Monday, January 26, 2009

Fresh Winter Salads

Tired of the same old winter vegetables? If it seems like all there is to eat in the produce department in winter is broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts, take a fresh look at winter vegetables and a new look at how to prepare them. Give those winter vegetables a complete makeover by paring them with other vegetables, greens, nuts, cheeses, fruits, rices, beans, meats, poultry or seafood in salads!

By simply changing the style of the dish you are going to prepare to a ‘salad’, you open the door to limitless possibilities. Salads have no limits in ingredients, style or flavorings. Add sliced beets, fennel, carrots, broccoli or any winter vegetable to a few greens and add cooked chicken or prawns, a few shavings of Parmesan Reggiano, a few sprinkles of your favorite dressing and you have winter vegetables extraordinare!

Try these delicious winter salad ideas!

Warm Goat Cheese Salad
Pear Beet and Fennel Salad
Wild Rice Salad
Pear and Parmesan Salad
Prawn and Avocado Salad
Pasta with Roasted Chicken and Hazelnuts

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Warm Up With Gluten free Chowder!

Chowder, a perfect meal for a cool winter’s day. Chowders are most commonly a combination of seafood, potatoes and onions and milk or cream. They traditionally are made with what is on hand.

There are probably as many different definitions of what a chowder is as there are chowder recipes. Seafood chowders, corn chowders and any number of new combinations of pureed seafood and vegetables.

Chowders also differ by thickness. Some people prefer very thick chowders, we prefer ours thinner and prefer not to thicken with flour and to allow the reduction of cream to thicken the chowder. This result is a thinner chowder, but one with a rich creamy texture. Our preferred method also happens to be gluten free.

Join us this month for a delicious bowl of chowder, perfect for a warm lunch, or serve it as an entrée with gf french bread and a green salad.

Delicious and satisfying, our ‘Salmon Chowder’; will warm your tummy and your soul. ‘New England Clam Chowder’ is a classic marriage of clams, onion, celery, bacon, potatoes and cream, or try ‘Seafood Chowder’; mussels, firm white fish, clams and shrimp provide the basis for this meal in a bowl. In our seafood chowders we have not forgotten the prize of the Northwest, crab. A must try is our ‘Crab and Corn Chowder’. We used fresh corn and cut the kernels off the cob, but you can prepare this recipe with frozen corn. For a non-seafood chowder, try ‘Zucchini and Potato Chowder’; a soothing chowder perfect for any winter evening.

We hope you will enjoy these wonderful chowder recipes as much as we did. Serving suggestion: Put on your favorite slippers, curl up by a warm fire and enjoy a soothing bowl of chowder with a friend.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Spectacular Winter Dinners!

Every once in a while we come across some incredible meals that deserve a little extra mention. This month we have two outstanding meals that will impress even the world’s biggest food critic. Given that these meals are extraordinary, they do take a little time to prepare, so if you are feeling "gourmet" this month, roll up your sleeves and get ready!

Seared Cod Topped with Cod Cakes and Rich & Creamy Chowder

Our first meal is Seared Cod Topped with Cod Cakes and Rich & Creamy Chowder. This is a very rich dish and should only be served in small portions. Pair this with a Caesar Salad and gf French Bread for a wonderful winter meal. This meal serves 4.

To begin, start by buying about 1-1/2 lbs. of cod fillet. Be sure to remove all the bones before proceeding. Trim the cod so that you have (4) 2x3 inch pieces of cod (choose the center cuts for your pieces so they are all an even thickness). Cover the cod pieces and refrigerate.

Prepare your rich and creamy clam chowder by following the directions in Rich & Creamy Clam Chowder. Keep warm over low heat.

Next make the cod cakes with the remaining 3/4 lb. of cod. For a complete description on how to make cod cakes see this month’s recipe for Cod Cakes. Drain the cod cakes on paper towels and keep warm in a 200 °F oven.

Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon canola oil and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter. Season the reserved cod pieces with salt and white pepper. When the skillet is hot, add the cod pieces. Sear the cod on both sides, about 5-6 minutes total, or until the cod flakes easily with a fork.

To assemble, place a small pool of the Rich & Creamy Chowder in the center of a plate. Place the seared cod on top of the chowder. Top with a cod cake and spoon 1/4 cup of the chowder over the top. Garnish with thyme sprigs. Repeat this presentation with the remaining servings.

Roasted Rib Steak with Portobello’s and Pommes Anna

This is a delicious, heart-warming dish that is perfect for the cold evenings of winter. Pour a glass of good red wine and enjoy! This recipe will serve 4.

Prepare the Roasted Rib Steak with Portobello’s from our Recipe File. While the steak is cooking, prepare the Pommes Anna.

To make the potatoes, take 10 pitted prunes and cover them in a saucepan with 1 cup of gf chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the prunes are soft, plump and juicy. Transfer the prunes to a cutting board and finely chop. Transfer the prunes to a medium bowl and add 1 small minced shallot, 1 small minced garlic and 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Peel 2 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes. Using a mandoline, slice the potatoes thinly. Place the potato slices in a bowl of cold water for 1 minute. Remove the potatoes and drain on paper towels. Place 2 tablespoons of clarified butter in an ovenproof, skillet. Place 1 layer of potato slices on the bottom of the pan, overlapping them slightly. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Lay another layer of potatoes on top of the first. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread 1/2 of the prune mixture over the potatoes, leaving about 1/2 inch border. Place two more layers of potatoes on top the prunes, seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper between layers. Spread the remaining prunes over the top. Finish by layering 2 final layers of potatoes over the top. Pour 1/4 cup of clarified butter over the top of the potatoes and place the skillet over medium-low heat. Once the butter begins to bubble, cook for 4-5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to release it from the bottom of the pan. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are well-browned and crisp. Invert the potato cake onto a board or serving platter. Cut in wedges.

To serve, slice the meat against the grain into 1/4 inch slices. Lay 3 slices of meat on a dinner plate, overlapping slightly. Place a wedge of Pommes Anna along the side of the meat. Top the meat slices with the Portobello’s and spoon the sauce over the top. Garnish with a rosemary sprig.

We hope you enjoy these fabulous winter dishes as much as we did! Bon Appétit!