Sunday, January 24, 2010

Buffalo salmon

This brilliant recipe, adapted from Gourmet via Epicurious, has become a instant classic in our house. This salmon tastes just like Buffalo wings (maybe better) and is a whole lot healthier and simpler to make than the inspiration. Here's the recipe:



5 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup hot sauce such as Frank's Redhot (or Buffalo sauce)
1/3 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 (2-pound) piece salmon fillet with skin


Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly oil a shallow baking pan.

Melt butter with hot sauce. Set aside 1/4 cup sauce.

Toss panko with oil in a bowl. Put salmon, skin side down and brush with remaining sauce. Sprinkle panko evenly over top of fish, then bake until panko is golden and fish is just cooked through, 15 to 18 min. Serve reserved sauce on the side.

The next time I make this I plan to omit the butter to see if it makes any difference at all to the taste.  If I can safely leave out the butter, this recipe will be truly healthy. (Store-bought Buffalo sauce has no calories — who knew?)

The only downside to this culinary discovery — I've had Bob Marley's "Buffalo Soldier" in my head for over a week. Oh well, at least it got "Pants on the ground" out of there.




Monday, January 18, 2010

Soups for you

I made this delicately-flavoured corn chowder a couple of weeks ago, but I'm only posting it now, hot on the heels of last week's alarming news that Monsanto GM corn (read: most of the corn we consume) was linked to organ failure in rats. Oh well, I guess that should teach me to stop trying to stockpile blog posts.

Below is my adaptation of this Food & Wine recipe. (The original contains bacon and chicken stock.)



2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 1/4 lb boiling potatoes (about 3), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 cups vegetable stock
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 small bag (or 1/2 of a large bag) of frozen corn kernels
1 lb skinless salmon fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup frozen baby lima beans
1/8 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
3/4 cup half-and-half
2 tbsp chopped scallion greens


Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent (about 5 min).

Add the potatoes, broth and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt to the pot and simmer, covered, for 10 min. Put the corn kernels in a food processor and pulse six to eight times to chop. Add the corn to the pot and cook, covered, until the potatoes and corn are just done, about 5 min longer.

Add the salmon, lima beans, the remaining 1 1/4 tsp salt and the pepper. Bring just back to a simmer; the fish should be just cooked through. Stir in the half-and-half and serve the chowder topped with the scallions.

Bonus soup:
I also made this hearty and delicious vegan soup recently. Pictured here (sans cilantro) with my latest obsession — kale chips. (More on those in a future post.)




Monday, January 11, 2010

Antipastoes past and present

I'm going to to preface this post by saying please don't nominate me for Hoarders. But, shameful as it may seem, until Sunday, I had food in my fridge that was 3 1/2 years old!

But, it's not how it sounds. The article in question was a jar of unopened antipasto. It was one of a batch that Shawn and I gave out as wedding favours, which should explain why I counldn't readily bring myself to eat it, or, later, throw it away. So, the fact that this antipasto went to waste, was defineitly not reflection on its quality.  After all, there are very few foods out there that I would consider "wedding worthy."

I also had some pretty bang-on antipastoes* over the holidays — one made by my aunt (pictured above), and another at Char's. These recently enjoyed antipastoes inspired this post much more so than the one that went bad in the fridge, though the synchoncity is undeniable.

Here is my time-tested recipe:



1 jar marinated artichokes, drained and chopped
2 spanish onions, chopped
2 small green pepper, chopped
3 cans baby shrimp
3 cans sliced mushrooms , drained
2 cans sliced manzanilla olives
2 cans sliced black olives
1 cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized or smaller florets
2 litres ketchup
1 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup vegetable oil


Boil oil, olives, cauliflower and onions for 5 min. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring just to a boil. Spoon into prepared jars.

Makes about 15 jars. Store in a cool place. Lasts a few months unrefridgerated.



*I know I'm pluralizing that wrong.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

With friends like cheese

I came into quite a bit of cheese recently. But, the why and the how aren't nearly as interesting as what I did with my cheese, which was devote my holiday cooking to finding the perfect recipes with which to highlight them. Here they are:

SMOKED SALMON AND BRIE QUICHE from the Winter 2006 issue of Food & Drink. The preamble mentions that this is a tried and true recipe, which means I shouldn't have stressed when the quiche looked over-filled and the egg mixture started to leak under the crust. There's a reason old recipes get to be old recipes — serious cooks don't mess around.

It came together fabulously. It probably helped that I used the creamiest Canadian Camembert and salmon caught by uncle Bob — uncle Bob doesn't mess around.

BLUE CHEESE MAC & CHEESE — I found a great recipe that incorporates blue cheese into the traditonal mac and cheese recipe on The District Domestic blog.

I used two types of blue cheese for the blue  component of the recipe, 1 1/2 cups of double smoked cheddar and 1 cup of a soft goat cheese with a vegetable ash. (I would have given you the exact names of cheeses used had I written them down before hastily ditching the wrappings.) When combining cheeses like this, it's a good idea to say a little prayer to the cheese gods — it's difficult (even for experienced cooks) to gauge exactly how flavors will come together, though it's much safer to stick with the milder blue cheeses.

Last but not least, inspired by this recipe, I topped pizza dough with Dubliner cheese (a new favourite cheese discovery), sliced pears, arugula and fresh ground pepper.
Hope you enjoyed reading about how I ate way too much cheese this holiday season!