Traci Des Jardins
www.tracidesjardins.com

Presidio Officers’ Club (credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)

 

In a restored 1895 former barracks beside the Main Post Lawn, Spanish-influenced California cuisine is driven by sustainable, locally-sourced ingredients at The Commissary. At the recently restored historic Officers’ Club, Arguello features Mexican cuisine that reflects the Presidio’s cultural heritage. A contemporary bar serves craft cocktails, and a heated patio makes for relaxed outdoor dining. TRANSIT features casual dining, food on-the-go and everyday basics for visitors, too. An outdoor patio has bay and bridge views to accompany morning coffee or burgers, sandwiches and wine or beer with pizza from the wood burning oven in the afternoon.

A native of Northern California, Traci Des Jardins has six popular restaurants in San Francisco. In addition to three in the Presidio, Jardinière in Civic Center/Hayes Valley, Mijita Cocina Mexicana in the Ferry Building and Public House at AT&T Park.

Classically trained in French cuisine by some of the best chefs and restaurateurs in the world, Des Jardins’ style is also influenced by her Mexican and French-Acadian grandparents, who taught her how to cook. Known as one of the top female chefs in the country, Des Jardins is a two-time James Beard award-winner and has earned a number of industry accolades throughout her career. In 2015, Des Jardins was a semi-finalist for America’s Outstanding Chef from the James Beard Foundation.

Arguello (credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)

 

Des Jardins sits on the board of La Cocina, a San Francisco based non-profit business incubator, and on the advisory board of Bocuse d’Or USA, joining fellow chefs in the quest to elevate culinary excellence in the United States. She is a deeply committed activist and philanthropist working with hunger-relief organizations such as Share Our Strength,Citymeals On-Wheels and other non-profits, such as amfAR.

Roast Pork Chop, Sweet Potatoes, Apples & Braising Greens

Ingredients:

  • 6 1” pork chops
  • 2 large sweet potatoes or yams, peeled
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 baking apples, peeled and cored
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 10 ounces assorted bitter greens i.e. kale, chard, collard greens
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Cut the sweet potatoes into quarters length-wise and slice into 1/8 inch slices; toss with 2 tablespoons melted butter and place on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper; bake in 375°F for approximately 20 minutes or until cooked through and slightly caramelized. Quarter the apples and sauté in a medium skillet in 2 tablespoons butter until tender. Set aside apples and potatoes.

2. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Sear golden brown on both sides in canola oil in sauté pan. Place seared chops in oven at 425°F for 10 minutes.

3. Steam the braising greens in 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons whole butter until lightly wilted; toss the sweet potatoes and apples with the greens and season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. To serve, arrange greens with sweet potatoes and apples in center of plate; lean pork chop against greens. Serves six.

Grilled Corn And Squash Salad With Chipotle Crema, Cotija Cheese And Lime Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 8 ears of corn – shucked and cut from cob
  • 4 assorted squash – zucchini, sunburst, yellow and crookneck, sliced into 1/8 inch thick pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 limes juiced
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 chipotle in Adobo or 1 tablespoon chipotle puree
  • ¼ cup crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 2 cups purslane (mixed lettuces or cilantro leaves may be substituted)
  • ¼ cup cotija cheese
  • ½ cup shaved radishes
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup crushed cornuts

Directions:

1. Brush the corn and toss the squash with a little bit of oil and season with salt and pepper, and then grill separately over medium high grill until lightly browned. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the half of the lime juice and extra virgin olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Purée the chipotle pepper in a mortar and pestle or a blender and add the cream. Add the juice of the remaining lime and a little water if necessary to bring to the consistency of cream. In a mixing bowl, combine the squash and corn, add half of the lime vinaigrette, toss and season with salt and pepper.

2. On a plate, spread the chipotle creme down to form a thin layer. Place the squash corn mixture in the middle. Toss the purslane and radishes in the remaining lime vinaigrette and place the leaves over the top. Grate the Cotija cheese to top off the salad and top with the corn nuts. Serves eight.

Warm Almond Financier With D’Anjou Pears

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups extra fine sugar
  • 1 cup bleached all purpose flour
  • 8 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 D’Anjou pear, peeled and sliced

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Place almonds and 3/4 cup sugar in food processor, puree until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and add the sifted flour, mix thoroughly.

2. Gently melt the butter in a pan until golden brown. Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form, add the remaining sugar. Fold the egg whites into the almond, flour and sugar mixture. Add the butter and vanilla and mix well.

3. Place the pear slices into individual buttered pans and pour the cake batter over the pears. Place into a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, the cakes should be golden brown when done.

Pear Vinegar Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 ounces pear vinegar
  • 3 ounces poire williams or pear liquor
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 oz. butter
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

In a saucepan, caramelize the sugar until rich in color. Add the vinegar and reduce until well blended; add the pear liquor and allow alcohol to burn off. Cook for two minutes and add the cream and salt, reduce by half. Pull the pan off of the heat and whisk in the butter. The sauce should be strong in flavor and highly acidic.

Whipped Crème Fraiche

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup crème fraiche
  • 3 ounces heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Directions:

1. Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl or electric mixer and whip until soft peaks form.

2. To serve, reheat the almond cakes or serve hot from the oven. Place onto individual plates with the sauce around and a dollop of the crème fraiche on each cake.

Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she’s writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Yahoo, USA Today, eHow, and on Examiner.com.

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