August 28, 2010

simple salmon cakes with a lemon cucumber arugula salad

so my logic on salmon cakes is this: I love them. But why spend about $15 to hack up a good piece of sustainable salmon for a salmon cakes? So my no canned food is kinda out the window on this one, but you will see no charlie in my kitchen cabinet, only prime canned stuff for this lady. 

This is another kitchen sink type recipe (which I find to be the best type) it is completely flexible, and I have done many variations and never with measuring implements....just check out the photos for a guide.

simple salmon cakes with a lemon cucumber arugula salad

what you need:

a can of (sustainable) salmon
1 egg
some crunchy vegetables:
sweet peppers
celery (leaves and all)
fennel (for flavor)
sesame oil
rice flour
red pepper flakes 

Step 0: open can (yes can) and drain the salmon.

Step 1: dice all of the dicable vegetables and toss them into a bowl (equal parts about 1/4 C. each), add the salmon, egg and spices. mix.
(taste before you add the egg to see if the seasonings are where you like them)

 start to heat a skillet (I like cast iron for this) with about 1-2 T. Sesame oil.

Step 2: the tricky part add about 1 T. of rice flour to your mixture you essentially want most the liquid to go away and look more a thick oatmeal than wet cat food....sorry I couldn't resist the two worst visualizations. Just make sure you add a little at a time and not too much you don't want dry cakes either.
should kinda look like this
Step 3: form into patties slightly smaller than the palm of your hand, think slider size all you good 'mericans. Drop onto pre-heated skillet. Cook for about 3-4 min. on each side or till golden brown- be sure to watch the temp and oil, you don't want to cook them too fast or else the flour won't dissipate.

Step 4: and since this was my quick lunch, I used a store bought wildwood organic vegan aioli with some chopped no-sun dried tomatoes to top it off. I will post my simple Aioli recipe on here though the next time I make it.

and since no meal should go lonely on a plate I made a quick lemon cucumber, arugula salad with a simple vinaigrette of EVOO, cider vinegar and mustard.

I think with taking photos I spent under 30min. making this. Next time you are at the store grab a can of salmon and keep for a lunch or dinner that you don't feel like dealing with.

August 26, 2010

Braised Chicken with Vegetables

Sometimes it is hard to use all the produce in your kitchen to it's fullest potential, especially if the weather outside tells you one day to grill and the next to stay in and stew it. Originally I pulled out chicken thighs to BBQ in a lemon herb marinade (it was 93˚ the day before so I found this to be the best idea) however when I got home the SF fog had rolled in and the idea of standing outside to turn chicken became a major turn then I started to rack my brain for what to do with these damn chicken thighs! I began to look through the depths of the produce drawer in the fridge to find some really sad and neglected carrots, celery and broccoli (which I kept putting off for wayyyyy to long), I pulled all of the veg. out cut it up and put it on a roasting pan with some olive oil, figured roast the veggies and the chicken. Right after I put the vegetables in the oven it dawned on me, I have a dutch oven, lets braise them!

Braised Chicken and Vegetables

what you need:

chicken thighs (bone in skin on)
fresh herbs
1/2 C. tomato sauce
red pepper flakes (as good pinch)
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
a pot that can go in the oven.
(substitute veg. with any and all sad or happy veggies in your kitchen)

Step 0: preheat to 350˚ 

Step 1: wash and pat chicken dry, (wash your hands, then) Salt and pepper both sides.

Step 2: heat up the dutch oven and place chicken skin side down, the fat should render out and look pretty gross, take the chicken out and put aside once the skin browned. Empty the fat from the pan to a can or something you really don't care about.

Step 3:  place dutch oven back on the stove and replace the chicken skin side up. Add all of your glorious chopped veggies, and add the rest of the ingredients.

Step 4: Put in the oven for about 45 min. when the chicken comes off the bone easily you know it's done, at this point remove the skin and toss.

Step 5: I made some organic whole wheat rigatoni, but you can eat it solo or with rice as well.

this was absolutely the most homey warm yummy dinner ever! I swear and it took old vegetables and a bot to make it sooooo good!

Weekly Produce Box Discussion

This week is a very exciting week for produce, I GOT FIGS!!!!! I assume that half reading this can care less, however I freaking love me some figs with goat cheese and balsamic, also maybe fig bars....oh I can't wait till my day off.

What I got:

Lemon Cucumbers
Sweet Peppers
Hotttt!!! Peppers
Asian Pears
Really cute Summer Squash

Normally I would give you a game plan, but all I can think of is fig bars and a fig salad with goat cheese, arugula and asian pear. A salad, I know, but sometimes throwing everything into a bowl is just about the best thing out there......

I do forecast some type of stuffed peppers or italian peppers (as per josh)....

if you want to join just check out taste-o-vision at the top of the page for deats.

August 24, 2010

Pesto Feta Frittata

you may be seeing a theme here, I have been cooking with eggplant quite a bit lately (1 eggplant yielded 3 meals), as well as a lot of the same vegg. I just can't see myself letting it expire in my fridge without a good and fair fight. That is why Frittata's and stews are the best for when things start looking a little sad...shhhh don't tell that to the people eating it though...and of course this recipe can use about anything you have left over...sometimes I add thin slices of toasted baguette to the bottom almost like a fancy egg in a hole.

Pesto Feta Frittata

what you need:

half onion diced
zucchini diced 
eggplant diced
few cherry tomatoes (sliced)
sliced tomato
6 eggs (2 per person)
splash of milk (however you interpret that)
1/2 T. EVOO
S&P (to taste)

Step 0: pre-heat oven to 400˚ 

Step 1: heat EVOO into a skillet (make sure to use an oven friendly skillet), add onions.

Step 2: when onions are almost transparent add zucchini and eggplant, saute them till they are kinda golden.

Step 3: add eggs and milk and whisk together 
use a fork for this and tilt the bowl slightly this will help you get air into the eggs and make them much for fluffy, practice your wrist action. also DO NOT SALT that will make eggs tough.

Step 4: turn skillet way down and  add the cherry tomatoes (you don't really want to cook them) put in the eggs, sprinkle with feta and stir a bit leave on stove for about  1 min. finish cooking in oven watching till top seems firm, (but not brown) remove. 

Step 5: add sliced tomatoes and S&P to the the top and stick under your broiler, only for a few moments, just enough to form a crust and lightly cook the tomatoes on top. KEEP AN EYE ON THIS!
if you add the tomatoes before hand the juices make it difficult to get an even cook in the eggs.

Step 6: cut into slices and add a dollop of pesto to the top, plate and pretend it took you hours!

...and yes i like my kiwi unshaven...

August 23, 2010

walnut pesto squashghetti over white beans, with fried eggplant and summer salad

This recipe is a great alternative to boring pasta, especially if you are gluten-free or trying to eat a bit healthier. Just make sure to use the best and most fresh ingredients you can get your hands on, it makes the world of difference. 

walnut pesto squashghetti over white beans, with fried eggplant and summer salad

what you need:

warning: this is easier and less ingredient heavy than the list of ingredients looks-trust me. Just make sure to over view the whole recipe and time yourself accordingly, there are parts of this that can be done well in advanced but overall it should take you about 1.5 hours to complete start to finish and will serve 2-4 people (depending on appetites)

Cannellini beans:
Step 1: Sort your beans, rinse and throw into a pot of boiling salted water, cook till tender about 1 hour. 

Step 2: Once done drain water, toss beans with S&P and a bit of Olive Oil. (set aside)

no-sun dried tomatoes
as many tomatoes you can get your hands on
good quality EVOO

Step 1: Slice tomatoes length wise place on a lightly EVOO'd baking sheet and cover with S&P and more EVOO (sorry about all the abbr.) bake in the oven 300˚ oven for about an hour. 
Step 2: Once they are cooked put in a jar and cover with a good quality Olive Oil.
while beans and tomatoes are cooking start the pesto

walnut pesto

1 C. packed fresh basil leaves
3 cloves garlic-pealed
1/2 C. Walnuts
1/4-1/2 C. good quality EVOO
1/8 C. Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 T. lemon juice

Step 1: add basil and garlic into a handy food processor and chop, then walnuts and chop,
slowly drizzle olive oil into the processor till it turns nice and shiny. Season with remaining ingredients to taste.

Summer Salad
lettuce (your call, but something that has a flavor)
Cherry tomatoes
valbreso feta cheese (sheeps milk feta)
ground mustard
apple cider vinegar
splash of lemon juice

Step 1:  Put lettuce tomatoes and feta into a bowl.

Step 2: In seperate bowl make dressing by whisking 1 T of EVOO and 1 T. apple cider vin. with 1/2 T mustard and lemon juice.

Step 3: pour over salad and toss when you are about to serve, keep salad dry and in the fridge till that point.

once the beans and no-sun tomatoes are almost done

gluten-free fried eggplant
eggplant (1/4" thick sliced)
1C. rice flour
1 egg
splash milk (soy, almond, hemp, water ect.)
and a dash of the following:
red pepper flakes

Step 0: heat enough 1/2" of Olive Oil in a pan.

Step 1: in one bowl add egg and a splash of soy milk (water/any type of other milk product) and whisk, in the next bowl add flour and seasonings.
Step 2: Dunk sliced eggplant into the egg mix, then into the flour mixture, then into the oil. Cook till brown on each side.

Step 2: put in a pan with a little bit of Olive Oil saute till limp and lightly brown, season with S&P.
Step 1: Place beans on plate and dollop with pesto.

Step 2: lightly combine pesto to squashghetti and top beans, add tomatoes to to the tower.
aerial view
Step 3: place salad and eggplant on plate and eat!

Bon food coma!

August 19, 2010

four ingredient pie crust

I don't bake very often, and always feel that making a pie crust is dangerous business (and it can be), but my Mom is quite the baker and sometimes I wish to channel her pies in my oven. This is my healthy rendition on a classic pie crust (thanks to good homes and garden the only cookbook that has the least amount of crust ingredients)

Pie Crust

sub. whole grain flour and use butter instead of shortening (my mom uses spectrum, but I like butter better)

Step 0: Make sure your butter and water are super cold.

Step 1: put flour, salt and butter in the bowl. Then cut in the butter with 2 knives, most recipes call for a food processor, however the efficiency, you pay in texture in the end. Remember the turtle always wins, always.
notice the criss-cross action, and awesome alligator apron by beth LaBerge

Step 2: once your butter and flour look like a bunch of white-ish peas start to add the water a tsp or so at a time, lightly stir the mixture with a fork until the mixture is lightly damp.

Step 3: place on a piece of parchment and fold into a little bag of bliss and stick in the fridge for 20min. You want to make sure that you handle it very lightly and keep your hands from touching it, the heat from you will make it tuff- so stay off!
Step 4: roll it out on a piece of lightly floured parchment or a super duper clean surface, the crust should almost look polka-dotted with butter. 
cut away crust leaving about 2" extra around you pan

Step 4: gingerly place the crust on top a your dish making sure the inner is quite cold, so it won't melt the crust when it makes contact. Crimp the extra dough on the edges with your fingers and put some slits in the center. I brushed olive oil on top once it was on, but you can use a egg wash(beaten egg white) if you want. If you are making a double crust, cook the bottom crust for 12 min at 400˚ and let cool before adding your filling. Cook the pie for an addition 20-30 min. until it's nice and golden brown. 

voila! pie! cheaper than the box and just as fast!