Monday Mood: A Cook’s Tale

Anthony Bourdain

 

1956-2018

It takes a special personality to make someone who never met you evoke great sadness upon hearing of your passing. Such is the case with the tragic death of Anthony Bourdain.  Aside from his friends and family, numerous others were shocked and saddened over hearing the news just three days ago.

Bourdain always reminded me a little bit of Leonard Cohen.  He was a Foodie, not a Poet although with his artistic combination of mixing food with storytelling through travel, you could almost describe him as being somewhat poetic.  His lifestyle influenced so many people. He represented to dining what Muhammad Ali represented to boxing or Leonard Cohen to poetry. A master of his craft – which was food.

According to the New York Times, Bourdain rose to fame after writing a darkly funny memoir about life in New York City restaurant kitchens which made him a celebrity chef and touched off his second career as a journalist, food expert and social activist.

His mother, Gladys Bourdain, was a longtime editor at The New York Times.  She said she had no indication that he might have been thinking of suicide. “He is absolutely the last person in the world I would have ever dreamed would do something like this,” Ms. Bourdain said.

Despite his untimely death, Mr. Bourdain taught us a lot about enjoying the good life and that is something to celebrate.

Life Lessons from Anthony Bourdain

Never one to shy away from dramatics, Anthony Bourdain’s latest cookbook, Appetites, begins with an interpolation of a famous quote from Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina​: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

“Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.”

“If I’m in Rome for only 48 hours, I would consider it a sin against God to not eat cacio e pepe, the most uniquely Roman of pastas, in some crummy little joint where Romans eat. I’d much rather do that than go to the Vatican. That’s Rome to me.”

“Tokyo would probably be the foreign city if I had to eat one city’s food for the rest of my life, every day. It would have to be Tokyo, and I think the majority of chefs you ask that question would answer the same way.”

“Travel isn’t always pretty.  It isn’t always comfortable.  Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay.  The journey changes you; it should change you.  It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body.  You take something with you.  Hopefully you leave something good behind.”  – Anthony Bourdain.

Anthony Bourdain’s legacy is that he left a lot of good behind.

Advertisements

White Wine Herb Poached Wild Salmon with Warm Brussels Sprouts and Haricot Vert Salad

How many ways to cook wild salmon?  I can count the ways.  Here’s a good one:

White Wine and Herb Poached Wild Salmon for two.

Incorporating three of the things I love most: wine, herbs and salmon.

1 salmon fillet, skinned & debonned, about 1 lb (½ lb for each)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
1 lemon, sliced
6 sprigs fresh sage
salt & pepper

Check salmon fillet for any pin bones, taking care to remove with tweezers. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside. In a large nonreactive skillet, place lemon slices and herbs. Pour in wine and water and bring to a boil over high heat. When boiling, add salmon on top of lemons and herbs, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook, about 10 minutes. Check doneness – if fish is firm and opaque, remove from skillet and drain on paper towels. Set aside until ready to serve.

poaching

Warm Brussel Sprout and Haricot Vert Salad

1/2 lb french green beans, trimmed
1/2 lb brussel sprouts, cleaned and shredded roughly with a mandolin or a very sharp knife
1 shallot, sliced
1 tbs butter
salt & pepper

In a skillet over medium high heat, warm butter until melted. Add green beans and shallot. Season generously with salt and pepper and cook until green beans are just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add Brussel sprouts, tossing thoroughly until combined. Set aside until ready to serve.

Sage Aioli 

makes 1 cup

1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup sage
2 tbs dijon mustard
1 egg
2 tbs lemon juice
3/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

In a food processor, pulse to combine garlic, sage, egg and mustard, about 10 seconds. While food processor is running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add lemon juice, season generously with salt and pepper and pulse to combine, about 10 seconds.

To serve, plate Brussel sprout & haricot vert salad, top with salmon fillet and top with a spoonful of aioli.

*The original recipe called for 1 cup of canola oil and 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.  You can decide.

Is canola oil healthy?
Quality canola oil is on par with some of the healthiest oils out there. Canola oil is higher in anti-inflammatory omega-3s than most vegetable oils, which may help reduce your risk of inflammatory illnesses like heart disease and cancer. Like olive oil, canola oil also contains a boatload of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. In the kitchen, canola has a mild flavor and relatively high smoke point, making it a versatile cooking oil and safe at high heats. Since cold-pressed oils can spoil more quickly than others, they should be stored in dark bottles and refrigerated to ensure freshness.

Bottom Line: Some conventional canola oils are questionable, but you can avoid the dangers and reap the heart-healthy benefits by choosing a quality expeller-pressed or cold-pressed oil that’s also organic or non-GMO.

original recipe at: http://abetterhappierstsebastian.com

 

 

Dishing: Cauliflower Rice

AHA…Another healthy alternative.  This one for rice.

I’m sure you’ve seen it on many a menu of late.  If you haven’t made it already I urge you to try it.  It’s simple and you can serve it up pretty much any way you would with regular rice.  Just add garnish.

Image: A Food Centric Life (with parmesan and herbs).

Among its advantages: It’s made from one of the healthiest cruciferous vegetables you can get, so it’s loaded with nutrients including fiber, vitamins C, K and B6, and potassium. Cauliflower has 25 calories per cup vs. 218 for a cup of cooked brown rice.

Directions:

  1. To make the cauliflower rice, break up the florets and pulse cauliflower in the bowl of a food processor until it resembles rice, about 2-3 minutes; set aside.
  2. One example: In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and white pepper; set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a medium skillet over low heat.
  4. Add the cauliflower, and stir to combine. Stir frequently, until the cauliflower has softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.Spoon the cauliflower into a large serving bowl, pour sauce over top. Serve warm.

You can gently stir fry or sauté with it using in place of rice for paella or risotto or just mixed with other vegetables. Cauliflower is like a chameleon – it will change it’s flavour depending on how you use it.  It’s not as boring as it looks.

Top 8 Health Benefits of Cauliflower

  • Helps Reduce Cancer Risk.
  • Fights Inflammation.
  • Decreases Risk for Heart Disease and Brain Disorders.
  • Provides High Levels of Vitamins and Minerals (Especially Vitamin C and Vitamin K)
  • Improves Digestion and Detoxification.
  • Aids in Weight Loss.
  • Helps Balance Hormones.
  • Preserves Eye Health.

Have you tried it?

 

 

 

Dishing: Blackened Fish

Fresh & Flavorful

Photo: Taste of Home (this is blackened Halibut)

This is such a delicious way to serve up mildly flavoured quick-cooking fish like Tilapia, Perch, Cod or Red Snapper.  Perfect for rice bowls or tacos.

After making this you have options to serve the fish alongside fluffy rice & veggies or as the main ingredient for tacos.  Rockfish like Perch or Snapper is perfect for fish tacos. The fish will flake apart nicely so you can stuff your tacos with it along with fresh salsa (see my fire-roasted corn salsa recipe below) diced avocado, extra cilantro and fresh squeezed lime.

INGREDIENTS for 4 people

  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 4 fillets (4 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons butter

DIRECTIONS

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the first eight ingredients. Add fillets, two at a time, and shake to coat.

In a large cast-iron skillet, cook fillets in butter over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Yield: 4 servings.

Originally published as Blackened Halibut in Simple & Delicious April/May 2012.

Photos: d. king  (Snapper for Two)

Fire Roasted Corn + Black Bean Salsa:

In a large bowl add chopped grape tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño, black beans + fire roasted corn niblets (You can toast them over the stove to save time but it would be better grilled right from the husk.)  Toss with freshly squeezed lime juice + coarse salt. Add chopped avocado.  Little street tacos, rice on the side and you’re done.  It’s delicious.

 

 

Super Food: Moroccan Chickpea Quinoa Salad

Sweet meets Savory

This healthy & hearty salad made in one pot is hard to beat. It takes maybe 30 minutes to prepare and it’s a delicious vegetarian meal packed with protein which comes in handy for lunch. Non-vegetarians can enjoy it for dinner served as a side along roast chicken or fish. 

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetarian broth (or water)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ⅔ cup dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup finely diced flat leaf parsley
  • ½ cup sliced toasted almonds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add coconut oil to a large pot and place over medium heat. Once oil is hot add in onion and sauté until onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the following spices: turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and salt and pepper; cook for 30 seconds more.
  2. Next add in broth (or water) and quinoa; bring mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook for exactly 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove from heat and fluff quinoa with a fork.
  3. Stir in chickpeas, cranberries and parsley to the quinoa and mix until well-combined. Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish with toasted almonds and extra parsley. Serves 4.
  4. To serve: Place in mason jars or meal prep containers for lunch throughout the week. Garnish with extra toasted almonds.

Quinoa: with 8 grams per cup, this gluten-free seed-like grain is a fantastic source of protein, magnesium, antioxidants, and fiber.

Recipe & Photo: ambitiouskitchen.com

 

 

Food: ROASTED BEET HUMMUS

For a winning party or potluck dip you cannot BEET this recipe.

Taken from theminimalistbaker.com

It’s a nice departure from the usual Mediterranean style hummus we’ve come to love. Super creamy and flavorful. Full of vitamins and minerals. Perfect with pita or veggies.  I made it twice in one month to rave reviews (unless they lied but I doubt it).

It’s also very simple to make. Once you have a roasted beet it’s a matter of throwing everything into a food processor or blender and whisking away.  You might want to roast more than one beet (to use the others in salads, etc.) because that takes the longest time.

Ingredients:
  • 1 small roasted beet
  • 1 15-oz. can (1 3/4 cup) cooked chickpeas, mostly drained
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • juice of 1/2 a large lemon
  • healthy pinch salt and black pepper
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 heaping Tbsp tahini
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C), remove the stem and most of the root from beet, and scrub and wash it under running water until clean. Drizzle on a bit of canola or olive oil, wrap tightly in foil, and roast for one hour or until a knife inserted falls out without resistance and is tender (similar to a baked potato). Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Once your beet is cooled and peeled, quarter it and place it in your food processor. Blend until only small bits remain.
  3. Add remaining ingredients except for olive oil and blend until smooth.
  4. Drizzle in olive oil as the hummus is mixing.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt, lemon juice, or olive oil if needed. If it’s too thick, add a bit of water.
  6. Will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

But it won’t last one week because you’ll eat it up before then.

If you love peanut butter….

For a tasty and fool-proof recipe try these two ingredient (yes, you read that right), two bite, peanut butter cookies.

It doesn’t get much easier than this for a quick energy peanut butter cookie fix.  I tried this months ago and was meaning to post.  But I thought nah, nobody is going to believe you can make cookies this simply.  But you can.  Mind you, they tend to crumble more unless you add something like a little rice malt syrup to help bind them.

They have a lot of protein without the sugar.  A win-win situation.

You will need:

  • 1 cup natural 100 per cent peanut butter.
  • 1 free range egg.
  • Optional extras: salt, cacao nibs, cacao powder, rice malt syrup.

1. Preheat your oven to  350℉ (180℃) and pour your peanut butter into a bowl. Since it’s natural peanut butter and has no added emulsifiers, it should be a little runny. This will make it easy to stir.

2. Add your egg and stir. Keep going until it firms up to a cookie dough consistency – you should be able to roll it into a ball with your hands. “If you like a salty peanut butter, this is the right time to add a pinch of rock salt.

3. Take Tablespoon amounts of the mixture and roll into balls with your hands. Place on a lined tray and gently squash them to a disc shape.  Use a fork if you like.

4. Optional: Add a tablespoon of cacao powder to half the remaining cookie mix. If you have it on hand, cacao makes these super rich. Almost like a peanut butter cup.

5. Pop your cookies into the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown with a slightly cracked surface.

That’s just the way this cookie crumbles.

Originally found on: Iquitsugar.com

 

 

Quick ‘n Easy Coq au Vin

Hearty dishes aren’t usually described as elegant, but this classic French recipe is the very definition.

This is something I would usually reserve for ordering in a good French restaurant, and even then, it’s not something I readily crave.  But I had chicken and I had white wine on hand.  Actually I had everything except the bacon so it made sense to find a recipe.

PHOTO: Liz Andrew.  STYLING: Erin McDowell

The only problem? You need Julia Child levels of patience and skill to pull it off. Enter this foolproof version, which is ready in under an hour. Plus, it’s made with dry white wine instead of red for an elegant twist.

What you need:

3 pounds chicken (8 pieces total—thighs, breasts and drumsticks)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 strips bacon, diced

1 large sweet onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 pint cremini mushrooms, sliced

2 cups dry white wine

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook until it’s well browned, about 4 minutes per side.
  2. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside. Add the bacon to the skillet and cook until the fat begins to render, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the onion and sauté until it becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms, and sauté until the mushrooms are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. Add the browned chicken back to the skillet. Pour the wine into the skillet, stir in the mustard and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat.
  5. Cover the skillet and simmer until the chicken is almost fully cooked, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Uncover the skillet and add the cream. Simmer until the sauce thickens and the chicken is fully cooked, 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

de rien

 

Monday Mood: Martinis on the Mountain

What could be better than sipping martinis in a fabulous home with a view? On a Monday no less!

As part of Modernism Week and a love limit for martinis,  I’m finally going to Martinis on the Mountain.  I’ve heard about it, but every time I’m here it’s always sold out.

Tonight I’m prepared to step back in time at the historic O’Donnell House nestled high above Palm Springs with magnificent views of the valley below.  Looking forward to live entertainment featuring the sounds of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, fab hors d’oeuvres and who knows what else.

O’Donnell House (party 2017)

The evening is also a fundraiser to benefit the Meals On Wheels Program and other programs and services of the Mizell Senior Center.

A bit of architectural history:

The house was built in 1925 for oil tycool Thomas O’Donnell and his wife.  The home originally known as Ojo del Desierto (Eye of the Desert) was designed by architect and artist William Charles Tanner. The 4,200 square foot Mediterranean Revival-Monterey style home features four bedrooms and six fireplaces. In 2000, The O’Donnell House was acquired by its present owners who began its restoration to its former glory. The City of Palm Springs recognized it as a Historic Site in 1986 and in 2000, and in 2011 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Dontini

Specialty of the House (my house)

Everyone agrees that my husband Don made the best martinis.  He specialized in the dirty kind.  Into a chilled martini glass he strained high quality vodka, a splash of vermouth (optional), a bit of olive juice (brine) from the largest olives available which gave it a bit of a cloudy appearance and lastly, three olives on a toothpick.  And my limit was always one two.

ETC:

It’s a Mod Mod World.  I went to the Modernism Preview Party at the Convention Centre the other night.  With a glass of wine in hand, amidst a collection of mid-century modern furnishings, art, jewelery and such,  there was the crowd. I was too enthralled to even take photos.  You’ll just have to use your imagination….but I’m not sure you can even imagine the getups many were wearing.  And I’m referring to mostly the men.

I’m curious…what kind of martinis do you favor?

 

 

Recipe: greek oregano chicken + orzo with tomatoes in garlic oil

If you’re looking for an easy, no fuss delicious dinner made in one pot – this is it!

image: halfbakedharvest.com

I’m always on the lookout for recipes that keep things simple but are healthy, hearty and smell heavenly.  Of course a touch of the exotic or unexpected is always a plus and it must look appetizing on the plate and pleasing on the palate. In this one the *orzo takes on a risotto-like texture since it gets cooked in with the chicken and peppers.  Sometimes oregano can be overpowering, but when paired with this chicken, some balsamic vinegar and smoked paprika, it’s perfect. This dish was originally a summer dish because of the heirloom tomatoes but you can still find them at select grocers and winter farmers markets.  The first part of the recipe (Tomatoes) is an extra step which is optional, although I highly recommend making it.

Ingredients:

TOMATOES

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes sliced
  • 2 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes halved
  • salt and pepper to taste

CHICKEN + ORZO

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken, cut into bit size pieces
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced or grated
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt + pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh oregano chopped
  • 2 bell peppers sliced
  • 1 cup mixed kalamata or green olives
  • 16 ounces orzo pasta (use gluten free if needed)
  • 4-6 ounces feta cheese crumbled

Instructions:

TOMATOES

  1. Add the olive oil, garlic and chili pepper flakes to a small sauce pan. Bring the oil to a low boil and then quickly reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20-30 minutes and then remove from the heat. Allow to cool and then store in a glass jar for up to a month in the fridge.
  2. Add the tomatoes to a bowl or plate and drizzle with the chili oil mix. Sprinkle with salt + pepper. Serve alongside the chicken.

CHICKEN

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium size dutch oven or large skillet set on medium-high heat.
  2. Once hot, add the chicken, garlic, balsamic vinegar, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Toss the chicken to coat and then cook until the chicken is browned all over and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the oregano and cook another minute. Remove the chicken from the pan and to a plate.
  3. To the same pan, add another tablespoon of olive oil, the bell peppers and a pinch of salt + pepper. Sear the peppers until just beginning to caramelize on the edges, about 3-4 minutes. Add the orzo and another tablespoon of olive oil. Stir the pasta with the peppers on then pour in 2 1/2 cups water. Cook until almost all the water is absorbed and the orzo is creamy. Taste the orzo to make sure it is soft in the middle, if needed, add another 1/2 cup of water and continue cooking the orzo until soft. It is important to stir the orzo often, as it wants to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Once the orzo is cooked, slide the chicken and olives into the orzo and remove from the heat. Allow the chicken to warm through, about 3 minutes.
  5. Serve the dish topped with crumbled feta cheese and a side of tomatoes in chili oil.

*Orzo is a Greek barley-like pasta, the shape of large grains of rice

Original Recipe: halfbakedharvest.com

Let me know if this is something you would make and if you make it, let me know how much you like it.