Nut Free

  • Time Travel Chicken (1/4/2016)

    ChickenPorcini

    A brush of snow on the ground, heater running full blast, sweaters, slippers, a hot beverage… Yes, Winter has arrived and it’s time to get on that ‘Culinary Bus’ and head to the kitchen to create something that zings with flavors of warmer places and seasons!

    Porcini Mushrooms speak of Spring and hope for warmth!  Chefs and Foodies quiver with delight as these morsels hit the market every year.  So, being January, I delved into my stash of dried Porcini to create this dish!

    How to season this particular bird… A rub of ground Porcini will give it a rich earthy aroma and hints of the reawakening forest floor, but more is needed to convince my palate that, indeed, it will be Spring again!  Taking my nose through the spice jars led to Sri Lankan Curry!curry_sri_lankan_wholeThis beautiful blend of Indian Coriander Seed, Cumin Seed, Cinnamon, Fennel Seed, Fenugreek Seed, Cardamom Seed, Japones, Black and Tellicherry Peppercorn, and Cloves from Seattle’s World Spice Market added exactly the right amount of Zing, Pow, Bam needed to make this a highly memorable dish!

    After roasting the bird, use the drippings and a few more chopped porcini to make a risotto.  Enjoy!!  Chef Celinda

  • The Book of Betty (11/16/2015)

    oatmeal1“Rainy Days and Mondays” always make me think of warm couches, fires and cookies… So, I drug out my ancient, well, circa 1972, “Betty Crocker Cooky Book” for inspiration.  Turning those well thumbed pages, finding the dog eared treasures, with pictures (and greasy finger prints to match) unearthed a flood of warm memories.  Oatmeal seemed just the thing to make this rainy Monday perfect.  Feeling delightfully lazy, I figured bar cookies were the best thing to create…

    Gluten Free Oat Bars with Maple Buttercream

    Cream together:

    1 C softened unsalted butter

    1/2 C white sugar

    1/2 C packed light brown sugar

    Add:

    2 eggs  Continue beating until creamy and smooth

    Add:

    1 C Redmills 1 to 1 Gluten Free Flour

    1 C Gluten Free Rolled Oats

    1 tsp Real Vanilla

    1 tsp Kosher Salt

    When well mixed, add:

    1/2 tsp baking soda

    1/2 tsp baking powder

    Just make sure these are mixed in thoroughly.  Don’t over mix at this point.

    Spread the soft dough across a lipped baking sheet that you have greased with either butter or a light coating of Olive Oil pan spray. Place into a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 12-14 minutes, or until the top browns and the cookies begin feeling firm.  Remember, these will continue to cook in the hot pan after you take them out of the oven.  Of course, if you want your cookies crisp, you are welcome to cook them a bit more.  It’s up to you!  When they are done, place on a rack to cool.

    The buttercream is super easy:

    1 1/2 C powdered sugar

    1/4 C softened butter

    1/2 C Real maple syrup

    Toss this all into the mixer and whip until smooth and creamy.  Spread over the cooled cookies.  When the buttercream is set, cut the cookies into whatever shape and size that makes you smile.  Enjoy your Monday!

    Thanks for visiting Fearless Feast!  Chef Celinda

     

  • Mi Masa Su Masa (4/20/2015)

    masa fish n plantains
    So many gluten free flour blends are heavy with rice flour.  These tend to magnify my waistline…  A perusal of my pantry turned up a lovely bag of masa harina; corn that has been soaked in lime, then ground into a flour.  This made a spectacular light coating for the long-line rockfish I picked up at Town & Country’s Central Market in Shoreline today.

    Cut your fish into serving size pieces, salt each side and dust lightly with the masa.  Brown on each side in hot olive oil.  Top with a mixture of fresh mango and minced jalapeno.  Pop into a preheated 400 degree oven.  You want to cook rockfish fully.  It will be flaky, white throughout and no longer opaque.

    To complete my theme I served the delicate fish with Abenaki’s Corn Polenta.  I picked up this beautiful multi-hued polenta from the people that grow the corn, grind it with utmost care and then sell it at the Eugene, Oregon farmer’s market a few weeks ago.  This is some of the best polenta I have encountered, to date. I cooked it with fresh stock and a squeeze of lime to bring out the lovely corn flavor. Check out their website www.lonesomewhistlefarm.com

    For some fun texture I made my own version of tostones; double fried green plantain.  Simply score the plantain down each side, snip the ends and pop into the microwave until soft and the skin is dark brown/black.  One large plantain took about three and a half minutes in my microwave.  Once the fruit is soft, let it cool just enough to handle and remove the skin.  Cut into 12-14 rounds.  The recipes I’ve seen call for all manner of methods to ‘smash’ the rounds, but being a chef with ‘cast-iron’ hands (who needs fingerprints, anyway!) I placed them between two pieces of wax paper and smooshed them fairly flat with the heel of my hand.  You could use a glass, a plate, a pan, whatever is handy.  Now fry them on one side in olive oil in a cast iron pan.  Turn them over in the oil and place the pan into your 400 degree oven with the fish, until they are done.  I made mine fairly crisp, but do them how ever you prefer.  They can even be cooked extra crisp and served with a dip for a fun appetizer.

    Some zucchini sauteed with World Spice’s Caribbean Curry and a bit of fresh minced cilantro to finish!  It was VERY quiet around the dinner table at my house!
    Enjoy!!  Chef Celinda

  • Goddess of Green Things (3/30/2015)

    asparaguswithlemon
    Want to be a Goddess?  Read on!  Fresh, vibrant vegetables are trickling into our markets.  It just takes an understanding of flavors and a deft touch while cooking these glorious examples of Spring bounty to bring your dinner guest to rapturous delight.

    Little could be simpler to prepare then the beautiful asparagus pictured above.

    1 bunch of asparagus, washed and bottoms snapped off
    2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold, cut in thin slices
    Sliced of fresh Meyer or regular lemon
    Fleur de sel

    Arrange the asparagus in a baking dish.  Place the slices of butter across the middle of the stalks.  Layer the slices of lemon on top of the butter.  Sprinkle all with fleur de sel and pop into a 350 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes.  Keep on eye on the asparagus.  Once the color starts to brighten, test for tenderness.  As soon as it reaches the level you prefer, remove from the oven.  It’s ready to serve.

    The dish pictured shows the pretty asparagus served with fresh Rockfish seasoned with tarragon and minced orange zest on top of quinoa studded with roasted pine nuts, scallion and julienne morsels of dried mandarin orange.  Once the asparagus was happily balanced across the fish, I poured the resulting butter over the whole.

    Gluten Free, as always!!  Enjoy!  Chef Celinda

  • March Madness (3/27/2015)

    Caribbeansuccatash
    The sun is occasinoally popping out in startling glory, yet despite calendar exclamations of the changing season, my Spring Fever or March Madness is creating a longing for moist garden soil running through my fingers, outdoor expeditions and, above all, Warmth!

    To keep the depression at bay, brought on by malingering Winter evidence, I cook food from warm climates.  Tonight my home smells of the Caribbean!  Lime, coconut, allspice, nutmeg, such lovely acquaintances…

    To accompany a pork roast rubbed with lime zest and those warm friends, I created a “Caribbean Succotash”.  I am using that term loosely, since there were no lima beans involved, but it seemed like the perfect name for this dish.

    1 each yam and sweet potato, peeled and cut into small dice
    1/2 Yellow Onion, minced
    Organic Virgin Coconut oil
    1 small Jalapeno, seeded and  minced
    1/2 Cup shredded coconut
    1 banana, peeled and diced
    3 Tbsp World Spice’s Caribbean Curry blend
    6oz Pineapple Juice
    Kosher Salt

    Saute the sweet potato, yam, onion and jalapeno in the coconut oil until beginning to brown a bit.  Add the curry blend and cook for two more minutes.  Turn off the heat, add the pineapple juice, banana and coconut.  Toss together.  Salt to taste and place in a 350 degree oven.  Cook until nicely browned, about 45 minutes.

    Like every dish on Fearless Feast, this recipe contain no gluten nor many other allergens.

    Enjoy!!  Chef Celinda

  • You are my Sunshine! (3/4/2015)

    sunshinechiliMaybe not my, ‘only Sunshine’, but you do, soooooo make me Happy!

    The beautiful fresh flavors and color inspired the name
    ‘Sunshine Chili’

    Ground chicken thigh meat
    Cannellini beans, prepared
    Yellow onion, minced
    Poblano, fresno, jalapeno peppers, minced
    Chicken stock
    Lime zest
    Cumin, ground
    New Mexican chili pepper, groundAji amarillo, ground
    Turmeric
    Garlic
    Oregano, Mexican
    Coriander
    Sage
    Rosemary
    Cilantro
    Salt and Pepper

    Cook the chicken, onion and fresh peppers until chicken is cooked through.  Add lime zest and spices; cook for a few minutes.  Add herbs then chicken stock to level of the meat in the pan.  Season with salt and pepper.  If you cooked your own beans and did not finish them with salt, you will need to be pretty generous now.

    Cook on low for a couple hours, or until you can’t stand it and have to get a bowl and a spoon…

    Garnish with fresh minced cilantro and a fresh chevre, feta or cotija fresco.

    Once again, NO gluten!!  Who knew!!  Enjoy!  Chef Celinda

  • Shanks! (3/4/2015)

     

    lambshankAw, for the love of Lamb Shank!  Spring is here!!! At least it is, in Seattle!

    A supremely simple pleasure to prepare:

    Season each shank with salt and pepper then brown on all sides.  Place in a dish large enough to hold them all.  Add chopped Spring Onion, fresh minced garlic minced orange peel and a non-oaked white wine to fill the pan to the half way point.  Add additional seasoning, seal with parchment, foil and the lid.  Place in a preheated 325 degree oven for about three and a half hours.  The shanks are ready to serve, but I prefer to do this a day ahead, chill uncovered, remove the fat layer and reheat.  You will find the texture to be much better, if you have the time to do this.

    To serve, Spring asparagus and carrots were the perfect touch with a garnish of gremolata made from citrus zest, mint, flat leaf parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

    Cooking without gluten is so very easy!!  Enjoy!  Chef Celinda

  • Silver for the King (2/22/2015)

    cohoPretty, wild Silver, also known as Coho, Alaskan salmon is incredible when prepared with dense, flavorful King Oyster mushrooms.
    KingOyster
    This variety of mushroom combines the flavor, we love, of the oyster mushroom, with a dense meatiness that adds incredible texture to your dish.  You will find them to willlingly avail themselves of the flavors you introduce in the pan.  Tonight, I chose to saute them in butter with shallot and cardamom.  When they were sufficiently softened, I deglazed with Oloroso sherry, then a touch of maple syrup, the sweetness balanced by Jerez sherry vinegar.

    Coco, or Silver salmon are frequently found at a much better price in your fish market.  Being a smaller fish, you need to handle them pretty gently, when cooking.  They can dry out in a heartbeat!  Keep a close eye on them as you pan roast, poach or oven roast this wonderful fish.

    For those of you seeking to keep your diet free of allergens, fresh wild salmon is an excellent choice.  Firm fish, like salmon, do not need a coating, as do more delicate fish, like sole.  This means, you can usually count on it as a Gluten Free option on restaurant menus.  Do carefully read the menu description, though.  Ask you server, to be sure it is safe.  At home, Salmon is wonderful with so many flavors, sauces, cooking styles and accompaniments.  Be creative!  Enjoy!  Chef Celinda

  • Gluten Border Patrol (2/21/2015)

    RellenosIngredientsSatisfying your craving for amazing Mexican dishes should not require a run in with the Gluten Border Patrol!

    By using one of our great choices, in gluten free flour, it is simple to create many of the dishes you are lusting after!

    Try my Shrimp and Lime filled Chili Rellenos.  They take some time, but aren’t difficult.
    2 Poblano peppers per person, or one, for smaller appetites
    Sweet shrimp, peeled
    Fresh Lime
    Chevre
    White or Brown Rice, prepared
    Cilantro, chopped
    Green Onion, minced
    Shallot, minced
    Garlic, minced
    Organic tomato sauce
    Olive oil
    Cumin
    Coriander
    Cayenne or other favorite powdered chili
    Salt and Pepper
    Egg
    Gluten free flour:  I prefer Redmill 1 to 1 baking flour

    The Peppers:
    Using the broiler or over a gas flame, burn the skin of the poblano peppers. Wrap in paper towel or a paper bag to steam the skins loose.  When cool, remove all of the skin.  Remove the top and seeds.  The peppers can be fragile, so do so gently.  If one splits, don’t fret, toothpicks can work magic. Place the opened, prepped peppers on waxed paper and set aside.

    The Sauce:
    Place olive oil and shallot in a sauce pan.  When wilted, add garlic, ground cumin and coriander.  When done, add the tomato sauce, cayenne, salt and pepper.  Once warmed through, add the juice from half a lime and simmer.  Keep an eye on the liquid level.  You may need to add a few tablespoons of water.

    The Filling:poblano shrimp
    If shrimp are frozen, thaw under cold running water, then mix together the shrimp, some of the chevre, a few tablespoons of prepared rice, chopped cilantro, lime zest, juice from the other half of the lime, salt and pepper.

    To Stuff the Peppers:
    Place the shrimp filling on the roasted, opened pepper.  Wrap the cut sides around the filling and secure with a toothpick.  If you have additional splits in the pepper, secure those, as well.  Once you have filled all the peppers, prepare them for frying.  Beat the eggs in a bowl large enough to hold a pepper, too.  Add a tablespoon, or two of cold water and mix.  Place some gluten free flour in another, equally sized bowl.  Dip each pepper in, first the egg, then the flour and set on a plate or waxed paper.  Once you have coated all the peppers, heat some olive oil in a stout bottomed pan.  When hot, carefully place one or more peppers in the oil and cook each side until lightly browned.  Set aside to cool.  When all the peppers are browned, carefully remove all the toothpicks.  They should stay together nicely.

    To put the dish together:
    Ladle some of the sauce into the bottom of a baking dish.  Place the browned peppers neatly on top of the sauce.  Put the rest of the sauce across the peppers and garnish with the remainder of the chevre.  Pop into a 350 degree oven.  Cook for about 45 minutes, or until bubbly and the cheese is lightly browned.

    The side dish:
    Mix warm prepared rice with chopped cilantro, green onion, melted butter or olive oil and desired seasoning.  Place rice on the plate and top with one or two of the finished rellenos.

    Serve to family and friends.  You have no reason to tell them they are gluten free.  They will never know!  In fact, they will probably suggest you open a Mexican restaurant!  Enjoy!  Chef Celinda

  • Simply Wild (2/15/2015)

    HuckleberrySalmonWild ‘Bruce Gore’ King Salmon and wild huckleberries; nothing tame about that combo!

    When creating recipes for Northwest treats, it’s fun to pair up ingredients that inhabit the same environs.  They frequently make excellent combinations.

    To make this dish, simply season fat salmon fillets and sear in olive oil.  Once evenly caramelized, move the pieces into a baking dish and finish cooking in a 400 degree oven.  Keep an eye on them!  Overcooked salmon is a crime!  When 90% done, remove from the oven and let them rest to finish cooking.

    For the sauce, add minced shallot and rosemary to the remaining oil you cooked the salmon in.  When the shallot is done, add a round of tawny port and reduce.  Add huckleberries and cook to a glossy substance.  Remove from the heat and mount with unsalted butter.  Season the finished sauce, as needed.  Plate the salmon and serve with your incredible sauce.

    If you are unfamiliar with huckleberries, they are in the blueberry family.  I found some in the freezer section at Central Market.  You can pick them at the end of the Summer in higher elevations.  I used to greatly enjoy doing this!  The bear ‘sign’, I was careful not to step in, made me a little nervous, but hey, sometimes great meals require some adventure to achieve!  Besides their wonderful flavor, they have five times the antioxidant of blueberries!  And, like blueberries, they are believed to help maintain mental function, as we age.  Something to keep in mind.

    Like every recipe I create for Fearless Feast, this one is, of course, gluten free.  Enjoy!!  Chef Celinda

  • Bacon and Wine (2/7/2015)

    baconJoin me at Columbia Tower Club for “Women Stars of Food and Wine”, Sunday, February 8!  My table will have a couple of your favorites, Bacon! and Wine!!

    Fearless Feast is offering an amuse bouche featuring Gluten Free Rosemary and Sea Salt Shortbread (Yes!  Gluten Free!!) topped with cardamom scented Pear, Pickled Celery and my famous Bacon Brittle with Laphroaig 10 year Single Malt Scotch.  The shortbread recipe follows, below.

    I will be joined by Kelly Hightower offering her amazing wines!  Her 2011 Hightower Red Mountain Merlot is predicted to pair beautifully with my featured culinary creation.

    Tickets are still available at the door!  For more information, go to:  http://www.wfalliance.org/events/

    To Make Chef Celinda’s Gluten Free Shortbread ~
    2 C Red Mill’s 1 to 1 Gluten Free baking flour
    1/2 C granulated sugar
    1/2 tsp fleur de sel
    2 Sticks unsalted butter, cubed
    1 Egg Yolk
    1 tsp real Vanilla extract
    2 tsp minced rosemary, or other herb, as desired
    Additional sea salt.  For the featured dish, I used apple smoked sea salt to finish.  This corresponded with the flavors of the bacon brittle.

    Mix the sugar, fleur de sel, and rosemary until combined.  Now mix in the butter.  Once incorporated, add the flour.  Mix for 30 seconds then add the egg yolk and vanilla.  Mix until a dough forms.  Wrap in wax paper and chill in fridge for 30 minutes.

    Once chilled, roll out the dough.  For the delicate ‘vehicles’ featured, I rolled mine to 1/8 inch and cut them into 1″ squares.  For more traditional cookies, 1/4 inch thickness is recommended. Use your imagination or a favorite cookie cutter for shapes!

    Place the cut pieces on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  They don’t need more then a tiny bit of space between them.  They won’t spread.  Once you have the tray filled, place it in the refrigerator.  I know… just do it!  Preheat your conventional oven to 350 degree.

    Your cookies should be adequately chilled in about 15 minutes.  Place the tray in the oven.  For my thin cookies, I only needed to cook for 15 minutes.  Thicker cookies may take a few minutes more.  Watch your oven.  You want them to just barely be beginning to color. Upon removal from the oven, immediately sprinkle them with desired sea salt.

    Leave the cookies on the tray until fully cooled, then carefully place them on a platter, or serving tray.  note:  these will hold beautifully for a couple days if sealed up.  To do so, place wax or parchment paper between layers, to protect them.

    Shortbread is a highly versatile base for pretty much anything you can come up with.  Use them, as I have, as a savory component.  Or, dream up sweet accompaniments.  For dessert options, modify or leave out, the fresh herb.  Lavender and Lemon Zest would make simple but exquisite treats when sprinkled with a bit of fleur de sel and a dusting of powdered sugar. However you serve them, family, friends, snobs or country folk; everyone loves these melt in your mouth pastries!

    See you Sunday!!  Chef Celinda

  • Love and Lies (2/2/2015)

    GFCheesecakeIs it a bad thing to fool your special someone by feeding them things that are good for them without their knowledge??  You know how they love spectacular desserts and just should NOT be eating Gluten, but…

    You have probably looked at the gluten free treats at the grocery store.  You ponder, wondering if they will taste good.  At that price, you sure do hope so, but probably don’t have a great deal of faith…

    This pretty cheesecake is well within your ability.  You need a good mixer, a spring form pan and fresh cream cheese.

    This recipe was made for a 6" spring form pan.  The crust recipe included, is enough for two cakes or one larger, 9" spring form pan.  I put the remaining dough into the freezer for my next baking expedition!

    If you are using a conventional oven, you need to take some extra steps to prep your pan.  The butter in the crust will potentially melt, dripping down on the element and start a fire.  In a convection oven, there is no exposed element, so not a problem.  I do like to place a pan in the bottom of my convection oven, to catch drips and make cleanup easy, though.  Of course, you can also use the upcoming method to handle drips, too.   To create a seal for conventional cooking, wrap plastic wrap around the exterior of the assembled pan, creating a barrier to prevent leaks.  You do not want it sticking up over the top edge, so tuck it neatly.  Now, wrap foil around the plastic, with the thought of stopping leaks, also, but primarily to protect the plastic from the heat as well as creating a secondary catch point.  The plastic will shrink from the heat, but honestly, it should do a great job.  If you are further concerned, place a pan or dish under the spring form, too.  This is fine, but it could make it take a little longer to bake in a conventional oven.

    Once you are done sealing your pan, use a light coating of oil on the inside, for ease of release and for the crust crumb to stick to.

    If using a conventional oven, set to 350; 325 for convection.

    Crust:
    1 C Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free flour
    1/3 C sugar
    6 T cold unsalted butter, cubed
    1 egg yolk
    Dash of salt

    Using the paddle attachment, mix together all the ingredients until you have formed a consistent petite pea sized crumb.  Do not over mix!!  Honestly, if that happens and it forms a dough, you are best to start over.  You can save the screw up batch and make some cookies, but it will have a tough texture, if you try to use it for your cheesecake.

    Place the finished crumb in the pan.  If doing a six or seven inch spring form, put the other half in a freezer bag and store for another day.  Now, carefully press the crumb all the way up the sides and across the bottom, using your fingers.  If it is sticking to you, run your fingers under cold water to cool them, dry and dust with a little of your gluten free flour.  It is very important to get the crust an even thickness on the entire surface.  The largest pitfall is the corner where the sides meet the bottom.  Push with your finger tips to thin it, if you realize you have created a slope instead of a sharp corner.  If you don’t your finished cheesecake will have an unappealing block of crust in each piece.  Set your crust in the fridge until you are ready to fill and bake.

    To make the filling:

    1 lb FRESH, good quality cream cheese.  Do not cheap out and do check the date.  As it ages, it loses moisture.  You will end up with a cheesecake dotted with dry morsels of cheese no matter how much you whip it.
    2 eggs
    1/2 C sugar
    1 tsp real vanilla
    zest from half of a lemon

    Place all the filling ingredients into your mixer with the whip attachment.  Whip until fluffy and smooth.  Carefully spoon into your prepared crust.  Push it up against the sides in a way that you do not knock the crumbles loose and smooth the top.  It will be fairly full.  Place in the preheated oven.  The cake will take roughly an hour.  It’s done when a toothpick comes out clean from the center.  If the top is beginning to get too brown, place a loose foil tent over it for the final baking.

    Once fully cooled on a rack, carefully remove the spring form pieces.  You can simply dust with powdered sugar and serve or use your favorite gluten free topping.  The pictured cake has fresh strawberries in pineapple glaze.  This is super easy and the combined acid and sweetness of the pineapple will give you the flavor that may not be in the berries coming in at this time of year.  Simply reduce the pineapple juice.  Add more sugar if your berries are particularly sour.  Cool for a few minutes then fold into sliced berries.  For a thicker glaze, add some dissolved gelatin before mixing with the berries.  For an extra pretty batch, you can also add red food coloring.

  • Nice Rack! (2/2/2015)

    vealrack-640x480I picked up a gorgeous Veal Rack from William at Pike Market’s BB Ranch this week!  A tumultuous array of recipes cascade through my mind, as I ponder where to begin!
    BBRanch
    I wanted to do something Big and Showy!!  Veal Rack is the baby to a bone-in Prime Rib, so I decided to prepare it in a similar style; seasoned and roasted then finished with a spectacular pan sauce ~“Veal Rack Oloroso”

    Once your meat is 130 degrees, pull it from the oven and set aside to rest.  It will continue to rise in temperature.  I prefer to do a veal roast medium rare.  The young meat is a bit too chewy, if rare.

    While the roast is resting, add shallot and sliced mushroom to the pan.  You will probably need to add a little more olive oil.  Just as these are nearly done, add minced shallot and fresh sage.  Don’t burn these!  A generous round of Oloroso Jerez Sherry deglazes and gives incredible flavor.  note:  This sherry is dry, yet loaded with hazelnut and caramel notes!  Reduce the sherry a bit and add stock.  You will need to adjust seasoning as your sauce reduces.  To finish, mount with cold butter and serve over slices of pretty pink veal.

    The beauty above was served with baby gold potatoes, roasted in the pan with the veal.

    Enjoy!  Chef Celinda

  • Sword Fights (1/27/2015)

    1102-swordfish-filletsA thrust, a parry, dodge and lunge!  To the victor go the spoils; realized in Blood Orange Marinated Swordfish!  I scored a couple gorgeous Swordfish steaks at Pure Food Fish, in Pike Market!PureFood3
    Swordfish simply adores citrus.  An hour, bathing in a blend of blood orange juice, olive oil, salt and pepper leaves you with a remarkably flavorful and tender piece of fish.  A quick sear, followed by a short rest and this delightful fish is ready to join your favorite side dishes.  The featured picture shows roasted Spring onions, baby artichokes and saffron risotto.
    Enjoy!  Chef Celinda

  • Dance of the Wallflower (1/20/2015)

    celeriac-root-with-tops-intactSome perfectly wonderful ingredients simply work at being ignored!  Celeriac, or also known as, Celery Root, is one of those ingredients.

    Yes, it’s kinda homely.  The name doesn’t necessarily inspire creativity.  Yet, it has a great deal going for it!  Celeriac can be prepared pretty much the same way you would a potato; in fact, some diners would never notice you slipped some onto their plate in place of the weight loss inhibiting potato…

    I’ve been endeavoring to work with celeriac.  It’s lovely raw, grated in a salad, or cook and then puree or mash this healthful treat.  The flavors are subtly bitter/sweet with notes of anise, celery, hazelnuts, and/or walnut.  Mashed Celeriac has a lovely fluffy texture.  The only hard part is peeling it.  Get out a nice sharp knife and just go for it.  A carrot peeler really isn’t going to touch this hunk of joy!

    I decided to try using Celeriac in a braise featuring Italian herbs and wine.  Oh, my!  The battle was on!  Those beautiful, soft, luscious chunks of roasted vegetable brought out the aggressive side to those at my table… So good!  Please do try this soon!

    Enjoy! Chef Celinda CelRoot2

  • Fishing For Sunshine (1/20/2015)

    caribbeanFishjpg
    I have a large desire to find myself surrounded by jungles, sand, soft breezes and the lulling sound of Caribbean water lapping the shore… Yeah, I know, not happening, but I can fool my taste buds, for a little while, anyway…

    Pretty cod, pan seared with Gluten Free flour, sits atop sweet potato, dusted with a blend of Turmeric, Allspice Berry, Indonesian Cassia, Cumin Seed, Indian Coriander Seed, Ginger Powder, Cardamom Seed, Tellicherry Black Peppercorn, Nutmeg, and Habanero, is then roasted with coconut, jalapeno and lime zest.  Fresh lime makes a side of escarole sing sultry tunes.  Cilantro lingers for a pungent reminder:  The Sun is always shining somewhere in the World!

    Enjoy!  Chef Celinda

    caribbean

  • In Search of Romance (1/19/2015)

    MoroccanPork
    Morocco, a land of romance, camels, sand, and history.  A past that colors the food of it’s present with flavors hailing from France, Spain and North Africa. tagineBraised dishes are very popular in Moroccan cuisine.  They are typically prepared in an earthenware pot called a tajine or tagine which is also the name of the dish when complete.  The pot can be found painted or glazed.  The domed lid traps the rising moisture and directs it back into the food below.

    The tagine is so pretty and fun, it makes me want to create!  But, if you don’t have one, don’t fret, you can obtain the same results with any good braising pot or dutch oven.

    Make your braise the same way you normally would.  You are merely adding some different ingredients and spices to recreate the flavors of this exotic destination.

    The pictured dish above was a quick version.  Using left over roasted pork shoulder, I put this tempting creation together in a little over an hour.  Most of that time was spent in the oven!

    To create mine, saute minced onion with julienne sweet pepper and a hot chili.  Add bite sized pieces of pork, or other roasted protein, chopped pitted dates, dried apricots, raisins, pine nuts, lemon jest & juice and stock.  Now season with salt, pepper and ras al hanout.  This is a North African spice blend.  The name is Arabic for “the best of the shop”.  Each shop has their own blend and guards their recipe jealously.  You can anticipate the flavors of cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, clove, nutmeg, dry ginger, peppercorn, sweet and hot paprika, mace, alspice, fenugreek, chili pepper and dried turmeric.  Depending on where the blend hails from, it might also include ingredients like:  ash berries, chufa, grains of paradise, orris root, monk’s pepper, cubebs, dried rosebud, fennel seed or aniseed, galangal and/or long pepper.  Fun!!

    A typical Moroccan tagine is served over cous cous.  For a gluten free side, try using quinoa.

    Enjoy!!  Chef Celinda

  • Sq-isotto?? (1/15/2015)

    ButternutFennel'Risotto'What should I call a dish made with minced butternut squash, fresh minced fennel and onion cooked slowly, while adding small increments of stock?  Kinda like risotto, but no rice!

    This is one of those sneaky side dishes that will win the show every time.  The guests at the table, will all look at you and ask, “What is it?  Oh, it is soooo GOOD!”

    The essence of the fennel mellows with the subtle sweet squash flavors.  Being the first time I played with this concept, I didn’t look to add more then salt for seasoning and a touch of sherry vinegar to balance the sweetness from both vegetables and the onion.

    It would do well with hard cheeses, like Parmigianno.  Many of the warm spices would be good options, as well as your favorite chilies, cooked into the mixture from the beginning.  Fresh herbs can elevate in a large variety of directions.  Make your choices based on what you will be serving with this lovely side dish.

    Enjoy!!  Chef Celinda

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