Calamari Salad

This wonderful dish was based off of a recipe from one of my back issues of gourmet magazine. It originally was for a Baby Octopus Salad. So the translation to calamari was in my mind inconsequential. The most important thing to remember is to avoid over cooking the squid. We are not looking for a salad of rubber bands here.  The premise is simple squid tossed with a dressing and lightly marinated.

So onward to the recipe then;
For the Dressing combine the following ingredients and set aside to allow the flavors to incorporate:
1tbl Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Vom Fass)
2tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1clv Garlic minced
2sprigs fresh oregano
2sprigs fresh thyme
(Strip the leaves from the herbs and chop finely)
1tsp Hawaiian Black Sea Salt
1tsp Waldburg Balsam Honey Vinegar

While the dressing is resting in a 2qt pot combine the following ingredients
2 Bay Leaves
1tsp dried savory
1/2tsp dill seed
1tbl kosher salt
2tbl orange or lemon juice
3-4cups water
Place over high heat and bring to a boil. While you are waiting you should make sure that your squid is tentacles only and that they have been thawed(if necessary), washed, and the beaks removed.

Once the mixture reaches a full rolling boil wait two minutes then remove from the heat and immediately add 1 1/2cups of squid tentacles at room temperature. Wait 15 seconds and then pour the squid into a colander and rinse with cold water. After a quick lite rinse transfer them to the prepared dressing and stir well. Place this covered on the counter and stir occasionally (every 5-10 minutes) the squid is ready to serve after 15-20 minutes.


Veracruz Stuffed Peppers

"Cooking is both a skill and an art. The skill is in the technique, the art is in the flavor." -Jacob Schenk
I had made notes on meals previous to this, but I seem to have misplaced them, so this is my first contribution to this blog. Tonight's meal is Veracruz Stuffed Peppers.

  • Bell Peppers
  • Black Beans
  • Black Garlic
  • Catfish bits
  • Cilantro
  • Cream Cheese
  • Cumin
  • Dried Chili (1)
  • Habinaro Orange Sauce
  • "Magic" Pepper
  • Onion
  • Peruvian Death Pepper (1)
  • Pepper-jack Cheese
  • Pineapple
  • Preserved Lime (just a bit of one)
  • Rice
  • Salt
  • Sundried Tomatoes
  • Tamarin
Stuffed into Pablano peppers. Roasted (along with the side listed below) in the grill at 600 down to 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.
And for a side:
  • Cabbage (thinly sliced, lightly salted)
  • Cilantro Sauce (Cilantro, Pickled Thai Cucumber Salad [which was created before I stared taking food notes])
  • Fish Sauce
  • Leeks
  • Onions (various)
  • Mushrooms (Button, King Trumpets, and Beech)
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Tequila
  • Tomatoes
All rolled in a grilled flour tortilla.

Two of the stuffed peppers were really hot, according to the four people eating them. It wasn't completely subjective because the two people who didn't have the very spicy ones tried a spicy one and concurred that it was in fact noticeably/significantly more spicy. I tried the farce (stuffing) prior to it being grilled, and it tasted really good. After it was grilled, I unfortunately couldn't fully appreciate the flavour of all the ingredients because I got a super spicy one.

Post-consumption analysis discussion led to the conclusion that it was the temperature differentiation in the cooking. Two of them were cooked on a shelf above the other two in the grill, and we are thinking that cooking it at a temperature lower than the others and then putting it in higher temperature regions led to the Peruvian peppers reacting differently. Perhaps for your own personal tastes, you may want to omit the Peruvian pepper. Just sayin'.

However, the mushroom/cilantro tacos were amazing. The mushrooms were grilled with the peppers. Jacob put Apple Tree wood on the grill. The mushrooms absorbed the smoky flavour absolutely brilliantly. The cilantro sauce went perfect with it, and I personally am not a huge fan of cilantro. However, this dinner may have to make me reconsider belonging to the Ban Cilanro community. (This one.) It was that good.

- Veronica Odden


I got Mussels!!!

This is a simple post on a simple idea. We got this amazing new vinegar in at work right before Christmas. It was a fig and chili vinegar. "Hmmm  I don't know" I know that's what you're thinking. But trust me it was sweet! Well spicy actually. And that got me to thinking what could I whip up as a delectable treat to use this new flavor sensation? Well of course being French trained and preferring difficulty and accurate production over ease of use  the first thing to come to mind was an emulsified sauce of some sort.

Now a basic vinaigrette will just not do. Too passe. I mean don't I have better ideas than that like everyday? So maybe I should be looking to what I want the sauce to go with. Seafood seemed a natural choice for me this time. (BBQ recipe coming later). Scallops, mussels, yes shellfish. And what sauce is better with shellfish cooked to perfection than a creamy rich Hollendaise? So with the encouragement of a friend and a little ingenuity I present a sauce fit for any shellfish you find:

Sauce Johanna

2ea egg yolks
1tbl Waldburg Balsam Fig & Chili
1/2cup Clarified Butter
3tbl Chili Oil
1/2tsp Siracha

Whisk together the yolks, fig&chili vinegar, and siracha. Slowly drip in the chili oil while whisking. Make sure your clarified butter is hot/warm ~120f is good. Whisk in the butter a thin drizzle at a time until it is all incorporated.

The sauce was then gentle poured of our melange of fine bivalves as shown below. Please note that the plate also shows Miataki Mushrooms with Quince Glaze, and The shelfish are Mussels with Sorrel and Peppers.