Baked salmon

This recipe was based on how my mom used to cook fish at home, and it’s very simple, so I usually don’t measure the ingredients but I’ll try to guess how much I used.

Ingredients:
– 2 salmon steaks
– 1 red onion, sliced into rings
– olive oil (my guess is about 1/2 cup)
– 5 small white potatoes, cubed
– 2 carrots, cubed
– 1/4 tbsp paprika (or more if you like the smoky flavor)

Preparation:

Boil the potatoes and carrots in salted water for about 10. You want them to be almost cooked, not falling apart. Cover the bottom of an oven safe pan with olive oil (about 1/4 cup) and spread the onion rings over it. Place the fish on top, season with salt and pepper and spread another 2 tbsp of olive oil on top.

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Bake at 400F (200ºC) for 10 min. The onions should be a little softer by then. Add the potatoes and carrots around the fish, but not covering it. Spread the paprika and the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil over everything and bake for 10 more min or until the fish is cooked all the way. Finally, use the broiler to roast the top and add a bit of crunch to the potatoes. It took about 5 min in my oven. Serve and enjoy!

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Pan fried sole with rice and arugula salad

We received two very large fillets of sole and I prepared them almost Meunière style (I skipped the parsley, so it’s not truly Meunière). It’s very simple and it works with virtually any type of fish fillet.

Ingredients:
– 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
– sal and pepper
– sole fillets
– 6 tbsp unsalted butter
– 1tsp lemon zest, grated
– juice of 2 lemons

Mix the flour, salt and pepper in a tray and coat fillets completely. Heat the butter on a skillet and add the fillets. Don’t overcrowd the pan, if you have a smaller pan just cook in two batches. Let cook for about 2 min, then flip the fillets and let cook for another 2 min. While the second half is cooking, add the lemon zest and lemon juice. When the fish is done, plate it, pour the sauce on top, and add fresh chopped parsley (I didn’t have any).

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We had ours with brown rice a wilted arugula salad with pear (this wasn’t a great idea, we should have just used the fresh arugula with pear, but we’re here to eat and learn!)

Recipes week 6

I – Sorry readers (is anyone out there?), it’s been a while since we wrote about our cooking. But no worries, we’ve been cooking all along. The reason for the silence is that I’ve been wanting to post about a Portuguese dish that I made recently, and it will take a while to write up, so I’ve been procrastinating. As with all procrastination, my solution is do something else (as opposed to doing nothing) and somehow I’ll find myself doing the thing I didn’t want to do in the first place. So I’m gonna post about all the other recipes we’ve done, and maybe I’ll get to the big one…

So, from the last batch of groceries that we posted, we had rockfish (also known as stripped bass). I like fish cooked very simply: lemon juice plus salt & pepper, and then, either grill it and pour some olive oil on top, or fried in a bit of butter. This time, I went the butter route. After pan frying the fish, I removed it from the pan, and added a bit of lemon juice and white wine to the butter, and it made for a great sauce.

To go with it I made delicious mashed potatoes with goat cheese and caramelized onion (recipe here), and brussels sprouts. Now, neither of us is a big fan of brussels sprouts. They always taste bitter to me (apparently, some people cannot taste this bitterness), but I wanted to give them a chance (since we got a pound of it, anyway…). So I found a brussels sprouts recipe for people that don’t like them. Apparently, the trick is to not overcook them and then add plenty of garlic and parmesan cheese. I can happily report that they did really taste good to me. Jeff didn’t seem so convinced, but hey, it was worth the shot…

We also had ground pork and the following week we received some cabbage, so Jeff went to work and made pork dumplings. They are really good, but it did take him a whole afternoon and he seemed a bit distressed by the end (as in “I’ll never do this again”). I’ll let him tell you about it himself.

 

 

Baked salmon, vegetable curry and cranberry muffins

As Jeff mentioned, we were both pretty sick all week (damn you viruses!) but on Saturday I felt more or less okay and ended up cooking quite a bit. Which was good, because from then on and until today, it was bed-all-day for me…

On the weeks we get fish, I like to cook it right away because I think meat holds better in the fridge than fish. So the first recipe was baked salmon with potatoes (we had some left from last time) and mushrooms. It’s pretty simple, bake the seasoned potatoes and mushrooms for 20 min, then add the fish and bake for another 15min. We had more than the recipe asks for, and our steaks were pretty thick so I ended up leaving the fish in for another 5 or 10 min to make sure it was cooked all the way. But the best part was the sauce: red wine vinegar, whole grain mustard, honey and parsley. I’m not a big fan of salmon (I find it too fatty), but the sauce was quite tasteful so I actually ended up really enjoying this. Jeff does not like mushrooms at all, so they were all for me. I didn’t mind one bit because they were really tasty, none of that blandness you get from the white mushrooms from the grocery store.

The next recipe I made was a vegetable curry. This was my first attempt at curry of any kind so I was a bit afraid of making it too spicy. I learned I can go much stronger than I did, but it was nice to have this dish for the days of stuffy noses and lazy taste buds… The curry includes sweet potatoes, cauliflower, onions and carrots. We had it with brown rice, but also sometimes on a bed of arugula. This makes for a great vegetarian dish. One of the problems I have with vegetarian dishes is that they end up being a bit bland, but not this one!

And finally, as soon as I saw those cranberries, I decided to bake. I made cranberry muffins. So easy, it’s silly that we don’t make this all the time… Mix 2 cups of flour, 2/3 cup of sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 cup of chopped cranberries. Separately, mix 2/3 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of melted butter, a bit of grated orange peel, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 egg. Then mix the dry and wet ingredients, spray some cooking spray onto a muffin tray, place a spoonful onto each cup and bake at 400ºF (200ºC) for 15 to 20 min. Breakfast solved for the whole half the week.

Recipes – week 3

I – (Oct 6-12) This week was a bit hectic. We were about to leave to New Orleans for a scientific conference and we both had tons of work to do, plus we wanted to cook all the groceries ahead of time so nothing would go bad… The recipes ended up being somewhat repeats of what we’d done recently (except for the short ribs). Here’s the summary:

Fish – I seasoned it with salt pepper, lemon and rosemary, lightly floured it and pan fried it in some oil.

Swiss chard – I repeated the creamy pasta sauce with bacon recipe from last week. Original recipe here.

The watercress was eaten with some of the leftover salad ingredients from last week too. At some point I added some of the fish and it made for a delicious fish salad. I really like the peppery taste of watercress.

The zucchini, peppers and onions were cooked in butter and brown sugar, just like the squash and onions recipe I did before.

Now, for the short ribs… My oh my, the short ribs. I have no idea what Jeff did to them, but they were amazing… Here are some pictures he can describe later on.

J – I love short ribs falling off the bone, but it can be difficult to make them in a tiny apartment kitchen like ours – unless you have an apartment chef’s best friend, the slow cooker.

First, I cut the ribs into individual pieces, shook them in a bag with flour, salt, and pepper and browned them in a skillet. Into the slow cooker they went:

Then, in a separate skillet, I browned several cloves of garlic and two small (but spicy) onions with about a tablespoon of olive oil – not too much, you’ll be mixing in the drippings from browning the ribs.

Instead of using chili sauce or barbecue sauce, I just made my own: red wine vinegar, tomato sauce, brown sugar, cumin, cinnamon, and allspice whisked together.

I added this and chicken broth to the sauteed onions and garlic and brought it to a simmer.

After about five minutes (just to reduce it a hair and let it simmer off) all of it went in the slow cooker on low for about 6-8 hours, or until the meat is coming off the bone.

Yum! I used the sauce left over in the slow cooker to make a barbecue-like sauce – just thicken with flour and heat up in a pan. You’ll have WAY more than you need but that’s ok – it’s delicious anyway. As always, while anything is in the slow cooker periodically skim the fat that rises to the top and enjoy!

I – Doesn’t that look delicious? Well, it was… I’m hoping there will be some kind of ribs in a soon to be delivered basket so we can do this again, this was sooo good.

Recipes – week 1

I – (Sep 22-28) The first thing I wanted to cook after getting our groceries was the sword fish. Being from Portugal, I’m a big fan of fish, which is pretty much all we eat in the Summer… So I just drizzled the sword fish steaks with olive oil, lemon juice a bit of salt and pepper and grilled them in our stove top grill. I am not a fan of trying to hide the fish flavor, and good fresh fish will always taste amazing to me.

There were two items on this grocery basket that I had never cooked before: the okra and the beets. So I wanted to do something simple and easy. Of course, Jeff immediately suggested fried okra (he grew up in the South!). I followed the instructions found here and it came out great (except that for the first batch I forgot to add the salt and pepper to the cornmeal and they came out a bit bland…). I will say that the slimy thing was a bit weird at first, but with the crunch from the outside, I quickly got over it. We had plenty of fried okra to eat with our fish and a lot left that we ended up eating almost as a snack.

For the beets, I wanted to make sure I used everything, from the bulb to the leaves. First, the bulbs (I was a bit afraid because beets seem to make everything pink, but I managed to keep the mess to a minimum) – I found this post and I more or less followed all the instructions. I wrapped the bulbs in tin foil and baked them at 400F for about 1hour. They’re so easy to peel after that. After peeled, I just kept them in a ziplock bag to avoid getting plastic boxes tinted.And anytime I wanted to cut the beets, I would put a bit of plastic wrap on the kitchen counter and cut it on that (to avoid the wrap from sliding around, put a bit of water on the kitchen surface and then the plastic wrap – it clings and doesn’t move anymore).

So our first meal consisted of grilled sword fish with fried okra and a salad (lettuce, beets, apple and walnuts with a simple vinaigrette). I felt like I was eating at an expensive restaurant.

The next thing we made was meatballs in pepper’s sauce. Here’s the recipe. Because our peppers were green only, the dish wasn’t going to come out as colorful, so I added some shredded carrots I still had in the fridge. This came out really tasty. I also prefer to keep the meatballs smaller because they cook faster.

To go with the meatballs, Jeff made Paula Dean’s delicious mashed sweet potatoes. The honey and cinnamon flavors were incredible. And with the gravy from the meatballs on top… it was delicious!

Finally, later in the week, I used the beet leaves and stalks to make a creamy pasta sauce, just like this. The only thing I changed was to reduce a bit the amount of butter used in the beginning and add 4 slices of cut bacon to it. Again, yummy! Sorry, no pics of that one, we were too busy eating it…