Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Herb and Salmon Vegetable Pie... um Cake ala Lavender and Lovage

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I have found a brand new favorite recipe for Salmon, a brand new (one of my) favorite blogging buddy and if I can't make a living with eRecipeCards.com, a potential new job... All in the same post/blogger.

The recipe I will get to in a second, but first, the blogger...

Karen of the Lavender and Lovage blog has quickly become one of my favorites to look for when I sign in on eRecipeCards.com.  First, her recipes are indeed top notch.  Using the best of the seasons, she likes to cook with fresh and available.  She shows lots of images of her garden and explains her love of herbs (as explains the choice of her blog name.

Karen is also among the best food stylist photographers I have seen.  A perfect example is the image to the right which shows her original version of my attempt to recreate her recipe.  I did my best, but hers outshines mine above.  Again, taking a look at her body of work (a fraction of which she has submitted to erecipecards.com, CLICK HERE to take a look at her body of work page for a quick easy look at her food stylings (and links to her recipes)).

As to her writing, she has the style of one of my favorite types of bloggers.  She is conversational (much as I try to be).  It sounds like she is talking to you individually.  She talks about  her day, her home, hobbies and activities like you are having a cup of coffee over the back fence dividing your homes.  In just the few weeks that I have met her, she has indeed come to be a fun blogger buddy to look forward to having a cup of coffee with.

Of course, our cyber back yards are much closer than our real back yards.  She is now living and running in a B&B in the south of France!  So far, I have looked over a few of her older posts trying to find a nice post on the B&B.  Would love to see more, but have not found it yet.  But her roots are British, with stops in South Africa and Hong Kong.  She teaches classes in regional cooking as well as has a history of cooking in some upscale restaurants in the states and Europe.  My oh My, talk about your blogging chops.  Karen is someone I want to listen to!

As to the job...  If you read over the comment section during the last couple of weeks, you will see her talk up a few new additions to her family.  Specifically, she is putting her hen house where her mouth is with the addition of three new laying hens.  Mavis (pictured here) was the first to fulfill her destiny.  So, when her recipes call for farm fresh free range eggs, she will have a leg up on most of us.  Also if you read over those comment pages, you will see that I jokingly offered to sign on as hen wrangler for her, which she responded to.  I am not positive, but I believe under international blogger buddy laws, that constitutes a contract.  So it is good to know that should this dot com thing go south, a poor but wiser old man with an odd Kansas accent can show up in the south of France and claim a job.

As you can tell, I just love Lavender and Lovage and Karen.  ALWAYS a bright spot to my day when she posts.  She is also excellent at explaining complicated or challenging recipes in a way that indeed makes me think, I can do that!

Like this recipe for an Her and Salmon Vegetable Pie.

Now, I urge you to head over and take a look at her, Summer Herb and Wild Salmon Pie with Fresh Garden Peas.  Right away, you will notice that she made a pie, while I made mine from a cake mold.  So, no sense in me pretending it was a pie any longer.  I will call mine a cake.

I also added just a few more veggies to my cake.  Karen firmly believes in using locally produced ingredients, so I do not think she will complain when I added some fresh grown Kansas sweet corn.  I also had some shitake mushrooms and in the spirit of making a dish posted by a French dish, I added a shallot just to make it sound more French    ;)

BUT, sadly, to make it sound more city boy in Kansas (yes, amongst the wheat fields, there are a few cities in kansas).  I did not have the fresh herbs she advocated.  I had a few, but I chose to use my own mix of herbs I call, "Not your Grandmother's Herbs de Provence".  I had just made a batch the week before.  i always do my best to use it up within a few weeks, as dried herbs do go bad (or at least less fresh).  So, whenever I make a batch up, I always look for places to use my mix.  Like my cake.

Now, when I had my ingredients, I knew I had more than what was called for.  Not enough potatoes and salmon (main ingredients) to double the recipe and make two pies, instead I chose to make this is a springform cake pan in place of  Karen's pie shaped pan.  This way I could use the large springform pan to make my "cake" radius larger than a pie, and I could also make the cake taller than would be allowed by a pie tin.

And one final change, when I started to assemble the cake ingredient Mis en Place (see, I can speak French, when I come to herd the hens, I will fit right in with your neighbors).  Anyway, when I arranged my Mis en Place, I was sure that I didn't have enough cream cheese to make up for the extra ingredients I was going to toss in... But I did have some Greek yogurt (a personal favorite ingredient of mine).

Karen advises using a couple of TBS of Creme Fraiche.  I didn't have any.  When I did the math converting her numbers from metric to the more confusing "standard" measurements, I was a little high with the cream cheese and Greek yogurt, so decided to skip it.  I am cheap and I was not going to but $5 worth of creme fraiche for a single dish.  If the cake had not tasted good, I would never have admitted this.  It tasted just fine (but when she serves her version of this to the hired hen wrangler, I am looking forward to tasting the difference).

And finally, since Kansas wild salmon is a punch line, I used a nice piece of fresh frozen salmon.  Best I was ever going to get.

So, as you can tell, I made a few changes.  Again, before you try this (and you will want to try this), be sure to look over Karen's version of her Summer Herb and Wild Salmon Pie with Fresh Garden Peas.

So, here is what I did...

For the pastry: (and one more reason to go over to her blog... I am going to record the pastry recipe, but honestly, Karen does a pretty complete treatise on pastry dough that casual bakers will want to read).

275g Flour
100g Butter, chilled and cubed
100g Crisco
1/4 tsp Salt
1 large Egg yolk
1 large Egg beaten for a glaze

For the filling...

8 ounces Cream Cheese
8 ounces Greek Yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
2 large Eggs Beaten
3 TBS "Not your Grandmother's Herbs de Provence"
5 Green Onions, trimmed and chopped
1/4 cup chopped Shitake Mushrooms
1 small Shallot minced
1 cup Fresh Sweet Corn
1 cup Fresh Peas
8 New Potatoes, sliced and parboiled
1 pound of fresh frozen Salmon thawed and sliced into cubes
Salt and pepper to taste

I am going to skip the procedure on the crust.  Please go to Karen's post to read her method.  I have only been able to make an acceptable crust a few times.  This worked OK for me, but i am not confident enough to give you my technique... use hers.

Once you have the bottom crust cooked a bit, I lined the bottom with potato slices;.

Next, I mixed everything else except the fish together.  I poured 3/4 of this mixture on top of the potatoes, then added the fish, then topped with the rest of the goo.

Topped with the remaining pie crust top, added a few decorative leafs (again, see Karen's post) and baked at 390 degrees for about 40 minutes.

I let it cool for just 30 minutes, and it worked just fine...

THIS WAS AMAZING!  A new favorite.  Absolutely DELICIOUS!  Karen, I just can not thank you enough for introducing this wonderful dish to me!

And everyone else, take a jump over to "Lavender and Lovage",take a look through her blog (daydream about visiting the French B&B (and flirting with the handsome hen wrangler) and tell her "Hi" from me.

And for a quick look at what she blogs, click on the logo link image to the right.  You will see all the eRecipeCards that Karen has submitted to eRecipeCards.com.  You can add her recipes to your eRecipeBox (once you have a free account).

See how useful the site is and how easy it is to find new favorite bloggers!

These posts continue to highlight bloggers and recipes that I have found on  "eRecipeCards.com"...


  1. Well I am speechless, and that does NOT happen often I can tell you!

    What a wonderful way to end my day.....the girls are in bed (Where were you Dave when I needed your hen herding skills??) and I am cleared up and tidy in the kitchen....just time for a quick fling on the laptop before I select a book and get off to bed, it is 2245 here in SW France now.....and then I see this amazing post!

    A HUGE Merci to my favourite hen wrangler, actually Dave is the only hen wrangler that I have in my employ!

    The pie you made looks IMPRESSIVE and I am very happy and humbled that you took so much time to make it, and then review it here......with lovely photos too.

    I TOTALLY approve of your subs,the more vegetables the merrier IMHO....and yes to shallots too!!

    Your pastry looks divine ~ lovely and crumbly ~ as short crust should look.

    I am thrilled that it worked out for you and even more so that your wife raved about the recipe.....she is obviously a lady of great taste!

    A HUGE thanks Dave, and thanks for all you do over at eRecipeCards, it's a wonderful site where I have met and made lots of new friends, of which I count you as one!


    PS: I love your basket as a prop in the background.....nice styling Dave!

    PPS: I like your idea to add "Not your Grandmother's Herbs de Provence" in lieu if fresh herbs.....I must take a look at that recipe.

  2. I recently met Karen and have seen her wonderful blog. That is one amazing looking salmon pie, Dave. And your photos are making my mouth water. It doesn't help at all that it's dinner time here and I haven't even given a thought to what to prepare for tonight's meal. Salmon is abundant here in the Pacific NW and I am always looking for new and interesting ways to prepare it. I can't wait to try this scrumptious looking pie.

  3. OOPs something happened...my previous comment got deleted (i think) ...as I was saying ..OMG...that looks amazing. I am so tempted to try this. I know my children will LOVE this. Thank you for introducing such a lovely dish. Im hopping over to Karens blog now :)

  4. WOW Dave, you are simply amazing! Tempting pie, looks so delicious and nicely presented! Take care :)

  5. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! This recipe looks delicious, I wouldn't have even thought of salmon pie- I make chicken and turkey pot pies, but never thought about making one with fish- yum!

    I also dig your back up plan to go to France and wrangle chickens!--- if this plan was arranged in blog comments it was technically in writing.

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  7. Thanks David for following my blog! this recipe looks amazing! good and colorful! I will try, thanks. I like the idea of "erecipe card". I will be part of it, thanks for invite, ilibili

  8. What a gorgeous savory pie! I am making this one!
    Culinary fariytale of a dish!

  9. This looks delicious. I actually have all of those ingredients in my kitchen and could make it right now! It would definitely be something new for me to try out!