Blogger Glitch

I don't know why Blogger/Blospot decided to recycle a whole mess of posts in their RSS feed but for those interesting in history you will be able to read a bunch of posts from 2005/6 easily.

Enjoy - - or delete.

Beef Roast & Caramelized Onions

The concept was pretty simple: caramelize the onions and bake the meat in with the onions surrounding it.

Recipe below. But first, some pics.

Take 3 onions (medium):

Julienne thinly [long, thin, slices]

Put oil in a pan; use a bunch., cover the bottom. It's olive oil so it's good for you (Mediterranean diet and all that).

Decide that 3 onions are too many and only use two.
Sauté slowly over medium heat to extract the starches/sugars and get them good and brown (see below). This could take up a half an hour. Stir less often than you are inclined to.

Nice chunk of meat. it's obviously grainy so will need to cook slowly. Probably 125C [250F] instead of the usual 175C.

And cook it in liquid. In this case wrap it in lots of aluminum foil to cook it in its own juices. The onions will be in the packet too to add fluid and flavour.

Brown the meat in a frying pan. Really well.

This is not burnt, it's browned; really well browned. Remember, it's going to be wrapped in foil while baked and won't colour any further.

These are the onions, carmalized. Nice and coloured and sweetened.

Only oil and a touch of salt.

After an hour and a half in the oven (at 125C - or lower), wrapped, with the caramelized onions and 2 cloves (whole) of garlic, it looks like this when unwrapped.


Beef Roast & Caramelized Onion

  • ½ kg onions, julienne [1#] [long thin strips]
  • olive oil, generous
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ kg stewing beef (alito de añejo) [1#]
  • 1 C white wine (for deglazing the pans)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled & slightly crushed
  1. Sauté [fry] onions over medium heat for a long long time (30 minutes), until quite browned
    • Add a little salt towards the end
  2. Meanwhile, brown the meat very well, both sides and the edges
    • Deglaze the meat pan with ½ C dry white wine
    • Reduce almost completely and pour into the onions
  3. Finish deglazing the pan onion pan with a ½ C of dry white wine
    • Reduce
  4. Place half the onions on a large sheet of aluminum foil
  5. Top the onions with the meat
  6. Top the meat with the other half of the onions
  7. Top these onions with 2 smushed cloves of garlic
  8. Wrap the foil package up and seal the edges
  9. Stick it in the oven at 125C [250F] leave it there for 1½ hours
  1. Internal temp of the beef will be 65C when it's more or less done [150F] - then leave it to stew in its own juices for at least 10 minutes.
  2. When browning the meat, put it in the pan and leave it alone. Let the heat do its work. I, for example, left it on high heat for 1 full minute each side. It initially sticks to the pan but more or less releases once it's good and toasty.
  3. It's stewing beef so low slow cooking in fluids is the trick to getting this to tenderize
  4. The onions will start to turn brown (caramelize) and stick to the bottom of the pan after their water has evaporated; so, for the first half of the time you're softening and cooking them and it's only during the second part that any browning actually happens.
  5. Degalzing the pans gets the stuff that sticks to the pan to release and lets you uses these flavours in the rest of the dish- and it makes the pan much easier to clean later (no scrubbing)
  6. Reducing the "sauces" made when deglazing concentrates the flavours and evaporates most of the alcohol from the wine; preventing any "winey" acidic alcohol taste.
  7. On reflection the oven temp could have been even lower and the time even longer (100C for 2 hours maybe [210F])
When I tasted this dish I realized that I'd more or less duplicated, by (fortunate) accident, a dish that my mother used to make; some sort of onion-beef stew. But she didn't wrap it in foil and browned the onions less; and she certainly didn't use the white wine part of the recipe. There would have probably been a laurel leaf in it and flour to thicken the "gravy". I shall have to give her a call and see what the old family recipe was. Mom, if you're reading this drop us a line. maybe pull out the good old The Pillsbury Cookbook probably a 1960's edition) and see if I'm close to being right.

Tomorrow's Post

Tomorrow's post will be about today's dinner.

Which has already been prepared and has several photos. But I'm too pooped to write a whole post about it right now.

In case youér wondering that's caramelized onions covering a chuk of beef.

Sea Bass: Lubina

No fancy plated presentation for this pic. This is just the fish, as is, in the pan; after it's been sitting for a while.

Regular readers will note a similarity to a prior post about fish in tomato sauce. I just happen to like it. This disproves a theory that the family has that I never repeat a dish in the course of a year. True, this is not exactly the same since it uses a lubina instead of cod and a whole fish instead of fillets and, come to think of it, the sauce is shallot-based instead of onions… oh never mind - maybe they're right.

Yesterday's tomato sauce got used to do a dead-simple dish. That is, the fish was dead and the simple part was that no fancy anything was done to it; no filleting or anything - just the whole fish as it came from the shop.

Recipe: Take a fish and put it in tomato sauce over low heat for about 5 minutes a side.

= = = Done = = =

It's basically a poached fish but poached in tomato sauce (homemade sauce, I hope).

It's low fat, low cal, low salt, low carb - -just plain good for you (and good tasting too).

It "holds" well in the sauce, easy to keep warm for quite a while; and the longer you wait the more the fish flavour enhances the tomato sauce.

Otters, Vancouver Aquarium

Two otters holding hands in the pool, okay, they're otters so it should be "paws", while asleep. And at the aquarium of my old home town to boot. Watch 'til the end.

Not food related. Just a peek under the kimono of my personality. Yes, I confess, I sometimes like "cute".

Found on Reddit

Simple Tomato Sauce: Sofrito - With a Touch of France

I'm cooking a fish, Lubina [sea bass], for dinner tonight and wanted a tomato sauce to go with it. Here's a simple simple one that beats the canned/jarred/boxed sauces all to hmmm. Normally this sauce uses onions but I had some shallots nearing the end of their shelf life and decided to do this "french" touch to use them up before it was too late. The tomatoes too were starting to get mushy so the decision to make tomato sauce was somewhat more forced than planned.

There's about 8½ minutes actual work in this sauce, including cleaning up. So it's no big deal.

  • ¼ C olive oil, virgin
  • 8 shallots, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 kg tomatoes, fresh, chopped [2#]
  • salt
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 C dry white wine
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded
  1. Chop shallots, brunoise
  2. Oil into the bottom of a pan, medium high heat
  3. Add shallots, lower heat and sauté for 5 or 10 minutes; until translucent; stirring occasionally
  4. Meanwhile, smash and mince garlic
  5. Add to shallots; sauté; avoid browning/burning them; stirring occasionally
  6. Meanwhile, chop tomatoes somewhat at random
  7. Add to shallots & garlic, a good lick of salt & the sugar
  8. Stir around
  9. Simmer on low for 30 minutes
  10. Open the box of wine and have a glass (just one)
  11. Add wine to tomato stuff
  12. Crank heat up to high to get things up to temp then reduce to simmer on low for 3 hours
    • Covered, with the lid slightly askance
    • Adding a little wine if it threatens to get dry (but it won't)
  13. Stirring every 30 minutes for about 2 seconds
    • Finally, it will be saucy thickness
  14. Now you're done but you can remove the red pepper and run it through a passapuree (vegetable mill), or use a blender or stick mixer to smooth it out (I know I will)
  1. Use really good olive oil, and be generous, because it's not just for frying up the shallots and garlic but is part of the food aspect of this sauce.
  2. The shallots should sizzle when they first hit the pan; then reduce the heat to avoid browning too quickly.
  3. You'll see a change at some point in the shallots where they (suddenly?) reduce in volume. This means (I think) that you've broken down the cells, released the juices and that the liquid has started to evaporate. That's when to add the garlic.
  4. Let things sit in the pan and let the fire do its work. One thing the separates the pros from the amateurs/enthusiasts is the ability to leave things alone and let the food and the fire do their thing
I make sofrito a lot and you'll find mentions of it in this blog in several places

Gallo Turresilano; Rooster

A little update to clarify about the laurel and a tweak to the instructions about oil
Know your food.



We were in Tordesillas, province of Valladolid, region of Castilla y Leon (Old Castile) and had the local specialty for lunch. With a nice bottle of Ribiera de Duero (local) wine (or, rather, part of one).

Translated, Gallo de Corral Turresilano translates as Tordesilla Farmyard Cock but since that word, although technically correct, is not permitted in this day and age we'll stick with Rooster (or, generically, Bird).

Dead simple country style food, delicious and uses pretty much the whole animal. The bird has to come from a specific region (a few small towns) in Valladolid and the preparation is low slow cooking. Basically, what you get is sort of a a giant chicken leg; braised.

I didn't cook this one but the recipe goes something like this:

Gallo Turresilano

  • 1 rooster (whole, 3 or 4 kg) [1½-2 #]
  • salt
  • pepper

  • 750 ml olive oil [3C]
  • 2 laurel leaves
  • 2 onions (medium) chopped
  • 100 gr almonds [2oz] chopped
  • 50 gr bread [2oz] crumbs, large (verging on huge)
  • 3 garlic cloves, smushed
  • parsley (small bunch) chopped

  • 500 ml dry white wine (from Rueda) [2C]
  1. Cut the bird into 8 pieces (legs, breasts, thighs, wings; 2 each)
    • Save the leftover parts
  2. Sprinkle salt and pepper on all the pieces
  3. Cover the feet, neck , and back (the remnants of trimming the bird) with water to make a bullion.
    • Simmer slowly.
  4. Oil into another pan and brown the "good" pieces
    • Set the bird pieces aside
  5. Pour out the greater amount of oil (in Spain we save it for use in other dishes)
  6. Now, into the oil goes the rest of the ingredients, except the wine, to fry up a little
  7. Pound the result (except the laurel) in a mortar (or a stick-blender for the more modern types)
  8. Back into the pan, add the wine, scrape the bottom of the pan (deglaze)
    • add the bullion
    • put the laurel back in
  9. Simmer slowly, covered, for 2½ hours (wow, a long time)
    • After, if the sauce is too thin, remove the bird and reduce the sauce vigorously until it coats the back of a spoon
Serve with fries (which go great with the sauce) and maybe a green salad (quite traditional)
  1. You can add sliced carrots to the mix about a half hour before the end to trick this dish up with some vegetable content
foto credit, rooster, wikipedia commons

¿ Spring ?

Someone explain to me again about this thing called spring.

foto credit

Yesterday in Spain.

That was in the north but here in Madrid there was some spotty snow and a fierce cold wind. Bah!

This climatic change is starting to get on my nerves.

Valladolid: & I Need a New Phone/Camera

Popped up to Valladolid (north) for the weekend and restauranted a few times. Various pictures were taken, including this one of a plate of Mixed Vegetables (real home cooking - done extraordinarily well {the food, not the picture}). This was with the camera on my Nokia 6610i which has been getting steadily worse and worse as time passes. Some pictures were also taken with a Nokia 6280, which has a much better camera, but I figured I'd post this photo-disaster for laughs first (that, and the 6280 wasn't my phone thus I do not now have it at hand).

The spot, Resaurante Santi seems also to go by the name of El Caballo de Troya (trogan horse); it's confusing but I figure one must be the name of their bar-restaurante and the other their fancy-restaurant. We ate at in the fancy bit because the bar part was fully booked.

Anyway, t'was excellent and deserves much better reporting than this. I have pictures of the pigs cheeks and the steak that we had but they're more or less indistinguable from each other. Lovely place, a former convent from the 16th century (as are many restaurants and hotel here in Spain). Reservations recommended {tel: 983339355} (we walked in and got the last table - lucky for a Saturday night). Very reasonable prices, especially for those of us from Madrid - - we quite enjoy the prices out there in the provinces. And it's only a couple of hours away.

Walked the city for kilometers and kilometers until my knee wore out - - but it's worth the visit. Numbed the pain with a couple of glasses of Ribera del Duero wine.

Deep Dish Dutch Apple Pie

This is a "Dutch" [deep dish] apple pie. There are two (thousand) schools of thought on cooking pies: pre-bake the crust or… don't.

This one doesn't (prebake) and later I'll do another one that does (blind bake); and I'll make my own pie crust (at times I am overly ambitious).

This recipe is derived from the old classic The Joy of Cooking by Becker.

No picture because again today this is a planned cooking project and I'll report on success, failure and adjustments later when I actually cook this thing -maybe on Monday or Tuesday.

  • 1 pie crust (bought or made)
Apple mix
  • 6 C apples (7 or so), Granny Smith
  • 125 g sugar, white (½ C)
  • 1 pinch salt (1/8 t)
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • ¼ t cinnamon
  • 1 pinch nutmeg (1/8 t)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (¡surprise¡)
On top
  • 1½ T butter (not margarine)
  • 1 T lemon juice, fresh, please
  • ½ t lemon rind (from the same lemon)
  • 1 t vanilla (real extract preferred but a good artificial one will do)
  • 2 T sugar
  • ¼ t cinnamon
  1. Oven at 225C [450F]
  2. Peel, core and thinly slice apples
  3. Put the crust in a tall pie tin (not a regular flat one, a deep dish one)
    • crust reaching the top edge and slightly higher
    • then put your thumb just under the edge and push down the pastry to form a slightly bulged rim
  4. Sift sugar, salt, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne over the apples
    • toss
    • wait
    • toss again
    • until nicely coated and no dry ingredients are left in the bottom of the bowl
  5. Layer apples into pie shell
  6. Put dabs of butter on top
  7. Sprinkle with lemon juice / vanilla and lemon rind
  8. Bake for 10 minutes at 225C
  9. Lower temp to 175C [350C]
  10. Bake for another 35 minutes
  11. Check for doneness
  12. Maybe bake another 10
  • Don't stretch the pie crust when laying it into the pan
  • I'll probably use an oven at 250C [475F] continuously (because it'll be baked in a wood-fired oven and the temperature is not all too controllable);
  • covered with aluminum foil for 20 minutes and then uncovered for another 20.
  • Yes, really, cayenne pepper. Very little. it will just be enough to trigger some flavour sensations in your mouth. You won't really know it's there; but you'll think that something interesting is going on. Besides I half have a rule that there should be some cayenne in almost every dish.
  • I really ought to get myself one of those spiral apple peeler devices
  • It's worth a shot.

Finished: Salmon Brochette, Chevre Toasts & more

An update to my previous post about the dinner. It was a simple, quick, dinner but turned out very nice. The whole thing took just over an hour from entering the kitchen to chowing down. That's with zero prep in advance and a couple of pauses to enjoy the company.

Speaking of which, the wine was a Arco de Morozán (2003) from the region of Ribera del Duero; very nice. We've been trying out Ribera del Duero wines as alternatives to Riojas because now that Riojas have been discovered by America the prices have climbed over the last few years.

Chevre Toasts

I left out the olives for decoration; there wasn't really enough room for them on top of the cheese.

The salmon, salad and rice on a square IKEA plate

The salad and rice could have been place more decoratively.

Crack open a beer and we're off!
Boil a kettle of water for use with the rice later (mine's 1,6 liters [1¾ quarts]). I almost always boil a kettle while cooking because you never know when it will come in useful.

These went according to plan except for the olives and toasting the bottom of the bread somewhat less than brown so that it could finish while doing the cheese. The previous recipe is in yesterday's post.

Chevre Toasts

  • 1 baguette [french bread]
  • 200 gr chevre [goats cheese], small rounds
  • 1 tomato, deskinned and brunoised
  1. Slice bread, crosswise, 1cm thick [1"]
  2. Toast under the grill, one side
  3. Turn and toast very lightly on the 2nd side (toasting will finish when you do the cheese)
  4. Put on the goat cheese rounds
  5. Grill these for 4 minutes (until melty and browned slightly)
  6. Meanwhile, deskin (fillet) the tomato
  7. Brunoisse the tomato meat [cube] into small evenly sized cubes
  8. Sprinkle tomato on the cheese (use the extra tomato to decorate the salad)
    • Press the tomatoes down a little so that they don't fall off during transport
  1. Fillet the tomato by cutting off the top and base, quartering, remove the juicy center, seeds and the ribs
  2. Then, with only the "meat" remaining flatten each quarter tomato and use a filleting knife to separate the good part from the skin.
  3. If the goat's cheese does not brown enough (before the bread "toasts"too much) use your trusty chef's torch to brown the tops
The Vanilla Rice has more rice and less milk than in the original recipe and turned out wetter than I wanted it to. I probably should have rinsed the rice before cooking it.

Vanilla Rice

  • ¼ C milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 T oil
  • 1 C rice
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 C water
  1. Split and scrape the vanilla pod
  2. Drop vanilla guts and bean pods into milk
  3. Heat until it just starts to boil
    • Set aside for 10 minutes to infuse
  4. Oil into a pan
  5. Add rice, cook until translucent
  6. Add salt
  7. Add milk (having removed the bean pod pieces)
  8. Add water (boiling)
  9. Cook for 16 minutes (approx), until done or the liquid's about gone
  1. Vanilla is surprisingly good complementary flavour for fish
  2. Frying the rice a little in oil helps keep it from sticking together too much
  3. Add the salt with the water at the start of cooking the rice; otherwise the rice won't absorb any of the salt/vanilla flavour
The Salmon Brochettes were done per the planned recipe except took a little longer than 5 minutes; more like 8. The Curried Salad went according to plan too; although I could have halved the amount of vinaigrette [dressing] I made and I probably used only 3T of curry (ran out - and a little more wouldn't have hurt). Oh, and let the vinaigrette sit while preparing the other dishes so that the spices can blend. The squeeze bottle will need to largish opening to make sure that the lime rind doesn't stick in the nozzle.

What with all those little notes about the Curried Salad I should probably just repost the whole thing.

Then there's the Lemon Cream Champagne and the Hagendas Balsamic that are still due.

Lemon Cream Champagne

  • 1 lemon, juice of (fresh)
  • ¼ C cream (light, cooking {not whipping})
  • 1 Champagne (bottle or split)
  • 1 T icing sugar (or another fast dissolving sugar)
  1. Mix champagne, cream and lemon juice together
  2. Pour
  1. That was blindingly easy
  2. The sugar cuts the lemon acidity. I'd like to find an alternative for sugar; I'll have to do some chemical research on the topic.
  3. This was one of those cute refreshers that you have between courses. In this case it was between dinner and dessert rather than between 2 earlier courses but that's fine, it's quite nice either way.
  4. The champagne will not be super bubbly but some "champagne effect" will still be noticeable; some sort of smooth texture idea is what you'll get.

Hagendas Balsamic

  • 1 tub (small) Macadamia Nut Brittle ice cream
  • ½ C balsamic vinegar (from Modena, Italy)
  1. Reduce vinegar in a saucepan until it starts to coat the back of a spoon
  2. Cool
  3. Put into a plastic squeeze bottle
  4. Squeeze over ice cream
  1. Reduce slowly, it makes for a smoother tasting result over furious boiling
  2. It will reduce to something like a third of the original volume; use a small small pan.
  3. Oddly enough vinegar, when done this way, is sort of sweet; the acidics have been boiled off (I guess)
  4. The selection of ice cream is up to you but I recommend a whitish product that has something resembling actual cream in it.
Making a "fancy"ish dinner sometimes consists of using flavours or ingredients that are not everyday choices. In this case: lime for the salmon, curry in the salad (with lime to complement the fish marinade), vanilla in the rice, champagne in the intermezzo, balsamic in the dessert.

This is a bit of a mess what with it being across two posts and with the changes and all; but that's the consequence of my thinking process and I figured I would share what a disorganized mind I have.

Salmon Brochettes, Curried Salad, Chevre Toasts

Update: "What I Actually Did"SM (no, not really a servicemark) is posted at Finished: Salmon Brochette, Chevre Toasts & more.

We're having someone over for dinner and since the s.o. was in Berlin last week and is dieting this week I haven't really been cooking anything much (just that quick fish thing I made the other day). Thus today's a chance to do something presentable.

No pictures yet since I'm writing this in prep for the dinner thus there will be post-dinner edits about what I actually did. At the moment it's just a plan.


  • Chevre Toasts [goats cheese]
  • Salmon Brochettes with Lime and Rosemary
  • Curried Salad
  • Vanilla Rice
  • Lemon Cream Champagne
  • Hagendas with Balsamic (reduced)

Grilled Salmon Brochettes

  • 600 gr Salmon filets
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • rosemary sprig (fresh)
  • 100 ml olive oil [3oz]
  • 2 T lime juice (fresh)
  1. Deskin the filets
  2. Cut into 2cm cubes [½"]
  3. Salt & pepper them
    • Set aside
  4. Mince the garlic, really finely
  5. Mince the rosemary leaves
  6. Add oil & lime juice
    • Whisk to blend
  7. Turn on the grill
  8. Pour marinade over the fish, coating completely
  9. Wait 10 minutes
  10. Put on short (wooden) skewers
  11. Place under/over the grill for 5 minutes
    • Turn once, half way through
  12. Meanwhile, heat the marinade
  13. Spoon marinade over the brochettes and serve with the salad on the side
  1. 10 minutes for the marinading only or the fish will "cook" in the lime juice
  2. Soak the wooden skewers for 10 minutes to prevent/minimize burning
  3. Warm the plates slightly (good for the fish and the rice, bad for the salad)

  • 1 C rice
  • 3 T oil
  • ½ t salt
  • 2 C water
  • ½ C milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  1. Split and scrape the vanilla pod
  2. Drop into milk
  3. Heat
    • Set aside
  4. Meanwhile, oil into a pan
  5. Add rice, cook until translucent
  6. Add salt
  7. Add milk
  8. Add water (boiling)
  9. Cook for 17 minutes (approx), until done or the liquid's about gone
  1. Vanilla is surprisingly good with fish
  2. I actually use more liquid than this but I'm using Bomba type rice which absorbs a lot of fluid
  3. Frying the rice a little in oil helps keep it from sticking together too much
  4. Add the salt with the water at the start of cooking the rice; otherwise the rice won't absorb any of the salt/vanilla flavour

Curried Salad

  • Salad greens (baby), 1 bag
  • 3 limes' rinds
  • 4 T lime juice
  • 4 T curry powder
  • 125 ml olive oil [4oz]
  • ½ t salt
  • pepper, black, fresh ground
  • Maldon salt
  1. Put ingredients (except the salad greens) into a plastic squirt bottle
  2. Shake well
  3. Pour over greens
  4. Sprinkle on Maldon salt
  1. Doesn't get much easier then this
  2. If lacking a plastic squeeze bottle feel free to whisk by hand
  3. Maldon salt is a flaky crystal salt that's delicious over salads or meat; very tasty

Chevre Toasts

  • 1 baguette [french bread]
  • 200 gr chevre [goats cheese], small rounds
  • 1 tomato
  • 8 black olives, pitted
  1. Slice bread, crosswise, 1cm thick [1"]
  2. Toast under the grill, both sides
  3. Put on the goat cheese rounds
  4. Grill these for 5 or 6 minutes (until good and melty and brown)
  5. Chop (¼s or so) the olives
  6. Deskin (filet) the tomato
  7. Brunoisse the tomato to the size of the olive bits [cube]
  8. Sprinkle olives and tomato on the cheese
  1. Filet the tomato by cutting off the top and base, quartering, remove the juicy center, seeds and the ribs
  2. Then, with only the "meat" remaining use a filetting knife to separate the good part from the skin.
The Lemon Cream Champagne and the Hagendas with Balsamic I will leave 'til later 'cause I have to get to the kitchen now.

Thanks to one of my favorite cookbooks - Le Cordon Bleu: Quick & Light for the inspiration.

Hake & Green Peppers in Shallot Sauce: Pescadilla y Pimiento Verde con Chalotas

This picture is of the leftovers (day 2).

  • 1 kg hake {pescadilla} small, whole, headless [2#], cut into 2 or 3 large pieces
  • ½ kg green peppers [1#], julienne
  • 5 shallots, brunoisse (chopped)
  • 5 cloves garlic, fine brunoisse (minced)
  • ½ l fish broth [½ quart fish bullion]
  • ¼ C olive oil (virgin)
  • pepper
  • salt
  • 3 T milk, whole
  1. Jullienne the green peppers in narrowish strips
  2. Chop the shallots
  3. Mince the garlic
  4. Clean, trim & cut the fishies
  5. Oil into a pan, braise the green peppers
  6. Oil into another pan, sauté the shallots and add the garlic when they're almost done
  7. When the green peppers are quite softened add the shallots mix
  8. Add the fish
  9. Add the fish broth
  10. Bring to almost a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes ('til fish is almost done, flaky)
  11. Taste the sauce, add salt (please, add enough salt)
  12. Remove the fish and green peppers
    • Set aside, covered
  13. On super high heat reduce the fluid until it starts to coat the back of a spoon
  14. Reduce heat to low
  15. Add milk, stir (this is more for a little color than anything; gives a smoother texture too)
  16. Put back the fish and green peppers
  • Done
  1. Variant: Red peppers
  2. Variant 2: Mix red & green peppers
  3. Variant 3: Mix of green & red peppers
  4. Variant 4: Yellow peppers
  5. You kind of get the idea now?
  6. If this was France we would have added heavy cream instead of milk
  7. Never use skim milk; it's pointless
  8. This might not go over to well with kids since the fish have skin and bones (although here in Europe that is not an impediment)

Thanks for the Kind Words

A quick welcome to visitors from Shalee's Diner. I see that a bunch of you have been dropping by after the nice things that were said about me & this here blog.

I'm rather more of a cook than a chef, as I don't currently run my own kitchen (except the one at home) but, true enough, I've graduated from the cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris so that might count for something.

Formerly "in computers" I changed careers after being terminated in the post-2001 economic downturns in New York (we had a bit of a bad spell there for a while). My 28 years of international travel, eating out on an expense account, taught me to enjoy fine food and some of that rubbed off. Thus, creating fine food, instead of only consuming it, became a way to continue that. Interestingly (to me) there are quite a number of ex information technology types and engineers in the kitchen. It must be something to do with our analytical approach to cooking. Me, I enjoy the creativity... but also the science of it.

And I'll tell you, this life beats the... harrumph... out of sitting around in conference rooms all day discussing supposedly important subjects. Personally, I believe that feeding people things they enjoy is much more gratifying.

I see that I've used way too many italics in the above paragraphs.

There's 55 million blogs out there... this is about number 1,750,000 and that's not too shabby. Shalee, by the way, is up there at 3,750 (good job).

Anyway, for posterity, thanks Shalee for the kind words (I imagine right now that she's blushing a little bit).

Smoked Salmon Stuffed Smoked Salmon Rolls: Recipe

Now for the recipe of these salmon rolls I made the other day.

  • 250 gr smoked salmon, chopped [½#]
  • 3 T ricotta cheese
  • 1 T dill, dried, chopped
  • 2 T chives, fresh, chopped
  • ¼ t salt
  • ¼ t pepper (maybe less)

  • 250 gr smoked salmon, thin slices[½#]
  • 4T strawberry preserves [jam]
  • chives, whole
  1. Blend salmon, ricotta, chives, dill, salt & pepper in a mixer/food processor
    • Taste it and adjust the ingredients
  2. Lay sliced salmon on a blue cutting board
  3. Lay a little salmon-cheese mix across the center of each one (see pic in previous post)
  4. Apply a dollop of strawberry
  5. Roll them up, seam side down
  6. Probably you should cut each roll into 2 pieces
  7. Tie a chive around each one
  1. I just made this up on the spur of the moment so these notes contain a lot of the thinking process in making this; it could get tedious.
  2. I actually used Requesón cheese, not Ricotta. This could work with a small curd cottage cheese too.
  3. Strawberry & smoked salmon taste surprisingly good together
  4. Salmon goes good with dill and chives (for a bit of texture)
  5. Some would use cream cheese but ricotta is more diet-friendly
  6. Amounts are approximate. Use about equal volumes of smoked salmon and ricotta
  7. Trim the smoked salmon slices so that they're rectangular/square and use the trimmings in the cheese mix. Rectangular salmon rolls much more neatly.
  8. Use of a blue cutting board is not obligatory
  9. A light touch with the strawberry preserves; want the flavour to be subtle.
  10. Split fat chives in half lengthwise for easier tying
  11. The rolls are larger than a cigarette but smaller than a cigar - perhaps a panatella would be about right
  12. The chives are not only practical ( to hold the roll together) but give a touch of colour too
  13. You could put these on little toasts instead (a toast, spread with smoked salmon-cheese then strawberry, then topped with a square of regular smoked salmon
  14. I made twice as much as this recipe. Then used the extra on a pizza; with Requesón instead of tomato sauce on the base (quite tasty too).

Unusual Pet Food Recipes

I just had to link to a wonderful site that has recipes for tasty although unusual meals for (of) your pets. When they say Pet Food they really mean it.

Hopefully you have a sense of humour. below is one of their recipes; slightly tweaked for the Mediterranean diet (eliminate some of the butter and use olive oil).

For some reason there is no pic available

Kitten Livers with Onion Marmalade

Yield: 2 servings
  • ¼ c butter
  • 2/3 c fresh chives, finely chopped
  • ½ C white onion, julienne
  • ½ C red onion, julienne
  • ½ C leeks, julienne
  • 3 large shallots, julienne
  • 3 cloves garlic, smushed
  • ¼ C sherry
  • ½ C whole cream [whipping]
  • salt and pepper

  • 4 T olive oil, virgin
  • ¼ kg kitten livers [½#]
  1. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a heavy pan over medium heat.
  2. Add chives, onions, leeks, shallots and garlic and cook slowly until tender.
  3. Add sherry
    • heat, stirring occasionally, until no liquid remains.
    • increase heat to high.
  4. Add cream and boil until reduced
    • stirring constantly (although gently) to avoid burning
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
    • remove and set aside.
  6. Heat olive oil in another frying pan
  7. Add kitten livers and cook to desired doneness (kitten livers are best when medium rare)
  8. Serve the livers with the sauce/marmalade

Thanks to

Smoked Salmon Mousse in Smoked Salmon

I threw together this (smoked) salmon thing on the spur of the moment for a book club meeting (not my book club; I'm not a membre, I just prepare stuff for them). For the moment just three pictures; but I thought they were quite pretty. I might have the hang of this macro-flash thing.

Getting things done:

Another one. The red stuff is strawberry preserves [jam].

When finished I thought they were quite pretty.

It's really weird that smoked salmon and strawberry flavours go together so darn well. That's what I love about the kitchen - - these peculiar discoveries.

Picture: Tagine: Tayin

In this picture we have (bottom left of center; dark bit) fig.
and (right) apricot.
(middle) lamb

It might look a little bit messy - - but it's really really tasty.

If I as doing this as a super-deluxe presentation dish the meat would de deboned; the various fruits would each be cooked individually and the result composed on a plate in some fancy style or another. But the reality is that this is a simple dish for home and doesn't get any of that fancy treatment. Somehow it still manages to taste quite good.

LambTagine: Tayin de Cordero

Again with the lamb you might say. I promise, it's really very tasty when it's good lamb and properly cooked. Not the same old nearly nonexistent taste of the meat you have everyday.

But this recipe has a load of pleasing spices in it so the unfamiliar taste of lamb is not the most prominent. It used part # 3 (see diagram) of the lamb and a load of cinnamon.

A tagine (or tajine or tayin) is a Moroccan stew. In this case with dried fruits in it (besides the cinnamon). And a little tumeric and saffron for colour and flavour.

Special purchases: ground turmeric, saffron, cinnamon sticks & dried figs, prunes and apricots.

What I actually did was…

  • 1,7 kg Leg of Lamb [4#] - whole, bone in, chopped into 100gr (large) pieces [1½" cubes]

  • 25 gr saffron [0.75 oz]
  • 1 litre H2O [1 quart water]

  • ½ t turmeric
  • 1 t cinnamon, ground
  • ½ t white pepper, ground
  • 1 t salt

  • 2 onions, medium
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 C water
  • ½ C olive oil
  • 50 gr butter [2 oz]

  • 150 gr dried apricots
  • 150 gr dried prunes
  • 150 gr dried figs
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, whole
  1. Put the saffron in the 1 liter [quart] of water in the big pot you'll use for cooking this dish and set aside
  2. Mix the spices together (turmuric, cinnamon, salt pepper)
    • rub into the meat
  3. Brunoisse [chop] the onions and smash the garlic; toss in to the pot of water with saffron
  4. Add the meat to the pot
    • Add the olive oil, butter and the extra cup of water too
    • Use medium heat to simmer briskly
  5. Cover and cook for 30 minutes [½ hour]
  6. Put the dried fruits into a bowl; take some of the cooking liquid and cover the fruits to rehydrate them
    • Toss the cinnamon sticks into the bowl (so you don't forget them later)
    • Set aside to soak the next round of cooking
  7. Stir, cover the dish again and cook another 30 minutes
  8. Uncover the cooking meat
    • If there's a lot of fats floating on the surface skim a bunch of it off (but not all, because fat = flavour)
  9. Add the fruits and cinnamon sticks with the liquid to the meat
    • Stir
  10. Check the salt (it probably needs another ½ tsp)
  11. Cook, uncovered, simmering nicely, for another 30 minutes
  12. Have a glass of white wine while you wait
  13. After this 1½ hours of cooking the meat might be tender; or maybe not
    • Continue simmering briskly until the meat is tender and the liquid is ½ reduced (starting to thicken and cling to the meat & fruit)
  14. Check the salt (it's probably okay at this point)
  15. Serve it up
Keeps & reheats well.
Serves: 6 Time: 2 hours (elapsed)
The picture will be along shortly