Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fishmongers know their stuff

Have you ever asked your fishmonger what they'd recommend for a particular fish? If you haven't, you really ought to. I stopped at the store today to buy salmon for dinner tonight, but my eye was caught by the marlin. I've never made marlin before, and it looked good. Having never made it before, though I probably would have assumed it wouldn't stand up to strong flavors.

I asked the fishmonger what he'd recommend I do with it and he came back with two suggestions. Either a lime, chili, cumin marinade or something with rosemary. I don't really remember the second one because right after he "marinade," he said "mango salsa."

How could I not?

Chili powder, cumin, lime, mango salsa - those flavors stood there and yelled "SUMMER! It's SUMMER!" With an argument like that, I had little recourse.

For the salsa, if you don't like the spice of the pepper, scrape out the white ribs and the seeds. If you like heat, leave them in. The salsa does need a bit of kick, though, so don't skip it altogether. If you really don't like spice, choose a mild pepper - even green pepper.

A hearty thank you to fishmongers everywhere who know their stuff and give excellent advice to the curious and the new-to-marlin among us.

Marlin with Mango Salsa
1 marlin steak
2 limes
1 t chili powder
1 t cumin
1 t oregano
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/4 c onion, diced
1/2 t salt
1 t olive oil

  1. Mix the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and lime juice in a shallow pan and add the marlin. Make sure the fish is coated with spice on both sides and let it marinate for up to 15 minutes. (Beyond that and the lime juice will start to cook the fish.)
  2. In a separate bowl, prepare the mango salsa by stirring together the mango, jalapeno, onion, salt, salt and pepper. Allow the salsa to sit and the flavors to meld.
  3. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add 2 T olive oil and heat. When the oil is hot, pour out 1/2 t and add to the salsa. To the remaining oil, add the fish. Cook 5-7 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
  4. Serve with mango salsa.

Monday, July 19, 2010

You Should Make This Pork Roast

Every once in a while, something sounds good, and then I try to make it, and it works. I mean really works. This is one of those things.
Not too long ago, I had a pork roast sandwich at Homegrown. The pork was made with a coffee rub and it was one of the best sandwiches I've eaten in forever. If you haven't gone to Homegrown, I totally recommend it.
I wanted to try a coffee rub, but I've tried making things with ground coffee once, and it didn't turn out well. It ended up gritty. Using actual prepared coffee seemed like a good way around the grit.
Seriously. Try this. It rocks.
This roast did dual duty; something I wish I could make happen more often. It was part of a meat and potato night last night with roasted beet salad, and shows up later in the week as shredded pork tacos.

Pork Roast
1 t ground ginger
1 t cumin
1 t salt
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t dried oregano
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t smoked paprika
2 T prepared coffee
1 Pork Roast

  1. Mix all dry ingredients together, then pour prepared coffee over the mix and stir to create a paste. Cover the pork roast with the paste, and put the roast into a plastic bag and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400.
  3. Heat a medium oven-proof pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 t olive oil to the pan and heat until just shy of shimmering. Sear all sides of the pork roast, then move the pan to the oven. Roast for 35 minutes, or until cooked. (A good rule of thumb for pork is 20 minutes per pound at 400.)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Random Pantry Meals, Tuna Noodle Casserole Edition

There are a few foods that have the potential to be creepy and/or terrible under the wrong circumstances. Think chafing dishes or buffets. Tuna Noodle Casserole, Salisbury Steak, and Meatloaf are all really high on the list.
I had high hopes tonight for a cress pesto. When I went to look at the cress in the garden, though, I realized I'd be lucky to get a cup of leaves; let alone the almost 5 cups I needed. My yard is less than ideal from a food perspective. Kale grows really well. Everything else languishes and is sad and pathetic.
Since the pesto was a non-starter, I raided the pantry and came up with noodles, tuna, and panko. The fridge had half and half and pepper jack.
Tuna Noodle Casserole? It's actually really good. You can't really tell by the pictures, but we did actually use plates.

Maybe one of these days I'll feel particularly adventurous and I'll try Salisbury steak. I'm not going to hold my breath for that one, though.

Tuna Noodle Casserole
1 T butter
1/2 onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 c crimini mushroom, chopped
2 T sherry
1 t soy sauce
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 T butter
1/4 c flour
1 1/2 c broth
1/2 c half and half
1 t paprika
1 can tuna, drained
3/4 c pepper jack, grated
2 c panko
1 T vegetable oil

    1. Preheat the oven to 375. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and heat until they start to sweat. Add the mushrooms and salt and cook 3-5 minutes. Pour in the soy sauce and sherry and cook 3 minutes more.
    2. Push all the onion and mushroom mixture to once side of the skillet and add the remaining 2 T butter on the empty side of the pan. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook until the flour becomes golden, stirring occasionally. Once the roux has become golden, whisk in the broth and allow to simmer. Pour in the half and half and then stir the entire pan to incorporate the mushroom mixture. Add the paprika and tuna and season to taste.
    3. Cook the pasta according to the package, then drain. Add the pasta to the mushroom mixture and stir. Turn into a medium baking dish.
    4. Stir the grated cheese, panko, and 1 t oil in a small bowl, then pour on top of the casserole.
    5. Bake 25 minutes until the top is golden, then bask in the awesome.
  • Friday, July 9, 2010

    Quilt Top Done!

    As with so many things, this started with shopping, had a misguided detour through planning, and finally ends up done. Ish. 

    The quilt that I've been working on since (apparently) March (gulp) is finally mostly, almost, kind of done. The top is done, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. 

    The remaining bits, of course, are to find a suitable backing fabric and binding fabric. I saw a fantastically hilarious pirate fabric at the store the other day, but a woman snatched it all up. Since she was muttering to herself about "the pirates, the pirates, the pirates come out to play!" I figured it was better to just let her have it.

    Thursday, July 1, 2010

    The Calendar Says July but the Weather Says March

    It's July 1. We're definitely, officially, 100%, smack-dab in the middle of summer. And yet, today, in Seattle? 62 degrees. That was the high. The low was 54.

    And so on this summer day, I had polenta and sausage, which can be found on the List of Things to Eat When It's Frozen Outside. It was wonderful and I loved it. In concession to the calendar, I did put mizuna, fresh tomatoes and avocados on top. I heart avocados lately. Mizuna belongs in the "green stuff" family, if you're not familiar with it. It's a little spicy like arugula, though it's technically in the mustard / cabbage family.

    Polenta intimidated me for a good long while. It seemed like it was hard work and there was all that stirring.
    If a recipe includes the words "stir constantly," odds are good that I'll skip it. Particularly if they're followed by the words "for 30-40 minutes." If I'm stuck to the stove for that long, there damn well better be chocolate involved. Fortunately, Alton Brown rescued me with a baked polenta. It does still require a whisk, but not 30 minutes of constant whisking, thankfully. I wholeheartedly recommend this recipe. I've never had polenta turn out with clumps, or burnt to the bottom, or icky in any way. It's always been delicious.

    Once the polenta has been cheese-ified, stack on the sausage.

    Tomatoes, salt, and pepper.

    Delicious, happy mizuna and avocado.

    I liked the difference in texture from the polenta and sausage and mizuna. The mizuna also made it a little more interesting.

    Polenta and Sausage
    1 recipe polenta
    1 T olive oil
    6 oz beer
    4 sausages
    1/2 c diced tomato
    1/4 c diced avocado
    1/4 c chopped mizuna
    1/4 t salt
    1/4 t pepper

    1. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the sausages and the beer. The beer should just shy of halfway up the sides of the sausages. Cook over medium heat for 20-25 minutes, turning them periodically.
    2. Slice the sausage into 1/2 inch pieces.
    3. Layer the polenta, the sausage, the tomato, the mizuna, salt and pepper, and top with avocado. Serve.