Korean Coleslaw

50 Comments

Often when I’m browsing online for recipes, I print one I like, save it, and keep the stack of recipes in my kitchen.

Which is silly, because I have boxes of recipes glued on cards stemming from my childhood, and even folders for saved recipes that are organized by the season and, of course, my cookbooks. I guess one can never have too many recipes.

So I was browsing through my recipe “stack,” and I saw the words “gochujang” and “coleslaw” together. What? There it was – a coleslaw, with a dressing containing Gochujang!!

I only recently discovered the Korean barbecue paste, and used it on pork tenderloin. What a wonderful flavor this paste imparts.

Turns out that the coleslaw recipe is from Abbe’s blog “This is How I Cook.” Not only does she have a great blog, she has the cutest dog, Geordie.

I made a few adjustments, mostly adding more gochujang to the coleslaw dressing.

Korean Coleslaw

1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons gochujang
1-2 tablespoons Sriracha
1 tablespoon agave

4 cups shredded cabbage, purple and white
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 cup grated carrots
8 green onions, sliced
1 bunch cilantro, cleaned, chopped
Black sesame seeds, optional
Peanuts, optional

First prepare the gochujang dressing in a small blender jar and set aside.


Place the purple and white cabbages, red bell pepper, and carrots in a large bowl. Mix well.

Add the dressing and stir. Let sit for 1-2 hours to soften the cabbage slightly. Taste before continuing with the recipe.

Add the green onions and cilantro and mix together.

To serve, sprinkle the coleslaw with sesame seeds.

If I’d only used purple cabbage, I would have also used white sesame seeds.

Then add some peanuts.


If you want it spicier, add more Sriracha sauce and stir well, but you don’t want it to overpower the gochujang.

And for heaven’s sake, slice your own cabbage. Don’t buy those terrible bags of coleslaw!

It’s fresher and it’s cheaper!

This coleslaw was fantastic! It would be great with salmon or chicken on top as well. Thanks Abbe!

Salmon Crudo

69 Comments

Facebook is something I check on a daily basis. There, I said it. Mostly because I can keep up with friends and their families. But it’s truly entertaining as well, like when puppy-chimpanzee videos pop up on my feed.

And then there are the food-related posts, not surprisingly, like this one that recently showed up from Williams-Sonoma Taste, which is the W-S blog.

Salmon Crudo with Red Onion and Fried Capers. What? I’ve never heard of salmon crudo, which in Italian means raw salmon. So I knew I just had to make it.

Fortunately, I happened upon a fresh piece of wild salmon at my grocery store. It was like this was all meant to be!

Here’s the recipe from Williams-Sonoma.

Salmon Crudo with Red Onion and Fried Capers

1/2 pound fresh sushi-grade salmon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon small capers, rinsed and dried
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup red onion, very thinly sliced
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges for serving

First wrap the rinsed and dried salmon in plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes.

Using a sharp knife, skin the salmon, then slice the it against the grain into very thin slices. Arrange the slices on a serving platter, overlapping them slightly.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Carefully add the capers to the oil; they will splatter.

Fry, swirling the pan gently to move the capers around until they are golden brown, 30-60 seconds. Transfer the capers to a paper towel-lined plate, and let the olive oil cool for 5 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and parsley to the olive oil and whisk until the mixture is emulsified.

Arrange the red onion on top of the salmon and drizzle with the dressing. I also added some extra fresh parsley.

Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Scatter the capers on top and serve with lemon wedges.

The recipe serves four people.

Or one, in my case.

I enjoyed the salmon crudo on water crackers. And a little salt was definitely necessary.

I can honestly say that eating this salmon was an incredible experience. I’d have it any day over sashimi, and I love sashimi.

Crispy Beet Risotto

58 Comments

My husband and I were dining with friends in Colorado recently, at a restaurant called Justice Snow’s in Aspen. It was quite bustling and busy, which means that for me, it was loud and everyone had to yell to be heard.

I was very excited about the menu, however, and without hesitation I ordered trout. Our friend ordered the roasted chicken served with crispy beet risotto, english peas, charred turnips, carrots, spiced yogurt, and ver jus.

While enjoying our cocktails, we talked at length about how the beets were prepared “crispy” in the risotto, but all of our profound thoughts were put to rest when he got his meal. The beet risotto was made crispy by frying it like a cake. Fortunately I got to taste it, and I knew then I wanted to make it at home.

It was especially tempting to recreate because I’ve never used beets in a risotto, and I thought I’d used about all vegetables, from carrots to pumpkin to zucchini and tomato. It’s probably because my husband doesn’t eat beets, and he’s the big risotto eater in our family.
beet-ris-20-of-28
So here’s what I did. If you need a more complete risotto tutorial, check our my mushroom risotto. It’s similar to this one because it uses bits of things as well as special liquid – in this case – beet juice.
beet-ris-27-of-28

Crispy Beet Risotto

Whole beets from a can, about 5-6 small
Reserved beet juice, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, finely choppped
1 1/4 cup risotto rice, like arborio or carnaroli
White or red wine, about 1/3 cup
Chicken Broth, about 1 cup
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan
Salt, to taste
White pepper, to taste
Olive oil, for frying

Drain the whole beets and save the juice.

beet-ris-1-of-28

Then finely chop the beets into bits and set aside.

Begin the risotto by heating the olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for a few minutes, then add the rice.

Stir well until all of the rice grains are coated with oil. Add the wine and stir until the wine is absorbed. Adjust the heat so there’s simmmering but no burning. Then gradually add 1/4 cup or so of chicken broth and stir until it’s absorbed, and repeat with the remaining broth.

beet-ris-6-of-28

At this point, add amount of beet juice that suits you; I used about 1/4 cup.

After a few minutes, add the beet bits.

beet-ris-9-of-28

Continue to stir gently. Once just about alll of the liquid is absorbed, add the cream and cheese. Stir to combine, then set the risotto to cool slightly.

beet-ris-10-of-28

The cakes can be made free-form, but I used a 3 1/2″ ring. Smaller cakes would be really pretty for a dinner party, because they could be re-heated.

Heat a little olive oil (or butter) to a flat skillet. Add some risotto to fill the ring and cook over fairly high heat to get the risotto crispy.

Gently turn over the risotto cake and brown/crisp the other side. This was much more difficult than I anticipated. Although I used a small amount of cheese in this risotto, it was probably still too much and created some sticking in the skillet.

I served the risotto cake with a filet of salmon and roasted Brussels sprouts, just for the spectacular colors!

beet-ris-15-of-28
Just for fun I added a little Mexican crema to the risotto cake, and sprinkled some chopped chives on top.


In spite of my problems cooking the cakes, they cut into bite-sized pieces nicely, and were delicious.
beet-ris-18-of-28

If you don’t want to bother making the cakes, I can honestly state that this is one of the best risottos I’ve ever made! And it’s not overwhelmingly beety.

beet-ris-28-of-28

note: In my memory of our friend’s crispy beet risotto, I think the risotto “cake” was white, with bits of beets. What the chef probably did was omit the beet juice, and add the beet bits at the very last minute before crispig the cakes. Personally, I don’t mind the bright magenta color, and the beet juice probably added more flavor. But if you don’t want hot fuschia risotto cakes, do leave out the beet juice and use some more broth instead.

beet-ris-25-of-28

Curried Salmon

46 Comments

Typically, when I prepare fish, I pretty much leave it alone. A little salt and pepper, and that’s it. Because my theory is that if it’s good fish, then why cover up its delicate flavor with seasonings and sauces?

But salmon is different in my mind, with its stronger flavor. It can really hold its own. So I decided to make a meal of salmon accompanied by a dish of curried spinach and mushrooms.

When I follow Indian recipes, I use the individual spices listed in the recipes. But it’s nice to have a good curry powder on hand. After testing this one, sweet curry powder from Penzey’s, I now always have it on hand. I think it’s excellent.

However, I don’t want my curry dishes to all taste the same, so sometimes if I use this curry powder, I might add some extra cumin or cinnamon. If you have a favorite curry powder, feel free to use it for this dish!

powder

Here is my recipe for salmon and curried vegetables.

IMG_7064
Curried Salmon
Serves 2

3 tablespoons olive or tasteless oil
1 small onion, halved thinly sliced
1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons heavy cream
8 ounces fresh spinach leaves
1 teaspoon curry powder, or to taste
White pepper to taste
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 salmon filets, rinsed and dried on paper towels
Salt
White pepper
3 tablespoons white wine
3-4 tablespoons heavy cream
Ground turmeric

In a large wok, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté them until soft. Add the mushrooms, turn up the heat a little, and sauté them until golden.


Add the garlic, give it a stir, then add the cream.

Stir to combine, then add the spinach. Stir gently to incorporate it, then turn down the heat to the lowest setting, put on a lid, and let the vegetables steam-cook for about five minutes.
IMG_7017
Remove the lid and stir the vegetables. You want to reduce the liquid a bit, so let them cook over low heat for a few minutes. Then add the curry powder, white pepper, nutmeg and salt. Stir well, then set aside.
IMG_7019
Heat the butter in a skillet over high heat. When the butter is browned, add the salmon, skin-side up and turn the heat to medium.
IMG_7020
After five minutes, turn the filets over and lower the heat to its lowest setting. The salmon should be nicely browned.
IMG_7026
Season the salmon with salt and white pepper. After another five minutes, the salmon should be cooked through, yet still tender in the middle; do not overcook them or they will be dry. The timing, of course, depends on the thickness of your salmon filets.

Remove the filets to a plate and heat the butter remaining in the skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the wine and a little turmeric, about 1/4 teaspoon. I added turmeric mostly for a little color.


Reduce the wine to just about one tablespoon, then add the cream. Reduce the cream sauce until there’s about three tablespoons left in the skillet and remove the skillet from the heat.

To serve, place the warm vegetables on the place and top with a salmon filet.
IMG_7055
Then divide the cream sauce between the two servings.
IMG_7045
The curried salmon was perfect with a pinot gris.
IMG_7058

Capered Butter Sauce

28 Comments

I first came across this sauce with a recipe called Meatballs with Caper Butter Sauce. I followed the recipe and was really impressed with the sauce. As with many great recipes – ridiculously easy and delicious!

I could see this sauce not only on meatballs, but on any kind of fish, over filet mignons, and boiled potatoes. But today I thought I’d try it with chicken breasts.

Capered Butter Sauce

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup capers, well drained

Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; you don’t want to brown it.

caper6

Once it’s melted, add the lemon juice and capers.

caper5

Heat through, then place in a bowl for serving and keep warm.

caper

I served the sauce over chicken, and with steamed broccoli as a side. A simple, but flavorful meal.

I had already cooked the chicken breasts sous vide the previous day, and when I got them out of the refrigerator they looked like this:

caper1

I added some butter and a pinch of paprika to a skillet and heated the butter over fairly high heat. Then I browned the chicken breasts on both sides.

caper2

When everything was ready, I placed one chicken breast on a plate topped with some of the warm caper butter sauce, and placed the steamed broccoli on the side. The broccoli was good with the sauce, too!
caper41

Asian Glaze

40 Comments

For the past few years I’ve been noticing more and more products like barbeque sauces, marinades, finishing sauces, and the like being sold at supermarkets and gourmet food stores. I’m sure that some are good, but being someone who must make everything from scratch (I can’t help myself) I tend to turn up my nose at these usually overpriced products.

Let’s all agree that anything made at home will always be better and less expensive than purchasing it pre-made. And then when you make it in your own kitchen, you don’t typically add food color, additives, preservatives, thickeners, and other such chemicals.

So some of these products are Asian. But the thing is, it is so darn easy to make your own, with just a few basic Asian ingredients. You can also adjust the ingredients to make the liquid more Thai, more Vietnamese, more Chinese, etc., depending on what you’re after.

I would definitely use the following recipe as a marinade, or to toss some into a stir fry. But because I’m cooking these ingredients a bit, thickening them slightly, I’m calling this a glaze. It can be applied to any grilled meats and fish, or even to vegetables for instant Asian flavor. Here’s what I did.

soy

Asian Glaze

Shallots, about 6 ounces after trimming and peeling
1 tablespoon peanut or other oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce*
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 lime

Begin by finely chopping the shallots. At the end of this sauce you have the option to puree it, so don’t worry about the uniformity of the chopping if you’re going to be pureeing the glaze.


Pour 1 tablespoon of oil into a small pot. Heat it over low heat, and saute the shallots for about 5 minutes.
soy44
Add the soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, and honey to the shallots. Give everything a good stir

Then add the ginger, garlic, and about 1/3 cup of water.
soy77
Stir well, then let simmer over low heat for 20-30 minutes. It depends how you want the consistency of the glaze.

Add the cayenne and squeeze in the lime juice, then remove the glaze from the heat.


Use the glaze while still warm.

I typically cook fish in butter, but butter isn’t very Asian, so I used a little olive oil to pan fry the Swai, and sprinkled it simply with salt and pepper.
soy3

If you don’t like the chopped bits, you can place the glaze in a blender and blend until smooth. It will make the glaze thicker as well.
soy2

If you want, top everything with sesame seeds, pine nuts, or some cilantro!

* If you don’t have sweet soy sauce, use an extra tablespoon on honey.

soy111

Other possible Asian ingredients:
Mirin
Rice wine vinegar
Fish Sauce
Chile Paste
Black bean paste
Hoisin Sauce
Oyster Sauce
Miso
Shrimp Paste
Curry Paste
Sesame Oil

Pickled Salmon

43 Comments

I adore salmon, in just about every way. Hot smoked, cold smoked, raw, grilled – you name it. And I’ve always wanted to make my own gravlax. But then I came across this recipe for pickled salmon recently, and I knew I had to make it first.

It’s from one of my favorite series of cookbooks that I still refer to – the Foods of the World series by Time Life. This recipe is from American Cooking: The Northwest. Sorry for the blurriness.

IMG_5614

Now, this recipe can’t replace gravlax, which is cured salmon. This recipe is pickled salmon, so I’m still promising myself to still make gravlax soon.

I’m typing up the recipe as it is in the recipe book, and I did pretty much follow the recipe. However, instead of a large side of salmon, I used a smaller, frozen filet (thawed first) that was barely over a pound, and crudely adjusted the other ingredients accordingly. I mean, what’s 2 bay leaves divided by 5?

This salmon is super easy to make, and can be enjoyed within one week when it’s stored in the refrigerator, which it must be. I served mine with crackers, quite simply. If you love anything that’s pickled, you’ll love this pickled salmon!

Pickled Salmon
To serve 12 as a first course

2 cups white distilled vinegar
2 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 small onions, peeled, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rings
2 medium-sized bay leaves, crumbled
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons whole cloves
2 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
5 pounds fresh salmon, boned, skinned and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon salt

Combine the vinegar, water, olive oil, onions, bay leaves, mustard seeds, cloves, and white and black peppercorns in a 2-3 quart enameled saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer partially covered for 45 minutes.
sal5
Meanwhile, spread the salmon pieces in one layer on a strip of wax paper. Sprinkle the fish evenly with the salt and let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
sal6class=”aligncenter size-large wp-image-16559″ />
Then drop the salmon into a colander and run cold water over it to rinse off the excess salt.
sal4
Pat the fish dry with paper towels and pack the pieces tightly into a glass jar.


Pour the hot vinegar-and-spice mixture over the salmon, a little at a time, allowing the liquid to seep down slowly to the bottom of the jar before adding more.
sal1
Cool to room temperature, tightly cover with foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate the salmon for at least 24 hours before serving. Tightly covered, it can be safely kept in the refrigerator for about a week.

Before serving, I poured off the liquid. I didn’t want the salmon to be watery.

I added a little marscapone to the crackers before topping them with the salmon, and it was really nice. The marscapone toned down the vinegary flavor, but the salmon was good.

note: I kept the salmon in one piece to do the salting part, rinsed it and dried it, and then sliced it up. Way easier. I also decided to include a few of the pickled onion rings along with the salmon.

Asparagus Pesto

19 Comments
    Do any of you ever dream up recipes? Well this is one of those for me. I remember seeing a plate of salmon steaks topped with a green pesto, but that’s not far fetched for me because I spread basil pesto on just about everything. It’s really good on chicken. But my husband would probably eat shoe soles if they were schmeared with any of my home-made pestos.

    But this one was different, because in my dream I realized that it was a pesto made with asparagus. I woke up and realized that this pesto was something I’d really have to follow through on, because it sounded so unique. It helps, of course, if you love asparagus.

    I tend to serve fresh, springtime asparagus either steamed or roasted. I don’t get too carried away with fancied up recipes, because I really like treating something like asparagus, at its peak of ripe perfection, very simply. It’s my same attitude I have with fresh fish. If it’s really good quality fish, I do very little to it. I just really want to taste the fish.

    But back to asparagus, the idea of the asparagus pesto really stuck with me. Here’s the recipe I created:

    Asparagus Pesto
    Makes about 12 ounces

    1/2 cup whole almonds, about 2 1/2 ounces
    6 ounces asparagus
    1/3 cup olive oil
    5 cloves garlic
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon lemon juice

    Toast the almonds in a cast-iron skillet. I think a little toasting adds more of the almond flavor. Set them aside to cool.
    asp987
    Meanwhile, remove the ends of the asparagus spears and place the 6 ounces of asparagus in a steamer basket.
    asp67
    Steam until tender, about 5-6 minutes over boiling water. Then place them on paper towels to drip dry.
    asp43
    Don’t throw away the asparagus ends. If you want a really enriched asparagus soup, use the ends to make an asparagus stock, that you then can use it in the asparagus soup. I have a recipe here that describes the process.

    In a blender jar, place the cooled almonds, the olive oil, and garlic.
    asp98
    Blend until smooth. Add a little more olive oil if necessary, but you don’t want your pesto too thin.

    asp99
    Add the asparagus, salt, and lemon juice. Notice I didn’t include Parmesan in the recipe.

    asp44

    Process until the pesto is smooth.
    asp22

    So just like in my dream, I spread some of the delicious pesto on two salmon steaks and baked them.
    asp9

    The pesto is fairly mild, but it baked up beautifully and held its shape. It was really good with the salmon.
    asp6

    But just wait! Tomorrow I have another recipe using the asparagus pesto!

Brussels Sprouts Salad

54 Comments

When I buy Brussels sprouts, I immediately think to steam them and toss them in browned butter with a little salt. I’m the only one who eats them between my husband and myself, so that’s always how I prepare them. I may actually love Brussels sprouts more than any other vegetable. And I like them to shine like the mini cabbages they are.

Until today, I’ve never had a Brussels sprouts salad. What? They’re just so good the way I serve them, that I’ve never gotten very adventurous with them. But I put an end to this nonsense today.

Salads of Brussels sprouts are raw. That’s right, simply shaved or sliced and then tossed with a vinaigrette. The vinegar “cooks” and softens the sprouts, just as lime juice cooks fish in ceviche. It’s simply the acid doing its work.

So I bring to you a recipe I adapted from reading many different recipes for Brussels sprouts salads – this one a bit more festive, since it is that time of year!
bruss1_edited-1
Salad of Brussels Sprouts with Dried Cranberries and Hazelnuts, served with an Apple-Maple Vinaigrette

vinaigrette:
1/2 cup olive or hazelnut oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup apple juice or cider
1 tablespoon real maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt.

Combine these ingredients in a mini blender.
maple_edited-1

Blend until smooth; set aside.
maple2

salad:
Brussels sprouts
Toasted hazelnuts
Dried cranberries

First, thinly slice the Brussels sprouts using a knife or the blade fitting on your food processor. Or, use a mandolin like I did. However, since getting a tip from Richard at REMCooks.com, I have purchased a Kevlar glove to use with the mandolin, to avoid any emergency room trips.

bruss6

Thinly slice the Brussels sprouts, without getting too close to the stem ends, which are woody. Slice as many as desired; I only made a small salad for myself. How big a salad you make is up to you.
bruss5

Add some of the dressing and toss. Then let the Brussels sprouts sit for about 30 minutes to let them soften.
maple1

The hazelnuts and cranberries can be tossed in with the salad, but I chose to just sprinkle them on the salad itself.
bruss

I served my Brussels sprouts salad with some grilled salmon, but just about any protein would work.
bruss4

verdict: The salad was very cabbage-like, which is fine, because I like cole slaw, which is also cabbage. However, I think I prefer my Brussels sprouts hot with browned butter.

Chef’s Table

26 Comments

My husband and I visited our daughter and her husband in Tulsa, Oklahoma, over Easter weekend. On Easter Eve, they took us to one of my favorite restaurants in Tulsa. But they surprised us with the Chef’s Table for dinner!

I was really excited. I’ve always wanted to sit at a chef’s table, although I also wondered if it would be too noisy!

Well this turned out to be a fabulous experience. The food was superb, the service perfect, and the ambiance in the kitchen was fun and funky!

The restaurant to which I’m referring is The Tavern, which is a cozy pub-like restaurant in the Brady district in downtown Tulsa. I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed meals at The Tavern. Besides the delicious food, the staff is great, they have a mixologist and a wonderful wine list! What’s not to like?!!

Especially fun for me on this night, of course, was meeting and talking to the executive chef, whose name is Grant Verpasian. He was very generous with his time, even though there was a rousing dinner service during our time at the restaurant.

tav3

One interesting thing to point out is that it was at The Tavern where I had my first sous vide filet mignon. I only know that because that’s what it said on the menu. And that’s what put me over the edge wanting one of these machines. Now that I’m thinking of it, I’m wondering if all of the proteins we had this night had been prepared sous vide, because everything was so tender! Or, maybe Chef Grant is just that good!

So dinner started out with champagne and a sampler of hors d’oeuvres. Delicious. It was exciting to wonder what was coming next for our five courses, all paired with wine.
tav4
Then it was a perfectly cooked scallop sitting in a coulis of fresh peas, topped with crispy prosciutto. Amazing.

tav

The next course was a fabulous lamb braise served over spicy lentils with a cucumber sauce. It was the most tender lamb I’ve ever had. Even my husband, who thinks he doesn’t like lamb, ate everything on his plate.

tav1

Then there was a delicious grilled salmon served with Israeli coulis, which unfortunately didn’t get photographed.

It was after the salmon that we expected the dessert course. But that’s when beautiful rare steaks came out, topped with crab in the chef’s signature “angry” sauce, which was spicy and very Creole. It went fabulously with the filet.

tav2

Then came dessert. It was an individual banana pie topped with caramelized banana slices, and that’s about all I remember, because I ate it quickly it was so good. To quote my daughter, “It’s funny how you think you’re so full, but when they bring out dessert, there’s always a compartment in your stomach willing to take it in!”

tav6

After that, we thanked Chef Grant and waddled home. We were very full, but extremely happy. I would definitely repeat this experience. Mother’s Day?

note: Chef Grant Verpasian was recently the recipient of the People’s Choice winner at Blank Canvas 2013. Congratulations!

561245_10151604733077174_2030284649_n