Category Archives: Lactose Free

Hobnobbing: Barbecued Salmon With Fresh Corn Grits & Chipotle Nectarines

There is something simultaneously inspiring and depressing about meeting someone your age that is having great success. Double-penalty points if they are having fame and fortune in an area you’re passionate about, and triple points if they’re nice to boot.

A spectacular beer cocktail, inspired by a Mai Tai. Photo credit: Annie Laurie Photography.

Such was the case last week when I met Mark Fuller , the chef and co-owner of Ma’ono Fried Chicken and Whisky and a James Beard semi-finalist. Not only has he managed to open not one, but two iterations of a tremendously popular restaurant, he is a phenomenal chef, and just a damn nice guy.

To see the full story on Ma’ono’s Happy Hour swing by my column in Seattleite magazine, but for those of you looking for some culinary inspiration for the weekend, look no further than below for a Mark Fuller original that he generously did a cooking demo of for me; Barbecued Salmon With Fresh Corn Grits & Chipotle Nectarines. Stone fruit is perfectly ripe this time of year in the Pacific Northwest, and while the lateness of the corn does render it a bit sweeter than the recipe originally called for the kick of the Chipotle Nectarines makes it a mouth-popping yet surprisingly delightful combination.

Chef Fuller in Ma’ono’s kitchen. Photo credit: Annie Laurie Photography.

Barbecued Salmon With Fresh Corn Grits & Chipotle Nectarines

Created by Chef Mark Fuller
Executive Chef and Owner of Ma’ono Fried Chicken & Whisky, Seattle

Photo credit: Annie Laurie Photography.

Marinade:
3/4 cup blue agave syrup
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Tabasco® brand chipotle pepper sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon Tabasco® brand pepper sauce
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds salmon fillet, cut into four 8-ounce pieces

Nectarines:
2 ripe nectarines, pitted and cut into large chunks
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint or basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco® brand Chipotle Pepper Sauce

Photo credit: Annie Laurie Photography.

Fresh Corn Grits:
4 ears corn on the cob, husked and each halved
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco® brand Pepper Sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Marinade
Combine in a large bowl, agave syrup, soy sauce, Tabasco brand chipotle pepper sauce, fish sauce, Tabasco brand pepper sauce, garlic and olive oil. Add salmon fillets; cover and refrigerate about 3 hours, turning occasionally.

Nectarines
Combine in a medium bowl, nectarines, mint, olive oil, salt and Tabasco brand chipotle pepper sauce. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate.

Fresh Corn Grits
Grate kernels from corncob into bowl. Place corn and butter in 2-quart saucepan. Over high heat, heat corn to boiling, stirring frequently until mixture thickens. Stir in Tabasco brand pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Photo credit: Annie Laurie Photography.

Salmon
Preheat grill to medium-high.

Grease grill. Place salmon, skin-side up on grill. Grill about 4 minutes. Turn fish: cook about 4 minutes longer or until salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Serve salmon with fresh corn grits and nectarines.  Serves 4.

11 Comments

Filed under Entertaining, Health Conscious, Lactose Free, Seafood, Uncategorized

Good Looking: Baked Tomatoes Stuffed with Curried Quinoa

When you write a food blog, it is very important to be strategic about your posts. You want to be consistent for your readers…but not post too often, lest they get sick of you. There are certain times of day that you want to publish, thereby generating higher traffic, and you always want to make sure you cover a variety of recipes and topics so you can rest assured you’ve got the proverbial “something for everyone”.

Heirloom Tomatoes

The latest bounty from our CSA.

Tonight, I’m going to break all those rules. Why? Because on Day 11 of “No Buying Groceries-gate 2012” I had a deliciously, fun dinner, and thanks to my new camera, a finally legitimate picture (or three) to back it up!

Salted Tomato

Who needs diamonds when a girl can have this?

Before I share the recipe for these perfect bites of summer, can I just say how stinking fun it was to read all your comments?? I must admit I was a little nervous letting you all in to the neurosis that is my psyche, but to hear that there are other folks out there that have similar feelings about foods, and budgets, and some weird Boxcar Children like enjoyment from using up the dredges of their refrigerator, honestly makes me feel better.  We are a funny bunch, we foodies and writers, but at least we’re in good company. And with that, I proudly present to you…

Baked Tomatoes Stuffed with Curried Quinoa

These are a spectacular vegan side or main, yet are hearty and flavorful enough to satisfy the most voracious of carnivores. They can be easily made ahead, and are a lovely addition to a dinner of grilled fish and salad.

Serves 2 + leftover quinoa

Baked Tomatoes Stuffed with Curried Quinoa. [Insert Happy Sigh Here]

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + drizzle
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder (less if you don’t want it to have any kick)
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • Kosher Salt
  1. Heat 2 TB oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add quinoa and cook and stir until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Then, pour broth into the pan, return to heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add curry,  and stir well to combine; cover and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375.
  4. Cut the tops off of four medium tomatoes. Using a grapefruit spoon, scoop out all the flesh and seeds.
  5. Sprinkle salt in cavity of tomato, and put upside down on paper towel to absorb moisture.
  6. Once the quinoa is done, stuff tomatoes with quinoa, drizzle with olive oil, and put in a bread pan.
  7. Bake until tomatoes are softened and top of quinoa is slightly toasted, about 15 minutes.
  8. Serve immediately.

33 Comments

Filed under Health Conscious, Lactose Free, Make ahead, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Camping Cucina: Grilled Shrimp with Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic

{Reminder: 24 hours and counting to enter the giveaway for some of the best olive oil you’ve ever had. Simply share this post via your favorite social media channel, drop the link into the comments section, and cross your fingers. Best of luck!}

What I’m about to say might shock you. Are you ready? Are you sure? Perhaps you might like to sit down. Here goes:

I am not much of a wilderness woman.

Shocking, right? And yet the truth remains,  I like nothing better than eight (okay 10) hours of sleep per night, my hot running shower, and my gourmet cuisine. I sometimes wish I was one of those women who genuinely loved to climb a mountain. Who was thrilled to ride the bull down white water rapids. Who thought bug spray was simply for the weak and the meager. But alas…I am not.

Not a soul in sight…but many a shooting star to keep us company.

And so rather than spend time beating myself up about it (so last year), I’ve decided to embrace my version of camping. Thinking PBR meets Prosecco. Bratwursts meets Bellinis. Hot Dogs meet Holy Hell Delicious.

A few weekends ago we went camping with our friends CJ and Nadia, their three dogs, and our crew. And it was fun. So much fun. And I’m not even pretending lying. We hung from hammocks over the river, we lounged and we lazed, and we ate. Oh did we eat.

Georgia Mae…one of the funniest dogs I know. She was perfectly content to be floating around in the river..on her raft!

The trick is to be smart about delicious, simple foods that require minimal on site preparation. Couple that with some prep work ahead of time and you can eat like a king in the middle of no where.

To give you some ideas, here’s the menu I put together…

Friday Dinner: Grilled Shrimp Packets with Rosemary and Garlic, served with Grilled Baguettes and Rhubarb Cocktails.

Saturday Morning: Bagels with Lox, Cream Cheese, Heirloom Tomatoes, Red Onions, Capers, and Lemon Wedges

Saturday Lunch: Mozzarella, Basil, Tomato Paninis

Saturday Dinner: Chicken Fajitas with Pinto Beans, Fresh Sliced Avocado, Pico de Gallo, and Peach Gin Fizz Cocktails.

Sunday Morning; Breakfast sausage, bacon, fireside biscuits, and hard-boiled eggs.

The shrimp was honestly one of the easiest items on the menu, and one of the most popular.

What’s your favorite food to make when camping?

Grilled Shrimp Packets with Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic

Grilled Shrimp Packets with Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic…magnifique!

1/2 lb jumbo, raw shrimp, de-shelled and tail on (Costco sells them very reasonably)

1 lemon, sliced in advance

1 large stalk of rosemary, chopped into 3″ sections in advance

4 cloves garlic, smashed on site

Olive Oil

In tin foil lay the shrimp, lemon, rosemary, and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and tightly seal up. If cooking on a cook stove or hibachi, grill directly, until shrimp is just cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Thanks to the foil these can also be cooked directly in the fire.

Serve with Rhubarb Cocktails, grilled baguettes, and one giant open sky.

17 Comments

Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Health Conscious, Lactose Free, Make ahead, Seafood, Uncategorized

New Potatoes in a Mustard Vinaigrette and Free Tickets to Best Of Seattle Party

Well, it’s back to reality for me. Back to high heels and pencil skirts, meetings, and a never-ending inbox. But it’s also back to very fun things like whipping up meals in my own kitchen, summer in Seattle, afternoons spent on the lake, and my puppies, of course.

Ms. Lou…and yes….we’re keeping her.

Having arrived back in Seattle on Sunday, and preparing for the reality that awaited (flip-flops and bathing suits no longer being acceptable attire, a seemingly absurd requirement by The Man that I brush my hair before leaving the house, and a general disapproval for drinking Gin & Tonics with my lunch), I of course took the obvious path which was to procrastinate about everything I should be doing. Instead, I enjoyed fixing some delicious make-ahead meals to get us set for the week, and in front of our CSA veggie supply.

These tossed new potatoes with a mustard dressing and fresh snap peas were delicious served warm with a few deviled eggs on the side, and provided a lovely Monday lunch as well, tragically enjoyed at my desk, with nary a G&T in sight. There is a fair amount of lemon and mustard in the dressing, but don’t let that scare you. It results in a light, tangy taste, perfect for the summer heat.

Make this when reality is looming, but you aren’t quite yet willing to give up the ghost of summer days of wonder and indulgence.

GIVEAWAY: I’m excited to share that for those local readers, or those willing to get on a plane, train, or automobile Shut Up & Cook has gotten our hot little hands on two tickets to Seattle Weekly’s Best Of Seattle Party on Wednesday, August 1st at Pier 66, Elliot Hall.  This blow-out party showcases Seattle’s best food, drinks and entertainment on the waterfront with unlimited bites, craft cocktails, live music, and installation art.

HOW TO ENTER: Comment below by Friday, July 13th at Midnight PST with either A) the name and link of another favorite food blog or B) a recipe you’d like to see done on Shut Up & Cook. The winner will be randomly chosen on Saturday, and will be the lucky recipient of two tickets!

Summer New Potatoes in a Mustard Vinaigrette
Serves 4 – 6

Summer New Potatoes in a Mustard Vinaigrette

1 lb new potatoes, washed, and trimmed of any bad spots

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon capers, minced, plus 1 teaspoon of brine from the jar

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup canola oil

1 cup snap peas, quickly blanched

1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped

Salt and Pepper

  1.  In a large pot, cover the potatoes with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook just 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop cooking. Pour into bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, to make the dressing, add remaining ingredients, except for the snap peas and dill, into a jar and shake until well blended.
  3. Pour about a third to half the dressing over the potatoes and toss to coat. You may add more or less pending on your preference. Note: Remaining dressing is delicious as a marinade or salad dressing.
  4. Toss with snap peas and fresh dill and serve warm or chilled.

36 Comments

Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Cheap Eats, Health Conscious, Lactose Free, Make ahead, Salads, Seasonal Cooking, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Coming Home: Panko Crusted Pollock

It is hard to describe the town I grew up in if you’ve never been here, or if you grew up in a city, or if you’ve never had the experience of everyone knowing your name…of everyone knowing your everything if we’re being honest.

As such, I’ll tell you a tale of a little town called Ipswich, if it pleases you. For this is where I am from.

The other day my wonderful Mama had trotted off to the town library. Why you ask? Well, because she needed to use their internet. For you see, in the home I grew up in there is no high-speed, no call waiting, no microwave. So off she goes to the library when she must “get online.” While trolling through her Earthlink inbox (yes, Earthlink…did you even know they still existed?), she saw a recent post about Vegetarian Carbonara I’d done (for she too is doing a CSA from Appleton Farms, so must battle weekly in the ever ongoing attempt to not let any of your organic groceries go to waste).  Not owning an iPhone or an iPad, she needed to print it out so she could make it at her leisure.

Walking the fields at Appleton Farms.

All the beautiful options available this week.

Now my mother is many incredible things, smart, funny, beautiful, gracious, caring, but she is not particularly tech savvy. And so, on the homepage of my blog she hit PRINT…and print it did. All 45+ pages of the past 10 recipes on my homepage. Realizing her error (at 20 cents per page to print at the library this was no small drama) she quickly tried to cancel the printing, calling over the librarians in droves. They leaned over the computer, they fluttered nervously about, and all together they accidentally hit print another 5 times, resulting in no less than 200 pages of Shut Up & Cook goodness spewing out of the library printer.

My mother, being an honorable woman, walked up to pay (Ipswich employing the honor system, bien sur), and upon telling the nice librarian what happened she replied, “Oh, you don’t have to pay for the extra copies…here, give them to me…I’ll just recycle them.” Passing them to her, all 200 pages were about to go into the recycling when something caught her eye.

Smoked Salmon Quiche? This looks dynamite!” she exclaimed in her Boston accent that you must hear to understand.

“Kitty, come over here…didn’t you say you were trying to figure out what to do with all those tomatoes? This here thing has a recipe for Baked Tomatoes!”  (Yes, people in this town are named Kitty, and Muffin, and Wilma…and no one thinks it’s strange).

Within moments a gaggle of women had gathered and were dividing up and passing out the recipes, each knowing exactly what the other needed and thumping my mother on the back for how proud she must be to have, “A daughter who can cook?? I wish my Perry would cook…she never cooks!”

Don’t even think about getting greedy with the carrots…Muffin, and Kitty, and Wilma will kick your butt.

Home for a week, and loving every minute of it, I am reminded of where I’m from and how it has so affected who I am. Friday supper was made from fresh pollock a local fisherman had caught, and beautiful vegetables picked from Appleton Farm’s own fields.

It was simple. It was perfect. It was just like home.

Panko Crusted Pollock
Serves 4

Panko Crusted Pollock, served with Caesar Salad, and Summer Snap Peas

1 lb, Pollock Fillet, de-boned and rinsed, and cut into 4 oz fillets

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup flour, plus shake or two of salt and pepper

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 cup dill, finely chopped

  1. Preheat Oven to 385.
  2. In three separate bowls put the flour, egg, and panko.  Add the herbs to the panko bowl and mix well.
  3. First dredge the fillets in the flour mixture, then in the egg, and then in the breadcrumb mixture.
  4. Set into a glass baking dish.
  5. Bake until firm, yet flaky, about 10-15 minutes.

14 Comments

Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Cheap Eats, Health Conscious, Lactose Free, Seafood, Uncategorized

Prickly Business: Grilled Artichokes with Caesar Aioli

We all have those “scary foods”. The things we’re afraid to make because we failed at it once before, or because as my Uncle said to my Aunt upon his first bite, “This is not how my Mother made her pot roast”, or because we’ve just freaked ourselves out that they are “hard” and there they loom in the back of our subconscious, little culinary demons teasing and taunting us when we least expect it.

Mine are rich, indulgent foods that I’ve enjoyed at multi-course dinners and wish I could ask for seconds of, if only that were acceptable. They are foie gras, and sea urchin, and carpaccio and all generally politically incorrect and offensive foods. Up until a while ago hollandaise was also on that list, but I’m proud to say I triumphed over that one with a little help from my friend Chelsey, and a big pile of Crab Cake Eggs Benedict.

Alas, I digress. We all have our culinary ghosts, and it’s easy to become paralyzed by them.

“Oh no…I never cook pork.”

“I can’t make a pie! Are you crazy?”

“You want me to de-vein what?”

The truth is you can, and you should. Cooking at its most basic form is just reading, and with a little confidence, and liquid courage to boot, you’d be surprised what you can accomplish in the kitchen.

Rumor has it artichokes are top of many people’s Scary Foods List. Perhaps it’s their prickly exterior. Or the stupid $3 a piece price tag at the local organic market. Maybe it’s how long they take to eat, or how long they take to cook. Whatever the reason, I’m here to tell you that You. Can. Cook. Artichokes.

If I were cheesy I would say this is a representation of the culinary mountain that you are going to climb. But I’m not. So this is just a picture of Mt Rainier from my early morning lap around the park the other day.

This recipe is for steamed and then grilled artichokes served with a Caesar inspired aioli. That said, there are countless things you can do with artichokes, so once you master this try exploring and seeing what else you’d like to do now that you’ve conquered your culinary mountain and are standing proudly on top.

What are your other Scary Foods?

Grilled Artichokes with Caesar Aioli

The perfect side to a summer supper of burgers: Grilled Artichokes

Tip: Costco sells artichokes very affordably (about $5 for a bag of 4).

  1. Thoroughly rinse artichokes to remove any dirt.
  2. Many recipes suggest cutting off any prickly tips of the leaves, but I seldom do because I’m lazy, and I don’t think it’s necessary. If you do want to cut off the tips, grab a pair of kitchen scissors and cut off about ½ inch of each tip, so it’s no longer sharp and pointy.
  3. Trim the stem so it’s about 1” long.
  4. Fill a large pot with water, set a steamer basket in the bottom, and add the artichoke(s), tops facing up.
  5. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to maintain boil.
  6. They will start to emit a delicious smell after about 10 minutes, but they typically take 30 – 45 minutes to cook pending on the size, and what level heat you’ve got it at. I’m impatient, so I tend to keep my heat very high and just occasionally add more water to make sure there’s enough in the pan.
  7. To test the artichokes, try pulling off an inner leaf. If it comes off easily, try eating the meat of the leaf via scraping your teeth along. It should be tender, yet not mushy, although you don’t want it to have any real “bite” to it. If it’s not done, add back to water and test again at 5 minute intervals.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat grill to high, clean grates, and rub with a bit of olive oil on a paper towel.
  9. Once the artichokes are done cut in half and allow to cool slightly.
  10. Using a spoon (a grapefruit spoon works well because of the serration) scrape out the “choke” or that scary fuzzy stuff inside. Everything you don’t want should come out fairly easily, but if not you could easily cut it out via tracing the perimeter with a knife.
  11. Add to grill and without moving so you’ll get those sexy grill marks cook until slightly charred about 3-5 minutes.
  12. Serve with Caesar Aioli, which I just did a Caesar Dressing for and then pureed a bit longer to thicken up. Would also be delicious served with some melted butter and lemon juice.

21 Comments

Filed under Entertaining, Health Conscious, Kitchen Trials and Tribulations, Lactose Free, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Like Father, Like Daughter: Grilled Shrimp with Lemon, Garlic, and Garden Herbs dipped in Sriracha Mayonnaise

Grilled Shrimp, Blasted Asparagus, Grilled Bread with Roasted Garlic, and Quinoa Salad

“Honey! It’s Dad!! You’re on SPEAKER!!!”

My father’s booming voice, a crescendo through the phone, culminated in what could easily be construed as a full shout, as when he is particularly excited he forgets that thanks to the invention of Alexander Bell, one needn’t yell all the way across the country to be heard.

Feverishly trying to find the volume down button and holding the phone out from my ear, I shouted back, “Hi! I’m great!! What’s UP???”, as when I am particularly excited I forget that thanks to the invention of Alexander Bell, one needn’t yell all the way across the country to be heard. Like Father, like Daughter…what can I say.

“Have you taken the shrimp out of the BRINE??”

“Another minute forty-five seconds! WHY?!”

“You’re really going to want to RINSE IT!”

At this point I simply burst out laughing. My dad, who semi-retired this past year and went from working nearly 80 hours a week to consulting part-time, has taken all the energy and enthusiasm and passion he had for his job and turned it into the kitchen. The result is one very lucky wife,  one very well fed teenage son, and one very happy adult, food-blogging daughter, who now gets phone calls from her Dad wanting to talk about shrimp for 30 minutes. Yes, we can talk about shrimp for 30 minutes, and I’m not sure which of us enjoys it more.

I’ve never been much of a Cooks Illustrated fan, finding a large number of the tasks they suggest seemingly annoying and high maintenance. I prefer to flip through pictures of Food & Wine, pick a recipe, then ignore half of it, and feign shock and dismay when it doesn’t turn out exactly as its pictured. Take brining…brining is the kind of thing I would almost always skip. I don’t know why…clearly it’s not that hard…but it just bugs me.

So when my Dad called to tell me he had recently made “the MOST succulent shrimp, I mean really Erina, the absolute best shrimp you’ve ever had” I promised to make the recipe, and follow the “CRITICAL” step of the brining and the “RINSING” (all of which he told me about in detail on our first call, and in the email, and on the recipe, and in our second call…because come on folks, this is SERIOUS stuff we’re talking about.)

Well, turns out, Father does know best. These shrimp are amazing. I might even say they are the most succulent shrimp, I mean really, the absolute best I’ve ever had. The brining is quick (30 minutes), and really does result in tremendously juicy shrimp. Furthermore, they take less than 5 minutes to cook making them  festive and utterly satisfying, yet very manageable, dinner party fare. We served them with Sriracha Mayonnaise, from the New York Time’s recent article, and there was not a shrimp left to be found in the house despite my Dad’s urging that I make “EXTRA” because they are “FANTASTIC leftovers!”

Grilled Shrimp with Lemon, Garlic, and Garden Herbs dipped in Sriracha Mayonnaise – Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Serves 4-6

Platter of awesomeness…these got scarfed up quickly!

Brine:

  • 2 lbs raw shrimp, tail on, shells off, thawed
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt (or 2 TB table salt)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 quarts cold water

Paste:

  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp table salt
  • 4 TB olive oil
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 tsp garden herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, chives, whatever suits your fancy)
  1. In a large bowl combine the water, salt, and sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the shrimp and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mince garlic with salt to form a smooth paste. Combine garlic paste with olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh herbs. Set aside.
  3. When thirty minutes is up, drain the shrimp and RINSE them for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Return shrimp to large bowl, add the herb paste, stir to toss, and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours, stirring occasionally if marinating for the longer term.
  5. When ready to cook, light a grill and allow to get very hot, preheating for 15 minutes or so, and ensuring that grates are scraped clear. Meanwhile, skewer the shrimp, catching both the tail and body so they are securely on the skewer.

    Skewer the shrimp through both the tail and body to ensure they stay in place.

  6. Reduce the grill heat to 75%, and avoiding direct flame as much as possible, cook until just cooked through and pink, about 4-6 minutes total time (2-3 minutes per side).

    Sweet Nadia took this picture when I wasn’t looking…be sure not to cook the shrimp too long!

  7. Serve with Sriracha Mayonnaise, blasted asparagus, grilled bread, and quinoa salad.

24 Comments

Filed under Entertaining, Health Conscious, Lactose Free, Make ahead, Seafood, Uncategorized

Ah, Nepotism: Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches

Could life get any better than this?

When I was young my father would sometimes bring me and my brother Ben with him to work. I don’t really remember why this was the case, as we were a massive pain in the ass (insisting on photocopying our hands and making the warehouse guys give us rides on the forklift…thank you Peggy and Mark for your unending patience), but he did.

As I got older and entered middle school the occasional trips into the office continued. Here my delightful behavior progressed to printing “Remember! Recycle! (Please)!” signs and posting them on all the trash cans, complete with a Microsoft Word generated smiley face. Again…thank you Peggy and Mark for your unending patience and for leaving the signs up so I could gleefully and triumphantly see them “working” on my next visit.

Into high school and college I would sometimes work there  in the summers, often bringing a friend, and finally providing some value (albeit minimal I’m sure) as I counted inventory, organized the “Literature Room” (a closet holding vendor collateral), and perkily answering the phone, “Good! Morning! This! Is! Capco! Energy! Supply! How! May! I! Help! You!” (I was very eager then….everything was said in a massively obnoxious and bubbly manner…though I’m not sure I’m much better now.) I am forced here, yet again, to say thank you Peggy and Mark for letting me race you to the phones only to urgently declare, “Mark! It’s for You!” Line One!”

Being the boss’s daughter definitely had its perks, including a 10a trip to Starbucks where I would order a giant Frappucino with Whip (remember the days when you could do that and still be oh-so-skinny?….damn prepubescent bodies) and a 1p trip to Papa Razzi for lunch. My father and I have a similar love of food and an eerily similar palette, so each time we would both order the Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches….extra dressing on the side, bien sur. Off we would go to pick them up…he would double park, having driven there with his giant knees and likely on the phone the whole time while barking orders at Bob Iacopucci (that’s really his last name….pronounced Yack-Oh-P00-Chee) or some other guy, he’d shove the corporate card into my hands, and in I would trot grabbing a handful of the weird mints they served and flipping my hair while proudly displaying my American Express Gold card that said Tim Malarkey on it and working on the story I would give if ever they questioned my identity…which very disappointingly they never did…since I had so many witty replies ready (none of which included the truth).

I hadn’t actually thought about these sandwiches for years until this afternoon when talking to my Dad. I’m not sure why I suddenly had such a craving, perhaps it was the unexpectedly nice day we had in Seattle, or just missing my Daddy, but suddenly I had to have ’em.

And oh man, were these good. They aren’t *quite* as good as Papa Razzi’s…but they were damn close. Make them on a lazy Sunday afternoon when you want something delicious, easy, and utterly satisfying.

Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches

Oh! So! Good!

Inspired by Papa Razzi in Burlington, MA

Serves 4

4 ciabatta buns

4 cloves garlic, minced in garlic press

Olive oil

Good Parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler

lemon pepper seasoning

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Romaine, thinly chopped

Caesar Dressing, see below

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the ciabatta in half and brush with olive oil. Evenly spread the minced garlic on the 8 halves. Toast about 10 minutes or until bread is slightly brown. Be careful not to burn the garlic.

    You're basically making giant croutons here, so don't hold back.

  2. Toss the chicken in a little olive oil and lemon pepper seasoning and grill until almost cooked through. Finish by turning up the heat slightly and blackening right at the end.
  3. Toss the romaine with enough dressing to generously coat and set aside.
  4. To assemble, slather (yes, you must) the tops and bottom with the dressing, layer on some dressed lettuce, Parmesan shavings, and the chicken.

    Assembling the goodness.

  5. Enjoy with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.

Caesar Dressing

2 egg yolks (coddled if you care about that kind of thing although generally not necessary if you get really good, fresh eggs)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 TB garlic cloves (more or less pending on your affinity for garlic)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste or mashed anchovy
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash Tabasco® or other hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup good quality olive oil

In a food processor pulse all the ingredients, save the oil, for about 20 seconds or until well blended. Add the oil in a slow stream and blend until emulsified and creamy, about 30-40 seconds.

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Filed under Lactose Free, Salads, Uncategorized

The Attainable Gourmet: Salmon Nicoise

Salmon Nicoise

My dear friend Madeline is a tremendous writer. Tremendous. She truly is one of the greats, and while the world perhaps hasn’t realized it yet, they will, and sooner rather than later I suspect. Mark my words.

(Madeline, when you became oh-so-rich and oh-so-famous you remember who gave you your first food blog shout out. That’s right.)

She lives in Brooklyn now (because where else do tremendous writers live) and is a total night owl which is dreamy for me when driving home from the barn because it means she’s one of the few East Coasters who will answer my calls. One night a few months ago we were talking and she indicated the slightest possibility that she might be able to come for a visit. Being the unrelenting honey badger that I am I immediately began a harassing campaign of emails, text messages, and phone calls to convince her that she must come visit. And it worked!

Madeline arrived with her infectious laugh and unbelievable stories (except they are totally true) for this past President’s weekend. What immediately commenced was four days of hooting and howling, dirty childish jokes, long walks on the beach, great meals, and the contagious dreaming of “what if”. We sat by the fire at my Aunt Jean and Uncle Ryan’s beach house in Cape Meares, warming our feet by the fire,  snuggling with a very happy Duke, and imagining “what if” we became famous writers and food bloggers….what if we traveled the world together…what if that good fortune that seems to strike others, struck us.

Duke never tires of chasing the ChuckIt

And so over lots of bubbly, and buoyed by each other, we made big plans.

In talking about Shut Up & Cook, Madeline was an unfailing supporter. On and on she went with things about my writing she’d liked, recipes she was “obsessed with” (Madeline tends to fall massively in and out of love with certain food types), and ways to build up traffic. At one moment she blurted out, “I know why I like reading your blog….you’re real. You’re not a chef. You’re not professionally trained. You’re not perfect. You’re the every woman. You’re the Attainable Gourmet.”

Oh So Happy Puppy Paw Prints in the Sand

This Salmon Nicoise is almost too good to be true, very healthy, beautiful to present, and pretty easy to make. It’s an Ina Garten staple and I wouldn’t change too much because it’s just so yum. Perfect served on a winter’s night, listening to the waves crash against the shore, and the dreams grow in our heads and hearts.

Roasted Salmon Nicoise Platter

Adapted from Ina Garten with just a few tweaks

Serves 12

Ingredients

4 lemons, zested and juiced (lemon juice from a bottle is just fine)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
4 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 pounds skin-on fresh salmon fillets
3 pounds small red bliss potatoes
1 1/2 pounds haricots verts, stems removed
3 pounds ripe cherry tomatoes
12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut in 1/2
1 bunch arugula
1/2 pound large green olives, pitted
1/2 pound artichoke hearts, quartered
1 can anchovies, optional

Vinaigrette: (I’ve doubled hers in below because it’s so good and I didn’t think it made enough)

1/2 cup champagne vinegar (red wine vinegar was fine)
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1  cup good olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

For the marinade, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, mustard, garlic, 1 1/2 tablespoons salt and 1/2 tablespoon pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

Place the salmon on a sheet pan that has been covered in aluminum foil, and drizzle the marinade over the salmon. Allow the salmon to sit for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot off the heat and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Leave the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender but firm. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice them in thick slices and set aside.

Place the salmon in the oven and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until it is almost cooked through. Remove to a plate and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the skin and break into large pieces.

Blanch the haricots verts in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 1/2 minutes only. Drain immediately and immerse in a bowl of ice water. Drain again and set aside.

For the vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Set aside.

Arrange the salmon, potatoes, haricots verts, tomatoes, eggs, watercress, olives and anchovies, if used, on a large flat platter. Drizzle some vinaigrette over the fish and vegetables and serve the rest in a pitcher on the side.

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Filed under Entertaining, Health Conscious, Lactose Free, Make ahead, Personal Work, Salads, Seafood, Uncategorized

Paseo Pork Cubano Sandwich with Garlic Mayo, Carmelized Onions, Cilantro, and Jalapenos

Even better than it looks

I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately. Perhaps it was the visit to Ipswich to my childhood home, sleeping in my old twin bed with my feet tucked just so to escape the cold winter air that clamors and claws to get in. Or maybe it was the most recent Seattle snowstorm that brought our little neighborhood six inches, and brought the city to its knees. Whatever the reason…I’ve been feeling oddly unsettled as though something is missing but I can’t seem to remember what it was.

Whenever this happens I inevitably find myself in the kitchen, cooking up a storm, and usually inviting dear friends (who won’t care that the house is messy with puppy paw prints) to come over and enjoy it.

The Cuban sandwich from Paseo‘s is utterly epic in Seattle, but since they are on the north end of the town, and I the south, I seldom get to enjoy it anymore. (see?? There I go again with the nostalgia)

So I did what any amateur cook and aspiring food blogger would do. I set out to recreate it for myself. And I called all our neighborhood friends to come enjoy the yummy, messy, utter deliciousness that is this sandwich.

My oh so helpful (and loud!) assistants

This is how it went…

Paseo Pork Cubano Sandwich with Garlic Mayo, Carmelized Onions, Cilantro, and Jalapenos
Based on a few recipes (including Use Real Butter) and good ‘ol fashioned trial and error
Serves 10-12, invite all your friends. You will be more popular after they eat this.

2 French baguettes like used in Banh Mi sandwiches (Vietnamese markets, like Q Bakery, sell these for a dollar or two a piece and they are the best…you want something so crusty that when you cut it you make a big mess)
garlic mayo (see below)
roast pork (see below)
2 large yellow onions
olive oil
cilantro
pickled jalapeño peppers

roast pork
3 cups orange juice
2 tbsps olive oil
1 lime, juice of
2 tbsps garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 oz. rum
4 – 5 lb. pork shoulder (bone in)

garlic mayo
1 bulb garlic
olive oil for drizzling
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsps olive oil
1 lime, juice of

  1. Make the pork
    1. Combine the orange juice, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and rum in a large bowl.
    2. Add the pork and marinate in the fridge for 3 – 24 hours, flipping occasionally. Obviously the longer it marinates the better.

      Marinating Pork..the longer the better.

    3. Once marinating is complete, pull the pork from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature for 1-2 hours. (don’t discard the marinade!)
    4. In a large lightly greased skillet or cast iron pan, sear the meat on all sides until nicely browned.
    5. Remove the meat (don’t wash the pan!) and add to a slow cooker along with the marinade and cook on high for 4-6 hours, turning each hour, or until fork tender and literally falling off the bone. (Thanks Katie from Oregon for the inspiration to try this in the slow-cooker!)
    6. Remove from marinade, shred with two forks, and keep warm.
  1. Make the garlic mayonnaise
    1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
    2. Slice the top off the garlic bulb and place it in a small baking dish or on a piece of foil that has been pulled up at the edges (to form a bowl).

      Garlic ready for roasting.

    3. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until the garlic is soft.
    4. Peel the skins off the garlic cloves and mash the garlic into a paste.
    5. Combine the garlic with mayonnaise, olive oil, and lime juice. Stir until blended.

      Oooey Gooey Yummy Garlic Mayo

  1. Caramelize the onions
    1. Peel and slice the onions into 1/4-inch strips.
    2. Heat a little olive oil on medium flame in the same pan you used to sear the pork.
    3. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
    4. Remove from heat when the onions are caramelized.

      So delicious

  1. Assemble the goodness
    1. Cut an 8-inch long piece of a baguette
    2. Slice it in half, lengthwise.
    3. Spread garlic mayonnaise on both pieces of bread and bake or toast in a 350 degree oven until the mayonnaise starts to bubble and puff.
    4. Remove from the oven.
    5. Layer the pork, onions, cilantro, pickled jalapeños, and more garlic mayonnaise on one piece of the bread.
    6. Top with the other half of the bread and evolve into culinary bliss.

      Perfect with a bottle of bubbly

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Filed under Cheap Eats, Comfort Foods, Entertaining, Lactose Free, Make ahead, Uncategorized