My friend, Creme Fraiche

Early in the spring I shared with you a recipe for frenchified chicken that I am very happy with and have made occasionally until the long hot summer kicked in. Then one of my cooking heroines, The Barefoot Contessa, came up with this recipe for  fish that is just nifty, fast and tastes delicious.


Full disclosure: I am not a fan of red snapper. I grew up in New England and cleave to North Atlantic cold water, oily fish like mackerel and swordfish and sturdy fish like salmon and cod. So because I’m the cook, I can change the fish. One of my fave types of fish is barramundi, a sustainable type of sea bass from the Pacific, and I used it to make this recipe. Start out with putting salt and pepper on the filets, both sides.


Next, mix Dijon and grainy mustards, capers, creme fraiche, and salt and pepper. Coat the fish with the sauce and bake in a 425 degree oven. I only used half the amounts called for in the recipe, because I was only making two pieces of fish. I still had some sauce left over, very good on potatoes. 


Unfortunately I did not do a good job of photographing the finished item on a plate, you’ll have to settle for right out of the oven. I served with asparagus and some boiled baby red bliss potatoes. Totally satisfying despite my barramundi anxiety after the Hubs’ recent revelation that he found barramundi “lacking”. Hmmmmm.

Just another Meatless Monday

Once upon a time there was a restaurant chain named “99” that was ahead of its time and served mashed cauliflower in lieu of potatoes. I mean really ahead, like in the 2000’s…and then inexplicably, just as we got to the ‘carbs will kill you’ phase of the 2015’s, they took them off the menus! Rat finks….

What’s a girl to do, but figure out her own way to make cauliflower the non carb base for some tasty kitchen items. Everyone is in on it…even Pioneer Woman did an episode on Saturday about it!


Take a head of cauliflower and whazz it up in your food processor. It should look like rice or smaller. I then cooked it down in a pan with a little water and olive oil, salt and pepper. I mixed in the end of a container of shredded parm and a bot two tablespoons of goat cheese to make it creamy and continued to cook it until it was soft and polenta like.


I topped with an oil poached egg and about a tablespoon of the confit tomatoes from last weekend’s production. Very satisfying meatless meal!

Beach Bag Books

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I was not ready to stay up all nite to find out what happens in this book, but I did. On a couple of nites recently…

Set in 1928, firmly between the two world wars, the novel tells the story of 3 young women who are part of the “fishing fleet”, the ignominious name given to women who left England for India to find husbands in the “crown jewel” of England’s colonies.

But India is not a dusty colony. It is a thriving, disparate landscape of poverty and castes juxtaposed against the background of English sahibs who colonized and politically and economically strangled fully one third of the Asian land mass.

Viva, Tor and Rose are the protagonists who set out on a liner, Viva as the chaperone to the other two. To capitalize on her passage, she also takes on the chaperoning of a disturbed teenage boy named Guy. Just how disturbed he is, is not immediately apparent.

It’s a terrific story about the intricacies of relationships between men and women, servants and masters, governments and mostly about the relationship between the women themselves.

Thumping good read!

What’s not to like…II

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According to Merriam Webster, the definition of confit is duck, pork or other meat that is cooked and preserved in it’s own fat. But it can also be a garnish of fruit or vegetable that is cooked until tender in a seasoned liquid.

I had some nice Roma tomatoes from Costco and as we have been on a whipped Feta and roasted tomato kick in this house, I decided with this batch, I would confit vs. roast.

As you know I have done garlic confit on this site a mere 60 days ago or so, and made it again after that. I used the same directions except I had to add a step to dry out the tomatoes which you do not have to do with garlic.

I rinsed the tomatoes and quartered them and spread them on a baking sheet. Sprinkled with a little sea salt and ground pepper and a teensy bit of sugar. I popped them into the oven on a 300° convection bake setting but you can use 275° for a regular oven. Drying out the tomatoes means low and slow, so they were in the oven for about 2 hours. a

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You know they are done in the oven when they go all dull looking. No shine to the tomatoes at all and if you press on them they have very little if any juice to give out.

Place them in a heavy pot and just cover with olive oil. I used the end of the oil that I made another batch of garlic confit with yesterday also, so mine will have a LOT of garlic flavor. I added some capers, finely chopped basil and parsley and teensy bit of anchovy paste. I brought to a boil and then dialed back the burner to a simmer. Important that you don’t cover the pot or too much steam will go back into the confit and make it watery.

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Cook them about an hour, give or take, until they are translucent. I wasn’t feeling getting them all jarred up pretty last nite, so I popped them into a plastic container and will worry about them later.

Remember like all items that are in oil, you need to keep them refrigerated for food safety reasons until you use the.

These will be terrific with a little arugula and olive oil on top of a cornmeal crusted chicken breast with some black olive tapenade. Or whipped with some butter on french bread, or as  previously discussed, with whipped Feta and bread.

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Enjoy!

Passages

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So you may have noticed that I haven’t exactly been tearing up the WordPress stats lately and posting a bunch of stuff on this here blog…Well, that’s because as many of you know and some of you don’t, I’ve undergone a HUGE transition in my life. After 40 years of working full time (chambermaid, waitress, front desk clerk, nite auditor, liquor license clerk, writer, front office manager, rooms division manager, catering and board manager, retail manager, catering director, general manager and then district manager..in case you were wondering), I have “retired” from my company after 31 years of those 40. It comes with mixed emotions, but after two weeks I can tell you that I am enjoying not reading email at 4:30 am. There was and will be a tremendous amount of reorganization going on in my part of the business and an offer was made an accepted. An offer that allows me to stay whole for a while, take a breath and figure things out.

So here’s what I know after noodling on things for a couple of weeks:

I love being in operations. Coming up with a plan and executing it

I love working in diversity especially around the advancement of women in the workforce. The last four years that I spent chairing a Women’s Network Group were the absolutely BEST parts of my career, all 40 years of them.

I love throwing parties, planning parties, thinking about parties, theming a party and going to parties.

I love being creative. If I could do paper crafts, photography, writing this blog, making jewelry, cooking and especially baking every day, all day, while planning a party, I’d be in heaven!

Based on this information I should be planning and executing a lot of parties for fantastic women who are working hard and moving forward. The parties will feature a lot of good food, cake and fabulous party favors. Pink may or may not feature prominently…

If anyone has any needs for any of my skills listed here, give me a call and we’ll work something out. I’m open for everything and anything!

I’ve already cleaned all the closets in the house except for one….