Happy Valentine’s Day
Beet, Lentil, Strawberry Salad
With Yogurt, Hazelnuts, and Radicchio
The inspiration for this Valentine’s Day salad came from our lunch at Hell’s Kitchen Las Vegas where we thoroughly enjoyed a salad course of roasted golden beets over Greek yogurt with kumquats (fruit), pistachios (nuts), and a white balsamic vinaigrette.
Here, red beets are also served over Greek yogurt with beluga lentils, freeze dried strawberries (fruit), toasted hazelnuts (nuts), radicchio and Gordon Ramsay’s beet dressing.
The vibrant red salad is perfect for Valentine’s (or any other day for that matter) with sweet, savory, earthy, bitter, nutty, and creamy notes. It’s a symphony of color, flavor, texture, and crunch.
❤️ Valentine’s Day Salad ❤️
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Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen Las Vegas
And His Crispy Skin Salmon Dish
Gordon Ramsay made a surprise visit to Hell’s Kitchen at Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the restaurant, which was the first of his six Hells.
We were there, but unfortunately just missed him by exactly one week! The one word we used to describe our lunch at Hell’s Kitchen was FUN! It was super enjoyable from the buzzing energy, to the studio-set atmosphere with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Strip, to the relaxed yet experienced service, and it felt like the guests were all there to have a good time, too. And we enjoyed the crispy skin salmon dish so much, that I decided to re-create it at home.
Hell’s Kitchen in Vegas is on track to hit $55 million in annual sales, Ramsay said, a figure that places it among the highest-grossing independent restaurants in the world. The 300+ seat restaurant is open more than 12 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year. Just like casinos, Ramsay staffs Hell’s Kitchen in three eight-hour shifts. In fact, there’s a team dedicated to making Wellingtons throughout the night. (from Las Vegas Review-Journal here)
🔥 Hell’s Kitchen Las Vegas 🔥
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Wintery French Lentil Soup with Beef and Carrots
Sherry Vinegar, Parmesan, Cilantro
Chase away those winter blues with a hearty healthy cold-weather soup. Quick and easy preparation plus wholesome ingredients make this soup a shining star. And as a bonus, eating lentils in the new year is said to bring luck and prosperity.
This lentil soup is a bit different from the traditional, as ground beef, French lentils, and carrots share the stage equally. A drizzle of sherry vinegar adds that bright sharp counter-balance to the rich soup and earthy lentils. Cilantro brings fresh herbal notes while cumin and chile powder add warm spice overtones. A generous dusting of grated Parmesan adds the nutty components. This simple, humble soup actually has a complex flavor profile.
Wintery French Lentil Soup Recipe
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Black Cod en Papillote
Red Lentils & Leek, Carrot, Yellow Squash, Zucchini
Saffron Cream Sauce
Recently we gave a local upscale restaurant another chance. The place has a spectacular view of the Pacific and a bold imaginative menu. Unfortunately, though pleasant enough, the service misses the mark lacking attention to detail. And while there is nothing wrong with the food per se, the kitchen cannot seem to execute the dishes that sound so wonderful. They arrive at the table lacking finesse and vibrancy. One of the items that sounded promising was a seabass en papillote. The concept was terrific but the dish sadly, was just average, which then prompted me to recreate it at home.
This Black Cod en Papillote turns out to be a fabulous dish for entertaining with panache. All the components can be prepped ahead of time, just let everything come to room temperature, assemble on the parchment paper, crimp, and bake. Simply lift the packets from the baking sheet to the dinner plate. Serve warm saffron cream sauce on the side. The uniqueness of serving the entire main course in parchment plus the addition of a fresh green salad makes this a delightful meal to serve to company.
I like to use a fish with high fat content for baking in parchment. Since the wrapped fish cannot be checked for doneness without opening the package, the fat offers a buffer against overcooking. Black cod is a certified sustainable seafood and also excellent for this preparation. Its silky rich meat with a distinctive sweet flavor and flaky texture is perfect cooked “en papillote.”
Cooking fish and vegetables en papillote is traditional, but it’s the red lentils that provide a surprising layer of flavor and texture, perfect for soaking up the juices. In the sealed package the flavors and perfume of the four vegetables – carrots, leeks, yellow squash and zucchini – mingle with the cod. Finally, the saffron cream sauce is an adaptation from vegan Chef Tal Ronnen. It is dairy-free and has no cholesterol. Just a couple tablespoons add a bright exotic note. It can be made ahead, and gently reheated.
Black Cod en Papillote Recipe
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Court Bouillon Poached Fresh Salmon
Lobster Mashed Potatoes with Butter and Chives
Gumbo “Gravy” with French Lentils
A piece of fish, mashed potatoes & gravy. On steroids. Inspired by the extraordinary marriage of Lobster Fettuccine with Gumbo Sauce, this dish features buttery lobster mashed potatoes paired with a flavorful seafood-based gumbo “gravy” flecked with earthy French lentils. Fresh salmon filets are poached in a court bouillon, imbuing the fish with subtle lemony herbaceous qualities and a silky texture. The robust flavors and extravagant ingredients remake the everyday combination of fish & potatoes into a voluptuous meal.
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