Mock Turtle Soup and the Threatened Desert Tortoise

Mock Turtle Soup

🐢 Mock Turtle Soup 🐢
and
The Threatened Desert Tortoise

We are fortunate to live on the border of an area known for its rich cultural heritage, and its unique geological and ecological features. In 2002 Congress designated the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area to preserve and protect 48,438 acres of southern Nevada’s Mojave Desert for future generations.

Our community is separated from the conservation area by a little traveled road called Democracy Drive. Turns out, the other day while on Democracy Drive I spotted this not-so-little fella meandering into the middle of the road.

Concerned for his well-being, I stopped, kept my distance, took some pics, but not being familiar with desert tortoise protocol, there was nothing I could do at the moment.

desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)

I went to the Ranger Station on Nawghaw Poa Road to find out more about him. They said the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) is the largest reptile and the only wild land tortoise found in the southwestern United States.

And the Mojave desert tortoise was federally listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 as a threatened species on April 2, 1990.

Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area

They said to handle all tortoise carefully and only if authorized to do so! Tortoises can be injured and can die from improper handling. Do not approach tortoises unless absolutely necessary, as your presence can induce stress in the animal.

When you must approach a tortoise, move slowly and approach from the rear of the animal. Pick up the tortoise gently and keep it level at all times. When handling large tortoises, grasp the animal with both hands, one at each side of the animal.

I was told that persons handling tortoises should wear surgical type gloves to inhibit the transmission of diseases. If gloves aren’t available make sure to sanitize your hands. Since I won’t be moving an endangered desert tortoise anytime soon, they did say another alternative would be to call the ranger station if a tortoise is in danger and they will come to take care of him.

If you are in Southern Nevada, and see a desert tortoise in danger call the Sloan Canyon Park Ranger at 702-233-6339. Additionally for any lost turtles, especially desert tortoises, call the Wild Desert Tortoise Assistance Line at 702-593-9027.

Mock Turtle Soup and the Endangered Desert Tortoise

Mock Turtle Soup

Now let’s talk about the soup!

Turtle soup is traditionally made from sea turtle, snapping turtle, box turtle, or terrapin depending on the region of the world. It has NEVER culinarily been made from desert tortoise! However, it was the local desert tortoise that inspired me to research and prepare Mock Turtle Soup.

Mock (imitation) turtle soup contains no turtle and can be made from many different kinds of meats including ground beef, oxtail, calf’s head, veal shoulder and others.

On his terrific blog Hunt Gather Cook, James Beard Award-winning author and chef Hank Shaw, writes that turtle meat tastes like a cool combination of chicken thigh, clam and pork with at least four different textures and colors coming from the same turtle.

It was his description that lead to my recipe for Mock Turtle Soup which includes grilled chicken thighs, crisped and diced pork belly, and chopped clams. This super-tasty combination of heterogeneous ingredients results in a unique soup that is quite compelling with its various flavors and textures. And although I have not tried snapping turtle, I suspect this soup may imitate the flavors and textures quite well.

Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area

Mock Turtle Soup Recipe

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Hearty-Style Shrimp Bisque Inspired by Emeril and Ina

Hearty-Style Shrimp Bisque Inspired by Emeril and Ina🦐 Hearty-Style Shrimp Bisque 🦐
Inspired by Emeril and Ina

With Emeril and Ina as inspiration, how could this Shrimp Bisque be anything short of fabulous?

Emeril Lagasse’s shrimp stock is robust and aromatic. In this recipe, another layer of depth is added by roasting the shrimp shells before making the stock. And not just any shrimp shells, but extra flavorful spot shrimp with some of their roe still attached. The result is a stock with a rich, deep color.

Ina Garten’s shrimp bisque is hearty and textured. She says in her video that she prefers a chunky-style to smooth, so she coarsely chops a shrimp and leek mixture flavored with both dry sherry and cognac in a food processor before adding it back to the creamy base.

Here, the bisque is garnished with extra-jumbo butterflied shrimp and complementary fresh thyme. Gulf shrimp aficionados are sure to be delighted…

Hearty-Style Shrimp Bisque Inspired by Emeril and Ina

Hearty-Style Shrimp Bisque Recipe

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Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Basque Burnt Cheesecake
Served with Oloroso Sherry

#5ingredient #glutenfree #crustless #stunning #simple

With no fruit topping, no crust and five simple ingredients – cream cheese, sugar, salt, eggs, and cream – it is astonishing how absolutely fabulous this cheesecake actually is… Perhaps it is the extremely high baking temperature that coaxes those 5 ordinary ingredients into a synergistic masterpiece with a striking blackened top and a creme brûlée-esque caramelized flavor. And as if the cake itself wasn’t enough, the scorched parchment ruffles that surround this cake make for a beautiful unique presentation.

The recipe was originally developed by Santiago Rivera, Chef of La Viña in San Sebastian, Spain. The Chef says, “If I had to mention a key influence, which has determined the personality and the evolution of my cuisine, I would undoubtedly point at the movement of the New Basque Cuisine, starting in 1977.”

Oloroso Sherry from Jerez, Spain has wonderful aromas of nuts, vanilla and caramel plus rich nutty semi-sweet creamy flavors. Oloroso sherries offer a terrific balance between sweet and dry. This cheesecake and this sherry are a heavenly Spanish pair.

Basque Burnt Cheesecake Recipe

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“Spanish Influence” Chilled Soup: Fire-Roasted Chiles, Marcona Almond, Amontillado Sherry

Cold Fire-Roasted Chile Soup
“Spanish Influence” Chilled Soup
with
Fire-Roasted Chiles, Marcona Almond, Amontillado Sherry
Fried Tortilla, Roasted Corn, Bay Shrimp, Cilantro, Almond Oil

The chilled chile & almond soup has been a favorite around here for over a decade – a star of a cold soup that’s hot, smoky, and nutty. If fact, I entered it in a contest at the Los Angeles County Fair years ago, and it won second place. I’ve updated the soup recipe, now using fat luscious Spanish Marcona almonds and Spanish Amontillado sherry that has a whisper of sweetness. The basic soup can be simply garnished with a drizzle of Mexican crema and a few cilantro leaves. Or for entertaining, go all out and add sweet bay shrimp, roasted corn, freshly fried corn tortilla strips, chopped Marcona almonds, and a splash of toasted almond oil – your guests will surely be delighted.

“Spanish Influence” Chilled Soup
with Fire-Roasted Chiles, Marcona Almond, Amontillado Sherry RECIPE

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please come for tea & sherry

tea sherry party

Home-Grown Fresh Lemon Verbena Tea
Bodega Dios Baco Oloroso Sherry
Mini Sherry Tea Cakes with Marcona Almond & Rosemary
Roasted Black Figs, Honey, Fig Balsamic Syrup, Black Pepper, Sea Salt
Cream Sherry Glaze

sherry tea cakes, beautiful high tea image

“You are formally invited to a virtual British afternoon tea party that will take during the week of August 27th! We thought it would be great to follow up our Greek adventures, the original place of Olympics, with a British-inspired culinary theme, the location of this year’s summer Olympics.

Bring a gourmet sweet or savory treat – either a makeover of a classic or your own unique creation. Some general items on a traditional tea menu include: sandwiches, sausage rolls, Victoria sponge, cakes, and scones.”

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