Recent Posts

Michael Feinstein, Alexa and Me: Grape Tomato and Basil Risotto

Michael Feinstein, Alexa and Me: Grape Tomato and Basil Risotto

This week’s farmers’ market had the most beautiful grape tomatoes in the history of the world. Impulsively, I bought three baskets. Whoa! What does one person (and a small sweet dog) do with three baskets of ripe tomatoes? So, this morning I bucked myself up […]

Southern Comfort: Lemon Buttermilk Ice

Southern Comfort: Lemon Buttermilk Ice

Pucker up for this one. This Lemon Buttermilk Ice recipe is adapted from one authored by Steven Satterfield, executive chef/co-owner at Atlanta’s Miller Union and author of the Root To Leaf cookbook. ( Amazon: Root To Leaf  ) Satterfield is a James Beard Foundation award winner […]

An Irish Girl and Mashed Potato Salad with Scallions and Herbs

An Irish Girl and Mashed Potato Salad with Scallions and Herbs

Everyone loves potato salad. Right? Add a dash of Irish heritage and you move right past love to a near obsession.

That would be me.

True. I haven’t taken the Ancestry.com DNA test.  (I’m waiting for that proverbial Irish bargain sale.) Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure my Irish bona fides are strong. My maiden name was Mc Gee.

So, you ask, just what kinds of potatoes does a good Irish girl obsess over?

Answer: Name a potato dish. ANY potato dish. You have to remember that, at the time of the Irish Potato Blight in 1845, the average Irish peasant ate five to ten pounds of potatoes per day. Love of the tuber is in our jeans genes.

To be perfectly honest, I eat mashed potatoes right out of the pan and then scrape the scant leftovers from the sides of the pan for breakfast. I obsess over a good colcannon. I can embarass myself loading up a baked potato. Make potato pancakes or French fries or home-made potato chips and I’m there.

 

 

Just in time for LaborDay, here is an adaptation of a potato salad recipe that just ran in Melissa Clark’s column in the NY Times.

It is very good. I should know.

 

Yields 6 to 8

Mashed Potato Salad with Scallions and Herbs
Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds red potatoes or small white creamers (cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks)
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (plus more juice for serving)
  • 2 t. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 t. fine sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1 t. coarsely ground black pepper
  • Dash or two of hot sauce (or to taste)
  • 1/3 C. extra-virgin olive oil (with more to drizzle over the top of the salad)
  • 6 T. mayonnaise
  • 4 T. sour cream
  • 3/4 T. Dijon mustard (or to taste)
  • 1/2 C. thinly-sliced scallions (white and green pats)
  • 1/4 C. chopped parsley
  • 2 T. chopped basil or dill
  • Tomato rose for garnish

Instructions

  1. Cook potatoes in salted water until tender. This will take 15-20 minutes. Drain.
  2. Whisk lemon zest, lemon juice, rosemary, salt, pepper and hot sauce in a large mixing bowl. When the salt is dissolved, whisk in olive oil, mayonnaise, sour cream and mustard.
  3. Add chopped potatoes to the dressing while the potatoes are still warm and carefully mix to coat the potatoes. Mixing the potatoes with the dressing while they are warm will enhance the potato's ability to absorb the flavor of the dressing. Once this is done, mash about 1/4 of the potatoes. Stir the mashed potatoes to mix them with the remaining potato chunks. Fold in scallions and parsley. Adjust seasoning with salt, lemon juice, hot sauce and olive oil to your taste. Garnish with chopped basil or chopped dill.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature.
7.6.4
81
http://bluecayenne.com/an-irish-girl-and-mashed-potato-salad-with-scallions-and-herbs

 

This recipe was adapted from a Melissa Clark recipe that appeared in the New York Times. Here is the link: Mashed Potato Salad with Scallions and Herbs.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Smashed and Seared Beets

Smashed and Seared Beets

John Keats wrote that “a thing of beauty is a joy forever.” So it is with this beautiful salad. The colors are intense. The flavors and textures are delightful. There is joy on your plate. But why do certain foods, like this beautiful salad, tempt […]

You Need This No-Knead Bread

You Need This No-Knead Bread

Trust me. You can do this. I know. I know. It’s (eek!) bread making. Still. This recipe is a “take” on  the slow-rise fermentation bread making technique that was popularized some years ago by Jim Lahey, founder of New York’s  Sullivan Street Bakery. Mark Bittman, […]

Israeli Couscous, Eggplant and Tomato Gratin

Israeli Couscous, Eggplant and Tomato Gratin

It hasn’t worked for me with kale or spirulina, but I’m willing myself to love eggplant. As you know, if you have been reading this blog, eggplant and I have a fraught relationship–a bit like Donald and Melania. Eggplant recipes, especially ones that tout their world-class deliciousness, reach out to me but I don’t always reach back.

This is a very good recipe, again one adapted from the pages of The New York Times. The Times, by the way, has launched its food pages as a separate subscription service. For $5 per month, you can access thousands of recipes from great chefs like Martha Rose Schulman, Melissa Clark and David Tanis. It is a bargain, believe me. I read a lot of food sites (insomniac that I am) and the quality and breadth of the NY Times recipe archive is exceptional.

Here is the eggplant recipe. I loved it. My neighbors Gene and Sarah loved it. You will, too.

 

Yields 6 Servings

Israeli Couscous, Eggplant and Tomato Gratin
Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant (sliced into rounds about 1/3 inch thick)
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 C. cooked Israeli couscous
  • 8 ounces fresh spinach (or more)
  • 2 C. Julia Child's tomato sauce provencale ( Julia Child's Tomato Sauce Provencale )
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese (grated--about 1/2 C. tightly packed)
  • 6 ounces grated mozzarella cheese (or more)
  • 3 ounces feta cheese or ricotta
  • Chiffonade-cut fresh basil to garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line your baking sheet with foil and brush the foil with a little oil.
  2. Slice eggplant and toss it in salt and 1 T. oil. Place your eggplant slices on your prepared baking sheet. Roast eggplant slices in your oven for 15 minutes. When done, the tops of the eggplant slices will look dry and you will be able to easily pierce the slices with the tines of a fork. Remove the tray of eggplant slices from the oven and, wearing heat-proof gloves, fold the sides of the foil up and over the eggplant to make a sealed packet. Let the packet of eggplant slices sit for 15 minutes; this will permit your eggplant to cook a bit more.
  3. Reduce heat in your oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. Oil a gratin dish. Prepare Israeli couscous by putting it in a large heated saucepan over medium-high heat. Toast the couscous until it just begins to take on come brown color and it is aromatic. Quickly, add two quarts of water and salt to taste. Boil for 10 minutes. The couscous pasta should be al dente but not mushy when it is ready and there will still be plenty of water in your pan when the couscous is cooked. Drain the couscous and rinse with cool water. Return the drained couscous to the cooking pot, cover it with a dishtowel and the pot lid and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Put prepared couscous in a large bowl and add 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce. Spoon the couscous and tomato sauce mixture into your prepared gratin dish to make a layer.
  6. Boil water and briefly immerse spinach in the water. Drain spinach, being sure to squeeze out as much water as possible once the spinach has cooked. Spread a thin layer of the spinach over the couscous. Sprinkle crumbled feta or ricotta on top of the spinach layer.
  7. Arrange cooked eggplant slices on top of the spinach/couscous/cheese layer. Spoon the remaining tomato sauce over the eggplant and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and grated mozzarella. Sprinkle a scattering of chiffonade sliced fresh basil leaves.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. The dish should be browned and bubbling when it is finished. Let the dish sit on your counter for 15 minutes before serving.
Cuisine: Italian/American | Recipe Type: Gratin

Notes

The original recipe omitted the spinach layer, the feta cheese and the mozzarella. The recipe is very forgiving. As I prepared leftovers, I put a portion of the eggplant gratin in an individual baking dish and grated more mozzarella on the dish. I covered it in foil and baked it at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Pretty wonderful.

7.6.4
78
http://bluecayenne.com/israeli-couscous-eggplant-and-tomato-gratin

 

This is my adaptation of a Martha Rose Schulman recipe from The New York Times and the Tomato Sauce Provencale recipe I posted earlier in the week. Here is the link to the original recipe: NY Times: Israeli Couscous, Eggplant and TomatoGratin .

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Julia’s Provencale Tomato Sauce

Julia’s Provencale Tomato Sauce

  We have a lot of things to thank Julia Child for beyond the fact that she popularized French home cooking here in the U.S. She made cooking cool. She pioneered a cooking show genre that has exploded into the countless cooking shows that eat […]

Artichokes: Grilled and Smothered and Delicious

Artichokes: Grilled and Smothered and Delicious

Anyone out there who doesn’t like artichokes? I don’t see any hands. I think artichokes are a bit like avocados. Even served simply without a whole lot of fuss, both vegetables generate a lot of buzz around the table. Carrots and celery certainly don’t get […]

Marion

Marion

Blue Cayenne will be two years old in October.

Over those (almost) two years, Marion Sutton has been one of Blue Cayenne’s (and my) most supportive friends.

I met Marion in one of Nami Aoyagi’s amazing Digital Media Arts classes at The Huntington Beach Adult School. As our friendship grew, we found time to explore our mutual interests in food and photography. We took photography junkets together. We lunched. We shared recipes. We learned how to bake creme brulee together at a Sur La Table class. We supported each other during tough personal times.  Seldom in my life have I known anyone with Marion’s joie de vivre, talent in the kitchen, inner strength… or with such extraordinary cookie recipes. (I still remember the moment when I first tasted one of Marion’s cookies– transcendent cookies laced with oatmeal and nuts and some magical ingredient that I’m sure I will forever chase in my cooking quests–as we bounced around in the backseat of photographer William Hartshorn’s SUV on our way to photograph hot air balloons in Temecula.)

These days, Marion and her beloved dog Sushi “summer” at the family compound on a beautiful lake in Michigan where her family has gathered for decades.  This summer she has been Blue Cayenne’s special correspondent in Michigan–exchanging any number of  messages with me about the dishes she has cooked from this site. From the plum tart recipe to the savory butternut squash bread pudding, Marion has cooked Blue Cayenne for her family. And, from what I can make out, life (and food) at the compound has been very good.

Fortunately, Marion is an excellent photographer, too. Her beautiful photographs allow us to capture a bit of the magic of an unhurried summer on a beautiful lake in Michigan.

 

 

 

 

 


Love you, Marion. Wishing you many more recipes and cooking experiences. Enjoy your summer in paradise. Send cookies!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Of Eggplants, Falcons and Mt. Fuji: Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgur and Yogurt

Of Eggplants, Falcons and Mt. Fuji: Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgur and Yogurt

  Which “vegetable” is actually a berry, has the highest nicotine content among all vegetables, and is 95% water? (Hint: Chinese ladies once used the dye extracted from this vegetable’s skin to polish their teeth to a then-fashionable gray hue.) It’s the eggplant. Who knew? (Don’t […]


All Time Favorites

Ravioli with Ricotta and Basil Filling

Qualcosa bolle in pentola!!!   That’s Italian for “something boils in a saucepan”– a delightful idiom meaning “Something’s up!” So, qualcosa bolle in pentola here in Huntington Beach. Huntington Beach’s two wild and crazy cooking divas (and a small sweet dog named Juliet)  are back […]

Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese Sauce…sort of

When I can’t sleep (which is often), I read recipes or watch You Tube cooking videos with Juliet snoring contentedly by my side. I usually select a cooking theme and then I’m good for hours. During one recent insomnia-stained night, I came across this recipe […]

Elaine’s Fettuccine Alfredo

Elaine’s fettuccine alfredo. If it was good enough for Jackie Kennedy-Onassis, this fettuccine alfredo recipe is worth a try. (Kennedy-Onassis said it was “terrific, ” by the way.) As recipes go, this is a simple one. Like so many  gourmet dishes, the magic is in […]

Fresh and Wild Mushroom Stew (for the good times)

The vocabulary word for today is umami. Now don’t go getting all “low energy” on me. I really don’t want to see any of you putting your heads down on your desks and hyperventilating like this is just too hard.           […]

Pasta with marinated cherry tomatoes

Did you forget? This is National Lasagna Awareness Month. Funny choice of words, I think. Who isn’t “aware” of lasagna? Speaking of funny (well…sort of funny), this made me laugh. Reminds me of those wonderful classic Steven Wright jokes. If you want to celebrate lasagna […]