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Your Own Back Yard – Michael Gillan Maxwell

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Lunch Lady Cookbook Trout Amandine

The Lunch Lady Cookbook – Trout Amandine

Jolly Roger profile pic

 

Hey there boys and girls! This is The Lunch Laddy comin’ at ya, straight outta cyberspace and in your face with another sumptuous recipe from The Lunch Lady Cookbook. Today’s recipe draws from a time honored culinary tradition that can be traced back to New Orleans and France. It’s trout season in New York State and the Lunch Laddy had the good fortune to be blessed with a monster filet of Lake Trout from Lake Ontario. It seemed only fitting that this wonderful fish be respected with special treatment. The Lunch Lady Cookbook is honored and proud to present to you Lunch Lady Cookbook Trout Amandine.

I actually received a bit of an education as I pondered this gustatory mystery. I found that I was one of the legions of kitchen hacks who misspelled the name of the recipe as “Trout Almondine” when it is actually spelled “Trout Amandine.” While I am no longer flexible enough to insert my foot in my mouth, I seem to be getting better and better when it comes to acknowledging my mistakes. So Mea Culpa. Trout Amandine it is then. Even though The Lunch Laddy is an old dog, he can still learn new tricks.

This recipe is pretty basic and there’s probably not much that is new and different from other Trout Amandine recipes, but it is new to me and thus, a new addition to The Lunch Lady Cookbook. The most important ingredients are fresh trout and almonds. This is NOT a recipe that would work by substituting fish sticks and beer nuts.

Lunch Lady Cookbook Trout Amandine

Here we go. Marinate filet of lake trout in fresh lime juice, salt and pepper for an hour or so. (Can be longer in the fridge) Lightly sauté chopped garlic and scallions in 2 tbs. butter. Dredge trout filet in flour and add to skillet. Brown both sides and lower heat to medium or lower. Cook each side for approximately 5 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer fish to plate and keep warm. Melt 2 more tbs. butter in skillet and sizzle away until it starts to turn brown. Add slivered almonds with cracked pepper and cook on low heat until crispy and brown. Pour over fish. Garnish with fresh herbs. The Lunch Laddy used curly parsley, chives and sweet basil from the Lunch Lady Herb Garden. Drizzle fresh lime juice and serve on fresh slices of lime with rice and vegetables.

photo 2
Before
Trout Amandine (1)
After

Beverage pairing: Bollicini 2014 from Damiani Wine Cellars in the Finger Lakes.

Prosecco style, bottle fermented, sparkling wine with hints of citrus and pear. Weighing in at 1.85% residual sugar, Bollicini is clean, fresh, fruity, DELICIOUS! Serve really cold. To truly realize the medicinal qualities of this wine it is important that you drink all of it.

Music pairing: Drive By Truckers, Ryan Bingham and Old Crow Medicine Show on shuffle.

Until next time, Bon Apetit from The Lunch Lady Cookbook!

 

 

Surrendering August

Surrendering August

 

early evening, late summer

walking down the lake road with the dogs

the sound of a tractor mowing the field above

grinding and clanking

tall grasses pulsate with cricket song

the water, placid and serene

opalescent pink and turquoise

a fish surfaces and dives

leaving ripples in concentric rings

on the far shore, in the vineyards

timed charges explode like the sun catching on fire

it scares crows away from the grapes

warm sunny afternoons and chilly evenings

sumac leaves, blood crimson

splashed across the blue forever

mornings laden with fog banks and soaking dew

migrating flocks wheel across the sky

air still warm from the day, but soon changing

into the fecund smell of damp coolness

black walnut trees already starting to turn

shedding golden leaves that flutter

like tears onto green grass

last to arrive and the first to go

a little girl rides her bike, training wheels still on

stops at the foot of the steep hill

she’ll be climbing before long

but not for a while

kids going back to school

pinching their noses shut

as they hurl themselves off the dock

into the cool blue water

already a memory

the season slipping away

away, like this day

like youth gobbled up

by the unremitting passage of time

it feels over too soon

already ending when it seems

it’s only just begun

the pale rider draws closer

with each trip around the sun

I stand at the edge of the shoreline

the edge of the season

surrendering August

Red Canoe

 

Red Canoe

Hummingbird

Hummingbird

sitting on the porch
late August
the thrum of crickets
in high summer
I watch the miracle
of a hummingbird
feeding off nectar
from scarlet salvia flowers
painted with God’s
blood-tipped brush

wings moving so fast
nearly invisible
appear to be
standing still
the hummingbird floats
in front of a flower
then moves on to the next
before stopping to rest
on the branch
of a locust tree

Hummingbird

Independence Day

Independence Day

Sitting outside on the 4th of July

in an Adirondack chair

by the little stone garden

with the scarecrow.

Its white shirt hangs slack

over crucifix arms

straw hat tattered and crumpled

by sun and heavy rains.

I watch clouds float

across the robin egg sky

like helium balloon animals

in a circus parade

pushed asunder by winds

blowing away the storms of yesterday.

 

I think, not so much, about

the Declaration of Independence,

which was initially published as the Dunlap broadside

and primarily signed on August 2nd,

but more about the fact

that this was the date when New York State

abolished slavery and Thoreau

moved into his shack on Walden Pond.

Whitman turned poetry on its head

when he self published Leaves of Grass

on this day, and Lewis Carroll

created Alice in Wonderland,

sending imaginations on a flight of fancy

on Independence Day.

 

Recent Work III

Recent Work III

Adirondack LakeAdirondack Lake

Born on the BayouBorn on the Bayou

BathBath

Bouble Bone GuitarDouble Bone Guitar

Chrissy's RosesChrissy’s Roses

DaylilyDaylily

Looking Across English Bay ~ Vancouver BCFrom Vancouver

Pear IIOn the Windowsill

PeoniesPeonies

Sailing Along the Western ShoreSailing Along the Western Shore

SunflowerSunflower

Tacking Into the WindTacking Into The Wind

THE LUNCH LADY COOKBOOK

DOG DAYS INSALATA CAPRESE

Cooking

Cooking

DOG DAYS INSALATA CAPRESE

Hey there boys and girls! This is the Lunch Laddy, Michael Gillan Maxwell coming’ at ya with a late summer dog days edition of The Lunch Lady Cookbook. For those of you who have spent any quality time in the trenches with real Lunch Ladies, you know that public school cafeterias are not known for their hors d’oeuvres. But maybe they oughtta be. Perhaps it would bring a whole new level of sophistication and civility to the 30 minute lunch period. But first we need to call it something different. Just trying to say “hors d’oeuvres” correctly, much less trying to spell it, is a recipe for a Beavis and Butthead moment in any middle school cafeteria. So let’s just call it an “appetizer”.

Today we celebrate late summer with a time honored seasonal appetizer ~ Insalata Caprese, or in American layman’s terms ~ Mozzarella, Tomatoes and Basil.  While arguably, this dish can be made during any season, nothing beats freshly picked, vine ripened tomatoes and basil straight from the garden. Let’s face it, unless you’re an Italian dairy farmer, most of us don’t have the capacity to produce fresh mozzarella on site, so we’ll just have to do the best we can with what we can get. Not only is this recipe mindlessly simple, it’s also lots of fun because you get to use a really, really sharp knife.

And so, without any further adieu, I present Lunch Lady Cookbook Dog Days Insalata Caprese!

Ingredients

Ingredients:

1 large freshly picked vine ripened beefsteak tomato

1 sprig freshly picked sweet Italian basil

Ball of fresh mozzarella

Colossal Spanish Olives (stuffed with feta cheese)

Process: 

Slice mozzarella and arrange on platter

Sliced Mozzarella

Slice tomato and place on mozzarella slices

Sliced Tomato

Slice olives and place on top of mozzarella and tomato slices (are you sensing a pattern here?)

Olives

Garnish with shredded basil and VOILA! There you have it!

Appetizer

Libation:

Ice cold Pinot Grigio (This will generally not be available in the cafeteria except as a black market item, but you may find it in some faculty lounges)

Wine

Musical Accompaniment:

The Lunch Laddy had Guy Clark’s “Cold Dog Soup” dialed in on Pandora, but adjust to suit your own tastes.

Serve “al fresco” on screened porch with other appetizers while shouting “Mangia! Mangia!”

This is your Lunch Laddy, Michael Gillan Maxwell wishing you all a dog days Bon Appetit and saying arrividirci from The Lunch Lady Cookbook!

Swimming in the Lagoon

SWIMMING IN THE LAGOON

Sometimes you can’t swim at the beach. Tens of thousands of them have died, their bodies bobbing and floating on the surface of the water. Alewives, little fish in the herring family, all washed up on the sandy beach and rocks along the shore, piled up at the high water line. Great heaping mounds of them form iridescent dunes. Their stinking, desiccated bodies covered with flies, brittle, crackly, and rotting in the sun. The only place to swim is the lagoon where Shivering Sands Creek flows into Lake Michigan. The placid water feels warm as a bath. The smooth, sandy bottom feels soothing underfoot. But there are random patches of quicksand, and if you step into that stuff you’ll plunge straight up to your waist in sticky silt that is crawling with leeches. When that happens, you claw your way out as fast as you can move, scrambling out of the creek, squirming from the thought of it, crying for Mom to help pull the slimy bloodsuckers off your legs. Then you go right back into the water. It seems worth the risk just to be able to go swimming.

(Originally Published in “Orion headless” December 2011 Thank you Sarah Fitzpatrick Comito!)

On the Lake

Seneca Legacy

The Lunch Lady Cookbook Summer Edition Sizzlin’ Summer Slam Extravaganza Volume I

Blues in the Bottle

Hey there everybody! This is The Lunch Laddy, Michael Gillan Maxwell, bringing you a special summer edition of The Lunch Lady Cookbook. As Alice Cooper said:” School’s out for summer!” Right? You know it Baby ~ and when school’s out, that means the Lunch Lady is chillin’ like a villain and gellin’ like a felon ~ but there are  still plenty of Lunch Lady doings to rant and rave about.

First of all, it’s been a scorcher. It’s as hot as a dockers armpit, so hot even my sweat is sweating, hot as a marathon runner’s jockstrap, sweating bullets and hotter than a two peckered billy goat, hotter than Hades and sweating like a stevedore, hotter than a hen in a wool blanket, hotter than a two dollar pistol, hotter than bus station chili, hotter’n a burnt boot, hot as Methodist Hell, hotter than the hinges hangin’ off the gates of Hell, oy it’s a schvittz out there!

Conflagration

Some of you have been writing me to say:”What gives Lunch Laddy? Who takes the summer off anymore? People gotta eat!” You have spoken and I am listening, good people. Not only do people gotta eat, but people gotta drink too. There may be some of that here in The Lunch Lady Cookbook Summer edition. Just you wait and see.

Summer Grill

Summer is the right time for the night time to fire up the grill! The coals should be just past the point of incinerating anything that comes near them. I always find it best to start with a humongous pyre on a spit of land that is surrounded on three sides by water. That way if things get out of control it greatly increases your odds of outrunning the conflagration, should things get out of hand and if that doesn’t work, you can dive into the water in any one of three directions. On Seneca Lake there are any number of wineries or microbreweries that you can swim to while you recover from the trauma.

Dusk on Fir Tree Point
Firing Up the Coals I
Firing Up the Coals II

So getting down to brass tacks. The Event of the Season was The Lunch Laddy’s “Lunch Lady Cookout for the Summer Babies” (which of course was a thinly veiled excuse to invite all my friends over to give me presents!) My oldest childhood friend, Mike (by that, I mean he’s 1 day older than me) flew out from Wisconsin so we could celebrate our birthdays together. Needless to say, our reunion set a new standard for civilized discourse and sophisticated entertaining for generations to come. It was ascots and cocktails at Noel Coward’s all the way..

English Butler
Basic Supplies
Fancy Hors D’oevres
Basic Munchies

The menu was replete with summer classics ~ all kinds of skewered stuff, flaming grills, blues, cold beer, watermelon, sweet corn, chicken spiedies, venison spiedies, shrimp on the barbie, summer salads a-go-go, carrot cake, banana bread, blueberry bread  and about 52 bottles of wine that my friend Jeff brought (what kind of man does he think I am anyway???) I served elegant hors-d’oeuvres on pirate themed dinnerware and we played ukeleles ‘till dawn. Thankfully no animals were injured in the making of that party. I even successfully navigated that most prosaic of summer dishes, but one who’s essence has eluded me ~the time honored, but very underestimated: “Potato Salad”

Lunch Lady Summer Slam Potato Salad

2 pounds eensie weensie itty bitty fresh red potatoes (no ~ don’t even THINK of skinning them!)

1 cup Spanish onion (finely chopped)

1/2 cup fresh celery (finely chopped)

3 scallions sliced diced signed sealed and delivered

Cilantro, basil and chives from the Lunch Lady’s Herb Garden

Pink Hawaiian Sea Salt, pepper, garlic powder

Mayonnaise (4 tablespoons ~ maybe more)

1 Tablespoon of hot, horseradish mustard

Steam potatoes until done ( not too done ~still a touch on the firm side ~ if potatoes could be ‘al dente” that would be it) Chill in fridge until cool. (or even cold)

Slice and dice ~ along with everything else on this list. (Watch your fingers)

Add together with mayonnaise in a large mixing bowl.

Add spices liberally. (Season to taste)

Chill.

Serve on pirate themed dinnerware.

Pirate Themed Dinnerware
Pirate Themed Napkins

Beverage pairings:

9 bottles of wine ~ mostly Spanish Reserve Riojas

Ice cold beer

Grey Goose Vodka and Pomegranate Juice (it’s brimming with antioxidants)

What Kind of Man Do These People Think I Am?

Music pairing:

The Lunch Lady Summer Baby Birthday Mix

  1. Birthday     The Beatles
  2. The Stumble      Freddy King
  3. Treat Her Right Roy Head & The Traits
  4. Boogaloo Down Broadway     The Fantastic Johnny C
  5. Haunted House  Roy Buchanan
  6. Mr. Pitiful Otis Redding
  7. Barefootin’     Robert Parker
  8. Tramp     Otis Redding
  9. Knock On Wood  Sam and Dave
  10. Land Of 1000 Dances Wilson Pickett
  11. Cool Jerk The Capitols
  12. Nashville Cats The Lovin’ Spoonful
  13. Respect Aretha Franklin
  14. Soul Man Sam & Dave
  15. Walking the Dog Rufus Thomas
  16. Peter Gunn     Duane Eddy
  17. Rumble Link Wray
  18. Darlin’ Companion The Lovin’ Spoonful
  19. California Sun    The Rivieras
  20. Bad Boy The Beatles
  21. Lovin’ You    The Lovin’ Spoonful
  22. Polk Salad Annie    Tony Joe White
  23. Henry Thomas The Lovin’ Spoonful
  24. Six Days On the Road Dave Dudley
  25. (You’re The) Devil In Disguise Elvis Presley

Repeat as necessary then follow up with playing ukeleles ‘till dawn. It helps if you can pay your neighbors to leave town for the weekend. I think that’s one of the reasons I still have a squeaky clean criminal record. If you ever sleep over at my house there will always be a fresh kazoo next to your bed, in case of emergency.

That’s it for Vol.I ! Stay cool and keep it on the DL…..

Be back soon with:

The Lunch Lady Cookbook

Summer Edition Sizzlin’ Summer Slam Extravaganza ~ Volume II

(Spoiler alert ~ It involves 2 pounds of BACON!)

Happy Dance

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