Cooling down: Warming recipes for autumn

| September 29, 2019 | 0 Comments
This straightforward recipe for Salmon-Crowned Crêpes is a tasty breakfast and offers a perception of extravagance to guests. (Photo: Larry and Margaret Dickenson)

This straightforward recipe for Salmon-Crowned Crêpes is a tasty breakfast and offers a perception of extravagance to guests. (Photo: Larry and Margaret Dickenson)

With fall upon us, we must take advantage of the last garden-fresh produce, herbs and edible flowers. There are also several special occasions for family and friends to gather together, particularly as the holiday season approaches. My Salmon-Crowned Crêpes, versatile Stuffed Fresh Pears and Lobster in White Wine Shallot Cream Sauce will offer much satisfaction and might even merit some “wows” from your guests.

Salmon-Crowned Crêpes
Makes 4 servings
For a fabulous breakfast, this recipe for Salmon-Crowned Crêpes will always prove to be a winner. The presentation, flavour dimension and perception of extravagance are sure to thrill guests.

1 cup (250 mL) crêpe batter (recipe
¼ cup (60 mL) Zesty Ginger Mayonnaise, divided (recipe follows)
3 oz (85 g) smoked salmon
3 oz (85 g) barbecued smoked salmon
2/3 cup (170 mL) sour cream
¼ cup (60 mL) caviar
16 plumes of fresh dill weed

1. To make ½ cup (125 mL) of Zesty Ginger Mayonnaise, thoroughly mix together ½ cup (125 mL) of mayonnaise, 2 tsp (10 mL) of peeled and grated fresh gingerroot, ½ tsp (2.5 mL) of granulated sugar and a pinch of wasabi paste. Store refrigerated in an airtight container. It will retain its quality for weeks.
2. Half an hour before serving, prepare 16 small crêpes (diameter: 4-inch or 10-cm). For each crêpe, drop 1 tbsp (15 mL) of crêpe batter onto a non-stick skillet or crêpe pan and quickly spread the batter in a circular manner using the underside of the spoon, working from the centre toward the outer circumference of the enlarging crêpe. Using a pancake flipper, carefully peel the crêpe from the skillet, turn and cook the second side briefly (a matter of seconds). Transfer the crêpe to a plate and pile in a stack. (If not using immediately, cover with wax paper, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate.)
3. For individual servings, arrange 4 crêpes on each of 4 large dinner plates and cover with wax paper until ready to assemble.
4. To assemble, just before serving, spread ½ tsp (3 mL) of Zesty Ginger Mayonnaise over the central area of each crêpe and add 1 tsp (5 mL) of sour cream, spreading it over and beyond the mayonnaise.
5. For each serving, add ¼ of the smoked salmon to 2 of the crêpes and ¼ of the barbecued smoked salmon on the other two crêpes.
6. Dot each portion of salmon with about ½ tsp (3 mL) of Zesty Ginger Mayonnaise and ¾ tsp (4 mL) of sour cream before topping with ¾ tsp (4 mL) of caviar and garnishing with a small plume of fresh dill weed.

Crêpe Batter
Makes about 2 2/3 cups
Incorporate crêpes into recipes for breakfast, hors d’oeuvres, appetizers, main course dishes and desserts. I usually make crêpe batter in large quantities (i.e., 3 times the recipe below) and freeze it in 1- or 2-cup (250 or 500 mL) portions. A stack of freshly cooked crêpes only takes a few minutes to prepare, especially if one uses several skillets at a time. (Note: I never prepare crêpes to freeze them for use later.)

1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
1½ tsp (8 mL) granulated sugar
1/8 tsp (pinch) ground ginger
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1½ cups (375 mL) milk, divided
¼ cup (60 mL) unsalted butter or margarine, melted

1. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together flour, sugar and ground ginger.
2. In another medium-sized bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together eggs, yolks and ¾ cup (about 180 mL) milk.
3. Continuing to beat constantly, gradually add ½ cup (125 mL) of flour mixture, then remaining milk (¾ cup or 180 mL) and remaining flour mixture (½ cup or 125 mL). Beat to form a smooth batter.
4. Beat in melted butter. (Note: If batter is not perfectly smooth, pass it through a course-mesh sieve.)
5. Allow batter to rest for at least 30 minutes before using.
Make-ahead tip: Crêpe batter may be prepared and stored refrigerated in an airtight plastic container for up to 2 days or frozen for months.


Lobster in Shallot Wine Sauce (Photo: Larry and Margaret Dickenson)

Lobster in Shallot Wine Sauce (Photo: Larry and Margaret Dickenson)

Lobster in White Wine Shallot Cream Sauce
Makes 4 servings
Determined to give lobster my own twist, I have combined deliciously mellow lobster and sautéed mushrooms with more dynamic flavours. The slightly tart edge of a White Wine Shallot Cream Sauce and sun-dried tomatoes plus the zip of garlic and chili paste, make this lobster recipe an unusual treat. Fresh whole lobsters or frozen lobster tails may be used.

1 cup (250 mL) White Wine Shallot Cream Sauce (recipe follows)
3 oz (85 g) fresh shiitake mushrooms (caps only), sliced thinly
2 1/2 oz (75 g) fresh white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
4 tbsp (60 mL) butter, divided
To taste, salt and crushed black peppercorns
1/3 tsp (2 mL) finely chopped fresh garlic
1/4 tsp (1 mL) sambal oelek red chili paste
3 tbsp (45 mL) julienned sun-dried tomatoes in seasoned oil (drained)
9 oz (250 g) fettuccini or linguine (regular, squid ink or spinach)
6 to 8 lobster tails (shells on; each at least 3½ oz or 100 grams), fresh or frozen or four whole lobsters, steamed and shelled — about 1½ lb or 675 g each.

Garnish (optional)
Cooked whole young carrots and/or asparagus spears
Microgreens or sprigs of fresh herbs

Aioli Mayonnaise:
3/4 cup (180 mL) mayonnaise
1½ tsp (8 mL) finely chopped fresh garlic

1. Prepare White Wine Shallot Cream Sauce; set aside.
4. Prepare Aioli Mayonnaise by whisking together mayonnaise and garlic; set aside.
5. In a very large skillet with only 3 tbsp (45 mL) of melted butter, sauté mushrooms over medium-high heat; season to taste with salt and crushed black peppercorns; remove from heat when browned.
6. Gently heat White Wine Shallot Cream Sauce over medium-low heat in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir in garlic, chili paste, sun-dried tomatoes and sautéed mushrooms to produce a sun-dried tomato and mushroom sauce. (Add a little heavy cream to thin the mixture if desired.) Cover and set aside. (Makes initially about 1½ cups or 375 mL of sauce; however more cream and pasta water will be added before serving.)
5. Cook fettuccini in an abundant amount of boiling salted water until al dente (tender but firm). Drain well, reserving about ½ cup (125 mL) of drained pasta water. Toss fettuccini with remaining butter and set aside.
6. Meanwhile, at the cut end of the lobster tail, insert the handle of a regular teaspoon into the entire length of each lobster tail between top shell and the flesh to keep the tail straight during cooking. Drop lobster tails into a large pot with an abundant amount of salted boiling water over high heat. Bring water back to a boil and immediately reduce heat to a gentle boil. Cook lobster until thick part of meat just turns opaque (about 3 to 4 minutes). Drain immediately; plunge cooked tails briefly into cold water to stop the cooking process, drain and remove spoons.
7. Cut away the shells and remove the tail meat in one piece. Cut tails into ½-inch (1.25 cm) medallions, keeping medallions of individual tails together. If desired, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover loosely with aluminum foil (shiny side in) and briefly keep warm in a preheated 150° F (65° C) oven.
8. Immediately before serving, reheat pasta. Using tongs, transfer the pasta in equal portions to 4 preheated individual large bowls or plates, twisting it into a pile formation.
9. Meanwhile, reheat the sun-dried tomato and mushroom sauce, adding more heavy cream and some reserved pasta water to make the sauce light and more fluid. Bathe each serving of pasta with ¼ of the sauce, arrange ¼ of the lobster medallions around the base of the pasta, and artistically garnish with cooked vegetables and microgreens/fresh herbs. Serve immediately with Aioli Mayonnaise to be passed at table as a dipping sauce for the lobster, if desired.


White Wine Shallot Cream Sauce
Makes 2½ cups (about 625 mL)
This basic white sauce, with a white wine edge, is extremely versatile and appealing. It is delightful with chicken, veal, fish, seafood and sweetbreads. (Placed in an airtight container, this sauce freezes well for months.)

1 1/3 tbsp (20 mL) instant chicken bouillon powder
1½ cups ( 375 mL) hot water
3 to 4 tbsp (45 to 60 mL) finely chopped shallots
½ tsp (3 mL) finely chopped fresh garlic
½ tsp (3 mL) peeled and grated gingerroot
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
¼ cup (60 mL) flour
1 cup (250 mL) dry white wine
½ cup (125 mL) heavy cream (35 per cent)
To taste, salt and pepper

1. Dissolve instant bouillon powder in hot water; set aside.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, sauté shallots, garlic and ginger in melted butter (reducing heat if necessary) until shallots become translucent, but not brown. Blend in flour; cook for 1 minute.
3. Add bouillon to saucepan along with wine, whisking constantly to form a smooth sauce. Reduce heat to low; allow sauce to simmer gently for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Stir in cream; bring back to a simmer; remove from heat. Season with salt and crushed black peppercorns to taste.


Stuffed Fresh Pears with Goat Cheese make a nice breakfast dish or an unexpected appetizer. (Photo: Larry and Margaret Dickenson)

Stuffed Fresh Pears with Goat Cheese make a nice breakfast dish or an unexpected appetizer. (Photo: Larry and Margaret Dickenson)

Stuffed Fresh Pears with Goat Cheese 
Makes 4 servings
If you enjoy starting a special occasion breakfast with a rather original fruit appetizer, this creation will undoubtedly do the trick. You can also serve it as an appetizer, or even instead of a “cheese” course at an elegant dinner.

2 well-ripened Bosc pears (each: 4½ oz or 125 g)
¼ cup (60 mL) soft unripened goat cheese
3 tbsp (45 mL) toasted pecan pieces
Fresh herb leaves (basil, mint) and/or edible flowers (violas or pansies), optional

Sesame Balsamic Sauce
2 to 2 ½ tbsp (30 to 38 mL) sesame oil
3 tbsp (45 mL) Balsamic Vinegar Syrup*

1. Make the Sesame Balsamic Sauce by whisking sesame oil into Balsamic Vinegar Syrup for several minutes to create a fairly thick syrupy drizzle that, when applied, will retain a thread-like path.
2. Peel the Bosc pears, keeping the stems intact; cut pears in half vertically to create four half pears.
3. Scoop out core sections and fill each with 2 to 3 tsp (10 to 15 mL) of soft unripened goat cheese.
4. For individual servings, arrange each goat cheese-garnished pear half on 4 separate dinner plates, using the remainder of the goat cheese to secure the pear halves in the desired position.
5. Drizzle each filled pear half and plates with about 2 tsp (10 mL) of Sesame Balsamic Syrup. (Store remaining sauce refrigerated in an airtight container.)
6. Press about 2 tsp (10 mL) of toasted pecan pieces into the goat cheese filling and over the surface of each pear half. Garnish if and as desired, with fresh herbs and edible flowers.
* To make 3 tbsp (45 mL) of Balsamic Vinegar Syrup, place 1/3 cup (80 mL) of balsamic vinegar and 2 tbsp (30 mL) of granulated sugar in a small non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Stir constantly with a silicone spatula until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow mixture to simmer, stirring constantly until the reduced syrup coats the back of a regular teaspoon well (i.e., until reduced to about 3½ tbsp/53 mL). Remove from heat immediately, transfer to a glass jar equipped with a metal teaspoon (to avoid cracking the jar). Allow sauce to cool before screwing on the lid; refrigerate, allowing the sauce to chill thoroughly and thicken.

Margaret Dickenson is a cookbook author, TV host, menu/recipe developer and a protocol, business and etiquette instructor.

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Category: Delights

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Margaret Dickenson wrote the awardwinning cookbook, Margaret’s Table — Easy Cooking & Inspiring Entertaining (

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