Let Okra Flowers Shine, Savor Skillet Roasted Okra Recipe from 'Mosquito Supper Club' cookbook by Melissa Martin

Let okra flowers shine!

Prep, cook and savor this Skillet Roasted Okra recipe from Mosquito Supper Club (Artisan Books, April 2020) by Melissa Martin.

Skillet-Roasted Okra

Okra cooked in a skillet is a great side dish and simple to make. It requires no preparation ahead of time and, if done correctly, is a great accompaniment to just about anything. The key to bringing out the okra’s natural deliciousness is to cook it hot and fast, so make sure your skillets are properly heated. Place two cast-iron skillets in the oven for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This quickly sears the okra on the outside but maintains a crisp center. Like fried okra, the skillet version preserves the okra’s unique flavor and color. Eat it with fresh summer fruit like peaches and plums; with corn, lime, and crème fraîche; and with boiled shrimp and crabs. It also works swimmingly next to fried or sautéed fish.

Serves 4 as a side dish or snack



2 tablespoons (60 ml) canola oil or clarified butter

12 ounces (340 g) tender young okra pods (about 24), sliced lengthwise in half

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

A couple turns of the pepper mill

Cayenne pepper

1 lemon wedge


Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Place two large cast-iron skillets in the oven to heat for 30 minutes. Line a baking sheet or platter with paper towels.

Carefully remove the hot pans from the oven and set them on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Keep the skillet handles covered to avoid burning your hands.

Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to each pan. Carefully place the okra in the pans in a single layer. Don’t crowd them. Sear in the skillets until golden brown, about 3 minutes, then flip the okra and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Transfer the okra to the paper towels to soak up any excess oil and use a paper towel or rag to carefully wipe out the excess oil from the skillets.

Toss the okra back into the skillets and season with the salt, some black pepper, a touch of cayenne, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve immediately.

3D COVER. Mosquito Supper Club

(“Excerpted from Mosquito Supper Club by Melissa Martin -Artisan Books- Copyright © 2020. Photographs by Denny Culbert")

Cacasse a Cul Nu to Pied de Cheval Oyster on 'Let's Eat France' Magical Culinary Tour

From Cacasse a Cul Nu (Ardennes) to Pied de Cheval Oyster (Brittany), there is a lot to chew on in 'Let's Eat France' (Artisan Books, October 2018) .

Let's eat france

Our guide, Francois-Regis Gaudry and his friends take us on a magical culinary tour of the hexagon featuring 1,250 specialty foods, 375 recipes, 350 topics and 260 food masters.

Taste this rich heavy tome in small bites so you don't get an indigestion.

Devil is in the Butter, Alla Diavola Butter, from 'Six Seasons' by Joshua McFadden

Devil is in the butter as proven by Alla Diavola Butter recipe from Six Seasons, A New Way with Vegetables by Joshua McFadden (Artisan Books- Copyright © 2017).

Alla Diavola Butter

The Italians have a few dishes they refer to as alla diavola, which means “devil style”—in other words, spicy as hell. In this butter, I bring together layers of not just heat but all kinds of good chile and pepper flavors. You can adjust up or down, depending on how intense you like your heat.

Butters_Six Seasons

Makes 1 heaping cup

1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon dried chile flakes

1 tablespoon cracked black pepper

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup finely chopped seeded pepperoncini (patted dry on paper towels after chopping)

1 tablespoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco

Fold all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula and pile into whatever container you want to serve or save it in. Chill the butter for at least 1 hour to firm it up and to let the flavors marry and permeate the butter.

More ways:

Stuff in the center of a chicken breast and roast.

Swirl into a tomato soup.

Smear over grilled skirt or flank steak

(* Excepted from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden-Artisan Books- Copyright © 2017-Photographs by Laura Dart and A.J. Meeker)

Nettles Galore, April in Whidbey Island, Neah Bay Halibut with Creamed Nettles and Morels from 'Lark'

After Elegance for Dessert with Lacquered Peaches from Lark' Cooking Wild in the Northwest' Cookbook  (Sasquatch Books, August 2016) by chef John Sundstrom, here's a helping of fish as secomd recipe from the book

Nettles Galore, April in Whidbey Island,

Neah Bay Halibut with Creamed Nettles and Morels

For a few weeks in April, we have a lovely convergence of spring delights: fresh halibut, young and tender stinging nettles, and the first true morels of the season. I bring them together in this bright, earthy, and creamy dish. After months of root vegetables and cabbage we Northwesterners are craving something green, and usually the first stinging nettles fill the void. At Lark I have a network of hard-working foragers who bring them right to me, but nettles grow wild all over. Whidbey Island’s bucolic setting is known for having nettles galore, and many a part-time forager takes revenge on this weed. They do sting, so use tongs to move them from the storage container to the pan for cooking. Cooking removes the stinging properties. Nettles are highly nutritious, full of vitamins and minerals, and delicious. And if this is all just too much, spinach is a great substitute.


1½ pounds halibut fillets (or cheeks), cut into 6-ounce portions

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

¼ pound morels, trimmed, washed, dried, and sliced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

½ pound stinging nettles, picked and washed

2 tablespoons dry white wine

¾ cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon minced chives, for finishing

Neah Bay Halibut by Zack Bent (1)

1- Season the halibut on both sides with salt and pepper. 

        2-Heat the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the halibut fillets and cook on one side until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn them over gently and use a spoon to baste the fillets. Continue cooking until they are just cooked through and translucent in the center, 2 to 3 more minutes. Transfer the halibut to a warm plate until ready to serve.

         3-In a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add the morels with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook them until just soft and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes until softened but not browned. Using tongs, add the nettles to the pan and stir them into the morels and garlic. Add the wine to deglaze the pan and let it reduce slightly. Stir in the cream and adjust seasoning to taste. Simmer until the cream has reduced to a slightly thickened sauce. Adjust seasoning to taste.

         4-To serve, spoon the creamed nettles and morels onto a serving platter. Place the halibut on top and garnish with the chives.

        CHEF’S NOTE: When cleaning morels, it is best to use a brush or towel to gently remove the dirt. Sometimes they can be especially dirty and hard to clean completely with a brush and need to be washed in water.It is important not to soak them; dunk them in the water, toss them around briefly and then dry immediately in a salad spinner before laying them out on paper towels.

        Be very careful when handling the stinging nettles. At Lark we double up on latex gloves when cleaning them.

(* Recipe (c)2016 by Johnathan Sundstrom. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Lark: Cooking Wild in the Northwest by permission of Sasquatch Books, Photography by Zack Bent)

Elegance for Dessert, Lacquered Peaches with Rum Caramel Sauce from John Sundstrom 'Lark' Cookbook

Elegance for Dessert, Lacquered Peaches from Lark' Cooking Wild in the Northwest' cookbook  (Sasquatch Books, August 2016) by chef John Sundstrom...

I did not have a chance to sample John's fare while in Seattle early August so I guess it's one more reason to pay a second visit to the city.

Lacquered Peaches with Rum Caramel Sauce and Almond Ice Cream

This combination of butter and sugar–roasted peaches, rum caramel, and almond ice cream
is otherworldly and is my favorite dessert of the season . . . I think. Almonds and most stone fruit are botanically related (if you crack the pit open of a cherry, apricot, or peach, you’ll find a very small almond-like center) and are very complementary to each other. Use just-ripe (not overripe) peaches for this recipe, as they’ll roast for a total of about twenty minutes.

Makes 4 Servings


2 cups whole milk

¾ cup heavy cream

1 cup slivered almonds

8 egg yolks

½ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon almond extract


1 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup light corn syrup

¼ cup water

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

½ cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons single-barrel rum

Kosher salt


4 medium Red Haven peaches, fuzz washed and dried

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

Fleur de sel

½ cup sliced almonds, toasted

Lacquered Peaches by Zack Bent

1 To make the almond ice cream, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the milk, cream, and almonds and bring just to a simmer. Turn off the heat and let the almonds steep in the milk for about 30 minutes. Strain the almonds and discard. Return the milk mixture to the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

2  Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath. 

3  In a large bowl, thoroughly beat together the egg yolks and 
sugar. While whisking the egg mixture, add ½ cup of the hot milk mixture to the bowl to gently temper the eggs. Whisking constantly, add in another ½ cup of the hot milk mixture. (Continuous whisking prevents the eggs from scrambling.)

4 Now begin whisking the milk mixture in the saucepan and slowly pour in the tempered egg mixture. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon
or heatproof spatula. Continue stirring until the mixture has reached a temperature of 180 degrees F and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

5 Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a metal bowl or container. Immediately place the metal bowl into the ice bath. Stir occasionally until the custard cools to room temperature.

6 Add the almond extract, then refrigerate the custard until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours.

7 Process the custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a lidded container and freeze for at least 8 hours before serving.

8 To make the rum caramel sauce, in a medium saucepan
over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stirring frequently, cook the mixture until it becomes a golden-brown caramel. Remove the pan from the heat and very carefully whisk in the butter a little bit at a time.

9 While whisking, slowly drizzle in the cream until it is incorporated. Be careful because the caramel will sputter. Let the caramel cool until it reaches room temperature, about 30 minutes. Whisk in the rum and salt to taste.

10 Chill the caramel sauce until ready to use. It will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Before serving, gently rewarm the sauce in a small saucepan until it pours easily.

11 To make the lacquered peaches, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

12 Arrange the peaches in a baking dish. Using a pastry brush, generously coat the peaches with the butter. Sprinkle the sugar liberally over the peaches so they are well covered. Bake the peaches for 12 to 15 minutes.

13 Remove the pan from the oven and pour about 2 tablespoons of the caramel sauce over each peach. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the peaches are tender and the skins are a light golden brown, wilted, and wrinkled, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside until you are ready to serve.

14 To serve, if necessary, warm the peaches for a few minutes in the oven. Place a peach on each of four serving plates and sprinkle with a little fleur de sel. Arrange some of the toasted almonds on the plate in a small pile and place a scoop of the almond ice cream on the almonds.

CHEF’S NOTE: Read through Ice Cream and Sorbet on page 78 for some general rules of thumb before proceeding with this recipe.

 (* Recipe (c)2016 by Johnathan Sundstrom. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Lark: Cooking Wild in the Northwest by permission of Sasquatch Books, Photography by Zack Bent)

Life without Roasted Baby Artichokes with Bacon from 'Cooking Blokes & Artichokes' by Brendan Collins

Imagine life without artichokes.

You will not be able to, after tasting artichoke recipes like this one from Cooking Blokes and Artichokes,  A Modern Man's Kitchen Handbook (Kyle Books, April 2016) by chef Brendan Collins of Birch restaurant in Los Angeles.

Roasted Baby Artichokes With Bacon And Balsamic Vinegar

For the past fifteen years or so, it seems like every restaurant in the western hemisphere has had Brussels sprouts, bacon, and balsamic vinegar on its menu, and I’m guilty of it too. But it’s with good reason: the dish is seriously tasty. When I opened my new Hollywood restaurant, Birch, I wanted to do something equally as delicious but a little bit different. So I substituted baby artichokes, in season in the spring and summer, to freshen up a wintery dish for the warmer months. Baby artichokes have the same earthiness as Brussels sprouts, but with a unique, sweet nuttiness too.


9 baby artichokes (about 2 pounds)
2 lemons, cut in half
8 ounces thick−cut bacon, cut into 1/2−inch lardons
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons good−quality balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra−virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper


Prep each artichoke by removing the tough outer leaves and peeling the outer layer from the stem with a vegetable peeler or a paring knife. Cut off the top third of the artichoke to remove the tough ends of the leaves. Cut them in half lengthwise and give them a rub all over with one of the lemons as you work so they don’t oxidize and turn an unappealing brown color.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Place a frying pan big enough to fit the artichokes in a single layer over medium heat. Add the bacon lardons and cook for 5 minutes, or until most of their fat has been rendered. Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon and set it aside on a plate.

Add the artichokes to the hot bacon fat in a single layer and let them brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft and tender.

Remove the pan from the oven and add the bacon back in, along with the rosemary and garlic. Return the pan to a burner over medium heat. Give your best go at sautéing, tossing the ingredients around; if you drop some, don’t worry, the dog will love you for it. Season with salt.

Add the vinegar to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, and let the vinegar reduce until sticky but not burnt, about 1 minute.

Transfer the artichokes and bacon to a serving bowl, drizzle with the oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from Cooking Blokes and Artichokes,  A Modern Man's Kitchen Handbook (Kyle Books, April 2016) by chef Brendan Collins of Birch...)

Escargot Meatballs, Vietnamese Lunch at Tamarind Tree, A Seattle Spot with Many Fans

Escargot Meatballs, Vietnamese Lunch at Tamarind Tree


A Seattle spot with many fans, myself included after August 8 meal.


I missed it at first from main street as it's kinda tucked in back of parking lot of strip mall.