Do you want a fun, edible project to tackle this weekend? Then try making these delicious chocolate eclairs for your family. They are only slightly harder than making basic brownies, only because there are three components to prep instead of one. You will need a few tools like sil pats, pastry bags and star tips to make this. There are plenty of stores like Michaels or Sur La Table where these easy to find items can be located if you do not have them already. The results will be worth any frustrations you may experience….
Do not neglect this food. Be careful that you do not break the rules in taking care of this salmon. Do not take more than you need. – from a Yakima legend of overfishing
No other river captures the heart and soul of the Pacific Northwest quite like the mighty Columbia River, known to native tribes as Wimahl, Nch’i-Wàna or Swah’netk’qhu. Its story encapsulates thousands of years of human history, interweaving tales of native Americans, discovery, exploration, hydroelectric energy, logging and unparalleled fishing within its waterways. The Columbia River is the fourth longest in America, stretching an unprecedented 1,243 miles from its headwaters in the Canadian Rockies to the end where it flows turbulently into the Pacific Ocean, near Astoria, Oregon. Though Lewis and Clark wrote extensively of it in their journals, the river did not get its name till May of 1792 when captain Robert Gray braved the infamous Columbia bar and sailed onto the river for nine days of fur trading. It was named in his honor after his ship, the Columbia Rediviva. In 1850, the Columbia River was reputed to have 16 million salmon return each year to spawn in its tributaries. The fishing was so plentiful no one ever thought it could end, but after a century of overfishing, farming, logging and building numerous hydroelectric dams the runs have been reduced to a current population of 2 million salmon.
“Classics can be phenomenal when done right. A simple roast chicken dish could be the best thing you ever eat.” ~ Joe Bastianich, noted restaurateur and tv star
Recently I had the good fortune to preview two new releases from Four Graces Winery in Dundee, Oregon. I was asked to pair a dish with whichever of the two I prefered. I opened both the 2015 Chardonnay ‘Gran Moraine’ and the 2014 Pinot Noir ‘Lindsay’s Reserve’ and poured a glass, well maybe two. I took a long sip of each and reflected on taste. I wondered what would go well with each wine. Then I thought, could there be a single dish that actually works perfectly well for both? This could solve the age old dilemma we sometimes face when inviting opinionated friends over who only like red or white wine. Then it struck me like an errant lightning bolt, the answer is as easy as roast chicken….
Sous-vide (/suːˈviːd/; French for “under vacuum”)is a method of cooking in which food is sealed in airtight plastic bags then placed in a water bath or in a temperature-controlled steam environment for longer than normal cooking times (usually 1 to 6 hours, up to 48 or more in some select cases) at an accurately regulated temperature much lower than normally used for cooking, typically around 55 to 60 °C (131 to 140 °F) for meat and higher for vegetables. The intent is to cook the item evenly, ensuring that the inside is properly cooked without overcooking the outside, and retain moisture. –Wikipedia
True confession: I am a closet sous vider. I come from the last of the old guard that rejected sous vide in favor of more classical techniques. I was first exposed to sous viding when I did a stage for Joel Robuchon in Paris in 1996. He had a pork belly dish I vividly remember, the ultimate Petit salé aux lentilles, a melt in your mouth dish of cured pork belly served over creamy lentils. Petit salé is far too bourgeois for most diners of a three star Michelin restaurant and I am convinced the dish was not actually on the menu but there only for gastronomic regulars in the know. Each morning at Robuchon a plastic tub was filled with warm water and a strange device attached. The machine gently hummed while vacuum-packed bags of cured pork belly were lowered in. All throughout prep and service, the machine circulated water heated to a precise temperature around the packets. It felt like Christmas whenever someone ordered it. Time stopped. Everyone’s attention was fixated on the opening of that one single package and I always wondered who was on the other side of the swinging kitchen doors eating it. Since then, every “modern” kitchen I have worked in had at least one such circulator.
Finally, companies like Anova are making this extraordinary technology affordable and within reach for home cooks to use.
Summer suddenly appeared at the Farmer’s Market like a thief in the night. The market felt vaguely familiar but yet at the same very moment strangely different. The fiery heat wave abruptly ended Spring’s explosion. Suddenly the stands were brimming with sweet cherries, real tomatoes, vibrant eggplants, emerald zucchini and fragrant basil. I wasn’t quite ready for the change but then Summer didn’t ask for permission to intrude on my innocent bliss. I was offered only the choice to accept it. From March thru May, farmers buried us under a mountain of baskets filled with flowering brassicas, perfect miniature icicle radishes and early Spring lambs lettuce. Foragers pulled wild miner’s lettuce, flowering wild onions, peppery watercress, fiddleheads and ramps from hidden beds deep within the dank waking forest. Fishermen added their catch to the feast with translucent fleshed halibuts and fatty wild king salmon returning to the Columbia River to begin their famed runs. Overjoyed and spinning like a Sufi whirling dervish of Istanbul, I was easily seduced by this season’s garlicky allium tricoccum, better known as ramps. I bought my last pound and went home to prepare three easy ways to prolong the goodbye.
I was bitten by an octopus. – Ted Cruz
After my last article talking about Greek wine and pre-cooked octopus I thought I would follow up with a very simple method to cook your own sea beast. There is a lot of unwarranted fear surrounding octopus. Granted they are weird looking sea creatures with beaks and tentacles and a notorious reputation for being frustratingly tough. I have seen both professional and home cooks avoid preparing it like the plague. Done right it is sublimely tender and takes to a variety of preparations from simple salads to tandoori spiced appetizers to stewed in tomato sauce. Done wrong and it becomes a rubbery sea flavored chewing gum. There are many myths about the best way to tenderize octopus. They range from dropping corks in the poaching liquid, rubbing them with salt, cooking only in copper, using your clothes dryer to tumble them into tender submission, beating them on rocks to dumping enough vinegar in the cooking liquid to make you pucker for a week straight. The simplest and best method is to steam in their own juices. Try this and you will never go back to whatever method you used to subscribe to….