Friday, July 27, 2012

salmon with blackcurrant-ginger sauce

Still using the blackcurrants we picked the other day, but sadly, we're running low after a week and I'm hankering to go pick more. I doubt we'll drive an hour away again to do that, but it's a nice thought, anyway. We had such a lovely day and it's a sweet memory for me.

I got some Alaskan wild-caught salmon from our local butcher the other day and as my mind is always working overtime in the food department, I threw together a sweet-spicy blackcurrant puree to bless the fish (and our tummies).

You'll need:
  • about 1 cup fresh blackcurrants
  • a splash of real maple syrup
  • about 1.5 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • dash each of salt and pepper
  • water
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Do this:

To a blender, add the fruit, syrup, ginger, spices, and enough water to make a puree. Blend on the "sauce" setting, if you have one, till smooth.

Add the puree to a small saucepan and warm on low, adding in a drizzle of balsamic vinegar at the end.

On a scale of 1 to 10? 9.824!

chicken bolognese resting on portabella beds

We've cut out wheat and way back on other carbs, so the wee cogs in my noggin are always turning, conjuring up ways to serve sauces and such.

Sunday I put some chicken bolognese in the slow cooker, and after our boat ride on Lake Union, we came back and all I had to do was roast some portabello mushrooms for a few minutes, et voila!

So here's the sauce (very loosely based on a recipe from Extending the Table: A World Community Cookbook):
  • chicken thighs
  • onions, garlic, zucchini
  • basil puree
  • Italian seasoning (rosemary, savory, basil, and marjoram)
  • tomato paste
  • salt
  • sugar (just a wee bit to take away the acidity)
  • pepper
  • bay leaf
  • water
Just saute the onions, garlic, and zucchini in olive oil in a frying pan on the stove, add the chicken, just to brown it a little, then throw all that plus the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker for the day.

Then when you're ready, roast your mushies in a casserole dish with olive oil and more Italian seasoning on 400 F for 15 minutes or so.

Serve the sauce on the thick, juicy mushrooms with just a tiny sprinkling of parmesan (this is pretty much the extent of our dairy consumption these days, but it's just enough to add a bit of je ne sais quoi).

blackcurrant-kale green smoothie

Blackcurrants and blueberries from our picking haul last weekend...
  • blackcurrants
  • blueberries
  • carrots
  • kale
  • key lime juice
  • fresh mint
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 navel oranges
It all adds up to yum.

Friday, July 20, 2012

mamatouille's restaurant

The kids call our kitchen "Mamatouille's Restaurant" and have the above sign posted outside the door into the kitchen.

And we have our aprons close by, just in case we need to grab them in a jiffy...

gifting my taste buds

If you want to see a few nutters dressed up for a tofu factory tour, click here. I won't claim to have ties to these folks.

Island Spring tofu, made organically on Vashon Island (just a short ferry ride from Seattle), is the best tofu we've ever had, and after living for over eight years in East Asia, that's saying a lot.

I contacted them a year or so ago to tell them how much we love their products, and asked if they give factory tours. They do, but we waited until now to visit because I wanted to make sure the beans would be big enough to appreciate it.

We loved all their samples, including a stupendous jar of their homemade kim chi they gave to me. As you can see from the photo below of the almost-empty jar, I'm enjoying it of a morning with my eggs and Korean-style dried seaweed.

Burp, one of my favorite foodie blogs (they hail from Milwaukee), recently had some giveaways and I happened to win some lover-ly bottles of pickles and ketchup from The Scrumptious Pantry. It's the kind of food I'd drool over online but never purchase because of budget constraints--what a nice gift!

The package came with cranberry catsup, earthy-spiced heirloom tomato catsup, pickled heirloom red beets, and a Wisconsin specialty, pickled heirloom Beaver Dam peppers. (On a side note, I also won an insulated lunch bag with a cow on it from the Wisconsin Dairy Board, via Burp. Ironic, because we really don't do dairy anymore, but it's a useful bag anyway.)

Trying out the cranberry catsup on my eggs (the boys claim it's too spicy). I think hubby and I decided it would be better on meat than eggs (maybe pulled pork?).

A salad with roasted potatoes and walnuts, with a dressing of finely minced Beaver Dam pickles, olive oil, white wine vinegar, basil paste, and roasted garlic paste. Yum.

My light supper tonight: mixed greens, grape tomatoes, those gorgeous pickled heirloom beets, ham, green onions, and walnuts. Dressing: olive oil, red wine vinegar, parsley, finely minced Beaver Dam pickles, basil paste, and roasted garlic paste. I plowed through this in a jif and loved every pickle-y bite.