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Not As Good As Pork Cracklins

misadventures in cooking

Friday, September 30, 2005

Chicken & Gorgonzola

I had this recipe marked "to-do" in the original issue that it was in (Fine Cooking #63). But I recently decided to try to work my way through the two "Quick & Delicious" issues, and it caught my eye there too.

I served it over penne, which was recommended, but Gary and I both thought we'd like it better with garlic bread instead of pasta. Then again, what's not better with garlic bread?

This is the second time I've made this salad (oh-so-pretty picture I took the first time is here). Gary and I often eat our salad after our entree and this is especially refreshing. It's sooo good!

Sheri recently told me that it was time to drink this wine. Not only do I like to do whatever she tells me to do, but I explicitly trust her knowledge of Rafanelli. I've been waiting for a meal to go with it, and it was absolutely perfect with the mushrooms and gorgonzola.

  • Chicken with Marsala, Mushrooms & Gorgonzola (101 Quick & Delicious Recipes 2004, The Best of Fine Cooking, p. 72)
  • Radish & Parsley Salad with Lemon (Fine Cooking #50, p. 18)
  • 1998 A. Rafanelli Cabernet Sauvignon (Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County)

Chicken Stock

Sun Harvest Farms has leg quarters on sale for 49 cents a pound. I own a 12 qt. stockpot that hasn't been used yet. Guess what time it is?

This is my favorite recipe for chicken stock because you brown the meat and vegetables first, and then deglaze the roasting pan. All of the lovely fond goes into the stockpot with the chicken and vegetables and enough water to cover. The ratio is roughly a pound of meat to a pint of water. So I'll end up with about 4 quarts of nice gelatinous chicken stock to freeze for yummy sauces.

I read a tip in either Fine Cooking or Cook's Illustrated to put a collapsible steamer basket on top of the meat and vegetables while they simmer, making it much easier to skim the foam off the surface. Great trick, works like a charm.

  • Chicken Stock (Fine Cooking #19, p.18)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Stir-Fried Broccoli with Ginger

We had this over brown basmati rice, as a light dinner. It was excellent! We couldn't quit raving about it. I added the splash of fish sauce and water chestnuts suggested in the recipe sidebar.

  • Stir-Fried Broccoli with Ginger (101 Quick & Delicious Recipes 2004, The Best of Fine Cooking, p. 88)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Wilted Arugula Salad

I plan to make all of the salads from this article, which is titled "Warm Salads for Dinner". Since Gary and I both like salad, they seem like a great way to enjoy it during the fall and winter. I would have hoped that by the end of September, it would be a little cooler, but the high today was 107 degrees or some such craziness!

I'm pretty much a stickler for following a recipe the first time, but next time I would probably use a lower ratio of oil to vinegar, because I tend to like a little bit more acidic dressing. It was still delicious, though. And I absolutely had to use dried thyme tonight. My thyme plant has been scorched in the unseasonable heat and the nearest 2 grocery stores didn't have any either.

Did I mention that this was delicious??? A truly excellent combination of flavors.

  • Wilted Arugula Salad with Crisp Potaotes, Feta & Warm Black Olive Vinaigrette (Fine Cooking #74, p. 56)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Singapore Noodles

This recipe uses part of the barbecued pork from Monday. You could use leftover chicken if you wanted to. Or maybe some ham. It also has shrimp in it. It's a typical stir-fry in that it has a fairly long ingredient list, but if you prep ahead, it's very doable, as most stir-fries are. I had everything measured and set out, and somehow still managed to forget the oyster sauce. It was sitting there when I went to clean the kitchen.

It's suprisingly spicy. I would consider cutting back on the madras curry powder. Or maybe just using regular curry powder. Or maybe less chile paste. Or I might just leave it as it is and enjoy the heat.

edit: I have decided that I really like this as a cold pasta salad. And I think it would be just as good without the meat.
  • Singapore Noodles (Fine Cooking #74, p.64-65)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Bran Muffins

I cleaned and sorted my pantry. It looks so nice! There was an old-ish box of Kellogg's All Bran, so I decided to make bran muffins, which is the only reason it would be in there in the first place.

Bran muffins were one of Eric's favorite foods as a very small boy. (It amazes me that was so long ago, but that's another story altogether. ) He loved to break his muffin into pieces and dip them in applesauce, which got spread all over the tray of his high chair.

That's nice for a toddler, but I like mine with marmalade, jam, or (in a splurge) real maple syrup. Nothing like taking a fairly healthy food and adding empty calories.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Barbecued Pork (Char Siu)

This pork is from an article called "Exploring Cuisines: Singapore Noodles, a Cantonese Classic". The leftover char siu will be used in the noodles on Wednesday.

Except that there very nearly weren't any leftovers! It was so good, I wanted to eat the whole thing. It reminds me of bbq ribs, except not as greasy and much more healthy. Alas, I did restrain myself and there will be Singapore Noodles to enjoy as well. *sigh*

  • Barbecued Pork (Char Siu) (Fine Cooking #74, p. 65)
  • Baked Sweet Potato "Fries"
  • Spinach Salad with Citrus Viniagrette
Barbecued Pork
One 1 to 1-1/4 pound pork tenderloin
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. honey
1 T. dry sherry
2 T. hoisin sauce
1/2 t. five-spice powder
1/8 t. kosher salt
1/8 t. ground white pepper

Cut small incisions in the pork at 1-inch intervals, so the marinade can penetrate the meat. In a medium bowl, combine the soy sauce, honey, sherry, hoisin, five-spice, salt and pepper. Add the pork; rub to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap (I put the meat and marinade in a a gallon zipper bag) and refrigerate a minimum of 6 hours or overnight. Turn the pork occasionally as it marinates.

Position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler. Set a rack in a small roasting pan and add 1/4 inch of water to the pan. Remove the pork from the marinade (discard the marinade) and lay it on the rack. Broil with the oven door closed, turning the tenderloin after 10 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer registers 145 degrees, 15-20 minutes total; keep an eye on it to avoid burning.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Fastest Fudge Cake

Our dear friend Jay is here. It was fun to cook for him, but it made me miss Sheri.

The mushrooms got rave reviews from Jay and Gary. I picked the recipe because they aren't stuffed with bread crumbs. I thought the prosciutto and parmesan made them a little salty, but they were definitely good. Jay loved his salad and salmon. That made me happy.

I wouldn't call this a fudge cake. It's chocolate cake. It's not fabulous, but considering how fast and easy it is to make, it is good. I love that for a cake, it's small, which is nice when you're only two or three people. The recipe says that the full amount of ganache leaves plenty leftover that you can use as sauce for ice cream or another dessert. I made a half recipe of it and it was just the right amount.

  • Baked Mushrooms with Sage, Parmesan & Prosciutto (Best of Fine Cooking, 101 Quick & Delicious Recipes 2003)
  • Spinach, White Bean and Bacon Salad with Maple-Mustard Dressing (Cooking Light, March 2003) & Grilled Salmon
  • Fastest Fudge Cake (Fine Cooking #61, p. 18E)
  • 2001 Forchini Proprietor's Reserve Estate Grown Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Herbed Grilled Chicken Breasts

An excellent, if basic, recipe. Especially if you're looking for something to cook with things you already have around.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Saigon Salmon Sandwiches

When Sheri took me to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, it was Salmon Festival time and we lucked out with a demonstration from Chef Chad Callahan of "Fish" restaurant in Sausalito. We were suprised to receive a huge sample, basically half of one of the best sandwiches I've ever had. It was described in the hand-out as "a California spin on banh mi, Vietnamese sandwiches that are the perfect blend of French form and Asian flavors".

I have been wanting to make these sandwiches ever since, and a perfect opporunity presented itself. Gary and I spent two nights in a cozy cabin at the Red Corral Ranch, a 1100 acre ranch west of Austin. Yummy breakfast fixin's were provided and I packed the other meals. Since the Saigon Salmon Sandwiches are better made ahead of time, they sounded perfect for lunch.

I cheated by using Central Market's spicy Asian marinade and also their "homemade" tartar sauce. The resulting sandwiches were delicious.

Saigon Salmon Sandwiches
(makes 4 servings)

1 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 oz. fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
3 scallions
3 large cloves garlic

4 wild salmon fillets, without skin (about 5 oz. each)
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 tablespoons tartar sauce or mayonnaise
4 Acme torpedo rolls or solft rolls, lightly toasted
2 cups grated carrots
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
1 bunch cilantro

1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a blender and puree until the aromatics are minced finely. Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 5 days to allow the flavors to meld.

2. Set aside 1/4 cup of the marinade. Immerse the salmon fillets in the remaining marinade and refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours.

3. Remove the fish from the marinade; sprinkle with the black pepper and brush evenly with the oil. Grill or broil the chicken over medium high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, or to desired doneness.

4. Spread the tartar sauce or mayonnaise on the top halves of the rolls. Layer the carrots and jalapeno on the bottom halves. Place the salmon on the vegetables, drizzle with the reserved marinade and top with the cilantro.