Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thai Marinated Baked Salmon

A great recipe to add some flavor into baked salmon, and it's easy to do too!

  • Salmon fillets
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3 green onions chopped
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger chopped
  • small bunch cilantro
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 limes, 2 sliced, 1 cut into wedges
  • 3 TBS honey
  • 1 tsp sesame seed oil
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 or 4 dried red chilies (optional)
This marinade needs no salt due to the saltiness of the soy sauce. Put all ingredients except salmon in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Omit hot peppers if you do not want the dish to be hot. Put salmon fillets skin-side down in a roasting pan and pour marinade over. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours. The longer it marinates the stronger the flavor.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove fish from marinade and put in a clean roasting pan. Or bake fish in the marinade for a more intense flavor. Bake for 15 minutes, serve with lime wedges.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bundt Cake Neapolitan

A cake that has three different flavors baked into it; vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. Just like Neapolitan ice cream!

  • 1 package (18.25 ounce) yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup chocolate syrup
  • 1 TBS cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup strawberry jelly
  • 8 drops red food coloring
Add water, eggs, oil and cake mix in large bowl and mix on medium speed for two minutes. After batter is thoroughly mixed, divide it into three equal portions. Use oil spray in a bundt cake pan and pour one of the portions into it. Take one of the other portions and mix in the chocolate sauce and cocoa powder. Carefully spoon this mixture into the cake pan.  Take the last portion and mix in the strawberry jelly and food coloring. Carefully spoon this mixture into the pan. Do not swirl the mixtures together.

Put in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. When done, let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Use a thin rubber or plastic spatula (a metal one will scratch the cake pan) and gently run it down each fluted side of the pan to loosen the cake. Place a large bowl over the pan, turn it over and let sit until the cake comes out of the pan.  Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle glaze over the cake:

White Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 TBS milk
  • 2 TBS softened butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
Combine all ingredients and stir until smooth. Pour over cake as desired.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Turkey Brat And Bean Stew

A great meal that is not hard to make and tastes really good. Serve with a salad and Italian bread for a complete meal.

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 pound turkey bratwurst out of casing
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 3 (15 1/2 ounce) cans Great Northern Beans
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 cups washed and dried fresh spinach or chard
Heat a pot large enough for all the ingredients and add olive oil. When oil becomes hot, add sausage, carrots, onions, celery, garlic and onions. Cook over medium heat until sausage is done, stir to break up sausage into small pieces. Add the rest of the ingredients except spinach. simmer until mixture thickens, stir occasionally. After mixture thickens add spinach and when spinach is cooked through, serve.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Artichoke - An Edible Flower Bud

That's right. The artichoke, also called globe artichoke,  is the flower bud of a type of thistle.  The perennial thistle cultivar that produces artichokes originated in southern Europe and spread throughout the Mediterranean area. The origins of the ancestors of this cultivar are unknown, but it is believed to have been northern Africa.  Arab horticulturists produced the cultivar from the wild species, and is documented in the Mediterranean area as early as the 9th century in Naples.

Artichokes are a very healthy vegetable. They are full of antioxidants, help lower cholesterol and artichoke leaf extract has been shown to reduce the symptoms of  Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

World artichoke production is centered in the Mediterranean area. the main producers are Spain, Italy and France. Almost 100% of commercial artichoke growing done in the United States is done in California, with the town of Castroville, CA.  proclaiming itself as "The Artichoke Center Of The World".

Artichokes are easy to prepare. Pick ones that are green and firm, with very little or no brown color. Trim the ends of the leaves to remove any thorns, and cut the stem so it is about one inch long. Steam them for 20-45 minutes according to size. The larger ones will take longer. Don't cover the steamer when you cook them, as this will allow certain oils to escape and prevent the artichoke from turning brown. Also put a sliced up lemon in the steaming water, a few cloves of crushed garlic, and a bay leaf. This will add flavor and help retain the green color.

To eat a cooked artichoke, remove the leaves one at a time and dip the large end in lemon butter, mayonnaise, or any other dip you prefer. Drag the end of the leaf over your teeth to remove the fleshy end of it, and move on to the next leaf. Once you get the large leaves eaten and are down to the smaller leaves and 'choke', remove all the leaves and scrape out the choke with a spoon.  What you have left is the 'heart' of the choke and is the best part. Cut into pieces, dip and enjoy!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tomatoes, Tomatoes...They're Everywhere!

In this part of Northern Illinois when the weather gets hot and we get at least a minimum amount of rain, the tomato plants go into full production. With the odd spring we've had (hot, then cold, hot then cold)  the tomatoes took their sweet time producing anything. But with the two plus weeks of high heat and humidity in August, they finally took off.  I've only got three plants, and I picked a bucketful yesterday and in a few days I'll have another bucketful.

So after the initial blush of tomato eating and after your mouth gets sore (literally from the acid in the things) what do you do when they keep producing? There's only so many you can give away.  Well, some folks can them.  That's what my Mother did, and with a family of seven kids it made sense. I remember her canning the darned things, always in the heat of summer in a kitchen with no air conditioning. it's a hot job to say the least.  Or you can break out the food mill and make some tomato sauce. Another hot, nasty job cooking the tomatoes down.  When I make my tomato sauce I don't use a food mill to remove the seeds and skin. I use a Squeezo.

It's a great tool that separates the pulp and juice from the seeds and skin, all with the turn of a handle.  You can freeze or can the pulp and juice as-is and cook it down later, or to save room in the freezer or canning jars you can reduce it down immediately.  I like to add chopped onion, garlic, celery, oregano, salt and pepper and cook it down. I put it up in plastic containers that are about as big as commercial jars of sauce and freeze it. That way it's ready to go when I want to use it for spaghetti or pizza.

You can also freeze tomatoes whole. I like to do this and use them for chili, stew, soup.  It's the easiest way to preserve some of those tasty tomatoes for later in the year.  Before freezing them , the skins need to be removed. All you need for that is a sharp knife, an ice water bath and a boiling water bath.

 First, wash all your tomatoes under cool running water. DON'T CORE THEM, just wash them well. With each tomato, you want to make two cuts in the blossom end (or bottom) of the tomato in the shape of a cross.  Place a deep pan (such as a dutch oven) half filled with water on the stove to boil.  Fill a large bowl half full of ice and water and put it on the counter near the boiling water. When the water is boiling,VERY CAREFULLY lower 3-5 tomatoes at a time into the boiling water with a large spoon or strainer. Leave in the boiling water 15-20 seconds, then lift them out with the large spoon and put them into the ice water bath immediately. The sudden change in temperature will cause the skins to loosen from the tomato and they will easily slip off.

When you get all of the tomatoes peeled, you can then core them and cut the tomatoes in pieces any size you want, or freeze them whole. They'll add a lot of flavor to soups and stews, and be perfect for making a big pot of chili on those cold winter night.

My Zimbio