Bouchot Mussels with Shallots and Wine

Bouchot mussels come from Brittany.  They are a lot smaller and “sweeter” than the ones you can find in the  U.S.  I missed them a lot during the nearly 3 years we were Co-Vid isolated in the States.

We always have lots and with 6 people, 1 liter per person, we are always satisfied!  Some people more than others 😀  I love eating with M. Parret.  He brings such joy to the table!

While my husband of 46 years brings hunger, impatience and thirst!  What?  None of us have changed, even with the long term isolation and exclusion from our home in France. That’s a good thing.

So…To begin, I made a lovely salad of shrimp, avocado and mango.  Too bad about the individual plates with lettuce underneath.  I forgot to get pictures.  Take my word for it, they were elegant 🙂  Or maybe the Bailly Crement cheered up everything.

The whining about this cheese (M. Parret), was incredible!  The cheese stall that I always go to used to belong to M. Parret, then his son Etienne and after his trainees.  Well how was I to know that it was sold to God knows who and no one every went there anymore?  True, the cheese wasn’t up to par but I didn’t make it!  Sometimes I miss M. Parret more than other times.  Cantal, Chaource, Brie de Meaux.

And finally 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., the pastry from a local boulangerie.

Bouchot Mussels

8 tbsp butter

8 shallots, vertically sliced

2 bottles Bougogne Aligote

6 liters bouchot mussels, cleaned and debearded


Soften the shallots in the butter, add the wine and bring to a boil.  Add the mussels, cover with a top and simmer for 5 minutes.  Take a look and if they are open, that’s it.  Pour into a large bowl and sprinkle with chopped parsley.








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Asian Hot Pot

I love this donabe pot.  Whenever it catches my eye, I immediately start to drool for a Japanese hot pot with homemade, seasoned dashi broth.  I really miss access to authentic ethnic restaurants; Ethiopian, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Mexican, etc.  There are ZERO in our area and, in fact, a Chinese restaurant owner friend confidentially told me that most Americans he has encountered eat like children 😀 and he has learned to make “American” Chinese food like most of the popular Chinese restaurants in the States;  nothing too odd looking, no strong unusual flavors, extra soy sauce on the table if needed and a menu listing dishes that most Americans have heard of, if not eaten.  He really doesn’t mind, it’s cheaper for him, the customers are satisfied and he still makes and eats real Chinese with friends and family.  I tried to hate him but he’s a very funny guy that I like a lot and could only come up with extreme envy.

So anyway,  I prefer to buy fresh quail eggs and boil them myself but the few I’ve found around are not very fresh.  I’ve tried canned quail eggs but I was disappointed.  This time I went to an Asian supermarket in New Jersey and bought the most expensive can of quail eggs I could find ($3-$4) and they were “correct” as M. Parret says.  I still prefer fresh but these were nothing to sneer about.  I also found fresh daikon radish and mini bok choy.  The dashi broth makings, shrimp, summer squash and left over char sui pork were in the pantry, fridge and freezer, so I was able to make a very satisfying hot pot!

Asian Hot Pot

Homemade Dashi Broth

4 tbsp Usukuchi soy sauce

2 tbsp tamari soy sauce

2 tbsp sake

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp mirin

1/4 tsp salt

2-3 pieces of kombu (seaweed)

12 cups cold water

2 cups bonito flakes (katsuobushi)

Mix the soy sauces, sake, sugar, mirin and salt together and set aside.  Place the kombu in the water and set aside.  After at least 30 minutes, pour the kombu and water into a pot and bring almost to a boil (small bubbles appear on the edges of the water).  Remove the kombu and discard.   Add the bonito flakes, bring to a boil and boil for 30 seconds.  Place a paper towel lined strainer over a bowl and pour the bonito flakes and water into the strainer.  When cool enough, gather the flakes in the paper towel and squeeze the liquid out into the bowl before discarding the flakes.  Season the broth with the soy sauce mixture and set aside.

Hot Pot

2 cups cooked and diced leftover char sui or roasted pork

1 daikon radish, sliced in half vertically, then sliced into half inch slices

1 can of very high quality quail eggs, drained

1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms

3-4 cups mini bok choy, sliced or halved

1 cup summer squash, halved and sliced

1 1/2 cup peeled, tail removed and deveined medium shrimp

Bring the broth to a boil, add the pork and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the daikon radish and simmer for 15 minutes

Add the quail eggs and simmer for 15 minutes

Add the mushrooms and simmer for 15 minutes

Add the bok choy and squash and simmer for 5 minutes

Add the shrimp and simmer for 3 minutes.

Remove the pot from the flame and serve


Posted in Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Japanese, Main dishes, Recipes, Soup | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Anniversary Oxtails

September 9 was our 45th wedding anniversary.  Since it’s both dangerous and stupid to eat out in restaurants, also the food quality is not worth it, we decided to make and eat Asian style oxtails, which we both like.

For some reason oxtails are sparse and when found, outrageously expensive.  We paid this time but we’re going to try to look elsewhere.

The oxtails were not the prettiest but they were meaty and flavorful.

I love this spice mix flavor for oxtails; cinnamon, star anise, ginger, orange or mandarin peel.  I also tossed in the juice from the orange.

Great anniversary song.  We played it too many times during the day 😀

Asian Style Oxtails

5 lbs oxtails, evenly mixed with big and small

1/4 cup Tamari soy sauce

1/4 cup Shao Shing Chinese cooking wine

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup water

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

1 onion, sliced into eighths

3-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

8 thin slices of fresh ginger

2 star anise

2 sticks cinnamon

1  orange peel, cut into 8 strips

Juice from orange

Mix the soy sauce, Chinese wine, brown sugar and water together and set aside.  Place the oxtails in the bottom of a pressure cooker.

Sprinkle the scallions, onion, garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon sticks and orange peel over the oxtails.  Pour the soy sauce mixture and orange juice over all.

Put the top on the pressure cooker and seal well.  Put the little bobble thing over the vent in the middle of the pressure cooker top.  Turn the gas up to high and when the bobble starts to swing back and forth, decrease the heat until the bobble continues a gentle swing. Cook for 35-40 minutes, remove from flame and set aside until the pressure button, located at the top of the handle, sinks completely to the bottom.

Open the pressure cooker and place the oxtails in a platter.  Strain the solids from the sauce and then boil the liquid down (no top) until it is reduced by half, then pour over the oxtails.











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Now That’s Better!

I can’t remember a time when my mother, and I afterward, couldn’t find those small, inexpensive jars of fish roe in the supermarkets; firm tiny red or black roe, larger salmon roe.  The roe was served for special occasions at those 50s/60s style cocktail parties, on toast or as a topping for deviled eggs.  Real caviar (sturgeon) was much more than we could afford and I probably had my first taste of caviar overseas some place.  In any case, we loved the fish roe, still do, and didn’t really know the difference.

Of course neither fish roe nor caviar is available here in Honesdale.  The Wegman’s in Scranton has some very expensive roe? they have labeled caviar.  Fish roe or caviar, in all our travels, we have never eaten anything like this.  The beads are so hard they crunch like pebbles, loudly, and are tasteless.  Bleah!

As in many cases lately, I resigned myself to a caviar-less diet until I could return to France.  But it seems as if we Americans have voluntarily leapt back on to the EU “unsafe” list so we won’t be traveling anytime soon.  Like the Co-vid transmission level in our area, our caviar craving went up to “extreme” and I decided to purchase some caviar online.

This Imperia Ossetra was not bad and reminded me of some I had purchased at the fish monger in Sens; firm, not crunchy beads with a nice little pop between the teeth.  Although we could have greedily just eaten it from the container, I made deviled eggs and we drank a nice Bailly La Pierre Brut Rose Cremant in the prescribed civilized manner  🙂


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Miso Marinated Sablefish with Pickled Greens

We love miso marinated sablefish!  True, the marinade process takes up to 3 days but the perfect marriage of the miso marinade with this black cod is a “delice.”

Of course I ordered the sablefish on line.  I haven’t found this type of fish, nor many others in the region.  Another delicious thing is that when sablefish is cooked, it flakes beautifully.

A good marinade container for this recipe is a 1 gallon ziplock.  Place the fish in the bag with the marinade, find a flat place in the refrigerator and leave it for 3 days, flipping the bag whenever you feel like it.

I’ve always been interested in Asian pickles, in fact I’ve made a few myself.  The other day I was reading about pickled mustard greens.  I like mustard greens but I haven’t seen any around here, so I ordered some already pickled on line as a base for a stir fry.

These mustard greens are definitely a different variety than the common greens that I grew up eating.  Their stalks are quite a bit larger, yet perfectly edible (Maybe Chinese).

In addition to the mustard greens, I added some swiss chard from the garden, snow peas gifted by my neighbor Caroline and one hot pepper with seeds for the stir fry.

Miso Marinated Sablefish

1/4 cup sake

1/4 cup hon mirin or aji mirin

4 tbsp white miso

3 tbsp sugar

6  4-6 ounce skin on sablefish fillets

1 tbsp peanut oil

Mix the sake, mirin, miso and sugar together, then slowly heat, stirring over a flame until the sugar has dissolved.  Cool, then place in a zip lock bag with the fillets, gently squishing to thickly cover the fish with the marinade.  Refrigerate for 2-3 days.

Heat the oil in a hot skillet, add the fish skin side down, cooking for about 2 minutes, turn and cook for 2-3 additional minutes.

Pickled Mustard Greens Stir Fry

2 tbsp peanut oil

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 hot, red chilli pepper with seeds, halved

1 bunch of Swiss chard, chopped

1 handful of snow peas, quartered

2 pieces of pickled Chinese mustard greens, diced

1-2 tbsps sugar

Heat the oil and add the garlic and chilli pepper, cooking until the garlic is soft and slightly brown.  Add the chard and snow peas cooking  until the chard leaves are wilted.  Lastly, add the mustard greens and sugar, cooking for about 2-3 minutes.



Posted in Asian, Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, Japanese, Main dishes, Recipes, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

New Zealand Lamb Shanks

New Zealand, baby!  Veal and lamb is rare in our town and I’ve never found the shank or “souris” of either here.  As far as New Zealand lamb goes, I believe I found some chops in Scranton labeled New Zealand but they were most likely from Australia.

I found this imported lamb online and the shanks were pink, meaty and when browned, the kitchen was redolent with the fragrance of young, grass fed lamb.  Lucky us 🙂

I don’t remember where I found the inspiration for the tomato sauce I cooked the shanks in but the fresh herbs from the garden (basil, oregano and bay leaf) are so much better than dried.

I chose spicy Italian sausage links that weren’t too “hot” but flavorful and made with good quality meat.  Onion and garlic were fried in with the sausage, of course 🙂

Pasta is great with this recipe but my husband wanted mashed potatoes and that was good too.

New Zealand Lamb Shanks

2 tbsp olive oil

2 lamb shanks, seasoned with salt and pepper

2 small onions, halved and thinly sliced

3-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3/4 lb Italian sausage links, casings removed

2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup red wine

2 cans diced tomatoes

3 tbsp tomato paste

1 cup water

Salt and pepper

Hand mashed potatoes

Brown the lamb shanks in the olive oil, remove and set aside.  Saute the onions and garlic in the same pan/pot until soft.  Add the sausage meat, oregano and basil, then saute until the sausage meat is cooked.  Add the bay leaf and red wine and boil for 2 minutes.  Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, salt and pepper to taste, bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours until the shanks are very tender.


Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Italian, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Grilled Chicken Thighs and Roasted Vegetables

For a while, I was quite enthusiastic about boning fowl, pieces and whole.  Once I, foolishly,  boned a whole turkey; beautifully stuffed, but not an easy job.  Now a days I stick to pieces only,  like these marinated then grilled chicken thighs.

I marinated the thighs in a leftover, refrigerated, soy sauce based marinade that I had previously used for grilled flanken ribs.

Lazy?  Yes, but the marinade has a good flavor and it worked for the chicken as well.

For the oven roasted vegetables, I used whatever was in the fridge (zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, garlic, onion, bell pepper), herbs from my garden and olive oil.

The vegetables you include are up to you.  We’ve found any mixture delicious!  Bon appetit!

Grilled Chicken Thighs and Roasted Vegetables

8 chicken thighs, skin on

3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

5 scallions, sliced

3-4 thin slices of fresh ginger

1/4  cup Chinese cooking wine

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1/3 cup tamari soy sauce

2 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp peanut oil

1 tbsp sesame oil

Bone the chicken thighs, careful not to tear the skin, and place in a large ziplock bag. Mix the remaining ingredients together well in a jar with a lid.  Pour the marinade over the chicken thighs, seal and massage the marinade into the thighs.  Refrigerate overnight.

Grill the thighs on a hot grill until the skin is crisp and the thighs are done.






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Jamie Oliver’s Fish Pie Parmentier

When I first saw Jamie Oliver’s article for fish pie I thought “meh.”  But then I read the recipe with ingredients and was once again impressed with the genius of Jamie.  The first time I made the recipe I was in France and cooking for a crowd.  This time it was just me and the old man who generally is not excited about fish unless it’s salmon.  So I halved the ingredients and hoped he would be just as impressed as I was by the pure deliciousness of this pie.

Originally, I made the fish pie with cod instead of smoked haddock as Steve, the fish monger, was fresh out of smoked haddock.  This time I ordered good quality, smoked haddock on line.  I’m glad I did.

The recipe is fairly simple;  prep the ingredients,  mix them all together, place in the bottom of a baking pan, cover with mashed potatoes drizzled with butter and bake.  This method of covering various ingredients with mashed potatoes, known as parmentier, was made famous in France by Antoine-Augustin Parmentier who introduced potatoes into French cuisine.  Prior to that, potatoes were considered animal feed.  You can visit his tombstone a the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.  The school children always leave offerings of potatoes on the grave and tombstone.  I liked that 🙂

Think of this as a cottage pie, only better.

Fish Pie

1 lbs potatoes, mashed with butter, salt and pepper

1 carrot, grated

1 shallot, chopped

2 sticks celery,  very finely chopped

1/2 green chilli, finely chopped

4 sprigs parsley, finely chopped

1 cup cheddar, grated

1/2 lemon, juice and zest

1/2 cup fresh spinach, chopped

1 tomato, cut into eighths

1/2 cup pancetta strips

1/2 lb salmon, cut into cubes

1/2 lb fresh cod or smoked haddock,  cut into cubes

1/2 lb shrimp

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Melted butter

In a very large bowl, mix the carrot, shallot, celery, chilli, parsley, cheddar, lemon juice, zest, spinach, tomatoe, pancetta, salmon, cod or haddock and shrimp together.  Season with salt and pepper, then add a slug of olive oil and mix.  Put the fish mixture on the bottom of whatever type of baking pan you decide to use and cover with the mashed potatoes.  Drizzle with the melted butter.

Bake in a 400 F oven for 40-50 minutes until bubbly and browned.


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Paprika Roasted Cod and Spaghetti Squash

          Craving fish, we went into Scranton where you can find wild salmon, cod filet and                  sometimes lovely monkfish. I decided to roast some cod with spaghetti squash as a                side.

I cut the squash into rings, sprinkled them with salt to release the water, dried them off then roast them on parchment paper.  My favorite part is scraping the squash into strands from the rings.

I sauteed shallots, green peppers and pancetta to add to the squash for color and flavor.

The dos de cabillaud or cod backs were not as thick and rounded as the ones I get in France but they were not bad. I seasoned them with salt, lemon juice and paprika and piment d’espelette.

We loved the color and flakiness of the fish and the slight spiciness from the piment.

Paprika Roasted Cod

1/4 tsp salt

Juice from 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp piment d’espelette

1 tbsp paprika

2 tbsp olive oil

2 large cod fillets, cut into 4 servings each

Place the fillets in a zip lock. whisk the salt, lemon juice, piment, paprika and olive oil in a small bowl and then pour over the fish fillets in the bag.  Squish around to cover the fish completely.  Let rest for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  and roast the cod for about 12 minutes.  




Posted in American, Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Cooking with Brian: Pork Char Sui

For over a year now, our family who believe in science and the Co-Vid Virus have been practicing mitigation; masks, social distancing, avoiding crowded areas, visiting no one and accepting no invitations to visit.  Our son works from home and my husband who has been retired for 6 years has managed to find a job teleworking out of the U.S. to Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad and The Gambia.  I have been reading, doing housework, cooking in a vague way and feeding the animals; ours and the feral cats trying to survive the cold.  My enthusiasm for anything, including blogging, waned.

My son Brian, again, saved my sanity.  When I retired from work years ago and was feeling useless, he recommended I start this food blog.  That worked.  Now we cook together on the weekends on Facetime.  It is so much fun 🙂  He decides what he’d like to make, I recommend methods and ingredients, he shops and then we meet on Facetime at the appointed hour, he cooks, I offer guidance and recommendations while we reminisce and laugh.

This time we made oven S hooked pork char sui.  Because it’s a little fiddly, I cooked the same meal ahead, then helped him to cook his.

I love the “char”  and reddish color of this juicy, succulent grilled pork.  Great with Asian noodles, rice, on sandwiches or just hanging out over the cutting board tasting; which we did 😀

We have to get him to take photos of his completed dishes and then I can make short videos of him cooking using Facetime.  I tried a video but it turned out blurry with no audio.

Brian had a simple, yet tasty, rice recipe he wanted to share.  A lot of garlic and butter, shallots or onion, parsley, rice and chicken broth.  Very nice!  Unfortunately, I forgot to get a picture of the finished dish but the recipe is below.

Brian had brussel sprouts to steam and I had bok choy.

I also had some homemade garlic sesame dressing for the bok choy.  I usually double this recipe so that I have some  in reserve for a future delight 🙂  I put some on the pork also.

Oven Char Sui

2 1/2 -3 lb pork tenderloin

1 8 ounce jar Lee Kum Kee char sui sauce

6 S-hooks (about 3 inches per hook)

1 aluminum wrapped cookie sheet

Long handle cooking fork

1 basting brush ( a non plastic new paint brush works well)

Cut the tenderloin into approximately 4 inch pieces.  Place the pork into a large ziplock bag along with the char sui sauce.  Close the bag and squish the pieces around with the sauce until the pork is well covered.  Refrigerate for 1 -2 days, turning and squishing whenever you think about it.

Place one oven rack at the very top and one at the very bottom of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Remove the pork from the bag and S hook each piece.  Pour the sauce into a bowl with the brush.

Place the cookie sheet in the middle of the bottom rack.   Carefully hook the pork pieces on the top rack, not touching, and over the cookie sheet for drips.

Roast the pork for 15 minutes, then unhook with the long handle fork, allowing each piece to fall on the cookie sheet.  Remove the cookie sheet and baste the pieces all over with the sauce.  Rehook the pork to the top rack (most times the hooks are cool enough to handle.  If not, use an oven mitt).  Replace the cookie sheet.  Repeat these instructions 2 more times for a total of 45 minutes cooking time.

Brian’s Rice

4 tbsp butter

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 shallots, chopped

1 1/2 cups long grain rice

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Melt the butter in a sauce pan.  Add the garlic and shallots, sauteing until the shallots are soft.  Stir in the rice, chicken broth, dried parsley, salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, then cover and very low simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from flame, stir in the fresh parsley, cover and set aside for 10-15 minutes until cooked.

Garlic Sesame Dressing

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 inch grated ginger

3 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp chili garlic sauce

1 tbsp sesame seeds

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp chili oil

Place all ingredients in Mason jar and shake until well combined.  Refrigerate until needed.




Posted in Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments