Morels with fresh Peas and Pancetta

Ok, so I have been a little obsessive about morels lately, or any wild mushroom for that matter.  The morel in my humble opinion is the king mushroom and is in season from April-early July.   This recipe is a side dish and works great with Pan Roasted Sockeye Salmon or Roasted Chicken.  Feel free to substitute other mushrooms if you cannot find Morels, but trust me morels or even chanterelles will make all the difference.

Morels with Fresh Peas and Pancetta

1 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup minced shallots

2 tablespoons minced garlic

4 ounces fresh morels, trimmed and cleaned

1/3 cup diced pancetta

¼ cup wine

2 sprigs of thyme

Zest of 1/2 lemon

1 1/2 cup fresh peas

Sea Salt and pepper

Remove the peas from their pods and blanch in boiling salted water for 30 seconds, drain peas and shock in cold ice bath or run under cold water.  Set aside.  In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil and add diced Pancetta, let render for 8-10 min.  Add the shallots and garlic, and sauté until soft and glossy. Do not brown.

Add the morels and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add white wine and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add the peas, and the remaining 1 tablespoons of butter. Stir in chopped thyme and lemon zest. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer to a warm serving platter.



Filed under food, my food, recipe, side dish

Potato Leek Bisque with Chive and Truffle Oil

Potato Leek bisque is the definition of comfort food for me.  In this recipe I finish the dish with chive and truffle oil, Enjoy!


3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 sliced leeks, white and light green parts

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 TBS chopped Thyme

5 cups chicken stock

¼ cup white wine

½ cup whole milk

4 medium size Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

Salt and white pepper

2 TBS chopped chives


In a large pot, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over low heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes, add chicken stock then potatoes. Cover and simmer gently until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat. With a hand-held immersion blender, or in batches in a food processor, puree the soup until smooth then add milk and re-blend or stir. Season, to taste, with salt and ground white pepper. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with chives and drizzle with truffle oil. Serve immediately.


Filed under food, my food, recipe, soup

wild salmon

Wild salmon is here!  It goes without saying that I’m pretty excited about the start of wild salmon season.  It is well known that salmon is one of the healthiest proteins you can eat, full of cancer fighting Omega 3 fatty acids.  In this recipe I am using local Columbia River King salmon but the Copper River Sockeye and King species are readily available and are considered some of the best quality salmon on the market.  Farm raised salmon is the more sustainable and affordable choice, however, there is a huge difference in taste.  Weather you choose wild or farm raised salmon I am convinced that the biggest difference in taste is freshness so make sure the fish has never been frozen.

Pan Roasted Salmon with Yukon Gold Potato and Fennel Hash

  1. 5 Yukon Gold Potatoes cut into ¼ inch “cubed and blanched” (add cubed potatoes to salted boiling water for 1 min drain and pat dry)
  2. 1 Fennel Bulb diced
  3. 1 large shallot diced
  4. 1 clove garlic deiced
  5. 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  6. ¼ cup cubed bacon (I like apple wood smoked)
  7. 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  8. 4 center-cut salmon fillets with skin (about 7 ounces each)
  9. 1 lemon juiced
  10. ½ teaspoon sugar
  11. Freshly ground pepper
  12. 1 1/2 tablespoon salt
  13. 2 tablespoons canola oil
  14. 1 tablespoon minced thyme
  15. 2 tablespoons minced parsley


1.      Preheat the oven to 325°.

2.      In a large cast iron or heavy bottom skillet add ½ teaspoon canola oil and bacon and let render until crisp but not burnt.  Remove and let rest over a paper towel to remove as much grease as possible, leave render fat in the pan.  Add potatoes back to the pan over med heat and cook until light brown (5-8 min) remove and let drain over a paper towel.  Wash and dry the skillet then place over medium high heat, when hot add 1 tablespoon olive oil add diced Fennel and sauté for 3 minutes.  Add the shallot, red pepper flakes and garlic to the pan and sauté for another 2 min before adding the potatoes and bacon back to the pan.  Place over low heat to keep warm.  Do not let burn!

3.      In a medium ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet, skin side up. Cook over moderately high heat until well-browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip the fillets. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the salmon is cooked through, about 7 minutes. Transfer the fish to plates and pour off any fat in the skillet.

4.      Place the skillet over moderate heat and add the lemon juice, sugar and the remaining 1 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook, scraping up any bits stuck to the skillet about 1 minute. Pour the sauce over the salmon, sprinkle with the parsley.


Filed under food, main dish, my food, recipe


May is the start of Strawberry season throughout most of the U.S, with peek seasons from (May – July).  Here in WA we have to wait until July to get great local strawberries, so I regularly take advantage of California strawberries in early May.  I decided to do two of my favorite strawberry recipes, the classic Strawberry Shortcake with Fresh Whipped Cream and my non-traditional version of the classic Strawberry Jam.  I hope you get as much joy from these 2 recipes as I do. Please feel free to add your own twists and variations to make them your own.

Strawberry Shortcake


2 3/4 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar, plus additional to sprinkle on top

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1-ounce pieces

1 cup heavy cream (I like Twin Brook Creamery from Lynden, WA), plus additional to brush on top

3 pints fresh strawberries, stemmed

2 or 3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons port wine

1 teaspoon orange zest

Fresh Whipped Cream, recipe follows


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 1 or 2 baking trays with parchment paper and set aside. In a food processor, combine the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt and pulse to combine. Add the chilled butter and process just until combined. With the motor running, add the cream through the feed tubes, stopping just before the dough forms a ball.  If you don’t own a food processor you could do this step by hand, just use your fingers and fork to combine butter and floor.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead, forming a smooth ball. Do not overwork. Roll the dough out into a 3/4-inch thick round. Using a 3-inch cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out 7 circles. Knead the scraps together, roll and cut out 3 more circles.

Arrange the circles on the prepared baking trays, brush the tops with cream and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake for 10-15 min, or until the cakes are golden and firm to the touch. Cool on a rack.

Meanwhile, rinse and drain the strawberries. Cut each berry into thick slices and toss with sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, port, and orange zest, and gently mix. Set aside.

When ready to serve, split each shortcake in half and warm slightly. Place the bottom half of the shortcake on a dessert plate. Spoon about ¼ cup of the strawberries and its juices on the bottom half, arrange a scant ½ cup of whipped cream over the strawberries and top with the shortcake Serve immediately.

Whipped Cream


2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream (I like Twin Brook Creamery from Lynden,WA)

½ teaspoon Vanilla extract


Place a metal mixing bowl and metal whisk into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Place the sugar and vanilla extract into the mixing bowl and add the whipping cream. Whisk just until the cream reaches stiff peaks. Store any unused portion in an airtight container for up to 10 hours. When ready to use, rewhisk for 10 to 15 seconds.

Strawberry Balsamic Jam


2 cups sugar

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved


Combine the sugar and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and cook over very low heat for 10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the strawberries and continue to cook over very low heat for 20 minutes, until the strawberries release some of their juices and the mixture boils slowly. Cook until a small amount of the juice gels on a very cold plate. (I keep one in the freezer.) Pour carefully into 2 pint canning jars and either seal or keep refrigerated. Use immediately, or follow proper canning guidelines below.

Tips on Sterilizing Jars:

Properly-handled sterilized equipment will keep canned foods in good condition for years. Sterilizing jars is the first step of preserving foods.

Sterilizing Tips:

Jars should be made from glass and free of any chips or cracks. Preserving or canning jars are topped with a glass, plastic, or metal lid, which has a rubber seal. Two piece lids are best for canning, as they vacuum seal when processed.

To sterilize jars, before filling with jams, pickles, or preserves, wash jars and lids with hot, soapy water. Rinse well and arrange jars and lids open sides up, without touching, on a tray. Leave in a preheated 175 degree F oven for 25 minutes. Or, boil the jars and lids in a large saucepan, covered with water, for 15 minutes.

Use tongs when handling the hot sterilized jars, to move them from either boiling water or the oven. Be sure the tongs are sterilized too, by dipping the ends in boiling water for a few minutes.

As a rule, hot preserves go into hot jars and cold preserves go into cold jars. All items used in the process of making jams, jellies, and preserves must be clean. This includes any towels used, and especially your hands.


Filed under dessert, food, my food, recipe

asparagus: the perfect side dish

By mid April we are all ready for spring, not only the warmer weather but also the vegetables that accompany the season.  One of my favorite spring vegetables has to be asparagus (mid April-mid June), this hearty vegetable can be manipulated in so many different ways but I decided on two different recipes that I believe really let the vegetable stand out and speak for itself.  Please feel free to give as much feed back as you can and share your own favorite recipes.  I was excited to have over 250 hits on my blog over the last 2 weeks, so when you share a thought or a recipe you are truly sharing it with a community of food lovers.

P.S Remember to smell your pee!

Roasted Asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto served with poached egg


1 pound asparagus (about 19 stalks), trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 to 10 paper-thin slices prosciutto, halved lengthwise

Zest of one lemon

4 eggs

3 quarts water

2 TBS white vinegar


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Snap the dry stem ends off of each asparagus then wrap with ½ slice of prosciutto exposing tips and place on a heavy baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until the asparagus is tender, about 15 minutes.

Arrange on a platter and serve at room temperature.  Add the poached eggs and enjoy!

Directions for poached eggs

Pour enough water into a 10-inch nonstick skillet to measure no less than 1 1/2-inches, place over high heat, and bring to 190 degrees F or gentle simmer. Add the vinegar. Gently crack each egg into a cup. Lower each cup into the water until it touches bottom and gently pour in the egg. Cook for 4 1/2 minutes, adjusting the heat to maintain the temperature. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, 1 at a time, to a tea towel lined plate. Trim the edges of the white with the side of a spoon and serve immediately. Eggs may be stored in ice water in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours. Reheat in hot water for 1 minute before serving.

Orzo and Asparagus Salad with Mint Vinaigrette


1 lbs asparagus cut into 1 ½ inch dice then blanched in boiling salted

Water for 30 seconds, remove with slotted spoon and reserve the boiling water

Add 1 ¼ cup of orzo to the boiling blanching water and cook for 8-9 minutes

1 large shallot diced

1 red or yellow bell pepper diced

3 cloves garlic fine chopped

Zest of one lemon

¼ cup toasted pine nuts (place in dry pan over med heat for a few minutes until roasted color appears)

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, plus extra for garnish

Juice of one lemon

1 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons honey

1/2 cup olive oil


Over med/high heat add 3 TBS olive oil to a sauté pan then sauté bell pepper for 3 min, add blanched asparagus sauté for an additional 1 min before adding the shallots, garlic and lemon zest, sauté for an additional 2 min.  Add the sauté vegetables to the cooked orzo and set aside.  Place mint, lemon juice, honey and mustard in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and blend until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour a ¼ cup of the vinaigrette over the orzo mixture and stir well to combine.  Add additional vinaigrette if needed


Filed under my food, recipe, side dish

shaved fennel salad with orange segments, toasted hazelnuts and blood orange vinaigrette

I love this recipe; the simplicity of using only 3 main ingredients is not only inexpensive but it allows the all the ingredients to stand out.  Late winter/early spring is the best time to get great oranges.  I love the classic combination of fennel and orange, I think the hazelnuts bring warmth to the dish.  The perfect early spring salad.


2 navel oranges, supreme by cutting away peel then removing segment without any portion of the pith or membrane (see pictures)

3 small bulb fennel, quartered, cored and very thinly sliced crosswise  (I like to use a mandolin in its finest setting)

Coarsely chopped fennel sprigs from the top of fennel bulb

1 small shallot diced fine

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

¼ cup toasted hazelnuts

Blood Orange Vinaigrette

1 ½ cups fresh squeezed blood orange juice or regular O.J will do

2 TBS of sherry vinegar

1tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp smoked paprika

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

In a saucepan over high heat, reduce the orange juice to about ¼ cup.  Let it cool slightly.

Combine the orange syrup, vinegar, mustard and paprika powder in a blender and blend 30 seconds with the motor running slowly add the oil until the dressing emulsifies. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Combine orange segments, fennel, salt and pepper in a bowl lightly add blood orange vinaigrette (don’t over dress). Gently toss to mix. Just before serving, sprinkle nuts and fennel sprigs over the salad.

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