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More Gourmet Recipes  

Just About Married (February 27, 2013)

Fried Zucchini
My Award-Winning Four-Cheese Mac-and-Cheese
Citrus Shrimp with Asian Noodles
Oriental Beans
Lamb Chops with Mint Gremolata
Alice Waters' Apricot Galette

The granddaughter is engaged; your best friend is going down the aisle... again; Jonathon and Robert have announced the date; wedding season is bearing down on us! Showers, parties and, of course, the big event! Ah, what to give the new couple? Good cookbooks are welcome anytime and we've got a batch that cover couples from the newlyweds and new to the kitchen, to experienced cooks in a new relationship, or just anyone who wants terrific cookbooks with recipes for two…and more!

The Newlywed Kitchen: Delicious Meals for Couples Cooking Together is a wonderful collection of recipes from, yes, married couples who were brought together by their love of food, and today cook together professionally! The wedding and honeymoon are over; the next step is learning how to live and eat together, and one of the greatest gifts you can give your new spouse is spending time together in the kitchen preparing meals to share. Ah, It's here you'll make memories, discover new dishes to call your own and establish family traditions that will sustain you through your married life! The couples peppered throughout this book are notable married foodies; not only do they share a love of food, their professional lives revolve around it, whether they're restaurants, chefs, sommeliers, or cookbook authors. They KNOW! You'll want this book!

Fresh and Healthy Cooking for Two by Ellie Topp and Marilyn Booth says it all. You've started a new life, and want to enjoy it forever; the best place to begin is in the kitchen! What goes on your table and into your tummies can make a huge difference in your future. There's no reason a good balanced diet has to be dull; in fact, dull drives us all to load up on bad choices. So go for the recipes in this book. You'll keep on looking great and feeling wonderful! Topp is a Professional Home Economist and Booth is a Registered Dietitian, and they both love food; every recipes comes with a handy nutrient analysis and each has been carefully tested so you know you'll love each dish!

The Newlywed Cookbook by Sarah Copeland is a gorgeous, almost coffee-table book that you can pore over as you sip wine in front of the fire. Yes, it's the perfect present for the bride and groom, but secretly you'll want one yourself. It's full of glorious – and many quite easy – recipes for two which range from down-home comfort food to elegant meals for sharing with friends. Copeland, who develops recipes for The Food Network and is a newlywed herself, is convinced that just-marrieds who learn to cook together, shop together and garden together stay together!

The James Beard Foundation's Best of the Best by Kit Wohl, with a foreword by Martha Stewart, is drop-dead wonderful! Better get two copies, as the one you're giving for a wedding present will leave a hole on your A List shelf! In 1954 the New York Times called James Beard "The Dean of American cooking," as he was host of the first TV cooking show, an impassioned chef, noted cooking instructor, acclaimed author, and early champion of the local-foods movement. But above all else, he was a friend and inspiration to generations of chefs in America. After his death, his friends and colleagues in 1986 created the James Beard Foundation to honour his legacy and carry on his mission "To celebrate, nurture, and preserve America's diverse culinary heritage and future." In 1990 the Foundation established the James Beard Awards to recognize excellence in the food, drink and related industries. The prestigious Outstanding Chef award has long been coveted and cherished by professional chefs across the country. At last, 25 years later, we have The James Beard Foundation's Best of the Best celebrating 21 Outstanding Chefs, from Wolfgang Puck in 1991 to the latest, Tom Colicchio in 2010, inviting you into the nation's most revered restaurant kitchens. Can't get to Chicago and Charlie Trotter, or enjoy food from the kitchens of Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, David Bouley or Jean-Georges Vongerichten? Well, never mind, you can now recreate the recipes that elevated them to the very top...

Cooking for Two: Perfect Meals for Pairs by Jessica Strand is a perfect collection for pairs, and singles who want to cook a special meal for a friend. Strand is an L.A.-based food and lifestyle writer who has contributed to the L.A. Times, InStyle, Self and Wine & Spirits. She's a popular author of an eclectic collection that includes Kids in the Holiday Kitchen; Margaritas, Mojitos & More; Salad Dressings; and many more, all from Chronicle Books.

There's lots of good information in Cooking for Two; our favourite is:

Eight Tips for Cooking Together

  1.  Make the decision together on what you plan to cook.
  2. Split up the jobs for preparation; for example, one person can prep the vegetables while the other prepares the fish.
  3. Be patient!
  4. Give each other enough space to do your jobs.
  5. Music is always fun to cook to – again, choose it together.
  6. Don't talk on the phone if you're in the middle of cooking. It can easily annoy the other person, or cause you to make a mistake.
  7. Set the table. Make whatever you're preparing a special occasion.
  8. Relax and enjoy yourselves.

To which we add: Enjoy a glass of wine while making dinner!

On today's menu:

Download this article in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (129 KB)


Fried Zucchini

Fried Zucchini

Oh, what a wonderful summer day; I'm so glad we could get out into the country and enjoy that terrific farmer's market! They were practically giving away zucchini; well, we just had to take home a freshly picked batch. Now what? Darling, let's fry these up and have some of the wedding champagne... I know we've got that in the fridge!

This recipe transforms zucchini into crispy, light summer fries that will turn the heads of even the strictest potato devotees! Eat them fresh from the fryer dipped in harissa-spiked Spicy Mayo…and yes please, another glass of champagne! From The Newlywed Cookbook.

Serves 6 to 8

  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 medium-large firm zucchini scrubbed and cut into 2-inch-long sticks
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup cold, full-flavoured wheat beer
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Sea salt

(PS) This batter keeps well overnight in the fridge. Use any leftovers to fry up okra or onions.

Before you begin, have everything you'll need handy so you can concentrate when you're working with hot oil on the stove. Set up a wire rack on a baking sheet/tray lined with paper towels/absorbent paper.

In a large, deep frying pan, heat 1 inch vegetable oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F on a deep-fat thermometer. Decrease the heat to medium-low to keep the oil temperature steady.

Whisk together the egg and beer in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in the flour to make a thin batter.

Check the oil temperature again. It should read just under 350°F and will drop slightly to about 325°F as you add the zucchini pieces. This is the perfect temperature for frying. Dip vegetable pieces in the batter a few at a time to coat and let the excess drip off before carefully lowering them into the hot oil. Fry until the batter puffs and is crisp and golden, about 2 minutes. Turn over with a slotted spoon and continue cooking 1 minute more. Be sure to cover the pan with a splatter guard to protect yourself as the zucchini pops and sizzles enthusiastically. (It's full of water.) Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the rack. Sprinkle with salt while it's still warm. Continue until all the squash is fried.

Serve hot and fresh with Spicy Mayo or all on their own in a basket lined with paper towels/absorbent paper.

Spicy Mayo

Creamy mayonnaise mixed with Greek yogurt is the perfect, luscious base to tame the feisty heat of a hot red pepper paste. Stir in North African harissa, Hungarian red hot pepper paste, Southeast Asian sambal oelek, or Sriracha sauce to add a fiery streak to your favorite snack or supper.

Makes about 1/2 cup

  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil mayonnaise or regular mayonnaise
  • 2–3 Tbsp hot pepper sauce or paste
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Mix together the yogurt, mayonnaise, and enough hot pepper paste to make you sweat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on everything your heart desires! Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Tony's wine recommendation:
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Soave


My Award-Winning Four-Cheese Mac-and-Cheese

My Award-Winning Four-Cheese Mac-and-Cheese

So nobody did mac and cheese better than his mother... and it's your first try at this classic! Well, Moms and everyone else will love this version. Authors Lorna Yee and Ali Basye in The Newlywed Kitchen told us that they won first place against 16 chefs in Seattle who competed for the title of "Best Mac and Cheese"! Why so deserving? It's packed with bacon, fresh herbs, a blend of four cheeses, and a crispy crumb topping. "Oh, darling, she asked for seconds!"

Serves 2 to 4

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 strips bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup (about 1 medium) finely chopped sweet yellow onion
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 3 Tbsp dry white wine
  • 1½ cups half-and-half
  • 1½ tsp dried marjoram (or 3/4 tsp chopped fresh marjoram)
  • 3/4 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 pound fresh, whole-milk mozzarella, cubed
  • 1/4 pound blue cheese (such as Stilton or Roquefort), crumbled
  • 1/4 pound Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
  • 1/4 pound Gruyère, grated
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound pasta, cooked, drained and kept hot
  • 1/2 cup panko (or substitute regular bread crumbs)
  • Chives or parsley for garnish (Optional)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain, reserving the drippings in the pan. Add 2 Tbsp of the butter to the skillet, then add the onions and sauté for 7 to 8 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Stir in the flour and the wine, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the half-and-half, marjoram, thyme, red pepper flakes, pepper, mozzarella, blue cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Gruyère. Stir until the cheeses melt into the cream sauce and the sauce begins to bubble and thicken. Taste the sauce and if necessary, season with the salt. Add the cooked pasta, mixing thoroughly to coat with the sauce.

In a small skillet, toast the panko with the remaining butter until it is a golden brown and crisp. Season with a tiny pinch of pepper and salt, if desired.

Spoon the pasta into big bowls and top with a generous amount of panko and a sprinkle of bacon. Garnish with a few snipped chives if desired.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Beaujolais, red Burgundy, Ontario Pinot Noir


Citrus Shrimp with Asian Noodles

Citrus Shrimp with Asian Noodles

Fresh and Healthy Cooking for Two by Ellie Topp and Marilyn Booth says it all. You've started a new life, and want to enjoy it forever; the best place to start is in the kitchen! We love this recipe; it goes together in minutes, tastes wonderful especially when paired with the Oriental Beans (recipe follows). Sautéing seafood is one of the fastest ways to get dinner on the table, and this recipe with a hint of orange and lemon wonderfully enhances the succulent flavour of shrimp without overwhelming it. You can double the recipe for company!

Serves 2

  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp fine grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 8 oz fresh or uncooked frozen shrimp, about 10 oz. with shells
  • 5 oz linguini-style rice noodles, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

In a small bowl, combine orange zest, lemon zest, orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, ginger and salt. Set aside.

In a medium nonstick skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp; cook for 4 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink. Add citrus mixture, bring just to a boil. Arrange shrimp over noodles and pour sauce over top. Sprinkle with parsley.

Tony's wine recommendation:
German or Ontario Riesling, Alsace Pinot Gris


Oriental Beans

Oriental Beans

Oh yum! The splash of soy sauce adds flavour without fat. Ellie Topp and Marilyn Booth in Fresh and Healthy Cooking for Two recommend the sodium-reduced version of soy sauce for less salt. We tasted, and we agree! Pass the beans, please!

  • 1½ cups whole green beans
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp sodium-reduced soy sauce

In a small saucepan, bring beans and water to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 7 minutes or until tender but firm Drain and toss with garlic and soy.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis


Lamb Chops with Mint Gremolata

Lamb Chops with Mint Gremolata

My bride has a late meeting tonight, and I'm going to cook something special... Wow, these lamb chops look great and the recipe is short! Cooking for Two author Jessica Strand thinks the lamb chop is a perfect food; it has all the essentials, complexity of flavor and texture and a satisfying heft that comfortably fills you. She continues to say that this dish goes well with a beet, red onion, fennel and avocado salad! We're happy to say it really does!

  • Four 1-inch lamb chops at room temperature
  • 1 garlic clove, cut in half, plus 1 large clove minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tsp grated and finely chopped fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Rub the lamb chops on all surfaces with the garlic halves. Drizzle the lamb with 1 Tbsp olive oil and then season it with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil on medium-high heat until sizzling. Add the lamb chops and cook for 3 minutes per side for rare, 4 minutes per side for medium.

In a small bowl, combine the parsley, mint, lemon zest and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir until blended.

Place the chops on plates, sprinkle with the gremolata, and serve.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Red Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon


Alice Waters' Apricot Galette

Alice Waters' Apricot Galette

Oh, my. It's been 40 years since Alice Waters gave a ramshackle house in Berkeley, California, a fresh start as a restaurant, growing it into a beacon of organic, sustainable eating. Waters and Chez Panisse didn't begin on those lines; a trip to France in the mid-1960s impressed Waters with the taste of food and the numerous farmers' markets where people bought fresh produce daily and cooked it in their homes that same day. She took note of a culture where everyone, it seemed, enjoyed food – buying it, preparing it, eating it, and sharing it with friends and family. Waters is the second chef to be honored The James Beard Foundation's Best of the Best and we fell in love with her seasonal, fresh Apricot Galette. It's a great dessert for everyone from newbies to notables!

Serves 8

    Galette Dough
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled, diced ½-inch
  • 7 Tbsp ice water
  • Flour for dusting
  • 3 pounds ripe apricots, pitted and quartered
  • 1 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup almond paste
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 tsp flour

To make the galette dough:

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut 1/4 cup of the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, mixing until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Cut in the remaining butter with the pastry blender until the mixture again resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle the ice water into the flour mixture gradually, tossing and mixing between additions, until the dough just holds together. Continue tossing until it is ropy with some dry patches. If it's too dry, add an additional tablespoon of water and toss until the dough comes together again. Do not overwork the dough.

Divide the dough in half; firmly press each half into a ball. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Press down, flattening each ball into a 4-inch disc. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out. (Store the remaining dough in the refrigerator up to 2 days.)

When the dough is malleable but still cold, place 1 disc on a lightly floured surface and roll it into a 14-inch circle 1/8 inch thick. Remove excess flour from both sides with a dry pastry brush. Transfer the dough to an upside-down baking sheet lined with parchment and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

To make the frangipane:

In a small bowl, mix the almond paste and butter until smooth. Add the egg, sugar and flour and combine well. Remove.

To make the galette:

Put a pizza stone on the lower rack and preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread 1/4 cup of the frangipane on the dough round, and dust it lightly with flour. Leaving the border bare, layer the apricots. Skin-side down, and snugly touching, in concentric circles on the dough. Evenly sprinkle 1/2 cup of the sugar over the apricots. While rotating, fold and crimp the exposed dough edge against the outer circle of fruit. Fold the dough edge up and over itself at regular intervals, creating a containing rim resembling a length of rope. Pinch off any excess dough. Brush the crust edge with melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining 2 Tbsp sugar.

Slice the parchment paper and dough onto the pizza stone. Bake until the crust is well browned and the edges are slightly caramelized, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately place the galette on a cooling rack. Cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Spätlese or off-dry Riesling, semi-sweet Vouvray


We wish to thank the following for permission to publish material and photographs:

Chronicle Books, San Francisco, and Raincoast Publishing, Vancouver, for  Cooking for Two: Perfect Meals for Pairs by Jessica Strand. Text © 2009 Jessica Strand. Photographs © 2009 Caren Alpert.


The Newlywed Cookbook by Sarah Copeland. Text © 2012 Sarah Copeland. Photographs © 2012 Sara Remington.


The James Beard Foundation's Best of the Best, by Kit Wohl. Text © 2011 the James Beard Foundation. Photographs © Susie Cushner.


Sasquatch Books, Seattle, and Random House, Canada, for The Newlywed Kitchen: Delicious Meals for Couples Cooking Together by Lorna Yee and Ali Basye. © 2010 Lorna Yee and Ali Basye. Photography © Kathryn Barnard.


Formac Publishing Company Ltd, Halifax, for Fresh and Healthy Cooking for Two by Ellie Topp and Marilyn Booth. Photography by Jen Partridge. © 2011 Ellie Topp and Marilyn Booth.


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Happily enjoyed by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Helen Hatton and Ron Morris at Le Caveau des Gourmets in Gigondas




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