Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tomatillo & Ginger Baked Salmon

Tomatillo & Ginger Salmon with Shishito Peppers

As you may know, I adore tomatillos and I wanted to try using them as the star of a fish dish.  The sauce below would work just as well on top of a white fish such as fluke or cod.  I was cooking for my Dad, who has an aversion to major spice, so I omitted the jalapenos. Do keep them in if you can, as they balance out the acid with a wonderful kick.

I served these shishito peppers and stock-mashed potatoes (boil new potatoes, mash with a slab of butter, a bit of chicken stock and a grind of pepper!) rounding out a nice dinner in under an hour.

Tomatillo & Ginger Baked Salmon
Ingredients

  • 1 cup of tomatillos, husks removed
  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 1 inch of ginger
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Optional: 1/2 a finely diced jalapeno, seeds omitted
  • 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Tinfoil
Directions
  • Pre heat oven to 375
  • Boil 1 cup of husked tomatillos in boiling water for 4-6 minutes until they turn mustardy yellow
  • Carefully remove from the pot, and let cool
  • Meanwhile, peel and chop one inch of fresh ginger, one clove of garlic and the jalapeno
  • Sauté the jalapeno, ginger and garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until fragrant, 1 – 2 minutes
  • Add the tomatillos and with the back of a wooden spoon crush them into the ginger, garlic and, if using, jalapenos
  • Add one teaspoon of soy sauce and cook the mixture, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes
  • Place each salmon fillet on a piece of tinfoil, top with a healthy scoop of the tomatillo sauce and seal each fillet in the tinfoil packet
  • Place on a baking sheet, and bake for 18 – 25 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillets and oven heat
Tomatillo Sauce
Salmon Pre-Tin Foil Packets

Friday, September 21, 2012

Homemade Hummus

I kind of obsess over the photos that accompany my blog entries. I often make a dish for dinner, then remake it a few weeks later snapping a lot of pictures.  Sometimes 25 photos per vegetable.  Then I edit those photos down, and test between two and 10 pictures with each entry before posting.  It's fun to me, if also a bit obsessive.

Earlier this week, when I tweeted about my love of homemade hummus and a fellow foodie tweep asked for the recipe, I realized sometimes I should simply post without going crazy with the camera.

So here it is: My super simple, totally addictive homemade hummus recipe.  I love that homemade hummus doesn't have a uniform texture, and you can feel the chunks of the chick peas. There are two great things about this recipe1) you can not screw it up and 2) you can have lots of fun trying additional ingredients to spice it up... I'm looking at you roasted cherry tomatoes and pine nuts!

Homemade Hummus
Ingredients 
  • 2 cups of chick peas / garbanzo beans*
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • Up to 1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon of good extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 - 4 tablespoons of tahini
  • Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Salt 
*While canned chickpeas work just fine, it is sooooo easy to cook your own.  Soak dried chick peas in water over night. Rinse the beans, bring to a boil in a fresh water and lower the heat to a simmer, cooking for 1 - 1.25 hours.  Extra beans easily freeze. 
Directions 
  • Saute garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, over medium heat for 1 - 2 minutes
  • Add garlic, oil from the pan and chick peas to a food processor
  • Pulse a few times until the chick peas start to break up
  • Now, add 2 tablespoons of tahini, a quarter of the olive oil (1/4 cup), a sprinkle of salt and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.  Pulse the mixture well. Add another 1/4 cup of olive oil, if it's seeming dry. 
  • Taste it! Do you like it?  
  • Do you want a nutty flavor? Add the remaining tahini.  If you are looking for a smoother consistency, add the olive oil in 1/4 cup increments until you reach your desired consistency. For a brighter bite, add more lemon juice

Friday, September 14, 2012

Skirt Steak with Chimichurri & Husk Cherry Sauce

Husk Cherry



We enjoyed a lovely 10 day holiday in Montauk over Labor Day which included a BBQ at the house with friends.  I was determined to use those husky little guys above and decided to serve grilled skirt steak with two sauces... An herby chimichurri and a sweeter, roasted husk cherry sauce. 

Skirt steak is a perfect crowd-feeding cut because not only is it in-expensive, it is super easy to prepare (salt, grill, serve) and just looks good sliced on a serving platter. Paired with a choice of a sweet or spicy sauce, there was a taste for everyone.  Forgive me for the strange lighting in the picture of the final plate; I still had my camera on the night setting trying to capture the Harvest Moon below!

Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri & Husk Cherry Sauce
Ingredients
  • 1/3 a pound per person of skirt steak
  • Salt & Pepper
Directions 
  • Salt & pepper the steak liberally
  • Grill 3 minutes per side over medium heat
  • Let rest 5 minutes before slicing
Roasted Husk Cherry Sauce
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of husk cherries, husks removed*
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • Salt & Pepper 
*Cherry tomatoes can be substituted if husk cherries / ground cherries are not readily available 
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 325
  • Peel the husks off the fruit
  • Toss the husk cherries / ground cherries with the half of the oil, salt & pepper and red pepper flakes
  • Spread in an even layer in a glass pan and roast for 25-35 minutes until they just start to wrinkle
  • Let cool, then puree adding the remaining olive oil as needed
  • Heat gently before serving
Before


After
Roasted Husk Cherries




Chimchurri
Modified courtesy of Food52 

Ingredients
  • 1 cup of cilantro
  • 1/2 cup of mint
  • 1/4 cup of fresh oregano
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced and sauteed in olive oil 
  • 4 tablespoons red wine, rice or sherry vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Directions
  • Saute the roughly minced garlic in olive oil until fragrant
  • Cool and transfer to a food processor or blender
  • Add the remaining ingredients, and blend until processed
  • Salt & pepper to taste

About Husk Cherries or Cape Gooseberries
Husk Cherries or Cape Gooseberries (not be confused with regular Gooseberries!) are little nightshades, covered in a papery husk.  Sweeter than a cherry tomato, they almost have a pineapple or jammy flavor.  They can be eaten raw in salads, dried or cooked into a dessert.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Vegetable Chana Masala

Chana Masala

My love for all things food is happily extending into my relationships with others as friends and family increasingly reach out to gab about cooking.  Conversations with one high school friend lately have almost exclusively been about food. "What do you think about swapping goat cheese for feta in this recipe?" "Have you seen this foodblog?" "Tonight I'm making a crumble, I will let you know how it turns out...."  It's so fun for me.

So this post is a little virtual nod to our conversations.  It's vegetarian, because she is one, and it's an Indian recipe in tribute to the many lunch buffets we enjoyed when living in the same town years ago.

While the numbers of different spices might seem overwhelming at first glance, fear not.  You basically plop them all in the pot at one time and after a quick visit to a specialty market, you have enough spices for a number of dinners. I tried a handful of different recipes before settling on a modified version from this site. I omit fancy spice grinding and ginger (hubby hates it!) with the hopes of compiling an easy go-to curry for you.

My one suggestion? The first time you make this recipe, create identical mounds of the spice base.  Seal the second heap away in a zip lock bag, and voila, you are that much closer to your next curry.

Vegetable Chana Masala
Modified courtesy of Aarti Paarti



Ingredients
  • 4 tomatoes, finely diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 summer squash diced into cubes  
  • 2 cups of chopped greens (collards, kale, swiss chard) 
  • 1 large white or red onion, finely diced
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin 
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon amchur powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • Juice of half a lemon or lime 
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and pepper
 Directions
  • Combine all the spices, except the cumin, in a bowl
  • Set a skillet over medium-high heat, and warm the peanut oil until it’s shimmering.  Add the onions,  cumin and a little kosher salt, and saute until they start to brown (about 15 minutes). If the onions start to stick to the bottom of the pan, sprinkle with water and scrub up the pan bits.
  • Add garlic; saute 30 seconds.
  • Add the spice mixture (“masala”), and saute for 30 seconds. Then add the tomatoes and summer squash. Cook, seasoning with a little salt again, picking up anything that’s sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the tomatoes soften, deepen in colour and form a coarse sauce, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the greens and chickpeas, and cover in the masala, cooking a minute or so.
  • Stir in the cup of water, then gently simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding salt, pepper and citrus juice as needed. Turn the heat off, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Serve over rice.
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