Brandade de Morue au Gratin (Whipped Salt Cod Gratin)

1486578_10151747645955780_1810791962_n

so i’m still finding ways to use my big piece of baccalao from sicily via j.p. grazianos.

IMG_1082

i asked a friend who is of italian origin & he told me about a standard french dish you spread on toasted baguette with potatoes, garlic & cream. there are many variations but since i haven’t made it before, i decided to start with a basic recipe-brandade de morue au gratin-Jacques Pépin’s recipe.

it’s basically whipped potatoes & salt cod topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, baked, & served on toasted bread. there are many steps to this, although the ingredients are basic & simple. it calls for the cod to soak only a day. mine was soaked for several days, changing the water often which removes all of the salt.

when i tasted the final product-it does not call for salt-it needed salt. and i understand now why-it gets all of it’s salt flavor from the cod. one day soaking will keep the cod extremely salt heavy. the minute i figured this out, i added italian seasoned salt & it worked. the consistency is almost like paste-very heavy & strange. an acquired taste for sure but worth trying!

carrying a 3 lb. dried salt cod fish in my backpack all over downtown proved to be a learning experience for sure! i still have 1/3 left. stay tuned for the next salt cod recipe!

choco-strawberry pazzo cake

IMG_1096

i had a few items to use up-mainly creme fraiche & strawberry jam i made when i bought 8 lbs of strawberries for $1.

as usual, i stuck those words into epicurious & found strawberry pazzo cake w/herbed creme fraiche.

i had to substitute several ingredients. there was no brown sugar so i used cocoa powder. i had no milk, so i used pineapple coconut juice. i combined the creme fraiche with cinnamon & threw it into the batter instead of on top. and i did the balsamic glaze with my jam-about 3/4 cup, a couple tablespoons condensed milk, cooked it a while, & set in fridge to chill & thicken.

to my surprise, it turned out really good! it’s like a cake that wants to be fudge, so it was kind of a light fudge & not too sweet at all!

dirty rice virgin

Image

 

i get tasting table in my email box each day.  and dirty rice was discussed.  i had leftover rice from the previous “smothered okra” dish i did twice in a row-second time around i used very special crumbly hot links & jumbo shrimp i cleaned & deveined myself.  believe me.  it’s more work but worth it.  turned out perfect!  wanna see?

Image

 

nomnomnom….

ok, so dirty rice is kind of fun to make.  it’s a daily dish in nola.  and you can always expect to make a roux.  so i went to a local bbq smoker & got the smoked brisket, chopped it myself & got their carolina sauce-a vinegary spicy instead of the cayenne & used a spanish onion instead of scallions.  other than that, i pretty much followed this recipe to the T.

 

in the kitchen with isaac toupes of http://www.toupsmeatery.com/ in nola

http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_detail/national/15650/The_Toups_Meatery_chef_shares_his_dirty_rice_recipe.htm

tee’s smothered okra

IMG_1079

i bought the treme cookbook a few months ago & just got around to using it yesterday. it’s hard to pick just one recipe but since my husband’s favorite food is okra, i decided to make “tee’s smothered okra,” which is antoine batiste’s “last meal,” request.

the book is cool because each of the characters on the show “treme” offer family recipes & stories behind them. this one was passed on to his mother by his auntie tee. it’s super easy! AND totally delish! VERY similar to gumbo but without a roux & served atop rice-fork eaten rather than spoon. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

1/2 c. canola or olive oil
2 lbs okra (i used fresh) chopped 1/2 inch slices
1 yellow onion chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
1 garlic clove chopped (i used 6)
15 oz can chopped tomatoes with juice
1 lb. smoked pork sausage chopped (i used andoullie which is a great flavor enhancer)
1 lb. raw shrimp shelled whole
salt & pepper to taste

i used a cast iron pot-it cooks different than a regular one & is recommended-or a dutch oven. heat your oil over medium heat & add okra, onion, pepper, celery & garlic. cover & cook 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to coat with the oil. add salt & pepper. then add tomatoes & sausage & cook 15 minutes. add he shrimp & cook 15 minutes more. add salt & pepper to taste & serve over steamed rice.

i was surprised that salt & pepper were the only seasonings you need. i added file’ as well. the sausage was responsible for flavoring this unbelievably tasty dish. i highly recommend using the best andoullie sausage you can find & fresh jumbo shrimp.

PERFECT winter dish & great if you are missing new orleans.

tomato/avocado/corn salad w/roasted garlic olivada

IMG_0999

this blog is really for me. when i make something, i want to remember it. this recipe was made with what i had on hand & caters to my current olive/avocado fetish. it is utterly delish-SO good i ate almost the entire batch on my own.

the salad

2 ears corn painted w/olive oil
2 ripe avocados
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 lg cucumber peeled
1/4 cup small diced red onion soaked in ice water
1/4 cup nicoise olives
————
the dressing

1/2 head roasted garlic
3 T. olive tapenade (ground olives w/olive oil)
3 T. olive oil
3 T. balsamic vinegar
maldon salt to taste
fresh ground pepper
bunch fine chopped basil
2 T. anchovy paste
3 T. shredded parm/asiago/romano cheese

-roast the corn in 350 oven till browned. cut off kernels & put in large bowl. chop avocados & tomatoes & add. i used 3 kinds of my garden cherry tomatoes-white cherry, black cherry & fig. peel, de-seed & chop the cucumber. add olives. add onions after soaking 30 minutes. this makes a big difference to people who are sensitive to raw onions. you need the flavor but it can be too harsh if you don’t soak. toss this together.

-roast garlic painted in oil in foil oven 350 for 35 minutes. squeeze into mini chopper/processor with olive tapenade, balsamic, anchovy paste, salt, & pepper. add olive oil gradually. mix in the basil (i used my purple basil from the garden which is stronger in flavor than regular green basil) & the cheese. add to veggies, toss gently & serve with a sprinkle of cheese on top.

SO good! all of these ingredients are in season so take advantage!

*easily can be made vegan by omitting the anchovy paste because the olives are flavorful enough & cheese is not necessary either because of this. olives are your flavor friend 🙂

strawberry jam

IMG_0995

i went shopping at a local produce store stanleys-over the weekend. a worker shoved an entire box-8 lbs-of strawberries in my arms & said, “you take. 98 cents.” i guess they needed to get rid of the ripe berries that day. what do i do with 8 lbs of ripe berries besides freeze them for smoothies? then i remembered someone at the store said, “jam.” so i looked up some recipes & went for it.

SO easy!

take 1 lb strawberries quartered. put in sauce pan with 2/3 cup sugar & 1 peeled & grated granny smith apple. simmer till strawberries fall apart-around 30 minutes. add 1 tablespoon lemon juice. let sit in fridge at least 2 hours.

delish! i plan on making buttermilk biscuits this weekend. there’s plenty to give away as i made 2 lbs of this stuff! you can probably use this in a dessert-such as a crepe or donut.

jam out!

pasta salad w/cherry tomatoes & olivada

IMG_0970

i have been trying to figure out the best way to use my home grown cherry tomatoes-i have black & white cherry & fig. this is the best since i’m feeling close to the olive lately.

this recipe is excellent. it has everything delish-capers, olives, anchovy paste, fresh mozzerella, fresh cherry tomatoes. it’s cold so my hubs can take it to work without having to heat it up. and the colors are excellent.

i topped it with parmesian/reggiano & anchovy. maldon salt is also a good idea. supreme 🙂

IMG_0969