Monday, September 29, 2014

The pinnacle

Our final day in St. Louis included meeting some friends for lunch in a little spot in St. Charles, (home of FOJTE).  Based on a recommendation from same, we met them at a little place called “Magpies” in the Historic District.  St. Charles is adjacent to the mighty Mississippi, and was a typical old river town.  So there many relics from that era and a lot of little shops, eateries, boutiques and stuff housed in some of the old buildings.  Magpies is in what was probably a house, an informal little café sort of thing with inside and outside seating.  Being a Friday, it was kind of crowded inside, most likely because the weather was a bit chilly with occasional mist and showers.  We were offered immediate seating outside and there was a table near one of those “fire walls” with flame coming out of the upper surface so we accepted.  In actuality it wasn’t too cold, especially when the wind kind guided the heat toward the table. 

Servers were informal as well, and stuck to business (i.e., no speeches).  The lunch menu was mostly taken with sandwiches, quiches and soups, all available in several mix or match schemes which gave you options of half of this or that, with a salad, soup, or whatever.   They are known for their Baked Potato Soup, creamy chunky potatoe with bacon and cheese.  Although they did have a wine list, I was the only taker and just had a glass of house chardonnay, which was, um, undistinguished.   I had a combo of the soup and a “Good Neighbor” sandwich (Turkey, Bacon, and Swiss with pepperoncini peppers and a Dijon mustard sauce, served warm).  A large part of the sandwich decision was driven by the “served warm” description.  Others had the soup and a chicken salad.   Everything was fine, but the real fun of the lunch was the chance to catch up with our friends.   Shared experiences are always best when convened around food.

The peak

And speaking of shared experience, the culmination of our trip to Missouri was to share a dinner with both “J’s” and families (granddog Stanley was excluded) at Tony’s in St. Louis.  Tony’s has pretty much been considered the premier dining spot in St. Louis for years and years. It grew from its humble beginnings as a spaghetti house in the ‘50’s into its present status.  When we first moved to St. Louis (1965) it was still located in an historic house on Broadway, and had already achieved national notoriety (I think they were Mobil diamond or five star or something).  At one point we decided to celebrate (something) by going to Tony’s.  That was before or at least in my formative years of food appreciation that has resulted in the food obsessed Bottom Feeder before you today.  We were intimidated and slightly nervous, and didn’t want to do anything wrong.  A lot of the dining spaces were on the second floor and the black tuxedoed Maître D led you up the stairs by walking BACKWARDS, facing you.  Don’t try that at home!

Anyway I ordered either veal or lamb chops which were served double (two ribs).  I was very proper and used knife and fork and did a pretty good job with the dish.  Enter the owner, Vince Bommarito.  He stopped by our table, introduced himself, looked at my meat, and said “Didn’t you like your chops?”.  Oh yes sir, they were great.  “But you didn’t finish them”.  At which point he reached over, grabbed one of the chops and separated the two ribs with his hands!. (probably wouldn’t happen today).  There you go, he said, pick them up and enjoy!..  I did.  He stuck around a few minutes and during the course of conversation we determined he lived quite close to us in Clayton, and went on to discuss things like the better clothes cleaners in our area.  That experience has stuck with me for years (obviously). 

So (finally) back to the “opinion” comment at the top.  The latest issue of the St. Louis Magazine (which I subscribe to) named Tony’s the 2014 Restaurant of the Year, and Vince as the Restaurateur of the year.   Here is the opening paragraph describing Vince: “Bonhomie. It galvanizes the man. He weaves through the tables, grabbing an offered hand, kissing a cheek flashed his way. He offers advice: ”Wipe that bread through the mussel broth,” he counsels one diner”  40 years later.  Amazing.

While the original location was filled with ornate wood and draperies appropriate to the Italianate style of the building, the current location is classic modern (if that can be a phrase), with nice spacing of tables so you’re not privy to other diner’s conversations, and the down lights help provide little oases of privacy.

Crisp white tablecloths glowed in the light, highlighted with sparking silver and crystal.  I really didn’t count, but I think they operate very close to the classic brigade system of head waiter down through captain, front and back waiters.  I think we maybe had four or five on our table.  I’m not going to drag you through the menu or our selections, because one: I didn’t take notes (or god forsake pictures) out of respect for the place; and two: I can’t remember everything.  What I do remember is impeccable service, easy conversation with our head waiter (he was a marine!) and everything done (in my lexicon, just right).  Expectations are the highest at a place like this, and they were fulfilled (well, okay the butter was cold). Ladies were ALWAYS served first (water filling, all courses, everything) the plate turned the right way, the dish was as ordered.  Most things were finished tableside, not as a sideshow, but to make sure it was hot, and served with fresh sauce.  I had Dover sole, partially because I wanted to see the piscine surgery, and also because I like it.  It was executed (no pun) flawlessly.  No bone to be found.

Was it the best meal of my life, no, those are still reserved for three stars in France, but what made it extra special was that we could share it with our “kids”, surrounded by good food, wine and an experience worth every penny (of which there were many, but what the hell).  There are only so many chances to enjoy this kind of experience.  Don’t wait.

The next morning, we loaded up the MOMSTER and headed back to reality and home.  Oh, there was one interesting thing I saw in St. Charles

 oh, and yes, for dinner at Tony's we were


Tuesday, September 23, 2014


For those of you who don’t know why “intermezzo” appears in a food blog, (respectfully) shame on you, google it and find out!

So I thought I’d insert a little bit between Missouri food courses to cleanse your mental palate before finishing your meal there..

Nice Day
I have grown to really like Tuesdays.   Mondays are usually spent recovering from the excesses of the weekend, and generally a crummy day.  Tuesday however, brings a brand new week into play, and since it’s only the second day, you can make all those glorious plans like: “well, I’ll certainly get xxxx done on Wednesday, and Thursday I can just…..” and when they all go to hell, you can take Friday to give up and plan your weekend, and the cycle goes on.  Happy Tuesday all!

While in Leonardtown recently for a nice, quiet civilized lunch at Café Des Artistes (you can’t miss with the soups here) afterwards I strolled over to the Rex, which had just (softly) opened to the public that day.  The space has kind of a unique historic tie to Leonardtown, and it has been getting lots of anticipatory play in the press and on social media. Since it was after the “ceremony” of opening, we thought we would take a peek inside.  What used to be the “ice cream” side now has some tables, and a nice bar along with a series of wall mounted movie posters (harkening back to its past).  Most of the posters have a little plaque next to them with quotes from local folk who saw those movies in the original theater.  Plans to reopen the theater have been discussed, but banal things like money and gigantic cleanup effort have so far put the kibosh on them.

We got a look at the menu, at least as it stands today, and it is pretty interesting.  Good combinations of sandwiches, wraps, light stuff so far.  They offer seasoned popcorn as a munchy at three bucks (which some Facebook poster thought was expensive) which is a nice touch.  So does Inn at Little Washington.  Passing from the ice cream side to the other you go by the door to the kitchen, so naturally the Bottom Feeder glanced in, and discovered Kelly in there.  She has a nice culinary trail through the area with stops at the Dry Dock and now runs Kim’s Key Lime Pies and Lotus Kitchen on the Solomons.  We chatted a bit, and she said Ben (Dry Dock chef) stopped by the previous evening accompanied by another (visiting) old Dry Dock denizen, “L. A.”  Ah, those were the days.   Anyway with Kelly keeping an eye (or hand) on the place, it could be a nice addition to Leonardtown dining..  Feeder report will be forthcoming after allowing some time to let infant mistakes get corrected.

Maybe, just maybe, perhaps my DFD campaign is bearing fruit, I applaud their sign in the entrance window:

I would prefer “Hats Removed”, (which doesn’t rhyme) but it is a step in the right direction, good for them.

They open, they close… Not real new news, but the Coffee Quarter in San Souci Plaza is supposed to be closing.  I am not sure completely financially driven, as food service people do tend to tire after a while.  No news on another occupant, but rumors are circulating..

A year ago today, MFO and I started our trip to England.

Okay, we’ll get back to the main course in a bit.  Meanwhile, as the sign implies:


Oh, a little Lagniappe (another homework assignment) – at our Rotary Club meeting yesterday the “new” president of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Dr. Tuajuanda Jordan, was our guest speaker.  I was quite impressed.  I suppose it is trite, but she did remind me of the previous female president, quick on her feet, and a good sense of humor.  And I also learned her first name is pronounced: “Too – wan – da”.  Look forward to her impacts.  Said that one of her goals is to “put the college on the map”.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Italian again...

Well, we finally left the friendly confines of FOJTY’s Southeast Missouri, and headed north to STL to see our financial guy, and visit the “Y” branch of the family.

We arrived in town just in time for our financial planner meeting which is always enjoyable because we like him, and he’s done well by our 401’s and stuff.  Plus he is quite a foodie in his own right and we somehow always manage a lunch after the meeting.  This time was no different and we quite enjoyed our lunch of a Cobb Salad at an “undisclosed location”.

A long time ago, and far away as they say, one of our favorite restaurants in was a place called “Painted Plates” with a guy named Greg Perez at the helm.  In fact, I still use a picture of him on my notebook of prized recipes.  Anyway, we got to know one of his servers, Jamie Kormorek, pretty well.  Like all restaurants, Painted Plates made its run and then vanished.  Jaime eventually teamed up with his brother Steve and opened their own place in South St. Louis Trattoria Marcella.  It achieved quite a reputation for Italian food, which is not easy in St. Louis and we have visited them several times in the past.  A couple of years ago they opened a sister restaurant called Marcella’s Mia Sorella in fashionable West County.  We decided to give that a try as neither of us had been there before.

Unfortunately, the expert food photographer failed to notice the little “Storage Card Full” note on his point and shoot camera so I don’t have any photos to share.  It was a modern design, unlike its sister in south county.  They didn’t take reservations but that wasn't a problem on a Wednesday night.  The menu was on one of those large one page affairs which I am growing to dislike, and contained all the usual suspects on an Italian menu.   Veal Piccata was there, and also the STL trademark Toasted Ravioli.  We tried to juggle the menu and cocktails, which, given the size of the menu becomes a chore sometimes.

I suppose it is a management dictate, but I think we heard every stock server phrase over the course of the meal.  Starting with the standard “Hi I’m and….. of you” and pretty much the whole gamut thereafter.  I will say, however I don’t remember the “are ya still werkin’ on that?” at least at this more upscale place it was replaced by “may I clear?” which I don’t object to.  Another disturbing trend I have noted lately is that a drink order question (in whatever form) is followed shortly by “Can I get an Appetizer started for you?”, sometimes before you had a chance to look at the menu. No, we will decide when we want to get something started thank you

Whew.  Anyway, we did order drinks, and eventually we settled on some Toasted Ravs and Beef Carpaccio (a sucker dish for “E”), which were all very good.  Dinner selections were Fusilli pasta for MFO, chicken dishes each for the “E” family, and I got an off the menu Swordfish dish.  Each was quite nice, but I didn’t appreciate the swordfish preparation.  It came in the form of “chunks” of swordfish that were probably floured and sautéed, but they didn’t brown and were kind of gummy.  I believe they were in a cilantro sauce.  Just didn’t work (to borrow that phrase) for me.  I wish I had the photo.  (Editor’s note – FOJTE may have a better memory for detaiis than his father, so I hope I am not telling unintentional untruths).  As for wine, they have followed the trend of offering “by the glass” in several different sizes (Bicchiere – Quartino – Mezzolitro – Bottiglie), ranging from the 5 oz. glass, to the full bottle, which I think isn't a bad idea.   I don’t know about you, but one glass never cuts it for me,  so some intermediate sizes are appreciated.

As we were finishing up Steve came to the table and I mentioned the old times, and although he wasn't a part of it, he said he would remember us to his bother.  Definitely a return for the food, but just be prepared to endure the taped messages.

The next afternoon, we met our grandson and his friend at a place in West County Mall for lunch.  He selected a place called Bravo situated on the periphery of the mall (new SD card in camera!)

It is a nationwide chain, with its feet in many states but this is the only one in STL (nearest to Pax is in Frederick)
It’s kind of a large space and they carry the Italian theme to the max

Complete with …

 I don’t know what to call it.Maybe faux ruins?

Anyway, more standard stuff on the menu, wait staff was efficient and had to be shooed a couple of times before ordering.  I got a daily special of a Chicken Caprese, which in fact looks like caprese which i don't have to describe to the alert readership

MFO got a flatbread which was very good (we kept "sharing")

And grandson got, what else, a

And his girlfriend got a Fra Diablo..  she questioned the server about the heat level, and eventually thought it was just on her side of the line.  Like that girl!!

It was fun to see them, we don’t often get a chance to talk.  Another reason to road trip to STL

Plunging on...

That evening we had a lovely dinner at FOJTE’s digs and were treated to a Big Green Egg steak with suitable cocktails before hand

And we continued to milk our (now 51st) anniversary by accepting a glass of ’07 Silver Oak which he graciously donated from his cellar..  Another great evening with family...

Well, I had intended to make this the last travelogue, but continuing to the next day would make it longer than either of us care to endure at one sitting.  Besides, the crowning meal awaits..


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Second Course

The day after parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme..

As you know, MFO is the archivist for the St. Mary’s County Historical Society, and as such she is quite familiar with the history of St. Mary’s County (brilliant, eh?).  Anyway, during the late 18th and early 19th century, a lot of the citizens of the county migrated to Eastern Kentucky and eventually to the area around Cape Girardeau, Missouri.   With a little research she determined that in Cape there was a regional office of the State Historical Society of Missouri, concentrating on the local area.  She decided she would like to see what sort of documents and archives they had in relation to St. Mary's County.

So with the “kids” going off to their day jobs, we set out to locate the office.  It housed in Pacific Hall on (the SEMO) campus, and shared spaces with the English department. We went in, and couldn’t immediately find the office and most of the students we asked gave us blank stares.  Eventually we found what appeared to be a professor and she kindly took us personally to the office.  The receptionist (an obvious volunteer) kind of looked askance at us, and said she would ask the director if he had a moment to speak to MFO, as he currently was on the phone (office assistant speak for…. Good luck).

Anyway after a few minutes he came out and started what was about an hour of fascinating talk between he and MFO (I smiled and nodded) about the local history, who settled there, and the various enclaves of nationalities.  Besides the transplanted Marylanders there was a sizable contingent of French, who held on to their customs (and cuisine he specifically pointed out), the various (Catholic) religious orders moving around, and so forth.  The Jesuits who were so prominent here, kind of pushed on into Texas and points west, and the Vincentians moved in.  County names were discussed, and various families role in the area.  Of course the Limbaugh’s are prominent in the area, and we kind of got some inside dope on the outlier of the family, Rush.  The rest of the family is very community oriented, and that one is not.  He gave us a little vignette that Rush was asked to speak at a local High School graduation and his message to the graduates was that college was not all that important.  Nice.

Anyway, Dr. Nickell was thrilled to have a like minded and knowledgeable person to spend time with.  After that, it was about lunch time, and on the recommendation of FOJTY we headed downtown to find Cup and Cork, and after little thrashing around we found it, and also found it was dark.  Web site (thank you smart phone) was still active, and so I dialed the phone number expecting the same message we got in Lexington for Jonathon's (no longer a working number), but instead we got a very nice lady who said they had recently moved to the corner of Spanish and Independence, just about a block from the old location where we were.  So we hiked up a block to the designated intersection, to find a closed business, an antique shop, and a couple of other non-restaurant places.  No restaurant.  So out comes the cell phone, another call was placed, and within a few seconds a lady emerged from a building down the street a little and waved her arms.  Whew.

As she ushered us into what was an obvious old historic river town building, she explained that they had just moved the previous week and were just getting settled.  There was a bar and next to it was the dining space, at this point kind of Spartan (and maybe it will stay that way)

And along the opposite side was a “wall o’wine”

Which did have some interesting labels.  Well than, okay! life is getting better.  A young man approached the table and said “I’ll bet you’d like something to drink!” (I think he knew our struggles to find the place)   Yes sir, may we see the wine list?   Well, um, we haven’t yet received our liquor license, but we hope to any day now.  Great.  Many nice bottles within an arms length, but all out of reach.  Our choices consisted of lemonade, iced tea, and water.  Our choices of the latter two were brought in those kind of opaque plastic cups.  Not quite the refreshing glass of wine i had envisioned.

In looking into the place on foodie sites, the cheese plate was recommended by some people, and we were told the soup of the day was a creamy white bean and chorizo.  So after lingering over our drinks – not… we ordered the cheese plate (the one with four cheeses and three salumi’s) and a bowl each of the soup.  Once again we were informed that currently the only cheese plate available was the one without the meats.  Fine.  Fortunately he reappeared from the kitchen with the news that indeed it WAS available and that would be what we got.  It turned out to be a fairly nice board

I suspected that the cheese at six and nine were the same, but hey, when you just open in a new space, what the hell.  They all were tasty, as was the soup

Which was just on the acceptable side of the “heat line” for the Feeder

It was a great day, from the history to the kind of fun saga of the food.  The next time we’re there I think we would be glad to return to Cup and Cork- after verifying the liquor license is in place!

For our last dinner in Cape with the Y’s, he cooked a pork roast

In his Big Green Egg…

Lovely dinner, and mercifully the liquor license was in place!.  Thus ended our first leg of the trip, and next day we journeyed north to the big city of St. Louis and neighboring St. Charles, home of the “E” branch of the FOJ’s.  and yes, Mr. M, I will get to our ultimate dining experience there! Where we were very much


PS.. you know how you go into some places and they have special sales of wine and liquor they're trying to ditch?  Well, we stopped at a local Schnuck’s  (Grocery store) in Cape where they are allowed to sell liquor (hear that Marylanders??) and here was their cut outs..

Recognize those labels?  Not your Annie Green Springs…

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Are you going to....

The question is whether to try to serve you a complete meal, or do it by courses.  I guess in the interest of time we’ll adopt a course approach, giving you many small plates hopefully in good serving time. 

First course:

The next day, after the great meal of brisket, MFO and I decided to go take a look at the County Fair which was just opening in town.  Besides TY’s wife was fond of salt water taffy which was available there.  Both “kids” were working so we were on our own and figured we’d take a look.  The nice thing about a smaller town is that you can be almost anywhere in minutes.  It was kind of early in the day, so parking was no issue and we gave the nice ladies at the gate five bucks each, and got direction to the taffy stand.  One of them said that she had to get a box because her sister in California was also addicted to the little sweet and would have to get a box for her.

The first thing we found out was that it was NOT the “county Fair”, but the

(SEMO stands for South East Missouri..)

I’m sure there is a whole culture surrounding these “little” fairs and most likely the same folks go to them all.  Of course there are the requisite foods

I think it is a Federal (or at least State) law you have to have traditional cheese fries, funnel cakes, corn dogs, and curly fries, but not sure how those tenderloins got in there.  However, things do move with the times and now you can also get deep fried Twinkies (and Oreos)

Along with other (new?)things like


And speaking of “on a stick” this caught my eye

It sure is a colorful place

And we were able to get some taffy 

(actually there was another stand, so we got some there for a taste off…the other one won)

You will notice that there are no patrons in the pictures.  That’s because there were, well, no patrons.  I suppose it’s jumping at night.

By this time it was getting a bit warm so we decided to get some shade (and rest) by ducking into one of the livestock pavilions, where “cow judging” (as opposed to tipping) was in progress. The ones we saw were all Holsteins (the typical “dairy cows”).

One (at least us) could not help but compare it with the Westminster Dog show, except there were no sequined garbed ladies leading various breeds of canines around the a ring.  Leading around the ring was the same, but the beasts on the end of the rope were hundreds of pounds and the “handlers” were dressed in boots, Levis, ball caps, and generally very faded flannel shirts.  And unlike the dog shows they didn’t have treats in their mouths to buy off the critters.  Actually i'm not sure what a "treat" would be for a cow.  The animals seemed quite unfazed by the proceedings. As near as we could tell, they were kind of broken into age groups as some were remarkably larger than others.  The “judge” was exactly what you would hope for, looking like he had spent many a year on a farm.  The cows were taken to “mooing” to each other, and I suppose if you spoke cow you would understand.  They all looked good to us, but the phrase most used to distinguish the winner was “better angularity” as viewed from behind the animal.  On some the gentleman commented on the fullness of the “upper udder”.  As I said, a brand new world.

On our way out we gave the gate lady a piece of Taffy for which she was quite grateful.

That evening FOJTY and I spread ourselves out on the couch to see the inaugural MNF game.   Didn’t last long, but we did enjoy the last of the Brisket.  The ladies gathered Stanley and went up the road toward St. Louis to attend the first in a series of “classes” to teach you how to train your pet for one of those shows.  How to walk, pose, etc.  There are about six sessions I think.\

Hope you enjoyed your first course, another will be served tomorrow.. tonight you can prepare by being


Thursday, September 11, 2014

On the Road Again...

Well, hard to believe we’ve spent over a week without talking, but getting ready for, LMI’s, errands and so forth for travel eat up the time.  And in reality, we’ve documented the trip from the digs to FOJTY’s abode in Cape Girardeau (Missouri) more than once so we can kind of dispense with the “road shots” and just hit a few highlights.

We got our usual start last Saturday (6th) at about nine, it doesn't seem to matter how much we pre-pack, stage, gather and consolidate, we can never get underway before nine.  I know some of the readership start trips at o’dark thirty, but we aren't wired that way.  

So we loaded up the MOMSTER III, and headed out. Our usual goal is to go from home and push to Lexington, KY so that we can have a nice meal at what has become one of our favorite restaurants, Jonathon’s at Gratz Park.  The journey was pretty much uneventful with only some rather robust rain showers providing relief from white line fever, and after the usual ten hours the new Nav system guided us (somewhat strangely) to our usual stay in the Courtyard North (yes, we are creatures of habit, it happens as we age).  Checked in, and I called the restaurant to see what time they stopped serving (it was about 7:30 by now) and was taken aback when I was told it was “no longer a working number”.  

Hmmm.. try again.....  Same result.  Not good.  So I googled the place on my intelligent phone and found the first article that informed me that Jonathon’s shuttered earlier this summer.  We all know nothing is forever, and the restaurant business is particularly prone, but it was sad to see it go.  It definitely was on the “just right” list, in the white tablecloth section. Crestfallen, we resorted to food from the place in the Courtyard, carried to the room.  The evening further crashed when we watched my Spartans go down in second half flames to the weirdly outfitted Ducks, most likely eliminating MSU from the newly minted “playoff” system for the NCAA championship this year.  And then were treated to seeing our second team U of Michigan get shut out by the Domers.  Sigh.

Next morning we set out for the final leg, buoyed by the prospect of a shorter day and bright sunshine.  We had intended to stop at a couple of distilleries along the “Bourbon Trail”, but turns out that the blue laws in Kentucky (blue, get it?) prevented access to alcohol prior to noon, so that was out.   Maybe for the best.. anyway, we decided to spent the newly found time in Paducah, in particular at the “arts district” and renovated historical area.  After a bit of a thrash we found it, and decided to have some lunch.  With a small assist from Yelp we settled on a place called Shandies.  It resides in what used to be an old market building

And inside it is nicely done, putting it back in probably what would have been seen in earlier time, with a big heavy bar

And appropriately decorated seating areas

The menu was pretty much what you would expect (at least for our late lunch); salads, sandwiches and so forth.  Since it was between shifts (about two thirty by this time) attendance was sparse and attention to diners the same.  Not terrible, just a bit more ignoring than even the picky Feeder likes.  They did feature drinks of the same name as the restaurant, and I had a rather nice one concocted with Shock Top and nice lemony flavor.  Nice for the warming day.  MFO had a Ginger Citrus Salmon Salad, and I threw healthy to the winds and had a Bacon Cheeseburger.

Neither dish was remarkable, but serviceable.  I guess just what you would expect from a Bacon Cheeseburger (nice bacon and sharp cheese)

It was a nice respite and not knowing other Paducah options, I guess I would go back.

After that we attended the rather famous

It contained not historical quilts but mainly contemporary pieces made over the past decade or so.  It is amazing what people can do, the detail, and precision of the quilts were indeed impressive.  Unfortunately, any sort of photography was strictly forbidden, and monitored closely.  We didn’t stay too long as quilts, like banjo music can kind of tire one quickly (apologies to our quilter friends) and so we got back on the road.  We passed through Cairo again, and it appears still the same, a sad tribute to the past (again, we’ve looked at those before)

So without much further diversions we arrived at FOJTY’s in time for dinner (preceded by cocktails of course) and were benefited by his treatment of a brisket in his new(ish) smoker.

which, when expertly sliced

Produced a very nice plate for our dinner

Mostly it was nice to see our family again, including Stanley.

So, that was a start to our trip, and we’ll catch up on activities at “The Cape” tomorrow.  Oh yeah we were kind of bending


Monday, September 1, 2014

Salmon a la Kansas

Apologies to those of you with better memories than mine; you might remember this from the July of the '09 series of Feeders.  It is a story about a salmon recipe which I have dubbed “Salmon a la Kansas”.  You might wonder why salmon and Kansas would be related in a recipe.  Salmon isn’t “local” to The Sunflower State… In this case, Kansas is a real person who (still) lives on a cattle ranch near Lillooet, British Columbia.  I somehow got to corresponding with her through our blogs, she published (and still does occasionally I find out!) one called “Canadian Crafter” and provides interesting recipes and glimpses of life on a real ranch.  We eventually traded a few emails, and found we shared a mutual dislike of “The Pioneer Woman” whom we pretty much figured was a fraud.

Recently she posted on her facebook page a story about catching salmon, which reminded me of the recipe.  I am not sure the recipe is original with her, but was intrigued by the combination of Mayonnaise and Miracle whip, and quite frankly associating it with salmon.  Anyway I thought I would revisit the dish five years later.  We had a piece of salmon in the freezer so the first step was to thaw it.   Here’s a little tip (no, I didn’t get it from Cook’s Illustrated) on speeding up the thawing process: the reason we use cookware is because it’s a great conductor of heat, and this property works both ways, so inverting a pan and putting the item on it helps it thaw much faster

Here’s the original Salmon recipe:

Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil and spray a touch of cooking spray (Pam) on it.
Combine salad dressing (Miracle Whip) with mayonnaise (Hellman's). Or one of them if you don't have both.
Spread mixture with a spatula over fillets.
Sprinkle lots of soy sauce over.
Shake dried dill weed over both fillets.
Cook for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

I modified it by using Dukes which I prefer, and didn't spray with Pam

Anyway got the ingredients together (with remnants of MFO’s Gimlet prep)

And I got a little surprise when I opened the Miracle Whip squeeze bottle, finding engineers had been thinking (always dangerous), but probably not a bad idea for the more viscous “salad dressing”.

So I got roughly equal parts Dukes’ and Dressing

Whisked them together

The clever Miracle Whip bottle seemed to make a comment

Anyway, placed the salmon on the sheet pan (we decided to do one with and one without)

Slathered the stuff on one, and just a little oil on the other and committed to the heat

And when the finger press test indicated done, pulled it out of the oven to firm a little

The finished dish pretty much matched my (fading) memory, it was moist and the Dukes/MW/Soy did add a little sauce feel to it.  Not exactly haute cuisine, but maybe a little something different for you once in a while.. Thanks Kansas, and yes we were


Bonus Bites:

I always enjoy Tom Sietsema’s reviews in the Sunday Post Magazine.  This week he did a little piece on questions he gets asked frequently, the most popular of which is “what’s your favorite Restaurant?” which he ignores.  Couple of interesting ones:

How often do you eat out?:  10 to 12 times a week

What do you look for in a restaurant:  food, service, and ambiance that make me want to come back for more

My favorite (included in the answer to) Is there anything you won’t eat?:  To my mind, zucchini is about exciting as reading the phone book

MFO and I will be leaving for MOMSTER III’s maiden cross country to Missouri this coming weekend.  If things go according to plan, there will be a major culinary event.

stay tuned and