Laura Boyd is a local stylist, interior decorator and caterer. Together with business partner Meg Hale, she owns Strawberry Banke Studio, a full-service lifestyle design firm based in Annapolis.
Prior to opening Strawberry Banke Studios last year, Laura travelled to Ireland to attend a specialized course at Ballymaloe, the country’s most famous school of cookery and hospitality.
She arrived just in time to experience an authentic St. Patrick’s Day celebration, which she says is fundamentally different than it is here.
“St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is less an opportunity to visit the local pub—though that is fun and popular too– than it is an opportunity to explore the natural and culinary delights that best represent the magic and culture of Ireland”. – Laura Boyd, Strawberry Banke Studio
Laura admits that it didn’t take long for her to became obsessed with the best flavors of Ireland, which is of course is a country synonymous with the color green, mostly for the island’s miles upon miles of grassy fields, made verdant by temperature weather and plenty of rain. “I immediately fell in love with tender spring lamb, hand-smoked salmon, authentic salted butter made from Irish dairy cows, fresh rhubarb and tender spring vegetables like wild garlic and unique, heirloom potatoes. “I think I ate smoked salmon with butter on homemade bread every single morning I was in Ireland,” she laughs.
Laura says an authentic St. Patrick’s Day celebration should forego the heavily processed or overcooked dishes so frequently associated with the Americanized holiday and instead include artisanal and traditional foods that better represent the pastoral farms and plentiful waterways of Ireland.
“When I consider St. Patrick’s Day, I think of delicious flavors that fit perfectly into a more sophisticated menu Stateside”, Laura said. “I imagine a light brunch that marries the fresh flavors of spring and soft reminisces of Ireland”.
The Strawberry Banke rendition of St. Patrick’s Day showcases traditional Irish foods presented with a creative twist and a dash of the Southern flair Laura and Meg are known for. “We would go beyond typical mashed potatoes, Shepherd’s Pie or Beef Stew and instead focus on dishes that use simple, farm-fresh ingredients and deliver a lot of flavor. The brunch buffet would be styled with bountiful springtime flowers and on-trend lettuce ware, in all shades of green, of course!” Laura said.
It isn’t difficult to transform your own favorite St. Patrick’s Day flavors into simpler, more authentic and even healthier dishes. For example, The Full Irish is a large platter of heavy, gut-lining flavors and traditionally includes mushrooms, tomatoes, blood sausage and a fried egg. It is the perfect start to a hard day on the fields or at sea, but maybe not the best preamble to a celebratory sampling of St. Patrick’s Day drinks. “I wanted to elevate elements of The Full Irish and also to make it into a single portion that wouldn’t be overwhelming or filling”, Laura said. “This strata includes all of the essential ingredients of an Irish breakfast in every bite”.
Proper Irish Breakfast Stratas
(Recipe from Laura Boyd)
Serves 8 individual portions
6-8 thick slices challah bread
Kerrygold butter (enough to butter each slice of bread)
1 lb savory sausage and/or or bacon
1 1/2 cup shredded Irish Cheddar cheese (Colliers, Kerrygold, etc)
6 farm fresh eggs, beaten
2 cups whole milk (or 1 cup milk with 1 cup cream)
1 onion, chopped
1 cup of mushrooms
1 cup grape tomatoes (sliced in half)
- Brown sausage or bacon. Remove from pan and add onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes and salute until tender (remember to season with salt and pepper). Let cool. Chop sausage and//or bacon into bite size pieces.
- Mix eggs and milk (I like to pour some of the mixture into a glass measuring pitcher for easy pouring into the ramekins – remember to season egg mixture with a few pinches of salt and pepper).
- Butter slices of bread and cut slices into 1 inch cubes.
- In individual ramekins, place a layer of bread cubes and top with a bit of the onion, mushrooms, tomatoes and sausage/bacon. Top with a layer of shredded cheddar. Repeat with another layer of bread cubes, vegetables, meat, cheese, etc. until the ramekins are full.
- Slowly pour the egg and milk mixture over the bread until it appears that all the bread has soaked up mixture (like bread pudding, you may need to push down the layers a bit to ensure each layer of bread has soaked up the egg). Add more bread, etc. if needed to fill to the top.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill ramekins on a sheet pan overnight if you want to plan ahead. If not, let the ramekins sit for at least 20-30 min before baking. Bake at 325 until a knife comes out clean and egg mixture is cooked all the way through. Tops should be golden and bubbly.
Hot Potato Cakes with Irish Smoked Salmon and Creme Fraiche
(Recipe from Darina Allen’s “Ballymaloe Cookery Course” Cookbook)
2 lb unpeeled potatoes
2 oz butter (I use Kerrygold for everything)
2 oz flour
1 Tbsp chopped herbs (chives, parsley or lemon thyme – or a mix of all)
half & half or whole milk
seasoned flour (for breading before frying)
4 oz. smoked salmon
freshly snipped chives
clarified butter for frying
- Cook the potatoes in their skins, pull off the peel and mash right away, adding the butter, flour and herbs. Season with lots of salt and pepper and add a few drops of whole milk or half & half if the mixture is altogether too stiff. Mix well. Taste and correct the seasoning.
- Shape into 1″ thick potato cakes. Dip in seasoned flour (flour with salt and pepper).
- Fry the potato cakes in clarified butter until golden brown on one side, then flip over and cook on the other side, for about 4-5 minutes – they should be crusty and golden.
- Serve on very hot plates.Top with a dollop of creme fraiche and slivers of good quality smoked salmon. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.
No authentic Irish-themed brunch should be without soda or brown bread, grassy imported butter and good quality smoked salmon. Each of these ingredients is ubiquitous and indigenous to Irish food culture. “ We used Irish Kerrygold butter both in the classroom and for guests at Ballymaloe, and I use it in my cooking here as well”, Laura said. Kerrygold can be found Stateside at most groceries. You can make your own bread, but you might have better luck finding it at a local bakery or restaurant. Try Great Harvest or make a special request at Killarney House, Galway Bay or Pirate’s Cove in Shadyside.
Of course, one can’t forego proper tea and scones for any Continental-style buffet. Laura said the scones in Ireland aren’t the heavy, cakey sort found in America: “Irish scones are light and ethereal little fluffy pillows that rely on fresh cream, Irish butter and Irish flour,” Laura said. “You may not be able to exactly replicate an Irish scone with American flour, but this recipe is very close”, she added. The recipe here is the one used at Ballymaloe. She added rhubarb and strawberry butter for seasonality, but says you can substitute other berries and compound butters. The Irish use Barry’s Tea, a blend of Kenya, Rwandan and Indian Assam leaves with a tan color and strong flavor. You can find it at Irish Traditions on Main Street in downtown Annapolis ($7.99/box, 80 bags).
Mummy’s Sweet Strawberry and Rhubarb Scones
(Recipe from Ballymaloe, flavors adapted by Laura Boyd)
Makes 18-20 scones using a 3 inch cutter.
2 lb plain white flour
pinch of salt
2 oz. caster sugar (very fine sugar – can be found in specialty baking sections)
3 heaped teaspoons teaspoons baking powder
6 oz butter
3 organic eggs
15 fl oz milk, to mix
3 Rhubarb stalks (chopped finely)
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, finely chopped
organic egg wash (1 egg with a splash of water, beaten)
granulated sugar, for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
- Sieve all dry ingredients together in a large wide bowl.
- Cut the butter into cubes, toss in the flour and rub in the butter.
- Add the chopped fruit (I like to lightly toss mine in a little flour first to absorb some of the moisture. Separate fruit from excess dusting flour before adding to the bowl).
- Make a well in the center. Whisk the eggs with the milk, add to the dry ingredients and mix into a soft dough (do not overtax! Just until the dough forms).
- Turn out dough onto a floured board. Shape into a round and roll out (I like to use my hands and gently pat it out) until it is about 1 inches thick (the less you touch or smash it down, the softer and fluffier they will be!). Quickly cut out rounds with a floured cutter and put scones on baking sheet.
- Brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake in the over for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on top. Cool on wire rack. Serve split in half with homemade jam, honey butter or a blob of whipped cream.
Finish your brunch with an Irish coffee. A strictly traditional Irish Coffee relies on brown sugar and whiskey stirred into dark coffee. Strawberry Banke’s version tops that rich drink with a dollop of handmade whipped cream infused with whiskey. “The cream adds comfort and a subtle flavor boost to the elegance of the coffee and brings a bit of both elegance and fun to the brunch”, Laura said.
For a bunch of traditional Irish recipes like colcannon and such, you can visit this post from last year.Feel free to share...
I have a grand announcement to make: I am officially a blogger for Naptown Locals, the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Visitors Bureau blog site. Super exciting! I am honored to be considered and thrilled at the opportunity.
My first post for them hit this morning. My assignments was to come up with a comprehensive list of all the restaurants I could find in AACo that happen to have fireplaces.
The list is long. My first blog post was 1,643 words. My goal was 500 MAX. I had to cut. The only way to do that was to ax any descriptions and stick to a list. Here it is, barebones but confirmed. I can tell you, proudly, that in all my research I didn’t find a single list as comprehensive as my own.
I am a one-stop shop.
Below is the longer version, which might give a little more insight to anyone wanting fireside dining. The list is alphabetical. Notice that your favorite fireplace is missing from this list? Please leave a note in the comments.
And yes, I know this was submitted just in time for a weekend that is supposed to hit 60, but I checked Accuweather today, and we have at least 3 more weeks of 30’s, 40’s and freezing overnights to make a fireplace sounds damn nice.
A short note: almost all the restaurants below do not accept reservations, but do take your name for priority seating. Most places are friendly enough that they will try to honor a reservation if call as far in advance as possible.
Adam’s Ribs is a favorite for locals because it is so comfortable and friendly, and because of delicious staples like juicy burgers, amazing barbecue and cornbread that you simply can’t put down. The white brick fireplace here mingles seasonal warmth with the smell of roasting meat, making the atmosphere feel a little like home.
Check the restaurant’s website and Facebook page for daily specials.
921 Chesapeake Ave. Eastport/Annapolis
The fireplace at Blackwall Hitch is within steps of a long, ship-shape bar and an intimate concert space, making it the ideal place to curl up with a handcrafted drink and great music. “The Hitch”, as it is referred to by locals, is renown for a broad menu defined by Chef Zachary Pope’s dedication to fresh ingredients and emphasis on simple but classic gourmet technique. It is also popular for it’s location just across the Spa Creek Bridge from downtown Annapolis, a large parking lot and a topside patio with views over the Severn River all the way to the Bay Bridge.
Classic and comfortable leather chairs, available on a first-come, first-served basis, surround the Hitch’s fireplace, which is usually lit all day in cold weather. The fire puts out a lot of heat, so is sometimes extinguished during crowded concerts.
The Hitch always offers a variety of drink and food specials and has an incredible Happy Hour featuring $6 small plates. You can find specials on their Facebook and Twitter feeds.
400 Sixth Street, Eastport/Annapolis
The lone French outpost on Main Street in downtown Annapolis, Café Normandie is beloved as much for its Steak Frites as it is for the cozy gas fireplace that commands the center of this hospitable auberge. Tables and booths are close enough to enjoy the heat of the fire, and of course are popular as well. Patrons can request reservations if they call a few days ahead of time. Passersby can look for a small sign on the front window indicating if the fire is on.
185 Main Street, Annapolis
Consistently mentioned for excellent service and dependably delicious food, Carroll’s Creek is also recommended for a stunning view across Spa Creek toward downtown Annapolis and the United States Naval Academy. The fireplace here anchors the lounge area, accessed via the front door and a sharp left turn opposite the receptionist desk. Comfortable sofas define the fireplace, which is lit most days for lunch and dinner. Enjoy drink and food specials during Happy Hour.
410 Severn Ave #100, Eastport/Annapolis
Popular for a long, wide view across Spa Creek, Chart House is the best place in town to view sailboat races by day and stars by night. Both events are made even better by a roaring fireplace, located in the lounge area. Seating and tabletops are available near the fire, but is available on a first come, first served basis. Chart House offers a superb menu for Happy Hour with drink specials that range from $3.25 to $7 and small plates you might not want to share!
300 2nd Street, Eastport/Annapolis
What could be better than breakfast any time of day, especially when it means entrees like fried chicken on house-made biscuits with raspberry jam or homemade tarts the size of a plate? Iron Rooster is a little over a year old, but already has lines out the door because there is no better place in town to enjoy bacon AND beer.
The fireplace is in the upstairs dining room. Surrounding tables have a fine view over Market House and City Dock. Reservations are accepted on weekdays. Weekends are first-come, first-served.
12 Market Space, Downtown Annapolis
Jalapenos hails itself as an authentic Spanish restaurant with a dash of Mexican flair. Located in a strip mall in Parole, the locally owned restaurant is a bastion of Old World flavor and decor. The menu features a large selection of tapas and the bar makes the best sangria in town.
The gas fireplace at Jalapenos is right in the center of the main dining room. Surrounding tables can enjoy the warmth of the fire, and occasionally local musicians or even flamenco dancers. The restaurant does accept advance reservations for seats near the fire, which is lit all day in winter, but relies more on priority seating and a first-come, first-served policy.
85 Forest Drive, Parole/Annapolis
Killarney House specializes in traditional Irish fare and hearty dishes like Shepherd’s Pie, Fish & Chips, potato boxty, salmon and a variety of soups and stews. Most dishes are made from scratch, including authentic brown bread and traditional soda bread. The huge fireplace here is in the rear of the dining room, where it is surrounded by four tabletops.
Fireside dining reservations are accepted, but the hostess recommends doing so as far in advance as possible. Priority seating is available during busy times. Killarney House has great dining specials and features a popular Prime Rib ($25.99) on Friday and Saturday night.
584W Central Ave., Davidsonville
Middleton Tavern has, in its 276-year-old history, been host to America’s most revered leaders, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and James Monroe. Members of the American Revolution and Continental Congress were known to frequent the tavern, which has been continuously owned from 1750 until now, although records show occupation as early as 1740.
Located at the foot of Main Street, kitty-corner to City Dock, Middleton’s is admired by locals and tourists alike for classic Chesapeake fare, an extensive selection of raw oysters and a friendly bar.
Middleton’s has four fireplaces: two in the downstairs dining area, and two in the private space upstairs. Tables near the fire are much coveted by patrons in the know, but the restaurant tries to accommodate special requests and priority seating.
2 Market Space, Downtown Annapolis
Sports fans in particular enjoy this casual neighborhood bistro that specializes in pub fare like burgers and wings, huge sandwiches and made-from-scratch entrees and desserts. Large screen TVs define the bar space, but the local owners have made a point to create a family-friendly atmosphere in the dining room. They are also dedicated to buying fresh and local whenever possible; in fact, most produce is sourced from the Eastern Shore and the majority of the menu is made by hand in-house.
The fireplace here is currently under renovation, but should be ready to go by the third week of February. It is usually lit all day, or until the restaurant becomes crowded, at which time it is just too warm. Mother’s accepts reservations on weekdays and for parties larger than six; otherwise, seats near the fire are available through Priority Seating.
969 Ritchie Highway, Arnold (between Annapolis and Severna Park)
Located on the West River in southern Anne Arundel County, Pirate’s Cove offers stunning sunset views and a classic American menu anchored by fantastic steak, seafood and salads. The property has two fireplaces: a smaller gas fire in the cozy lounge and a wood burning fire in the main dining room. Both are lit from late morning until close, and are truly a cozy spot to while away the cold weather. The lounge in particular is a romantic spot for it’s intimate layout, proximity to the bar and excellent local music.
4817 Riverside Drive, Galesville
Pusser’s is a Caribbean outpost in downtown Annapolis, where locals appreciate the flavor and heat of the menu as much as they do Dark & Stormy’s from the bar. Located alongside Ego Alley, Pusser’s has a waterside dining area and large picture windows that make boat-watching an afternoon pastime. The gas fireplace here is set in a beautiful hand-carved mantel.
Located in the Annapolis Waterside Hotel, 80 Compromise St., Annapolis
The stone mantel of the fireplace at the Sunset Lounge in Glen Burnie is large and old-fashioned, fitting in perfectly with the comfortable, casual ambience of the room and the classic Chesapeake menu. The restaurant receives frequent accolades for its rendition of Cream of Crab Soup and is known for some of the best Crab Cakes in town. Tables near the fire can be reserved, but be sure to call in advance.
625 Greenway Rd SE, Glen Burnie
Located in the basement of Reynold’s Tavern, 1747 Pub is the oldest tavern in town. The fireplace here is original to the building, and is located in what was formerly the kitchen.
1747 Pub features an eclectic menu of small plates alongside hearty comfort food like mac-n-cheese and classic English fare like Shepherd’s Pie and fish-and-chips.
7 Church Circle, Annapolis
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CSA’s remain a wonderful way to connect with farms and fresh food. This year there are a couple of major changes in the local CSA scene. Craig Sewell will no longer offer a CSA through his restaurant and cookery school, A Cook’s Cafe. Also, I have been unable to contact Ivy Brand, so I am not sure if that CSA is still offered.
Here is a list of everyone else I was able to contact to confirm they are active and ready for enrollments. One exception to this list is Bear’s Honey Pot, which recently opened in Gambrills. I was not able to get firm details from their office, but I know that they have a great program in place.
Agriberry is an all-berry CSA based in Virginia and operated by Annapolitan Susan Noyce, whose family owns Agriberry farm. Susan brings her strawberries, raspberries, jams, jellies, honey and other fruits and vegetables to Annapolis once a week.
Open Enrollment through April
Membership Pricing: $600/ 20 weeks
Various local pick-ups sites beginning in May. See website for details.
Full Share: $25/week $541/season
Small Share: $18/week $391/season
22 week season May-October
Various local pick-up sites including Tuesday, 4-6:30 PM, Tastings Gourmet Market, Clocktower Plaza, 1410 Forest Drive, Annapolis 21403
Maryland Sunrise Farm CSA
CSA deadlines: Rolling Enrollment
Membership pricing: $575 Full Share
Thursday pickup, 4:30-6:30 pm,
Maryland Sunrise Farm, Dairy Lane, Gambrills, MD
Oksana’s Produce Farm
CSA includes fresh vegetables, raw fermented vegetables, fresh bread, jams and honey. Pricing is noted on website.
Summer CSA: 24 weeks- May-October
Fall CSA: 5 weeks – October-November
Locations for Thursday pick up:
- Anne Arundel County Farmer’s Market at Riva Road 3:30pm-6pm
- Rutabaga Craft Juicery on Annapolis Street in West Annapolis 3:00 PM -5 PM
- Kent Island Farmer’s Market on Romancoke Road in Stevensville 3:00 PM-6PM.
PolyFace Farm Buying Club
Polyface is not a traditional CSA. It is a buying club where you can choose a variety of farm-grown products from the Salatin family’s Poly Face Farm in Virginia for weekly delivery.
No membership fee, no minimum order.
Deadline is 3 days before the pick up
Delivery Locations: Home on Baltimore/Annapolis Blvd and other AACo locations.
To order: www.polyfaceyum.com
See website for products and pricing, pick up times and seasonal delivery dates.
Friends & Farms
Year-Round operations with rolling enrollment.
Ability to opt-out or pause service at any time.
Prices vary: one person ($48/week), two ($62/week) or four ($94/week); also vegetarian ($60/week), lean protein ($68 or $106/week) and protein and dairy only ($46/week) options. If customers choose a monthly or quarterly subscription, the weekly cost of their basket decreases.
Friday Afternoon (1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.) • Annapolis:
UUC of Annapolis, 1920 N. Lawrence Ave, Annapolis, MD 21401
Friday Afternoon (3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.) • Severna Park:
St. John the Evangelist, 689 Ritchie Highway, Severna Park, MD 21146
Friday Evening (6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.) • Crofton:
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, 1800 Seton Drive, Crofton, MD 21114
24 week season, May-November
Delivering to in private residence Edgewater and to Anne Beth’s at 46 Maryland Avenue in Annapolis on Wednesdays and Fridays from 3-7pm.
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Last year my GI doctor told me to try going off all legumes. Here is why that is horrible news: peanuts are legumes, and the classic PB & J is my all-time favorite food. Well, chocolate chip cookies may be my ALL all-time favorite, but it would be safe to say that PB & J is a staple in our house.
My doctor’s recommendation was bad news beyond lunch–the legume family includes beans and peas. I can forego peas–easily. But I eat beans several times a week. I figured anything was better than my poor tummy hurting all the time though, so I gave it a go.
Rather than giving up my beloved peanut butter, I turned to other nuts butters like cashew, macadamia and almond. All of which are ridiculously expensive. So I figured I would try buying bulk nuts and making my own. Nuts and seeds aren’t indulgent–they are healthy fats that our bodies require to perform, feel and look good.
Here’s is what I discovered: I will NEVER buy nut butters again. I am IN LOVE with the homemade version. The cost isn’t substantially better than store bought because even bulk nuts aren’t cheap, but the flavor is so much better. Also, I can control the salt and oil, and we know how I like to tweak my own flavors, thank you very much.
Making your own nut butter is very easy. Essentially, it involves three steps:
- Buy the nuts (preferably raw).
- Roast them to your preference.
- Grind them to your preferred chunkiness.
- Eat them whatever way you like.
I have a friend who I swear put my almond butter on pickles, and she wasn’t even pregnant. I sampled another friend a jar of macadamia and honey butter to get her feedback and she sent me a video of her spooning it out like it was ice cream.
The great thing about making your own nut butter is that you can tweak it for seasonings. Try kosher salt v. sea salt or table salt; add honey or pure maple syrup, sciracha or chile pepper, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
Don’t be shy to use some of these butters in applications you may not have considered before, i.e. as a spread on grilled or roasted meats. Pistachios, walnuts and pecans are especially nice this way.
- Buy your nuts in the bulk section OR find them seasonally at farmer’s markets. Finding fresh nuts makes a world of difference in flavor. Most of us aren’t able to do that, but if you can source just off the tree nuts, kudos!
- Try to buy whole, raw nuts. Don’t buy dry-roasted, since these are already seasoned.
- When you get the nuts home, roast them yourself. Spread them in one layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Season to your preference with salt, dried herbs or spices. Roast for 10-12 minutes at 350. Just like with coffee, the flavor of your nut butter will vary drastically depending on the depth of your roast. As you become more proficient at making your butters, vary your roasting times to see how it changes your recipe outcome. Let the nuts cool slightly before you process.
- Add any additional flavorings or seasonings before processing so they are fully mixed in. I highly recommend that you taste the nuts you already roasted for flavor. It’s always easier to add than to take away. If you want a swirl effect, i.e. with honey or syrup, add these at the end or stir in by hand.
- Process the roasted nuts in a food processor or blender. I use my VitaMix. Different nuts require different processing times (see footnote below), but expect about 2 minutes.
- I have found it is best to use about 2 cups of nuts at a time, otherwise the machine really has to work hard. Work in batches until you have as much as you require. The whole nuts should keep well in your pantry, so either buy to accommodate what you will use, or store the nuts and make up batches as you go to keep your nut butter fresh.
- The nut butters keep for sometime in your refrigerator, tightly sealed.
FOOTNOTE: processing times
Cashews require about 2 minutes. I am not a huge fan of cashew butter, because it has such a strong flavor and odor. My health-nut friend Deborah loves it, and she has a great point: it is important to mix up your nut intake, so you get a variety of vitamins, minerals, fats and amino acids. I manage cashew butter in smoothies with vanilla and cinnamon to balance it.
Almonds– Sliced almonds take a little bit longer to process and may require the addition of a little oil because they are dry. Whole almonds are naturally more oily, and take about 2 1/2 minutes to process.
Almond butter is good in just about everything- it is by far my go-to replacement for peanut butter. In fact, not to be disloyal, but I think I like it even better than PB. It has a wonderful aroma that makes the entire house smell homey and just a little exotic. It pairs well with everything from honey to spice to syrup and brown sugar and sit well on both sweet and savory dishes.
Macadamias– I may occasionally cheat on my almond butter with macadamia nuts. They are wicked expensive but they are Oh. So. Gooooood. Process for about 2 minutes. Because macadamias are high in fat, the butter will be thin. Chill to thicken. Add it to cookie doughs, strudels or donuts, waffles, pancakes, ice cream, chicken, steamed asparagus….I could bathe in this stuff…seriously. Macadamias pair well with everything from chocolate and coconut to berries, herbs like rosemary or thyme and spices like chile peppers and paprika.
Hazelnuts form the base of that classic chocolate dessert spread (Nutella!!). West Coast folks shouldn’t have a hard time finding them fresh in season. You might have to remove the skins. Roast until the nut is shiny, then rub them between a towel and the skins come off. Process about 2-3 minutes. Mix 1:1 with chocolate syrup to make your own spread. Hazelnuts are also delicious in pastry crusts and mixed into sweets like strudels and cinnamon rolls.
Pecans and Walnuts– both of these spreads are great over meats or even mixed into desserts, but are slightly bitter, so not great for sandwiches or toast. They process in 1 1/2 -2 minutes.
Pistachios are awesome as spreads over poultry, pork or meat, especially roasts and kebabs. The finished spread is very dry and crumbly, and it clumps up a lot when mixing. Process for 3 minutes or more. Add oil if you need a smooth result. Or use the dry spread in desserts like ice cream or layered cake fillings. Pistachio marries well with cinnamon, nutmeg and other eastern spices.
Peanut butter was invented in the 20th century and will never (I hope) go away. Process roasted peanuts for about 2 minutes. Peanut butter is lighter than commercial butters. It is also a little grainier–you can add a TB of organic peanut oil to smooth it out.
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Let me just say from the outset that we don’t watch sports. This does not make us un-American, I don’t think. It does make us a little odd….but you knew that we were already.
When I was younger, living in New York and without husband or kids or a mortgage (can you hear the ball and chain dragging across that sentence?) my friends and I would go out to a club and party all night, dragging ourselves into the door of some parent around 6 AM, who would feed us last night’s dinner and send us to bed. We would wake up in time for the Super Bowl to a house full of family and guests and a feast of football foods.
I do miss those times. I used to love to dance. Why don’t I dance more? In public, I mean.
Anyway, Super Bowl foods aren’t the best for you, but they sure are good. Here are some of my favorite Super Bowl recipes.
A Man, A Can and a Plan
My friend Florence is not a cook, by her own admission. But she has three grown men to feed, and for the Super Bowl, they want foods they can munch on, that stick to their ribs and get them through hours on the couch. This recipe is so good, so delicious, I try so hard to resist it, but I can’t. Actually, it’s not really a recipe–choose the size pan and the amount of ingredients you need depending on your crowd and add on things you like.
- Spread a block of cream cheese across the bottom of a baking pan
- Spread a can of chili over the cream cheese
- Spread a can of green chiles over the chili
- Spread grated cheese over all of it
- Bake at 350 degrees until it is bubbly.
- Serve with dipper chips.
You could substitute your own homemade chili, you could add fresh jalapeños, sliced green onions, diced red peppers, chunks of avocado, minced cilantro or use Fritos instead of tortilla chips. Cheeses could be cheddar, Monterey jack, pepper jack, queso blanco, or a mix of all of these.
Grilled Ham Steaks with Pineapple Glaze
For the Glaze
- 4 TB butter
- 1/2 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup rum (dark rum is best)
- 1/3 cup honey or brown sugar
- 1 TB sciracha
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the garlic and cook over medium high heat until it starts to brown, just barely. Don’t scorch the garlic. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until it reduces to a thick syrup that coats the back of a spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For the Ham and Pineapple
- Cut the prickly skin off the pineapple, core it, and slice it into thick rounds, about 1/2 inch or so thick.
- Purchase a black forest ham (Whole Foods Market sells a lovely little Wellshire Farms brand ham for $9.99 or so). Slice the ham into rounds, also about 1/2 inch thick.
- Oil your gas or charcoal grill, and heat it to medium high. Grill over direct heat. Baste with the glaze and cook until you have nice grill marks and the pineapple is just releasing it’s juices.
- Cut into biscuit sized pieces or leave whole. Transfer the ham and pineapple to a platter. Garnish with a little more glaze. If you like, add a little sliced green onion and minced cilantro.
- Serve with fresh buttermilk biscuits, soft rolls, or just as it is.
Chorizo A la Sidra “Chita y Marga”, a recipe from Chef Jose Andres’ mother from the book Mom’s Secret Recipe File
- 2 TB olive oil
- 1/2 lb Spanish Chorizo*
- 1 cup hard cider**
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the chorizo and cook, turning, until very light browned, about 2 minutes.
- Pour in the cider, bring to a boil, and cook until the cider is reduced by half, about minutes.
- Add to salt to taste
- Serve in a small shallow bowl, with really good bread on the side for dipping in the sauce and manchego for a little extra flavor.
*Good Chorizo can be found at Tastings Gourmet Market, Giolitti’s and Whole Foods Market
**If you are using the little cantimpalitos (which I haven’t found in Annapolis, but I did find recently in NYC), then cook and serve whole. If you are using larger, softer chorizo, cut into 3/4 inch pieces on the bias.
Here are some other recipes you might try.
Recipes you can make in a muffin tin—Who doesn’t love bite sized party food.
Things like Pimiento Balls and Onions Rings, made healthier by the Eating Well kitchen
Apps that take 20 minutes or less to make by the folks who make everything seem just…simpler.
Recipes to use up that cartload of goodies you bought because they just sounded so good at Whole Foods Market.
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One of the greatest challenges of our participation in My Peak Challenge is being prepared. Not necessarily with snacks and water bottles and clothes. More with meals. Especially on weeknights, when I am rushing to meet deadlines, get homework done, dash out to our challenge, then get a healthy meal on the table and get everyone to bed at a reasonable time.
I do make meals in advance, but that is a post for another day. 5 times out of 10 I turn to soup.
Speaking of Soup….
Chef Zachary Pope is the executive chef at Blackwall Hitch in Eastport. He’s an average-sized guy with an enormous heart. For the past ten years, Chef Pope and Lea Hurt have organized a special event through their church to raise money for The Lighthouse Shelter. They are both so clever: its called The Soup-er Bowl and it is held every year at Heritage Baptist Church off Forest Drive on Super Bowl Sunday.
Pope and Hurt are just two volunteers in what is a congregation-and- community-wide effort. Pope prepares three soups, members of the Lighthouse Shelter Culinary Education Program serve it, and volunteers from the Heritage Baptist Church, the Naval Academy and other community activists help with everything else.
The public is invited and admission is free, but donations are requested. Lunch includes soup, salad, fresh rolls and dessert. This year Soup-er Bowl will be held Sunday, February 7, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Since it began in 2007, the annual SOUPer Bowl has raised thousands of dollars for the shelter.
Chef Pope offered me his recipe for Potato Soup, one he says is a big hit at The Soup-er Bowl and at home, and one I will be making this weekend as we prepare for next week’s challenge, when we will need warm energizing foods that stick to our ribs. Hint: it involves squats, sprints and deadlifts (YIKES).
Chef Pope’s Famous Potato Soup: It’s Soup-er
“Potatoes provide some of the easiest, most economical opportunities to re-task menu items. If you are baking potatoes as a side item for a big dinner, bake 3 extra to use the next day in an amazing potato soup”, says Pope. “Most ‘baked potatoes’ are the Russet variety. These brown skinned potatoes are creamy and tasty, but not too starchy or heavy. This recipe is a crowd-pleaser and extremely easy on the budget. Amounts shown will serve three people as a main course soup or four as a side”.
A large stock pot
Immersion blender or regular blender
3 previously baked potatoes diced into large chunks leaving some peel
1 small onion, diced OR 2 medium leeks (dice only the white portion after thoroughly rinsing)
2 C 2 percent or whole milk
1 celery stalk, diced
2 T butter
4 oz. water
Garnishes: real bacon bits, sour cream, shredded cheese and/or chopped chives
Melt butter in stock pot over medium heat. Add garlic, diced celery and onion (or leeks). Sweat (or sauté) the vegetables for about 1 minute until they are translucent.
Add 4 oz. water and diced baked potatoes. Increase heat. Boil (to 212 degrees) until most of the water is gone and potatoes have completely softened and broken down. The potatoes should be almost completely dissolved in the remaining water so that as you add the milk (next), the starch in the dissolved potatoes will strengthen the milk, causing the milk NOT to separate.
Add 2 cups of milk and reduce heat to medium. Allow to simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste and add salt, cracked black pepper or a season all spice blend as needed.
Now, blend the soup to give it a smooth body and help with thickening. If you have an immersion blender, put it in the stock pot and, using slow, small circles, blend until it is mostly smooth, about 3 minutes. I think that leaving a few potato chunks will enhance the overall texture experience.
If you are using a regular blender, exercise extreme caution. Only fill your blender half full to prevent a splash of your HOT soup burning you during this step. Blend on pulse 30 seconds to 1 minute.
After blending, taste again and add seasonings if needed. You can adjust the thickness of your soup with more milk, water or a few pats of butter to add richness.
Garnish with grated cheese, chives, real bacon bits and/or sour cream. Anything you would add to a baked potato would taste great with this soup. Enjoy!
Heritage Baptist is an affiliate congregational partner of the shelter, offering support and resources throughout the year. For more information, contact the church office at 410-263-6680, or see the church web site at www.heritagebaptistannapolis.org
photo courtesy of Lisa Consiglio Ryan and Whole Health Designs
Brussels Sprouts and Carrots
Lisa says: “I actually LOVE to eat these babies as a snack!”
Ingredients Serves 1
½ cup Brussels sprouts, washed and stems removed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 garlic clove, minced
2 carrots, cut diagonally into ½-inch slices
Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss Brussels sprouts with oil in a large baking dish and season with salt and pepper.
Add garlic and carrots. Bake for 25 minutes, until sprouts and carrots are tender.
Immune Booster Juice
Lisa says: “Fight winter colds and flu with this one simple recipe, excerpted from Go Clean Sexy You“
2 celery stalks
1/4 inch fresh ginger root
Put ingredients in a juicer. Alternatively, process in a Vitamix then strain through a cloth.
Chilled Tomato + Carrot Soup
Adapted from Go Clean, Sexy You.
Lisa says: “This soup is a fun raw twist on a winter classic”
1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ teaspoon cumin
In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients until smooth. Chill in fridge for 15 minutes.
Woman of the Week Paula McLoud’s
Shrimp and Lobster Curry
Perfect for a New Year’s Eve bash or any stylish, elegant weeknight occasion.
Makes about 6 servings
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 1/4 cup chopped onions
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 tart Apple, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/3-cup flour
- 2 tsp. Curry powder
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Dry mustard
- 3 cups chicken stalk
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cream or milk (optional)
- 3/4 lb. cooked peeled shrimp
- 1/2 lb. cooked lobster meat
- Heat butter.
- Sauté onions, garlic, celery, Apple and bay leaf until cooked, but not brown.
- Sprinkle with flour, curry powder, salt and dry mustard. Gradually add stock. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add cream, if desired.
- Simmer 10 to 15 minutes.
- Add seafood and cook just until it is heated through, but no more so you don’t overcook it.
- Serve with rice. When cooking rice, cook with chicken or vegetable stock instead of water (gives a better taste).
Christmas Eve is tomorrow and I haven’t yet made up a firm menu. Partly because I rarely get to go home for the holiday, which makes me want to boycott it; partly because damn–I’m tired, I don’t feel like shopping!!; and partly because I know I can scoot over to Whole Foods Market first thing tomorrow morning where I will find freshly stocked shelves and no crowds.
I know our meal will include some nice halibut, probably some salmon–although out here they sell third rate sockeye for $17.99/lb, which KILLS me–, definitely some crab, also some mussels and clams, and probably a chowder as a starter. Yes, it will include a lot of seafood. Yes, we are Catholic. No, we are not Italian.
Not even close. My father, a Van Atta, is thoroughly Dutch. My mother, a Thorpe, is Native American and Welsh. Sadly, none of my motley ethnicities are renown for the gustatory color, flavor, festivity and pomp of the Italians. My godmother is Italian though, and I lived with her in Jersey for a few years, so in my mind I consider that a close enough association to make actually becoming I-talian a near possibility.
Italians, and Catholics all over the world, celebrate Christmas Eve by abstaining from red meat, poultry and dairy, in observation of the la Vigilia di Natale, the midnight birth of the baby Jesus. The vigil is commemorated via The Feast of the Seven (or 10 or 12 or 13) Fishes.
Some people call this abstaining a “fast”. After surviving a week of juicing and detox just after Thanksgiving, I can tell you, this is my kind-a fast!
Interestingly, this piscine meal is not nationally observed in Italy. It is popular there mostly in Southern cities, which makes sense, since they are close to the sea and since seafood is so tightly wound into their cultural and culinary heritage.
Also, not every Feast features seven fish courses specifically, although there is some religious reference in that number. Food historians conjecture that the seven courses represent biblical completion, as in the seven days of Creation, while others say it refers to the seven Roman Catholic sacraments or to the seven hills that surround Rome. I’ve been to Feasts with 13 dishes, representing the 12 apostles plus Jesus, and even 11 dishes, representing the apostles minus Judas.
My godmother didn’t make her dishes based on theology, but rather on what was fresh at the market and what sounded delicious to her at the time. She often repeated some version of the meal for New Year’s Eve, which has no religious connotations at all.
Arturo Ottaviano, Owner of Osteria 177 in Annapolis, recently invited me for an unforgettable luncheon of perfectly prepared scallops, sole meuniere deboned properly by Arturo himself–tableside, tuna carpaccio, grilled octopus, a heartbreakingly tender and flaky sea bass atop a bed of sautéed escarole and a savory risotto made perfect by the grilled shrimp and jumbo lump crab hidden in its rich, cheesy depths.
It’s rare to find seafood prepared as finely as Ottaviano’s, which is why Osteria 177 has a strong reputation for elegant Italian dishes in a refined, yet relaxed atmosphere. It’s also why available reservations for his Christmas Eve menu are long gone.
Many people are intimidated at the prospect of successfully preparing a Fishy Feast. It’s not rocket science though. The key to cooking any type of fish, says Arturo, who attended culinary school in Italy and staged at Tiberius in Washington, DC, is to not overcook it and to keep it simple.
“I use basic ingredients and only a handful of basic sauces to create magic out of these simple things. I buy the best ingredients that I can get my hands on and I try to stay organic whenever possible. My seafood is always fresh, never frozen. When you combine simple, classic sauces with high quality ingredients like extra virgin olive oil, garlic, basil, parsley, tomatoes, lemon, olives and other herbs, you can create something wonderful whether you are making shrimp or scallops or salmon or whatever you can find fresh at the market”.
Here are several Fish recipes you can consider using for your own Feast. Keep in mind that these recipes are very versatile: you can substitute just about any type of fish. You can also search seafood, crab, or whatever on this site to find other favorite recipes.
Rockfish al Cartoccio (Rockfish prepared En Papillote) by Arturo Ottaviano
- 5 oz. Fresh Rockfish fillet (skin off)
- 3 baby clams
- 1 shrimp
- 3 slices of blanched potato
- Table spoon of grape tomatoes
- 1 garlic clove
- Salt, pepper, fresh basil
- A spoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 8 inch sheet parchment paper or foil
- Display the parchment paper on a table top and brush all over with a little melted butter.
- Put the sliced potato on the center of it and the Rock fish fillet on top of the potatoes. Put clams and shrimp on top the Rockfish. Complete the topping with the grape tomatoes sliced in a half, the garlic (smashed), salt and pepper, the basil, the olive oil and a splash of white wine.
- Properly close the Parchment paper and bake in a 425 pre heated Oven for about 14 minutes.
- When ready, open the foil on the top and served with any side you wish to have—vegetables or even pasta.
- You can add anything you want in the cartoccio from roasted peppers to sautéed mushrooms and more.
Risotto con Zucchini, Cappesante e Polpa di Granchio
(Serving for 4)
- 24 oz Arborio or Carnaroli Italian rice
- 1 medium size Zucchini, sliced
- 8 large dry sea Scallops, sliced into fours
- Jumbo lump Crabmeat
- 1 chopped onion
- Half tea cup of white wine
- In one medium to large casserole pan, sautée the chopped onion and the zucchini with a spoon of olive oil and touch of butter until golden in color.
- Add rice and a couple of minutes later add the wine and evaporate it, add to this some fish broth or clam juice to cover the rice.
- Keep stirring the rice with a wooded spoon until it reduces. You may need to add some more broth.
- Repeat this until the risotto is close to doneness.Halfway through the cooking, add the sea scallops and a portion of the crab meat.
- Finally without over-cooking the rice, remove it from the heat and add a little Parmesan cheese, chopped Italian Parsley and half cup of extra virgin olive oil. Stir briskly to release the starch and serve it
- Always check and adjust with salt and pepper if necessary.
Fish En Papillote with Roasted Carrots and Cipollini Onions.
By Executive Chef Keith Long, Factor’s Row, Annapolis
- 2 Lbs. Firm fish, such as Blue Catfish (Cut into 7 oz portions)
- 8 Cipollini Onions
- 1 Lb. Baby Heirloom Carrots
- 4 oz. butter
- 2 cups Dry White Wine
- 4 sheets Parchment paper, about
- 4 fresh Thyme sprigs
Wash carrots and onions. Lightly drizzle with olive oil. Place on baking sheet and roast at 400° until just soft, around 20 minutes, depending on size. Allow to cool.
- Fold a 14X12 sheet of parchment paper in half.
- Cut a half-heart shape that is the height and width of the paper.
- Lay out each full heart. Place one portion of fish in the middle of one side of each heart. Divide carrots, onions, butter and thyme into four equal portions and place next to fish. Season with salt and pepper.
- Fold the top half of the heart over, like a taco, and starting at the top, leaving an inch or so nearest the top unfolded, fold the edge of the paper over, all the way down to the bottom tip, to create a pouch.
- Place the four pouches on a baking sheet and set oven to 450°. Pour ½ cup of wine into each pouch then finish folding the edge over to seal the pouch.
- Bake for about 12 – 14 minutes until fish is cooked through. Be careful opening each pouch they will be filled with steaming wine. Serve.
Pan Roasted Monkfish with Mashed Acorn Squash and Tarragon-Walnut Vinaigrette
Executive Chef Jeff Buber, Vidalia, Washington, DC
For the Fish
- 4 each, 6 oz. fish filets
- ½ cup dried cepes, pulverized very fine
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil to cook
For the Mashed Acorn Squash
- 3 each, acorn squash, roasted and pulp removed
- 8 ts butter
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 ts grated nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
For the vinaigrette
- ¼ cup fresh tarragon
- ¼ cup toasted walnuts
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 ts lime juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Remove pulp from squash and place in medium saucepot. Add butter, cream and seasoning. Mash with paddle until well incorporated. Do not over mix.
- Dredge the fish in the cepe flour and season to taste. Roast the filets over medium high heat until desired doneness. Remove.
- Puree all the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a food processor at high speed until well blended. Season to taste.
- Place one scoop of squash on each plate. Arrange fish on top of squash. Spoon vinaigrette around puree. Chef Buder garnishes this plate with fried squash. Fresh herbs or roasted winter vegetables would be good as well.
Catfish, Fried Southern Style
Executive Chef Josh Brown, Level, A Small Plates Lounge, Annapolis
- Catfish Fillets
- Enough buttermilk to cover
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs or cornmeal
- salt and pepper to taste
- pinch of cayenne, or to taste
- pinch paprika, or to taste
- 1 quart peanut oil or canola oil for frying
- Season fillets with salt and pepper
- Soak the fillets in buttermilk for several minutes. Remove from the buttermilk and let any excess drip off.
- In a separate bowl, mix the cayenne pepper and any other preferred spices with the panko and flour.
- Heat the oil to 350°: use a counter top fryer, Dutch oven or a cast iron pan filled about half-way with the oil. You can add a little bacon grease for added flavor.
- Dredge fish in the panko mixture then fry until golden on all sides.
Halibut, Swordfish or Salmon Piccata
By Whole Foods Market Annapolis Prepared Foods Team Leader Robert Vouse
- 4 Fish filets
- 2 TB Shallots, diced
- 1 TB Garlic, minced
- 1 Sprig Thyme, fresh
- ¼ ts Oregano, dried
- 2 TB Capers
- 1 can Artichoke quarters, drained
- ½ cup Tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup Chicken Stock
- ¼ cup White wine
- ¼ cup lemon juice, fresh
- 1 ts Lemon zest
- 1 TB Fresh parsley, minced
- 1 TB Butter
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Season the filets with salt and pepper and sear both sides in a hot pan with olive oil.
- Remove the filets from the pan, turn the heat down to medium, and sauté the shallots, garlic, thyme, capers and artichokes until soft, about four minutes.
- Add the white wine, oregano, chicken stock and lemon zest (season the sauce with salt and pepper to desired taste) and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Return the filets to the sauce and simmer until cooked through.
- Plate the fish and stir the lemon juice, parsley and butter into the sauce.
Halibut a la Grecque
By Andre Bienvenu, Joe’s Stone Crab, Miami Beach, FL
In the absence of good-tasting tomatoes, I have used 8 ounces or so marinated roasted red and yellow tomatoes, which can be found at Whole Foods Market.
- 2 Pacific Halibut fillets, 6 to 8 oz each, skin removed
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 large vine ripened tomato, seeded and chopped
- 10 imported black olives
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 TB fresh oregano
- 1 TB basil leaves, chiffonade
- 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and sliced
- 12 cilantro leaves, chopped
- 8 TB olive oil
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Lemon wedges for garnish
- Season the fillets with salt and pepper. In a bowl combine the cheese, tomato, olives, garlic, oregano, basil, scallions and cilantro.
- Add 6 tablespoons of the olive oil.
- Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper; set aside (this mixture will serve as a topping for the fish)
- Preheat a grill or heat the remaining tablespoons of olive oil in a pan.
- Grill or sauté the fish for about 2 minutes on each side. Preheat the broiler.
- Place the cheese-herb mixture on top of the fish and broil for a few minutes until light golden brown.
Bacon-Wrapped Prawns or Sea Scallops in a Balsamic Reduction
by Foraging for Flavor
- Prawns or scallops- as many as you need
- Bacon- enough for 1/2 strip per piece of fish
- Wrap prawns or scallops with very good quality applewood-smoked or Black Forest bacon, using a toothpick to hold the bacon in place.
- Broil until bacon is caramelized and seafood is cooked through.
- Drizzle the serving platter or salt block with a balsamic reduction.
- Place seafood on the platter.
Bring 1 cup balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoon soy sauce to a simmer, reducing to about ½ cup or until sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon. This should take about an hour. Soy sauce can be omitted. Reduction will keep and is wonderful with roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, on baked chicken or especially over slow roasted salmon.
- Use center cut filets, about 1 inch thick, or thick steaks of uniform size, one filet per person.
- Heat the grill to medium high heat.
- Salt and pepper the fish, marinate or use a dry rub. If you marinate in an oil base, beware of flare ups while grilling.
- Place filets skin side down on grill grate; grill until skin shrinks and separates from flesh and turns black, 2 to 3 minutes. Alternatively, place the steaks directly on the grill for 3-4 minutes.
- Flip fillets gently when meat is opaque throughout, yet translucent and red at the very center when checked with the point of a paring knife, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Transfer to a platter.
- Serve with any of the fondue sauces already posted on this site, the balsamic reduction or these other sauces.
Oysters with Mignonette Sauce
from Two for Tonight: Pure Romance from L’Auberge Chez Francois, Jacques Haeringer (Bartleby Press, 2001).
3-6 fresh oysters per person, any species is fine
For the Mignonette Sauce
- ½ c red wine vinegar
- 2 ts cracked black peppercorns
- 1 ts shallots, minced
- ½ ts sea salt, or to taste
- ½ ts finely minced chives
- Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a small mixing bowl, whisk thoroughly, taste and adjust seasonings.
- Wash the oysters, open and lift off the shallow shell. Be sure to wipe off the knife after opening each oyster. Leave the oysters attached to the bottom or deeper shell.
- Place the oysters on the half shell on a special oyster platter or on a bed of crushed ice to keep them level
- Serve the oyster with the sauce, rye bread and butter
Lump Crab and Shrimp Ceviche
From “Seafood Lover’s Chesapeake Bay”, a lovely book by Mary Lou Baker with more than 50 restaurant profiles and 75 recipes from the best restaurants along Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. You can find the book at Barnes Noble, Amazon, the Baltimore Museum of Art bookstore, The News Center in Easton and Arnold Pharmacy at the Four Corners Plaza in Arnold as well as other local outlets.
For the ceviche
- 1/4 lb jumbo lump crab
- 1/4 lump crabmeat
- 6 large shrimp
- 1/2 red pepper, diced small
- 1/2 yellow pepper, diced small
- 1 jalapeño pepper, diced small
- 1 small red onion, diced small
- 2 TB chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1/4 TB cumin
- 3 limes
- 1 orange
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 5 avocados
For the avocado cream
- 1 avocado, halved and scooped out
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 ts lime juice
- cilantro leaves, for garnish
- tortilla chips, for serving
- Mix crabmeat in a large bowl. Steam shrimp and shock in an ice bath. Drain, dice and add to the crab.
- Add peppers, onions and cilantro to the mix. Stir well.
- Toss with oil and cumin.
- Heat limes and ginger for 90 seconds in the microwave . Cut in half and squeeze into mix after removing seeds (or squeeze through a strainer).
- Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Cut avocados in half and remove seeds. Set aside.
- Prepare the avocado cream by mashing 1 avocado with the sour cream and lime juice. Mix well.
- To serve: Fill center of remaining avocado halves with the seafood mixture and garnish with cilantro leaves and avocado cream. Serve with tortilla chips.
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