Thursday, June 30, 2016


Syllabub is a wonderful Old English mousse-like dessert. It was also popular in the colonies in the 18th century. Originally it was made with some type of alcohol, such as cider or wine, and then taken outside to the barn where the cow was milked straight into the bucket. Then it was whipped to a froth with a birch whisk and allowed to separate before eating. The alcohol would settle to the bottom of the glass and the frothy milk was on the top. Here is a more appetizing way to make syllabub and you don't have to wait for the mixture to separate. I am fortunate to have my mom's iced tea spoons which are perfect for dipping deep into the tall Irish coffee glasses to get every last spoonful. 

½ cup white wine
¼ cup brandy 
2 T grated lemon zest
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
Blueberries or raspberries, for garnish

Pour wine, brandy, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar into a large bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Let sit on counter for about 15 minutes and whisk again.

In a large bowl, pour in the heavy whipping cream and beat with an electric mixer until medium stiff peaks form.
Fold the whipped cream into the bowl with the wine mixture until well combined. 

Spoon into 4 to 6 wine, champagne or Irish coffee glasses.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, up to 8 hours.

When ready to serve, garnish with a couple of blueberries or raspberries and a mint leaf.

Sunday, June 26, 2016


My daughter gave me this recipe for her easy restaurant-style salsa. It tastes just as good as the salsa in our favorite southwest restaurant in Seattle.

2 (14-oz) cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
½ medium yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
½ poblano pepper, roughly chopped
1 bunch rinsed cilantro leaves and stems
2 cloves garlic, cut in half
½ t ground cumin
1 ½ t sea salt
½ t finely ground black pepper
Juice of ½ lime
¼ to ½ t cane or granulated sugar

Put everything in a blender and blend very quickly or pulse, to leave it slightly chunky.

Thursday, June 23, 2016


All Southerners love Chicken-Fried Steak or Country Fried Steak (CFS). It is believed that it was created in Texas by Austrian and German immigrants in the mid 1800s. A common main course for the immigrants in their old country was Weiner Schnitzel (veal) or Schnitzel (pork). I imagine the gravy came later and then it was called CFS. Serve this with mashed potatoes and collard greens. 

Lee's Kitchen Tips:
Have your butcher tenderize your steaks, if they are not already tenderized. Butchers do a much better job than trying to do this at home.

4 pieces of butcher-tenderized cube steak or hip steak
¾ cup cornstarch
2 eggs
½ cup buttermilk 
3 to 4 dashes of hot sauce (optional)

½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup corn flour or finely ground corn meal
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1 t baking powder
2 t paprika
1 t sea salt
1 t finely ground black pepper

Peanut or grape seed oil, for frying    

Country Gravy
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 T pan drippings
2 T unsalted butter
2 cups whole milk
Sea salt and finely ground black pepper

Pat steaks dry with paper towels. 
In a shallow bowl, add the cornstarch.
In another shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce.
In a third shallow bowl, add flour, corn flour, garlic powder, onion powder, baking powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper.

Working with one steak at a time, coat each side with the cornstarch.
Shake off excess and dip in the egg mixture.
Next dredge in the seasoned flour mixture.
Transfer to a tray or baking sheet.
Repeat with the remaining steaks.

Pour about 1 inch of oil in a large cast iron skillet.
Heat oil to about 375 degrees F or test oil with a wooden spoon to see if bubbles appear around the spoon. The moisture of the wooden spoon creates bubbles in hot oil.

Fry 2 steaks at a time for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
Transfer to a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack and keep warm in a 225 degree F oven while frying the remaining steaks.

Country Gravy
Spoon out about ¼ cup of the hot frying oil to a medium saucepan.
Over medium heat, add the flour and whisk constantly until mixtures turns a very light brown, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the butter and slowly whisk in the milk.
Season with salt and finely ground black pepper.
Reduce to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Serves 2 to 4

Sunday, June 12, 2016


You can buy wood chips or chunks at your local hardware store. Apple, cherry, or alder are the best to use with salmon. Because you are only smoking the salmon for a short time, it's best to use wood chips. Soak them in water while your salmon is marinating in the refrigerator. If you have a gas grill, place the soaked chips in an aluminum foil packet, with vent holes cut on the top. If you use a charcoal grill, as I do, put the wood chips directly on the coals.

2 T brown sugar
1 T Kentucky bourbon
1 T lemon zest
1 t sea salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1 lb center cut Chinook (King) or Sockeye (Red) salmon fillet

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, bourbon, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.

Remove any pin bones in the salmon with "kitchen only" needle-nose pliers.
Place salmon, skin side down, in a shallow baking dish.
Using a spoon, spread the above mixture evenly over salmon.
Cover and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.

Place a handful of wood chips in a container and cover with water.
Let soak 2 to 4 hours while salmon is in refrigerator.

About 30 minutes before you want to smoke the salmon, prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals on one side of grill. Let coals burn until gray.
Drop soaked wood chips on top of hot coals and let smoke for a few minutes.

Gently place the salmon, skin side down, on the cooler side of grate.
Place lid on grill, leaving vents open slightly.
Cook for 12 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, shake together the Raspberry Vinaigrette in a jar.
Place salad ingredients in a large bowl and drizzle some of the dressing over salad. 
Toss gently and place on two dinner plates.

Remove salmon from grill to a cutting board.
Cut fillet in half, removing skin, and place on top of salad and serve.

Raspberry Vinaigrette
1 t Dijon mustard
¼ cup raspberry vinegar
2 T honey
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 T poppy seeds
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Enough baby greens for two people
2 T chopped cilantro leaves
8 strawberries, hulled and sliced
¼ cup blueberries
1 seedless small clementine or other orange, sliced
A few thin slices of red onion
A few regular or candied pecans

Serves 2

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


These stuffed eggs are a perfect accompaniment to a brunch. I added a finely minced jalapeñchile pepper to spice it up. I also added a little bit of chipotle chile power, which is made from dried smoked jalapeño chiles.

6 eggs
1 ripe avocado
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
1 clove garlic, pushed through a garlic press
1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and finely minced
¼ t chipotle chile powder
1 T minced fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
Sea salt and finely ground black pepper
Paprika, for garnish

Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover, just over the top, with cold water.
Add ½ t baking soda.
Bring just to a boil, turn off heat and cover with a lid.
Let sit for 15 minutes.

Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon.
Crack eggs slightly on one end and place in a bowl of ice-cold water for 15 minutes.
Roll eggs on a hard surface to crack, then peel off shells.

Gently dry eggs with paper towels and then slice in half, lengthwise.

Remove yolks to a bowl.
Place the egg whites on a plate.
Mash yolks and avocado very well with a fork, potato masher, or place in a ricer.
Add the lime zest, lime juice, garlic, jalapeño pepper, chile powder, and cilantro.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Fill the egg whites by spoon or with a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.

Top with a little sprinkle of paprika and a small leaf of cilantro.

Makes 12 eggs

Sunday, June 5, 2016


I planted a few strawberry plants this year, but they have a long way to go before they bear fruit. A local farmer had pints of strawberries for sale at her farm stand. I picked up two and almost wanted to eat one pint before I got home—but I didn't!

½ t butter, for the cake pan
1½ cups cake flour or all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
½ t sea salt
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 t pure vanilla extract
¾ cup whole milk

2 pints strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 t Grand Marnier, or Cointreau, or lemon juice
2 T water
1 t unflavored gelatin
2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream
¼ cup sugar

Butter the bottom of the cake pan. Add a round piece of parchment and butter the parchment and sides of cake pan. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.
Turn the mixer to low speed and add the eggs, one at a time.
Add the vanilla and start adding the flour and the milk alternately.
Mix until combined and spread batter into the prepared cake pan.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, remove and finish cooling on a rack.

While cake is baking, combine the strawberries with the sugar and liqueur or lemon juice.

In a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of hot water. Add the gelatin and stir to combine.
Set aside to cool.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream and sugar on high speed until soft peaks form.
Add the gelatin mixture and beat until stiff peaks form.

Cut the cake in half, horizontally.
Place bottom half of cake on a plate, cut side up.
Arrange half of the strawberries over the top.
Spread half of the whipped cream on top of the strawberries.
Add the top half and cover with the rest of the whipped cream.

Refrigerate the cake and the rest of the strawberries separately.

When ready to serve, spoon strawberries on top of cake.