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Pacific coast dining

Giving thanks for the catch of the day

November 17, 2009
by Mary Ann Menendez

Who says Americans need to have roast turkey with all the trimmings to celebrate a perfect national holiday and give thanks?

Our friends who live on the fringes on the coastline with the Pacific Ocean have found the treasures of the sea are plentiful and the bounty is good to enjoy on Thanksgiving Day. From Washington State downward to sunny Southern California, fresh fish and shellfish with fresh fruits and vegetables will grace holiday tables on Thursday, Nov. 26. There will be those traditionalists of course, who will roast the big bird like the rest of us. However, there is something to be said for those who choose to enjoy what is unique to the region in which they live.

Actually, it does not matter what is being served if all those partaking are counting blessings while giving thanks for the many gifts received throughout the current year.

In the Pacific Northwest, salmon is king. Cherries and apples are grown in abundance also. Our friends who live in Alaska and Hawaii are the newest Americans. They too take pride in preparing food, fish and seafood native to their land. While there may be room for pumpkin pie in Hawaii, coconut and pineapple take the lead in the dessert category!

Pacific Northwest Dressing

1 stick butter or margarine

1 large red onion, coarsely chopped

1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and coarsely chopped

2 large pears, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped

1 large granny smith apple, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped

1 and 1/2 loaves sliced firm white bread, cut into three-quarter-inch cubes and lightly toasted

1 cup chicken broth

Two-thirds cup dried tart cherries

1/2 cup golden raisins

One-third cup chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage

Salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

In 12-inch skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are golden brown and tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add pears and apple and cook 5 minutes longer. Transfer to large bowl. Add bread cubes, broth, cherries, raisins, parsley, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper to bowl with pears and apple; toss to combine well. Spoon stuffing into greased 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish; cover with foil and bake in preheated 325 degrees oven until heated through, about 45 minutes. Makes about 12 cups.

Oregon Salmon Spread

2 tablespoons safflower oil

1/2 cup sliced shallots

1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced

3/4 pound red salmon steak, 1 inch thick

1 tablespoon chicken stock

1/2 pound smoked salmon, diced

4 ounces softened low-fat cream cheese

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Pepper to taste

In a skillet, heat oil over low heat. Add the shallots and carrot. Cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring once. Rinse the salmon steak, cut it in half lengthwise, and place the pieces atop the vegetables. Drizzle with the chicken stock. Cover the skillet and resume cooking for 10 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Then remove the skin and bones from the fish. Blend the fish and vegetables in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and process until the smoked salmon is finely chopped but not smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until a few minutes before serving time. Makes 3 cups.

Salmon with

Orange-Anchovy Butter

2 pounds salmon fillets

For Marinade:

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 small dried red chili pepper, crushed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

For Sauce:

Rind of 1 orange, grated

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 green onions, chopped

4 anchovy fillets

1 stick butter

For marinade, puree orange juice, olive oil, garlic, chili powder, salt, pepper and mustard. Put the fillets in the marinade and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove 30 minutes before grilling. Grill fillets and sear quickly on both sides. Sear the skin side first to release the oil in the skin. Two minutes a side is plenty. Remove fish from grill and place on platter with flesh side up. For the sauce, pour marinade into a blender and add orange rind, lemon juice, onions and anchovies. Blend until smooth. Heat the butter until it bubbles. Slowly pour the hot butter into the blender. Then blend well. Cut the fillets crosswise into several servings. Pour sauce over fillets.

Alaskan Chowder

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1 garlic clove, minced

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth, divided

2 cups diced peeled potatoes

1 cup sliced carrots

1 teaspoon seasoned salt, optional

1/2 teaspoon dill weed

1 small zucchini, thinly sliced

1 can (14-3/4 ounces) cream-style corn

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

2 cups cooked salmon chunks or 2 cans (7-1/2 ounces each) salmon, drained and bones removed

In a large saucepan, cook onion, celery, green pepper and garlic in 1/4 cup broth until tender. Add the potatoes, carrots, seasoned salt, dill and remaining broth. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add zucchini; simmer for 5 minutes. Add the corn, milk and salmon; heat through.

California Tuna

1 cup sherry

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup sliced fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, mashed

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon pepper

5 pounds tuna, cut into 2-inch cubes

1 pound bacon

Combine all the ingredients except the fish and the bacon and puree until smooth. Combine the cubed tuna meat with the marinade and refrigerate 4 to 8 hours. Heat an outdoor grill and when the coals are hot, wrap a piece of bacon around each cube, secure it with a wet toothpick or skewer, and broil quickly, turning the pieces to cook the bacon on all sides. Serves 10 to 12.

Pacific Oysters

12 oysters, unopened

2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped fine

1/2 cup green onions, tops included, chopped fine

1 clove garlic, minced

1 jalapeno chili, peeled, seeded and chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 stick butter, melted

Lemon juice

Black pepper

Tabasco sauce

Crumple a large sheet of foil in a foil baking pan to make a nest for the oysters, placing the shells side-down deep into the foil. Cover the pan with a sheet of foil large enough to form a sealed lid to that the oysters will steam inside the shell. Place directly on the grill over hot coals or under a hot oven broiler. Medium oysters should open in about 6 minutes and large ones in 8 to 10 minutes. For the sauce, mix the prepared vegetables, pour the melted butter over, and taste for seasoning. Remove opened top shells and spoon on the hot sauce.

Northwest Wild Duck

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 wild ducks, pan ready


Black pepper

Cayenne pepper

3 lemons

2 onions, quartered

1 1/2 cup port

16 red tart-skinned plums, halved with pits removed

Mix together butter and olive oil and rub ducks inside and out. Season inside and out. Quarter two of the lemons and put them with the onions in the cavity of each bird. Grate the rind of the remaining lemon and reserve the pulp for juice. Lay each bird on a large square of foil. Pour in 1/4 cup port for each bird and seal the top of each foil package tightly. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Open the foil, pour the remaining port over the ducks, and add the plums. Leave the foil open and roast for an additional 20 minutes, basting occasionally, until the meat is tender, but not dry. Sprinkle the tops of the birds with the grated lemon peel and surround with the plums.

Hawaiian Holiday Biscuits

1 10-ounce can crushed pineapple

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened at room temperature

8-12 maraschino cherries

1 package refrigerated buttermilk biscuits with 8-12 biscuits

Spray a muffin pan with nonstick spray. Strain the can of crushed pineapple, reserve the juice for later. Combine the pineapple, brown sugar, and butter. Divide the pineapple mixture among the muffin cups. Place a cherry in the center of each cup. Place 1 biscuit in each cup on top of the pineapple mixture. Spoon 1 teaspoon of the reserved pineapple juice over each biscuit. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool for 2 minutes then flip pan onto a plate to release the biscuits. Serve warm.

Island Pie

1 9-inch chocolate graham cracker crust

1 cup milk

1 14-ounce can coconut milk

1 cup white sugar

1 cup water

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Whipped cream

In a medium saucepan whisk together milk, coconut milk and 1 cup sugar. In a separate bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water. Bring coconut mixture to a boil. Reduce to simmer and slowly whisk in the cornstarch. Continue stirring mixture over low heat until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. In a glass bowl, microwave chocolate chips for 1 minute or until melted. Divide the coconut pudding evenly into two bowls. Mix chocolate into one portion. Spread on the bottom of the pie crust. Pour the remaining portion of pudding on top of the chocolate and spread smooth. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Generously top with whipped cream before serving.



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