Heirloom Grape Tomato Salad with Grilled Peaches, Burrata and Prosciutto

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Heirloom tomatoes are one of the quintessential flavors of summer. These sweet cherry heirlooms pair perfectly with another summer classic, juicy peaches, which I’ve grilled and served alongside prosciutto and creamy burrata. This makes a quick and easy side to a larger meal, or as an impressive centerpiece for a casual cheeseboard. Pairs well with a chilled Sauvignon Blanc or white sangria.

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Heirloom Grape Tomato Salad with Grilled Peaches, Burrata and Prosciutto

Ingredients
2 peaches, halved
1-pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large burrata
4 oz. prosciutto
1/2 cup fresh basil, torn

White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients
3 T. White balsamic vinegar
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Preparation
Preheat your grill to medium-high and brush the grates with vegetable oil. Grill the peaches flesh side down for 3 minutes. Do not move them around or they won’t char. Arrange peach slices on a platter with the tomatoes, burrata, and prosciutto. Sprinkle with fresh basil and set aside. For the vinaigrette, whisk all four ingredients together and drizzle on top of the salad and serve immediately.

For all produce head to Melissa’s Produce at www.melissas.com

Products featured
Melissa’s Produce (all produce) 
APPETIZER PODIUM CARACTERE, WHITE CUMULUS
RING CENTERPIECE FOR MISE EN BOUCHE CARACTERE, WHITE CUMULUS
SET OF 4 EQUINOXE CRÈME BRULEE DISHES, 4 COLORS
GREY CELLULOSE BREAD BAGS, 3 SIZES
John Boos 12x12x3″ Walnut End Grain Chopping Block
Peugeot Saveurs – Oléron Manual Pepper Mill in Wood and Acrylic, Black Matte

Spicy Fried Chicken on a Buttermilk Biscuit – National Fried Chicken Day

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Today is National Fried Chicken Day, though I don’t need a holiday to indulge! I grew up eating homemade fried chicken, my mom and my grandmothers each had their own style but my favorite is marinated in seasoned buttermilk and drizzled with a sweet and spicy honey pepper sauce. This combo works really well on its own, but the spicy honey sauce really shines with a biscuit so today I am making fried chicken on a biscuit! I have a local source for my favorite flavorful Fatalii peppers, but habaneros work just as well.

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Fried Chicken
Marinade
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 T. Onion powder
2 T. Garlic powder
2 T. Paprika
1 T. Sea salt
1 T. Cracked black pepper
2 pounds boneless, skin-on chicken breast or thighs; pound out breasts to about 1/2” (12mm) thick.

Preparation
In a shallow dish, stir together the first six ingredients and pour over chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hrs. The longer you marinate the more tender and juice it will be.

Frying the chicken
Dredging mixture
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 T. Onion powder
2 T. Garlic powder
2 T. Paprika
1/2 T. Sea salt
1 T. Cracked black pepper

Buttermilk dip
Whisk together 1 cup buttermilk and 1 egg.

PreparationPreheat vegetable oil in a cast-iron skillet to 350’F.

In a large bowl combine dredge ingredients and combine, then divide into two separate bowls and set aside. Remove the marinated chicken from the refrigerator and drain each piece before dredging into one bowl, patting to ensure an even coating. Shake off excess, then dip into buttermilk and egg mixture, allow excess to drip off and then dip into the second bowl of seasoned flour. Shake off any excess before slipping into the hot oil. Working in small batches, fry until golden brown and confirm an internal temperature of at least 165’F, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack or paper towel-lined tray to drain excess oil.

 

Fatalii Honey Sauce
*Note – If you can’t find fatalii peppers, habanero also work as they are part of the same pepper family and have a similar flavor. If you would prefer not using fresh peppers in general you can substitute a hot sauce, mix 1 tablespoon into 1 cup of honey. I like Gindo’s Honey Habanero from www.gindos.com

Ingredients
1 cup honey
1 fatalii pepper, seeded and thinly sliced.

Preparation
In a glass or ceramic bowl, add the honey and fatalli peppers. Stir thoroughly, muddling the pepper slices with a spoon, then cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight before use.

 

Buttermilk Biscuits
Ingredients
3 Cups All-purpose flour
3 T. Baking powder
1 t. Salt
1 1/2 Sticks plus 2 T. of unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/2 C. Buttermilk
1/3 Cup Bacon fat or shortening

Preparation
Preheat oven to 425’F

In a mixing bowl combine dry ingredients and mix well with a fork. Add the cubed butter, combine by hand until mixture forms pea-sized crumbles. Add the buttermilk and bacon fat, mixing with a wooden spoon until the dough just holds together. Transfer to a floured surface and roll out to 1” thickness into a rectangle shape. Fold ends in to meet at the middle of the dough, then fold in half from top to bottom. Roll out again into a rectangle and repeat folding two more times, three times in total. This level of folding gives the biscuits a texture that is balanced between crumbly and flaky that holds together enough to work as a sandwich. Less folding gives a more crumbly texture and more folding gives a more structured flaky biscuit. Cut into 8 squares and place onto a non-stick baking sheet, biscuits should be touching. Brush with 2 tablespoons melted butter just before placing in the oven. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Slice biscuits in half, place a piece of chicken on each, drizzle with the pepper honey sauce, add dill pickle slices and serve immediately!

Products featured
Tomnuk Walnut Rolling Pin
Revol Caractère Dessert Plate in White Cumulus
Revol Caractère Cup in White Cumulus
Revol Extra Large Oval Serving Plate in White Cumulus
Revol Rectangle Acacia Plate
Revol Mustard Pot (used for fatalii honey)

Loaded Nachos

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In our house, we really enjoy Mexican flavors and so we tend to make pork carnitas or al pastor, grilled marinated chicken or seasoned ground beef to enjoy throughout the week. I like to incorporate leftovers into breakfast dishes (recipe coming soon!) or even just a pile of nachos for grazing on the sofa while we binge on our favorite Netflix shows. Nachos are such an easy, freestyle dish to prepare but I thought I’d share how we enjoy ours.

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Ingredients

Taco Meat
1 lb ground beef (chuck or sirloin)
1 red onion, diced
1 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper

Cheese sauce
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups of milk
3 cups shredded cheese ( I used a triple cheddar blend)

Nachos
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 large bag of tortilla chips
1 14oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup sliced pickled jalapeños (use pickled red onion recipe link substitute onions for jalapeños)
1/2 cup pickled red onions (click for recipe)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 whole ripe avocado, sliced
1 lime juiced and drizzled onto of avocado

Preparation

Taco meat mixture
Place the butter in a medium skillet and add the diced red onions. Cook until translucent. Remove onions from the pan and add the ground beef, cook for 20 minutes until browned. Drain excess oil. Add the red onions to the ground beef and all seasonings, and combine. Place lid on the pan and set aside.

Cheese sauce
Add two tablespoons of butter to a saucepan over medium heat and continue heating until it becomes frothy, add two tablespoons of flour, and whisk over heat until the mixture starts to turn golden 2-3 minutes. Add the milk gradually by continuing to whisk and continue cooking until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and whisk in shredded cheese little by little and continue to stir until sauce has a smooth consistency.

Loaded nacho preparation
Add a layer of tortilla chips to a large platter or deep pan. Drizzle the cheese sauce over the chips, add the hot taco meat on top, then the heated pinto beans. Add tomato/onion mixture, pickled red onions, and jalapeños. Garnish with sliced ripe avocado and chopped fresh cilantro. Serve immediately!

Products featured
Emile Henry Pizza Stone in Charcoal 
Emile Henry Tapas Dish in Cork

Coconut-Panko Shrimp with a Fatalii Pepper Sauce

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Let’s be honest, we could all use a vacation right now! That’s why I decided to make crispy coconut crusted shrimp with a hot pepper and pineapple dipping sauce, to enjoy a little taste of vacation even while being stuck at home. This dish captures the flavors of a tropical island with sweet coconut, juicy shrimp, and ripe pineapple balanced by a fragrant punch of exotic fatalii peppers. Even though the fatalii pepper is as hot as a habanero, don’t let that scare you. They are also packed with a ton of flavor that tempers the heat, and their fruity, citrusy flavors absolutely pop in this easy pineapple-lime dipping sauce.

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Coconut-Panko Shrimp 

Ingredients
1-1/2 lbs large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 cup panko crumbs
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup water
2 tsp. Baking powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
Vegetable oil

Preparation
If you are using frozen shrimp, be sure to choose ones that are already deveined to save yourself some work. Defrost shrimp in cold water, then de-shell them and pat dry.

Stir together 2 cups of flour, salt, and black pepper in a bowl until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, baking powder, and the remaining 1 cup of flour until combined. In a third bowl, stir together the panko crumbs and shredded coconut.

Dredge the shrimp (in batches of five) in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Dip into the egg batter and allow the excess to drip off. Dredge in coconut mixture and press down gently on both sides of the shrimp. Make sure they are fully coated. In a large, deep sauté pan or dutch oven, pour vegetable oil 3 inches deep and heat to 350’F. Working in batches of 5, fry the shrimp until golden brown, roughly 3-4 minutes. Place cooked shrimp on a cooling rack above a paper towel-lined cookie sheet and allow to cool for 2 minutes.

Fatalii-Pineapple Sauce 

Ingredients
1 cup fresh, ripe pineapple cut into chunks
Juice of one lime
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 fatalii pepper, seeded (you can substitute a habanero pepper)
1 cup mayonnaise

Preparation
In a food processor add the first seven ingredients and blend until smooth. Stir together the pineapple mixture and mayonnaise in a bowl until combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

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Apple Fritters

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During this challenging time of strict social distancing and the monotonous isolation of being locked up indoors for weeks at a time, I think we all could use a little comfort, and what could be more comforting than warm home-made fried apple fritters? Most of the ingredients you probably already have on hand, other than perhaps the apples. Granny Smith works the best for baking, but different types will work; aim for a mix of tart and sweet apples. This recipe is simple to make, and kids can join in on the fun working with dough and forming the fritters.

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Apple Fritters
makes 10 medium fritters

Ingredients for the dough
1 pkg. dry baker’s yeast, or substitute with a sourdough starter to extend your supply of yeast
3/4 cup milk, (warmed to 110’F)
1/3 cup sugar
1 t. cinnamon
2 T. unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 t. salt
1 1/2 T. baking powder
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Preparation 
Place the warmed milk in a bowl and add the yeast and sugar. Gently combine and allow the yeast mixture to slightly foam. Once the yeast has proofed, add the cinnamon, salt, melted butter, eggs, baking powder, and flour then combined. Place plastic wrap over the bowl and proof for two hours or until the dough has doubled in size. Once the dough has doubled, scrape the dough onto a clean work surface and roll into a square. Add the apple filling to half of the dough, and add the other half of dough on top of the apple filling. Gently press down on the dough. Using a metal or dough scraper, slice down the middle horizontally, and then slice into vertical cubes. You should have 10 squares. Using your hands, gently pick up a square, fold in half, and press down on the top of the dough. Your apples will be on the top now. Continue with the rest of the squares.

Fill a dutch oven or deep saucepan with vegetable oil (roughly 4 inches). Heat the oil to 350’F. Place paper towels on a baking sheet and add a cooling rack on top. This will allow your fritters to stay crisp yet drain off any excess oil. Gently add two apple fritters to the heated oil with a slotted spoon. Cook the fritters 1-2 minutes per side until they are golden brown. You will lose a few pieces of apples while frying – be sure to remove them to prevent the oil tasting burnt. Continue with the rest of the fritters. Transfer each fritter to the cooling rack. Once the fritters are done, drizzle each of them with a generous spoonful of glaze. Enjoy!


Ingredients for the filling

2 1/2 cups Granny Smith apples (about 4 medium)
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 t. Cinnamon
1 t. Nutmeg
2 T. Unsalted butter
2 1/2 T. Sugar

Preparation 
Peel, core, and dice the apples in 1/2 inch cubes. Add the butter to a saucepan, once the butter foams add the apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, and vanilla extract. Cook, frequently stirring on medium heat until apples become slightly tender, yet still has crunch (10-15 mins). Set aside. *Note* Allow the apples too cool to room temperature before applying them on top of the dough.


Ingredients for the glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup 2% milk
1 t. Vanilla extract

Preparation 
Add the powder sugar to a large bowl, and gradually add the milk until the texture is smooth. If you want a thicker glaze, leave out one tablespoon of the milk. Once the glaze is well-combined, add the vanilla extract. Set aside.

*Note* Apple fritters can be reheated in the microwave for 10 seconds or to crisp them up in a 350’F for 7-10 minutes.

Red Wine Braised Boneless Short Ribs with Piquillo Tomato Sauce

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Boneless beef short ribs are an inexpensive cut and easy to prepare when braised, and will deliver stunning results. This cut has a beautiful marbling of fat intertwined within the meat, which melts during cooking guaranteeing moist, tender melt-in-your-mouth texture and a rich, flavorful pan sauce. Be sure to choose thick, meaty ribs because they will shrink down while cooking, and I recommend skimming off some of the fat that will render out.

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In this recipe, I’ve braised my short ribs in a cabernet wine with fresh herbs, and of course, the holy trinity of carrots, celery, and onions. I like to top my ribs with a piquillo pepper tomato sauce that’s something like a Romesco minus the almonds. The combination of sweet tomatoes and peppers with a touch of spicy heat pairs wonderfully with the cabernet-braised beef. Spoon the sauce liberally on top of the short ribs just before serving.

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Red Wine Braised Boneless Short Ribs with Piquillo Tomato Sauce

Ingredients
2 lbs. (6-8) boneless beef short ribs
4 carrots, diced
3 celery ribs, diced
2 medium yellow onions, finely diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 heaping tablespoons Better than Bouillon roasted beef base, dissolved in
5 cups hot water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups cabernet red wine
2-3 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
7 springs fresh parsley (stems/leaves)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil, for browning ribs
Flour to dredge the beef
Freshly cracked black pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 300’F

Heat a large cast-iron dutch oven or large, lidded pan over medium-high heat. While the pan is heating, pepper ribs liberally before dredging in flour. When the pan is hot, add oil to the pan and when it starts to shimmer, add ribs a few at a time, turning to brown on all sides. After the meat has been seared, transfer to a plate. Add butter to the pan along with onions, carrots, and celery. Cook on medium heat until onions begin to brown.  Add garlic and cook for two minutes, then add tomato paste, wine, and beef stock while stirring to combine. Add fresh thyme, parsley, and bay leaves. Return the ribs to the pot and cover, place in preheated oven and braise until beef becomes tender about three hours. Remove pot from oven and skim the fat before serving. Plat ribs on a bed of mashed potatoes and top with a generous streak of piquillo sauce.

Piquillo Tomato Sauce

Ingredients
1-pint grape or cherry tomatoes
8 piquillo peppers, thinly sliced, from a jar or the olive bar (these are brined in vinegar).
*If you can’t find piquillo peppers, you can use a 12oz jar of roasted red peppers in water, drained.)
1 tablespoon capers, drained
7 large green olives, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup cabernet wine
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 teaspoon Aleppo dried pepper flakes (red chili flakes will work as well)

Preparation

Heat a saucepan on medium and add the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook until translucent. Add the peppers, capers, olives, garlic, and tomatoes to the pot, simmer for 15 minutes until tomatoes break down. Add red wine and pepper flakes, stirring to combine. Simmer an additional 10 minutes. Serve on top of the short ribs.

Easy Pan-Seared Coho Salmon with Sweet Chili Glaze (in collaboration with Sitka Salmon Shares)

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Living in the midwest, a full 800 miles from the nearest ocean, our seafood choices are still pretty decent though typically it has been a while since your dinner was pulled from the sea and has passed through a few hands, each of whom layer on additional markup. This doesn’t only result in higher prices for the consumer, but it also eats into the share that finds its way to the fishermen who caught it.

Sitka Salmon Shares is a subscription seafood delivery service which was founded in 2011 with a deep understanding of the importance of sustainable fishing, an appreciation for the families who harvest the fish, and the incomparable qualities of wild-caught Alaskan salmon. For more info on the service, scroll down to the section About Sitka Salmon Shares at the end of this post or visit them online at SitkaSalmonShares.com.

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As I open the insulated shipping box, each fillet is individually vacuumed sealed to protect its freshness and natural color. I decided to pan sear this first piece with a Thai chili glaze, and serve it alongside rice noodles dressed in sesame oil and sunomono, Japanese cucumber salad. I usually sear salmon in ~4 oz. portions, but since this was such a gorgeous piece of fish, I decided to sear it whole and carefully slice it after cooking. This will create a contrast between the seared and glazed exterior and highlight the vibrant interior.

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I start preparation by slicing all produce and measuring out additional components so that while the salmon is searing, I can easily cook and assemble the two side dishes. After prep is complete and before I heat my skillet, I carefully debone the fillet by gently feeling along its surface to locate the ends of the pin bones, then removing them with a pair of kitchen tweezers.

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Pan-seared Coho Salmon
12oz whole or three 4oz. fillets of salmon
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons Thai chili sauce
Freshly cracked pepper for finishing, as it will burn and smoke if used during searing.

Pat the fillet dry with paper towels and season lightly on both sides with sea salt. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it starts to shimmer. Place the salmon skin-side down in the pan and cook for 4-6 minutes per side until just cooked through. If it sticks at first, let it cook a bit longer until it releases on its own. This will avoid pulling off the skin and shredding the flesh. Remove fillet from pan to a warmed plate and cover with foil. Prepare each plate with a heap of sesame noodles and a pinch of sesame seeds, then place a portion of salmon on top and garnish plate with cucumber salad.

Sesame Rice Noodles
1 pkg rice noodles
2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 small bok choy, thinly sliced
1 small orange pepper, cored, and thinly sliced

For the sesame sauce:
2 small cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Mix all ingredients for the sesame sauce together and set aside. Microwave rice noodles for one minute, combine noodles and vegetables in a bowl, and stir in the sauce to combine. Serve warm or cold.

Cucumber salad (Sunomono)
1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
2 small cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Thinly slice cucumber and place aside in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, combine garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil and mix thoroughly with a fork. Immediately before serving, add the dressing to the cucumbers and stir to combine. If you dress the cucumber too early, the salt will draw all of their water out, spoiling its crisp texture and diluting the dressing.

About Sitka Salmon Shares:
Sitka Salmon began in 2011, when a Midwestern college professor, Nic, and his two students traveled to Sitka, Alaska, for the summer. There, they engaged in conversations that deepened their understanding of the importance of protecting Southeast Alaska’s wild salmon populations and the pristine environment that supports one of the world’s last great salmon reserves. They returned to the Midwest with boxes of line-caught, wild Alaskan salmon, harvested by their fisher friends in Sitka. While in Alaska, this band of merry Midwesterners met Marsh. Marsh was the self-styled foodie and passionate gourmand of Sitka’s hook-and-line salmon fleet. A local legend on the Sitka dinner party circuit, Marsh’s favorite pastime included sourcing ingredients from the wilds of Southeast Alaska and elevating them with techniques learned from stints in professional kitchens. As you might suspect, Marsh’s quest for perfect food spilled into his work as a commercial fisherman. He obsessively handled his fish every step of the way to guarantee that eaters on the other end of his line enjoyed the perfection he sought in his kitchen—including his family down in the proud town of Green Bay, Wisconsin. With a lot of passion and even more luck, Sitka Salmon Shares was born.

Sitka Salmon Shares is now a completely integrated boat-to-doorstep seafood company. They have a friendly group of fishermen-owners who deliver their fish. They have a small processing plant in Sitka, Alaska, where they custom-process their catch with a focus on quality and traceability. Once a fisherman’s harvest is delivered on ice to the plant, it must be processed swiftly to preserve the fresh, delicate taste and texture of premium seafood. There is no time wasted. The cutting line is the next stop at the plant – the fish must be preciously filleted, so no meat is wasted. Next, all fish are vacuum sealed, and then in the blast freezer. Did you know the average piece of “fresh” fish in the Midwest has been out of the water for around two weeks? This is why they prefer to freeze their fish as soon as possible rather than let their harvest sit on the boat, or on ice, for extended periods of time. The blast freezer pods hold at -45 – -50’F, racks of fresh fillets are spaced evenly on trays and blasted with circulating air, causing a wind-chill effect that rapidly freezes fish. This blast-freeze maintains the fish’s cell structure by preventing ice crystals from forming. This is why if you freeze it fast enough, and keep it frozen, you’ll have yourself a piece of fish preserved like the moment it was pulled from the water. Also, they have two Good-Fish Hubs in the Midwest (one in Illinois and the other in Wisconsin), which allow them to deliver their fishermen’s catch directly to your doorstep (or to your local farmers market or restaurant).

And on a final note, I love that every box includes the names of the fishermen who caught it. To me, it makes the whole experience that much more special to know who caught the fish on my plate.

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Mashed Potatoes with Sage-Infused Brown Butter, Fresh Thyme, and Black Truffle Salt

Truffled Mashed Potatoes6_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2020_94One of the most important side dishes on the holiday table is the humble potato. Whether it’s au gratin, baked, roasted, or mashed, everyone loves potatoes, and we all have our favorites. My favorite is the old standby mashed potatoes, and this year I want to elevate the old recipe with some of my favorite additions; browned butter, butter-fried fresh sage and thyme, and most importantly, a hint of black truffles.

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Now, truffles can be polarizing; while some will love the deep earthy flavors, others may perceive them as pungent. The secret is to use them in moderation and to know your audience. For the slightly more advanced palate, nothing compares to the rich flavor of truffles; and though they can be quite expensive, it only takes a pinch or two to transform an entire dish. Truffles have an intensely earthy nature which naturally pairs with root vegetables of all sorts. Potatoes are a natural, but other root vegetables such as parsnips, celeriac, carrots, yams, beets, onions, shallots, garlic, and even fennel are all even more delicious with a dose of truffles.

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Every year in Chicago during the late fall to early winter, when truffles are in season, Chicago restaurants begin rolling out their holiday menus featuring black winter truffles, which some chefs refer to as “the diamond of the kitchen” for their transformational ability. Although a top-grade whole truffle can easily cost $95 per ounce, very few home kitchens could justify or make use of such an investment. For the rest of us looking for prime grade truffle flavor, the Truffleist offers pure, prime-grade truffle salts, honey, and oils, which bring the flavor of fresh truffles to your kitchen.

For this mashed potatoes recipe, I’ll be using black truffle-laced French sea salt by the Truffleist. A 4oz. jar lasts a long time and is the perfect finishing salt for all kinds of dishes, especially a juicy steak.

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Mashed Potatoes with Sage-Infused Brown Butter, Fresh Thyme, Black Truffle Salt

4lbs Yukon gold potatoes, washed
1 1/2 T Truffleist sea salt (potatoes need a lot of salt; don’t be afraid to go heavy, this will bring out their buttery flavor).
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed and an additional 2T for topping.
1 1/2 cups 2% milk
8-12 fresh sage leaves, plus some for garnish
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stems, plus some for garnish
1/2 t freshly ground coarse black or white peppercorns
Pinch of additional sea salt, to taste

In a stockpot, cover potatoes with cold water and a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a vigorous boil and cook until soft, 18-20 minutes. In a saucepan, add the stick of butter and fresh sage, melting over medium heat. When the butter starts to become foamy, start whisking and watch for browning. Browned butter can easily go too far and become bitter, so watch carefully for the color to change to golden, then remove from heat and discard sage leaves. When potatoes are done, drain and return to stockpot. Using a potato masher, mash thoroughly while slowly incorporating milk. Once smooth, add the sage-infused brown butter, roasted garlic cloves (see preparation, below), Truffleist sea salt, and black or white pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and stir in thyme leaves. Top with remaining butter, thyme, and sage leaves and crown with a few pinches of truffle salt. Serve immediately.

Roasted Garlic
1 large, fresh head of garlic
2 T Olive oil
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 400’F
To roast the garlic:

Peel off the papery outer layer, leaving the whole bulb intact. With a sharp knife, trim approximately 1/2” from the top of the cloves, exposing all of their interiors. Don’t take off too much. Wrap bottom half of bulb in aluminum foil, leaving the top exposed. Drizzle generously with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Close the foil uptight and bake for 35 minutes until golden brown and soft when pressed. Cool and remove cloves from skins by gently squeezing each one out. An entire head should be the right amount for the batch of potatoes, but feel free to add and taste as you go.

Products Included

Truffliest Black Truffle Salt 
Emile Henry Garlic Pot (Color featured in Flour)
Mauviel  250c Copper Stainless Steel Splayed Saute Pan
Mauviel 150s Copper and Stainless Steel Stock Pot with Lid
Emile Henry Mixing Bowl Small (color featured in Flour)
Emile Henry Mixing Bowl Medium (color featured in Flour)
John Boos Walnut Fusion Cutting Board with Contoured Feet (20” x 15”)

Baked Blueberry Brioche French Toast with Blueberry Compote, and Crème Anglaise

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Here in the midwest, it seems there was almost no fall season this year, and already the deep winter weather is upon us. We Chicagoans are accustomed to brisk winters, but they usually don’t begin in early November with bone-chilling blasts. But here we are, leaves still green with late summer’s warmth, now frozen to the limbs in a grim warning of the long, cold months ahead.

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Baked Blueberry Brioche French Toast3_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_923.1-Recovered

This week I’m in need of some warm and cozy comfort to start my day, and summer blueberries I had frozen for much later in the season are just the thing to cheer us up. Blueberries are one of my favorite berries, and I can’t pass up desserts or pastries made with them. While brainstorming a recipe to feature these lovelies, I start to reminisce on recipes I would make in our tiny kitchen in Germany, and instantly, I remember the rich decadence of crème anglaise, what a perfect pairing! Brioche French toast baked with whole berries, topped with warm blueberry compote and a generous drizzling of cool crème anglaise would bring these lovely flavors together perfectly and with ease.

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Baked Blueberry Brioche French Toast7_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_923.1-Recovered

Baked Blueberry Brioche French Toast5_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_923.1-Recovered

Blueberry Brioche French Toast
1 loaf brioche, thickly sliced
2 pints of fresh or frozen blueberries
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup heavy cream
6 T. sugar (I used turbinado sugar)
3 egg yolks
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1 t. nutmeg
2 T. butter
Pinch of salt
Powdered sugar

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs yolks, milk, heavy cream, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract until well blended. Grease a 13’x9’ baking dish with butter, and arrange the brioche slices in a row, overlapping by about 1/3. Take a handful of blueberries and arrange on each slice and a few between, then pour the egg mixture over the top. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate 4 hours.

While bread is chilling, prepare blueberry compote and crème anglaise – once completed remove the brioche French toast from the refrigerator and bake at 375’ for 40 minutes or until golden brown on top and soft to the touch.

To serve, spoon the blueberry compote on top, drizzle with crème anglaise and sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately. Leftovers can be refrigerated up to a week in the back of the refrigerator, or portioned and frozen for a chilly day.

Blueberry Compote
2 pints of fresh or frozen blueberries
1 T. butter
3 T. sugar
1/4 cup water

Place all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Adjust flame to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes until sauce thickens.

Crème Anglaise
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 large egg yolks
3 T. turbinado sugar (you can use any sugar you prefer – turbinado sugar can be found in your grocery store)
2 t. pure vanilla extract

In a heavy saucepan, bring cream, milk, and vanilla extract to a gentle simmer, carefully avoiding a full boil. Remove from flame. In a large bowl whisk egg yolks and sugar until smooth and pastel yellow. While whisking vigorously, gradually add the hot cream and milk in a very thin stream to temper the eggs, this should take several minutes to avoid curdling and a broken texture. Once complete, return to saucepan and gently heat over a low flame, stirring constantly, until it thickens to the point that it coats a spoon and the swipe of a finger leaves a solid line. Serve warm if desired, or chill before serving.

Sweet Georgia Peach Jam (in Collaboration with Fresh Farms and Mauviel Cookware)

Farm Fresh Peach Jam 5_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_510.2

No fruit tastes as summery as ripe peaches, and late-season Georgia sweet peaches from Fresh Farms are the most luscious of all. The aroma of the ripening fruit is as intense and irresistible as the soft, sweet and tangy flavor. They’re also a treat for the eyes with their deep orange-yellow hue and vibrant patches of red. So when a case of sweet Georgia peaches found their way into my kitchen, I knew as soon as I smelled them I had to preserve these beauties to enjoy their deep summery flavor all winter long. When it comes to making jam, I like the classic recipes, and I love to cook them in a gorgeous Mauviel copper jam pan.

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Farm Fresh Peach Jam 8_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_510.2

Boiling fruit in a heavy, unlined copper pan is the traditional French way to make jams, jellies, and preserves. Intended for making old-fashioned sugared jams, bare copper shortens cooking times preserving the vibrant colors and flavors of fresh fruit, and also enhances the gelling of natural pectins resulting in significantly enhanced texture and flavor. Mauviel’s hand-hammered jam pan is both beautiful and functional; the hammering hardens the copper creating a durable pot that will last for generations, while also adding a stunning look that guarantees it will be a treasured heirloom. Founded in western Normandy in the small village of Villedieu-les-Poêles (also known as the ‘city of copper’) Mauviel cookware is made by local craftsmen with eight centuries of experience and tradition. Mauviel has been crafting cookware since 1830 and is still family-owned.

Farm Fresh Peach Jam3.2_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_580

Farm Fresh Peach Jam5_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_580

My jam recipe is so simple that anyone can make it, even without an unlined copper pan. While jams are totally at home with butter on bread, croissants, and muffins, I think this peach jam pairs perfectly with ripe, creamy brie and hearty crackers.

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Farm Fresh Peach Jam 7_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_510.2

Peach Jam
makes two dozen half-pint jars

20 cups ripe peaches, coarsely chopped
14 cups raw sugar
6 T dry pectin
3 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 T butter

If cooking in unlined copper, combine all ingredients before pouring into the jam pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Continue to boil hard for 25-35 minutes or until mixture reaches 220’F. Remove from heat, rest 5 minutes then hot-fill sanitized jars using a ladle to within 1/4” of the top. Wipe rims and apply clean lids, tightening to finger-tip tightness. Lower jars into simmering water to cover by 2 inches; once boiling commences, boil hard for 10 minutes then remove from the water bath and allow to cool slowly. Do not re-tighten loose lid rings. Allow 24 hours to cool, then check for a proper seal by pressing center of the lid which should not give at all to moderate pressure. The jam will keep for 1 year in a cool, dry place.

Mark Bittman’s New Orleans Shrimp Boil (in Collaboration with Random House and Peapod)

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There’s something about a seafood boil that brings people together. The irresistible sight of a steamy pile of jumbo tender shrimp, perfectly cooked potatoes, and corn steamed in fragrant cajun spices with a splash of hot sauce is hard to pass up. When I was asked to feature a recipe from Mark Bittman’s new cookbook Dinner for Everyone – 100 Iconic Dishes Made 3 Ways Easy, Vegan, or Perfect for Company I knew at once that his New Orleans Shrimp Boil was the recipe I wanted to try.

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shrimpboil5_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_510.2

Mark Bittman is an American food journalist, author, and former columnist for The New York Times, and one of America’s best-known and most widely respected food writers. Mark has written over 30 books on every facet of cooking from How to Cook Everything, The Minimalist Cooks Dinner, Eat Vegan Before 6:00am, Kitchen Matrix, Food Matters, and A Bone to PickDinner for Everyone is a collection of recipes he makes instinctively with a mix of memory and improvisation in the kitchen, that has been carefully measured documented and refined to help you recreate his original flavors as close as possible.

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shrimpboil1.2_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_580

After reading his cookbook and trying this recipe, I was impressed with how clean and clear the flavors were with lots of garlic, a hit of fiery cayenne, and the vinegary pop of tabasco. I prefer mine, however, a little more ‘dirty’ so I garnished with a sprinkling of Old Bay just before serving. Overall I thought it was a crowd-pleaser and was easy enough to pull together for a weeknight meal. To save time and make sure I had all of my ingredients on hand, I ordered them from Peapod, and they arrived the next morning. I chose a delivery time that was convenient for me, and automatic tracking updates let me know the arrival time within minutes. For those among you who are curious to give Peapod a try, I’ve included a link to save $20 off your order of $75 or more and 60 days of free delivery, simply by using the code CANVAS20.

New Orleans Shrimp Boil 
Slightly adapted by using (1 1/2 T Old Bay Seasoning)
Makes 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes

One 12-ounce bottle of beer, or 1 1/2 cups water (I prefer Temperance Birdsong Beer)
1 1/2 pounds waxy potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 large onion, cut into chunks
1 head garlic, halved horizontally
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Salt
1 1/2 pounds whole large shrimps (frozen are fine), peeled if you like
4 ears corn, husked and broken in half
Tabasco sauce or other hot sauce
Lemon wedges

Put the beer (or 1 1/2 cups water) in a large pot with 8 cups water. Add the potatoes, onion, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, cayenne, Old Bay seasoning, and a couple big pinches of salt and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the liquid bubbles steadily and cook, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are tender around the outsides but not quite done at the centers, 10-15 minutes.

Add the shrimp and corn and return the liquid to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat, cover, and let the pot sit until the shrimp are pink and opaque and the potatoes are fork-tender, just a minute or two. Drain through a strainer set over a large bowl, reserving at least the cooking liquid for serving (preferably in a pitcher or gravy boat).

Taste the shrimp and vegetables, and sprinkle with more salt if you like. Serve right away, passing the hot sauce, lemon wedges, and cooking liquid at the table.

Blackened Barramundi Fish Tacos with a Mango-Jalapeño Salsa and Pickled Red Cabbage (in Collaboration with Australis Barramundi)

AustralisBarramundi2_image2_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_510.2

I love fish, all kinds of fish and whether it’s baked, seared, grilled or fried, I’ll happily eat it. When I try out a new restaurant, I usually start with the seafood section of the menu and work my way back to traditional fare. Jason, on the other hand, isn’t such a devoted seafood fan, and one dish, in particular, he has sworn against is fish tacos. Since we make tacos two or three nights a week, I am determined to convert him to a fish taco fan.

Australis Barramundi_Image3_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_580

Australis Barramundi_Image 6_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_580

Lighter and more delicate than salmon or tuna but richer in flavor and texture than cod and whitefish, Barramundi makes an excellent choice for casual weeknight meals or weekend entertaining. I knew the moment I tasted a steamed fillet that if charred it would make an excellent taco. My first impulse was to grill the Barramundi, but because of our stormy and raining weather lately, here in Chicago, I decided to give it a heavy pan-searing, and it turned out wonderfully. I garnished with pickled red cabbage a mango-jalapeño salsa; the results were outstanding.

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The plate of tacos in the refrigerator was too much for Jason to resist, and with a bit of hesitation, he grabbed one and took a bite. The surprised look on his face said it all, and he asked if we could have this again soon! So much lighter than beef, pork or even chicken, the barramundi tacos were deeply satisfying. Sustainable farming, along with the exquisite flavor and texture makes Australis Barramundi my go-to choice for summery seafood dishes.

Australis Barramundi_Image3_acookscanvas-copyright2012-2019_580

For The Tacos
4 Barramundi fillets
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, for searing Barramundi
Corn tortillas
Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Thai chili sauce

Directions
Preheat skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Combine paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl; pat dry the Barramundi and score with shallow cuts on both sides to allow the spice blend to penetrate the surface. Coat fillets liberally on both sides with seasoning blend and sear fillets skin side down in skillet for 4 minutes per side or until dark golden brown. Allow fillets to rest for 5 minutes then pull apart with forks. Load generously into warmed corn tortillas and top with pickled red cabbage, fresh salsa, cilantro and a drizzle of Thai chili sauce and enjoy!

Pickled Red Cabbage
3 cups shredded red cabbage
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Set aside.

Mango Jalapeño Salsa
2 ripe mangos, diced
1 jalapeño seeded and minced
1/2 small red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a serving bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes for best flavor.

Cilantro Lime Rice
1 cup basmati or long-grain white rice
2 cups water
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon salt

Rinse rice until water runs clear. Bring water, rice, olive oil, garlic, and salt to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Reduce to simmer for 15 minutes covered. Remove from heat, fluff rice with a fork then add lime juice and fresh cilantro. Serve warm.

Products Pictured
Australis Barramundi
Equinoxe Coupe Plate
Mise en Bouche Bowl 
Caractère Service Plate in Mint

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