Turkey Lasagne

The following recipe was designed to use up left over Thanksgiving Turkey. It follows in a great northern Italian tradition of using a white sauce (the famous Bechamel in French, Salsa Besciamella in Italian) as the binder.

The preparation proceeds as follows: first, you need left over turkey, removed from the bone white or dark doesn't matter. Then prepare the Balsamella:

Put the milk in a saucepan and heat almost to boiling (not quite!!); meanwhile heat the oil/butter... When it is melted, add the flour stirring with a wooden spoon. Cook about 2 minutes (this is necessary to eliminate the flour taste... but don't let burn). Remove from the heat. Then add the hot milk, SLOWLY at first (say 2 T at a time) and stir stir stir. When you have added 1/2 c then you can be a bit more cavalier about it. Now add the salt and cook until it is the thickness of cream.

In the meantime, you can also cook the lasagne noodles. So, you have sauce, turkey and noodles. I also cook some onions in oil which I season with thyme and oregano.

Then, choosing a nice pan, put a layer of sauce on the bottom, then noodles, sauce, onions, turkey (in that order). Repeat until you run out of time, ingredients or pan. If you want, you can put grated parmesan on top. Bake at 400 for about 10-15 minutes; let rest for 5-10 minutes after removing from the oven.

Swiss Chard Risotto

Start by heating the broth (5 cups); you'll also need some parmesan and romano cheese. Before starting the soffrito, separate the ribs from the leaves. Then saute the onion in oil and a little butter; then add the chopped ribs. Continue sauteing them until they turn soft, about 4-5 minutes (test them with a fork). Then, add 1.5 cups arborio rice and begin adding the broth in the usual fashion. At the very end, add the leaves and the cheese. The leaves will melt and so will the cheese. Finito.

Turkey Shepherd's pie

The concept here is simple enough: take the leftover turkey and the leftover mashed spud and put them together. Here's what you need to do: first, butter a large pan. Then prepare the sauce. I used a generic tomato sauce: onions, thyme, tomatoes, pepper and a bit of red wine. After simmering "until the oil separates" (as Marcella would say), then add the turkey (off the bone of course). Layer it in the bottom of the pan. Then layer the mashed sputs on top. Use a trowel to even it out. Bake at 375 until done. Done is when the sauce is boiling and the top is lightly toasted.

Banana Soufflé

Tired of making banana bread with black bananas? Why not turn them into a soufflé? You can use any soufflé basis. I used Lenotre's which involves the construction of a roux and then the eggs and finally the addition of milk. The only caution I have is to not add the sugar called for; the black bananas have more than enough. Then stir in the mashed bananas and fold in the whites. I suggest serving with a chocolate sauce.

Scallops with a yellow tomato coulis

Prepare a schiffonade of basil; start some butter and olive oil in a small pot, then add sliced tomatoes (I used yellow because they have a nice color and are sweet like cherry tomatoes; ambitious cooks would remove the skins, I didn't). The tomatoes will cook down. When you are satisfied with the texture, add the basil. Then add about a half pound of scallops (either kind, your choice). Cook until the scallops are done to your taste.

Chicken with baby artichokes

Start by cutting the chicken into pieces; then heat some oil in a pan. When hot, add the chicken turning and browning. Meanwhile, remove the outer leaves of the baby artichokes. Keep going until the inner leaves are exposed (note: it's hard to know when to stop pulling, only experience will tell you when). Then, cut them down the long axis into, say, 8 pieces. You could put them into acidulated water, but why bother? When the chicken is done, remove from the pan and add some garlic. When it yellows but not browns, add 1/2 c of white wine. Add some rosemary (a sprig will do) and the chicken. Now add the artichoke slices and cover. Cook until done.

Julia Child's Soupe de Poisson

This is my informal rendering of her recipe from the classic set. I have changed some timing to reflect reality.

Start a pot with some olive oil, then several onions. Fry until transparent. The add several cloves of garlic, chopped whole tomatoes (I often use canned in the winter), parsley springs, a bay leaf, thyme/basil (about 1/2 t), a large pinch of saffron, an orange peel some black pepper and a lot of water, say 8-10 cups. Add one peeled potato. Bring to a boil, and let it cook for 30 minutes at a simmer/low boil.

Remove the cooked potato. Next, add either chopped potatoes or pasta. I cube the potatoes so that the cooking time is reduced. For pasta, I prefer the smaller, orzo type. You should now add the fish, with adjustments for cooking time. The fish should be firm, I like tilapia, monkfish and scallops. Just cook the fish, do not use the times according to Julia!

Meanwhile, you can simmer some chopped red pepper together with a hot pepper. Put the cooked potato in a blender with the above. Add 4 cloves of garlic, basil and some stock and grind. You should add enough to grind it into a smooth paste. Then add olive oil until it's the right texture (resembles mayonnaise).

Serve by having toasted bread slices, coat with rouille and put the fish soup on top. Serve with a cold Sauvignon Blanc.

Salmon Coulibiac

So, I was getting tired of doing the usual thing with salmon during lockdown. What could I do instead? And this is what popped into my mind. The concept is rather easy, the main thing to do is execute the various steps: Dough, grain and veg. So, one at a time...

Start with the dough. I used the food processor brioche dough from Nick Maglieri. What a recipe! Unlike most brioche doughs, this one can be made in a few hours. Start by making a kind of biga: Put 1/2 c warm milk (110F), 2.5 t yeast and 1 c flour in a bowl, mix and cover. Cut 6 T unsalted butter in a food processor, combine with 3T sugar and pulse at 1 second intervals (or longer, that's what I did). Add 2 eggs, one at a time and blitz until smooth Then add 1 1/4 c flour and briefly mix. Then add the yeast mixture and pulse until a dough forms. Then process for 15 seconds. Then, knead on a floured surface. Don't do this too much, the idea is just to get the texture right. Put this in a separate bowl and cover.

Next, make the veg: I made a mushroom duxelles: Again, you can use the food processor for grinding the mushrooms and then saute them in butter and garlic. I also sauteed diced onion and then added baby spinach until it was wilted.

Finally, make the grain. I used rice, but I think using toasted kasha (buckwheat groats) would lend a real russian tint to it.

As a slight aside, I found this recipe for seasoned rice via BBC Good Food: Soak 1/2 cup white rice for 30 mins, then drain. Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil then add 1 finely chopped onion 2 crush garlic cloves, 2 crushed cardamom pods, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 2 star anise, 1 tsp fenugreek seeds, 3 cloves, and a thumb-sized piece ginger. Add the rice and a bay leaf and bring to the boil, cover, turn down and cook until done.

And ultimately, I made a beet and cucumber relish. I happen to have some canned beets left over. Make a marinade from vinegar and sugar, 2:1 ratio. Add salt. Then marinate the beets and cut up cukes separately. Combine when you're ready to serve.

Assembly instructions: Roll out the dough as thin as you can/want. You may wish to do this a while before to give the gluten time to relax. Next, take a glass pan and drape the dough over the pan, lightly pressing it into the pan. Start with a layer of grain in the center. Next, place a layer of veg. Then, the salmon (unskinned, about a pound) on top. Then a layer of veg and then a final layer of grain.

I should note that I didn't add sliced hard cooked eggs. Some people like to add that, I chose not to this time.

Baking time: fold over the ends towards the center. Then fold over the long edges toward the center making a nice package. Try to make the edges meet and then crimp them together. If you want, you can add an egg wash. Put in a 350 over for 45 minutes or so until it is nicely browned. Remove and serve. I sliced through the center first because (a) it looks better and (b) It's more complete towards the center.

You could make beurre blanc instead of (or in addition to) the relish. I leave that to you.

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File last written on Tue May 5 17:18:58 EDT 2020
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