Archives for August 2014

Melon-Peach Summer Salad with Mint

Melon-Peach Summer Salad with Mint
Serves 6
  1. 1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds
  2. 1 large sugar cube melon, sliced in half, seeded, peeled.
  3. 1 large peach, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  4. 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  5. 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lime juice (juiced from ½ lime)
  6. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  7. 1/2 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
  8. 1/2 small shallot, minced
  9. ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  10. 12 large mint leaves chiffonade
  11. Kosher salt
  12. 6 cups watercress, washed (cut off and discard oversized stems) and dried
  1. Puree ½ melon (about 2 cups) in food processor with vinegar and lime juice. Mix in oil, jalapeno, shallots and pepper. Add 1 teaspoon mint and salt to taste.
  2. Slice remaining melon into ¼ inch slices.
  3. Toss greens generously with dressing. Arrange greens on individual plates. Place melon and peaches on top of plates and scatter remaining mint and sunflower seeds. Serve extra dressing on the side.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Lentil Artichoke Salad

Lentil Artichoke Salad
Serves 8
  1. 4 cups cooked lentils
  2. 4 green onions, sliced
  3. 1 red and 1 yellow bell peppers, fine dice
  4. 2 stalks celery, fine dice
  5. 1-6 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  6. 3/4 cup shredded asiago cheese
  7. 1/2 cup olive oil
  8. 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  9. 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  10. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  11. 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  1. In a large bowl, mix together lentils, onions, bell pepper, celery and artichokes. Mix in cheese. Whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, oregano, salt and pepper. Add to lentil mixture and toss to coat. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to one day.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Roasted Eggplant Pasta with Savory Summer Veggies and Fresh Herbs

Roasted Eggplant Pasta with Savory Summer Veggies and Fresh Herbs
Serves 6
  1. 3-4 large eggplant (3-4 pounds), diced
  2. 1 head (1 pound) each: broccoli and cauliflower, cut into small florets
  3. 1 sweet onion, diced
  4. 2 large tomatoes, diced
  5. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  7. 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
  8. Freshly ground pepper
  9. 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  10. 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  11. Pinch of red pepper flakes
  12. 1 pound whole grain penne pasta
  13. Shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Divide vegetables between two baking sheets. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 15 minutes. Add tomatoes, stir and continue roasting another 15 minutes until eggplant soft and veggies are golden.
  2. In the meantime, cook penne pasta in boiling water for 10 minutes (or according to package directions). Drain.
  3. Toss roasted veggies with pasta. Add parsley, basil and red pepper flakes, toss. Season with salt & pepper, as desired. Serve with shredded parmesan.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

For the Love of Ice Cream by Robin Nathan

ice-creamIce cream has always been my and my family’s favorite treat. When I was a kid in LA, we’d drive over to “31 Flavors” (it was just a local chain, back then) after dinner. I still remember each flavor my sister, brother, and parents ordered. For me, it was a toss up between Jamoca Almond Fudge (I have always loved coffee flavor!), Mint Chip, or if I was feeling competitive, Bubble Gum — my siblings and I would save and count up our bubblegum pieces to see who got the most!

These days, ice cream still tops my dessert list, as you know if you’ve ever had a class with me. Because there are so many really high quality ice creams commercially available, I prefer not making a flavor that I could buy. When I plan to make ice cream, it’s got to be something you can’t find anywhere else. Tiramisu, Goat Cheese, Blueberry-Lavender, Salted Caramel, Toasted Almond, these are the flavors I dream about as a grown up.  

For years, I used a Donvier ice cream maker.  Introduced in the mid 1980s, it was one of the first to use a quick freeze insert, and although it had to be hand-cranked, it produced fantastic, soft-serve ice cream in about 30 minutes.  I used that thing until it fell apart – just last year – and purchased a Cuisinart electric ice cream maker at Marcel’s.  I LOVE the Cuisinart!! It features the same quick freeze insert (I keep mine in the freezer at all times), but instead of hand cranking on and off for 30 minutes, you simply plug it in and it does all the work for you. Amazing! My only regret is that my old Donvier didn’t give out sooner!   

Here’s one of the simplest ice cream recipes there is – no custard involved – but the results will blow you away. Enjoy! 

Tiramisu Gelato

Makes about 1 ½ Quarts
2 C. Mascarpone cheese (usually 2 containers)
1 1/3 C. Half and half
¾ C. Sugar
¼ C. Very strong cold espresso coffee
1 T. Brandy
Pinch of salt
½ C. Unsweetened cocoa powder

Combine all the ingredients, except the cocoa powder in a blender and process until smooth.  Pour into a metal bowl set over a larger metal bowl of ice.  Stir occasionally for 20 minutes, or until the mixture is very cold. Scrape contents into your ice cream maker and process according to your manufacturer’s instructions. 

Spoon one third of the churned mixture into your storage container and sprinkle with a layer of the cocoa powder.  Cover with another third and a topping of cocoa powder. Create the last layer and top with remaining cocoa powder.  Cover and freeze until firm.

Temper slightly when ready to serve.

Seared Spice Rubbed Salmon with Garden Fresh Compote

Seared Spice Rubbed Salmon with Garden Fresh Compote
Serves 4
  1. One 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  2. ½ lb. tomatillos, parchment removed, rinsed, and cut into small dice
  3. 1 avocado, cut into small dice
  4. 1 mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into small dice
  5. ½ cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into small dice
  6. 1 large tomato, seeded, and cut into small dice
  7. ½ c. red onion, small dice
  8. 1/3 c. fresh lime juice
  9. ¼ c. white wine vinegar
  10. ¼ c. olive oil
  11. ¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro
  12. Freshly ground black pepper
  13. 2 t. chili powder
  14. 1 t. cumin
  15. 1 t. oregano
  16. 1 t. smoked paprika
  17. Kosher salt
  18. 4 salmon filets
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the black beans, tomatillos, avocado, mango, cucumber, tomato, and red onion.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the lime juice, tequila, olive oil, cilantro, and black pepper; taste and adjust. Toss dressing with compote ingredients and set aside at room temperature.
  3. In a small dish, combine the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and smoked paprika, and 1-2 teaspoons of salt. Rub the salmon on both sides with the mixture.
  4. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat until hot. Sear the salmon on all sides until nicely charred.
  5. If necessary, transfer salmon to a 425 degree oven to finish cooking until internal temperature reads 135 degrees. Remove from oven and rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  6. Plate salmon and serve topped with compote.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Zucchini Fans

Zucchini Fans
Serves 6
  1. 6 zucchini, about 6 inches long and 1 inch in diameter
  2. 3 medium tomatoes cut into 12 slices
  3. 2 medium white onions, peeled and cut into 12 thin slices
  4. ½ cup olive oil
  5. 2 T each chopped basil, oregano, and thyme
  6. 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  7. Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Holding each zucchini firmly by the stem end, cut lengthwise into thirds starting ½ inch from the stem.
  3. Fan the 3 sections, being careful not to break the stem. Place each one on a separate piece of 6x9 inch aluminum foil. Keeping the fan shape, insert 2 slices each of tomato and onion between sections.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, herbs, and garlic. Brush the fans with the mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap each zucchini fan tightly and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. A variation is to grill each zucchini bundle for 10 minutes. And, after grilling or baking, add crumbled feta or goat cheese on top of the fans before serving.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Monkfish with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Monkfish with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Serves 6
  1. 2 roasted red peppers, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch pieces
  2. 4 T olive oil
  3. 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  4. 2 T chopped fresh basil
  5. 2 pounds monkfish, cut into 1 inch pieces
  6. 6 small onions, peeled and quartered
  7. ½ cup fish stock
  1. Puree the roasted red peppers in a food processor, along with olive oil, garlic and basil. Toss the monkfish with 1/3rd of the pepper puree until coated on all sides. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Soak 6 wooden skewers in water for 10 minutes. On each skewer thread 4 pieces of monkfish, alternating with 4 quarters of onion. Place the skewers on a very hot grill and cook for 5 minutes. Turn and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Combine the remaining pepper puree with the fish stock in a saucepan and heat on medium. Reduce for 3-5 minutes or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. To serve, spread a spoonful of sauce on a plate and arrange a skewer on top.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Puree of Grilled Eggplant with Garlic Baguette Slices

Puree of Grilled Eggplant with Garlic Baguette Slices
  1. ¼ cup salt
  2. 4 medium eggplants cut into 1 inch slices
  3. ½ cup olive oil
  4. 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  5. 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  6. ¼ cup toasted bread crumbs
  7. Salt and pepper
  8. Baguette
  1. Salt the eggplant slices lightly on both sides and set in a strainer to drain for 30 minutes. The salt draws out the extra water from the eggplant and keeps the slices from falling apart during cooking. Rinse quickly under cold running water, then pat dry.
  2. Rub each eggplant slice with the olive oil and set on a very hot grill for 1 minute on each side. When cool to the touch, peel off the skins and discard. In a food processor, combine the eggplant with the garlic, parsley, and bread crumbs. Process until the eggplant reaches a smooth spreading consistency. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
  3. Variation: Cut the eggplant in half, salt, drain, cut side down for 30 minutes. Instead of grilling, roast on a baking sheet in a preheated 450 degree oven for 15 minutes.
  4. Serve with Grilled Garlic Baguette slices: Brush slices of a baguette with olive oil and minced garlic. Grill until lightly browned on both sides.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Recipe for a Great Team by Chef Kelly Sears

If you’ve spent any time at all in the Marcel’s kitchen, you’ve seen or met our hard working culinary assistants.  Over the three plus years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working side by side with all of them. We’ve shared some good food, hard work, and even better conversation.  I would say it’s been quite a success!

What you might not know about this group is that they are all volunteers.  Yes, that’s right, volunteers.  They set up your workstations, pour your wine, clean your cutting boards, empty your garbage bowls, answer your questions, smooth over anything that doesn’t go quite right and help ensure you are having a great time in the Marcel’s kitchen.   

I’ve worked, managed, and been managed for years.  In any environment you can sniff out the bag of coal from a mile away; the Debbie-downer, the energy-zapper, and I am so happy we are working in the exact opposite atmosphere.  I am extremely proud of the culinary team we have built together. Their teamwork is topnotch, first rate, above and beyond.  They sub for one another, encourage one another, they share stories, life experiences and life lessons. The positive energy is contagious and that’s something you just can’t teach people, they have to feel it and share it from within themselves. 

The culinary team started out as a team of twelve and has grown to a team of plus thirty.  Some have moved on to college, some moved away.  Some have moved on to the Marcel’s retail team, some have become our very important dishwashers; seven are from the original twelve.  They range in age from just-received-drivers -licenses to proud AARP card holding members.  They are mothers and grandmothers, sisters and aunts, teachers, and students, and just extraordinary people.  They are the eyes and the ears of what happens before, during, and after a cooking class.  They are all so very important. 

I share this with all of you because I want you to know how dear and important they are to me.  They are my base, my rock, my solid foundation that makes me feel so completely confident and at ease when I am not in the kitchen at Marcel’s.  I know with their names on the schedule, my worries are squelched and the guests are in confident hands.   

And in case you don’t know them by name, let me introduce the culinary team: Jo, Sam, Bonnie, Lois, Carlene, Lauren E., Maggie, Sandy, Monica, Dorothy, Alison, Denien, Kathy, Jenny, Molly, Maureen, Cathy, Joan, Amy, Jacqueline, Ginny, Debby, Kris R., Anne, Lauren S., Becky, Tana, Kris T., Tina, Jennifer, Alessandra, and Sharon.  Each and every day, I’m proud to work with all of you.

Never underestimate the power of collaboration.
Thanks to all of you.


Here’s a great recipe for your great team:

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Chocolate Chip Brownie Double Deckers 
(adapted from Mary Pat Watt, football mom and previous Marcel’s Culinary Assistant)

Brownie Layer

¾ c. unsalted butter melted
1 T. espresso powder
¾ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ c. sugar
½ t. salt
2 eggs
1½ t. vanilla
¾ c. flour 

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper so the paper extends beyond the sides
  • Spray below and on top the parchment with cooking spray
  • Whisk the espresso powder and the cocoa powder into the butter until smooth
  • Whisk in sugar, salt, eggs, and vanilla
  • Stir in flour until blended
  • Spread evenly in prepared pan

 Chip Layer

 ¾ c. unsalted butter, melted
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1½ c. flour
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
6 oz. Mexican chocolate, chopped 

  • Whisk brown sugar and butter until smooth; Cool and whisk in vanilla & egg
  • Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; add to butter mixture
  • Stir in chocolate
  • Drop over brownie batter layer and spread to cover
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick tests done

You Can Can by Teri Hiben

Here we are at the peak of summer.  For those of us who love to cook and eat there’s no better time of year.  We enjoy strolling through our local farmer’s markets and seeing the abundance of plump fruits and crisp, perfectly ripe vegetables, just picked by our farmers.  What a delight to open our CSA boxes and enjoy the fresh produce inside. 

I not only enjoy cooking and eating all of these now, but I like to preserve some of the perfect fruits and vegetables for later in the year.  Canning not only ensures we are eating fresh, local produce year round, but it’s quite rewarding to see my homemade jams and pickles and salsas lined up on my kitchen counter.   Canning slows me down a bit and allows me to create my own flavor combinations, all tucked into a jar.

photo 2 (3)A few years ago, canning blogger Marisa McClellan came out with a book entitled Food in Jars:  Preserving in Small Batches Year Round.  She recently published her second book, Preserving By the Pint:  Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces.  These are perfect for both novice canners and those experienced in preserving.  With these recipes everyone can dabble in preserving without ending up with 15 jars of one kind of  jam.  You can try several different things:  jams, pickles, chutneys, salsas and more, many of these taking less than one hour.  She provides clear instructions, pictures and simple, but interesting recipes to help all succeed.  Really, it’s easier than you might think! 

The best course of action is to start with foods you and your family love.  If you can’t get enough of the plump, juicy blueberries your farmer has to offer, pick up a few pints and make a small batch of blueberry jam.  Marisa’s recipe adds a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg.  You will have a few jars to enjoy and even one or two to share (a great hostess gift!).  I’ve enjoyed the beets one farmer has offered for a few weeks, so last week I grabbed a bunch of red beets and one of golden beets and tried pickling them for the first time.   With the golden beets, I  decided to pickle them with traditional pickling spices.  For the red, I followed Marisa’s recipe for Gingery Pickled Beets, adding a few slices of ginger.  Neither took very long and I have 3 jars of each to enjoy later in the year. 

It’s not too late in the season to try your hand at canning.  There are several months of abundant produce ahead and  Marcel’s has Marisa’s books and the equipment you might need to get started.   Also, Marisa McClellan will be at Marcel’s!  Yes, she’ll be right here at the store on Wed., Aug. 13 6:30-8:30pm to do a canning demo and sign your books.  You can register for this event here. And, our own Chef Kelly has an upcoming class on Sun., Sept. 21, noon-5 pm appropriately called Eat What You Can, Can What You Can’t.   By walking through the canning process with Marissa and Kelly, you will feel more confident that you can can.  So, join in the fun, enjoy local farm fresh flavors year round, and share flavorful creations with your friends and family.