Saturday, July 22, 2017

How Sweet Eats: Sweet Chili Salmon Skewers with Coconut Cilantro Rice


I realized the other day that I haven't made fish in a while.  And I love fish.  That situation needed to be remedied.  So I'm playing around on Pinterest, and I see this lovely photo of this tender pink salmon, glistening and beckoning to me.  And it was like fate, because I had all of the ingredients except the fish.  I love how that works.  So I went to the store, and it was like double fate, because they had this beautiful wild coho salmon on sale.  This recipe doesn't look like much, but it's fantastic.  I really struggled with marking this as four servings because I honestly shoved two skewers in my greedy little mouth.  Maybe have a bunch of veggies ready on the side when you serve this for more than two hungry people.

Note:  Next time I think I'll double skewer these, because the fish cubes went a little wonky each time I turned the kebabs.  A double skewer setup would probably stabilize the delicate fish a bit more.  Live and learn.

Sweet Chili Salmon Skewers with Coconut Cilantro Rice
From How Sweet Eats blog

4 (4-ounce) salmon fillets, cut into chunks
Salt and pepper
1 bunch of green onions, sliced into 1 to 2-inch pieces
1 cup sweet chili sauce, plus extra for topping
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
2 limes, cut into wedges
Coconut Cilantro Rice

Place the salmon in a bowl and season with salt and pepper, then cover with the sweet chili sauce, tossing well to coat. Take the chunks and skewer them with about 3 or 4 pieces of green onion in between (5 to 6 salmon chunks per skewer), beginning and ending with the salmon.

Heat a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil. Place the skewers in the skillet and cook until opaque and golden on all sides, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove the salmon and place it on a plate. Brush with extra sweet chili sauce, drizzle with the toasted sesame oil, and sprinkle with the cilantro and sesame seeds. Finish with a spritz of lime. Serve over coconut cilantro rice with lime wedges and extra chili sauce on the side.

Makes 4 servings

Coconut Cilantro Rice
1½ cups white jasmine rice
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 cup water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup chopped cilantro

Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat and add rice, coconut milk, water and salt. Stir, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let cook for 15 to 18 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork, then stir in coconut oil. Stir in the cilantro and serve.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Allrecipes: David's Yellow Cake


My nephew doesn't like sweets.  Not really.  I know!  We must not really be related.  It's a shocking turn of events.  So when it comes time for his birthday, I'm a bit at a loss for what to do about a cake.  What birthday cake do you make for someone who doesn't really like cake?  So my sister suggested a plain yellow cake with some chocolate frosting.  Just use a box mix, she says.  Nice and simple.  So what did I do?  I found the best danged from-scratch cake recipe I could and made a beautiful yellow cake.  What did the kids at the party do?  Licked the frosting right off the top.  They don't know what they're missing.

David's Yellow Cake
From Allrecipes

1 cup unsalted butter
1½ cups granulated sugar
8 large egg yolks
¾ cup whole milk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
Chocolate Frosting

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 8-inch round pans. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and end with flour, mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks.

Chocolate Frosting
9 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 to 9 tablespoons milk
½ cup cocoa powder

Mix together the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and 6 tablespoons of milk until smooth. Add cocoa powder and enough additional milk to make the frosting spreadable.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Dash of Savory: Pork Chops with Morel Brandy Cream Sauce


I can't believe there were still morels at the store the other day.  It's like some sadistic deity knew that I was trying to stick to a budget, and that $20 in morels was not part of that budget.  So that deity flaunted the beauty that is nature's bounty right in my shocked little face.  And of course I gave right in and bought them.  And because there hasn't been enough pork in my life lately (**sarcasm**), I cooked those morels with some super-tender pork chops, thus achieving nirvana and became one with the sadistic deity.

Pork Chops with Morel Brandy Cream Sauce
From Dash of Savory blog

2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
4 bone-in pork chops
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces morel mushrooms, trimmed and halved, if large
1 whole shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup brandy or Cognac
1 cup heavy cream
1 wedge lemon
1 pinch nutmeg

In a large heavy bottomed skillet add the olive oil and bring to high heat. Season pork chops with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side until golden brown and seared. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add butter to the pan and add morel mushrooms. Saute in butter until mushrooms are tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add shallot and garlic, cook until fragrant and soft, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn heat down and add brandy. Careful when doing this, it could produce a flame. Simmer the brandy until reduced slightly. Add heavy cream and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes until thickened. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. At this point, squeeze the lemon juice into the sauce and add the pinch of nutmeg. This will brighten the sauce.

Add pork chops back to the skillet and simmer together for 5 minutes. Turn heat off and garnish with chives. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Refinery 29: Broccolini with Cheese Sauce


I've never had a problem eating broccoli.  But that doesn't mean I have any problem with someone smothering a passel of it with cheese sauce.  Especially a smokey, rich cheese sauce that gets run under the broiler for just the right amount of brown patches.  I seriously considered just eating this for dinner.  Maybe over some plain rice.  That certainly says something.

Broccolini with Cheese Sauce
Adapted from Refinery 29 blog

1 pound broccolini or baby broccoli
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half or whole milk
½ cup shredded smoked provolone cheese
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat broiler.

Trim the bottom inch off of the broccolini. Bring a medium pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the broccolini to the pot, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until nearly tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain and transfer the broccolini to a paper towel-lined baking dish and set aside.

In the same pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly until golden, about 1 minute. Whisk in the half-and-half and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and, whisk in the provolone and ½ cup of the Parmesan until smooth. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper and set aside.

Transfer the broccolini to a baking dish and drizzle sauce over the center of the stalks. Top with the remaining Parmesan and sprinkle with the smoked paprika. Transfer the baking dish into the oven and broil until cheese is golden and broccolini is tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 to 4 servings

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Gold N' Silver Inn: Baked Lemonade Pork Chops


I think I drink more lemonade than is probably healthy.  I blame it all on Raising Cane's and their evil to-go jugs full of fresh-squeezed lemonade.  I rue the day I discovered that place.  In an effort to get that jug out of my refrigerator, I decided to use a bunch of it in additional recipe I acquired through another unhealthy habit: watching Guy Fieri.  I should probably stop throwing shade and thank the man for bringing such delicious pork recipes into my life.  These pork chops are great: tender, tangy, and delicious.  And they finished off the temptation that was sitting in fridge.  Bonus.

Baked Lemonade Pork Chops
Adapted from Gold N' Silver Inn, as seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

Sauce:
2½ cups lemonade (reconstituted, not concentrate, or fresh)
¾ cups tomato ketchup
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves

Pork chops:
Cooking oil, for the skillet
Four center cut pork chops (trimmed somewhat lean to avoid excess grease in baking pan)
All-purpose flour lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, enough to coat chops

For the sauce: In a large pot, mix all of the sauce ingredients together. Heat to boiling over medium high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until reduced by half.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

For the pork chops: Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat and add enough cooking oil to coat the bottom. Dredge the pork chops in the seasoned flour and cook until browned on both sides in the skillet, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a baking pan. Fan the chops so that each chop is exposed as much as possible.

Pour the sauce over the chops and cover the baking pan with heavy aluminum foil.  Bake until the chops are tender 30 to 45 minutes.

Makes 4 servings

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Wolfgang Puck: Käsespätzle


So I made some spätzle for the lovely Swiss dinner I cooked.  But it was about a metric ton of spätzle.  Which was about 2,204 pounds more than I really needed for that particular meal.  But if you've been raised properly, you don't through good spätzle away.  You smother it in cheese and caramelized onions and spend the rest of the evening sneaking to the fridge for fourths and fifths.  You have been warned.

Käsespätzle
Adapted from Wolfgang Puck

1 large sweet onion, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 cups freshly cooked spätzle, tossed with 1 tablespoon unsalted butter until melted
4 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese

Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and cook over high heat until softened, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to moderately low and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Oil a 9x9-inch baking dish. Spread half of the spätzle in the dish and top with half of the caramelized onions.  Sprinkle with half of the cheese, then top with the remaining spätzle.  Spread remaining onions on top, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the spätzle is hot and the cheese is just melted.

Makes 4 servings

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Swiss Hibiscus: Émincé de Porc à la Zurichoise (Sliced Pork Zurich-style)


It's confession time.  Let's just start with me saying that I rather dislike Guy Fieri.  He's just...too much.  Like he's trying too hard.  And his food is trying too hard.  Blah.  But I still find myself watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with an excitement that borders on disturbing.  I love seeing what neat little hole-in-the-wall he digs up from viewers recommendations.  And one day recently, he went to this cute little Swiss restaurant, and the cute daughter of the original owner made some delicious Swiss food on camera.  And then I had a powerful need to eat that delicious Swiss food, convinced it couldn't be as awesome as it looked.  Oh, but it is.  I could eat this EVERY DAY.  Super tender pork, rich sauce, and my favorite addition (after bacon), mushrooms.  Gosh, I wish I lived in Portland, but this will have to do.

Émincé de Porc à la Zurichoise (Sliced Veal Zurich-style)
From Swiss Hibiscus restaurant in Portland, OR, as seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1½ cups demi glace brown sauce
1¼ pounds pork tenderloin, sliced into thin 1x2-inch strips
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup finely minced onions
¼ cup white wine
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon finely chopped curly parsley

Sauté the mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of the oil until slightly brown, 3 to 5 minutes.  Set aside.

Heat the demi glace brown sauce per package directions (method may vary slightly depending on brand). Sprinkle the pork strips all over with the salt, white pepper, and flour. Toss gently to evenly coat.

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat and add the remaining three tablespoons oil. Once the oil is hot, add the seasoned pork strips and sauté until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add the onions and mushrooms to the pan and sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the white wine, brown sauce, and heavy cream; cook for about 1 minute more, or until the sauce is boiling. Return the pork to the sauce, let simmer for 30 seconds, then turn off the heat to avoid overcooking. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Makes 4 servings

Friday, June 02, 2017

Hsa*ba: Shwegyi Sanwei Makin (Burmese Semolina Pudding)


I know the picture doesn't look like much.  And yes, this honestly sounds kinda boring by US dessert standards.  But there's something appealing about a dessert that is soft and crunchy at the same time.  A dessert that isn't super sweet.  And I'm always on board with pouring heavy cream over something.  This pudding is hopefully just the first step in bringing some delicious Burmese food to this blog.  It's definitely a good start.

Shwegyi Sanwei Makin (Burmese Semolina Pudding)
From Hsa*ba blog

12 ounces semolina (preferably coarse grain)
12 ounces granulated sugar
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs, beaten
2½ cups water
½ cup peanut oil
1 tablespoon white poppy seeds

Pour the semolina on to a baking sheet or frying pan and roast over moderate heat or under the grill for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir frequently until the semolina has turned golden brown. Watch carefully so it does not burn. Remove from the heat and pour into a large saucepan.

Mix in the remaining ingredients, except the poppy seeds. Use a whisk to remove any lumps. Over a moderate heat bring the mixture to the boil, stirring continuously. Soon you will notice the mixture beginning to thicken and at the first sign of bubbles appearing, turn down the heat to the lowest setting.

You need to stir continuously throughout the cooking process. As the mixture becomes thicker, it can be hard work. Continue to simmer very gently for 8 to 10 minutes until the mixture starts to clump together and comes away from the sides of the pan easily.

Pour the mixture into a cake tin or an oven-proof dish, approximately 9 inches in diameter, which has been greased with oil. Smooth over the surface with the back of a spoon so it is level. Sprinkle the poppy seeds and place under the broiler for 8 to 10 minutes until the top is golden and some cracks appear on the surface. Serve the Burmese semolina pudding at room temperature.

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Ramp Hash


This is a rather luxurious way to use up some ramps.  But I figure, they only come once a year.  Go big or go home, right?  This is pretty fantastic with a beautiful friend egg slapped on top, so the runny yolk can ooze all over this fabulous hash.  And that, my friends, is about the best breakfast out there.  Make it for the ones you love.

Ramp Hash

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 slices applewood smoked bacon, cut into batons
3 to 4 tablespoons duck fat
8 ounces ramps, white and green portions chopped separately
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the potatoes until just starting to soften, approximately 10 to 12 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crispy.  Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside on paper towels to drain.  To the bacon grease in the pan, add duck fat.  When all fat is hot, add the drained potatoes and the chopped white bulbs of the ramps.  Cook until potatoes start to brown.  Add the thyme and salt and cook until potatoes are soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.  Add the ramp greens and cook a few minutes more until wilted.  Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Nerds with Knives: Ramp Compound Butter


What do you do when you've been stalking your local store for the fresh ramps you just KNOW they will have again this year, and you finally see them over on a special display?  You run over, knocking down old ladies if necessary, and snatch up every last stalk.  Then you run home and discover that no one could possibly eat this many ramps themselves before the little buggers go bad.  So you grab a package of overpriced European butter and proceed to make ramp gold, which will live in your freezer until called upon at any point in the coming year.  You're so smart.  Give yourself a pat on the back.

Ramp Compound Butter
From Nerds with Knives blog

1 pound high-quality unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces ramps, white and green parts (approx. 15-20 large ramps)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest, grated finely (from about 1 large lemon)
Kosher salt, to taste

Trim the root end and wash ramps very thoroughly. Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil, and set aside a bowl of very cold water with lots of ice. Blanch ramps in boiling water for just 30 seconds, then remove them and plunge them in the ice water to stop the cooking (this is called ’shocking’). Drain and squeeze out as much water as possible. Spread ramps out on paper towel to allow to dry a bit more.

If you are using a food processor, roughly chop the ramps and add them to the bowl along with the butter, lemon zest, and juice. Process until they reach the texture you want.

If you’re not using a processor, chop the ramps finely and place in a bowl with butter, lemon zest, and juice. Mix until well combined (you could also use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment).
Add salt, tasting as you go.

You can pack compound butter into air-tight containers or even ramekins and store them in the refrigerator for about a week. The traditional method is to roll the butter into logs, either in parchment or plastic wrap, so they can be chilled and sliced. You can freeze the rolls for months and just slice off what you need and re-wrap well.