Eat & Watch: Smoked Salmon Chowder & Trading Places

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The holidays are almost over, but there’s still time left to bundle up and watch a few more seasonal movies. A great movie to watch in spirit of the new year is the 1983 comedy Trading Placesstarring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy.

In this movie, two successful businessmen – the Duke brothers – make a bet about whether nature or nurture plays a role in determining someone’s life. They give beggar Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) a job at their Philadelphia commodities-trading firm, and take away all that wealthy Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) has. They predict that Valentine will start acting like a successful, wealthy businessman, and that Winthorpe will become homeless, jobless, and desperate.

As predicted by the Duke brothers, Winthorpe falls to new lows in his new life of poverty. At the company holiday party, he is seen stuffing meat and salmon into his filthy and grungy Santa costume.

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Later, when Winthorpe is on the bus, he pulls out the salmon fillet from his grey Santa beard and proceeds to eat it. Winthorpe is clearly feeling defeated and has hit rock bottom. I won’t spoil what happens in the movie, but it’s definitely worth watching. It’s humorous while also having serious undertones of economic inequality and racial and cultural stereotypes.

Inspired by Santa Winthorpe and his hearty piece of salmon, Smoked Salmon Chowder felt like a delicious meal to watch with this movie. Chowder is warm – perfect for these cold winter months – and the smoked salmon gives the chowder a blast of flavor.

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In addition to the smoked salmon, the other ingredients also play a starring role in this chowder. I chose purple potatoes to give the soup some much needed color (otherwise it would have a mostly beige and yellow tone). Fresh corn on the cob gives the chowder a nice crunch, and the dill garnish gives it a clean herb taste without being overbearing.

Topped with oyster crackers or warm crusty bread, this Smoked Salmon Chowder may become a regular on the meal circuit. This recipe involves smoky bacon, fresh carrots and celery, and heavy cream – lots of goodies in every bite!

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Smoked Salmon Chowder Recipe

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P.P.S. Another great holiday movie and meal!

Food Images by Lauren Jessen // Trading Places stills from Paramount Pictures

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Around Town: Russ & Daughters Cafe – New York City

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Russ & Daughters is an appetizing shop in New York that has been run by four generations of the Russ family since 1914. For over 100 years, this shop has sold high quality smoked fish, caviar, and specialty foods. I’ve visited the shop a couple of times, but it’s their cafe, Russ & Daughters Cafe, that I was eager to try.

While the cafe gets busy on the weekend, I made it for a weekday lunch and immediately found a seat at the bar. Set in an airy and spacious environment, Russ & Daughters Cafe is a great place to enjoy a casual meal with friends.

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Bagels, smoked fish, latkes…the menu is filled with so many delicious choices. Matzo Ball soup was an obvious choice to kick off the meal. The Potato Latkes with Applesauce and Sour Cream had my name written all over it, and the The Classic Board with Gaspe Nova Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese, Tomato, Onion, and Capers rounded out the meal. Such a satisfying lunch. High quality in every bite.

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Russ & Daughters Cafe
127 Orchard Street, New York

Image by Lauren

Around Town: Cooks County, Los Angeles

aOn the side of a long, busy road in Los Angeles, a small restaurant with a bright blue awning called Cooks County serves some of the best farm-to-table dishes I’ve tasted. The space is small with dark wooden tables and chairs, natural sunlight filtering through the front windows, and an open view of the kitchen. Starting with bread and a vegetable dish (to balance each other out, of course), we followed up our appetizers with salmon and pork chops. Everything was made with careful attention to detail and the dishes were incredibly rich in flavor. Of course, to end an already satisfying meal, we had to try the dessert. The fresh mint ice cream with homemade whipped cream was otherworldly. I hope to make it back to Cooks County soon. It was one of those meals you wish never ended.

P.S. A Farm-to-Table restaurant in New York City.

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{Photos by Lauren}

Flavor of the Month: Chive

|1| Homemade Chive Cheese  |2| Savory Cheese and Chive Bread  |3| Summer Squash and Chive Pancakes  |4| Smoked Salmon Rolls with Spicy Chives Filling |5| Twice-Baked Potatoes

Chives are one of those commonly used ingredients that sometimes gets overlooked in regards to its flavor. Commonly used as a garnish, chives are a flavorful addition to any home cooked meal, particularly meals that involve potatoes, salmon, cheese, or dumplings.

Chives are versatile, manageable to grow, and the plants produce pretty (and edible!) flowers that you can use in any of these recipes. Here are some tips on how to grow chives – I can’t wait to plant my own!

{chives image via}