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Finally! Frank’s Seafood

18 Jun

A random retro recipe find sent us down a rabbit hole.

We started with this:

Seattle seafood

Which looks like a good excuse for baguette. And it got us reminiscing about Frank’s place in Cochrane. The calamari and seafood in a spicy tomato broth for sopping up with said bread was incredible. Frank’s, which was officially Cucina Amore, was a taste of heaven and now I remember why: Frank Lucente operated Caffe dello Sport in Calgary for years. The hot frutta di mare dish of seafood in a garlicy, spicy, (salty) concentrated tomato broth (not red sauce) with plenty of olive oil. I remember spooning the goods onto my plate, the broth, rendered tomato and oil pooling, which I soaked up with good bread. The dish was so memorable, cravable, that I jotted down details to try to recreate.

Then today, I actually FOUND the recipe from Frank himself.

Pleased to see my earlier recollection is pretty close to the recipe itself:

“The tomato was likely canned romas broken down by heat and liquid. Can’t remember if there were onions melting into the broth but they would not be out of place (ooh or thin slices of fennel!). Calamari rings, shrimp, scallops, mussels, maybe clams. So spicy and garlicy. Wonder if there was white wine in there too. Maybe clam juice or a Walter-like clamato mix would be good to try. Would love to serve with lemon slices and freshly snipped parsley. Serve on a warmed platter.”

Behold, the real deal:

SEAFOOD APPETIZER CAFFE DELLO SPORT

3 or 4 large squid slices

8-10 each: fresh mussels and clams, scrubbed

1/2 tablespoon minced garlic (wondering about shaved garlic slices?)

2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley

1/4 cup clam juice

1/4 cup butter

pinch of crushed red chilies

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon dry parsley

black pepper and seasoning salt

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup tomato sauce (Frank combines crushed Roma tomatoes with red pepper, onion, garlic, basil and Italian parsley and simmers his sauce for 4 hours to reduce by one quarter)

Combine seafood, garlic, Italian parsley, clam juice, butter, chilies, oregano, parsley, pepper, seasoning salt and sea salt in a saucepan. Cover and place over high heat for 3-5 minutes. Add white wine and cover, cook a few minutes more. Add chicken stock and tomato sauce and simmer 2 minutes longer. Set seafood on a platter and drizzle sauce over top.

Makes one serving.

From the newspaper column Dec 31 1995:

When Frank Lucente opened his little Italian coffee shop in Calgary in 1974, he literally had the first cappuccino maker in town.

And when he expanded to serve a full Italian menu, it was some of the first ”foreign” fare meat-and-potatoes Calgarians ever saw.

His little restaurant across from Ralph Klein’s favorite watering hole, the St. Louis, drew diners in droves. Klein and his political pals would line up at Caffe Dello Sport for Lucente’s scampi and Italian sausage — even actors like Paul Newman ate at the little Italian eatery. Calgary was still beef and beans land, and Italian was exotic.

Well, times have changed. Calgary now has lots of Italian restaurants and even trendy spots have discovered the wonderful flavors of fresh basil, virgin olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes.

But Lucente and his family are still there, serving up their homemade specialties to their loyal, long-time customers.

The decor is simple — a mural of the Bay of Naples, red checkered table cloths and wood trim.

”It’s nothing fancy, but it’s good,” says Lucente of his trattoria. ”Nobody can beat my food because it’s homey.”

It’s also a little different. The veal stuffed with prawns comes in his green onion and mushroom sauce. The pasta for his lasagne and canneloni is homemade. Frank makes his own chicken stock and bakes his own bread.

Herald Food & Wine reader Dianne Mahura says she gets ”terrible cravings” for the food — both the seafood appetizer and Linguini Alla Vongole top her list. We ferreted out Lucente’s recipe for seafood in a rich tomato sauce, the perfect dish for a Christmas Eve or New Year’s meal. Serve it with lots of fresh bread for dipping, or over pasta.

And while we’re talking calamari, here is caterer Savoir Fare

Savoir Fare Cornmeal Crusted Calamari

Serves 5

2 1/4 pound calamari, sliced into 1/4-inch rings

2    cups cornmeal

2 1/2    cups bread flour

1/2    teaspoon whole thyme leaves

2    tablespoons granulated garlic

1    tablespoon salt

1    tablespoon coarse black pepper

1 1/2    cups buttermilk

1    egg

Combine cornmeal, 1 1/2 cups flour, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk the egg and buttermilk together.

Place remaining 1 cup of flour in a bowl. Dredge calamari rings in flour, then dip in buttermilk, then dredge in cornmeal. Place cornmeal crusted calamari on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to serve, deep fry calamari in small batches in hot oil until just golden — no more than a minute. Serve with aioli.

Aioli

5    peeled cloves of garlic

1    egg

1    egg yolk

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2    teaspoon salt

1/2    teaspoon black pepper

1/2    cup olive oil

1/2    cup canola oil

Place 4 cloves of garlic in saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer until soft, about 10 minutes. Place boiled cloves, fresh clove, lemon juice, egg, egg yolk and pepper in food processor. Process to combine and, with machine running, slowly drizzle in oils to form a thick, emulsified mayonnaise. Cover and refrigerate. Serve with hot calamari.

 

 

 

 

Oscar Night Bites

15 Feb

Oscar night on the couch is looming. We’ve found our favourite bites through the years but super excited to take another crack at buttery beef crostini bites. We still love the look of egg-wash glossy puff pastry mini star cutouts topping crispy sausage slices.

Ultimate Oscar Night Crostini

Wolfgang Puck’s iconic Smoked Salmon Pizza With Dill Creme Fraiche and Caviar

Oscar-party-worthy hot dogs

Smoked Salmon Mousse

Mini prime burgers and Bubbling Leek, Cheddar and Bacon Dip

Crab Fondue, Cava’s Chipotle Caramel Corn

Star-shaped Cinnamon sugar tortilla chips with fruit salsa

Oscar Crunch

Tree Trimming Treats

24 Nov

Here’s a wee nosh perfect for the start of the holiday season. Kind of cocktail hour appropriate, and a perfect match for drinks while trimming the tree.

PORK POT STICKERS
Ming Tsai

Makes 30 potstickers

1/4 small head Napa cabbage, finely chopped (about 2 cups; 7 ounces)

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/8 teaspoon for seasoning

1/3 pound ground pork (not too lean)

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced (from 1/2-inch knob)

1 small carrot, coarsely shredded (about 2 tablespoons)

2 scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)

2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons Asian (toasted) sesame oil

1/2 egg, lightly beaten

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

30 gyoza (pot sticker) wrappers, from 1 (14-ounce) package*

1/4 cup canola oil

In large bowl, toss together cabbage and 3/4 teaspoon salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Transfer to clean dish towel or cheesecloth, gather ends together, and twist to squeeze out as much water as possible. Wipe bowl clean, then return cabbage to it. Add pork, ginger, carrots, scallions, and garlic and stir to combine.

In small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, and egg, then stir into cabbage-pork mixture. Stir in pepper and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt.

On dry surface, lay out 1 gyoza wrapper, keeping remaining wrappers covered with dampened cloth or paper towel. Spoon 1 1/2 teaspoons filling into center, then moisten halfway around edge with wet finger. Fold moisture-free half of wrapper over moistened half to form open half-moon shape. To seal, using thumb and forefinger of one hand, form 6 tiny pleats along unmoistened edge of wrapper, pressing pleats against moistened border to enclose filling. Moistened border will stay smooth and will automatically curve in semicircle. Stand dumpling, seam-side up, on baking sheet and gently press to flatten bottom. Cover loosely with dampened cloth or paper towel. Form remaining dumplings in same manner.

In 10-inch, lidded, non-stick skillet over moderately high heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking, then remove from heat and arrange pot stickers in tight circular pattern standing up in oil (they should touch one another). Cook, uncovered, until bottoms are pale golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, tilting skillet to distribute, then cover tightly with lid and cook until liquid has evaporated and bottoms of dumplings are crisp and golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons more water if skillet looks dry before bottoms are browned. Remove lid and cook, shaking skillet to loosen pot stickers, until steam dissipates, 1 to 2 minutes. Invert large plate with rim over skillet. Using pot holders, hold plate and skillet together and invert skillet. Remove skillet and serve pot stickers warm.

from Ming Tsai, Blue Ginger

CRANBERRY-TERIYAKI GLAZE

1/2 large red onion, sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger

1/2 cup dried cranberries, such as Craisins

Zest and juice of 1/2 orange

1/2 cup naturally brewed soy sauce

1 cup cranberry juice

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil for cooking

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a saucepan coated lightly with oil over high heat, sauté the onions, ginger and dried cranberries until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the orange zest and juice, naturally brewed soy sauce, cranberry juice, and sugar and bring to a simmer. Reduce by 50 percent over low heat, about 10 to 15 minutes. Check for flavor. Immediately, transfer to a blender and blend until almost smooth (with small bits is preferable), drizzling in oil. Do not blend until super smooth. Check for flavor and adjust seasonings. Let come to room temperature, then transfer to a glass jar, seal and store in fridge for up to two weeks.

TURKEY DUMPLINGS WITH CRANBERRY SOY DIP
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
1/4 lb (125 g) lean ground turkey
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) minced ginger
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) sodium-reduced soy sauce
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper
3/4 cup (175 mL) shredded Savoy or Napa cabbage
1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded carrot
1/4 cup (50 mL) green onions

32 round dumpling or square wonton wrappers
Cornstarch for dusting
Sauce:
1 cup (250 mL) Ocean Spray® Jellied Cranberry Sauce
2 tbsp (30 mL) sodium-reduced soy sauce
1/2 tsp (2 mL) minced ginger
2 tbsp (30 mL) thinly sliced green onion

Heat 1 tsp (5 mL) vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Crumble in turkey and brown well. Add the carrot, cabbage, green onions, ginger, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes or until the cabbage is wilted. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Moisten two edges of each wonton wrapper with a little water. Place a rounded spoonful of the filling in the centre of each; fold to enclose, pressing to seal. Place on a baking sheet dusted with cornstarch to keep wontons from sticking. Cover with a damp towel.

Heat 1 tsp (5 mL) vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Add a single layer of the wontons. Cook, without turning, for 2 minutes or until just golden on the bottom. Add 1/2 cup (125 mL) of water to the skillet. Cover and steam for 6 minutes or until all the water is evaporated and dumplings are tender throughout. Repeat with remaining dumplings, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

Sauce: Meanwhile, whisk the cranberry sauce with the soy sauce in a small saucepan; set over medium heat. Cook, stirring often until the sauce comes to a boil and is smooth and glossy. Cool slightly; stir in the ginger and green onions.

Makes 32 wontons.

Jennifer 8 Lee’s version here involves ground turkey, half a head of shredded lettuce, 1/2 cup soy sauce, some chopped scallions, sesame oil, vinegar, shredded veggies, a bit of salt and sugar. She adds egg but you don’t have to.

Hooray for Hollwood 7.0

15 Jan

oscar burger The Oscar Night Burger is going to happen. On Oscar night, we drool thinhilary_burger2king about chef Wolfgang Puck’s famous wagu beef sliders with remoulade because they seem like a delicious riff on the In’n’Out burgers stars will be wolfing down at after parties. For our own couch potato pleasure, we are thinking of baked mini cheeseburger canapes based on two tantalizing recipes we’ve been hoarding forever. Here’s the plan: meat seasoned according to this, but patties (not meatballs) formed to cover baguette slices like this. Love the description of the baguette turning out like a warm crouton, love the smaller size (those Puck sliders look like a yummy but awkward mouthful) and we’re swooning over the buttery, beefy broiled topping.

UPDATE: They worked perfectly! We’ll use a smaller, pea-sized bit of butter next time, as these babies were really rich.

IMG_5247

starsalad

1 lb extra lean ground beef
Ace baguette slices (or any good, toothsome bread)
2 tbsp Worchestershire
1-2 tsp garlic salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Butter
Cheese

Divide the beef into 12 portions (to match baguette slices)
Top bread slices with beef to cover (important so the exposed bread doesn’t  burn)
Score the beef and drizzle with Worchestershire, garlic salt and pepper. Top each with a pea-sized knob of butter.

Preheat oven to broil. When heated, place baking sheet with beef/baguette slices on middle rack. Broil for 8-10 minutes. Top with cheese slice and return to oven just to melt.
Serve right away.

Perhaps a drizzle of Puck’s ethereal remoulade (¾ cup of store-bought or homemade Thousand Island dressing, 2 T bottled barbecue sauce , 1 T diced red onion) or In’n’Out clone:
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar/or shot of wooster

or 1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/almost-famous-animal-style-burgers-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Manly Meatballs
The 150 Best American Recipes

Ace baguette (or other toothsome bread), sliced into 1 cm thickeness

1 lb. Lean ground beef

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tsp packed dark brown sugar

4 minced green onions

Shake of garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450F.

Mix ground beef, soy sauce, brown sugar, green onion salt and pepper.

Arrange baguette slices on baking sheet.

Form 36 meatballs and press into each slice of bread.  On middle rack, cook for 10 minutes, or until centre of each meatball reaches 160 degrees. Serve immediately.

Crabbies

27 Dec

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Here’s another retro appie for the holidays.

Luscious little crab puffs. Or crab canape. Or crab toasties. Or crabby snacks. Officially known as Old English Crab Hors d’Oeuvre off the back of a jar of Kraft Old English Spread jar. Sweet Jesus, what is this jarred cheez, we ask? Processed, yes, but not Cheez Whiz. It is hard to source and has a cult following. We will try to reverse engineer for something more natural and gourmet. Stay tuned.

Make ahead and freeze. They only take 10 minutes to bake, so they’re perfect for unexpected guests.

As they cook, the butter in the spread melts into the English muffin so it toasts to a crispy golden brown.

We add a wee splash of sherry, Worchestershire, 2 tsp Trader Joes onion salt, garlic salt and a dash of Old Bay.

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CRABBIES

1 can crab meat (also check seafood counter for backfin or “special” crab meat which is smaller and perfect for this.)
1 5 oz. jar of Kraft Old English Cheese
1 stick (1/4 lb) softened butter
1 1/2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice (in a pinch have used lemon packet and mixed into mayo. It’s Perfect)
1/2 Tbsp Lawrys Seasoned Salt
2 tsp. garlic powder (I also see onion powder in some recipes)
chopped parsley

8-10 English muffins

Drain crabmeat and combine with the ingredients. Spread mixture on halved English muffins, spreading all the way to edges. Cut into quarters. Freeze. When ready to cook, bake at 400 for 10 or so minutes until bubbling and browned. (Or broil)

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Jingle Balls

7 Dec

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Christmas time is party time. We can’t resist a chafing dish filled with cocktail meatballs. These are our family’s secret weapon:

CHINESE MEATBALLS
Saucy Cherie’s Mom, circa 1960
2 cans water chestnuts
3 bunches green onions
5lbs ground pork or beef
1/4 cup soy sauce
6 beaten eggs
1 T salt
2 1/2 c fine dried bread crumbs or cracker crumbs

Mix lightly and form into meatballs. Toss lightly don’t squeeze or they will be hard. Roll in cornstarch or flour. Brown in oven 375 7 mins turn and cook for 7 mins more. We’ve been increasingly lazy and now roast for 25 minutes without turning and fussing.

Sauce:
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 c vinegar
1/2 tsp hot mustard powder
1/2 tsp ginger
2 c water
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 oxo cube
1/8c sweet pickle juice

Boil and add 3 tbsp cornstarch mixed with water
Simmer 15 mins

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Mousse on the loose

5 Dec

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Let’s all hope the photo quality improves around here soon. Ghetto bberry shot of shrimp mousse.

To complete this WASPish gastronomical feat, serve with Ritz crackers.

SHRIMP MOUSSE

1 pkg. Knox gelatin (mixed as per directions)
1 can tomato soup (undilluted)
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 c. mayonnaise
1 can tiny shrimp, drained
3/4 c. celery, chopped fine
3/4 c. green onion (white up to a bit of the green), chopped fine

Bring soup to boil. Take off heat. Stir in cream cheese beat til smooth (can use immersion blender). Add gelatin/water mix and cool.
Add remaining ingredients and place in a greased mold or glass dish and chill until firm. Chill overnight or until set. Serve with crackers.
(This recipe fills our glass chip’n’dipper, plus two lidded ramekins)