January282012

Orange Glazed Salmon

If only I posted as regularly as I cooked…

Salmon was on sale recently, and, as it’s good for you, and the only fish I like, we went for it.  I had no particular plans for it, but I’d been reading the new Splendid Table book (How to Eat Weekends…from my lovely sister for Christmas!) and they were mentioning and orange juice reduction for all sorts of purposes…  So I kept that in mind and went at it.  This was the result.






I’m learning to write down what I use…even if I have to estimate amounts later.  I find measuring to be a pain in the neck…so I just don’t.  I’m improving on my eyeing-it-up ability, so the amounts here should be fairly accurate.  Feel free to improvise though.

Ingredients
Salmon
2 lbs salmon
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp cracked rosemary
dash of sea salt
dash of pepper
1/4 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
butter

Orange Glaze
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp cracked rosemary
dash of sea salt
dash of pepper
large dash Ceylon cinnamon

Method
Preheat oven to 425.

Salmon
In an oven proof frying pan, pour the 1/3 cup orange juice, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, sea salt, pepper and cinnamon into the pan.  Cook on stove top until sauce begins to reduce and thicken.  Add salmon, cut into three fillets.  Sprinkle salmon with just a bit of the salt, pepper and cinnamon.  Baste with the orange sauce.  When the salmon is approximately halfway done cooking, pop it in the oven.  Time will vary depending on the thickness of your fillets.  Baste it often with the glaze.  While it cooks, prepare the orange glaze.

Orange Glaze
Pour all the ingredients for the orange glaze above into a small sauce pan.  Cook until the sauce reduces in amount and thickens.  Pour it over the salmon when you’re ready to serve.

We were out of greens when I made this, but I’d highly recommend setting the salmon on a bed of greens and using the glaze as a bit of a dressing.

January82012

Orange Cranberry Pancakes

Breakfast was on the menu one supper time.  Breakfast…ah breakfast.  I think we have that for supper much more often than any other one thing.  But you know, it’s never the same.  There are so many fantastic varieties.  This time I wanted the lemon pancakes I’d made before…but we didn’t have a lemon.  So I thought about the Oatmeal Blueberry Pancakes… but the oatmeal has to sit in milk for a long while…  So I decided that it couldn’t be that hard to make your own pancakes.  I took the basic recipe from Joy of Cooking, added some orange zest and let it sit while I got some frozen cranberries out and put them through the food chopper.  Chopped ‘em up, added them to the pancakes individually as they began to cook, and voila.  Delicious supper.

1PM

Herbed Lemon Perch

Charlie wanted fish recently, but something light.  So I invented this herbed lemon perch…  He wanted fish again, so I made it a second time.  You see, I had written down the recipe so that I could post it here and duplicate it in the future.  How smart, I thought!  And then I didn’t post for a while.  And we cleaned up our very messy house…  And now I can’t find the recipe.  You’ll have to make do with pictures for now until I (hopefully) rediscover the recipe.

December62011

Applesauce

I’m back again!  Thankfully (sadly?) I’ve only 3 new things to post.  Partly because I’ve been cooking less…and partly because I’ve just been cooking old things.  Things that have already appeared, or aren’t terribly exciting…or I’ve succumbed to the awful-ness of frozen pizza. Gasp!  Ah well, we all sink there at one time or another.  For those non-frozen pizza days, I give you these three new posts!

The first is applesauce.  My sister had been getting lots and lots of apples from her in-laws.  I really don’t actually know why.  She just was.  My guess was that they had an apple tree.  These were obviously that kind of apples, not store apples.  Whatever the reason, she had an overabundance and was sharing.  Therefore, I came home from her house with a bag full.  What to do, what to do?  I had already made a pie, and was (secretly at the time) planning one for Charlie’s surprise birthday party, so that couldn’t be it.  So I figured I should make applesauce.  I looked up recipes, but they were futzy and boring and really, it can’t be that hard, right?  So I made it up myself.  Turned out pretty darn well, if I do say so myself.  And I do.
Here goes!
10 small-medium golden delicious and Macintosh apples (I’m sure any variety would be fine, that’s just what I had)
1/3 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup apple juice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves (I’d originally done 1/4 ground and 1/4 whole…if you do that, remove the cloves after cooking or you’ll get a nasty surprise when eating the applesauce.  Yes, I am speaking from experience.)
1/2 tsp allspice
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
Throw it all in a pot, turn on the heat and wait till the apples begin to disintegrate.  Start mashing them when they’re mashable and stop heating and mashing when they’re at your desired consistency.
November62011

Harry Potter Food!!!!

Good morning everyone!  Here’s the post you’ve all been waiting for!  Or perhaps not…but I’d been waiting to make the food, and now I get to talk about it.  Yea!

If you haven’t guessed by now, or don’t already know, I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan.  Huge.  I can’t remember how many times I’ve read the books or seen the movies.  Arthur’s first words will probably be a quote from them.  It’s quite sad.  Or would be if I didn’t like it so much.  Anyway, before last year (2010)’s Halloween Party, I’d talked about making Harry Potter food, but it just didn’t happen.  This year I made sure it would.  Thanks to my wonderful Charlie for allowing my obsession to flow through food.  Not that he minded, food is food…

Google is wonderful.  Type in a few words and all your dreams can come true!  At least recipe-wise.  So that’s what I did.  I had a rough idea of the foods that would work well and were legitimately possible.  I also had a basic idea of ingredients…but for the first time, especially baking, I prefer to have at least a rough guideline.  So, to the internet I flew.

We ended up with Pumpkin Pasties, Pumpkin Juice, Butterbeer, Acid Pops and Licorice Wands (and some roasted pumpkin seeds and chips…because we needed some salty things.)

Pumpkin Pasties are basically mini-pumpkin pies and boy were they delicious!  The crust recipe I took from the Joy of Cooking with my own modifications.  Soon I won’t be able to cite that book… The filling I got off of http://www.britta.com/hogwarts/recipes.html#pasties  I did bake my own pumpkin for this, the juice and the seeds.  I used 2 baking pumpkins which gave me the perfect amount of pumpkin for the pasties, enough for 2, 2quart batches of pumpkin juice and a reasonable amount of seeds.

(I’m saving pictures till the end…)

For the pumpkin juice, I began with these two recipes:  http://www.britta.com/hogwarts/recipes.html#pumpkinjuice  and http://hoggyguild.tripod.com/#pumpkin

The end result was quite boring though…and I kept hearkening back to the Pumpkin Juice at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  It was SO good there.  So I had to make some changes.  I think I can reasonably call it my own recipe now:

1 1/4 cups pumpkin juice
2 1/4 cups apple juice
3/4 cup pineapple juice
2 Tbsp honey
Cardamom
Cinnamon
Ground Cloves
Allspice
Ginger

Blend this all in a blender, then pour into a sauce pan.  Heat it to just before boiling, pour it over spices (I used my teapot and it’s strainer.  I lined the strainer with cheesecloth and poured the spices in there and let the juice steep.)  I thought it tasted great warm, but I did put it in a pitcher and cool it before the party.  It seemed to be quite popular.

Next was the Butterbeer.  My initial impulse was cream soda and butterscotch schnapps, but that seemed to easy and unexciting.  So, I searched around and found a TON of different ideas.  But, the idea of using melted butter grossed me out…Butterbeer (to me) should be cold…and cooled butter…floating on the top of my drink?  Ick!  So what I found most recommended were Ginger Ale or Cream Soda and Butterscotch Schnapps.  So I bought a bottle of each soda and we did 2 shots of schnapps to approx. 8 oz of soda.  It was tasty.  I preferred the Ginger Ale version, and Charlie preferred the Cream Soda version.  I think they were liked equally as we had about the same amounts of each soda left at the end of the night.

Acid Pops are next up…  The best recommendation I found for them was from http://www.yumsugar.com/Top-10-Harry-Potter-Related-Recipes-383049   where they recommended rolling sour suckers in Pop Rocks.  I love Pop Rocks so hey, great idea!  Except that I went to 4 different stores and couldn’t find them.  :(  Very disappointing.  So I bought Fun Dip and Blow Pops.  I used a basting brush to moisten the suckers just slightly with water and then rolled them in Fun Dip and wrapped them in plastic wrap after they dried.  Pretty good, but I think everyone was pretty sugared out as we’ve got a TON of them left. :)

Finally the Licorice Wands.  Pretty straight forward.  Almost too sweet to handle, but they look nice.  They came from http://www.yumsugar.com/Top-10-Harry-Potter-Related-Recipes-383049 I was going to buy Almond Bark, but I really don’t like that flavor…so I found Nestle’s chocolate chips on sale, 2 bags for the same price as the Almond Bark I had picked up…  Went with a bag of dark chocolate and a bag of white chocolate.  Tastier than you’d expect.

That’s that, I think!  All in all, a lot of fun and a lot of delicious.

And now for the pictures:

October152011

Cheese Bread

Last night was a Friday night.  I just feel like I need pizza on Friday nights.  I try not to buy that many frozen pizzas because a) I like to REALLY cook… and b) because frozen pizza isn’t that good for you.  So, we had no frozen pizza.  But I was very determined.  ”Maybe I could make homemade pizza!” I thought.  ”But, no pepperoni…but we do have sauce…and provolone…that could work instead of mozzarella, right?  OR…OR I could make cheese bread.  Yeah…cheese bread.  Mmm…with garlic butter!  Oh yeah…cheese bread…Hey Charlie, I was thinking of making some cheese bread with garlic butter, what do you think?”  Of course he said of course. :)  So, I made cheese bread.  The crust was the same as the pizza a while back, and then I took some of Penzey’s minced garlic (it’s dried) and ground it lightly with my mortar and pestle and mixed it with some softened salted butter.  Spread that on the crust, grated some provolone and some colby and baked it.  Delicious…and easy.  Good plan.

October92011

Molasses Chicken—for lack of a better title

While Arthur has his morning squirm, and I have my morning coffee, I thought I’d take the opportunity to post about last night’s supper.

Unless I have a great recipe in mind, when I make our bi-weekly, pre-grocery shopping, meal plan, I simply put down “chicken” or “roast” or “fish” or whatever…  Then, when it comes to that day, I invent something new.  Last night was “chicken.”  Arthur and I took a walk after coming home from a first birthday party.  Charlie needed some creative time (check out his site at www.undertoadcomics.com), so we got out of the house for a bit.  It was a fantastic day, and we walked past a restaurant up on Bremen, north of Locust that smelled AMAZING!  So, I called Charlie on the way home and asked him to get the chicken out of the freezer if he was willing to grill.  He was, and did.  Got home, Arthur was hungry.  While he had his snack, I brainstormed.  I’ve been wanting to use molasses in my cooking lately.  So I thought molasses, ginger, cooking sherry and balsamic vinegar would be good.  I kept thinking and here’s roughly what I came up with. As usual, I didn’t measure a thing, so these are my best estimates.  I’ll likely do some tweaking, but this one was really, really good.



Ingredients:

5 chicken breasts

2 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp cooking sherry
1.5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp chicken broth
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 curry powder
1/2 tsp Penzey’s minced garlic (they say 1/4 tsp is equal to one clove of fresh)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Since my chicken breasts were frozen, I did the microwave thaw thing…so sllllooooowwwwww and always begins to cook them.
I added all the marinade ingredients to a sauce pan and heated them slightly over low heat.  Mostly just to get the molasses slightly less thick and combining with the other ingredients.  Hoping their flavors would blend a bit.
Once the chicken was thawed enough to be able to break them apart, I added them, two at a time, to the sauce pan.  Figured if they were going to cook a bit while thawing, they may as well cook a bit in their marinade.  I flipped them once in the pan so both sides got it, and only left them in there till they were mostly thawed and just barely cooked.
Next, they sat in a big ole tupperware on the stove in their marinade while the oven preheated to cook the roasted potatoes and Charlie got the grill ready.
Finally, Charlie grilled them and we devoured them.  Fantastic!

September232011

Back from an over long hiatus (heh heh…always wanted to use that word!)

Hello blogger world!

I’m here to update you all finally.  I’d love to blame the birth of my wonderful son, Arthur, for my extended absence…but as I last posted on Nov. 7, 2010…and he wasn’t born until Mar. 29, 2011, well…

To prove that I haven’t been lazy these past months though, I’ll post some pictures of what I have been up to.  Rest assured, this is not a comprehensive list, but just a taster—if you will.  Regular updates will begin: Now!

A word of warning though, regular they may be, but less often as well.  I’d love to cook as often as I used to, but sadly, Arthur does not always allow for that.  I hope you understand.

And without further ado…here are some samples.  If you’re interested in anything, let me know and I’ll share the recipe to the best of my ability.  First follows a list of the next pictures:
Corn Dogs and Onion Rings from scratch
Cranberry Chicken—of my own devising
Crepes!  (dessert and savory)
Lemon Poundcake—thank you, fellow blogger
Raspberry-Peach Sorbet—back to The Splendid Table
Rhubarb Custard Pie—Betty Crocker and Julia Child mashup
Zucchini Bread and Honey Butter—thanks Kerry!

October242010

Walleye #2


Grandma and Grandpa gave us enough walleye to make it twice. I wasn’t sure what to do with it this time, and Charlie’s only stipulation was “cook it in butter and don’t bread it this time.” So…on went the search. I ended up mostly using a recipe from The Splendid Table. That recipe was for Salmon Pan Roast with Garlic Shavings and Basil on Fresh Greens. Sounds tasty. We skipped the fresh greens (because we didn’t have any) and made some asparagus instead. The asparagus I just made up, but with ideas taken from the fish.

Fish Ingredients
Walleye
Butter (lots)
salt
pepper
3 garlic cloves (it says sliced paper thin, I tried using a vegetable peeler, figuring that would be my best bet, but I was doing it over the pan and dropped the second one in. It got covered in butter and kept slipping out of my hand as I tried to shave it. I gave up and chopped it. Seems to have worked just fine.)
12 fresh basil leaves, torn into large pieces
dry white wine
lemon
Method
Rinse the fish.
Put the butter in the frying pan and melt it. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides. Sear them for 1 minute and then flip them carefully.
Sprinkle the garlic and basil around the fish. Turn the heat to medium low and cook for 6-7 minutes, turning the fish midway through.
Remove the fish from the skillet and keep it warm. Add the wine, turn the heat to high and stir, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom. Simmer until the pan juices are sizzling and syrupy.
Drizzle the hot sauce over the fish and asparagus. Squeeze lemon juice over both and serve.
Asparagus Ingredients
Asparagus
Butter
Lemon juice
Basil
Chopped onion
Method
Melt the butter into a small bread pan. Lay the asparagus in the pan. Add a small amount of chopped onion, a squeeze of lemon juice and maybe three torn basil leaves. Put in the oven on roughly 400*. Bake until it looks ready to eat.
October102010

Walleye



Over Labor Day weekend we went to visit my parents and two sets of grandparents in Oshkosh to tell them about our baby. While at my Grandma and Grandpa Slye’s, Grandma kept offering food for us to take home. She seems to enjoy the pictures I post on facebook. My grandpa LOVES to fish, so they sent us home with a bunch of walleye…and a spaghetti squash, and hickory nuts. My grandma SWEARS these are THE BEST nuts on the face of the earth. Unlike any other. It was quite funny actually. I mean, they are pretty good…but still. :) Anyway, she said she had a fantastic recipe for the walleye. So we brought some home. She forgot about sending the recipe. I finally remembered and asked for it, but the timing was off and I had already gone to the grocery store before I got her recipe…however, walleye was already on the menu, so I had to come up with something. What follows is another invention. Again, it turned out quite well. I was proud.

Ingredients
Walleye
1 egg
splash of milk
squeeze of lemon juice
breadcrumbs
crushed hickory nuts
tarragon
Penzey’s Fox Point Seasoning
1/4 cup butter
Sorry…I never actually measure amounts…I just toss them together until they look good…or smell right…or whatever I decide on right then. Usually it’s mainly by smell with a little bit of look thrown in.
Method
Preheat oven to 400* Rinse the fish and pat it dry with paper towel. Whisk the egg, milk and lemon juice together. Crush the hickory nuts (I used the mortar and pestle, but I think a food processor would work nicely as well. I wanted them quite fine.) Pour the hickory nuts into a bowl with the bread crumbs, sprinkle on some tarragon and Fox Point Seasoning. Dip the fish in the egg mixture and then cover it with the hickory nut-breadcrumb mixture. Lay it in a foil lined 9x14 pan. Continue with each piece of fish. They can overlap a bit. Melt the butter and drizzle it all over the top. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes (or until the fish doesn’t look wet. Which I found hard to tell when it was covered in melted butter…)
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