Posts Tagged ‘Chris Choate’



We have never been a family that celebrates designated, made-up card sending holidays like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day or even Valentine’s Day. We try very hard to celebrate each other every day. However, this year with the loss of our oldest son, Mickey, to lung cancer we have felt a need to celebrate the men in our family. We post this photo of Steve, my husband and loving step-dad, sandwiched between Mickey and his younger brother, Chris in remembrance of Mickey, the father of Alexander and Clara, on Father’s Day.

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If so, my son Chris pulled together an easy, but a so elegant and pretty dish while he was visiting us a couple of weeks ago.  We were having a big family cook-a-thon or actually a throw-down where every cook tries to out-do the others and Chris was nominated to do the fish course.  Often the recipes my sons create are extravagant and complicated, so it was amazing to see this simple dish appear.  I had purchased some opah (sustainable fish when caught by U.S. fisheries), a wonderfully dense, meaty fish that has a glorious pale pinky, salmon color when raw, but turns white once heat hits it.

First, Chris made mashed potatoes, but instead of making them buttery and rich, he beat in olive oil, the juice of one lemon, and some lemon zest along with sea salt and white pepper. They were smooth and almost refreshing.  He made a very light lemon vinaigrette flavored with chervil.  He cut the opah into small blocks and seared it briefly – or just long enough to make each side crusty while keeping the flesh moist and tender.  As you can see, I placed a mound of the potatoes in the center of our plates, Chris nestled a crusty piece of fish into the center of the potatoes and drizzled the vinaigrette all around the plate.  I fancied it up with a few tiny chervil leaves and Chris presented an elegant, easy, and wonderfully delicious fish course.

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Along with a new book, our family has welcomed a brand new baby girl, Willa Elizabeth, who has just spent a week with her adoring grandparents (that be us!).  I even got to take her into the kitchen to help me cook.  It is thrilling to see the family line of cooks to continue.  Welcome to our lives and to the world, little Willa.

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Cheers to the end-of-summer!  Celebrate the coming of fall and the family holidays ahead with my latest cookbook  An American Family Cooks to be published by Welcome Books on September 24th.  It may be pre-ordered online:


or through your favorite bookstore.

Mine is Micawber’s Books in St. Paul. ( micawbers.blogspot.com )

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Wonderful News!  Coming this fall from Welcome Books is An American Family Cooks, my dream book, featuring recipes and tales from my family of cooks.  My sons, Mickey and Chris, feature prominently with wine suggestions by Chris a special treat.  My grandchildren will also be found among the pages as will paintings from Steve Kolyer.  We will keep you posted on our activities as the October publishing date gets close.

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As I told you earlier, we were in San Francisco for a couple of weeks to celebrate the wedding of our son Chris to his best girl, Heather.  What I didn’t know was that I was to be part of the crafting team preparing the décor for the outdoor celebration.  Stacks of tissue paper were to be turned into flowers, a job that you couldn’t pay me to do but when assigned by your daughter-in-law-to be, you craft!  When it got too much, I decided that I would do my impersonation of Queen Elizabeth and turned the tissue paper flower into my wedding hat!  Heather, the bride to be, and Canada, our granddaughter, joined the fun and Steve caught it all on “film” as we preened in the loo (because of its great natural light, it is also known as Steve’s west coast studio)!  The sad after-thought to these hundreds of hand-made flowers is that, although the tables sitting in a meadow at Rush Ranch {where the wedding took place} looked charming filled with paper flower centerpieces in the morning sunlight, they disintegrated in the afternoon’s downpour.

So, the wedding was celebrated in rain – everyone tells us that rain on the bride is a good omen for a long and happy marriage.  The atmosphere was as casual as can be with many of the guests camping on the grounds and lots and lots of little children (one meadow was filled with tents and toys).  The celebrant was Chris’ best buddy, Doug Collister, who placed them under a huge oak tree that kept the marrying group fairly dry but the rest of us got soaked.  The less hardy souls took to the hills after the ceremony but lots and lots of people stayed to party.  The champagne and wine flowed and then the taco truck appeared and the feeding frenzy began.  The line was long but Chris’ brother worked it, keeping everyone’s glass full while Chris got out of his “wet” suit and donned bright orange shorts and a sombrero.  I’m here to tell you that the tacos were well worth the wait!  These were not your average tacos – we had duck, beef, pork, mahi mahi, shrimp, even a blt!  We plied the truck cooks with champagne and they just kept feeding the crowd until it was time to build the bonfire, toast marshmallows, and let Dave Matthews sing the kids to sleep.  What a way to begin married life!

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