Sunday, March 11, 2012

Crab Salad

It seems a bit of a reach to call this a recipe.  It's so simple.  But sometimes the simple things are the best.
My sister Cindy and I used to frequent this sushi place in Savannah.  Cindy's favorite roll was a gunken-type sushi filled with some type of crab salad.
When I was home during December, she and I went back to that sushi place, and the crab gunken roll was nowhere to be seen.  Needless to say, Cindy was heartbroken.  I started thinking about the crab salad (and the shrimp salad, which used the same basic ingredients) and figured it couldn't be that hard to make.
The biggest stumbling block I faced when I decided to replicate this recipe was access to good quality crab meat.  I ended up settling for lump crab meat in a pouch.  Is it the same as fresh crab from home?  No.  Is it better than canned crabmeat?  YES!
Here is a shot of all the ingredients I used: 1 pouch of crabmeat, some lemongrass paste, Duke's mayonnaise, dijon mustard and chopped scallions.  I think Japanese mayo would be a better choice, but I can't find it where I live.  Japanese mayo seems to be a bit sweeter.
So here's a shot of the ingredients in a bowl.  I can't really give you amounts, because it depends on what you decide to put in your salad.  It just needs to come together and look like crab salad.  I mixed mine with a fork because I wanted to break some of the crabmeat up, but not all of it.  Don't over mix this.  You want chunks of crabmeat in there.
This tastes very similar to what I remember from the sushi place.  Cindy will be the final judge, however.  You could do this same thing with shrimp or chicken.
I'm planning to use my batch a couple of different ways.  I have mini croissants to make sandwiches (adding sliced cucumber).  I also have spring roll wrappers, so I'll wrap rice noodles, cucumber, avocado, mango and the salad.  As an appetizer, I could serve this in little phyllo shells with a sliver of mango on the top.  I also think this would be good in a quesadilla with monterrey jack and mango.
Sounds like maybe I should make another batch!

I love Sundays!

This is Bear.  This is how he helps me cook on Sundays.  The only thing that will rouse him from his nap in that sunbeam is his bionic ability to hear food hitting the floor.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

This Is One Happy Dog!

Bear is one seriously happy dog.  We took him up to Rifle Mountain Park so he could run around like a crazy dog.  He did.

As I write this, he is snoring in his crate.  Life is beautiful!

Stuffed Chiles

So this is the first meal I made from the ingredients in my basket this week.

The basket had several Anaheim chiles, so I decided to try stuffing  and baking them.

I started with my regular, go-to meat mixture (one pound of organic ground beef and one pound pork chorizo).  I jazzed it up a little this time, though.  I added a chopped white onion and a chopped Anaheim chile.

I halved and seeded the peppers, stuffed them with the meat mixture and topped them with Monterrey Jack cheese.  I baked them at 350 for about 45 minutes.

These were really good, but I think I could have used more cheese and less meat.  I liked the baked peppers, though.  They became sweet and soft after they were baked.  This was quick and delicious!

My Commute

I was driving out of my neighborhood on Saturday to get a few groceries.  I thought the sky looked so cool, I had to stop and snap a picture.

Simplicity

This was breakfast Saturday morning.  I had a chocolate croissant.  Dev opted for the raspberry cream cheese variety.  I didn't even make them.  They came from a local restaurant, Creekbend Bistro.  We had dinner there Friday night, and I asked if they had any croissants in the case.  Luckily they did, so I knew Saturday morning breakfast would be a breeze!  Dev had his with coffee.  I chose vanilla almond milk (my new favorite beverage).

Stacked Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

This was a quick week night meal.  It doesn't look like much, but it tasted wonderful.

I love enchiladas, but I don't always love the idea of the assembly.  This method yields the same delicious results, but with none of the work.

I can't take credit for this, however.  There was a Tex-Mex restaurant not too far from where we used to live in Alamosa, CO that made their enchiladas this way.  Too bad I can't remember the name of the restaurant....I have their cookbook....somewhere.

So I started with the batch of home made salsa I had in the ice box, but you could certainly use jarred salsa, or even canned enchilada sauce (whatever you have on hand).  I put a few spoonfuls on the bottom of the plate.

One word about oven to table dinnerware.  My dishes are supposed to be oven safe- up to 450.  But really, they aren't.  They can take a low oven (say 200 or 250 for keeping pancakes warm) but right after we ate dinner, both of these plates cracked in half.  Next time, I'll do this on a parchment lined baking sheet, then transfer with a large spatula.  Or better yet- use this as an excuse to buy a set of shallow terra cotta bakers I've had my eye on for a while.... :)

Ok- where were we... Oh yeah, we had a couple of spoonfuls of salsa on the plate.  On top of that, put a flour tortilla.  I didn't even bother to heat them.  If you are being authentic, you could dredge the tortilla in your red sauce first.  Whatever floats your boat!  On top of the flour tortilla, I spread about 4 tablespoons of refried beans with chorizo.  You could use whatever you wanted- even whole beans. On top of the beans I put a layer of grated sharp cheddar and chopped scallions.  White onions would be good here, too, and probably more authentic.  Then stack another tortilla, more beans, more cheese, more onions and one more tortilla.  I put more salsa on top, then covered it with cheese and more onion.   I baked mine on 375 for about 15 or 20 minutes.  You want it to go kinda slow to warm everything and melt all the gooey cheese.

I took them out of the oven and put them on the table.  The garnish was chopped cucumber.  If had cilantro and fresh tomato, I would have used that, too.

This is really rich, but it's a belly filler.  If you wanted to add a nice, clean touch, you could put a salad out there with it.  I didn't.  It was Wednesday.  I was hungry and tired.

Bountiful Baskets!

That amazing pile of fruit and vegetables all came from my share of Bountiful Baskets this week.

I guess I can't complain that I don't have anything to cook for dinner this week, huh?  If anything, I'm going to struggle to use or freeze it all before it begins to decompose.

Already I feel like it's making me a little healthier.  This weekend I've tried to use as much of it as I can, which means that meat has definitely taken a back seat on the menu.

I'll try to blog all the different things I make with all this goodness.  I swear, half the battle is remembering to take pics in the heat of battle!

Cheese, Grommet!

Do you know what that is?  That is a tiny piece of cheese.  The last tiny bit of a chunk of cheese I will miss horribly.  The name of this amazing cheese is Reypenaer.
Let me tell you what the wrapper says about this cheese....
"Reypenaer cheese, one of the great Dutch cheeses, is carefully matured for about one year.  This Dutch gourmet cheese is aged less than the Reypenaer Ysop, although it is already very old as cheeses go.  It does not have the sharper tangy taste of the Reypenaer Ysop, instead it has a soft and creamy flavor that lingers on the palate.  Simply delicious!"
You know what I say about this cheese?  If I can't find it anywhere anymore I will die.  This cheese is the love child of a really good smoked gouda and a really expensive parmigiano reggiano.  I think it is pretty sharp and tangy- even if the wrapper disagrees with me.
I found this in the fancy cheese section of the Montrose City Market.  I hope I can find it somewhere nearer to Rifle.  This was so good, I'd be willing to order it on the internet.  And pay horrible shipping charges.  And suffer the jeering of all my friends.
This isn't the sort of cheese you grate over nachos.  This cheese is to be enjoyed in small amounts, with a glass of wine.  The flavor is strong and assertive.  I doubt it would play well with others.
If you are a lover of cheese- you owe it to yourself to track this down and try a little.  I promise you won't be disappointed!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Late Night Snack

Sometimes simple and easy is best. I was feeling snacky, but I didn't want anything complicated.
Options? Hmmmm... Girl Scout cookies or... Toast!
Toast wins! I sliced into a loaf of Dev's homemade wheat bread, popped it into the toaster, then slathered it with salted butter. After contemplating toast condiments, I settled on half Nutella and half almond butter. Washed down with a cup of chamomile tea, this was the perfect snack!

Kippermole!

Kippered herring is a truly misunderstood, underutilized ingredient in the modern kitchen (outside of Scotland, I guess).
The more I read about heart healthy foods, and about sustainable sources of omega 3s, the more I realize I need to eat more small fish.  Apparently, small fish like anchovies, herring, etc. are a better source of omega 3s, and they are more sustainable.
I like kippered herring.  I can remember discovering it when I was little and watched my dad eat sardines on saltine crackers with mustard.  My dad loved all kinds of smoked fish.  Of course, it wasn't until I was older and my palate become a bit more sophisticated, that I really got into smoked fish.
Fast forward to earlier this morning.  I was having a phone conversation with one of my best friends, Lizard.  She was telling me about some of the stuff her brother found in her parents' pantry earlier in the week.  Two tins of kippered herring appeared on the shelves.  Her father had been a fan.  The tins ended up coming home with her.  We were discussing what to do with said kippered herring, when I remembered a while back, I watched a "Good Eats" episode where Alton Brown mixed kippered herring (or maybe sardines) with avocado.  The little squirrel-driven wheels in the back of my head began turning...and an idea was born....KIPPERMOLE!
I began by searching for the tin of kippered herring I was sure was in my pantry.  After that was secured, I sought out the on-its-way-to-overripe avocado I kept on my counter.  A quick survey of the contents of the produce drawer of my icebox turned up one lonely, wilted scallion, the end of an English cucumber, and a lime.  Now that was a list of ingredients I could work with!
I took the kippered herring out of the tin, drained it briefly and threw it in my small work bowl.  I halved the avocado, removed the pit and scooped the flesh into the bowl as well.  I snipped the scallion in with my kitchen shears and chopped in the cucumber.  I finished it by juicing the lime, adding a tablespoon or two of Greek yogurt and a good dash of kosher salt.  All I needed now was some tortilla chips.
The results are far from beautiful, but oh my- it is tasty.  Addictive is actually a better word.  And really, it's not a terrible snack.  I'm not sure that I'd call it healthy (after adding the tortilla chips), but if you served it on cucumber rounds or something, it wouldn't be half bad.
Even if you don't think you like smoke fish- I urge you to give kippered herring a try.  Who knows?  You might even develop an addiction to something that's good for you!
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