May 2015  – In My Kitchen

May 2015 – In My Kitchen

My post this month for “In My Kitchen“, a monthly blogging party organized by Celia from the blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, is going to be a short one.

I’m not in my kitchen as we are vacationing in Key West with family. I’m enjoying a week without any cooking but with much feasting on glorious fresh fish and shell-fish from the Atlantic and Gulf oceans.

Please use the link to read wonderful posts from talented cooks in kitchens around the world. It’s a fascinating glimpse into other food cultures, and seasonal cooking from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

Key West

Key West

My brother made me this wonderful salt-cellar in his workshop and brought it as a gift. It’s made from a mix of maple, oak, cherry and walnut.

Salt-cellar
It will certainly enjoy pride of place when I get home.

I have a few new cookbooks and have already made some wonderful dishes from each of them.

New Cookbooks

New Cookbooks

I’ve been using a mixture of seeds with many of my vegetable dishes to add extra crunch. I call it Seedy Seasoning Mix.

Seedy Mix

Seedy Mix

So far I have used it with zucchini, green beans, and roast carrots (to be posted later this week).

Zucchini

Seedy Seasoning with Zucchini

Green beans with spinach and seedy mix

Green beans with spinach and seedy mix

Roast Carrots with Garlic Mayonnaise and Seedy Mix

Roast Carrots with Garlic Mayonnaise and Seedy Mix

And lastly, I’ve discovered a trick for making a sugar-free (at least refined sugar) teriyaki sauce. The magic trick is dates; blended with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and water.

Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce

Hello from Key West, I will be home next week and look forward to catching up with you all.

90 miles to Cuba

90 miles to Cuba

April in the Kitchen – Teriyaki Salmon with Spring Vegetables

April in the Kitchen – Teriyaki Salmon with Spring Vegetables

Did you ever think there could be a “healthy” teriyaki sauce? Certainly one without MSG is making progress. But, what about one without granulated sugar? Impossible! Well, I’m going to give you an alternative…dates, yes dates. This sauce consists of medjool dates as the sweetener. What a brilliant idea, don’t you think? Simply soak them in warm water for a few minutes, then dump them with some garlic, ginger, soy sauce and rice vinegar into the jar of your blender. Puree all of them together with some of the soaking water from the dates until smooth. That’s all there is to it. It goes together very quickly.

I’m sorry to say I didn’t invent the sauce. I saw it in a post on the blog “A Pinch of Yum” for 30-Minute Sesame Mango Chicken. It was too good to pass up. If you are not familiar with that blog, it’s worth a visit as she posts some great recipes, many of them healthy and vegetarian.

This is a thicker sauce than my own “old” favorite using maple syrup. You’ll find that recipe here from an earlier post in February of this year.

I marinated some wild caught salmon steaks (the first of the season) in the sauce, then sautéed them quickly. They were still slightly pink in the middle, just the way we like them. Served with a quick stir fry of asparagus and snap peas with a spoonful of roast garlic lemon butter it was a quick and delicious mid-week dinner. You’ll find the recipe for the roast garlic and lemon butter here.

Salmon Steaks in Teriyaki Sauce

Salmon Steaks in Teriyaki Sauce

 Teriyaki Sauce

  • 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 
Dates

Medjool Dates

  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.
Teriyaki Sauce with Dates

Teriyaki Sauce with Dates

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

Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce

Grilled or Sautéed Salmon with Teriyaki Sauce

I sautéed the salmon steaks but they would be equally wonderful on the BBQ.

  1. Marinate salmon steaks or fillets in the sauce for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour in the fridge.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of peanut or other vegetable oil in your skillet on medium high heat.
  3. Add the salmon, skin side down.
  4. Saute on medium high heat for about approximately 10 minutes total for every inch of thickness. We like our salmon on the rare side and they weren’t quite so thick, so I started the steaks skin side down and turned them after 4 minutes.
Wild Caught Salmon

Wild Caught Salmon

Asparagus and Snap Peas with Roast Garlic and Lemon Butter

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, ends snapped and cut into pieces about the length of the snap peas. I used a spiral diagonal cut, turning the stalk a half way round after each diagonal slice. That exposed more of the inner part of the stalk to the heat, cooking is a bit faster.

    Asparagus

    Asparagus

  • About 3-4 cups of snap peas, stringed if necessary and cut in half lengthwise

    Snap peas

    Snap peas

  • 4 scallions, cleaned and cut in half lengthwise, then into pieces the same size as the asparagus and peas.

    Snap Peas and Scallions

    Snap peas and scallions

  • 2 tablespoons of roast garlic and lemon butter, (or 2 garlic cloves, finally minced, plus the zest and juice of one lemon, and 1 tablespoon of butter)

    Roast garlic and lemon butter

    Roast Garlic and Lemon Butter

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium low heat.
  2. If not using the roast garlic butter, add the minced garlic to the pan and saute until softened but not brown.
  3. Add the asparagus to the pan and turn up the heat to medium high. Saute for about 4 to 5 minutes until bright green and beginning to soften.
  4. Add the snap peas to the pan and saute for an additional 3 to 4 minutes until everything is bright spring green and slightly softened but still crisp.

    Asparagus with Snap Peas

    Asparagus with Snap Peas

  5. Finish with the roast garlic butter or add the lemon zest and juice plus the tablespoon of butter. Continue to heat until everything is coated with sauce.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Asparagus and Snap Peas

Asparagus with Snap Peas and Roast Garlic/Lemon Butter

Salmon, asparagus, and fresh peas…this meal is the essence of spring. What are you serving to celebrate the season?

I’m taking this to share on Fiesta Friday #66 hosted by Angie. If you would like to see what is on the menu, come pay a visit to the party.

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday

February in the Kitchen – Teriyaki Sauce

February in the Kitchen – Teriyaki Sauce

This is the favored oriental sauce in our household. This recipe makes 3 cups, believe me you will find lots of uses for it. Commercial teriyaki sauce often has all kinds of nasty ingredients including MSG. It’s easy to make your own, and then you control what goes into it and your family. This recipe is also a bit different because it uses maple syrup, it adds a wonderful depth of flavor. Use honey if you can’t get organic grade B maple syrup.

Terikyaki sauce

Terikyaki sauce

I served this with the oven baked crispy chicken wings from yesterday’s post, but it also makes awesome teriyaki chicken or a marinade for skirt steak. For teriyaki chicken simply brush a cut up chicken or chicken parts with sauce and bake for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes at 400 degrees F. Start checking the breasts at the 45 minute point as (depending on size) they could be done earlier. Baste the chicken with more sauce a couple of times while it is cooking. Then heat some extra sauce to serve over the chicken and some steamed rice.

Teriyaki Sauce

  • 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 or organic cane sugar
  • 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.
Chicken wings with Teriyaki Sauce

Chicken wings with Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce