Sunday, March 28, 2010

Easy Asian Inspired Meal

Spring vegetables tend to lend themselves to Asian and Italian foods, in my opinion.  With this month's Bon Appetit I wanted to try a recipe that used the beautiful Alaskan King Salmon I had seen at Whole Foods and the prevalence of spring vegetables (last night was roasted baby artichokes).  So this meal was Salmon with Sweet Chili Glaze, Sugar Snap Peas, and Pea Tendrils.  On the side an Asian Cucumber Ribbon Salad and Soba Noodles.

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1/4 cup Asian sweet chili sauce*
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger, divided
  • 6 6-ounce salmon fillets with skin
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry Sherry
  • 3 cups pea tendrils** or pea sprouts** (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bombay Sliders and my favorite salad

This meal is sort of disconnected but it happens to be two of my favorite dishes.  First, Bombay Sliders.  These were in Bon Appetit a few years back and since then I've been making them pretty regularly and have tweaked the recipe a bit.  The second is my favorite easy salad.  The ingredients are few, but specialty, so if you have a local source...try it out.

Bombay Sliders with Garlic Curry Sauce


1/2 cup plain yogurt - I use nonfat, whatever you have is fine.
1/2 cup mayo.  Ina Garten always says 'good' mayo and suggests Hellman's.  I have tried others and now I have to agree its the only way to go.
1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup
3 teaspoons curry powder (I use hot Madras curry)
1 garlic clove - minced.

Mix all the ingredients and let sit at room temperature while you cook the sliders.


2 lbs ground turkey (I use 1 lb of ground breast and 1 lb of ground thighs, whatever combo you like is fine)
6 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/3 cup chopped scallions (white and green parts)
2 tablespoons peeled, minced fresh ginger
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all the above ingredients and form into slider size patties.  About 2 inches in diameter.  You can either broil or pan cook these.  Broiling is certainly easier.  Preheat your broiler and cook the sliders about 3-4 minutes per side, or until cooked through.  If you want to cook in a pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat and cook the same amount of time.

Serve the sliders on mini-pita breads topped with the sauce.  Dinner rolls work if you don't have mini-pita breads.

My favorite salad

1 5 oz container mache
1/2 cup Marcona almonds
3 oz soft goat cheese
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Mache is a delicate lettuce grown in a rosette shape.  It has recently experienced a growth in the US, it has been popular in Europe for a long time.  It is a super delicate lettuce with tons of antioxidants and a nutty, mellow flavor.  Below is a link to a story about it on NPR. Marcona almonds are a roasted, salted almond from Spain.

NPR Article

For the vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper in a bowl.  Whisk in olive oil.

For the salad, top the mache with crumbled goat cheese and the Marcona almonds, chopped roughly if you want.  Drizzle on enough vinaigrette to moisten the salad and toss.

NOTE:  Don't dress the salad until right before you are going to eat, the mache is so delicate it wilts if you let it sit for too long!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Favorite Weeknight Meal - Roast Chicken

Roast chicken is my go to meal for weeknights when I want something satisfying but with little work.  Just start with a good quality roaster chicken.  I like Bell & Evans but something free-range from your local farmers market should give you good results as well.  This meal takes me about 10 mins to get in the oven and then it requires little other tending.

Simple Roast Chicken
four pound roasting chicken
1 large sweet onion
1/2 bag baby carrots
4- 6 yukon gold potatoes, depending on their size
2 large garlic cloves
1 lemon
2 tbls butter - melted
olive oil
1 loaf of bread - I like ciabatta for this but you can use any type of whole loaf bread you like.


Preheat the oven to 425.

Slice the onion into 1/3 inch rings and separate.  Cut the potatoes into chunks, about 4 -6 pieces per potato.  Put these and the 1/2 bag of carrots onto a cookie sheet.  Drizzle the veggies with olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) and season with salt (about 3/4 teaspoon) and pepper (1/2 teaspoon).

Rinse the chicken inside and out, pat dry.  Season the chicken, inside and out, generously with salt and pepper.  Create a chicken-sized hole in the veggies and place the chicken on the cookie sheet.  Smash each clove of garlic.  Cut the lemon into four wedges.  Place lemon and garlic inside the chicken cavity.  Brush the top of the chicken all over with the melted butter.

Roast the chicken in the oven, at 425, for 1 1/2 hours.  About every 30 mins give the veggies a toss around the cookie sheet.  The veggies will get pretty dark brown as they cook - this is good!  If they appear to be cooking too quickly for your tastes, just remove them and reserve them in a dish.

The chicken is done when a meat thermometer inserted in the dark meat registers 170 or a slice made between the leg and the body runs clear juices.  When the chicken is done, place it on a cutting board, cover it with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes.  THIS STEP IS CRITICAL TO SUCCESS!  This resting allows for the chicken to cool slightly and for the juices to redistribute into the meat. If you cut into the chicken to early, all the juices run out and they are lost - result: dry meat.

While the chicken is resting, cut your bread in half (if you are using ciabatta) or in 1 inch slices if you are using a bigger bread.  Brush the bread with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  If you have a grill handy, grill the bread until it is crispy and browned.  If not, just place it under your broiler for the same effect - about 3 - 5 minutes.  Chop the grilled bread into 1 inch cubes.  Place the bread in a layer at the bottom of your serving dish.


To serve the chicken I first cut off both legs and wings, then separate the thigh from the drumstick.  Place these pieces on the bread layer.  Then I slice off both breasts and cut them into 4 -5 pieces.  This allows everyone to have some of each type of meat.  Place this on the bread cubes.  Pour the veggies, pan juices, and any leftover juice from cutting up the chicken over the serving dish.  The bread will soak up all the juice and flavor (sorry Mona and Ash - its a soggy bread dish).