Kitchen with a View

Now It’s Summer


Summer has arrived, complete with one 98° day and lots of lovely days after that! Now I’m craving salads for dinner but those salads gotta have pizzazz. I found this salad from Cooking Light magazine a few years ago. The flavors are vibrant, it’s beautiful on the plate, and you get to grill, so it’s kind of the whole package. The dressing is tart, sweet and spicy and really elevates this dish from the usual to the extraordinary. I’ve played with the original recipe a bit here, so you should too (just don’t mess with that dressing!). I’ve been known to throw some chunks of avocado in because, well, they’re delicious. Some cubed jicama might be good in there too! The recipe may look longish but it’s a fairly simple salad to throw together. One more note: this tastes even better when you eat it outside!

Southwestern-Style Shrimp Taco Salad

¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons chipotle hot sauce
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 ears shucked corn
Cooking spray
4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
½ cup green onions, chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
One 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 plum tomatoes, chopped or 1½ cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 ounces baked blue corn tortilla chips or regular chips
⅓ cup light sour cream
⅓ cup avocado, peeled and diced
Lime wedges (optional)

Prepare grill to medium-high heat.

Combine lime juice, olive oil, cumin, garlic, syrup, and hot sauce in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Place the shrimp in a shallow bowl. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the lime juice mixture over shrimp, tossing gently to coat. Reserve the remaining lime juice mixture; set aside.

Thread shrimp onto metal skewers. Lightly coat corn with cooking spray. Place shrimp kebabs and corn on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 8 minutes, turning kebabs once and turning corn frequently until browned. Remove from grill; cool slightly. Remove shrimp from skewers, and place in a large bowl.

Cut kernels from ears of corn. Add corn, chopped lettuce, green onions, cilantro, black beans, and plum tomatoes to shrimp. Drizzle reserved lime juice mixture over the shrimp mixture and toss gently to combine.

Divide tortilla chips evenly among 4 shallow bowls; top each serving with shrimp mixture. Combine sour cream and diced avocado in a small bowl; mash with a fork until well blended.

Top each serving with sour cream mixture. Serve with a lime wedge, if desired. Serves 4

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It’s Not Summer Yet

Even though summer officially arrives on June 20th, those of us from the Pacific Northwest know perfectly well that it might not be here until the middle of July, and even that can be somewhat questionable! We want to eat outside and grill everything we bring home from the market, but the weather isn’t always cooperative.

I recently found a recipe from Ina Garten that is great for those in-between times, when heavy, rich food feels wrong, but you still crave something a little heartier than light summer fare. It’s pasta, so I’m all in, it’s meatless, so it’s great for our “Meatless Mondays,” and it’s full of cheese, which is always good. If you’re in a hurry, it’s a meal in itself, or you can serve it with a green salad and a nice bottle of wine. As usual, I changed the recipe a bit to suit my own taste. Don’t be shy when you’re cooking up the cauliflower—the brown bits add a lot of flavor!

Crusty Baked Shells & Cauliflower

Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¾ pound medium shells, such as Barilla
Good olive oil
2½ pounds cauliflower, cut into small, bite-sized florets (1 large head)
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 tablespoon (3 cloves) garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups Italian Fontina, freshly grated
1 cup (8 ounces) fresh whole milk ricotta
¾ cup panko (Japanese bread flakes)
6 tablespoons Italian Pecorino cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, minced

Preheat the oven to 400°

Fill a large pot with water, add 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to the instructions on the package. Since it will be baked later, don’t overcook it! Drain and pour into a very large bowl.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat, add half of the cauliflower in one layer and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the florets are lightly browned and tender.

Pour the cauliflower, including the small bits, into the bowl with the pasta. Add 3 more tablespoons of olive oil to the sauté pan, add the remaining cauliflower, cook until browned and tender and add to the bowl.

Add the sage, capers, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper to the bowl and stir carefully.

Stir in the Fontina.

Transfer half of the mixture to a 10 x 13 x 2–inch rectangular baking dish. Spoon rounded tablespoons of ricotta on the pasta and spoon the remaining pasta mixture on top.

Combine the panko, Pecorino, parsley and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl and sprinkle it evenly on top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until browned and crusty on top. Serve hot. Serves 6-8

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Spring 2017

 

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

– J.R.R. Tolkien

 

After 21 long years of cooking in a kitchen the size of a small walk-in closet, I am now standing on the precipice of a major house and kitchen remodel. I hope to finally have the kitchen I’ve longed for sinLeannece I was in my twenties. Yet, as I look back, I’ve cooked a lot of amazing food in that tiny kitchen, and some pretty small kitchens before that. More importantly, I’ve shared that food and good cheer with a lot of amazing friends and family. As awkward as it was preparing daily meals and grand feasts in close quarters, it was certainly worth the effort. Nothing brings folks together like food. I will love to have a beautiful new kitchen, but my small kitchen has taught me that it’s the people your good food brings together that’s truly important.

Our kitchen at BSC isn’t very large, but over the past 13½ years an incredible amount of culinary delights have been produced there! This spring quarter will be no exception. We’re offering classes that represent at least 10 different countries, we have 12 hands-on classes for children and adults, 2 classes with local treasure Xinh Dwelley, 3 classes with downtown Olympia food establishments, and one very special tour. All of this, and I’m just scratching the surface here!

The BSC tour this spring is called the South Sound Artisan Food and Wine Tour with Christine Ciancetta, and it focuses on our local produce, animal products, wine and spirits. We’ve never done anything like it and I can hardly wait!

Springtime can be a busy time. One of my new year’s resolutions was to try and have guests over for dinner more often. I know that many of you are like me and feel that cooking good food is a gift we can give to others. What a lovely pursuit!

Hope to see you soon, upstairs in the BSC kitchen!

BSC Spring 2017 Brochure
http://www.bayviewschoolofcooking.com/
Now available online for viewing,
download or pick it up around town!

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Turning Scandinavian

LeanneWe Americans come from all over the world and while I’ve always known that my ancestry is largely from Britain and Ireland, I feel that I’m now becoming slightly Scandinavian. To wit, my husband is of Norwegian and Swedish descent and hence, my children as well, and after searching through genealogy sites I find that I am distantly related to King Haakon that once ruled Norway and Sweden. I take that last qualification with a grain of salt, by the way! Additionally, after a recent visit to Stockholm, I found that sparkling city to be so charming that I feel I could happily live there.  To top it off, if I’m making lefse this Christmas season, doesn’t that make me slightly Scandinavian?

As Scottish and Irish as my mom was, every Christmas she would make King Haakon (yes, that King Hakkon) cookies, which are essentially biscotti. They can be flavored with cardamom, almonds or anise seed, although my mom always chose the latter. To celebrate my newfound heritage, I’m making these tasty treats this holiday season. To remind me of Stockholm, I’m dipping my cookies in white chocolate and tiny white sprinkles, as I imagine the city to be covered in lovely snow by now. Of course, as I bake I’ll also be reminded of my mom who has been gone a year now. She always loved this time of year.

 

King Haakon Cookies

½ cup melted
butter
2 eggs
¾ cup sugar

2 cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cardamom *

In a large bowl combine butter, eggs, sugar, flour baking powder, salt and flavoring. Form dough into 3 long rolls on a greased cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Sprinkle with colored sprinkles or cinnamon sugar.

Bake at 325°F for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool slightly and slice diagonally ½-inch thick. Place on the cookie sheet and toast in oven for 1 hour at 200°F or until lightly browned. Makes 3 dozen

* or substitute 1½ teaspoons anise seed or 2 teaspoons almond extract (if using almond extract: ¼ cup chopped almonds, toasted in microwave for 3 minutes or until browned)

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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 Week Night Challenge

LeanneThe quest for interesting week night meals has been an on-going pursuit of mine for over 30 years now. The week-night dinner needs to be somewhat healthy, easy and quick to make, include inexpensive ingredients, and most importantly, be something that everyone likes. That’s the hard part when you have three kids who all like different things and all have certain dislikes. Many times, one member of the family has to just “lump it,” as I say. They’ll eat a barely acceptable portion, put the leftovers away and likely snack on stuff the rest of the evening. Fortunately, in this regard, my kids are almost all grown, moving away from home, and from here out, making weeknight dinners won’t be so problematic. Perhaps this small reward will make it slightly less painful when my youngest goes off to college next fall?

This week night dinner is from Martha Stewart originally but as usual, I’ve made some changes. The recipe is more about using Thai flavors than being authentic Thai food. I loved the bright flavors and the classic salty-sweet-sour-spicy balance of tastes. You can find fish sauce at most grocery stores now and you really should have some of this in your refrigerator if you don’t already. It passed our test of all those attributes listed above and is officially “a keeper.” Yes, indeed, one more dish for my weeknight repertoire!

 

One-Pot Thai Turkey and Rice

½ cup fresh lime juice
2 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce
1½ tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
7 shallots, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise – 2¼ cups
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
One small jalapeño, minced
1¼ cups jasmine rice
1¼ cups unsweetened full-fat coconut milk
1 sweet red bell pepper, thinly sliced – ⅓ cup
Coarse salt
3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves or Thai basil, roughly chopped
1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Combine lime juice, 1 to 2 tablespoons fish sauce, and brown sugar in a bowl; stir until sugar is dissolved, then stir in ½ cup shallots.

Heat oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high. Add turkey, ginger, garlic, remaining 1¾ cups shallots and jalapeño.

Cook, stirring to break up turkey, until browned, about 9 minutes. Add rice; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add remaining 1 tablespoon fish sauce, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan.

Add coconut milk, red pepper, 1½ teaspoons salt, and 1¼ cups water. Bring to a simmer and do not let boil; cover. Lower heat and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender, about 15 minutes.

Toss tomatoes and herbs with dressing in a large bowl; season with salt. Serve over rice, spooning dressing from bottom of bowl over top. Serves 4

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“It’s Still Winter” Food

LeanneI like February better than I like January, probably because it’s one month closer to spring. There’s no getting around it though – February is still very much winter, and today as I write this, a constant, cold drizzle falls, veiling almost everything with the same dull gray. I do like wintery food, however. It’s usually warm, hearty, comfortable stuff that seems as if it’s calling you home.

When I visited England a couple of years ago, it was in the early spring, with all the daffodils blooming and green everywhere you looked. It was still chilly nonetheless and the little pubs we visited were serving wintery fare. We had a brilliant (how quickly I fall into English descriptives!) steak and stout pie at York’s House of Trembling Madness, a wonderfully eccentric pub with absolutely delicious food. I’ve attempted to recreate it, with pretty good success. What I’ve come up with is fairly close to what we ate on our trip and it certainly fits the bill as winter comfort food. Have yourself a cozy evening by the fire and enjoy a scrumptious steak and stout pie!

Steak & Stout Pie
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small red onions, peeled and finely sliced
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
3 bay leaves
3 heaped tablespoons flour
2 pounds beef skirt steak, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 pound Crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 tablespoons tomato purée
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
10 ounces good-quality stout or dark ale
2½ cups hot beef stock
3 ounces Dubliner Stout Cheese or good quality Cheddar, crumbled or sliced
1 large egg, beaten
1 package pie pastry (with lard as an ingredient)

Place a large casserole pan over medium heat, add olive oil and the butter, followed by the onions and fresh herbs. Cook for around 20 minutes, or until soft and turning golden, stirring occasionally.

Add flour and cook for 1 minute. Add beef to the pan along with the mushrooms, tomato purée and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Stir in the vinegar, beer, and hot stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for 1 hour 20 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the meat is tender. At the end, you may need to remove meat, onions and mushrooms with a slotted spoon and boil gravy, stirring often, until thickened. Return meat mixture to gravy.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lay out one round of pastry into a large pie dish, smoothing down, turning in the edges neatly and pricking lightly all over with a fork. Brush with egg white. Bake for 20 minutes or until just starting to color.

Carefully ladle the stew into a pie dish then lay over the slices or crumbles of cheese.
Brush the outside rim with beaten egg and lay out other round of pastry on top, crimping and sealing the edges. Brush the top with a little more egg and place in the hot oven for 40 minutes, or until the pastry is beautifully golden. Serves 6 to 8

Categories: General Blogging, Kitchen with a View, Recipes | 2 Comments

Chocolate for My Mom

Leanne

There’s been a lot written about chocolate. George Orwell, Ogden Nash, Katharine Hepburn, J.K. Rowling, Charles M. Schulz, Dave Barry and countless others have had their say about the subject. I love chocolate, but not as much as my mom loved chocolate.

Growing up during the Depression gave her a great regard for it as only great scarcity can do. It was always a given that she would want chocolate for her birthday cake. Beautiful chocolate truffles were always a go to whenever I couldn’t think of anything else to get her for a gift. Even during her last days, when nothing else sounded appetizing to her, she still wanted a cup of hot cocoa or a bite of Almond Roca. She also kept describing a delicious little cake that had been served during a tea party at her care facility. It was chocolate, covered in chocolate ganache, with a fruit filling inside. It brought to mind a Sacher Torte that I used to make quite a bit that my mom thought was very good. I made it again recently and it is good! I acquired this recipe more than 30 years ago, so I don’t remember where it originally came from, but here it is for you. My mom would highly approve.

Viennese Sacher Torte

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup hot strong coffee (instant espresso powder works well)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
¼ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
½ cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons brandy
Chocolate Glaze (see recipe below)

In the top of a double boiler (or in the microwave), stir chocolate, oil, salt, and coffee over barely simmering water until blended.  Pour mixture into large bowl of an electric mixer and add sugar, egg, buttermilk, soda and vanilla; beat on medium speed until well blended.

Add flour and continue beating for 5 minutes, occasionally scraping sides down with a rubber spatula.  Pour into a greased and floured 8-inch cake pan.

Bake in a 350°F oven just until cake begins to pull from the sides of pan, about 30 minutes.  Set on a rack to cool, then remove from pan.

Cut cake in half horizontally to make 2 layers.  Combine apricot preserves and brandy; spread evenly over the bottom layer of cake. Set top layer in place and put cake on a rack.

Slowly pour Chocolate Glaze (see recipe below) onto the center of cake so it flows over the entire surface.  With a spatula, guide glaze down over the sides of the cake to coat smoothly.  Chill until the glaze is set, at least 30 minutes.

Using a wide spatula, loosen cake from rack and gently slide onto a serving plate. If cake is made ahead, cover without touching and chill up to 6 hours; return to room temperature to serve.  Serve with whipped cream if desired. Makes about 10 servings

 

Chocolate Glaze
In the top of a double boiler (or in microwave), over barely simmering water, melt 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate and 3 tablespoons shortening until melted.

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Sweet Sweet Corn

LeanneIf you live in the Pacific Northwest, you probably haven’t given a lot of thought to creamed corn. It’s a common enough dish in the Midwest and the South, and even New England where it is thought to have originated, but here it’s mostly just a can in the vegetable aisle. Growing up, my mom never made it despite the fact that we grew corn. I do have a memory of my grandmother, who lived in the Okanogan area in British Columbia, making me creamed corn from the considerable number of cobs growing in her sunny back yard. Other than that, I’ve used canned cream corn in a couple of recipes over the years, finding the glutinous mixture not particularly appealing.

It’s time for all of that to change. We have access to some spectacularly sweet corn, whether it’s from California or later in the season, from a local farm. Every year, I find two new recipes to demonstrate at the Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival (July 25th and 26th). I look for something that highlights mushrooms of course, but sometimes that leads to new discoveries, such as this wonderful recipe. It’s originally from Food and Wine Magazine but as usual, I’ve messed with it so much that I think it might be a little bit mine! Leaving some of the corn kernels whole and adding the shitakes adds textural interest that could be lacking in other versions, and the addition of lemon zest and juice brightens everything up. The whole process is a bit messy but totally worth it!

Creamless Creamed Corn with Mushrooms and Lemon

¼ pound shiitake mushrooms (stems removed), sliced
10 ears corn, shucked
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium shallots, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Set a box grater in a large bowl. On the coarse side, grate 5 ears of the corn all the way to the cob. Using a serrated knife, cut the kernels from the remaining ears of corn. Using the dull side of the knife, scrape the juices from the cobs into the bowl.

In a saucepan, heat the oil and butter. Add the shallots, garlic and shiitake and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to high and when the oil sizzles, add the corn and its juices. Cook, stirring, until the corn is thick and shiny, 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest and juice, season with salt and pepper and serve. Serves 6-8

Categories: General Blogging, Kitchen with a View, Recipes | 2 Comments

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