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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Perfect Combination





Half plain smoked and half hot smoked wings with a delicious caesar salad just drippin' with anchovies and garlic. This was the perfect combination of flavors. Any questions----------- let me know. You have to try this.

Tri-Colored Stuffed Peppers




Saturday, June 27, 2009

Another Great Minestrone


This is Colin's Minestrone done from this recipe. Looks like he did a great job.




This is my favorite soup. Like the old saying ' there's atin' and drinkin' on it'. What a great expression. Moore Street english and as colourful as can be.

Phyllis makes a great minestrone I hear.

2 tbsp. olive oil1-2 cloves garlic, chopped1 lg. diced onion 2 c. diced potatoes1 c. diced celery1 c. sliced zucchini4 c. chicken broth or water2 c. peeled tomatoes (I use a mixture of canned and fresh) 1 can cannellini or northern beans steeped the night before.1/2 lb. dried spaghetti broken in pieces
1 small ham hock if you have it.
Chopped parsley & basil

Fresh ground pepper

Sauté garlic and onion. Add celery, carrots then add zucchini and stir a few minutes. . Cook on a high to medium heat for about 5-10 minutes then add peeled tomatoes and the steeped beans. Its important to maintain heat during the cooking process so that you don't end up with a pot of boiled vegetables.
Add a small amount of plain flour and stir in. Add broth and 2 cups of water, bring to boil then simmer until vegetables are almost ready. Add pepper and salt to taste. Add broken spaghetti and potatoes. Cook 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle grated cheese on each serving. Makes 6 servings.



Tips:
Add a little tomato paste for color and flavor.
Do not over cook the potatoes or the spaghetti. Time them so everything will finish cooking together.
Add chopped garlic when the soup is cooked to revive the garlicky taste.
If you have a slow cooker then finish the cooking in it.
Important to maintain heat during the cooking process so that you don't end up with a pot of boiled vegetables.
This soup, like so many others, is best served the next day.

'

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pan Bagnat.






































































































A specialty of Nice in the South Of France.

This is a fantastic dish and is very popular in Nice. It is a variation on a Nicoise Salad. You get what they call a soup bread bowl, cut off the top and scoop out the insides. Then you assemble all the ingredients for a salad nicoise ( recipe somewhere on this blog I think ) and you build your salad in this bread bowl; preferably french bread it is lighter than the sourdough. First you brush the inside of your bowl with pesto which is ground basil mixed with olive oil for this purpose, then you toss your greens in a garlic shallot dressing and place them in the bottom of the bowl.

Then you build the ingredients of the nicoise salad on top of the greens finishing with the tuna and the anchovies.

You can then eat your salad out of the bowl or place the lid on top, slice it down the middle and eat it like a sandwich.

Here are the basic ingredients you would use for a pan bagnat but I encourage you to use your imagination by using things like sprouts, raw mushrooms, radishes or anything else that takes your fancy.

Here are the most typically used ingredients:

Mixed greens

Hard boiled eggs quartered
Tomato quartered
Sliced cucumber
Scallions
Sliced sweet pepper ( red or green , very fresh )
Greek Olives,
Tuna
Anchovy
Capers
.
For the dressing:
red wine vinegar
cup olive oil

salt and pepper

1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard 2 garlic cloves, crushed
Mix to taste



Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Paul Bocuse In Palm Springs 1992.



















Those were the days.
This is in response to Dor's comment:
I hadn't thought of a back-story to this photo but I suppose there is one.
For those unfamiliar with Paul Bocuse; he is the founder of the new culinary movement dating back to the 1970's. They called it nouvelle cuisine but it was much more than that. Nouvelle Cuisine later became an excuse for flimsy presentations and outrageous abuses.
There was much more to this new approach to cooking, presentation and accent on fresh and first class product. In the long run the positives outweighed the negatives but it took a few painful years to reach that point.
The culinary scene had become stagnant with the same dishes on all the same menus in all the hotels and restaurants in the world. There was very little imagination and very little innovation in the world of cooking. The emphasis was on technique rather than new ideas. Once you knew how to read the repertoire and had all the basic skills then the only thing left to do was to refine those skills so you were better than everyone else.
Paul Bocuse and a couple of other french chefs brought in new concepts as to how food should not only be cooked but also served and thus revolutionized the industry. Their main theme was a lighter fare, great emphasis on fresh product and the local market as well as different presentations. Meats and fish were placed on top of sauces so they could be seen. Vegetables were cooked properly and color became a big part of the presentation. Sauces became lighter in general. Dishes went to the guest already plated so the waiter would only have to serve, thus eliminating any side work like flambéing or carving. Things were greatly simplified and the guest was better served in the long run. A new energy was brought in to the industry and from that energy and innovation we have the celebrity chefs that we have today. Before Bocuse the chef and his staff were never seen outside of the kitchen.
Unfortunately after a few years and despite all the best intentions things got out of hand and the whole thing collapsed under its own weight. Presentations and portions became more and more outlandish and miniscule as less experienced chefs started to get into this new wave. However, the ideas remained and the emphasis on new and exciting products and techniques are still with us. The abuses are gone now for the most part and the end result is that the whole culinary world has been left better off.
Without these innovators there would not be the great interest in food and wine that there is in the USA today. Restaurants all over the world would not be vying with the same enthusiasm to be number one. The days before this it was always the same ones who got the glory: Maxims in Paris for instance. Now the field is much more democratic.
The irony of the whole thing is that the country where things have not changed all that much is France. This country is steeped in tradition and regional and interesting cuisine and I don’t think it will ever change. For my money, it shouldn’t change.
Bocuse is now 82 years old and is still in his restaurant in Lyon. We ate there in the ‘70’s. It was a big event eating in Bocuse’s restaurant in those days and we all dressed appropriately for the occasion. I still have the original bill and menu that we all signed. If I can find it I will post it. The meal cost over a thousand francs which was a lot of money in those days.
In spite of the great movement Bocuse’s own menus stayed very conservative in part because in Lyon you don’t mess with food too much, people know how to eat and they don’t want any gimmicks.
I first met Paul Bocuse in 1974 in Lyon and have worked with him on several occasions since. This was one of those occasions.
He was always very kind to me. I think he thought it was a great novelty to see an Irishman who knew french cuisine and spoke his language. We got along very well and we did a series of events in the hotel in Palm Springs featuring a buffet of specialties from Lyon and ending in a dinner for the press and dignitaries. He was very surprised to see the specialties from Lyon. I was very familiar with the cuisine of the region as I had spent a lot of time there.
After all the festivities were over there was a press conference with him answering questions. I was standing off to the side when one of the journalists asked him what made a good restaurant. He ran down through the décor, the service and then he caught my eye and called me over in front of the press. He told them that the most important thing was a good chef who only bought the highest quality products and knew how to use them. He said that he had been in a lot of hotels and restaurants but that he had been most impressed with the cleanliness and the professionalism he found in mine. Needless to say this was high praise indeed from such an icon of the industry.
Later when I invited Roger Verge, another icon of the time, to do an event in the hotel Verge called Bocuse to see if he should accept.
Bocuse told him not to worry about anything and he should go.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pork Wiener Schnitzel.


Pork chop cut in half and pounded flat then breaded, fried in olive oil and drizzled with hot caper and lemon butter.
The original of this dish is made with a veal escalope but in the very same way. There are many variations on this dish with anchovies, fried egg and a few others. They were very popular in the '60's and '70's until the new trends came in and now they are rarely seen in good restaurants.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saved!




Pickled eggs back on the menu again.

Cabbage, Bacon And Sausage Soup.






1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
big pinch of salt
1/2 pound potatoes, skin on, cut 1/4-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 cups stock or water
1 1/2 cups white beans, steeped overnight
1/2 medium cabbage, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch ribbons
3 large carrots peeled and sliced
A couple of rashers of streaky bacon cut into two or four pieces.
More good-quality extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Warm the olive oil and the bacon pieces in a large thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and cabbage. Cover and cook until they are a bit tender, about 5 minutes - it's o.k. to uncover to stir a couple times. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute or two then add the cabbage. Add the stock, the beans and the sliced sausage. Bring the pot to a simmer. Finally add the potatoes and allow to cook. Adjust the seasoning - getting the seasoning right is important or your soup will taste flat and uninteresting. Taste and add more salt if needed, the amount of salt you will need to add will depend on how salty your stock is (varying widely between brands, homemade, etc)...
Serve drizzled with a bit of olive oil and a generous dusting of cheese.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Pickled Eggs

They're all gone! Will have to make some more. This time I will try to wait to eat them. They were really good as an appetizer with a nice scotch and soda.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Minted Summer Tajine Of Lamb, Onions And Squash.




Wonderful summer Tajine of Lamb, onions and squash with fresh mint.

Fresh Tomato Soup





Messy to make but great to eat.
INGREDIENTS

INGREDIENTS

Slice or two of smoked streaky bacon\
2 lb. Fresh tomatoes with equal quantity of canned tomatoes with juice.
4 oz. Tomato paste
One medium sized Onion
I large Carrot
I stalk of Celery
2 Bay leaves
Couple of branched of thyme
½ head of Garlic
4 to pints of chicken broth or water
Olive oil for cooking.
Approximately half a cup of all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper
White sugar to taste
Slice the bacon into strips, cut the vegetables into small pieces. Chop the garlic vegetables roughly .
Strain the juice out of the canned tomatoes and keep the juice to add to the soup.
Heat the olive oil in a stockpot or large pot. Add the bacon and simmer until you get that smoky perfume. Add the vegetables to this and cook for a few minutes. Add the chopped garlic with the bay leaf. Allow to infuse until you have a rich garlic vegetable infusion.
Add the tomato and allow to cook for a few minutes. When done add a dash of white wine vinegar and cook out. Add the tomato paste. You should have a very messy tomato mix by now.
Add a handful of flour and stir. Cook for a few minutes. Add your stock and bring to a boil. If mix is too thick add more stock.
Cook the soup for an hour or so and then add some white sugar to taste. Strain the soup through a strainer. Correct the seasoning and you’re done. You can also add more garlic at this point.
You may need to do this a couple of times to get it right. Make notes as you are doing it so that you can review your methods and make any changes for next time.
You should end up with a delicious tomato soup with a slight back taste of smoky bacon.
Finish with cream when serving.

A couple of things you can add to this to give it an extra lift is: cumin seeds for a slight oriental flavor and sweet paprika for a little spice. You can also add jalapenos to the cooking process. I will usually add some small dried mild peppers, as I do to almost every soup I make.
Remember recipes are just guides. Don’t be slave to them. If you see a dish needs more of a certain item then go ahead and add it. Personal taste and preferences come well before the written recipe.
Any questions let me know.

On Top Of Old Smoky









Smoked and barbequed double pork chop with smoked butternut squash and tomatoes. I added some mango salsa and some rice to this and it was delish. More anon.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Some Offerings From The Open Market Today.






Good stuff today. Vine tomatoes for .99 cents a pound. I got a full ripe mango for .50 cents and a fennel bulb for .54 cents.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Baked Marinated Cod With Braised Salad Onions And Risotto






The final product here looks a bit of a mess but it was very good. I should have used a bigger plate and separated the components. The risotto did not help tidy things up at all. In any event it was very good.
This is a method of cooking fish that we used very often with whole fish in the Mediterranean. The fish is marinated in garlic, olive oil, thyme, white wine, bay leaf and peppers. It is then roasted in a very fast oven and served immediately.You can use any type of fish but a firm fleshed fish works the best because it takes longer to cook and you get more flavor.
I have never seen these onions anywhere else but here in Oregon. Maybe I wasn't paying attention. There is an onion here in the northwest called the ' walla walla' and it is very sweet. You can almost eat it like an apple. I think this one belongs to the same family. I started it in a very hot pan to give it some color and then turned the heat down and braised it for a little while. I added some vinegar and let it reduce down and then added white wine , oil and tomato to finish it off in the oven on a medium heat.