Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blueberry Sauce

This blueberry sauce can be made with fresh or frozen berries. It is a great dessert on top of cheesecake, ice cream or as a topping for morning pancakes.
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 Tablespoons of real maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon grated orange zest or Grand Marnier

Put blueberries, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small saucepan and heat to boil. Lower temperature and add orange zest. Heat until desired consistency.

Note: Today is National Cheesecake Day!
I always have a cheesecake in the freezer for a go to dessert. My favorite is Chuckanut Bay Cheesecake. They have a variety of cheesecakes (here I used the New York) and I love their new individual serving cheesecakes, we often split a small one. They have a great variety of flavors and also gluten free, and no sugar. You can find them at

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Steamed Beets and Goat Cheese Green Salad

6 cups mixed baby greens
5 steamed beets or Trader Joes refrigerator package of beets
4 ounces goat cheese, softened
3 Tablespoon salted, shelled Pistachios, crushed
1/4 cup shallots, finely minced
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon honey
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon finely ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

To make the salad dressing:
Combine the shallots, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil.
Slice the beets and toss with 2 Tablespoons of the dressing, set aside.
Put greens in salad bowl, top with crumbled goat cheese and toss with 2-3 tablespoon salad dressing. Top with sliced beets and sprinkle with Pistachio nuts. Serve immediately.
Serves 4-6

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Finishing Salts

In the past year I have enjoyed finishing a dish with flavored salts. They add an enhanced flavor and often a little crunch to the dish.
I have found them in little shops, cooking schools and online. The first 3 salts mentioned were bought in Nice at Girofle & Cannelle. Lydele and I were zipping down the street when I did a double take; a shop of flavored olive oils, salts and sugars, the possibilities are endless. Here are a few and their uses.
1: Fleur de Sel au Safron-to use with risotto, paella, or seafood
2: Sel Toscana Basil-Olives-Tomatoes- to use for vegetables, summer salads, fresh or fried cheese
3: Sel a la Figue-good with duck foie gras, vegetables
4: Murray River Pink Salt-for use as a garnish or finishing salt
5: Salish Smoked Salt- great on salmon, red meat off the BBQ, or creamy pasta
6: Truffle salt- for use on french fries, scrambled eggs, or popcorn

All of this has me thinking that I could make flavored salt in my own kitchen. How about a little dried lavender and salt? On top of chocolate truffles or caramels?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade

1-9 ounce jar roasted red pepper, drained
1-12 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/4 cup basil, sliced
1/4 cup capers, drained
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until mixture becomes the texture of a chunky pesto. Allow the flavors to sit for a few hours to meld.

This is a good dip for vegetables, crackers, or baguettes. Also, to use as a fresh pasta sauce or on grilled fish.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chilled Avocado Soup with Crab

Since the country seems to be in the middle of a heat wave, I thought a nice chilled soup would hit the spot. This is adapted from Food and Wine magazine.
1 1/2 cups Guacamole with Charred Jalapeno and Green Onions (see below)
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
3/4 cup bottled clam juice
1/2 cup ice water
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
salt and freshly ground pepper
lump crab meat
Creme fraiche, or sour cream, and chopped green onion for garnish.

In a blender puree the Guacamole with cold buttermilk, chilled bottle clam juice, ice water and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the soup into 4 bowls and top with lump crab meat. Garnish each bowl of soup with creme fraiche and finely chopped chives.

Guacamole with Charred Jalapeno and Green Onions
3 medium green onions, white and tender green parts only
1 jalapeno, seeded and quartered lengthwise
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
3 Hass avocados, halved and pitted
2 roasted garlic cloves
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat a grill pan. In a small bowl, toss the green onions and jalapeno with the vegetable oil. Grill over medium high heat, turning occasionally, until charred all over, 5-6 minutes. Put back in bowl and let cool.
Finely chopped the green onions, jalapeno, and garlic cloves. Scoop avocado into the bowl and coarsely mash with a fork. Fold the cilantro and lime juice into the guacamole, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Landons Dessert- Almond Smoothie

I was looking for a dessert that 3 year old Landon could share with his buddies. It is a smoothie that is thick enough to be called a pudding. Let me know Landon what the gang all thinks!

In a blender combine:
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 cups frozen mango chunks
1 peeled banana
1/2 cup roasted almond butter
2 soft dates, pitted
If not sweet enough, add 2 Tablespoons organic maple syrup
Blend well for a couple of minutes.
Pour into 6 individual ramekins, top with fresh raspberries or strawberries

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fast, Fresh, Dungeness Baked Crab

So, the Bake was out fishing for salmon today but no luck. On the way home he picked up his crab pot and there were 2 keepers. Fifteen minutes later, they were cleaned, seasoned and baked for 12 minutes. Fresh peas and salad greens from the garden rounded out the rest of the dinner. Quick and delicious!
2 cleaned crabs
3 Tablespoons olive oil
4 Tablespoons butter
4 finely minced, garlic cloves
1 large finely minced, shallot
1/4 of red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
1 Tablespoon grated rind of Meyer lemon
4 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley
4 Tablespoons finely chopped basil

Preheat oven to 500F.
In a large pan (big enough to hold the crab) melt butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, shallots, red bell pepper, and pepper flakes. Stir well. Add crab to pan and season with salt and pepper, put in oven and bake until crab is cooked, about 12 minutes.
Put crab in a large bowl and sprinkle with parsley and basil.
Place pan back on stove and add lemon juice, and rind and cook until reduced by one third. Pour over crab and serve.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Roasted Asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto de Parma

We love roasted vegetables and this takes the great flavor of roasted asparagus and adds additional flavors. The roasted asparagus is good as a side dish on its own. Or with the addition of prosciutto and parmesan, an appetizer or first course.

A bunch of asparagus, cleaned and ends trimmed
1 teaspoon olive oil
a few shakes of Alfie's seasoning
Slices of Prosciutto de Parma, cut in half
Thin slices of Parmigiano-Reggiano
spritz of lemon
balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 425F.
Line a sheet pan with foil. Mix the asparagus with olive oil and roast for about 7-8 minutes.
When the asparagus is done, spritz with some lemon. (this would be good as a side dish)
Wrap the Prosciutto and a slice of the Parmesan around the asparagus. (this can be individual asparagus or in bunches)
Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Salmon with Lentils and Foie Gras

I recently took a cooking class in the Montmartre district of Paris. It was called a Market Class, where the chef took us for a tour of the area street markets and explained the various local produce, cheese, meats etc. The smells, the variety, the freshness were a treat to the senses. After a couple of hours Chef Alex purchased what looked good to us and we went back to the school to cook. We decided that one of the dishes would be fresh salmon, with the addition of the lentils, foie gras, and topped with fennel, the flavors were delightful! Here is the recipe.

4 pieces of salmon, each 4 ounces
2 cups green lentils
1 onion
1 carrot
1 fennel bulb
1 lemon
1/4 pound cooked or raw foie gras
olive oil
5 cups of water
salt and pepper

Peel and small dice the onion. Peel and small dice the carrot.
In a large pot, add a few tablespoons of olive oil and sweat the onions and carrot with no color.
After about 10 minutes and the vegetables are soft, add lentils and cover with water, pinch of salt and a crack of fresh ground pepper. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the moisture is gone (about 20-30 minutes). Leave a bit of moisture in the bottom of the lentils, then add the chopped foie gras. Cook until the foie gras is dissolved. Adjust for seasoning.
Heat a saute pan on high, season the salmon on both sides with salt and pepper. Cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil and sear the salmon on both sides.
Slice the fennel very thin and mix with the juice of a lemon and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the lentils on the bottom of a plate, place the salmon on top and garnish with the fennel salad.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Top 10 Trader Joes Freezer Favs

1: Pastry Bites with Feta cheese and Caramelized Onion
(a favorite appetizer to have on hand)

2: Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Pizza
(this and a salad, great if someone stops by for lunch)

3: Thai Shrimp Gyoza
(with a lemon or orange sauce)

4: Wild Blue Shrimp
(a main course ready in minutes)

5: Asparagus Risotto
(use to stuff roasted red pepper)

6: Organic Brown Rice and Organic Jasmine Rice
(great in a pinch, when time is short)

7: Frozen Mixed Berries
(for smoothies, or a sauce)

8: Mango Chunks
(for smoothies, sauces, drinks)

9: Trader Joes French Vanilla Ice Cream
(did not make photo)

10: Chocolate Ice Cream Bon Bons
(Ready to go dessert)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Basic Green Drink

These drinks are a great way to get your fruits and vegetables and they taste good!
In a blender, 2 cups mixed greens washed and cut, example: kale, spinach, parsley, dandelion, baby lettuce, etc.
Add 2 cups water and blend well until it makes a green drink, this is the base.
Add any desired fruits, example: strawberries, raspberries, bananas, blueberries, apples, mangoes, etc. (fresh or frozen)
Blend well. This can be sweetened if desired with honey or agave.
Today's drink is spinach, kale, and mixed lettuce as the base. Fruit added was, fresh raspberries, fresh and frozen strawberries, banana, and 1/2 an apple.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

10 ounces of spinach
1 quart of strawberries
Tear spinach into bite-sized pieces. Wash and cut strawberries in half and place in bowl.
1/4 cup almonds, sliced
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon minced sweet onion
Combine dressing ingredients and mix well.

Toss with spinach and strawberries and top with 1/4 cup of almonds. Check seasoning for salt and pepper.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sauteed Mushrooms on Mixed Greens

I did a demo last year with fresh mushrooms that was very popular everyone asked for the recipe, here it is:
1 1/2 pounds mixed white and crimini mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms
5 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 Teaspoons grainy mustard
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of sugar
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
6 cups mixed salad greens, baby lettuce and baby spinach
shredded Fresh Parmesan cheese, to taste

Trim stems on white and crimini mushrooms and slice. Remove and discard the stems on the shiitake mushrooms and slice the caps.
In a bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly add in 4 Tablespoons of olive oil, whisking until emulsified.
Set aside.
Rinse and prepare greens in a serving bowl.
Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add in the mushrooms and cook until golden.
Spoon hot mushrooms over the greens and drizzle salad dressing over everything.
Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Flag Cake

Cake options:
-sheet cake
-angel food cake
-pound cake

Frosting options:
-Butter cream frosting
-Whipped cream
-Cream cheese frosting

In this photo I used store bought pound cake, sliced vertically, in 1/2 inch slices. The first layer covers the bottom of the dish. That is topped with fresh made raspberry jam. Another layer of pound cake and then frosted with cream cheese frosting.
50 blueberries in the left top corner and then 7 red lines of red raspberries, alternately use strawberries.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted
Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth.

Prosciutto Carpaccio Salad

Prosciutto Di Parma- 12 slices
Baby lettuce or Arugula, cleaned, dried and roughly chopped
1/4 pound, shaved Parmesan
2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Vegenaise or mayo
2 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 shallot, finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
fresh ground pepper

Make the sauce by whisking the mayo, lemon juice, Dijon, shallots and garlic and fresh pepper together.
On each serving plate, place 2 slices of prosciutto and top with a bunch of salad greens.
Drizzle with sauce and some extra virgin olive oil.
Top with shaved Parmesan.
Serves 6

Note: this sauce would be great as a dressing for ham and cheese sandwiches

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Grilled Salmon with Maple-Chipotle Glaze

We love our beautiful, fresh caught, wild salmon from the Northwest.
1 Tablespoon real Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Teaspoon ground Chipotle Chile

Mix together and marinate for a couple of hours.
Preheat barb-b-que or oven to 325F
Cook for 10 minutes per inch.