Monday, September 26, 2011

Citrus Cured Salmon

A bright citrusy salmon, perfect on a bagel with some cream cheese or as a starter for a fancy meal.

2.5 lbs fresh salmon
1/2 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
zest of two oranges and two lemons
1 T lemon juice
1 T orange juice
1/4 C grand marnier
3/4 C kosher salt

Mix the sugars, salt, and grated zest. Sprinkle half the mixture over the bottom of dish just large enough to hold the salmon (this is important, you want to keep the brine in close contact with the fish). Place the fish in the pan and coat with the mixed citrus juice and grand marnier, then add the rest of the salt-sugar-zest mixture.
Cover with plastic wrap then place a dish on top of the salmon and weight it down.
Refrigerate for two days. The salmon should be firm to the touch when done, if it isn't give it another day in the cure. When it's done rinse the cure off and dry the salmon. Slice it thinly when you're ready to eat.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Beef Fajitas

Caramelized meat, mounds of caramelized and cooked down onions with a bunch of cooked down peppers... This is just rich salty deliciousness of beef with veggies that are cooked until falling apart.  Heaven when wrapped in a warm tortilla and served with some pico de gallo.

1.5 lbs beef (something like top round), trimmed of fat and cut in to 1/8th inch strips across the grain
pico de gallo
2-3 small onions, thinly sliced
2-3 mild green chiles (anaheim work well), thinly sliced
5-6 jalapenos, thinly sliced
flour tortillas
1 T vegetable oil

Marinade
6 T vegetable oil
6 T soy sauce
2 T dried oregano
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 T cayenne, or to taste
1 capful liquid smoke

Mix the marinade ingredients, and marinate the beef for a day.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet or wok (not non-stick) on high heat until almost smoking, then drain the marinade and add the beef (you may need to do this in two or three batches to keep the oil hot enough). Stir it around continuously for a minute or two until well browned, but not over cooked. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
The finished beef


Drop the heat down to medium, add the chiles and onions, and set your oven to 350. Cook the onions and chiles until soft, and toward the end of this throw your tortillas in the oven to warm up.

Chiles and onions cooking


 When the chiles and onions are done kill the heat and return the beef to the pan and mix it all together. Serve on the tortillas with some pico de gallo or salsa.
Ready for the tortillas

Salsa

A basic salsa recipe; I like cilantro and love spicy food, so this recipe reflects that. The amount of cilantro could be reduced, and something less spicy than habaneros could be substituted (serranos or jalapenos).

Three good sized ripe tomatoes, roughly 4 cups
3/4 C onion
2 jalapenos
2 anaheim or similar mild green pepper
1/2 C cilantro
4 cloves garlic
salt to taste
3-4 T vinegar, cider or a mix of cider and white
habaneros to desired heat

Roast the tomatoes, jalapenos, and anaheims under a broiler until the skin browns and splits. Allow to cool, then remove stems and tomato cores. Process everything in a food processor, adjust flavor as necessary, and allow to sit so the flavor blend.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Soy sauce

I'm finally realizing, somewhat belatedly, that not all soy sauce is created equal. Hell, I'm finding that I need at least five types of soy in my cabinet, without taking in to account the home seasoned varieties based on the more traditional. (and hell, without considering all of the various forms of solid fermented bean) Let's start with the basics:

Japanese (this is a generalization): Definitely a milder form than the Chinese, but with a good saltiness and richness. This is as close as you'll get to a middle of the road. That said, it's just not suitable for Korean or Chinese.

Korean: Less salty than Japanese, and far less strong than Chinese, but with a pronounced sweetness. An attempt to make katsudon with Korean soy sauce was pretty spectacularly awful; too sweet, not salty enough, and lacking the proper richness.

Chinese: It's great, but it's the blunt instrument of soy. It's salty, rich, intense, and wonderful, but don't use any large amount in anything delicate.

Chinese dark: Less salty than the regular, still rich, but with a sweetness from added sugar. Significantly darker, suitable for adding color to pale marinated foods.

Thai black: Less rich than Chinese and less salty, but sweetened with a slight fermented taste. You could probably add a little molasses or brown sugar to Japanese or Korean to get something similar.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Roasted Marrow Bones with Parsley Salad

This is one of those decadent dishes you shouldn't make very often, but it is SO good. Invite a few friends who don't value their hearts much to help eat it.

8 beef or veal marrow bone halves (with the cut along the axis), 3 to 4 inches long, roughly 3 lbs
2 C roughly chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 C sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 T capers, chopped
3 T extra virgin olive oil
~2 T fresh lemon juice
Coarse sea salt to taste

At least 8 1/2-inch-thick slices of crusty bread, toasted (try not to over toast, you want crunch, but also some chewiness. Think bruschetta, not crostini, and the rub down with a garlic clove might not be a bad idea.)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put bones, cut side up, on foil-lined baking sheet or in ovenproof skillet. Cook until marrow is soft and has begun to separate from the bone, about 15 minutes. (Stop when the marrow is soft and spreadable but not liquifying and running out)

2. Meanwhile, combine parsley, onion and capers in small bowl. Just before bones are ready, whisk together olive oil and lemon juice and drizzle dressing over parsley mixture until leaves are just coated. Put roasted bones, parsley salad, salt and toast on a large plate. To serve, scoop out marrow, spread on toast, sprinkle with salt and top with parsley salad.