South Island Living Magazine features
IN THE KITCHEN WITH LOUISE FONTAINE
Photos by Page Teahan Photography
Written by Kathy Miller
Louise Fontaine’s background is interior design with architectural firms and with her own design firm, later specializing in residential remodeling and interior design. She has also owned a retail establishment importing interesting items from around the world, especially with Asian influences.
When Louise and Robert bought an older home on The Plantation, they put their architectural, design and art backgrounds to use immediately with major renovations. One of the first projects was to remodel the kitchen. While keeping basically the same kitchen footprint, they created an updated, customized new kitchen, one perfect for Louise’s culinary talents.
Louise designed beautiful cabinets using a striped striation veneer, combining horizontal and vertical placement on the cabinet doors to create an interesting pattern. Louise designed the backsplash behind the cooktop, using small tumbled marble tiles with chrome accent pieces placed in a unique pattern. The chrome 2 inch squares are angled adding a dimension to the backsplash.
Louise wrote this wonderful description of learning to cook and her inspirations.
“My mother was a wonderful cook-always trying new things, taking local cooking classes, and generally making the family happy at meal times. I didn’t spend much time in the kitchen growing up, other than clean-up duty and occasional cookie baking. After graduating from college, I left Wisconsin for my first professional employment. Armed with a graduation present from my favorite aunt (a Sunbeam electric fry pan), I settled into a small 2nd floor apartment and set up housekeeping. That electric fry pan was the best piece of equipment in a sparsely equipped kitchen. I soon was requesting all the recipes my Mom could send me while learning how to make dollars stretch at the local grocery store. Soon after, I discovered Julia Child’s first cooking show on my little black and white TV. Voila! I was hooked by her cheerful, enthusiastic approach to food and cooking. Not too many years later, now married, we found ourselves relocating to Minneapolis, landing in a delightful neighborhood with other young career couples all seeking to make new friends. A “Gourmet Group” of 4 couples was born that lasted 25 years. And boy did we experiment! There were themes and menus collected in binders. We lingered over long dinners with candlelight, conversation and wine. Some dinners sublime, a few sublimely bad. We laugh about those still, and even though scattered in different places around the country, remain close friends. The beautiful array of fresh foods available to us locally have a way of bringing people together through the simple process of loving preparation and sharing the joy around the table. Mom and Julia were my original inspirations for the lifelong enjoyment experimenting in the kitchen. Our Minneapolis couples group was a wonderful extension of that. And, I’m happy to say our South Island neighborhood is bringing more opportunities for delightful occasions around the table as well.”
Louise and Robert enjoy having friends for dinner and mix it up in a variety of ways. If it’s just a couple, the meal will be at their extension-of-the-kitchen dining area which has a table for 4 plus a window bench and a great view. For 6-8, they’re in the dining room and dinner may be either plated or buffet style, depending on theme and menu. For larger parties, the whole area is in play, including the living room and patio, making it an indoor-outdoor affair.
The table setting, which is always fun to play around with, varies accordingly.
I love how Louise used leaves scavanged from her yard as a centerpiece and shell napkin rings set on their ends with a sprig of pittosporum nestled in each one.
One of Louise’s favorite menu features this recipe. The beauty of this? It’s a meal all in one…This recipe has two terrific advantages-easy preparation and a “wow” factor, which makes it a great option for both family meals or entertaining.
SALMON STACK WITH ROASTED RED PEPPERS, GOAT CHEESE AND WASABI MASHED POTATOES
Serving Size: 2-6
- 4-5 ounce piece of salmon per person, preferably a thick center cut with skin on one side only
- Fresh bagged spinach with stems removed
- Potatoes for mashing such as the golden variety
- Creamy Wasabi sauce, such as the Inglehoffer Brand
- Roasted red peppers from a jar, such as a Mt. Olive 12 oz. jar
- Goat cheese from a round log
- Garnish sauce such as Sesame Ginger Sauce or Lite" Honey Mustard dressing
- Cut potatoes in big chunks and gently cook until just tender. Mash with buttermilk, a few pieces of butter and add wasabi sauce to taste. Set aside.
- Gently wilt the spinach in a pan with a little olive oil.(Do not cook it); set aside.
- Remove strips of the red pepper and pat dry.
- Soften a chunk of room temperature goat cheese (about 2 tablespoons per person) with a little cream, just enough for a soft mound.
- Sprinkle the salmon with pepper or a mixed blend of seafood seasoning. Gently saute the salmon in a little olive oil and butter, starting skin side down. Turn carefully after about 2 minutes. Remove and discard the skin, scraping some of the gray flesh off, if desired. Do not overcook the salmon; about 2-3 min. per side.
Plating (Make sure everything is warm)
- Center a serving of the warm wasabi mashed potatoes on a plate.
- Top with a generous layer of wilted spinach.
- Add a beautiful piece of salmon.
- Top with a strip or 2 of the roasted red pepper, covering the salmon.
- Finish with a nice mound of the soft goat cheese, garnished with a little sprig of fresh rosemary.
- Garnishing....with a small squeeze bottle with a tip, drizzle your favorite sauce around the Salmon Stack. i.e a Sesame Ginger Sauce or a Lite Honey Mustard Dressing. Both are excellent with the salmon
NotesLouise has made this dish for 2-6 people. The potatoes can be prepared in advance and rewarmed in a microwave, as well as prepping the peppers and goat cheese ahead of time. This is really a meal in one, but is wonderful with a simple salad of fresh greens with orange segments and thinly sliced red onions, or a bowl of chilled gazpacho in the summer, apple squash soup in the winter.
By Louise Fontaine via KathyMillerTime
Recipe Printed from www.kathymillertime.com
And her go to dessert especially in the summertime…
PINA COLADA MOUSSE
- 1 cup canned Cream of Coconut (Such as Coco Lopez)
- 1 cup (an 8 ounce can) crushed pineapple in unsweetened pineapple juice
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1/4 cup Bacardi Spiced Rum, or a deeper rum flavor, Dark Ron Rico Rum
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons unflavored Gelatin
- 6 mousse compotes, low footed wine glasses, or clear glass cups
- Puree the first 4 ingredients in a blender. Transfer to a large bowl, preferably one with a pouring lip.
- In a small saucepan add 2 tablespoons water and sprinkle with the gelatin.
- Let stand for 6 to 8 minutes.
- Stir over low heat, watching carefully until the gelatin dissolves completely.
- Add the dissolved gelatin to the coconut mixture, stirring or whisking well.
- Divide the mousse into your serving pieces of choice. Cover with saran wrap and chill overnight.
SUGGESTED GARNISH2 limes and 6 raspberries. Prior to serving, cut one of the limes in half and cut 6 thin slices from one of the lime halves, placing one slice standing on end at the edge of each container. With a fine zester, add a nice sprinkling of lime zest on top of the mousse, garnish each with a raspberry, recover with saran and return to the refrigerator until ready to serve.
By Louise Fontaine via KathyMillerTime
Recipe Printed from www.kathymillertime.com
Thank you Louise and Robert and you, our readers, for joining us In The Kitchen! Please let us know what you think and who we should feature. Do you know someone who loves to cook? Tell us. And just because we are talking In The Kitchen doesn’t mean you have to have a newly remodeled kitchen. You might like to tell us about your dining spots…or a family story about how you learned to cook. Or share a few favorite recipes. Let us hear from you. We’d love to know your specialty!
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All photos courtesy of Page Teahan. One of my great photography partners!
Come Celebrate with me! I’ll save you a seat at the table.