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.

Advertisements

Seafood Cobb Salad

Seafood Cobb Salad

The marina and restaurant next door has a Seafood Cobb Salad on its menu that is killer. Though expensive to eat out, this salad still has pricey ingredients to make at home though for a much bigger portion and left over ingredients. It’s nice on special occasions, like for this past Easter Sunday dinner. It’s such a rich and luxe salad on its own, it doesn’t need a dressing though I think creaming some avocado with a bit of lime juice would work well as a simple dressing.

  • 3-4 cups Baby Spinach / salad greens
  • 1 ear of Corn off the cobb
  • 1 Avocado Sliced
  • 1/8 cup chopped Red Onion
  • 2 Hard Boiled Eggs sliced
  • 6 Strips chopped crisp Bacon (fat trimmed & broiled)
  • 3-4 Tbsp Blue Cheese
  • 1/3 cup of Lump Crab Meat
  • Peeled and steamed seasoned Shrimp (3-4 per person)
  • 1 filet of Blackened Seared Tuna cubed (optional)

seafood salad

Salmon Cakes with Yogurt Mustard Dill Sauce

salmon cake platter

I’m gonna go on a limb here and guess that canned salmon is probably not most peoples first choice of ingredients, but when it comes to cooking aboard making meals from shelf stable canned foods is unavoidable at times and when done well, is an admirable quality of a good galley-slave. This is one of my time-tested goto canned meal recipes.

  • Can of Salmon
  • Onion
  • Red pepper
  • Garlic
  • 8-9 Saltine crackers or bread crumbs
  • 1 Egg
  • Tbsp of Chef Paul’s Magic Salmon Seasoning or seasoning of your choice
    (“sugar, salt, spices, granulated onion & garlic, mustard seed, paprika”)
  • 1 tsp dill

Open and drain well the liquid from can of salmon and place in a mixing bowl. As you gently flake apart the meat into large chunks, remove any bones and fatty skin you find.

salmon cake mixture

Finely mince 1/4 of a large onion, 1/4 of a large pepper, 2 cloves of garlic and add to salmon. Crack an egg into the mixture. Crumble a few crackers at a time in your hand over the bowl till they break into fine bread like crumbs and add your seasoning.

salmon-cake-patties

Roll up your sleeves and gently mix together with you hands being careful not to over mix the salmon chunks. You’ll want the mixture moist enough to hold together into patties without crumbling apart. Add more breadcrumbs or egg if necessary. Shape into palm size patties and refrigerate till ready to cook. I found from making crab cakes that cakes tend to hold together better when allowed to refrigerate before cooking.

fried salmon cakes

Add enough olive oil to your frying pan to partially submerge the cakes, I used a small frying pan so it took a bit less oil to coat the pan and a smaller pan heats quicker. You’ll want the pan and oil nice and hot when you drop the patties in, be careful of oil splatter. Watch for the bottoms to brown before flipping, a good 5 minutes or more per side. When fully browned on both sides, place on a plate with some paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Add more oil to pan as needed to finish browning all your patties.

yogurt, mustard, lime and dill sauce

I made a cool dill yogurt dipping sauce that really complimented the flavors and crispy texture of the salmon cakes nicely.

Yogurt Dill Sauce

  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of plain yogurt
  • 1-2 Tbsp of stone ground horseradish mustard
  • 1-2 tsp of dill
  • Juice of a lime wedge

Salmon burgers

To offset the heaviness of the frying, it was lighted up with a fresh green salad of baby spinach, mini heirloom tomatoes, chopped basil and fresh mozzarella cubes.

Sesame Noodles with Shrimp

Arlo taking a nap while I get my ingredients in order

Arlo taking a nap while I get my ingredients in order

Heya Katt,

I received a text from Duane yesterday asking “any ideas for dinner?” It has been difficult to cook every night so I thought about something that I could make a lot of and might last a few days. Sesame noodles. I looked at many recipes, warm, cool, taste variations. From all of these I created the best of my own, which can be prepared as a warm or chilled dish. Keep in mind that the combination of these ingredients are to taste – you should decide how spicy, verses sweet, versed tangy you want your sauce. Also decide how saucy you want this dish to be. The sesame oil is pretty strong in flavor, as well as the soy, so you may want to start with smaller portions in the beginning.

Ingredients:

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 package of linguini or noodle of choice
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 bunch of scallions/green onions (6ish)
  • 6 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 2 bunches of broccoli
  • Fresh ginger (to taste) peeled and finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds (or more!)
  • 1 tsp of chili sauce
  • 1/4 soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 canola oil
  • 1/4 sesame oil
  • 3 packed tablespoons of brown sugar

Start with some noodle – Linguini is a great choice for me, but you can use any noodles of your choice.

On the right: Bell pepper, scallions, cilantro, toasted sesame seeds

On the right: Bell pepper, scallions, cilantro, toasted sesame seeds

In a medium bowl chop up 1 bell pepper, cilantro to taste (bunch) 6 scallions, and pour in some toasted sesame seeds.

heated mixtures

heated mixtures

In a warm skillet combine sesame oil, canola oil, chili sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Add chopped garlic and grated fresh ginger. Cook for a few minutes then add the well chopped broccoli. Cover and cook for 5-7 min. Don’t over cook the broccoli, it should be somewhat crunchy.

add cocktail shrimp

add cocktail shrimp

Pour the mixture over the pasta, and add cooked peeled shrimp. mix very well. I added more toasted sesame seeds and chopped cilantro at the end. Place in the fridge for one hour, or serve warm.

photo-39

Here it is all served up. Gotta go stoke the fire…

Tom Kha Gai – Thai Coconut Soup

It’s soup season again. I’m hoping to perfect making large pots of warming soups and stews with crusty homemade breads from scratch in the months ahead as it turns colder. I’m quite proud of this Thai soup I made last night that tasted authentic to my memory of savoring it at an excellent Baltimore Thai restaurant.

I got the idea to make this while shopping an Asian/International grocery store. I find these markets to have so much greater a variety of produce at reasonable prices. I get excited and dumbfounded by all the exotic and unfamiliar foods I have yet to try here.

asian-mkt

It was the lemongrass stalks that grabbed me with their fragrance. I’ve bought them for juicing before but had never actually cooked with them. They are very fibrous and stringy and can be eaten if sliced up very thinly and cooked down, but really it’s preferable to chop them into large chunks, bend/crush them slightly (like a clove of garlic) to let them release their flavor, then remove them before serving.

thai coconut soup

Ingredients:

1 box of chicken broth (4 cups)
2 cans of coconut milk
1″ of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 stalks of lemon grass, chopped in 2 inch pieces
Juice of 2 limes (1/4 cup)
3 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp Agave syrup
1 small green Thai pepper, deseeded and finely diced
Dashes of Tobasco green pepper sauce (used as a substitute for Chili Garlic sauce)
2 thin chicken breasts sliced into pieces
1 lb. of shrimp
handful of mushrooms, sliced
1 vine ripened tomato diced
chopped cilantro for garnish

  • Pour chicken broth into a sauce pot over medium high heat an bringing to a simmer.
  • Grate in a 1″ piece of peeled ginger into the pot.
  • Cut the lemongrass stalks into 2″ pieces and bend it slightly to unlock the flavor. If you have a tea diffuser ball or herb sachet you could let it brew in the broth and remove it when ready to serve, as it’s not pleasant to eat unless chopped very finely and boiled down.
  • Stir in fish sauce, lime juice, pepper/tobasco and agave to broth. Simmer at a low boil for about 5 minutes. The ingredients in this soup don’t need to cook long. Much of the cook time is to marry the flavors of the broth.
  • Add the remaining ingredients.. chicken, mushrooms, shrimp, tomato allowing meat to cook, another 5 minutes.
  • Remove lemongrass stalks from soup, ladle into bowls and top with chopped cilantro.

Shrimp & Blackened Tuna Soft Tacos

There are just some foods I love so much that they’ve become regular staples of my diet. I know you can’t eat it right now, but as a water girl I crave seafood. I like eating a lean protein alongside a big salad or basically putting the same salad ingredients and protein atop a warm whole wheat tortilla and I’m loving life. It also makes dinner preparation easy. Most often the salad ingredients on hand are romaine or spinach, tomato, avocado, raw corn, kalamata olives and sometimes improvised with the addition of a bit of fruit or nuts all which taste great without any dressing or some jarred marinated artichokes thrown in with oil as dressing.

shrimp

Shrimp was on sale so I picked up a LB of it steamed and seasoned. Guacamole was 1 mashed avocado, a big spoonful of hot salsa and a dollop of sour cream and fresh squeezed key lime juice. 

Blackened Seared Tuna still pink in the middle is a specialty Chris has perfected with practice and now taught me. The whole tuna fillet is covered and pressed with Blackened Cajun spice, even the side edges. Coat the bottom of a frying pan well with olive oil and put it over a high flame, getting the pan very hot but before the oil reaches its smoking point – a few minutes. Then place the tuna carefully in the pan to avoid hot oil splatter; laying a paper plate upside down will catch any flying oil. 2-3 Minutes per side, then turn the heat off and let it keep cooking as it rests. Perfection.

tuna

IMG_2325

Magnificent Fall light on the creek at sunset.

Citrusy Yellow tail and anise

Lori here, again. Tonight I quick broiled fresh yellow tail. I put a helping of Irish butter in the pan, lay the filets on top. Sprinkled red pepper, a little cayenne, dried dill and slices of lime. I poured tangerine juice in the sides and broiled on high for, I don’t know, 5-6 min.

I cooked some anise root in a iron skillet coated with virgin olive oil. Tossed in a couple of chopped cloves of garlic and a handful of jumbo raisins. Delicious with a dash of sea salt and squeeze of lemon in the end. Perfect companion dish to the fish, both with a subtle sweetness. Can’t get enough!

Dill and Curry Tuna Salad

I always have tuna cans in the cupboards, so thought I’d share my new favorite way of making tuna salad:

2 cans of tuna drained
2 Tablespoons of grated Parmesan
2 Tablespoons of sweet pickle relish
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon of onion flakes
2 Tablespoons of mayo

Let it sit in the fridge for 30 min – hour to let the flavors meld.