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These romantic dishes are like love itself — delicate, intimate, complex, daring

Valentines Day is an opportunity to luxuriate in romance and fine dining. Romantic dishes are often much like love itself — delicate, intimate, complex, daring. Both, properly nurtured, can result in sumptuous rewards.     These recipes for Valentine Day dinner derive from French dishes that feature elegant ingredients and rich flavors. Many of the ingredients have special significance in the language of love. Preparation is for two.     Each amply rewards the attention in preparation or consumption.

Fish, fowl, venison — and winter greens

Eating wild is a priority at my family’s table. During the Christmas and New Year holidays, we feature treats we’ve harvested from the wild. Following are a few favorites.

Cool high-summer recipes from Maryland’s 2014 Buy Local Cookbook

    Heaven & earth never agreed better to frame a place for man’s habitation; were it fully manured and inhabited by industrious people.     Captain John Smith barely exaggerated. So good are the fish and flesh, fruit and vegetables of Chesapeake Country that they need no adornment. Or very little. Salt and pepper, oil and vinegar are complements enough. Add some fire, and you’ve got all you need.

Buying local? Try vinegar lulled for five months in a skipjack’s hull

     The taste of place is about the best translation English can give to the French word terroir. The idea comes from the vineyards of France, so it doesn’t have to jump far into the vinegar barrel.     Still, it’s a bit of a leap into the hold of the skipjack Rosie Parks, a ­vintage Eastern Shore oyster boat.

The lessons at Anne Arundel Community ­College’s Culinary Institute will last well after the new yearBob Melamud

Food eaten between November 1 and New Year’s Day contains no calories. I suspect I’m not alone in honoring this conviction. Yet a lifetime of stepping on the scale January 2 has convinced me that our cherished belief is a cruel urban legend.     This year I faced an additional challenge. Our editor assigned me to take and report on an Anne Arundel Community College Culinary Institute holiday class. Biscotti, cookies, Scandinavian baking and truffles tempted me — and promised an overabundance of extra calories.

Calvert takes to the kitchen to End Hunger

Van Trammell is about to walk into the best job in his life, the first job in his new career in the food service industry. For 14 years, he served in the Army as a radio technician. Once inactive, he worked dead-end, entry-level food service jobs for near the Maryland minimum wage, $7.25 an hour.     In December, after Van Trammell finishes class, he’ll be working in the kitchens of St. Mary’s College as an international chef, with a chance at career advancement. This step spans the difference between being stuck and moving forward.

Chef Zachary Pope of Roundz ­Gourmet Market and Catering
 

What inspires you?   I was inspired by working with great chefs in Washington, D.C.’s, fine-dining restaurants. They taught me to seek out unique ingredients and be fearless when it comes to creating. I’m also inspired by the wonderful fresh, local ingredients we have in this area.

Try roasting it on a Caja China

We’d had a great day on the water. The bite was good, and we had boated a gorgeous pair of fat stripers, one 27 inches and the other just over 30. It seemed a shame to reduce them to fillets, so I didn’t. Scaling the hefty fish, then eviscerating them and removing the gills, I laid their graceful forms aside and reached for my phone to borrow a friend’s Caja China (pronounced: ka-ha cheena).

Four ways to cook the Bay’s favorite fish

What a year we’ve had for rockfish! In our fifth month of abundance, big fish are still just about everywhere in the mid-Bay, with anglers catching them using just about every method.     Eating fresh Chesapeake rockfish is one of the perks of living in the Tidewater. One of the many attributes of the fish is that its flavor can be influenced by the addition of easy-to-make sauces, which can give a fresh rockfish dinner a completely different taste each time you serve it.

A sweet ending to Maryland Buy Local

You ate all your locally raised vegetables, fruits, eggs and meat every day during Maryland Buy Local Week.     Now you can have dessert.     Naturally, it’s Maryland made, from the farmer to the chef to you.     At Governor Martin O’Malley’s sixth annual Buy Local Cookout, the sweetest thing on the menu was Chef Douglas Wetzel’s Gertrude’s Charolettetown Farm Ricotta Doughnuts with Peach Caramel Sauce.