What’s Cooking

I realized that it’s been two months since I’ve post much of anything other than Memes and health reports however I am trying to get back to more regular posts. So how better to start than with a recipe that can be a morning, noon hour or evening dish.

Bacon and Asparagus “Dutch Baby
From Chef John at Food Wishes
Serves 4 as an appetizer or lunch/brunch.
Serves 2 as a main or breakfast.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

3 large eggs
2/3 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
freshly ground black pepper and cayenne to taste
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup all-purpose flour packed (push and pack as much flour as you can fit into the 1/2 cup measure)
1 tbsp olive oil
6 strips bacon
1 generous cup sliced fresh asparagus

Preheat oven to 475ºf (245ºc)
Combine eggs, milk, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon zest, and flour in a large bowl. Whisk until completely combined. You may see a few lumps but that is just the cheese.
Cut the asparagus crosswise into quarter inch lengths discarding the woody portions at the bottom.
Chop the bacon into 1/2 inch strips.
Heat olive oil in a cast iron frying pan* over medium heat. Add the bacon strips and fry, stirring frequently, until all the fat has been rendered and the bacon is crisp. Do not discard the bacon grease.
Turn the heat to high and add asparagus and give it a stir. Cook for 1 minute.
Add the batter as evenly as possible using a circular motion but do not stir.
Transfer pan to the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until it is browned and puffed.
If you wish to present it at table do so immediately as will deflate in a minute or two.

*A cast iron pan is preferred however if you don’t have one fry the bacon and asparagus in a regular fry pan than transfer everything including all the bacon grease into a casserole

Note: this can be done with many combinations e.g. sausage and potato, pancetta and zucchinis, onion and tomato – the combinations are endless.

There are several versions out there about where the name “Dutch baby” comes from however many Middle and Northern European cuisines feature pancakes that are very similar – both savoury and sweet. Perhaps with fresh fruit season upon us we can look at the sweet versions next time.

The word for May 23rd is:
Dutch /dʌtʃ/: [1. noun 2. adjective 3. adverb]
1.1 The people of the Netherlands.
1.2 The language spoken in the Netherlands.
2.1 Of or relating to the Netherlands or its inhabitants.
2.2 Archaic: of or relating to the Germanic peoples of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Low Countries.
3.1 Pejorative attached to words in English to describe anything inferior or irregular e.g. Dutch Treat, Dutch Courage etc.
Late 14c., of language, “German, non-Scandinavian continental Germanic,” also as a noun, “a German language;” also in Duche-lond “Germany.” By mid-15c. distinguished into Higher and Lower, and used after c. 1600 in the narrower sense “Hollanders, residents of the Netherlands.” From Middle Dutch duutsch, from Old High German duitisc. As a pejorative 17c when England and the Netherlands were rivals in trade and colonization.

What’s Cooking

I realized that that at no time in this ongoing series have I included a recipe for any of the glorious seafood for which our Island is renowned. Visitors always insist on trying our mussels and Islanders enjoy nothing more than beginning or even making a meal of mussels. And for $2.00-3.00 a pound at the fishmonger’s it’s a cheap but delicious meal.

This recipe is from our friend Grant. He and his partner Stephen have a charming rustic retreat on the Eastern shores of the Northumberland Strait. And should you visit them at Spruce Cottage you might well find a steaming pot of mussels is on the menu.

Spruce Cottage Mussels
From my good friend Grant
Serves 6 as a first course – 4 as a main course
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

5Lb. Fresh PEI Mussels
● 1 Lg. Vidalia Onion
● ½ Red Pepper
● ½ Fennel Bulb
● 1 Lemon – Juice
● 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
● ½ C. Chicken Stock
● ¼ C. Dry White Wine
● 1 Container Store Packaged Fresh Tarragon
● 2 Multigrain Baguettes

1. Wash & debeard mussels as necessary
2. Roughly chop onion, red pepper & fennel.
3. In a large deep stove top pot (w/ lid), stir fry in olive oil over med-high heat.
4. Add chicken stock gradually while stirring.
5. Add wine and continue stirring.
6. Once ingredients are well cooked, add mussels. .
7. Cook covered for 7 minutes over medium heat.
8. Chop tarragon roughly in half and add to the top of the mussels – do not stir.
9. Continue cooking for 3 minutes, covered over medium heat.
10. Remove tarragon from the pot, small pieces may stay.

To Serve*
~ Bring the pot of cooked mussels to the table, uncover and serve with a slotted
~ Top up guests’ bowls with a small ladle of broth, remembering to discard any mussels that have not opened.
~ Allow guests to hand break pieces ofbaguette to accompany the mussels and soakup the incredible broth.
~ Leftover mussels can be used as your base for a great Island Chowder!

*Though Grant doesn’t mention it, I always love a side of homemade french fries with mayonnaise with my mussels.

The word for March 21st is:
Mussels mŭs′əl: [noun]
1.1 Any of various marine bivalve mollusks that attach to hard surfaces in intertidal areas with byssal threads, especially the edible members of the family Mytilidae and in particular Mytilus edulis, a blue-black species of the North Atlantic Ocean, raised commercially for food.
1.2 Any of numerous freshwater bivalve mollusks of the order Unionoida that burrow in the sand or mud of rivers, streams, and ponds.
1.3 Any of several similar bivalve mollusks, such as the zebra mussel.
Alteration (possibly influenced by Dutch mossel) of Middle English muscle, from Old English muscelle, from Medieval Latin mūscula, from Latin mūsculus, sea mussel.

What’s Cooking

I’m back with another soup recipe – yes another soup recipe. It’s the deep of winter, in some strange places I might add, and soup is warming and comforting when the north-east, south-west and all around the house winds are blowing.

Apparently one of the top 10 most popular items on Chinese Takeaway menus in Europe is Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup. It’s exotic without being all that foreign – nothing too challenging in the way of ingredients: shredded cooked chicken, sweet corn, stock, cornstarch, egg, green onion, and a few spices and aromatics. And should you wish to forgo the call to the local takeaway it takes almost no time to make at home.

Asian Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup
Basic recipe from Mr Paul at Mr Paul’s Pantry with additions from various sources.
Serves 2-3 people
Prep time: 25 minutes if cooking chicken or 10 minutes if using cooked chicken
Cooking time: 10 minutes

2 spring onion – garnish
200g Chicken Breast (you can use left over cooked chicken)*
500 mls chicken stock (fresh, carton or stock cube)
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1 small can Creamed Sweetcorn**
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons corn starch
3 tablespoons cold water
1 egg beaten until well combined

Cut spring onions on the bias and set aside for garnish.
Cut chicken into large chunks.
Heat chicken stock seasoned with ginger and pepper in a deep sauce pan until simmering then add chicken.
Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Remove chicken from broth and set aside. When it is cool enough shred it into strands and return to pot.
Add sweet corn, soy sauce and sesame oil and stir. Allow to simmer for a few minutes.
Make a slurry with the cornstarch and water and slowly add to pot stirring. The amount of the slurry used will depend on how thick you like your soup.
Allow to simmer for several minutes.
Slowly pour in the beaten egg in a steady thin stream stirring as it forms threads or “flowers”.
Serve garnished with spring onion.

*I have used chicken thighs but they don’t shred as easily.
**If all you have to hand is a can of whole corn it can be turned into what we know as creamed corn with a stick or regular blender.

The word for March 1st is:
Takeaway tāk′ə-wā″: [1. noun 2. adjective]
1.1 The act or an instance of taking away the ball or puck from the team on the offensive, as by recovery of a fumbled football or by interception of a passed puck.
1.2 The lesson or principle that one learns from a story or event. Used with the.
1.3 A concession made by a labor union during contract negotiations; a giveback.
1.4 Chiefly British: A restaurant that sells food to be eaten elsewhere.
2.1 Chiefly British: A meal bought to be eaten elsewhere.
Take (v) + away (adj): 1964 in reference to food-shops, from 1970 as a noun.

What’s Cooking

Rachel Roddy contributes from A Kitchen in Rome to The Guardian Lifestyles section regularly. Often the recipes reflect the size and equipment of her typical Italian apartment kitchen: limited storage space, a half-size refrigerator, a small oven and four elements on a stove top. They also reflect the seasonality and availability of fresh produce and the proximity of a butcher. This recipe was the result of chicken thighs she found at the butcher’s downstairs from her apartment.

It’s one pan, it’s tasty and all the ingredients should be readily available.

Baked Chicken and Potatoes with Lemon and Rosemary
From Rachel Roddy at A Kitchen in Rome
Serves: 4 as a main course or 8 at a buffet
Prep Time: 50 minutes (including 45 minutes marinating)
Cooking Time: 55 minutes

1.2 kgs chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
5 potatoes peeled and quartered
1 large lemon or two small ones
150 ml olive oil
4 cloves of garlic sliced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 tsp oregano
salt to taste
Splash of white wine

Put the chicken and potatoes in a large bowl, squeeze over the lemon juice and add the olive oil, garlic, the needles from one sprig of rosemary and other whole sprig, salt and oregano, and toss really well. Cut the empty lemon skins into wedges, add to the bowl, toss again and leave to sit for 45 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 425ºF
Put the potatoes and chicken skin side down in a *baking tray that accommodates them in more or less a single layer, making sure to scrape in all the marinade, then roast for 45 minutes, turning the chicken midway, so it is now skin side up. Lift the chicken on to a platter, return potatoes and lemon bits to the oven, and turn it up for about 10 minutes, so the potatoes turn golden.
Transfer the potatoes and lemon to the chicken platter, put the tray on a medium flame and add a little white wine to the juices. Scrape the bottom of the tray with a wooden spoon to dislodge any bits, let the juices bubble away for a minute or so, then pour over the chicken and potatoes and serve.

*A heavy duty baking tray with high sides always works best with these one-pan recipes. I recently bought a Nordicware half tray and it works beautifully with this, and other, recipes

The word for January 22nd is:
Thigh thī: [noun]
1.1 The portion of the human leg between the hip and the knee.
1.2 The corresponding part of the hind leg of a quadruped or other vertebrate animal.
1.3 The second segment of a bird’s leg, containing the tibia and fibula.
Old English þeoh, þeh, from Proto-Germanic *theuham literally “the thick or fat part of the leg.”

What’s Cooking

It seems that now matter the size of the ham or the size of the crowd around the table there are always leftovers. And there are always lots of recipes for left over ham besides thick cut sandwiches. I found this one from the leftovers from our New Year’s Day dinner. A warming soup just right for a grey, cold, and dismal day.

Ham and Potato Soup
From Chef John at Food Wishes
Servings: 6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes

1 medium onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
3 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
2 cups smoked ham, diced
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth (preferably unsalted)
2 cups of water
1 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Chopped chives (optional)

Melt butter over medium high heat in a stockpot or dutch oven.
When it becomes golden brown stir in the carrot, onion, celery, ham and garlic; cook and stir for 5-6 minutes until the vegetables are soften and the onions are translucent
Stir in flour; cook for about 3 minutes to get rid of the raw taste.
Stir in the chicken stock 1 cup at a time stirring well after each addition.
Add water and stir to combine.
Bring to a simmer on high heat; Simmer on medium-low for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
Taste the soup for salt and add more if necessary.*
Stir in potatoes; cook for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender.
With a potato masher, mash the soup seven or eight times to break up a few of the potatoes and release the starch. This will thicken the soup.
Season with salt and pepper to taste; add the cayenne if using.
Add the cream and stir to combine.
Serve garnished with chives if using.

*Notice that salt is not added until this point as ham can be very salty so it is best to wait to see if it is needed.

Though I am still not eating solids Laurent has been my official taster for spicing etc as well as the guinea pig for new recipes. He assures me that without bias it is very good.

The word for January 3rd is:
Bias bī′əs: [noun]
1.1 A line going diagonally across the grain of fabric.
1.2 preference or an inclination, especially one that inhibits impartial judgment.
1.3 An unfair act or policy stemming from prejudice.
French biais, slant, from Provençal, perhaps ultimately from Greek epikarsios, slanted.

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Jerry and I get around. In 2011, we moved from the USA to Spain. We now live near Málaga. Jerry y yo nos movemos. En 2011, nos mudamos de EEUU a España. Ahora vivimos cerca de Málaga.

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