Monday, February 16, 2009

Tonight's Dinner: Creamy Lemony Peppery Salmon and Aspargus. Or something.

So I seem to do better about posting recipes if I do it immediately upon finishing the dish. Actually, right now I'm typing as the salmon cooks, so who knows if I'll even hit publish? I guess you'll know that I did if I you're reading this.

Blech. Meta-blogging is so boring. But I'm too lazy to hit delete.

So, tonight's misadventures come to you via my leftover sour cream (doesn't that make your mouth water?) and salmon fillets (not left over, just bought them yesterday).

I had no idea if this would work or not, but I also had asparagus. And asparagus and a lemony cream sauce seemed like they would go together too. Best of all? They (the salmon and asparagus, keep up already) both cook pretty quickly. The longest cooking part of this meal was the rice (because I didn't use instant).

(I need a few more parentheticals).

There's a term for cooking meat like this - is it poaching? Braising? Am I supposed to know this, being the blogger and all?

There goes my street cred.

**My incredibly deep thoughts on the taste of this dish at the end.

Creamy Lemon Pepper Salmon

1 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup (half stick) margarine
1 minced garlic clove
1 tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup sour cream
2 salmon fillets, about 1/2 lb each
1 lb asparagus
Salt and Pepper, to taste


Heat oven to 400F.

Lightly spray 13"x9" pan* with nonstick spray. Rinse salmon filets, pat dry, and place in one half of the pan.

Heat olive oil and margarine in a skillet on low. Add garlic and cook on low for one minute. Stir in lemon pepper and lemon juice.

It'll look better in a few seconds. Promise.

Still on low, whisk in sour cream until it's smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

That's better.

Pour sauce over salmon – is this called poaching or something? I’m sure there’s a technical cooking term for this that I’ve forgotten. A term besides “Make My Mouth Water”, that is.

Cook for 12-13 minutes, or until the salmon flakes in the middle. Yes, you'll have to move some sauce aside to check, but there's enough sauce to cover it up. You could also use a meat thermometer, but that's so HIGH TECH. (It's also something you have to clean by hand, and I mostly avoid that.)

While the salmon cooks, trim your asparagus and toss with the barest hint of olive oil and some salt and pepper.

Come to Mama, Green Goddess.

About 3 minutes before the salmon's done, put the asparagus on the other half of the pan and continue cooking.

Serve over rice.

It looks like The Blob turned white and smothered my dinner.

* I did mine in a 13x9 pan so that I could add asparagus in the other half of it for the last 3 minutes of cooking. You could do the salmon by itself in a square glass pan - you have my permission.

**Pretty good, but very ugly pictures. I could have used about 3x as much pepper (not the lemon pepper, the real pepper) in it, but The Professor is not a huge fan, so if I ever attempt something similar, I'll probably just roughly double how much I ground into the pan. Also, maybe a little more garlic?

The asparagus ROCKED in this sauce. And the remains of it are going to be my lunch tomorrow, over the leftover rice with the leftover sauce. Even if I did have to beat The Professor back with a cleaver to claim it. Lesson? He needs to be faster to the cleaver drawer.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tonight's Dinner - what's this called again?

I wanted to say I made carnitas, but that's really just the meat portion of it. So this is maybe a carnita casserole? Or an enchilada casserole with no enchilada sauce? Whatever it is, it made The Professor declare it was good. Since The Professor declares that Mexican food is the lowest on the food chain, I was completely blown away by how much he liked it.

It was kind of a long road to dinner, though, even though I pretty much knew what I was going to do before I started.

I started with a half of a roast (about 2 lb) that was in the freezer, wavering on the edge of being frost-bit. It needed help, ASAP.

The bottle of Jameson's is not intended for this recipe, but if you get the urge, feel free.

I started it's rehabilitation by putting it (after it thawed, duh) in my crock pot.

I dumped in a cup of salsa, a cup of pork stock (no beef in house at the moment, but a can of that would work) a teaspoon of garlic powder, another of ground cumin, a couple of dashes of Taco Bell hot sauce and a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar. I turned it on low and let it go for about 7 hours while I had a lazy Saturday full of much HGTV.

I was disappointed when it came out of the crock pot. I wanted meat so tender that it was falling apart. My meat was most definitely willing to stay together.

But I am nothing if not stubborn, so I persevered. I started shredding it with a couple of forks, pulling out any fat that I ran across.

I took half of the meat and put it in a bowl. Then I got a slotted spoon and started pulling out the solid leftovers from my crock pot (which I had left on while I worked on the meat, so that it might reduce a wee bit. It didn't). When I had about a tablespoon of juicy-tomato-y-salsa-y stuff in with the meat, I mixed it up to keep it from drying out.

Side note - I had also used 2 lonely avocados hanging out in my fridge to make a small batch of guacamole before I started shredding the meat.

Now, I needed some diced tomatoes and some shredded cheese. Cheddar would've been prettier, but I had mozzarella in the fridge. It's healthier, and cheaper. So, Mozzarella is what we use around here.

Now, it's assembly time!

The wine is also purely ornamental. How does all this alcohol keep finding its way into the pics?

I got out my 2 quart round casserole dish and put a soft taco on the bottom.
Spoon half of the meat mixture on top and spread it around, then top it with a handful of tomatoes and some cheese.

Cheese: God's gift to the faithful.

Then do another layer of soft taco, meat, tomatoes and cheese.

Then, just for fun, I did a layer that was just cheese and put another soft taco on top.

I went back to the crock pot and spooned up some more of that lovely liquid - I don't want to waste all of that hard work, after all. More cheese (can you ever really have enough?), another sprinkle of tomatoes, and it was ready for the oven.

After 20 minutes in the oven, I turned on the broiler to get the cheese a little brown and the tomatoes a little toasty.
Note to self: More tomatoes next time.

Half of it went on The Professor's plate (he was sniffing around, getting impatient at this point) with a spoonful of guacamole and another of sour cream.

It's a good thing guacamole tastes so good, cause its not a very photogenic individual.

I think some caramelized onions and maybe a pretty-colored bell pepper would've been awesome, and I'll have to try that next time. Tonight, I just opened a bottle of beer and now....well now, I have a very happy husband.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Choclate Mousse

This is months past due. I have no excuse, other than my old standby: I have a laptop and a short attention span.

I thought you'd understand.

So last year was the Year of Thirty. All of my best gals and I turned 30. Due to our parents various life-cycles (and procreative natures, she says as she pours wine to forget about THAT thought), it took a full 12 months to complete the cycle. The Bestest Friend turned 30 first (oh, she just dove for the liquor cabinet too!), and The Wee One completed the year almost exactly 11 months later.

I made this somewhere in that year, for one of our birthday parties drink fests weekends. I don't even remember which, but that's not important. What is important, is that it was ridiculously easy. I snagged the recipe from Baking Bites, so verily, go hither anon and check it out. Because someone - and it may just be your subconscious, but hey, that counts - will love you.

And yes, I know, her pictures are better. But I don't care, because I got to eat the results, and it has cured me of any photo-ability-ego I may have once had. Also, apparently, any grammar skills.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Quote of the Day

"I prefer butter to margarine, because I trust cows more than chemists."
--Joan Gussow