Every so often, a beacon appears to remind us we’re headed in the right direction. The North Star, a rainbow or even an actual plaquard that points the way to the restroom! Recently, I’ve found myself in the right place, so often it’s begun to feel a tad uncanny.
I’ve met people, while at work, who have brought me into new spaces where I can practice my passion for nutrition, cooking and education, and these opportunities just keep presenting themselves over and over… So much so, I’ve hardly had time to log things here!
In my last post, I sang the praises of The Market and all the culinary delights within. I also did a wee brag about my Follow that Chef cooking demo day. The recipes from that day are as follows:
Salmon Spring Rolls, serves 6
Salmon, cut into twelve 4-5” batons, ½” thick
12 Rice Paper Wrappers
3 Persian or Japanese Cucumbers, quartered lengthwise (5”long, or shorter)
4 Green Garlic stalks or Scallions
1 Fennel bulb, sliced into thin sticks
2 Avocados, sliced into thin sticks
¼ cup Soy Sauce
1/8 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1t. each ginger and lemongrass, grated
1 diced Thai Bird Chile (optional)
With all ingredients prepped, soften rice paper wrappers in warmed water and place on a flat surface. In a heated skillet, sprayed with a neutral oil, sear the salmon, skin side down until crisp (3-5 minutes).
Place all ingredients on the bottom third of each wrapper, in a horizontal lineup. Roll wrapper up once, to conceal the stuffing. Next, fold each side in, about one inch, to hold in the ingredients. Then, roll it to the end, making sure to keep all the ingredients inside.
In a heated, oiled skillet, sear each roll for about 2 minutes each side, for that tasty crunch!! Cut each roll in half, on the bias and enjoy!
Mussels (or Clams), over Vermecelli (Serves 6)
1 Shallot, diced
2 Lbs., Mussels or Clams, cleaned
1 c. Dry, White Wine
1 c. Water
1 stalk green garlic, small dice
6 stems of Thyme
6 servings Vermicelli, or your preferred long noodle
In a large saucepan, sauté the shallot and garlic in 1T olive oil. When they’ve softened, add your mollusks, 3 stems of thyme and ½ the wine. Cover and wait for the shells to open. As they do, remove them and place them in a separate bowl, leaving as much liquid as possible in the pot.
Once all the shells have opened, and mollusks have been removed, add the rest of the wine, the water and the leaves from the rest of the thyme. Cover and bring to a boil. Add your dry noodles to the boiling liquid and cook until al dente.
Serve noodles, topped with your mollusks, with a generous ladle-full of the remaining liquid. YUM.
Shiitake Po’ Boys (Serves 6)
6 large Shiitake Mushrooms, stems removed
6 slices of Tomato
12 thin slices of Avocado
Shredded Lettuce or Baby Bok Choy
½ c. Mayonnaise
3 T. Old Bay Seasoning
1 T. Smoked Paprika
12 oz. hoppy Beer
2 T. Capers
6 split Rolls or softened Rice Paper Wrappers
2 c. Neutral Oil (Grapeseed, Canola)
1 c. Rice Flour or All-Purpose Flour
Mix mayonnaise with 1 T. Old Bay, ½ T. of smoked paprika and the capers. Set aside and begin heating oil in a saucepan.
Whisk remaining Old Bay and paprika into flour, and then stir in the beer, creating a batter the thickness of house paint. There should be about 6 oz. left for you to enjoy as you cook.
Dip each mushroom cap in the batter, coating them thoroughly, before moving them to the hot oil. Fry until the batter is crisp, then move mushrooms to a paper towel lined surface to drain.
Dress each side of your rolls with the flavored mayonnaise and stack your tomato, avocado and shiitake caps in your preferred order. If using rice paper wrappers, put the mushroom cap on the bottom, and top it with a blob of mayonnaise before adding the other toppings. Then, wrap it up!
Since that delicious day, I’ve taught a Spring Salad class for a group called Kitchen Divas. The goal for this group is to increase awareness of nutritive foods to create a healthier population. For this class, I created a high fiber, intensely flavored Shaved Artichoke Salad.
Here’s what I made that day:
Shaved Baby Artichoke Salad (Serves 4)
12 Baby Artichokes, outer leaves removed, stems trimmed and sliced VERY thinly
1 Medium Bulb of Fennel, sliced VERY thinly and fronds reserved
1 Large Leek, cut in half and sliced VERY thinly
2 stalks of Green Garlic, sliced VERY thinly, on the bias
4 Large Shiitake Mushrooms, baked at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes
Place all ingredients in a jar and shake until emulsified.
2 Lemons, ribbon zested and juiced
1 large Shallot, sliced VERY thinly
1 T. Dijon or whole grain Mustard
White Balsamic or White Wine Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Red Pepper Flakes
Combine and serve…
Next, my day job at Venokado will be getting even more festive than usual as I’ll be hosting a beer tasting, to accompany a pretzel-making class at The Gourmandise School! If you’re in the area, and would like to attend, RSVP and get your tickets at http://www.thegourmandiseschool.com . As of today, there are only 9 spaces left for this scrumptious event, so don’t delay!! While I love to live in a super-healthy manner, much of that health depends on kicking back with friends, learning something new and, yes, enjoying a great beer! Join us for this educational, recreational, pretz-tastical afternoon, Saturday, May 18th.
I’m also busy hatching ideas for more joint events between Venokado and Gourmandise. If you have any tasty notions for pairing food with beer or wine, what to do with the impending summer’s fruits or questions on how to translate the season into a delicious meal, let me know in the comments area below.
So, in closing, YES. The Market is the right place, and this is MY TIME. And this time is DELICIOUS!!
Stay tuned, stay hungry,