Sunday, February 27, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Tenders and Cole Slaw on a Poppyseed Bun








More spicy fun food!
  
     Gourmet hot dog bun snack sandwiches have been popular for a few years.  You can be as creative as you wish, when making these kinds of sandwiches.  Two classic flavors that go well together are cole slaw and buffalo chicken.
     Buffalo chicken wings were named after the city where they were created, Buffalo New York.  The original buffalo wing sauce was quite simple.  I make several different kings of wing sauces, including the original buffalo wing sauce.
     The original buffalo wing sauce was made with Durkee's Hot Sauce which is marketed as Frank's Red Hot.  You can adjust the spicy chile pepper heat to your personal taste by using bottled mild cayenne pepper sauce for a medium hot buffalo sauce or use a habanero sauce for an extremely spicy sauce.  I like spicy, so I made the chicken in the pictures with with habanero hot sauce.
  
     Buffalo Wing Sauce:
     This recipe makes enough sauce for 3 to 4 sandwiches!  This buffalo wing sauce is close to the original recipe.  The original recipe was basically just butter and Frank's Red Hot.  I lived with people from Buffalo for one year, so Buffalo style food was what they bragged about every chance they had.  Buffalo New York style food is worth bragging up!  
     Ever since the original buffalo wing recipe was created, cooks have been modifying the recipe.  This is a standard bar style buffalo wing sauce recipe.  Honey and ketchup or BBQ sauce adds a gentle depth of flavor and it helps the sauce to cling to the wings.  Cattlemen's BBQ sauce is what most bars and restaurants use for this wing sauce.  Cattlemen's is a Kansas City style BBQ sauce.  
     Place 1/2 cup of Frank's Red Hot sauce in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of honey.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of ketchup or BBQ sauce.
     Add 3 tablespoons of melted butter.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Set the sauce aside.
  
     Napa Cole Slaw:
     Place 1 cup of very thin sliced Napa cabbage in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped green bell pepper.
     Add a few very thin sliced carrot slivers for color.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of ground celery seed.
     Add 1 teaspoon of sugar.
     Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of rice vinegar.
     Add 1 tablespoon of milk.
     Add 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise.
     Thoroughly mix the ingredients together.
     Note:  The cabbage and vegetables should only be coated with the thin cole slaw dressing and not be flooded with the dressing.  Any excess dressing will remain in the bowl.
     Set the cole slaw aside.
  
     Buffalo Chicken Tenders:
     Dredge 2 large chicken tenders in flour that is seasoned with sea salt and black pepper.
     Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
     Add the floured chicken tenders.
     Pan fry the chicken tenders, till they become golden brown on both sides and till they become fully cooked.
     Place the pan fried chicken tenders in a mixing bowl.
     Add just enough of the buffalo wing sauce to coat the chicken tenders.
     Toss the chicken tenders with the sauce, till they are completely coated.
     Warm a poppyseed hot dog bun in an oven.
     Spread the coleslaw on the open hot dog bun.
     Place the buffalo chicken tenders on the cole slaw.
     Place the snack sandwich on a plate.
     Garnish the plate with parsley sprigs and a pickled okra spear.
  
     This is a very tasty snack sandwich that is great for a weekend afternoon.  Hot dog bun sandwiches are easy to eat.  The cole slaw is a simple standard recipe and it gives cooling relief for the spicy buffalo chicken heat.  Delicious!  ...  Shawna

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Linguettini and Chicken with Tomato Herb Sauce









     Pasta sauces like tomato herb sauce were very popular in the 1980's.  For customers, an appealing and "easy to identify" name of a pasta entree that is easy to pronounce was nice.  Pasta creations of all kinds were a trend during that era.  Previously to the 1980's, it seemed that an Italian restaurant was the only place that a good plate of pasta could be found.  French chefs and California chefs went absolutely nuts creating non traditional pasta entrees during the 1980's.  Haute cuisine gourmet ravioli creations became a favorite item for French chefs.
     During the mid 1980's I was working in a French cafe with a French chef who had taught culinary arts in two chef schools in France.  The cafe was located in a wealthy retirement area in Florida.  The cafe hosted fashion shows a few days during week.  Most of our clientele was senior citizen ladies and shoppers who wanted lunch.  A crowd like that does not want difficult to pronounce foreign language items on a menu or overly complicated cuisine.  When the chef wrote the menu for the cafe, all the items on the menu were written in plain English.  The French chef put no pastas on the menu.  I was the sous chef at the cafe and I was responsible for the lunch specials du jour.  I ran a pasta as one of my du jour offerings nearly every day.  I had a lot of Italian pasta experience, but serving Italian pasta in a French cafe is frowned upon, so I cooked pasta creations that had a french flair.
     That little French cafe's food was highly rated until the billionaire owner's assets were frozen in one of the biggest stock market scandals of all time!  One of our regular customers was a retired French chef who was the personal chef of the president of France.  He loved our food and I later worked for that chef!
     We only used fresh herbs in that cafe, so I had access to plenty of great flavor.  One of the most popular non traditional pasta sauces in the 1980's was a tomato herb sauce that was made with white wine.  That sauce appealed to many people.  Chicken is considered to be non traditional in Italian pastas, but American Italian restaurants usually offer one token chicken entree.  In the 1980's, chicken was looked upon as the healthy choice of food on a menu.
     As a chef, I liked tomato herb sauce because it gave me an opportunity to sell all the fresh herbs that may have been over stocked.  I am a great judge of knowing when it is necessary to create an entree to sell slow moving or overstocked food items.  The day before the fresh herbs started to wilt, I would sell this pasta to clear our inventory of perishable fresh herbs, so we could order new fresh herbs.  As you know, fresh herbs only stay fresh for a few days.  In restaurants and at home, it is a terrible waste to throw spoiled uncooked food in the trash.  Fresh herbs are usually sold in bunches, and it does take a few recipes to use up a fresh bunch of herbs.
      Last week, I bought three necessary bunches of herbs for some fusion and Thai recipes that I posted in my blog.  The same week, a fellow food writer wrote about always throwing fresh herbs that had turned black into the trash.  She wrote about drying those herbs as an alternative.  Well, I definitely had an overstock of fresh herbs in my refrigerator this week.  I thought to myself, "These are fresh herbs, why in the world would I want to dry them out?"  My response to that food writers ill teaching was to post a few recipes in my blog that require a tremendous amount of fresh herbs.  The Persian Kookoo Sabzi was a nice recipe that required a lot of fresh green herbs just like this pasta recipe.
     I did not have all the fresh herbs that I used to make this sauce in the past, so I added a few dried herbs that I had on hand, so the flavor would be correct.  The object was to cook the overstocked fresh herbs that were on hand and not to buy more fresh herbs to complete the recipe.  If you only have access to dried herbs, then this sauce will turn out fine too.  Fresh herbs always have a "crisper" flavor, but some herbs, like oregano, are better when dried.
     When making this entree, the pasta can be boiled while the sauce is simmering.  The pasta and sauce take about the same amount of time to cook, if good imported Italian canned San Marzano tomatoes are used.  San Marzano tomatoes require very little cooking time.  Tomato herb sauce is not Italian, but the cooking techniques should follow Italian tomato sauce making rules.  Tomato herb sauce is an American and French style tomato sauce.
  
     Tomato Herb Sauce Recipe:
     Fresh peeled and seeded overripe fresh tomatoes are a good choice for this recipe, but today's gassed GMO tomatoes do not ripen like old fashioned natural tomatoes.  I personally do not like GMO products at all, because they pose a health risk.  Italy and most european countries have banned GMO vegetables.  Imported Italian canned San Marzano tomatoes are the best tomatoes that money can buy.  Whole or crushed San Marzano tomatoes are fine for this recipe.
     Place 1 1/2 cups of imported Italian whole peeled and seeded San Marzano tomatoes that are packed in their own juices in a mixing bowl.  Be sure to add a portion of the thick juice from the can.
     Crush the tomatoes by hand.
     Heat a saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
     Add 6 ounces of small bite size pieces of boneless chicken breast filet.
     Gently saute the chicken pieces, till they become fully cooked and lightly caramelized.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced onion.
     Saute till the onions turn clear in color.
     Add the reserved crushed San Marzano tomatoes and their juices.
     Add these finely chopped fresh or dried herbs:
     - 1 teaspoon of minced basil
     - 1 teaspoon of minced cilantro
     - 1 pinch of ground sage
     - 2 pinches of marjoram
     - 1 pinch of oregano
     - 1 pinch of dill weed
     - 1 pinch of tarragon
     - 1 teaspoon of chives
     - 1 pinch of thyme
     - 2 pinches of minced Italian parsley.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1/2 cup dry white wine.  (I used a French white burgundy chablis.  I only cook with a wine that I would drink!)
     Add 1/3 cup of chicken stock.
     Note:  Now is the time to start cooking the pasta.  Cook 1 portion of linguettini pasta in boiling water over high heat, till the pasta becomes al dente.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a medium thin tomato sauce consistency.
     Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.
     Drain the water off of the pasta when it becomes al dente.
     Add the portion of al dente cooked linguettini pasta to the sauce.
     Toss the sauce and pasta together.
     Use a long straight tine carving fork to twist and coil the pasta as you pick the pasta up from the pan.
     Place the coiled pasta across a plate.
     Most of the chicken and excess sauce will remain in the pan when using this coiling pasta presentation method, so spoon the excess sauce and chicken over the pasta.
     Note:  The Italian cardinal pasta rule still applies!  Make only enough sauce to flavor the pasta and not flood the pasta with sauce!
     Sprinkle a little bit of grated romano cheese over the pasta.
     Garnish the pasta with a small basil sprig.
  
     Delicious and healthy!  This simple pasta recipe has such a great flavor.  The white wine combines with the tomatoes and herbs to create a very nice aroma and flavor.  The flavor of the sauce is perfect with chicken.  Linguettini, linguini or fettucini are the best pastas to use for this recipe.  Coiling long pasta adds a professional looking touch to the pasta presentation and it builds height.
     The mixture of herbs for the sauce is a personal choice.  Use a wide variety of herbs.  Chervil is nice in the herb mixture too.  The herb mixture in the recipe was the same as what I used to make this pasta at the French cafe.
     Yum!  Bon Appetite!  ...  Shawna                    

Friday, February 25, 2011

Portuguese Garbanzo and Chorizo Soup







     This Portuguese style soup is one of the best tasting bean soups that there is!  The flavor of the chorizo sausage is thoroughly infused in the broth and beans.  Dried or canned garbanzo beans can be used to make this soup.  Canned garbanzo beans still need quite a bit of simmering time to make them soft enough to become part of the broth.  The longer this soup simmers, the thicker the broth gets.
     This same soup is made in Spain.  There are many sausage and garbanzo soup versions in Spain and  Portugal.   I learned this soup a long time ago while working at a Florida bayside Swiss restaurant.  The chef was from Switzerland and the owner was from Portugal.  The owner of the restaurant was quite good at cooking traditional food from his home country.  When we ran this soup as a soup du jour, the owner cooked this soup.  The Swiss chef would laugh and say that he could not cook this soup any better than the owner could.  I watched this soup being cooked a few times and remembered how simply the soup was made.  Some soups do not require any special techniques.
      I later served this fine soup in cafes and pubs.  Customers love this soup!  One taste of this mildly spiced garbanzo bean soup and you will see why!
    
     Portuguese Garbanzo and Chorizo Soup Recipe:
     This recipe makes 1 large serving or 2 small servings!
     Simmer 10 ounces of cooked dried garbanzo beans or canned garbanzo beans in water over low heat, till they just start to become very tender.
     Drain off half of the water.
     Add enough pork broth to cover the beans with 2" of extra liquid.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped smoked bacon.  (The smoked bacon acts as a fat and it does not need to be cooked first.)
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Cover the pot.
     Continue to simmer the soup till the beans become very tender.
     Mash at least half of the garbanzo beans in the pot with a potato masher.
     Add 1/3 cup of diced carrot.
     Add 1/4 cup of diced celery.
     Add 1/3 cup of diced onion.
     Add 1/3 cup of diced bell pepper.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Cover the pot and continue to simmer the soup, till the vegetables become tender.
     Add 1 peeled and seeded diced plum tomato.
     Add 4 to 6 ounces of thick sliced cooked chorizo sausage.
     Add 2 pinches of thyme.
     Add 2 pinches of oregano.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of paprika.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Gently simmer the soup, till the flavors meld and till the crushed garbanzo beans become smooth and till they thicken the broth.
     Stir the soup occasionally.
     Add 1/2 of a minced green onion.
     Simmer for 5 more minutes.
     Remove the bay leaf.
     Ladle the soup into a bowl.
     Garnish with an Italian parsley sprig.
    
     The aroma of this soup is warm and comforting!  The herbs, spices and vegetables add a very nice flavor to the garbanzo beans.  The spicy chorizo sausage is perfectly suited for the flavor of the garbanzo beans.  This is a great chilly weather soup!  Yum!  ...  Shawna  

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Algerian Kefta with Harissa Chickpeas







No shortage of great flavor here!
  
     Algerian and North African cuisine shares many Arabic cuisine influences.  Algerian Kefta is nearly the same as Arabic Kafta or Armenian Kufta.  India and several nearby places call these meatballs kofta or kofte.  There are many different spellings and variations of kefta in Persian, Farci and Hebrew languages.
     Many kafta recipes are made with the meatball mixture pressed onto a wooden skewer.  Some kafta recipes are formed into some very exotic looking shapes.  Lamb or beef is usually the choice for making kefta.  The meat mixture can be very plain or very spicy.  Rice or bulgar wheat is sometimes added to the meat mixture.
     The kaftah spice mixture can be bought pre-made at a Persian or Arabic market.  I like the pre-made kaftah spice mix because it has the correct proportions of spices.  By purchasing the individual spices to make kefta spice mix, a person can end up paying ten times as much for an equal volume of kefta spice mix.  The same can be said about za'atar spice mix.  Spices that are bought at an Arabic market are always very fresh and that include pre-mixed blends.
     Harissa is a very popular North African mild paprika pepper paste that is not difficult to make.  The mixture can be dark brick red in color or bright orangish red.  Harissa can be made from fresh paprika peppers, roasted peppers and or dried ground peppers.  Harissa can be made with a combination of these peppers.  Many older Bedouin recipes do not use caned or pre-made harissa.  Cans of harissa are added weight for the back of a camel.  To avoid the straw that broke the camel's back, dried ground paprika peppers were carried instead.  Many North African chefs still prefer harissa that is made with dried ground peppers, like the one in this recipe.
     Hummus is the word for chickpeas or garbanzo beans as well as a casual reference to many different kinds of beans and lentils.  I originally used the word hummus instead of chickpeas in this recipe title, but everybody in the western world thinks of hummus being a smooth bean dip.  I ended up changing the name of this recipe to avoid confusion.
  
     Dried Pepper Harissa Recipe:
     This recipe makes enough harissa for 3 or 4 servings!
     Place these spices in a mixing bowl:
     - 2 tablespoons of Spanish paprika
     - 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
     - 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
     - 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
     - 1/2 teaspoon of coriander
     - 1/2 teaspoon of ground caraway seed.
     Mix the spices together.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt.
     Add just a little bit of olive at a time, while stirring, till a medium thick paste is formed.  About 2 to 3 tablespoons is plenty.
     This olive oil harissa paste can be kept in a refrigerator for several months.
  
     Kaftah Spice Mixture Recipe: 
      It is much cheaper to buy kaftah spice mix pre-made and it is a very accurate spice mixture.  My kaftah spice mix recipe is very basic.  Kafta spice mix can have many more spices in the recipe.
     Here is the basic proportions for a kaftah spice mix:
     - 2 parts cinnamon
     - 1 part allspice
     - 1 part cumin
     - 1 part coriander
     - 1 part mild red chile powder
     - 1/2 part black pepper.
     A small portion of finely ground toasted sesame seed is optional.
     Sea salt is sometimes added, but the salt is traditionally used as a separate seasoning and it is not part of a kaftah spice mix.
     Simply mix the dry kaftah spice mix ingredients together.
  
     Harissa Chickpeas:  
     Place 1/2 cup of cooked chickpeas or rinsed canned chickpeas in a sauce pot.
     Add just enough water to cover the chickpeas.
     Add 1 tablespoon of dried pepper harissa paste.
     Simmer the chickpea mixture over medium heat till the liquid is reduced to a thin red sauce.
     Keep the harissa chickpeas warm over very low heat.
  
     Algerian Kefta Recipe:
     Place 6 ounces of ground lamb or ground beef in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 finely minced garlic clove.
     Add some very finely minced onion.
     Add 3 tablespoons of finely minced onion.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of very finely chopped mint leaves.
     Add 1 tablespoon of the keftah spice mixture.
     Add sea salt.
     Mix the ingredients thoroughly together.
     Divide the meat mixture into 3 equal sized meatball portions.
     Wet your hands with water before rolling the meatballs.
     Roll each meat portion, by hand, into a smooth round meatball shape.
     Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Place the meatballs in the hot pan.
     Pan fry the meatballs, till they become fully cooked and till they become browned.
  
     Algerian Kefta with Harissa Chickpeas:
     Spoon the harissa chickpeas into a shallow serving bowl or casserole dish.
     Set the meatballs on the harissa hummus.
     Garnish with a parsley sprig.
     Serve with some Arabic breads of your choice on the side.
  
     Delicious, aromatic and so very nicely seasoned!  The contrasting flavors in this entree are very exotic and very complex.  The flavor of the chickpeas and harissa is so nice with the interesting flavor of the kefta.  Algerian kefta are some of the best tasting meatballs that there is!  Yummy!  ...  Shawna  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pan Fried Catfish Filets, Tomato Curry and Sunny Eggs with Miso Shiitake Grits










     It has been a while since I posted a breakfast recipe that featured fish.  This breakfast would be nice after a morning of fishing while camping out in the wild.  Pan fried catfish and eggs has always been a nice campfire cookout breakfast entree.  Most campers eat fried catfish and eggs plain or with bottled hot sauce.  I thought that a simple tomato curry would be a nice mildly spicy flavor for the eggs and catfish.
     Many chefs who cook to their own personal taste do not put grits on a menu.  Basically, that is the trait of a yankee chef.  Modern southern cuisine grits recipes are often flavored.  This miso shiitake grits recipe is a good example of southern asian fusion.  Grits are like polenta, because many items that flavor polenta can be used to flavor grits.  Cheese grits are very common.  I have posted a few flavored grits recipes in this food blog.  Shiitake mushrooms have a very agreeable mild morning flavor.  Adding miso paste to grits?  Yes!  The mild miso paste adds a very interesting mild fermented soy flavor.  Miso soup is a traditional Japanese breakfast food.
     I thought of whether the miso shiitake grits would taste good with this breakfast.  When considering the fish and tomato curry flavors, the miso flavor is a good accompaniment.  The miso shiitake grits turned out to be exceptionally nice tasting!
     I alway use old fashioned hominy grits instead of instant grits.  The texture of old fashioned grits is superior.
  
     Miso Shiitake Grits:
     Heat 1 1/2 cups of water in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 3/4 cup of old fashioned grits, while stirring, till the grits just start to thicken.  (The grits will absorb quite a bit of liquid just like polenta does.)
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1 finely chopped shiitake mushroom.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1 pinch of black pepper.  (No salt is necessary.)
     Stir in 1 tablespoon of miso paste.
     Let the grits gently simmer over low heat and stir occasionally.
     Add water if the grits become too thick.
     When the grits are cooked soft and they become thick, then set the grits aside and keep them warm on a stove top.
  
     Tomato Curry:
     Heat a small sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1 finely chopped peeled and seeded Roma tomato.
     Saute the tomato gently, till it becomes tender.
     Add 2 pinches of garam masala spice mix.
     Add 1 pinch of turmeric.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of hot Chinese chile powder.
     Stir the tomato curry.
     Add 1 finely chopped green onion.
     Add 1/2 cup of water.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce, till a medium tomato sauce consistency is formed.
     Set the tomato curry aside and keep it warm.  (This simple tomato curry is mildly seasoned.  It does not take much time for this curry to cook.  The tomato and green onion flavors should be bright and fresh for this recipe.)
  
     Pan Fried Catfish Filets:
     Dredge 2 small catfish filets in flour.
     Dip the floured filets in milk.
     Dredge the catfish filets in a 50/50 mixture of corn meal and flour that is seasoned with sea salt and black pepper.
     Heat vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet or a saute pan over medium/medium high heat.  The oil should be 1/2" deep.
     When the oil becomes hot, add the catfish filets.
     Flip the catfish a few times, so they pan fry evenly.
     When the catfish is pan fried to a golden brown color and is fully cooked, set the filets on a wire screen roasting rack to drain of any excess oil.
  
     Pan Fried Catfish Filets, Tomato Curry and Sunny Eggs with Miso Shiitake Grits:
     Heat a non stick saute pan over medium heat.
     Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add two eggs to the pan.  (Try to keep the eggs separate from each other so they don't stick together.)  
     Cook the sunny side up eggs, till the egg whites are fully cooked and till the yolk just begins to cook.
     Place a small mound of the miso shiitake grits on a plate.
     Place the 2 pan fried catfish filets on the plate.
     Spoon and spread the thick tomato curry over the pan fried catfish filets.
     Use a spatula to set a sunny side up egg on each catfish filet.
     Garnish the plate with a parsley sprig.
  
     Delicious!  The mild warm feeling curried tomato flavor is not overly overbearing.  The curry has a nice fresh breakfast flavor that goes well with the catfish and eggs.  Pan fried catfish is a very nice mild flavored breakfast white fish.
     The flavor of the grits are sensational!  The mild soy flavor and the shiitake are such a nice combination for a very different kind of flavored grits.  Fusion grits!
     This is a nice recipe for the home kitchen or for camping out.  Yum!  ...  Shawna

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sesame Miso Glazed Salmon with Honey Yogurt Napa Slaw on a Poppyseed Bun









Modern fusion sandwiches that are served on nice hot dog buns have become a recent trend.  These little snack sandwiches are small portion sandwiches that are gone after a few bites.  The bright strong flavor combinations on a hot dog bun snack sandwich are meant to put a smile on a face!
     I took a look at a few of the miso glaze recipes that are on the internet.  It seemed like most of those recipes struggled with salt content from soy sauce.  Soy sauce?  Miso paste glaze does not need soy sauce at all!  Both miso and soy sauce are made from the same thing.  Soy beans.  Miso paste already does have a nice mellow soy sauce flavor.  I wanted to accent the soy flavor of miso paste and not make it stronger, so I flavored the miso paste with lime juice, sesame oil, rice vinegar and rice wine.  The lighter flavors that were added to the miso paste, were what this miso glaze needed, so it would not be salty or too strong of a flavor.
     Napa Cabbage is a very tender cabbage.  Napa cabbage cole slaw is best when it is made to order, so it remains crisp.  I would suggest making the cole slaw shortly before cooking the salmon.
  
     Napa Cabbage Honey Yogurt Slaw:
     Place 2 cups of very thin sliced napa cabbage in a mixing bowl.
     Add a few very thin sliced strips of green bell pepper.
     Add a few very thin sliced strips of carrot.
     Place 1 1/2 ounces of goat milk yogurt in a small bowl.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of honey.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of black sesame seeds.
     Add 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar.
     Stir the cole slaw dressing ingredients together.
     Add the cole slaw dressing to the napa cabbage mixture.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Set the cole slaw aside.
  
     Toasted Sesame Seeds:
     Heat a dry saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds.
     Toss the sesame seeds gently in the hot pan, till they become lightly toasted.
     Place the toasted sesame seed on a small dish and set them aside.
  
     Miso Salmon Glaze:
     Place 2 tablespoons of red miso paste in a small bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lime juice.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of rice vinegar.
     Add 1 tablespoon of dry rice wine.
     Add 1 pinch of white pepper.
     Stir the ingredients till they are combined.
  
     Sesame Miso Glazed Salmon with Honey Yogurt Napa Slaw on a Poppyseed Bun:
     Remove the skin from 3 ounce salmon filet.
     Cut the salmon filet in half lengthwise.
     Heat a non stick saute pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 small splash of of vegetable oil.
     Add the two salmon pieces.
     Lightly sear the salmon on both sides.
     Remove the pan from the heat.  (The salmon should be cooked rare at this point.)
     Use a spoon to pour and spread the miso glaze over the seared salmon filet halves in the saute pan.
     Place the pan in a 400º oven.
     Warm a poppyseed hot dog bun in the oven.
     Place the bun on a plate.
     When the salmon becomes fully cooked, but not caramelized at all, remove the pan from the oven.
     Spread a small amount of the napa cabbage yogurt slaw on the hot dog bun.
     Use a spatula to carefully set the 2 salmon pieces on the bun so the miso glazed side is facing upward.
     Sprinkle a little bit of the toasted sesame seeds over the miso glazed salmon.
     Garnish the plate with parsley sprigs, a dill pickle and some sliced pickled ginger.
  
     The flavor of the sandwich is a real pleasure to eat!  This turned out to be a very likable modern fusion snack sandwich.  Yum!  ...  Shawna

Huitres Gratinee au Champignon Creme








     My best days of restaurant cooking were spent in small formal French cafes and small French restaurants.  I liked cooking classic French food!  It seems that today, most of the American top chef French food is far removed from the old classic French cuisine.  There is such a thing as being too uncomfortable and too eccentric when cooking cutting edge French cuisine.  "Hit or miss" overpriced French fusion recipes can leave customers in dismay.  Especially during an economic depression.
     The recent movement in cutting edge fusion French cuisine has been over priced tapas style portions and pre fixe menus of trendy, but uncomfortable menu items that do not satisfy customers needs.  The reaction most of the French tapas food gets is comments like "It was a nice plate of food, but I would not return to order that item again."  Hit or miss!
     Why not fall back on the affordable, well crafted, French food that made French cuisine so famous?  That tactic worked for a few other chefs and myself at a great AAA 5 Diamond rated resort's 3 Star Michelin rated French Restaurant during the economic recession after the events of 9/11/2001.  The executive sous chef fired the fusion cuisine chef, because the restaurant was losing money everyday.  The sous chef was a Greenbriar chef and he took over as the chef de cuisine of the French restaurant.  The menu was changed to classic and modern French comfort food with a few American wild game entrees.  The portion size of each entree was also changed from petite artistic size portions to standard old time classic portion size.
     After the menu changes were made, the French restaurant broke all sales records by serving traditional French comfort food with a modern presentation style.  The menu prices were not cheap either.  The average entree price was $120.  Our success came from giving people what they wanted to eat and by offering food that was easily recognized.  The French restaurant grossed between $45,000 and $98,000 per night during that recession!  A portion of the income was from our extensive wine list.  We served great comfortable classic French food and customers returned to our restaurant to have the comfort food again and again!  The restaurant ended up being rated as the 7th best out of 35,000 restaurants in that state.  That was far better than being rated in the bottom of the top 100, like the previous chef's food was.
     Oysters gratinee is a classic French comfort recipe.  It can be baked plain or with a mornay sauce.  I have seen oysters gratinee baked with a mushroom cream in the past.  I liked the mushroom sauce version of oysters gratinee.  Huitres Gratinee is a very comfortable classic French appetizer.
  
     Huitres Gratinee au Champignon Recipe:
     Heat a saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 ounce of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 teaspoons of finely chopped shallot.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Saute till the shallots turn clear in color.
     Add 1 thin sliced shiitake mushroom.
     Add 4 thin sliced button cave mushrooms.
     Saute till the mushrooms become tender.
     Add 4 large shucked oysters.  (Reserve the oyster liquor.)
     Saute till the oysters become half way cooked.
     Remove the oysters from the sauce and set them in a small casserole dish.
     Add a very light sprinkle of flour, while gently stirring, to absorb the excess butter in the pan and to form a simple pan roux.
     Add the reserved oyster liquor.
     Add 1/4 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1/2 cup of fumet.  (White fish stock)
     Add 1 ounce of Pernod.  (optional)
     Stir the sauce.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of thyme.
     Add 2 pinches of tarragon.
     Add 1 cup of cream.
     Stir the sauce.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a medium thin consistency.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Spoon the mushroom slices between the oysters in the casserole dish.
     Pour the sauce over the oysters.
     Sprinkle a little bit of finely grated parmesan cheese over the oysters and sauce.
     Sprinkle a little bit of plain fine French bread crumbs over the oysters and sauce.
     Sprinkle a little bit of finely chopped parsley over the casserole.
     Place the casserole dish on a baking pan.
     Bake the casserole in a 375º oven.
     When the sauce starts bubbling and some light brown highlights appear on the oysters, then the casserole is finished baking.  (About 7-10 minutes.)
     Set the casserole dish on a serving plate.
  
     Simple and delicious!  The oysters and mushrooms are well matched with the thyme and tarragon flavors of the light cream sauce.  Only a little bit of cheese and bread crumbs are required for oysters gratinee.  The oysters do not have to be smothered in cheese!  The cheese is only used like a seasoning.  This is a very nice French oyster appetizer that is elegant and easy to prepare.  Yum!  ...  Shawna