Category: Appetizers

Tortilla Española - A Chip off the Old Block

Tortilla Española – A Chip off the Old Block

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.

October 19, 2013 | 4 Comments More
Savory Oregon country-style pâté

Savory Oregon country-style pâté

I’ve always had a fascination with pâté. There are so many variations, from dense to creamy, but they all have that rich flavor in common. You can also make pâté from a variety of foods, including ground pork, chicken livers, vegetarian ingredients like mushrooms and lentils, and then there’s foie gras. Now before you start […]

December 2, 2012 | 0 Comments More
Curing Salmon Roe

Curing Salmon Roe

There was a time when I didn’t need a reason to drive to Portland for a casual visit or just to enjoy a day in our area’s most accessible metropolis. Gas was cheap – well, at least it was under $2 a gallon, and I could leisurely drive the 40 or so miles and cruise around town for less than $10. Now I usually wait until I have at least three reasons to make the trip, except for one recent Saturday. I desperately wanted some fresh salmon roe to play with…fuel costs be damned!

August 1, 2011 | 5 Comments More
Salmon Tartare - As Fresh As It Gets and Another Reason to Pop Open Some Chilled Bubbly

Salmon Tartare – As Fresh As It Gets and Another Reason to Pop Open Some Chilled Bubbly

While I was assembling my list of supporting ingredients, I had a liberating epiphany. Kick your fear in its hiney and then while staring at your beautiful raw salmon, see what flavors you imagine mingling among your chopped fish. Something Asian – wasabi and toasted sesame oil. Something with a kick – finely minced jalapeños. Something fresh – scallions. Something familiar – olive oil. Something with a citrus bite – lime zest. Something unusual – alder wood smoked salt. Voila! Salmon Tartare according to Charles.

July 17, 2011 | 7 Comments More
Parmesan Crisps with Goat Cheese, Fig and Prosciutto Spread — Perfect Pairing for Bubbly

Parmesan Crisps with Goat Cheese, Fig and Prosciutto Spread — Perfect Pairing for Bubbly

Easy to make, and served on top of Parmesan crisps or just plain crackers, this spread has a wonderful flavor combination of sweet green figs, creamy goat cheese and salty prosciutto. It’s the perfect appetizer to serve whenever you’re thinking of popping a bottle of sparkling white or rosé. You’ll be amazed at how great […]

July 15, 2011 | 8 Comments More
Fried Mussels with Ginger Miso Dipping Sauce

Fried Mussels with Ginger Miso Dipping Sauce

I had battered and fried mussels for the first time at Andaluz, a tapas restaurant right here in Salem. Chef David Rosales’ version had a light coat of flour and was served with a garlic aioli sauce. It was such a delicious way to enjoy mussels that I was inspired to create my own version. Preferring a more substantial batter, I played around until I came up with a recipe that was a combination of batter and breading and remained crispy-crunchy after frying, along with a more tangy, Japanese-inspired sauce based on miso. This dish makes a great appetizer. Think of them as mussel poppers! They’ll disappear in a flash.

February 21, 2011 | 1 Comment More
Vietnamese-Style Spring Rolls Stuffed with Smoked Trout

Vietnamese-Style Spring Rolls Stuffed with Smoked Trout

One of the fun things about mastering a culinary technique is that you can start innovating when you’ve got the technique down. Today I’m combining two techniques, smoking seafood and making Vietnamese spring rolls to come up with Vietnamese spring rolls stuffed with smoked trout. It’s a delicious way to enjoy smoked trout and makes for a light and healthy meal.

January 28, 2011 | 5 Comments More
Savory Samosas

Savory Samosas

I remember living in Singapore as a child and how distinct the culture there was, with influences from the British, Malaysians, ethnic Chinese and Indians. Even though English was the official language, people who lived there spoke many languages. And the ambience was so vibrant…along with the food. One of my favorite foods was Indian: Tandoori, samosas, curries. That memory of Singapore made me crave Indian food. So when it came time to figure out what I was going to make for dinner, samosas came to mind.

August 20, 2010 | 5 Comments More
Miang Kham — A Tasty Thai Street Food Snack Pays a Surprise Visit to Us in Texas

Miang Kham — A Tasty Thai Street Food Snack Pays a Surprise Visit to Us in Texas

Aunt Noi pulls out a bag and says she brought a snack for us. Next we notice her setting out several small covered bowls, a couple of spoons and a larger container of a stack a bright green leaves. She explains, as she’s opening the containers, that she’s brought a surprise that I’ve probably never had before. As I look over the contents of the bowls — crushed peanuts, dried shrimp, small lime pieces, garlic, chiles, toasted coconut, shallots and a thick sauce — I ask, “Is this Miang Kham?”

August 16, 2010 | 5 Comments More
Salmon Chanted Hors D'oeuvres — Made with Homemade Alaskan Sockeye Gravlax

Salmon Chanted Hors D’oeuvres — Made with Homemade Alaskan Sockeye Gravlax

Gravlax hors d’oeuvres are easy to make as well as tasty. So take a walk on the wild side and make your own gravlax. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is. This post includes step-by-step instructions as well as photos.

August 16, 2010 | 2 Comments More
Lemongrass Steamed Mussels with Thai Dipping Sauce

Lemongrass Steamed Mussels with Thai Dipping Sauce

Mussels are one of those seafood dishes that you have to be careful about when serving company. Many people object to their strong flavor and aroma. Charles and I love them, however, and we were once talking about our favorite ways to cook mussels when my mother, Pranee, told me about a dish she cooked at a now-defunct restaurant in Houston called Renu’s. It was simply mussles that had been steamed in water infused with lemongrass and it was served with a dipping sauce that Thais commonly use for seafood: a mixture of fish sauce, lime and chopped chilis.

August 16, 2010 | 2 Comments More
Vietnamese-style Spring Rolls Kicked up a Notch, with Grilled Lobster Tails

Vietnamese-style Spring Rolls Kicked up a Notch, with Grilled Lobster Tails

We rarely have lobster, and it always seems like such a heavy thing to have for dinner, with all that butter for dredging it, but I was inspired to grill lobster tails and use them to fill Vietnamese-style spring rolls, instead of the traditional pork and shrimp combo. As Emeril would say, it’s kicked up a notch.

July 26, 2010 | 4 Comments More
Oysters with Cilantro and Cucumber Salsa

Oysters with Cilantro and Cucumber Salsa

Most people squeeze lemon juice on oysters in the half shell and then dunk them in cocktail sauce or ground horseradish, but I’ve always enjoyed the fresh flavor of mirin and ponzu and was inspired by a recipe for cucumber salsa for oysters in chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s book Nobu West. I added a twist of my own and served them to Mom and Charles, who eagerly gulped down my test bivalves. I broke with my usual abstinence and ate one too.

July 19, 2010 | 4 Comments More
2010 Memorial Day Weekend Willamette Valley Wine Tour

2010 Memorial Day Weekend Willamette Valley Wine Tour

Every year on the weekends around Memorial Day and Thanksgiving, vineyards and winemakers in the Willamette Valley invite the public to taste their latest wines in their cellars or tasting rooms. Many of these are boutique wineries that cannot operate tasting rooms year ’round, so this is your chance to discover newer and smaller producers.

Wine tasting ranks almost as high as outdoor activities in Oregon and it does get you out in nature, too, off the main roads and into the rolling hills of the vineyards.

June 6, 2010 | 4 Comments More
Hazelnuts + Dried Figs + Olive Oil + Garlic + Anchovies = Anchoïade Niçoise

Hazelnuts + Dried Figs + Olive Oil + Garlic + Anchovies = Anchoïade Niçoise

The foods from Southeastern France are known for their bold flavors, and what could be more bold than garlic, anchovies and olive oil? No shy wallflowers are they! What’s amazing in this combination is that none of them are able to stand out over the other. Now that’s teamwork!

May 5, 2010 | 2 Comments More
Doctors Whose Eggs Are Green...or...Green Eggs and Ham

Doctors Whose Eggs Are Green…or…Green Eggs and Ham

Ham I am and pink, I think.
Eggs, I beg, all preened and green.
Stuff with me and I will oink,
“Oh, such porkety eggsqueezeene!”

I’ve long been hooked on playing with words. Small wonder that I was smitten with the books of Dr. Seuss when I was young and later with the equally sophisticated artistry of Walt Kelly’s Pogo. Those masters created playful, amusing and rhythmical rhyming sounds with just words, whether simply twisted into a new shape and sound or totally made up nonsensically.

April 4, 2010 | 5 Comments More
Perfect Pairing: Pear and Brie Baked in Pastry

Perfect Pairing: Pear and Brie Baked in Pastry

Brie and pear make a delicious and classic combination, with a twist of being encased in pastry and baked to golden deliciousness. Is that really a word? Deliciousness? Make it and decide for yourself and be sure to enjoy it with a glass of Oregon pinot gris or riesling!

March 7, 2010 | 6 Comments More
Corny Shrimp Pups

Corny Shrimp Pups

Wherever you find a carnival, a state or county fair, you will surely find abundant, itinerant street food and some form of corn dogs have been a part of that culture for decades.

These days, with many chefs and cooks thinking outside the box, variations on the original recipes begin to appear. Inspiration for Corny Shrimp Pups came from a Neiman Marcus cookbook that I recently purchased at Tuesday Morning for a song.

February 26, 2010 | 5 Comments More
Dungeness Crab Martini - Cracked not Stirred

Dungeness Crab Martini – Cracked not Stirred

The martini is perhaps the most romanticized and bastardized alcoholic wallop ever invented. Among famous martini aficionados are Winston Churchill, FDR, Ernest Hemingway, Cary Grant and the fictional James Bond who preferred his “shaken, not stirred” and with vodka. H. L. Mencken once called the martini “the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet.”

Does martini always = cocktail? What about shrimp cocktail? Why not an ample serving of simply dressed crabmeat presented in the same glass. My vision of a crab martini will be beautiful, unadulterated crabmeat dressed as simply as possible, allowing the sweetness of the crab to command center stage.

February 4, 2010 | 4 Comments More
Asian Lettuce Cups

Asian Lettuce Cups

When we have friends over for dinner, or when we host parties, one of the things that’s fun to do is to push the boundaries of “finger food.” Face it. Sometimes you’d rather serve things that people can use their fingers to eat so  you can manage the volume of dirty dishes and silverware. And […]

January 24, 2010 | 3 Comments More
Smoked Trout Mousse

Smoked Trout Mousse

I first tasted smoked trout when we lived in Baltimore. At a farmers’ market near our home, owners of the Metropol Café had a booth where they served all kinds of smoked seafood as well as cheeses. I remember the wonderful aroma and flavor of the smoked trout. One of the two women had gone […]

December 27, 2009 | 0 Comments More
Tasty Thai Fish Cakes — Tod Mun

Tasty Thai Fish Cakes — Tod Mun

Besides Thailand, I’ve lived in Singapore, Houston, Fort Worth, Austin, Baltimore, and now Salem, to name a few, and in each place there has been an abundance of Thai restaurants. How do I tell the good ones from the not-so-good ones? There is one dish I order at every new Thai restaurant I encounter so […]

November 1, 2009 | 5 Comments More