Saturday, April 25, 2015

Salmon with Fennel and Raki

Friday 24 April
We had a bulb of fennel to use, but wanted a change from our usual recipes.  Came up with something tasty involving salmon on Epicurious, but a close reading showed that the recipe was bass-ackwards.  
You don't crush fennel seeds and then toast them, you toast them whole and then crush them.  You don't go to the trouble of making a compound butter and then fry things in it, because the compound contents frizzle and blacken before the main ingredient is done.  You don't add water to pan-browned salmon, because it overcooks and the skin gets mushy. 

So we remade it as needed: toasted whole fennel seeds, then ground; made half the amount of compound butter; sliced the fennel horizontally, to be tender rather than showy but stringy, and fried it and the salmon in regular butter and oil.  The salmon browned at medium-high for a much shorter time on each side, uncovered, with no water, until each side was crispy brown and the middle was just done; and we used raki (which we had) instead of Pernod (which we didn't).

Damn good, if by now a completely different recipe.

Pork and Asparagus with Lemon-Caper Sauce

Thursday 23 April
Tonight we were inspired to make scaloppine al limone e capperi, but as usual in our house, using thin slices of pork tenderloin instead of veal, and patting them with salt and fresh leaves of lime thyme from the garden.  
Just pan-fried in butter and oil for about a minute each side, removed, deglazed the pan with lemon, threw in a couple of forkfuls of drained capers, and monté-ed with a bit more butter.  Poured the sauce on the pork, and that was it.
As a side, we added a batch of asparagus nuked according to Alton Brown's method.  They were somewhat odd-sized, so some were more cooked than others, but they still had more flavor than the boiled kind.

Thai Beef Salad

Wednesday 22 April
We had some chunks of steak left over from Monday, some salad stuff in the crisper, and cilantro flourishing in the garden.  All of that called up visions of Thai beef salad.  It was just as here, but we omitted all chile for the sake of Holt's stomach.

The lack of spice made the dressing appear much sweeter, so next time we have to omit chile (and we hope that doesn't happen), we will also cut down on the sugar.  
But the salad still tasted terrific and looked gorgeous.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Tuesday 21 April
Barbara threw this together with Holt's advice, though she's always the one who remembers that it's supposed to contain one egg per person.

Steak and Salad

Monday 20 April
Holt is still feeling bad, so we are keeping things simple.  Barbara fried up a couple of little sirloin steaks on the grill-pan and threw together a cucumber, red onion, and romaine salad.  Forgot to even take a picture.

Creamy Chicken and Portobellos

Sunday 19 April
Poor Holt was not feeling well, so Barbara went on a Kroger mission to get him something easy on the stomach for tonight's dinner.  After long rummaging, she managed to find a package of Tyson chicken thighs that were uninjected with fake broth or chemicals. 
She chopped up three or four portobello mushrooms and seared and browned them with some garlic and shallot,  till they gave up their juices and could be removed and set aside.
In the same pan, she browned the chicken on both sides and then braised on low heat in chicken broth, with a sprinkling of rosemary.   When it was done, she added a big glugg of heavy cream to boil and thicken, and tossed the mushrooms back in the pan to rewarm.

Tasty, yet soothing.

Grilled Swordfish and Vegetables

Saturday 18 April
Barbara was at an AAUP regional meeting all day, so Holt had to go to Findlay Market all by himself (one of the other times he's done that, one of our friendly vendors asked him, "where's your sidekick?").  He came back with a good load of varied vedge and an envie for a big grillup.
Got out a pair of swordfish steaks, and when Barbara got home, marinated them in oil, lime, and thyme for only 10-15 minutes; you don't want to turn them into seviche. 

Heated the grill, and laid on some oiled and salted slices of red onion (with the butt end still holding them together so they don't fall through the grill), red bell pepper, and fanned-out zucchini.
When those were done and resting on a hot platter, threw the swordfish on and gave it a turn to make grillmarks.

The fish was perfectly cooked, and the marinade gave it both zest and moisture.  We need to remember to marinate more often.