Life being what it is, good ol’ WordPress and some other events have put a small dent in postings last week and apparently this week as well. We’re working on it and will try to get it fixed ASAP.by
Salmon is both a quick and easy meal, whether for lunch or a full meal. And this miso salmon is definitely at the top of that list. The only tough part is getting a good salmon, and while that’s generally easier than it once was, getting a really good salmon from Alaska or the northwest coast still can be a problem sometimes. Generally, I try to stay away from farmed salmon, in part because they often use color enhancements to make the fish look better in the case. I get why they do it, but well, it doesn’t sit right with me.
So when I can get good salmon, the miso salmon is one of those “go to” recipes I often use, because it requires only a little marinade and a bit of time in the oven. At that point, your pretty much done. It’s really fast and gives you plenty of time to focus on a great side dish if you’ve got something special or just want to get a quick meal on the table and be done with it. The marinade does have only one ingredient — the miso — that can be difficult to find, but honestly, with online shopping, it’s really not hard. And the miso can last a long time if kept pretty well in the fridge or the freezer.
Give this a try the next time you need something in a hurry.by
Cashew chicken. There are a handful of recipes you can find on almost any Chinese restaurant menu you can think of, yet most of them are very Americanized to say the least. But I spent a great deal of time in China, and yes, I’ve had cashew chicken there, and I can tell you that with a couple of changes in ingredients, you can have the “real” dish on your own menu, in a flash.
Here are the things you’ll want to have before you start the dish: Shao Xing cooking wine, dark (mushroom flavored) soy sauce, and Zhenjiang vinegar. If you have a local Chinese grocery available, these are things that are easy to find. If not, all of them can be found online. You might have to wait a few days, but trust me, it’s worth it. Generally, this would be one of several dishes at a Chinese banquet, but you can either serve with other things or simply serve it itself.
It will be darker, and have a few hints of flavor you might not otherwise expect, and yet it will be the same in most respects. The main thing is it will have nothing but actual Chinese ingredients in it, which is a good thing. How much different is it from Americanized cashew chicken? Well, a great deal of it has to do with how sophisticated your palate might be, but in general it’s richer and a lot more filling than the kind of thing you might find in any but the very best Chinese restaurants.
For a lot of reasons, I used a wok to make my version. You can use a large skillet, but like a lot of things in Chinese cooking, a decent wok does make a difference (though probably small) in the final recipe. If you’ve got one, use it. If not, don’t worry much about it.by
Tortellini is one of those Italian recipes that I make fairly often but don’t generally write about. Why? Well, for the most part, you get a good cheese tortellini and add some marinara and you’re pretty much done. Great meal, but not much to write or read about, unless you’re making your own — something I’ve never tried before. Still, with all that, I made a couple of discoveries that changed my mind. The first is a chicken and mushroom tortellini and the second is a delicious creamy tomato sauce that makes all the difference.
You can get all kinds of cheese tortellini, almost anywhere you can find groceries. What you find less often are meat tortellini, in part because they don’t keep as well in a refrigerated case. What I found this time, however, was homemade tortellini in a small Italian grocery that was filled with a lovely chicken mushroom mixture that was in just about any context you can think of, a real pleasure to eat.
But when you add the creamy tomato sauce — yes, flavored with real cream — it was nothing short of astounding. In particular, the use of chopped tomatoes and spinach with just enough onion to give it a little bite and you’ve got a real winner. Add a little Parmesan on the side and I don’t know too many things that get much better.by
Huli huli chicken? It’s one of those special dishes that somehow manage to come straight from Hawaii, even though they don’t really require any special ingredients or exotic know-how. But done right, huli huli chicken is quite a treat. Apparently, if you know something about trademarks and the literal translation that huli huli means turn, turn, you’ve got the whole idea about the chicken dish underway.
The trademark notion came from Ernie Morgado, the early 50s chef who is thought to have made the first huli huli and a few years later, decided to trademark the name. That meant that every chef or would-be chef in the area had to call his chicken dish something else, even though it was in fact huli huli. As far as I know, that still holds true there. And the key to huli huli, it’s literally to turn the chicken often, to cook it evenly and to even out the browning all around.
The marinade for the chicken is basically pretty simple, and then there’s the little extras that make’s each cook’s recipe a delight, and a great way to tool around the islands, try one huli huli here and another somewhere else. You could almost spend several days trying them all out.
In any case, here’s my huli huli.by
I truly don’t know what, exactly, a mojo or Mojo, sauce is exactly, but I’ll venture that this Grapefruit Mojo brings out the very best in this red snapper. The sauce gives the fish just the right amount of tanginess (is that a word?) to really bring it to the next level. Of course, having a good fresh red snapper is important, and my local fish monger happened to be cutting the fish the day I was there, so the fish wasn’t laying around in the fish case all day. Was it better for that? Probably so, but who really knows. I’ll take fresh fish if I can get it, however.
As for the “mojo/Mojo,” good old Wikipaedia says the sauce originally was from the Canary Islands, but this sauce looks nothing like anything I saw in the descriptions I saw in that article. The original sauce most likely has little or nothing to do with that, but the original sauce came from Bobby Flay, who is one of those guys I trust a lot for good recipes, even if I can’t understand why the “mojo” applies to this versus any other sauce. In any case, it uses grapefruit sauce, a little orange, lots of garlic, a little thyme and a few other things. What comes out of the blender is amazing. I’m already thinking how to adapt it for other recipes. More to come on that.by
Succotash is a pretty ordinary side dish, but this chicken and ham succotash makes it into a nice main dish and with just a little tweaking, turns it into something to rave about. And if you’re lucky enough to have some fresh or canned corn and baby Lima beans, the amazing flavors are truly something to dream about. And it actually works best in a slow cooker.
So what makes it different? Start with some great ham and nice chunked chicken breasts (you can do them sous vide if you like), add some fresh cream of chicken soup (I make my own, which I have to condense a bit, but you can certainly find store-bought or better yet, something made fresh from some other source), a little red pepper and a little scallion. Add a little (or maybe more) red pepper to spice it up a beat and you’ve got a good, fresh meal.
Oh, and to be sure, get some (or make some) biscuits. They’re essential.by