Heart Healthy Chilled Avocado Tarragon Bisque


Heart Healthy Chilled Avocado Tarragon Bisque

A California Avocado Commission avocado bisque recipe was the inspiration for my heart healthy version made with non-fat milk and non-fat yogurt. Avocados contribute good fats to one’s diet and they’re low in saturated fat and cholesterol-free. Non-fat dairy ingredients in my recipe complement the rich avocado, resulting in a perfect balance that is good for the heart. The lovely fragrant tarragon, creamy colorful avocado, and tangy yogurt marry well together.  The method is so simple you can make it for lunch today, yet it is also elegant enough to serve at your next summer dinner party.

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Bistro Duck and Wild Mushrooms, Two Ways

CLASSIC BISTRO DUCK AND WILD MUSHROOMS
Sautéed Breast of Duck with Crispy Skin
Oyster, Shiitake, and Porcini Mushrooms in a Beef Stock Reduction


CONTEMPORARY BISTRO DUCK AND WILD MUSHROOMS
Sautéed Breast of Duck, Seasoned with Szechuan Pepper & Flor de Sal
Roasted Wood Ear and Shiitake Mushrooms
Crispy Polenta Cake and Wilted Mizuna Greens
Porcini Reduction Sauce and Pomegranate Balsamic Vinaigrette

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A Very Special Potato Crusted Salmon

Evelyn Dawn’s Potato Crusted Salmon
Sautéed Vegetables, Lemon Dill Sauce
@ Gina Lee’s Bistro, Redondo Beach, California

Evelyn Dawn was my grandmother-in-law. She passed away at 93 years of age in the year 2000.

As a tribute when Evelyn passed, my dear friends Scott & Gina Lee, proprietors of Gina Lee’s Bistro, named this dish after her. They keep her memory alive in their fabulous restaurant. New patrons ask, who is Evelyn Dawn and why is the salmon named for her? They are quick to tell about Evelyn; an independent woman ahead of her time, with impeccable taste, a successful businesswoman, friend, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and educator of hundreds. A framed photograph of Evelyn sits atop the sideboard in the restaurant.

Gina said of the salmon dish, “This is a crowd favorite. Lots of people remember Miss Dawn the founder of Rolling Hills Country Day School. She came in the restaurant nearly daily and always had the salmon professing that the omega 3 fatty acids kept her going at top speed. We’ve had former students and teachers come in, they marvel that she lives on, on our menu.”

Miss Evelyn Dawn
July 8, 1907 – July 16, 2000

Evelyn in her 90’s with a glass of red wine and a cigar!

Rolling Hills Country Day School was founded by Evelyn Dawn who began educating children in the early 50’s. She bought and operated her first school in Manhattan Beach, California – a preschool. In 1961, Miss Dawn, with very little assistance, broke ground on a beautiful piece of land on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and realized her dream of a Kindergarten through Grade 8 School. She named it Rolling Hills Country Day School, now about to celebrate 50 successful years of educating children in the South Bay.

I previously wrote about Evelyn Dawn’s Potato Crusted Salmon in 2008. We are dining on the salmon and remembering Evelyn again this July, the month of her birth and 10th anniversary of her passing. Rest in peace Nana.

Evelyn Dawn’s Potato Crusted Salmon
Sautéed Vegetables, Lemon Dill Sauce
Recipe from Scott & Gina Lee
Ingredients:
  • Salmon
  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Hash Brown Potatoes
  • Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper
Cut salmon on a bit of an angle into 3.5 ounce portions. Dust in flour. Dip in egg. Roll in hash browns to which you have added salt and pepper and coarsely chopped Italian parsley. Put aside.

Lemon Dill Sauce:

  • 3 cups White Wine
  • Juice of two Lemons and their Zest
  • 1/2 cup of chopped Shallots
  • One bunch of chopped Fresh Dill
  • 1 cup unsalted Butter
Heat first four ingredients in a sauce pan. Reduce by 1/3. When reduced, strain and slowly add 1 cup of all melted butter. This is your sauce. Keep warm. The salmon is pan sauteed in olive oil on one side, flipped and then put into a 450 degree oven for 7-10 minutes depending on how you like it cooked. The salmon is served pan roasted side up…on top of zucchini, yellow squash and carrots that have been sautéed in olive oil and mirin. For plating…vegetables on the bottom, salmon on top, coat with lemon dill sauce and a dash of fresh lemon juice.


Gina Lee’s Bistro
211 Palos Verdes Blvd.
Redondo Beach, CA
310-375-4462
Gina Lee’s Menu here.

Eating Las Vegas by Day


Smoked Salmon Platter @ Café Vettro
Aria Resort and Casino

View from guest room @ the M Resort Spa Casino

I’ve been back to Las Vegas twice in the past 2 months to visit my gracious youngest sister and my accommodating and affable brother-in-law, and to explore the possibility of purchasing a little house there. I really appreciate spending time with them. I like the desert. I like the wide open feel and the view of the mountains. I also like The Strip and gaming, the spas, the shopping. And most of all, the dining!

Over the years we’ve been fortunate to have eaten dinner at so many of the top restaurants with their world-renowned chefs (recent review of Julian Serrano here). But I equally enjoy the hotel cafés. I like to sit outside overlooking the pool in the early morning with a cup of coffee, and read a magazine with a warm dry desert breeze a blowing…

Red Cup Café @ the M, 7:01 AM

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Napoleon of Portobella & Turnip, Ginger-Soy-Mirin Sauce

Roasted Napoleon of Portobella and Turnip
Little Buna-Shimeji Mushrooms and Corn Kernels
in a
Ginger Soy Mirin Sauce
Cilantro Garnish

“The recipes… are only a guide. You can use any or all of a recipe, deviate wherever you like, or indeed substitute ingredients completely if it suits your desires. In fact, you may want to forget about the recipe specifics and use the photographs alone as your inspiration,” penned Charlie Trotter in 1994.

I received his eponymous cookbook Charlie Trotter’s in 1998. After making this extraordinary napoleon I just today read the introduction quoted above. No wonder he is my hero. His words written 16 years ago perfectly describe my blog:  where the image is meant to titillate and inspire the cook!

The more I cook from these two books – Charlie Trotter’s and Charlie Trotter’s Vegetables the more I appreciate the genius of this chef.

(Cookbook GIVEAWAY winner posted below)

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