Baked Cod with Bouillabaisse Sauce and Green Olive Tapenade

A wonderful sauce that is delicious with cod but would also be great with chicken. And you can make it ahead! It is elegant and exotic with the flavors of fennel, pernod, saffron. The recipe is from the April, 2017 issue of Food and Wine. I did not have **fish bones for the recipe so I skipped that step and added the water with a vegetable bouillon cube to make up for the fish bone stock.

6 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided up in recipe
1 large fennel bulb, 1 #, trimmed and finely chopped
1 leek, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 t. saffron threads
2 T. Pernod or Pastis
3/4 c. dry white wine
3/4 c dry vermouth (**I used white wine as I did not have but will get for the next time)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in halved and smashed
1/2 t. cayenne
2 # white fish bones
2 t. lemon juice, plus more for drizzling
salt
4 six ounce cod fillets
Green Olive tapenade

1/4 c, pitted brined or oil cured green olives, finely chopped

2 T. rinsed and drained capers, finely chopped

2 T. finely chopped fresh parsley

1 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper

In a large enameled cast iron casserole, heat 2 T of the olive oil. Add the fennel, leek, onion, celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saffron and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the Pernod and cook over moderately high heat for 2 minutes. Add the wine and vermouth (**) and cook until the liquid is reduced by half about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cayenne and simmer over moderate heat until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat 2 T. olive oil in a large skillet, and add the fish bones, cooking over moderate heat until browned, turning once, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bones to the casserole with 2 cups of water ad simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, covered. Let the sauce cool slightly and remove the fish bones. You can puree the sauce at this point with an immersion blender or leave as is.

Combine all ingredients for olive tapenade and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Season the fish with salt and refrigerate uncovered for 30 minutes. Heat remaining 2 T. olive oil in a ovenproof skillet and cook the fish until browned, about 3 minutes on each side. Bake in the oven for 6-8 minutes until opaque and cooked through.

Ladle the sauce into four shallow serving bowls and top with each fish. Spoon the tapenade over the fish and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil.

San Francisco


I have just returned from the most wonderful weekend in San Francisco. I lived there 28 years ago for 2 years while working for my friends, Neil and Amy at We Be Bop, a clothing manufacturer based in Bali and Berkeley. I had never lived in a city of that size and enjoyed every bit of SF and CA and still treasure my memories.
I went to SF with my sister Meg and niece Joanie (lives in LA) to visit with my nephews and family. It did not disappoint. We stayed at the Hotel Vitale which is right across the street from the Ferry Building which is Mecca to me. We flew in on Thursday and things were quite civilized at the Ferry Building but the weekend was mayhem!
We had lunch at Americano, our hotel restaurant which was delicious. We walked along the Embarcadero to see where Epic Steak and Waterbar are located. We dined at Epic that night but only two of the group had steak. We had caesar salads, crab cakes, tortellini and the guys had filet and ribeye. The view of the lighted Bay Bridge is stellar.
My sister and I had breakfast in the hotel and when Joanie woke up we went to Tartine. I have read about Tartine for years and bought the first cookbook just for the gougeres recipe which is my favorite hors d’oeuvres to serve friends with wine. It was so impressive-I am still thinking about what a wonderful bakery they have-luckily we got there before the line was too long. It was well worth the wait. Joanie had a morning bun, Meg had an almond croissant and I had the savory croissant with bacon, fromage blanc, gruyere and herbs. I went to Hog Island for oysters while the girls shopped and found they had Olympia oysters that I had never tried. It was not busy and I sat at the bar and had a dozen Olympias with a lager. Delicious.

We ate at Leo’s oyster bar for lunch and Tartine Manufactory for dinner which was the highlight of the trip for me. Everything was exquisite and delicious. The fried Artichokes are killer and as is the bread and butter with a little bit of buttermilk-interesting. Warm olives were so good. I ordered the Petrale Sole which you can only find in SF. Alex ordered the Porchetta sandwich with salsa verde, Peter ordered the half chicken that was so good, Hannah and baby Asher had steak tartare and bone broth, Joanie had the octopus with nduja and lentils that was so good and Meg had the
steak. They all had the sticky date pudding with fior de latte ice cream for dessert. It was a stellar night. The restaurant is so beautiful- it is in the Heath Ceramic building in the Mission. If you don’t know about Heath, you should. Ceramics from Sausalito originally made in the 1950’s with exquisite glazes. I have been slowly collecting them for the last 30 years. There are lots of other wonderful artists and craftsmen the are in Heath and the tables at Tartine are so beautiful, obviously made by a talented local artisan.

Nobu’s wonderful Asian Vinaigrette

Denver has recently gotten one of Nobu’s restaurant, Matsuhisa. This is the house vinaigrette which I am very fond of as a salad dressing or a dip for crudités. It keeps very well in the refrigerator and gets better as it ages!

3⁄4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons water
1⁄2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 pinch sea salt
1⁄4 teaspoon mustard powder
1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 teaspoons grapeseed oil
4 teaspoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce

Combine the onion, rice vinegar, water, granulated sugar, pinch of sea salt, mustard, ground black and ground black pepper in a bowl.
Stir until the salt and mustard have dissolved.
Add the grapeseed and sesame oils and soy sauce and mix well.

Wintery Braised Red Cabbage

From Food 52 blog/website that is a wonderful resource for recipes! I made this with the Herb marinated pork tenderloin on this blog and also a beet, orange, black olive and blue cheese salad.
wintery-braised-cabbage
Serves 6

1 medium head red cabbage (about 2 pounds)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 apples, relatively tart, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup red or black currant jelly Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Oil a large baking dish (9-by-13-inch, ideally) with half of the melted butter. Peel the outer leaves from the cabbage and cut it into 8 wedges. Nestle the wedges in the baking dish, more or less in a single layer. Salt liberally and drizzle the remaining butter and 1/4 cup water over the top. Cover tightly with foil and braise for an hour. After an hour, gently turn over each wedge and slide the sliced apples in among the cabbage. Drizzle the red wine vinegar over the top. Cover again with foil and braise for another hour. Take the cabbage out of the oven and remove the foil. It should be so tender it nearly melts. Increase the heat of the oven to 425 degrees. While the oven is warming up, drizzle the 1/4 cup currant jelly over the cabbage and gently incorporate it. Then slide the cabbage back in the oven and cook for another 15 or so minutes, until the wedges have started to brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde

From the NY Times and a wonderful easy recipe. I used my leftover roast chicken but you could use a rotisserie chicken or cook chicken as in the recipe. I bought a small can of Herdez Salsa Verde and added some blanched fresh tomatillos, cilantro, garlic and 1/2 a jalapeño. I also substituted the Mexican cheese blend that Trader Joe’s sells that is cheddar, jack, asadero and quest blanco.
chicken-enchiladas-with-salsa-verde
FOR THE CHICKEN (OR USE 1 1/4 POUNDS LEFTOVER OR STORE-BOUGHT ROAST CHICKEN):
2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs or breasts, or a mixture
1 small white onion, cut in half
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon kosher salt
FOR THE SALSA VERDE:
1 pound fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut into quarters (use canned if you can’t find fresh)
1 small white onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 serrano chiles or more to taste, seeds removed if you want it less spicy, stemmed and roughly chopped
4 to 5 tender stems of fresh cilantro, with leaves, roughly chopped
Salt to taste
FOR THE ENCHILADAS:
½ cup neutral oil, like canola
12 yellow corn tortillas
1 cup crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese
1 cup Mexican crema, or use crème fraîche or sour cream
1 medium-size white onion, peeled and chopped (optional)

Prepare the chicken: Place chicken parts in a large saucepan with onion, garlic and salt, and cover with water. Heat pan over high heat until liquid comes to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and let simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove chicken and let cool, reserving stock for another use. Using your fingers or two forks, shred meat from chicken and reserve, discarding skin and bones. (Alternatively, shred meat from leftover or store-bought roast chicken and set aside.)
Meanwhile, heat oven to 375, and make the salsa verde: Combine tomatillos, onion, garlic, serranos and cilantro in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth, adding water as needed to thin it out a little. Season with salt to taste.
Prepare the tortillas: In medium sauté pan set over medium-high heat, heat oil until it begins to shimmer. Using tongs or a wide spatula, place a tortilla in the hot fat; it should start to bubble immediately. Heat tortilla for about 10 seconds a side, until soft and lightly browned. Remove tortilla and set on a rack set over a baking pan, or just on a baking pan if you don’t have a rack. Repeat with remaining tortillas, working quickly.
Assemble the enchiladas: Use a ladle to put about 1/2 cup salsa verde in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and spread it out a little. Roll a few tablespoons of shredded chicken into each tortilla with a teaspoon or so of salsa verde and place it seam-side down in the pan, nestling each one against the last. Ladle salsa verde over top of rolled tortillas and sprinkle with about half the crumbled cheese.
Transfer to oven and bake until sauce bubbles and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Dot with crema, sprinkle with remaining cheese and, if using, chopped onion, then serve immediately.

Pasta with Cabbage and Gorgonzola

This is a very simple pasta from Elizabeth Minchilli. I adore her blog and she and her daughter give cooking classes and tours in Rome and Italy. A very talented ex-pat married to an Italian. It is quick to make and delicious. The author suggests that you can use any vegetable and cheese mixture, like radicchio or kale and taleggio, brie or goat cheese. She also recommends not to skimp on high quality freshly ground black pepper. There is something magical about cabbage that is steamed or sautéed. It is a wonderful winter vegetable that should not be missed.
pasta-with-cabbage-and-gorgonzolab-22d65994-mn44hu
140 grams pasta-1 1/2 c. dried pasta
1 medium leek, sliced thinly
¼ head of cabbage, cut into thin ribbons
80 grams gorgonzola, but in small cubes-about 3 oz.
⅓ cup grated parmigiano reggiano
½ tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan large enough to hold all the cooked pasta. Add the leeks and salt and cook over medium heat until wilted.
Add the cabbage, with 1 cup water, and let cook until very tender.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add Pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, retaining 1 cup pasta cooking water.
Add the drained pasta to the cabbage, turning the heat to medium low. Stir well to mix, and add the parmigiano and half the water, stirring to combine.
Add the gorgonzola, a bit at time, stirring it well. Add the rest of the water, stirring so that the cheese melts and the water evaporates. When the cheese is melted, it is ready. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Serve topped with more black pepper.

Spicy Black Bean Soup

This recipe is from Field of Greens by Annie Somerville who is the chef of Greens Restaurant in San Francisco. It has some components to it that may seem labor intensive but it is the most flavorful black bean soup that I have ever had! One component is the Chipotle Puree which is just a can of chipotles in adobo, pureed. The pureed chilies keep forever in the refrigerator and it is a condiment that I use often. The other component is the ancho chili puree which are the ancho chiles, like you see in ristras-toasted in a cast iron pan until lightly toasted and then covered in a bowl with boiling water for 15 minutes-then drained and pureed. I find some beans, no matter how long you soak them need time to cook. This recipe calls for them to be soft in 20-25 minutes but my beans took over an hour to soften.* I think this soup could be great for a party with all sorts of garnishes including the above and also you could have rice and some type of cheese, like feta or any of the Mexican grating cheeses.

bean-soup-pot
2 c. dried black beans, about 12-16 oz. (I use 16 oz. as I buy my black beans by the pound from Rancho Gordo, sorted through and soaked overnight
6+ c. cold water
1 fresh oregano sprig
2 fresh sage leaves
1 T. light olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced, about 3 c.
salt and cayenne pepper
1/2 t. toasted oregano, in a small pan til lightly toasted
8 garlic cloves, chopped
2 t. chipotle puree (see above in notes)
1 T. Ancho Chili puree (see above)
1/4 c. dry sherry
1/2# fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, about 1 c. or 1 8 oz. can of tomatoes, with juices
1/2 c. fresh orange juice
For garnish
1/2# fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped, about 1 cup
1 T. chopped fresh cilantro
Or other garnishes
fried strips of tortillas
thinly slice avocado
creme fraiche mixed with orange juice, cumin and cayenne
black-bean-soup-garnished
Rinse and drain the beans. Place in a soup pot with the cold water, oregano sprig, bay and sage leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered until the beans are soft-20-25 minutes or however long it takes. Heat olive oil in a saute pan and add the onion, 1/2 t. salt, 1/8 t. cayenne and toasted oregano. Cook over medium heat until onion is soft-about 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and chili purees. Saute for 3-4 minutes, add the sherry and simmer until reduced by half, a minute or two. Add the tomatoes and 1/2 t. salt and cook for 10 minutes.
Set aside 1 1/2 c. cooked beans. Remove the fresh herbs and bay leaves. Combine beans and their broth with the tomatoes and onions and puree in the blender in batches. Add the reserved beans, orange juice and 1/2 t. salt. Season with salt and cayenne to taste. Cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
Toss the tomatoes and cilantro together and garnish each serving with a spoonful.

Swedish Meatballs

This is a delicious recipe from the NY Times. The onion gravy for the meatballs is so flavorful that I can see using it on a roast chicken and many other dishes. The only thing I may change is use a little less panko as mine tended to clump up. The traditional recipe is sliced, crustless bread and if that was available, I would use that. The other change I made was that I baked the meatballs, rather than broiling them-my preference. I baked them at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. You can serve this with  buttered noodles or mashed potatoes. We were given a wonderful jar of lingonberry sauce which was delicious on the meatballs!
raw-swedish-meatballsjpg
1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup warm milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, diced
2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
1 tablespoon brandy
1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef or chicken broth, low sodium or homemade
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, optional but recommended
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 large eggs
2 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane or minced
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch cloves
1 T.worcestershire sauce

sauced-swedish-meatballs
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed for drizzling
Chopped fresh parsley or dill, for garnish
In a medium bowl, soak bread crumbs in warm milk while you prepare the onions.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Stir in onions and a pinch of salt and cook until pale golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer half the onions to a large bowl and set aside.
Prepare sauce: Add brandy to skillet with onions and ignite with a long match or igniter (or if you’re using a gas stove, just swirl pan, brandy should catch fire). Let flame die down, then add the remaining butter, letting it melt. Sprinkle in flour. Sauté until flour browns, about 3 minutes. Whisk in broth, cream and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Simmer, whisking, until reduced to a sauce, about 5 minutes. Add mustard, if you like, and season with more salt, if needed.
To large bowl with onion, add remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, soaked bread crumbs, beef, pork, eggs, garlic, pepper, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and cloves and worcestershire sauce.. Roll into 1-inch balls (about 2 tablespoons each), placing them on one or two rimmed baking sheets as you go. Preheat oven to 400 degrees if baking or you can broil these.
Heat broiler. Drizzle meatballs with oil. Broil meatballs, switching pans’ positions if using more than one so they both get close to the broiler, until well browned all over, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with gravy, lingonberry sauce and garnished with herbs.
swedish-with-rice

Blinis

This is a tried and true recipe from Martha Stewart’s Entertaining circa 1982 that I received as a gift from my future mother in law who is a wonderful and adventurous cook.It is a super light dough that makes a lot of blinis. I usually make them one or two pans at a time, whatever I can keep up with. The blinis freeze very well and are wonderful with caviar or smoked salmon. I got a great suggestion from a caviar guy who told me to put the caviar on toasted English muffins with good butter and creme fraiche-delightful! Smoked salmon is also delicious on blinis with a garnish of lemon, dill and creme fraiche.

blinis
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water
pinch of sugar
1 c. milk
1 1/2 c. flour
3 egg yolks
1/2 salt
6 T.melted butter
3 egg whites
melted butter for cooking the blinis
caviar-and-blinis
Proof yeast in warm water with a pinch of sugar for 5 minutes to be sure the yeast is active. Put the yeast mixture, milk, flour, egg yolks, salt and melted butter in a blender or food processor. Blend on high speed for 40 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and blend again for a few seconds. Pour batter into a large bowl, big enough to accommodate the rising. Cover loosely and set in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours (-2 hours-In Colorado 1 1/2 hours is enough). Do not let batter rise too much or it will taste over fermented. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into batter. Heat a heavy skillet or griddle. Brush with butter and drop blini batter by the teaspoonfuls onto the hot pan. Turn when first side is lightly browned and cook briefly on the second side. Blinis may be cooled, wrapped and refrigerated. Warm in a 300 degree oven or small skillet before serving.

Key Lime Pie

This recipe comes from an old friend and the former chef, Jeff Lohmann of my husband’s restaurant in 1979. Jeff sent us the key limes from trees in Palm Desert-what a treat. A few things are different with the recipe-he uses brown sugar in the graham cracker crust and he doesn’t prebake the crust. Also there are no eggs in the recipe but two cans of sweetened condensed milk and sour cream. The sour cream seems to lend a velvety texture to the pie.
whole-key-lime-pie
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2 c. graham cracker crumbs, crushed
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 oz. melted butter
Combine and press into pie plate.
Mix together:
3/4 c. key lime juice
1 T. key lime zest (about 4 limes)
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. sour cream
Pour into pie plate and bake for 10 minutes. Cool and refrigerate until firm.
key-lime-pie