Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Here is a great recipe that my mother taught me how to make.
This is from her first cookbook "Northwest Bounty", published in 1988.
With fresh salmon at the market & Sorrel popping up in my yard, this is a wonderful way to use the two together. You could also bake or grill the salmon, make the sauce and add just before

Serves 4

Poached Fillet of Wild King Salmon
with Wind-Dried Salmon & Sorrel

4-8 oz. Copper River or Wild King Salmon
1 cup dry white wine
1 quart white wine fish stock (see recipe below)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 oz. shredded wind-dried salmon (dry-smoked kippered salmon may be used instead, though this will add a smoky quality to the sauce rather than the rich salmon flavor that comes from the wind-dried fish)
salt and freshly ground white pepper
3/4 cup fresh sorrel, cut roughly (chiffonade)

To poach fillets, place in a skillet to fit 1 layer and pour in the white wine, adding cold watre to cover if necessary. Bring to a simmer. Cover. Poach at slowest simmer for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Reduce fish stock in a non-aluminum pan to 1/2 cup. Add cream and dried salmon. Simmer until sauce is thickened and of a smooth consistency. The dried salmon will expand as it is cooked. Correct seasoning with salt and white pepper. Five minutes before serving, add Sorrel.
Remove the fish from the poaching liquid, drain and serve immediately with sauce.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

I catered my son's auction for 185 people last Saturday. We have quite a few red peppers left over ,so I'm going to make red pepper jelly. I will try and do something a little different than the normal red peppers, cider, vinegar, crushed red pepper version. I'll let you know how it turns out and what I end up doing. I've been making different Mostarda's lately, which brings me back to Verona. Italy, 2006. I was with my mom at Marcella Hazan's 80th birthday party. This party took place in a beautiful Villa where Giuliano Hazan has his cooking school. We started out in a large study that had over 100 different types of cheeses paired with wines as well as different types of mostarda's (mustard fruits) and chestnut honey. Mostarda means the
must of the grape and is a main ingredient in a true mostarda. Their are many different types of mostarda such as Mostarda di frutta and mostarda di cremona. I love to use at least 4 different
types of fruit and it's all about cooking the fruit down. Removing the fruit from the syrup, reducing and then adding the fruit back into the syrup until the fruit no longer releases it's own juices and the syrup becomes a beautiful crimson color. I will be posting some great recipes on my website @, so stay tuned.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Braising vs. Stewing

When you Braise you generally use larger cuts of meat, poultry or vegetables in
enough liquid to partially cover over low-heat. This works great for less expensive cuts of meat such as pork shoulder, lamb shanks, pork and beef short ribs. These cuts are very flavorful and when cooked with vegetables, wine, stock, perhaps some tomatoes and spices after 2-3 hours the flavors meld together and the meat is fall off the bone.
I like to brown the meat in my skillet first then add to the pot of sauteed vegetables.

When you make a stew you are doing much of the same as braising but using smaller cuts
of meat, poultry and vegetables. You would also want enough liquid to cover what you are cooking. Our motto is "Low and slow and let it go."

Both can be cooked in a 5 qt. Dutch oven on top of the stove or in the oven at
350 degrees for 2-3 hours or until meat falls apart and is fork tender.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Versatility of the Chickpea

Chickpeas and garbanzo beans are one of the same and is a very versatile legume. One of the most popular and widely used in the Middle East is the Chickpea. In Spanish cooking they are referred to as garbanzo beans
and in Italian cooking they are called ceci beans.
The chickpea originated in the Middle East about 7500 years ago. It was first cultivated about 3,000 BC and was popular among ancient Romans, Greeks and Egyptians. It was not until the 16th Century that the chickpea was brought to other parts of the world by Spanish explorers. Nutty and buttery chickpeas come in a variety of colors green, black, brown, red and the most commonly known are the beige chickpea. There are two types of chickpeas Desi and Kabali. Desi have smaller darker seeds and a rough coat. Kabali is a larger, lighter colored bean with a smooth coat.
You can use chickpeas in so many ways but there is no comparison to fresh chickpeas. If you see them at the grocery store (such as Whole Foods) they are around $1.99 lb. they have a green shell on the outside that is easy to open and pop out one chickpea. They may take a while to shell but much less time consuming than the Fava bean. They are a brilliant green in color and I just blanch them for a few minutes in boiling water. Drain and toss lightly with olive oil
and sea salt or add and brighten any cous-cous, pasta, green salads, chicken dish... It will be the topic of conversation at the table. There is truly no comparison to the dried or canned chickpeas we are so used to having. The dried and canned have their part too. They are great cooked and ground into a paste for hummus or roasted and spiced and eaten as a snack. Chick pea flour also called gram flour or Besan. This is great for making flat breads, falafel, lightly coating fish before frying or fermented and made into an alcoholic beverage similar to Sake.
When I was on my honeymoon we went to old Nice,France because my mom told me I had to try Socca. We wondered through the Fleur de Marche (amazing outdoor antique market)in Nice and wondered down some narrow streets until we stumbled upon the famous Socca stand. Socca is made with none other that Chickpea flour, olive oil, water and salt. It is basically a chickpea flour crepe. Nutty, buttery and fabulous. The French love to have a dry glass of white wine with their Socca. It was an amazing food memory I will never forget. It just made me think how one ingredient can be used in so many different ways and in so many countries. Lastly, chickpeas are a great source of protein and fiber and help reduce cholesterol.
Who couldn't love the Chickpea!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hotel Frontenac Yellow Pea Soup

Our family roots reach to Quebec where cold winters inspired this soup. The ingredients are usually on hand in the cupboard. Serve with crunchy croutons dropped in the soup just before serving. You can use either dried yellow peas or dried green peas.

Hotel Frontenac Yellow Pea Soup
Makes 6 Servings

2 cups dried yellow peas
8 cups chicken broth
2 cups carrot, diced
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup smoked ham, diced
1/2 teaspoon allspice
pinch of cloves
salt and pepper to taste
croutons, for garnish
  • Place the peas in the colander and rinse under running water. Transfer to a 5 1/2 quart Dutch oven. Add the chicken broth, carrots, onion, ham, allspice and cloves. Simmer for 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Ladle into soup bowls and top with croutons.