Café Maddalena – seasonal menu and perfect bites

Summer menu offering wild Alaskan halibut with roasted Wild Alaskan halibut boulangere roasted over sautéed potatoes and onions with roasted tomatoes.

Summer menu offering wild Alaskan halibut with roasted Wild Alaskan halibut boulangere roasted over sautéed potatoes and onions with roasted tomatoes.

Sitting at the wine bar at Cafe Maddelana’s Caesar salad with special and dessert chalkboard in the background.

I remember my first perfect bite at Café Maddalena’s. It was on one of those dry hot later summer days. I drove down early from Mount Shasta, set up for my meeting in Dunsmuir. I had time to grab a bite and Café Maddalena’s was across the street. The restaurant was empty, it was early, they might have just opened for dinner at 5:00. My friend and I ordered a glass of Rose` then I ordered a salad with watermelon and cucumber balls dressed with mint. It was perfection! The fruit was cool and crisp, not too sweet and amazingly refreshing. It was like being cooled off from the inside out. It’s a special treat to go to Cade Maddalena. I try to get there at least once a season to try the current menu, when I do, there is always a perfect bite.

Maddie’s is the nickname for this beloved fine dining bistro located on the corner of Pine St. and Sacramento Ave. in Dunsmuir. While the dining is top notch with tablecloths and napkins, it still has a relaxed casual, friendly atmosphere. You can eat at the wine bar to watch the coming and going of the kitchen staff, on the patio under the grape arbor with the sound of the spring water that runs under the businesses on Sacramento Ave. or table seating in the restaurant overlooking the Union Pacific railroad yard.

Chef owner Brett LaMott changes the menu with the seasons and the summer menu had just come out so, a friend and I went to dinner. Soon after we sat at the wine bar, we were served soft warm Focaccia bread with olive oil for dipping. Next, we selected a bottle of wine from the well curated wine list. After looking over the offerings I settled on the roasted beet salad, my friend had the salad of petite romaine hearts, croutons, Reggiano parmigiana, Caesar dressing; hold the anchovies. ($12.50). The dressing was creamy and the right amount of cheese dressed the crispy tender romaine. I ordered the beet, carrot, turnip and Napa cabbage slaw. ($8.50) with a well-balanced sugar and vinegar tangy slaw dressing. They also added yellow raisins.

For our entrées, we both decided on the Wild Alaskan halibut boulangere roasted over sautéed potatoes and onions with roasted tomatoes. ($27). The roasted tomatoes set off the snowy white color of the salty, moist sweetness of the tender fish. The caramelized onions added a sweet warm richness to the starchiness of the potatoes. This all added up to a perfect bite!

Wild Alaskan halibut boulangere roasted over sautéed potatoes and onions with roasted tomatoes

The cuisine style of this little café is fresh, seasonal food that Chef LaMott prepares in a way that shows respect for the quality ingredients by enhancing their flavors, balancing the texture that is presented as a beautiful plate of food. Their website states the menu is inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, with flavors from Spain, France, Italy and North Africa. They source produce from local farmers and pay attention to what is in season so they can offer the freshest food to their customers. Ask your server for the daily chalkboard specials and desserts.

Café Maddalena is open for dinner Thursday through Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m. The address is 5801 Sacramento Ave., Dunsmuir. Call 530-265-2725, as reservations are suggested. Visit www.cafemaddalena.com to view the current menu.


Peach Salsa - spicy + sweet

Simple fresh ingredients make a beautiful salsa- peaches, onions, cilantro jalapeno and lime juice

Simple fresh ingredients make a beautiful salsa- peaches, onions, cilantro jalapeno and lime juice

Peach Salsa can be used on grilled fish or chicken, fish tacos, on a chip or on vanilla ice cream and as a fun Mexican style dessert. Any way you use this condiment you are sure to appreciate its sweet, spicy complex flavors.

Ingredients - Makes about 1 quart

6 ripe peaches - pitted and cubed
2 small red onions - chopped
4 jalapenos - remove membrane and seed for less heat
1 bunch cilantro - chopped
1 lime juiced
2 tsp salt

Directions

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and toss to evenly distribute the fruit, onions and peppers. Allow to chill about 1 hour before serving

Beautiful! fresh peach salsa

Beautiful! fresh peach salsa



4 Bean Salad with marinated artichoke hearts

A crowd pleasing & easy to make salad. I made this summer salad with organic canned beans I had in my pantry. Of course you can make this with 3 beans!

4 beans and artichokes salad goes is a delicious summer side dish.

4 beans and artichokes salad goes is a delicious summer side dish.

Ingredients

1- 15 oz can each of Garbanzo beans, kidney, pinto and cut green beans - or any combination you have in your pantry
2 small onions - chopped
1 - 6.5 jar of marinated artichoke hearts - cut to bit size pieces as needed - I used a grilled California style
2 tbsp to 1/4 cup vinegar - depending on vinegar content of the marinate - I used balsamic
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Open bean cans drain and rinse. Place beans and onions in a bowl and toss. Add artichokes including the marinate Add vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.

Burger and a Beer at Dunsmuir Brewery Works - Printed in the April 17, 2019 issue of the Mount Shasta Herald

Burger on a ciabatta bun with a green salad as my side

Burger on a ciabatta bun with a green salad as my side

One thing I can count on is getting a good burger and beer at Dunsmuir Brewery Works (DBW), because owners Aaron Greener and David Clarno strive for consistency in the food they serve. DBW, located in Dunsmuir’s Historical District, is a family owned and operated craft brewery with a pub style family friendly menu serving lunch and dinner, including daily soups and specials. The beer menu has a selection of seasonal brewed ale style beers. For kids they offer a housemade old fashion non-alcoholic root beer.

My burger was everything I wanted when I met a friend for lunch last week. The burger had a grilled patty served on a chewy Ciabatta bun, mayo, lettuce, tomato, red onion and a pickle. For my side I ordered a green salad that included blanched green beans, red bell peppers, perfectly dressed with housemade tomato vinaigrette. Other sides offered include sautéed seasonal vegetable, broccoli slaw, German style potato salad or soup of the day

Greek salad with warm crusty bread and no red onions

Greek salad with warm crusty bread and no red onions

My friend had a half Greek salad that included, feta cheese, garbanzo beans, Kalamata olives, (hold the onions) served with warm crusty French bread and butter. The greens were crisp and the salad was well dressed. The salad selection at DBW includes a Caesar that my granddaughter says is, “the best Caesar salad in all of Siskiyou County.” I have enjoyed the seafood salad with house smoked trout.

I ordered a pint of the West Coast ESB (Extra Special Bitter). It is one of my favorite beers. In spite of its name it is not bitter. It’s an English style beer that is a hop forward medium smooth beer. The beer menu features ale style beers and is responsive to the seasons. They brew the heavier porters in the winter and for the warmer day’s lighter beers like the Liquid Sunshine Summer Wheat – Krystal-Weisse.

The kitchen is open to the small bar and inside table seating. The grill is outside on the patio where the tables have umbrellas for summer days and string lights for evening dining. From the patio you can watch the coming and goings on Dunsmuir Ave. and a view of their garden.  Well behaved dogs are welcome on the patio. 

DWB is family friendly eatery located at 5701 Dunsmuir Ave they are open Monday thru Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., 8 p.m. on Sunday. There is live music most weekends. They are open 7 days a week during the summer months. For more information 530-235-1900 or www.dunsmuirbreweryworks.com

Check out TheBillPlate.com for the DBW’s recipe for Warm German Style Potato Salad.

Preserved Lemons - add umami to your dishes

The first day in the jar. Pack the jar with lemon quarters and salt. Top off with lemon juice after the 2nd day.

The first day in the jar. Pack the jar with lemon quarters and salt. Top off with lemon juice after the 2nd day.

Preserve Lemons couldn’t be easier to make; container, salt, Meyer lemons and time. With so many uses you’ll want to keep a jar or two in your refrigerator at all times. Lemons preserved in brine mellows out the sharp citrus flavor bringing out the lemon umani. Umani is the Japanese word for the fifth savory taste along with sweet, sour, bitter and salt.

Preserve Lemon are an essential ingredient in many Middle Eastern, Asian and North African recipes. I made these for a Moroccan Chicken Tajine recipe I wanted to try out. (Recipe is coming soon.) I have added preserve lemon juice to a tuna salad, oil and vinegar salad dressing and added peels to cooked couscous, oil and muffins.

Preserved Lemons Recipe

Makes one 16 oz. or two 8 oz. canning jar

Ingredients

Lemons – 8 Organic Meyer lemons – quarter 6 and juice 2
Salt – 3/4 cup - Use a good salt like Kosher, Himalayan Pink or sea salt

Directions

Wash the lemons with a mild soap and rinse well. Cut off the hard end and quarter the lemons into lengthwise wedges. Toss the lemons in salt while gentle working the salt into the pulp. Pack the lemon wedges in a glass jar add salt as you go. Put the lid on and gently shake the jar to disperse the salt and juices. Place the jar in a cool corner of your kitchen. The salt will draw out the juices . If needed, after two days, top off the jar with lemon juice to cover the lemons. Gently shake every day or two for a week or two until the rinds are soft for about 2 weeks. Refrigerate for up to a year. Rinse and pat dry before using.

Traditionally the lemons are cut into quarters, but not all the way through. In my research for recipes I didn’t see any advantage to keeping the lemons. By cutting the lemons into wedges, you can get more into a jar.

How to use Preserved Lemons

  • Use the rind and pulp in every place you would use fresh lemons. Including a Bloody Mary and ice tea.

  • Add a squeeze of juice into tuna salad, salad dressings, over salmon, crab and vegetables.

  • Mince the peel into a risotto, rice or couscous.

  • Use the juice and rind in your baking like, lemon zucchini bread and lemon sugar cookies.

  • Preserved lemons make a beautiful gift.

French Onion Soup - simple to make + rich in flavor

French Onion Soup - rich and full of flavor

French Onion Soup - rich and full of flavor

The secret to a rich French onion soup is caramelized onions. By taking the time to caramelize the onions you will be rewarded with sweet rich brown flavors. This recipe uses simple ingredients that you probably have in your pantry.

Slice the onions about 1/4 inch thick

Slice the onions about 1/4 inch thick

The onions need to be cooked until they are golden brown

The onions need to be cooked until they are golden brown

Serves 6

Ingredients

Butter – 4 tbsp
Onions – 5 medium onions – slice thin about 1/4” thick
Sugar - ½ tsp
Salt ¼ tsp
Flour - 2 tbsp – or gluten free - substitute a slurry of 1 tbsp cornstarch and 1tbsp water
Beef broth – 4 cups or 1 box – vegans can substitute with vegetable broth
Bay Leaf – 2 leaves
Thyme - 2 tsp
Salt + Pepper – to taste
Sherry – ½ cup or substitute with brandy, sake or a dry white wine
French bread – about ½ baguette
Gruyere Cheese – 4 oz grated
Parmesan – 4 oz grated   

Directions

Melt the butter in a heavy bottom pan, add onions. Cook on medium-low for about 25 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the sugar and salt and stir often until are golden brown and caramelized, about 15 minutes. They will be very soft and sticky. Sprinkle the flour over the caramelize onions and cook it for a couple of minutes – or add the slurry. Add sherry, Nutmeg and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for another 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Slice the bread about ½” thick, top with mixture of Parmesan and Gruyere cheese and lightly toast under the broiler then top with cheese and continue to broil until it is bubbling and melted.

Remove the bay leaves, ladle the hot soup into bowls, place the bread on top and serve.

brown the bread before adding the cheeses

brown the bread before adding the cheeses

What's in my Pantry? 5 essentials ingredients to make a variety of meals

What makes a pantry essential ? For me, it’s an ingredient that has the capacity to add a lot of flavor, texture and goodness to a variety of dishes. In this blog I am going to share my 5 essential ingredients and give you several recipes you can use to make.

Ingredients for Open a Can Chili  link to the recipe below

Ingredients for Open a Can Chili link to the recipe below

1. Onions, Leeks and Garlic - I almost always use fresh, but powdered can work, too. These root vegetables add that flavor to your dish. Leeks are the start to most of soup recipes. It takes minutes to whip up a marinara using sauteed onions, garlic and tomatoes; canned or fresh. Bean soup can be made by adding a can of your favorite beans to sauteed leeks and garlic with some broth…add bacon if you like it. Frozen pearl onions can be a tasty side dish by sauteing thawed onions in butter then tossing with a little brown sugar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper or boil and drain then toss in some heavy cream and nutmeg. French onion soup can be made in under an hour. (Link to the recipe below)

2. Mushrooms - fresh, frozen and dried - Mushroom add texture and flavor to many dishes. I forage morels when I can and dry them. To rehydrate them just place in tepid water for 20 - 30 minutes until they are soft. There is no need to thaw frozen mushrooms just toss them in a pan of oil or butter and saute until the excess liquid boils off. Mushrooms will add a woodsy flavor and chewy texture to an omelet, soup or stew, a marinara sauce. Try my rich creamy mushroom soup that can be made in about 30 minutes. (Link to the recipe below) Add mushrooms to a custard of eggs, cheese, milk and mushrooms and you have quiche. (Link to the recipe below)

3. Milk - dairy and nut milks -canned, powdered or boxed - I don’t drink milk, but it is an ingredient in many savory and sweet recipes. I keep a stash of both canned and powdered milks in addition to coconut and flax milks. Stock up on the nut milks you prefer. I can make pancakes, gravy, and cream soups and sauces any time without worrying about having fresh milk. Toss cooked carrots with coconut milk and a little curry and you have an exotic creamy side dish.

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4. Beans - canned and dried - Canned beans are very convenient. My pantry usually has garbanzo, black eyed, cannelloni and pinto beans. Saute a chopped onion in some good olive oil and add a couple cans of beans add a can of tomatoes with some good New Mexico chili powder and you have Open a Can Chili. (link to the recipe below) To make a Humus dip for chips and veggies just toss a can of garbanzo beans, garlic, lemon juice and Tahini (sesame seed paste ) in the food processor. For another Mediterranean dip use White cannelloni beans, pesto or basil and olive oil. Lentils can be cooked then served as a soup or a salad.

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5. Tomatoes - canned or frozen - Tomatoes add acid that can balance out any dish. Buy organic when every possible. Tomatoes can easily be frozen in plastic containers. Small tomatoes freeze whole- large ones can be peeled and sliced. Add to bean for chili. Using fresh tomatoes will make a rich marinara with, onions, garlic and basil. Salsa Pica adds freshness to a steak,




Links to Recipes

Link here to all The Bill Plate Recipes.

Quiche, a versatile dish - It doesn’t take much time to put together a quiche. Add a green salad and you have a meal.

Caramelized Onions - A favorite condiment - Onions be added to salads, burgers, and they are a treat on a grilled cheese sandwich.

Mushroom Soup is rich and earthy - Another easy to make soup that is rich in flavor.

Open a Can Chile - It can’t be any easier! to make a big pot of chili than sauteing onions and opening a bunch of cans. Add chiles to make it as spicy as you want. Brown ground beef or stew meat can be added or keep it vegetarian.

Pico de Gallo - fresh salsa - serve on a steak, with eggs, on tacos and burritos, or with good corn chips.

Everybody needs a place to eat

A squirrel’s charming dinner plate along the path.

A squirrel’s charming dinner plate along the path.

Everybody needs a place to eat; in the forest or a home. I have an old table I bought for all of $10 from Pat Pickering almost 20 years ago. Pat was an artist with wonderful stories of hanging out with Jackson Pollack and artist of that era. She was downsizing and had a garage sale where I scored my table. Pat told me she got the table from Long Island where it was used to iron linens. Pat brought it with her when she move to the West Coast; San Francisco then Point Reyes Station. I move my ‘new’ table into my studio above the Old Western Saloon then brought it with me when I moved back to Mount Shasta in early 2000’s.

My studio was up stairs of the Old western Saloon in Point Reyes Station

My studio was up stairs of the Old western Saloon in Point Reyes Station

Every person has an eating routine. Some days it’s breakfast in the car, lunch at your desk and dinner in front of the TV. When my family gathers at the table we just add as many chairs as we need to accommodate the crowd. The food goes on the table Family Style, we put the phones down and the conversations begin. Family Style is casual dinning; all the food platters and bowls are set on the table then passed around with everyone serving themselves.

My Millennium grandchildren and friends hang out at the table eating and drinking until all the food is gone.

My Millennium grandchildren and friends hang out at the table eating and drinking until all the food is gone.

This table is part of the story of my family. We make arts and crafts projects, it’s a desk and the family dinner table. Someone gave me an ironing board so, I don’t iron on the table anymore.

Dragonflies are one of the paper crafts I make at the table. Here’s the link to  see more of my artworks.

Dragonflies are one of the paper crafts I make at the table. Here’s the link to see more of my artworks.

Sharing the a Greek themed meal.  Here’s the recipe for Stuffed Grape Leaves

Sharing the a Greek themed meal. Here’s the recipe for Stuffed Grape Leaves

Testing out a large circle cutter at the table.

Testing out a large circle cutter at the table.

Lentil Soup - a family favorite

A little Parmesan cheese adds a salty creaminess to the soup.

A little Parmesan cheese adds a salty creaminess to the soup.

Another family favorite is Lentil Soup…we are all getting tire of being sick and bored of Chicken Soup.

Lentils are legumes, Lens ensculenta, coming in yellow, red, green, black and brown colors. The brown and green variety are best for soups and salads because they stay firm; holding their shape after they are cooked.  These little seeds come one or two in a pod. They are a good source of iron, potassium and protein. Lentils absorb the flavors from ingredients and seasonings they are cooked with. Lentils can be used in soups and salads.

Lentils cook fairly quickly without needing to be soaked. They are a good choice for same-day soup making. Always checked the lentils for small stones and rinse them before cooking. 

Lentils are among the earliest crops domesticated in the Old World; believed to have originated in central Asia. “Lentil seeds dating back 8000 years have been found at archeological sites in the Middle East. Lentils were mentioned in the Bible both as the item that Jacob traded to Esau for his birthright and as a part of a bread that was made during the Babylonian captivity of the Jewish people.” According to The World’s Healthiest Foods A site managed by the George Mateljan Foundation.

Lentil Soup Recipe

This recipe makes a large pot of soup.  About 4 quarts.

Ingredients  

2 tbsp Olive oil
1 Onion – diced
3-4 Cloves Garlic- chopped
3 Carrots cubed – I wash my carrots, but I don’t peel them
1/4 head of green cabbage chopped 
2 boxes broth – Use what you have vegetable or mushroom stock will keep this a vegan soup.
1 lb. Lentils – rinsed
5 tbsp Tomato Paste
1 tsp Thyme 
1 tsp Cumin
2 Bay Leaves
1 tsp Paprika
Salt + Pepper
Chopped parsley or grated Parmesan for garnish (optional)

 Directions

Sauté the onions in oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy bottomed pot until translucent. Add garlic, carrots and herbs and sauté for a few minutes. Add the broth and stir to incorporate any of the bits on the bottom of the pan into the broth. Stir in tomato paste, cabbage and lentils.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. On medium heat bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until bean are soft 15 to 45 minutes. Remove by leaves before serving.

Serve warm and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese or parsley.

This soup pairs well with a grilled cheese sandwich or quesadilla (link here for my quesadilla recipe)

Banana Bread - Made in the Cuisinart Food Processor

Banana Bread - a breakfast treat.

Banana Bread - a breakfast treat.

My friend Cami whips up this Banana Bread in minutes following the recipe in the Cuisinart Food Processor Cookbook she got with the purchase of her Cuisinart, This is a very easy recipe to make...even if you don’t have a food processor...see directions below. The Banana Bread comes out sweet and moist.

Cuisinart is an award winning maker of kitchen products for professional chefs and home cooks. They introduced the food processor to America in 1973. This multi-use kitchen tool grates, slices, mixes and make food preparation quick and easy.

Cami’s well used Cuisinart Food Processor Cookbook,

Cami’s well used Cuisinart Food Processor Cookbook,

This recipe is well used. Cami even had to add back lost words..

This recipe is well used. Cami even had to add back lost words..

Banana Bread

Ingredients

¼ lb. butter cut into 6 or 8 pieces
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 very ripe bananas, peeled, cut into 3 pieces
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

Directions For Food Processor

Place metal blade in the food processor. Add butter sugar and eggs to processor. Pulse on and off until ingredients are blended. Add bananas and pulse on and off again until bananas are blended into mixture.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and add gradually to the processor. Pulse on and off, scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula. Do not over process. Process only until flour disappears into the other ingredients.

Spoon the mixture into a grease 9x5x3 inch long loaf pan, Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour.

Directions by Hand

Cram butter and sugar together until well blended. Mix in the eggs until they are incorporated then add the ripe bananas and mix well. Set your wet mixture aside.

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients into the wet a about 1/2 cup at a time until the flour is incorporated. Do not over mix.

Spoon the mixture into a grease 9x5x3 inch long loaf pan, Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour.

Tips

This is a moist bread freezes well. You could add some chopped nuts and spices. Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon or a little bit of nutmeg. Raisins, currants or dried cranberries… if you like them

If you use smaller loaf pans you will bake for about 45 - 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.