Roasted Cauliflower Soup

IMG_8930During a busy week in a restaurant kitchen, I was checking the walk-in cooler doing the order for the following week. I came across three big cauliflowers that for some reason hadn’t been used. As the weather was rainy and cool, I decided to roast all the cauliflower and make soup. It sold out the same day. So here it is, simple, nutritious, with the depth of flavour that roasting gives. Enjoy! Continue reading

Guinness Braised Beef with Shallots & Mushrooms

IMG_6493When I get an idea for a recipe in my head, it tumbles around until the pieces get sorted.  It takes several tries to get it right, and sometimes it needs to be left alone for a long while, until something pops into my head to make it right.

Last year when we were in Oceanside, Washington, we had an amazing Guinness and beef soup.  It was delicious. But at the time, their fabulous Irish Soda Bread was what set my wheels turning, so the soup was relegated to a back shelf in my brain for the time being.

When our beef was cut this fall, we came home with several good-sized Eye of Round roasts.  They would be perfect for a large group dinner, so that idea was put on a shelf, maybe beside the Guinness soup, for thinking about later.

Knowing I would be cooking for a large Seniors Dinner in late February, I started “playing” with Guinness braised steaks sometime in January.  The length of time cooking, so that the steaks were tender, but not over done, took some tweaking.  The thickness of the sauce and its ratio to the steaks was important, as well.

It may not be a soup, but the soup definitely inspired the dish.  After eating more steaks than originally planned, here’s the recipe.  I suggest it be served with fluffy, buttery mashed potatoes. Continue reading

Butternut Cottage Pie

IMG_5614The feeling of sitting down to a meal of “comfort food” is exactly that, comfort.  The senses drag up old, comfy memories, of different times and places, but all of them bring us comfort.  In our childhood home, if we ever had a roast beef or pot roast for dinner, the next day one of us kids would be sitting at the kitchen table, grinding up the leftovers, along with onions and carrots so Mom could make her Shepherd’s Pie (truly a Cottage Pie).

Move ahead 50 years, and I still love the mashed potato crust, leading through to a rich filling.   So, even though I enjoy a meat version, thought that maybe I could use my leading lady, Butternut Squash, to take on the role.  BBC Good Food suggested shallots & pecans for her supporting actors.

I invited my sister to opening night.  We swooned over the performance.  Hope you enjoy it.  I’m ready for an encore. Continue reading

Salmon Florentine

IMG_3185For several years, my partner and I used to open up a marina during the winter for special dinners, brunches and lunches.  They became so popular that we would be sold out within a day or two of advertising the event.   We didn’t have a liquor license, but folks would bring their own if they wanted a glass of wine with dinner.

One night soon after everyone was tucking into their dinners, there was a knock on the door.  Two RCMP were standing there in the cold.  Invited in and asked if they wanted to join us, they declined, simply saying they wanted to moor overnight, but had their own dinner ready to go.  I am absolutely sure they were oblivious to all the hurried clinking as bottles went back into bags under tables.

These meals were so much fun, and somehow squeezing in seating for 36 in a small store made it more intimate.  The night would finish with folks chatting over coffee, with us wondering to ourselves how late they’d stay, so we could get on with clean up.

One early spring dinner, we toyed with the idea of serving salmon, but had no grill and limited cooking facilities, so I came up with this recipe.  It’s easier than it looks, and presents beautifully. Continue reading