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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Hazelnut Cake with Nutella Glaze


From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...One of autumn's pleasures is the profusion of nuts that flood Oregon's markets and farm stands. I buy them in quantity at that time, and freeze walnuts and hazelnuts to use throughout the remainder of the year.  May tends to be a month of overlap and those lovely nutmeats sitting in the freezer need to be used, so space can be made for berries that are starting to come in.  This simple cake is one I make when my freezer is in transition. It is a Bavarian hazelnut cake that is much like one I had as a child. This is an exceptional snack cake, and I know those of you who try it, will love it. The cake and glaze both contain hazelnuts, and the cake, while unsophisticated, has a European air about it. I like to make this cake the day before I plan to serve it. Its flavor improves remarkably if it is allowed to "ripen" for a day or two. Do give this recipe a try. Here is how the cake is made.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

Another Look at Cantonese Fried Noodles


From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I was out for most of the day today, so dinner preparation was a last minute affair and had to be rushed. I make these Cantonese noodles when the clock and I are out of sync and I need a meal that comes together quickly. I love these noodles. The Canton region of China has a rich culinary history and serious cooks familiarize themselves with the food of this region. Today's dish is the essence of simplicity. It's nothing more than a bowl of fried noodles, a bit of meat, and some crisp vegetables that are tossed and coated with a shimmering glaze. It's gorgeous to look at, ready in less than 30 minutes and budget friendly. You just can't go wrong with this dish. A word about noodles - I use dried rice sticks that resemble tagliatelle because I find fresh rice noodles difficult to come by. The noodles, called bahn pho, come from Vietnam and are they are available in sizes S thru XL - go for L or XL. They can be found in any Asian market or purchased from online merchants. Pad Thai noodles can be used in a pinch, but follow box instructions for softening rather than using those given in this recipe.  I like this dish well enough to keep the ingredients needed to make it in my pantry at all times. I've never tired of it and I think you will share my enthusiasm once you give the recipe a try. Here is how the noodles are made.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Steak Pimenton with Harissa Sauce


From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I must tell you this is another of my almost-famous "-ish" creations. The Silver Fox and I had nothing like this the entire time we were in Spain and Morocco, but it was inspired by the herbs and spices that are used there. It also serves as a wonderful vehicle to introduce a fiery North African condiment called harissa. The steak has a spicy "Come to the Casbah" flair, due in part to a simple rub that's used for flavoring, but the coup de grĂ¢ce, comes from the harissa oil that is poured over the steak before it is served. Talk about good! The ingredients needed to make this steak can be found in any large market, and the good news is they keep forever. Chances are you'll go to your grave with the granulated garlic and onion still in your pantry. I like to use a flat iron steak for this recipe, but any cut normally used to make London Broil can be substituted, as long as it is tenderized. I use a jaccard to tenderize ours. The steak is at its best when it sits several hours before grilling. If you don't have a grill, or the weather is foul, use a griddle pan and sear the steak over high heat on a burner. I know those of you who try this recipe will be pleased. It's simple to make and it is delicious. Here is how the steak is made.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mid-Week Musing


A Purpose Driven Life

Years ago, a dear friend, now a memory of the best sort, put down her coffee and asked, "Is this all there is?" The question came out of nowhere and I hesitated before speaking. I'm not good with cosmic queries. I have a skewed view of the universe and I've never allowed myself, by interjection or example, to foist my beliefs on others. So we sat a bit, burping our baby girls, while my brain sorted possible answers to her question. When it came, it was neither profound nor pointed and what escaped my lips was an inane, "Why do you ask?" I have a recollection that she replied, "There has to be more." While our lives and education had been in lock-step, we filtered lessons differently and I was not sure if the conversation about to come would be philosophical or religious. As it turns out it was neither. She wanted to have a life that was meaningful and in order to do that she believed it was necessary to have a life that mattered. Rather than waste dreams, she sorted through them and became purpose-driven in pursuit of goals that would lend more meaning to her life.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Charlie Trotter's Slow Roasted Salmon


From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Chinook salmon are now running and starting to appear in fish markets throughout Oregon and Washington. The farm raised version of the fish is available throughout the year, but the Silver Fox and I prefer to stave off salmon purchases until the wild variety is available. There is an enormous difference in flavor and while it's more expensive, the wild variety is less fatty and has better texture. Sometimes you get what you pay for. Over the years, I've tried more salmon recipes than I care to admit, but these days I tend to fall back on a handful of them that are truly outstanding. Tonight's recipe is one of those. Better than 15 years ago, Chef Charlie Trotter began to slow roast salmon in an oven set to 250 degrees. The method, then and now, produced a succulent and tender piece of fish that had glorious color and melt in the mouth appeal. Salmon cooked in this manner is irresistible to cooks and lovers of the fish alike. Slow oven or not, it is fast to cook and simple to make, and the stunning color of the fillets after roasting will brighten any table. I do hope you will this recipe a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Here is how slow roasted salmon is made.

Monday, May 18, 2015

All-American Strawberry Tart


From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I can only assume it's the shape of this tart that leads everyone to believe it's a Parisian dessert. While strawberry tarts may be common in France, this one has traveled no further than the Hudson River and it has no pedigree to speak of. I found a version of this when I was a bride, At that time, my kitchen bible was the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook and the recipe for this ruby gem was included within it. When the filling is made with seasonally ripe berries, this is an outstanding dessert that's worthy of any table, even one in France. I've included a recipe for a short crust for those of you who prefer to make your own pastry, though I must admit it is really not necessary for this luscious dessert. A commercial crust works just as well because strawberries are the star here. If they are O.K. you reputation as a cook and baker will remain intact and may even be enhanced. I do have a caution or two for those who plan to make the tart. It's a seasonal dessert, so make sure the berries you use are fully ripe and flavorful. It's also important to glaze the berries about two hours before you plan to serve the dessert. After a couple of hours the glaze will begin to weep and your gorgeous tart will begin to look like the portrait of Dorian Gray. I love this dessert for its simplicity and old-fashioned goodness. I think you will, too. Here is how the tart is made.

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