Baked Haddock with Creamy Crab Sauce

I had an urge for a creamy crab sauce. That’s what started it. Then, I realized I had to have the sauce with something. Enter the Haddock. Brushed lightly with lemon olive oil and baked at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, the Haddock is a perfect vehicle for the Crab sauce to enhance. You can put it on top of anything really (preferably fish) but I like the consistency of baked haddock to that’s my choice. The sauce is 296 calories per serving alone, so that’s why a light fish is necessary to keep those numbers down.

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsns butter
2 tbsns flour
2 green onions with about 2″ of green, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon parsley leaves chopped (or 1/2 tspn dried)
4 ounces lump crabmeat (I use canned but fresh would, of course, be better)
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 cups heavy whipping cream (or half and half if you think that’s too rich)
1/2 tspn cajun or creole seasoning. (sometimes I use a 1/4 tbsn of chili-flavoured olive oil)
1 tbsn tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat; stir in flour, onions, and parsley. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes
  2.  Add the sherry and crabmeat to the flour mixture; gradually add the cream, stirring constantly. Stir in Cajun seasoning and tomato paste. Simmer for 5 minutes to reduce slightly.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper, if necessary.
  4. Arrange the haddock (or whatever) on a plate and pour sauce over top. Serve with rice or small baked potatoes. Garnish with parsley.

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

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Roasted Sausages & Grapes

 

This is actually not a gourmet dish but rather a staple, comfort food example from Tuscany.  Popular at grape harvest, Italians use grapes right from the vineyard. It has a nice balance of richness with sweetness that is pulled together by balsamic vinegar.

My kids loved this dish when I discovered it about 25 years ago and it continues to be a simple go-to for my wife and I, along with a great Tuscan wine. The best way to enjoy this dish is to ensure each forkful has a grape, a slice of sausage, and a dollop of mashed potatoes. When it hits your taste buds for the first time, it is truly astonishing!

INGREDIENTS

2 sausages per serving (mild or hot Italian, honey garlic, English banger). My preference is mild Italian because the flavor mix is tremendous and the meat doesn’t overpower the grape. Serve one of two types in each serving; i.e: one mild and one banger on a plate.

3 tbsn unsalted butter
6 cups red or green seedless grapes, stemmed (I prefer red for rich flavor)
4 tbsn balsamic vinegar

METHOD

  1. reheat oven to 500 degrees. In a large pan, cover sausages with water and parboil for 8 minutes to rid them of excess fat.
  2. Melt butter in large, roasting pan. Add grapes and toss to coat. With tongs, transfer teh sausages to the roasting pan and push them into the grapes so the sausages don’t brown too quickly
  3. Roast, turning the sausages once, for 25 minutes or until the grapes are soft and the sausages have browned.
  4. With a slotted spoon, bring sausages and grapes to a heated serving platter
  5. Place the roasting pan on the stove top over medium-high heat. Add balsamic vinegar, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom the the pan. Allow the vinegar and juices to reduce until they are thick and syrupy.
  6. Pour the sauce over the sausages and grapes and serve immediately.

Serve with garlic mashed potatoes and a good Tuscan wine.

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

 

 

 

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi with Tomato-Butter Sauce

Since my wife and I are foodies, our recent trip to Curacao included hitting one of the ten top ranked restaurants (according to Trip Advisor) each day we were there (we managed eight).

So when I came home, my first gourmet night was a little nerve-racking: How could I compete with the extraordinary dishes we had just experienced? I couldn’t disappoint my wife that soon after such a great culinary experience.

So I decided to make my own Gnudi and see what happened. Gnudi is basically “ravioli filling without the pasta,” according to Gotham Bldg Tavern (New York City) chef, Tommy Habetz (originator of this recipe). Turns out it was a hit with a fresh, tasty dough that soaked up the sauce perfectly.

INGREDIENTS
1 stick of unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, mashed
1 small onion, halved
1 bay leaf
pinch of crushed red pepper
one 28 ounce can diced Italian plum tomatoes
salt
2 cups spinach, stems discarded
1 tub of fresh ricotta (apx 1.5-2lbs)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
2 cups all purpose flour

METHOD
1) In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter. Add the garlic, onion, bay leaf and red pepper and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is fragrant. Add the tomatoes and their  juices and bring to a boil. Simmer the sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to 2 and 1/2 cups (about 1, 1/2 hrs). Discard the garlic, onion and bay leaf. Season the sauce with salt and keep warm. (If you desire, you can chop up the onion and put it back but Tommy prefers it sans-onion)

2) Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet. Add the spinach, a handful at a time, and stir over moderately high heat until wilted; transfer to a colander; let cool slightly. Squeeze the spinach dry and finely chop it.

3) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a food processor, combine the spinach with the ricotta, eggs, nutmeg, and the 1/4 cup of Parmesan and process until blended. Add the flour in 3 batches, pulsing between additions, until almost incorporated. Scrape the ngudi dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead 5-10 times, until smooth.

4) Add one-fourth of the gnudi dough to a large, resealable plastic bag; with scissors, cut a 1/2 inch corner from the bag. Working over the boiling water, squeeze the dough through the corner opening and use a knife to cut it into 1-inch pieces. Cook the gnudi over moderately high heat until firm, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon or sire skimmer, transfer the gnudi to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.

5) Carefully transfer the gnudi to the tomato sauce and stir lightly to heat through. Spoon into shallow bowls and serve at once, passing more Parmesan at the table.

Pair with a fresh Tuscan white wine (this is a Tuscan dish), or a light Chardonnay.

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

“Menu of Passion” books 1-3 now available in a one-volume trade paperback

I’ve just re-launched Toni Carrera’s and my 3-part series (originally published as separate ebooks), in a one-volume trade paperback. If you enjoy travel romance and prefer to hold a real book, then it’s a bargain at $7.99, delivered by Amazon in 2-4 days.
(PS: We’re working on book 4, the first in our “Italian Interlude” series, based on Sue and my trip to Italy last year. If you buy “Menu of Passion” we’ll send you “Italian Interlude” FREE when published!
https://goo.gl/L7bz7k

Devil’s Run unites three books in series in paperback

Announcing the launch of “Devil’s Run”, all three of the Devil’s Run series in one volume, in trade paperback. The book unites “Sympathy for a Devil”, “Devil in Disguise”, and “Devilish Behavior”, previously published as ebooks on Kindle.

About the book:
“Peyton Dupris is a typical politician… He lies. But what he’s lying about is going to improve womens’ rights forever. It was all his wife’s idea and the strategy is working. Once elected, Peyton plans to stop lying. But his wife isn’t sure if it’s that simple. The lying comes to easy; he’s too good at it. What else is Peyton Dupris lying about?”

Order yours today: Devil’s Run

Hamilton Home Review, February 2018 Edition

We’ve re-launched Hamilton Home Review, this time focusing on investors, especially those who are members of Venture Property Investments. I have been acting as the RE Liaison with Martin and Chris of Venture for about a year now and this is how we keep in touch with our clients, new members, and past owners.

If you click this link, it will take you to the most recent edition

Just what is a full English breakfast?

In the middle of New York Fried, Artichoke Hart is asked to prepare a full English breakfast for the visiting British dignitaries. It never happens because the British leave the party early but they had stayed, this is the recipe he would have used: (From one of my followers, “WishtoDish”)

click here for the recipe and to meet “WishtoDish”