Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What’s missing?

Now that I have a recipe index, I am being informed of what is missing from it.  Mostly it has been my fish taco recipe, but our most favorite recipe for Salmon is also missing.  So here they are (I suspect my web master will quickly teach me to update the index).

Fish Tacos

I generally use Albacore to make these (generally have a lot in the freezer from the annual fishing trip my Dad and Brother's go on), but you can use pretty much any fish..   I had some mystery fish in the freezer labeled with a "P"...  it turned out to be Pargo, which turns out to make REALLY good fish tacos!

3 – 4  servings

Fish Part:
¾ cup beer
¾ cup flour (replace about 2 tablespoons of white flour with whole wheat if you have it)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 – 1 ¼ pounds albacore or other firm white fish (like tilapia), cut into strips ~ 3” x 1” x ½ “
~ 3 tablespoons canola oil

Place beer, flour, spices in blender and blend until smooth, scraping down side as needed. Transfer batter to a shallow baking dish or bowl. Add fish, turning to coat all sides.
Heat 1 ½ tablespoons oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Transfer one half (Don’t crowd fish in the pan, cook in 3 groups if needed) of the battered fish to the pan, placing each piece into a little oil.  Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.  Transfer cooked fish to a plate, keep warm.  Add 1 more tablespoon oil to pan and cook remaining fish.  Reduce heat if needed.

Secret Sauce
About ¾ cup yogurt (or low fat sour cream)
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon Chile powder (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
Juice of ½ lime (or more if not a juicy lime)

Whisk together in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat (best if you make up a hour or so ahead of time.  This keeps for a couple of days.

To Serve:
• Heat up corn or small flour tortilla’s.   The best way to heat corn tortillas is in a dry pan or on the grill.   The microwave with a damp towel works good with flour tortillas.
• Shred up cabbage (or buy pre-shredded), add some chopped cilantro if you like. 
• Other extras include diced tomato or fresh salsa, avocado or guacamole, sliced radishes, lime wedges
Put some fish in a warm tortilla or two, add a good spoonful of sauce, cabbage, and any of the extra’s.

Grilled Salmon with Jalapeno Sauce

This a quick way and nice salmon dinner...  or you can do a whole half a salmon for a big gathering.  Add some sautéed spinach and French bread to round out the meal --  and be ready in a half hour.  The salmon is also good without the sauce.  Sprinkle a little dill (or other herb) on top before cooking.

2 servings, can be doubled or tripled,  

¾  to 1-pound salmon fillet
1  tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 ½  teaspoons olive oil
Salt, Pepper

1 ½ teaspoons butter
1-2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and cut julienne
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Freshly ground pepper
Salt to taste
Snipped fresh chives or green onion tops
Lime wedges

Heat grill on high. Put a large piece of foil on a plate, fold in half, and fold up sides about 1/2" -- foil tray should be large enough to hold fillet. Place salmon skin side down on foil.  Brush salmon with olive oil, then sprinkle with lime juice, salt and pepper. Let stand 15 minutes (or at least five minutes). Place foil with fillet on grill, turn down grill to medium or medium high (looking for ~450oF) and cook until fish is almost opaque, about 9 minutes per inch of thickness.

Meanwhile, prepare sauce:  Melt butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add chilies and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat, add yogurt and stir; do not boil (it will curdle if it gets too hot).  Mix in lime juice.  Add salt and pepper.

Transfer fish to platter (skin will stick to foil).  Spoon sauce over. Sprinkle generously with chives.  Garnish with lime wedges.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The recipe index

So to continue on the “I’ve been doing this for a year now” theme, my most wonderful web master has updated the “Food” page on the Fireccoked website to include an index of all the recipes I have posted so far.   I’m sure this will be most helpful for me, when someone asks for a recipe I know I have posted I can quickly provide the link instead of spending 10 minutes looking …  (OK, you are now figuring out how I can get over 200 hits a week), or find a link to post on Chowhound (what I currently do to waste time since TIVO has a dead hard drive and I am unable ... well, unwilling, to watch regular TV).   But I’m hoping that others will find this feature handy too.   In addition to updating the Food page, Roy updated the look of all the pages as well with a bright new color scheme, new headers, and wider format.  Now that the web pages are all done and up to date, I guess I need to find a solution for the DVR problem.  

Friday, February 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, One Year Later

Last February, Roy set up the web site and blog for my birthday present. I have now been blogging for a whole year!  This is the longest I have done any kind of a journal on my own.  I have tried to maintain some standards:  keep it interesting, a bit witty and don’t horribly mangle the English language.  Plus remember: anyone can Google you.   It seems to be popular: I have a total of about 9000 hits, with over 4100 going through to read articles,  I am typically getting 200-300 read article hits per week now. But I can’t get too excited, some significant portion of hits are web spiders (not people), and some are me looking for stuff.    There have been 83 entries, 31 on food and 30 on books. The most popular entry has been the review on Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver.  Enough statistics -- pretty soon you will be wondering how old I am.  Roy claims I have hit my rebellious teenage years in my 40’s (implying that I’m no longer 39…).  My rebellions started small (like not serving green bean casserole at Thanksgiving), and the latest has been to forsake working for a big corporation to start a consulting business… Parallel Semiconductor, LLC.    OK, I will still be working (knock on wood) for big corporations.. but hoping to have a bit more variety, and a bit more free time (although the people in this business keep telling me its feast or famine).   So this February, Roy has set up another web site for me:  Check it out, wish me luck, and expect me to keep being a little rebellious.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sometimes, things don’t turn out how you think…

If it seems like it’s been a long time since I have posted anything about what’s come out of the kiln, well, it has.  The kiln has been fired many times since September (the last time I posted). I have done a couple of bisque firings (not too exciting or photogenic), and I have done two glaze firings…  mostly the same things twice, and some still aren’t done.   For me, there is always the problem of expectations.  When I put glaze on something, I always have in mind what I think it should come out like, even though there are a thousand variables, and I’m not exactly precise about how I do it.  As a result, things different than expected, not implying good or bad, just different.   Sometimes, I just set them aside for long enough to forget my expectation, and can look at them objectively.  But I really didn’t like the pieces in January’s firing.  After more glaze, and another firing, they are better… but have been set aside (and I’m guessing I will add more glaze and fire awaylater).  I did get a few pieces out, some masks, and some small pieces with new glaze.  Check them out.  And remember, if you want something, the best time to ask is soon after it comes out of the kiln, and I have not figured out if I like it or not, when its not past the point of “it’s not like I though it  would be”.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Yin and Yang

So, two recipes today.  Both are good for the soul, but in different ways.  By my logic, if you have this soup for dinner, you are entitled to these brownies for dessert. 

The soup is from the Moosewood Low-Fat cookbook, with a few changes.  I use chicken broth instead of vegetable (mostly because that’s what I have around). For spice, I use Chipotle chili flakes (Chipotle’s are dried smoked Jalapeño peppers) from Native Seed Search.  The original recipe calls for a hot green chili, or you can use plain red pepper flakes.  I think its best when you can taste the chili, but its not hot (and you can adjust to your taste).   You don’t really need to, but I like to finish the soup with just a little half and half.. I think it melds everything together nicely.  I also like to serve with yogurt, or you can serve with lime wedges and cilantro, but its good without the embellishments.

I have made these brownies for long time, they are from 1st cookbook I owned (and that would be the Good Housekeeping Illustrated cookbook). They are so easy I don’t know why you would ever make them from a mix!  They are full of good stuff (chocolate, walnuts, eggs... all quite healthy, plus butter, sugar and flour since it is desert).   The only trick is to “eat in moderation”.

Southwestern Corn and Potato Soup

Serves 3 to 4

1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon Chipotle chili flakes (or red pepper flakes)
¼ teaspoon salt
3 cups chicken broth, might need a bit more
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 small or 1 large sweet potato (the orange kind), diced (about 2 cups)
½ red bell pepper, chipped
3 cups frozen corn kernels (about a 1 lb bag)
Salt and lemon or lime juice to taste
Optional – 2 tablespoons half and half
Serve with plain yogurt, cilantro and/or lime wedges.

In a medium-large saucepan, simmer the onions, garlic chili, and salt in 1 cup of broth for about 10 minutes (will almost be dry).  In a small bowl, mix the cumin with a tablespoon of broth, add to the onions and cook for a couple of minutes (this should be smelling very good). Add the sweet potatoes and remaining broth.  Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, the potatoes should just start to be soft.  Add the corn and bell pepper, and cook for another 10 minutes.  All the vegetables should be tender.
With an immersion blender (blender thing on a stick), puree, but leave some chunks (or you can put half the soup in the food processor and puree).  Add a bit more broth if its too thick plus... optional -- just a bit of half and half.  Add some lemon or lime juice plus salt (if needed.. taste first).   Serve with yogurt, plus cilantro and/or lime wedges.

Fudgy Brownies

This makes a lot (think potluck).  You can easily cut in half and bake in a 6x10 or 8x8 baking pan.

1 cup butter
4 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups coarsely chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 9 x 13” pan with Pam.  In large glass bowl, melt butter and chocolate in microwave, about 1 minute or a bit more (need to stir to see if the chocolate is melted). Stir sugar into chocolate-butter and stir.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well blended after the addition of each egg.  Add the flour, vanilla, and salt to the mixture and stir.  Add the chopped nuts to the mixture and stir to blend.  Pour batter into greased pan.  Bake for 30 – 35 minutes.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Water Color Workshop

You would think that I plenty of time to blog (including time to read and cook so I would have something to blog about), but seems that I have been plenty busy and I haven’t even been golfing!  Last weekend I attended a watercolor painting workshop from Raleigh Kinney. It was a lot of fun, especially since I attended with my Mom (who is already very good at watercolors). 

The technique that Raleigh uses is to start with a value painting (well, after you have found an “interesting” subject).  This is a mono-color painting, starting with a quick pencil drawing, then filling in light and dark.  Only after you are done with this, do you start the final painting.  You start with a pencil drawing, then lay in the background (on wet paper) with low intensity color, then focus on the subject (he does a lot of “negative” painting, doing dark behind something like tree branches), then finish with more shadow and color as needed.  He uses a 2” brush to do most of the work, and can do a full painting in a little over an hour.  His painting technique (wet on wet), from what I know of ceramics, is something that I’m sure would take years to perfect – so while it was interesting, I didn’t set this as my goal to learn.  But where I found he really excelled in design -- how to tell a story in a painting. Plus the value studies were a new concept for me… my sketches have always relied just on lines and color, so this was a new way to look at things.  My big project was doing a painting of a side street in Sienna on a rainy day, based on a photo from our trip last year.
Its scary when you realize how much like your Mom you are, but fun to find the differences.  Mom has done a workshop with Raleigh before, and liked his teaching style. Her goal was to learn how to do landscapes.  If you look at the subject of her paintings, they are mostly things – flowers, birds, animals.  She struggles with landscapes, buildings, things you stand back from.  On the other hand, I suck at drawing things, and going through my sketch book, its pretty much buildings and landscapes, with a few bad drawings of things (like a pigeon).   In the end, Mom ended up with a great landscape painting, I like my painting of a Sienna side street, and still think my flowers.. well, could use improvement.  I’ll stick to buildings and landscapes…  they are fun.