Mother and Children
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A Simply Elegant Mother's Day Menu - LOGO

“I don’t believe that there is a perfect cuisine. Cooking is a form of expression
that combines ideas about cooking and eating in a way that a lot of people,
from the home cook to professional chefs, can understand.”

~ Charlie Trotter

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A Simply Elegant Mother’s Day Menu
Recipe Source:

Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home icon

by Charlie Trotter, 2000, Ten Speed Press

Charlie Trotter did not specify this particular menu as a Mother's Day feast.
That was my idea. It occurred to me that if anyone were to offer to cook for me
on Mother's Day (which has yet to happen...), this would suit quite nicely. It is
marvelous food, quite simple to prepare, and versatile enough to fit all manner
of occasions. Here is what The Chef has to say about it:

“This menu is a hit with diners who like the four basic food groups: vegetables,
fish, meat, and chocolate. The menu starts off with nice, light, clean flavors and finishes with a rich chocolate dessert, giving a sense of complete balance.”

Chilled Asparagus and Basil Soup with Goat Cheese
Sautéed Sweet and Sour Cod with Oyster Mushrooms and Somen Noodles
Grilled Strip Loin Steaks with Rosemary-Potato Puree and Meat Jus
Ginger-Chocolate Ganache Tart with Poached Pears


Chilled Asparagus and Basil Soup
with Goat Cheese

Serves 4

16 asparagus spears, trimmed and blanched
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled into small pieces
3 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strands
(chiffonade: stack the leaves on top of one
another and roll them up; then cut into
1/16-inch-wide strips across the roll)

To prepare the asparagus soup:  Cut the tips off the asparagus and set aside. Purée the asparagus stems, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the stock, chopped basil, and garlic until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Toss the asparagus tips with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and season
to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into 4 shallow bowls and arrange 4 asparagus tips in the
center of each bowl. Sprinkle the goat cheese and basil around the bowls
and top with freshly ground pepper.

Insights:  This soup would also be good with the addition of an acid or a sharp element such as peeled, seeded, and diced tomatoes or chopped Greek olives.


Sautéed Sweet and Sour Cod with Oyster
Mushrooms and Somen Noodles

Serves 4

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
Four 5-ounce cod fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 cups oyster mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed,
and cut in bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces dried somen noodles
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into
thin strips (see chiffonade above)

To prepare the cod:  Combine the sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and jalapeño
in a small saucepan over medium heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.
Season the cod with salt and pepper and brush thoroughly with the sugar mixture. Heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil in a large sauté pan over
medium heat. Add the cod and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or
until slightly underdone. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
To prepare the mushrooms:  Cook the mushrooms in the butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, or until tender. Season to
taste with salt and pepper.
To prepare the noodles:  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until al dente.
Drain, and toss the warm noodles with the remaining 3 tablespoons sesame
oil, the scallions, and basil.
Place some of the noodles in the center of each plate. Spoon the mushrooms on the noodles and top with a piece of cod.

Insights:  Somen noodles are thin, white Japanese noodles made from wheat
flour. They are available in the Asian section of most grocery stores, but if
you can’t find them, vermicelli can be used instead.


Grilled Strip Loin Steaks with Rosemary-Potato
Purée and Meat Jus

Serves 4

Four 6-ounce strip steaks
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves

Potato Purée
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup meat stock reduction, warmed (recipe follows)

To marinate the steaks:  Rub the steaks with the olive oil and season with pepper. Sprinkle the rosemary leaves over the steaks and refrigerate for
1 hour.
To prepare the potatoes:  Place the rosemary leaves in a small piece of cheesecloth and tie with kitchens string to form a sachet. Place the potatoes
in a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes, add
the sachet, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove the sachet and drain the potatoes. Add the butter and cream to the potatoes and cook over high heat until the cream comes to a full boil. Remove from
the heat and whip with an electric mixer or hand masher until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper, cover, and keep warm.
To cook the steaks: Prepare a medium-hot grill. Season the steaks with salt
and grill for 4 minutes on each side, or until medium-rare or cooked to
desired doneness.
Spoon some of the potatoes in the center of each plate. Place the steak over one edge of the potatoes, and spoon the meat stock reduction over the steak and potatoes and around the plate.

Insights: This is a classic meat-and-potatoes dish with a little twist. The
rosemary adds another flavor dimension, and the reduction sauce helps
to tie the whole dish together. This recipe can be made with any type of
steak, pork chops, or even chicken, but if you choose chicken, use a
chicken stock reduction instead of meat stock.

Meat Stock Reduction

Yield: 2 cups

2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup red wine
2 quarts meat stock
4 sprigs thyme

Cook the onions, carrots, and celery with the canola oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Add the red wine and cook for 10 minute, or until most of the wine has cooked out.
Add the stock, decrease the heat, and simmer over low heat for 1 hour.
Strain, return to the saucepan, add the thyme and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove the thyme, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until reduced to 2
cups. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and use as desired.

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Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home: Menu 3

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