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March 2010

Homemade Fish Sticks

Homemade fish sticks

This is a quick and easy recipe for fish – and it’s great for kids – reminiscent of the ever popular chicken fingers.


Download Homemade Fish Sticks


1 egg

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 cups Panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 pounds fish fillets, cod, haddock, orange roughy or other mild fish

3 tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted (optional)

Tartar sauce, for serving


1.    Put an oven rack near the top of the oven. Preheat oven to 450°F, with a baking sheet inside.


2.    Use a fork to beat the egg together with the mayonnaise and mustard. Mix breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan in a shallow dish and season it with a bit of salt and pepper too. Cut fish fillets into 1-inch-thick by 4-inch-long pieces. Pat off extra moisture with paper towels, and toss cod pieces in flour.


3.    With one hand, dip a piece of cod into the egg mixture and put it on the breadcrumbs. With the other hand, coat each piece with breadcrumbs. Stack breaded cod pieces on a plate, repeating until all the cod is breaded.


4.    Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven, pour on the olive oil and butter, if using. Arrange the cod pieces in a single layer. Bake until just cooked through, flipping halfway through, about 4 minutes per side for thick pieces, 2 to 3 minutes for thinner ones. Serve with tartar sauce or favorite dipping sauce.

Fish sticks egg batter

Fish sticks bread crumbs


Classic Scalloped Potatoes with Celery Root

Scalloped potatoes 2 

It’s important that the potatoes are sliced very thin, no more than 1/8” thick. I use a mandoline, but you can also use your food processor with the blade attachment. These are great to serve on Easter with a glazed ham or a leg of lamb.


Download Classic Scalloped Potatoes with Celery Root Recipe

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 

1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

1 leek, trimmed, thinly sliced, and rinsed well

2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves 

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoons table salt 

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 

2 pounds russet potatoes (about 4-5 medium), peeled and sliced thin

8 ounces celery root (about 1/2 medium), peeled and sliced thin

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth 

1 cup heavy cream 

2 bay leaves 

4 ounces grated cheddar cheese or gruyere, shredded (1 cup)

1.    Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 425 degrees.

2.    Melt butter in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Add onion and leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, nutmeg, salt, and pepper; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add celery root, chicken broth, cream, and bay leaves and bring to simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add potatoes, bring mixture back to simmer, cover, and cook until potatoes are almost tender (paring knife can be slipped into and out of potato slice with some resistance), about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaves.

3.    Transfer mixture to 8-inch-square baking dish (or other 1 1/2-quart gratin dish) and press to an even layer; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake until cream is bubbling around edges and top is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

To Make Ahead: Once the scalloped potatoes have been transferred to the baking dish and pressed into an even layer in step 3, they can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, add the cheese, cover with foil, and bake in a 400-degree oven until the mixture is hot and bubbling, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook until the cheddar begins to brown, about 30 minutes longer. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Scalloped potatoes stovetop 

Scalloped potatoes dish

Colcannon - Irish Mashed Potatoes

Colcannon Irish Mashed Potatoes

Every Irish family has its own colcannon recipe, since it's a classic comfort food in Ireland. I first discovered this unique potato dish on a trip to Dublin - you can read about the trip and my visit to the Merrion Hotel on One for the Table's site:

click here ---> http://tinyurl.com/ybnv476


Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes with Cabbage)

Download Colcannon Recipe


3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

Table salt

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)

1 cup half & half, warmed

 Ground black pepper

1 head Savoy cabbage, cored and shredded

2 leeks, cleaned and finely sliced, white and light green parts only

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (to use with cabbage and leeks)

2 scallions, green parts only, chopped


1.    Place potatoes in large saucepan; add cold water to cover by 1 inch and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes break apart when paring knife is inserted, about 18 minutes.


2.   Meanwhile, bring 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons of the butter to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cabbage, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well, discarding liquid, and set aside.


3.    Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks and sauté until just softened, about 2 minutes. Add leeks to the cabbage mixture.


4.    Combine half & half and butter in small saucepan and keep warm until potatoes are done.


5.    When potatoes are done, turn off burner, drain and return the saucepan to still-hot burner. Using potato masher, mash potatoes until a few small lumps remain. Gently mix in melted butter mixture; using rubber spatula, gently fold in cabbage, leeks and scallion greens until just incorporated. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper; serve immediately.


Best Maine Lobster Roll

Traditional lobster roll 1

I was walking through my local farmer’s market today and saw a new vendor called the Maine Connection Seafood Company. The prize on their table was fresh Maine lobster – flown to LA the same day that it is caught from the family run fishing business. Of course, you can buy a whole lobster and cook it yourself, but this is so convenient and incredibly fresh. Lobster rolls in Maine are almost always made with a top split hot dog bun, but they’re nearly impossible to find in California.


  Download The Best Maine Lobster Roll Recipe



8 ounces cooked fresh lobster, refrigerated

2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 rib celery, finely diced

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons finely chopped chives or tarragon

1 scallion, finely chopped, white and light green part only

2 hot dog buns, preferably top split (or brioche roll)

1 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft

Boston lettuce


1.    Cut the lobster meat into 1/2-inch pieces and place in a large bowl, and mix with the mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the diced celery, lemon juice, chives, and scallion pepper until well blended.


2.    Heat a large skillet. Butter the sides of the hot dog buns with the butter and grill over moderate heat until golden brown on both sides. Transfer the hot dog buns to plates, add lettuce and place the lobster salad and serve immediately.

Classic New England style Top Split Lobster Roll

Top split lobeter roll



Meatballs and Marinara Sauce

Spaghetti meatball2

Meatballs and Marinara

Serves 8 .  


Onion Mixture:


1/4 cup olive oil 

3 onions , chopped fine

8 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon dried oregano 

3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 


Tomato Sauce:


1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste 

1 cup dry red wine  (Cotes du Rhone)

1 cup water 

4 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes (Muir Glen or San Marzano)

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese 

¼ cup fresh basil leaf 


1 - 2 teaspoons sugar , as needed




4 slices hearty white sandwich bread 

¾ cup milk 

¼ pound sweet Italian sausage , casings removed

¼ pound ground pork

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves 

Grated zest of ½ lemon

2 large eggs 

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 ½ teaspoons salt 

2 ½ pounds ground beef chuck (80 percent lean)


Onion mixture:

1.    Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook onions until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer half of onion mixture to large bowl and set aside.



1.    Add tomato paste to remaining onion mixture in pot and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in water and tomatoes and simmer over low heat until sauce is no longer watery, 45 to 60 minutes. Stir in cheese and basil and adjust seasonings with salt and sugar.



For the meatballs:


1.    Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Mash bread and milk in bowl with reserved onion mixture until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, except ground beef, to bowl and mash to combine. Add beef and knead with hands until well combined. Form mixture into 2 ½ -inch meatballs (you should have about 24 meatballs), place on rimmed baking sheet, and bake until well browned, about 20 minutes.



2.    Transfer meatballs to pot with sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes. Serve over pasta. (Meatballs and marinara can be frozen for up to 1 month.)



Canned tomatoes  


Baked meatballs


Sauce and meatballs







One for the Table

One of my favortite sites to visit - www.oneforthetable.com

Oneforthe table

Dedicated to the notion that one of the things that’s wrong with the world is that there aren’t enough waffles in it and everyone should sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes order “one for the table”.

It’s about elegance and simplicity.  It’s about having a philosophy about life that extends to the choice of ingredients, fresh and otherwise, (ecological within reason), the way you entertain, the placement of flowers in a vase, the careful way you sometimes scramble an egg or simply butter a piece of toast and conversely a sort of casual chaos that allows you to whip up dinner for 12, just because you suddenly look up and there are 12 people for dinner.   Amy Ephron

Filled with wonderful stories, recipes, photos, restaurant reviews and more - even a few from me!

Read about my experience at Sergio Arola's Restaurant here - http://bit.ly/chWX8d


Jane Roche's Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

Meatloaf colcannon

I was visiting my dear friend David in Carefree Arizona when I first discovered this recipe. It was neatly written by his mother, Jane, on a small piece of paper tucked away in a kitchen drawer and titled “Bill Blass’s Meatloaf”.  Though I never had the pleasure of meeting Jane, I feel I formed a special bond with her in that Carefree kitchen when I first followed her instructions for this delicious meatloaf. David said that it was a winter staple in their family, and it certainly has become one of my “go to” recipes when I’m in the mood for authentic comfort food. Thanks Jane, you are missed.


 Download Jane Roche Meatloaf Recipe


2 ribs celery , chopped

2 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 eggs

1/3 cup sour cream or whole milk plain yogurt

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 cup Heinz chili sauce

2 pounds ground beef sirloin

1/2 pound ground pork

1/4 pound ground veal

1 1/4 cup soft fresh bread crumbs (just pulse 3 slices of white bread )

8 slices bacon


Meatloaf Glaze

½ cup Heinz chili sauce

4 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons dry mustard

3 teaspoons cider or white vinegar




1.    Mix glaze ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.


2.    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a heavy skillet over medium heat, saute the celery and onion in the butter or oil until soft, about 5 minutes; add garlic and cook 1 minute. Scrape into a large mixing bowl, add chopped parsley and set aside to cool.


3.    In medium bowl, mix eggs with sour cream (or yogurt) thyme, marjoram, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and ½ cup chili sauce. Add the meats, bread crumbs and egg mixture to the large bowl with onion mixture. Mix with fork or wooden spoon until evenly blended.


4.    Turn meat mixture onto foil lined shallow pan and with wet hands, pat mixture into approximately 9-by-5-inch loaf shape.  Brush with half the glaze, then arrange bacon slices, crosswise, over loaf, overlapping slightly and tucking only bacon tip ends under loaf.


5.     Bake loaf on center rack until bacon is crisp and loaf registers 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer, about 1 hour. Let rest for about 15 minutes before serving. Simmer remaining glaze over medium heat until thickened slightly and serve with meatloaf slices.


*Note - The three types of meat give this dish its great flavor - it's sometimes sold in the supermarket as "Meatloaf Mix" - just make sure it's not pre-seasoned. You can also use all beef, or beef and pork combo - just make sure to thoroughly combine the mixture before forming the loaf. I like to serve the meatloaf with Rustic Mashed Red Bliss Potatoes - find the recipe here --> http://bit.ly/cjQqcq

Meatloaf prebake

Individual Bananas Foster Cakes

Bananas foster cakes

Individual Bananas Foster Cakes


I was rifling through a stack of magazines next to my desk, trying to determine what I could finally throw out, when I came across the year end issue of America’s Test Kitchen Best Recipes and Reviews 2009. Somehow, I hadn’t had time to look through it, so I quickly scanned the pages. As usual, I wanted to make just about everything, but as I flipped towards the last pages, my eyes fixated on Individual Bananas Foster Cakes! I’ve used just about every type of fruit as a variation for the traditional pineapple – but this sounded great. The recipe calls for 6 ounce ramekins, but I found that the 8 ounce size worked better.


Download Individual Bananas Foster Cakes


14 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 14 pieces

2/3 cup dark brown sugar

6 tablespoons dark rum

3 ripe firm bananas, peeled and sliced 1/4” thick

½ cup whole milk

3 eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla

1¾ cup flour

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon grated lemon zest


1.    Adjust rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter eight 8 ounce ramekins, then place on a rimmed baking sheet.


2.    Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup brown sugar and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes. Off heat, whisk in 2 tablespoons of the rum. Divide mixture evenly in the ramekins, using at least a generous tablespoon in each dish.


3.    Shingle the banana slices on top of the sauce in each ramekin, overlapping them slightly – about 6-8 slices per dish; set aside.


4.    Whisk remaining ¼ cup rum, milk, eggs, and vanilla together in a medium bowl.


5.    In a large bowl, whisk remaining 1/3 cup of brown sugar, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and zest together. Using mixer on medium low speed, beat  in the remaining 8 tablespoons butter into the flour mixture and continue to beat the mixture until it resembles moist crumbs, 1-3 minutes.


6.    Beat in all but ¼ cup of milk mixture, then increase the speed to medium and beat the batter until smooth and fluffy, 1-3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and slowly beat the remaining ¼ cup milk mixture until the batter looks slightly curdled, about 15 seconds.


7.    Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure it is fully combined. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared ramekins, smooth the tops, and gently tap ramekins on pan to settle batter.


8.    Bake cakes on baking sheet until a tooth pick comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 25-30 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking.


9.    Immediately run a small knife around the edge of cakes, gently invert onto serving plates, and let sit until cakes release themselves from the ramekins, about 5 minutes. Remove the ramekins and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Bananas foster cakes slices 

Bananas foster cake batter