Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New painting.....

Another painting in my 'road series'. Tempera paint. 16" x 20"

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy Birthday to my sister (in-law)........

Today is the birthday of a sweet lady. I don't know anyone else that is like her....she's the best.

So, IF I had her here for supper tonight, this is what I would serve. I tried these a couple of months ago and they were yummy.

(These are recipes from DOWNEAST Magazine. Downeast got these recipes from local restaurants.)

Ready? Here we and all.

First, we'll have Spicy Creole Haddock and Corn Cakes

Old Port Sea Grill, Portland Maine

Spicy Creole Haddock and Corn Cakes with Roasted Garlic and Tomato Remoulade

1 ear of corn, shucked
5 tbsp olive oil
1/4 C large red onion, finely diced
1/4 C red peppers, finely dice
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
3/4 lb fresh haddock, cut into 1" cubes
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp white black peppercorns  (HUH?) (Oxymoron?)
1 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning
2 lemons, halfed
1 egg
1/2 C mayonnaise
1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
2 C Panko (japanese bread crumbs)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. (I CANNOT figure out how to type the 'degree' symbol, evah!!!)

Cut the corn off the cob, toss in 1 tbsp olive oil and roast in a small pan in the preheated oven for  30 minutes until nicely browned. (YES, I DID THIS, ALTHO I THINK IT'S STUPID)
Let the corn cool. Set aside.

Saute onion, pepper, and jalapeno in a pan with 2 tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat until tender but not browned, about 10 minutes. Set aside and let cool. (I used less jalapeno, due to the fact that Mr. Downeastdoingstuff can't hack anything spicier than water.)

In a stock pot, combine the bay leaves, salt, peppercorns, Old Bay, and lemons and fill pot 3/4 full of water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Put the diced haddock pieces into a metal stainer and lower strainer into the boiling liquid. Cook for about 5 minutes. Set haddock aside to let cool.
Combine the corn, onions, peppers, jalapeno, and haddock with one egg, mayonnaise, and Cajun seasoning in a large bowl. Add 1/2 C of the panko crumbs to the mixture and combine. If mixture does not hold when pressed together, mix in more panko crumbs 2 tbsp at a time until mixture can hold. (ha....mixture never holds....well, barely....very stressful ordeal) To dredge the cakes, place the remaining panko crumbs in a large bowl. Tightly pack a 1/4 C measure with the haddock mixture and roll into a ball in your hands. press down to form a round cake about 3/4 inch tick Dredge in panko crumbs on all sides.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy, large skillet over medium-high heatl Add haddock cakes and saute until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side, careful not to overcrowd the pan (you will have to do them in batches). Transfer to plates. (Put the pieces back together like a puzzle so no one will be the wiser that these cakes broke apart when turning over.) Drizzle  remoulade sauce over and serve.

Remoulade sauce? Remoulade sauce?  What's that?????

Glad you asked.....

Roasted Garlic and Tomato Remoulade

4 Roma tomatoes
8 garlic cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 C mayo
1/4 C capers
1 C parsley leaves
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven the 450 degrees. Halve the tomatoes and using a spoon or melon balller, remove seeds and discard. Peel and halve the garlic cloves, put on inside each tomato half, and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes or until the tomatoes and garlic are slightly charred. Add the remaining ingredients to a food processor or blender along with the tomatoes and garlic mixture. Pulse until everything is incorporated. Finish with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes about 1 1/2 C. Can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. 


NEXT ....

Cabernet Pouched Pears Stuffed with Cranberry Blue Cheese

Mache Bistro, Bar Harbor

2 Bosc Pears
1/2 C Cabernet Sauvignon
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp honey
3 C baby arugula
2 tbsp olive oil

Blue cheese filling.....
1/4 C chopped pecans plus 1 tbsp for garnish
1/4 C dried cranberries plus 1 tbsp for garnish
3 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
1 tbsp mayo
1 tbsp olive oil
2 ounces blue cheese-plus 1 ounce for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Halve pears and place in a baking dish flesh side down together with wine, vinegar, brown sugar, salt and honey. Cover with foil, and bake for 1 hour. Allow pears to cool in liquid. Scoop out and discard pear cores and seeds to create a space for the filling. Reserve cooking liquid.
(this turns the pears into such a red color it's a bit alarming!)

While pears cook, in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend cream cheese, mayo, olive oil, 2 ounces blue cheese, 1/4 C pecans, and 1/4 C dried cranberries until well incorporated.

Divide filling into four parts and fill each pear half. Toss arugula (Can't stand the taste of arugula, so I used s spring mix of greens) with olive oil and divide among four plates. Place stuffed pear on top of arugula  and garnish with reserved pecans, cranberries, and blue cheese. Drizzle reserved cooking liquid over pear and greens.

And finally........

Roasted Pepper Shrimp Saute

Joshua's Restaurant, Wells

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound shrimp (21-25 count), peeled and de-veined (If deveining isn't the most disagreeable job there is, then I don't know what is, short of murdering and preparing your own meat/seafood from scratch...)
1 1/2 C chopped tomato, in 1 " dice
1 large roasted red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 roasted jalapeno pepper, thinnly sliced (Less....remember Mr. Downeastdoingstuff's wimpy-ness)
2 tbsp  chopped garlic
1 C dry white wine
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
salt to taste

Preheat 12" saute pan. Put oil in pan, and when it is almost smoking, add shrimp, tomato, peppers, and garlic. Let cook for about 1 minute, then toss thoroughly  just once to create a caramelized flavor. After 1 more minute, when the shrimp should be about half cooked, add the wine and salt to taste. Reduce the wine by half, cooking off the alcohol, then add the butter and parsley to finish. Serve immediately. We garnish this with a few pieces of grilled baguette, perfect for soaking up the sauce.

That's it, my sweet sis. Hope you enjoy it.

Add D's Mud Pie and some alcoholic beverages and it will be a birthday to remember.

Love Ya!!!!! 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day.....

Happy Valentines Day to the sweetest man on earth. I love you.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Birdman Bakes Bread

       The finished loaf of bread. A miracle.

I’m going to make some bread this weekend.” says Birdman, aka Mr. Downeastdoingstuff.

[pause]”, okay.” I said.

“What kind of bread are you making?” I inquire.

“ You know, regular bread.”

So, a million scenarios go through my head from enjoying a wonderful piece of warm bread and butter, to scrapping dough off of the ceiling.

“Hey,” I say, “why don’t you peruse that little bread book I have in the den for a recipe.”

[blink   blink   silence]

“OK then,” I say, “ when you buy the yeast, buy a strip of it that has a recipe on the back for ‘regular’ bread.” “Make sure it has a recipe, because some don’t.”


So off he goes, to Hannaford, to pick up some yeast and a couple other things on this warm(ish), sunny February morning. 

It’s now near 3:00 I smell bread in the air? 


So I say, “Aren’t you going to make bread?”

(grumble.....grumble....) I hear from his direction. I leave well enough alone.

About 20 minutes later he announces, “OK, I’m going to start the bread.”

Out comes the kitchenaid mixer and the yeast packet.

“How do I do this?” he asks.

“Read the recipe.” I instruct. 

“Where is it?”

“On the back of the yeast packet.”

“What? Oh...... [pause].......[pause]......[sigh].....[cough].....there’s no recipe on here!?”

“Didn’t you look before you bought it?”

“Yeah, I did” he replies, “but I didn’t have my glasses on.”

So he figured that if he saw a bunch of blurry lines and colors on the yeast packet, he was good to go. 


So I start looking up recipes for ‘regular’ bread. I went to the Fleishman’s site and found a perfectly good recipe for beginners. But now he announces he wants to make raisin bread. I tell him that’s fine, but it will be a little more complicated and slightly different.

“Why can’t I just throw raisins into the ‘regular’ dough?” he asks.

“Well” I say, “the dough might be a different dough, maybe a sweeter one.”

So we look up raisin bread on my laptop and grab the first one we get to because, frankly, I’ve got other things to do. 

Anytime there’s a cooking expedition that involves Birdman, for some reason I get involved. 

So I’m eyeballing the closest exit that I could slither into without being detected.

Fat chance.

“Where’s the flour?”

“Over there” I say pointing to the cabinet where the flour has been for 30 years. (Not the same bag....)

“What are all these things for?” (holding up the kitchenaid paddles and whips)

(they are used to paddle, whip and beat life’s small irritations, I’m thinking....)

deep breath.....

So he gets everything out, he gets everything explained (in my opinion) and he’s on his way....

....except for these questions:

1. How do I open the yeast?

2. Where’s the brown sugar?

3. How much is a tablespoon of butter?

4. Can I heat up the milk in this pan?

5. Can you scroll the computer? I have dough on my fingers.

6. And the Piece de Resistance.....”What’s a yolk?” (That one I could.not.believe. I KNOW he knows what a yolk is.....!!!!@#$%&*) 

6 1/2. How do you get the yolk out?

I did manage to escape the room and I did hear some mild cursing now and then, but the result was we had one dang, wonderful loaf of raisin bread in the end.

As they say, all’s well that ends well.

And it ended well.

As I’ve said many times before, it’s a darn good thing I like him!

Thanks, Birdman.

Further photographic evidence of bread making in Maine....

Reading directions on the laptop.

Supplying sustenance for the job...a Patriots cup of iced tea with Powers Whiskey sloshed in for good measure.

OOOPS.....Add all DRY ingredients together. Add all WET ingredients together.
So why is the DRY yeast in the WET milk concoction???

Stirring the pot.....

Iced Tea/Whiskey break.....

Rolling out to a 12"X 8" rectangle and putting on the cinnamon sugar/raisin mixture.

Put into a loaf pan. (I took it out and put it back in so that it didn't look like an old man's butt.)

And, Voila!!!!! Delicious raisin bread.

And in the spirit of Super Bowl Sunday.....1 . 2 . 3 . HIKE!

'Til the next episode of Hell's kitchen.....