Roasted pheasant stuffed with wild rice served with pomegranate and persimmon sauce makes a flavorful winter dish.
Author Archive: Charles
Music, food and photography are at the center of Charles' life. He performed with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera and was assistant principal bassoonist with the Fort Worth Symphony for more than 20 years. When Charles and Victor moved to Baltimore, Charles created Lone Star Personal Chef and Catering Service and taught cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma. Now in Salem, Charles is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Mountain West Real Estate, taught cooking classes for children at the A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village, and owns and operates Charles Price Photography. Charles and Vic enjoy entertaining and frequently host dinners as fundraisers for local non-profits and charities
Corn is at its best in the hot summer months and, lucky for us, it freezes well so we can pair it when fresh Dungeness crab is at its best – in the cooler months.
Chowders are those rich, thick, stick-to-your-ribs soups usually made with fish, clams or corn with potatoes and onions swimming in milk, cream or both. Building this potage on a foundation of bacon seems like the perfectly natural thing to do so we will.
And this little figgy piggy screamed “kiwi, kiwi, kiwi” all the way home!
This semi-exotic fruit lends a clean, tart flavor to savory dishes.
Some would say that pot roast is ordinary fare suitable only for family dining. Nonsense I say – with good presentation, a beautifully plattered pot roast dressed up with it’s accompanying vegetables and sauce should delight even the most discriminating diner. After all, this baby sits on a lofty pot roast plateau by virtue of including porcini mushrooms and a Willamette Valley Pino Noir in the sauce.
In the world of canned tuna, there’s much more than Starkist or Bumble Bee. Water packed tuna was all the rage a few decades ago for those eating on the lean side but oil packed, especially olive oil packed is the best choice for ultimate flavor – even if you just eat it out of the can with a fork. A multitude of tuna salads can reach ethereal heights if made with high quality tuna and our home canned fish will provide the back bone for this chunky, no-cook pasta sauce.
Boiled Apple Cider Syrup – Reviving an Early American Tradition for Flavoring Apple Pies, Baked Beans and More
Boiling fresh pressed cider into a thick syrup, much like the sap from maple trees, was common in colonial New England. Hardly a pantry was without this sweet-tart ingredient used for sweetening and flavoring dishes from baked beans to pies and fruit cakes.
Enjoy the syrup drizzled over pancakes, waffles or corn bread. Use some to sweeten mashed yams or sweet potatoes. Brush winter squash or carrots with it as a glaze. Try it in vinaigrettes and as a sweetener in barbecue sauce. Drizzle some in a mayonnaise based dressing for a knockout Waldorf salad. And it pairs ever so nicely with vanilla ice cream.
I have been caramelizing apples with sugar, cinnamon and chipotles for some time now to use as a condiment alongside Forever Roast Pork, a classic recipe from Tra Vigne Restaurant in St. Helena California.
Placing the sweet-hot-cinnamony apples center stage in a rustic tart seems like the perfectly natural thing to do, especially when sitting under a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s a great combination – trust me.
I love shrimp! I love bacon! Shrimp loves bacon and bacon loves shrimp. We’re such a lovey-dovey group
Grinding them both up into some savory meatballs for pasta in a creamy sauce seems like a perfectly natural thing to do.
As a twosome, shrimp and bacon go back a long way. Back in the cocktail buffet days they appeared on tables as devils on horseback, a variation of angels on horseback. Often oysters or chicken livers stood in for the shrimp.
The green in this dish comes from the tomatillos and chiles, not from green garlic which are garlic plants harvested before the cloves form and mature. Garlicky it is and green as a shamrock with hints of pink from the shrimp peeking through the piquant emerald sauce.
Gulf shrimp are plentiful and it’s only natural that many would be dressed up in the bright, chile laden flavors of Mexican cooking. This dish can be searingly hot or mild depending on the type and amount of the small chiles.
In Spain, tortillas are the Iberian equivalent of Italian frittatas which use beaten eggs to bind all the ingredients together. Spanish tortillas utilize sliced potatoes and onions as the main ingredients and are sometimes further embellished with small bits of Serrano ham and/or piquillo peppers. In our house, frittatas are a catch all for rendering leftovers into something new for dinner.
If you’re looking for an earthy ingredient, look no further than mushrooms, especially wild, foraged ones fresh with the smell and taste of the forest floor.
Mushrooms are the meat of the vegetarian world. They offer a meaty umami flavor to many dishes. Umami is a Japanese word which translates to pleasant savory taste.
Bill loved all chile peppers and the hotter the better. You could tell when his endorphins kicked in by the beads of perspiration popping up on his bare scalp and forehead, like his own personal rain forest. I once gave him a bottle of fine Lustau Sherry in which I had allowed a few fresh Serrano peppers to marinate for a few weeks. You would’ve thought I had given him the keys to chile heaven. Daughter Marilyn fell in love with it and wanted her own bottle. That was some smokin’ sippin’.
I believe a fine plate of vegetarian chile rellenos sitting next to some southwestern rice would be a fitting tribute to Bill.
Cumin and cilantro – two of my favorite ingredients that bring big flavor to food. I’ve enjoyed a love affair with cumin since I strolled into Pendery’s spice store in downtown Fort Worth Texas. As I opened the door I walked into a warm, heady aroma of roasting cumin. My love for cumin was sealed with a sniff.
Cilantro, on the other hand, doesn’t envelope you with a strong fragrance that can fill a room. In order to enjoy a whiff, you must bruise a leaf and lean in for the scent.
Insalata Caprese, a simple salad in the style of Capri, is so simple that you must use the very best ingredients in season or it will by ordinary at best. The required ingredients are fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and good olive oil.
It is traditionally served as an antipasto. Additional ingredients are often added and could include garlic, balsamic vinegar and in this rendition, sopressata, an Italian style dry salami. Let’s go one step further and push it right into the primo course by including some freshly cooked bow tie pasta.
Several times a year, I make matzo ball soup. Invariably at the dinner table, Vic and Pranee will reminisce about Mrs. Stoker’s matzo ball soup which was shared with them numerous times when they lived in Houston and even recount seeing the numerical tattoos on her arm from days spent in a Nazi concentration camp. I feel proud that they say my soup passes the Mrs. Stoker quality test.
Most regions of the US have traditional party dips – In Texas we enjoyed guacamole and a wonderful hot dip made from Ro-Tel Tomatoes and Chiles mixed into melted Velveeta (you read right….Velveeta and it’s addictive.) In Maryland it was, of course, Maryland Crab Dip. So it seems perfectly natural that our wild salmon would end up as the main ingredient in a Pacific Northwest party dip.
I’ve enjoyed quite a few salmon dips since moving to Oregon and Linda Weiner Petrin’s is the one I love the most and she is generous with her recipe.
One of my treasured memories from Baltimore was enjoying meals at The Womens Industrial Exchange tea room on Charles Street. One of their time honored items was a tomato aspic served with a homemade mayonnaise. It was summer on a saucer.
Vic and I had the pleasure of trekking through a cool, damp grove of young Douglas firs in Yamhill County with Jack a few years ago and returned home with a nice bounty of white truffles and even a couple of large black truffles. When I told Jack about anointing a chilled cream of corn soup with his oil, his face lit up with a broad smile of approval and suggested adding dried onion and mushroom powder to the ingredients.
Sometimes you serve up something everyone loves and wish you could boast, “Yes, it’s my very own secret recipe.” Alas, honor requires me to fess up that a slight tweek to a Blueberry Barbecue Sauce created by Crescent Dragonwagon is all I did.
I merely officiated for a shameless shotgun wedding of blueberries and blackberries all gussied up with ingredients from Crescent’s recipe. I can assure you that nothing naughty occurred between a passionate blueberry and an innocent blackberry resulting in a bruised out of wedlock cultivar. The couple lived happily ever after by dressing up a couple of hot chicks slow smoked on the barbie.
Cold chopped chicken dressed up with fruits, nuts and highly seasoned with curry powder appeared on my radar screen sometime in the 1980s. It was and still is a most definite hit.
This is a hearty, chilled salad with the pungent flavor of Indian curry balanced with the addition of fruit and an accompanying side of summer fruit dressed up in a nutty, fruity poppy seed dressing.
The utter simplicity and ease of making this is a welcome dessert in the heat of the summer because there is very little cooking required – just simmering the berries and sugar until they give up their juices. The vibrant colors alone make this a stunning showstopper. You could dress it up with a fancy mold, artfully garnish with whipped cream and maybe some roasted, chopped hazelnuts. Yum!
A well dressed Boccone Dolce can be a stunning presentation for a wonderful meal or celebration. Imagine someone presenting this and saying, “I made this just for you.” Whatever effort you put into this will be returned with praise – not to mention the pleasure of enjoying a slice yourself.
Crab Louie Salad may have been born in San Francisco, Portland or even in Spokane. Written history informs us that it was being served at Solari’s in The Golden Gate City as early as 1914. A cookbook by Victor Hetzler, chef at the St. Francis Hotel, included a similar salad he called “Crabmeat a la Louise” in 1910. Some attribute its creation to Louis Davenport who built the Davenport Hotel in Spokane. An amusingly unorthodox source is The Neighborhood Cook Book, compiled by The Portland Council of Jewish Women in 1912.
Filet Mignon of Salmon with Marionberry Catsup – “Filet Mignon” conjures up visions of a lean and tender cut of prime beef either simply grilled or lavishly dressed up with extravagant accoutrement such as fois gras, mushrooms, truffles and rich sauces like Tournedos Rossini. However they appear, they are special. Some years back, American menus started offering “Surf and Turf” – entrées loaded with meat and seafood for hungry diners who wanted to strap on the old feedbag, or so to speak. I never cared for such hedonistic platters but I do love the idea of bringing surf to the table dressed up like turf. Besides, just try to find a suitable wine for both red meat and seafood.
Strawberry shortcake – two words that sing America, the Fourth of July, picnics and a reason to stop everything and enjoy its pleasure.
When is the best time to enjoy the bright flavor of tomatoes? Anytime! These native Mexican fruits are at their best sun-ripened and just off the vine. For me, out of season tomatoes are merely flavor-lacking fruits disguised in a reddish skin.
Tomatoes, like fresh spring peas that maintain their freshness in a frozen state for months, can be preserved in a canned state for even longer. Happy is the summer canner whose larder is full of summer tomatoes put away as sauce, concentrated paste, chopped, whole or juiced. Tomatoes and cream pair happily with shrimp for this treat.
Poached chicken looks rather naked compared to a beautifully browned roasted hen. Add some spring baby vegetables to the pot and Henrietta Hen arrives at the table adorned with beautiful, edible bling.
Goldie Lox and Four Friends – Soft Scrambled Eggs with Lox, Red Onion, Capers, Chives and Cream Cheese
Goldie Lox and Four Friends – our little Goldie shuns her three bears and dresses up with four strong flavored condiments: Soft Scrambled Eggs with Lox, Red Onion, Capers, Chives and Cream Cheese