About Mastering and Enjoying Home Cooking. Drink, Cook, and Live Well!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Cream of Celeriac Soup

A seasonal winter soup to start a great meal.
The Fleming 55 Play d'eau. Beaucette Marina, Guernsey,  Channel Isls

3 Tablespoons sweet butter
1 Celeriac, peeled and cubed
1 Potato, peeled and cubed
1 Leek white section, trimmed, washed and roughly sliced
3 Shallots peeled and roughly chopped
1 Clove of Garlic, chopped
2 Cups homemade chicken vegetable stock
1 Cup heavy cream
White pepper and sea salt to taste
Lemon juice to taste
Chopped chives and a splash of Crème Fraiche for garnish

Trim the celeriac and remove the outer layer of skin. You only want the white flesh. Use caution as this root is tough and requires a sharp knife to cut it. 

Melt the butter in a large, thick bottom pot over a medium heat. Add the celeriac, leek, potato, garlic and shallots, sauté vegetables until they are starting to soften approximately 10 minutes.
Add the stock; bring the soup just to a low boil, then simmer covered until the celeriac is completely tender.
Use a post blender to smooth the soup. Reheat before serving adding cream and correct seasonings. Garnish with fresh chopped chives.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Haricots Verts French Green Beans

Haricots Verts are longer, thinner than American green bean varieties and tenderer and have a more robust flavor.

Haricots Verts are not the same as immature American green beans. They have a full green bean flavor early in their development and are tender at a thin size, unlike American green beans, which are much thicker and not tender until the latter stages of bean growth. The string bean was an ancestor of the American green bean and today these commercially grown green bean varieties lack strings.
Recipes vary, but steamed (or briefly blanched in boiling water) and sautéed in butter and garden fresh herbs (and or garlic) is common. These are also often served cold in vinaigrette.

1 ½ Pound thin green beans (haricot vert), ends trimmed                                                 
¼ Cup shallot, chopped fine                                                                       
3 Tablespoons unsalted sweet butter or 50-50 with olive oil                                        
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley                                                                          
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped thyme or lemon thyme 
2 Tablespoons chopped tarragon

Optionally, 8 ounces freshly toasted cashews  

Sea Salt and white pepper to taste                         

Trim Haricot Vert, place in a bowl of cold water, place bowl in refrigerator until ready to cook (at least an hour). Steam Haricot Vert in a steamer for three minutes then sauté in butter with fresh herbs until tender. Add nuts and season to taste.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Mexican Beans with Epazote

Epazote (Mexican Tea and Wormseed) is an annual herb, native to tropical regions of Central and South America Its green jagged leaves emit aromas of petroleum and citrus while its flavor is pungent, lemony with a sharp finish that increases with age. Epazote is used in many traditional Mexican dishes (especially in Yucatecan dishes.) including tamales, mole de olla, salsa, traditional black beans, pinto beans and enchiladas. It is also a carminative, which means it reduces the gas associated with beans. To maximize flavor, the herb is added during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Sometimes most of the herb is loose, in order to remove it from the bean after cooking, place in a Muslim or cheesecloth pouch to facilitate removal. (Amazon has theseHere).

Epazote (Fresh and Dried) (Click Image to enlarge)

1 Pound pinto beans 1, dry
2+ Tablespoons rendered pork lard from a shoulder roast
1 Chopped Spanish (yellow) onion
2 Cloves of garlic
1/2 Teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 Sprigs of dried epazote (4 inch long) added the last 30 minutes of cooking
Optionally, 4 Bay leaves and a pinch of Mexican Oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Pinto beans are the most common choice for refried beans. This is definitely true in Tex-Mex cooking. Pinto beans have an extra-creamy texture, while black beans have an earthier flavor.

Rinse beans in cold water twice. Cover by 1 inch of water add lard, crushed red pepper, garlic, chopped onion, simmer slowly until almost tender (90 minutes). Add water as needed, as bean cook they will absorb water. In the last half hour of cooking, add epazote. Cook another 30 minute until just tender, adding water as necessary. Correct seasoning. Remove pieces of epazote and discard. It is amazing how tasty these beans are.

Garnish cooked beans with chopped mint, crumbled queso fresco, adding a little hot sauce.

Make a fine burrito with left over spiced roast pork, cilantro, pico-di-gallo, with your favorite tortillas.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Going Green – Delicious Lionfish

The lionfish is an explosively invasive fish and probably the worst man-made ecological disaster ever witnessed. By out-breeding, out-competing and out-living native fish stocks and other marine species, the consequences impact the food security and economies of the entire world. Efforts to eradicate the invasive lionfish are finally getting a seat at the big kids’ table: Whole Foods markets announced last week it will offer lionfish for sale.

According to Scott Harrell1 , "Lionfish is a white flaky fish, firmer in texture than halibut, no “red line” with a flavor profile somewhere between a thin grouper fillet and mahi mahi (dolphinfish or dorado depending upon where you live) with a touch of butter."

One way to control their population-females can produce two million eggs in a year--says Erin Spencer, a National Geographic young explorer--is to eat them.

Try these recipes


  1. L. Scott Harrell is the co-founder of the World Lionfish Hunters Association. He now owns a scuba diving marketing consultancy in Cozumel, Mexico.
  2. A splash of vinegar can brighten, your sautee sauce.