quick and easy

Grilled Corn Salad

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Now's about the time of year when local corn is at its best. So of course, while corn-on-the-cob is always a good bet, there are reasons to cut the kernels off the cob too:

  • your child or grandchild wears braces
  • your parent or grandparent wears dentures
  • you hate the mess and fussiness of eating corn-on-the-cob
  • you've had your fill of corn-on-the-cob
  • you want a pretty dish to go with whatever else you're serving

Here's what to do: salad. Like this easy one:

Grilled Corn Salad

  • 2 cups grilled or otherwise cooked corn kernels (about 2 large ears of corn)*
  • 1 cup cut up grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chili pepper, optional
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the corn kernels, tomatoes, red onion, parsley, thyme and chili pepper, if used, in a bowl and toss the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Pour in the olive oil and toss the ingredients to coat them with the oil. Pour in the wine vinegar and toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss and let stand for about 15 minutes before serving.

*You can also use raw corn kernels

Makes 4-6 servings

Roasted Salmon with Mustard and Chives

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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

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

 

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

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 Chicken with Ginger Preserves and Rosemary

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My daughters used to say that we were all going to turn into chickens. Because we always ate so much of it.

We still do.

Fact is, chicken is easy to cook. It doesn't take long. It is the kind of food that you can use just about any seasoning or sauce on and it will taste good. You can fry it, bake it, broil it, grill it, braise it -- on and on -- and it's also good. Even the leftovers are useful and good.

With all those benefits, who wouldn't eat a lot of chicken?

Anyway, even though I have my favorite chicken recipes, I am always trying to prepare it in different ways, just so dinner won't be boring. This recipe, using ginger preserves, was a quick, easy, fabulous dinner.

 

Roasted Chicken Breasts with Ginger preserves and rosemary

4 large bone-in chicken breasts (or whole legs)

1/2 cup ginger preserves

2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Rinse and dry the chicken pieces and place them in a baking pan. Combine the ginger preserves, Balsamic vinegar, mustard and rosemary and spoon over the chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F. Continue to bake for about 30 minutes or until cooked through.

Makes 4 servings.

 

Roasted Halibut with Cherry Tomatoes and Dill

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Whether you are about to mourn the end of summer or celebrate the Jewish New Year, it's the right time to take advantage of local tomatoes, still at their glorious peak-of-the-season and soon to disappear until next year.

Here's a scrumptious way. Sure, you can make this dish anytime, but it's so much better with end-of-summer tomatoes.

This easy, easy recipe takes almost no time to prepare, is quick to cook and can be set up to the point of actual cooking several hours ahead.

Perfect for last minute dinners. Busy week dinners. Rosh Hashanah fish course.

 

Roasted Halibut with Cherry Tomatoes and Dill

  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds halibut
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2-3 scallions or 3-4 tablespoons chopped red onion

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the fish in a baking dish. Brush the olive oil over the surface of the fish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Scatter the tomatoes on top of the fish. Scatter the dill and scallions on top. Roast the fish for 15-18 minutes, depending on thickness of the fish, or until just cooked through.

Makes 4 servings

Gorgeous Hunk of Salmon, Roasted with Orange and Dill

We eat so much salmon at our house that one of these days Ed and I might actually turn into some. That's probably because in years past, when our kids were still living at home, we couldn't have any fish in the house. One of our daughters is allergic.

So we're making up for it now (I decontaminate the refrigerator after a fish dinner to get rid of any leftover fish oils or vapors). And salmon is a favorite. It's tasty, attractive and also healthy. Can you beat that?

We like it all sorts of ways, but I try to vary the seasonings, just to keep it from being too boring (same goes for chicken).

We had this dish recently: roasted salmon with a glaze that's basically orange marmalade and mustard. It is incredibly easy to prepare -- takes less than 5 minutes. I served it to company. Everyone declared it a keeper.

 

Roasted Salmon with Orange MARMALADE, MUSTARD and Dill

 

  • 24-30 ounces fresh salmon
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place the salmon in a baking dish. Mix the marmalade, dill, garlic, lime juice and mustard together in a small bowl and spread this mixture evenly on top of the fish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, or until the fish is cooked to desired doneness and the top is crispy-browned. 

Makes 4 servings

 

You can never have too much caulifower

Frequently, if I am at a loss for what to serve as a side dish with dinner, I opt for cauliflower. There's always a head in the house. I can clean it quickly while the oven preheats. It's one of the milder cabbages, so everyone in the family likes it. And it is so incredibly flexible that, after a rubdown with olive oil I can squirt it with lemon juice or some other liquid, like maybe wine. I can season it with just about any spice or herb. I can give it a final flourish of cheese if I wish. 

I can break the cauliflower head into small chunks or cut it into thick slices, like "steak" (a recipe from The Modern Kosher Kitchen). Or roast it whole.

Saute it instead of roasting it in the oven.

Make it into salad.

And so on.

This is the latest version. Quick. Easy. Goes with everything.

 

Roasted Cauliflower

  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or marjoram
  • salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper (substitute ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Wash the cauliflower, trim the ends and break the head up into smaller pieces. Wipe dry with paper towels. Mix the olive oil and white wine vinegar in a large bowl. Add the cauliflower pieces and toss the pieces to coat them on all sides. Place the pieces on the prepared sheet, drizzling them with oil left n the bowl. Sprinkle with the oregano, salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, turning the pieces occasionally, or until the pieces are crispy and lightly browned.

Makes 4 servings