DIY Projects by our podcast guest, Eden Passante: Hostess Gift, Watercolor Plates, Superbowl Snacks.
These four cookbooks cover mouthwatering recipes from the ocean, lakes, and rivers of the U.S. spanning across the country from the East Coast to the West. Oh, and there's a little Japanese culinary tradition, too...thanks to a pastry-chef-turned-Sushi-Master from Mississippi! Keep reading and dig in!
LIVING OFF THE SEA On The Island of Chappaquiddick
by Melissa Fager
This is as much a love story as it is a cookbook. Ms. Fager and her husband have a home on Chappaquiddick, a small island off Cape Cod, and this project is an ode to the sea and it's bounty. You can feel how smitten they are with their surroundings as they live mostly off of whatever Jeff catches while they're there. It's full of personal stories, reflections on the flora and fauna of the area, and mouthwatering recipes. The photography is beautiful (Melinda is a pro) and the prose is best enjoyed in-between sips of Prosecco as you're tending to your fish on the stove. This cookbook embodies summer seafood at it's best.
IN THE KITCHEN WITH THE PIKE PLACE FISH GUYS
by the crew of Pike Place Fish, Bryan Jarr and Leslie Miller
I'm particularly excited about this cookbook because it resonates with the core of who we are at Little Yellow Couch. The first chapter is called "The Lost Art of the Fishmonger: It's the Connection That Matters." We believe that we're at our happiest when we're feeling viscerally connected to an experience and the people who are part of it. These guys totally get that. They know their fish and where it comes from. They know how to sell it and prepare it. Oh, and they also know a thing or two about throwing it. My husband and I made a point of watching the famous tossing of the fish between aisles and fishmongers when we were on our honeymoon in Seattle. (If you haven't had the pleasure, check out this short video:
The cookbook really covers everything from how to choose sustainably harvested seafood, to stocking your pantry, to the ins and outs of prep, depending on your final plate requirements. For the Fish Guys, nothing seems to be off limits when it comes to adding seafood to your diet. Some of the chapter titles include "Rise & Shine," "Pasta + Fish = Love," "Paella" and "In The Raw." But probably the best parts of the book are the diagrams showing you the proper way to throw salmon, crab and other fishy creatures. This book is as entertaining as it is mouth-watering!
COOKING FISH & GAME: Delicious Recipes from Shore Lunches to Gourmet Dinners
by Paul McGahren
Since I've lived on the coast for most of my life, my seafood experience tends to skew toward the ocean. But I'd be missing out on a whole lot of deliciousness if I didn't include at least one book on cooking fresh water fish! In this book, Paul McGahren talks a lot about the fishing end of the culinary pipeline, (as well as the hunting side of things when it comes to land based food), but I think that makes what you're preparing to eat all the more tasty. Especially for those of us who aren't going to don chest high waders and spend long weekends fly fishing, I appreciate knowing the story behind what goes into the procurement of my meal. Along side the diagrams and maps of fish and their locales are simple and elegant recipes for all kinds of fresh water fish. You're going to need a lot of napkins to catch the marinades dribbling down your chin!
SUSHI SECRETS: Easy Recipes for the Home Cook
by Marisa Baggett
I was hooked (ha ha) on this book as soon as I read the introduction. Marisa Baggett started out as a pastry chef and made the happy mistake of agreeing to serve sushi at a private party. Even though she had never had sushi in her life. Ha! I knew immediately that I would love her if I met her and that she would be the only person who had a snowball's chance of convincing me I could make sushi, too. (She explains her story and ultimately winds up forgoing everything for the pursuit of sushi chef greatness. And her book would be a indication that she has arrived!). The cookbook is broken down the way any novice would want it to be. She cover the eight different kinds of sushi, which types are good for different circumstances (including kid-friendly, and budget-friendly varieties), how to plan out an entire meal, the ingredients and tools needed for the recipes and how to select fish properly. There are also primers on sauces, condiments, making hand rolls and making rice (both the perfect kind and the almost-perfect-microwave-kind for those of us who are lazy and aren't ashamed to admit it). Recipes include sashimi and ceviche as well as sushi and, miraculously, they actually seem attainable! I'm having tuna roll cravings as I write this...gotta go....
As I've said before, I don't do a lot for Valentine's Day (although I'm getting the hang of it from watching Karen June), but I often do make a special dessert to surprise my husband on the 14th. When I mentioned this to Karen, she immediately thought of using a raspberry sauce in some way. It's got that traditional red color going for it, but it can also make you look sophisticated and highly cultured. I mean, I'm pretty sure that pouring sauces over stuff is how the French make all of us think they are exceptionally good cooks.
So Karen June came up with a truly delicious recipe for raspberry sauce that only contains four ingredients, one of which is Grand Marnier, so you already know it's going to be worth it. But what will the sauce be garnishing? We decided on vanilla ice cream in dark chocolate bowls, which look a lot harder than they are. If you can blow up a balloon, you can make these bowls. And if you can't blow up a balloon, try dark chocolate chips instead. No one will know. Unless they read this blog. Which we hope they do. So just distract them today.
Grand Marnier Raspberry Sauce
12 oz. Package of Frozen Raspberries
3/4 c. Turbinado Raw Sugar
1/4 c. Grand Marnier
2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
- In a medium saucepan, combine raspberries and turbinado sugar.
- Set stovetop to medium heat.
- In a small bowl, combine Grand Marnier and cornstarch and stir until dissolved.
- Add mixture to your saucepan.
- Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring frequently for about 5 - 7 minutes until sauce thickens and begins boiling.
- Allow sauce to cool and refrigerate in a sealed container.
How To Make Chocolate Bowls
You just need dark chocolate candy melts and small balloons (water balloon size). Melt the chocolates in the microwave, dip a blown-up balloon in the chocolate to the depth that you want the bowl to be. Let the chocolate dipped balloon set for a bit by placing it on a tray lined with waxed paper. Pop the balloon and then peel it away from the chocolate, leaving behind a perfectly round bowl! Ta da!
At Little Yellow Couch, we are busy being" Crazy About ... "a lot of things this month - including cocktails! We set my mixologist husband, Jason, to the task of creating a cocktail that would be fitting of our theme. Inspired by the Olympics, he created the Sochi Mule - a handcrafted take on the Moscow Mule. This cocktail features a mint ginger simple syrup that in our opinion will take the Gold! In fact, we are "Crazy About ..." it!
Karen June & Jason
Mint Ginger Simple Syrup
- 4 oz. Fresh Ginger (sliced thin)
- 1 oz. Package Fresh Mint (leaves removed from stems)
- 2 c. Turbinado Raw Sugar
- 8 c. Water
- Bring water to boil in a large saucepan.
- Add ginger and mint.
- Simmer for 40 minutes.
- Strain and return liquid to saucepan.
- Add sugar and return to a simmer stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved.
- Once dissolved, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
4 oz. Mint Ginger Simple Syrup
2 oz. Vodka
2 oz. Club Soda
Pour over ice in copper mug. Cheers!
No cocktail party is complete without a signature drink! About a month and a half before our party I put my mixologist husband Jason to the task. Before I knew it, boxes of imported figs, vanilla and other esoteric ingredients were arriving on our doorstep.
Soon glass jars of vanilla bean and fig infused bourbon were lining our shelves as well as bitters waiting to infuse into a complex flavor with a strong vanilla essence. We snuck a few tastes over the month as the flavors developed ... this is a good idea to monitor your infusions ... but seriously it would be impossible to wait anyway!
When the evening of our Little Yellow Couch Cocktail Party finally arrived, it was thrilling to mix a handcrafted Vanilla Fig Old-Fashioned for our guests and enjoy a few ourselves!
Karen June & Jason
Vanilla Fig Infused Bourbon
2 Liters Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey**
1 lb. Black Mission Figs (quartered)
1 lb. Turkish Figs (quartered)
1 lb. Calimyrna Figs (quartered)
9 Madagascar Vanilla Beans Soaked in Bourbon
Mix together in an airtight glass container(s). Allow to infuse for 1 month, agitating daily.
After 1 month, strain through both coarse and fine strainers. Bottle in decorative decanters.
** We wanted to make a larger amount for our party guests, but this recipe can be reduced proportionally for smaller batches.
750 ml bottle Booker's 130.4 proof Bourbon***
2 Tbsp Blackstrap Molasses
1 Tbsp Gentian Root
1 Tbsp Cacao Nibs
1 Tbsp Black Cardamom
1 Tbsp Coffee Beans
9 Madagascar Vanilla Beans Soaked in Bourbon
1 Tsp Black Peppercorns
*** High proof bourbon is necessary for extracting the complex flavors in bitters.
Mix together in an airtight glass container(s). Allow to infuse for 1 month, agitating daily. After 1 month, strain through both coarse and fine strainers. Bottle in dark amber glass.
Vanilla Fig Old-Fashioned
3-6 Dashes of Vanilla Bitters
3 Parts Vanilla Fig Infused Bourbon
1 Part Club Soda
Add ice to a glass. Add bitters, then club soda and finally bourbon. Stir and serve.
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