I asked them both to submit to me a 3 course meal, that I would write about. I am reprinting their recipes below, exactly in their words. I wish I came up with feathery to describe the herbs, but that is all Ellen. and noone but my mother in law would start a recipe with "NYTimes maybe 20 years ago...."
Both menus are lovely and filled with delicate beautiful ingredients, as well as some cooking tips. For example, if you roast the salmon on foil it transfers intact to the serving plate and you cut away the extra foil to keep the fish shape. Ingenious! There are similarities: they both chose soups for the first plate, both chose fish for the entree. Ellen's cookie recipe sounds really easy. So does my moms...but she's trying to out-pie me. And I won't let that happen - not on my own blog! Her single response to my blog piece was that I should have included her rustic tart. Positive feedback or a compliment would have been nice, but I guess my blog about my cooking should also be about my mom. Well, luckily for her Mother's Day is here so today, mom, today you are the subject and the chef! tomorrow, it goes back to being all about me!
Today Elaine will be preparing chilled carrot ginger soup, chilean sea bass soffritto, and a rustic fruit tart.
My in-laws are also crazy about cooking, eating and consuming all things delicious. Ellen had six kids to feed so she had to cook huge amounts of food daily, requiring ingenuity, resourcefulness and economy of scale. She entertains exquisitely and loves to throw a party. She figured out how to make gourmet food on a budget by being crafty. Clam chowder and a whole side of salmon feed a family efficiently. They eat every part of the lobster. They had a whole goat on a spit this past Thanksgiving. I'm pretty sure my nephew Owen still sleeps with the lights on.... Well, to quote the chef herself, her food leaves people always wanting more. So true!
Today Ellen will be preparing a curried crab soup, whole roasted salmon and pecan dainties.
Curried Crab SoupNYTimes maybe 20 years ago.
4 T butter, 1/2 cup fine chopped onion, 1 clove garlic, fine minced, 1/2 cup peeled, fine diced apple, 1 T curry powder, 3 T flour, 1/2 cup chopped ripe tomato, 3 cups chicken broth, S & P 1/2 lb lump or backfin crabmeat, 1/2 cup heavy cream (or half and half, you decide), Tobasco sauce, Chopped parsley for garnish
Where to Shop the Blog:Melt butter, add onion and cook stirring till wilted. Add garlic and apple. Stir briefly, sprinkle with curry and flour. Add the tomato and broth, stirring rapidly with a wire wisk. When thickened and smooth, add S & P to taste, then crab meat. Simmer 10 minutes, add cream and bring to boil. Add touch of Tobasco. Serve hot with parsley garnish. (I double the recipe which is supposed to serve 6. People always want more.)
Whole Salmon SideI place aluminum foil on a jelly roll pan (like a cookie sheet but with sides), sprinkle it with olive or canola oil depending whether I want the olive oil flavor or not, and place the whole side of salmon in the pan. (Some fishmongers remove the skin for you, a convenience, but there are cooks who want the skin left on for enhanced flavor.) I smear a good flavored mayonnaise like Ojai (my favorite)---lemonaise or chipotle---over the surface of the salmon. Sometimes I sprinkle cumin or garlic powder or a fine minced herb like dill or basil on top. I roast the fish in a 400 degree oven, maybe 20 minutes. Keep track of the time: Do Not Overcook. I like my fish a little underdone. I usually slide the whole foil base with the fish in place, onto my serving platter, and then trim the foil away to the fish edge: that saves the hassle of trying to get the intact fish from cook pan to plate. Then decorate with cucumber and lemon slices, and maybe some feathery dill.
Pecan Dainties1 cup soft butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 cups sifted flour, 1 t vanilla, 1 T water, 2 cups ground pecans (more or less fine) 2 cups pecan halves
Cream butter and sugar till light. Add remaining ingredients except the pecan halves. Mix well. Chill till firm. Shape into 3/4 inch balls. Top with a pecan half. Bake in 325 degree oven 20 minutes. (Roll in confectioners sugar when cooled, if you like.) Store in airtight containers. Makes 6-8 dozen.
Chilean Sea Bass, lump crab meat (frozen is ok) - Westfield Seafood Market
Whole salmon - Costco on Route 22, Union
Pecans - all sizes at Trader Joe's
Feathery Dill, Leeks, Carrots, Fennel, Ginger, Oranges - Kings or Westfield Farms
Pillsbury Pie Crust - Stop & Shop or Kings.