Category Archives: Appetizers/Starters

Calas: A New Orleans Tradition

 

It’s Mardi Gras, and down in New Orleans, the King Cakes, beignets and other gustatory delights are flowing freely. But if you prefer your culinary temptations with a side of history, allow me to introduce you to the calas, a Creole rice fritter with a storied past.

Never heard of a calas? Most people outside of New Orleans never heard of them either.

It’s basically a rice fritter. Calas are just one of the many rice dishes that actually made the journey during the Middle Passage across the Atlantic Ocean. Calas are made of leftover rice mixed into a sugary egg batter, then deep fried and served dusted with confectioner’s sugar. 

To  me, they are kind of like beignets, only better — with a more interesting backstory. Calas were once a vital part of African-American livelihood in the New Orleans, and even helped some slaves there buy their freedom. The cala became a very important part of New Orleans’ history.

Scholars think slaves from the rice-growing regions of Africa  who were brought to the Carolinas specifically to  grow rice.  And as slavery spread down to the Gulf Coast, calas  were eventually brought to Louisiana. Some culinary historians can trace calas to Ghana, others, to Liberia and Sierra Leone. If you were to go to Africa today, to Ghana or Liberia, you would find the women in the open-air markets making calas.

330px-Le_Code_Noir_1742_edition.jpgIn 1685, during the days of French rule, New Orleans was ruled by the Le Code Noir or the “Black Codes”, a decree originally passed by France’s King Louis XIV. The Code Noir defined the conditions of slavery in the French colonial empire, restricted the activities of free Negroes, also known as free people of color,  and forbade the exercise of any religion other than Roman Catholicism, and expelled all Jews from France’s colonies.

The code has been described by Tyler Stovall as “one of the most extensive official documents on race, slavery, and freedom ever drawn up in Europe”.  The Code Noir resulted in a far higher percentage of blacks being free people of color during this period where the free color populations  was 13.2% in Louisiana compared to 0.8% in Mississippi. In by 21st Century standards, they were on average exceptionally literate and highly educated, sending their children abroad to study in some of Europe’s finest universities at the time.  Many were were doctors and lawyers, with a significant number of them owning businesses, properties and even slaves. Today, most people  are unaware that the free people of color were highly successful in the era of slavery. It was a very different climate in New Orleans than in the rest of the United States at the time.

In the Code Noir, it was stated that  all slaves were required calasby law to have at least one day a week off. The slaves’ day off usually was Sunday. Many of them would become street vendors. And so after church, African women would roam the streets of the French Quarter touting their wares with the chant, “Calas, calas! Belles calas tout chauds, madame, belles calas tout chauds!” — “Beautiful calas! Very hot!”

When the Spanish took control of Louisiana in the 1760s, they brought with them a powerful legal instrument, coartacion ,a specific type of manumission that pertained to slavery in the Hispanic Caribbean, through which slaves were allowed to purchase their freedom on a gradual basis. They were considered ‘free’ in exchange for compensation for the slave owner. In other words, coartacion  gave slaves the right to buy their freedom. For enslaved black women in the city, selling calas was a key way to earn money for these purchases. These women were able to buy freedom for their families and for themselves.

More than 1,400 New Orleans slaves bought their freedom under Spanish rule. But it’s not clear just how many did so with calas money.

African-American culinary historian Jessica B. Harris  has noted  in her writings that not all calas vendors were enslaved. And the ones who were  slaves often sold them for their mistresses. If they were lucky, they were allowed to keep a portion of the money, or perhaps have it go towards their freedom.

Americans ended the practice of coartacion soon after the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. But New Orleans remained home to thousands of free blacks – and throughout the 1800s, many of them, especially women, made their living selling calas and other street foods.

In the 20th century, these vendors slowly disappeared, until, by 1940, according to an old Works Progress Administration report, just a single calas street merchant remained.

But indoors, calas “remained popular as a home treat” among African-Americans — especially during Mardi. Friends and neighbors prepared calas for their families and for the maskers who stopped by for a little ‘recess’ from their parading.

And the fritters did survive in at least one public eating space: The Old Coffeepot Restaurant, a French Quarter breakfast joint, where they’ve been on the menu for decades.

Waitress Gaynell James serves up calas cake from the kitchen at The Old Coffeepot Restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans on Jan. 28, 2013.

Waitress Gaynell James Serves up calas from the kitchen at The Old Coffeepot Restaurant in the French Quarter. Gerald Herbert/AP 2013.

After chef Frank Brigsten purchased Charlie’s in 2009, he replaced hushpuppies on the menu at the longtime neighborhood seafood joint —a fixture in Harahan, outside New Orleans, since the 1950s—with a savory take on calas. They have gotten to be so  popular that the restaurant now serve shrimp calas as an appetizer.

 In recent years, calas have also made their way into a higher-profile tradition as well.2010-Calas-Lady-_vo
In 1990, New Orleans’ Haydel’s Bakery revived the old tradition of including miniature porcelain dolls in their Mardi Gras King Cakes.  The Original 1990 Frozen Charlotte Doll quickly became a collector’s item.  Since then,  Haydel’s has choosen a different porcelain figure  that celebrates one of the traditions of  the city’s beloved Mardi Gras heritage and bakes them  into  their famous King Cakes. In 2010, that figurine was in the shape of the iconic calas lady, her basket of “belle calas” balanced on her head —not forgotten. a symbol of a New Orleans long gone but, but still alive in the hearts of many.

And so the cala, a rice dish that is a part of New Orleans’ history, will be saved for future generations to come with this recipe that is presented below.

Makes About 2 Dozen

Ingredients:
2 cups cooked white rice
6 Tablespoons all purpose flour
3 heaping Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
5-6 cups vegetable oil, for frying
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions:

Mix the rice with flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the vanilla and mix well.

Add eggs and when thoroughly mixed, drop by tablespoonfuls into the hot oil , heated to 360 ° F. Fry until browned on both sides.

Using a spyder, remove the fritters from the oil and drain on baking sheet lined  with paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve hot with coffee or Cafe au Lait. 

 

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Orecchiette with Broccoli

Photo Credit: http://www.emikodavies.com

Orecchiette originates in the sunny southern province of Puglia, Italy, where the weather is warm and the crops plentiful. This pasta’s round, concave shape led to its name, which means “little ears” in Italian. The ridged exterior and cup-like interior captures chunky sauces and scoops up small vegetables, making orecchiette perfect to serve with sautés—sautés that begin, of course, with extra virgin olive oil, of which Puglia is the largest producer of in Italy.

This is a simple dish from Puglia in Southern Italy, traditionally always prepared with orecchiette and broccoli rabe. We prepared this dish using the more commonly found vegetable, broccoli. When buying broccoli, choose vegetables that have a uniform green color with no major brown or yellowing spots. The broccoli stem should feel firm and the crown should be tight and springy; soft stems or limp florets are a sign of old broccoli. Store broccoli in the crisper drawer in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Broccoli should keep fairly well for at least a week.

Orecchiette also makes a nice soupy pasta when cooked in the same water with potatoes and a big handful of arugula, and garnished with garlic and chili in olive oil. When you yell “Dinner!” your family and friends will be all ears.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2-3 garlic cloves, smashed
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 head broccoli,  trimmed and cut into florets
1/4 cup water, or as needed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
A squeeze of fresh  lemon juice
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
1 pound dried orecchiette pasta

Directions:
To blanch the broccoli: Prepare a bowl of ice water and have it next to the stove. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add a heaping teaspoon of salt. Add the broccoli florets and cook until crisp-tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge immediately in the ice water.If you would like softer vegetables, cook for an additional 30 secondss.

Saute the garlic in oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 1 minute. Add broccoli and a little water and cook,  stirring occasionally,  until the broccoli is bright green and soft, but still a little crunchy, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper to taste and a sprinkle of cheese. Stirring and cook until cheese is melted. Add a  squeeze of lemon juice and set it aside until the pasta is ready.

Meanwhile, cook the orecchiette in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoon salt for 6 quarts water) until al dente.  Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta.

Add the pasta and 2-3 tablespoons of the reserved cooking water to  the saucepan with the broccoli and toss until combined then serve immediately with a handful of grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil over the top.

 

Cook’s Notes:
Pecorino cheese can be substituted for the Parmigiano-Reggiano, if desired.

If fresh broccoli is not at hand, frozen broccoli that has been thawed and drained can be used in this dish. A 10 ounce bag will do.

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The Ultimate Super Bowl LII Party Menu

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If you are football fan and follower of the NFL, then you know it was 13 years ago when the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles first met in a Super Bowl. If you’ve been waiting ever since for the rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX,  then you are in luck.

The Patriots, of course, won 20-17 in that contest at the conclusion of the 2004 season, although the game wasn’t as close as the final score suggests. With the Lombardi Trophy again on the line, the Eagles and Patriots will square off beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 4, 2018 in U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

But besides the game, it really is all about the food, just like for Thanksgiving and Christmas and all the other official and unofficial holidays where people gather to celebrate an occasion or two. Here is a roster full of the best menu selections each city has to offer and I am sure that your guest will be impressed.

Oh, one more thing, click on each food title to find out more about these iconic foods, it will be worth your time, trust me!

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Iconic New England Foods

With its fertile farmland, coastal waters, and flavorful influence from generations of immigrants, it’s no surprise that New England cuisine has a reputation for being seasonal, hearty, and comforting and here are just a few of the regional items you will find from Maine to Connecticut.

Boston Cream Pie

The original “pie in cake’s clothing,” this beloved combination of golden sponge cake, pastry cream, and chocolate ganache is so popular in New England you can even find it in doughnut form. Serving them in mini form is perfect for a party.

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Cape Cod Chips

Kettle-cooked and extra crunchy, Cape Cod potato chips have been a Cape Cod (and beyond) favorite since 1980. Did you know their logo is a woodcut of Nauset Light in Eastham, MA?cape-cod-lynne-e1489459193573.jpeg

Clam Chowdah (Chowder)clam chowder.jpg

It doesn’t get much more New England than this. A warm bowl filled with fresh clams, butter, milk or cream, potatoes, maybe some onions or celery, common crackers to thicken it up… is anyone else suddenly feeling hungry? Fish chowder is pretty good, too.

Cold Lobster Roll with Mayo

More common in northern New England, this roll typically comes in a buttered and toasted top-split New England hot dog roll, but the lobster meat is cold and lightly dressed with mayonnaise. Variations include a bed of shredded lettuce, diced celery, and dusting of paprika.

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Fried Clam Bellies

“Go belly or go home!” is the cry of the passionate fried clam belly fan. A summertime favorite made with whole-belly soft-shell clams, lightly battered and deep-fried to sweet, golden perfection. Often served at seaside shacks with a side of tartar sauce.

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New Haven Pizza

For many, no visit to New Haven, Connecticut  is complete without a stop at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, Sally’s Apizza, or both! Sometimes, New Haven coal-fired pizza (known locally as apizza) is the reason for the whole trip.

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Del’s Lemonade

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Frozen lemonade never tasted so good – a true Rhode Island classic.

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We think Maine’s favorite soda tastes like a subtle, not-too-sweet blend of wintergreen and licorice, but others…well…they toss around words like medicine, motor oil, and “root beer that’s gone really funky.” A true carbonated Maine classic since 1884.

Iconic Philadelphia Foods

And on the other side of the menu, everyone knows what you’re supposed to eat in Philly. Pick a cheesesteak or hoagie (or both), stop for some water ice, buy a soft pretzel. But save room, because there’s way more to Philly’s food scene.

Bassetts Ice Cream

Although ice cream as a form of frozen dessert that has been around since ancient Egypt and has been served in the United States since the 1700s,  a fifth-generation family business and a Philadelphia tradition since 1861, Bassetts Ice Cream Company is a full-service frozen dessert distributor, offering outstanding products and superior service.And this is as good as it gets.

Cannoli  from Termini Bros.

South Philly is rightly known for its picture-perfect family-run Italian bakeries, spilling over with sweets like torrone, lobster tails, and (when the season is right) zeppoli. So while, sure, good cannoli can be found in a number of other cities, the one at nearly-century-old Termini Bros. is both definitive and integral to the Philly experience.

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The Cheesesteak

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The cheesesteak, the quintessential  sandwich of Philadelphia, is traditionally made with sliced beef and melted cheese on an Italian roll. In the 1930s, the phenomenon as a steak sandwich began when hot dog vendor brothers Pat Olivieri and Harry Olivieri put grilled beef on a hot dog bun and gave it to a taxi driver. Later, after Pat and Harry had started selling the sandwich on Italian rolls, the cheesesteak was affixed in the local culture when one of their cooks put melted cheese on the sandwich. Originally, the cheese was melted in a separate container to accommodate their large clientele who followed kosher rules (thereby not mixing dairy and meat). Today, cheese choices in Philadelphia eateries are virtually limited to American, Provolone, or Cheez Whiz. The latter is especially popular in those places that prominently carry it.

The HoagieHoagie_Hero_Sub_Sandwich.jpg

The hoagie is another sandwich that is said to have been invented in Philadelphia, undoubtedly of origin in Italian-American cuisine. It has been asserted that Italians working at the World War I era shipyard in Philadelphia, known as Hog Island where emergency shipping was produced for the war effort, introduced the sandwich, by putting various sliced meats, cheeses, and lettuce between two slices of Italian bread. This became known as the “Hog Island” sandwich; hence, the “hoagie”. Declared the official sandwich of Philadelphia in 1992, the hoagie is a sandwich made of meat and cheese with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions on an Italian roll.

Roast Pork Sandwich at DiNic’s

Yeah, yeah, Philly is known for cheesesteaks. But locals know a little secret: Get the roast pork instead. And there’s nowhere better to start than at DiNic’s in the Reading Terminal Market. The family-run business — with roots in South Philly — rubs its pork with Italian herbs and spices before roasting it for five hours. It gets sliced thin, topped with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe, and piled onto a Sarcone’s roll. No wonder it was named the Best Sandwich in America by the Travel Channel.

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Philly’s got square pizzas and fried pizzas and tomato pies and stombolis, but there are few who can make a regular pizza like Tacconelli’s. Extra-saucy, bubbly all around, charred in all the right places, and chewy like it ought to be, the Tacconelli’s pie is one-of-a-kind — and a hot commodity at that. Ordering a pie might mean reserving the dough in advance, but it’s that sort of forethought that makes one a true pro when eating out in Philly.

Snapper Soup at The Olde BarScreen_Shot_2016-07-15_at_5.06.39_PM.0.0.png

Snapper Soup, a thick brown turtle soup served with sherry, is a Philadelphia delicacy, generally found in area bars and seafood restaurants. In many places, it is served with oyster crackers (such as OTC Crackers, OTC being an abbreviation for “Original Trenton Cracker”) and horseradish. This hearty soup which once defined this city is made of the unusual combination of turtle meat, veggies, herbs, spices, hard-boiled egg, and sherry. And there was a while (over 140 years) where there was one name synonymous with the soup: Bookbinder’s. So when Jose Garces reopened Bookbinder’s as The Olde Bar, he made sure to bring back its namesake item, and he did so with a modernized version.

 

 

 

Hires Root Beer

Although soda is not purely associated with Philadelphia, Hires Root Beer was created by an entrepreneurial pharmacist named Charles E. Hires, who discovered a delicious herbal tea made of roots, berries and herbs while on his honeymoon. Hires continued to experiment with his original recipe and introduced Hires Root Beer at the 1876 U.S. Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Hires wasn’t the only product introduced at the Centennial Exposition. Other notable inventions such as Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, the Remington typewriter and Heinz Ketchup made their debut too. Over the years, other brands that rose to popularity as Hires Root Beer also include Franks Beverages’  which is a unique Black Cherry Wishniak or Vanilla Cream, and Levis Champ Cherry.

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Roasted Beet Hummus

Roasted Beet Hummus recipe

Photo Credit: PhillyVoice.com, 2017

 

Did you know that the very food known as “Hummus” was derived from the Arabic  word meaning “chickpeas”, and the complete name of the prepared spread in Arabic is ḥummuṣ bi ṭaḥīna which means “chickpeas with tahini”.  Hummus is basically  a Levantine dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas or a mixture of other beans, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic.  It is popular in the Middle East and in Middle Eastern cuisine around the globe. It can also be found in most grocery stores anywhere in the world.

The chickpeas used in hummus make it high in fiber, protein and iron, and when lemon is added, offers your body a boost of vitamin C and antioxidants. What’s more, a thick spread of hummus will never threaten your waistline, but tahini has been known to be anti-inflammatory and lower cholesterol.

Yes, you can buy hummus at just about any local grocery store these days, but it so much better if you make for yourself at home and so easy to do as you can follow this recipe basic recipe with a few tips from Inspired Taste.

For some people, hummus is like the comic relief at an awkward dinner party. Everybody’s yearning for it, and it’s a universal pleaser. This light, savory snack is the perfect hors d’oeuvre as it  slides smoothly onto your chip, pita, pretzel, bagel, carrot or cucumber slices and rarely leaves a mess. And it is perfect for Super Bowl Parties

But for a change of pace, we switched it up a little to liven up a party in presenting this quick and easy roasted beet hummus which is a light, savory snack that will make your mouth pop with flavor.

Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 medium roasted beet, cooled, peeled, and quartered (Directions Follows)
One 15-ounce, can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons tahini (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Dash salt and pepper
Water, to thin as needed
Optional spices: dried sage, cumin, paprika

Directions:
In a food processor, blend roasted beet until smooth. Add remaining ingredients to blend, reserving olive oil and water. Drizzle in olive oil while hummus is blending. If too thick, thin out with water until you have the desired consistency.

Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, as needed.

Place in a bowl and serve with vegetables , crackers or whole grain pitas of your choice.

Directions for Roasting Beets
 Option 1 
1. Preheat oven to 400 º F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. If buying whole beets with stem, remove leaves and stalk.
3. Peel beets and dice.
4. Lay on baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried sage.
5. Cover baking sheet with foil and bake beets for 1 hour or until tender.

Option 2
1. Preheat oven to 425 º F.
2. Scrub, wash, and remove leaves/stalk from beets.
3. Place whole beets on aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil and salt.
4. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes or until tender.

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Artichoke, Tomato and Pesto Pizza

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Golden Shrimp with Peach Bang Bang Chili Sauce

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Thank you so much!

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Cheesy Cauliflower Dippers

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Photo Credit: Super Health Kids, 2014.

Cauliflower is kind of a rockstar when it comes to eating well. Not only is it a delicious side veggie to include with dinners or a great veggie to serve raw on a veggie platter; it can also turn many of your favorite guilty pleasure foods into healthier, but still tasty, options. This idea from Super Healthy Kids is another great way for cauliflower to shine as a snack or meal. Check it out.

Ingredients:

1 medium head cauliflower
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided in half
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 ° F.

Rinse a head of cauliflower thoroughly. Then, roughly chop. Put chopped cauliflower into the food processor until it has broken down into very fine bits.

Heat an inch of water in a pot until it boils. Put the cauliflower mixture into the water and steam for 4-5 minutes. Cover with a lid while it cooks, but be sure to keep an eye on it so the water doesn’t boil over.

Once steamed, put cauliflower through a fine mesh strainer to drain the water. Use a spoon to squeeze as much water out as you can. Then, use a clean dry towel to squeeze out the rest of the extra water. Be careful though – water will be hot!

Combine cauliflower with the rest of your ingredients (using half the mozzarella and none of the Parmesan). Mix until well combined.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

Spoon cauliflower mixture onto parchment paper and form a kind of “loaf” with your hands – recipe should form a rectangle that’s about 8 1/2″ x 11″.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Bake for another 10 or so minutes, until cheese is bubbly.

Remove from oven, slice and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

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Sopa seca de Fideo y Camarones

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Fideos (vermicelli) are much loved in Mexico, where they form the basis of thick, delicious soups. Usually the soups are served as a first course, but our hearty shrimp version is a meal in a bowl.

The name “sopa seca de fideo” translates to “dry soup with noodles”. It’s not soup, it’s called a “dry soup” because the noodles absorb all of the wonderful rich stock, making the noodles taste more delicious than you can possibly imagine.

Although it can be made with straight noodles, I have found if easier to make fideo with the twirled angel hair nests. It’s pretty, and easier to serve that way, one nest per individual  serving.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 dried ancho or pasilla chiles*
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lb. dried angel hair nests or vemicelli
1/4 cup olive  oil
One medium yellow onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 1/2 cup crushed canned tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 quart chicken broth
1 pound (30 to 35 per lb.) peeled, deveined shrimp, tails left intact
Kosher salt, to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

For Serving:
1/2 cup sour cream
Queso Fresco
Diced avocado

Directions:
Break stems off chiles and shake out seeds. In a small bowl, cover chiles with hot water and let stand until softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and coarsely chop.

Brown the angle hair nests: Choose a frying pan with a lid in which the angel hair nests will all tightly fit in a single layer (about 9 or 10-inches wide, depending on the brand of angel hair nests you use). In the pan, heat the oil until shimmering hot. Working in batches, fry the vermicelli angel hair nests on both sides in the hot oil until golden brown in color. Remove from pan.

Sauté onions and garlic, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in chiles. Add tomatoes, cumin seeds and chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook angel hair nests in the broth. When broth is simmering, place the browned angel hair nests or vermicelli in a single layer in the pan, nestled into the broth. The nests should cover the whole pan. Turn them over in the broth so that they get moistened on all sides. Cover and cook until the vermicelli has soaked up the liquid, about 5 minutes.

If after 5 minutes the top of the vermicelli is dry, flip over the individual angel hair nests and cook a minute longer. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

To serve, spoon soup into wide, shallow bowls. Top each serving with a spoonful of sour cream and some avocado, if you like, and sprinkle with cilantro.

Cook’s Notes:
Vermicelli usually comes in 1 pound packages, so about 1/2 a package can be used for this recipe. If you cannot find angel hair nests at the market, you can make fideo with straight vermicelli pasta. Just break up the pasta in 3 to 4 inch long segments and cook the same way as you would the nests, browning them first in hot oil.

*Good dried chiles are soft, flexible, and smell a bit like prunes. Avoid hard, brittle specimens—they’re old and less flavorful.

How Hot Is Your Chile? To assess a chile’s heat, slice off its top through the ribs and seeds, where the heat-producing compound capsaicin is concentrated. Touch the slice to your tongue. If you want your food to be milder, split the chile and scrape out all or some of the ribs and seeds. If your skin is sensitive, wear kitchen gloves or hold the chiles with a fork—and don’t touch your eyes.

The trick to a great sopa seca de fideo is the chicken broth. If you do not have the time to make your own homemade chicken stock, you can easily use bouillon, boxed broth, and canned chicken stock. While bouillon and the boxes work in a pinch, nothing beats homemade stock for this recipe. It brings a richness that can’t be had any other way. So if you try it, I strongly urge you to use homemade stock!

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Salmon Rillettes

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This salmon rillettes is seasoned with chives, shallots, lemon juice, butter, salt and white pepper. Serve with toasted mini French baguette slices and a glass of chilled Chardonnay, it makes for a perfect appetizer to enjoy out on the deck during quiet Summer evenings.

 

 

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Chicken Noodle Soup with Herbs and Petite Green Peas

Chicken soup with egg noodles and petite peas
Photo Credit: Sun Basket, 2017