Poached Salmon with a tarragon cream sauce and wild rice

poached salmon with a tarragon cream sauce and wild rice

This one is pretty self explanatory. It was a great quick easy meal. I guess the wild rice took about 50 minutes and I cooked it in broth and herbs. For the salmon, I put a couple of cups of wine in a pot with a bay leaf, cracked pepper, some onion and lemon. Bring it to a boil and add your salmon and poach until cooked. It takes just a couple of minutes per side. The broccoli rabe is sauteed with olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes, my favorite way to prepare greens.
For the tarragon cream sauce I took some dry white wine, probably a cup and reduced it with shallots and dried tarragon, dash of salt and fresh ground pepper and then added a bit of heavy cream, at the end to thicken it up. This sauce turned out to be lovely on both the salmon and the wild rice. I am a sauce girl. If I had to choose between a great sauce and dessert, it would be sauce most of the time.
I will definitely make this dish or variations of it again. The wild rice mixture was a welcome change of pace and texture!

i’m out

Pad Thai with crispy tofu and fried GF spring rolls

Tofu pad thai

┬áThere are plenty of great Pad Thai recipes out there, so I won’t post this one, unless someone needs one. I tend to add cilantro to mine and it traditionally isn’t in there, but I like it.

Fried spring rolls (from rice paper) with dipping sauce

 Please do try making yourself some of these fried spring rolls (egg rolls) as it is so easy and tasty. I have made them many times and learned from trial and error. They freeze great for frying up later when you have an Asian cuisine craving. I freeze them in packs of 4 or 6 to have as an appetizer. Mine are Vietnamese style, which are traditionally made with rice wrappers. Thanks goes out to my old long ago Vietnamese grad school roomie Lan for teaching me her style of cooking.
Here’s what I do, keep in mind that I rarely measure, I just go by gut feeling and smell.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Dried rice papers – go for the ones that are 1/4 of a round verses the whole round. These will make spring rolls about as big as your finger. Check to make sure they don’t have wheat as there are a couple of varieties out there that do have wheat starch in them. Tapioca papers work fine too.

1 pound of ground pork – raw – do not cook (some people add ground shrimp)

large handful of sliced wood ear mushrooms reconstituted. It is easiest if you can buy them already sliced and dried, but if they are whole, just slice them up after soaking.

dried mung bean noodles – one small packet – these must be the thin tiny noodles, if you can’t find the mung bean (sometimes called lily thread) rice noodles will do – reconstituted and chopped up a bit so they are no longer in long pieces. I just use scissors to slice through them while they are in the bowl

finely chopped green onions
one medium onion shredded
one shredded carrots or more if it is a small carrot
shredded ginger – lots of it
minced garlic
lots of black pepper, i mean lots
dash of fish sauce

Mix it all together, you really shouldn’t need any egg to hold it together, but if you feel unsure, you could probably add an egg.

Smell it. If it smells nice and gingery and peppery with some garlic, then it is probably good.

Prep your area with a couple of cutting boards and something flat that has a rim to it. I use a pizza pan. Put a little of cold water in the pan – yes, it does not need to be warm, cold water works perfectly. Take your dry wrapper and dip it into the water and hold it in for a couple of seconds. Take it out and let it drip for one second and lay in on your cutting board. While that one is softening, dip a couple more and lay them out to soften. If you wait for the paper to soften in the water, it will be too late and will easily tear.

Now go to the first one you laid down and add a bit of the filling to the bottom of the circle or 1/4 circle (depending on which ones you are using). Add the filling in the form of a log and then wrap up from the bottom and roll a bit, then tuck the left and right sides over the center and roll it to the end (just like a burrito). Place it end piece down on another cutting board and let it finish adsorbing and dry out a little. Keep doing this until you are finished. Save some to cook right now – why wait? The rest, put on parchment paper or leave on your cutting board and put in the freezer to freeze individually and then package into freezer bags – food savers work great for these once they are frozen.

For frying: heat up oil of your choice making sure it coats the bottom of the pan thoroughly (or use a deep fryer if you have one). Add a couple of spring rolls and make sure they are not touching each other because if they do, they will stick to each other and tear. Fry till brown and then carefully flip them over and brown the other side. They will spatter, esp if any of the rice paper is torn and lets the filling juices out, so use a spatter guard and oven mitts.

Let them rest on some paper towel. Then start dipping!

Spring roll dipping sauce

1 part GF tamari or soy sauce

1 part rice wine vinegar

1/2 part toasted sesame oil

minced green onion – just the green bits

You will be so happy you went through the effort to make these. I take them right from the freezer and put them in the frying pan.

fried spring rolls from rice paper

Enjoy and let me know how they work for you!
i’m out

Death by garlic herb monkey bread

garlic herb monkey bread

I saw this delicious looking loaf of bread on I’m hungry and decided it would be a good idea to try it, with tweaks of course. Being lazy I used spelt flour instead of a gluten free flour and started the involved process. The result: Rich, flavorful, herby, cheesy (I used 3 times as many herbs and threw in a cup, yes a cup of grated parm) and buttery. I was so excited to eat this bread. It is a pull apart loaf so I pulled a few pieces off and gobbled them up. Lesson learned: This bread is too rich for me. I felt so icky after eating it as it was so ladden with fat. Two sticks of butter folks and 1 cup of parm. It was over the top. My dear BF loved it. After I sat around moaning that the monkey bread had to go and that I never wanted to see a bit of it again, he said, you always feel that way after eating really greasy food. I do I asked? Yes, you do. Why don’t you feel icky I asked? He says, because I eat this kind of stuff all the time and I thrive on it.

So, give it a try if you want but if I were you, I would skip the parm and use less butter (keep the herbs tripled). Those first bites were pretty good. In fact, I could probably look the bread in the face now, knowing what I know. Thank goodness I can’t. I sent it with the BF to work to torture his coworkers with it. Saved from a second death.

garlic herb monkey bread garlic herb monkey bread garlic herb monkey bread

i’m out

Curried butternut squash soup

curried butternut squash soup

Since I have the day off (President’s Day) and had a can of butternut squash in the cupboard and the secret ingredient this week is just that, I thought I would whip up some soup for lunch, esp since my BF said to boycott the secret ingredient. This way I can have some and not listen to any comments about veggies that he doesn’t care for. This soup is so tasty that I have now eaten two bowls (I was hungry) and now am a bit concerned as to what almost 32% of my fiber for the day in one fell swoop will do to me.

I received one of those little “boat motors” for Christmas and now that I opened it, I look for every opportunity to use it. It works great for things like this. I have learned that you need enough liquid in it to cover the blending device in order for it to do it’s job best.

Curried butternut squash soup

1 can butternut squash (14 oz) already pureed

1/2 onion chopped

2 cloves of garlic chopped

olive oil

2 cups broth, vegatable or chicken

2 TBS generic curry powder (sometimes I go the easy route – or make your own)

heavy cream to taste

salt and pepper

cilantro chutney and cream to garnish (optional of course, I just happened to have them around)

Sautee the onions and garlic lightly in a bit of olive oil, add curry powder, broth and squash and either toss in the blender or use a boat motor until smooth. Add a bit of heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste and bring up to a boil.

Pour into a soup bowl, garnish and slurp!

curried butternut squash soup butternut squash

i’m out

Menu of the week; Cocktail of the Week: Ginger lemon fizz Feb 18th

I figured out my menu plan before knowing the “secret ingredient” butternut squash, so I will see if I can fit it in somewhere, perhaps some butternut squash curry soup for lunch on a day when I am working out of the house this week. This week’s menu is hosted by Gluten Free Sox! Check out the new look of her blog today!

Cocktail of the week: Ginger lemon fizz

I made a simple syrup with loads of fresh ginger and lemon grass in it, add to some vodka, ice, lots of lemon juice, lemon wedge and top with soda water – refreshing and easy.

Sunday: Traditional with a flare

Roasted 1/2 chicken with lemon and herbs with roasted new potatoes (still from the farm) and roasted asparagus served with an herby yogurt. ( I thawed the last of our free range chicken and cut it in half, half for the roasted chix and the other half was poached for Tues and then once the meat was cooked, I threw the bones back in for the stock)


Lunch: Day off and Butternut squash curry soup (ha ha I had a can of butternut squash in the cupboard for a squash emergency)

Dinner: Italian momma’s house (Well, if my momma were Italian, I am sure she would have cooked this for me…)

Spinach and Ricotta stuffed Cannelloni (I hope, we will see if my pasta works out) in a bolognese sauce with fresh mozzarella – fun with the pasta machine on the day off!

Tuesday: Comfort food

Chicken pot pie and green salad – Thanks to Carrie for this idea! It’s finally time to try the croissant recipe for my crust!

Wednesday: Neuvo Mexican

Grilled Salmon in a roasted serrano pepper tequila cream sauce with Mexican style rice

Thursday: Irish rainy days

Leek and cheese soup with crusty wheat free bread for dipping

Friday: Indian

Lamb curry – that is unless we have too many leftovers in which case I will skip this as we are leaving for vacation for the next ten days in the morning! I am making an effort to cook with less leftovers and that takes some training on my part.


Seattle and Portland bound!