It's me, the Silliest

This is my blog of recipes. I like "eating the rainbow" as well as globe-trotting through food. I totally dig heady local produce and local fresh meats.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Curried Salmon Patties with Mango, Red Pepper and Scallion Salsa and Wild Rice

I found this recipe in the Food Network magazine. I added a few things of my own and it turned out to be an absolutely delicious meal! This is relatively quick and inexpensive, making it a great week-day meal.

1 lb salmon
1 bunch scallions, chopped finely
1 inch of ginger, grated
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 mango, diced
2 celery stalks
1 C finely crushed unsalted saltine crackers
2 TBSP tartar sauce, divided
1 TBSP curry powder, divided
2 eggs
Canola oil for the pan

Cook wild rice according to package directions. I got my wild rice from Whole Foods in the bulk section, so there wasn't a box with instructions. If this happens to you, just do 2:1 water to rice and bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 40 minutes.

Put the salmon + 2 TBSP of water in a large pan. Sprinkle the salmon w 1 tsp of curry powder, cover and cook for 6 minutes on medium until the salmon is cooked through.

Meanwhile, chop the veggies as directed and keep them separate.

When the salmon has cooled slightly, flake it and combine it w 1 egg, 1/4 crushed saltines, half the scallions and a TBSP of tartar sauce. Form into patties and put in the freezer for 15 minutes to stiffen.

While the patties are in the freezer, combine the remaining scallions, remaining curry powder, remaining tartar sauce, red bell pepper, celery and mango in a bowl (the salsa) and set aside. You can also prepare the egg dish at this point. To do so, combine the remaining egg with 1 TBSP water.

After 15 minutes in the freezer the salmon cakes should be hardened. Dip the salmon cakes in the egg mixture, then in the remaining crushed saltines. Cook these in a pre-heated skillet over medium-high heat with a bit of canola oil. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes, or until golden.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pad Thai

Mark Bittman, of the NYTimes just did a pad thai recipe. Now, I love him (and his opening to his cooking videos - tee he he), but sometimes you gotta put in just a taaad more love than he does. So, I made just a few adjustments that I think make all the difference. I started out just making it as he suggests, but it was under-spiced, there weren't enough noodles and the sauce was way too watery. I think I have come up with a great pad thai recipe. And the ingredients seem a bit daunting - fish sauce and tamarind concentrate - but once you get them, you'll have them as a go-to. I love pad thai, but I think I might be pad thai'd out, considering I've eaten it for like 4 meals this week - hah!

12 oz thick rice noodles (if you can only find thin ones, then just use fettuccine pasta... it sounds so weird and unauthentic, but the shape/texture of the noodle is key in pad thai)

1/4 C tamarind concentrate
1/4 C fish sauce (Mark Bittman has it dead on... smells like old socks, tastes wonderful)
3 TBSP palm sugar (or regular if that's all you got)
2 TBSP rice vinegar
2 tsp arrowroot (optional thickener)
Red pepper flakes to taste ... I used ~2 tsp for spicy

2 TBSP + 1 tsp peanut oil
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch of scallions, chopped on a bias
1/2 block of tofu, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 eggs
2 C shredded nappa cabbage
2 C mung bean sprouts
1/2 lb shrimps

1/4 C chopped mint
1/4 C chopped cilantro
1/4 C chopped peanuts

Cook the noodles according to package direction, toss w 1 tsp peanut oil and set aside.

In a large wok over high heat, saute the garlic and scallions in 2 TBSP peanut oil for 1 minute. Add the tofu and egg and cook for 30 seconds or so (remember, this is a quick go-to). Add the rest of the veggies and cook until they are all slightly wilted (5-8 minutes). Add the shrimp and sauce and cook for another 4 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through.

Transfer to a bowl and top with cilantro, mint and peanuts.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Crispy Wonton Appetizers

The wonton cups can be filled with absolutely anything. They make a great, inexpensive and versatile appetizer! My friend and I had to come up with a bunch of different appetizers using white foods as her boyfriend was hosting a "white party". It was mostly a joke (trying to act like P. Diddy and all), but we rolled with and came up with super creative appetizers and desserts with all white food!!!

You can add anything to the wontons! Don't think that it's limited to Asian apps! I'd love to hear variations on this dish!

1 package square wontons
3 daikons, shredded
2 large chicken breasts
1 handful of chopped cashews
1 inch of ginger, finely minced

2 TBSP fish sauce
2 TBSP lime juice
1 TBSP soy
1 tsp Sriracha
2 tsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Simmer the chicken breasts in water for about 40 minutes or until they are cooked through and become pullable. While that's cooking, brush mini cupcake tins with a pastry brush and veggie oil (very very light coating). Push and fold the wontons in the tins (do not fuss about making them perfect... just make sure the bottom is pushed in... there will be some left over wonton protruding from the tins) and brush the tops with a little bit of oil as well. Bake for about 5 minutes or until golden. While they are baking, you should really keep an eye on them as they will go from golden to burnt v quickly.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove from pan and pull apart with your hands (or two forks). Combine all ingredients and spoon into wontons.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sugar Cookies

These sugar cookies are the perfect companion to cookie cutters. I usually find sugar cookies to be a dull tasting excuse for making fun shaped "edible" items. Do you know what I mean? However, this cookie recipe gives the cuteness of cookies a run for their money! I don't think I'll make cookie-cutter cookies without using this recipe again.

Anyways, my first shot at making these was a doozy! My friend - who is an awesome interior designer ... Dana Nauta ... wuduupppp!?? - wanted to make chair shaped cookies! She made her own cookie cutters (yeah, it's true... check out her blog post about them here) and came over. We did the eames eiffel chair & the arne jacobsen egg chair. It was a process... but a fun process!!

Also, when doing sugar cookies I only use the royal icing. It dries smooth, shiny and clean. You can stack the cookies high with this icing!

3 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 C butter
1 C sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla

2 large egg whites
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 C confectioners sugar

Combine the flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.

In your kitchenaid, beat the butter and sugar for 4 minutes (stopping to scrape down the sides once). Add the eggs, one at a time and beat in between each one. Add vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 3 parts and mix to combine.

Divide the dough in half and refrigerate each half for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the dough to 1/4" thick and cut the dough into the shapes you desire. Return the cookies to the fridge for 15 minutes before baking. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until the edges are golden browned.

While they are cooking, you can make the royal icing by beating the egg whites w the lemon juice for 1 minute, then sifting in the sugar until combined and smooth. If not using this frosting immediately (which is recommended), you need to cover it and store it in the fridge as it hardens.

Have fun decorating!!! There are so many fun sprinkles, decals, PENS!

Pork Posole

I absolutely love this shit. I had it at my dad's house a little while back and thought it was amazing. I kind of forgot to recreate it until just recently. This meal is inexpensive, healthy and could feed a crowd. The cubed boneless pork butt is only $4/lb and a large can of hominy is like, $2 or something! What is hominy? you ask. Hominy is corn that has been cooked in lime water in order to remove the rough outer shell. It makes it easier to digest and to process. Just eat it.

2 lbs cubed boneless pork butt
1 1/2 red onion, sliced into thin strips
10 serrano chiles, seeded if you'd like and chopped
5 garlic cloves
4 tomatillos, cut into 8 slices each
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 can hominy
1/4 C rough chopped cilantro
3 avocados, for garnish

In a large heavy-bottomed pan sprayed with Pam, brown the pork over high heat. Remove. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the onions, chiles, garlic and dried spices (there should be fat from the pork to help it go along) and cook until tender (about 10 minutes). Add 2 TBSP of water and the tomatillos and cook, scraping the bits off the bottom for another 5 minutes. Add about 10 C of water and the pork back in. Cover and simmer for an hour. Add the hominy and cilantro after 45 minutes then pump heat back up to high and cook, uncovered, for the last 15 minutes.

Serve with avocado bits and some fresh cilantro.

(Can't wait to eat this for lunch today!!)

Chocolate Covered Strawberries Brownies with White Chocolate Champagna Frosting

The perfectly dipped strawberry in chocolate is something of a marvel. I crave these from time to time. Quite sensuous ... I picture a bottle of champagne, some elegantly dipped strawberries and um, that's it! So, I turned this into a brownie. I swear, sometimes I even amaze myself! I cut the brownies, after the daunting experience of waiting for them to cool, into 1"X1" cubes, piped the frosting on in a zigzag form and topped with one slice of a strawberry. It looked and tasted divine!

4 eggs
1 tsp salt
2 C sugar
2 TBSP vanilla
2 sticks butter
1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate
1 C flour
1/2 C chopped fresh strawberries

3 1/2 C confectioners sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 white chocolate chips
1 TBSP champagna
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat the eggs and the salt until light and frothy. Add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat to incorporate.

Microwave the chocolate and butter until fully melted. To do this, microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between each microwave session. Once melted, pour into egg mixture w blender on low. Then add the flour and mix to incorporate everything (about 1 minute). Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds. Fold in strawberries.

Place brownie mixture in a greased 9X12X3 pan. Cook for about 35 minutes or until a tester comes out just slightly gooey.

While the brownies are cooling, you can prepare the frosting. Melt the white chocolate and the butter. Beat this mixture with the sugar. Add enough champagne to make a workable icing. I piped mine on.

To assemble, cut brownies into 1"X1" squares, pipe on some icing and top w a piece of strawberries. Bring these, the rest of the champagne and a pot of coffee to the table and you will have a VERY happy evening!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bangali-Style Fish Curry

My sister and I made this last night and it's super tasty! We served it with brown basmati rice, which made the whole thing a pretty healthy meal. Next time I do it, I will make sure to use something like Thai chili peppers or something along those lines of extreme spice, but the serranos gave a nice subtle heat that my sister (and most humans) enjoy.

This is a very impressive meal for something that is very quick and little work. I am going to make this again - def a crowd please - but, I am going to make the paste beforehand and then just whip it up when people are over!

1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
4 TBSP mustard oil
2 lbs Vietnamese basa filet
4 serrano chiles, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1" ginger, roughly chopped
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 medium onions (or one large), roughly chopped
1 C water
Chopped cilantro to garnish
Basmati rice

Coat the fish with the turmeric and salt and then fry for 2-3 minutes on each side in the mustard oil over medium heat in a heavy bottom pan. Remove once done.

Place the chiles, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and onions in a food processor and puree into a paste.

Remove the fish, add the paste and let reduce until most of the water has evaporated (about 30 minutes). Add the fish back in, add the water and let cook for another 20 minutes. Serve with rice.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Famous No-Kneed Bread

So, this was in the times a little bit ago and has since been duplicated by what seems like ALL foodie bloggers. In fact, I feel a little behind the times having only tried it recently. It is everything it says it's going to be... hearty and crusty on the outside and impeccably light, airy and moist on the inside. I really cannot wait to make this with varying fillers (nuts, raisins, veggies, herbs, etc) and for a life-time.

I know this is time consuming, but take a little time to plan your meal and you will not regret taking the initial time!!!

3 C bread flour (plus flour for dusting)
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 salt

Combine the ingredients with 1 5/8 C warm water and let the bread rest in a warm area for 18 hours. Once it has risen, punch it down and let it rest on a floured surface, covered with plastic wrap for 15 minutes.

Next, form the dough into a ball and place on a cotton kitchen towel that is coated with flour. Coat the top of the loaf with flour and let rest again in a warm place for two hours.

During the last 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and put a 6 quart heavy pan (dutch oven, cast iron, pyrex) in the oven as well. Once the 2 hours are over, transfer the bread - seem side up - to the pot and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and cook for another 15 - 20 minutes or until the bread is golden.

Let the bread rest for at least 5 mins before you cut into it.

Potato, Leek and Bacon Quiche

I love quiches so much. I really like their versatility. Usually I try to make mine relatively healthy because DANG are they bad for you, but I went with the bad-for-you kind for these! Hey - it was Easter! But yah, if you're interested... you can use no-fat ricotto and cottage cheese, skim milk and egg whites and pack it w veggies (spinach, onion, tomato and shroomies - yesss!!) to make a super healthy (ok, I've even gone so far as to make a crust w whole wheat flour and ground flax seed), portable and simple meal! Serve some fruit salad on the side and you've covered all your food groups in one shot. WORD.

1 package (of 2) deep dish pie crusts
12 eggs
1 lb Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 C milk
2 leeks, whites and light greens chopped and washed thoroughly
5 strips of bacon, sliced into lardons
4 small red potatoes, peeled and cut into "1/2 cubes
Olive oil
Pinch of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Take the frozen pie crusts out of the freezer. In a medium saute pan, add 2 tsp olive oil, the leeks and the bacon and cook on medium for about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and ~TBSP of water, cover the pot and let simmer for about 5 minutes or until the water is gone and you can hear some sizzling.

After the veggies and bacon are cooked, let it rest while preparing the filling by combining the eggs, cheese, milk, salt/pepper and nutmeg. Whisk this well.

Next, add the veggies into the filling and combine. Pour equally into the pie shells and bake until golden brown (about 45 minutes). If it looks a bit runny int he middle still, don't worry as it will set up once it comes to room temperature.