Chris Maher Marathon

Remember the chef who came to dinner? Chris Maher, the chef, was teaching some cooking classes in LA, and arranged to teach a Thai cooking class on Sunday at my house. There were eight of us, learning everything from how to hold a knife and chop an onion, to tricks for making Thai green chile paste and peanut sauce. It was warm enough that we ate dinner outside in candlelight, a rare treat in the Bay Area at any time.

I took a video of Chris’s instructions and demo of how to hold and use a knife and how to chop an onion, but somehow lost the videos in the transfer.  More than that, my memory card filled up with that one video, and the rest of the dinner was undocumented.

While we were eating, we got to talking about risotto, probably because Chris made truly fluffy and delicious rice, and he agreed to make risotto on Monday. this time there were five of us for a very informal class. We made a risotto with chicken stock, pancetta, chanterelles, onions and peas, and one with vegetable stock minus the pancetta. Both were creamy without cream. They were easy to make and even easier to eat.

Best of all, because Chris stayed over, the next night we took the risotto, formed it into patties, browned it on both sides in olive oil and served it with a salad of arugula, tatsoi, and tomatoes (all from the garden) on top. The slightly lime-flavored dressing, the slightly bitter greens, and the sweet tomatoes over the risotto cakes made for a true delicacy. Chris says it’s called “Al Salto,” and is a common use of leftover risotto in Italy.  As a big plus, I’ve learned a new salad dressing–made in the food processor with shallot, garlic, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper, a dollop of dijon and juice of half a lime.

In any case, I am replete. Chris is on his way to Utah to demo his products (he has a line of scrumptious eggplant dip, salsa, and other products under the label Caleb and Milo. If you’re in Utah, Kansas, New Mexico, or Nevada, you can buy these at Whole Foods.



Don’t bother coming by my house. We scarfed up all the samples he brought!