Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fish in Scallion and Ginger Sauce

We have been trying to "clean up our diet" this last week, and with good results.  It is not that difficult once you set your mind to it.  Tonight we had a fish dish that we first ate in 2004 when we went on the South Beach Diet.  We loved it then and still love it.  Tonight it was exceptional and did I say, "easy"?

This  fish was easy to prepare and absolutely delicious.  Tonight we selected Turbot which we have never had before.  It is similar to Flounder, a fish without scales.  This is not the last time we will buy Turbot.   Along side, I sauteed a sliced onion, sliced peppers and a fennel bulb with garlic.  I have always loved the slight licorice flavor of fennel.  It is a must try.  I sauteed them in olive oil just a little, leaving them with quite a bit of crunch.

This recipe for the fish actually was out of The South Beach Diet cookbook.  I doubt it will disappoint.

Fish in Scallion and Ginger Sauce

1/3 cup dry sherry or vermouth
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
About 1 pound of fish fillets  (orange roughy, cod, sole or flounder)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Mix the sherry or vermouth, soy sauce, sesame oil, onion,  ginger and garlic in a small bowl.

Place the fish fillets in an ovenproof casserole dish.  Drizzle the marinade over the fish and bake for 12 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.

Serves 2

Yes, that is all there is to it.  It will make you a fish lover all over again.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Roasted Broccoli

I grew up loving broccoli and cauliflower, because my mom would always pour this beautiful, thick creamy cheese sauce over it.  Oh my; the memories.  Years ago, I would make it that way also and I even remember my girls loving it.

Let quite a few years pass, and I know that I just can't allow myself to make and eat that cheese sauce anymore.  So, I have really avoided serving both broccoli and cauliflower at the dinner table.  I know that is bad, because the cruciferous vegetables are so good for you.

For several weeks I have been searching for something else to do with broccoli.  Some recipes looked more complicated than necessary and quite a few had too many ingredients.  So I decided to put a couple of ideas together and tried them out tonight.

We enjoyed our broccoli so much, I think I will make this again within the next week.  I am also going to try this with cauliflower.  I'm thinking asparagus would be nice also, but we really do prefer to grill our asparagus. 

I hope you broccoli avoiders with try this technique and enjoy it as much as we did.  Just improvise.  I don't think you can go wrong.

Roasted Broccoli from Schnitzel's Kitchen

Cut broccoli heads into crowns and cut the stems into strips
About 4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
a large pinch or shake of crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with tinfoil.

In a large bowl, toss the broccoli with about 3 tablespoons olive oil until the broccoli is well-coated.
Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the broccoli to the baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.  It is not necessary to spread the broccoli out too much.  It will shrink (so don't be shy about using a lot of the green stuff for this dish.)

Stir together the remaining olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.  Drizzle over the broccoli and stir to coat after the first 15 minutes of roasting.

At this point, you will be tasting it.  Roast for another 5-8 minutes, until the broccoli is beginning to brown.

Yup, that easy and very good.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dinner at REED in Paris

The restaurant REED, in Paris,  became known to me through my blogger friend, Penny, at Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen.  I emailed the owner of REED, Catherine, asking for reservations.  We were arriving from Provence by train at approximately 3:30 p.m.  Catherine sent me our reservation confirmation for 7 p.m. that evening.  She asked if I would like to attend her cooking class that afternoon, but unfortunately the timing would not work for us, but we were anxious for our meal at her restaurant.

Since we were renting a studio on Rue Rivoli, we took the Metro to the restaurant at Rue Amélie.  This street runs parallel to Rue Cler which is always bustling, with shops, markets, restaurants and people. 

Catherine greeted us graciously and we just needed to mention that Penny had taken a cooking class from her, and we were immediately welcomed as family.  She jokingly mentioned that it turned out to be "English" night as all her guests seemed to be from the States.

Chatting to each other between the closely situated tables only reinforced the talk.

What to order....always difficult when you want to experience it all.  I opted for fresh pea soup with mint as my first course.  Certainly a very good choice as it was absolutely delicious.

The Trout had a terrine centered with foie gras.  Again, a very good choice.

My main coarse was osso buco which was perfectly done and very flavorful.  She reminded me to eat the marrow which I did and enjoyed.

The Trout had beef cheek daube which was very tasty, extremely tender and beef cheeks is something you do not find in the USA.  Both dishes excellent choices.

And yes, we were much too full for the desserts she offered.  We had indulged in her beautiful hard rolls a little too much.  There was also a nice bottle of red wine, very fairly priced for a restaurant.

Catherine's cooking at REED would be described as slow French country cooking.  Definitely worth a visit while in Paris.  The atmosphere itself is very inviting.  Her kitchen is open to the dining room, beautifully organized and yes, I wish I could have taken a class from her.  Perhaps next trip.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Seillans lunch in Provence

While in Provence this last October, we found a very nice restaurant for lunch recommended by a British shop owner.  Chez Hugo in the village of Seillans was just the cutest little spot.  The door was open to the outside as the weather was very nice.  The waiter told us they had only opened two months prior, but they had a nice crowd for lunch.  A much needed good restaurant in this village.

You see our appetizer above.  Oh my!!!  Oh my!!  I don't think I have ever tasted anything so good.  I know, I have said that so many times before while dining in France.  But this....sigh

The chef named it Gratin de Moules de Bouch ot Safranees Tombeé.  Yes, my love for mussels (moules) has just been expanded.  In these little cast iron pots were onions, garlic which were slightly thickened.  Then mussels and spinach and saffron were added to the pot and then into the oven to bake to perfection.  These are the flavors I made out.  So delicious, the rest of the meal was almost not that important.

There was also entertainment at this restaurant.  As I said before, the door was open.  Pretty soon after we were seated, a cat strolled in and looked around.  There was a chalkboard on an easel sitting on the floor with the days menu written on it.  Well, the visiting cat started rubbing against the legs as cats do.  All of a sudden, the easel collapses to the floor and the cat goes flying out the door.  Quickly, the waiter runs over to see what the noise was.  I told him the cat knocked it over.  He goes to the door and yells for "Romeo".  Seems Romeo lives in the restaurant.  It took quite a while before Romeo strolled back in as if nothing happened.  Cats are like that, aren't they?  If you know me really well, I simply tolerate cats but do not have a great love for them; not like for dogs.  But when a cat can be this entertaining, you gotta love it.  If only you could have seen the fast run out of the restaurant and then the nonchalant stroll back in as if nothing happen.  

Monday, January 7, 2013

Jaeger Suppe - Beef Soup

One recipe that I repeat every winter is this one, Jaeger Suppe.  It tastes very similar to what we often ate in Germany when we lived there.  It is simple to put together and I have changed the original in several ways.

The original recipe was a $15,000 winner in a National Beef Contest cook off in 1992.  The winner was from Minneapolis and the recipe was printed in the Minneapolis newspaper back in that year.  I hope you will get out your large pot and enjoy this German flavor soup.  By the way, Jaeger means "hunter" in German.  Venison would be a perfect meat to substitute for the beef.  I also added mushrooms because that just sounds more hunter-like to me.  Enjoy.

Jaeger Suppe  - Hunter's Soup

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 large, sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large green pepper, seeded and chopped
2 pounds top sirloin beef butt steak, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 cans (28 ounces each) tomatoes with juice
1 (12 ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup white wine
3-4  cups beef stock
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
Sliced crimini many as you like
3 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed between your palms
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 whole bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

12 ounces light dairy sour cream or yogurt for garnish
Fresh minced parsley for garnish

In large Dutch oven or stock pot, heat oil.  Brown beef on all sides.  Remove from pot.  Cook onion, garlic and green pepper for about 5 minutes, or until softened.  Add the beef back into the pot and add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Remove bay leaves. Ladle soup into a large bowl.  Garnish with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.  Sprinkle with fresh minced parsley.  Serve with light or dark rye bread.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Our 2006 Loire Trip Revisited!!

The Trout here, posting again about Chateaus and the wine of the Loire.

We chose the Loire region  for out first week of touring in France with a second week in Normandy for 2006.  I have loved  castles way back when we were stationed in Heidelberg in 1968, when we would tour 1-2 castles a weekend it seemed, for most of the year.  France certainly has its share of great chateaus like Chateau Chenonceau above that seem to be used more for a King's residence rather than for taking shelter from marauding pillagers!

The Loire is also the home of Joan of Arc who supposedly performed miracles as a 13-year-old warrior way back when she led battles to drive the British  out of France.  She is memorialized  throughout France for her heroics in battle!

We chose this dovecote gîte near Chinon for our Loire stay.  It was once home to hundreds of pigeons who were kept for food and fertilizer.  The gîte was well restored for humans and very comfortable.

The dovecote is part of the Chateau de la Vauguyon which was build way back in 1340-50!  It has been owned by the same family since the '30's.   The chateau has seen better days, but is being slowly repaired to its past glory with a second gîte now available in the main building.

The current owner is the son Celian Duthu who is a wonderful host and tour guide for enjoying our week in the Loire.  One day, he wanted to take us to visit his favorite wine producers for white and red wines.

This is Celian and Susan in the vineyards of Domaine de la Noblaie, home of his favorite Chenin Blanc white wine.  Chenin Blanc is not my favorite white as I find it a bit flabby and soft vs. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc like a Sancerre.  We did buy a couple of bottles for our later evening repasts at the Chateau.

While at the Domaine, we were introduced to a lovely lady who owned and ran the Auberge du Val de Vienne.  She was selecting wines for her cellar to offer to her guests.  We later had lunch there which was  supurb and what a wonderful dining room.

Our next stop was at the Chateau de la Grille, Celian's favorite red wine producer.  It has been sold to the Baudry-Dutour group of 3 wineries in the Loire.  Reds are made from the Cabernet France grape which is pretty much isolated to the Loire for making wines solely from this varietal.  It is used a lot for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the Bordeaux and in the Napa.  It is softer than its big brother and it adds finesse and perfume to the blend.  By itself, we found a wide range of like (nice, soft with lovely fruit and flower notes) to dislike (harsh green vegetal flavors and leaves to green bell peppers).

We tasted the 1996  and 2000 vintages of their offering which we liked enough to buy and bring home for the cellar.  We practically had to take an oath that we hold these wines for at least 6-8 years to allow them to soften and bring out their best finish.  Their wines were pretty tannic early in life and needed to lay down for several years.

We have faithfully let them age until I took both out of storage.  After finding a beautiful bone-in rib eye, I decided it was time to try the 2000 bottle.  After decanting for 3 hours, we were delighted to find this wine had indeed aged to a very nice wine of berry notes with a nice long finish perfect with the steak.

Thanks Celian for helping us enjoy the Loire region which continues today with the lovely wines we brought home 6 years ago!!  We look forward to trying the 1996 soon as well.