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A Visit With Gloria Smiley ~ Food Stylist Extraordinaire

Atlanta Gloria

I felt like I won the lottery when my friend Kate asked me to join her on a trip to Atlanta, Georgia to attend a cooking class taught by Gloria Smiley.

Gloria is an independent food stylist for print and film.  She has taken classes at Cordon Bleu and LaVarenne in Paris and with Lydie Marshall in Nyons, France.  Some of her most memorable clients include Julia Child,  Jean George Vongerichten and Daniel Boulud.  She is also a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, IACP and AIWF.

 We were very excited to take a fish and shellfish cooking class taught by Gloria at the Cook’s Warehouse in Atlanta.  Gloria was warmhearted and welcoming as she shared tips about how to make sure we purchase fish and shellfish that is fresh and delicious.  Then we rolled up our sleeves and joined her into the kitchen to prepare some of her prize recipes including:

Scallops Baumaniere with Vegetables

Red Snapper with Creme Fraiche, Capers and Lemon

Fried Butterfly Shrimp with Roasted Salt and Pepper and Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce

Seared Swordfish with Lemon Garlic Cream

Red Snapper with Creme Fraiche, Capers and Lemon

Red Snapper! Fresh! Fresh! Fresh!

Here’s Gloria’s recipe for Red Snapper with Creme Fraiche, Capers and Lemon ~ my favorite recipe from her cooking class…

This preparation is good with any mild white fish. The recipe is adapted from Ina Garten.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

4 six-ounce red snapper fillets without skin

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces creme fraiche

3 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard without grains

2 tablespoons shallots

2 teaspoons capers, packed in salt, rinsed and dried

1 lemon, thinly sliced

Optional:  1/2 cup panko crumbs, toasted

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. On a USA pan (coated with silicone) or on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, place the fillets skin side down on the sheet pan. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Combine the creme fraiche, two mustards, shallots, capers, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.  Spread the sauce evenly  over the fish fillets making sure the fish is entirely covered.  (This can be done an hour or so in advance of cooking and placed in refrigerator.)  Put lemon slices on op of the fish in decorative pattern.
  4. Place pan in preheated oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets or until they are barely done.  A thermometer should read 135 degrees – no higher.  It is important not to overcook the fish.
  5. Sprinkle with toasted Panko crumbs, if you like – adds a nice bit of crunch – Serve fillets hot or at room temperature with the sauce from the pan spooned on top.

Gloria’s tips for cooking fish:

  1.  Get everything in the recipe ready before cooking the fish so that the process moves quickly once the cooking begins.
  2. Heat a dry pan then put a little oil in it, then put the fish in the pan. It will stick but the fish surface will caramelize and then you can easily turn it over in the pan.
  3. After filleting fish, make your own fish stock ~ it freezes very well.
  4. After marinating fish or meat, pat it dry with paper towels.  The dry surface will encourage browning.  Browning gives the food another layer of flavor.  If food is touching in the pan (such as scallops), they won’t brown where they are touching, so keep them apart in the pan.

That’s me on the left, Gloria Smiley in the center and Kate on the right.

Gloria explained to the class that cooking classes at the Cook’s Warehouse are a very good way to discover the type of knife you like best since we used several types of knives that evening.  She also shared a superstition about knives with us: “Don’t give knives as gifts because it severs the relationship.”

Scallops Baumaniere With Vegetables

The scallops were so pretty as they simmered in Noilly Prat Vermouth under the watchful eye of my friend Kate. Gloria loves this recipe. The first time she had Scallops Baumaniere With Vegetables was in Provence, France, such a delectable memory. 

A hint: purchase “dry” sea scallops.   Wet scallops are shucked and placed directly into a container filled with cold water to help preserve them for a longer period of time.  These scallops absorb water and plump up, giving them a less pure flavor and a tougher texture.  After Dry scallops are shucked  they go into a dry container with no water or preservatives. Their flavor is  concentrated and fresh.

…and may I suggest a little bubbly to enjoy with the seafood…

Champagne Pierre De Bry Brut Reserve

Primarily pinot noir grapes with a splash of chardonnay. Elegant and sophisticated.  Notes of golden apple, apricot, lightly toasted bread and lemon curd. Does not skimp on the bubbles! Perfect pairing for the Fried Butterfly Shrimp with Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce that we learned how to make in Gloria Smiley’s class.

After class we shopped in the Cook’s Warehouse. I bought some of these fish spatulas, just the right size to turn fish fillets.

I continued my seafood extravaganza when I returned home…this appetizer shrimp recipe has just the right amount of spicy kick. So easy to prepare…ready in minutes!

Giada’s Spicy Shrimp

Calabrian Shrimp

Giada De Laurentiis recipe for Spicy Shrimp was in the Sunday, April 8, 2018 issue of Parade Magazine. I knew as soon as I opened the oven door that it was going to be delicious because the aroma wafting from my oven was fantastic!

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons Calabrian chile paste or red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.  Add one pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails intact), toss to coat.  Marinate 10 minutes at room temperature. Spread shrimp evenly on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until shrimp are pink and opaque all the way through. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil.  Serve with lemon wedges.  Serves 4 – 6.

And to serve with the spicy shrimp…Paul Goerg Blanc de Blancs Champagne. 100% chardonnay grapes.  Brilliant pale yellow with a fine, persistent mousse.  Delightfully fresh, citrus, orchard fruit and brioche fill the glass.  $40 range. The perfect aperitif, wonderful choice to serve with seafood.

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Kumquat Champagne Cocktail With Candied Kumquat Garnish

Kumquats may look like miniature oranges but make no mistake they are very different…

Kumquats have an edible rind which is tender and sweet.  Oranges have inedible rinds.

Kumquat flesh is dry and very tart.  The flesh of an orange is sweet with a bit of tartness.

Kumquats are more expensive than oranges. I paid $6.99 for 12 ounces. Oranges would have costed me 99 cents for a pound.

Both kumquats and oranges are rich in vitamin C.  Both fruits have seeds.

For sweet cocktail lovers please note…this cocktail is NOT SWEET!  It has the tartness of kumquat with just a hint of sweet and lots of fun bubbles.

Kumquat Champagne Cocktail

This recipe is from Epicurious.com.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cups thinly sliced kumquats

1/3 cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur

1/4 cup sugar

1 750-ml bottle brut Champagne, well chilled (I used sparkling wine for this recipe since I rarely use true champagne to make cocktails.)

PREPARATION

    1. Using back of large spoon, mash first 3 ingredients in bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Strain mixture through fine sieve set over bowl, pressing on solids.
    2. Pour 2 tablespoons kumquat syrup into each of four 6-ounce Champagne flutes. Fill each with 2/3 cup Champagne.

Garnish with candied kumquats.  (I saved the kumquats from the cocktail kumquat syrup to make the candied kumquats.)

Candied Kumquats

12 ounces sliced kumquats

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

Place water and sugar in a saucepan. Stir to combine.  Heat to boiling and then reduce heat to a simmer. Add kumquat slices and stir to coat the slices with sugar water.  Simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool.

I also served the candied kumquats with Roasted Pork Loin finished with Oliveto Olive Wood Smoked Olive Oil…divine!   So easy, I just put a small pork loin in a baking pan, drizzled it with some of the wood smoked olive oil (gives the pork a little hint of smokey flavor)and sprinkled it with Cavender’s Greek Seasoning.  Baked in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.   After I took it out of the oven I drizzled it with some more of the smoked olive oil and served each portion of pork with a spoonful of the candied kumquats.

 

I always love the signs outside our local wine shop Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar…

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A Toast To Italian Wine ~ Molto Bene! ~ A Favorite Mamma Leone Recipe

Our recent Italian wine experience with the Angelini family at the Shenandoah Club in Roanoke, Virginia brought back many “bei ricordi d’Italia” (fond memories of Italy).

I love Italian cooking so naturally one of my favorite cookbooks is  Leone’s Italian Cookbook.  The author Gene Leone dedicated his cookbook“to the memory of my beloved mother”.  He was the owner operator of Mamma Leone’s restaurant, which was founded by his mother in New York City’s theater district.  I love the simplicity of the recipes in this book ~ fresh ingredients of the best quality tossed together resulting in amazing flavors. Here’s one of my favorite Mamma Leone recipes…

Mother Leone’s Green-Bean Salad

from Leone’s Italian Cookbook printed in 1967…

1 medium size baking potato

1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans

1/4 cup olive oil

6 tablespoons wine vinegar

1 large garlic clove, mashed

2 whole green scallions, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

8 fresh parsley sprigs, leaves only, chopped

6 thin slices of prosciutto, diced

Boil the potatoes in its jacket. When cool enough to handle, peel and dice, but keep warm.  Trim beans and cook in boiling salted water for about 20 minutes.  Test to avoid overcooking.  Drain well. Place warm beans in a salad bowl and add potato over top.

Combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, scallions, salt and pepper. Mix well.  Discard bits of garlic.  Pour dressing over warm  beans and potatoes.  Add chopped parsley and diced prosciutto and toss at the table. Serves 6 to 8.

“Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector. It encourages a man to be expansive, even reckless, while lie detectors are only a challenge to tell lies successfully.”  ~ Graham Greene

An evening with the Angelini family at the Shenandoah Club in Roanoke, Virginia. Roberto Angelini is the patriarch of the Angelini family and the founder of Enoteca Properzio, a family-owned exporter of fine food and wines located at the base of Monte Subasio in the heart of Central Italy.

At the event we were greeted with a bubbly aperitif.  Cantina Novelli Blanc de Blanc NV.  Crisp with notes of apple and citrus peel.  A classic Italian sparkler made with 100% Trebbiano Spoletino grapes.

“What I like to drink most is wine that belongs to others.” ~ Diogenes

Our Italian Dinner Adventure begins…

Poderi Morini ‘Nadel’ Ravenna Rosso IGT, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

A blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, Longanesi and Centesimino grapes.  Blackberry, cherry and currant flavors later emerge along with elegant spice notes. This lovely red wine was paired with lovely Charcuterie…prosciutto in the shape of roses, miniature ripe cantaloupe balls drizzled with olive oil and freshly cracked black pepper.

Sassicaia Bolgheri 2014

Sassicaia Bolgheri 2014

Sassicaia means “the place of many stones,” and refers to the region’s gravel soil.  This Super Tuscan is so successful it was granted its own appellation, Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC, as of 1994.

Cabernet Sauvignon 85%, Cabernet Franc 15%, aged for 24 months in French barrels before bottling.  Paired with a rich lentil vegetable soup. 

Tili 1997 Assisi Rosso

Only 1000 bottles of Tili Assisi Rosso were produced in 1997.    Red Cherry fruit with some notes of vanilla. Medium bodied with a smooth finish. Blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Merlot grapes.

Paired with a creamy Pasta Carbonara with bacon and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese…

Montefalco Sagrantino 2012 Arnaldo-Caprai

100% Sagrantino grapes.  Complex flavors with hints of blackberry jam nutmeg, pepper, pine resin to mint and cocoa.

Paired with the main course…sliced filet mignon served with oven roasted fingerling potatoes and roasted pepper strips.

Pre-dessert…Strawberry Balsamic with Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese.  Paired with…

Kurni 2015 Red Wine

Complex and full-bodied, with notes of candied black fruits, vanilla and blackcurrant.  100% Montepulciano grapes.

And the Fioritura Finale…paired with…

Per la salute!

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Champagne And Beef Tenderloin…Yes Please!

Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather, and a little music played out of doors by someone I do not know…

                                                                                                                                                                 ~ John Keats

I love champagne and I love beef tenderloin, but up until now I did not pair the two.  Recently I was happy to find that Philippe Fourrier Rosé pairs extraordinarily well with beef tenderloin. Since it is made of 90 percent pinot noir grapes (and 10 percent chardonnay grapes), with notes of red cherry and juicy raspberry,  it can stand up to the bold flavors of the beef.

Champagne Moussé Fils 

Blanc De Noirs Noire Reserve

This lovely champagne is primarily made from Pinot Meunier grapes.  80% pinot meunier, 16% pinot noir and 4% chardonnay.  With notes of black currant, brioche and lemon curd and a long sustained finish, this champagne is a wonderful compliment to beef tenderloin.

Thinking about delightful pairings…my bubbly friend Mary Ellen gave me some festive shot glasses.  I filled them with a lobster salad served with a chilled cocktail fork so that guests could get every last piece of yummy lobster out of the glass.  Frozen lobster meat (for us locals it is available at Tanglewood Kroger) is perfect for this salad recipe. Chop the lobster meat and mix with a little sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Old Bay Seasoning and chopped fresh dill. Don’t add too much of any of the creamy ingredients ~ remember you can always add more but you can’t take any out once it’s mixed in.  Chill and serve icy cold.  (Put shot glasses and cocktail forks in the freezer to chill before service.)

We paired the lobster salad appetizer with Laurent Perrier Rosé.  The mid-March snow on my flowering quince tree made the perfect perch for our rosé champagne bottle. 100 percent Pinot Noir grapes.  Notes of strawberry, hazelnut and brioche. We call this champagne “Easter Wine” because a bubbly friend of ours told us that her mother always wanted a “pink wine” to match her dining room drapes for Easter dinner.  $76 range.

My bubbly sister-in-law Gwen sent me this…“My doctor told me that because of my age I should install a bar in my shower…done!”

 I recently found some Roka Cheese Crispies at a local store ~ some of my favorite “Cheesie Poofs” as I call them. I bought 40 boxes!

On Sunday, this little critter, Ziggy, somehow got out of our front door (he is an indoor cat) and was out “catting around the neighborhood” all day. We looked everywhere and said lots of prayers, especially with a snowstorm on it’s way and finally around 5 o’clock that evening he came walking up on our back deck. We were so happy to see him!  He ate a big dinner and fell asleep in front of the fire.

 

Ziggy’s brother Artie Shaw was so happy to see him!

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Guinness Black Lager Corned Beef Hash ~ Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I’ll be cooking my favorite Corned Beef Hash this weekend…reminiscing about sitting in my favorite pub with my guy enjoying our hearty breakfast!

Guinness Black Lager  Corned Beef Hash

Makes 6 hearty servings

Place raw corned beef brisket (approximately 2 pounds) in a slow cooker. Cover with Guinness Black Lager (2 – 3 bottles) and sprinkle with spice packet that is included in the corned beef package. Cook on high for 4 hours or until corned beef can be cut easily with a knife.  Turn off heat and allow to cool. Cut corned beef into small cubes (cut off any fat) and set aside.

1 small onion, diced

24  fingerling potatoes sliced into thin slices

4 ounces butter (+ more butter if needed)

freshly ground black pepper

12 eggs

Rye, whole wheat or French bread toast

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onion and sauté until onions are transparent and starting to brown. Add fingerling potatoes and spread evenly across the bottom of the skillet. Allow to cook over medium heat until potatoes are soft and lightly browned. Add more butter if needed to keep the potatoes from sticking to skillet.  Sprinkle potatoes with freshly ground black pepper.  Keep potato onion mixture warm while preparing eggs.

Prepare over-easy/medium or poached eggs to serve with corned beef hash and serve with your favorite type of toast.

Somebody is looking forward to Corned Beef Hash!

We’ve had an unusually cold March in Southwest Virginia, so we often wake up to a pile of kitties cuddling on the bed.  They get in some fun poses!

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Irish Cheddar And Potato Gratin + Guinness Stout

Irish Cheddar And Potato Gratin

A hearty dish that can be served as a main dish or a side. Perfectly paired with Guinness Stout. Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Recipe compliments of Murray’s Cheese

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 lbs. russet potatoes, washed and thinly sliced (soak in water to prevent browning)

2 1/2 cups Murray’s Irish Cheddar, grated

1/2 TBSP Murray’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 onion, diced

1 tsp thyme, minced

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

(I added some freshly cracked black pepper to the onion mixture)

1/4 lb. bacon, diced

1 bunch scallions, chopped

(I added a little chopped fresh parsley on top)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  Butter a square baking dish.  Layer 1 lb of sliced potatoes into the pan. Next add 1/4 cup of grated Murray’s Irish Cheddar. Repeat until all potatoes and cheese are used.

3.  In a medium saucepan sauté onions and thyme in Murray’s extra virgin olive oil.  Once the onions are caramelized, add the heavy cream. When warmed, pour over the potatoes.

4. Place in oven (I put my pan on a baking sheet to catch any cream that bubbled over)  and bake for an hour until the potatoes are tender and cheese bubbly.

5. Remove from oven and top with bacon and scallions.

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Bloody Leprechaun Cocktail! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day brunch…Bloody Leprechaun Cocktail made with Green Peppercorn Vodka…

Green Peppercorn Vodka

1 cup vodka

2 tablespoons green peppercorns

1 tablespoon pink peppercorns

1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns

Place vodka in a mason jar.  Put peppercorns in a mortar and pestle.  Grind peppercorns with pestle until most of the peppercorns are broken apart.

Place mashed peppercorns in the vodka. Seal the jar with a secure lid. Shake jar and place in refrigerator.  Keep the jar in the refrigerator for a couple of days (or longer), shake jar every day for the first couple of days.  After the vodka is infused with the pepper flavor which takes a couple of days, strain the peppercorns out of the vodka and return the vodka to the jar and refrigerate (I like to keep a few peppercorns in my vodka just to spice up my Bloody Leprechaun Cocktail).

Bloody Leprechaun Ice Cubes 

Place olives and cornichons in various size ice cube trays (I like the oversize square ice cube trays because extra-large ice cubes last longer in my cocktail).  Cover with water and add a drop or two of green food coloring. Give the water a little stir and freeze the cubes.

Bloody Leprechaun Cocktail

1.5 ounces green peppercorn vodka

11 ounces tomato juice

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

6 splashes Worcestershire sauce

3 drops hot sauce (green hot sauce is perfect for this recipe!)

Squeeze one wedge of fresh lime

2 Bloody Leprechaun Ice Cubes

Garnish with green ~ celery, cornichons, green pimento stuffed olives, lime slices.

Place ice in cocktail shaker, filling halfway full.  Pour green pepper vodka and tomato juice to shaker then add horseradish,  Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. (Add more horseradish, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce to taste.) Cover with lid, and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled. Strain into a highball glass over Bloody Leprechaun ice cubes. Add a few of the peppercorns from the vodka to the cocktail if desired. Garnish with celery stalk, cornichons, green olives and lime slices.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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