Closed Captioned For The Thinking Impaired

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In Memory of Ruth: A New Year's Feast That Will Make Her Smile From Her Table in Heaven

It was a bittersweet end to 2007.

Bitter because my husband's mother quietly passed away that New Year's Eve after a long struggle with pulmonary fibrosis that left her breathless but never helpless.

Vincent Van Gogh's "Irises", One of Ruth's Favorite Paintings
Sweet because she was a strong proud woman who had always lived life on her own terms and when an emergency hospital visit made it quite clear she was going to have to completely surrender her hard-fought autonomy in order to continue on, it seems like she may have finally decided she'd rather check out of this world than check into a nursing home. Her moxie knew no bounds and she would have been miserable in that environment.

84 years of living life her way was too strongly ingrained to let her choose any option that would not allow her complete control over every aspect of her life ; or so it seems to me. She had managed to live as she wanted to until almost the very end in the comfort of her own home surrounded by her favorite things (she was a bibliophile with bookcases that lined every wall of her small 4 room apartment), eating all her favorite foods (most of which had been prohibited by her doctors but her poor nurses who were hired to tend to her need round the clock wouldn't dare disobey her commands - better to risk being fired for incompetence by the visiting M.D. than incur Ruth's ire when her sweet tooth needed satisfying).

Unfortunately, my husband and I were on the other side of the country at the time of her passing. We were in Mayacama with friends; 1-1/4 hours away from our San Francisco home. She was in New Jersey, the place she lived a lifetime. Her roots would never be fed by another soil. New Jersey was home.

Our last conversation with her was the day after Christmas, when among other things, she asked how our traditional Christmas dinner of which she was inordinately fond (roast pork, mashed potatoes and sauerkraut) turned out. Ruth lamented that her own Christmas dinner had been ill-conceived by hospital nutritionists and poorly executed by hospital cooks. It was definitely not up to her standards. She was a woman who relished every meal and maybe the prospect of a New Year's Eve of healthy but flavorless meals was more than she could bear. I wouldn't be surprised. If you were old, sick and in tremendous pain with only a bowl of Jello to look forward to after a long day of suffering, you might say "no mas" and give up, too.

Though she never called herself German, or even German-American and, when asked what her ethnicity was, simply said, "American" with a hint of vehemence in her voice as she shot the enquirer daggers from her steel gray eyes, she had a certain amount of pride in her German heritage. She grew up in a Depression-era America, one that did not welcome with open arms the wave of German immigrants fleeing Hitler. Being a "Kraut" back then got you spit on by the children in the working class neighborhood she grew up in, and was not something she and her family ever openly embraced. They did their best to assimilate their manners and tastes to suit what they considered the more homogenous Yankee way of life, except on holidays,  when they celebrated their heritage the way all American immigrant families did... at the table set with their homeland's culinary delicacies. Sauerbraten, rouladen, Weihnachtsgans (the traditional Christmas roast goose), spätzle, stollen, and of course, sauerkraut all adorned the table during their festive season.

Ruth truly enjoyed fine cooking and dining. She was an expert cook, and natural gourmand. She considered the culinary arts as important a thing to be cultured as the fine art and literature that she oversaw when she acted as the Director of Cultural Affairs for Bergen County, a job she held until the last month of her life. We never did get to call her to wish her a happy new year. She died too early on New Year's Eve morning. I remember waking up at an ungodly 4 a.m. to what I assumed was a vision of my husband opening the resort suite's bedroom door. Except it wasn't him, at all... He was lying next to me in bed. It seems that his mother (for whom my husband bore an uncanny resemblance) came to say goodbye to us... I only wish I had cooked her last meal for her.

Here is what I would have served her: 

(I've included recipes in Ruth's honor because she was so fond of food writing, was the person who gave me my first subscription of Food and Wine, my first copy of the London Philharmonic's Bach Brandenburgh Concertos, my first coffee grinder to grind the Kona coffee beans she insisted I must try, my first steamed asparagus bundle wrapped with a chive ribbon - which I thought was the most elegant parcel I had ever unwrapped - and the first person to teach me the advantage of mustard and horseradish on a beautiful strip of beef.)

Chilled Prawn Cocktail with Sriratcha Sauce & Meyer Lemon Oil

Standing Beef Rib Roast with Horseradish Crust and ver jus
Baked Russet Potato with Creme Fraiche and White Truffle Butter

& Sauteed Haricot Verts with Shitake, Shallot, Pancetta and Veal Demiglace

Truffle Tremor Cheese

A Classic All-American meal with an elegant twist just like the woman who inspired it! Here's to you, Ruth.... with love,

This is an intimate dinner for two that could easily feed four just add 2 more potatoes in the oven. Voila!

Cheers & Happy New Year!

The Recipes:

Chilled Prawn Cocktail with Sriratcha Sauce and Meyer Lemon Oil

Note: This couldn't be simpler. It's a small twist on the classic that I came up with because I found I had no ketchup yesterday. I did have Sriracha sauce (even Safeway sells it now) & a great olive oil from San Rafael infused with Meyer lemons called O Olive oil that uses California Mission olives & so a new recipe was born. We had just driven back from Mayacama & I was exhausted, so I took a shortcut and purchased amazingly pristine steamed & chilled prawns from Whole Foods from their seafood section, not the prepackaged ones in the refrigerated cooked food section, but prawns that had been freshly steamed & offered alongside the raw shrimp. These were enormous about 12 to the lb. I usually poach my shrimp with their shells on in a court bouillon but hey I was tired and one less pot to clean made these pretty cooked shrimp that much more appealing.

12 large prawns (about 1 lb.) that have been cooked, peeled and chilled
1 Tablespoon of sriracha sauce (Vietnamese hot sauce) plus more for plating
1 Tablespoon Meyer lemon infused olive oil (or a fruity olive oil & the juice of half a meyer lemon) plus more for plating
1 Tablespoon of cream-style horseradish
1/2 cup of low-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of creme fraiche (or sour cream)
1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
a pinch of freshly cracked black or white pepper
1 teaspoon of soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon of thai fish sauce
1 Meyer lemon, cut into quarters ( reserve 2 quarters for garnish)
a few sprigs of chervil (optional for garnish)
4 marinated spicy cherry peppers stuffed with feta (optional for garnish)
Carefully pat shrimp with a wet paper towel to remove any debris, then pat dry with a dry towel and reserve.

In a small mixing bowl, combine mustard, sriratcha horseradish and pepper. Add mayonnaise, whisking well to combine. Add creme fraiche, combining it thoroughly with the mayonnaise. Add soy sauce & fish sauce, whisk well. Whisk in the olive oil. Taste for seasoning. Is it too fatty or bland. Add more sriratcha, pepper or mustard. Check consistency. Is it too thick? Add a squirt of fresh lemon juice. Is it too thin or too spicy? Add more mayo and olive oil. You're in control.

Divide the shrimp between two (or four) plates. Fan them out allowing them to slightly overlap. Add a dollop of the cocktail sauce. Place the pepper over the shrimp. Drizzle a little olive oil from the bottle over the shrimp. Then place little drops of the oil around the dollop of cocktail sauce. Using the sriracha squeeze bottle, place small drops of sriratcha on top of the drops of oil. Garnish with a sprig of chervil & a wedge of lemon. Done.

Serves two hungry people or four average revelers.


Standing Beef Rib Roast with Horseradish Crust

Note: This is an entree that always pleases carnivores. It's impressive to see and smells divine as it cooks but couldn't be easier to make.
Make sure you get your oven hot (500 degrees to start) ahead of time so the crust will crisp up. I use panko but you can use any dry unseasoned coarse breadcrumbs or make your own. I like mixing the panko with a little freshly ground sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, dried herbes d'provence and thyme. You can use your own favorite spice mixture. After I pat the panko on the roast to create the crust I spray the crumbs with high heat baking spray to ensure that the crusts gets crisp & not soggy.

I also make a simple garlic aioli from garlic cloves & extra virgin olive oil that I mix with the cream-styled horseradish & Dijon; then I rub the paste all over the roast & let it stand at room temperature for 1-1/2 hours or so depending on the size of the roast but you can skip the garlic if you don't like it on your beef.

As for the spuds, pierce the center of two large russets with a knife once not all the way through, pop the potatoes in the oven directly on the rack 1 hour and 10 minutes before serving. Fill with creme fraiche, truffle butter & season it to taste with salt & pepper

A 2-1/2 lb. roast (about 1 rib) will easily serve four people but you'll have to fight for that rib bone & will have an awkward time dividing it evenly which is why I'll say this recipe serves 2. Of course, I think the bone should go to the chef as a reward for all the hard work but I'm a little biased on this point. A 5lb. roast (2 ribs) may be a better choice for four people & you can always make delicious prime rib sandwiches or tacos with the leftovers for lunch the next day.

2-1/2 lb. beef rib roast (about 1 rib)
1/2 cup panko crumbs (available in the Japanese section of your supermarket)
1 Tablespoon of herbes d'provence
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
1 teaspoon of paprika
3 Tablespoons of cream-style horseradish
2 Tablespoons of Dijon-style mustard
2 Tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
freshly ground salt & pepper, to taste
a splash of wine
a splash of beef stock or veal demi-glace
1 tablespoon of unsalted European style butter (it has a higher fat content)

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and place oven rack in lower third of oven. Make sure you have an oven thermometer in place to better gauge the actual oven temperature.

Remove roast from refrigerator (an hour before cooking). Set it in its roasting pan on a trivet, bone side down.

Prepare seasoning for the roast:
Make garlic aioli & horseradish paste by placing crushed garlic in a mortar & adding a pinch of salt while pulverizing garlic with a pestle. Continue adding tiny grinds of salt and small amounts of olive oil until an emulsion of garlic forms and all the oil is used. Add the horseradish and the mustard to garlic paste until well combined then season with fresh cracked pepper. Taste to adjust any imbalances in the mixture. Set aside.

Combine panko, paprika, salt, pepper, & all the herbs in a small bowl. Mixing well to season the crumbs. Set aside.

Thickly smear the just prepared garlicky horseradish mixture all over the roast. Gently place the now seasoned panko on the top of the roast (where the fat is) using a fork to sprinkle it on and your fingers to pat the crumbs into place making sure to use the horseradish paste to help the panko adhere to the meat.

Spray the roast with baking spray (or high heat vegetable spray) from at least 6 inches away.

Let the seasoned roast stand at room temperature for at least an additional 30 minutes before placing it in the hot oven. If you have a small apartment & an inadequate fan in your range hood, like I do now, open all the windows & doors and turn the hood fan on high before placing roast in the oven. Cooking this cut of meat will set off the smoke alarm if you don't ventilate the area well.

Once in the oven let the roast cook for a minimum of 15 minutes at 500 degrees until the bread crumbs become toasty then lower heat to 375 and cook for an additional 30 minutes or until its internal temperature reaches 130 degrees for medium rare (check with a meat thermometer after 30 minutes by inserting it into the center of the thickest part of the roast away from the bone). When roast is 130 degrees remove from oven and allow it to rest in a warm spot (remember, it's internal temperature will continue to rise as it rests) before carving while you make the green beans and the jus.

Place the roasting pan over two burners on high heat and add a splash of whatever wine you happen to be sipping at the time along with a splash of beef stock or veal demiglace to deglaze the pan. Be sure to scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan & reduce the liquids until the jus achieves a viscous syrupy consistency then remove from heat and add the butter, swirling it into the sauce until fully incorporated & the sauce is thick and glossy. Taste for seasoning & adjust accordingly.


Sauteed Haricot Verts with Shitake, Pancetta, Shallots and Veal Demiglace

Note: The title of the recipe says it all. The shitake & the veal demi made it into the french green beans because I was too lazy to prepare the shitake sauce for the prime rib that I intended to make and opted for the jus instead. Waste not, want not so a new variation of haricot verts was born. Haricot verts are young green beans that are very tender & require no more than a 2 minute blanch before the saute. Be sure to prepare an ice bath of 90 percent ice & 10 percent water in a large stainless steel mixing bowl to stop the cooking process and keep a vibrant green color. This is nothing new but please take the trouble to do it. Once the green beans are cool, remove them from the ice bath so they don't get waterlogged and pat them dry with a clean dry towel or paper towels. The last thing you want is a face full of splattered hot oil because your green beans are wet & soggy.

3/4 lb. of haricot verts, stem end trimmed
1 ounce of pancetta, cut into small dice or lardons (your choice)
1/3 lb. of small shitake mushrooms, stems removed & sliced
1 large shallot, sliced thinly
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus more as needed
2 Tablespoons of veal demiglace
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon white truffle butter (optional)


Set a medium-sized saucepan with salted water over high heat to boil. When the water reaches a roiling boil, add green beans & cook no longer than 2 minutes.

Drain green beans and immediately plunge into ice bath. cooling and drying according to note.

Place a 12 inch cast iron enamel coated saute pan (you know how I feel about Le Creuset, by now) over medium high heat, add pancetta and fry until fat is rended and pancetta is crisp.

Reduce the pan to medium and add olive oil, when heated (about 45 seconds) add the shitakes, stir for 1 minute, check for dryness adding more olive oil as needed then add shallots saute until shallots are translucent and shitakes have softened. Add cooled green beans & saute until veggies are well combined and beans are warmed then add veal demiglace allowing it to melt in while stirring until incorporated & it coats the vegetables. Remove from heat, stir in optional truffle butter and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Truffle Tremor Cheese

I did not make this cheese. It's a cheese from the woman who brought you Humboldt Fog and needs nothing more than a crusty warm baguette brushed with a little cold pressed olive oil, a few caramelized apple slices, raw honeycomb or ripe and peeled persimmon slices to end a holiday meal. Make sure to remove it from the refrigerator an hour before serving so it oozes onto whatever you choose to serve it with and eat it rind and all. You don't want to deprive yourself of any little bit of it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Everyday Should Be Thanksgiving Part 2

What we're really talking about is a wonderful day
set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets.
I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?
~Erma Bombeck, "No One Diets on Thanksgiving," 26 November 1981

who wouldn't let me post this all as one blog

Sauteed Green Beans with Parmiggiano-Reggiano, Meyer Lemon Oil & Tarragon

easy one to make. No recipe required. I'll just write it plainly.

Green beans
Shallots, thinly sliced (or garlic, but remember that garlic burns easily, so add the thinly sliced garlic in at the last possible minute during the saute.)
Meyer lemon (or any lemon)
Extra virgin olive oil
Parmigiano-reggiano or Pecorino Romano

    Get a pound or two of green beans, snap off the stem ends, add to a large pot of boiling salted water to blanch for 3 minutes.

    Drain green beans well, towel off & stick in the freezer for 5 minutes (or you can prepare an ice bath, but frankly, these need to be prepared at the last minute & you will run out of counterspace, believe me)

    Heat some EVOO in the same pan you used to boil the green beans, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

    Add two thinly sliced shallots.
    Saute until softened.

    Add a pinch of salt after they shallots caramelize or else they will never turn golden brown. Salt draws the moisture out of the onions & will keep the pan too wet to allow the maillard process (sorry, that's food geek for browning reaction to heating, I know, I know.. but goddammit I taught myself this so... I'm gonna teach you, too).

    Remove green beans from the freezer & add to pan in a single layer.
    Do not touch them for 90 seconds, allowing them to get a bit of color on one side.

    Then stir them until fully coated in oil & shallots.
    Douse with a squeeze from half a Meyer's lemon (any lemon will do as long as it is fresh) & a bit of the lemon zest.

    Season with freshly cracked pepper, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano if you like a sharper flavor. Serve.

Triple-Cranberry Sauce Bon Appétit | November 1993

"The Indians and English use them much," wrote one visitor to New England in 1663, "boyling them with Sugar for Sauce to eat with their Meat, and it is a delicate Sauce." Although there is little evidence that cranberry sauce was served at the first Thanksgiving, it is assumed that Indians brought it to the feast. This tangy version gets its intense flavor and color from a mixture of fresh and dried cranberries, along with frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate.
Yield: Makes about 2 1/2 cup


    1 cup frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, thawed
    1/3 cup sugar
    1 12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed, drained
    1/2 cup dried cranberries (about 2 ounces)
    3 tablespoons orange marmalade
    2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
    2 teaspoons minced orange peel
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

    Combine cranberry juice concentrate and sugar in heavy medium saucepan.
    Bring to boil over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.
    Add fresh and dried cranberries and cook until dried berries begin to soften and fresh berries begin to pop, stirring often, about 7 minutes.
    Remove from heat and stir in orange marmalade, orange juice, orange peel and allspice. Cool completely. Cover; chill until cold, about 2 hours. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie

Bon Appétit | November 1993

Pumpkin pie was introduced to the holiday table at the Pilgrim's second Thanksgiving in 1623. Decorate this American classic with some whipped cream, or serve the cream alongside. Add a little dusting of cinnamon or fresh grated nutmeg for extra oomph

Yield: Serves 8
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled butter, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons whipping cream

3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon packed golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt
1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sour cream
3 large eggs, beaten to blend

1/4 cup apricot preserves
For crust:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Blend first 3 ingredients in processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cream and process until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball, flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; chill 15 minutes.

Roll out dough on floured surface to 14-inch round. Transfer dough to 9-inch glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Fold overhang under. Make cut in crust edge at 1/2 inch intervals. Bend alternate edge pieces inward. Freeze 15 minutes.

Line crust with foil, pressing firmly. Bake until sides are set, about 10 minutes. Remove foil. Bake crust until pale brown, about 10 minutes more. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Spread preserves over crust; pour in filling. Bake until filling puffs at edges and center is almost set, about 55 minutes. Cool on rack. Cover; chill until cold. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)

For filling:

Using whisk, mix first 6 ingredients in bowl until no lumps remain. Blend in pumpkin, whipping cream, sour cream and eggs.

Spread preserves over crust; pour in filling. Bake until filling puffs at edges and center is almost set, about 55 minutes. Cool on rack. Cover; chill until cold. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)

I have spent​ the past 12 hours​ in a food writi​ng marat​hon.​.​.​

Now I



I must be


But here are two blogs​ becau​se MY SWEET​ LOVER​BOY TOM

(Oh Tom, when you will you fly to me, my sweet hunk of malen​ess,​ you know I await​ you with open arms.​.​.​ *​*​sigh*​*​)​

and his beer pong playi​ng BOZOS​.​.​.​

will NOT ALLOW​ me to post it as one!
Damn them!​!​!​

So do me a favor​,​ pleas​e give the damn thing​s a look,​ will ya?

I am askin​g for pity comme​nts & kudos​,​ yes.​.​.​ pathe​tic wretc​h & shame​less hussy​ that I am.

So give it to me baby!​!​!​

I'll be your best frien​d.​.​.​.​
Hell,​ I'll inclu​de a sexy video​ for every​ click​,​ no purch​ase requi​red.​.​.​
Satis​facti​on GUARA​NTEED​!​!​!​

Remember the golden bloggy rule:


Be DIVINE, my darlings....
It feels too good not to!!!

Never a LURKER or a borrower be...

Because I'll do anything to get people to learn how to cook good food:

Here's a sexy poem about dessert, you lurkers!!

Creme Brulee, Chocolate Souffle & Other Pleasures

Click Here For Part 1 the blog that features the Turkey, the stuffing, the starters & all the other sides.
They are YUMMY YUMMY and worth a glance but I disabled comments & kudos there.
Happy Reading...

Here's the text to the poem for those of you who would like to read along...

Glisten Glow
Feel me flow
in your veins

While I guide
cerise rivers
run insane

On sinuous sails
those heavenly gales
cerulean serenity
our way.

But Hey...
I'm Chimarea, man
Take me by the hand
Let me scorch you
with my lust

Then douse those flames
with your sweet rain
so unctuous
caramel forms

Ribbons of pleasure
Come on, Nebuchadnezzar
play those dulcimer tunes
of love.

Grind me, bind me
Get inside me
Peel off
that visceral veil

Crack that shell
release your spell
into perfumed clouds.

Strip me, whip me
Don't resist me
the stiff peaks form

Then dip into me
All hot & gooey
Let's bathe in
bowls of cream

Til morning smiles
upon our child
Melt with me

Those fresh baked dreams
in chocolate streams
in transplendent
tales told.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Everyday Should Be Thanksgiving Part 1

He who thanks but with the lips
Thanks but in part; The full, the true Thanksgiving Comes from the heart.
~J.A. Shedd

Brace yourselves, my pals, this is a loooong blog!!!

Last year at this time was a bittersweet one for me.

We sold our home.

While we were, of course, fortunate to sell it at a time when others could not sell theirs it did not make the leaving any easier. I was however bound and determined to make our last Thanksgiving in the house a memorable one, but wanted to keep the dinner a very intimate one.

So we invited our best "couple" over.
I say best couple because we happen to value both people as friends which is a rarity. You know how it is. Often you have a friend, like we do, and he changes life partners, like he did, and while you can tolerate them for your friend's sake, you don't really connect to them in a truly friendly way. But such was not the case with this couple, they are both truly our friends equally.

Well, Thanksgiving has come & gone and as the Thanksgiving card that I gave my hubby exhaustively exclaims: "Days of chopping and shredding and baking and roasting, stuffing & serving, all for a half-hour turkey binge and a week's worth of dried out leftovers!"

Yep, that just about sums it up. Add flower arranging, dusting, table-setting, and apartment-hunting then you'll have an idea of the Thanksgiving 2007 experience for moi at the old household.

It's mostly a labor of love, anyway & a gift that I give to myself maybe even more than a gift to my guests. All except for the house-hunting part which I faced & face with dread & sadness. Dread because I know there is precious little in the way of housing in the rental market that I deem livable, spoiled brat that I've been so fortunate to become, & I dread how sad the lack of real prospects makes me.

Sad, too, to leave the beautiful home that we built with great care & love over several years. A love that resonates through every room, in every window, door, hinge & fixture; lovingly selected or designed with our collaboration and carefully constructed by warm-hearted artisans who poured their souls into their work giving this house a heartbeat, a real & palpable warmth felt by every sentient being who crossed over her magnificent threshold.

Like Pygmalion with Galatea, the feeling and reverence that went into making this house miraculously brought her to life. She was our creation, our child, an extension of union. Everyday we marveled at her beauty, her elegance, her grace. Everyday we discovered another angle to her lines, another aspect of her personality to delight us.

She is charming & big-hearted, trying always to accommodate her guests and make them feel welcome and comfortable; despite her seemingly formal facade, she is the opposite of cool & forbidding with her radiant light smiling upon you & her large rooms like arms wide open held out for a warm embrace. We loved her for her accessibility; all the more because, like all nobles with her beauty, structure and breeding, she could have been haughty & autocratic and, sadly, most people would have accepted her rebuffs as the natural course of things even as they were stung by them; but our girl was an egalitarian & knew to be grateful for her many gifts and not feel superior to those who were not as blessed.

Somehow, we sold her; because a house like this deserves a large family to shelter and succor; children running around inside her playing & dreaming, laughing & crying. We wouldn't provide that. We could use the money she brought us instead & finance the rest of our barren lives. (Excuse the melodrama but it is cathartic for me to write these words even if my depiction of our situation is skewed by my ridiculously emotional over-reaction to it.)

I think she is sad, too. I hear her groanings very late in the night but she'll soon get over her loss when the new owners arrive. I hope that we can do the same.

The fact remains that everyday we have an opportunity to enjoy our lives should we elect to do so. Life in of itself is a great blessing. What does not kill us makes us stronger & we should be grateful for that strength, however difficult it is to forge the iron that helps us survive. So, I offer up a Thanksgiving Menu even though it's official day of celebration was 6 days ago. Planning and preparing this meal for my husband & friends really helped me through this difficult time. With the mantra "Everyday should be Thanksgiving!" reverberating through this beautiful house, here is the Thanksgiving menu I served on 11/22/07 (recipes to follow when I have the strength to write them P.S. I never did manage to write them... until today...):

Everyday Should Be Thanksgiving Day Menu

Hors d'oeuvresSmoked Salmon Bundles w/ Roasted Asparagus
Crudite with Mascarpone Pesto
California Nut Mix with Wasabi Peas

The Main Event

Creamy Cauliflower Apple Soup with Dungeness Crab Crouton
Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast with Citrus Butter and Turkey Jus
Chanterelle Mushroom "Gravy" w/ Shallots & Vermouth

The Sides

Truffled Smashed Potatoes
Shitake & Sausage-Apple Stuffing
Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding with Roasted Chestnuts
Vanilla-scented Roasted Yams Gratin with Cinnamon
Sauteed Blue Lake Green Beans with Parmagiano-Reggiano, Meyer Lemon Oil & Tarragon
Triple Cranberry Sauce


The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie
with Cinnamon-dusted Vanilla Ice Cream


The Triple Cranberry Sauce and "The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie" that I usually make for dessert comes from the November 1993 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.

It was my first attempt at making & shopping for a Thanksgiving Day meal. I had never really been that interested in cooking although I have always been interested in eating but the meal was a resounding success & started my long journey into the land of the culinary arts.

I still keep that copy of Bon Appetit. It is food-stained and dog-eared but it remains in my reference library; thumbing through its pages has become a fond part of my Thanksgiving Day tradition even though I have long since committed the recipes I use to memory and always improvise my own variations on them anyway. keeps a database filled with recipes from current & back-issues of Bon Appetit & Gourmet. It really is an online treasure trove for cooks; not because the recipes are so delicious or innovative but because it is a kind of archaeological record of our food & cultural trends. Fascinating stuff for geeks like me! Here is a link to it:

The theme is Cal/Italian this year.

I try to stay within a specific culinary cultural style when I make these large dinners.

Makes the whole meal more cohesive and flowing...

The entire menu should serve 4-6 people.

Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Bundles

This is super easy & courtesy of Giada Di Laurentis.
If you don't like smoked salmon, use prosciutto, or thinly
sliced ham

1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed (about 20 spears)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
4 to 6 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon (1 slice per asparagus spear)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Lay the asparagus on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt, and pepper. Roast until cooked and starting to brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to another baking sheet to cool.

Once the asparagus have cooled, wrap each spear in a slice of smoked salmon. Arrange on a serving platter and serve at room temperature.

Crudite with Mascarpone Pesto

Another supereasy dish to assemble quickly while your guests pile in...
The fish sauce gives the dish a little anchovy umami essence without the messiness of mashing
them. I try to save steps whenever possible when cooking in volume.
Just be sure to buy the best pesto you can.
It's very easy to make yourself, too, if you like
You can substitute equal parts sour cream & cream cheese for the mascarpone, if you can't find it at your grocers'.

    2 zucchini sliced in half lengthwise and cut into 4 inch batons (sticks)
    6 ribs celery cut in half lengthwise and into 4 inch batons
    2 cucumber cut in half lengthwise and cut into 4 inch batons
    20 baby carrot
    1 red pepper cut into2 inch thick strips
    1 yellow pepper cut into 2 inch thick strips
    1 head broccoli cut into small florets
    1 pint cherry tomatoes
    10 crimini mushrooms sliced into quarters
    4 radishes cut into small batons
    1 package mascarpone, room temperature
    2 baguettes, brushed with olive oil, sliced into rounds & toasted in the oven until warm & crisp
    1/2 cup of fresh store-bought pesto
    1/2 teaspoon Thai Fish sauce (optional)


In a stainless steel bowl, mix pesto & mascarpone.
Add fish sauce, mix well.
Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Add to serving bowl.
Arrange raw veggies on a platter. Mangia.

California Nut Mix with Wasabi Peas

Like the others, not exactly a recipe.
But you have lots of cooking ahead so make these hors d'oeuvres mindless & easy.

    Buy 1 lb. of your favorite dried fruit & nut mix.
    Add 1 lb. of wasabi peas.
    Add 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Place ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Mix thoroughly.
Throw it in a pretty bowl.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Dungeness Crab Crouton

Another very simple but elegant dish that reflects the season. The creaminess comes from a small dollop of mascarpone at the end. There is no cream in this soup. You don't need it. The cauliflower when boiled & pureed has the creamiest texture
all on its own. It really has a velvety mouthfeel. To make this more economical & vegan friendly omit the crab crouton & substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock. It will still be yummy, I promise!

For the Crab Salad
Note: Keeping this recipe very casually written. That's how easy it is.

    Buy 3/4 - 1 pound of the freshest meat you can find, make sure it includes lots of claw meat.
    Take 1/3 cup of lowfat Best Foods mayo
    add chopped fresh tarragon, chopped fresh chives; all to taste
    the juice & zest from half a Meyers lemon
    1/2 teaspoon of soy sauce
    1 Tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
    1 sweet baguette, sliced on the bias, brushed with extra virgin olive oil & toasted in a 350 degree oven until golden brown. (about 5-7 minutes)

    Mix the dressing well.
    Fold the crabmeat in being careful not to break it up too much.
    Slice up a baguette, spoon the crab mayonnaise on top. Garnish with sprig of tarragon or chives or both. Place on top of soup. Serve, Eat. Voila!!!

For the soup

    3-4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
    2 leeks, white part only, washed well and chopped
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 small potato, peeled and chopped
    2 large sweet (Vidalia or Maui) onions, cut in half & sliced thinly
    1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
    1 head of cauliflower, chopped roughly
    1 apple, cored , peeled & chopped roughly
    3 cups chicken stock
    1 cup apple juice
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
    2 tablespoons chopped chives, for garnish
    add fresh lemon to taste as a garnish, too much lemon will make soup astringent
    1 teaspoon of sugar
    1 teaspoon of low sodium soy sauce

    Heat a large saute pan. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil & 1 tablespoon of butter to the saute pan.

    When butter melts & browns lightly, add the slices onions, stirring to coat with the fat. When onions soften, add the sugar, stir to combine well & lower the heat to low setting.

    Allow the onions to cook uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring once every 5 minutes or so until golden brown. Add the soy sauce & stir it in. Then turn off pan & set aside.

    Heat olive oil in a heavy, large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, apples, fennel and the garlic and stir. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the cauliflower, stock, salt, and pepper and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

    Using a handheld immersion blender, or in a blender in batches*, puree the soup.

    Add the 2 tablespoons mascarpone and blend again to combine. In a small bowl, stir the remaining 1/3 cup mascarpone to soften.

    Add to the mixture & blend, once again until well incorporated.

    Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Dollop the top of each of the soups with a dungeness crab crouton & sprinkle with chives.

    * When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast with Citrus Butter and Turkey Jus

I elected to use a turkey breast because there were only four of us. When choosing a size appropriate for guests, allow about 1 pound of raw turkey per person.

Sounds like a lot, I know, but you want to have leftovers, don't you? That's the best part. Frankly, hot turkey leaves me cold. I love the sandwiches later on Kaiser rolls or Dutch Crunch bread with stuffing, avocado, & cranberry sauce... Yummy, Yummy!!!

BTW, you can substitute any kind of mushroom you like for the gravy. Chanterelles are crazy expensive. I chose them because this meal is small in scale which meant I could spend more per person, but good old button mushrooms or criminis will work just fine. Hell, you don't even need any mushrooms.

The consistency of my gravy is much thinner than most. I prefer the good wholesome turkey flavor of the jus & stock not the taste of a floury pasty goopy gravy... yuk! I achieve the thickening with a minimum of starch & a maximum of reduction.

I boil the hell out of the stock to reduce it to an almost gelatinous consistency which means you must minimize the use of any salt products until the gravy is made, then add the seasoning or else it will taste way salty.

For the turkey
    1 whole bone-in turkey breast, 6 1/2 to 7 pounds
    1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
    2 teaspoons dry mustard
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
    2 teaspoons kosher salt
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons good olive oil
    2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1 cup dry white wine
    1 onion, skin removed & cut in half
    1 leek, cleaned & sliced length-wise
    1 carrot, cut into quarters
    1 lemon, cut in quarters, juiced with juice reserved


    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the turkey breast, skin side up, on a rack ( I use a trivet) in a roasting pan.

    Nestle the onion, leek, carrot & juiced lemon & place it inside the breast cavity. Be sure that you have cut the pieces in large enough sections so that they don't fall through your rack or trivet.

    In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice to make a paste.

    Loosen the skin from the meat gently with your fingers and smear half of the paste directly on the meat.

    Spread the remaining paste evenly on the skin.
    Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.

    Heat up Citrus butter in small sauce pan until melted & keep warm.

    Roast turkey for 20 minutes at 450, then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

    Baste with Citrus butter.

    Roast the turkey for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest and meatiest areas of the breast. (I test in several places.)

    If the skin is over-browning, cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil. Occasionally basting with citrus butter.

    When the turkey is done, cover with foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes while you make the gravy. Slice and serve with the jus & gravy spooned over the turkey.

For the Citrus Butter:


    1 teaspoon grated lime rind
    1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
    1 teaspoon grated orange rind
    1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
    1 shallot, finely minced


    Stir rinds into boiling water; pour through a wire-mesh strainer. Drain on paper towels.
    Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer or by hand until creamy; gradually add juices, & shallot beating until blended. Stir in rinds. Chill. Can be made 3 days ahead or more if you freeze it.

For the Chanterelle Mushroom Gravy:

About the stock: make your own if you have the time, I'll leave a link; if not buy it frozen; you can substitute canned chicken stock, but make sure it has no or low-sodium both Pacific & Wolfgang Puck make good chickeny ones. This gravy will be dark , almost mahogany in color, if you take the time to roast your turkey giblets & wings first, really worth it. It's only once a year & a lot cheaper than buying canned, plus you can make extra & freeze until Christmas to use it then!

Cornstarch & arrowroot are almost flavorless & tend to dissolve more quickly than flour which is why I am using it here, but heat destroys it's coagulating properties so you must wait to add it until the last minute or so to the gravy. Do not boil the gravy after you add them. Then serve immediately.

    2 big handfuls (handfuls is an industry term ;P) of chanterelles or your mushrooms of choice, cleaned & sliced
    2 large shallots, sliced thinly
    6 sage leaves, in chiffonade (sliced very, very thinly length-wise)
    half a handful of parsley, minced
    2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
    1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
    4 cups of fresh turkey stock
    pan drippings from turkey
    scant tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce
    1/2 cup of dry vermouth or any acidy, non-oaked wine such as sauvignon blanc
    sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste
    1 Tbs. cornstarch or arrowroot


    Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbs. butter & olive oil, when butter is foamy & melted, add a tiny pinch of sea salt to the pan followed by the shallots. Saute until they just change color.

    Add the mushrooms, add the additional tablespoon of butter, if the mushrooms appear to absorb the fat in the pan. Saute until mushrooms are softened, lower heat to medium-low.

    Add the parsley and sage. Stir in & when the mushrooms appear to be slightly glazed, season lightly with salt & pepper.

    Turn off the heat & set aside in a warm place.

    Place roasting pan over medium heat on the range burners. When hot, deglaze pan with the wine or vermouth, being sure to scrape off all the pan fond (the stuck on brown bits) & incorporate into the wine.

    Add the stock to the pan & reduce by half; about 10 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of stock & mix that into a slurry with the cornstarch. Set aside.

    When stock, is reduced add the mushroom mixture, season with soy sauce; stirring well to incorporate it. Taste for seasoning & then add salt & pepper to taste.

    When everything is to your liking, turn the heat down to very low & add cornstarch mixture, stirring really rapidly to avoid making lumps.

    Heat for another minute or two over low heat until the cornstarch flavor is gone.

    Place in gravyboat. Serve immediately.
Here's a link for Turkey stock:

Truffled Smashed Potatoes

What can I say about smashed potatoes? Don't cut them too small, in fact if you use Yukon Golds, Baby Reds or Yellow Finns leave them whole, leave the skins on, boil them with salt until soft but not mushy, remove excess water by tossing them over heat in a dry, hot pan and heat up the cream & butter before adding them to the potatoes.

Put them through a ricer or food mill if you like a smoother, lighter texture or smash them like I do with an old fashioned masher if you like them with a heartier, more rustic style.

Just add lots of white truffle butter or truffle oil to it at the end to give them a luxe flavor. Add a few chives & Yaay!!!

If you can score fresh white truffles and shave them on top, all the better but good luck; they are as rare and as expensive as an F50 Ferrari.

Shitake and Sausage-Apple Stuffing

Be sure to cut all the aromatics the same size small dice. Makes a big difference in texture.

    16 ounces Challah bread or any brioche (use white bread if you can't find an egg bread), cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
    1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
    6 cups onions, about 2 large, finely chopped & 4 cloves of garlic, smashed & minced
    1 pound tart green apples, peeled, cored, diced small
    2 handfuls of shitake mushrooms (you can use oyster, button, whatever you like)
    1 large carrot, peeled & cut into small dice
    2 celery ribs with leaves, diced small
    4 teaspoons poultry seasoning
    1 cup dried cranberries (about 4 ounces, optional)
    4 sprigs of finely chopped fresh rosemary
    8 sprigs of finely chooped fresh sage
    2/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
    3 eggs, beaten to blend
    1 and 1/2 cups to 2 cups (about) fresh turkey stock or canned low-salt chicken broth

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Divide bread cubes between 2 large baking sheets. Bake until slightly dry, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.

    Sauté sausages in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, crumbling coarsely with back of spoon, about 10 minutes.

    Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to large bowl. Pour off any drippings from skillet.

    Melt butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, apples, celery, mushrooms and poultry seasoning to skillet; sauté until onions soften, about 8 minutes. Mix in dried cranberries and rosemary & sage.

    Add mixture to sausage, then mix in bread and parsley. Season stuffing to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

    Mix eggs into stuffing just before baking.
    Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 15x10x2-inch baking dish.

    Mix 1 1/3 cups broth into stuffing. Transfer to prepared dish. Cover with buttered foil and bake until heated through, about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until top is golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding with Roasted Chestnuts
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

I just add roasted chestnuts to the hunky Tyler Florence's recipe for added depth of flavor, it's great for vegetarians, though not vegans.

    1 1/3 cup heavy cream
    4 eggs
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 loaf crusty Italian bread, cubed
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering baking dish
    2 shallots, sliced
    4 pounds mixed wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
    1 package of roasted chestnuts, chopped roughly ( jarred is fine)
    3 tablespoons chopped chives
    3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
    3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
    4 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more to top


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    On a sheet pan put cubed bread. Toast it in the oven until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

    In a large saute pan melt the butter and saute the shallots until just wilted. Add the mushrooms and saute until browned, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.

    In a large bowl make custard, whisk together the cream with the eggs and season with the salt and pepper.

    Add toasted bread cubes along with the chives, thyme and rosemary to the egg mixture.

    Stir in the sauteed mushrooms and mix in the grated Parmesan.

    Transfer the mixture to a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, top with more grated Parmesan, to taste.

    Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the custard is set.

Vanilla -scented Roasted Yam Gratin with Cinnamon

This is pretty damn easy & super tasty. An Alsatian Riesling or Gewurtztraminer is the best bet for this entire meal. Just thought I'd mention it now before I forget. A ripe California Pinot Noir from Sonoma might work, too. I love the Central Valley Coast ones like Ambullneo, too.


    4 large garnet yams or Jewell sweet potatoes, roasted in a 450 degree oven for 1 hour, peeled , cooled and sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
    1/2 cup of heavy cream
    1 vanilla bean, split in half with seeds scraped & reserved or 1 teapsoon of good quality vanilla extract
    ground cinnamon to taste
    2 Tablespoons unsalted butter plus more for topping gratin
    sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    Place yam slices in a gratin dish large enough to hold them all in a single layer, but do make sure they are overlapping slightly. Squash them together a bit, if necessary.

    In a medium sauce pan, heat the remaining ingredients over low heat; allowing them to steep for 15 minutes.

    Pour cream mixture over yams.

    Dot with additional butter.

    Bake for 25-30 minutes until top is caramelized & golden brown.

This is a repost from last year.
I am making this menu again.
It is classic.
Click HERE for Part 2

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fresh From The Market, Lazy Gourmet-Style: Wild Alaskan Halibut "En Papillote" with Truffled Tarragon Butter, Roasted Asparagus, Yam "Gratin"

“The quality of life is determined by its activities.” ~ Aristotle

Far too often I hear friends say they never have the time or energy to cook for themselves or their families which I think is a terrible shame.

Eating is something we do everyday.
The fact is we must eat to survive.

The London Times once did a few quick calculations and reported that the average person spends 6 years and ten months eating in his or her 70 year life time.

That's approximately
3 681 641.36 minutes (YEP, over 3 MILLION minutes) or 1/10 of the average lifespan spent in this activity, why fill it up with foods generated by ConAgra and increase their already huge coffers?

At the risk of sounding like a Stepford Wife (remember them? *shudders*), cooking can be F-U-N!!! You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to luxuriate in a good meal shared, even if only once a millennium.

And yes, I know... I know.... in this go, Go, GO day & age, spending such time together seems to have become so rare that it is a luxury. However, nothing is more convivial than sitting around the dinner table, eating a delicious meal and enjoying each other's company.

Folks, it doesn't get any easier than this for a light, simple, elegant meal. Seriously, in the time it takes to order in a meal, you could have something fresh & delicious that will impress anyone for a special occasion or just a nice treat for yourself.
You deserve a break today & it sure as shit should NOT be from McDonalds!

For those of you less inclined to using those little heat-emitting appliances known as ovens, this meal (sans aluminum foil, unless you are looking to rival the Large Hadron Collider in generating a possible worldwide cataclysmic event horizon, ending all life on earth as we know it) could also be easily adapted for the microwave by wrapping the ingredients in paper towels, Glad plastic sandwich bags or microwave safe plastic wrap.

I am going to make it even easier by providing nothing more than a basic outline in pics.

You get to color between the lines or outside the lines of this "recipe" yourself.

In 60 minutes with only about 20 minutes of active cooking time, you will have a meal that is delicious, nutritious and looks pretty on your plate! Now THAT is what I mean by quality of life & I bet good old Aristotle would agree.

Cooking "en papillote" is a method in which you seal the food in a pouch and bake. The food essentially steams in the oven in its own juices, though you can add ingredients to flavor the food as I will here with just a few splashes of flavored liquids, herbs and aromatics. The keys to the technique are: 1) use fresh ingredients; and 2) preparation or mise en place which is very simple.

Instead of parchment paper which is the traditional method, I will use aluminum foil to wrap the fish, not as pretty, but very easy to do.

Wild Alaskan Halibut "En Papillote" with Truffled Tarragon Butter, Roasted Asparagus, Yam "Gratin"

I have given directions for microwaving everything, but really nothing brings out the sweet caramelized goodness of veggies like roasting them in the oven & it really takes very little effort, plus you can cook everything into a regular oven at the same time. Not so when microwaving.

Here are the ingredients, you can determine the quantity of each depending on how many people you wish two serve. I am assuming two people in this "recipe".

  • Vegetable broth, a couple of splashes
  • Dry white wine (or beer), a couple of splashes from your own glass
  • Fresh Tarragon, chopped
  • Halibut fillets (any firm-fleshed white fish will do. Salmon & chicken also works nicely here. Times need to be adjusted for thickness of fillets. Generally if you can smell it, it's done, but allow about 15 minutes for a 1-1/2 inch tick fish fillet & 20 minutes for a chicken breast.)
  • Truffle salt (plain sea salt is fine) and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.
  • One large shallot, finely diced ( finely diced red onion & a minced garlic clove can be substituted for the shallot)
  • One fresh lemon, a couple of squeezes per fillet for seasoning the fish.
  • One bunch of fresh asparagus, tough ends snapped off (you can substitute any veggie you like obviously. Though for roasting nothing beats asparagus, seasoned with a bit of truffle salt, black pepper & olive oil)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, enough to drizzle over the fillets & asparagus
  • Butter, half a stick; unsalted
  • 1/4 cup of half & half or heavy cream with a 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract added and well combined
  • Sweet potato, cooked (one per person), roasted for an hour in a hot oven or microwaved and sliced into coins
  • Parmigiano reggiano, for grating over asparagus & yams.
  • Aluminum foil, if using oven; Plastic wrap or baggies, if using the microwave
  • Preheated oven, 450 degrees
  • Hungry people you love


Assemble all of your ingredients, like so:

  • Preheat your oven at 450 degrees
  • Roast or microwave your sweet potatoes or yams (or other tuberous veggie) until done. (Can be roasted well ahead of time up until the day before).
  • Slice into 1/2 inch thick rounds and arrange them in either a roasting pan or heavy skillet.
  • Season with truffle salt & pepper, pour half & half/vanilla mixture over it & a couple of tablespoons of butter, cut into small dice & dabbed evenly over the potatoes.
  • Then set aside, while you prepare the fish & roast the asparagus.
Like so:

  • Place the fillets in a little pouch of their own, using either aluminum foil for baking or plastic wrap (or baggies) if you plan to microwave your fish or poultry.
  • Season the protein with truffle salt & freshly ground pepper to taste.
  • Add the aromatics: shallots, splashes of lemon juice, wine, fresh tarragon, a drizzle of olive & a 1/2 TBSP of butter per packet
Like so:

  • Then wrap the little bundle up & pop into the middle rack of your preheated oven for about 15 minutes for a 1-1/2 inch thick fillet (Or about 3 minutes if microwaving.
  • Remember to seal the baggie but leave a little room for air to escape; venting the baggie by poking a little slit through the top & placing the fish packet on a microwave-safe dish.
  • Here's a great article on microwaving fish:

  • Then prepare the asparagus by lining a shallow baking sheet with aluminum foil & seasoning with salt, pepper, fresh juice quickly squeezed from a lemon & tossing it all with extra virgin olive oil using your hands which are the best tool for tossing veggies and salads ever invented!
  • Add the asparagus & the yams to the top rack of the oven. Roasting the asparagus for about 7 minutes & the yams for about 15 minutes. (Or microwave them instead on a microwave-safe dish for 2 minutes after the fish is done).
  • The asparagus will be done before the fish. Remove them when you can smell them then grate a little parmigiano reggiano over them, dusting them lightly.

When the fish is done, remove it from the oven, set the oven on broil, dust the yams with a little bit of the parmigiano reggiano and cook the yams under the broiler for a minute until they are nicely browned.

Arrange on a plate & eat it!

Truffle Salt can be found in specialty markets that purvey yummy grub or "upscale" supermarkets like Whole Foods.

Yes, it is expensive, but a little goes a long way and it will last you for a year. It's unbelievable in mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, macaroni & cheese or just a little cappellini, parmigiano reggiano (parmesan cheese) & olive oil.
Pure decadence was never so affordable.