By: Chef Alan Zox
March 27, 2019
Grilling and smoking fish are two cooking methods that create wonderful flavors and delicious meals. But they are distinct and unique from one another. Knowing the differences will enhance your cooking skills and delight your families and friends.
Lightly smoking your fish for no more than 5-10 minutes will at a low temperature of 200F- 225°F will yield delicious results. Using a piece of tin foil or a special grill smoking box containing alder or apple wood chips placed on top of white coals will do the trick. You can shorten the cooking time even more by poaching or braising your fish beforehand in a Court Bouillon flavored with fresh herbs and then following up with a few minutes of smoking. Alas, there is no set recipe to follow. The flavor you are after will depend upon the time your fish is in your covered smoker, the type of fruitwood chips used, and the variations you experiment with in your bouillon.
Grilling or steaming your fish are more familiar techniques than smoking for many cooks since grilling and steaming take less time than cooking at a lower temperature. And that may be why salt-water fish, like burgers and beef steaks, are normally grilled.
Several facts about cooking fish are essential to enhancing seafood cooking prowess. For example, only selecting fresh fish that have firm flesh and a moist appearance is certainly the most important factor. Avoid fish that smells too “fishy”. Fresh fish should smell briny like salt water.
Several saltwater fish are ideal for grilling including Halibut, Salmon, Stripped Bass, Swordfish and Tuna among others. Derrick Riches, the grilling and BBQ consultant, recommends oiling your cooking grate to avoid sticking before you start grilling -- especially when cooking fish fillets. Using a grilling or fish basket makes the task of grilling fillets easier and prevents them from falling apart when turned. Thick cuts such as fish steaks hold together better and make grilling much easier. Seasoning seafood is not really necessary. I enjoy adding very few spices or herbs since the fish alone is so delicious. A pat of butter and a squeeze of lemon at the end of the cooking process are usually sufficient.
The length of time you grill your fish varies by taste but 10 minutes per inch is a good guideline. You can also tell when the fish is done by using a fork to flake the fish apart or use a thermometer – fish should reach a temperature of 145° F.
Here’s a recipe that children and adults enjoyed at a recent family reunion in Florida. I fed 17 cousins— all healthy eaters— a version of Paella that was simple to cook when using Southern Grouper. In more northern waters you can achieve a similar outcome with fish such as Halibut, Striper, Swordfish or Cod, among others. If you experiment with other kinds of fish please advise. I will post it on my blog!
Paella with Saltwater Flat Fish
For the Vegetable stock:
9 cups water
1 roughly chopped carrot
2 celery stalks chopped
1 onion chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Paella:
2 cups Arborio (also called Risotto) Rice
1 medium sweet onion diced fine
1 large carrot, diced
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pinches of Saffron, dissolved in ½ cup water
1.5 lb flat fish fillets, cut into 3 x 2 inch slices
1 15 oz. jar of roasted red pepper, drained and roughly chopped
1 cup frozen green peas
½ cup chopped parsley
Lemon wedges for serving
Optional: 8 oz. fresh shrimp, or cleaned squid cut into rings
1- Make the stock by simmering the water with the vegetables, bay leaf and salt and pepper for 45 minutes. Strain, return to the pot, and cover to stay warm.
2- To a 12” frying pan or paella pan add the olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter and melt over medium heat. Sauté the diced onion and carrot until translucent before adding the saffron and rice and sauté until the rice is coated with oil and slightly crispy.
3- Add the heated broth to the rice a ladle at a time stirring well and simmering until the rice is al dente – firm to the tooth – about 20 minutes.
4- Submerge the slices of fish and (if using) shellfish into the rice along with the peas and roasted red pepper. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, parsley and cook for an additional 6-8 minutes to warm up the vegetables and cook the fish. Serve immediately with lemon wedges. Enjoy!
Sometimes pursuing your passions in life takes a long time to put into action. Over twenty-five years ago I decided to take a leap of faith and expand my love of cooking by entering the Professional Culinary Certificate Program at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts (CSCA). My goal was to gain professional experience and pursue a career that merged my love of cooking and my marketing background. After finishing the year-long intensive program I worked in a restaurant where I did prep and created some new desserts for the menu. I also briefly worked on Restaurant PR where I worked to translate recipes written for professional chefs into instructions that a home cook could utilize. And although I wasn’t able to create a permanent new career path, my passion for the culinary arts never left and several years later I was able to assist in the recreational cooking classes at CSCA.
Using my experiences with CSCA as a model, I’ve developed an interactive teaching approach which I’ve put to use giving cooking lessons in community recreational programs. For the past 10 years I’ve taught cooking classes to adults and children in Westford, Chelmsford, Marlboro and now in Harwich. In addition, I’ve also been able to conduct private classes for friends in their own homes. My classes have ranged from menus that feature ethnic recipes to lessons on appetizers and baking.
Two years ago, my husband and I retired and moved to Harwich. Since I wanted to offering the public cooking classes, I approached the Harwich Council on Aging about using their kitchen and I’ve been conducting classes on a regular basis. I’ve found that attending a cooking class is something many people enjoy during retirement years when they have time to experiment without the pressure of getting dinner on the table after a long day at work. Because culinary education can be intimidating for folks with its own language and set of skills, I decided to call my business Kitchen Confidence. My goal is to give people of all ages the knowledge they need to successfully produce delicious meals in their own kitchen while also having fun.
Recent classes have included appetizers and menus designed for one or two people. Classes are limited to eight people and are interactive in nature where I assist students with hands-on instruction including demonstrations on knife skills and helpful tips on using unfamiliar ingredients. As written recipes are often imprecise, I make sure to test each recipe before using it in class to be sure the instructions and ingredient measurements are accurate and easy to follow. Best of all after the cooking is done we get to taste the results! Starting in May I will be offering some new classes at the Harwich COA kitchen. For more information, be on the look-out for listings in the bi-monthly the COA bulletin or check out my Facebook page.
By Alan Zox
Visiting family in Chicago during St. Patrick’s Day shocked me when I saw the Chicago River, which winds along Wacker Drive, to be as green as a four-leaf clover. Other cities across America celebrate the holiday with the color green as well. Parades, hats, banners and clothing of all types are green as the Emerald Isle in tribute to St. Patrick’s Day.
Joining friends at local pubs on this special day is a time to enjoy a beer and a sandwich that are also bright green. I am generally OK with these menu choices but find myself less enchanted with artificial green food. So, I began searching for culinary options that more naturally reflect a green hue.
I have experimented with green risotto or pasta, or a side of asparagus or broccoli with mixed results even though I personally adore green vegetables any time of year. But one “green dish” stands out for me and everyone who eats it more than any other. This involves the joy of making a green laced breakfast or lunch with roasted poblano chili peppers that evoke warm, delicious memories.
The flavor of the pepper is not particularly hot in taste (about a 4 or 5 on a Scoville scale of 1-10) and everyone appreciates the flavor when roasted, peeled and added to something wonderful. So, I decided on poblanos and scrambled eggs that I had seen eaten in Oaxaca, Mexico. There is a simplicity to the dish and a natural flavor and appearance that is wonderful and filling. Also, the range of meals in which you can serve the scrambled eggs as an entree or a side dish is remarkable. Hope you enjoy it too.
Recipe: Roasted Poblano and Eggs-
(Note: Poblano chilis are available in most markets)
2 large roasted poblano chili peppers, peeled, deveined, stemmed and deseeded
8 large eggs, beaten to mix with a dash of milk
2 oz unsalted butter (4 tablespoons)
Salt and pepper to taste
Come join the Cape Cod Culinary Incubator for a tasty, entertaining and educational cooking class with Chef/Instructor Kay Benaroch at the KAM Appliance store in Hyannis on Tuesday, April 9th from 2-4pm.
In this interactive class you will be making 4 different vegetable dishes to try and to take home:
Please bring a 7-9 inch chef’s knife, container for left-overs and we will supply the rest.
Students will learn to make 4 vegetable dishes that celebrate the arrival of Spring using fresh seasonal vegetables. The Frittata will feature Asian flavorings, the Potatoes pair the flavors of India with new potatoes, the flatbread pizzas are inspired by French cuisine and the Pasta Primavera is a new twist on a classic.
Come join the Cape Cod Culinary Incubator for a tasty, entertaining and educational cooking class with Chef Alan Zox at the KAM Appliance store in Hyannis on Sunday, March 10th from 2-4pm.
You will be making 3 different soups to try and to take home:
$35. Class limit is 10 people.
Please bring a 7-9 inch chef’s knife and we will supply the rest.
Students will learn to make 3 international soups plus they will learn the health, flavor and financial advantages of making home-made chicken broth and Vegetarian broth. Mexican soup will be made with roasted vegetable & roasted tortilla strips; spicy French soup will be made with puréed butternut Squash & Chipotles; and Italian vegetable Bean soup will be made with Spinach & fresh oregano.
By: Chef Alan Zox
Adapted from Mark Miller’s Coyote Cafe cookbook
Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate friendship. Some of us do this routinely by eating a meal together. Thanksgiving is another time when we do this nationwide. When the food you are experiencing with others includes chocolate that is sweet and joyful, we are memorializing a holiday that features kindness, generosity and caring for others. We need not wait for Valentine’s Day to express these feelings but it reminds us of this special occasion. And Chocolate symbolizes this time when we express our joy of being together.
Some of us claim our yen for chocolate is infrequent. Too many calories we are told. But I don’t know many of these folks. Chocolate and vanilla or caramel are usually enjoyed by all. In fact, caramel seems to have experienced a renaissance of late.
Valentine’s Day reminds us of all these favorites. It is a sweet time to remember those who are special in our lives. For me chocolate pies and cakes or soufflés bring out the best in me. Sometimes I just can’t get enough. They make me feel happy all day long.
It’s said that women love sweetness more than savory delights. And that women are said to enjoy the sweeter tastes in life more than men. I have no idea if this is true or fantasy. And frankly I don’t care. It’s all a wonderful and happy time for everyone. Today I am introducing a unique chocolate cake that is made even more special with a Mexican Chocolate Glaze. I have adapted this treat from a Mexican recipe I adore. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Recipe for Mexican Chocolate Cake:
Yields: one 8- or 9-inch cake
4 tbsp bittersweet chocolate, grated or finely chopped in food processor - 2 ounces
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) unblanched almonds, —toasted and ground or chopped very finely in a food processor
4 eggs separated
1/2 cup sugar – separated into two ¼ cups
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp Grand Marnier (or other Orange) Liquor
Steps to Follow for Cake
1- Preheat oven to 325°F
2- Grease, flour, and line with wax or parchment paper an 8 or 9 inch cake pan.
3 -Combine cinnamon, orange zest, grated chocolate and ground almonds in a mixing bowl andset aside.
4-Using an electric mixter, beat egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar until pale yellow and sugar crystals have dissolved. Stir in orange juice and set aside.
5-In another bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks while gradually add remaining1/4 cup sugar. Stir egg yolks
and orange juice into the chocolate almond mixture, then
fold in half the beaten egg whites. Blend well and gently
fold in remaining egg whites.
6- Spread mixture evenly in prepared cake pan and bake for
35-to 45 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides of pan.
Let cool for 10 minutes, and invert onto cake rack. When cool use a pastry brush to coat with Grand Marnier and set cake rack on top of a flat pan before covering with Chocolate glaze.
Recipe for Chocolate Glaze
10 Tbsp bittersweet chocolate- about 5 ounces, chopped coarsely
1 Tbsp unsweetened chopped chocolate (about ½ ounce)
3/4 cup softened butter – 1 ½ sticks
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1 Tbsp water
1/4 cup chopped candied orange peel (Optional)
Place both chocolates, 1/2 cup (one stick) of the soft butter, corn syrup, and water in a double boiler or in a small metal or pyrex bowl set over a pan filled with 1” of gently simmering (not rapidly boiling) water.
Stir gently until just melted. Remove from heat, and stir in remaining 1/4 cup soft butter. The glaze is ready to pour when it reaches the consistency
of maple syrup — between 86F- 96F and easily runs off of a spatula.
Place cake on rack set over a pan or wax paper and slowly pour glaze over cake, tilting to coat evenly. (If entire cake isn’t coated, remove cake from pan, collect extra chocolate, reheat gently if needed and coat again.) Decorate with candied orange peel if desired.
My name is Cheryl Martin. I am a professional caterer and businesswoman with family roots in New England and on Cape Cod. I recently relocated to Orleans after a long and successful career in the Florida Keys. In my retirement, I want to share my inside knowledge and personal experiences of starting and operating a catering company with people, young and old, who are just starting out.
It Is All About the Sauce! is a guidebook for aspiring caterers, chefs, and foodies who want to start their own food service businesses. It is filled with tips, lessons learned, and recipes for go-to sauces that will make any dish a crowd pleaser including:
mustard sauce, herb butter, mango
sauce, and spicy remoulade.
My goal in writing this book is to give others a resource that would have made my life easier when I started my business, A Little Taste of the Keys.
In 1996, I had $250 in my pocket and a dream. I had worked in restaurants since high school and wanted to start my own catering company. My first job came to me by sheer luck. A member at the club where I was working needed a caterer for a New Year’s Eve party. She had waited until the last minute and was desperate for someone to put on a spread for her guests. I knew this was the opportunity that could catapult my career, so I jumped in with both feet. The event was a tremendous success and the rest, as they say, is history.
The first few years of business were rocky as I stumbled to navigate the myriad challenges of running a business, managing clients, and cooking food for hundreds of people. You must be willing to work late hours, be on your feet, work weekends, and work under pressure. It is not for the faint of heart. But if your love for food trumps all these difficulties, then this is the career for you! Food service is creative, fun and a wonderful way to make a living!
It Is All About the Sauce! will be out on eBook shortly. It will be offered on amazon.com, Kindle, lulu.com, and barnesandnoble.com. Additionally, I am working on a class on udemy.com. I hope to be able to share my knowledge with the Cape Cod Community through the Incubator project in the future!
Here is a taste from It Is All About the Sauce!
This simple and bold garlic parsley sauce originated in Argentina and can take your meal from good to amazing with just a drizzle.
Things that Chimichurri can be served with….
For more information please contact: Cheryl Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Barnstable, MA (January 2019) – Cape Cod Culinary Incubator (CCCI) has been awarded an Urban Agenda Grant by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in a ceremony last week presided over by Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.
Cape Cod Culinary Incubator was one of nine organizations from around the state awarded a grant under the Urban Agenda program. The program emphasizes community-driven responses to local obstacles, and promotes economic development through partnership-building, problem solving, and shared accountability in urban centers.
With this funding, the Cape Cod Culinary Incubator will be establishing a food service education program for at risk youth. The program will develop skills for young people with an interest in food service professions and ultimately bolster the workforce in the culinary industry on Cape Cod.
In accepting the grant, Harry Henry CCCI’s Board President indicated “We are excited for this chance to serve our food-based community, but also to provide an opportunity for this youth segment of our community. In addition, it helps us further our mission of serving the community and providing educational services.”
Launched by the Baker-Polito Administration in 2016, the Urban Agenda Grant Program offers competitive awards offer flexible funding for local efforts that bring together community stakeholders to pursue economic development initiatives.
Welcome to 2019 as we send our wishes to you for a great year!
Our #1 wish this year is to get the culinary incubator kitchen in place and operational. We continue to negotiate, search out properties and work on financing to reach that goal. If any of you have had to chance to look for the right commercial space, you know the challenges. So, while challenging – we continue pushing.
We do have some other BIG plans for including our major fund raiser in April – “Taste of the Cape” will be a four course meal prepared by 4 star chefs. Save the date for April 25th!
And we will be continuing our cooking classes at KAM appliance. We had a fun class in December and are now working on the next few classes for February & March
This month's recipe: Sweet and Sour French Pot Roast
Check out this month's Maker Profile: What the Truck?
Looking for a volunteer Marketing Manager
With our marketing activity ramping up, we could use some additional help in Marketing. If interested, please contact Harry Henry - email@example.com
Chef Alan Zox
Pot au Feu is a French pot roast made in a savory style with vegetables, cold water, and condiments. It’s a dish to remember. It takes a while to finish cooking although a slow cooker saves time and trouble. It’s easy to make and quite different than so called “American pot roast” which browns the roast and braises in red wine and chicken stock.
The American sweet and sour version is also one of my favorites. This can be done by merely adding 1/2 lemon juice, 2 tbsp brown sugar, plus dried fruit. This version is wonderfully different and refreshing. Be sure to add an additional pound to the recipe to savor the leftovers the following few days.
Pot au Feu is one of the original pot roast recipes. It’s an ancient dish that was first described in print in 1673. It was described by Henry IV of France (1553-1610) as an essential dish to the well being of the everyday French citizen. Henry is purported to have said that “no peasant in his kingdom is (to be) so poor that he cannot have a “poule au pot” — or pot au feu to eat.
The recipe is usually served in courses with bone marrow on toast followed by vegetables, cuts of meat and broth. Savory condiments are also very popular and delicious for dipping.
Pot au Feu is a dish to remember. As a boy I recall a French neighbor serving the dish whenever our families gathered together on Sunday afternoons. It was considered a special meal which memorialized the warmth between our families.
Make it your meal as well. You won’t be sorry you did.
Sweet and Sour French Pot Roast
Serves 4-6 ( Cook 3 1/4 – 3 1/2 hours at a simmer)
Use a large soup pot or a Slow Cooker
Cooking Process -4-
1- In a large stockpot brown 6 lbs of chuck beef roast on all sides and place in the pot on top of the sliced leeks, carrots, celery, onions and parsnips. Add 2 lbs of sliced marrow bones to the pot, tucking them between the meat, and the bouquet garni, salt and peppercorns and cayenne.
2—Add enough water and chicken stock to come to the top of the roast without covering. Then cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce the heat to a simmer partially covered for an initial 1 hour.
3-Taste and adjust the broth to achieve a sweet and sour taste to your liking by adding an additional 2 tbsp more diced, dried fruit and 1 tsp light brown sugar. Or merely adjust the salt and pepper and cayenne to your liking.
4— Continue cooking the roast for another 1½ hours— first at a boil and then reduce to a simmer-skimming any foam which forms on the top.
5— Remove the beef, strain the broth and discard the onions and parsnips. Then return the broth and meats to a boil in the pot and add the bay leaves, and the remaining marrow bones, leeks, carrots and potatoes.
6- Bring the broth to a simmer and cook,partially covered, for 45 more minutes after bringing to a full boil.
7—Remove the meat from the broth and cut the twine. Carefully remove the remaining vegetables from the broth, placing them on a large serving platter, and moisten with some broth. Cover and keep warm.
8—Strain the broth —reserving in the pot at low temperature— and carve half the meat in 1 inch thick slices moistened with hot broth. Then place on the serving platter with the vegetables. Cover and keep warm.
9- Place 2 slices of beef with vegetables and 2 tbsp hot broth on each plate.
Note: Keep the remaining unsliced beef in the pot with warm heated broth, covered. When diners are interested in seconds, cut 4-6 more slices with 3-4 more tbsp broth on your serving platter and return to the table.
10—Rub the baguette slices with garlic and lightly toast before placing in the bottom of a shallow bowl. Pour equal amounts of broth over the baguette toast and serve as a first course. Pass the marrow bones at the table and serve with additional toast for spreading the marrow. Serve the
meat and vegetables as a main course with desired condiments. Bon Appetite!