Roasted Salmon with Mustard and Chives

_DSC9427.jpg

I realize that the Republican nominee for president for 2016 has already been chosen and the primary today in the state of Washington will not change that.

Still, I have to give the nod today to Washington, not for the politics but for the food. Two of our best ingredients come from there: apples and salmon.

So, here's to Washington. This salmon dish is amazingly easy to make (if you don't have chives you can chop some scallion tops). (You can also make the same dish using Arctic Char.)

If you'd like to follow on with a wonderful apple dessert, consider one of these: German Apple Cake, Apple Brown Betty, Apple Pie, , Apple Crisp or Applesauce Sour Cream Coffee Cake.

Roasted Salmon with Mustard and Chives

  • 24-32 ounces salmon (or use Arctic Char)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the fish on a parchment-lined baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together the honey, mustard, garlic and chives. Add the lemon juice and whisk it in until the mixture is well blended. Spread the mixture evenly over the fish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 12-15 minutes or until the fish is cooked to desired doneness and the surface is lightly crispy.

Makes 4 servings

Roasted Cod with Tomatoes, Raisins and Pine Nuts

Although I love to cook and don't mind fussing, chopping, washing veggies and so on, sometimes I get lazy or tired and prefer to take the easy way out. I don't mean order-in (although I do understand that). I mean, make food that's easy.

In fact, I find that I like quick-and-easy more and more often.

Like this roasted cod dish. I had been looking at loads of recipes that include tomatoes, raisins and pine nuts with fish. Most of the recipes involve searing and/or roasting the fish and making the sauce separately. But I didn't feel up to doing all that. And I certainly didn't want an extra pan to clean.

So I put all the ingredients together in a roasting pan and placed the fish on top, thinking the sauce would become sauce all by itself, moistened by the natural juices leeching from the fish.

And voila! I was right. There it was. Crispy topped fish and lovely, savory sauce. So good. So easy. Cleanup almost free.

I scattered some bread crumbs on top to give it a lightly crispy surface. (During Passover you could use matzo meal.)

Roasted Cod with Tomatoes, Raisins and Pine Nuts

  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2-3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 pounds fresh cod
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs (or matzo meal)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the tomatoes, raisins, pine nuts and garlic in a roasting pan and toss the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Place the fish on top of the tomato mixture. Brush the fish with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Scatter the bread crumbs over the top. Roast for 18-20 minutes or until top is lightly crispy and the fish is cooked through.

Makes 4 servings

Banana Chocolate Cake

My grandson Remy wanted to bake a cake with me. I think he actually liked the licking-out-the-bowl part the best and I actually was most thrilled that he came up with the idea about combining banana bread and chocolate cake.

I looked through my recipes for endless variations of banana bread. And chocolate cake. I fooled around with them, combining this and that from several of the recipes and came up with the one here. It's dairy-free, so Remy's sister Carina, my 3-1/2 year-old grand daughter, could eat some too. And we added some chocolate chips, just for good measure.

Remy did like the licking-out-the-bowl thing.

He also told me the cake was too dry. But I think that was because the temperature indicator on my oven has been cleaned so often for so many years that the numbers have disappeared and I can only estimate the proper cooking temperature. I do have an oven thermometer but that also needs "updating." so I don't know if the cake baked at exactly the right temperature.

Also, I forgot to set the timer.

Anyway, everyone else declared the cake delicious. Even Remy said it was and would want it again when I finally decide what oven I want to get to replace the old one.

So here it is, the creation.

Banana Cocoa Chocolate Chip Cake

  • 1-3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch (8-cup) bundt pan. Mix the flour, cocoa, salt, cinnamon and baking soda together in a bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the shortening and sugar at medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until well blended. Add the bananas and blend them in thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and blend them in thoroughly. Add the flour mixture and beat until batter is well blended. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 60-70 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove to a cake rack to cool completely.

Makes 16-18 servings

 

 

Roasted Salmon with Teriyaki Glaze

After any big holiday -- like Passover -- where there's been tons of food and extra goodies like chocolate matzo bark and jelly rings, I need to pare down. Pare down me I mean. Me, lover of matzo, who probably ate 3 boxes worth over 8 days.

It's over.

More thoughtful dinners are in order. 

Simple food is on the menu. 

Also, after all that holiday cooking, meals that are quick and easy to cook.

It's just Ed and me tonight.

So, this salmon dish, along with some veggies ---

 

Roasted Salmon with Teriyaki Glaze

  • 24-32 ounces salmon
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place the fish in a roasting pan. Place the sake, mirin, soy sauce, vegetable oil and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Stir until the ingredients are blended. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is reduced and slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Pour the liquid over the fish. Sprinkle with chives. Roast for 12-16 minutes, or until cooked to desired doneness.

Makes 4-6 servings

 

Passover Orange Almond Cake

A few weeks ago I was going through my Passover recipes file and came across a recipe for Italian Almond Cake with Poached Fruit from the Jerusalem Post. Unfortunately, it didn't say whose recipe it was. Also I didn't have the second page of instructions.

I made some changes and figured out how to proceed based on similar cakes I've baked.

 First, I converted all the metric measurements. 

I figured out how much, in cups, came from 3/4 cup whole almonds.

I didn't use blanched almonds, figuring that almonds with skin were just as good.

I switched to coconut oil because I don't like margarine. 

I deleted the liquor and used orange juice instead, and added some freshly grated orange peel. 

I separated the eggs and whipped the whites with sugar to provide a lighter texture than I thought the cake would have without fluffed whites.

I didn't serve it with poached fruit (I used fresh oranges and sorbet).

Some would say that with all these changes the recipe is now mine, and I understand that.

Still, the cake was delicious and I would have preferred to give credit!

Btw, it's gluten free!

Here's my version of Passover Orange-Almond Cake.

Passover Orange Almond Cake

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 6 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange peel
  • 1/4 cup potato starch

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a small amount of the coconut oil, lightly grease an 8-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper and lightly grease the paper. Set aside. Melt the remaining coconut oil and set aside to cool. Place the almonds and 6 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and stir at low speed for a minute until the ingredients are well distributed. Add the egg yolks, orange juice and orange peel and beat them in at medium speed for about one minute. Stir in the potato starch. Stir in the cooled coconut oil. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites for 1-2 minutes, going from low to high speed, or until the whites stand in soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar and beat until the mixture stands in stiff peaks. Fold them into the almond mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes 6-8 servings

 

 

Beet and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Now that my children are grown, with children of their own, I sometimes think about the “old days” and remember the good times, the festive occasions, the fun we had. The Jewish holidays rank high on my list of best memories, especially the Passover Seders. Whether I’m thinking about the times that my cousin and I would crawl under the table while my uncle recited the Haggadah or last year, when my grandchildren threw the styrofoam “hail” and plastic locusts as we mentioned the Ten Plagues, the memories are good, the kind that I love to deposit in my memory bank.

There are good food memories too, from my grandma’s famous chicken soup to the complaints I got when I first served haroset made with dried apricots, pistachio nuts and cayenne pepper.

My first Seder continues my family's generations long menu featuring matzo ball soup, followed by roasted turkey. Chremslich, of course. In fact, a double portion of that. 

But all the rest is different. Over the years there was one food change after another, little by little as new in-laws came into our family, tastes changed and allergies had to be considered. So these days we have our own family expected recipes -- matzo ball soup and turkey, plus homemade baked cranberries, spinach pie (made with a matzo crust), imam bayeldi, and lots of other vegetables and the now standard spicy dried fruit haroset.

I used to serve flourless chocolate cake, but we had that a little too often, so because Passover is also my grandson's birthday, I will serve homemade macaroons along with a traditional chocolate roll, the one I used to make when my daughter Meredith's birthday fell during Passover. (You can stuff the roll with whipped cream, jelly or parve lemon curd filling).

Every year I add one new dish to my first Seder. One year it was Ratatouille. A few times there was a new version of haroset. I even made matzo farfel chocolates one year.

This year? A new salad! Here it is:

Roasted Beet and Brussels Sprouts Salad

  • 4 medium beets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 pound (about 30) medium size Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or use Balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh orange peel
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Peel the beets and cut them into bite size pieces. Place the beets on a baking sheet and pour one tablespoon olive oil over them. Toss to coat the beets. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for about 20 minutes or until tender. Trim the Brussels sprouts (cut them in half if they are large). Place them on a baking sheet and pour one tablespoon olive oil over them. Toss to coat the sprouts. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for about 15 minutes or until tender. Place the vegetables together in a bowl. Mix the remaining olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and orange peel and pour over the ingredients. Let rest for about 10 minutes, place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste.

Makes 6-8 servings

 

 

Hurry Hurry, Eat That Curry

I know there are differences in the traditions among observant Jews as to whether certain ingredients are permitted during Passover. Like beans, which most Ashkenazy Jews won't eat, but if your background is Sephardic, well, then beans are ok.

It's the same for curry powder, which contains cumin, which can be questionable and is generally not on the kosher for Passover list for many.

And so, if you're looking to use up your curry powder here's a goodie for dinner this week.

The other benefit? This recipe has four ingredients (not counting salt and pepper, which are optional) and is so easy that you will be thoroughly grateful for this dish during the tremendously busy time right before the holiday. And also during the year whenever you're busy and need a quick-and-easy dinner.

Also, it's really really tasty. And perfect with rice, which you might be wanting to use up as well. 

Easy 4-Ingredient Orange-Curry Chicken Breasts

  • 4 chicken breasts on the bone (or use whole legs)
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, preferably hot curry powder
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the chicken in a roasting pan. In a small bowl, mix the orange marmalade, lemon juice and curry powder together and spoon over the chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the chicken in the oven. Roast for 10 minutes. Baste the chicken and turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Roast for another 25-30 minutes, basting occasionally, or until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crispy.

Makes 4 servings

Breast of Veal for Passover

_DSC9020.jpg

In my world, Passover is not usually the brisket fest that is typical for so many of the other families I know.

Our usual is turkey. Second night veal.

That's because, growing up, when the Seders were at my grandma's house, and the crowd could be as many as 24 people, she always served a big turkey the first night. The second night, when we were a much smaller group, she would cook a batch of veal cutlets with a crunchy matzo meal crust.

Frankly, I don't feel like frying up a whole mess of cutlets, so my Passover veal dinner will likely be breast of veal, one of my favorites meats to eat. I realize a lot of people think breast of veal is too down home for a festive occasion such as Passover.

I don't agree. Look how beautiful this roast is! Golden brown skin, meaty bones, moist meat, savory vegetables to accompany. Looks impressive to me! And also quite good to eat, for Passover or otherwise.

Roast Breast of Veal with Mushrooms, Onions and White Wine

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 10 ounces fresh mushrooms
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 breast of veal, about 3-4 pounds
  • 1/2 cup white wine

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 2 minutes, to soften slightly. Add the mushrooms, garlic and parsley, stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the vegetables into a roasting pan. Place the veal breast on top. Brush the top surface of the meat with the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes. Pour the wine over the meat. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Roast for another 45-50 minutes, basting occasionally, or until the surface is crispy.

Makes 4 servings

Fried Rice is Always Welcome

Ed and I have eaten a lot of fried rice recently. In Hong Kong. In Vietnam. In Cambodia. In the Philippines.

You could say fried rice is a staple in our lives. Just this simple dish: hot rice, vaguely crispy from the fry, lightly salty (but never with added soy sauce) and with a bit of egg, onion (usually in the form of scallion) and cooked vegetables. And that's how we had it (with a change of seasonings, depending on where we were) throughout Southeast Asia.

And that's how we have it at home (only from now on I will add more of the flavorings we recently sampled -- like sliced chili pepper or fresh coriander or star anise).

Because no matter what else I make for dinner, Ed will always welcome fried rice as a side dish.

He will also welcome fried rice as the main dish.

That makes it very easy for me, especially on days when I don't feel like fussing over dinner.

It does take some thinking ahead, because it's best to make fried rice using cold, cooked rice.

After that it's simple. You stirfry the rice and add all sorts of other ingredients from cooked carrots or mushrooms or any other veggie, to frozen peas to canned water chestnuts to fresh scallions to leftover chicken or veal to scrambled eggs -- whatever you have! And season it the way you like.

Like the recipe below, which was a filling, satisfying, delicious one-pot dinner.

Another bonus -- I added some of the Carrington Sriracha flavored coconut oil that I mentioned when I posted about Sriracha-Parmesan Popcorn. I got the oil, among other things at Crafted Kosher, a new website that has an enormous assortment of interesting products. The coconut oil is coming in handy for many of my recipes (stay tuned). Just a small amount makes a huge flavor difference, as it did with this fried rice.

Fried Rice with Egg and Peas

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha flavored coconut oil
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked cold rice
  • 3/4 cup thawed frozen peas
  • 1 cup diced leftover turkey, chicken or veal, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

Beat the eggs in a bowl and set aside. Heat 2 teaspoons of the vegetable oil in a wok or stirfry pan over medium-high heat. Add the eggs and cook, stirring once or twice until they are set on the bottom. Turn the eggs over and cook briefly until firm. Dish out the eggs onto a chopping board, chop them and set them aside. Heat the remaining vegetable oil and the coconut oil in the pan. Add the scallions and stirfry for about one minute. Add the rice, eggs, peas, optional meat and salt and stirfry for 2-3 minutes to distribute ingredients and heat the rice.

Makes 2-4 servings, depending on whether this is a one-dish meal or part of a meal

 

Roasted Salmon with Harissa

Many years ago Ed and I took our daughters on a cruise to Alaska. At the time they were going through what I think of as the usual teenage disdain for anything their parents liked. So although they went with us on deck to see some of the famous, enormous glaciers, after the first few, when we uncool grownups were still excited to see yet another huge hunk of ice, they stayed in their cabin. And so they missed the Columbia Glacier which, just by chance when we were watching, dropped what we were told was the ice equivalent of a 6-story apartment building into the water.

Okay, so they missed it. I still smile when I close my eyes and think about what we saw that day.

The other thing we all missed was the salmon. Alaskan salmon is world famous, and for good reason -- it's fat and flavorful. And some of the folks on our trip actually went fishing and caught some fish, which the chef cooked them for dinner. And for those who didn't go fishing, well, they got fresh fresh salmon anyway.

Unfortunately our daughter Gillian is allergic to fish, so we never have it on the table when she is with us.

Ed and I have made up for that in the years that followed, when we dine alone or with people who can eat and appreciate fish.

We both love salmon and eat it very often.

And so, in keeping with the political theme of this blog over the past several weeks, I will pay tribute to the Alaska Democratic political caucus coming up on March 26th (the Republicans had theirs on March 1st), and offer one of the salmon recipes we have loved over the years. It's so quick and easy to cook you can serve this any night of the week. And yet, salmon is festive, so it's a good choice for company also.

Roasted Salmon with Harissa

  • 4 salmon filets or steaks, about 6 ounces each
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon harissa
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place the salmon pieces in a baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, oregano, harissa and mustard. Spread this mixture on top of the fish filets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-18 minutes, depending on thickness, or until cooked to desired doneness.

Makes 4 servings