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An Interview with Irena Chalmers

Sally and Antonia interview Irena Chalmers (author of The Great Food Almanac, Irena Chalmers' All-Time Favorites and many other books). Irena also heads her own successful book-production company (Irena Chalmers Books, Inc.).

MP3 Interview MP3

Interview Time (13:15)

Swordfish Steak with Shrimp

2 scallions, chopped
2 1/2-pound swordfish steaks (or one steak weighing about 1 pound)
1 sprig fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
8 peppercorns
1/2 cup white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/3 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
6 cooked shrimp, shelled and deveined
Lemon wedges, for garnish
Fresh parsley sprigs, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter an ovenproof dish and sprinkle it with the scallions. Place the fish on top of the scallions and add the parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, wine and leomon juice. Bake the fish for 12 to 15 minutes, turning it once. Strain the liquid from the pan; set it aside. Transfer the fish to a serving dish and keep it warm while you make the sauce.

Heat the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the flour. Whisk in the poaching liquid and then the cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the fish and arrange the shrimp on top of the sauce. Garnish the serving dish with lemon wedges and parsley.

Recipe courtesy of Irena Chalmers' All Time Favorites: A Lifetime of Recipes for the First Time Cook

Fragrant Multigrain Waffles

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon powdered cinnnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon powdered nutmeg
1/4 cup oat bran
3 eggs, seperated
1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
6 tablespoons melted butter
Maple syrup, berries and yogurt, for serving

Preheat the waffle iron according to the manufacturer's directions.
Sift the flours with the next seven ingredients and fold in the bran.

Mix together the egg yolks, milk and melted butter; stir into the dry ingredients. Do not mix too thoroughly; small lumps will disappear in cooking.

Beat the egg whites until they stand in soft peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter.

Pour 1/2 cup of the batter onto the hot waffle iron, covering a little less than three-quarters of the surface. Close the lid and cook until no more steam appears, about 4 minutes. Lift the lid. The waffle will slip off the iron easily if it is completely cooked. Add another minute if it seems reluctant to budge.

Pour on the syrup, garnish with berries, and top with a spoonful of yogurt.

Recipe courtesy of Irena Chalmers' All Time Favorites: A Lifetime of Recipes for the First Time Cook

Vegetable Stew (Ratatouille)

1 medium or 4 small eggplants
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
2 thin zucchini, sliced
3 medium fully rip tomatoes, cut into wedges and seeded
3/4 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Cut the eggplant into 1/4-inch slices and then into cubes. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet; sauté the egglant cubes in the oil for 6 or 7 minutes until lightly brownder all over. Add the onions, garlic and peppers; sauté for 3 minutes more. Add the zucchini and the remaining ingredients. Cover the skillet and cook over low heat for 15 minutes; remove the lid and continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes more. Stir occasionally just to make sure the vegetables are not sticking to the bottom of the skillet and burning. Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold.

Recipe courtesy of Irena Chalmers' All Time Favorites: A Lifetime of Recipes for the First Time Cook

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