Monday, March 27, 2006

Broiled Salmon in Soy-Honey and Wasabi Sauces

After a food-filled trip to Southern California, it was time to lighten up the fare at our house. I had sushi for lunch today, which inspired me to prepare fish for dinner. While at work, I did some searching and came across this recipe at [recipe]. I added some shitake mushrooms, and we had an awesome, tasty dinner that was light and pretty healthy.
Here is the recipe from the link above:

For salmon
1/2 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
4 (6-oz) pieces salmon fillet

For sauces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons wasabi powder
1 tablespoon water

Accompaniment: lime wedges

Marinate salmon:, Stir together mirin, soy sauce, vinegar, and ginger in a shallow dish. Add fish, skin sides up, and marinate, covered, at room temperature 10 minutes.

Preheat broiler.

Make sauces: Boil soy sauce, honey, and lime juice in a small saucepan, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 4 minutes.

Stir together wasabi powder and water in a small bowl.

Broil fish, skin sides down, on oiled rack of a broiler pan 5 to 7 inches from heat until fish is just cooked through, about 6 minutes.

Serve salmon drizzled with sauces.

Cooks' note:

• Soy-honey and wasabi sauces can be made 2 hours ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings.

May 2001 © CondéNet, Inc. All rights reserved.

We ended up using only 2 salmon filets, so it served 2 instead of 4, but everything else was the same.

For the mushrooms, I bought 6 shitake mushrooms and cut them into 1/4" slices. I heated up some vegetable oil in a sautee pan and let the mushrooms brown. Sauteeing the mushrooms at high heat lets them caramelize a little bit, adding some flavors. If they went in at lower heat, they would have steamed more than sauteed, and they would have been less flavorful.

Enjoy everyone, and leave me a comment if you end up making this.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Fresh Mozzarella, Zucchini and Garlic Pizza

Today I bring a before and after sequence. We will demonstrate today the magical qualities of heat.

It has the ability to turn this flacid concoction
into this beautiful pizza.

Here's how the magic happened:

The day before the magic happened, Antonia had made a batch of dough - a dough different than our usual pizza dough in that it had a little bit of sugar and less kneading time. Both of these made for the most delicious pizza dough I have had in... a week. The Trader Joe's dough is really good, too (but not as good as Toni's, of course).

On top of a batch of this dough, stretch ed out to fill our pizza pan (it's not a stone, but it works), went grated fresh mozarella, grated zucchini, and some finely chopped garlic. On top of that went a little bit of local olive oil.

Into a 425°F oven for 15 minutes.

[Note: The aforementioned 15 minutes is where teh magic happens.]

It was so good that anyone who would like to try it and shows up to my house will get a slice, even if I have to go out and buy the ingredients to make it.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Maitake Ravioli with Truffle Oil

What is better than a going to the farmer's market, then coming home and cooking something with the spoils of the day? Nothing, that's what.

This morning, Antonia and I and the puppy went to the Farmer's Market. While walking past the stalls, I came across a fungal find that I could not pass up. Ever. Maitake mushrooms. How often do we see these in California? Almost never, I'd imagine. It turns out that the Solano Mushroom Growers (I think that is what the sign said) have started to grow maitake mushrooms. At $5 for 1/4 lb, they are not cheap, but also not an everyday find. I bought a quarter pound and started to think up what I could make with them.

When I got home, I remembered that there was a block of frozen pasta dough sitting in the freezer left over from when me made pasta 2 weekends ago. Perfect. Maitake Ravioli.

Maitake Ravioli with White Truffle Oil

1/4 lb maitake mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
2 tbs minced shallot
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tbs olive oil
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano if you are lucky and rich)
1 recipe pasta dough (see here)
white truffle oil
parsely, chopped for garnish

In a sautee pan, heat up the olive oil. When it is hot, add the shallots and sautee for ~30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and sautee for 2 minutes. Then add the garlic and sautee for one more minute. Move the mushroom mixture to a bowl and stir in the cheese.

Roll down the pasta dough to the 1 setting on a pasta machine. Mound 1 tablespoon of filling onto the center of the dough. Only use 1 half of the dough. Once there are enough mounds of filling to cover 1/2 of the strip of dough, fold over the other half and press the ravioli. Make sure when pressing the ravioli that you get out all of the air. When folding over the dough, wet your fingers and lightly wet one side of the dough (the side with the filling) where the dough halves are going to touch to get a good seal. Cut the ravioli apart and press the edges with a fork lightly.

Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil. A rolling boil may be to vigorous for the delicate ravioli. Let them boil for 4 minutes. Take them out with a slotted spoon and let them drain.

Dribble a little bit of white truffle oil over the ravioli and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Mmmmmmmmmmm..... I can still taste truffle oil in my mouth. It is an expensive ingredient, but brings so much flavor to a dish.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Spaghetti al Pesto con Gamberoni, or Celebratory Dinner

Sunday night was a night to celebrate! I found out that I was accepted to the Viticulture and Enology Program at UC Davis. I will soon be a winemaker! To celebrate, I put together a dinner based around my all-time favorite sauce - pesto.

Spaghetti al Pesto con Gamberoni
Spaghetti with Pesto and Shrimp

1/2 box spaghetti
1 bunch basil, leaves only
1/4 c pine nuts
3 cloves garliic, chopped
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
olive oil, at least 1/2 cup
red pepper flakes
8 16/20 shrimp

To make pesto:
In a food processor, Add the basil, pine nuts and garlic. Turn on the processor and drizzle in the oil until a paste of the desired consistency is met. Add in the cheese. If the consistency becomes too thick, add in some oil, or even a little bit of water (shhh).

To make the pasta:
Add pasta to boiling water. Cook until al dente or however you like your pasta.

To make shrimp:
Clean and devein the shrimp. Spinkle each with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Heat a skillet to medium high heat with a little bit of olive oil. When the pan is hot, add in the shrimp. Cook on the first side for 4-5 minutes and the second side for 3-4 minutes. On the second side, just cook until the shrimp are totally opaque.

Toss the pasta with the pesto and add the shrimp. Sprinkle with some parmesan and enjoy.

Next time you have pesto, think of me as a winemaker!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Time for a midweek omelette

Mushroom Omelette
Originally uploaded by monkeycat!.
The beginning of a new month warranted a worthy breakfast. On the morning of the first, after waking up VERY early to let out the puppy, I had some extra time to think about breakfast. This is what I came up with.

Mushroom Omelette with Aged Cheddar

1 handful of sliced mushrooms
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 c cheese, grated
olive oil

In a nonstick pan heated up to medium-high with some olive oil, add in the sliced mushrooms. Give them some time on each side to get a good brown. Since the mushrooms have a lot of water, they can take the high heat. Once the mushrooms are browned and soft, take the pan off the heat for 30 seconds and turn the burner down to medium-low. After 30 seconds, or when the sizzling dies down a little bit, add in the beaten eggs. Do a little pan-jiggle-spatula-swirl-in-opposite-directions move to form the curd. Once the omelette is almost set, add in the grated cheese and give it some time to melt. Salt and pepper to taste, and get the omelette ready for flipping out(!!!!). Do your bi-fold/tri-fold maneuver onto the plate, and enjoy!