The Literate Chef

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In General Articles on July 26, 2012 at 9:45 AM

This recipe is so good, I just had to update it after making it last night for Monica and her children. As suggested by Jeannie, try soaking the dried prunes in Calvados! I will try that the next time.

The Literate Chef

(Preparation time 15 minutes; serves 4.)


2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Pork Tenderloin, (plain, i.e. unseasoned) about 2 lbs., sliced into 1 inch medallions – You should have about 16-18 pieces
24-30 Ready-to-Serve Prunes, drained and pitted (between 1 and 2 for each medallion). As an alternative, soak dried, pitted prunes in 1 quart of boiled water. In either case reserve about 1/4 cup of liquid to enhance the sauce. Or an even better suggestion soak them in Calvados as suggested by Jeannie.
1/2 cup Calvados
Salt and Freshly Ground pepper to taste


1.    In a 12 inch non-stick skillet, on high heat, melt the butter.
2.    Add the Pork Medallions, sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste and sauté for 10 minutes, turning several times to brown evenly.
3.    When browned, add the prunes and then the Calvados. Shut the heat and ignite the Calvados.

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In General Articles on July 26, 2012 at 5:49 AM

I love this picture, it could have been taken at my Grandma’s and Grandpa’s, although it was not. That could even have been me on my father’s lap, 4th in on the right! I wish that I had a picture like this from those halcyon days!

Italian Harlem

Family Reunion 1947 by See El Photo
Family Reunion 1947, a photo by See El Photo on Flickr.

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In General Articles on July 23, 2012 at 9:16 PM

It’s summertime and the grilling is easy, so get down to the fishmongers and get some wild salmon and have a feast. This was posted last summer but you can enjoy it anew.

The Literate Chef

(serves 4)


2.5 to 3 lbs. of wild salmon fillets
¼ cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
3 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh ginger; about 2 peeled pieces one- inch in length
2 tbsp. coarsely chopped garlic, about 5 cloves
2 tbsp. dried mustard powder
4 teaspoons Potlatch Seasoning


1.    Soak the cedar plank for several hours before grilling.
2.    In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce and honey.
3.    Add the garlic, ginger and mustard powder and let sit for 30 minutes so the flavors blend.
4.    Remove fish from refrigerator and let sit for 20 minutes while you pre-heat the gas grill on medium. If your grill has a thermometer, you want it to be at about 450 degrees.
5.    Place salmon in a shallow non-reactive pan, skin side up and pour marinade…

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Memories of NOLA

In General Articles on July 23, 2012 at 2:03 PM

Whenever I think of New Orleans, where I spent many a weekend pass while defending the Southern Coast of the United States from an invasion by the Viet Cong, I think of food. Of course, I also think of music, drinking and having fun with my Air Force buddies, but mostly I recall the exquisite meals at Brennan’s, Antoine’s, Galatoire’s and the dining room at the Royal Orleans Hotel, as well as beignets (think unfilled zeppole) at Café du Monde at 4:00 am.

I don’t know if those memories stem from the fact that any meal outside of the Keesler Air Force Base mess hall would be memorable, or from the fact that I was exposed to the cooking of a whole different region of the country; the French, Cajun, Creole influence and the use of spices and flavors theretofore unbeknownst to me.  Whatever the reason it was a great experience and helped to influence my culinary choices beyond those learned in my mother’s kitchen. I would be remiss to not also mention Mary Mahoney’s Old French House in Biloxi, which was our local respite from the uninspiring cuisine of the mess hall.

Rémoulade is one of those new tastes about which New Orleans taught me. Apparently, it was originally a French relish-type sauce that was adapted in the Creole fashion by adding a Louisiana Hot Sauce like Tabasco, or cayenne pepper to spice it up. There are innumerable recipes for it on-line, but the one I developed is easy to prepare, takes about 10 minutes, and can be made in advance, as long as it is refrigerated.

It goes particularly well with crab cakes, which I made a few weeks ago, after picking up some lump crab meat at Costco. These Crab Cakes were a big hit with the proportion of crab meat to breadcrumbs being limited to 1 pound of crab meat to 1.5 cups of breadcrumbs. Make them, enjoy them with a cold beer, listen to some Zydeco or Jazz, or watch Treme, and ask yourself “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?”

Crab Cakes Creole with Sauce Rémoulade

In Recipes, Seafood on July 23, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Crab Cakes with Sauce Remoulade

Crab Cakes Creole


(active preparation & cooking time about 1 hour – makes 6 to 8 crab cakes as a meal or 22 to 25 as hors d’oeuvres)


For The Crab Cakes

1 lb. lump crab meat
1 cup thinly sliced scallions, about 7 scallions, both green and white parts
1 cup of chopped, roasted, red peppers, about one 12 oz. jar, drained
1 and ½ cups plain breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. Lemon Juice
3 tsp. of Hot Hungarian Paprika
2 eggs
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

For The Sauce Rémoulade

2/3 cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp. capers, drained
1 tsp. granulated garlic, or ½ tsp. minced fresh garlic
4 tsp. whole milk
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp. Hot Hungarian Paprika


1.    Prepare the Sauce Rémoulade by combining the 6 ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisking together briskly. Chill for 30 minutes.
2.    In the meantime, to a 4 qt. or larger mixing bowl, add the crab meat, scallions, peppers and breadcrumbs, mix well with a small rubber spatula.
3.    To a small mixing bowl, add the mustard, lemon juice, paprika and eggs, whisk together briskly.
4.    Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, add black pepper and mix well again.
5.    Form the mixture into 6 or 8 cakes, each about the size of a good-sized hamburger.
6.    Add the olive oil to 12 inch non-stick frying pan and heat on medium high.
7.    When the oil is shimmering, add the cakes and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Crab Cakes with Sauce Remoulade
8.    Lower the heat to medium, turn the cakes and cook an additional 3 minutes until nicely browned.

Serve the crab cakes over a bed of mixed greens tossed with 4 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil and 4 tbsp. of champagne vinegar.


Top each crab cake with several spoonful’s of the Sauce Rémoulade.

Note: These crab cakes can be served as hors d’oeuvre as well. Merely form the cakes in smaller pieces, yield 22 to 25.

Please see Memories of NOLA

On Tour with The Literate Chef – Bermuda, Part III

In General Articles on July 22, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Continued From Part II

Upon returning to the hotel, we decided to have dinner at Ascot, rather than travel out to Tom Moore’s Tavern. Lunch on the first day was a preview to the excellent dishes turned out by the chef, and after-dinner drinks in the lounge rounded out a perfect day.

Day Three greeted us once again with sunshine, a light breeze and cheerful birdsong. However, this time the sun was out to stay, so after a brief committee meeting it was decided to catch the ferry out to the Royal Naval Dockyards.

But first, thanks to contacts made by a fellow NYAC club member we had lunch at The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, where we ran into yet another fellow Club member, who with his wife had sailed up from the Caribbean on a friend’s boat.  What are the odds, bumping into several people you know, 769 miles from home? (I had neglected to mention earlier that at Bolero on the previous day, we ran into a different fellow Club member.)

Upon arriving at the Dockyards, where was berthed the cruise ship Explorer of the Seas, a leviathan of the sea at 3 and ½ football fields in length, we kicked around for a few hours, checked out the beach, the glass-works and the old fort and then stopped in at the The Frog & Onion Pub for a few refreshing pints and some good music.

We missed our ferry back to Hamilton so decided to take a taxi rather than wait around for 90 minutes. Once again serendipity stepped in, as our cab driver, Reynoldo proved to be a great guide, raconteur and poet in his own right. On previous visits to Bermuda, when we were young and carefree, we always got around the island on motorbikes. While cabs are much safer for those of us who are past middle age, they also are a better way to observe the scenery instead of focusing on avoiding a head-on collision.

The afternoon was but a prelude to the evening, because at long last, it was time to head to Beau Rivage Restaurant  where we would meet Master Chef Jean-Claude Garzia and be treated not only to the finest meal on the island, in a spectacular setting overlooking the harbor, but as an added plus would meet the Chef himself, whose talent is only exceeded by his charm.

In June 1997, Chef JC was awarded the gold medal of “Meilleur Ouvrier de France,” the highest honor for a chef in France, by then President Jacques Chirac at the Elysée Palace in Paris. The difficult and demanding contest for this award is held every four years in France. Chef Jean-Claude applied for and was accepted into the 1996 contest. He was one of 17 chefs who won the award out of 550 chefs who had competed. He did so after 20 years of training, studying and working as a chef in France, then at the Chateau Frontenac in Québec City and at the Cambridge Beaches Resort in Bermuda. In 2008, he opened Beau Rivage, for which my friends and I are very thankful.

A Perfect Bloody Mary

A 20 minute taxi ride from Hamilton, and just across the harbor, Beau Rivage is a true gem of Bermuda. From its spectacular deck, while enjoying a delicious Bloody Mary, Apple Martini, Dirty Martini or glass of wine, each of which was tested by one or more of our merry little band, you can watch the magnificent sunset and see the lights come on in Hamilton. As we discovered, the views were equally enjoyable inside.

Sunset Hamilton Harbor from Beau Rivage

After perusing the extensive and mouth-watering menu, I decided to go with two classics, a creamy Lobster Bisque and an outstanding Filet de Boeuf Wellington. Other members of our party equally enjoyed  perfect Coquille Saint-Jacques, spectacular Seafood Risotto, classic Bermuda Sautéed Rockfish and the innovative Glazed Salmon. After dessert, we got to meet Chef Jean-Claude and compliment him on his outstanding restaurant.

We spoke briefly about my efforts as The Literate Chef, after which he invited me back into his kitchen. His philosophy is that everyone is welcome in his kitchen and there are no secrets. I asked Chef JC if he would mind if I took one of his menus so that I would be able to mention in my blog the wonderful dishes that he offered. Much to my surprise, he presented me with an autographed copy of his most recent book, Bon Appétit Bermuda, which is filled with detailed recipes accompanied by beautiful photographs. Dinner at Beau Rivage was the perfect finale to our serendipitous Bermuda adventure, that had begun more than a year ago on a chilly afternoon in New York City!

Chef Jean-Claude’s inviting personality matched by his delicious dishes, the professional service of his staff, and the ambiance of his restaurant, make Beau Rivage a must place to visit on your next trip to Bermuda. In my case it will be my first stop. In the meantime, I will have to content myself with following his recipes and sharing those adventures with my readers.

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