Strawberry and Rhubarb Galette: A Sweet Homage to Mom this Mother’s Day!

Skip the usual brunch for mom this Mother’s Day and make her something sweet and from the heart. My homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Galette is the perfect way to show your appreciation for Mom. A “galette” is the French term for a free-form pie, or open-faced tart.  With a flat bottom, round and rustic, and filled with fruit, galette is the name given to a variety of tarts, from filled yeast cakes to potato pancakes, and thick crepes, both savory and sweet.  A cup of tea or a scoop of lavender ice cream is absolutely divine with this galette.  A sweet homage, with love, to Mom this Mother’s Day! Continue reading »

Happy National Roast Leg of Lamb Day!

It’s Springtime and there’s nothing more perfect than a rosemary-scented leg of Spring lamb with garlic, lemon, and roasted vegetables for dinner this time of year and since today is National Roast Leg of Lamb Day, why not make it for dinner tonight? Eating lamb dishes is a celebrated Spring tradition, being a symbol of rebirth in various religions including Christianity, Judaisim and Islam, hence the “spring” reference. It was commonly used in ancient cultures as a sacrifice to the gods, and is prominently featured in biblical texts. A lamb is a sheep that is less than a year old. And even though we use the term “spring” lamb, modern livestock techniques now make lamb available year round. Preparing Lamb dishes at home may seem a bit daunting for the everyday cook, but I have the easiest, most succulent recipe for lamb you will ever prepare. What I love about this recipe is that it’s a one-pot wonder. The juices from the lamb caramelize the vegetables, saving you the extra time to make a separate side dish.  This dish can  be prepared in advance and easily serves a gathering at the table or a big crowd. Open a bottle of wine and you’re all set! I recommend the Syrah or Shiraz varietals  to accompany the dish. The wonderful layers of fruit and spice in these wines complement the flavors in the lamb. For white wine lovers, a great choice is a Torrontes from Argentina. A fruity, aromatic wine, the spice and mint in this wine tango fabulously with the lamb! No matter what wine you choose, my ultimate advice would be to surround yourself with family and friends at the table, and let this delicious roasted lamb warm your hearts and tummies this season. Enjoy! Continue reading »

Spicy Fish Tacos and My Must-Have Taco “Toppers” for Cinco de Mayo!

This weekend I’m going to make my family’s favorite spicy fish tacos for Cinco de Mayo! We’ll set up a  “taco bar” for guests so they can build their own tacos with the condiments they like. We’ll mix top shelf margaritas and have a fabulous time. Fish tacos are always a hit at my house, not just on Cinco de Mayo but any night of the week. I like to use fresh Red Snapper, Halibut or Mahi Mahi filets because their firm flesh holds shape when cooked. Don’t forget to serve these tacos with my delicious condiments and salsas (recipes below).  Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! Continue reading »

In the CuisineStyle Kitchen with Chef Ivan

When it comes to giving excellent tips and advice in the kitchen, Ivan, my Executive Sous Chef, always has the answer. With springtime upon us, read what he has to say about cooking with the season’s vegetables.

Happy Cooking!

Ivan’s Tip:

We recently catered an event where vegetables were the star ingredient of our menu. Here at CuisineStyle, it’s important that our food not only taste delicious, but looks gorgeous as well. Here’s my tip for keeping your vegetables bright, beautiful, and irresistible.

When preparing vegetables for a meal or a dinner party, you can get a head start by “blanching” and “shocking” the vegetables. This works for carrots, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, asparagus, and even baby potatoes. To blanch vegetables, drop them into boiling, salted water and cook the vegetables three quarters of the way done. Remove the vegetables from the boiling water and drop them in a salted ice bath. This stops or “shocks” the cooking process and allows you to simply reheat the vegetables right before your meal. They can easily be finished on the grill, roasted in the oven, sautéed, or dropped back into boiling water to finish cooking. Keep cooking and have fun!

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CuisineStyle Kitchen Studio: Cooking Seafood with Pamela

As a Chef and cooking instructor, I’ve learned that most students dread the “daunting” task of handling and cooking seafood.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the same baffled, often horrified expression on their faces when I set a whole salmon on the kitchen counter in front of them.

First, one big, collective gasp. Then one student will say, “How do I know what looks good?” Another- “I can’t tell if it’s fresh or not. I think fish is supposed to smell fishy!” Or – “ I just can’t cook seafood!”  I say, “YES YOU CAN!” Trust me, cooking seafood couldn’t be easier.

Here are my professional tips for selecting and cooking seafood:

Seafood is one of the most perishable and expensive items in your market. It’s best to have a reliable market with a trust worthy fish monger. Always inquire about freshness and what’s in season. This will ensure the best quality, and you’ll learn a good deal about what you’re taking home for dinner. For whole fish, look for red gills, clear eyes, and shiny scales. If you’re purchasing filets or smaller cuts of fish, look for firm flesh and a bright color. Ask to smell the fish before purchasing. If it has a strong fishy smell, skip it. Fresh fish will smell like the ocean. Storing your fish correctly ensures that it stays as fresh as possible. Always store the fish in the refrigerator, and my recommendation is to place it, wrapped, on a bed of ice.  If you choose to freeze your fish, use it within three months. The quality will deteriorate the longer it’s frozen.

For cooking fish, it only takes a few minutes to cook perfectly. My rule of thumb is, whether you roast, saute, broil, steam or grill your fish, watch for seafood when it comes to what the French refer to as the “milky point.” That’s when the proteins begin to appear as little white dots on the sides and possibly to the top of the fish. At that point, it’s cooked two thirds of the way through. Take the fish off the heat source. It will finish “cooking”, by virtue of its residual heat, and your fish will be cooked perfectly every time.

I’m inspired just writing about this. Let’s all cook fish for dinner this week!

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