Smoked Trout Brandade

by Anne Maxfield on November 20, 2014

Accidental Locavore Smoked Trout BrandadeBrandade is one of those dishes that can be really good or totally awful. The Accidental Locavore has never been terribly fond of salty-fishy food, so foods like anchovies or caviar need to be carefully disguised. Same for salt cod, which is what brandade is usually made from. When I saw this recipe for a brandade made from smoked trout, it gave me the perfect excuse to toss a couple of trout on the smoker (and bring home another baguette from Maison Kayser). This filled two small gratin pans, so dinner for 2 or appetizers for 4 or more.

  • 1 large russet potato (about 10 oz.)
  • Olive oil- 1 teaspoon for the potato and ½ cup for the brandade
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 8 oz. smoked trout, skin and bones removed
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
  • 1 baguette, sliced, toasted

Accidental Locaovre Smoked Trout and MilkHeat oven to 400°. Rub potato with 1 teaspoon olive oil and bake directly on oven rack until tender, 50–60 minutes. Let cool slightly, then peel. Put in a small bowl and mash potato with a fork or potato masher, until nearly smooth.

While potato is baking, bring garlic, trout, and milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat; let sit 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer half of trout to a plate; flake into small pieces.

Put the garlic, milk, remaining trout, lemon juice, paprika and remaining ½ cup of olive oil in a food processor; process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and gently fold in the mashed potato and flaked trout. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Accidental Locavore Preparing BrandadeTransfer trout mixture to a 1-qt. shallow baking dish or four 6-oz. ramekins and top with Parmesan. Bake until cheese is melted and golden brown and brandade is heated through, 15–20 minutes. Serve with toasted baguette slices and enjoy!

My verdict: Potatoes and smoked fish, what’s not to like? This makes a nice, simple supper with a side salad or veg. I did have it with the toasted baguette and would serve it that way as an hors d’oeuvre, but didn’t really need it as dinner. I had smoked two trout and this used one of the two. I did use a russet potato, but Yukon Gold or two would work well. If you wanted to save time, you could pop the potato in the microwave to bake them.

 

 

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Return To Me: Skating and Songs

by Anne Maxfield on November 17, 2014

lostpairs02RET10Besides food, the Accidental Locavore is also passionate about skating!  In the upcoming Musselman’s Apple Sauce Family Skating Tribute Show (airing November 23rd and again on December7th from 4-6 PM EST on ABC), Katia Gordeeva, her daughter Liza and husband Ilia Kulik, skate to a wonderful piece of music, Return to Me, by the group October ProjectThis year, for the first time, all Olympic-eligible skaters can now skate to music with lyrics, so doesn’t it make you curious as to how, among all the great songs, spanning centuries, this piece got chosen, and how skaters choose their music?

_Katia.Beauty.0246 1Let’s take a look, courtesy of some “insider information” I, as a skater and friend of the October Project, was fortunate to be a part of. It will tell you how Return to Me was chosen (but not why for this season of amateur competition, it seems like every Japanese competitor is skating to Phantom of the Opera…).

First, we need to start with a little of Katia Gordeeva’s back-story. She and her partner, Sergei Grinkov, known as Gordeeva and Grinkov, were possibly the most famous Russian pairs skaters (and there have been lots of them!).  Together they won two Olympic gold medals and a slew of World Championships. Tragically, he died of a massive heart attack at the age of 28 and she went on to have a career as a solo skater. She married Ilia Kulik (also an Olympic gold medalist) and they have a daughter, Liza.

October ProjectWorking with Katia & Ilia, Steve Disson, the executive producer of the Family Tribute Show, had an inspiration: what about Return to Me? Written by lyricist Julie Flanders and composer Emil Adler, who along with lead singer Marina Belica are October Project, it’s a song with a rich history of its own that also marked an important moment in Steve’s life. Eleven years ago he had asked long-time friend Marina to sing it at his wedding and, now, thought the mood and lyrics would be a great match for the style and story of these skaters.

But it’s not quite so easy as that. It’s one thing for the producer to suggest a piece of music. More importantly, the skaters have to agree (and that means they have to like it a lot, since they’ll be skating to it for weeks at a time), their coaches have to think it will play to their strengths as skaters, the choreographer has to make it work for them and the audience, there are costumes to think of, and oh yes, it has to be edited to fit the time constraints.

_Katia.Liza.In Motion.0245Somehow, with Return to Me, everything fell into place. Grab yourself a mug of hot chocolate, and a cozy seat and get ready to enjoy not only Katia, Liza and Ilia, but Amy Grant singing live to a cast that includes Kurt Browning (one of my personal favorites – watch his feet!), Todd Eldridge, Nancy Kerrigan, Paul Wylie and more—all with their families. It’s on ABC November 23rd and if you miss that (but set your DVR so you don’t) again on December 7th at 4:00 PM EST. Enjoy!

 

The painting, Lost Pairs I by Robert Wright was inspired by Gordeeva and Grinkov. ©Robert Wright 2014, used with permission of the artist. The skating photos are courtesy of Marina Belica and the photo of October Project is ©Steven Lowy 2014. If you’d like to download Return to Mejust click on the link.

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Roasted Potato Leek and Garlic Soup

by Anne Maxfield on November 13, 2014

Accidental Locavore Roasted Leek and Potato SoupAfter a few wonderful bowls of soup at this year’s Soup-a-Bowl (the annual benefit for the Poughkeepsie Farm Project), the Accidental Locavore’s husband was heard muttering about how he’d like some of that potato leek soup with the roasted garlic. And when he came back from the farm with leeks and potatoes, I knew he was serious! This is mostly from a recipe of Ina Garten’s I found. Serves 6.

 

  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned, cut in half lengthwise and then in ½” slices
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, plus extra for serving
  • 6 to 7 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces crème fraîche
  • 1-2 heads roasted garlic (see below)

Accidental Locavore Leeks and PotatoesPreheat the oven to 400°.

Combine the potatoes and leeks on a sheet pan in a single layer. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, turning them with a spatula a few times, until very tender and lightly golden.

Remove the pan from the oven and place over 2 burners. Stir in the wine and 1 cup of chicken stock and cook over low heat, scraping up any roasted bits sticking to the pan.

In batches, transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor or blender, adding the pan liquid and about 5 cups of the chicken stock in batches and purée. As you finish a batch, pour it into a large pot or Dutch oven. When it’s all in the pot, add the remaining 1- 2 cups of stock to make a thick soup. Add the cream, crème fraîche, and salt and pepper as needed. Heat over medium-low heat until heated through. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Roasted Potatoes and LeeksMy verdict: I’ve never made vichyssoise with crème fraîche before and if there wasn’t some in the fridge, I probably wouldn’t have used it this time either – which would have been a big mistake! It gave this very rich soup a nice depth of flavor that’s sometimes missing. Roasting the potatoes and leeks was a great idea and the next time I do it, I’d just toss some garlic cloves in the mix. If you were doing this in the summer and didn’t want to heat up your oven, grilling them would most likely be great! If you like a finer purée, use a blender, for a chunkier version the food processor is fine.

Accidental Locavore Roasted GarlicIn preparation for this I roasted 4 heads of garlic separately (cut 1/2″ off the tops, put in an oven-proof dish, sprinkle a little olive oil, cover with foil and roast at 400 degrees for an hour), not knowing how many I’d need (about 1 1/2 heads) to flavor but not overwhelm the leeks. Frank was wondering about adding bacon which would be fine, but not necessary – maybe as a garnish? This is great hot or cold, so depending on the season…

 

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Seriously, Who Has a Pink Kitchen?

by Anne Maxfield on November 10, 2014

Accidental Locavore Pink SpongesBlame it on GIR! After testing out all their great new products in my favorite red, the Accidental Locavore was washing dishes with a new (pink) sponge and wondering why they always come in such dumb colors. Pink, orange, pale blue, light green, yellow and purple. Do any of those match (or even compliment) your kitchen décor? In this day where everyone on the house-hunting shows whines about matching (stainless) appliances, why hasn’t someone stepped up to the plate and made sponges in great colors? And it’s not just sponges, all the scrubby sponges are in the same colors, yellow with green, or even worse, have coordinating prints.

Accidental Locavore Sponge DisplayI know I’d pay extra to be able to stock-up on red sponges, or even black or white ones. Actually, I’m fussy enough to comb the supermarket aisle, hoping for a four-pack that doesn’t have at least one purple one! For something that everyone owns and uses almost every day, that sits out on the sink in plain view, it’s amazing that no one has given this more (asthetic) attention. If you think about it, does the sponge you’re using, look much different from the one your mother used, or the one Otto Bayer invented (by accident) in 1937?

Accidental Locavore SpongesSelfishly and as a public service, I’ve suggested to the creative heads at GIR that their next ventures should focus on the kitchen sink. While you might only buy one or two spatulas (and theirs are so good, you’ll probably never need to replace them), sponges are constantly being replaced. In the interest of research (and a better looking kitchen sink), I’ve volunteered to beta test any and all red sponges or scrubby sponges that might need to be taken for a test run and would happily back a Kickstarter campaign. What about you – what color would you like your sponges in? Or do you really have a pink kitchen?

 

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