Asian Grilled Salmon

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05Feb2015_1d_DaVincis-Eagle_Table-CenterpieceWell, not all attempts at “kitchen craft” are successful. This is just one case …. there are many. I just wanted to post this one so you know that we do fail, sometimes! This recipe, Asian Grilled Salmon and Marinade, inspired by Ina Garten, to us is way to salty. I used Shoyu Soy Sauce and I think she used Kikkoman Soy Sauce. I added 1 more Tablespoon of mustard than she had. Those are the only differences. Potentially really a good recipe. I will have to work on it to lower the salt.

Copper River Salmon marinating in the mustard/soy sauce marinade.

Copper River Salmon marinating in the mustard/soy sauce marinade.

Grilled Asian Salmon Macaroni Salad Steamed and Buttered White Asparagus Potentially a good dinner. Way to much salt in the recipe. The asparagus, while flavorful, tended to be woody. Will have to trim more of the stems.

Grilled Asian Salmon
Macaroni Salad
Steamed and Buttered White Asparagus

Potentially a good dinner. Way to much salt in the recipe. The asparagus, while flavorful, tended to be woody. Will have to trim more of the stems.

It ‘s Summer! Time For Macaroni Salad!

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21sept2013_2_robins-bday-captains-shack_gumbo_getting-happySum…Sum…Summertime! In Boise, the summer temps are supposed to be for the next week 102 – 109 degrees F. Oh yuk! AC best be working. Time for a cooling salad. How about a Macaroni Salad and this is a good one. Inspired by the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond; This altered recipe hits the spot. Chock full of small dice ham – use any typ you want – smoked, BBQ’d, etc, celery, and black olives. But the key to this salad is really the dressing. AS wonderful blend of mayo, red wine vinegar and fresh ground black Tellicherry pepper. Really surprisingly good. Give it a try. Left-Click the photo to see it enlarged.

A really good and easy to make Macaroni Salad. Great for hot summer days or a picnic! Enjoy!

A really good and easy to make Macaroni Salad. Great for hot summer days or a picnic! Enjoy!

Good Visit to Pho Nouveau in Boise

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16June2015_1_Pho-Nouveau_SignWe had a great experience and meal last night at the Vietnamese restaurant, Pho Nouveau, 780 W Idaho Street, Boise; (208) 367-1111 and they do take reservations. Really a superb meal. Good to meet our friend, Patty Dorr there and to have a meal with her. Good ambiance in the restaurant; good service without being “pushy”. Here is their website. Just Click This Link. There are downloadable menus on their website for you to printout or just look at. You will get a good idea of what they offer. Weather permitting, they do have a patio for your use. The parking garage is right across the street. Here is what we had and it was all good. Cheers! We will return to Pho Nouveau! On TripAdvisor I rated this restaurant 5-Stars. Which was the best appetizer or entree? Actually, they were all good – I would have any of them again!

A very good Vietnamese beer. Light and refreshing on a hot summer day. Goes great with the meal. They also carry Ravenswood wine.

A very good Vietnamese beer. Light and refreshing on a hot summer day. Goes great with the meal. They also carry Ravenswood wine.

Crispy Spring Rolls These are the classic, deep fried Vietnamese spring roll filled with ground pork, carrots, onions, cellophane noodles.

Crispy Spring Rolls
These are the classic, deep fried Vietnamese spring rolls filled with ground pork, carrots, onions, cellophane noodles. Wrap in a lettuce leaf and herbs and dip in the non-spicy Vietnamese dipping sauce that is served with it.

Fresh Summer Roll Soft rice paper wrapped with your choice of pork and shrimp, grilled salmon, grilled pork or shrimp, onion and bean sprouts. Wrap in a lettuce leaf, bean sprouts and herbs.

Fresh Summer Roll
Soft rice paper wrapped with your choice of pork and shrimp, grilled salmon, grilled pork or shrimp, onion and bean sprouts. Wrap in a lettuce leaf, bean sprouts and herbs. Served with a peanut dipping sauce that is very good.

Sizzling Saigon Crepe Oversized crisxpy crepe made with coconut milk, tumeric and rice flour, filled with chicken, shrimp, onion and bean sprouts. Wrap in lettuce and herbs. A non-spicy Vietnamese dipping sauce is available.

Sizzling Saigon Crepe
Oversized crispy crepe made with coconut milk, tumeric and rice flour, filled with chicken, shrimp, onion and bean sprouts. Wrap in lettuce and herbs. A non-spicy Vietnamese dipping sauce is served with it.

Beef Pho The traditional Vietnamese beef soup. This soup was not salty and the beef was done perfectly. The herbs and spices were served separately so you can add as much as you like. This is a huge serving and probably could serve two or more.

Beef Pho
The traditional Vietnamese beef soup. This soup was not salty and the beef was done perfectly. The herbs and spices were served separately so you can add as much as you like. This is a huge serving and probably could serve two or more.

Grilled Chicken and Shripm Boneless chicken breasts and shrimps marinated in lemongrass, white wine and hoisin sauce. Served  with steamed jasmine rice and cucumber salad.

Grilled Chicken and Shrimp
Boneless chicken breasts and shrimps marinated in lemongrass, white wine and hoisin sauce. Served with steamed jasmine rice and cucumber salad. A sweet/sour sauce is served with it.

Grilled Pork and Crispy Spring Roll on Rice Noodles Spft rice vermicelli noodles, skewered grilled pork and crispy spring rolls. Served with shredded lettuce, beansprouts and cilantro. A sweet/sour dipping sauce is served with it.

Grilled Pork and Crispy Spring Roll on Rice Noodles
Soft rice vermicelli noodles, skewered grilled pork and crispy spring rolls. Served with shredded lettuce, beansprouts and cilantro. A sweet/sour dipping sauce is served with it.

Egg Souffle and Pastry Rolls

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Robin-Bob-In-Kitchen_Looking-RightHere was a different, and challenging breakfast. First, make Cinnamon Rolls from puff pastry – I only had phyllo dough. Second, make some Egg Souffles in cupcake pans. Individual souffles. Really good.
So I asked Robin what the difference is between phyllo (filo) dough and puff pastry – they are two different doughs and the results will probably be different from what you are expecting. In searching out the more definitive answer, and most answers are the same, I found this from thekitchn.com,

Phyllo Dough
Phyllo (also spelled filo), which means “leaf” in Greek, is tissue-thin sheets of dough that have very little fat. Many popular Greek dishes, such as baklava and spanakopita, are made with phyllo dough. Phyllo dough can also make great edible serving cups for appetizers or desserts … The main thing to know about working with phyllo dough is to keep it from drying out. Keep the sheets covered with plastic wrap or a damp towel while you’re working, and don’t be discouraged if a sheet rips — just patch it back together and move on, it’ll bake up just fine! Don’t refreeze phyllo, as it will get brittle.
Puff Pastry
Puff pastry, called pâte feuilletée in French, is a type of laminated dough, which means chilled fat, usually butter, has been folded multiple times into the dough to create many alternating layers of butter and dough. When made and baked properly, it puffs up into lots of very flaky, airy layers … When working with puff pastry, you want to work quickly while it’s still cold and you want to handle it as little as possible to keep the layers from getting squished down together and producing a dense final result. Use sharp knives to cut straight down without sawing back and forth too if you need to cut or trim the dough.
Puff pastry can be used in both sweet and savory applications — use it for tarts, croissants, pastry pockets, or shaped into little appetizer cups. It’s definitely denser but sturdier than baked phyllo dough.
Can Puff Pastry and Phyllo Dough Be Used Interchangeably?
Due to the big differences in thickness, their ingredients, and how they’re made, you should not substitute phyllo dough for puff pastry or vice versa. They are very different pastries with differing textures, and recipes will turn out best if you use the correct one.

Here is our breakfast. Enjoy! We did.

Egg Souffles coming our of the oven. Baked at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes.

Egg Souffles

Coming our of the oven. Baked at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes.

Egg Souffle Cinnamon Raisin Pastries The pastries call for puff pastry, not phyllo. These flaked way too much and did not raise to fill the cupcake molds. I will make again and use puff pastry.

Egg Souffle
Cinnamon Raisin Pastries

The pastries call for puff pastry, not phyllo. These flaked way too much and did not raise to fill the cupcake molds. I will make again and use puff pastry. The souffles were made in the same size cupcake pan. Look at the difference in sizes.

Just For The Fun of It!

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26April2012_1_Camera_Lesson_Macros_Still_Life-Apple_and_TomatoThere are times when one just must “play”. “Playing” can take the shape of many forms. In my case, and precisely now, it is playing with camera lenses using a constant light source. And right now, it is the light coming through the window in the kitchen. Full sun today; Bright; Intense; Hot. So let’s take just one subject: A piece of Crab Strudel. Let’s look at the different way different lenses look at the subject. Personally, I like #3 best. Which one do you like?

18-55mm lens (Standard camera lens);  55mm, 1/3 sec, F/5.3. Natural light.

(1) 18-55mm lens (Standard camera lens); 55mm, 1/3 sec, F/5.3. Natural light.

60mm Fixed; 1/125; F/4; Natural light.

(2) 60mm Fixed; 1/125; F/4; Natural light.

60mm Fixed lens;  1/50 sec; F/3.2; Natural light.

(3) 60mm Fixed lens; 1/50 sec; F/3.2; Natural light.

Lamb Shank Tagine

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Tagine cooking using a cooking utensil like pictured here, is a very Mediterrean or a North African style of cooking. Low heat and long time. More information on tagines and tagine can be found on this blog by Clicking Here. According to Wikipedia,

A tajine or tagine (Arabic: طاجين‎ tajin from the Arabic: طاج‎) is a historically North African dish that is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. A similar dish known as tavvas is found in Cypriot cuisine. The traditional method of cooking with a tajine is to place it over coals. Use of the tajine can be compared to stewing … The traditional tajine pot is made of pottery, which is sometimes painted or glazed. It consists of two parts: a base unit that is flat and circular with low sides and a large cone- or dome-shaped cover that sits on the base during cooking. The cover is designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. Tajines can also be cooked in a conventional oven or on a stove top.
Tajine is traditionally cooked over hot charcoal leaving an adequate space between the coals and the tajine pot to avoid having the temperature rise too fast. Large bricks of charcoal are purchased specifically for their ability to stay hot for hours. Smaller pieces of charcoal are reserved for cooking brochettes (barbecue) and other grilled meats.
Other methods are to use a tajine in a slow oven or on a gas or electric stove top, on lowest heat necessary to keep the stew simmering gently. A diffuser – a circular piece of aluminium placed between the tajine and burner – is used to evenly distribute the stove’s heat. European manufacturers have created tajines with heavy cast-iron bottoms that can be heated on a cooking stove to a high temperature. This permits the browning of meat and vegetables before cooking. Tajine cooking may be replicated by using a slow cooker or similar item; but the result will be slightly different. Many ceramic tajines are decorative items as well as functional cooking vessels. Some tajines, however, are intended only to be used as decorative serving dishes … Moroccan tajine dishes are slow-cooked savory stews, typically made with sliced meat, poultry or fish together with vegetables or fruit. Spices, nuts, and dried fruits are also used. Common spices include ginger, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and saffron. Paprika and chili are used in vegetable tajine. The sweet and sour combination is common in tajine dishes like lamb with dates and spices. Tajines are generally served with bread. Because the domed or cone-shaped lid of the tajine pot traps steam and returns the condensed liquid to the pot, a minimal amount of water is needed to cook meats and vegetables. This method of cooking is practical in areas where water supplies are limited or where public water is not yet available.

Here is the process of making our Lamb Shank Tagine. Enjoy!

The lamb shanks are seared in olive oil and Mediterranean spices, which can be found in most grocery stores or in speciality stores.

The lamb shanks are seared in olive oil and Mediterranean spices in a large cast iron pot over medium heat. The Mediterrean spices can be found in most grocery stores or in speciality stores. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

One thinly sliced onion, diced garlic and chopped garlic scapes are cooked until tender. More Mediterrean spice and sea salt and fresh pepper can be added.

Remove the shanks from the cast iron pot and put aside. Do not remove the lamb liquid. Lower the heat so vegetables do not burn or scorch. Add one thinly sliced onion, diced garlic and chopped garlic scapes and cook in the olive oil in the cast iron pot until tender. More Mediterrean spice and sea salt and fresh pepper can be added.

Chickpeas, drained, and chopped dried apricots are added and mixed.

Chickpeas, drained, and chopped dried apricots are added and mixed. Add about 4 Bay Leaves.

Chopped tomato is added to the pot. Let cook until warmed through.

Chopped tomato is added to the pot. Let cook until warmed through. Taste and adjust spices and seasonings as necessary.

Add the vegetable mixture to the tagine. Taste and adjust as necessary. Place the lamb shanks into the vegetables. After 1 hour, it should look like this.

Add the vegetable mixture to the tagine. Place the lamb shanks into the vegetables. After 1 hour, it should look like this.

After 2 hours, the shanks should look like this.

After 2 hours, the shanks should look like this.

3 hours and the shanks are looking good.  The lamb should be tender and tend to pull easily from the bone..

3 hours and the shanks are looking good. The lamb should be tender and tend to pull easily from the bone..

Tagine Lamb Shank Couscous with Tagine Vegetables 2012 Koenig Vineyards Devil's Bedstead Zinfandel

Tagine Lamb Shank
Couscous

with
Tagine Vegetables
2012 Koenig Vineyards Devil’s Bedstead Zinfandel
(an Idaho wine!!!)

Crab Strudel – A Different Strudel

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19Dec2014_2_Captains-Shack_Dungeness-Crab_Not-CleanedOh yes! ‘Tis the season for crab. At least the season for Blue Crab – if you can find them. (see photo below) No, that is a Dungeness crab pictured here. I suppose if you had to, you could use the Dungeness. So a little twist on the standard apple, or fruit, strudel. Let’s try a Crab Strudel with a Salmon Pasta Salad. Robin directed me on how to make the salad. It’s one she “dreamed” up. There is no recipe as such.
For the strudel, probably the most difficult part is finding the garlic scapes. What? From Mother Earth News,

…The scapes are the flower stems that garlic plants produce before the bulbs mature. Growers often remove the scapes to push the plant’s energy toward bigger bulbs, and when harvested while they are young and tender, the scapes are delicious.

And from About (dot) com,

Many gardeners simply toss their scapes in the compost, but garlic scapes are both edible and delicious, as are the bulbils. Along the same lines, young garlic plants that are pulled to thin a row are referred to as “green garlic”. Used in the same manner as green onions, these too make excellent eating.

Here is how we made the Crab Strudel. You can get the recipe above. Cheers and have fun with this.

The Green Onion and Garlic have been diced. The garlic scapes are going to be diced.

The Green Onion and Garlic have been diced. The garlic scapes are going to be diced.

The crab has been mixed with the parsley, lime juice, sea salt and Tellicherry pepper.

The crab has been mixed with the parsley, lime juice, sea salt and Tellicherry pepper.

Cooking the green onion mixture.

Cooking the green onion/garlic scape mixture.

Mix the crab mixture with the cooked green onion/garlic scape mixture.

Mix the crab mixture with the cooked green onion/garlic scape mixture.

Brush the phyllo dough - single sheet - with butter and lightly dust with fresh bread crumbs.

Brush the phyllo dough – single sheet – with butter and lightly dust with fresh bread crumbs. Handling the phyllo dough can be a challenge. Take your time and make sure the sheets are cold, but not frozen.

1" wide row of the crab mixture is placed on the phyllo dough. Roll into a "tube" carefully.

1″ wide row of the crab mixture is placed on the phyllo dough. Roll into a “tube” carefully.

The strudel is rolled, placed on a parchment lined baking sheet and sliced, but not sliced all the way through.

The strudel is rolled, placed on a parchment lined baking sheet and sliced, but not sliced all the way through.

Crab Strudel Salmon Pasta Salad The final product of all your hard work. Hope you like it!

Crab Strudel
Salmon Pasta Salad

The final product of all your hard work. Hope you like it! With the strudel, we had a 2009 Cold Springs phren/ology Riesling and a 2014 Domaine Saint Nabor Gris de Gris. Both wines went very well with the strudel.


And if you wanted to know more about strudel – inquiring minds need to know, Wikipedia says,

The best-known strudels are Apfelstrudel (German for apple strudel) and Topfenstrudel (with sweet soft quark cheese, in Austrian German Topfen), followed by the Millirahmstrudel (Milk-cream strudel, Milchrahmstrudel). Other strudel types include sour cherry (Weichselstrudel), sweet cherry, nut filled (Nussstrudel), Apricot Strudel, Plum Strudel, poppy seed strudel (Mohnstrudel), and raisin strudel. There are also savoury strudels incorporating spinach, cabbage, pumpkin, and sauerkraut, and versions containing meat fillings like the (Lungenstrudel) or (Fleischstrudel).

Traditional Hungarian, Austrian, and Czech strudel pastry is different from strudels elsewhere, which are often made from puff pastry. The traditional strudel pastry dough is very elastic. It is made from flour with a high gluten content, water, oil and salt, with no sugar added. The dough is worked vigorously, rested, and then rolled out and stretched by hand very thinly with the help of a clean linen tea towel or kitchen paper. Purists say that it should be so thin that you can read a newspaper through it. A legend has it that the Austrian Emperor’s perfectionist cook decreed that it should be possible to read a love letter through it. The thin dough is laid out on a tea towel, and the filling is spread on it. The dough with the filling on top is rolled up carefully with the help of the tea towel and baked in the oven.

This is an East coast Blue Crab.

This is an East coast Blue Crab.

It’s Summer – Time For Grilling Pork!

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21sept2013_2_robins-bday-captains-shack_gumbo_getting-happyNothing better than a good, bone-in grilled pork chop! Or pork loin! Or pork shoulder! Or pork ribs! Or pork tenderloin! Ever grill hog jowl or pork cheeks? Do you really know and understand the cuts of pork, where they come from on the hog and what they are used for? Here is a great link for Pork Cuts Glossary, some really great information from The Nibble. Here is a start in understanding hog jowl or pig cheeks from Wikipedia.

Pork jowl (alternately called jowl bacon or, especially in the Southern United States, hog jowl) is cured and smoked cheeks of pork. Hog jowl is a staple of soul food, but is also used outside the United States; the Italian variant is called guanciale … Jowl bacon can be fried and eaten as a main course, similar to streaky bacon, such as in a traditional full English breakfast. Often, it is used as a seasoning for beans, black-eyed peas or with cooked with leafy green vegetables such as collard greens or turnip greens in a traditional Southeastern meal. A Southern US tradition of eating black-eyed peas and greens with either pork jowls or fatback on New Year’s Day to ensure prosperity throughout the new year goes back hundreds of years. Jowl meat may also be chopped and used as a garnish, similar to bacon bits, or served in sandwich form. Pork jowl can be used as a binding ingredient in pork liver sausages such as liverwurst and braunschweiger [and scrapple]. Because pork jowl is cured, like many other cuts of pork, it has been a traditional wintertime food as it is able to be stored for long periods of time without refrigeration.

I have heard of guanciale, but what is it?

Guanciale (Italian pronunciation: [ɡwanˈtʃaːle]) is an Italian cured meat or salami product prepared from pork jowl or cheeks. Its name is derived from guancia, Italian for cheek. Guanciale is similar to the jowl bacon of the United States … Pork cheek is rubbed with salt, sugar, and spices (typically ground black pepper or red pepper and thyme or fennel and sometimes garlic) and cured for three weeks or until it loses approximately 30% of its original weight. Its flavor is stronger than other pork products, such as pancetta, and its texture is more delicate. Upon cooking, the fat typically melts away giving great depth of flavor to the dishes and sauces it is used in … Guanciale may be cut and eaten directly in small portions, but is often used as a pasta ingredient. It is used in dishes like spaghetti alla carbonara and sauces like sugo all’amatriciana … It is a specialty of central Italy, particularly Umbria and Lazio. Pancetta, a cured Italian bacon which is normally not smoked, is sometimes used as a substitute when guanciale is not available.

Pork jowl is also called Pork Chaps; Bajoues (French); Guanciale (Italian); Bochechas de porco (Portuguese). Interesting. If you would like to see a chart of the cuts of pork, check this link from Culinary Arts Cuts of Pork. Enjoy the info and have a great grilling season or smoking season. A great source for pork and other fresh meats in the Boise area is Homestead Natural Foods (they are also at the Boise Farmers Market in Boise at 10th and Grove each Saturaday). Thanks Ed, for the discussion on pork products this morning. It’s always great to chat with you. Cheers!

Copper River Salmon is Here!

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21sept2013_2_robins-bday-captains-shack_gumbo_getting-happyHere comes the salmon! Copper River salmon notes the start of the wild salmon season. “Barb Knivila – Copper River signals the start of the fresh wild salmon season. Keep your eyes peeled for wild king and wild sockeye out of Bristol Bay and other west coast fisheries!” Copper River salmon is just such a succulent type of salmon. Sweet. Not at all “fishy”. Very red meat. Great for steaming …. especially packet steaming. Add a little lime, lemon, French tarragon, sea salt and fresh Tellicherry pepper and you’ve got an awesome dinner. Better yet, let the fish marinate in this citrus over night in the refrigerator. Then add a little riesling wine for the fish to steam in. Yummers!

The packet emerges from the oven. It smelled so very good! Let it cool slightly before serving.

The packet emerges from the oven. It smelled so very good! Let it cool slightly before serving.

Copper River salmon plated with Steamed Beet, Spinach and Red Chard Greens. Add some toasted Basque bread and you've got a Heavenly dinner.

Copper River salmon plated with Steamed Beet, Spinach and Red Chard Greens. Add some toasted Basque bread and you’ve got a Heavenly dinner.

Soft Shell Blue Crab Sandwiches

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05Feb2015_1d_DaVincis-Eagle_Table-CenterpieceOh! Such a treat! Our daughter Marnie and her husband Mac were in Virginia for several days and she texted me, “Do you want some soft shelled crabs?” Silly girl! Of course! Was there ever a question? Nope! So when they arrived back in Boise at 12 midnight, she brought the crabs to us. Still 98% frozen in dry ice. Straight to the refrigerator to hold for 24 hours. And were they ever yummy! Add to the sandwiches a glass of 2009 Cold Springs phren/ology Riesling and we had an awesomely good meal!! A super good wine and a super good sandwich! Just look at what we did.

Soft Shell Blue Crabs ready for cleaning.

Soft Shell Blue Crabs – ready for cleaning.

Frying the crabs for 4 minutes on each side in 350 degree vegetable oil, Crisco. Dredge before cooking in 2 Meadowlark Farms eggs with a splash of milk. Beat the eggs. Flour -  1/2 c All Purpose Flour, 1/2 c Corn meal, 1 1/2 T Old Bay Seasoning and Salt and fresh ground Tellicherry Black Pepper. Stir to mix. Dredge crabs in eggs, then in flour mixture. Fry.

Frying the crabs for 4 minutes on each side in 350 degree vegetable oil, Crisco.

Dredge before cooking in 2 Meadowlark Farms eggs with a splash of milk. Beat the eggs.
Flour – 1/2 c All Purpose Flour, 1/2 c Corn meal, 1 1/2 T Old Bay Seasoning and Salt and fresh ground Tellicherry Black Pepper. Stir to mix.
Dredge crabs in eggs, then in flour mixture. Shake to remove excess flour. Fry.

Serve on a Brioche roll or on Croissants. Serve with slaw, I used chopped Savoy cabbage with our special Slaw Dressing - the recipe is in the Boise Foodie Recipe file above.

Serve on a Brioche roll or on Croissants. Serve with slaw, I used chopped Savoy cabbage with our special Slaw Dressing – the recipe is in the Boise Foodie Blog Recipe file above.

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