Thursday, July 30, 2009

Grilled Salmon

It has been very hot in Portland. Very, very hot. There were rumors that it might get to 108 degrees in some parts of Portland yesterday. I also heard 111. As a result, I have not been cooking very much. Or at all, really. Aaron's been cooking and grilling, but now it's just too hot for any of that nonsense. So rather than bore you with what I've been eating (mostly Otter Pops), I've got a short post about grilling salmon and why it is wonderful.

I love salmon. It's not just being from Alaska, although that does have a lot to do with my love, salmon is just wonderful. Correction, WILD salmon is wonderful. I don't eat farmed and I eat Pacific only and Alaskan when I can. Grilling salmon is so fantastic and it really lets the fish shine through. All you really need is a piece of fish, some butter, salt and pepper. I went an extra step last time and added basil and sage from my own garden (I love saying that!). It was delicious. Heck, you don’t even need that stuff if you don’t want to. Salmon is delicious in and of itself.

Either way, go get some delicious, tasty, wild salmon. And, if you feel like it, dot it with butter, a bit of salt and pepper and some herbs if you feel like it. Wrap it up in foil. Throw it on the grill and wait until it is cooked through and a beautiful light pink. You'll know when. It will be moist and delicious and you'll thank goodness for fish and summer. Unless it's like right now and you just wish you were a fish and could swim around all day.

Did I mention it's hot?

I've got some things up my sleeve for when it cools down, some of which involve my oven. I'm not touching that thing until I'm not on a steady diet of Poncho Punch and Sir Isaac Lime. See you on the other side.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lemon Basil Pappardelle

It’s the 100th post! Woo! I would’ve liked to have gotten here sooner, but my laptop has died. Very sad. So there’s a reason for my even more sporadic than usual posting. I’ll try to compensate with Aaron’s computer/laptop and when my beautiful hot pink baby is fixed, I’ll post more. Promise!

So what better way to celebrate my 100th post than to use something I grew! I harvested my basil for the very first time the other day and I had to do something nice with it. We picked up some great pappardelle noodles from Trader Joe’s a while back and just waited for something to inspire me. I mean, look at this beautiful basil! How can that not make you want to cook something?

So this is what I did:

One package of pappardelle noodles
A bunch of basil
A few garlic cloves (4-ish), minced
Lemon zest and juice of one lemon, ½ reserved
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
A bit of sugar
Freshly cracked pepper
A pinch of sea salt

Boil noodles in slightly salted water.

In the meantime, cut up about half of the basil into strips. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add olive oil, basil, garlic cloves, lemon zest and juice from ½ the lemon. Heat for about 30 seconds. Add a bit of vinegar and sugar. Heat for a little longer, but not until the basil changes color (this is what I did and it bummed me out. I cut the time for these instructions). Put aside.

Drain noodles and throw back in the pot. Mix in the sauce. Chop the rest of basil and toss in with the noodles along with the remaining lemon juice. Serve in pasta bowls and top with freshly cracked pepper and a bit of sea salt.

So aside from overcooking the first bit of basil, this was so tasty! And my basil plant is so full again, so more tasties to come.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mixed Berry Cobbler

Updating finally. Thanks for the reminder Steffani. I’ve had this ready to go for a bit now and just forgot to do it. Oh well.

It’s finally feeling like summer in Portland. The sun is out, everyone’s smiling, and the farmer’s market is filled with delicious, delicious berries (I told you I’d be coming back to this!). My beautiful, fantastic friend Renai came to visit two weekends ago and we decided to do a cross-blog extravaganza and focus around the farmer’s market. Renai’s blog involves a ton of cool, look what I’m cooking now recipes, especially some very neat vegan stuff I wouldn’t have ever thought of. It’s because she’s a fantastic lady.

So with berries in mind, we went down to the big Saturday farmer’s market at PSU and eventually picked up a flat of mixed berries, which included blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. We ate a good chunk of this before we even made it back to the house. Sitting in my dining room, looking over some of my fave cookbooks and the internet, we debated ideas back and forth. After rejecting pie for the time factor (sorry pie! We had dinner to make too!), we settled on a cobbler recipe from the Alice Bay Cookbook, which was featured last fall here. Going with the whole local berries, Pacific Northwest thing, we went for it.

And it was so worth it. I love cooking with Renai. She’s a great partner in the kitchen.

Mixed Berry Cobbler modified from Blackberry Cobbler from the Alice Bay Cookbook:

About 8-12 portions, depending on how berry crazy everyone is.

1½ c. sugar
½ c. unbleached white flour
1 tsp. salt
8 c. mixed berries (I’d go for a good mix of sweet and tart. Our blackberries were almost like jam, but the raspberries had a good bit of bite to them. Experiment and see what works for you).
3 Tb. lemon juice (fresh, if you’ve got it)
3 Tb. butter
Biscuit Topping-
2 c. sifted unbleached flour
4 tsp. baking powder
3 Tb. sugar
1 tsp. salt
½ c. butter
2/3 c. milk
1 egg, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix together sugar, flour, salt, berries, and lemon juice. Pour into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, and dot with butter. Bake for 15 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

Meanwhile, make biscuit topping. Mix together sifted flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add milk and beaten egg that your friend has kindly already mixed together for you, and stir with a fork until just blended.

While berry mixture is hot and bubbly, spoon biscuit mixture on top in 10 or 12 dollops (or be less specific, like Renai, and just glop it all over the place). Return to oven for 20 minutes, until biscuits are browned. My oven decided this would be about 24 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Top with ice cream or whipped cream. Or just eat it and enjoy.

This was a pretty fantastic dessert. The only thing I’d change is making the glops of biscuit mixture a little more spread out. But for a first time team-up, I’d say we did a great job. Everyone seemed to enjoy it quite a bit and it was a fantastic way to use a ton of berries.

We also made dinner, but there are no pictures of that. That’s okay because I mostly just chopped veggies for salad and opened up and emptied a can of Coors Light to poach salmon that was taking too long to cook. It was tasty and was perfectly finished off with the cobbler. I can’t wait to collaborate with Renai again.
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