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Tom Yum Koong - Thai Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup

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Pan Fried Dover Sole aka Sole Meunière

It’s said that this classic French dish is what created Julia Child’s life long passion for French cuisine.

It is very good and it's flawless in its simplicity and attention to detail. It uses copious amounts of clarified butter and is finished with brown butter. Add some lemon juice, salt, pepper and fresh parsley and there you have it. As always, I suggest you prepare the classic dish and taste it before you start to change it around.


I wanted to try and create a slightly healthier version utilizing a plant based butter and EVOO. I really didn’t know if it would work, but I have to say I was very happy with the results.

As I had some really lovely capers on hand, I added those, which made this more of a fish piccata, but cooking is about experimenting.

Since there are so few ingredients, it’s very important to use the freshest you can find. If you can’t find Dover sole, which can be tough  then a good substitute is Pacific Dover sole. It’s not actually sole, not from Dover, obviousl…

Bagna Cauda Pasta

This is simple to make and ready in minutes. Packed with flavor and so satisfying. I’ve adjusted the recipe so that really works well over pasta.

There are so many recipes for bagna cauda and it is commonly used in Italy as a dip for raw vegetables. It translates as "hot bath". It is wonderful as a dip, but over pasta, it think it’s incredible. It’s an umami bomb.


The only critical steps are to use the best possible ingredients, as there are not many and to finish the pasta in the saucepan with a bit of pasta water to really coat the pasta and create a creamy texture.

Finally, as it is an oil/butter based sauce, I think a long thin pasta is a better choice.

Ingredients

3 Tbsp Butter
5 cloves Garlic, smashed
1/4 cup Onions, finely minced.
2 Oz tin of flat Anchovies in Olive Oil
Splash of White Wine
Juice and zest of one medium Lemon.
Chili Flakes to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper
1 lb Spaghetti or Linguine
1 Tbsp fresh chopped ParsleyFreshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Begin by starting your …

Cannellini Beans ala Marcella Hazan

I'm a bit obsessed with the beans now for two reason. Firstly, the beans I ordered from Rancho Gordo in Napa are so good, and secondly, the weather has taken a turn and become very cold, so these sorts of foods just beg to be made.
The creamy texture of these beans is wonderful. It’s a simple recipe, but takes some planning. However, the results are well worth the time. 

This is not Marcella's exact recipe as she calls for sage and frankly, I'm not a big fan. However, if you are a fan, feel free to substitute sage for the thyme.
I’m a big believer in soaking the dried beans for at least 4-6 hours or overnight. I like to use a heavy cast iron pan like Le Creuset to do the soaking, so I can go right to the stove top without any bother. 
And, I do add salt to the soaking water and I don’t discard the soaking water. I know this is heresy for some people, but I’ve had good results. I think the article below is well worth a read. 
https://www.seriouseats.com/2016/09/salt-beans-cookin…

Marlow and Son’s Butterbeans, Garlic Confit and Preserved Tomatoes

I first saw this recipe in Bon Appetit and was fascinated. It used interesting ingredients combined in a unique way and I had to try it. The recipe was given in response to an email from BA writer to Marlow chef Patch Troffer, but the recipe had no measurements and timing. After making it, I adjusted a few things and added quantities and timing and was very happy with the results. I ordered my dried beans from Rancho Gordo in Napa and they were excellent.

To make it spectacular, you really do need to make the garlic confit and preserved tomatoes. They aren’t hard to make, but set aside a bit of time. Make a full recipe and then use the rest for other dishes.
Garlic Confit
3 heads of Garlic, peeled and left whole.  3/4-1 cup Olive Oil  4 springs fresh Thyme  2 Bay Leaves 2 dried Chili Peppers

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and cook on barest simmer for 1-2 hours. (This broad cooking time is due to the fact that some garlic has more moisture than others). You’ll want the cloves to be s…

Bhindi Masala

There are so many recipes for this dish, but basically they all have a few commonalities. Onion, ginger and garlic purée and tomato base with additional ground spices. The names okra, bhindi and lady fingers are used interchangeably. 


Some recipes include an additional step of precooking the bhindi/okra in half the oil and setting it aside. I can understand this, as it keeps the okra from getting slimy, which was a frequent concern in the recipes I read. I was lucky in that my okra was very fresh, so I didn’t have that issue. Bottom line, if you are at the market and all the South Asian customers are buying okra, it is likely very fresh. 

Additionally, many recipes called for adding something acidic to keep the okra from going slimy. I felt lemon juice would work well, and was happy with the results.

One additional note. Many recipes called for using cumin seeds. As I had literally just run out, I substituted black mustard seeds. It tasted fine, but I think the cumin seed would have been…

Oven Roasted Salmon

This has to be one of the easiest and best tasting recipes I have. I developed it so I could always pull together a healthy dinner in a few minutes and then have beautiful cold salmon leftovers for the next day.

All you need is a nice piece of fresh salmon and a few basic spices. The real key is to get the oven very hot, so it sears the outside of the salmon and locks in the juices.



Ingredients 

2 lb filet of Fresh Salmon, skin on is best, but not essential.
Celery Salt
Dill Weed
Roasted Garlic Powder
Freshly ground Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Butter
Parchment Paper

Preheat your oven to 550F. Take your parchment paper and put it onto a 1/2 sheet baking pan and lay your salmon onto the paper.



Melt your butter and brush it onto the salmon filet. Sprinkle on your spices to taste and bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon. Remove and allow it to rest for 3 minutes before serving. It goes well with the seafood rice pilaf I featured in an earlier post.



Note: All of these spices can be…