5 Questions and a Recipe with Lucy Aghadjian


The first of my husband’s 50th celebrations was in California where we met and lived for 18 years. Being of that age we are on the roll of 50th birthdays and Lucy Aghadjian has catered quite a few for our Bay Area friends.

We feasted on locally grown produce –  a passion for Lucy. She volunteers at her son’s school -Windrush Elementary in El Cerrito, by helping the kids sell Community Supported Agriculture boxes to the school families. Last year they raised $20,000! To read more about the program click here.

Lucy’s food is wonderful and soulful. We had a lovely outdoor family style dinner for 37 people on chilly Mill Valley night but our food kept us warm. The burrata with fresh heirlooms tomatoes (pictured in the first photo) was a divine appetizer alongside portobello mushroom fritters and mashed peas with mint (also in the photo). The Menorcan potatoes (above) were an accompaniment to grilled lamb skewers and chicken with olives and preserved lemons.

1. What are some of your up coming events?

“Bar mitzvahs, receptions for meetings with senators, wine and food pairing fund raising dinner and the possibilities of a few business affairs in SF”.

 2.  What is the one food or beverage ingredient that you cannot live without?
“Olive oil, lemon, salt.”

3. Who is your mentor, professionally or personally?

“Susana Macarron, simply the best cook I have ever met, barr none.  Ethnically Spanish, but raised by maids from the basque country, she is the mediterranean and has an extraordinary capacity to create flavor, depth and variety in her cooking.  My dad also, an Armenian male who liked to cook.”

4. What is your favorite food memory from childhood?

“Birthday dinners: corned beef, carrots, potatoes and cabbage.  Weird but true.  And my mom’s bolognaise.”

5. What would be your ultimate meal, any and all details (place, menu, guests)?

Susana cooks for my family and friends a feast with some hunted wild boar, northern Californian mushrooms, and 6-7 light vegetables to go with it.  Lots of greens, tomatoes (even though I know mushrooms and tomatoes don’t really coexist time wise), freshly made burrata mozzarella, at least two salads, no blue cheese anywhere.
There would be some interesting grain, but mixed in with lots of mushrooms.  There might be a brothy soup to start, made from long stewed bones of a Riverdog chicken, and only a few light vegetables floating in it.  Or a pureed vegetable soup that’s not made with too much cream, so we might enjoy the boar.
The boar would be hunted by my thirteen year old son, in company with my buddy Tim who owns Riverdog Farm, and then  perfectly butchered and cured by some old Italian meat type.  My friend Jimbo would bbq pork pieces in some delicious form slightly sweet, maybe Asian flavors, and we would marvel at the tenderness.
Jim’s wife, my friend and exquisite baker, Nancy, would bring the perfect dessert made from summer fruit and whipped cream which would magically appear in mushroom season. We would eat this feast not before 8pm,on someone’s extremely warm  terrace, while we enjoyed the hot night air, fragrant jasmine and orange blossom and of course, a lot of old red wine.
Michael Pollen would join us just for fun and because he smelled the grilled meat.  And Tim and his family would tell us that of all the pork he’s eaten on his farm, that this was quite simply the most delicious.
These potatoes are easy to make and are good as a vegetarian dinner or as an accompaniment to roast chicken. We enjoyed it with corn on the cob and a salad. I loved making them in small individual cazuelas.
6-7 russets, sliced into 1/4″  rounds
1 yellow onion diced
4 large slicing tomatoes
1/4 cup breadcrumbs for topping
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1 clove minced garlic
Olive oil the base of a cazuela or glass baking dish. Saute diced onion until lightly golden and layer on bottom of the pan.
Overlapping by about 1 1/2″ , add potatoes in layers, drizzling olive oil, salt and pepper on each layer. Continue until all potatoes slices are used (about 3 layers). Top with a single layer of sliced tomato and combine bread crumbs with olive oil, parsley, garlic and a dash of salt and top with the tomatoes.
Bake at 400 º until top is golden and potatoes are cooked through, 50 min-1 hr. If you are making small individual dishes, then cover them with foil for the first 20 minutes of baking. Uncover them and allow them to brown for another 10 minutes.
No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

site by iKnow