Recipe of the Day


I’ve loathed the act of baking for a long time. Perhaps what I’ve hated is the measuring, mixing, and kneading. I’ve dipped my toes in the water of pizza dough and no-knead bread, both with marginal success, and now that I have a big bag of instant yeast, I’ve decided to explore a little bit.

Pita bread is the first stop on the tour for me. I found a recipe that I like (Go to Google. Type in Easy _______ Recipe. The first or second results for any baking queries are usually the routes I will explore.) at the Smitten Kitchen blog.  This is a pretty popular blog all around from the sheer volume of comments, but it’s consistent in offering up easy to make recipes that I can feel confident in preparing. There’s also a great post from which I culled my quick standby for kale chips. Check it out.

I’m sitting around right now, waiting for the first rise to occur- about twenty minutes. Usually, when I make pizza dough, I don’t have the patience for kneading, but it doesn’t matter to me too much because there’s not as much involved in making the crust as there is in making the sauce, toppings, and everything else that makes pizza so delicious. I’ve decided that it is, however, an important part, and despite not owning a stand mixer, after I mixed up all the ingredients, I kneaded the dough diligently for the required 5 minutes, until it became somewhat smooth and a bit lighter. The gluten particles have begun to bond.

My hopes for this experiment are that it will yield a pocket. I do love the pocket bread. I would like to make stuffable sandwiches out of the breads, and use them for everything. We shall see if my wishes come true. Until then, I’ll be content to wrap my sandwiches and gyros in what I create and call it flatbread.

Advertisements

Today, I’m making a St. Patrick’s day feast.

We’ve got some cabbage that we’re going to add to potatoes and make a delicious colcannon. I bought a good loaf of rye from the store and two of three Irish cheddar cheeses from work, some brown mustard, and a good chunk of corned beef.

We’ve been brining corned beef at work for the last two weeks, so it’s good and ready to cook by now. We’ve had some people come by the store, looking for brisket to make their own, and until last week, I had to tell them that they were a little too late to start brining their own. Fortunately, we have it all taken care of at the store, with a ton, (yes, 2000 lbs.) of corned beef to go through within the next couple days. Will we make it? Only time will tell.

Anyway, here’s a good recipe for corned beef:

1 corned beef

Water

Simmer corned beef until tender.

Done.

Serve with mustard, a good brown one.

So, the beef, the bread, the colcannon, some cheese, some Guinness, and some carrots. Lots of that stuff.

If you have the time and the inclination, and at least four hours before you eat, go buy a corned beef and boil it.

Seriously. Lemon Posset.

Ready? Okay.

Put one cup cream and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When it comes to a boil and begins to foam, pull it off the heat if it bubbles too much. Boil for three minutes, and stir in the juice of one lemon.

Pour it into two ramekins and put it in the fridge for at least three hours. It will firm up to be a very light, pleasant custard for two.

Simplest dessert ever in under 100 words. You can make it in five minutes for a large gathering on a Thursday!

I found a recipe that a friend of mine posted online. She has a hungry brood of kids, and this recipe for biscuits is a quick way to satisfy everyone’s appetites.

So far, I have mixed the dry ingredients, and in an hour or two, I’ll add the milk, roll out the dough, and pop these babies in the oven. Soon, we’ll have a bounty of fresh biscuits to enjoy.

***

From Crystal Bailly’s Biscuits Recipe:

I make my own self rising flour, it is super simple and makes really nice biscuits. 1 C of Flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix well.

For the biscuits, I tend to make large batches because I have a small army of kids, and who doesn’t like biscuits? So..Preheat oven to 425

5 cups of the self rising flour

1 stick COLD butter ( real butter) or about 1/2 Cup vegetable shortening

Mix these in large bowl by hand, I use my finger to just break up the shortening and butter. This was the first time I used butter, and I left the pieces of butter about pea sized. They melted and helped make the layers I think. You can use just shortening, I do that a lot too and it works just fine.  Just mix with your fingers, squeezing the pieces until mixed well. You won’t feel any huge chunks, and the butter pieces will be bigger. Now add the milk. I just used 1% since that is what I have in the fridge. You can use buttermilk just as well I am guessing. 🙂 I didn’t measure this, sorry!  I use a large metal spoon and mix in enough milk so everything is moist but not soaking wet- Think wet playdough texture. Do not over mix! Now turn it out on to a floured countertop. It should still be wettish, and sticky.  I usually just fold it over on itself two or three times, maybe a few more. This folding in half helps with the layers too. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick and cut however you want. Don’t twist the cutter though! They won’t rise as well.  I use a biscuit cutter, but use anything! Cook in middle of the oven until just light brown, they don’t take long, under 12 minutes I think, you can always split one in half to check for doneness.

EAT!

***

Okay, so I followed this recipe, and it’s easy. It’s so easy, in fact, that between 2 of us, we polished off a 1/2 batch (2 cups flour) of these biscuits. I made them small, and we had about 20 of them.

Guys, biscuits are good, and super simple to make. I don’t bake. At all. It’s easy, if you’re not a baker but really like food, to make these. For added flavor, you can add some cheese, or some fresh herbs. Maybe next time, I’ll try it out, but for right now, I’m going to sleep this batch off.

Did I mention how easy this was?

t

The remaining biscuits. They rose!

Here I am on another day off from work, with nothing to do but cook. It’s feeling more autumnal here by the day, but I can’t really let go of the fresh flavors of summer. The other day, I wanted to make a quick salad to go along with dinner, but I had no greens. I asked my better half if she was going to stop by the market on the way home, and if she’d be bothered to get some salad makings. I didn’t hear back for a little while, and dinner was fast approaching. I’d made a bread pudding earlier in the day, and I used the rest of the bread to do mini raclette/baguette toasted cheese sandwiches under the broiler.

Still, that’s a lot of bread.

We’re in a new place, and I still haven’t figured out why, even with a smaller fridge, I’m not able to fill it with stuff that I can grab and use to make stuff on the fly. We’ve got a couple of stores close to us, including my home store, so it’s not really a big thing. Being impatient as I am, I hopped on my bike and rode down the street to pick up some arugula from the produce market. I haven’t had arugula in six weeks.

What’s arugula? It’s a veg-e-table.

I hadn’t been to this produce market yet, and when I got in, I was surprised by how much they had to offer. I scoured the greens. Turnip, collard, kale, escarole, bibb, romaine, but no arugula. It’s a sure sign of a first world problem when you get grumpy over the lack of spring mix and microgreens in your local grocer’s produce case. They did, however, have dandelion greens- a little bitter, but for the salad I was making, I thought it would be refreshing. I picked out a bunch, along with a lemon for a fresh dressing, and biked back home.

Dandelion Greens on a sunny afternoon

By the time I got home, I checked my phone, and the lady had said she picked up some herb salad mix, so the dandelions were relocated, temporarily, to the back of the fridge.

On my days off, I get bored. I’ll go exploring, but for the most part, I’ll stay indoors, watch the television, plop around on the internet. Now that it’s about 3 p.m., I’m getting antsy. This is how it usually goes. I think it’s time to make some food.

***

Dandelion Green Pasta Filling:

1 bunch Dandelion greens, triple washed, trimmed of stems

1/2 yellow onion, small dice

4 cloves garlic, sliced thin

1 T. salted butter

salt, pepper, oil

***

Pulled out the dandelion greens from the fridge and tasted them just now. They are unbelievably bitter. For the greens to lose their bitterness, I may have to cook them down considerably.

***

Pan on the stove. Low heat to sweat the onion and garlic. And… into the pan they go. Little salt, little pepper. So far so good. It smells pretty nice in here. After ten minutes they seem to have become tender and fragrant.

***

Spin the greens to get rid of the moisture. I thought of maybe soaking them in milk? Nah. I don’t think that’d be the most productive use of milk.

***

Okay. In the pan with the greens, all chopped up like they are. Let em cook. They’re looking vibrant.

***

Ten more minutes in, and they’ve lost some of that green, but the cooking has taken a lot of bitterness out of them as well. I don’t have any cheese, but I don’t want to mask the comfortable level of bitterness that I still have going for the green mix. If I were to choose a cheese to go inside, it’d be a pecorino. The nutty sheep’s milk and texture would go along nicely. I think I’ll get a small wedge of it tomorrow, and serve it up on top, maybe in curls.

***

Okay. I’m going to need some pasta dough here. Trusty Mario Batali Pasta Recipe, take me away.

***

I have a new cutting board. It’s all wood, of heavy stock, and it sits atop my prep rack, good for cutting stuff and kneading things. I know it’s anti-utilitarian of me, but I don’t really want to get it too dirty just yet. I fabricated the pasta dough using the well method (only way to go) inside a mixing bowl, and then turned out the sloppy mess onto the board for kneading. After about five minutes, I covered it in plastic wrap and now I’m letting it sit for another 30 minutes before taking it for a ride on the pasta bike.

Two eggs and some flour

(For more information about how to make your own fresh pasta, consult this blog entry.)

***

Okay. Pasta dough has rested, now on to the bike!

***

Just got done cranking the pasta dough and filling them up. Filled pasta is a lot of work if you don’t have practice. Out of a half batch of dough, I had enough filling for 22 tortellini, approximately 4 servings by Euro Standards, maybe 2 by American standards. Perhaps tomorrow night, I’ll make them for diner, with a light butter sauce with basil and crushed pecans.

A bunch of tortellini

***

A final thought: An afternoon project is something very fulfilling, especially if it’s something that I can eat and share later on. I’m glad I had the opportunity to share the process with…the…internet. I’m even happier that I get to share something that I’ve made with my lady for dinner.

Yesterday was the second 12 hour opening of the Copper River Season, from 7 AM to 7 PM up in Alaska. We’re fortunate in Seattle to get the direct flights loaded up with the finest fish, and this morning’s batch was spectacular.

The second opening gave us a fair amount of fish, and the sockeyes look awesome. You’re not going to get a fresher fish anywhere in the country unless you go catch it yourself.  Moreover, the Alaskan Salmon Fishing Industry has been evaluated and certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council, an independent Third Party who monitors catch limits, methods of fishing, and environmental concerns surrounding commercial operations. Read more about it on their website, with a link at the end of this post.

With that being said, the price is already starting to drop. Where it started off at a price of $29.99/lb for pretty much everyone in the market here, the price for the second opening has already seen a drop of Five dollars per pound. Start getting your grills ready, because it’s going to come in quick, and it’s going to be great.

Soy-Miso Marinated Salmon with Green Bean Salad

2 lbs. Copper River Sockeye Salmon Fillet

2 TBSP White Miso Paste

2 TBSP Soy Sauce

2 TBSP Rice Vinegar

1 TBSP Brown Sugar

1/4 c. Canola Oil

2 tsp. Sesame Seeds

1 Squirt Wasabi paste

Green Bean Salad

1 Handful green beans, trimmed.

1 box cherry tomatoes, halved

1 TBSP White Miso

1 TBSP Mayonnaise

Splash of soy sauce

Splash of rice vinegar

1 finger fresh grated ginger

2 cloves minced garlic

sesame seeds

1 green onion, sliced diagonally, thin

For the Salmon: Take all the ingredients for the marinade, aside from the sesame seeds, and whisk together. Put your salmon fillet, either whole or cut into four pieces, in the marinade, and let it sit for at least a half an hour. Before you put it in the oven, it should have a dark, caramel color on the surface, and the marinade should just be penetrating towards the center of the fish. As a note, pat the surface relatively dry before you put it in the oven, as excess marinade will burn.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

For the green beans, get a pot of salted water to a boil, and throw the beans in until they get nice and green, about two minutes. They should still be a little crunchy, but after you pull them out, run them under cool water until they stop steaming.

For the dressing, just whisk all the ingredients together. It’s simple, fast, and delicious. (It’s also very healthy, shhhhhh!)

Add the tomatoes. Toss it with the dressing. Instant Salad.

For the salmon, place it Skin side UP in a baking dish, and put it in your preheated oven for about six to eight minutes. The skin should be nice and crispy, and as a chef’s hint, if you take the back of a knife and wick away any excess moisture, that’ll help it along. For added technique and a nice presentation, make some light diagonal slashes in the skin with a knife, as if you were making slashes in a loaf of french bread before baking.

Here’s the big secret to finding out if your fish is done: Take a fork, stick the tines in the fish, and wiggle it around. If it flakes, it’s done. On the sides, you should see the fat starting to sweat out the sides. That means it’s perfect. The marinade will keep it moist, and you’ll end up with a great dinner.  Slice a little bit of green onion and garnish over top for a fresh finish.

Serve it with some steamed jasmine rice, or get a quick box of couscous at the store, and you have a healthy, well rounded meal that is excellent, filling, and a taste of where we call home.

Marine Stewardship Council: http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/certified/pacific/alaska-salmon/alaska-salmon-1

 

 

Today, we’ve got our first fresh Copper River Salmon of the season! It started out on Thursday with a 12 hour opening, and we’re going to have another one tomorrow for another run of gorgeous fish.

The Copper River, one of the steepest rivers in the world, dropping 3600 feet in vertical elevation over the course of 300 miles. It is located just three hours away from Anchorage, spilling into the ocean at Cordova. It is the first fresh Alaskan run of the year, and these exclusive opportunities mixed with the phenomenal physical stamina of the fish and the rich mineral deposits along the banks provide us every May with the most superior salmon in the world.

A shot of the Copper River

With that information at hand, what will you do with your new favorite fish? Here’s an easy and quick recipe to get your tastebuds all riled up:

Maple Grilled Copper River Sockeye with Stone Ground Mustard Glaze and Grilled Peaches

2 lbs. Copper River Sockeye Fillet, skin on

1/4 cup oil

3 TBSP Maple Syrup

1 TBSP Brown Mustard (dijon is fine, German mustard is better, but the best is the one with mustard seeds)

Salt/Pepper

Other ingredients for sides:

2 Peaches, sliced, skin on

Fresh Asparagus

1 Lemon

Mix oil, syrup, mustard, salt and pepper together.  Take your salmon fillets and coat them with the mixture, letting them rest for about 30 minutes or more. This recipe is one that you can use confidently, knowing that ingredients such as maple syrup go well with salmon because they’re both from the same place- among the trees in the frozen tundra.

Coat asparagus and peaches in oil, salt and pepper. Let them sit.

With your grill on medium high, brush the grate liberally with oil. Don’t use the nonstick cooking spray unless you use it away from a direct flame. Pat the excess salmon marinade off of the fish, and oil the skin.

Skin side down, put the fish on the grill. Put the peach slices and asparagus on the grill. After about three to four minutes, flip all of them. The asparagus should be charred and deep green, and the peaches can have grill marks on them. (Note: If your grill isn’t that clean, after you flip the peaches and asparagus, put the lid on and let the fish go without flipping. It might fall apart.)

Three more minutes, and your dish is ready to serve. Take the asparagus off, put the fish on top, and garnish the fish with peach slices. Let it rest for a couple minutes, and enjoy!

Serves 4-6

Side note: If you’re worried about the cleanliness of your grill, don’t fret. Take a cedar plank and soak it in water for about an hour before you grill. Then, put it on the grill and lightly char it, and let the smoke infuse your salmon. It’s excellent, simple, and it acts as a serving plate. Nothing says the Northwest like a Planked Salmon.

 

Next Page »