What's Cooking with Chef Gray from Belly

Chef to the celebs and main dude at Belly, Gray Rollin, gives you the weekly dish.  Make it at home.  Try it out for friends. Nom away.

Vegetable Pad Thai (SERVES 2-3)


3-4 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2-3 limes)
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup water
8 oz wide Pad Thai rice noodles, also called Banh Pho
2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
crushed red pepper, as much as you like
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of broccoli florets
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds
1 heaping cup of cubed fried tofu, available at Asian stores
a big hand full of bean sprouts
2 green onions, chopped
3 tablespoons roasted, chopped peanuts
3-4 cilantro sprigs, chopped
1/2 lime, cut into wedges

1. Place all the sauce ingredients in a non stick sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer on low for about 2 minutes, or till the sauce has thickened just a little. Turn off heat and set aside.

2. Soak and drain the noodles according to package instructions. If the package doesn't have instructions, soak the noodles in warm water for about 15 minutes or till they become pliable. Then drain.

3. Heat the oil in a large wok. Add the crushed red pepper. As soon as they sizzle, add the garlic, broccoli and carrots. Toss on medium-high heat till the broccoli turns bright green and the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.

4. Add the soaked noodles, tofu and the sauce. Toss on medium-high heat till everything is well combine and the noodles are cooked, but still a little chewy, and not mushy.

5. Turn off heat, and add the bean sprouts and green onions and mix well.

6. Garnish with cilantro and peanuts. Serve with lime wedges on the side.

Vegetable Pesto Risotto (SERVES 2-3)

 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 teaspoon of truffle oil
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup pesto sauce      
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lb zucchini, cut into half moons
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt (I like Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning)
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 1/3 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Add salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Pesto – In a food processor combine garlic, pine nuts, basil, yeast, fresh lemon juice and zest. Pulse until ground to a fine paste, about 1 minute. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and fresh pepper.
2. Preheat the oven to 425F for the zucchini. Get ready a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
3. Rissoto – Warm the vegetable broth in saucepan. Keep it warm on the lowest setting possible as you prepare the risotto.
4. Preheat a heavy-bottomed 4 quart pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion in oil and a pinch of salt until translucent, 4-5 minutes.
5. Add the rice and use a wooden spoon to stir and coat with oil. Add the white wine and stir occasionally, until wine is mostly absorbed, 4 minutes or so. Add a few dashed of salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low.
6. Add the broth by the cupful, stirring the risotto after each addition until the broth is mostly absorbed, 6-8 minutes. After 2 cupfuls, add about half of the pesto and stir well. Continue to cook, adding broth by the cupful, stirring, and letting the liquid absorb.
7. Toss the zucchini with oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Roast for about 6 minutes on each side or until softened and lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.
8. With your last addition of broth , add the remainder of the pesto. Taste for salt and add the other 1/4 teaspoon if needed. Risotto is ready when the rice is chewy but still firm, and the sauce is very creamy. For a firmer risotto, just cook a few minutes extra to absorb more of the liquid.
9. To serve, scoop risotto into each bowl and top with zucchini. Drizzle with extra pesto and garnish with a few toasted pine nuts.

Chef Gray’s Dad’s Chile Verde Recipe




1 1/2 pounds tomatillos
5 garlic cloves, not peeled
2 Serrano seeds and ribs removed, chopped
Poblano chilies (optional)
1 bunch of cilantro leaves, cleaned and chopped
3 1/2 to 4 pounds pork shoulder (also called pork butt), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 to 2-inch cubes
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tbsp of chopped fresh oregano or 1 Tbsp of dried oregano
3 1/4 cups chicken stock

1. Remove papery husks from tomatillos and rinse well. Cut in half and place cut side down, alone with 5 unpeeled garlic cloves, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes to lightly blacken the skin. Remove from oven, let cool enough to handle. 
*If you want the additional flavor of chilies other then jalapenos, you can add a couple poblano chilies. Either use canned green chilies or roast fresh chilies over a gas flame or under the broiler until blackened all around. Let cool in a bag, remove the skin, seeds, and stem.

2. Place tomatillos, skins included, into blender. Remove the now roasted garlic cloves from their skins, ass them to blender. Add chopped Serrano peppers, other chilies (if you are using them), and cilantro to the blender. Pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed.

3. Season the pork cubes generously with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium high heat and brown pork chunk well on all sides. Work in batches so that the pork is not crowded in the pan and has a better chance to brown well. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, lift pork out of pan and place in bowl, set aside.

4. Pour off excess fat, anything beyond a tablespoon, and place the onions and garlic in the same skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until limp, about 5 minutes. If your skillet is large enough to cook the entire batch of chile verde, with the sauce and meat, then ass the pork back to the pan. If not, get a large soup pot and ass the onion mixture and the pork to it. Add the oregano to the pan. Add the tomatillo chile verde sauce to the pork and onions. Add the chicken stock (enough to cover the meant). Add a little salt and pepper. (Not too much as the chile verde will continue to cook down and concentrate a bit.)


Beef Stroganoff


2.5 pounds beef chuck roast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 ounces butter
4 green onions, sliced (white parts only)
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (10 ounce) can condensed beef broth
1 teaspoon prepared (Dijon)mustard
8 sliced mushrooms (Brown)
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup white wine
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste


1. Remove any fat and gristle from the roast and cut into strips 1/2 inch thick by 2 inches long. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of both salt and pepper.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and brown the beef strips quickly, then push the beef strips off to one side. Add the onions and cook slowly for 3 to
5 minutes, then push to the side with the beef strips.

3. Stir the flour into the juices on the empty side of the pan. Pour in beef broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and stir in mustard. Cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the meat is tender.

4. Five minutes before serving, stir in the mushrooms, sour cream, and white wine. Heat briefly then salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve with Rice or Potatoes.


Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas


1 side, skin-on, sockeye salmon, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, pin bones removed
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
4 cups of Balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Position a rack in the oven 3 inches from the broiler. Line a half sheet pan with aluminum foil and place the salmon on the pan.
2. Place the sugar, zest, salt, and pepper into the bowl of a small food processor and process for 1 minute or until well combined. Evenly spread the mixture onto the salmon and allow to sit for 45 minutes, at room temperature.
3. Turn the oven on to the high broiler setting for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, place the salmon into the oven and broil for 6 to 8 minutes or until the thickest part of the fish reaches an internal temperature of 131 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the salmon from the oven and allow to rest, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
Robbie Merrill from GodSmack


 1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk,* whisked to blend
1 1/4 teaspoons Thai curry paste*
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/3-inch-wide strips
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 pound chicken tenders, cut crosswise in half
1 tablespoon (packed) brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 cup chopped seeded tomatoes
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 Kaffir Lime leaves


1. Bring 1/4 cup coconut milk and curry paste to boil in large skillet over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Add bell pepper and onion; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in chicken, remaining coconut milk, sugar and fish sauce. Cook until chicken is cooked through, stirring