March at last: Spring! Or almost. We’ve been busy preparing for our first book-signing tea here in Colorado Springs. It will be on April 10, and all are invited. We’ll have tea with an heirloom tea service, scones by Dale, fruit plates, savories and of course, beautiful cookbooks ready to be purchased and signed by Dale and RuthAnn. We’re excited.
Here are the details.
You are invited to a Tea
The Publication of Inspiring Cuisine by Dale McClure and RuthAnn Ridley
What: Book-signing and refreshments
When: Friday, April 10, from 2 to 5 P.M.
Where: 1552 Smoochers Circle, Colorado Springs, CO 80904
[Barbara VerSteeg’s home in Kissing Camel Estates—Phone: 630-0760]
Directions: From Interstate 25, take Fillmore west. Go 1.5 mile to Mesa Rd. Turn right. Proceed 0.8 mile to roundabout. Turn right on Kissing Camels Dr. Give VerSteeg name to guard at Front Gate. Drive short block to Hill Circle. Turn right. Hill Circle winds 0.9 mile to Smoochers Circle. Turn left. Watch for fork. Veer right. 1552 is on the left.
RSVP by April 7th: RuthAnn Ridley (719)634-0274
We’ve had some issues with our publishing company concerning two pictures that are missing from the first run of cookbooks. We’ve been able to amend the first 75. But we’re still not sure when the book will be repaired at the source so it can be ordered online at Amazon.com and Barnes and Nobles. The saga continues on.
But we’re still cooking up a storm, and today Dale is offering us a scrumptious fish recipe with a classic sauce for Lent.
Flounder in Beurre Blanc
Of all the classic French sauces, the Beurre Blanc (Bear Blahnk) is perhaps the easiest to make. All you have to remember is: Don’t get it too hot! The French name translates as “white butter” and that is mostly what it is. In France it is usually served on fish, but I have found that it enhances most green vegetables and I also like it on beef steak.
After you have experienced this initial tasting, you most likely will want to double the recipe next time and store what is left in your refrigerator. Then you can bring it to room temperature by just setting it on your counter top for an hour – there is no need to reheat it. When it is soft again, simply spread it on your hot vegetables (or whatever you wish) like ordinary butter. But believe me, it is definitely not ordinary.
Flounder is a flat fish; consequently, the fillets may be thin. If you have someone with a large appetite you might consider two fillets for them. For this recipe you will need to cook the sauce and the flounder in two different pans and pour the sauce over the fish when it is on the serving plate. The flounder is poached in a simple “court bouillon” (short bouillon). The word “short” implies that the bouillon is made quickly rather than simmered for a long time.
For the Sauce, you will need:
2 Medium (or 1 large) Shallots 8 Tbs. Unsalted Butter
3 Tbs. White Wine Vinegar ¼ tsp. Salt
3 Tbs. White Wine ¼ tsp. Ground White Pepper
- Peel and mince (very fine) the shallots. Proportions are not critical; if you use more or less it will still taste wonderful.
- Cut one stick of cold butter into 8 pieces.
- Put the minced shallots, vinegar and wine in a non-reactive sauce pan.
- On your highest heat, reduce the mixture to a slush consistency – almost dry but still moist.
- Remove the pan from the heat.
- Turn the heat down to warm, but do not return the pan to the burner.
- Working off the burner, whisk in one of the pieces of butter. When it is almost melted, add another piece. Keep adding the butter, one piece at a time, until all of the butter has been incorporated into the shallot mixture.
- If the mixture should cool down to the point that the butter will not melt, put the pan on the warm burner for a second or two until the butter begins to melt again.
- Do not let the mixture foam or boil. The mixture can best be described as warmed butter not melted butter.
- Season with the salt and pepper.
- When you are finished keep the sauce warm in a “bain marie” – a curious French term which translates as “Mary’s bath”, it means a double boiler. You probably don’t have a double boiler – I don’t. That is no problem. Find another sauce pan that is larger than the one containing the sauce and fill it about half way with warm (not boiling) tap water. Set the larger pan on the warm burner and place the smaller pan with the sauce in it, into the larger pan. That will keep the sauce warm, but not hot, until you are ready to use it.
For the Flounder you will need:
Water or Fish Stock 1 Bay Leaf
White Wine A few pepper corns
1 Rib of Celery Salt
1 Flounder Fillet for Each Guest
- Chop the celery into several pieces.
- Prepare the court bouillon by pouring roughly equal parts of white wine and fish stock into a large sauté pan or skillet. Proportions are not critical. You need only enough to cover the fillets. If you have fish stock – use it. I find it easier to buy a bottle of clam juice. In the grocery store you will find it with the tuna fish, sardines and other fishy things. If those two options fail, just use plain water. Add the celery, bay leaf, pepper corns and salt.
- Just a word about the vinegar: You could use white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar. Apple cider vinegar would work nicely too, but nothing stronger.
- Bring the court bouillon to a full boil for about a minute. Don’t panic, it is fine if it boils longer. After it boils turn the heat down to a simmer.
- Place the fish into the court bouillon and poach for about 3 or 4 minutes. The fillets are done when the flesh is no longer translucent, but opaque white.
- Remove the fillets with a spatula and place them on dinner plates.
- Taste the beurre blanc. The flavor will be buttery with a subtle ting from the vinegar. If it doesn’t show up to your satisfaction, add another drop of vinegar. If you need more salt or pepper, now is the time to add it also. Ladle the beurre blanc over the fillets. If you have any sauce left and you are having a green vegetable on the plate, pour the remainder of the beurre blanc over the vegetables.
- The whole process for this goes very quickly but the lengthy explanation was necessary to help you feel comfortable with a new approach to a sauce.
Food for Thought:
The Word tells us to “trust in the living God. . .who giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (I Timothy 6:17 KJV). Fish is one of those things. There are a myriad of different kinds of fish that contain a myriad of riches.
I’ve been doing some research on the nutritional benefits of fish. I haven’t typically been a fan of fish for dinner, but recently have been concentrating more on my health. Therefore, I’m eating more fish. It’s amazing how many choices there are that are not only nutritious but also tasty.
Flounder, our featured fish, is high in protein and low in fat. It contains the full range of essential amino acids with leucine and lysine. An 8 ounce piece is only 183 calories and so an excellent choice for a diet and a treasure with Dale’s buttery sauce.
Last week we tried tilapia for the first time and were amazed at the crispy flavor. It is especially good grilled and is high in Potassium and Vitamin D. One serving is 128 calories which contains 14 milligrams of calcium. I’m going to purchase some more for our menus next week.
Most of us know salmon is especially good for us because of its high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oils). Fish oils improve levels of HDL (good cholesterol). We love it at our house seasoned with a mixture of spices: cumin, ginger and cracked black pepper.
When I researched cod, I was surprised to find it proclaimed one of the World’s Healthiest Foods. How about that? It is very beneficial for people with atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease because it is high in omega 3 fatty acids (72% protein, 27% fat, 1% carbs). It is also a good source of niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Dale mentioned a special recipe he uses for Cod. I’ll have to ask him to share it with us.
Inspiring Cuisine is all about how food is a precious gift from God. Remember the time when Jesus called up a fish that had a coin in its mouth? (Matthew 17:27)). God has ordained that fish be a treasure to us in many ways.