Monday, September 26, 2011

Salmon with Tarragon 2 ways and A Fresh Fennel Salad

Sometimes I get flavors that I want to eat stuck in my head. This week it was the combination of salmon and tarragon.

Thursday night I made a Tarragon cream sauce and served it with poached salmon over fresh-cut fettucini. Yesterday I made a salmon, tarragon spread and served with with a simple fennel salad.

Here are the recipes:

Pasta Dish
Tarragon cream sauce:
1 pint of cream
1/2 cup fish broth*
1 tsp salt
3 sprigs fresh tarragon
1 tsp lemon zest

Poached Salmon
Ok, so it's not really poached salmon, it was sort of a sauté-cum-poach... but it was really good.
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 white onion, sliced
1 lb fresh salmon filet
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup fish broth*
Salt & Pepper to taste

*I got some fish bones from my fish monger, threw them in a pot of boiling water, let it boil for ten minutes or so, and used it the fluid for poaching liquid and for the cream sauce.


Put all of the cream sauce ingredients, except the lemon juice, in a sauce pan and simmer for fifteen or twenty minutes, or until thickened.

Slice the onion. Skin and cube the salmon. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over Medium-high heat. Sauté the onions for a couple of minutes then add the salmon. Let the fish cook enough until opaque then add the broth, salt lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Gently scrape the bottom of the pan to release any stuck bits. Bring to a simmer and let cook for five minutes or so. By the time the salmon is done, so will be the cream sauce.

Now, this next step may be a major culinary No No, but it worked for me. Add the cream sauce to the salmon mixture, stir gently to combine, and poor over fettucini and serve.

Salmon & Tarragon Spread
I had a can of salmon in my cupboard that I wanted to try. I've eaten canned tuna all of my life, but other canned foods have always turned me off. So I though I would start by mixing it with some cream cheese and other goodies, spread it on good bread and see what I thought. Well, "YUM!!" was the answer to that one. So here you go:

1/2 can of salmon, ~ 2 oz. (I used Trader Joe's Alaskan Pink Salmon)
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/4 tsp salt
Cracked pepper
1 tsp chopped tarragon
A good squeeze of lemon, ~ 1 tbsp

Stir it all up and spread it on toasted baguette or your choice of crackers.

Fennel Salad
Thinly slice some fennel bulb, place it in a bowl, drizzle some olive oil and white wine vinaigre over it, add some salt & pepper and a dollop of Dijon mustard. Stir it up, serve. Simple, crunchy, fresh. 


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

To Dine Out or Not to Dine Out - Is that Really the Question?! Really?

I am very excited to share with my readers my first guest post on another blogger's site.  Please visit and, well, enjoy!!


Friday, September 16, 2011

I Have Seen The Light & I'm Feeling Toasty!

I'm in love!!

I didn't think it would happen so quickly, but as soon as I laid eyes on my darling, I knew that we were meant for each other.  I had to clear out a lot of clutter to make room, and the presence of my new love forces me to tend to things that I don't want to, but I must. I've already made big plans and I'll share more as they come.

Want to see a picture?

Ok, ok, I could have wiped the counter down before taking the picture, but isn't it gorgeous?!

As a long-time (very, very, long-time) single woman, I have always hated heating the entire oven to bake one darn potato, or to reheat some leftovers. (I don't like microwaves. But that's another story altogether). Now I can do so much using so little energy. From tartines, to nachos, heating tortillas, to baking just a couple of cookies, I will be able to do so much. I am thrilled!!

Pictures and recipes to come!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Make it happen, Cap't! - Recipes for Football Season (Partie 1)

I recently got an e-mail from an old high school friend that said,

"Hey Mama! I need some good recipes for the upcoming football season! Make it happen, Cap't!"

The first thing I thought to myself was, "I'm on it!  I'd love to help." 

Then I thought, "Ugh.  Football.  I hate football."  

Then I thought, "Guacamole!!"

You see, I'm a former football widow... well it was my fault, really, because I stuck around on game days and played the happy housewife and hostess; cooking for 'the guys', putting up with the burping, the scratching, the profanity, the yelling, more scratching.  You get my drift.  The only thing I liked about football was the cooking.

One of the things that was my fallback hit was (and still is) guacamole. 

2 avocados
1 garlic clove chopped
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup of fresh, or good quality store bought salsa (you choose how hot)
The juice of one lime
Tobasco or other hot sauce if desired

Put all of the ingredients in a large bowl, mash it up, and serve!!  It doesn't look pretty, but DAMN it's good (if I may say so myself.) 

Mom's Tip
If you choose to add some spice to your guac, reserve some to one side for the kiddos before adding it.


Friday, September 9, 2011

A Lot of Alliteration for Two Little Girls

We had "P"s for dinner the other night.

We picnicked in the back yard, 

nibbled on purple potatoes,

spread paté on petit la Panzanella crackers,

and spit the pits of plump green olives into the bushes.

Pretty painted fingers picked at tasty berries and tomatoes.

And my beautiful girl posed for her picture-happy mama.
Lorelei mid-blink saying "Cheese!" for the camera.

Aint she perty?


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Putting it Out There

I'm finding myself pine for a life I used to lead.  I traveled.  I ate out.  I was thin(er).  I look at Paris apartment rental sites and swoon.  I reminisce about my days at the circus.  I think to myself, "I love my girl, but how can I get my life back?!"

Please know that I wouldn't change the fact that Lorelei is in my life for anything.  I would, however change a lot of other things.

I would change what I'm doing professionally.  Waiting tables isn't my life's calling.  It's been a great thing during my schooling and allowed me to raise my daughter myself as apposed to putting her in daycare from the time she was born.  The flexibility of schedule was great, but now, it's time to move on.  But when I send out my resume it looks like I'm a waiter applying for Director Positions.  Ask me if my phone is ringing.

Yeah.  No. 

I would change how much money is rolling in my door.  At this point it's a quiet trickle, really, that is instantly vacuumed, sucked, blown, and ripped from my hands.  Some of my obligations, mes droits, are paying for the life I used to lead; that and school.  My French degree looks pretty on my wall but has yet to be very useful.  Surprise!!

I would like to have a partner in crime to ride this ride of mine.  My success at relationships to date have been, well, unsuccessful.  I haven't given up hope that I may meet someone, but until then, I've got a wonderful network of friends and family that still humble me with their love and support.

My frustration level is getting so high that I find my shoulders in my ears and I'm forgetting to breathe.  This blog is a great release for me, a nice place to focus my frenetic energy and, ideally, it will be a conduit for me finding my professional success... but I'm still so stressed I lie awake at night, sometimes for hours.

That all being said, I'm going to put It out there.  The ubiquitous they say things like

"Put your dreams out there so that they can heard." 
 "You won't get what you want of you don't ask for it."  So here I go.

My ideal job would be something under this umbrella:

... and here's the root of my problems.  I got nothin'!!  

I am good at a lot of things but have NO IDEA how to focus them into one job.  I go crazy behind a desk.  I love to perform.  I'm a great manager and love to work with people.  I'm good at sales but dread the idea of EVER doing it again.  I obviously love food and the restaurant industry, but I don't want to work nights anymore because I have a daughter who needs her only parent to be at home with her.  I want to travel, but I would have to figure out how to bring Lorelei with me.  I had a great idea that would have allowed me to do that, but I didn't have to time to get it off the ground. 

So, until I have some stroke of genius, or my dream job falls in my lap, or I win the Lotto, I'll keep poking the Twitter bear, trying to get followers for the blog and hope to make some money off of it.  Maybe I'll go buy a Blogging for Dummies book and reinvent some more wheels while I'm at it.

By the way, I'll be guest-posting on MommaBeThyName this month.  Keep your eyes out for that.

Mom's Tip
Massive amounts of coffee will never, ever make your troubles go away.  It'll only make you type so fast that it'll be like writing a blog post 1.5 times... type, type, type... backspace, delete, Crap!!  Type, type, CRAP!


Friday, September 2, 2011

Salt Cod Brandade - So good For Mamas & Babes Alike

Last week I had to have a burger.  I had to have fries.  And I had to have mayo to dip those fries in.  So I made a bee line to Bastille Café & Bar, a great bistro/ginormous French restaurant in Seattle.  I wasn't willing to share my burger with Lorelei, so I ordered her Salt Cod Brandade.  I knew this would be a hit because it's fish, it's warm and rich, and came with a fried egg on top (even though it's not shown here... it was lapped up by my egg-loving daughter.)

Brandade is one of those dishes that I was introduced to while living in France.  It's not in the forefront of my culinary repertoire, but when I see it on a menu I jump at the opportunity to have this tasty treat.

Salt Cod Brandade at Bastille, Seattle

As with many things since I've started this blog, I think I'll try it at home.  Here's a recipe from that I plan to try.

1 small head garlic
1 cup heavy cream
1⁄2 cup diced yukon gold potato
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1⁄2 lbs. fresh cod filet, 2" thick
2 tbsp. peanut oil
2 tbsp. prepared tapenade

read more... for cooking instructions.

We'll see how it goes.  Stay tuned for details about my experience, and most likely foibles.

Mom's Tip
Brandade makes a great left over meal.  In your oven or toaster oven (my new favorite toy in the kitchen) toast some crusty bread with some of the brandade spread on top at 350º for about 10 minutes.  To make a complete meal out of it, serve a salad on the side and top it with a fried egg.