Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Salmon ceviche

Posted: August 9, 2014 in Appetizer, Miscellaneous, Seafood

Having recently returned from vacations in Brazil, I remember one great dish which I had there from neighboring Peru: ceviche. It’s basically raw fish, marinated in some citrus juice and seasoned with vegetables. It was a great summer dish, so to enjoy the unusually hot Seattle summer, I tried it out with our local salmon.

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I got the salmon from my local Costco (good quality for large quantities), and used other ingredients I had at home, from a few recipes I found online. I didn’t have any chili pepper, so ground black pepper had to do. And I had some friends who don’t like cilantro, so parsley it was. For my first attempt, I think it came out good, but came out with the impression that I could add more ingredients for good variations (chopped sweet chili peppers, mango, cilantro per se, among others). Definitely something I’ll try again some other time.

Ingredients (appetizer or a light main entrée, for 6 people)

  • 1.5 lbs. salmon (I used wild sockeye, my favorite), with bones and skin removed, chopped in 1/2” pieces
  • juice of 2 limes
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1/2 medium onion (I used sweet onions, turned out great), very finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • salt & pepper

Mix the chopped salmon, lime / orange juices, the onion, the cumin and salt & pepper in a bowl. Cover with a plastic film and refrigerate for at least 1.5 hours.

About 15 minutes before serving, remove the fish from the refrigerator, strain it to discard the liquid and mix wit the parsley. Let it get closer to the room temperature for 15 minutes then serve either by itself or with thinly-sliced and toasted hard bread (such as Italian or French).

Enjoy!

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We live in the Pacific Northwest, where hippies are not something out of the ordinary. In our house we already separate the trash in 3 buckets – “regular”, recyclable and compostable. I drive a fairly small car, not one of the gas guzzlers which are typically associated with people living in the US. I have a (very) small vegetable garden in my backyard. And in my quest to get my hippie card, I decided to follow a friend at work and make homemade granola.

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There’s no standard recipe for granola (even store-bought ones have different ingredients), and I’ve already played with the ingredients a few times to get to what we prefer in our house. Most supermarkets around here have a great section for foods in bulk (cereals, grains, nuts, etc.), so I was able to experiment with some different recipes over time. The basic idea is simple: a cereal (usually rolled oats) for the base; some nut for flavor and crunchiness (I usually go for walnuts, but I’ve already used slivered almonds and pecans); seeds for texture and healthy properties (pumpkin seeds are my favorites); some syrup to bind everything together (I like maple syrup best, but honey or even corn syrup should work as well); and more “healthy” ingredients which don’t compromise the taste (oat bran, flax seeds, etc.). A few times I also added raisins (or craisins – cranberry raisins), but I usually skip those.

One thing which I’m often impressed is that even though I use quite a lot of maple syrup, it still tastes a lot less sweet than the packaged cereals – no wonder so many people condemn those as one of the culprits of the obesity epidemic. I wouldn’t go as far, but it’s nice to have something healthy which you know all the ingredients which went into it. This recipe is one which I prepared last month.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds, raw
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, crushed to small pieces
  • 2/3 cups oat bran
  • 1/3 cups flax seeds
  • 1 1/3 cup maple syrup

Mix all the ingredients well then spread them in a parchment paper-covered cookie sheet (it will likely require to be split in two sheets). Bake in a 350ºF oven for 12 minutes, then remove and stir. Return to the oven and bake for 15 more minutes, until the oats start to brown. When it starts smelling of roasted oats it’s about time to remove it from the oven (the time may vary depending on the oven and the amount of granola).

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It can be served in different ways. I like to eat it either as a “regular” cereal with milk and some berries, or mixed up with plain or vanilla yogurt.

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Enjoy!

Getting my kids to eat vegetables, especially leafy ones, isn’t the easiest thing to do. Sometimes they will eat broccoli, corn, peas, carrots, but leafs just aren’t their thing. To my surprise, my daughter said that she tried kale chips at her school, and she liked it (“if you put a lot of salt”).

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So we decided to try it at home, and it was amazingly easy – and a hit with both kids (and adults as well). The leafs, dried up on the oven, almost vaporized in our mouths and, indeed, the salt helped the flavor. As a bonus, I had an eager helper for the preparation.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • a little drizzle of olive oil
  • salt to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the hard stems from the leaves, then tear the leaves in 1-2” pieces (great for kids). Spread the leaves in a cookie sheet, and lightly drizzle with olive oil (do not overdo it; the first time we did it ended up too much). Finally, add the salt and put it in the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the leaves start to brown. Remove them and put them on top of some paper towels (or a rack) to let the excess oil to drip. Let it cool for a couple of minutes and enjoy!

After preparing the pork tenderloin with cachaça, I ended up with some pineapple leftover, since I didn’t use all that I had bought. The pineapples I were used to when growing up were really sweet and great to be had by itself, but around the Pacific Northwest they tend to be more to the sour side and are best used in recipes or salads. But while shopping at a supermarket, I remembered one situation where I was at a juice bar a few years ago. The person in front of me was having something light-green, which definitely didn’t look very enticing. The person behind the counter, probably noticing my puzzled look, offered me a sample.

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After knowing the ingredients (pineapple, ginger, spinach, frozen yogurt), I was even more intrigued, but when I tried it it turned out to taste really great, so every once in a while I prepare it again at home, and everyone who I’ve offered it to had the same reactions: puzzlement, surprise.

Ingredients (for 2 people):

  • 1”-long ginger root piece, peeled, sliced in small pieces (my blender isn’t too powerful, so cutting it that way helps preventing the fibers from getting in the juice)
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1/2 pint vanilla frozen yogurt
  • 1/2 cup pineapple, cubed

Blend well all of the ingredients. If your blender (like mine) can’t get the job done at first, you can help it by adding some water or milk, only enough to get it to blend. You may want to strain it to get some of the (small) fibers of the ginger out, but if it was sliced small enough it shouldn’t be an issue).

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Enjoy!

While reading Slate this week I saw a recipe for a frittata, it seemed like something easy enough to do and a nice break from the everyday bread / butter / cheese dinners which we usually have at home. Getting home I realized I definitely could not use the recipe from Slate (it was called “frittata with greens, feta and dill – I didn’t have any greens, feta or dill). So whatever was on the fridge became the recipe of the day.

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Since I had never cooked one before, I had no idea of quantities or even the material (pan) to use. I ended up using a very large (>12”) oven-safe skillet which I had, which ended up being too wide (the dish in most pictures looks deeper, mine ended up quite shallow), but the taste was actually pretty good. I ended up using the ingredients found in traditional omelettes, tomatoes / cheese (a Mexican shredded cheese blend, leftovers from a taco day) and mushrooms. It was indeed quite easy to make, being ready in about 30 minutes.

Ingredients (for 4 people)

  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (Mexican blend)
  • 4 eggs
  • 6oz. sliced white mushrooms
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter (onions)
  • salt & pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC). On a medium, oven-safe skillet over high heat, add the olive oil and the butter then add the onions, season them with salt and pepper and sauté them until they’re golden. Add the tomatoes (adding a little more salt & pepper) and cook them for about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and mix well, cooking for another 5 minutes.

On a medium bowl, beat the eggs then add the cheese and the nutmeg. Remove the skillet from the heat, then pour the eggs over the onions / tomatoes / mushrooms, stirring gently to distribute the ingredients in the skillet. Transfer it to the oven and bake it until the top of the frittata is firm, about 10 minutes. Serve it immediately.

Enjoy!

When shopping for the Yogurt-Chicken Curry, I bought a pack of sliced white mushrooms that I thought would go well with the sauce. But, as I do quite often, I forgot that ingredient and it remained chilling in the fridge until the next day when I realized my memory lapse… That same week I went to a friend’s house who was cooking some gougères (which were great, by the way), I noticed a recipe for flambéed mushrooms (I don’t know where it came from). Since I like to play with fire (and we still had some cognac left), the next dinner I decided to try it out at home.

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If you have pre-sliced mushrooms, this is really, really fast to prepare (about 10 minutes, or more if you want to gratin it with cheese as I did). It also tasted really good (although since I only had about 1/4 cup of cognac left it didn’t leave as much flavor as I ‘d wish), so I’ll definitely try it again.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. sliced white (button) mushrooms
    • Other kinds probably would work as well, such as chanterelles or shitakes.
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cognac (I’d use 1/2 cup if I had more)
  • grated parmesan or pecorino cheese (I used the latter, although the former would also work out just fine)
  • salt & pepper

On a large pan (non-stick is preferred), heat the oil and the butter until the butter is completely melted and starts foaming. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and sauté them for about 5 minutes, until there’s hardly any liquid left in the pan.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the cognac, lighting it up with a long match. Swirl the pan until the fire is extinguished. Transfer them to an oven-safe dish, then grate some hard cheese on top of it. Add to a pre-heated broil for 3 minutes, then serve immediately.

Enjoy!