Cooking From Memory ~ A Recipe Journal

Shrimp and Chorizo Tapa

Posted in Appetizers & Hors d'œuvres by Paul Gauche on April 30, 2012

Ingredients ~

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 pound chorizo, sliced on the diagonal into ¼ inch slices
  • 12 raw, medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley leaves, minced
  • Crusty bread, for serving

Method ~

In a large (12-14”) skillet, heat 1 to 2 Tablespoon of the olive oil, sauté the sliced chorizo until it begins to brown around the edges, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the skillet.

Add the onion and sauté’ until they are caramelized around the edges and softened somewhat, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add ¼ cup of the sherry to deglaze the pan and cook for 1 minute. Add the shrimp, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until pink and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the chorizo, the remaining ¼ cup of sherry and ¼ cup olive oil, lemon juice, parsley and remainder of the salt and pepper; stir to combine and remove from the heat.

Serve with toasted garlic: slice garlic thin, place on a cold sauté pan with olive oil to cover the bottom. Bring up the heat on the pan and toast until brown, then remove at once. Reserve the oil for cooking or on a salad.

Serve immediately, on small plates with any accumulated cooking juices spooned over the top. Pass the bread at the table.

~ With many thanks to Chef Ray Remler, Rivertown Inn Bed & Breakfast, Stillwater, MN


Fruit Soup

Ingredients ~

  • 1 cup pitted, dried prunes+
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • ¾ cup dried apricots
  • water to cover (about 3 cups)
  • ¼ cup quick-cooking tapioca
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup apple cider++
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar to taste+++
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • whipped cream, plain or vanilla yogurt

Method ~

Combine prunes, raisins, and apricots in a 3-quart saucepan. Add water to cover, about 3 cups. Bring to boil and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in the tapioca and simmer for 10 minutes while mixture thickens. When the fruit is softened, add the cooked, thickened tapioca, lemon juice. Apple cider, vinegar, sugar and the cinnamon stick. This mixture will thicken as it cools. If the soup seems a little thick, you can add more water or cider to adjust both the consistency and the taste. Serve either hot or cold, garnishing with a dollop of whipped cream, plain or vanilla yogurt.


+Different traditions as well as varying tastes may dictate the fruit you use. Variations include currants, golden raisins or any of the mixed fruit combinations. +Along with the prunes, raisins and apricots, I’ve used a mixture of fresh apples—½ each red, yellow and green apples. If you do this, you will need a little more than 3 cups of water to cover.

++You can also substitute pineapple juice for the apple cider.

+++Fruit naturally has sugar, so you’ll want to taste the soup before you add any sugar. That being understood, you may wish to adjust the ratio of sugar to lemon juice so as not to make this too sweet.

Chinese Minced Chicken Wraps

Posted in Appetizers & Hors d'œuvres,Chicken by Paul Gauche on April 8, 2010

Saang Choy Bao

I’ve got dozens of past issues of the beautiful food magazine Saveur on a bookshelf dedicated to cookbooks in our home. In the spirit of reuse, renew and recycle, I decided to pull out an issue from last spring to see what sparked my imagination. In an article entitled “The Ice Queen: The rise, fall, and rise of America’s favorite lettuce, by Irene Sax, I stumbled upon this recipe for these lettuce wraps. For anyone who’s ever been to P.F. Chang’s and fell in love with their lettuce wraps, you know the hunt is on for that recipe. This one is real close. It’s delicious.  While at the grocery store–the one that’s carpeted throughout (you know which one!), I stood in the produce section with the regular lettuce in one hand and the organic lettuce in the other. The organic was about $1.50 more than the regular. I splurged, helped a farmer, and tasted the difference. Organic lettuce is the perfect choice for these wraps. So… I made this for dinner on Thursday night so that you could make it for dinner on Friday night.

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • ½ cup cashews, roughly chopped
  • 1 – 1 ounce package dried Shiitake mushrooms, softened in hot water, stemmed and finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped; the green part of 1 julienned onion for garnish
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 16 iceberg lettuce leaves
  • Sweet Asian chile sauce

Put the chicken, cashews, mushrooms, and chopped green onions into a bowl.  Combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, wine, cornstarch, sugar, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Pour over the chicken; toss. Let this marinate for 15 minutes.

Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the garlic; cook for 10 seconds. Add the chicken mixture and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl. To serve, spoon some of the chicken onto each lettuce leaf. Garnish with the julienned scallions and a small dollop of the chile sauce.

Serves 4

This recipe originated with Bee Yin Low, who writes the blog and appeared in the May 2009 issue of Saveur Magazine, Issue #120, page 81.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Posted in Appetizers & Hors d'œuvres,Vegetables by Paul Gauche on February 13, 2010


  • 2 Acorn Squash
  • 3-4 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, diced
  • olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground Cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon All Spice
  •  ¼ teaspoon Cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds. Cut the two squash halves into several sections following the ribs and place into a large bowl. Toss with the brown sugar, butter, olive oil and spices and salt.

Bake 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes—or… 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Feisty Green Beans

Posted in Appetizers & Hors d'œuvres,Vegetables by Paul Gauche on February 7, 2010

Use a white wine that you’d want to drink after opening. And for those of you looking to speed things up, you don’t need to slice the green beans, but the extra work is worth the effort.

Ingredients ~

  • 1 pound green beans, cut into half inch segments
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ½ medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • ½ teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • scant ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup / 120 ml crème fraîche or sour cream
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup / one handful of finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method ~

Cook the green beans in a pot of well-salted boiling water for about a minute, just long enough that they lose their raw edge. Drain and immediately immerce in ice-cold water to stop the cooking. Drain again and set aside.

In a small bowl cover the raisins with scalding hot water for five minutes, drain and set aside.

Heat your largest skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil, garlic, onion, and bay leaves. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onions and garlic start to brown just a bit. Add the wine and cook until it has mostly evaporated. Carefully remove the bay leaves. Stir in the paprika, cumin, coriander, curry powder, salt, crushed red pepper flakes. Stir in the tofu and raisins and cook until heated through, a minute or so. Add the butter and green beans and stir until the butter has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the crème fraîche, then most of the almonds and most of the cilantro. Taste and add more salt and some pepper if you like. Serve topped with any remaining almonds and cilantro.

Serves 4 to 6.

Inspired by a recipe in Anna Getty’s Anna Getty’s Easy Green


Posted in Appetizers & Hors d'œuvres by Paul Gauche on September 19, 2009

Dukkah 1

One of the best food blogs on the internet is hosted by Heidi Swanson, the creator of 101 Cookbooks which features fresh and accessible natural foods and recipes and is updated every few days.  Heidi’s site, 101 Cookbooks has been featured in numerous newspaper articles and is a winner of numerous awards including the 2005 people’s choice Webby Award for best personal web site.

This recipe for Dukkah comes from Heidi’s website at  A colleague with whom I work brought this collection of dynamic spices together at a recent Staff potluck, and seriously, I pretty much didn’t get to anything else on the buffet.  At first, it was a little awkward pulling my chair up to the Dukkah at the buffet table, but I got over that pretty quickly.  It’s that good! It’s really good!

Here’s Heidi’s recipe:

Egyptian street vendors sell small paper cones with the unique dukkah blend, along with strips of pita bread. Customers then dip the bread into the vendor’s bowl of olive oil and then their dukkah.

  1. ½ cup hazelnuts
  2. ¼ cup coriander seeds
  3. 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  4. 2 Tablespoons cumin seeds
  5. 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
  6. 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  7. 1 teaspoon dried mint leaves
  8. 1 teaspoon salt

Heat a heavy skillet over high heat, add the hazelnuts, and dry-toast until slightly browned and fragrant, being careful that they don’t burn. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Repeat the procedure with each of the seeds and the peppercorns. Allow each of them to cool completely.

Place the nuts and seeds, along with the mint and salt, into a mortar and pound until the mixture is crushed. Or pulse in a food processor to a coarse consistency; do not allow the mixture to become a paste.

Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 month.

Yield: 1 cup.

From the Spicy Food Lover’s Bible by Dave DeWitt & Nancy Gerlach

Rustic Goat Cheese Tart with Caramelized Balsamic Onions

Posted in Appetizers & Hors d'œuvres by Paul Gauche on August 26, 2009

Goat Cheese Tart

Rich goat cheese makes the perfect backdrop for the sweet and tangy onions in this palate-pleasing tart.  The addition of balsamic vinegar to the onions gives them sparkle and helps pull together the flavors of all the other ingredients. This savory tart is a cinch to take to a party, as it is terrific warm or at room temperature.

Ingredients ~

The Tart

  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator

The Filling

  • 4 ounces goat cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 3 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

The Egg Wash 

  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon water

The Balsamic Onions

  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Method ~

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Roll the dough out into a 14 -by-10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface, and place it on a baking sheet covered with parchment. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Mix the filling ingredients together in a medium bowl and spread onto the dough, leaving a 1 ½-inch border. Fold the uncovered edge of the pastry over the filling mixture, making small pleats along the way.

Mix together the egg and water and brush around the edges of the pastry. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

To make the onions:

While the tart is baking, heat the butter and oil in a skillet. Add the onions and sugar and cook over medium heat until the onions are a deep golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Add the vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Place the tart on a serving platter and arrange the onions on top. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.

Make-ahead: The tart can be made up to 4 hours ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.

~~Serves six to eight

With thanks to: The Big Book of Appetizers (page 121)

Captain Whidbey Crab Cakes

Posted in Appetizers & Hors d'œuvres,Seafood & Fish by Paul Gauche on July 5, 2009

Crab Cakes

An anniversary celebration just a handfull of years ago took us to a tiny little pub at the Captain Whidbey Inn in quiet, quaint Coupeville, Washington. After a long day of travel Nancy Lee and I sat back in a cozy booth overlooking the bay as the sun was setting. These crab cakes arrived with a bottle of champagne that my parents had arranged for–much to our pleasant surprise. One bite later the evening went from pleasant to perfect. I wrote to the chef some time later and he was most gracious to share the recipe. With another anniversary coming up this summer, it’s time to dust the recipe off for another celebration!


Ingredients ~

  • 1 pound crab meat, well drained
  • 1 small bunch each Basil and chives, diced
  • ½ each green, red, yellow pepper, diced
  • 2-3 Tbsp Asian Chili Paste (Sambai Olek)
  • mayonnaise, to bind

Method ~

Combine crab meat, basil, chives, peppers and chili paste in a bowl.  Add just enough mayo to bind.  Form into 2 ounce portions and fry in a small amount of vegetable oil.

~~With thanks to The Captain Whidbey Inn, Coupeville, Washington

Ciabatta with Basil and Tomato

Posted in Appetizers & Hors d'œuvres,Breads by Paul Gauche on July 4, 2009

 Ciabatta grilled

Ingredients ~

  • Ciabatta Bread
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Tomato Slices
  • Mozzarella Cheese

Method ~  

Split the ciabatta in half lengthwise and add each layer in this order from the bottom up:

  1. Ciabatta Bread
  2. Basil leaves  
  3. Tomatoes
  4. Mozzarella Cheese
  5. Olive Oil, drizzled
  6. Sea Salt and fresh ground cracked pepper

Lay the ciabatta on a medium grill with indirect heat and grill until the bread is crisp and the cheese is melted … about 15 minutes.