Roasted Salmon Niçoise Salad

by Anne Maxfield on June 10, 2019

Plated Salmon Nicoise SaladNow that the weather is getting better it’s time to start breaking out the salad recipes. This is an interesting take on a classic salad Niçoise, using salmon instead of tuna. Serves 4.

Roasted Salmon Niçoise Salad

  • 1 pound baby Yukon Gold potatoes, halved
  • 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 clove)
  • 1 anchovy fillet, minced
  • 6 ounces haricots verts or green beans, trimmed
  • 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup pitted olives, preferably Niçoise or Kalamata
  • 4 (6-ounce) center-cut, skin-on salmon fillets
  • 5 ounces tender salad greens, like baby red and green leaf lettuce

Tomatoes, Beans and Olives for RoastingHeat the oven to 400° and place a rack near the top of the oven. In a bowl, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. On a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper to make cleaning up easier), arrange the potatoes so the cut sides are facing down and roast for 20 minutes.
While the potatoes roast, fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the eggs and cook over medium heat for exactly 6 minutes. Remove the eggs, and when they are cool enough to handle, peel and quarter them.
Make the dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, the garlic, anchovy, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Slowly whisk in 4 tablespoons of olive oil and set aside.
In the bowl you used for the potatoes, add the haricots verts, tomatoes and olives along with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss well. Add the vegetables to the sides of the baking sheet with the potatoes, leaving a space in the center of the sheet pan. Pat the salmon fillets dry with a paper towel and place them, skin-side down, in the center of the sheet pan.
Salmon and Vegetables for RoastingBrush salmon with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast on the top rack in the oven for 10 minutes.
Turn the broiler to high and broil for 2 to 3 minutes to lightly brown the salmon. (If you don’t have a broiler, roast salmon for an additional 2 to 3 minutes instead.) The salmon should flake easily and be just cooked in the center.
Add the greens to the large bowl with the dressing and toss gently. Place greens on a large platter, leaving a narrow border at the platter’s edges. Place the salmon fillets in the middle of the platter, then arrange the roasted vegetables and eggs around them. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: For a couple of people who are usually pretty particular about their Salade Niçoise this was a great version! And since eating more fish, especially salmon, is a goal, this is a painless way to add it to our diet.
Now that it is warmer out, I might just do everything on the grill. Either way, it’s a good main course salad.
Next time, maybe a handful of capers?

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DIY Baguettes with the Baguette Baking Box

by Anne Maxfield on June 3, 2019

A Bigger BaguetteBeing obsessed by bread is something a lot of people fall into. Being obsessed by baguettes makes people do crazy things.

Near us there’s an object of that obsession–a wood-burning brick oven brought over brick-by-brick (along with two French masons) and reconstructed in Hudson.

Recently my former business partner put me in touch with another infatuated baker, this time building his version of a better mouse trap—The Baguette Baking Box.

The Baguette Box is an elegant, easy solution to ensuring a steady stream of great bread is always available. You mix up the dough, let it rise, shape it and bake it in the box. Et voilà, perfect baguettes.

Baguette Baking BoxDean Anderson, the entrepreneur behind the box, invited me to his home to demonstrate the box in action. He wants people to be able to make baguettes without a lot of effort and he’s worked for the past 18 months on perfecting his box and the easy no-knead recipe.

He had some dough that he had started the night before and as we were chatting, he formed it into a couple of loaves and baked them. It wasn’t long before we had fresh, hot, delicious bread.

Dean sent me home with a prototype box so we could see how it worked in the hands of two non-bakers. Frank mixed up the first batch of dough and we left it to rise overnight. When we went to get the box and pre-heat it, we noticed that it was missing the lid. Dean assured us that the dough would be fine in the refrigerator for a few days and sent us the missing lid.

Baguette Before BakingSomehow it ended up being about 2 weeks before we finally got around to baking our first loaves. Despite the dough sitting around for a couple of weeks, and Frank mistakenly adding a tablespoon of salt instead of a teaspoon (which he then endeavored to remove from the flour), we had very edible baguettes.

I mixed up another batch of dough and baked a second batch the next day. These were really good! Great crust, not too dense inside (the issue with the first ones) and definitely not as salty. It was super easy to do, just requires a little advanced planning (it’s about 10 hours from start to finish).

Baguette After BakingMy third batch was the best (so far). Dean had emailed me a recipe for a slightly bigger loaf and I got to work. It’s so easy, you can just break into bread making at the drop of a hat (or in this case email). I liked the bigger loaves and the baguettes had great crust and perfect interiors (and I ate half of one in about 2 minutes).

There is a website coming, but if you can’t wait to get your hands on one of the Baguette Boxes, contact Dean at Breadbakingbox@gmail.com. Don’t forget to tell him you saw it here first!

And, not that we’re that obsessed, but the minute Frank got his hands on the box, his reaction was “now we can move to Peillon.” There was a gorgeous house there that we drooled over, but according to the description the nearest bakery was 15km away–almost inconceivable in France. No matter where we end up, the Baguette Baking Box is definitely coming with us!

 

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16 Top Tips For Shopping a Farmers’ Market

by Anne Maxfield on May 27, 2019

Accidental Locavore Farmers Market Produce As we start to get into peak farmers’ market season, here are my top tips for making the most of your market trip:

accidental-locavore-farmers-market-haul16 Top Tips For Shopping Your Farmers’ Market:

  1. If you want something special or the best selection, shop early
  2. When you find a farmer or stand you like, ask for a card. That way you’ll always know who has the perfect tomatoes.
  3. Bring bags, both big and small. A plastic box is always handy for carrying precious berries
  4. Bring cash, small bills and change
  5. Leave kids and dogs at home if at all possible
  6. Park bikes
  7. Give yourself time to cruise the market and then go back to make purchases
  8. Ask the farmers for advice and don’t forget to admire all their hard work!
  9. Even if you’re in a hurry, hand money directly to the person behind the counter. Don’t leave it on the counter or wave it in their face.
  10. Don’t shuck corn. Corn in the husk stays fresher, gives you more cooking options and is actually easier to shuck once it’s cooked.
  11. As tempting as it is to squeeze the tomatoes, if you don’t buy it, it will end up like a water balloon by the end of the day.
  12. Ask to taste something, but take the box you tasted it from if you’re going to buy it.
  13. Try something different. If you’re not sure what to do with it, ask the farmer.
  14. Be clean. Don’t leave trash or coffee cups on the counters.
  15. Wash everything when you get home. Store in clear containers or bags so you’ll see it and use it.
  16. Enjoy! There’s nothing better than food straight from the farm.

accidental-locavore-farmers-market-lettuceAny tips you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments below.

If you’d like a sheet to print out, click here. Accidental Locavore Farmers Market Tomatoes

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Lucky Dragon: Chinese Comes to Rhinebeck

by Anne Maxfield on May 20, 2019

Lucky Dragon InteriorI wanted to love Lucky Dragon.

I wanted to be willing to jump in the car and drive for 20 minutes for great Chinese.

I wanted the answer to “where do you go for good Chinese?” to be Rhinebeck, not Queens.

I’m in like not love, but love could be just around the corner.

Lucky Dragon is in the building that used to house Catch 38 and is being run by the folks who brought you the Amsterdam. It’s “farm to chopsticks” cooking.

Lucky Dragon PotstickersMy sense is that it’s a retro-influenced look back at all the classic Chinese restaurants where you would go on Sundays with your family, eat lo mein, and think you were very adventuresome.

If you’re expecting pages and pages of dishes, you’ll be surprised. They’ve edited the choices down to a manageable amount (just enough to fit on a placemat).

We started out with a bunch of appetizers—BBQ spareribs, chicken lettuce wraps, pork and chive potstickers and fresh spring rolls. The spring rolls were hot and crispy and came with a sweet chile dipping sauce and were a hit with everyone at our table.

The spareribs were good with a dark brown glaze and sprinkling of sesame seeds. Close to those lacquered red ones you might remember from days gone by, but nicely updated with what I’m guessing was a hit of hoisin.

Lucky Dragon Spare RibsChicken lettuce wraps had chunks of chicken with scallions, slivers of bamboo shoots, sesame seeds and a light sauce, all of which fit perfectly in the lettuce. They were a bit hit with everyone at my table.

Lucky Dragon Chicken WrapsThe potstickers were pan fried on one side and served with a soy, scallion sauce. I would have preferred the sauce on the side, as it made them a little soggy, but they were still tasty and not too heavy as potstickers can be.

Trying to be a little healthy, we opted for two of the vegetable dishes, a classic bok choy with sesame and soy, which was well prepared and the Szechuan eggplant, which was one of my favorites of the evening. Small slices of eggplant in a spicy (but not killer) sauce with lots of flavor.

Lucky Dragon EggplantFor mains we went with the shrimp in black bean sauce, Szechuan chicken and pork lo mein. The lo mein was everyone’s favorite—it had great flavor and the noodles were well cooked, but sadly the pork in it was really tough.

Lucky Dragon ShrimpThe Szechuan chicken and the shrimp had a lot of the same ingredients, chunks of red and green peppers, beansprouts, water chestnuts and both were in a soy-based sauce. The big difference was that the chicken was a bit spicy and there were some black beans with the shrimp. We all agreed that we might have ordered two very similar dishes, and then mixed them up on our plates, blending them together so they were indistinguishable.

Lucky Dragon ChickenWe all also agreed that we’ll be back. The Peking Duck that needs to be ordered in advance, is tempting, as are some of the other classics like General Tso’s and some of the other appetizers we skipped over.

The manager was truly interested in our comments, and after hearing that we thought the pork in the lo mein was tough, presented us with a box of cookies as we left and said she was going to take it up with the kitchen right away. So, I have faith (and hope) that the menu will continue to evolve, and we’ll end up in love. I’ll keep you posted.

 

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