June – Cilantro and Lime Crema

June – Cilantro and Lime Crema

Cilantro Lime Crema

Cilantro Lime Crema

 

Use this easy and quick lime crema to add flavor to tacos, tostadas, nachos or drizzle it over a bowl of tortilla or black bean soup. During the warmer months I keep a small jar of it on hand to add a cooling (although you could make it ‘hot’) jolt of flavor. Dairy products will soften the heat of spicy foods.

I only used a tablespoon of finely minced jalapeno but feel free to add more if heat is your thing.

Ingredients:

  • juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 1/4 cup of finely minced cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon of finely minced jalapeno (or more to taste)
  • pinch of kosher salt

Method:

  1. In a small bowl whisk together all the ingredients, saving a few zests of the lime and cilantro leaves to garnish.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.

That’s all there is to it. It will keep a few days in the fridge, thickening slightly.

I bet the folks over at Fiesta Friday would find this useful. It’s Fiesta Friday #438, a virtual (can you believe how many things are still virtual!?) blogging party that predates Covid. Angie hosts the party. Click on the link to find ideas for celebrating the 4th, decorating your home, or keeping the kids busy with crafts now that school is out.

 

January – Marinade

January – Marinade

MARINADE, that’s the only title on a slip of paper that was clipped to my mother’s refrigerator for many years. The words are now smeared by water droplets but the writing is still legible.

Marinade

Marinade

My mother has been gone for some years but I treasure these glimpses of her thoughts and life. And this is a very useful, simple recipe to keep around.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of bourbon
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • dash of dry mustard

Can be used on all meats…chicken, pork, London broil, fish. Marinate for 2 hours but not longer than 24.

This is quite a strong marinade. I wouldn’t marinate fish for longer than 30 minutes, chicken for 2 hours, thick cuts of beef and pork can take the 24 hours. But I recommend 6 hours for a thinner cut. Longer than that and the meat will turn mushy. This marinade has done wonders for steaks of questionable tenderness. Flank steak is infinitely improved by a 6-8 hour bath. The marinade has a definite Asian slant, you could use sake or brandy instead of the bourbon. My mother usually had bourbon around as my father had a large bourbon and water every night before dinner.

 

 

I marinated this flank steak for about 6 hours, then grilled it on high heat for about 4-5 minutes a side. It was delicious, juicy and tender.

June – Teriyaki Chicken with Coconut Rice

June – Teriyaki Chicken with Coconut Rice

Teriyaki sauce has four main components: soy sauce, sake (or mirin, if you’re taking it easy on the booze), sugar and ginger. It’s your your basic Asian seasoning/marinade. However, commercial teriyaki sauce often has all kinds of added nasty ingredients, including MSG, as well as the basics. Here’s the good news, it’s easy to make your own. You get to control what goes into it.

Sugar is one of the essential ingredients, but what if you are avoiding cane sugar? I suggest replacing it with dates. It produces a thick sauce which is also delicious as a condiment on any Asian inspired rice bowl. Another version of teriyaki sauce uses maple syrup plus coconut sugar instead of case sugar. It’s a thinner sauce, good for dipping or marinating as well as drizzling. Both are delicious.

I first published the date sugar teriyaki sauce in April of 2015 in Teriyaki Salmon with Spring Vegetables. I had completely forgotten about this sauce until a kind reader commented on it. It’s time to revisit it.

Salmon Steaks in Teriyaki Sauce

Salmon Steaks in Teriyaki Sauce

Medjool Dates

Medjool Dates

Teriyaki Sauce with Medjool dates

Ingredients:

  • 15 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in 1/2 cup of very warm water for 30 minutes
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce, regular or low sodium
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • Optional – pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Optional – 1/4 cup sesame oil

Method:

  1. Soak the pitted dates in the hot water
  2. Dump the dates and rest of the ingredients (including the soaking water) into your blender and blend until very smooth.
  3. Pour into a container until ready to use.

This will keep in the fridge for at least a week, we found it got “hotter” and spicier the longer it sat.

It can also be used as a marinade and sauce for teriyaki chicken.

Teriyaki Chicken

Teriyaki Chicken

It’s what I call a non-recipe for teriyaki chicken:

  1. Marinate chicken with the teriyaki sauce for 30 minutes to an hour.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Bake the chicken for 30 to 45 minutes, until done to your liking.
  4. Serve extra sauce as a garnish

For the coconut rice, I just replace half the water in your regular recipe for cooking rice with coconut milk. Place a couple of slices of ginger on top and cook as usual.

The second option using maple syrup as a sweetener was first published in February of 2015. I must have been on a teriyaki kick that year. It was just titled Teriyaki Sauce, you will find the post here.

Teriyaki sauce with Maple Syrup

Teriyaki sauce with Maple Syrup

Here it is served on the Best Ever Crisp Chicken Wings, another post from 2015 (and also one I had forgotten about). For crispness without frying these use baking powder and a two temperature bake.

Chicken wings with Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce with Maple Syrup and Coconut Sugar

  • 3 cups of sake
  • 1 cup of mirin (try to get one that has only water, rice, koji, and salt as ingredients)
  • 1 cup of organic soy sauce or shoju
  • 2 cups of coconut sugar or succcanat
  • ½ cup of pure grade B maple sugar or honey
  • 10 slices of ginger
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly (our family likes garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon of arrowroot, dissolved in a bit of water
  1. In a large saucepan, bring all the ingredients (except the arrowroot) to a simmer.
  2. Simmer for 1 hour until slightly thickened.
  3. Stir in the dissolved arrowroot and cook until it thickens.
  4. Strain and let cool until ready to serve.

 

This will keep several weeks in the fridge.

 

 

 

 

May – Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

May – Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

I must admit that I have been reluctant to try all the various forms and recipes for pesto out there that aren’t ‘traditional’. I have a great love for pesto made with fresh from the garden basil. But, on the www you can find pesto made from almost anything. The greens include basil, mint, spinach, cilantro, seaweed, arugula, chard, kale and Italian parsley. The nuts can include pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and almonds. Whew! The term pesto has stretched to include almost any green and nut whirled to a chunky paste with olive oil (although even that is not used exclusively).

But now is a different time, we are all pushed to use ingredients and our pantry in ways that would have been unimaginable a few months ago. During the past few months I have seen many creative and interesting recipes out there. Waste is not an option when you are trying to make your grocery shopping trip last as long as possible. A forgotten head of broccoli was looking a little sad in the back of the produce drawer. A few months ago I might have thrown it into the worm bin. Not now. The salmon from the back of the freezer also needed cooking. Combining the two together was a delicious surprise. This version of charred broccoli pesto doesn’t contain any nuts or basil. But it tastes delicious and you won’t miss them. The charring adds a lot of umami flavor and makes up for any lack of nuts or basil. There are only 4 ingredients; roast charred broccoli florets, garlic, parmesan and olive oil (plus salt). Whiz them all in your food processor for a few seconds and voila! It certainly perked up the salmon.

Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

Charred Broccoli Pesto

Charred Broccoli Pesto

Charred Broccoli Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled but left whole
  • 1 large head of broccoli, florets broken into smaller pieces (save the bigger stems for another dish)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of parmesan cheese, either grated or broken into chunks
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt to taste

Put any unused pesto into a small jar and top with olive oil. It will keep for at least a week.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Cut and wash the broccoli into small florets, place them on the baking sheet and coat with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Reserve the stems, they are delicious when peeled tough skin and stir fried.
  4. Roast until the edges of the florets begin to crisp and brown, and the broccoli is tender. This will take about 30 minutes.
  5. In a food processor pulse the broccoli, parmesan, and garlic cloves. In a slow stream add the additional 1/4 cup of olive oil.
  6. Taste and add salt if necessary.
Charred Broccoli Pesto

Charred Broccoli Pesto

The miracle idea of slow roasting is that it is difficult to overcook the fish. The end result is velvety soft, moist and cooked all the way through. This method has become my preferred way of cooking salmon. Although the salmon had been in my freezer for a few months, you would have thought it was caught that morning.

This was a smaller piece of salmon, just right for 3. If you have a larger piece you will need to either increase the cooking time, or cut it into individual portions before cooking.

The slow cooked salmon was one of the methods reviewed in an exhaustive testing by Food 52 where they did a comparison of salmon cooked 12 ways.

It was one of their favorites.

Slow Roasted Salmon

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb salmon filet
  • 1/2 cup of charred broccoli pesto

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil
  3. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the baking sheet and coat with the pesto
  4. Bake for 30 minutes.
Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

 

The inspiration for the charred broccoli pesto came from the blog The Modern Proper. They added basil but alas it was not to be had by me. I didn’t miss it and don’t think it is necessary.

 

Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

Served with a stir fry of red Chinese cabbage, onion, and broccoli stems.

I am taking this dish to share with the folks at Fiesta Friday, this week it’s #329. I am a cohost along with Diann @ Of Goats and Greens

Make your way over to Angie’s, the host of Fiesta Friday, to read all the amazing posts about food and crafts. It’s a amazing variety of bloggers. And, thank you for visiting me. I would love to hear from you.

February – White Fish with Magic Green Sauce

February – White Fish with Magic Green Sauce

Have you heard of basa? It is a freshwater fish, a type of catfish and its Latin name is Pangasius bocurti. It was on sale at my local fishmonger recently and although they admitted it was farmed, they said it was raised with best practices according to their supplier. The fish is native to Southeast Asia and farmed in large numbers in pens around the Mekong River system in Vietnam, as well as China and Cambodia. There is some controversy between various seafood watch organizations as to the sustainability and environmental impact of farming it. The Seafood Importers Association of Australasia is a strong advocate, the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise Program does not recommend it, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch’s montereybayaquarium.org website rates it as a “good alternative” to catfish but with some caveats.

Basa is described as having large, white fillets with no bones, and flesh that is moist with a light, firm texture and a mild fish flavor. This makes basa a versatile species that can be used in a multitude of recipes and cooking styles.

I had great aspirations and was inspired to cook it according to the recipe posted for Goan Fish Curry by Caroline’s Cooking. But then it was 6 pm and I couldn’t find the coriander seeds and didn’t have a fresh tomato (it being the dead of winter and pouring rain outside). I quickly lost my ambition. The curry will have to wait, maybe this weekend. But, plain pan fried fish sounded very boring. What to do? Searching for inspiration I stumbled upon one of my old blog posts for Magic Green Sauce, written almost a year ago. Magic Green Sauce elevates almost any “plain” food straight up to heavenly. Try it on grilled chicken breasts or tofu, you will not be disappointed.

I made a few alterations to the basic recipe, using what items were on hand. Here is the recipe so you don’t need to look it up:

Magic Green Sauce (makes about 2 cups)

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup packed mixed parsley and cilantro, I added a few sprigs of mint (basil or Thai basil would have been lovely but I did not have any on hand)
  • I small piece (about an inch) of lemon grass (strictly optional but found in the back of the crisper drawer and love its aroma)
  • 1 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • Juice of 1-2 limes (I like 2)
  • 1/2 cup water (I used coconut water)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup shelled cashews (original recipe uses pistachios)
  1. Pulse all the ingredients except the nuts in the bowl of your food processor until smooth and well incorporated.
  2. Add the pistachios or other nuts and blend until mostly smooth.
  3. Serve as a dip, a spread, or sauce. You may thin with additional water or oil if needed. I like mine the consistency of a thick mayonnaise.

This will keep for a week and is better if allowed to mellow for a few hours before using, if you have the time.

Magic Green Sauce

Magic Green Sauce

Magic Green Sauce

Magic Green Sauce

I prepared the fish simply, processing a couple of handfuls of cashews till the size of panko crumbs, lightly coating the fish in the nuts to have a crunchy outside. Then quickly sautéing the filets in coconut oil on medium high heat. It took only a few minutes. You could also use a coating of flour or panko break crumbs instead of the nuts. I wanted this to be gluten free.

Sauteed Basa with Magic Green Sauce

Sauteed Basa with Magic Green Sauce

The original recipe for Magic Green Sauce came from the blog A Pinch of Yum, one of my favorites.

Try this sauce with a tray of roasted vegetables as well.

Roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes

Roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes

Magic Green Sauce

Magic Green Sauce

I am taking this dish to Fiesta Friday #161 hosted by Angie. Her cohost this week is Laura @ Feast Wisely. Click on the link to join the fun and read the recipes brought to the virtual party by other bloggers.