Sunday, May 31, 2009

Monday Mouthful- Duck Duck Goose Confit Cassoulet

I remember when I first heard the name of this dish, 'Cassoulet'. I was taking french in college, and began watching french movies at the Inwood Theater off Lovers and Inwood. I even named my daughters second cat, a white Persian, Manon from 'Manon Of The Spring'. Even being obsessed with wanting to make this dish, it just never happened. That is why I picked it for today's post. Mindy @ Mindy's Mouthful and I are hosting a German/French Challenge every two weeks. She picks German, I chose the French dishes, and all you have to do is send us a link, and you are in!

Hubby loves duck, so I decided to go that route. I read that this dish origin is not very clear. Some historians say it is an Arab dish, some other says it was created in Castelnaudary during the Hundred Years' war (14-15th Century). The clay pot that this is traditionally cooked in could hint to its origins of being similar to the Moroccan cooking pot, the tagine. The 'cassole' in its design, resembles more of a cone shape, but the idea remains similar.

In spite of my camera lens having a smudge; which shows in every photo cooking this dish went smoothly. Taking a whole duck and splitting it down the breast, and placing it back and fat side up I would begin a duck confit early in the afternoon. While the duck is slowly cooking I make some beans. Girlichef's Merlot salt I received will add an interesting flavor to the duck. I will be using the meat and duck fat to cook a few more dishes for my blog this week. My dish is my own interpretation, and there are many varieties of it out there.

I like to stretch ingredients into other dishes when going to so much trouble. Oregano lamb meatballs will be the extra meat in this recipe. I will post the recipe at a later date. This dish has the traditional white beans, but my addition of ramps and fresh grown tomatoes make it my own. Typically this is a pheasant dish, so using duck, and goose liver is an expensive means of making it, but you can use sausage, or even make it vegetarian if you desire. Tuck all the ingredients down in a baking dish; cook until all ingredients have melded.

Hubby picked up some Red, White, and Blue loaf at Wegmans for me to make crostini. Camembert along with fresh artichoke spread adds an extra layer, and crisp on the side. The artichoke spread were about three fresh chokes that I steamed, chopped along with some parsley, ramps, EVO, and a splash of Girlichef's Merlot salt. Let it sit overnight to meld. (in the small chopper you can use the inner soft leaves; along with the hearts)

Cassoulet (from Occitan caçolet [kasuˈlet]) is a rich, slow-cooked bean stew or casserole originating in the south of France, containing meat (typically pork sausages, pork, goose, duck and sometimes mutton), pork skin (couennes) and white haricot beans.

The dish is named after the cassole, the distinctive deep round earthenware pot with slanting sides in which cassoulet is ideally cooked.

Numerous regional variations exist, the best-known being from Castelnaudary, the self-proclaimed "Capital of Cassoulet", Toulouse, and Carcassonne. All are made with white beans (haricots blancs, lingots), duck or goose confit, meat and sausages. In the cassoulet of Toulouse, the meats are pork and mutton, the latter frequently a cold roast shoulder. The Carcassonne version is similar but doubles the portion of mutton and sometimes replaces the duck with partridge. The cassoulet of Castelnaudary uses a duck confit (duck cooked for several hours in its own fat) instead of mutton and serves it in a special dish (the "cassole")

Cassoulet is also sold in France as a commercial product in cans and can be found in supermarkets and grocery stores across the country. These cassoulets vary in price and quality. The cheapest ones contain only beans, tomato sauce, sausages, and bacon — duck and goose are expensive and thus are absent from such preparations. More expensive versions are likely to be cooked with goose fat and to include Toulouse sausages, lamb, goose, or duck confit.

Go check out Mindy's 'Cassoulet'...

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchens posted her version during February, 'Cassoulet'...

Here is a little email I received shortly after hubby ate the cassoulet...

Thanks for a wonderful meal. I haven’t had cassoulet too many times, but it was better than Lavendou (Preston Road north of Frankford in Dallas) and others I remember.


Your best taster

Friday, May 29, 2009

Thank You!

First things first! Girlichef passed on an award to me recently, and its the cutest award. One of her children a few months back picked my name out of a hat to win a sample of Sea Salt. Purple sea salt at that! Hints of Merlot, and a sister who loves purple I thought I would save it for my trip to Texas, but one day I found myself with no salt in the house, and no time to stop at the market. Well, you can guess what happened. Sorry Donna! I did not use it all, but let me tell you, the baked potatoes were delish with this salt! Thanks Girlichef for both of these wonderful things you have passed on to me...

Next Ricardo @ Rico Cafe has passed on a questionnaire for some of us to answer. Rico here are my answers, and more...

Diamonds or pearls?
Give me the oysters and keep the pearl!

What is the last film you saw?
I have not gone to a movie in a long time, I read books, write, or fish...

Your favorite series?
I DVR Trueblood, Phyc, Monk, and a few others...

What kind of breakfast do you have usually?
Water and a piece of cranberry-walnut rustic bread, or gluten-free bread

Second given name?

Which kind of food can't you stand?

Favorite name (at the moment)?
E; which is short for Exciting

Which car do you drive?
Catering Van

Which trait or character don't you like?
negative people

Favorite clothes?
Any nice comfortable ones, (preferred materials, cotton and linen) Same as Rico, so I know if we visited him, and our luggage was lost; then they would have extra clothes for us, lol

If you could take the airplane to go somewhere, where would you go?
Brazil. -I am there Rico; when are we going?

Where would you want to live when you are retired?
Where my grand kids are one day!

Which birthday do you remember the most?
Two more years I will be fifty, so start planning my party ya'll!

Your birthday?
June 16th

If you were a color, which one would you be?
Burnt Orange

Chocolate or vanilla?
depends on what the dessert is!

Coffee or tea?
Irish Coffee

The last person you had on the phone?
My sweetie, no car repair; sweetie soon...

Sweet or savory?
both...can't choose really. -I think they go well together!

The day of the week you prefer?
The day I get to cook...

Now we are suppose to pass it on, so I am passing it on too...

Tangle Noodle
Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen
Reggie Girl

and Rico, because sometimes a man just has to try one of for size and support now and then!

Everybody have a great weekend, and thanks for all of you that follow me...and go check out all the other great blogs out there! I have to ask someone to forgive me out there...I had an another award passed to me, but I get busy and forget, so sorry if I have forgotten someone! -Elizabeth

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Texas "de brisket" Tacos

The “brisket taco” was popularized in the 1980s in many Texas Tex-Mex restaurants such as Mia's and Micocina of Dallas; Matt's El Rancho and Serrano's of Austin. They can either be coated in a dry rub mixture as I have done, or slow smoked over pecan as Matt's El Rancho in Austin, Texas does. This dish is still popular in my house, as was in my childhood home.

Brisket can be cooked many ways. Popular methods in the Southern United States include rubbing with a spice rub or marinating the meat, then cooking slowly over indirect heat from charcoal or wood. This is a form of smoking the meat. Additional basting of the meat is often done during the cooking process. However, most of the tenderness from this normally tougher cut of meat comes from the fat cap often left attached to the brisket. The brisket is almost always placed with the fat on top so that it slowly dissolves down into the meat as it cooks, resulting in a more juicy and tender meat.

Once I moved to New Jersey I found this meat did not come as cheaply as it did in Texas. Also, learning that the Jewish community cooks this cut of meat like one would tougher cuts such as roast, but in an almost flavorless manner; I decided to introduce my tasty homegrown version of making BBQ and tacos to my clients and friends in the area, and today still fill many orders for them.

The “taco” is a Mexican sandwich that dates in English to around 1900, and is comprised of a rolled or folded, pliable maize tortilla filled with an edible substance. According to the Real Academia Española, the word taco originally meant (and still means) a plug (as in rolled paper used plug a hole) or paper or cloth patch for musket balls. Care should be taken when using the word taco outside of Mexico, as the RAE lists 27 possible meanings for the word. A taco is normally served flat on a tortilla that has been warmed up on a comal; since the tortilla is still soft, it can be folded over or pinched together into a U-shape for convenient consumption.

First, there was maize; then, there were tortillas- The tortilla origins began in the Central American region as early as 3600 B.C., and spread to other areas like Mexico; were they are still made and eaten with almost all meals today, but originally they were considered an appetizer by the Spanish name of antojito. This also referred to in many Tex-Mex books and sites as 'The Mexican Sandwich'. Many other uses for the tortilla came about through fusion of Spanish/Mexican, and Anglo cuisines as history tells us.

I grew up with this cut of meat being slow braised. My mom would wake up as early as four in the morning, season it with liquid smoke, cumin, garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper; you would go nuts smelling it when you rose from bed as you anticipated how it would be served. Brisket was an inexpensive cut of meat, and could be found in many stores year round in Texas, and still is. Summer months you might see it as cheap as eighty nine cents a pound. Often my father would slather it in sauce and finish it off on the grill for his favorite BBQ sandwich, but now and then my mom would place this fall apart juicy meat in homemade masa tortillas for an easy taco weekend meal. She would make coleslaw, red beans, pico di gallo, and throw it all on the tortilla together. I am not a picky eater, so if it all ran together, the better! Many people I meet that tries my dish tells me stories about how they or someone they know had it in Texas once and considers it a tasty dish.

I remember a neighbor taught my mom about cumin, masa, and other seasonings for making ground beef tacos when I was a young girl in the 1960's, she began rubbing the same seasonings on brisket as an alternative to just liquid smoke, salt, and pepper. I have continued the tradition for both dishes since. My guess is that the neighbor was of Anglo Mexican and New Mexico Indian heritage, as I learned later on that traditional residents of Mexico I befriended did not like cumin, or its association with Mexican cuisine.

Cumin unlike chili powder was introduced around the time when slaves, and colonist were recruited by Spain to come to the San Antonio area in the 1800's. The Canary Islanders of Africa were responsible for its use in dishes such as tagine cuisine. Infusion of these different seasonings, ingredients, and techniques resulted in the Tex-Mex cuisine; therefore creating one of the southern regions oldest cuisines. Old and new dishes are continuously being recreated in Texas kitchens.

Reference Information:

Texas: The Lone Star State- Taco
Food Timeline- Taco
The Tex-Mex Cookbook, A History In Recipes and Photos, Rob Walsh

Monday, May 25, 2009

Maple Walnut French Toast

So this story started with a holiday at the beach, a pound cake, and a sweet tooth...

As you can see many samples were removed for quality control...

Memorial Day at the beach included family, friends, great food, and wine...

BBQ'ing and a great buffet kept everyone happy...

There is a dilemma of what to prepare for guest once I returned home...

Apricots appear at their peak in May, and are one of my favorite fruits. Last year when they hit the market I toyed with an appetizer of Grilled Apricot, Goat Cheese, and Prosciutto wrapped and stuffed Mahoul Dates. They were a big hit at parties, so I decided to play with recipe idea for Memorial Day guest. What I did complimented my brunch entree- The Maple Walnut Pound cake made into French Toast. No syrup was needed, as it was moist and resembled the original sweet bread.

Make an egg wash and press it through a fine sieve quickly dip the pound cake; transfer to a hot griddle, and brown on each side. Bake in 350 degree oven for about seven more minutes. Powder sugar and wrapped apricots will add that extra special touch of savory to this sweet dish.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Here today...Gone 'Costa Rican' Tamale

“Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity.” ~Bo Bennett

I look at everyday life filled with lots of enthusiasm and inspiration as I begin to spread my culinary wings into new cultural foods. Hubby and I are returning to Texas for the first time in a long over due holiday in June. My birthday, and no classes until July gave us a good excuse.

A childhood friend we will be staying with, Cheryl requested I make a Costa Rican spread for family and friends when I visit. She dreams of living there one day when she retires. I have made similar foods in that cuisine; like tamales, black beans, gallos (open faced tortillas), lunch Casado, 'Cow Belly' soup, and other dishes of her island dreams. I am doing my homework to get as authentic as possible, and bring her some 'Tico' atmosphere...

'I made a few with some of the verde sauce added to the shredded pork...'

Tamales in Costa Rica are similar in ingredients, but the banana leaf variety are more like a meal in one bite as they make ready their banana leaves; render lard and make stock; add Masa in a bowl with some lard and oil, stock, and sometimes seasonings for extra flavor. Cook rice, pork, and black beans.

Banana leaves- masa, rice, pork, chilies; roll, tie, and repeat; roll, tie, and repeat. Since my banana leaves were in lock down, and ruined from vehicle jail last Friday, I went with corn husk for this go round, but in Texas Cheryl will get her Costa Rican delicacies the way they roll, and a whole-lotta-them...

I bought a nice three pound bone in shoulder roast that had an inch and half slab of fat still attached from the meat department. I carefully sliced off the fat, and rendered my own lard, along with some bacon. Slow cooked the pork roast in a dry rub, and let it cool. Once cool I shredded the meat. Taking the bone and the gelatin from the cooled pork, and made a stock for the masa.

I fried up some plantain chips and made two dips- pureed black beans and rice, and a Verde with chunky avocado. I could not help myself, but I started my own Costa Rican party with out her, but she doesn't mind, and she had better get her tamale rolling volunteers geared up!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

One pear, two pear, and the last pair...

I have been really busy and behind this week, since my van went missing. I am posting this for the weekend, and it is not one of my favorite photo shoots of my food lately, but they were really tasty...

Buying a bag of mixed pears consisting of Basc, Red, and Anjou sounded like a great inspirational idea a few weeks ago; we ate a few in between my 'Caramelized Pear Blondies', and now I found myself with only two pears left. Since Mothers Day I have thought about my mom's ability to bake from scratch on a whim's notice, so I decided to give it another go...

After thinking about what I could do, and idea came to me. Make a gluten-free dough, and fill it like Rugala (Rugalach). Cream cheese was added to the dough recipe, and I was not sure if it would hold up to a heavy filling- I cut the filling recipe in half.

Combine pecans, pear, brown sugar and cinnamon in mixing bowl.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease baking sheets. Spread each circle of dough with some jam, or I used some pear caramel mixture I had left over from my Blondie recipe. Divide filling among circles, spreading evenly. Cut each into 12 wedges, and begin rolling.

Arrange on prepared sheets, point side down. Bake until golden, about 16-17 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool. Cut into pieces, and store in airtight container.

My friend who is Jewish, Gen tried them and said they were great, but they needed more filling. Then they would resemble the true cookie she grew up with.

I saved some dough and made Parmesan bread sticks...

Photography lessons still proceed, but I will have the 'expert' by my side...Donna Kay in a few weeks in Texas...with tutorials in photo shop on my new lap top I just got for my birthday...

Go over and check out our 'Friday Shoot Out' posts; this weeks theme was 'Red'...

New Building/Building Youth

I have been anticipating the 'big' move to the new building where a better kitchen setup would exist for the students; it has arrived! Now they can slice and dice on counter tops and tables at the right height one should have when prepping. Unlike on the picnic tables we had to use in the old kitchen the new space is perfect.

'This was our Asian 'Noodle' lesson class...'

The students are doing very well. Some of them are more passionate about being in the kitchen, so I let them take some leadership and pair them up. Occasionally we have a new student drop in; they need to get caught up so I can move on to the lessons.

I still smile when some tell me they are allergic to the vegetables. Insisting they try a bite of each thing they find they like it, and begin talking about the foods in a positive way. Some new cheeses have been introduced, and I got a few "Yucks" on the goat and sheeps milk, but over all the meals they create are a success and quickly devoured.

'They really liked using the chopsticks! Only one student gave up on them, and began using a fork...'

Different cooking techniques, ingredients, cultures are being discussed, and that is what I am aiming for. Challenging them to step out of their comfort zones. A few weeks back they had an assignment. We went shopping for their chosen recipes, and they had to go home and prepare the food for their families. I found that reporting back to me they were comfortable with cooking from scratch, and enjoyed the experience.

I am working on getting the greens in as often as they let me get away with it, so far, so good. They are just happy showing off their skills to each other, and are not noticing my sly motherly ways.

'The staff appreciates the buffet line we create each time, and the healthy menu they prepare...'

Good things, good times, and a great job! I love teaching these kids...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fiddle-sticks, no...

Fiddlehead Ferns~ Last year I missed these little babies when they hit the market, and we did not have them dining out either. Hubby remembered a restaurant named 'Fiddleheads' a few towns east of us always has special menus during the month of May to June that include them, but we missed it for some reason. Seeing them at a smaller market that does not carry such specialty items I was surprised. I starting scooping up as many as I could.

My friend Gen who was with me when, wanted to split these, some dill and other ingredients for a recipe; then I explained to her how to prepare them. This is what I came up with... Fiddlehead Fern Pasta Salad. She told me they enjoyed them, and it was her first time to eat them.

EVO for sauté
1/4 to 1/2 pound cleaned Fiddlehead Ferns
1 sliced pear, soak in lemon water to keep from turning
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 red onion, small chop
1 teaspoon paprika
salt/pepper to taste

2 cups pasta, cooked
4 small red bliss, small chop, cooked
2-3 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Soak in hot water first and then sauté in a EVO/butter mixture, along with onions, pear, garlic, paprika, salt/pepper to taste, and after about 20 minutes. I removed from heat and placed the lid to seal in steam for another five minutes. Once fully cooked, I tossed them in some chopped dill and Dijon mustard. I boiled some small pieces of red bliss potatoes, and added macaroni to the water, and when potatoes are done remove from heat and let sit to finish the cooking process; then drain well after you see the pasta has increased in size. Toss both together and serve.

HISTORY: Fiddleheads are a world wide spring delicacy now, and run about six dollars a pound at the market. They appear on menus and in markets about three weeks in May. What exactly are these deep green, coiled vegetables, though? Fiddleheads are actually young fern fronds that have not yet opened up. They must be picked during a two-week window before the fern unfurls. You can find many recipes for preparing them. Like many things out there; there are no law or rules in the culinary world that say we can not make something our own, as I did with my 'Spaetzle' post. Only creative license, and that is one thing in life that is definitely free!

Fiddleheads (mine were confirmed 'Fiddleheads' brought in from Maine) are named for their appearance, which resembles the scroll at the head or top of a fiddle. The ostrich fern is the species that produces these edible shoots; which have a unique texture. I have read that they taste like asparagus or okra. To me they have their own unique flavor.

I have read that Fiddleheads can be consumed raw or cooked, but they also say remember to keep them refrigerated until you are ready to cook them. Try steaming them for ten minutes until they become soft, as others say giving them a twenty minute hot soak, and then cooking them once again to remove any toxins.

There have been no tests that I found online or in books proving them to be poisonous, but they must be picked before they unfurl. Some cases of food poisoning have been associated with eating under cooked Fiddleheads, so be cautious when preparing them. Because process times have not been established for home-preserved Fiddleheads; it is not recommended to pressure canning as a method to preserve Fiddleheads. These are popular in Asia,

The container of Fiddlehead Fern Sauté was even better the next day as lunch!

Turns out these babies are hand harvested, pesticide free, and all natural, go look for your self @ Norcliff Farms, who provided my grocer with them this year... Whole Foods here in Princeton gets there in from Oregon...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Monday Mouthful- Spaetzle

Every two weeks Mindy @ Mindy's Mouthful is doing a French/German challenge, and this weeks pic was Mindy's idea- Spaetzle. I had looked around for an idea for a sweet/savory dish, and found something that stimulated my need to use up some pears that are still laying around. A few of my dishes last week, and this whole week will be pear infused recipes...

Over at Naturallady @ Borealkitchen you will find a great post on making Spaetzle, and she even throws in a recipe for 'Cheesey Spaetzle Casserole', and I thought I would make it my own with this...

Cheesy Pear Spaetzle Casserole

2 or 3 pears of your choice, thinly sliced, and put into lemon water, or onions
butter or oil
Cheddar & Smoked Braided Mozzarella, both grated
Small pint of heavy cream

1. Saute pear slices to golden grown. Have the oven preheating @ 400 degrees.

2. Layer an (oiled) casserole with layers of freshly made Spaetzle, cheese, pears, and top off with Panko bread crumbs for a nice crunch finish. Gently add some cream to the dish.

3. Bake at 400 F for 5-10 minutes until bubbly, and slightly browned. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.

Nature Lady says that "Spaetzle is a very German dish most commonly associated with the region of Swabia (Schwaben). It's basically fresh homemade egg noodles, and nothing store-bought compares to the REAL THING. It's not difficult, but it is a bit messy (be forewarned, ye neat-freaks out there!), and you gotta work fast".

My dish is not so traditional, but the smokiness of the cheese, and the sweetness of the pears gave this a nice texture and flavor. We still at it as the main course, with steamed broccoli, heirloom tomatoes, and a glass of Dry Riesling.

I made two small ramekins of the sweet spaetzle and one larger casserole of just the casserole with no pears.

Go over to Mindy's site and check out her version of 'Spaetzle'...

"F, F, F", and "F F"!

My weekend, well it did not start off so good. I was surprisingly calm when I discovered my car missing from my parking spot after I was done with teaching Friday afternoon. Was it stolen, or did a tow truck haul it away to vehicle jail? I could have been using Gordon Ramsey's 'F'avorite word, but my title stands for "Friends, food, fun, and Fiasco Friday".

Friday was the first day of culinary class at the newly located Isles building. Trenton is not the greatest place to leave your vehicle unattended (we had a parking lot before). My van was taken, and it took me all night to find the thing, and without the help of police "Thank You Very Much"! A big headache, but I will have it back by Monday afternoon, and hopefully all in one piece. Moving on, as I am still unusually calm, maybe shock is a good word...

A Saturday get together challenge with our AWS friends more than made up for 'Fiasco Friday'. Earlier in the week, Adrienne and I discussed how much we enjoy doing progressive dinners. I thought this would be a fun addition to Mommy Gourmet @ My Original Recipes blog challenge of how we each entertain in our own fun ways...~ Here is MG's post...

The plan- to start out at our house with a round of appetizers paired with a wine sampling; move to a restaurant for the main course; then another hot spot for dessert, or after dinner cocktails. I found the time to make one of my appetizers- Scallion Potato filled 'Pierogi's' with Asparagus. This was not quite the spread nor the traditional pierogi I had planned, but I figured all would understand. My class had so much Asian marinade/sauce left from our feast; that I decided to use a little, since I now had time constraints out of my control...

After some great conversation we headed to a new restaurant in our area, J.L. Ivy. We found it quaint and friendly staffed, but not the 'French' infused restaurant it presented itself at launching. Our friends already had guessed it used to be a once popular establishment from long ago, The Rusty Scupper. We shared that it must be a law that every time it is mentioned in the media, The Rusty Scupper appears as well. I have never eaten at a Rusty Scupper, nor does it sound appealing, but they say it was decent.

Word is, J.L. Ivy menu is all over the place, and we agree. The 'BBQ Fluke Rolls' turned out to be the winning dish on this visit, so we would come back just for the sushi bar. Four small plates to share was plenty, and the wine list is wonderful. Three bottles suited our taste buds. Sounds like a lot, but we sat for a long time before moving on.

When our check arrived, escorted by the manager explaining to us the table next to us got our bill and without question, they paid. We paid for theirs with a discount. This surprised us, but what about the others, as tomorrow they will awake and realize "Hey did we order those three bottles of wine, and martinis"? Who doesn't look at their check before paying?

'The manager brought over our check that had been paid, but gave us the lighter one...'

Off to the next adventure... Thank goodness we rode in their car, because we were having at great time laughing at each others stories from the past, that I was happy to sit back and relax for once. Elements was chosen as the 'dessert' destination. Sharing the memory of my 'Brown Butter Whiskey' excited them, and Adrienne was looking for a place to take her college graduate son in a few weeks, so this was a chance to check out the establishment.

As we sat at the bar, the bartender, or should I say 'Mixologist' was shaking around a few unfamiliar cocktails. We decided to sample. Mommy Gourmet, you would have loved his truffle infused cognac martini made with their home made grape fruit bitters. What a refreshing drink that was! After more laughter and good conversations with the staff at Elements, we knew the magical midnight clock was about to strike. Off we rode in their chariot into a Sunday morning twilight; then hubby and I drifted off into a peaceful slumber. Food, fun, and good friends are a great way to end the week!

Scallion Potato filled Pierogi


2½ cups of flour, or more if needed
1 tsp salt
1 egg
2 tbs. sour cream
½ cup lukewarm water

Sift the flour, and then mix all the other ingredients together, and knead a few minutes. The dough should not be very smooth, and it should be quite sticky. Let stand covered with an inverted bowl for 1/2 hour before using. Take a portion of the dough, and roll it out until it is 1/16" thick, using round 2" molds make about a dozen or more for filling.


2 1/2 lbs of red bliss
2 bunches of scallions, chop small to medium
salt/pepper to taste

Finely chop the onions and fry in butter until golden brown. Peel potatoes and cut them into thirds; cook until tender. Once cooked, completely drain potatoes and mash with no liquid. Add fried onions, salt and pepper to taste, and blend together.

Fill each round and then refrigerate over night covered, so filling may cool.

Isles Culinary Class- Asian Marinade/Sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon lemon grass paste
1 tablespoon cilantro paste
1 teaspoon chili paste
3 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup vegetable stock, or chicken stock

In a hot saute pan, add oil and asparagus cooking for about seven minutes, or so, to brown, remove and set aside; add the remaining ingredients together in the same pan over the medium-high heat, reducing by half. When ready tuck in pierogi, and simmer for a few minutes. Serve over asparagus.

'A squeeze of orange, and a lighter, our mixologist at Elements dazzled everyone with his magic...'

Gordon Ramsey Update: The staff working at Elements (our last stop this post) knows someone who works at 'Flamangos Roadhouse' and filled me in on the same info I had gotten last week, and confirmed the new info from my friend Robert C.- I spotted the Gordo today lacing into some people in front of the restaurant. He was dramatically leaning towards them when I snapped a phone pic- nothing. The car was going too fast. I noticed he highlights his hair. Good job though. Looks very natural. He has a good stylist. He's also remarkably fit looking- and tall.

I am hoping to go back, and between Elements staff and Robert C., I will get into that re-launch party to meet Gordo! I am enamored by his whole persona now...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Flamangos Roadhouse

- To be saved by Gordon Ramsey, or bulldozed?

People who live in the town of White House Station wonder what is up with this restaurant name I discovered while asking questions around town the other morning. Watching some past episodes of 'Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares'; that I actually get Gordon Ramsey. Working in an unorganized back of the house nightmare, and with owners who have no clue how to run their business is not fun! He will surely change the name...

While I was snooping around my friends quaint little town this past Tuesday looking for Gordo (as someone called him in a comment); I discovered this restaurant has had three owners; is right next to a noisy train station; the owner got her hair done once by Robert C., and the filming crew was already two days behind.

Okay, so far they are just beginning to get the place ready for Gordon's arrival. The back lot was set up with tents, and a trailer, but I did not see his name. Believe me guys I was on my toes. I tried to be sneaky take photos inconspicuously, but did not see him on the property. Next thing I knew they were stapling black plastic over the windows, and I wondered if it was to keep people like me out of there way? "Nah" said Dennis, a producer friend explained; it was for the camera lights they would be using to film the show.

While waiting for Robert to arrive, and over at the train station I saw three people sitting and watching the restaurant's back door. Good idea! So I joined them, and we talked about the whole thing. Was he nice? Was he as tall as he looks on cable? Will we hear him stomp outside and say the 'F' word as the owner feels over powered by his ideas? Could he really help a cursed ginormous restaurant with a menu as long as a novel? An all over the place eatery that was not well thought out. The other side was a hideous car garage and lot...location, location, location!

I had lots of fun while I was visiting my friend, and there are updates coming from Robert C./Salon Opus owner. The latest news was that the film crew was set up taking shots of the outside, and the neighborhood. He walked over to see if he could get information for us, but said they quickly broke down the film tracks, and had moved back in. Salon Opus clients are waiting with foil full of highlights while he is peeping across the street for me. I was not disappointed since I had a fun day, and I am still determined to go back over there to get my photos of Gordo...

'You can see them stapling the black plastic over the windows...'