GARLICKY CAESAR SALAD … PASSIONATE PIZZA STYLE

This is the Caesar Salad recipe we served in our artisan  pizzeria, PASSIONATE PIZZA in Vancouver,British Columbia.   We tossed every salad to order.   It is the same salad we served in our French restaurant; ROXY’S BISTRO in Regina, Saskatchewan.   PASSIONATE PIZZA was voted Best Pizza in Vancouver and Best  Pizza in the Pacific North West.

GARLICKY CAESAR SALAD  … serves six

1/4 cup Hellman’s Mayonnaise.  Health concerns dictated we use mayonnaise in this recipe.

3 tablespoons freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, pecorino, or grana cheese (plus thin shavings of cheese for serving  – optional)

2-3 anchovy fillets, drained, plus more fillets for garnishing if you wish

2 generous tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 – 3 garlic cloves, smashed

a good  dash of Worcestershire sauce

a good dash of a Tabasco

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and 2 tablespoons of capers

Freshly ground white pepper

One very large head of romaine or 3 chilled large hearts of romaine

Freshly ground black pepper and  garlic croutons (recipe follows)

1. In a blender, combine the mayonnaise with the cheese, anchovies, lemon juice, garlic, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce and Dijon Mustard.  process until smooth.  Season with white pepper.

2. In a large salad bowl toss the roughly chopped romaine with the dressing, capers,  croutons  and season with black pepper.  Garnish with cheese shavings and anchovy fillets (if desired) and serve right away.

garlic croutons

In our pizzeria we would bake enormous trays of garlic croutons.  You could do the same but at home I prefer to saute the bread.   Slice  country-style  bread in thick slices  then roughly tear into large croutons.  Pour a generous amount of olive oil into a large skillet, toss in a few crushed garlic cloves, and over a low heat let the garlic cloves brown and flavour the oil.  Remove the garlic.  Increase the heat under your pan then add  your croutons.   Brown quickly on one side, then turn them over and continue browning.  It is this heady  aroma of garlic and the rich olive oil flavoured croutons that make this an outstanding salad.  The croutons taste best made fresh so indulge and nibble on any croutons left over.

Recipes for PASSIONATE PIZZA’S await you in MRS.BUTTERFINGERS kitchen.

MOZART AND M.A.S.H.

It is interesting how a piece of music can recreate vivid memories.  This morning I was listening to CBC radio.  They were playing a Mozart violin concerto  and I slipped a couple of decades back into the past.  I was remembering Father Mulcahy and the actor William Christopher who played him in the television series M.A.S.H.

 

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William Christopher was performing dinner theatre at a major hotel in our city.  On his night off he came to our restaurant for dinner.  Of all nights for me to be out of town!  I was dismayed that I had missed the opportunity to tell him how much joy watching M.A.S.H had given us.   I gathered up my courage and telephoned him.  “You had given us so much over the years would you please let us show our gratitude by dining with us at Roxy’s Bistro.”

And that is how it all began.  He walked into the restaurant.  Other diners smiled and nodded and respected his privacy.  A group of us talked long into the evening.  William Christopher told us when he wasn’t doing dinner theatre he taught music at a California university.

I asked if there was music he was particularly fond of.  “I love Mozart.  Particularly his violin concertos.. The concerto #5 in A Major is one of my favorites”  he replied.  I slipped quietly from the table  and put a tape into our sound system.  Mozart’s violin concerto #5 soared through the high-ceiling room, swirled around our table wrapping us in music.  We sat quietly sipping our wine and listening.  It was the perfect ending to a perfect evening.

Early the next morning the phone rang.   The oh so familiar voice from M.A.S.H.  William Christopher asking us to be his guests at the dinner theatre.  We still watch M.A.S..H. every evening at 7:00 pm.  It is like watching old friends.   And every once in a while we say to each other “remember when we’ve dined with Father Mulcahy”.

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A RESTAURANT BLACKBOARD

 

BEL’OCCHIO   …   the beautiful eye

A Restaurant Blackboard

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For years all things wonderful were written on this blackboard.

Shrimp in  crisp almond batter, shoe-string deep fried sweet potatoes and citrus sauce.

Baby Northern pickerel sauteed in brown butter with capers and lemons.

Roast Cornish game hens with a hot Szechuan sauce.

Tagine of Moroccan chicken with apricots and preserved lemon.

If I could bring back all that has been written on this blackboard  it would be a story of  the glorious food we prepared daily in our restaurant, Roxy’s Bistro.

This blackboard was our daily “fresh sheet”  and for years just before the restaurant opened I would  chalk up the days menu additions.

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For years it has languished in storage.  I couldn’t bear to part with the blackboard for my father-in-law constructed it.   So I painted the battered frame a lovely gray.  Gave the blackboard a fresh coat of paint.  Painted on a few swirls and curls  and hung it close to my French butler’s pantry.

Now  I have a place to write a daily quote,   “Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live on dreams”.

  Or have a little fun dreaming again … Lunch with Daniel Craig.

HOW TO COOK PERFECT CREME BRULEE

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Tomorrow we celebrate Christmas a few days early.    Our son and his wife will be away on Christmas Day.  The supper menu has a decidedly French flavour.   Réveillon Tourtière (a French Canadian pork pie) instead of turkey and for dessert crème brulée.

How can a dessert made with just eggs, cream, milk and sugar be so utterly beguiling.

A dessert that seduces you with every spoonful.

Pure sensual pleasure in every mouthful.

Silky custard fragrant with vanilla collides with the bitter sweet flavour of burnt sugar and captivates you for ever.

It is pure alchemy.

It is pure Christmas.

This recipe for crème brûlée  was always on the menu at our restaurant, Roxy’s Bistro.    We made it five days a week for seven years.  Do the math.  Repetition makes perfect, and I perfected this recipe so it is right every time.   This recipe is perfect for six generous servings, but if you are having a large dinner party it doubles beautifully and serves twelve.

(For the recipe simply click on crème brûlée  above)