Friday, October 26, 2012

Tagliolini with Fish

Tagliolini is a long very thin spaghetti.   This is a pasta recipe using chopped tomatoes with fish and vegetables in a cream sauce.  Italian pasta is not about tomato sauce, oregano and cheese from a box.  It is fresh ingredients with freshly grated cheese (never on fish or seafood) and a variety of vegetables.  Pesto, cream sauces, butter, and olive oil are often used as sauces with pasta.  Pasta is simple, delicious, and prepared in minimal time.  Sauces cooked for hours are only for TV.
Tagliolini With Fish
300 g  or 1/2 lb. tagliolini
300 g  or 1/2 lb. freshwater fish (perch or 
100 g or 1 cup chopped tomatoes
100 g or 1 cup chopped vegetables (a 
                mixture of carrot, celery, 
                or onion)
2 Tablespoons cream
Handful of chopped parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Clean and fillet the fish.  Saute the vegetables in oil until softened.  Add the chopped tomatoes and cream to the vegetables: simmer for a few minutes.  Add the fish fillets and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.  Cook the pasta al dente in salted boiling water.  When done, drain the pasta (saving 1 /2 cup of the cooking water).  Place the pasta in a bowl and toss with sauce and serve.   Serves 4

Butternut Squash With Spinach Au Gratin

Yesterday I shopped at Trader Joe's.  The sampling was two of my favorite vegetables, butternut squash and spinach au gratin.  The offering was paired with a pork roast.  I can usually find a recipe and tweak it to what I think resembles the flavor I want when making the dish.   This is my offering.  
Serves 6
Butternut Squash and 
Creamed Spinach Au Gratin
1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach , stems discarded or 
   16 oz. frozen spinach, thawed  
2 1/2 to 3 Tablespoons butter, plus additional for   
   greasing the baking dish. 
3/8 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Rounded 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and 
Parmesan cheese for topping
If using fresh spinach, bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a 6 to 8 quart pot over high heat.  Add spinach a few handfuls at a time with tongs, until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes.  Drain in a colander and rinse under cool water.

Thoroughly squeeze cooked or frozen spinach in small handfuls to remove excess moisture, then coarsely chop and transfer to a bowl.

Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in an 8 inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, then cook onion until softened 3 to 5 minutes, add garlic and cook 1 minute more.  Add mixture to spinach along with salt and pepper, nutmeg, and cream; stir to combine. 

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 400 F.  Butter a shallow baking dish.  I used a 7 X 10 baking dish.

Cut squash to separate bulb section from solid neck section, then cut pieces lengthwise into lengthwise pieces into 1/8 inch thick slices or slicer.

Layer squash and spinach mixture in baking dish, using squash as bottom layer and ending as top layer, layering with three layers of squash and two layers of spinach.  Dot with  remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and sprinkle with cheese.  Cover with parchment or waxed paper.  Bake until squash is tender and bubbly 30 to 35 minutes depending on the thickness of the squash slice.  Check to make sure squash is fork tender.  Remove paper and bake until au gratin is browned in spots, 10 to 15 additional minutes or broil 3 inches from heat, 2 to 3 minutes.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Filert of Beef With Fennel And ALmond Sauce

This is another recipe I brought back from France.  Europeans have such a great repertoire of sauces to accompany meat dishes which makes their food so unique but simply delicious.  Again I have translated the recipe with a program on the computer.
Filet of Beef With Fennel Served With Almond Sauce
3 cloves garlic 
50 g blanched almonds
100 g green pitted olives
1 teaspoon capers
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
4 Tablespoon olive oil
Salt, pepper, chili powder
1/2 bouquet oregano
 1/2 bouquet basil
2 fennel bulbs
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon butter
2 bay leaves
Salt and Pepper
3/4 cup white wine
10 cherry tomatoes
4 slices of filet of beef
Sea salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Cracked pepper 
2 Tablespoons butter
2 sprigs rosemary

Peel and chop the garlic, chop the almonds and bake 45 minutes in  1 1/4 cup of water. Reduce then puree garlic, almonds, olives, capers and lemon juice in a blender. Gradually incorporate the device makes a pasty consistency. Add salt, pepper and a pinch of meeting chilli powder. Finely chop and add oregano and basil.

Preheat the oven to 425F. Clean and cut the fennel into thick slices or quarters. Heat the olive oil in a pan baking, brown the fennel 2 to 3 minutes sprinkle with sugar, stir briefly and let caramelize. Add the butter and bay leaves, salt and pepper. Deglaze pan with white wine. Place the pan in the middle of the oven and simmer vegetables covered for 1 hour. Wash and halve the tomatoes, leave out the fennel.

Meanwhile salt and brown the beef fillets 1 to 2 minutes on each side in a cast iron pan in olive oil on stove.   Pepper fillets, add the butter and rosemary. Finish cooking the meat over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes basting constantly with melted butter.

Let fillets stand a few minutes on a warm plate tented with foil.  Serve with fennel and sauce of olives and almonds. Accompany this dish with mashed potatoes or classic au gratin potatoes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lemon Tartlettes

This is a recipe I received in France.  It was written in French and I translated it with a computer program.
Lemon Tartlets 

100 g or 1 cup of powdered sugar
125 g or 3/4 cup of farina and a little flour to the dough down
100 g or 1 cup almonds, ground
30 g or 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
30 g or 1/4 cup dark chocolate 70%
150 g 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons cold butter and a little butter for molds
1 egg yolk
3 lemons
6 egg yolks
250 g or 2 cups of sugar
180 g or 3/4 cup creme fraiche

In a large bowl, mix the powdered sugar, use pinch of salt, flour, almonds and cocoa. Grate and add the dark chocolate. Cut the butter into mixture. Add the butter and egg yolk. Knead everything by hand. Form a ball of dough, Place in plastic wrap and refrigerate 60 minutes to chill dough.

Meanwhile rinse with warm water and dry lemons. Grate the zest and squeeze the juice. Place the egg yolks, sugar and creme fraich in a double boiler. Mix and heat in a water bath stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove the mixture from the water bath, pour into bowl and let cool completely cool. Stir from time to time.  Place a film of plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. (not convection).  Flour a working surface, roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Using a tart dish and a small knife, cut out circles in the dough . Butter tart dish and fit with circles of dough.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes to chill dough.  Place a piece of aluminum foil or parchment on dough and add pie weights or with dry beans. Bake the tart shells on the lower oven rack for 20 minutes. Remove the crusts from oven and remove the foil or parchment paper.  Pour the cream with lemon in baked shells and bake for 5 minutes more. Remove from oven and let tarts cool a few minutes. Delicately delicately unmold and sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Corn Chowder With Lobster

I found a one and one-half pound bag of lobster claws at Costco for 19.95.  All I could think of is a chowder or a Lobster Risotto (which I have already posted in February of this year).   I sought this recipe and believe you too will enjoy this dish.   My recommendation is to not use a baking potato as they do not keep their shape when cooked.
Corn Chowder With Lobster
1 1/2 or 2 lb. live lobster or lobster pieces
1 stalk celery
1 carrot
1 sprig fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
2 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups lobster or fish stock
1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups frozen kernel corn
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk or light cream
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place live lobster or lobster pieces in pot of boiling water.  Cook live lobster for 8 to 10 minutes.  Cook pieces according to sizes.  Ladle 5 cups of cooking water into a large saucepan.   Add celery, carrot, parsley, and bay leaf.  Remove meat from lobster and discard tomalley and coral.  Add shells to cooking water.  Slice lobster and refrigerate.  Bring cooking liquid to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to a simmer 1 1/2 hours.  Reserving broth, strain out and discard solids.  This can be done a day ahead and refrigerated. Measure out 3 cups for chowder.  Freeze any remaining liquid to use as fish stock in another recipe.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in onion, mustard and paprika.  Cook 2 minutes or until onion has softened.  Sprinkle with flour.  Stir until absorbed.  Slide pawn off heat.  Add cool stock in several batches, stirring until smooth before adding more.  Return to heat.
Add potatoes.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.  Cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until potatoes are tender.  Add corn and simmer 5 minutes or until hot.  Taste and add salt as needed.  Stir in milk and green onions.  Heat until very hot but do not boil.  Ladle into warmed soup bowls and top with sliced lobster.  Garnish with black pepper.
Serves 4

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms Served With Farro

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms Served With Farro
Our daughter Barbara sent this recipe to me.  We are fond of farro.   Our first experience eating the grain was at a visit with our oldest daughter and family.  We were happy to learn Costco often carries it.
One reminder I would like to add is; the gills of a portobella mushroom are bitter.  I use a grapefruit spoon to scrape the gills from the mushroom and then proceed with the preparation.

6  4-inch diameter portobello mushrooms, stemmed
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced (2 cups)
6 cloves garlic, minced (2 Tablespoons)
1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 lb. fresh baby spinach
4 oz. fresh goat cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons pine nuts
1 cup farro
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line a rimed baking sheet with parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray.  Spray mushroom caps with cooking spray, and sprinkle gill sides with salt and pepper, if desired.  Arrange mushrooms gill sides down on prepared baking sheet.  Roast 10 minutes or until mushrooms begin to soften.  Turn mushrooms over.
Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add leaks, garlic, and thyme, and sauté 4 minutes, or until leeks are tender.  Add 2 large handful spinach at a time, and cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until spinach is wilted and most liquid has evaporated, stirring often. 
Stir in cheese and pine nuts until cheese is melted.  Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper, if desired.  Fill mushrooms with spinach mixture mounding on top and mashing down with hands.  Bake 25 minutes or until filling browns on top and mushrooms are fork tender.
Cook farro in large sauce pan of boiling salted water for 20 minutes or until just tender, stirring occasionally.  Drain.  Transfer to large bowl.  Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, and remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.  To serve, spoon 1/2 cup farro mixture onto each plate; top with one stuffed mushroom.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ginger Marmalade or Ginger Jam

Cooking the ginger

My Finished Product.  Mom would be so proud!

Ginger Jam Or Ginger Marmalade

While visiting with my daughter recently, I was having Greek Yogurt for breakfast.  She brought a jar of Ginger Jam to the table and suggested I try it on my yogurt.  It was an amazing combination.  Since, I have returned home I have bought the ginger and sought the recipe.  I have the photo of the finished product.

Original recipe makes five 1/2 pint jars.

3 1/2 cups peeled fresh ginger
4 cups water
5 cups white sugar
1 (3 ounce) liquid pectin
5 half pint canning jars with lids and rings

Divide the ginger in halves, and chop into cubes;  shred the other half with the box grater or in a food processor using the shredding blade.  Total ginger should equal 3 cups.  Place the ginger into a large saucepan with water over medium heat, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover the pot and simmer the ginger until tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Add more water if needed to keep from drying out.   Pour the cooked ginger into fine-mesh strainer, drain, anad retain 1/2 cup of the ginger flavored water.  Place the cooked ginger in a bowl with the retained liquid, and cool at least 4 hours or overnight in refrigerator.

When ginger is thoroughly cooled, place into a large, heavy bottomed pot, and stir in the sugar; bring to a boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Stir in the pouch of liquid pectin, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 7 more minutes, skimming foam from the top of the marmalade.

Sterilize the canning jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes.  Pack the marmalade into the hot, sterilized jars, to within1/4 inch of the top.

Run a knife or a thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any of the air bubbles.  Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue.  Top with lids, and screw on rings.

Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill half way with water.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using s holder.  Leave a 2 inch space between the jars.  Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars.  Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 15 minutes. 

Remove the jars from the stockpotand place onto a cloth covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool.  Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all).  Store in a cool dark area.

This ginger marmalade is great on peanut butter toast or Greek yogurt.  It can also be used as a glaze for ham, sticky ribs or chicken, substituted for any jam in baking or as a dip for lamb instead of mint jelly.  I used the ginger that was available at the grocery store choosing the freshest ginger I could find.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin Bread With Dark Chocolate And Walnuts

Pumpkin Bread With Dark Chocolate And Walnuts
Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes (15 minutes active)
Servings: 2 loaves, 16 slices
4 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
15-ounce can pureed pumpkin
1 1/4 cups walnut oil (not toasted)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 generous teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground dry ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups dark chocolate chips
2 cups lightly toasted walnuts, plus more for decorating the top
1 cup dried cranberries (optional)
Heat the oven to 350 F. Coat 2 standard loaf pans with baking spray.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, both sugars, pumpkin and oil until smooth. In a second bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, ginger and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well. Fold in the chocolate chips, walnuts and cranberries, if using.
Fill each of the prepared loaf pans about three-quarters full with batter. Drop each on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle additional walnuts over the top of each loaf, using your hand to gently press them into the batter. Place the pans on a baking sheet to make it easier to pull out of the hot oven.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center of each loaf comes out clean. Let cool for at least 1 hour before slicing into thick chunks.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Soup

Roasting the vegetables in the oven brings out the nutty flavor of the vegetables.  Feel free to throw in just about any other vegetables you have lurking in your crisper drawer.
Start to finish: 1 hour (15 minutes active)
Servings: 6
2 large yellow onions, cut into wedges
2 medium zucchini, diced
2 medium summer squash, diced
4 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 quart low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
Sour cream or yogurt, to serve
Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, to serve
Heat the oven to 400 F.
In a large bowl, combine the onions, zucchini, summer squash, carrots and potatoes. Drizzle the vegetables with the oil, then sprinkle with salt, black pepper and the cumin. Toss to combine.
Spread the vegetables evenly over 2 rimmed baking sheets. Roast until tender and browned, 30 to 40 minutes.
Working in batches, transfer the vegetables to a blender and puree until smooth. For each batch, pour in a bit of the broth to help puree.
As each batch is pureed, remove any fibrous bits by pouring it through a mesh strainer and into a large saucepan. When all of the batches have been strained, set the saucepan over medium heat. Stir in any remaining broth and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, then ladle into bowls. Garnish with sour cream or yogurt and chopped herbs.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cumin Flavored Carrot Cream

This is a recipe from the Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School.  Notice the measurements are metric.  If this recipe sounds like something you want to try, make certain to use a site that can convert measurements. Serves 6


Cumin flavored carrot cream
350 g carrots
30 g butter
200 ml chicken stock
salt, pepper
ground cumin
150 ml whipping cream
- - - - - - - -
sugar, butter, salt
1 brick pastry (warka dough) or filo
butter, clarified
Creamy ricotta
150 g ricotta
50 ml milk
50 ml whipping cream
salt, pepper
1/4 bunch chervil
1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley
6 dried tomato skins (optional)*


  1. Cumin flavored carrot cream: Peel the carrots, remove the fibrous core. Using a melon baller, make 12 carrot balls and set aside. Finely slice the rest of the carrots, sweat in butter, add the chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper, add the cumin and cook well on a low heat. Blend after cooking, and then add the whipping cream. Keep warm.
  2. Place the carrot balls in a pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Pour in enough cold water so that the carrots are two-thirds immersed. Add the sugar and butter and season with salt. Cover with a parchment paper lid and cook over low heat until all the water has evaporated and the sugar and butter mixture is reduced to syrup. Roll the carrot balls around in syrup to produce a light glaze and evenly coat.
  3. Preheat the oven to 120 °C.
  4. Crisp: Cut 6 x 1 cm wide strips from the brick pastry sheet, brush with butter and wrap around a wooden chopstick. Bake in the oven until golden brown.
  5. Creamy ricotta: Combine the ricotta, milk and whipping cream and blend to a smooth consistency.
  6. To serve: Fill the six glasses with cumin flavored carrot cream. Top with a spoon or two of the creamy ricotta. Finish with a crisp and two carrot balls per glass. Decorate with chervil and parsley sprigs, and dried tomato skin if using.
*Dried tomato skin: Place tomato skins on a silicone mat and dry in an oven heated to 90°C for 2 hours.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Slow Cooked Baby Back Ribs

Today's recipe is from a friend of  several years who follows the blog and also enjoys cooking.  Both he and his wife are two people who enjoy great food with a good glass of wine.   I raise my glass and say cheers and Thank You BJM!


Purchase two (or more) packages of meaty Baby Back ribs.  Sear ribs on grill.  Remove and allow to cool to handle.  Place a sheet of Saran (or similar) Wrap on the counter, approx 1.5X the length of the rack.  Rub the ribs LIBERALLY with liquid smoke- on both sides.  Sprinkle the rack with your favorite rub (do not rub in), if desired.  Securely wrap the rack in the Saran Wrap.  Optionally, you can add an additional wrap of aluminum foil. Do the same process for the second and subsequent rib racks.
Set the oven to 180 degrees.  Place the ribs unwrapped on an oven broiling pan (to collect the drippings as the ribs cook).  Bake the ribs at 180 degrees for 5 1/2 to 6 hours.  Remove the ribs from the oven and place on a SIDED cookie sheet to cool.  At this point the cooked ribs can be refrigerated or frozen, to be finished later.
Transfer the ribs to the SIDED cookie sheet and liberally brush the racks with your favorite BBQ sauce.  Place the ribs directly on your grill at med-high temperature long enough to heat the rack and caramelize the sauce.  When finished, remove the ribs from the grill on the SIDED cookie sheet and serve with additional BBQ sauce.  Cut the rack in half, if desired.  The meat will fall off the bones.
Note: the SIDED cookie sheet and oven broiler pan are necessary to collect the grease which accumulates when cooking.  The end results are tender and moist ribs.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fillet Of Whitefish with Fresh Tomato Salad

Fillet of Whitefish With Fresh Tomato Salad
I found this recipe in the airline magazine on a flight recently.   It sounded different and I was curious about the seasoning applied to the fish before baking.  It turned out to be delicious.  My only drawback was I used Hake from Costco that had been frozen which leaves the fish a little chewy.  I hope to find fresh fish soon and try the recipe again as it is delicious.
Whitefish Fillets
4 Whitefish fillets, 5 ounces each
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and roughly crushed
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, roasted
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon raw sesame tahini paste plus olive oil to loosen
Preheat Broiler to 424F.  Brush all sides of fillets with olive oil.  Place the fillets, skin side down on a non-stick baking tray.  Mix together coriander, fennel, salt and pepper.  Sprinkle seasoning on flesh of fillets.  Roast 5 to 10 minutes under broiler.  Remove from heat and set aside.  When ready to serve, drizzle tahini in gentle drops over fillets.
Fresh Tomato Salad
1 1/2 lbs. ripe tomatoes, medium dice
1 small red onion, medium dice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro leaves chopped
4 mint sprigs, chopped
2 thyme sprigs, remove leaves from stem and chop
1 teaspoon chile pepper, chopped
1 small bunch arugula
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
Gently mix together tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, mint, thyme, chile pepper and arugula.  Mix together lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil.  Season lemon dressing with salt salt and pepper, to taste.  Toss tomato salad with dressing and serve with Whitefish fillets. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Nordstrom's Tomato Soup

Nordstrom's Tomato Soup


  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil, crushed
  • 3 28-ounce cans whole peeled Roma tomatoes
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. 1
    In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add carrots and onion and cook until beginning to soften, 10 minutes, then add basil and cook until vegetables are completely soft, about 5 minutes more.
  2. 2
    Add tomatoes and broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes, or up to 45 minutes if time permits.
  3. 3
    After allowing soup to cool somewhat, purée in a blender or food processor until smooth, doing so in batches if necessary. For a much silkier texture, strain the purée before returning to the pot.   Stir in cream little by little over over low heat, until desired texture is reached and soup is just heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve warm