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.
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!
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!
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)
Slice mozzarella and arrange on platter
Slice tomato and place on mozzarella slices
Slice olives and place on top of mozzarella and tomato slices (are you sensing a pattern here?)
Garnish with shredded basil and VOILA! There you have it!
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)
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!
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!)
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!
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 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.
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..
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)
Serve on pirate themed dinnerware.
9 bottles of wine ~ mostly Spanish Reserve Riojas
Ice cold beer
Grey Goose Vodka and Pomegranate Juice (it’s brimming with antioxidants)
The Lunch Lady Summer Baby Birthday Mix
Birthday The Beatles
The Stumble Freddy King
Treat Her Right Roy Head & The Traits
Boogaloo Down Broadway The Fantastic Johnny C
Haunted House Roy Buchanan
Mr. Pitiful Otis Redding
Barefootin’ Robert Parker
Tramp Otis Redding
Knock On Wood Sam and Dave
Land Of 1000 Dances Wilson Pickett
Cool Jerk The Capitols
Nashville Cats The Lovin’ Spoonful
Respect Aretha Franklin
Soul Man Sam & Dave
Walking the Dog Rufus Thomas
Peter Gunn Duane Eddy
Rumble Link Wray
Darlin’ Companion The Lovin’ Spoonful
California Sun The Rivieras
Bad Boy The Beatles
Lovin’ You The Lovin’ Spoonful
Polk Salad Annie Tony Joe White
Henry Thomas The Lovin’ Spoonful
Six Days On the Road Dave Dudley
(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