Fresh Sole, Miso Butter, Braised Bok Choy

Fresh Wild Petrale Sole
Sautéed in Miso Butter
Over Braised Baby Bok Choy in Broth
Steamed White Rice

Braising liquid:
  • 1 c. white wine (I like inexpensive, yet still tasty Pinot Grigio for cooking)
  • 1 c. fish stock or bottled clam juice
  • 6 T. butter
  • Soy sauce
  • Toasted sesame oil
Heat the wine, stock and butter on high to cook off the alcohol, turn down to simmer and add halved baby bok choy. Cover. Cook about 5 minutes until the bok choy is tender. Remove boy choy to a platter. Turn up the heat and further reduce the sauce. Finish with a splash of soy sauce and a splash of toasted sesame oil.

Season the fish with salt and pepper, dust with flour and dip in egg. While the braising liquid is reducing, sauté the fish fillets in miso butter. I am showing this bird’s-eye view of my stovetop because I am the proud recipient of a 5 pc. set of SCANPAN Ceramic Titanium Professional Cookware made in Denmark. It is elegant and awesome, the improved non-stick surface allows for the use of any utensil, including metal utensils. A big thank you to Heather and the folks at SCANPAN!
Left: 10 1/4″ Fry Pan – sautéing fish
Front right: 6 1/2 qt. Dutch Oven (comes with cover) – reducing braising liquid
Back right: 3 qt. saucepan (with cover) – steaming white rice
Cast stainless steel handles stay cool longer. The set came with these nifty handle covers, but I found that the handles were fine on their own. Robin and Jimmy over at Caviar and Codfish blog are hosting a Scanpan giveaway. I highly recommend participating! Now, my first foray with the new Scanpan was with scrambled eggs.
The scrambled eggs were extraordinarily creamy. They cooked differently than in my usual non-stick pan. I wish I could explain the difference… the pan seems to me to be slipperier? Anyway, I was very impressed. They soon will have another line available for induction cooktops, can’t wait for that! My favorite way to serve scrambled eggs, I enjoyed it this way at a hotel in Mexico City many years ago. With all things green: cilantro, salsa verde, sliced avocado with lime. Tortillas and coffee too.

Back to bok choy: Alternate the bok choy up and down on a platter. Ladle hot braising liquid on top. Then place the fish on top of the bok choy and serve with steamed white rice on the side.
I am sending this dish over to my blogger friend Simona of Briciole blog as she is hosting Fresh Produce of the Month Event and this month, it’s cabbage! And to my other friend Lore of Culinarty, for her Original Recipe Round-Up. Do check out these fun monthly events.
Miso butter:
  • 1 stick butter (softened)
  • 2 – 3 T. white miso
  • 1 1/2 t. garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 t. fresh ginger minced
Mix all ingredients in the small bowl of a food processor. Miso butter has a complex and intriguing flavor. I used it to sauté this fish, also on vegetables, noodles (great on soba noodles), in corn ramen soup (more on that later), or try a pat of miso butter on your grilled steak.

I am such a fan of this miso butter, I gave it as a Christmas gift. What? You gave butter as a gift? I did, and it was totally appreciated (so I was told), especially in this little pot with lid.

Another Colorful Side

Colorful Side Dish #3
Spinach and Feta
Israeli Couscous, Orzo, Baby Garbanzo, Red Quinoa

Sauté chopped garlic, chopped scallions, and red pepper flakes in olive oil. Add fresh baby spinach to wilt. Season to taste.

Toss spinach mixture with cooked Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo, and red quinoa. This blend is called Harvest Grains Blend and is available from Trader Joe’s. Crumble feta on top. This recipe was inspired by one in Gourmet magazine some years ago, they made theirs with Acini di Pepe (tiny pearl pasta) and used frozen spinach.
Something New at Home

I am very excited about this change that cost nothing but makes my home feel dramatically different for the new year. I switched the dining room and family room. The former family room is considerably larger and has a fireplace in the corner. I moved the dining table here so now there is a more open and casual space for dining, and we can eat in front of a beautiful crackling fire.

The former dining room is now a cozy den. The chandelier which was above the dining table is above the coffee table, so you can still walk by without hitting your head. Makes a great spot to sit and read cookbooks! I also switched some artwork around, and that has freshened up some of the other rooms in the house.
Have you made any changes to your home or kitchen for the new year?

2 Colorful Sides and a Mushroom Salad

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips, and Shallots
Garlicky Olives and Gremolata

Carrots, parsnips and shallots are tossed in olive oil, seasoned with thyme, salt and pepper, then roasted at 425°F for about 30 minutes.

While the veggies were roasting I made the gremolata, a mixture of chopped Italian parsley, lemon zest and minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Gremolata is the condiment traditionally served with Osso Bucco alla Milanese. The flavor is fresh (parsley), bright (lemon), and intense (raw garlic). A great condiment!

To serve: the roasted vegetables are topped with gremolata and garlic green olives. This excellent recipe was posted by my blogger friend, Marie, the Proud Italian Cook back in October. I am a fan of parsnips, so I added them to the recipe, plus I like the look of white parsnips mixed with the orange carrots. Thanks Marie!
French Green Beans and Yellow Wax Beans
Topped with Zesty Baby Bellas

Mushrooms are sautéed with a little butter and olive oil, then add minced garlic and season with salt and pepper, finish with a splash of white wine, squeeze of lemon juice and fresh thyme.

The mixed beans are steamed then tossed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. To serve: top with the mushrooms. Garnish with chopped parsley. Do you like the mélange de haricots? I love the colors. Please visit here for another vibrant bean recipe.

Grilled Marinated Mushroom Salad
Gorgonzola, Grape Tomatoes, Pecans
Three Vinegar Syrup

Speaking of mushrooms, I just have to share this salad! The portobello is marinated in Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, garlic, shallots and red wine vinegar. It is then grilled and served over a salad of mixed greens, radicchio, sprouts, grape tomatoes, Gorgonzola and pecans. Drizzled with a 3 vinegar syrup. Scott Lee reduces the 3 vinegars separately, Chinese Blush Vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar, and Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar then he combines them to dress this salad. You can enjoy this very tasty mushroom salad at my dear friends’ restaurant, Gina Lee’s Bistro in Redondo Beach, California. See ya there!

Meat Soup and The New Year

I love the new year. It’s an exciting time, a time for reflection, a time to make improvements for a better future. Many bloggers have been posting terrific compilations of their Best of 2008. I was reflecting on Taste With The Eyes, how much I have enjoyed writing, learning more about photography and cooking and blogging, making friends and enjoying blogs from around the world. How neat this is, how incredibly neat.
Thinking back over the year of my posts, I think Meat Soup is my favorite. Why? Because it arose from a conversation with my mother about old recipes. Because she shared a recipe from my Nana that I had not remembered. Because we talked about my Father, my Nana, and my Papa who all passed away years ago. Because as a result of our conversation, I was able to share a snippet of our family history on my blog. And, last but not least, because it is a darn good soup! I will definitely be making it in 2009. Beef short ribs have become one of my favorite ingredients. Farewell to 2008, and here is Meat Soup one more time:
What’s in a name?
The other day I was asking my mother, Joyce, about recipes from the past.
Ma: Your Nana (my paternal grandmother) made excellent soups.
Me: Like what? I remember her chicken soup and borscht…what else?
Ma: Oh, I liked her meat soup.
Me: Meat Soup?
Ma: It’s like chicken soup but with meat. I think I still have the recipe…
My Nana was born in Kiev, Russia 1894. The family fled to Canada to escape the pogroms when she was a young girl. Her name was Vitte but she took her sister’s name, Fanny, after Fanny was killed in a machine accident. She met my Papa (paternal grandfather) when they were teenagers and their families were living in the same apartment complex in Montreal. His name was Yitzcok when he was born in Romania 1891 but changed it to Isadore upon arrival in Canada when he was 13 years old. He celebrated his Bar Mitzvah on the boat. Fanny and Isadore married then made their way to America and settled in Chicago where Papa took on the name, Irving, and they raised their children, Edythe and Leonard (my father).
I remember one day when we were kids, my Dad asked us if we knew Papa’s real name. I thought about it and said “Is” because that’s what Nana called him. Then I fell into a fit of giggles, “What kind of name is Is, Dad? That’s a verb!”
My nephews are Stone Leonard, his middle name in memory of our father, and Jett Izzy‘s middle name is in honor of our Papa – Is, or Izzy.
Meat Soup
3 1/2 lbs. short ribs
4 carrots
2 onions
2 parsnips
3 celery stalks
1 parsley root
1 c. dried large lima beans
Egg noodles
These are the ingredients my Mother has listed on her old recipe index card from notes she took years ago while watching her mother-in-law make meat soup.
Here is how I made my Nana’s soup:
Put short ribs in a soup pot full of water, heat on high until the water boils, then turn down the heat to a simmer. Skim off the scum and fat constantly. After 1 1/2 hours add rough chopped vegetables and beans. (I couldn’t find parsley root so I used a bunch of parsley). Simmer another hour or so, until the beans are cooked and the meat is butter-tender and falling off the bone. Season with salt and pepper. (I also added some beef base). To serve, put cooked egg noodles in a bowl and ladle soup on top.

Meat soup. What’s in a name? Indeed.

Oh, and I forgot to mention back in September that I was named after Papa’s oldest brother, Louie.

Happy. New. Year.

Lori Lynn

P.S. Food bloggers and non-food bloggers alike, do you have a favorite post of yours from 2008? If so, please leave a comment, we would love to (re)visit it.

Panettone French Toast & Bacon

LET IT SNOW!

Are you one of the millions of fortunate recipients of the wonderful tall leavened fruitcakes of Milan this Christmas?

Panettone has been made for hundreds of years using live sourdough mother yeast. A combination of old baking art with butter, raisins, citrus rinds and durum wheat in a 50 hour process produces a rich, moist, fresh Italian cake.

Fr. Adam reminded me that a restaurant company we worked for in the 1980’s gave us Panettone for Christmas every year. So he brought one for us here this year. Thanks for the memory and the delicious cake, Fr. A.

I sliced a thick cross-section of the cake. Soaked it thoroughly in two eggs beaten with cream and a pinch of salt. Then cooked it over medium low heat in butter until golden brown on both sides.

Dusted with powdered sugar!

We are fans of good thick bacon from the butcher shop.

You might want to serve it with maple syrup or mascarpone cheese. It was so moist and sweet, we were satisfied with the dusting of sugar and bacon. This cross-section of the Panettone can serve three or four people. Add a cup of hot coffee and enjoy a delicious Holiday Breakfast!

And here’s a Holiday Centerpiece to go with the Holiday Breakfast. A circle of nine 15 inch tall angel vases with stargazer lilies that I am sending over to Sandi at the Whistlestop Cafe for her lovely Centerpiece of the Month event. December will be an awesome month for her centerpiece displays.


Sending Holiday Blessings Your Way…