Saturday, June 13, 2015

Another Way to Eat All That Salmon

Last Sunday I cooked a 2 lb salmon fillet on my grill. It was marinated in Rosie's bourbon marinade, only I used rum because that's what we had on hand. And I cooked it on a cedar plank. Salmon heaven.

Only the Man went out on a bike trip that day, came home late, and didn't eat it. He didn't end up eating it over the next few days, and he's away this weekend. The girls don't really like salmon, and SC is away as well anyway,

So I've been eating some of the best salmon I've ever made, all by myself, and loving it. And the other night I remembered that long ago, pre-kids, I used to make a sort of pickled salmon, baked in a vinaigrette thing--a Jane Brody recipe. And that it had a simple yogurt sauce.

The original recipe calls for yogurt mixed with a little mustard, but I simple topped bow tie (farfelle) pasta with some plain yogurt, tossed it with salmon chunks, and sprinkled on a little dill. And it's lovely and creamy and healthy.

In fact, I'm having some for lunch right now and loving it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Daily Dinner: Crockpot Turkey Chili

In my late, much missed mama's words "To make a long story short," (though she never did), we had a horrible late night visit to the emergency room with SC, aged 19. And it turns out she has gallstones and needs her gallbladder removed.

This isn't happening till December. Meanwhile she is on a walking regimen and a low fat diet, and I am working to find lots of good things she can eat. I need to do the same myself--no gallstones as far as I know, but I am suffering from stress/menopausal weight gain and it's time to get back to doing things the right way.

I'd tried another version of turkey chili a few weeks ago--wanting to make something similar to a prepared version that I'd liked, but that suddenly disappeared from my grocery store. That one didn't work, but this one did. JR raved about it, and SC and the Man agreed with her. And this one is doubtlessly healthier than the grocery store brand--and less expensive!

It's very simple to make.The only fiddly thing I did was draining the turkey thoroughly after browning it.
I did the same with ground beef a few days ago only with the beef I went even further, putting it in a paper towel lined colander to remove even more fat. And the Man said it was some of the best spaghetti sauce I'd ever made!

It was a little too thin, so I used my favorite cornstarch and water slurry trick and it came out just as we liked it. If you like it soupy, you can probably leave it as is.

And next time, I think I'm going to have to make a double recipe!

Turkey Chili

1 package (1.3 lbs usually) ground turkey
2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
(I used 1 plain can and 1 can with mild green chiles. You could also use a 28oz can of tomatoes and a small can of diced green chiles)
1 15 oz can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed.
1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed.
(You can use any combination of beans you like)
1 chopped yellow onion or 1/2 package chopped frozen onions (always in my freezer)
1 red pepper  (you could use green, but red are prettier and sweeter and have more vitamins)
2 Tbs chile powder
1/2 - 1 tsp cumin

  • Brown the turkey in a nonstick pan. You won't need any oil, but stir frequently so it doesn't burn.
  • Remove the turkey with a slotted spoon and put it in your crock pot/ slow cooker. Add the tomatoes and the beans.
  • Wipe out the frying pan with a paper towel to remove fats. If you are using fresh onions, spray the pan with cooking spray and add the onions. If you are using frozen onions, just toss them in.
  • Let the onion begin to cook as you slice up the pepper. You can dice it with a knife--I just cut it in strips and tore it into smaller pieces. Add the pepper and cook till the onions begin to turn translucent,and until the pepper has softened a bit. Add them to the crock pot.
  •  Add the chili powder and the cumin. 
  • Cover and cook--all day if you set it on low, 3-4 hours on high.
  • If the chili is too thin when it's done, you can thicken it with a cornstarch/water slurry. Shake equal parts of cornstarch and cold water in a small jar, or stir it in a bowl. Add some of the slurry and stir, wait a few minutes and check the consistency. Add more as needed.
  • Great topped with a little cheese, or stir in some yogurt or sour cream. I like to eat this atop lettuce like a taco salad, along with some crumbled tortilla chips. We recently discovered the Xochitl brand, which are lower in fat, not overly salty and delicately delicious.

Friday, September 26, 2014

L'Shanah Tovah: Apple Cake For a Sweet New Year

I am a cultural Jew, not a religious one. My way of celebrating that ethnicity mainly comes from foods that I make and share with my family (most of whom are Catholics), my co-workers and my friends.

We have had a very hard 2 years in my family, so celebrating a New Year right now, and hoping for a sweeter one is a good thing. I often bake challah rolls, round to symbolize the circle of the year, and I will do so this weekend, and bring some to work for my co-workers/friends to eat with butter and honey. 

But I also baked one of these apple cakes, and I am going to make one for home this weekend.
This what the cake looked like when I brought it to work on Wednesday:

And this is what it looked like the following afternoon: 

I got that final square home and fed it to the Man. But I scraped up the various remnants before I took it home and ate them myself :D

This cake is based on a cake on the "Smitten Kitchen" blog. I have been annoyed at the author since hearing her on Diane Rehm's radio show last year, going on about how "New Yorkers don't cook as much because their kitchens are too small."  Ha!  You can read my rant about that elsewhere on this site, but this recipe came from Deb's mother, who like my own very much missed mama was a fine baker.

The original recipe called for making this in a tube pan, and some commentators on that blog have made it in a bundt pan. I tried making it in a bundt pan I inherited from the other fine baker I miss, Nanay, my mother-in-law. It was delicious, but really hard to remove--in fact it collapsed.

So, in the footsteps of Maud Hart Lovelace's "Emily of Deep Valley" (and if you haven't read Maud's immortal books, you should), I "mustered my wits", consulted commentators on the blog, and tried baking a second cake in a standard 9x13 glass pan.  The result was the cake that you see above, and it's a simpler, easier method than using tube or bundt pan. It's also easier to serve to a large group.

Peeling the apples is time consuming, but otherwise this is an easy cake to prepare. Baking times will vary. If the cake is a little too wet on removal, cooling and resting should take care of that. This cake, in fact, looked too dry when I got ready to take it to work the following morning--but it wasn't. And the dish felt heavy.

But I cut a piece of it at work to check it, and to make it look more inviting for staff to help themselves I put that piece in my office, and it's a good thing I did. Because it's the only piece that I got.
And everyone raved about it!

L'shanah tovah.
Wishing you a happy and a healthy New Year!

Apple Cake
Note: You can use any kind of apples that you like. But both the original cook and I are McIntosh fans. Macs tend to be small, so if you are using larger apples you may need fewer. 

6 apples, plus more for the top  (probably 2-3 more)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar

2 3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup canola oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking dish

Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla.

Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

Put a thin layer of batter at the bottom of the dish. Top with the apples.
Pour the remaining batter over the apples.
Slice several more apples into thin wedges, toss with more cinnamon sugar  and arrange them on top. Bake for about 1 hour, then check the cake.If it's browning reduce to 325
Bake for up to another half hour, or until a tester comes out clean.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cucumber Salad from "The Frugal Gourmet"

I owe Jeff Smith, once known at TV's "Frugal Gourmet" a lot,  especially for my infamous NYC cheesecake and for this recipe, which is fast, basic and delicious. Yes, Mr Smith did end his life with scandal and disgrace, but as Alton Brown said, "his recipes worked."

And so does this one. It's a very basic cucumber salad, what Jews call "a new pickle", because it only spends a short time fermenting. In fact, I often make this in the afternoon and serve it an hour or two later. Usually with Korean bulgogi. We're that sort of a family. And my Filipina sister-in-law loves this so much that she often asks me to make it for family get togethers.

The only essentials are the cucumbers, the sugar, the water, the vinegar and the onion. You can add dill or other seasonings, but this is fine on its own. Thinly sliced cukes will pickle quicker, but thicker ones last longer in the fridge.  Little "pickling" cukes are idea, but regular large ones work too.

You can also julienne the cukes, which makes for something similar to a Korean banchan side dish. For this same reason, radishes--regular or daikon-- or carrots--sliced or matchsticked--also are great in this dish.

Cucumber Salad               Adapted from "The Frugal Gourmet" by Jeff Smith
2 cucumbers (or a batch of picking cukes, maybe 6-8), peeled andsliced
1 yellow onion thinly sliced
¾ Cup sugar
½ Cup water
1 Cup white vinegar

1. Combine the cucumbers and the onions in a large bowl with a lid or a large canning jar.
2. Combine the sugar, water, white vinegar  in a saucepan and bring it to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Or heat this in a microwave until it begins to boil
3. Pour the liquid over the cucumbers and onions, stir well and chill. Several hours or overnight is best, but you can eat it as soon as you think it's ready!

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