Thursday, December 13, 2007
My best sources for good quality beef are all local sources--small farmers who raise a few head of cattle specifically for sale on a small scale. I buy a 1/4 or 1/2 a cow and they arrange to have it packaged according to my needs. I have a close enough relationship with my supplier that he is also willing to let my beef age significantly longer than is generally done in grocery stores (usually 5-7 days). Mine is aged for 3 weeks. The difference in taste is unbelieveable! I also have local sources for lamb and pork. Check your local newspaper or the internet for someone offering meat privately in your local area. If you don't want to buy a whole side of beef, ask a friend to go in with you on it--or two or three. Sadly, the days of the local butcher shop, the kind that were in every town when I was growing up, with sawdust floors and men behind a meat counter who will cut the meat to your specific needs, are about gone. If you are lucky enough to still have one where you live, and it sounds as if you don't, these can still be great places to buy your meat. Develop a relationship with them, bring them a gift at the holidays (a fifth of their favorite libation works well) and spend a little time schmoozing when in their shop. Ask for suggestions, give them a chance to offer advice. They love this and listen carefully so they know you are interested in learning. They really love that! Best of luck to you and happy holidays, Chef Michael
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Have a safe and joyful holiday season.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
2 pounds of red potatoes
2 pounds of sweet potatoes
2 T fresh rosemary, finely chopped
4 T sweet butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the potatoes into bit size pieces (smaller pieces will cook faster) making sure the pieces are the same size. Place onto a baking sheet. Finely chop fresh rosemary and sprinkle over the potatoes. Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes. Salt and pepper. Mix the potatoes making sure they are well coated with the oil and herbs. Finally, cut up butter into bits and scatter them over the potatoes. Place in oven and roast turning potatoes a couple of times during the cooking process to evenly brown. Roast for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown and tender.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Bechamel Sauce (white)
Veloute Sauce (blond)
Brown (demi-glace) or Espagnole Sauce
Hollandaise Sauce (butter)
The original sauce would be made with egg yolks, but with so many concerned about the safety of eggs not cooked to oblivion, something had to be done. While nothing satisfies like the real thing, this version comes closee and is more forgiving. The basic sauce can be modified in numerous ways to enhance or bring forward a multitude of flavors from various meats or vegetables as in the version below.
Citrus Beurre Blanc Sauce
1 c heavy cream
1/2 bottle dry white wine
2 T minced shallot
2 T capers
juice of one fresh lemon
8 oz. sweet butter (2 cubes), cut into pats
Pour wine into a sauce pan. Add shallots. Bring to boil and reduce t about half. Add lemon juice and caper and continue reducing another couple of minutes. Stir in heavy cream. Reduce this to about half or until desired thickness. Reduce heat to medium. While whisking, add pats of butter one at a time. Allow each pat to melt before adding the next one. When all the butter is melted, turn the sauce to low and hold until ready to serve. Do not allow the sauce to get too hot (above 170 degrees) or it will seperate and be ruined. Spoon over salmon or most anything. It is delicious and rich.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Here is one recipe I recently developed that I found delicious.
Braised Oxtail in Red Wine and Mushroom Sauce
6 pounds of oxtail cut 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick
2 cups Red Wine
2 cups of sweet onions such as Walla Walla sliced 1/4 inch
4 cups of assorted mushrooms chopped and sliced--shiitakes, criminis, chanterelles, oysters, porcinis and or morels (Use what you can find and experiment. Wild are best.)
2 cups of good beef broth
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground Black Pepper
4 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Parsley, coarsely chopped
Brown off oxtails in a large, heavy dutch oven. When browned, remove oxtail pieces with tongs. Add onions, mushrooms, celery, carrots and bay leaf to oil. Saute until tender. Add oxtail back into vegetables. Add wine beef broth and wine. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook on stove top for 3 hours or until the meat is nearly falling off the bone.
Uncover, tilt the dutch oven slightly, and skim as much fat as possible using a bulb baster or ladle. Remove the meat to a plate and keep warm. Remove bay leaf. Bring heat back up to high and reduce the pan sauce until thickened. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Serve oxtails over pasta or mashed potatoes and pour sauce over oxtails. Serve sprinkled with the chopped parsley.
Scrambled Eggs with Salmon and Hollandaise
Leftover salmon rough chopped or broken into bits
4 slices of bacon, cooked and broken into bits
2 T of chopped parsley or other fresh herb of your choice
In a non-stick pan, melt butter then add shallot and saute until transluscent. Crack eggs into a bowl, add a splash of water to them. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to your likeing. Whisk the egg mixture well to get a fluffier outcome. Pour eggs into the pan with butter and shallot. Sprinkle bacon and herbs over the eggs evenly. Scramble mixture to doneness of your liking.
2 slices of a good rustic-stye bread toasted
Quick and Easy Hollandaise Sauce
3 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 dash hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco™)
1/2 cup butter
In a blender, combine the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice and hot pepper sauce. Cover, and blend for about 5 seconds.
Place the butter in a glass measuring cup. Heat butter in the microwave for about 1 minute, or until completely melted and hot. Set the blender on high speed, and pour the butter into the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream. It should thicken almost immediately. Keep the sauce warm until serving by placing the blender container in a pan of hot tap water.
Place a slice of the toasted bread on a plate, dish scrambled eggs over the toast. Ladle the Hollandaise over the eggs and around the plate. Sprinkle a bit of Paprika over the Hollandaise.
Serve with a glass of Mimosa (Orange juice and champagne) and the Sunday paper. Bon Apetit!
Monday, October 15, 2007
Salmon with a Citrus, White Wine and Dill-Mustard Sauce
4-3-4 oz. Salmon filets with skin on.
1/2 cup--Dijon Mustard
4 T fresh lime juice
Large splash of white wine
fresh dill finely chopped
2 T--sweet butter
Finely Chopped Italian Parsley for garnish
Thinly sliced shallots or,
thinly sliced sweet onion such as Walla Wallas
1 c canola oil
In a sauce pan stir together mustard, lime juice, and wine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a thickened sauce. Finish by stirring in the butter. Use a pastry brush to coat each filet, skin side down, with the sauce.
Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. Cook about 15-20 minutes or until salmon flakes with a fork.
Using a vegetable slicer or mandoline, slice onions paper thin. In a fryer or put oil in a heavy skillet, heat oil to 350 degrees being careful. Dry onions carefully before frying. Place onions in oil and deep fry until golden brown. Drain and salt onions. Before serving the finished salmon, place a small nest of the onions on a plate. Place the finished filet on the onion nest. Drizzle remaining around the onion nest and the plate. Sprinkle plate with finely chopped Italian parsley. Serve.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Realistically, of course, many folks just can't help monkeying with perfection and I suppose one can't be blamed for wanting to have a bit of variety. So if you are one of those, here are some recipe ideas that don't get too carried away while still retaining the integrity of the salmon.
Barbequed Ginger Miso Salmon with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes
Give your next dinner an Asian flavor with this unusual salmon glazing and mashed potatoes like none you have tasted before.
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 T low sodium soy sauce
2 T hot water
2 T white miso paste found in Asian food stores
2 T fresh grated ginger
4-6 oz. King Salmon filets, skin side down
green scallions sliced on the diagonal
salt and pepper
Preheat your barbecue to medium heat. Combine first 5 ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Arrange fish in a shallow tray lined with foil and suitable for use on the barbeque. Spray foil with cooking oil. Lay salmon filets on foil skin side down. Spoon miso mixture evenly over fish. Barbecue about 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Bast twice with miso mixture. Let salmon rest for 5 minutes. Keep covered with foil until ready to serve.
Sprinkle with scallions before serving.
1 pound cubed peeled Yukon gold potato
1 tablespoon wasabi powder (dried Japanese horseradish)
2 teaspoons butter
1 carton (8 oz.) plain low-fat yogurt
Place potatoes in a saucepan, and cover with water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until tender; drain. Return potato to pan. Add the remaining ingredients, and mash with a potato masher.
Yield: 5 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)
Sunday, September 16, 2007
you can opt for combination plates that will give you a variety of tastings and include a beverage.
Check out this fun video clip of aguy selling a knife ala Ron Popeil in Chinese! People watching is definately great at the Market. So many people representing so many cultures.
Everyone was having fun and I felt absolutely safe despite the fact that there were so many people.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
So on Thursday morning we will drive up to the B.C. ferry landing at Horseshoe Bay, cross to Nanaimo on the east coast of Vancouver Island and then drive across the rustic, forested interior of the island to the less traveled west coast and our base for the week at Ucluelet.
We plan to go out about 12 miles off shore or in close to shore depending on tides and the where the fish are located. In between fishing we also plan to play some golf and probably eat all the wrong things. Hopefully we will eat a salmon or two before the week is up and we head home with our limits. Check my blog again in about a week and a half to read the journal of my trip and see some digital pics of the fish that didn't get away.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
We spent most of Sunday in Ashland. Drove the 15 minutes from Medford south to Ashland going along old Highway 99 instead of the I-5 freeway. It goes through the small communities of Phoenix and Talent, Oregon in route. Anyway, we arrived in Ashland, easily found a parking place and then wandered through town looking in on shops along the main drag. Most were open but we had little interest in what was being sold. Decided to have lunch at Lark's, a popular and well liked restaurant. We were both disappointed. We shared halibut and chips and a salad and smoked salmon quiche. Very uninspired lunch we could have had in any average restaurant. Glad we had canceled our reservations for dinner the night before. In all the many times we have visited Ashland, we have seldom ever had a memorable meal.
Pardon me for a bit while I step upon my soapbox. Why is it that so many restaurants that could easily do so, overlook something as simple as a garnish on a plate. With a simple garnish of fruit, fresh herb, vegetable confetti, etc. added to a chef's mise en place, a well prepared meal can take the leap to something that absolutely knocks the diner's socks off. Case in point. Lark, our lunch destination in Ashland. I am served a plate of fish and chips. It is all one color--yellow. The breaded fish is yellow. The french fries are yellow. This is a plate you could get from almost any northwest restaurant. But this is supposed to be an exceptional restaurant. So what would set this plate above the average. After all, the fries were fresh and had been twice fried which gives them a crisp outer crunch and a soft baked potato-like inner texture. The fish was fresh or flash frozen and had been dipped in an ever-so-light batter, so it was well prepared. But the monochromatic plate that sat before me gave me that "first impression" so important to anything in life, taht I should have gone to the fish and chips shop down the street where the same looking plate could have been had for a fraction of the price. Garnish people, GARNISH!
More window shopping and then a stop at Starbucks to use up some of the many Starbucks cards I received as end of the year gifts from students. They have come in pretty handy many times this summer. While standing in line, who should we see? Ed Rutschman. He was waiting for one of the shows to start and wandering around town as we were. He was there because his wife was playing in the Peter Britt Festival as she has for over 30 years. So we sat and chatted over coffee and then we all wandered over to the theater to see our first show. As You Like It was playing. It was set in the depression era United States. I am not normallly impressed with alternate settings of Shakespearen plays but this one won me over.
The play over we decided to go back to our room and rest before returning for the evening show. We ate our left-overs from the Black Bear Diner from the night before and then rested and napped. About 7:30 we left and drove back to Ashland for the evening performance. Before the show we visited the festival gift shop and there was Carla Rutschman with a friend. So we managed to see both Rutschman's.
This show was a Tom Stoppard farce called On The Razzle. It was punny, high energy and well done. I especially got into the second half of the show as the pace sped up and built to its climax. After the show we returned to our room and briefly started packing before heading off to bed.
Monday morning we rose bright and early for our drive home to Bellingham. Breakfasted at the hotel, finished packing and loading the car and then off on our drive north. We had arranged to meet friends in Vancouver, WA for lunch at Hudsons in the Heathman Lodge. We left Medford at 8:00 and needed to be in Vancouver by 12:30. Traffic flowed smoothly and we arrived only about 15 minutes behind schedule. As we drove, I worked at finishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Almost finished just before we arrived so I had to wait until after lunch for the last couple of chapters. We enjoyed lunch at Hudson's and had a nice visit then headed on to our next destination. We had yet another appointment to keep before heading on home. We had purchased some Oregon goodies with which to make dinner at our daughter's house in Seattle. So we continued driving hours longer to get there. I managed to finish Harry Potter. What a great finish to a fantastic series.
Arrived at Kate's house about 5:30 and she was already home. We unpacked our goodies and had a great visit. The dinner of a salad with Oregon peaches, Rogue Creamery Bleu Cheese, red onion and a balsamic dressing accompanied by an artisan bread from a bakery in Eugene, Oregon and a delicious bottle of Oregon Pinot Gris was delicious.
We looked at our watch and realized it was 10:00 and we still had an hour and a half to get home. So we hugged our kid tight, hopped in the car and drove the final 90 miles home. We didn't even bother to unpack the car when we arrived, prefering to just climb upstairs and hop into our own comfy bed. Home at last! What a whirlwind adventure this passed week has been. Now to settle down for a couple of weeks before things get crazy again.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Friday, August 3, 2007
Not a lot to say about Medford and environs. We did drive up to Jacksonville which is a very small town in the foothills west of Medford famous mainly for the Britt Festival which takes place this time of year. Very famous classical, jazz and country performers come here to the open air stage. We wandered through the 3 block main street and into the few shops that attracted us. Not much going on.
Then we drove into downtown Medford. Again, not much there. We drove up and down the main street of downtown and found it pretty much dead. So after a while we drove over to the area nearer our hotel. Had dinner at Si Casa Flores again. So good we decided to go again tonight. Then we went to Fred Meyer to find some Oregon wines to take back with us. We found some pretty good deals on local Pinot Gris and bought 6 bottles so we could get the extra 10% discount, plus Oregon has no sales tax so we saved another 8% there.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007