Ten Canadian Provinces of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Ten – New Brunswick – Acadian Fish Cakes

Welcome to Week Ten of the Ten Canadian Provinces of New Recipe Tuesday! This is the final week for our friends to the north and I am actually glad to be done with this. As challenging as the US was, at least we are many and varied and spread out, which gave me the opportunity to explore some stuff about our great nation that was interesting and (at times) very different. Canada was kind of odd, in that it was more regional than province-centric, with lots of seafood on the coasts and grains and such in the middle. And although I did this in alphabetical order, I actually skipped New Brunswick. Not because it was special or unique in any way. In truth, I made the recipe and just never did the blog post. I know, totally lame. But I am back to make it right and finish Canada (because I am no quitter!).

New Brunswick is one of the three Maritime provinces (along with Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island), again showing you how Canada is regional in nature (remember the prairie provinces?). Surprisingly, it is the only province that is constitutionally bilingual; both English and French are spoken and accepted. More than a  third of the population is French speaking, which is a direct tie to the Acadian population; those people who descend from the earliest French settlers.

Some fun facts. New Brunswick has the highest tides in the world at the Bay of Fundy. They also have the world’s longest covered bridge. The Hartland Covered Bridge in Hartland NB is 1282 feet long and was considered an engineering marvel when it was built in 1901. New Brunswick also boasts that it is the creator of the ice cream cone. Legend has it that baker Walter Donnelly of Sussex Corner had created a bad batch of pastry that was too hard and crunchy. He took it next door to the local ice cream shop to see if they could use it, and the rest is history.

When I went looking for a recipe, I found that the Acadian people, the original French settlers are still very influence in the food of New Brunswick. One dish that I found along my journey, having ties to all the maritime provinces was for a dish called Acadian Fish Cakes. They are quite simple to make, and are basically a latke with some white fish added. They are served with applesauce.

New Brunswick Acadian Fish Cakes

I liked them, but no one else did. My son said they were ‘meh’ in flavor, which I expected since he is neither a potato nor a fish eater. I seriously wonder if any of my Irish blood runs through his veins! I did find that they lacked a whole lot of flavor, and that after cooking, they must be salted or they just taste bland. The applesauce is actually the perfect accompaniment as it adds a gentle sweetness and cuts through the heaviness of the potato. I can’t say that I would make them again, mostly because no one else would eat them, but I did think they were interesting and give the recipe an A for overall tastiness.

Thanks for stopping by. I will admit I am a little battle weary from the demands of a specific theme dish. I may go back to my random new recipes for a while and then float back to a theme. Either way, I will continue the journey and I hope you stick with me.

See you next time! Enjoy.

Acadian Fish Cakes


  • 1 pound fresh or frozen fish fillets (something white and flaky like sole or tilapia)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups raw potatoes, finely grated
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 1/8 cup onion, grated
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ tbsp. salt
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Cooking oil
  • Applesauce


  1. Thaw fillets if necessary. Chop very finely.
  2. Combine all ingredients except oil and applesauce. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Heat ½” cooking oil in a large fry pan until very hot but not smoking. Drop 1/3 cup of mixture into pan and pat down with spatula. Fry 3 – 4 minutes or until golden brown. Turn carefully and fry another 3 – 4 minutes.
  4. Place on absorbent paper. Sprinkle with salt. Keep warm. Continue with remaining patties, adding more oil if needed.
  5. Serve with applesauce.

New Bruswick Acadian Fish Cakes with Applesauce

Ten Canadian Provinces of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Four – Newfoundland and Labrador –Cod au Gratin

Welcome to Week Four of the Ten Canadian Provinces of New Recipe Tuesday! For those of you that follow my food journey, you know that I have been absent for a couple of weeks. My world got a little flipped around right after Thanksgiving and I have been dealing with that ever since. My 93 year old father had some health issues and he did not bounce back enough for him to return to his assisted living. Some quick work ensued and he has now been moved into a nursing home. I can report that he is adjusting to the change and I am now working to clean out his assisted living apartment. To say the least, it has been a stressful couple of weeks.

But alas, I continue with the Canadian Provinces and this week we explore the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, positioned on the far eastern coast of Canada. The Province is actually made up of two parts, the island of Newfoundland and the mainland portion called Labrador, separated by the Strait of Belle Isle.  It is the farthest eastern piece of land in all of North America.

One note that I will make. When I started this Canadian journey, I decided that I would do them in alphabetical order. If you check the list, you will see that I have skipped New Brunswick. I actually cooked a recipe for NB, but just haven’t written the post yet. I promise I will insert that one shortly!

When I went looking for a recipe for Newfoundland, I found that following the history and reason for its settlement by Europeans directed me. You see, this area of the Atlantic was once so abundant with cod that that one report claimed that “the sea…is swimming with fish, which can be taken not only with the net but in baskets let down with a stone.” It is sad that today, the cod industry has been nearly destroyed due to over fishing. Most of the cod we eat today is from the Pacific Northwest, yet the province still prepares many dishes using this once abundant fish.

The dish that I decided to make is called Cod au Gratin, which breaks all the rules that I have ever learned about eating fish; mainly that it is prepared in a béchamel sauce, and then covered in cheddar cheese and crushed crackers. Seriously, how could this be something so near and dear to the locals there? I was so intrigued that I just had to try it.

Cod au Gratin

And you know what? It is actually pretty good. Cod is such a mild and hardy fish that it holds its own against the richness of the cream sauce and cheese. I am from an Irish family and it sort of reminded me of creamed salt cod that I ate as a child. Same white sauce, same fish. It is very rich. You really can only eat a scoop of it and it fills you right up. But on a cold night with a fresh green vege side, it hit the spot.

I give this one an A-, because no one else in my house would even try it. But I liked it and I guess I will be eating the leftovers for the next couple of days. If you are looking for something really different, give this one a try. You might be surprised at how oddly tasty it is.

Thanks for sticking with me and stopping by. See you next time in New Brunswick (I promise to get that one done)!

Cod au Gratin

Cod au Gratin

  • Difficulty: pretty easy
  • Print


  • 2 pounds fresh cod fillets
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups whole or 2% milk
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan
  • 1 tsp tarragon
  • 1 ½ cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup cracker crumbs (I used Ritz)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and place cod fillets in 9×9 baking dish and cook for about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, drain any excess liquid and tear the pieces of cod a little to break up. Continue with recipe.
  1. Meanwhile, scald the milk in a small saucepan for about 4-5 minutes until just under the boiling point.
  2. In a medium saucepan add the butter and flour and cook together for 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the scalded milk whisking constantly.
  3. Cook until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the lemon zest, Dijon mustard, tarragon and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the Parmesan cheese just before pouring onto the fish.
  4. Pour the sauce over the broken up fish. Stir to coat the fish. Top with the cheddar cheese.
  5. Mix the cracker crumbs with the olive oil and sprinkle over the cheese. (You can add a little extra tarragon to the crumbs if you like, about ½ tsp). Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350°F until bubbling and the top has evenly browned.


Five Territories of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Five – The Northern Mariana Islands – Chamorro Shrimp Patties

Welcome to week 5 of the Five US Territories of New Recipe Tuesday.  This week, we explore The Northern Mariana Islands, the newest US territory. Like many other islands in this region, the indigenous people are Chamorro. Magellan first discovered the islands in 1521, and at that time the population of the native people was more than 75,000. With the introduction of disease and forced labor by the Spaniards, the population had diminished to a mere 3,500 by 1710.

Spain sold the islands to Germany in 1899, during the same period that Guam became a US territory. Germany did little with the islands, and when they were defeated in WWII, Japan assumed possession along with most of Micronesia in 1944. In 1947, the area was recognized as a United Nations Trust Territory, administered by the United States. The infusion of ‘Yankee’ culture  introduced the islands to better education and tourism.  But it was not until 1978, after years of debates and ballot propositions that the Northern Marianas entered into a commonwealth with the United States. Though still under foreign control, the new Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands introduced an autonomy that had been missing from Chamorro culture for over four hundred years.

Chamorro Shrimp Patties

When I went looking for a recipe to make this week, I wanted to give the native culture a nod. Because the island culture was very similar to Guam, it became a challenge to find something different and unique. But I did finally find something that was attributed to Saipan (the capital), called Chamorro Shrimp Patties. These are essentially a fritter, and they were really delicious. They are very easy to make, and I was surprised that something with very basic seasonings was so tasty. On the islands, they are frequently served as an appetizer, but I found that they were filling enough to be my main dish. The shrimp was forward enough to be the star ingredient, and the use of frozen mixed vegetables was in line with the regions lack of local produce availability.

Overall, I give this dish a solid A. I would make these again, maybe for a party where I didn’t mind tending the deep fryer for awhile!

Thanks for stopping by! This wraps up our tour of the populated US Territories. I am going to wrap up this tour with our nation’s capital, Washington DC. Seems pretty fitting, since next Tuesday is Election Day! See you next week!

Chamorro Shrimp Patties

Chamorro Shrimp Patties

A traditional shrimp fritter found at festive gatherings in the Mariana Islands


  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 lb. raw shrimp, thawed, peeled, deveined, and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables, completely thawed, and drained
  • About 4 cups vegetable oil, for deep frying


Important!  Make sure that the shrimp and mixed vegetables are completely thawed out; otherwise as it defrosts, it will water down your batter.

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the evaporated milk. Add the flour, baking powder, and the seasonings. Mix until smooth. Add a little more evaporated milk if needed to make a thick but smooth batter.
  2. Add the shrimp and mixed vegetables, combining well.
  3. Heat oil in a deep fryer or 12-inch skillet to medium heat (350°F). Using two spoons, scoop and drop about 2 tablespoons batter and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Turn the fritters with tongs to brown evenly
  4. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm.

Chamorro Shrimp Patties

Five Territories of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Three – US Virgin Islands – Coconut Ginger Shrimp with Mango Salsa and Fungi

Welcome to week 3 of the Five US Territories of New Recipe Tuesday.  This week, we explore the US Virgin Islands, who joined the US as a territory in 1916. Unlike Puerto Rico and Guam, the USVI was purchased from Denmark via the Treaty of the Danish West Indies for $25M in gold. All of this took place prior to the US involvement with WWI, so as to protect Danish neutrality in the war.

The US Virgin Islands are located in the Caribbean, and are only 40 miles east of Puerto Rico. They are the only part of the United States where cars drive on the left, which is doubly strange, as most cars in the USVI are American made.

The 3 primary islands that make up the USVI are St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. I have actually been to both St. Thomas and St. John, first when I was working in the travel industry and visited as part of a “get to know us” trip, and then later on a cruise stop. The islands are very developed compared to other islands in the Caribbean, and I loved that St. John is almost entirely a national park. It is easy to get to St. John from St. Thomas by ferry, but St. Croix is further south and can only be reached by plane. What I remember most about the USVI are the beautiful beaches and nice people.

When I went looking for a recipe to make this week, I found that the Virgin Islands are like many other Caribbean islands in their use of fresh seafood and fruit. There is also a side dish that seemed to be quite prominent called Fungi (pronounce Fun Jee) that is a sort of corn meal mush with okra.

So I decided to go with a shrimp dish that incorporated coconut, ginger and lemongrass, along with a mango salsa. And of course, the fungi.

USVI Coconut Ginger Shrimp with Mango Salsa and Fungi

The results were, sadly, just alright. I though the shrimp was too sweet and lacked overall balance. The fungi was not good at all; way too bland, a bit pasty and the okra added nothing to the flavor or texture. The bright star in all of this was the mango salsa, which was bright and fresh. It was well balanced and pretty  much saved the whole meal from being a total fail.

Overall, I there was not a lot of love for the dishes from the US Virgin Islands. Kind of a bummer, but always an adventure none the less. I shall continue on my journey, and hope that next week’s provides for a more delicious culinary discovery.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week in American Samoa!

Coconut Ginger Shrimp with Mango Salsa and Fungi

USVI Shrimp served with a Mango Salsa and Island Fungi


Coconut-Ginger Shrimp with Mango Salsa

Mango Salsa

  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely minced
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • Salt to taste

Coconut-Ginger Shrimp

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemongrass, finely minced
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 3 Tbsp canned, unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut, finely chopped
  • White pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined


  • 5 ounces frozen cut okra
  • 34 cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper


For the Mango Salsa:

  1. Combine all ingredients. Check for salt. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

For the Coconut-Ginger Shrimp:

  1. Combine all ingredients except the oil and shrimp in a bowl and set aside
  2. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan. Add the shrimp and cook for about 1 minute or until they are about ½ done.
  3. Add coconut mixture, stir to combine and cook about 2 – 3 minutes or until the shrimp are done.

For the Fungi:

  1. In a medium sauce pan, bring the water to a boil and add the frozen okra.
  2. In a separate bowl, blend 2 tbsp of the cornmeal with about 6 tbsp water. Pour into the pot with the boiling water and okra and let cook for one minute.
  3. Slowly pour the rest of the cornmeal into the pan, stirring constantly. Add the butter and salt and pepper, continuing to cook for 5 minutes.

USVI Coconut-Ginger Shrimp with Mango Salsa and Fungi

Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Forty Three – Idaho – Pan Seared Trout with Pecan Brown Butter Sauce and Potato Salad with Cherry Peppers and Sweet Relish Vinaigrette

Welcome to week 43 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome the state of Idaho, who joined the union on July 3, 1890. And once again, I seem to be making up for lost time! Sorry about missing last week. That is a first for me. I have tried to be so consistent with this journey, but last week was just a mess. I dropped my son off for a month as a counselor at camp in the Poconos. Then headed up to New York to spend a couple days with friends. While there, I sustained a pretty nice injury to my big toe. Let’s just say that a good portion of my toe nail was dislodged…from the nail bed. The whole nail will not be with me for long. I wonder what a toe looks like without a nail?? I guess I am going to find out. Add some parent issues and you get the picture. But I am back on track and hopefully this will be the one and only time I miss a whole week.

Idaho is the fifth state to join the union under President Benjamin Harris. As you may recall, the Enabling Act of 1889 allowed for four states to seek statehood. After those states were admitted, Idaho followed by passing a state constitution, which was submitted and approved by Congress. Idaho was originally a Mormon state with a large pro-polygamy population, but a strong Republican group essentially pushed out the Mormons when they wrote the state constitution, outlawing polygamy and denying Mormons the right to vote. Interesting.

Here is some other interesting information about Idaho. It was the last state to be explored by the Lewis and Clark expedition (and any other European-Americans for that matter). There is no documented exploration of the area until 1805. The Shoshone Indians, who inhabited the region, assisted in the exploration. They had never seen a white man before then.

And Rigby, Idaho, is referred to as the birthplace of television. Inventor Philo Farnsworth is attributed with reportedly sketching out the design behind the technology for a high school science paper. His contributions were crucial to the first all electric television system.

In looking for a recipe for this week, once again two foods came to the surface. The first was the potato. I think just about everyone knows that potatoes and Idaho go together. It was in 1837 that missionary Henry Spalding planted the first potatoes in Lapwai, ID. They were originally part of an effort to bring cultivating crops to the Indians in the region. The soil and weather were perfect for potato growing and today, Idaho produces more potatoes than any other state, nearly 30% of all consumed in the US. And although the Russet is probably the most famous, Idaho actually grows more than 25 other varieties as well.

The other food that Idaho is known for is Trout. Idaho harvests more trout for US consumption than any other state. Trout fishing is a popular tourist activity and draws hundreds of thousands of fisherman to the region annually.

So again I made two different recipes this week. The first is Pan Seared Trout with Pecan Brown Butter. I adapted the recipe from one I found on Saveur. I thought the cooking method for the fish was perfect and the brown butter sauce was a nice addition. I did think it needed more acid, so I have adjusted the recipe to include a really good squirt of lemon to the finish. That was all it needed to really bring out the light fish flavor.

The second recipe is Potato Salad with Cherry Peppers and Sweet Relish Vinaigrette. This recipe is adapted from Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. I liked the ingredients and thought it would be really good, but I didn’t care for it. I thought the sweet relish was too overpowering and overall, the cherry peppers added nothing to the flavor of the dish. I am not sure how I would fix this. Matt really liked it, so maybe it is just me. If he hadn’t thought it tasty, I probably would not even have told you I made it.


I think both recipes are not perfect, but I would give the trout an A- and the potato salad a B+ (only because Matt liked it). I would definitely make the fish again, maybe looking for a lighter butter sauce. But the fish itself was delicious and I will not hesitate to make trout again.

Have a great week everyone and thanks for stopping by. See you next week in Wyoming! And yes, that will be the official do over of the state! Check out week thirty for that story!

Recipe for Pan Seared Trout with Pecan Brown Butter:


10 Tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 T) unsalted butter, divided
34 cup roughly chopped pecans
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tsp. grated lemon zest, plus 2 tsp. juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 cup flour
4 (6-oz.) boneless, rainbow trout filets
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley, for garnish
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving


Purée 6 tbsp. butter, 12 cup pecans, the scallions, lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper in a small food processor until smooth; set aside.

Melt 2 Tbsp. of remaining butter in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat; place flour on a plate. Season 2 filets trout with salt and pepper; dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Cook, starting skin side down, flipping once, until golden and cooked through, 3–4 minutes. Repeat with remaining butter and trout. Transfer filets to serving plates. Add remaining chopped pecans to skillet; cook, until toasted, 1-2 minutes. Add butter mixture; cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Spoon the pecan sauce over trout. Squeeze lemon over fish. Garnish with parsley.

Recipe for Potato Salad with Cherry Peppers and Sweet Relish Vinaigrette:


Potato Salad:

6 medium Yukon gold potatoes, skin on, cut into 1/2-inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup finely diced red onions
1/4 cup pickled cherry peppers, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon sliced chives

Sweet Relish Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sweet relish
2 tablespoons capers, chopped
1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper


For the potato salad: Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover by 2 inches with cold water. Season the water liberally with kosher salt. Bring the potatoes to a simmer over medium/low heat and cook until fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander, and then cover with aluminum foil to keep warm until tossed with the vinaigrette.

For the sweet relish vinaigrette: In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, relish, capers and mustard. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the potatoes, parsley, red onions, cherry peppers and chives to the bowl with the vinaigrette. Toss to coat, adding additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, or keep covered in the refrigerator up to overnight and toss again before serving.


Idaho – Fifty State of New Recipe Tuesday

Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Thirty Three – Oregon– Salmon Cakes with Truffle Mayonnaise and Chanterelle and Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Welcome to week 33 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome Oregon, who joined the union on February 14, 1859.  The area known today as Oregon was part of the Louisiana Purchase, which involved an incredible amount of land acquired by France in 1803. There was a strong desire to try to locate a continuous waterway across the country for trade, and the then president Thomas Jefferson commissioned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the region. The explorers were disappointed to not find an easy water route across the continent, but collected valuable information about the plants, animals and people of the area. They returned to the East with reports that sparked great interest among other explorers and entrepreneurs. By the 1840s Easterners were moving west in large numbers on what became known as the Oregon Trail.  As their numbers swelled, a shared agreement with Britain became strained, and eventually a resolution was crafted that pushed British control back to what is now British Columbia.

Oregon has grown to be known as a huge foodie region, and their abundance of both seafood and agriculture made it a fun recipe state to explore. They are the largest grower of hazelnuts in the US, but Matt is allergic to them, so all recipes with them were off the table. But what I did discover is that they are also known for salmon, chanterelle mushrooms and truffles, so that led me to a couple of recipe options.

I decided on a couple of recipes tonight. The first was for Salmon Cakes with Truffle Mayonnaise. Since both Matt and Josh are not salmon fans, I added a second recipe for Chanterelle and Porcini Mushroom Risotto.

Salmon Cake with Truffle Mayo and Chanterelle and Porcini Risotto

I liked both dishes. The salmon cakes were pretty easy; however they included a mushroom duxelle. Although it was tasty, it seems like a lot of added work to add in some mushrooms to the dish. If I made it again, I think I would rework it to find something with the same flavor quality without all the effort of a duxelle. The risotto was very good, but also very heavy on the umami. I was not able to find fresh chanterelles or porcinis, so I used dried that I reconstituted for half the mushrooms, and then added in a variety of other fresh mushrooms (cremini, oyster) for the other half. The end result was very rich, and we had a lot of leftover because you didn’t need to eat a lot to fill you up.

I think both dishes were pretty successful, although I probably would not make them together again. The addition of some fresh asparagus broke up the richness for a nice dinner.

Thanks Oregon. Those were some nice dishes. See you all next week in Kansas.

Salmon Cakes with Truffle Mayonnaise

Salmon Cake with Truffle Mayo


¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
¼ cup cremini duxelles (see recipe below)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon dried dill
1 egg beaten lightly
¼ cup mayonnaise
½ pound cooked salmon
Truffle Mayonnaise, made by blending ½ tablespoon White Truffle Oil with ½ cup mayonnaise

Stir together the bread crumbs, duxelles, cayenne, dill, egg, and mayonnaise. When the mixture is blended carefully fold in the cooked salmon. Refrigerate for 1 hour before forming into cakes.
Divide the mixture into 4 equal parts and roll them into a ball, then flatten into a pattie.
Place a medium non-stick sauté pan over medium heat and pour in the some cooking oil, about 1 tablespoon. When the oil begins to very lightly smoke add the salmon cakes. Fry until the cakes begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the cakes and repeat.

Cremini Mushroom Duxelle:

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup dry white wine
1 pound cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat until almost smoking, add the mushrooms and cook until golden brown and dry. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft. Add the wine and cook until reduced. Add the thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chanterelle and Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Chanterelle and Porcini Risotto


2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 shallot, minced
¼ pound fresh chanterelle mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
¼ pound fresh porcini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1 fresh bay leaf
1 cups white wine, divided
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup arborio rice
3 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
¼ cup Parmesan
½ ounce fresh white truffles, optional


Warm a wide large heavy-bottomed pan over a medium-low flame. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter and melt together. Add shallots and cook for 2 minutes, or until translucent, and then toss the mushrooms, thyme, and bay leaf into the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their moisture and begin to turn golden brown.
Pour ½ cup of the wine into the pan, and bring the liquid to a simmer, allowing the wine to evaporate. Continue cooking until the mushrooms are dry, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove mushrooms from the pan and set aside. Discard the bay leaf.
Reduce the flame to low, and add the remaining butter and oil to the pan and melt. Stir in the rice and coat with the oil until the kernels are shiny, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the remaining 1 cup of white wine and let evaporate.
Add the chicken broth, 1 ladle at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid. Do not add too quickly so as to prevent the kernels from exploding. Stir over a gentle flame until each ladle of the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until most of the broth is incorporated and the risotto rice is al dente, about 25 minutes.
Fold the mushrooms back into the rice and season with salt, pepper and parsley. Stir in the Parmesan and finish with slices of white truffle, if available. Serve immediately.


Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Thirty One – California – Shrimp Tacos with Mango Slaw and Chipotle Crema

Welcome to week 31 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome California, who joined the union on September 9, 1850. I am so glad that we moved on from the debacle of last week; although it was sort of fun creating two different dishes. Neither of them bowled me over though, so I was looking to find a real win this week, and California has come at the perfect time.

When I think of California, I think of fun, probably because I have been there many times and have always had a great time. One of my most memorable trips was a surprise birthday gift from my hubby a couple of years ago to Napa Valley. I love wine, especially Chardonnays from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma. It was my version of a pilgrimage to Mecca. Then add the fact that he scored a coveted table to The French Laundry, a true dining bucket list. What a trip. I could go back tomorrow!

Me and my hubby at The French Laundry

But I have been to many other places as well; LA, San Diego, San Francisco and most recently Lake Tahoe. I loved them all. And here is something I take away from every one of these places. California knows food. They are not afraid to mix it up a little and everything is super fresh. This may be because California is a treasure trove of produce. Here are some interesting food facts. Did you know…

California is the number one food and agricultural producer in the United States. More than half the nation’s fruit, nuts, and vegetables come from here. Their leading commodity is milk and cream. Grapes are second (WINE!). Nationally, products exclusively grown (99% or more) in California include almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, kiwifruit, olives, persimmons, pistachios, prunes, raisins, and walnuts. They are the leading producer of strawberries. They are also a grower of tomatoes, garlic, onions and avocados.

So when I went looking for my recipe this week, I wanted to embrace fresh flavors. There were literally hundreds of things to make, but what I finally decided on was something that pulled in a number of California’s local ingredients and also was truly local food. I settled on Shrimp Tacos with Mango Slaw and Chipotle Crema. I originally was working with the classic ‘food truck’ fish taco, but that wasn’t going to appeal to Josh, so I decided to go with a shrimp version instead. The result is a super fresh, slightly spicy taco that was delicious. The shrimp marinade gave them a tangy and spicy taste, which balances nicely with the smoky Chipotle Crema and the crisp freshness of the Mango Slaw. A slice of avocado pulls the whole dish together.


Shrimp Tacos
Shrimp Tacos with Mango Slaw and Chipotle Crema

This gets an A+. I will add this to my ‘make it again’ collection and encourage you to give it a try. Cinco de Mayo is only two days away! This would wow your crowd for sure. Of course, I added a nice glass of Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley. If it was the 5th, I would have made a margarita.

Thanks California. This one was a true winner. See you next week in Minnesota.

Recipe for Mango Slaw:

1 – 9 oz. bag shredded cole slaw mix
1/2 mango, sliced, then julienned
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
Juice of 1 lime
Chopped cilantro, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

Mango Slaw
Mango Slaw

Recipe for Chipotle Crema:

1 cup crema or sour cream
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 chipotle pepper in adobo with sauce, chopped
Chopped cilantro to taste, optional

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

Chipotle Crema
Chipotle Crema


Recipe Shrimp Tacos:

1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp (21-25 size)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste
Corn or flour tortillas
1 avocado, sliced
Lime wedges

Combine olive oil, garlic powder, cumin, chipotle chili powder and lime juice. Toss the shrimp and marinade in this mixture for 10 minutes
Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the shrimp with the marinade and cook until just opaque, about 3 minutes.

Sauteed Shrimp
Sauteed Shrimp

Heat the tortillas and fill with Shrimp, Mango Slaw and avocado. Squeeze fresh lime over the top and serve with the Chipotle Crema.

Shrimp Tacos
Shrimp Tacos with Mango Slaw and Chipotle Crema