Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Orange Cacao Rub, Roasted Paiche Fish

fish with spice rub and butter sauce

What do I say about a prehistoric fish? I wish I could have Adam over at my local Whole Foods tell you. (He works in the fish department.) I asked him about this paiche and he spoke excitedly. "Love this fish. It's been very popular," he tells me. So pai-che was on my dinner table the other night. I even asked my neighbor to join us. Well, let me tell you with excitement, just like Adam, "This is a great fish! We loved it!"

A lot like Chilean sea bass, this is a firm and mild fish. There is not much shrinkage to speak of. I bought 1.38 pounds and I could have easily made 4 servings out of this, but we ate it in three. No skin on this fish, equals no waste. It is a fresh water fish, kosher, and lives in piranha infested waters. The scales on this fish are like armor.

Arapaima is the largest  freshwater fish in South America. It is considered a living fossil and has no lungs or gills. To breathe air it must come to the surface every 5-15 minutes and was originally hunted by spearfishing. It still is considered endangered in the wild but the Amazone project has learned how to farm these fish. Hence, Whole Foods is now selling it. And even Morimoto cooked with it on Iron chef.

Fish with spice rub

I could tell you much more, but what I really want you to know is that this fish is so easy to cook with. I cut my fillet into three pieces and the middle section did have one big piece of bone. It came out in one piece and that was it. No more bones to be had. There are many ways one could prepare this, but I seared it and then finished it off in the oven. The results showed that it was still moist, full of flavor and had a great tender but rich, substantial texture. 

I used a cocoa nib, orange and clove rub. Sounds weird and I must admit that when I made it, I thought this wasn't going to work. I took the recipe from the Mast Brothers cookbook. Yeah, same one I got the Cincinnati chili from. (And guess what? They do sell their chocolate at Whole Foods. I didn't know until I went there looking for paiche. It is pricey though, so I'll have to wait until another time.) I thought the rub tasted a bit salty, but after the fish was baked, it was perfect. It was then topped with a light browned butter sauce and served over Basmati rice in which I threw some dried apricots.  My neighbor and Manservant raved about this dinner and though I'm not one to toot my own horn, well, it was a pretty, pretty good dinner!

Orange cacao rub

Whole Foods also sent over some protein powder by Vega and Garden of Life. Manservant was ecstatic. He is convinced that by getting 30g of protein in the morning that it will jump start his metabolism and help him eat less and lose weight faster. He, of course, read this in a book. I, of course, will let you know his progress. And if it works I will be convinced and try it too!

Alex saw the containers in the pantry when he came home and said, "This is the good stuff!" He apparently buys something online that he drinks after he works out.  Manservant has already asked for more and said to tell Whole Foods to send it! (Consider this a request, Danielle!) It is all over their store right now and I must tell you that I'm partial to the Vega brand, but Manservant is happy with either.  Both are gluten and dairy free but Garden of Life does has some soy. They also both contain cocoa which is a great thing in my book! Check them out if you need a boost. They make you feel very healthy after you gulp them down!

And now for the piece de resistance! (My computer doesn't do accents or maybe it's me that doesn't know how to type them!) 

A few notes on cocoa nibs:  They are fermented, dried, roasted and crushed cacao beans. They resemble chocolate, but have no sugar or other flavors added. They give texture  to the rub and they kind of melt in, but not quite. I also used them in a vinaigrette! Earthy and nutty is the best way I can think to describe them. They worked perfectly in this rub. Can't wait to add some to chocolate chip cookies to see what they do!

paiche, orange cacao rub, butter sauce

Orange Cacao Nib Roasted Paiche
From: Mast Brothers Chocolate
Yield: 2-4 servings depending on size of fish
Total Time: About 30 minutes
Browned Butter Sauce
1 stick butter
2 T white wine vinegar
2 egg yolks
Spice Rub
1/2 c cacao nibs
1 T orange zest
1 T whole cloves
2 t sea salt
2 t black pepper

1-1 1/2lb paiche fillet

1 T olive oil
Start with the sauce:
Put butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until golden brown. Let cool to room temperature. While butter is browning, whisk vinegar and egg yolks together. Slowly add browned butter to the egg yolk mixture, whisking until emulsified. Season with salt if desired. Keep at room temperature until ready to use.

Spice Rub:
Put all of the ingredients in a mortar and pestle and grind to a somewhat fine paste. Or throw in a mini processor and pulse a few times!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut paiche into desired serving sizes. Rub spice mixture on top of fish. Heat a cast iron skillet with olive oil over high heat. Sear fish on unrubbed side for two minutes. Place pan in oven for about 10 minutes or until fish reaches your desired doneness!

Please Pin and Share:

Orange Cacao Spice Rub and  Browned Butter Sauce make the best baked fish! #spicerubs #fishrecipe #brownedbuttersauce

Other Good Fish and Seafood Recipes:
Teriyaki Shrimp
Mexican Garlic Lime Shrimp
Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
Moroccan Fish with Saffron Lime Aioli
White Fish with Mushrooms and Browned Butter
Brazilian Coconut Lime Shrimp Stew
15 Minute Greek Baked Shrimp with Feta
Shrimp and Grits
Crispy Chipotle Shrimp with Corn
New Orleans Barbecued Shrimp

Monday, January 27, 2014

Buttery Garlic Parmesan Potato Chips (Eat At Your Own Discretion!)

Consider this fair warning. These potato chips are addicting. They are deadly. They are damn good. Perfect for dip season. Or not. Perfect for hiding in the pantry with. Perfect for midnight gorging. Or closet eating. Don't say I didn't warn you. These are damn good chips.

I love potato chips. They are my vice and I shouldn't keep them in the house. And really I haven't bought them recently-until I did. And I did this. And we ate them. It really is very simple. They are damn good. And too easy to make. And quite easy to eat. 

It is as simple as melting butter and adding a few things. Like garlic. Like parmesan. Like some more salt. And a few chili flakes. And that damn cheese out of a can. But it works. It works very well. Don't say I didn't warn you.

It as as quick as opening the bag and pouring in the butter and mixing it with the seasonings and then baking. Slowly, slowly baking. Until your kitchen is perfumed with the smell of butter. And garlic. And cheese. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Buttery Garlic Parmesan Potato Chips

Yield: 1 to 10 servings
Total Time: 30 minutes including baking


1 13 oz bag of  Salted Kettle Chips (the party size)
1 stick melted butter
1 1/2 t garlic powder
3/4 t coarse salt
1/4 t red chili flakes
2 heaping Tablespoons of parmesan from the can
Fresh parmesan to throw on top


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Melt the butter. Add the seasonings and cheese. Stir. Open bag of chips. Pour in butter mixture. Toss  gently but well, while holding bag shut. Pour out onto a parchment lined large baking sheet. Sprinkle with additional garlic powder and additional grated parmesan cheese of you'd like.

Bake on the lowest rack in oven for about 20 minutes until these are golden and crispy and delectable! And don't say I didn't warn you!

Other good football food:

Onion Dip
3 Ingredient Artichoke Dip
Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
Tomatilla Salsa
Pico De Gallo
Smoked Trout Pate
Sloppy Jose
Real Potato Salad

Please pin and share!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thai Pork Dip or Don't Be a Dip

Go ahead. Look up the word dip. I've never realized just how many meanings there are for the word. My favorite from the Urban Dictionary goes like this: "Dip -  leave abruptly. To get the hell out of somewhere."  In this case at least, with this recipe, it would go something like this: "Quit being a dip. If you don't put that damn dip in front of me, I'm going to dip right out of here."

And with good reason, because this is damn good dip. You are going to want to dip your dippers into this dip and hoard this mess of a dip where it only belongs to you and just you. This is a totally addicting dip. I kid you not. Sometimes I fool myself  and serve it with lettuce whereupon it becomes a lettuce wrap and can be served for dinner. After all, dips just aren't for dipping anymore. You know that, right?

It seems we've made it through chili week on the Blogosphere.  Every other blog I've read is doing the chili. I guess I'm with the in crowd. Of course everyone who wasn't, seems to be doing dips. Ooo eee! I'm doing both, just to make it clear. Yes, that season of the year is upon us. The time of crock pots and chili and dips. Yeah, Some might say Super Bowl is finally here, but being the non football fanatic that I am, I scream "Football season is almost over!".

But being the dip I am, at least when it comes to football, you ought to know that I'm not a dip, when it comes to dips. I know a good dip when I see one and this dip is one of them. No sour cream or cream cheese, though it does have Thai ingredients and I love Thai food. You could also say that it has Vietnamese ingredients and I love Vietnamese. I guess it's kind of AC/DC. Just like the dip or lettuce wrap thing; what ever way floats your boat! You can serve it with rice crackers or veggies like carrots, cucumber rounds and roasted sweet potato slices. Of course, it also tastes great over rice or noodles. And I made scallion Chinese flat bread which made a great dipper. Remember, versatile is this dip's middle name!

I'm placing a bet that you are going to love this dip. I love artichoke dip and I love onion dip. But here and there it's nice to switch things up a bit. Go ahead. Don't be a dip. Just make this dip!

Thai Pork Dip
Yield: 4-8 servings depending on how big your dips are!
Total Time: About 20 minutes start to finish
1 lb ground pork or turkey or chicken
1 T minced or crushed garlic
2 T finely chopped lemon grass or lemon grass in a tube 
1/2 can of coconut milk (If dip sits and becomes to thick, slowly stir in the other half)
2 T peanut butter
2 T fish sauce
2 T brown sugar
1 T Sriracha
1 T chopped cilantro

Garnish with chopped peanuts, some cilantro and some shredded coconut if you'd like.

Serve with rice crackers, dippers or in lettuce leaves.

In a skillet cook pork or turkey until brown. Stir in garlic and lemon grass and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, peanut butter, fish sauce, brown sugar, and Sriracha. Cook and stir until thickened over medium high heat about 5-10 minutes. Stir in cilantro before serving. Garnish and serve with your favorite dippers and sippers!

May the best team win! Go Broncos!

Other good football food:

Onion Dip
3 Ingredient Artichoke Dip
Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
Tomatilla Salsa
Pico De Gallo
Smoked Trout Pate
Sloppy Jose
Real Potato Salad

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cincinnati Chili is Chocolate Lover's Chili


Shivering from the chill, she plunked down at the table and eyed the chili with a chilly look. "This sure looks like weird chili to me", she thought. The deep brown chili stared her down and dared her to chill out. "Just one bite of me and you will warm your bones and relax. For real. Let's do some chillin', " This chili muttered. (Well, that is, if chili could talk.) The air was filled with the essence of cloves and cumin, allspice and cayenne. The aroma from the chili was enough to send her over the top."Whoa, baby," she thought, "This is a chili that would make me take a field trip to Cincinnati just to find the real thing."

This is a lot of chills to come out of one bowl of chili. And Cincinnati chili, no less. Ever since I made my Chili Mac last year, I've become kind of obsessed. I never loved chili as a child. I remember it as a kidney bean thing and I am no lover of kidney beans. But having married a chili lover, I've since become one. Once I discovered the myriad of ways to make chili, I was quickly won over. Truth be told, I love Cincinnati chili. Manservant may love his Texas style chili, but Cincinnati chili is hands down, my favorite.

A few weeks ago I ran across the Mast Brothers Chocolate cookbook at the library. This is such a great book and another one I'd love to own. I hope no one requests it because I'd love to keep it awhile and make about a zillion things from it. Filled with recipes like Orange Nib Crusted Salmon and Cocoa Butternut Squash Soup and even a Cocoa Balsamic Vinaigrette - well, this is not just a dessert cookbook. This is a chocolate lover's cookbook and a cookbook lover's cookbook, too. It is a great story about how the Mast Brothers came to be. Let's just say that one day I hope to find myself in Brooklyn eating their chocolate. These guys even sailed to South America to get their cacoa beans. I mean, really? This is a good read and it will make you real, real hungry. Plus, with a forward from Thomas Keller, well you know it's got to be good. And did I mention these brothers are kind of cute. Well, I'm just sayin'.


So it is that I found myself cooking their recipe for Cincinnati chili. Their recipe is kind of like an over the top gourmet restaurant's chili. It is truly simple to make and fun to see how the flavors build on each other. When you start the tastin', which I do all along the way, it doesn't seem to be getting there. But when you reach the conclusion, with the adding of the sherry vinegar and stirring in of the dark chocolate, well it's kind of like an opus gone wild. It just reaches a crescendo and keeps ascending from there. This is not unsimilar to when I make mole, only this is a  whole lot simpler.The flavors just build off of each other until your mouth is so full of goodness, you just can't take it anymore. Well, at least until the next time you are ready to feed your face.


Now I love my Chili Mac, but that chili might be more of what you find in a diner. This chili is cozy and comforting and is a totally different experience. This chili is one to savor and eat slow. Well, I say that, but I'm not sure. You might want to ladle it directly into your mouth. It would be fun to compare them side to side. I made the Mast Brothers Cincinnati chili with Ghiradelli chocolate. Such travesty, I know. Alas, I know not where to find Mast Brothers chocolate here in colorful Colorado. Would it make this chili taste even better? I really don't know. But it is damn good even with my friend Ghiradelli.

chocolate, cloves

One? more thing I should tell ya. I started this post last week and then Alex showed up. Alex, who in the span of less than 48 hours had his car fixed with carpooling from Mom, built a bed frame with help from Dad and stained it with help from Mom, and ransacked our home for art work and miscellaneous pots and pans. That Alex, who is now living in Vail, on Gore Creek, working at Matsihisu, kept me from finishing this post. I should mention that if ransacking, fixing a car, and building a bed aren't enough, he also bottled beer (Tricerahops) with his Dad until 12:30AM Saturday morning in between running over to a shady part of town to find an Iphone off of Craig's List. And then the guy never showed, which was probably a good thing, since it was a maybe too good to be true price. That Alex who also went to Costco to buy a microwave to take back in between buying bottles to put the beer in and finishing the bed, thought he would be finished in 24 hours so he could ski with his buds on Saturday. Well, he didn't leave until Saturday at 12:30 pm because he was too busy and so were we, which is why I didn't send this post to you sooner.

Not that I minded. Alex has a way of making us both feel quite alive and the music is always going when he's around, which is a good thing.  Though it did feel AND look like a tornado had hit once he left, yes,that Alex Odie, kept me from finishing this post.  And well, in the interim this chili just happened to show up today at Leite's Culinaria, which just tells me that great minds think alike. Right?

chili, chocolate

Cincinnati Chili
From: Mast Brothers Chocolate, A Family Cookbook, 2013
Yield: 8 servings
Total Time: About 2 hours including cooking time
2 T vegetable oil
1 medium, finely chopped onion
2 lbs ground beef (I used turkey)
1/4 c chili powder (I used 1 1/2T ancho and 1 1/2 T Mexican red)
1 t cumin
1 t allspice
1/2 t ground cloves
2 bay leaves
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1 1/2 c tomato puree
4 c beef stock
2 1/2 oz chopped dark chocolate
2 T sherry vinegar
2 pinches or to taste sea salt
2 grinds of black pepper

In a large pot, heat oil and saute onion over medium heat until translucent. Add beef or turkey and cook until browned. Stir in chili powder, cumin, allspice, cloves, bayleaf, cayenne and tomato puree. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Add stock. Let simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Add chocolate and vinegar. Stir until chocolate has melted in. Remove bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. If you choose to serve this Cincinnati style you need to boil some spaghetti, chop some onion, grate some cheese. Beans if you want them. I serve it by putting a serving of spaghetti on a plate. I top that with a bit of grated cheddar. Then I add some chili. Then some beans. Then more cheddar. Then onions. Garnish with crackers. Or those little bitty oyster crackers. Stir it up. Eat it. And if you are lucky you might have a Tricerahops ready to go!

More Chili Things:
Chili Lover's Meatloaf

And here's one to pin for future chili days:

Cincinnati Chili has a touch of chocolate and sherry vinegar. What a great change from TexMez! #chili #Cincinnatichili  #soup

Monday, January 13, 2014

Colorado's Best Hash or Need I Say More?

Turkey and Mushroom Hash that is so good! Perfect for leftovers! #turkey #hash #mushrooms

Let's be blunt. This ain't no street hash and it's not from an "edible store". This is the real thing. Totally on the up and up and you don't have to be 21. This is the best hash I've tried in a long time and you don't have to wait in line. Rich and full of flavor with lots of earthy notes. Gentle and hip and comforting all in one bite. Savory, sultry and mellow and perfect for a Sunday morn. This is something the whole family can enjoy.

I don't know about you but I really get stoked on comfort food. I look forward to certain leftovers just so I can make some hash. And this hash is really the best I've had. (Next to those summers decades ago that I spent in Denmark and another weekend? day? summer? in Amsterdam.) You know I love potatoes, but no potatoes in this. A few 'shrooms puts this over the top and into psychedelic land. Well, that and a bit of heavy cream sends me totally from terra firma.

Yeah, we all know Colorado became the first state to legalize marijuana Mary Jane. Years ago I probably would have jumped for joy, but now I only jump rope, and that doesn't happen very often. Now it is here and I'm a bit too underwhelmed by the whole thing. Right now the only thing weed would do to me is make me eat more, sleep more and smile more. And I don't need that.  Well-maybe the smile more... Of course, I do have a few aches and pains but I best solve those on my own. 

Turkey and Mushroom Hash that is so good! Perfect for leftovers! #turkey #hash #mushrooms

We all know hash-don't we? The delectable dish of chopped meat and vegetables. An odds and ends kind of dish. I just checked out The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink by John F. Mariani at the library. (A great book, by the way. At least if you like weird and interesting food facts, like I do.) They say that hash comes from an old French word, "hacher" that means to chop.  In the mid 19th century hash was associated with cheap restaurants called "hash houses or hasheries." I kid you not. It goes on to say that on an 1850 menu from the El Dorado Hotel in Hangtown, CA was an item for Low Grade Hash at 75 cents or 18 Carat Hash for a dollar.  I'm not slinging made up hash at you. I got this from a real book.

No, I'm not smoking anything right now and I'm already in a pretty good mood so I'm not kidding when I tell you that this hash will put anyone in a pretty good state, though it might not be Colorado. This hash might not give a Rocky Mountain high, but it sure beats smoking tea. And if you do be smokin', tokin' da weed, you just might get the munchies... which leads me back to this hash. In which case, please feel free to partake.

I present to you today a turkey hash that dates back to 1839, from the great state of Kentucky. It was considered a breakfast dish and often served with corn meal cakes. I didn't get to those. I just served this hash on toast. And Manservant had to have his egg. We ate this for dinner. And we ate this for breakfast two days later. At that point, I refried this in more butter to warm it, which also crisped up the edges into glorious little, brown, buttery bites. I have to tell you this stuff is good.  Best hash I ever had!

Turkey and Mushroom Hash that is so good! Perfect for leftovers! #turkey #hash #mushrooms

Derby Day Turkey Hash (Real American Breakfast by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison)

Yield: 4 Servings 

Prep and Cooking Time: About 45 minutes


3 T unsalted butter
2 T bacon drippings or oil
2 c chopped onions
1/4 lb thinly sliced mushrooms
3 T flour
2 c chicken or turkey stock
3 T heavy cream or half and half
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T tomato based bbq sauce
3-4 c diced and cooked chicken, turkey, beef or pork
1/4 c minced Italian parsley
Salt and Pepper


Warm the butter and drippings in a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook for a minute, then add the mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes, warming it through.

Pat the mixture down and let it cook until it begins to brown-about 6-8 minutes. Scrape it up with a sturdy spatula, getting up any brown bits. Sprinkle flour over it and stir until it is incorporated. Now pour in the stock, cream, Worcestershire sauce and bbq sauce. Bring the gravy like mixture to a boil. Cook it down for about 10 minutes, until it is so thick that when you pull a spatula through it leaves a trail. Scrape up from the bottom while the mixture cooks. Add your cooked meat of choice, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Scrape the hash back up again. Continue cooking and scraping until the liquid is cooked down and the hash mixture remains moist, but has a few crisp edges, another 6-8 minutes. Do not turn the temperature down unless you're close to burning the mixture. You need the heat to develop a rich, brown crust.

Serve over toast and add a fried egg if you'd like! Now just chill out. Peace, man!

More Comfort Food:

Don't Lose this Recipe!
Please Pin and Share!

Turkey and Mushroom Hash that is so good! Perfect for leftovers! #turkey #hash #mushrooms

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Mussels and Fries or The Princess and the Prince

Mussels and Fries

You probably saw this coming, right? The truth is that I made these months ago, and never got around to posting them. I still haven't had my fries BUT we did hear from HR, formerly known as the officedom of WussMan. WussMan quickly became a hero after recovering from the flu, and now is ready to eat some fries. Just kidding. But he did send the offer. Finally! And it is good and soon my Manservant will be gainfully employed. Not that he wasn't working hard already. Manservant is a workaholic-he barely comes up for air. He is a man that loves to work and lives to work. They will love him!

Yes, this means we can finally start getting back to the land of the living. Focusing on anything is tough when one has to worry about how to survive the day to day. (Manservant says I am being a bit dramatic here. However it is my blog and I am known for drama anyway.) Thankfully, our family and friends have stood beside us and not abandoned us to the side of the road. It happens. It has happened. Life has a way of still moving, even when you are stuck in the mud. I always tell myself to never judge until you have walked in that person's shoes. No, I'm not very good at the whole light at the end of the tunnel thing, but I do believe that one has to keep walking. Standing still never does anyone any good.

Damn! Enough philosophy for the day. My head is all over the map, but my belly still wants fries! These photos will have to do me. Yes! These are garlic fries. Very garlic fries. And this is their story:

Mussels and fries

Once upon a time a Princess found herself at the grocery needing dinner. After perusing the offerings she landed at the seafood counter where fresh Prince Edward Island mussels were awaiting her. (No green lip mussels for this princess. She will only eat PEI's!) Checking with her Manservant, via her handy cell phone, he confirmed that mussels would make a perfect dinner. They are easy to prepare, totally loaded with more protein than steak, and so filled with the sweet and briny taste of the sea.

Upon arriving back at her palace, the Princess encountered her Prince Manservant and asked him how he would like his PEI's served. Would he like them with pasta? Would he like them with rice? Would he like them in a bowl with a big giant spoon? The Prince Manservant replied that French Bread would suffice.

Alas! The Princess did not hear the words French Bread spoken. Would their be trouble in the kingdom? To work the princess went. But not too much work, for she was a Princess and mussels are so easy to prepare. She cleaned her mussels, which were quite clean already, and dropped them into ice water sprinkled with a touch of cornmeal. She then proceeded to select two hearty Russets and quickly  peel them. They were rapidly dispensed into the requisite French Fry cut and soaked in more ice water. After being quickly dried they were ready to fry. Not once, but twice. Then they were turned into a beautiful golden French fry!

The manservant prince soon arrived at the dining table where he proclaimed that his palace smelled so good. "Ah", said the Princess, "It is the smell of the golden French fries." Whereupon Prince Manservant asked "But where might be the French Bread?" Looking puzzled, the Princess asked, "What do you mean-French bread? You said French fries". The prince objected. "I said French Bread, not French Fries!" But upon tasting the golden French fry and seeing the princess's happiness at having French fries, he no longer needed his French Bread.

The Princess and her Prince Manservant dined happily and the kingdom survived another day.  THE END.

Mussels and French Fries

Mussels in White Wine

Yield: 2-4 Servings

Total Time: 20 minutes or less
From: Craig Claiborne's New York Times Cookbook
2 1/2 lbs cleaned mussels
2 T butter
2 T finely chopped onion
1 T finely chopped shallots
1 minced clove of garlic
2 T finely chopped parsley
3/4 c dry white wine
Clean mussels and remove any beards by pulling them off. Usually you don't find many. Discard any mussels that won't close or any with broken shells. Put them into a clean bowl or sink with ice water and a spoonful of cornmeal until ready to cook.

Heat the butter in a large pot (with a lid) and add the onions, shallots, and garlic. Cook until wilted and add the mussels. Add half of the parsley, and all the wine. Cover closely and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the mussels are opened. Serve with pasta or rice or French fries! And some French Bread to sop up all that savory broth.

French Fries
Yield: 2-4 Servings


2 large Russet Potatoes
Oil for Frying 
1 T finely chopped garlic
Garlic Oil for drizzling (optional)
Garlic Aioli Mayonnaise


Peel if you'd like, your two glorious Russets. Cut into the size of French Fry you prefer. Soak in cold water-the longer the better. This helps get rid of the starch that clings to them. Remove from water and let dry on paper towels. Blot the top and try to remove all moisture.

Heat  a few inches of oil to 300 degrees. I use my Dutch oven. Gently place potatoes in hot oil and fry until just taking on a bit of color. You are basically softening the potato and not frying it all the way through. You want a crispy French fry, don't you? You may have to do this in two batches. This keeps the potatoes from overcrowding which makes for limp fries and also takes the fries longer to cook. Remove from pot and drain on paper towels.

Now raise the temperature of the oil to 400 degrees. Place the fries into the hot oil and fry until golden and crispy. Sprinkle with lots of salt and toss with garlic. Drizzle with garlic oil if you have it. Serve with ketchup. However, I usually serve mussels and French fries with aioli, not ketchup. You get an extra dose of garlic this way!

More to try on a cold day:
Pantry Bean Soup
Red Chile
Chili Three Ways
Shrimp and Grits with Tomatoes
Brazilian Coconut Lime Shrimp Stew
Cap'n Crunch Meat Loaf
Pasta Chicken Gratin
Chicken, Artichoke, Mushroom Casserole
Not My Mama's Chicken Pot Pie

Please Pin and Share!

Mussels make the quickest dinner. Steamed with white wine and garlic, they really are so easy. And of course they are even better with fries! #mussels #fries

Monday, January 6, 2014

White Bean, Bacon and Kale Soup and Dallas: Are You Working Today?

Manservant informed me for the third day in a row that he is out of coffee. He also tells me he doesn't NEED coffee. I believe that like I believe he's going to get a job offer any day now. The truth is that he doesn't want to run to the store to get coffee, because it is cold outside. Poor baby. We all know it is cold outside. Every damn channel is covering the cold, except the CNN person who found herself in Miami and is feeling a bit guilty about it. I wish her no ill will!

HOWEVER! There is a guy in Dallas that needs to report for work soon or I swear-I am going to lose it. I am told that he has been on holiday and will hopefully show up tomorrow. I think he is just a wuss and doesn't want to go outside, because it is cold in Dallas, too. I swear, (I'm doing a lot of swearing today) I will fly down there and escort him to his officedom if I can catch a flight. And if he isn't on holiday, and this is really related to the weather, than I think he is a doublewuss. It's just not that cold in Dallas.

You may wonder why I am so busy swearing today... As some of you may know, my Manservant, who is an entrepreneur, has decided that it is time he takes a real job. Well, he decided that awhile ago, but it has taken over a year to find the job. (He is lucky he is still alive.) But-he is an entrepreneur and you can't be an entrepreneur, unless you have like...20 lives. We are at... like 19.

 In any case... he has been told that he will be getting an offer any day now. They have already sent the benefits package. That's kind of like putting the cart before the horse, I think. Today he got an email from his friend saying that he is sorry this offer hasn't arrived but it appears the HR wuss in Dallas (these might not have been his exact words) is still on holiday and said offer has to wait on this guy in HR. I hate HR. (Sorry, if you work in HR!) You mean to tell me that in a billion dollar company there is only one guy who can put together the paperwork? Sorry. I am venting...

In any case, I am sitting here on a very sunny, cold day wanting French Fries. I haven't had French Fries in a very long time. I make French Fries about once a year and today is not the day. But I still want French Fries. With Heinz ketchup and salt. I would eat them all and if you took me out to get them I wouldn't share. I mean that. I am so not in a sharing mood. But I might give some to that HR wuss if he ever got to his desk. Maybe I would drizzle them with truffle oil and sprinkle them with truffle salt, if the offer is good. But maybe not.  I haven't been out to eat in so long and this is pathetic, that all I can think I want in a restaurant is French Fries.

The good news is that my son lost 10 pounds in the last 6 weeks. He is working hard at Matsuhisa in Vail. It is a big restaurant and he does a lot of walking. And during the day he does a lot of skiing. So, if you want to lose weight, my suggestion is to work in a big restaurant as a table runner and ski during the day.  I think if I ate all those French Fries I might have to get a job like his. However, I think they only hire young, good looking, robust types that don't eat French Fries.

 A few nights ago he met Nobu and Jose Andres. If you are in the food world, this might make your eyes light up. If you aren't, forget it. He is doing great and finally, after sleeping on many couches, he was able to move into his just redone rental right on Gore Creek in the Village.  (Score!) I am  just happy he finally has a bed. He is definitely learning how to get by which will serve him well when he leaves to go to China in the Spring. I better not think about that now. It might make me want a double order of French Fries.

Today's recipe is for soup. Hearty, and soothing, this is a good soup. It is full of fiber and fiber. And kale. Which is fiber, too. You could leave it out. Did I mention protein? Lots of that, too. This is good and filling. And white beans are easy to work with. After a quick boiling water soak of an hour, the soup can then be ready in another hour. You could  make this without the bacon. But it only has three slices of bacon in the whole pot. I don't think that's so bad. It just doesn't have French Fries!

White Bean Soup with Kale and Bacon (Serves 4-8)
Time: About 2 hours-including down time

1 lb of dried white beans
3 thick slices of bacon
2 c chopped onion
1/3 c chopped celery
1/3 c chopped carrots
2 T chopped parsley
5 chopped garlic cloves
1 t dried sage
1 bay leaf
8 c chicken broth (I use Better than Bouilion)
1 bunch of chopped kale (If the inner rib is tough, remove it)
6 chopped sage leaves

Rinse beans and in a big pot cover with 8 c water. Bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit for an hour.

While beans are soaking, chop bacon into big bites. Fry in a big soup pot. (I use my Dutch oven) Remove when good and crisp. Set aside. Throw in the onion, carrots and celery. Saute until soft. Add parsley and garlic and cook for about one minute. Set aside until beans are ready.

After beans have soaked, throw away soaking water and add beans to Dutch oven.  Add dried sage, bay leaf and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Turn down to a low simmer and keep lid on, but slightly ajar and cook for 45 minutes to an hour or until beans are as soft as you'd like them. (If you want, you can puree some of them with an immersion blender. I like them just the way they are, but this is one way to get a creamier soup.) Add kale and fresh sage about 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with bacon when ready to serve. Serve with French Fries. I mean, bread and butter!

P.S. The winners of the $25 gift cards from Whole Foods are Becca Ferguson and 
Liz Berg. Congratulations!

More to try on a cold day:
Pantry Bean Soup
Red Chile
Chili Three Ways
Shrimp and Grits with Tomatoes
Brazilian Coconut Lime Shrimp Stew
Cap'n Crunch Meat Loaf
Pasta Chicken Gratin
Chicken, Artichoke, Mushroom Casserole
Not My Mama's Chicken Pot Pie

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Roasted Salmon with Roasted Vegetables or The First Work Day of The New Year

salmon, roasted vegetables

The first work day of the New Year has arrived and it isn't Monday. Sorry, but this really throws me off. I am a creature of habit and my brain isn't quite ready to handle this. The good news is that I've already passed hump day and I only have two days before the weekend. The bad news is I have so much to do.

I was kind of a slacker over the holidays. Not really though. In the last week we've entertained twice. In the last month we've had folks over 4 times. It feels good, but I'm tired and that is not a good way to start the new year. I need to start focusing. My brain need to clear out. I'm tired of the haze. 

Everyone is busy posting all their reader's favorites over the last year. Mine are always available on the side bar of the page. You can see that Texas Sheet Cake and my Cream Cheese Pound Cake are tops on the list. Then we can see oatmeal and that is one that can clear my heart. But I need fish to clear my brain. And so it is. Eat this fish, too. Get rid of the haze. Think clean, people. Not just your body, but let's get that mind clear, too! Well, I guess they are kind of linked in some way...

roasted vegetables

Manservant tells me that Deepak Chopra told him I'm supposed to rub my belly before I eat to determine how hungry I am. I'm supposed to rate my hunger on a 1-10 scale and then stop before I'm full. Well, we all know that. Jeez. Does this mean if I'm really hungry, I can eat fries and chips? I doubt it. Check what he says out here. Not bad ideas for a new year of positive thinking.

So, I guess this fish dish might work on Deepak's plan. I think it has most of the colors of the rainbow, but I admit I didn't count. The orange and fennel flavor is light and luscious. If you think you don't like fennel, I suggest trying it once. It is slightly sweet with a  hint of licorice and I love it. It is crisp and lively with a savory taste. Check it out. I want to keep those farmers in business!

Feel free to substitute a variety of veggies. I think leeks would be a good sub for the red onions and some cabbage would work if you don't like fennel. Carrots for tomatoes and you see where I'm going, right? Use what you have and like. This is a simple and quick entree to start a year of healthier eating. I'm rubbing my belly now...I think it feels like a 4. Better start cooking!

roasted salmon and vegetables

Roasted Orange Salmon with Fennel
Serves 4
  • 2 small fennel bulbs sliced into thin wedges
  • Fennel fronds chopped
  • large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb salmon fillet
  • 1 orange zested and juiced
  • Directions:
  • Heat oven to 400° F. In a roasting pan lined with parchment, toss the fennel, onion, garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper and 2 t of oil. Roast for 20 minutes.

  • Move the vegetables to the sides of the pan; place the salmon in the center. Squeeze the orange halves over the salmon. Sprinkle with the remaining salt and pepper, fennel fronds and zest. Drizzle with 1 t of olive oil.

  • Return the salmon to oven and roast until it is the same color throughout and flakes easily, 10 to 12 minutes. 

I served this with a farro pilaf seasoned with more orange juice and toasted walnuts. Feel free to use this recipe but substitute orange juice for the teriyaki, and leave out the ginger. Feel free to throw in some toasted walnuts and more orange zest.

More good dishes to start the year: