Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Miso Glazed Salmon with Passion Fruit-Ginger Glazed Carrots

I really find cooking, and especially baking to be cathartic. When there are other things that are really giving me trouble or that I am struggling with in my life, it provides such a good release, and distraction. Sometimes the more I bake, the more it helps relax me from some of the other things going on. People wonder why I cook so much even during the week, and really that's the explanation. Anyhow, recently I tried this new salmon dish - it sounds complicated - miso glazed salmon with passion-fruit-ginger glazed carrots and creamed mashed potatoes, but it's really not that difficult. It makes a lovely, full dinner with side dishes, and is do-able on a busy week night. The ginger glazed carrots came out really well for my first time making them, as I was quite pleased. I may try to fine tune this recipe in the future to see if I can make ginger glazed carrots without any butter at all - but they were oh, so good.

Sasha's Sockeye Salmon with Passion Fruit-Ginger Glazed Carrots and Creamed Potatoes

1/3 cup white miso paste
1 T sesame oil
1 T canola oil
1 T honey
3 T rice vinegar
3 T soy sauce
sesame seeds
1 lb mini carrots
1 cup passion fruit juice (you could also use orange juice)
3 T butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 T sugar
2 T grated ginger
2 lb bag new potatoes or small red potatoes
1 /2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
 4 T creme fraiche or fat free sour cream

To prepare the  miso glazed salmon, combine the miso, sesame oil, canola oil, honey, rice vinegar and soy sauce with a whisk. Using a brush, coat the salmon, sprinkle with the sesame seeds, and bake/broil the salmon as desired.

To prepare the carrots, in a saucepan, add the carrots, fruit juice, sugar, cinnamon and ginger. Bring to a boil. Then simmer until reduced and the carrots have a nice glaze to them. The liquid should be mostly gone at this point and the carrots should be cooked al dente - this process takes about 20 to 25 minutes.

To make the potatoes, cook the potatoes by adding to a large pot and covering with water, adding a pinch of kosher salt. Bring to a boil and boil for about 10-15 minutes. Then mash the potatoes with a fork or (as I did ) in the KitchenAid stand mixer. Mix in the fat free sour cream or creme fraiche, garlic and chopped parsley.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

From Amasea's Kitchen in Sun Valley: Very versatile bread rolls

OK, so I don't have any pictures of the making of this, and I apologize -- I'm so scared of bread and baking that I wasn't at all sure if it would actually work.
But it did!
Oh hurray happy day, it did!

Of course, I can't really take any credit. The recipe is from a recent issue of Bon Appetit's e-mail newsletter, and I followed it pretty faithfully. I didn't even make any adjustments for high altitude (which actually I should have; the dough ended up being too liquid and would have resulted in an easier-to-use ingredient and cleaner look if I'd added more flour).
I also didn't have any black sesame seeds, so I just added a few extra regular sesame seeds...but I didn't need to; the final product has a nice sesame flavor but could have used maybe a few fewer seeds. I also added salt and pepper to the filling, but that salt ended up being a bit too much when added to the salt in the dough. The pepper was good, though.

I've eaten entirely too many of these appetizer-ready rolls for dinner tonight, and have realized how versatile they'd be. I'm anticipating making this recipe again quite often, substituting in for the filling hot pepper flakes, feta cheese, chopped pine nuts, pressed garlic, sundried tomatoes and any number of other tasty things.

If you didn't click the link above, here is the recipe from Bon Appetit:

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons sugar, divided
1 3/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cubed
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped scallions
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil plus more for bowl and brushing

ingredient info:
Black sesame seeds can be found at better supermarkets and at Asian and Indian markets.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour 1/2 cup warm water (105°-115°) into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon sugar over; let stand until mixture bubbles, about 10 minutes.
Place flour, butter, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon sugar in bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached. Rub in butter with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Beat in egg, yolk, and yeast mixture, scraping down sides.
Knead on medium speed until dough is soft and smooth, about 5 minutes. Form dough into a ball; transfer to a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, combine scallions and cilantro in a food processor and pulse to finely chop. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl; stir in all sesame seeds and 3 tablespoons oil and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°. Roll dough into a 18x9" rectangle. Spoon scallion mixture evenly onto center and spread mixture to corners of dough. Working from one short edge, roll dough rectangle into a cylinder. Cut cylinder into 3/4" dough swirls. Transfer dough swirls to prepared baking sheet; brush with oil. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Sasha's Kitchen: Split Pea and Mint Croquettes

Finally something without blueberries, huh? Is that what you were saying? Yes, I have been making plenty of other food, but the blueberries are hard to resist this time of year. My mom and I made these delicious split pea croquettes with a mint yogurt sauce during one of her visits recently. I used English pea pods from the farmer's market and removed the peas for use in this recipe - another great recipe from one of my new favorite cookbooks for cooking through the seasons - Sarah's Raven's Fresh From the Garden. Of course, this one is perfect for spring and summer. My mom did most of the work on this one, but we made it together, for some mother-daughter team cooking, and it was enjoyed by my husband, Brad as well. They're just perfect for party fritters or an appetizer to a summer meal, or at a BBQ as the fireflies buzz by on a summer night.

Sasha's Raven's Split Pea Croquettes with Minted Yogurt Sauce (makes about 15-20)
2 cups split peas or English peas
3 cloves harlic
2 onions, 1 quartered and one finely chopped
olive oil
1 T ground cumin, toasted
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
3 oz manchego cheese, grated
1 egg
1 red chile, chopped (optional) - I added a pinch of Cayenne pepper instead for a bit of flavor
salt and pepper to taste
flour for dusting

1 cup plain yogurt
large bunch of fresh mint, roughly chopped
2 cloves diced garlic

Put the peas in a pot with the garlic, quartered onion, splash of olive oil, three cups of water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas smush-up a bit, into a puree with a bit of texture, about 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool in the fridge. Mix the cold puree with the chopped onion, toasted cumin, breadcrumbs, grated manchego, egg, chile/cayenne, salt and pepper. Mix well and shape into croquettes. Dust in flour and fry in canola oil until golden brown on all sides. Drain on paper towels to absorb the excess canola oil. I always fry in Canola because its much, much healthier than vegetable oil - I don't care what any recipe says to do about that! Blend the ingredients for the sauce in a food processor with a bit of water to get the consistency you want, between 1/3 and 1/2 of a cup.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Visit to 'Smogasburg'

Red Hook Lobster Co's Lobster Roll

Brooklyn is known for its famous year round flea market, the Brooklyn Flea. In the summer months, it's outdoors and splits its time between the Williamsburg waterfront and Fort Greene. But this is a food blog, I really don't write about outdoor flea markets, as fun as they might be in the summer, right? Well actually, this year they added Smogasburg to the list of markets. Smogasburg is a huge, outdoor all food market that showcases many of Brooklyn's great food businesses, restaurants, and other fabulous foods made in that great Brooklyn locally grown tradition. They have everything from Brooklyn Salsa Company to Red Hook Lobster Pound to Blue Marble Ice Cream to Dough's delicious doughnuts, and more great food venders likely coming soon. In my view, the lobster rolls from Red Hook Lobster Pound, Thirstea Cafe's bubble tea and Dough stole the show . . . this time.

Here's some of the delicious foods we tried.

Mimi & Coco Japanese Teriyaki balls

Kumquat Cupcakery mini red velvet cupcakes

Kumquat's root beer float mini cupcakes - or check out MINE!

Delicious doughnuts from Dough - my favorite or the blood orange glazed ones which they didn't have at the market on Saturday.

Bubble Tea (yeah, yeah so its sideways)

Best. Korean. Sesame. Noodles. Ever


Monday, July 4, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Blueberry Crumbles

Happy independence America! Fourth of July usually means blueberry time in my house. Usually that's a blueberry pie, but this year I actually made a three layer giant chocolate cake with buttercream frosting and lovely floral decorations, which will be the subject of a future post. I was pretty much all butter-ed out after that, so I made a much healthier dessert for our Sunday night dinner - a blueberry crumble. This dessert has much less butter than a pie crust, but the same delicious fresh local blueberries in that filling and just a little but of crumble on the top. So perfect. I made four individual sized desserts from the recipe below, which worked out really well. So well, that I certainly will try it with some other fruits soon. Happy red, white and blue today - but especially blue(berry). Perfect way to cheer yourself up a bit.

Sasha's Blueberry Crumble
4 cups fresh blueberries, squeezed by hand
1/4 cup plus 1 T sugar
3 T plus 1 tsp flour
3 T lemon juice
3 T unsalted butter, cold, chopped into small pieces
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
10 nilla cookies
1/4 cups rolled Quaker oats

Preheat the oven to 375. Combine the blueberries, 1/4 cup sugar, 3 T of flour, and lemon juice in a bowl. In a second bowl, combine the chopped butter, cinnamon, salt, and remaining sugar and flour. Work with your hands gently until it forms a coarse, crumb/crumble like mixture - a bit like wet sand.

Spray four five ounce ramekins with Pam and divide the blueberry mixture. Top with the crumble topping. Bake for about 25 minutes until you have bubbling little caldrons (maybe all the witches from last night's True Blood are influencing my writing here?), and then they are done. Allow to cool enough to eat. Delicious!
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