Monthly Archives: January 2009

Slow-cooked Salmon

“Low and slow is the ticket to the most tender, succulent and true-to-flavor food”  –Jaden Hair

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“Fish is the most frequently faked food Americans buy. In the business, it’s called “species adulteration” — selling a cheaper fish such as pen-raised Atlantic salmon as wild Alaska salmon.  When Consumer Reports tested 23 supposedly wild-caught salmon fillets bought nationwide in 2005-2006, only 10 were wild salmon. The rest were farmed.”

Melt-in-your-mouth good, worth using the last of that REAL wild Alaskan sockeye you’ve been saving..

Make a bed of vegetables- I’m using napa cabbage and leeks seasoned with S&P and sesame seeds.  Let some of the vegetables peek out from under the fish so that you get a crunchy/soft textural contrast.

Place skinless salmon on top and season according to taste.  I brined mine for 1/2 hour beforehand to help keep it moist, and then seasoned it with red chilies, black pepper, garlic and onions.  Spritz with a little olive oil and put into a 250 degree oven for 25 minutes (depending on thickness).  Notice how little the salmon’s appearance has changed after slow-cooking!  I’ve garnished with lemon and lavender, but almost any citrus/herb combo would work.

Those are Parisienne potatoes sautéed in rendered duck fat with sage and garlic, by the way.  Worthy of their own post one of these days.

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ +

Spicy Asian Noodle Salad (cold)

This quick, light dish of udon noodles, crunchy Napa cabbage and red chili packs a punch..

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Cook, rinse, drain and chill udon noodles.  Meanwhile, make a dressing of sesame oil, tamari, chili sauce, peanut butter, mint, ginger, garlic, cilantro and spices such as cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, basil, cardamom and cloves.

Toss noodles with shaved daikon, slivered red bell pepper, scallions and cabbage (all raw).  Dress with the tamari mixture and serve chilled.

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Gravlax

Gravlax is a Scandinavian dish consisting of raw salmon cured in salt, sugar, and dill.

During the Middle Ages, gravlax was made by fishermen who salted the salmon and lightly fermented it by burying it in the sand above the high-tide line. The word gravlax comes from the Scandinavian word grav, which means literally “grave” or “hole in the ground”, and lax (or laks), which means “salmon”, thus gravlax is “salmon dug into the ground”.

If smoked salmon is more to your liking, we cover that here.

Make a mixture of sea salt, non-refined sugar, dill and pepper (optional).  I use a salt to sugar ratio of about 3:1, but you can adjust this to your taste (don’t worry, there will be very little salt or sugar in the finished product).

Thoroughly pack salmon filets with the salt mixture and either bury it in the salt bowl or double bag it as I have done here. Refrigerate for at least 2 days, checking occasionally to see if additional salt mixture is needed.

Once cured, rinse the salmon in lots of cold fresh water, pat dry and slice very thin.  Serve as an appetizer garnished with crème fraîche and caviar, or in scrambled eggs.

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Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Mom’s Pumpkin Cookies

“I sent pictures of some cookies I made today for a cookie exchange.  I know the ingredients aren’t the ‘good’ stuff but due to budget constraints, I have to use what’s in the cupboard before getting the other.  Anyway, the cookies are okay.  Not as much pumpkin flavor as I would have liked but I added some pumpkin pie spice to the last batch and that helped.”

Way to go, Mom!

Frugal Friday

Roasted chicken with vermicelli and fresh vegetables & herbs..

Leeks, celery, carrots, garlic, sage, thyme, rosemary, some dried tomatoes that I put up at the end of the summer, tumeric, roasted red pepper, freshly ground caraway and brown mustard seed, S&P, vermicelli,  stock/broth and chicken pieces (I’m using inexpensive thighs).

Season the chicken well with S&P and half sharp paprika and brown in a Dutch oven with a little olive oil.  Transfer chicken pieces to another skillet and finish in a 400 degree oven (about 15 minutes).

Meanwhile, sauté the vermicelli, mustard/caraway and vegetables in the same Dutch oven until the vegetables soften and the pasta is lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, herbs, red peppers, turmeric and just enough stock or broth to cover the vegetables.  Cook until the vermicelli is just done, about 8 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, make a nest of pasta on the plate and dress with raw sprouts and microgreens. Place the chicken on top of the pasta and drizzle with a little of the stock and drippings from the chicken pan. Garnish with chopped Italian parsley.

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ -