Condiments are glops of food that enhance other foods.

Gone Fishin’

When was a little girl, my dad would go salmon fishing on a regular basis. He truly loved to fish. While there were many times he came home empty handed, there were plenty occasions where I got to go outside and watch as he scaled and cleaned the fish he had caught. Our downstairs freezer was full to the brim with the bounty of his favorite pastime.salmon

Because we had salmon for dinner at least two or three times a month, it was in no way a treat for me. My mom would usually prepare it the same way—with butter and brown sugar, and the predictable regularity of this entrée left me assuming that salmon was nothing special. I didn’t help that I always seemed to get a bone stuck in my throat!

When I met my husband, I found out that salmon was one of his most favorite foods. When I became interested in cooking I learned that Pacific Northwest salmon held an almost reverent spot in many chef’s hearts. I’ve come to realize that this ubiquitous fish from my past is truly an ingredient that has amazing potential to lift any dish to great heights.

I often cook with salmon these days and I like to try new things. I found this salad adapted from Sunset magazine to be surprisingly hearty and summery at the same time. While it’s definitely impressive and tasty enough to serve to guests, it’s relatively easy to put together. What really makes this dish stand out is the Pistachio Salsa Verde, which provides a nice counterpoint to the flavor of the fish!


Salmon and Grains Salad with Pistachio Salsa Verde

1 cup wild rice or wild rice blend
½ cup black quinoa or regular quinoa, rinsed well and drained
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 cup grapeseed or canola oil, for frying
1½ pounds sockeye salmon fillets, about 1 inch thick, thawed if frozen, pin bones removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 quart loosely packed small, tender watercress sprigs
¾ cup radish, sliced paper-thin
½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
¾ cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn if large
½ cup loosely packed fresh small, tender cilantro sprigs
¼ cup small, tender fresh dill sprigs
Pistachio Salsa Verde (see recipe below)

Prepare grains: Cook wild rice and quinoa separately according to package instructions, adding ½ teaspoon salt to each. Drain grains of any liquid, then pour out each onto separate rimmed baking sheets and let cool.

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Using a slotted spoon, add one-quarter of quinoa; cook until crisp (spoon out a few grains and taste them to test), about 2 minutes. Transfer quinoa to paper towels to drain and repeat to cook remaining quinoa.

Make salad: Preheat broiler with rack about 3-inches from heat. Set salmon on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub all over with oil, salt, and pepper. Broil until medium-rare (cut to test), turning once, 3 to 5 minutes total.

Set aside 5 to 10 minutes (salmon will continue to cook a little).

On a large platter, layer wild rice, half of quinoa, the watercress, radishes, onion, parsley, basil, cilantro, and dill. Gently toss greens and vegetables to loosely mix.

Break salmon into 4-inch pieces, discarding any skin, and add to platter. Sprinkle with remaining quinoa, taking care not to cover salmon. Spoon about ⅔ cup Pistachio Salsa Verde (see recipe below) over salad and serve the rest on the side.


Pistachio Salsa Verde

½ teaspoon ground fennel seeds
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
¼ cup chives, chopped
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon red chile flakes
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup pistachios, rough chopped

Into a mortar, put fennel seeds, coriander, cumin, and rosemary; grind with pestle. Add mixture to the bowl of a food processor and add chives, parsley, vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic, and chile flakes. Pulse until well blended. Add pistachios and pulse until nuts are chopped. Add oil in a steady stream until incorporated

Make ahead: Keeps, chilled airtight, up to 3 days.

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The Macaroni Tree–A.K.A. The Apricot Tree

LeanneI suppose it’s a given that one takes for granted the situation he or she is born into. For instance, when I was very young, I thought that most people had lots of fruit trees growing in their yard, and I just accepted the fact that I had four quite-a-bit older siblings who were kind, albeit a bit rascally with me at times. Amongst those fruit trees were two apricot trees that did reasonably well in our cool weather and whose fruit was turned into delicious pies that everyone loved except me. Amongst those siblings was Debbie, who at six years older was my closest sister, both in age and compatibility. She enjoyed “entertaining” me. One late spring morning when I was about 4 or 5, she and her friend excitedly told me to come and look at the apricot tree, which was just any old tree for me at the time. There, all over the branches, were hundreds of macaroni pieces “growing” on the tree! They told me it was a macaroni tree and for about 15 minutes, I believed them.

What does all of this have to do with cooking, you ask? Well, I happen to love apricots–cooked, not raw– with chocolate, as a preserve, yes, in pies and everything else you could think of and this was a handy excuse to tell this little story. We were recently gifted some past-their-prime apricots by friend Linnea who works at the Farmer’s Market and my daughter made Vanilla Apricot Preserves with them. Not only is this stuff good on toast and over ice cream, its remarkable blended up with your favorite BBQ sauce and salt for an amazing glaze on grilled spare ribs. The recipe is courtesy of Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krisoff, which, by the way, is an excellent canning book. Of course, you can also make this and freeze it instead of canning.


Vanilla and Apricot Preserves

3 pounds ripe apricots, halved and pitted
½ cup rose’ wine (I really like Barnard Griffin)
1½ cups sugar (or more to taste)
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise

Prepare the water-bath canning: Sterilize the jars and keep them hot in the canning pot, put a small plate in the freezer, and put the flat lids in a heat proof bowl.
Cut the apricots into ¼-inch slices. Put the apricots, wine, sugar, and vanilla beans in a wide, 6-8 quart preserving pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, and continue to cook until the juices are just deep enough to cover the apricots, about 5 minutes. Pour into a colander set over a large bowl and stir the apricots gently to drain off the juice. Return the juice to the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the syrup is reduced by about half, 5 to 10 minutes.

Return the apricots and vanilla beans and any accumulated juice to the pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring frequently, until a small dab of the jam spooned onto the chilled plate becomes somewhat firm (it will not gel), 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir gently for a few seconds to distribute the fruit in the liquid.

Ladle the boiling water from the canning pot into the bowl with the lids. Using a jar lifter, remove the sterilized jars from the canning pot, carefully pouring the water from each one back into the pot, and place them upright on a folded towel. Drain the water off the jar lids.

Remove the vanilla bean pods and ladle the hot jam in to the jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace at the top. Slide a piece of vanilla bean pod into each jar so that it’s visible from the outside. Use a damp paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars, then put a flat lid and ring on each jar, adjusting the ring so that it’s just finger tight. Return the jars to the water in the canning pot, making sure the water cover the jars by at least an inch. Bring to a boil, and boil for 5 minute to process. Remove the jars to a folded towel and do not disturb for 12 hours. After 1 hour, check that the lids have sealed by pressing down on the center of each; if it can be pushed down, it hasn’t sealed and the jar should be refrigerate immediately. Label the sealed jars and store. Makes about 5 half-pint jars

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Say “Cheescake!”

LeanneI’ve always thought that cheesecake was a pretty handy dessert. You can make it a few days in advance (in fact, it’s better that way!), it usually serves a lot of people and almost everyone loves it. Except me. Cheesecake usually just doesn’t do it for me. It’s not like I hate it—it’s just not a favorite. Except this recipe. I taught a cheese class years ago and this lovely dessert was one of my recipes. It called for Stilton, which I thought was rather daring, and I used one of the amazing fruit and Stilton cheeses that are out there. The result was stunning. Don’t be afraid of the Stilton, because it simply adds complexity, not weirdness to the finished product. The rhubarb compote makes it seasonal and is absolutely delicious!

Stilton Cheesecake with Rhubarb Compote

Shortbread Crust
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and softened

½ pound (1 cup) fruit Stilton, rind discarded and cheese crumbled
Three 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
One 8 ounce container sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla

Rhubarb Compote
½ cup Port
½ cup sugar
24 pink peppercorns, coarsely crushed (optional)
2 pounds (about 6 cups) rhubarb, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces

Make Shortbread Crust: Preheat oven to 350°F.

Blend together flour and sugar with an electric mixer. Add butter and blend until mixture resembles coarse meal (it will not form a dough). Transfer to a buttered springform pan and press evenly onto bottom. Bake in middle of oven until pale golden, about 30 minutes, then cool in pan on a rack.

Reduce temperature to 300°F.

Make Filling: Beat together crumbled Stilton, cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed. Beat in flour and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream and vanilla, then pour filling over cooled crust in pan.

Bake cheesecake in middle of oven until puffed and pale golden around edge, about 70 minutes. Transfer cake in pan to rack and run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Cool completely, about 2 hours. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate.

Make Rhubarb Compote while cake in cooling: Boil Port, ½ cup sugar and peppercorns (if using) in a 12-inch nonstick skillet, stirring until sugar is dissolved, until reduced to about ½ cup, 2 to 3 minutes. Add rhubarb and gently stir to coat. Simmer rhubarb, stirring gently once after 5 minutes, until just tender but not falling apart, about 10 minutes, and transfer to a bowl. Chill compote, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Can be made up to 2 days before serving. Makes 16 servings

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Raw Vegetables You Can Get Excited About

LeanneCan I say this out loud? With all the graduation parties, weddings, showers and summer parties coming on, does anybody else find crudité platters boring? I mean, sure, veggies are good for you and you’re thankful that they’re providing something healthful. But do they have to be sooo boring? Years ago, I found a recipe in Cooking Light Magazine for a vegetable dip that was healthy, yet made carrots, jicama and snap peas fun to eat. In short, I found a great peanut sauce dip and here it is. It’s perfect for any spring or summer get together. For heaven’s sake, be healthy—but be fun!

Asian Peanut Dip
½ cup natural-style peanut butter
⅓ cup firm silken tofu
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Baby carrots, snap peas and bite-sized jicama pieces

Place all ingredients into blender and process until smooth, scraping sides. Store in an air tight container for up to two days. Makes approximately 1 cup

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A Food Revelation

LeanneAs a food person and someone who is in the food business, I get to try a lot of new dishes. Every once in a while I try something that is a thoroughly new idea to me.  It might be a food I’ve never tried before but more likely, it’s a food that’s used in a completely different way. Stuff wrapped in grape leaves (dolma) has always been good but has never really been a favorite of mine.  That’s all changed now. Andrew Zimmerman, host of Bizarre Foods on the Food Network offered this recipe in the June issue of Food and Wine magazine.  You roll a ground beef mixture in grape leaves, then grill, and then dip in Nuoc Cham (the famous Vietnamese dipping sauce).  I promise that you’ll never look at pickled grape leaves the same way again. The recipe may appear long and complicated but it really isn’t, especially if you get someone nice to help you.  Prepare to be amazed! P.S. We halved the recipe with great results.  The full recipe makes approximately 40 rolls. Also, I didn’t refrigerate the beef for very long and it turned out fine.

Grilled Beef Rolls with Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce

Slideshow: Delicious Asian Grilling Recipes

Beef Rolls
2 pounds ground sirloin
3 garlic cloves, finely grated
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine or sherry
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
1 tablespoon sambal oelek or other Asian chile sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
40 jarred brined grape leaves—drained, rinsed and patted dry
Vegetable or peanut oil, for grilling
Chopped cilantro, for serving
Chopped mint leaves, for serving

Nuoc Cham
¼ cup sugar
⅓ cup hot water
⅓ cup fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ jalapeño(about 1 tablespoon), seeded and minced
3 tablespoons unsalted roasted peanuts, finely chopped

Make the beef rolls in a large bowl, combine the ground beef with all of the ingredients up to but not including the grape leaves. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Snip off any stems from the grape leaves. Spread 4 leaves on a work surface. Form a 1-tablespoon-size log of the beef filling at the stem end of each leaf. Fold the sides of the leaves over the filling, then tightly roll up the leaves to form cylinders, tucking in the sides as you go. Repeat with the remaining grape leaves and filling.

Make the Nuoc Cham in a medium bowl, whisk the sugar into the hot water until dissolved. Whisk in the remaining ingredients. Transfer the Nuoc Cham to a serving bowl.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Lightly brush the grill and the beef rolls with oil. Arrange the rolls on the grill with at least 1 inch between them and grill over moderate heat, turning often to prevent burning, until firm and just cooked through, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle the rolls with cilantro and mint and serve warm with the Nuoc Cham for dipping. Make ahead: The Nuoc Cham can be refrigerated overnight. 

Categories: .Bayview School of Cooking!, Appetizer, Beef, Condiment | Leave a comment

So Crabby

LeanneMy family would take two week-long camping trips every summer.  Every other summer we would bring our boat, camp on the Oregon Coast and set out crab pots in Waldport Bay.  I remember my Dad bringing back a lot of crabs—at least a couple for everyone, which was usually my four siblings, my mom and dad and one neighbor kid along for the trip.  We’d boil them up in a huge pot set over an open fire and eat them with melted lemon butter.  I still love crab and bought a couple the other day, shelled the meat and used it in the most delicious crab cakes I know of.  I don’t particularly like bread crumbs in my crab cakes and I think it’s ingenious to use puréed white fish as a binder.  In a pinch, egg works well also. This was originally a Food and Wine recipe but I’ve played with it so much that I think it might just be mine now!

Crab Cakes with Chipotle Mayonnaise

Crab Cakes
¼ pound skinless cod fillet, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup mayonnaise
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
1½ cups panko bread crumbs

Chipotle Mayonnaise
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 chipotle chile in adobo, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons Canola oil, for frying

In a food processor, puree the fish. Transfer to a large bowl and add the jalapeño, lemon juice, parsley, cilantro, cayenne, salt, pepper and mayonnaise and mix thoroughly. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the crabmeat. Form the mixture into 8 cakes. Coat the cakes with the panko and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, chipotle, lemon juice, Old Bay and mustard and season with salt and black pepper. Cover
dungeness_craband refrigerate.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil until shimmering. Add the crab cakes and cook over moderate heat until browned and heated through, about 4 minutes per side. Serve the crab cakes with the chipotle sauce.  Serve with lightly dressed mixed greens. Makes 4 servings

Categories: .Bayview School of Cooking!, Condiment, Fish and Seafood | Leave a comment

An Old Thanksgiving Tradition

When I first started living on my own in college, I didn’t do much cooking but I became fascinated with recipes—there seemed to be an element of mystery about them.  Eventually, I decided I better start exploring this mystery and I more or less chose random recipes for experimentation.  I had no idea what “chutney” was so I gave this recipe a try. I have made it every Thanksgiving since then, with the exception of a few Thanksgivings when I tried other cranberry chutney recipes that didn’t compare with this one. In my ignorance, I chose a keeper!  This recipe makes plenty to use for a large holiday gathering and leaves leftovers for turkey sandwiches (and gifts for the neighbors).

Cranberry Chutney

Two 12 ounce packages cranberries
2 red cooking apples
2½ cups packed brown sugar
¾ cup diced pitted prunes
¾ cup water
½ cup cider vinegar
⅓ cup minced candied ginger
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground allspice

Put all of the ingredients in a pot and cook until thick!  Keeps for up to a month in refrigerator.

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Going Home

There’s a restaurant in Seattle that we used to go to called Buddy’s Homesick Café (in the Greenwood neighborhood). It was when fifties-styled diners were all in vogue and this one had Kathy Casey connected with it. It was a fun place to be—it just felt comfortable. My favorite meal there was a scrumptious pot roast, probably the best I’ve ever had, that made you immediately feel as if you had gone home. It’s Kathy Casey’s recipe and here it is. If you make it, you won’t be sorry—comfort food at its best.

Cranberry Pot Roast
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
3½ pounds boneless chuck roast
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 celery stalks, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups dry red wine
3 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 can whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 unpeeled orange, quartered
2 cloves
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon thyme
2 onions, peeled and quartered
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

Garlic Whipped Potatoes with Parsnips
2½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut in half
1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
10 garlic cloves
¼ cup butter
¾ cup whole milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parsley, minced, for garnish

¼ cup butter
¼ cup reserved seasoned flour
4 cups reserved pot roast cooking liquid
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Combine the flour, salt and pepper; rub into the surface of the meat, coating it well. (Reserve leftover flour for the gravy.) Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and brown the roast well on all sides, about 2 minutes per side, for a total cooking time of 6-7 minutes. Add the celery and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so. Pour in the wine and boil it while scraping up the cooked bits on the bottom of the pan. Add next 7 ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 3 hours, or until fork tender. Add onions and carrots and cook for another ½ hour.

To make the potatoes: about 25 minutes before the meat will be done, place the potatoes, parsnips , garlic and salt in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Cover the saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook for 25 minutes, or until the potatoes, parsnips and garlic are tender. While the potatoes are cooking, combine in a small pan over medium heat, the milk, pepper and butter. Heat until the butter is melted and the milk is warm. Drain off the water from the potatoes, parsnips and garlic and mash or whip in the pot while adding the hot milk mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the roast to a cutting board and cut it into thick slices, reserving the cooking liquid. Arrange the slices on a serving dish and keep warm.

To make gravy: melt the butter in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the reserved seasoned flour into the butter. Cook for 1 minute, then vigorously whisk in the reserved cooking liquid. Cook, whisking often, until thickened and free of lumps. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Arrange the carrots and onions around the slices of roast (discard the orange pieces.) Pour some of the gravy over the slices and pass the rest in a sauceboat along with the whipped potatoes. Serves 6

Categories: .Bayview School of Cooking!, Beef, Condiment, Entrée, Vegetable | Leave a comment

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