Smoked Salmon

smoked salmon

It feels like summer, fire up the grill! In this case the smoker. A friend gave us a smoker and everything needed to get started with the instructions to ‘Have fun with it, you can’t go wrong!’. True enough, randomly planned I did little to prepare the salmon other than a sprinkle of salt and a thin rub of brown sugar.

smoker wood chips

We set up a table and chair under the trees for a little cook camp by the work shed and invited all those around the dock to join us for a meal in honor of Memorial Day. Nothing fancy, a simple can of 3 bean salad and some coleslaw rounded out the plate. The salmon was divine.. close your eyes and savor every bite good!

Smoked salmon plate

We noticed our neighbor who complains about the dog going into his yard sitting in his backyard. We cautiously approached him with a plate of food as a small peace-offering. He loved the salmon so much he went inside and came out with a big piece of his home-baked cake from scratch. Said he’ll bake us a whole cake today! Amazingly, in a few minutes our relationship did a 180 turn around.

cake from scratch

Goes to show the power of a small and random act of kindness, and food to bring us together. I wish we lived in a world where there was no need for the existence of military. Where problems could be solved with a piece of cake or by sharing a meal and stories of the ones we love. Till then I give gratitude to all those who have bravely served for our freedom!

memorial

In loving memory and admiration of veteran Renee Esposito.

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Aubergine (eggplant) Salad

Lemon, cucumber, pickled cherry pepper, butter lettuce, avocado, Bulgarian feta, olives, red wine vinegar and fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Lemon, cucumber, pickled cherry pepper, butter lettuce, avocado, Bulgarian feta, olives, red wine vinegar, olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice for dressing.

I have made this dish for many friends who confessed that they never really enjoyed eggplant fully until now. So, if you are skeptical, try it, and you might just be surprised.

Duane and I were traveling in Berlin for a performance a couple of years ago and fell in love with a Turkish restaurant in Wedding. We ate there several times before returning home primarily because of the aubergine that had been sliced thin, pan fried in olive oil and lots of garlic, then chilled. Along with some savory yogurt and lamb, it was divine. But when I got home I realized that the already beloved eggplant would become even more beloved as a chilled salad topping. Since then, I have probably eaten it a hundred times. It takes a little effort to make, but if you make a large batch you can keep it in the fridge and throw it on pastas, sandwiches, and salads alike.

Here is what you do:

eggplant1

Pour ample, but not a lake, of good olive oil in a large skillet. Put the heat on medium. Slice the eggplant as thin as possible long-way (from end to end). Chop fresh garlic fine. This recipe uses lots of Olive oil and garlic – I use one clove and about a cup of oil for one large eggplant. Cook the eggplant till brown in each side. Shake of salt, squeeze of lime (optional, but makes it very yummy). Don’t worry about the oil, it keeps you regular and has DHA.

eggplant 3

Lay them in a pile as you go. When you are done, put some plastic wrap over it and store it in the fridge to chill. I had them on couscous yesterday with a dollop of plain yogurt and hummus.

Apple Stuffed Pork loin

Cooking a beautiful seasonal meal puts me in the holiday spirit. I need the simple pleasures of peeling apples, chopping onions and sauteing in bubbling pats of golden butter stirred thoughtfully around the pan, during the quite of the day, for my own sanity in this chaotic world. I look forward to the smile I’ll receive when I present the meal. For tonight is a pork loin I’ve butterflied and stuffed with an apple, onion, cranberry and walnut stuffing seasoned with sage and thyme. Acorn squash split open is filled with the remaining stuffing to bake alongside in the roasting pan. Tying the rolled up meat with twine as a sailor would tye a line around the main to batten it down for a storm, then dusting with salt and colorful pepper flakes.

Asian bbq chicken with Indian rice and peas


Dinner the other night was a combination of Asian and Indian flavors. Chicken thighs were parboiled for 15-20 minutes with the skin removed, which helps keeps the grill from flaring up from the fat. I finished cooking the chicken on the grill for another 15 minutes and used bottled Chinese barbecue Hoisin sauce  for glazing – which is made with soybean paste, garlic, chilies, spices, sugar and vinegar.

For the side dish, I cooked up some brown basmati rice and topped it with a Korma simmer sauce from a premixed packet from the store, a combination of spices and coconut milk. I added green peas to the sauce that went over top of the rice. The flavors all combined well – a bit of spicy, sweet tang.

Breaded eggplant with roasted peppers

Hey Katt, this is what I had for dinner which is not quite as healthy as your juice, but it hit the spot. Garlic in the pan with light virgin olive oil – a good amount. Slice the eggplant (1/2 inch thick) and dip in egg before tossing them into an Italian seasoned bread crumb mixture with Parmesan. Then toss into pan till golden brown. Before serving, dry them off on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Top with roasted red peppers from the jar (make them on the grill by burning the skins and peeling them off), add a spoonful of tomato sauce on each and who could resist fresh mozzarella cheese? Enjoy!!!

Grilled Portobello Stacks

Dang Lori, your recent posts have had me hungry!

What an influence you were in my grocery shopping yesterday. I bought bok choy, and shiitake mushrooms – your dish looks too good not to try. That, and some yucca and marmalade from figs from the ethnic foods isle. Oh how I love figs. I picked up some dried figs as well, still thinking of that Fig Almond Cake we had with Brie and apples on the Cape, I’d like to recreate it.

So I was working till dark last evening on re-bedding my leaky center hatch with new caulking. Yay, major fix! Afterwards, I turned the grill on for dinner and brushed both sides of 2 large Portobellos with a little olive and sesame oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Threw them on the hot grill, gill sides down for a few minutes, then flipped over for a few minutes on the other side. The gill side of the mushroom makes a nice platform for stacking toppings on, which I covered with slices of tomato, avocado and mozzarella cheese till melted. These beauties rested a top a salad bed of peppery arugula greens with yet more tomato and avocado bites thrown in.

Sorry the photo is blurry, the boat is dimly lit, it really doesn’t do them justice.