Tag Archives: fish

Grilling and Butter. A Perfect Combination.


Some things are just made to go together.

Steven Raichlen and Aux Delices des Bois Grilling Butters

I’m going to come right out and say it. Right at the beginning of this post. Just so there can be no confusion. I am not a fan of butter on my grilled food. So much so, that I shun the Ruth’s Chris Steak House chain because I can’t come to grips with the butter they top their steaks with. No, it’s not a phobia. It’s just a preference.

I’ve always believed that if something is seasoned properly and cooked just right, there would be no reason to throw an extra glob of fat onto it just to make it palatable. But, something happened this summer grilling season. I am here to tell you right now. With the world as my witness, I WAS WRONG! Wrong, wrong, wrong.

All those wasted years, What a tragedy. Hopefully, I some have time left to make it right.

How does such an amazing reversal of taste come about? That’s a damn good question. And after my pronouncement in the first paragraph, I think you deserve a damn good answer.

Does this man look familiar? Look closely.

Steve Raichlen

If you answered BBQ legend Steven Raichlen, give yourself a gold star or a pat on the back (whichever you’re most comfortable with). The man who practically invented BBQ cookbooks for the masses is out with a new grilling product. And, it’s not a gadget, book or guide. It’s butter. Grilling butter to be more specific.

Steven Raichlen and Aux Delices des Bois Grilling Butters

You’re probably saying, “Big deal. I’ve used grilling butter before. That’s old news”. That may be true. But, I can tell you, the butters you’ve used are not like this. These butters are packed with flavor. Overflowing with a rich goodness that enhances the food without overwhelming it. It’s not that glob of fat that I avoided for so long. It’s a dollop of pure deliciousness.

Here’s the dish that turned the tide for me and made me a believer.

Cookbook Man Grilled Salmon

1 lb, salmon fillet
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
Steven Raichlen Fine Herbs w/Meyer Lemon Grilling Butter

Pre heat your grill and prepare for direct grilling. Portion your salmon into 3 or 4 equal pieces. I like my fillets about ⅓ of a pound. Drizzle olive oil over fish. Turn to coat completely. Combine salt and pepper. Sprinkle mixture over flesh side of fish. Rest at room temperature about 20 minutes. Slice one butter pat for each fillet. About ⅓ of an inch thick.

When grill is hot place fish on grate directly over coals skin side down. You can use a fish grate if you would like. Cover and cook 4 minutes. Carefully flip fish, cover and grill an additional 3-4 minutes depending on your preference. I like mine just done (or just a bit under). When the fish is cooked to your liking, remove from grill and immediately place one butter pat on the flesh side of each fillet. Butter will melt onto fish.

Serve with a nice cold summer salad.

Serve 3-4

Here’s how it will look.

Cookbook Man Grilled Salmon

Amazing, right? Have another look.

Cookbook Man Grilled Salmon

The butter melts leaving the herbs behind along with a silky, delicious flavor. WOW! The flavors are subtle enough not to overpower the actual food. It is a true enhancement to the dish.

OK, I’ll say it one more time just for good measure. I was wrong. At least on the butter thing. I’m not saying I’m making a res at Ruth’s Chris just yet. But, Steven’s grilling butters have broken new ground for me.

These butters are produced by Aux Délices des Bois & Planet Barbecue Grilling Butters. You can get more info on them at Transatlantic Foods. These are great to keep in the freezer and pull out when you need them. If you would like to have some for your very own we can make that happen. Just click.

Aux Délices des Bois & Planet Barbecue Grilling Butters

Oh, Aux Délices des Bois also produces some mean charcuterie. More on that later…


These products were provided for our tasting at no cost to us. We were not compensated in any way to write this review. Thought you should know.

Paradise Kitchen | Daniel Orr


Bring a little culinary paradise into your kitchen.

Paradise Kitchen: Caribbean Cooking with Chef Daniel Orr

TITLE: Paradise Kitchen: Caribbean Cooking with Chef Daniel Orr
AUTHOR: Chef Daniel Orr
PUBLISHER: Indiana University Press
CUISINE: Caribbean

* * * * *

Featured Ingredient: Jerk Seasonings/Spices
Yes, we immediately think Jamaica when we talk about jerk spices or seasonings. But, Michele's Scotch Bonnet and Mango Chutney. By Tom Purvesthis unique flavor combination is the basis for lots of dishes found sprinkled around the Caribbean. The two main ingredients of any jerk mixture worth its salt are allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers. After that the remaining ingredients may include, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, salt and thyme. The mixture is a natural with chicken and pork. I’ve even seen it used as a beef rub. Jerk mixes are personal. So, go ahead and put your stamp on your own unique blend today.

* * * * *

First Impression
It’s a “showbook”. It’s not a coffee table book. But, its presentation is a step above the average cookbook on the market today. There are tons of bright, beautiful images inside. The fact that it’s printed on a slick, heavy white stock says someone cared enough to make a statement. The book has more chapters than you normally see. It is divided into very specific manageable pieces. That allows you to find sub-groups of recipes quickly. The ingredients to complete some dishes may be a little hard to find in some parts of the country or world.

* * * * *

What’s You’ll Find Inside (aka Table of Contents)

Breakfast at the Beach
Sunrise, Shakes and Smoothies
Soups and Salads to Beat the Heat
Energize You Afternoons
Tango with Tapas
Caribbean Cocktails
Homemade Flavored Rums
Island Starters
Limiting It Up Under Pressure
Grilled Lobster
Cooking for Carnivores
Sides and Accompaniments
Bush Teas
Sunny Sweets
Recipes for the Body

* * * * *

Never been to Anguilla? I guess that means you’re like most of us. I can’t get you there, but, I can give you a quick peek into what the island is like.

* * * * *

Best of the Book (Our favorite Recipes)

Saltfish and Yam Cakes Kumquat and Star Anise Rum
Black Bean Soup Snapper in Chili & Ginger Broth
Anguillian Conch Chowder Pressure Cooker Goat Stew
Good Vibration Chicken Salad Grilled Potfish “en Papillotte”
Lavender Lemonade Spice Crusted Rack of Lamb
Anguillan Jerked Fresh Ham Hot Chocolate Soufflé
Soft Mofongo Crab Fritters with Lemon Zest & Parmesan

* * * * *

Special Features
This book is loaded with non-traditional cookbook information. For example, one back section contains a guide on how to prepare for a hurricane. You don’t find that in every cookbook about island cuisine. Lots of people live in areas of the U.S. that are impacted by tropical storms. So, a prep list is a good thing. If you don’t happen to live in a hurricane susceptible area, it will give you a little insight on what people do to prepare.

Paradise Kitchen: Caribbean Cooking with Chef Daniel Orr

There is a boatload of valuable info on the island of Anguilla. I’ve seen the island from afar, but, have never set foot on it. There is great background for a future trip. The book also contains one of my favorite features, a bookmark ribbon. I love that.

Unfortunately, one of the special features that seems to be missing is an online resource guide to some of the harder to find ingredients. Home cooks attempting a dish that may live in an area without a Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or Fresh Market would appreciate knowing where to obtain some of the more obscure components.

The people are a BIG part of this book. They make it special. Turn to page 91 and have a look at Lavon and the array of island drinks before him. It looks like he enjoyed making them and would love for you to sip on one. That alone makes you want to take a trip south. Or, maybe replicate the experience wherever you live.

* * * * *

In most cases this is not an everyday cookbook. Assembling the ingredients may be a challenge for some and not everyone needs to prepare for a hurricane. That being said, the recipes are unique, flavorful and offer a great look into the local cuisine. There are spice blend recipes that you could use on dishes you create yourself. And, it’s just a fun book to leaf through and enjoy. If you’ve ever been on an island vacation, Paradise Kitchen will allow you to re-create some of the culinary experience.

Lastly, I’m a big supporter of smaller publishing endeavors. This book is published by the Indiana University Press. It represents an outlet for chef/authors to get their work into the mainstream in a non-traditional way. I wholeheartedly support that effort.

If you’re looking for that summertime dish to impress your friends at your next backyard party there are lots of great choices waiting for you here. Just open to a page and you’re likely to point to a winner.

Culinary Expertise Required: 6.5
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

Would you like your own copy of Paradise Kitchen? We can make it easy for you to get one.

Paradise Kitchen: Caribbean Cooking with Chef Daniel Orr

Links, Resources & Other Press
Indiana University Press
The Anguilla Guide
Chef Daniel Orr
Guide to Caribbean Fish

Monday Books: Salmon


Finally, something that tastes great that’s also good for you!


I’ll reluctantly admit it here. In the past I’ve probably overdone it a touch on the salmon. But, I love it. My wife, not so much. She’ll tolerate it a couple of times a month. If she has to eat it twice a week there’s going to be a menu planning meeting.

In my opinion, what’s not to like? It tastes great. And, as a BIG side benefit, it’s a superfood. Meaning, it’s REALLY good for you.  When I cook salmon I usually grill it. I make an extra piece to eat cold the next day for lunch. It’s one fish that is just as good out of the fridge as it is off the grill.

Maybe, my wife just needs a little recipe variety in her salmon intake. To that end, and in an attempt to avoid that “not salmon again” look. Here’s are some great ideas for your next salmon supper (or lunch).


Salmon: The Cookbook Simply Salmon Salmon, Desserts & Friends James McNair's Salmon Cookbook

Smoking & Curing

Smokin': Recipes for Smoking Ribs, Salmon, Chicken, Mozzarella, and More with Your Stovetop Smoker Smoking Food for Pleasure or Profit: How to smoke fish, oysters, mussels, cheese, ham, bacon, sausage and salmon, complete with recipes and diagrams Smoked Salmon Smoking Salmon and Trout: Plus Canning, Freezing, Pickling and More

Odds & Ends

The Beginners Guide To Canning Fish - Home Ideas for Preserving Salmon, Trout and Other Fish Cooking With Salmon: The King of Fish Salmon Cookbook 1915 Reprint: How To Eat Canned Salmon Canning Salmon... In the Way We Were Taught

Those should give you some new and exciting ideas for your next salmon feast!

Your Seat At The Greek Table

There’s more to great food than just a recipe.

Three Sisters Around the Greek Table: A Cookbook

Where does a recipe come from? At first blush, it seems like a simple question to answer. You have a basic idea of what you would like to make. You add some things to it and take some things away. You experiment with cooking times and techniques and before you know it, Voila! A dish is born.

Do you think that’s how your mother did it? Or, how about your great grandmother? I’m going to go out on a limb and say probably not. I’m not suggesting that there wasn’t some creating back then. But, I think there was a lot of passing too. Passing family recipes from one hand to the next. Hoping to preserve a legacy of great food and important family food traditions.

There’s a lot of history in all ethnic foods. None more so than Greek cuisine. The Greek culture is proud of their dishes. They are woven into the very fabric of their lives. For those of us who don’t share that heritage, it’s hard to pass up an opportunity to have an insider’s view. And, three sisters, originally from Toronto Canada are offering you a great look.

Their cookbook, Three Sisters Around The Greek Table is a tribute to the recipes of their past (and their future). These are classic Greek dishes that have more than stood the test of time. They hold a special meaning for Betty, Eleni and Samantha. For the rest of us the history might not be there, but, the amazing flavors sure are.

These dishes are presented in a simple and straightforward manner. There isn’t anything tricky about any of them. It’s more about a passion for sharing a piece of their culinary roots than anything else. That’s a good thing.

I wanted to make something that would really exemplify the rustic nature of traditional Mediterranean fare. The Grilled Whole Red Snapper would be a perfect choice.

Whole Roasted Ren Snapper

Understand, I fully intended to make this recipe using the above-mentioned red snapper. But, something unexpected happened when I was shopping for my ingredients.

One word, Branzini. I like red snapper, but, I love branzini. Whole branzini right there in my local fish counter. And, to make things even better, the sign below the fish read “Fresh From Greece”. There couldn’t be a better choice. I was living right.


The recipe is super easy. Have your fishmonger scale and gut your fish. Stuff it with some fresh oregano and lemon slices.

Stuffed Branzini

Heat your grill. Rub your fish with olive oil. Salt and pepper generously. Grill 6 to 8 minutes per side. I cut a couple of small slits in the skin on each side of the fish to help distribute the heat while it’s cooking.

Grilled Branzini

It’s just that easy. That skin was really crispy and delicious too.

The recipe calls for a Lemon, Oregano & Olive Oil Dressing to drizzle over the top.

You didn’t think I forgot a side dish did you? No way. The Horiatiki Salata (Tomato & Cucumber Village Salad) made an excellent partner for the fish.

3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
½ sweet onion, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
½ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. salt

In a large bowl, toss all of the ingredients together. Mix well. Add a little fresh feta to the top of each salad when serving.

I have a friend of mine who is from Greece. He’s from an older generation than I am (is that OK to say?). When I told him that I was going to make a Horiatiki Salata, his eyes lit up! He was happy to inform me that each small village or town in this native Greece, has their own unique variation on this classic dish. You could just see him effortlessly drift back in time. Amazing what food can do!

Horiatiki Salata
Recipe adapted from Tomato & Cucumber Village Salad, Around The Greek Table, Betty, Eleni and Samantha Bakopoulos, Adelfes © 2009.

Here’s how it all came together. The fish was light and flaky.

Whole Roasted Red Snapper

The Bottom Line: If you’re in the market for a cookbook that really captures the essence of traditional Greek cuisine then look no further. Around The Greek Table will make you feel like you have special access to the Bakopoulos sisters family recipe box.

BUY IT - Three Sisters Around the Greek Table: A CookbookAuthors: Betty Bakopoulos, Eleni Bakopoulos, Samantha Bakopoulos
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Delphi Distribution
ISBN-10: 098134050


BUY IT - Three Sisters Around the Greek Table: A Cookbook

A Fish Story


What do a two year old and an Alaskan salmon fisherman have in common? Not much.

Salmon, Desserts & Friends

Back when my son was two years old, I thought it would be a good idea to teach him some basic man skills. Fishing. Not that I had actually mastered that particular skill myself, but, a two year old certainly wouldn’t be able to figure out that the instructor was nearly as green as the student.

A camping weekend was a good opportunity. We brought our gear. Which amounted to a couple of nearly new rods, some old lures and a few randomly collected fishing odds and ends. We were off to reel in the BIG one.

Our campground had a small lake, which I thought would be the perfect training ground for my son’s life lesson. We unpacked and organized our things for what was certain to be a killer afternoon of fishing.

We carefully baited our nearly rusty hooks with fresh night crawlers from the camp’s general store. Eyed the almost calm water and set about the business of emptying that small lake of its gilled contents.

Thirty minutes past. Which when your fishing with a two year old seems just a little longer. Another thirty gone. And, another. Either these fish were too crafty for us or someone had beaten us to our scaly treasure.

Then it happened! My son started reeling as madly as any two year old with a junior fishing pole could. He looked excited. As he brought his prize to the surface one thing became immediately obvious. Whatever was at the end of that hook certainly was not a fish.

When the reeling was finished, my proud son had landed himself a medium sized, water logged oak leaf. But, did that stop the celebration? Certainly not. His first catch may not have been edible, but, it was exciting as all get out.

After another half hour we decided to pack our gear and call it a day. With nothing but great fish stories in tow, we left the lake and grilled burgers for dinner. An unqualified success.

I recently came across another great fish story, Salmon, Desserts & Friends by fisherman/chef/author LaDonna Gundersen. But, unlike my tale, this story has an ending that involves actually catching fish.

LaDonna and her husband Ole operate a commercial salmon fishing boat in Alaska. This is REAL fishing. Thank goodness they can actually catch fish, because I love salmon. And, I would hate to see my supply dry up.

Canned Alaskan Salmon

This book is stocked with all kinds of great salmon recipes. Fortunately, you don’t have to execute them in an authentic, cramped galley kitchen like she does.

I thought I would try my hand at the Lemon Salmon Burger with Creamy Basil Sauce. I figured, hey, I have more than a 10 X 10 kitchen to work with. LaDonna probably wouldn’t know what to do with all that space.

Lemon Salmon Burger with Creamy Basil Sauce

Here’s how to do it

1 14 oz. can salmon, drained
2 eggs
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. onion, finely chopped
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
½ tsp. dries oregano
? tsp. salt
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 hamburger buns
4 crisp lettuce leaves
4 large tomato slices

Ingredients – Creamy Basil Sauce
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh basil

In a medium bowl, mix together the salmon, eggs, parsley, onion, bread crumbs, lemon juice, basil, oregano, salt and red pepper. Form into four patties.

Uncooked Salmon Patties

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the patties and cook for about 4 minutes per side or until nicely browned on both sides.

Method - Creamy Basil Sauce
In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of the basil.

Place one cooked salmon patty on a bun bottom. Top with a spoonful of basil sauce. Top with one lettuce leaf and one tomato slice. Add bun top and enjoy.

Serves 4

Finished - Lemon Salmon Burger with Creamy Basil Sauce
Recipe Adapted from, Lemon Salmon Burger with Creamy Basil Sauce, Salmon, Desserts and Friends, LaDonna Gundersen, Todd Communications 2011

TIP: You may need to add more bread crumbs to get to the desired consistency to form your patties. Since you are using olive oil and not peanut or canola, be careful not to overheat it. It has a lower smoke point (but more flavor) than the other two.

The Bottom Line: LaDonna has put together a fantastic collection of salmon recipes. Not only are they fun and easy to make, but, her and Ole’s story is pretty unique and interesting. I wouldn’t mind spending some time on their boat honing my nearly non-existent fishing skills. Couldn’t everybody use a seasonal inexperienced deckhand?

One last thing. On page 25, there is a recipe for a dish called, Wild About Salmon. A cryptic dedication accompanies the recipe. I would love to know what all that means.

BONUS: I have signed copy of LaDonna’s book to give to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment to this post telling us how much you love salmon and we’ll pick one at random. Yes, it’s just that’s easy!

Author: LaDonna Gundersen
Paperback: 134 pages
Publisher: Todd Communications
ISBN-10: 157833523X


BUY IT! - Salmon, Desserts & Friends