Friday, June 4, 2010

Poached Eggs with Parmesan and Smoked Salmon Toasts

I'm leaving for France in just a few days. I have been sitting at work for the past month day dreaming about this long awaited trip. My sons will be staying with a family in Lyon, as I travel around Provence. I had to include a week long cooking school, lots of details when I return. So before I finish packing I leave you with a recipe created by one of my favorite French chefs, Jean Georges Vongerichter. I would be delighted to eat this for breakfast or as an appetizer of course!

  • 4 slices of sourdough bread

  • Olive oil

  • grated Parmesan

  • 2 ounces of smoked salmon

  • 4 eggs

Pre heat oven to 425. Fill skillet with water, bring to a boil. Brush bread slices with olive oil, bake for about 6 to 8 minutes till nicely toasted. Cut into narrow slices. Sprinkle toast with Parmesan. Bring boiling water down to a simmer. Break eggs one at a time into small bowls. Pour 1 egg into the simmering water.(Perhaps you can poach all 4 eggs at once...I'm not that talented). Cook about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer egg to paper towels, repeat with remaining eggs. To serve place 1 egg in a warm bowl. Serve with Parmesan toast fingers wrapped with smoked salmon.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Scallops with Blackberry Chipotle Sauce

Some of my best recipes come from sitting in a doctor's office waiting for an appointment that should have happened an hour earlier. As we approach Memorial weekend I guess I should be posting appetizers such as little wieners wrapped in crescent rolls or some kind of slider that we are all so over. Well I decided to be very non traditional and post an easy and delicious scallop dish served with a blackberry chipotle sauce. You decide the heat factor. I think I was a little too generous with the chipotles. My 13 year old son, who just happens to be the biggest food snob you ever met, came home from school yesterday thrilled to discover scallops sizzling on the stovetop. He immediately shoved the largest scallop topped with a TON of chipotle sauce into his mouth. He soon began tearing up, shoving a frozen Three Musketeers bar in his mouth just to cool things off. (I'm laughing as I type this just thinking about it hee hee). When everything cooled off he said, "mom..better than a restaurant!"
  • 2 small containers of blackberries
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons of honey
  • 2 to 3 tsp of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped fine(my son's reaction was due to the fact that I doubled this part of the recipe.I thought to myself, "I bought this big can of chiles..why not throw more in..they are only going to go to waste..")
  • olive oil
  • 1 pound of large dry scallops, patted dry
  • salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley for garnish

Mix blackberries, lemon zest, juice, honey and chipotle chiles in a small bowl.Preheat skillet over high heat.Drizzle pan with olive oil. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Sear scallops in hot pan about 2 minutes per side. Remove from pan and keep warm. In same pan add blackberry mixture. Cook for about 5 minutes until berries start to break down. Serve scallops topped with blackberry sauce, garnish with parsley. Enjoy the long weekend.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sweet Potato Hash Browns

Just whipped up a batch of these a few minutes ago. Why I never thought of exchanging sweet potatoes for baked...not really sure. The serving your staring at, was gobbled up with our greasy little fingers in a matter of seconds. The recipe comes from Frank Stitt, a popular chef in Birmingham Alabama. Chef Stitt serves these hash browns with strip steak, I had roasted chicken in mind.
  • 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 6 ounces of thick bacon sliced into about 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 pound of diced sweet onions
  • 2 Tb parsley
  • 2 Tb diced chives
  • 1 ts thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place cubed potatoes in boiling water for about 4 minutes. Cook bacon in large pan till brown. Remove with slotted spoon and place on paper towels. At this point I removed about 1/2 of the bacon grease. Add diced onions, cooking for about 15 minutes till nicely browned. Once onions have browned add drained potatoes. Continue cooking till potatoes begin to brown. Add bacon, mixing well. As dish comes together sprinkle with parsley, chives and thyme, seasoning with salt and pepper. Will I ever look at hash browns the same way?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Celery Root and Caramelized Pear Soup

Who would think a vegetable as ugly as celery root could be transformed into something as beautiful as this bowl of soup? The first time I tasted celery root or celeriac was in Paris many years ago. The dish was celeri remalade, basically matchsticks of celery root tossed with flavored mayonnaise. I found celeriac's flavor combination of celery and parsley really tasty . The other night I was enjoying the soup with friends and I learned that my star vegetable, celeriac was actually mentioned in Homer's Odyssey, now I know Ive convinced you to get passed its rough exterior.

  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of sliced onion
  • 1/4 cup of sliced celery
  • 1/4 cup of thinly sliced leek, white part only, reserve green section for bouquet garni
  • 2 garlic cloves finely diced
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped celery root(from about 3 small peeled celery roots)
  • 1 small peeled, chopped potato
  • 3 bosc pears, peeled cored and cut into medium dice . about 1 cup, don't throw out skins
  • 5 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves, 5 sprigs parsley and 2 springs thyme wrapped with a strip of the leek top and tied with kitchen string
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large pot. Add the celery, onions and leeks, saute about 7 minutes till softened. Add the garlic. Add the celery root, potato, pear skins, chicken stock and bouquet garni. Bring the liquid to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, stir, reduce heat and cover. Cook at a simmer till all the vegetables are tender, this took about 35 minutes. Now let the soup cool down a bit . Place the soup in a blender or food processor. (Put about a 1/3 of the soup in the processor at a time...working slowly). It was a bit too thick, so I added another cup of chicken broth.Season with salt and pepper and cover. Now on to the caramelized pear topping. In a saute pan warm honey. Wait for honey to bubble and turn brown, this took about 4 minutes. Now toss in the rosemary sprig and diced pears. I added a pinch of sugar as my pears were not quite ripe. Toss the pears around until they are soft and glazed. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.When serving place about 1 cup of soup in a bowl, a spoonful of the pear goes right in the center. Drizzle the pears lightly with the balsamic sauce from the bottom of the saute pan. Serve

Note:This is an Alfred Portale recipe. I have tweaked it a bit. He suggests straining the soup through a fine mesh strainer, sorry I'm too lazy for that step. He also recommends adding 2 tablespoons of butter after the soup has been pureed for added richness. Sorry I'm too fat for that step. I thought the soup was delicious without the added butter. If you add the butter, let me know if it made a big difference.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Belgian Endive with Smoked Salmon and Mustard Sauce

So I was in Trader Joe's the other day and came across these green and purple endives. I always thought of endive as cream colored with bitter leaves. Am I the only person who always assumed that endives were always pale green? Endive spears are fun to fill with an assortment of ingredients.In the pass we have enjoyed topping the endive off with avocado mousse or blue cheese mixed with cream cheese. I had some smoked salmon in the fridge so this is what I came up with.Its a simple hors d'oeuvre that for whatever reason seems to impress.

Mustard Sauce

1/4 cup Dijon
2 ts vegetable oil
1 ts white wine vinegar
1 ts brown sugar
3/4 ts fresh dill

1/2 pound thinly sliced smoked salmon
4 heads Belgian endive separated, bottoms trimmed
1 tablespoon drained capers

I cut this recipe in half and it was just enough for a group of 6 friends for a tasty appetizer.

Whisk mustard ingredients together, cover and refrigerate. Cut smoked salmon into small strips. Place the salmon on the endive leaf towards the base. Drizzle with the mustard sauce and a few capers.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Fig and Blue Cheese Appetizer Tarts

I don't think Ive purchased a can of refrigerated Pillsbury crescent rolls in over 10 years.I remember wrapping the strips of dough around mini hot dogs. Back then whatever I made in the kitchen everyone was so easily impressed. Now the bar is WAY higher, I miss those days....Anyway apparently Pillsbury has this bake off every year. The winner gets flown to Orlando, and are you ready? They get a counter top microwave oven. If I'm flying to another state to present one of my brilliant creations you better have more than a microwave oven waiting for me. Maybe a microwave oven filled with cash.

So this one gal from Quakertown Pa, Nadine Clark, came up with a very tasty appetizer. The figs pulled me in of course, the end result.. delicious.

  • 3 ounces of softened cream cheese (one of those mini blocks is perfect)

  • 2/3 cup crumbled blue cheese

  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  • 1 cup of dried figs, coarsely chopped

  • 1 can(10.1 ounces)Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat over to 350. Mix cream cheese and blue cheese in a small bowl.

In a small saucepan add marmalade and vinegar over a low heat. Add chopped figs when when vinegar and marmalade are well mixed. Cook for about 8 minutes, stiring occasionally. Remove from heat .

Wack crescent roll can, remove dough from package, DON'T unroll.Cut dough roll into about 14 pieces. Place dough pieces onto ungreased cookie sheets.Using your thumb make indentation in the center of each dough piece. Place a teaspoon of cheese mixture into the center of the dough. Top with a tablespoon of the fig mixture, sprinkle with chopped pecans.Bake for about 15 minutes till golden brown, serve warm.These were really delicious. Next time Ill try the topping on a crostini, Im always looking for the crunch factor. I had the fig mixture scooped on top of some steel cut oatmeal the following day, oh my. I think Pillsbury may have a winner.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Asparagus Pesto

I'm always looking for new and creative ways to use asparagus this time of year. Saw this pesto idea as I was waiting for a doctors appointment the other day. I tweaked it a tad, and we all loved it.Its a great appetizer served with matzo for Passover or spread on crostini for Easter. Either way it screams 'SPRING HAS ARRIVED.'Should you have any pesto left over, toss with pasta.

  • 1 pound of fresh asparagus (ends removed)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 1/3cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • about 1/2 tsp. salt

Cook asparagus in boiling water for about 4 minutes, drain and rinse in cold water. Chop asparagus, reserving 2 tips for garnish. Place asparagus,cheese, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt in food processor. Process till smooth about 1 minute, scraping down sides as needed.Serve with favorite crackers, happy spring.