A Light Supper in Paris To Start the New Year

Since our arrival in Paris last week, my husband and I have eaten with little attention to calories. We’ve swooned over slices of silken-smooth foie gras and rich, cream-laden soups. We’ve sampled perfectly roasted duck, fork-tender braised lamb, and tried cheeses from every corner of France. And, we’ve finished meals with decadent desserts, including the French New Year’s favorite, gâteau des rois (the kings’ cake). After these indulgences, we needed to change to lighter fare, if only briefly! So, inspired by the many green grocers on our street, I made a bountiful main course salad served with pan-seared salmon fillets.

For the salad I chose a trio of bitter greens, including radicchio, frisée, and Belgian endive, and balanced them with some milder mixed lettuces. Slices from a juicy pear added a Continue reading

Three Favorite Recipes for Labor Day Weekend

A few days ago I started thinking about what recipe I might post for Labor Day weekend cooks! Should I create a new glaze for ribs, try an unusual salsa for grilled fish, or invent a special dessert? True confession: between traveling to NY and Boston for short visits, and testing dishes for my new soup book, time ran out on me. So I decided to pick three of my best recipes from past postings to share instead. Each is one of my favorites and each is perfect for this long, end-of-summer holiday.

If you haven’t planned your Labor Day menus either, you can definitely rely on these trusted recipes!

Hamburgers with Mahon Cheese, Avocados, and Chipotle Mayo

The chili-scented burgers topped with avocados and Mahon cheese are served on buns slathered with quickly made chipotle mayo. I posted them for Fathers’ Day originally, but my husband would welcome them any day of the year!

Grilled Salmon with a Spicy Apricot Lime Glaze

The apricot and lime glazed salmon fillets which get a shot of heat from some Sriraccha are just as tempting. They are simple to assemble and need only a few minutes on the grill. Slightly charred on the outside with tender and moist flesh, they are a definite winner.

Blueberry Pan Cake with Lemon Crème Fraîche

And for dessert, the first thing that came to mind was a scrumptious blueberry cake served with lemon crème fraîche. Blueberries seem to float suspended in this exceptionally tender cake which serves 12 easily! A friend, shared the recipe, saying that was always a hit with her family, Now it’s one with mine too.




Roasting Fish Deliciously in a Breton Way

Roast Salmon with Pernod and Creme Fraiche 1 1799x1366This summer while my family spent ten days in Brittany, I was lucky enough to meet a Breton woman named Manou Gorin. the contact person for the house we had rented. Trim, petite, and charming, this grand’mère (French grandmother) became an instant friend when we discovered that we shared a love of cooking. She brought us treats such as coconut crème caramel as well as crêpes with salted caramel sauce, and gladly shared some of her Breton recipes. One in particular, for lobsters roasted with Pernod and crème fraîche, caught my attention.

She explained that she halved the shellfish (while alive!), and arranged the halves on a baking sheet. The lobsters were topped with pats of butter, sprinkled with cayenne, and then roasted in a very hot oven. Finishing touches included pouring a little flamed Pernod (an anise-scented liqueur) over the fish, then topping them with small dollops of crème fraîche. I couldn’t bring myself to do in lobsters by plunging a knife into them, so I substituted thick salmon fillets instead, and loved the results.

Grilled Salmon with Spicy Apricot Lime Glaze for the Weekend

Grilled Salmon with Apricot Lime Glaze 1 3413x2731My son, a consummate griller, has mentioned more than once a recipe he loves for grilled chicken wings flavored with apricot and lime. “Mom,” he has pleaded, “You’ve got to try this marinade. It’s sweet, tart, hot, and spicy all at the same time!” So when it finally got warm enough this spring to pull out our grill, I asked for the recipe. I tried it with chicken wings, and they were delicious, but, being a curious cook, I kept thinking of other ways to use the delectable marinade.

On a whim, I substituted salmon fillets for the chicken, and was thrilled with the results. The salmon needed far less time to marinate than the wings, and cooked more quickly as well. Best of all, though, the flavors melded beautifully with the fish. Apricot jam adds a sweet note, while lime juice and zest provide tartness. Ginger, garlic, and a hit of sriracha contribute heat, and soy sauce, a salty accent. Continue reading

Winning Grilling!

Grilled Salmon and Corn with Lime Butter 1After a month of cooking in a Paris apartment rental with no grill anywhere in sight, I couldn’t wait to pull out my Weber after returning home. The temperatures, hovering in the 90s in New England every day this week, have also been an incentive to move my kitchen outdoors.

Instead of the usual medley of steaks, chops, and burgers, though, I opted for fish, and settled on a delicious combination of salmon fillets and fresh corn on the cob, both brushed with a refreshing lime and cilantro-scented butter. This recipe is a breeze to make. You marinate the salmon for 30 minutes in a mixture of lime and oil seasoned with garlic and ginger, and halve and blanch the corn quickly in a pot of boiling water. Both are then brushed with the seasoned butter while they cook atop a hot fire. Continue reading

Easy Barbecued Salmon on the Grill for the Holiday Weekend!

Barbecued Salmon with a Mahogany Glaze 1Although the weather forecasters in our New England town are predicting rain during much of the long Memorial Day weekend, that’s not going to stop me from pulling out the grill. If I have to cook under an umbrella, I’m determined to kick off the unofficial beginning of summer with some delectable barbecued fare. In fact, I’ve already planned the menu. Barbecued Salmon Fillets with a Mahogany Glaze, a long-time favorite recipe, will be the centerpiece of our grilled meal, accompanied by sides of creamy cole slaw and fresh asparagus sprinkled with some fleur de sel.

A simple marinade made with only four ingredients–dark molasses, soy sauce, fresh chopped ginger, and lime juice– turns these salmon fillets into something extra special. While the fish is marinating for an hour or more, some of the marinade is transferred to a saucepan and quickly reduced to a rich, dark syrupy glaze. Continue reading

A Casserole for Every Season

Baked Salmon and Spring Vegetables 1

It’s a big week for me. I am putting the finishing touches on my latest book, Sunday Casseroles! Over the past year, I have spent hours with a talented team of assistants poring over ideas for the recipes in this collection. I wanted to update many classic  casseroles (think mac and cheese with a hint of crème fraîche), and invent enticing new ones.

 Heavily salted canned soups called for in the casseroles of yesteryear were banished, and replaced with easily made sauces. Fresh vegetables appear in countless dishes, and instead of pouring bread crumbs from a box, I opted for quickly toasting homemade ones in a skillet. Continue reading