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Posts Tagged ‘salmon’

I have always felt that Easter is the “kick-off” for summer.

This is the time when we, if we are lucky, could sit outside on the deck, having breakfast in the nice and warm spring sun. Not this year though. Even though we had a very mild winter it isn’t warm enough. I was hoping for some garden furniture to come out from the shed but I guess I will have to wait a little longer. It’s actually good, since I am about to re-arrange my whole back yard. I am building new and better flower beds, a little higher than before.  It is a huge project but I can’t wait.

This is also the time when I pick the first flowers to decorate the house with. So far, I have tulips, pearl hyacinths, daffodils, violets and some  apple blossom branches placed in champagne glasses.

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I always try to take good Friday off, it gives me that extra day to work outside and prepare for summer. It is very soothing to just do physical work and “lift things up and put them down..” as they say in a popular commercial here.

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A tradition for me, is to eat poached salmon on good Friday. It is good, healthy and fresh. As one of the side dishes, my mom used to make these little “poison mushrooms” made of eggs, tomatoes and spinach. As a sauce to the fish, we would always have a sour cream. mayo, dill & frozen vegetables mixture. It is just soo delicious (a great summer dish too.) On saturday, we would eat anything but on Easter sunday, we would have lamb.

I don’t like my meat to be pink so I cook my lamb long and slow to make it super tender and infused with flavours. I marinate the lamb in the fridge for a few hours or over night. For anyone who thinks they don’t like lamb this is really a great way of cooking it. I use a steak/ roast, but you could always use any other part of the lamb. Serve with a mint sauce or a delicious rosemary garlic sauce.

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Poached Salmon.

Fresh Salmon. Preferable wild caught. Either one whole salmon or a piece of salmon. As much as you would need for the amount of people you are serving. (Just remember that you can do so many things of the left overs, so don’t be scared of poaching too much.)

Water to almost just cover the fish in the pot.

Black pepper corns, about 10-12.

2 lemons.

1/2 onion.

1 carrot. Cut into medium size pieces.

1/2 orange.

2 bay leaves.

Directions;

It would be great if you have a fish pot but if you don’t, use a large pot. You can also use a cast iron pot /dutch oven.  If you are using portion pieces of salmon, you could just use a frying pan to poach them in. Add the pepper corns, carrot pieces, cut up onion & the bay leaves. Let cook for about 10 minutes to create a broth. Add the fish & the dill. Make sure the water covers about half the fish. Squeeze one lemon and the 1/2 orange into the pot. Let the peel boil with the fish. Some people likes to add some vinegar. I don’t, it makes the meat a little lighter, I use the lemon for that. 

Let come to a boil, then let simmer for about 30 minutes depending on the size of the fish. If you are using portion pieces of fish it will ready much faster. Keep checking it. You know that it is done, when it is starting to loosen from the bones.

Let the fish cool down in the broth. Lift up and plate. You can easily take off the skin if it is cool. If you are experiencing any problems, use a little piece of paper towel as a help.

Cut the last lemon into very fine slices. Add them onto the top of the fish. It is supposed to look like fish scales. Some people use finely cut cucumber slices to decorate the salmon with.

You can serve it hot or cold. Boiled potatoes are great to this poached salmon. As a sauce, I prefer a cold sauce made of sour cream, mayo, dill & some frozen vegetables. Pepper to taste. I of course use hot sauce in mine.

Poison mushrooms.

Hardboiled eggs.

Spinach.

Tomatoes, too big.

Boil down the spinach. I just put them in a pan and let them “melt” with a dash of nutmeg, salt and pepper. You could also use frozen defrosted spinach.

Hard boil the eggs and let cool. Cut the tomatoes. Use 1/3 of the upper part. Cut the very ends of the egg on top and bottom. Stand the egg up with the more narrow part facing up. Add the “hat” meaning the tomato. Cut up the egg white you just cut off the egg. Decorate the “hat” with a few pieces. Stand them around the salmon with the spinach being the “ground”.

Enjoy.

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Lamb roast.

I roast of Lamb.

10 cloves of garlic.

1 sprig of rosemary.

3 tbsp. of olive oil.

1-2 tbsp. of hot sauce (optional.)

Mint, fresh or dried. About 3 tbsp.

Herbs, Dried or fresh. About 1/4 cup.

A pinch of salt & pepper.

Directions.

Add all herbs and the garlic to a food processor. Mix well. Add the olive oil. It will become a pale version of pesto.

Add the mixture to the roast. Massage it into the meat. Make sure it covers any place you can reach. If possible, let marinate in the fridge over night, if not just for a few hours. Turn on the oven on 250 degrees. Put the roast into an oven safe dish. Cover with foil. Let cook for about 3 hours depending on how big it is. You need to look at it after a few hours. It will shrink a bit. When done, just take of the foil and raise the temperature to 450 and make a little colored crust on the roast.

Let it rest for about 5-10 minutes before starting to cut into it.

I prefer to cut very thin slices of the lamb. Serve with any kind of potato side or perhaps just vegetables.

Enjoy!

Happy easter!

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I am all about making things easy and simple. During the weekends, I can cook complicated things, but for the weekdays, it has to be fast and furious!! However, it doesn’t hurt if it looks hard and complicated, that is just an added bonus.

There is nothing worse than you cooking for hours and having people not realizing that you spent most of your day in the kitchen… I learned that early on. One time, I must have been an early teenager, I cooked some chinese complicated dish. It took almost a whole day. When I finally was done, my brothers came home, and it just said “swoosh” and that was the end of that. All gone in a matter of a split second or two. I’m not even sure they knew what they ate. It was the last time I did a complicated family dinner. I was so disappointed. But, that is how my mother (and so many other cooking parents all over the world)  must have felt many times.

I try to come up with simple but fun ways of cooking things, in particular vegetables. It is a little “tricky” for some people to eat that in my house… I see these little isolated vegetable islands on my husbands plate… But, if I make things fancy looking or different from its original shape, it works. (Hm…isn’t that what one does with children, tricking them into eating vegetables??)

Anyway, A really smart way of skipping some carbs is to make zucchini spaghetti. It actually tastes great.

You can serve it to so many things. I choose salmon today…

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Sesame Salmon with Zucchini “spaghetti”.

Fresh salmon. As many pieces as per people you are serving.

Sesame seeds, white non toasted.

Zucchini, yellow and green. Be sure it is fresh and firm or it will taste very bitter.

1 Lemon or lime, squeezed. Or half a lemon, half a lime.

1/2 cup Mirin (next to the soy sauce in the grocery store.)

1/2 cup Soy sauce.

1/2 cup rice vinegar (or vinegar of your choice. You could also use balsamic vinegar.)

1/2 bunch of cilantro or Mexican cilantro. Finely chopped.

Pinch of salt.

Oil for frying.

Salt & pepper to taste.

Directions;

Use a zester  to carve out long spaghetti like strips from the zucchini. Disregard the center that has all the seeds. Collect all the spaghetti into a bowl.

Mix Mirin, soy sauce, lemon/lime, cilantro, vinegar & the pinch of salt together. Pour over the “spaghetti”. Let sit and have the tastes “marry” while you cook the fish.

Pour out the sesame seeds onto a plate. Salt and pepper to taste. Dry the salmon and push it firmly down into the seeds. Let it be very well coated. Don’t forget the sides. You could even do this a little ahead of time and let it rest in the fridge.

Heat up some oil on medium heat. Cook the salmon until seeds turn golden brown. Be sure to not have the heat on too high, or you would just burn the seeds and have the salmon still being raw.

Swirl the zucchini spaghetti onto a fork. Make it into a little “birds nest.” Plate it and place the salmon on top. Decorate with some slices of lemon or lime and sprinkle over some sesame seeds..

Enjoy.

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A good friend of mine asked me how I would describe my food and cooking style. I had to think about it for a while,  since I cook anything & everything. But the answer is I cook “good” food made from great produce. I am very down to earth. I grow lot’s of vegetables in the backyard. I love fishing, going to the butcher to get meat, to the farmers market for vegetables, to my local ethnic stores for any kind of specialty items. I believe one should try to buy as much organic foods as possible, it tastes so much better and it is healthier for you. It can be expensive to buy organic. A tip would be to stay in the season to get a better  price.

Buying directly from the local farmer is a fantastic way of shopping, they need our support. You don’t have to go and buy “food” you could for example go apple picking. People who don’t eat apples, love going apple picking and coming home with bags full of apples not knowing what to do with them besides just eating them. It’s about the work & the experience and knowing where the food comes from that makes you feel good.

I also think that what you cook should be pretty. Have great colors and “style”. Whether you make a bowl of oatmeal, a fancy steak or a decadent dessert  “Make it look good.”  Tease those taste buds from the first second you lay your eyes on the food. I let the designer in me pull it all together on the plate.

Cooking should be easy and  the food should be “clean” not complicated and messy. Things aren’t as difficult to cook as we think and if it is, how can it be simplified?

The better the produce the less attention it will need.

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My absolute favorite fish is Char or Arctic Char as it also is called.

It is a relative to the salmon & Trout. It is called “redding” in Swedish. (The belly of the Char is bright red.) It is a cold water fish. You can fish it in Alaska, Canada and Iceland for example. It’s flesh is so pure and soft. Really delicious.

Char with home-made fries.

Char filets. You can also use salmon. or Trout. (Ask the vendor how much you need for the amount of people you are serving.  I usually buy my Char at whole foods.)

A pinch of salt & pepper.

Lemon or lime.

Idaho potatoes. One per person. (I prefer Idaho but you can use any kind.)

A couple of sweet potatoes.

A splash of oil.

Dried herbs.

Optional;

Dried coriander seeds. Crushed. (They give a little “lemony” taste)

Dill, chopped. For decoration.

Directions;

The fries.Put oven on 400 degrees. Scrub the potatoes. Don’t peel them, the nutrition is in the peel. Cut in approximately 1/2″ slices, Cut the slices into fries. Add to a cooking sheet. Poor over the oil. Add salt, pepper, herbs and spices. Mix with your hands. Spread them out over the cooking sheet so that they are more or less in just one layer. Put into the oven. Bake for about 30-40 minutes. Depending on what kind of potato you use and how thick they are. Check them now and them. Turn them once. When done, take out and sprinkle more spices over fries if needed.

* If you are in a hurry, microwave the fries for a few minutes before putting them into the oven. This saves time. (I do that with baked potato too.)

Plate the fries.

The Char. Salt and pepper the fish filets. Add to a medium hot pan. Skin down first (if the skin is still on.)

Fry for about 3-4 minutes per side. Check, you might just need a couple of minutes on the second side, since you only want a good color. Don’t over cook. Rather the opposite. The Char just melts in your mouth. Plate on top of the fries. finish off with a sprig with dill. Cut up the lemon. Put the lemon wedges on the side on the plate.

You can serve this with a mango chutney and a sour creme based sauce. For example with chopped onions, chopped fresh herbs , some salt & pepper.

Another alternative is to dip the fries in blue cheese dressing. It would be great to serve a side salad to this dish.

Enjoy.

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