I am constantly amazed at how animated and talkative people get when you mention food. The mere aroma of certain foods can evoke memories that transport us back to a special place and time. Food can bridge the gap between all ages, races and ethnicities.
Let's face it, the only thing that should ever come between people is a table and some serving bowls.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cockeyed Response

My great aunt Mimi had a tendency to get tongue tied now and again which led to a lot of laughter and some very funny memories. There was the time that pussy willows became pissy willows but nothing beats what came out of her mouth during one of our summer vacations in Canada. While in Canada we always went to this one restaurant in Belleville Ontario that was known for their sticky garlic ribs. The sauce was black as tar, very sweet and very garlicky. They never served these as a meal only as an appetizer which was always disappointing. So during one of our annual visits to this restaurant while waiting for our appetizer of ribs, we perused the menu trying to decide on an entrée. My aunt Mimi thought that their Glazed Sockeye Salmon sounded very good and waited her turn to place her order. The waiter by the way was a very young Asian gentleman who spoke very broken English. Now it is my aunts turn to order, she looks at this young man and says; “I see that you have Cockeyed Salmon on the menu”. This young man for what ever reason took offense and said;” No Cockeyed anything lady, our fish fresh, eyes good. No Cockeyed, no Cockeyed”! While we were all hysterical laughing the poor waiter just looked at us disgusted and confused like we were some wacky tourists.

Bourbon Glazed Salmon

1/2 cup of bourbon
1/2 cup of virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. of soy sauce
3 or 4 thick salmon fillets or steaks (each about 8 oz.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

In small bowl, combine bourbon, olive oil and soy sauce and whisk until blended. Wipe salmon with damp paper towels. Line baking pan with aluminum foil and place salmon skin side down. Brush salmon with basting mixture and bake, uncovered, basting 2 or 3 times, until fish flakes easily when tested with tip of small knife, 15 to 20 minutes.
In small saucepan, bring remaining basting mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 3 to 4 minutes.
With spatula transfer salmon fillets to dinner plates and serve basting mixture on the side.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Longing for Bora Bora

My friend Chrissy longs to lie on the beaches of Bora Bora with nothing more to do than motion to her own personal bronze Adonis to bring her yet another margarita. I know, it sounded pretty darn good to me as well; luckily Chrissy has been kind enough to include me in this longing for relaxation in paradise. I look forward to the possibility but for now am content to just daydream about it.
The more that her and I got talking about this magical place the more I wondered about the food there. The cuisine of the island is internationally renowned for its fresh fish, exotic fruits and vegetables which are prepared with a Polynesian influence and a touch of French flair.

POISSON CRU - The name of this dish is pronounced "PWAH-sun croo"

1 pound fresh Ahi Tuna, diced or cut in thin slices (may also use halibut)
1/2 cup carrots, shredded
1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup tomatoes, diced, plus slices or cherry tomatoes for garnish
1/2 cup cucumber, small dice
1/2 cup red bell pepper, small dice
1/2 cup fresh coconut milk (canned may be substituted)
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 – 1 teaspoon Tahitian vanilla extract (or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
parsley or chives for garnish


Mix the tuna and lemon or lime juice together with salt and pepper. Allow to marinate several minutes, or until the tuna begins to look "cooked." Mix the vanilla with the coconut milk, then combine the balance of ingredients, season to taste and serve.
This recipe will serve two as a main course or four as an appetizer.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pod People

This is quite the favorite dish in our house these days it is requested at least a few times a week. I made over a pound of snow peas done up this way yesterday and they are already gone. This makes a great vegetarian meal with the addition of tofu for some added protein.

Snow Peas and Water Chestnuts

1/2 to 3/4 pound of snow peas
1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts, canned
2 large cloves of Garlic sliced thin
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons of Oyster Sauce
1 Tablespoon of Fish Sauce

Remove the tips from the snow peas and remove the strings, heat oil in frying pan and sauté the garlic. Add the snow peas, sliced water chestnuts Oyster sauce and Fish Sauce cook for 10 minutes.

We eat this as a vegetable dish but feel free to add beef, pork, shrimp or chicken.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Robbie's Black Eyed Peas

One of the nurses where my mother is staying brought this as part of her lunch one day when I was there. I commented that it looked quite good and how much I enjoy black eyed peas, so she gave me a little taste and it was absolutely delicious. Robbie gave me the recipe, it could not be any easier. Feel free to increase the amounts depending on the amount of servings that you need.

Black Eyed Pea Salad

1 -14 to 16 oz can of black-eyed peas
1 rib celery, chopped
1 tbsp. finely chopped onion
1 tbsp. salad oil
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 tbsp. mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 ripe tomato, diced

Open can of black-eyed peas, rinse with cold water and drain well. Add chopped celery and onion. Combine oil, vinegar, mayonnaise, salt and cayenne. Mix well. Pour over peas. Stir gently. Allow to chill in refrigerator several hours or overnight. At serving time add the diced tomato. Mix carefully.