Tag Archives: easy

Cooking Food Travel

The Last of Summer Tomato Salad

Et tu, summer?

After my last post about being still, I have to confess that I have been anything but. I woke up one day found myself in London:

I was there for business, but I did manage to fit in dinner with some friends, a few runs in Green Park, a peek at the Prime Meridian in Greenwich:

a meal and a chocolatey porter at the Mean Time brewery:

and a glorious hour at Fortnum & Mason, where I had an internal debate on whether my life would be incomplete without a $700 tea pot:

You know, because I have so many tea parties.

But then I realized that this decision was headed for the same outcome as a purchase I made 10 years ago of pleather pants, so I made a quick jaunt over to Carnaby Street where I bought overpriced scented erasers as souvenirs for the kids.

It was a hectic but productive trip, and as soon as I got home I promptly fell ill. And then got on a plane again soon thereafter.

All this rushing around argues for a bit of simplicity.

One of my favorite things about summer is tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes, to be exact. Colorful, flavorful, deliciously simple. We still have time for that.

I made this salad as part of an dinner we had with friends outdoors on a warm summer night. Because when you are a friend just arriving from Germany, with another on her way to Europe and a third who is Canadian, it would only be logical to stop in for a meal prepared by a Chinese American married to a Brit.

It’s a simple one really — just some slicing and a vinaigrette. But perfectly colorful, tasty, and quick enough to allow you time to enjoy some pause amidst the busyness of everyday life.

HEIRLOOM TOMATO SALAD

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5-6 varied, fresh heirloom tomatoes
  • 3-4 leaves of basil

Preparation

Slice the tomatoes into slices 1/4 inch thick. Place them in a single layer on a serving dish, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

Mix the balsamic vinegar and salt together, until the salt dissolves. Add in olive oil and stir until combined. Grind in some fresh black pepper to taste. Pour over the tomatoes.

Julienne 3-4 leaves of basil and sprinkle over the salad.

Serves 4-6.

 

 

Cooking Food Popular

Soy Garlic and Anise Spareribs

I was going to call this Chinese Peasant Spareribs but decided not to risk retribution from the Chinese government for cooking peasants. But this, as far as I know (with my only credibility being that I am Chinese…American), is considered Chinese peasant food. It’s simple, yummy and comforting.

I took on a new project at work recently. It has to do with mobile, which is interesting if you’re into that. But it’s been a lot more work, and this is how it’s been going:

Now, drug addiction is no laughing matter, but it’s another thing altogether when you’re not on meth but you look like you do. You can see why I might need some comfort.

Before I start making this, I usually put three cups of rice in the rice cooker. If you don’t have a rice cooker, prepare 3 cups of rice per instructions on the package…but I don’t know how to do that because I was born with a rice cooker.

You want to start with some pork spareribs. Or shoulder. Some meat that has some nice fatty parts. Cut them into bite-sized pieces. As you can see, I take very large bites.

Marbling. That’s the nicer-sounding word that I wanted. You want meat with some marbling.

And garlic. Ever wonder why there aren’t any vampire movies where they’re chasing Chinese people? It’s not Chinese food if it doesn’t have garlic in it.

Put soy sauce, water, sherry, roughly chopped garlic, honey and star anise in a large saucepan. Add in pork spareribs.

Bring the pot just to a boil, and then turn down to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 1.5 – 2 hours, til spareribs are very tender.

Serve over rice, generously spooning the sauce over the rice. The sauce is the best part.

I usually reserve the sauce and cook some peeled hard-boiled eggs in it for 30 minutes. When they’re cooled, I stick the pot in the fridge. The eggs will marinate in the sauce overnight and the next day you’ll have delightfully flavored hard-boiled eggs. More Chinese comfort food!

SOY, GARLIC AND ANISE SPARERIBS

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lb pork spareribs or pork shoulder diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 cups soy sauce
  • 1.5 cups water
  • .5 cups sherry
  • 1 cup raw honey
  • 12 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 7 star anise

Place all ingredients into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then turn down to low to simmer. Cover and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours, until pork is tender.

Serve with sauce spooned over rice and a side of vegetables if desired.

Serves 4.

 

Cooking Food

Lentil Sausage Soup

Ok, I’m going to tell you something about me that you can’t tell anyone who lives in California: I like hot dogs.

And I have a couple of packs of them in the freezer.

So I was excited when I saw this recipe from Ina Garten on a cold Sunday night, because it was a super-healthy and flavorful looking soup, mostly. Last time I looked I could not find sausage or hot dogs on any healthiest foods list, but I think life is all about balance so if you have a bunch of healthy, yummy ingredients in your recipe they should balance out the indulgent things. This is how I end up eating fruit-flavored ice creams. (If you follow  my Facebook page, you’ll know that I recently made ice cream for the first time, and am sort of wishing that my eyes were never opened to what’s actually in it.)

This soup is a lot yummier than it looks….and while it’s not the most colorful soup ever, it’s a nice, hearty meal for a winter’s eve.

I didn’t take any pictures of the “making of” this time, sorry. I was too preoccupied with my hair. Here’s what’s going on with it:

  • I’ve been afraid to get it cut again for fear of disrupting my Tokyo haircut. That haircut is magical — completely no-maintenance and for the first time ever I actually kind of have volume. Next time you see Crystal Gayle, you’ll do a double-take and then realize that it’s just me.
  • I have actually been curling my hair to make it look shorter. This has resulted in a co-worker calling me San-do-ra in the office. It makes me look like I’m ready to go out on the town…in a 1950s kind of way.
Curled hair portrait, courtesy of photographer age 9, via Instagram

Anyway, it’s fun to mix it up every once in a while. Apologies for going on about it. There aren’t many women at the office and sometimes I just want to talk about my hair.

Back to the recipe. When I made it I substituted hot dogs for kielbasa, just because I had them. Make up a batch and enjoy it for a few days!

LENTIL SAUSAGE SOUP (from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound French green lentils (recommended: du Puy)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 4 cups diced yellow onions (3 large)
  • 4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (2 leeks)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 large cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups medium diced celery (8 stalks)
  • 3 cups medium diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
  • 3 quarts Homemade Chicken Stock, recipe follows, or canned broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 pound kielbasa, cut in 1/2 lengthwise and sliced 1/3-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine or red wine vinegar
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
Preparation

In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.

In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are translucent and tender. Add the celery and carrots and saute for another 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and drained lentils, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, or until the lentils are cooked through and tender. Check the seasonings. Add the kielbasa and red wine and simmer until the kielbasa is hot. Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

Makes 8-10 servings.

HOMEMADE CHICKEN STOCK

Ingredients

  • 3 (5-pound) chickens
  • 3 large onions, unpeeled and quartered
  • 6 carrots, unpeeled and halved
  • 4 celery stalks with leaves, cut in thirds
  • 4 parsnips, unpeeled and cut in 1/2, optional
  • 20 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 15 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 20 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in 1/2 crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
Preparation

Place the chickens, onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, parsley, thyme, dill, garlic, salt, and peppercorns in a 16 to 20-quart stockpot with 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Skim the surface as needed. Simmer uncovered for 4 hours. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander, discarding the chicken and vegetables, and chill. Discard the hardened fat, and then pack the broth in quart containers.

 

Yield: 6 quarts

 

Cooking Food

Garlic Tortilla Flatbread

November is upon us and that means bad food photo lighting for those of us who do our cooking in the evening and don’t have much in the way of lighting equipment (Exhibit 1, above). It’s also the month of Thanksgiving, and this past year I’ve tried to focus more on giving thanks as much as possible — it’s healthy, which in my book means it’s just like exercising and thus gives you free license to eat more. So in the spirit of the month of gratitude, and of mitigating the depressive impact of poorly lit food photos, let me give thanks:

…for my Sunday spent by ocean, and the Instagram app that enabled me to capture it:

…for mussels, which I can see only smothered in meuniere sauce:

…for starfish big

…and small

…and for hermit-crab gatherers who poke sea anemones in the tidepools.

I’m also really thankful for tortillas, because I can just buy them, and because we often make thin-crust pizzas using them as a base. I’m thankful for the tortillas that Trader Joe’s makes. They’re so good.

I’m thankful for our friend Simon, who was the best man at our wedding and who’s visiting from England, who had the idea to make garlic bread with tortillas.

I’m thankful that this recipe is so easy, but outrageously delicious. And low-fat, if you factor in all the thanksgiving I’ve been practicing.

Spread about 1/3 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the tortilla, pizza-style. Add two cloves of minced garlic and some dried herbs, like oregano or herbes de provence.

Then, because we’ve been so grateful, add a dollop of butter for good measure:

Bake on a heated pizza stone for 5-6 minutes, til the crust is crispy and brown and the cheese begins to bubble. Cut into slices, eat immediately, give thanks (in my case, to my husband who made these), and repeat!

GARLIC TORTILLA FLATBREAD

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp oregano or herbes de provence
  • 1 pat of butter
  • 1 tortilla
Preparation
Heat oven with pizza stone in it to 450 degrees. Spread garlic and mozzarella evenly over tortilla, leaving a 1/2 inch crust on the outer rim. Sprinkle oregano or herbs on top, and add a dollop of butter.
Bake for 5-6 minutes until crust begins to brown and cheese has melted.
Makes 1 tortilla flatbread (if you’re like us, you’ll want six!).

Cooking Food Popular

Beet Hash with Eggs

It’s Saturday! My favorite day of the week. What I like to do on Saturdays is to stay in my pajamas as long as possible, not brush my hair, and basically aspire to be the definition of “unkempt” in the dictionary (remember those?).

But first, three things happened to me on Facebook this week:

  • I have relatives in Asia who post occasionally in Chinese. When I hit “Translate” on a post this week, this is what I got: “Baby Flash today to the waist, my home is caring said Filipino: his wife, I help you with your horse at night to kill the chickens! I think that is OK under the NIE just two, so was delighted to accept. Didn’t think she really be practiced! In my bed at night to enjoy professional massage essential oil. Joy you are my angel! muaaah!” Can this be right? Is my cousin okay, and where is this professional massage essential oil coming from? How did they know how to translate muaaaaah?
  • My sweet friend Danielle at Cozycakes Cottage posted about me to her zillions of followers not once but twice! Very kind of her.
  • A high school friend posted on my wall that she just read about me in this month’s issue of Redbook. I was hoping it was a surprise article wherein they unveiled a special subsidy for me to focus on nothing but eating delicious foods for the rest of my life, but when I went out a lunch to get a copy, it was just an article about jobs. I’m the second from the left. I guess my part of the planet is about 45 degrees offset from everyone else.

Anyway, on to the food. As some of you know, I generally try to make tasty foods that are also reasonably healthy — though I won’t compromise on flavor. One of my favorite magazines (uh, aside from Redbook of course) is Whole Living, which is filled with beautiful photography and prose that reduces your cortisol levels upon reading. I like to read about food before I go to bed, so it’s a standby on my nightstand.

I also really love beets. Check out my header.

So when I saw this Beet Hash with Eggs, I knew that it was a message from God. I shalt make thine Beet Hash, and I shalt make it on the day before the Sabbath.

So I did.

It was easy.

Boil peeled and diced beets and potatoes for 7 minutes, and then fry them up in a pan with some onions.

 Make four little wells in the hash, and fry up some eggs. That’s it! Well, mostly, read the recipe for details.

BEET HASH WITH EGGS (from Whole Living magazine, October 2012)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound beets, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 large eggs
Preparation
  1. In a high-sided skillet, cover beets and potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Season with salt and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain and wipe out skillet.
  2. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add boiled beets and potatoes and cook until potatoes begin to turn golden, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add onion, and cook, stirring, until tender, about 4 minutes. Adjust seasoning and stir in parsley.
  3. Make four wide wells in the hash. Crack one egg into each and season egg with salt. Cook until whites set but yolks are still runny, 5 to 6 minutes.

Cooking Food

Rosemary Balsamic Chicken

It’s been a busier week than usual and I’m not up for doing anything complicated in the kitchen. Twice this week I relied on the magic of the Bumble and Bumble Dry Shampoo since I couldn’t find the time to do the necessary hair washing (TMI?). In my zeal to de-grease my hair though I got a little too aggressive and ended up looking like a member of the Whig party.

I’m taking it easy tonight, and I’m not even taking pictures — the picture above was taken when I was in England this summer, and made this dish for a large dinner party. The one below was taken later this summer when we had some friends over for an impromptu dinner. So the point is, I make this dish a lot, because it’s easy, tastes amazing, and looks pretty if you don’t take a picture in bad lighting with a purple lighter in the backdrop like I did. This tastes a thousand times better than my picture makes it look.

I first had it at my friend Patricia’s house. We all greedily mopped up the drippings with bread, and I kept trying to think of ways to get everyone else out of the room (“Fire!!!”) so that I could drink the sauce. I begged her for the recipe and couldn’t believe how easy it was — the ROI on this is very high indeed.

In fact, I’m thinking I may save the sauce next time to start my own master sauce. Anthony Myint, one of my food heros and a fellow high school alum, in his book Mission Street Food: Recipes and Ideas from an Improbable Restaurant (you HAVE to read this book — it’s hilarious, inspiring and will change your life) writes that a master sauce is “…a fortified stock achieved by reusing the same sauce over and over. Some Western cooks find this gross, but to me, wasting perfectly good meaty broth is gross. The concentrated braising liquid results in a richer flavor, so if you’ve got it, flaunt it.” Well said, Anthony.

So this is how easy the recipe is: make a vinaigrette, essentially — olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard and garlic; add in some rosemary and brown sugar, salt and pepper, and mix it all up. Place the chicken in the vinaigrette and let it marinate over night.

Stick it in the oven to bake, and be sure to serve with big crunchy slabs of bread to dip in the sauce.

ROSEMARY BALSAMIC CHICKEN (Patricia Lee)

Ingredients

  • 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs or half-breast, fat trimmed off

Marinade:

  • 1/2 C balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 3-4 T dijon mustard
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3-4 sprigs of rosemary— remove leaves and finely chop
  • 1-2 tsp each kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, or to taste

Preparation

Combine marinade ingredients and mix together in a 9×13 baking dish. Place chicken pieces in marinade for 4-24 hours (with 24 hours preferred). Ensure chicken is coated well w/ marinade.  Place dish in oven at 400 degrees, 35-45 minutes, depending on your oven (watch the skin as it burn easily from the brown sugar).  The marinade should create a nice, yummy sauce for bread dipping.

**Note if there’s too little marinade in dish, it will evaporate during baking.  If there’s too much, the chicken will “steam” rather than “roast.”

Serves 4-8.

Cooking Food

Grilled Baby Eggplant

Today’s post is about babies. My baby brother just had a baby. She’s named after a food!

When I was five and my new baby brother came home from the hospital, I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking about all the things that I had to teach him about life and then fretting about the appropriate sequence. I got up and went to his room, and looking down at him, sighed and thought, “You have so much to learn.” Now that he’s had his own baby over 35 years later, I’m thinking the same thing. Wait, why do you think I’m neurotic again?

Luckily, I don’t feel I need to teach baby eggplant much of anything. Babies are so cute, and these are no exception. Awww, look at these sweet little aubergines.

I’m embarrassed to even call this a recipe, it’s so easy. But it’s really yummy. Just slice the babies in half:

Brush both sides generously with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Put them on a hot grill for 3-4 minutes per side, until the flesh is soft and turns a light caramel hue.

Adjust seasoning to taste, sprinkle with pepper and garnish with some cilantro. Yum! You can use the same simple technique with full-sized eggplant too — just slice and grill until the flesh is soft.

GRILLED BABY EGGPLANT

Ingredients

  • 5-6 baby eggplant
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • cilantro, for garnish

Preparation

Heat a grill. Slice eggplant into halves and brush both sides generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Reserve the leftover olive oil.

When the grill is hot, place the halves flat side down and grill covered for 3-4 minutes. You should see clear, grill marks on the surface when you turn them over. Grill on the other side for another 3-4 minutes. Eggplant is cooked when the flesh is soft.

Put on a plate, add pepper and adjust salt to taste. Optionally, drizzle with leftover extra virgin olive oil. Garnish with cilantro.

Serves 4 (as a side).

Cooking Food

Kale Gruyere Beef Burgers

The other day, I was drying my hair and my daughter came into the room. She looked at the tall red bottle of  Big Sexy Hair Root Pump on the counter, then at my hair, then back at the bottle, and had the startling realization that using a product called Big Sexy Hair does not, in fact, guarantee you Big Sexy Hair. If only I had been equally immune to its marketing.

But it’s way too hot to try to style my hair today. And if I’m not going to do my hair, then I’m not going to turn on the stove either. I’m pretty sure it’s one of the Ten Commandments.

I’m worried that kale’s going to get as overexposed as bacon someday soon, but it does have nutrition going for it. My local farm’s still giving me lots of it, so I’m stealth-stuffing it into everything nowadays.

I recently bought a part of a grass-fed, grass-finished animal from Glacier Grown and have lots of ground beef and bison. Today, I’m using beef.

These burgers are easy, yummy, and full of antioxidants! First, enlist a child for unpaid work separating the kale leaves from the stems. Ensure your kitchen is cluttered to project a prolific culinary image.

 Next, chop up the kale into little bits. Make them smaller if you want to hide the kale.

Mince about 1/4 cup of red onion. Mix it together with 1 lb ground beef and the kale. Add in 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and 1 tsp soy sauce.

Form into patties, and press your thumb in the middle of each patty. This ensures a nice flat burger once it’s cooked, so that you can pile more stuff on top.

Put ’em on a hot grill.

Then flip ’em.

About a minute before you’re done, put a slice of gruyere cheese on each burger and allow to melt on a bit.

Top with tomato, avocado and lettuce, and eat!

KALE GRUYERE BEEF BURGERS

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 2 large leaves of kale, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 4 slices of gruyere cheese
  • 4 leaves of lettuce
  • ketchup
  • hamburger buns

Preparation

Heat a grill.

Combine the beef, red onion, kale, salt, pepper and soy sauce in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Shape into four disks. Press your thumb in the middle of each disk to make a slight indentation.

Toast buns for 30 seconds on hot grill.

Put burgers on grill for 2.5 minutes. Turn burgers over, place a slice of gruyere on top and grill for another 2.5 minutes, or until meat reaches 160 degrees.

Place burgers onto bun and top with ketchup, tomato, lettuce and avocado slices.

Serves 4.

Cooking Food

Crisp Asparagus Salad with Sesame Oil

Nowadays, we seem to find meaning in quantifying everything about people: you are your Klout score, Twitter followers, Facebook Likes, Quora answer votes. I may be proud of my eBay feedback score and might have read my eBay positive feedback once or twice to bring me up when I’m feeling down. (I said might. Though I hear that no words give your self-esteem a lift more than “A++++++ eBayer! Hope to do business again soon!”)

Yet another reason that I like food: it’s a bit escapist from all the measuring. People try to quantify the food experience — like through star ratings on Yelp — but in the end, it’s hard to have an objective measure. And perhaps we shouldn’t; maybe we should just enjoy the food experience for its own sake, if only to have a break from the endless barrage of scores and data (which I like, at work. Just not so much in my free time.).

By the way, this post features some of the worst photos that I’ve ever taken. I’d like to say that I was channeling a Siberian gulag experience when I took these, but the truth is that I was hungry and styling was lower on the priority list than eating. On the bright side, think about how good this would look to you if you were in a gulag! So just trust me that this looks much more appetizing in real life than what I’m showing you here.

I got this recipe off of Facebook, through my friend Chris Wood, who may spend as much time with bacon as I do. I haven’t seen Chris in over 20 years, but Facebook has a way of introducing you to the intricacies of people’s diets even if you no longer really know what the people actually look like anymore.

Anyway, on to this nice, easy refreshing summer salad. You’ll be shocked to know that you begin with a bunch of asparagus.

(I know, I know, the composition, the cropping, the lighting! Aargh. Go look at the pictures in another post to recover your eyesight. I’ll wait.)

Prepare an ice bath in a bowl big enough to hold the asparagus.

Blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water until it turns bright green, and is tender but still crisp. (Ok, this next picture is really bad — you can even see the reflection of my overhead lighting in the water! I’m going to say that my 7-year-old took it.) The time will depend on the thickness of your stalks, but for this batch of medium-sized stalks, it took about 2 minutes. Next time I’ll cut the stalks so that they’re prettier, at a nice clean 45 degree angle.

Drain the asparagus and put them into the ice bath to stop the cooking.

Prepare the dressing by combining 1/2 clove minced garlic, 2 TBSP sesame oil, 1 TBSP lemon juice, 2 tsp dijon mustard (someday I will blog on this all on its own but there is only one mustard I ever use, which I used to ask my in-laws to smuggle from France, Amora Dijon Mustard. It is far superior to anything I’ve found in the US (more flavor, less sweet, bigger kick), and I recently discovered to my delight that someone is selling it on Amazon! It makes for phenomenal vinaigrettes.), 1/2 tsp pepper and salt to taste.

Remove the asparagus from the bath and toss with the dressing. I’d recommend adding in the dressing gradually to taste. Chill in the refrigerator.

If someone makes this and sends me better pictures I will post them!!!!

CRISP ASPARAGUS SALAD WITH SESAME OIL (Chris Wood)

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • salt to taste
  • sesame seeds (optional)

Preparation

Blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water until bright green. You want them to be tender but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Immediately drain and put in ice bath to stop cooking. Remove asparagus from ice bath when chilled.
Meanwhile, whisk together all other ingredients and taste to adjust seasoning. Toss vinaigrette with asparagus and refrigerate.
(Optional) Toss with sesame seeds before serving.

Serves 1-2.

Cooking Food

Poached Steelhead Trout

I procured recently a bottle of omega-3 supplements after reading about how our brains shrink a quarter of a percent (.025%) per year after age 30. The good news is that I probably won’t live long enough for my brain mass to get to zero, but the bad news is that I don’t think I’m getting any smarter year over year, and I kept forgetting to take these memory pills. Wait, who are you again?

My friend Patricia, who is currently using her brain to become a nurse practitioner, told me that you can get equivalent benefits by eating just 3 grams of fish per week. So I’ve been trying to up my fish repertoire since I rarely forget to eat.

I like fish, but:

1. It has to be moist. Eating dry fish is kind of like gnawing on socks.

2. It can’t smell or taste fishy. I know, I’m the same person who doesn’t like protein in her fruit. It also cannot make my house smell fishy.

3. It must be easy to prepare. I am lazy.

Steelhead trout is one of my favorite fish. Check out this blog which talks about the difference between steelhead trout and salmon (in his opinion, there really isn’t any). I actually prefer the steelhead, and it might just be because of the color — it’s a deeper orange-red, which goes a little better with my decor.

Here’s one of my go-to recipes — given the above you can use steelhead trout or salmon and you probably won’t be able to tell the difference — because it’s so quick and easy and comes out perfect every time.

Before you pick your saucepan, make sure that the fish can lay completely flat across the diameter of the pan. If it doesn’t, pick another pan or cut the fish in half so that each half lays flat in the pan.

First, we’ll prepare the poaching liquid. This can be made in advance, which I often do, and I just heat the liquid to a boil when I’m ready to poach. I freeze the liquid after a poach and reuse it again for a future poaching, which makes for a 10 minute meal the next time around. Chop up half an onion, heat up a tablespoon of oil in the saucepan and cook over medium heat until browned, about 7-10 minutes. Add enough white wine into a saucepan to completely cover your fish. Add in a bay leaf, 3 slices of lemon, 3 sprigs of thyme, 1/4 cup dill, 1/4 cup parsley and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer covered for 20 minutes.

Return the liquid to a boil, off the heat and immerse the fish into the poaching liquid, ensuring that it’s completely covered. Not like I did below, because if it’s not in the liquid, it’s not getting cooked. If you underestimated the liquid, you can add a bit more wine to the pan to top it up.

Let the fish poach in the liquid for 10-15 minutes, until the flesh is firm. I like the flesh slightly rare, so pull it out at the 10 minute mark, but let it sit for longer if you prefer it well done.

Remove from the liquid, add salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with dill and lemon slices. It’s delicious served with Lemonaise as a dipping sauce.

POACHED STEELHEAD TROUT

Ingredients

  • 1 pound filet of steelhead trout
  • 1 TSP olive or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups dry white wine (enough to immerse filet in pan)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 slices lemon
  • 3 springs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup dill
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan and sautee until browned, about 7 minutes. Add in the wine, bay leaf, lemon, thyme, dill, parsley and salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Bring liquid back to a boil and off the heat. Put the trout in the liquid, immersing completely (top up with water and bring to boil again if you need to) and poach in liquid for 10-15 minutes, until flesh is firm. Remove from the liquid, add salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with dill and lemon slices. Serve hot or cold. Lemonaise can be used as a dipping sauce.

Serves 4.