Couscous Salad Timbales, Meyer Lemon Confit

couscous salad timbale

Couscous Salad Timbales, Meyer Lemon Confit
Zucchini, Peas, Garbanzo Beans, Roasted Almonds
Scallion, Mint, Parsley, Crushed Red Pepper, Lemon Olive Oil Dressing

couscous, timbale

This is the first of many sunny recipes using Meyer Lemon Confit. On March 7th I tucked a jar of fresh Meyer lemons (submerged in sugar and salt) in my basement refrigerator. Now, three months later, I have this intense Meyer lemon confit which is enlivening our salads, pasta, fish, and all sorts of dishes.

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seafood taco contest

midnight sun halibut & crab tacos

crispy rice paper wrapped alaskan halibut with leek and dijon mustard
king crab/ meyer lemon garlic mayonnaise
grilled meyer lemon wheel/ shaved fennel/ fresh dill

Lori Lynn & Pooch “Mrs. Cooper”
Homer, Alaska 1993

Alaska Seafood is holding The 1st Ever Wild Alaska Fish Taco Recipe Contest. And since I am a fan of (1) Alaska, (2) the hosts, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, (3) fish tacos, (4) recipe contests, (5) sustainable fishing practices, and last but not least (6) food trucks – this challenge had my name all over it!

Living in Southern California we periodically venture south of the border, so we’ve been enjoying Baja fish tacos for decades. My original Wild Alaska Fish Taco, however, was to be quite different from its southern cousin. When creating the recipe, my first decision was to determine what ingredients NOT to use:

  • no cabbage
  • no cilantro
  • no white onion
  • no lime
  • no salsa
  • no avocado

The second decision was to choose which Alaska seafood to include – salmon, crab, cod, pollack, halibut, sole, black cod, spot prawns, weathervane scallops, or rockfish? I chose the mighty halibut from the halibut fishing capital of the world and the king of all shellfish – king crab.

The next step was to create a flavor profile with ingredients that complement the halibut and crabmeat:

halibut + dill + leek + dijon + fennel + meyer lemon + king crab + mayonnaise + garlic

The last step was to decide how to incorporate all these fabulous flavors and textures in one glorious tortilla while still being recognizable as distant relative of the famous Baja fish taco. To get a light crispy crust the halibut is wrapped in rice paper then fried. The rice paper wrapper also marries the leek and dijon to the piece of fish. This hot crispy “fish stick” contrasts with the cool sweet crabmeat, the fresh crunchy fennel, and the smokey citrus notes from the grilled meyer lemon. The rich garlicky lemon mayonnaise and bright fresh dill are the finishing touches. Just slice, mix, grill, sauté, and assemble – no special technique required to create the one-of-a-kind halibut & crab taco, a tribute to the land of the midnight sun!

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A Foodie Christmas Dinner Party

Menu

appetizer

Three Holiday Crostini Served with Bubbly:

Italian Truffle Cheese, Truffled Shiitake, Truffled Frisee
Cambozola, Cranberry Orange Relish, Walnut
Foie Gras Paté

dinner

Lori Lynn’s

Spicy Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Creme Fraiche
Garnished with Toasted Coconut, Chopped Cashews, Dried Pomegranate Arils

Gail’s

Bejeweled Endive Christmas Salad
Radish, Shallot, Basil, Fresh Pomegranate Seed
Creamy Champagne Thyme Vinaigrette

Lori Lynn’s

Roasted Cornish Game Hen
Meyer Lemon, Fennel, Olive, Garlic
Meyer Lemon Cream Fraiche “Gravy”

Pat’s

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Sally’s

Brussels Sprouts with Hollandaise

Lauren’s

Warm Chocolate Lava Cake
Peppermint Chip Ice Cream

A few days before Christmas I hosted A Foodie Christmas Dinner Party for my friends. Everyone was to bring a dish and wine. I had said that I would be making Cornish game hen and the rest of the menu was open. Without any formal planning, the menu evolved and the dinner turned out fabulous! My only direction was to let the cooks know what menu category was available. Since we are foodie friends that have been cooking together for years, it shouldn’t have surprised me that the random menu items complemented each other perfectly.

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Christmas Party: Game Hen, Meyer Lemon, Fennel, Olive

Roasted Cornish Game Hen
Meyer Lemon, Fennel, Olive, Garlic
Meyer Lemon Cream Fraiche “Gravy”

Last week, looking for inspiration for the main course to be served at A Foodie Christmas Dinner Party using in-season Meyer lemons, I googled “cornish game hen meyer lemon” and discovered a fabulous yet simple recipe for a crowd by Robert Gauthier on the Los Angeles Times site here.

Since our meal was to be several courses and the fresh Cornish game hens weighed almost two pounds apiece, I had the butcher slice them lengthwise so each guest would enjoy half a hen. We slipped  thinly sliced Meyer lemon under the skin and roasted them over sliced fennel, mixed olives, thyme, garlic and more Meyer lemons. The sauce was a pan gravy with tangy creme fraiche and brightened Meyer lemon juice.

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Cold Poached Salmon, Picnic Style


heart healthy cold poached salmon over multi grain angel hair pasta
meyer lemon slivers, shaved fennel, kalamata olive, marinated artichoke, fat-free feta
olive oil meyer lemon dill sauce

The star of the meal at our Elegant Heart Healthy Picnic by the Sea
was the cold poached Canadian King Salmon. Here’s the recipe!

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Steamed Salmon & Spinach Salad, Meyer Lemon Cream

Fresh Youngs Bay Spring Chinook Salmon
Baby Spinach, Meyer Lemon Wheels,
Toasted Pine Nuts, Cherry Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives
Meyer Lemon Cream, Parsley Garnish

“The quality of the Youngs Bay Spring Chinook is comparable, if not superior to the fabled Copper River king salmon,” says Michael Morrissey, Ph.D., director and professor, Oregon State University Seafood Laboratory.

Youngs Bay is a body of water just west of Astoria, Oregon near the mouth of the mighty Columbia River. I am so excited to have discovered this fabulous salmon with its high (good) fat content, rich flavor and firm texture – and it’s less expensive than Copper River salmon!

We are smitten with our Meyer Lemons (salad with endive and violas here) and addicted to Meyer Lemon Cream… For this salmon salad the lemons are sliced thin – the entire fruit is edible, including the thin, soft, smooth rind. The dressing is made with shallot, lemon juice and cream (or heart-healthy cream substitute).

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Dreamy Meyer Lemon Salad with Edible Violas


Belgian Endive, Mixed Baby Lettuces, Garden Fresh Italian Parsley, Violas
Fava Beans, Thinly-Sliced Meyer Lemon Wheels, Toasted Pine Nuts, Kalamata Olives
Dressed with Meyer Lemon Cream

Gail’s Meyer Lemon Tree (upper left) and Violas (lower right)

We’ll be hosting another one of our Sunken City Supper Club events soon, so my friend Gail and I have been busy in our “test kitchen” creating an exciting springtime menu. The Sunken City Supper Club is a fresh, local and secret place to seasonally mingle with friends and neighbors – to enjoy the camaraderie, great food, wine, the awesome intimate jazz standards (and perhaps a little dancing too) performed by local musicians Barry Anthony and Bill Ryan. We hold one event per season, and the menu always reflects seasonal ingredients.

The first absolute winner from our test kitchen is this gorgeous salad! The Meyer lemons are sliced thin, the entire fruit is edible, including the thin, soft, smooth rind. The violas, also known as Johnny Jump-ups, add beauty and a lovely mild pea flavor. It is imperative that we test every dish, not only for taste, but also to make sure we can prepare and serve the 5 courses to 24 people in a timely manner.

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