions
  • salt to taste

Purple Potato Chip-

  • 3 purple potatoes
  • 4 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups water


Place a sauce pot over high heat with  the components for the pickled mushrooms (water, rice vinegar, sugar, salt, lime juice) and bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, place cleaned mushrooms, cilantro, and ginger in a medium sized mixing bowl.  When the mixture is boiling and the sugar has dissolved, pour the hot pickling bring over the mushrooms.  Set aside and let the mushrooms cool to room temperature.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Place your bell pepper in a saute pan or a small baking tray and let it roast in the oven until the skin begins to blister (approx. 20 mins). Place the pepper in a bowl and cover with a towel to cool, removing the skin and seeds once it is cool enough to handle.  Meanwhile, place the sliced carrots, peeled ginger, and grapefruit juice in small  sauce pan and bring to a simmer.  Simmer carrots and ginger until very tender, adding a tablespoon or so of water if the juice begins to evaporate.  Once tender, add the carrots, ginger, and cleaned bell pepper to a blender, reserving the poaching liquid.  With the blender running, add a tablespoon of the poaching liquid at a time to the solids until  a smooth puree forms.  Season with salt to taste then remove puree from the blender and set aside.

Add your sliced onion, butter, and milk to a sauce pot and set over medium heat.  Bring your pot up to a simmer and let cook until the onions become very, very tender (approx. 30 mins).  Strain out the onions, reserving the butter and milk.  Puree the onions in a blender with the whole, fresh green onions. Add the reserved milk and butter gradually until you reach the desired smooth and creamy texture.  Season with salt to taste then remove the soubise and set aside to cool.  

In another small pot, place potatoes, water, and salt over medium heat to simmer.  Poach potatoes until just tender, then remove from the water and let dry on paper towels or a wire rack.  When the potatoes have cooled enough to handle, slice into thin rounds.  Bake the sliced potatoes in the oven at 375 degrees until crisp (approx. 10 mins).  Once done, set aside to cool.

Mix together your seasoning in a shallow bowl.  Roll your trimmed tuna steaks in the seasoning blend, coating them liberally on all sides.  Place a saute pan over high heat and add 1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil.  When the pan is very hot and just starting to smoke, place your tuna steak in and sear for 30-45 seconds on each side.  When all four sides are seared, let the tuna rest for 2-3 minutes before slicing.  

Poached Pears, Lavender Earl Grey Mascarpone, Honey Graham 'Earth', & Candied Honey Chip

Prep Time:  20 min    Cook Time:  1 hour    Serves:  2

This is a perfect dessert for a winter dinner party, elegant but not too rich.  Early grey tea, honey, and lavender marry together well and play off the tanginess of the mascarpone, which  adds a luxurious texture.  The prep and assembly for this is also refreshingly simple, and the components can be made a day ahead of time to give you one less thing to worry about when entertaining guests. The only thing to watch for when making this is the honey chip.  Use a silicone baking mat or parchment paper on a baking tray and monitor closely to ensure you don’t burn the sugar.  


  • 2 ripe (but still firm) bosc pears; peeled, halved, and cored
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup strong earl grey tea
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • 4 sprigs fresh lavender
  • ½ cup mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp blackstrap rum
  • 4 honey graham crackers


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Soak pears in water and 1 tsp of lemon juice to keep from browning.  Combine white wine, tea, honey, vanilla extract, lavender, and remaining tsp of lemon juice in a medium sauce pot over medium heat.  Stir mixture until the honey dissolves and gently add pears to poaching liquid cut side down.  Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until pears become very tender; about 30 minutes. Flip the pears over about halfway through to ensure they poach evenly.

Meanwhile, put the graham crackers in a food processor and run until they become powdered, set aside for later.  

Once the pears have finished remove from the poaching liquid and drain on a wire rack.  Cool the pears in the fridge.  Bring the poaching liquid back up to a low boil and reduce to about ¾ cup.  Reserve ¼ cup of the syrup.  Drizzle a small amount of the syrup onto a parchment or silicone mat lined baking tray and place in the oven.  Monitor the syrup in the oven closely, once it begins to bubble and brown slightly at the edges, remove the tray from the oven and place to the side to cool.  

Add the mascarpone, sugar, and rum to a large bowl of a stand mixer and whisk.  Add in the reserved ¼ cup syrup and whisk on high until peaks form.  Place the mascarpone in the fridge to set.  Reserve the remaining syrup to drizzle over the pears once you are ready to serve.  

Braised Beef Short Ribs, Sweet Carrot Puree, Pan Roasted Baby Potatoes, Button Mushrooms, & Seared Onions

Prep Time:  40 min    Cook Time:  2 ½ hrs    Serves:  2

Winter weather and colder temperatures call for a hearty braise.  This recipe may seem daunting, but fortunately most of the work is done in the oven. Developing the flavors gradually will help ensure you have a robust dish with decadent texture. Trust me; it’ll be well worth it in the end.

To begin, sear the ribs on high heat in a large pan on all sides. Sautéing the carrots, celery and onions in the leftover drippings will produce caramelization and build the deep flavors that a good braise delivers. 

When preparing the carrots, cut them into equal size slices and simmer in water with sugar and salt.  Cook the carrots until they are extremely tender, and reserve the liquid used to simmer them to make your puree.  Gradually add the reserved liquid as you process the carrots so you don’t accidentally add too much.  

The mushrooms are cooked twice; once in the oven to remove excess water, and then finished in a pan with butter when you’re ready to serve.  It’s important to cook them this way, as simply placing them in the pan first will result in soggy mushrooms that have steamed in their own liquid.

Cook the onions quickly in butter over med-high heat.  You want to cook them fast with higher heat and let them retain some texture while still picking up some flavor from the pan.  

When the ribs are finished, strain the solids out of the braising liquid and reduce until thickened for use as a sauce.  You may need to skim the liquid to remove some excess fat.  Simply remove the thin translucent layer of fat that will accumulate on top with a ladle and allow the liquid to reduce until it coats a spoon.  Stir in a small knob of cold butter to finish the sauce off the heat.


● 1 lb bone in beef short ribs

● 48 oz beef stock

● 1 cup  Amber ale

● 2 celery stalks, cut into ¼” slices

● 7  medium carrots, peeled and divided (2 cut into ¼” slices, 5 cut into 1/2 “ rounds)

● 1 ½  yellow onion, divided (1 rough chopped, ½ sliced into ¼” crescents)

● 2 cup button mushrooms, chopped

● 2 oz bacon

● 6 baby yukon potatoes

● 6 oz chives, divided (4 oz whole, 2 oz chopped fine)

● 4 oz thyme, whole

● 4 cloves garlic, minced

● 2  tbs olive oil

● 4 tbs vegetable oil, divided

● 4 tbs butter, divided

● 3 cups water

● ¼ cup granulated sugar

● salt and pepper to taste

● flat leaf parsley for garnish


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place a large pan over high heat with 2 tbsp vegetable oil. While the pan is heating, season all sides of your short ribs liberally with salt and pepper.  When the pan has come up to temperature, begin searing the short ribs for 1 minute on each side.  When all sides have been seared, remove the short ribs from the pan and set aside.  

Remove any used oil from the pan. Reduce to medium heat and add in remaining 2 tbs of vegetable oil, garlic and rough chopped onions, stirring occasionally.  Cook for 2 minutes before adding in the celery and carrots.  Allow carrots and celery to begin to brown before pouring in the beer. Begin stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to remove any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue stirring to allow the beer to reduce and evaporate before returning the short ribs to the pan. Once in the pan, pour in enough stock to almost cover them leaving only the very top of the short rib exposed.  Add in the whole chives, thyme, and bacon and bring to a boil. Put on the  lid and place   in the oven for two hours. 

Coat the chopped mushrooms evenly with 2 tbsp of olive oil before spacing them apart on a lined sheet tray. Roast in the oven for 15-20 mins to remove any excess moisture and then set aside.  

Combine the remaining carrots with the water, sugar, and a liberal pinch of salt in a small sauce pot.  Set the pot over medium heat and bring up to a simmer, allowing the carrots to cook until very tender.  Strain off the carrots, reserving a ¼ cup of the liquid.  Add carrots to a blender and begin blending on low, gradually easing towards high to avoid splatter.  Carefully pour in reserved liquid in stages, pureeing the carrots until very smooth.  Season with salt (to taste) and set aside. 

Place a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat and add in 1 tbsp butter.  Place the reserved onions into the pan and season lightly with salt.  Allow the onions to cook until they soften and start to brown, tossing occasionally.  Reserve the onions once they have finished.

Place potatoes in a medium sauce pot and cover with water.  Season the water heavily with salt and set the potatoes over medium heat to simmer until fork tender.  Remove the potatoes from the water and slice in half.  

Once the short ribs are fork tender, remove from the pan and strain off the solids in the liquid.  Return the liquid and short ribs back to the pan and reduce over medium high heat.  

Finish the mushrooms and potatoes while the braising liquid is reducing. Place a medium sized pan over medium heat and melt 1 tbsp of butter. Place the potatoes cut-side down into the pan.  Cook for two minutes on each side until golden brown, remove from pan, and set aside.

Return pan to high heat, along with 1 tbsp of butter. Add the mushrooms and allow to brown, tossing occasionally. Once browned, incorporate the chopped chives and potatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste.  .  

Once the braising liquid has reduced to the point where it will coat a spoon, remove the short ribs.  Add remaining 1 tbsp of butter and stir to emulsify.  Serve the short ribs, potatoes, and mushroom over the carrot puree spooning the reduced sauce on top. Finish by garnishing with whole parsley and the browned onions. Enjoy!