Quick, Quick or a Bit Slower Bouillabaisse
OK—if you don’t like sea food, don’t even bother looking at this recipe. But if you do—well, here’s an uncomplicated and delicious way to make what many consider the Cadillac of fish stews. There are so many different versions and recipes for an original and good bouillabaisse; many take hours and a huge amount of various ingredients to make. However, the following recipe results in my opinion in a delicious dish that is not complicated, particularly if you can procure all of the few ingredients that I have mentioned. It’s a bit pricey to make but worth it. It’s a dish that you can make fast, fast for guests or for your family. Using canned whole tomatoes may speed up the cooking process, however, when available, juicy ripe fresh Roma tomatoes can be lovely as well—- however then the dish will take just a bit longer to make and frankly, even with the canned tomatoes, I appreciate the longer initial vegetating time.
- 1 Tblsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion peeled and cut into quarters (I used red) and 3 large peeled garlic cloves, both ingredients chopped fine either by hand or in a food processor.
- 4 Roma tomatoes, rough chopped or one 16-oz. can of whole tomatoes drained and rough chopped.
- 2 -8-oz bottles of clam juice.
- 2 Tsp. ground fennel or I used 1 Tsp. fennel and 1 Tsp. ground fenugreek seeds.
- 1/4 Tsp. Saffron threads
- S&P to taste
- 8-oz. combination of monkfish, swordfish, halibut, snapper or sea bass cut into large pieces.
- 8-oz. clean squid bodies, cut into rings and threads cut in large sections when unfrozen. (I found fresh frozen squid and they were delicious.)
- 10 to 15 whole uncooked deveined shrimp with tail on (mine were frozen)
- Defreeze the squid, prepare as directed above; defreeze the shrimp and leave whole. I used running cold water over both of them for 15 minutes to defreeze them.
- In a large deep pot heat the 1 Tbslp. olive oil over medium heat. Then add the garlic and onion and sauté till they are soft and slightly golden (about 2 minutes.) Then add tomatoes, clam juice, and fennel/fenugreek, S&P to taste. Then crush the saffron threads with your fingers into the mixture. Stir well and bring to a slow boil. Place a top on the pot, turn the heat down to medium and particularly, if using fresh tomatoes, simmer for 30 minutes. If using canned tomatoes, simmering for 5 minutes or so will suffice however, simmering for 30 minutes may improve the dish to my opinion.
- Add the cut fish either for the quick or slow way when the sauce is ready and cook covered for an additional 5 minutes.
- For your very last minute or two of cooking over medium heat and with a top on, add the squid and shrimp.
- You can top this all, when serving, with freshly chopped parsley or even cilantro.
Serve this in large soup bowls along with a crisp cool white wine. I like to serve this dish with a fresh sliced baguette that has been lightly toasted under the broiler and then topped with the following rouille which I have processed in my food processor.
- 1 peeled garlic clove (process this first)
- Add the following 4 ingredients next:
- 1/2 C. roasted red bell peppers from a jar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 Tsp. saffron
- 1 small slice of your baguette
- 7 Tblsp. olive oil (add this last) and when totally purred, you should have a consistency equal to a mayonnaise.
- Season with salt if you wish and spread on your warm baguette slices to side with this Bouillabaisse.
Baked Egg Yolk Nests
Recipe below serves 2 or 4—depending on many eggs each individual wishes to have.
This is a fun and actually splashy looking dish to serve your family or guests for a little special breakfast or brunch. It’s also very tasty and easy to make. So, give it a try.
- 4 eggs divided—whites in a medium sized bowl and yolks saved whole in the broken shell
- 1/4 C. or more grated Parmesan or Pecorino-Romano
- 1/4 C. or more chopped chives
- 1/4 C. or more diced bacon, ham or pancetta
- S & P to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 450.
- Line a cookie or other baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whip whites until stiff peaks form.
- Fold into whites the grated cheese, chives and diced bacon,ham or pancetta
- Divide the egg whites as evenly as possible and spoon in mounds on prepared baking sheet.
- Make a deep well in each of the white mounds.
- Bake in pre-heated oven for 3 minutes.
- Then add your yolks in each mound and top with S&P to taste.
- Bake yolks will firm—from 3 to 4 minutes.
- Serve with muffins and some other kind of yummy bread and a side of fresh fruit.
- Bon Appétit.
Marmalade Drop Cookies
Here is an easy and yummy cookie to make for your family and friends. They also look pretty.
- 1/2 C. unsalted butter (1 cube), softened
- 1/4 C. sugar
- 3 Tblsp. sugar on a plate for dipping the dough
- 1 egg yolk, beaten with the following:
- 1 Tblsp. lemon juice
- 1 Tsp. grated lemon peel
- 1 Tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 Tsp. almond extract
- 1 C. plus 1 Tblsp. flour
- Preheat oven to 325.
- Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet
- Beat softened butter and 1/4 C. sugar with electric beater and when smooth, add the egg yolk mixture.
- In a medium sized bowl, place the flour and then mix the butter mixture into it until a smooth dough forms.
- Form the dough into about 24 small balls and roll in the plated sugar before placing them on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Lastly, make an indentation in each ball with your finger or thumb.
- Place on middle oven rack and bake until tops are lightly golden, about 24 minutes.
- Cool on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before removing to a platter.
- Place some marmalade or jam of your choice in each indentation. If you wish, you can further decorate with some powdered sugar and sliced almonds.
One Very Easy and Healthy Complete Chicken Casserole
Very often I don’t have any specific plan or recipe in mind however one always seems to pop up. Atkinsons’ had some very delicious looking and well priced whole (with bone and skin) chicken breasts which I had bought. That was my main ingredient. I also had bought some fresh California corn (2 ears for $1), fresh organic red chard and for an additional side goodie, some huge CA artichokes (2 for $5). At home I had some garlic heads, yellow onions, and one red and one white new potato. So, there you go————I took out my 13 X 9 Pyrex dish and below is what I came up with. I made it just for myself, but it’s a nice complete dinner for 4 and I envision a busy mother or dad being very happy to make something so healthy but yet so easy for the family—or even for guests because it did look very pretty. Also, it’s a fun dish to eat because part of it entails just using your hands. Be sure to have some extra bowls set on your table for discarding the artichoke leaves and corn husks.
- 2 large whole chicken breasts, with skin and bone—rinsed and pat dried
- 1 large bunch of red or white chard, washed and rough chopped
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced
- 2 or 3 large new potatoes, thick sliced
- Olive oil and/or olive oil spray
- Fresh ground pepper to taste and salt if you wish
- Several generous squirts of one of your favorite hot sauce—I used a hot mango sauce
- 1 C. vegetable or vegetarian broth
- 4 whole heads of garlic
- 2 ears of corn, soft end slightly cut off, left in most of its shucking and soaked in water for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 375.
- Spray your 13 X 9 Pyrex dish with olive oil and layer first with the onion slices, then the potatoes, and last the chopped chard. Sprinkle some hot sauce over it and then pour the broth over it all. Then place one chicken breast at each end—on top of the greens, etc. Sprinkle the chicken with fresh ground pepper/salt and some more of your favorite hot sauce and place the whole garlic heads at each corner.
- Put the dish on the middle rack in your preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- After the initial 30 minutes, take the dish out, turn the oven down to 350, and place the two un-husked presoaked corn ears in the middle of the dish.
- Cook for half-hour more and everything should be done just perfectly.
- Take the corn out with gloved hands and remove the husks. Break each ear into two and place back on top of your dish. If you wish place a small pad of butter on each corn ear.
- As I said, I served this with a side of artichoke.
- As always, bon appetit
Menu for Terry Owens for the week of 4/15/13
From Margot’s Table to Yours
Organic Sweet Baby Lettuces with Homemade Classic Dijon
Rolled Flank Steak Stuffed with Portobello Mushroom and Spinach
Ricks Slow Cooked Pork Chops
Mélange of Oven Baked Vegetables and New Potatoes with Basil
Catered by Margot Van Horn
“From My Table to Yours”
Offering Special B&B Styled Menus
Chicken, Dumplings and Peas
I love dumplings and I also love chicken and peas—so if you do too, here’s a simple recipe you’ll love. I bet the family and kids will love it too. I made it real simple and just used peas for the veggies, however, if you wish, you can add or substitute carrots, onions, celery, mushrooms, ———-and————well you get the picture.
If you add carrots, let there be two diced; celery, another 2 diced; onion, 1 large diced; mushrooms as many as you wish for the last 15 minutes. If you decide to add the additional veggies, brown the chicken and set aside on a plate; then brown the above mentioned veggies (except for the mushrooms) until softened (about 5-7 minutes) and then add the liquids. For the last 15 minutes, add the mushrooms and peas.
Imagination my dear———and I hope that I didn’t confuse the issue to much.
For the stew:
- 2 lbs. whole skinless or with skin chicken breasts or thighs
- 2/3 C. all purpose flour
- 2 Tbls. Olive oil
- S&P to taste
- 3 roughly chopped peeled garlic cloves
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary or 1 tsp. of dried rosemary
- 1 C. water
- 3 ½ C. vegetarian broth
- 1 ½ C. frozen or fresh peas
For the dumplings:
- 1 C. whole-wheat flour
- 1/2 C. all purpose flour
- 1/2 Tsp. baking soda
- S&P to your taste
- Fresh or dried rosemary to taste
- 3/4 C. buttermilk ( if you don’t have that, try milk and 1 Tblsp. lemon juice or vinegar that has sat for about 10 minutes)
Directions for the stew:
Cook the stew for a total of 60 minutes
- Toss chicken with the 2/3 C. all purpose flour mixed with S&P to your taste.
- In a large deep skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat; add the chicken to the pot and brown for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in water, broth, garlic cloves, rosemary and S&P to taste; bring to a boil and turn down the heat to medium so that the broth is just simmering. Stir every now and then.
- Add peas and dumplings the last 15 minutes.
- Whisk flours, baking soda, S&P, and rosemary in a medium sized bowl. Quickly add the buttermilk and spoon the dough 1 Tblsp. at a time over the simmering chicken stew. Makes about 18 dumplings (about 3 per person). These dumplings are the hearty kind. You won’t need another starch but a nice salad would be nice to have as an additional side dish.
Stuffed and Rolled Flank Steak With 2 Different Stuffings
Here are two delicious stuffed flank steak recipes given to me by a good friend. I used to make this dish often for my family years ago and honestly, I hadn’t thought about the flank steak for a long time. So, I was delighted when Pat brought this recipe back to my attention because it immediately brought back very fond memories. With this recipe, don’t feel limited to just these 2 recipes; stuffed and rolled flank steak is extremely versatile and is usually always delicious with an inventive stuffing. As I remember, my children always were enthused about this dish so it’s a good family offering; but honestly, now that flank steak costs a bit more, I wouldn’t feel embarrassed about serving it for a nice guest dish as well. And, I have added a picture to show you that yes indeed, you can make this for ONE. I paid $5 for a nice steak and actually got 2 meals out of it.
- 1 flank steak, pounded VERY thin
- Here’s 2 yummy easy stuffings–#1:
- Portobello mushrooms sliced and sautéed in olive oil
- Fresh Spinach-washed and kept whole (can be the baby kind)
- Pesto to taste
- Parmesan cheese( optional)
- Minced onion and/or garlic (optional)
- Stuffing # 2
- Provolone Cheese or another kind of your favorite cheese
- Thinly sliced Prosciutto or ham
- 1 Egg, well beaten
- 3/4 C. (more or less) Italian bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Place stuffing down the middle of the beef. Roll it tightly and hold it with toothpicks or tied with some good cooking string.
- With stuffing # 1, line the beef with the spinach and Portobello mushrooms, spread pesto on top and add some Parmesan if you choose.
- With stuffing #2, line the beef with the Prosciutto or ham slices and the Provolone slices and then roll.
- When the flank steak is rolled and tooth picked or tied with some good cooking string, roll the whole steak in one beaten egg and then in the Italian bread crumbs.
- Place the steak in a well oiled baking dish and bake at 375 degrees for half hour or more until the roast is pink for medium or well done for those who wish it so.
Rick’s Slow Cooked Pork
Two of my guests at my bed and breakfast inn decided that they wanted to move from Tahoe to Paso. So, they resided in my cottage for well over a month. They were a lovely young couple and I loved their company. Christy eventually became the manager at an exclusive winery; Rick though always loved to cook and he ended up working at an exclusive restaurant. This is one of his recipes and I love the ease and simplicity of it. It is sort of a pulled pork recipe so if you look at comparable recipes, you can also add vinegar, etc. but honestly, I think that Rick’s way is the best. So here it is:
- One 3-4 lbs. Shoulder/butt (NOT LOIN) I used a 3.44 Lb. Fresh Boston Butt Pork Shoulder Roast that was priced very nicely.
- Olive oil—I used at least 1/2 C.
- Fresh thyme
- Preheat oven to 275.
- LIBERALLY, and I mean that, spread olive oil over the whole roast. I sprayed with olive oil a large Pyrex dish first and placed the roast in it.
- Salt and pepper the roast to your taste.
- Spread fresh thyme, as much you would like, over it all.
- Cook the roast, uncovered, for 6 hours.
- That’s it and believe me, moist and delicious is what you get.
- Now, I had some freshly washed spinach waiting to be cooked and I thought, well, why not about 1/2 hour before the pork is done to pile it on top of the pork, sprinkle some red pepper flakes and Parmesan on top of the greens, place a top (or aluminum foil) on top and put it back in the oven. But even before that since I also had a left over cooked baked potato, I had cut that up in small bits and had added that around the roast before I did the spinach bit.
- When I took the roast out, I arranged the spinach and potatoes nicely around the roast and it looked gorgeous.
- Of course, this kind of pork also goes very well with potato salad and/or beans.
- Rick also said that you can cook very thick pork chops like this as well. He said to cook them for 1 ½ to 2 hours the slow way.
From Margot’s Table to Yours
Cooking for ONE the Short and Easy Way
I’ve been single (alone most people would say I guess) for most of my life and frankly, I’ve enjoyed that state. I’ve had fabulous guy friends who have popped in and out of my life and that’s been good too. The best companions though I think have been my kitties and doggies. Well, I won’t go into that but I will go into cooking for one. This column is not for a person who doesn’t enjoy food or getting in the kitchen to tend to the food creation activity just a bit. For those poor souls who do not, there is no help that I can offer except to suggest that they get a good mate or hired help who does enjoy cooking creativity and hopefully he/she will enjoy their culinary endeavors or to just forget the kitchen altogether and dine out. That’s OK. Luckily, we truly are not all created equal=boring— in spite of that famous American aspiration that was eventually evolved by our forefathers.
When I shop, I often find meats, poultry or fish on a special pricing so I do try to economize and buy those. I do love lamb particularly the delicious Idaho variety, however usually it can be quite pricey; but hoorah the other day I found two fairly thick shoulder arm chops, bone in, perfectly priced. So, I fixed one chop one way and saved the other chop for the “other” way during the same week. That way, I don’t get bored with left over’s because I’ve made myself two different dishes without having to freeze and possibly loose some taste.
Below are the two ways I prepared them.
Lamb Stew with Peppers and Red Fingerling Potatoes
- 1 half pound thick lamb shoulder arm chop, bone in-cut into one inch pieces and use the bone as well—salted and peppered to your taste
- 1 red pepper or if your wish you could use a yellow one-washed, cored and sliced long ways
- 1/2 Yellow onion—thinly sliced
- 1 or 2 garlic cloves-peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 or 5 fingerling red potatoes sliced thick or even cut in half
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- 1 Cup hot vegetable bouillon
- 1/4 Cup dry white wine or white vermouth
- 1 or 2 bay leaves
- 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary or half teaspoon dry
- S&P to taste
- In a heavy large frying pan that can be lidded, over medium high heat stove top, warm your oil and then add the lamb pieces. Sauté the lamb until the pieces are nice and brown (about 5 minutes). Set the lamb aside on a plate.
- In the same skillet add the third tablespoon of olive oil and add the onion, garlic, pepper and potatoes; over medium heat, sauté the veggie mixture and stir it often until the veggies are browned and glistening (about 5 minutes). At this point, add the 1 Tablespoon flour and continue stirring until the white of the flour has disappeared.
- Then add the vegetable bouillon. wine/vermouth, bay leaves, rosemary, S&P to taste and the lamb.
- Cover closely and cook over low heat( it should simmer continually) for about 1 hour or until the veggies and meat are done. If you notice that the liquid has reduced too much, add some more water.
- I serve this with a nice salad.
- Variations for this dish could be the following:
- Instead of potatoes, omit the peppers and use white beans. I usually make my own however, you could use well rinsed canned ones. Make sure that the skillet you are using is oven proof because at the end of your one hour stove top, you are to place some bread crumbs on top and Parmesan if you wish, and put it in a 350 oven for 5-10 minutes until golden. Serve with crusty French bread. Voila-instant cassoulet.
- You can omit the peppers and use mushrooms instead. You can even add parsley, celery and carrots.
- You can substitute vegetable broth with chicken broth.
- You can use red wine instead of white.
- You can substitute white rice for the beans or potatoes.
- It’s nice to be versatile and use your imagination. Cooking is so creative.
(The Other Chop) One Half-Pound Lamb Chop Grilled and Garnished with Sautéed Mushrooms
- Either grill your chop in the oven under the broiler or use a grilling pan. I usually S&P my chops to my liking before grilling and I don’t grill them too long. I like my lamb on the medium rare side so I take them off the heat when they are still rare and let them sit to perfection.
- Mushrooms have always been one of my favorite sides. I’ll buy several cartons of them sliced and/or unsliced and then bring them home to sauté in a combination of butter and olive oil. Often I add chopped garlic to the combination. Then I’ll freeze a whole bunch of them cooked like that to save for future easy use; and the rest I’ll use for my prepared dinner. For my lamb chops, I piled a bunch of mushrooms on top.
- I sided this dish with some excellent fresh Spinach that I had washed, rinsed and cooked in a pot stovetop just with it’s rinse water for no more than 1-2 minutes, drained and topped with shredded Parmesan.
- Then I felt like a bit of rice. Rice cookers are very easy however, if you don’t have one, I use the micro. My rice always turns out perfect and it’s easy to store the pot with the rice in it in the frig. Less washing for that dinner. I like long grained rice. I usually make rice for 2 because it’s so easy to have as a left over. So, for 2 servings, in a microwave pot I place 1/2 Cup rice with 1 1/3 C. water, cover the pot and on micro high, cook it for 5 minutes. Then I turn my micro heat to about three-quarter strength and cook the rice for another 20-25 minutes. Usually it’s just perfect then. Every micro varies in temp, so check if the 75% heat is correct for your rice cooking.
For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com Call Margot for personal cooking help or hosting
Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.
Shrimp a la Dijon
For my taste, this recipe results in a truly delectable dish. It’s a quick and easy one to serve however looks and tastes like you might have spent hours on it. The sauce in particular is divine. You can serve it over rice, pasta or with crusty French bread and a nice light green salad. It’s perfect for last minute guests or just for last minute family dinners or even just for your lonesome. Just make sure that you have some dried mushrooms or frozen pre-cooked mushrooms and uncooked peeled and deveined with tail on shrimp in the freezer. And in fact, I even made a delectable version with fresh asparagus spears (pictured above).
- 12 Oz. Shrimps with tail defrosted per package instructions
- Butter and/or olive oil to amount to 3 Tbls. (I use a bit of both)
- 1 ½ C. sliced mushrooms
- 1/4 C. finely chopped onions and/or 3 finely chopped garlic cloves
- 1 Tblsp. flour
- 3/4 C. very warm chicken broth
- 1/4 C. dry white wine (I used dry vermouth)
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 Tsp. crushed dry tarragon or a heaping 1/2 Tsp. fennel seeds
- 1/4 Tsp. paprika
- 1/4 Tsp. ground pepper
- 1/4 C. heavy cream (you can use ½ and ½ or milk if you wish to lighten the load)
- In a large measuring cup, combine the chicken broth with the white wine, Dijon mustard, and tarragon or fennel seeds, paprika and ground pepper. Let sit while you do the rest of the steps.
- In a large skillet, heat the butter and/or oil till it is hot. Add the mushrooms and onions/garlic and over medium heat, sauté till the mushrooms and onions/garlic are soft, limp and glistening. Stir in flour till all is well mixed and no more flour white remains.
- Add the chicken broth mixture and stir till thickened and the mixture bubbles. Reduce heat to medium low.
- Stir in the cream and shrimp.
- Cook covered for 2 minutes or till shrimp is done. Don’t overcook or shrimp will become tough.
- Garnish individual plates or platter with lemon slices and top with parsley or herbs.