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Monthly Archives: April 2014

Filetes a la Veracruzana (Fish Fillets in the style of Veracruz)

Lee was asking for some fish dishes a while back. Today and next week, I will post two excellent fish dishes which never fail….here’s my first favourite… you can also search here for salmon…

 

Filetes de pescado a la Veracruzana (Fish Fillets Braised with Tomatoes, Capers, Olives & Herbs)
No matter where fish is served, you can be sure that pescado a la Veracruzana will be on the menu. It’s a delicious blend of Old and New World ingredients: Capers, olives, herbs, and garlic weave their way through two of America’s greatest contributions to Mediterranean cuisine – tomatoes and chilies. Though practically any firm, white-fleshed fish would work well, when the dish is made with fresh Gulf snapper – as it often is in Veracruz – it’s a revelation.

This is a company favourite in Mexico….well worth the prep time!
Ingredients
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can of chopped tomatoes)
• 1 cup sliced pitted manzanilla (or green) olives, divided
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/4 cup capers, divided
• 1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapeño peppers, divided * (optional)
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon salt, divided
• 6 (6-ounce) red snapper or other firm white fish fillets
• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
• Flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional)
Preparation
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add tomatoes, 1/2 cup olives, water, 2 tablespoons capers, 2 tablespoons jalapeños*, parsley, oregano, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until reduced to 6 cups. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Discard bay leaves.
Arrange fish in a single layer in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish; drizzle with lime juice, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes; discard marinade.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Spoon sauce over fish. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup olives, 2 tablespoons capers, and 2 tablespoons jalapeños*. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.

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Pork Chops with Cranberry, Port, and Rosemary Sauce

We normally have a bottle of Tawny Port Wine in the house, as it can be used for many things aside from the obvious. I thought you might like to know a little about this wine…

Tawny ports are wines, made from red grapes, that are aged in wooden barrels, exposing them to gradual oxidation and evaporation. As a result, they gradually mellow to a golden-brown colour. The exposure to oxygen imparts “nutty” flavours to the wine, which is blended to match the house style.

Tawny ports are sweet or medium dry and typically consumed as a dessert wine.

When a port is described as tawny, without an indication of age, it is a basic blend of wood aged port that has spent at least two years in barrels. Above this are tawny with an indication of age which represent a blend of several vintages, with the nominal years “in wood” stated on the label. The official categories are 10, 20, 30 and over 40 years. The categories indicate a target age profile for the ports, not their actual ages, though many people mistakenly believe that the categories indicate the minimum average ages of the blends. It is also possible to produce an aged white port in the manner of a tawny, with a number of shippers now marketing aged white ports.

Pork Chops with Cranberry, Port, and Rosemary Sauce
There’s always leftover cranberry sauce after the holidays; this easy pork chop recipe makes delicious use of it. However, you can always pick up a can of cranberry sauce at the store to enjoy this year round.
4 servings
Recipe by Bon Appétit Test Kitchen
November 2005

Ingredients
• 4 1-inch-thick pork rib chops
• 2 3/4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary, divided
• 2 tablespoons (1/4) stick butter
• 3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
• 3/4 cup tawny Port
• 1 cup leftover cranberry sauce
Preparation
Sprinkle pork chops with salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon rosemary. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat until beginning to brown. Add pork chops and cook until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to platter; cover to keep warm. Add broth, Port, and remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons rosemary to same skillet and boil until liquid is slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Add cranberry sauce; bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 7 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over pork chops and serve.

 

 

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

The History of Butter Chicken

http://butterchicken.ca/the-history-of-butter-chicken/

Butter chicken (or murgh makhani) is part of Indian cuisine, popular in countries all over the world. The origins of butter chicken can be traced back to New Delhi. Butter chicken is regarded to have been first introduced by a restaurant called Moti Mahal, located in Daryaganj . Butter chicken is usually served with naan, roti, parathas or steamed rice.

It is thought that butter chicken was hastily prepared by a Delhi eatery chef post dinner time for a harried VIP customer who wanted “some” chicken dish. A chef named Simon Mahli Chahal first prepared this when he only had half of a Tandoori chicken which he tossed with liberal amounts of butter, tomato, and garam masalas to improvise for an delicious delicacy he was supposed to make for the ruler of Mareelun. He forgot to buy enough ingredients so he ended up with this dish.

Though various versions exists for the recipe, typically dressed chicken (with or without bones) is marinated overnight in a yogurt and spice mixture usually including garam masala, ginger, garlic paste, lemon or lime, pepper, coriander, cumin, turmeric and chili. The chicken is traditionally cooked in a tandoor, but can also be grilled, roasted or pan fried. The sauce, is made by heating and mixing butter, tomato puree, and various spices, often including cumin, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, pepper, fenugreek and fresh cream. Cashew paste can also be added, and will make the gravy thicker. Of all the spices added to the dish it is dried fenugreek leaves (Urdu/Hindi: Qasuri Methi) that makes the greatest contribution to the characteristic flavour of the dish. Once the sauce is prepared, the prepared chicken is chopped and cooked until the gravy and chicken have blended. The dish may be garnished with white butter, fresh cream, sliced green chillies and Qasuri Methi.

While I love butter chicken, sometimes I want to do something simpler. Here is the Canadian Living recipe using a slow cooker!

This can easily be left to simmer away in a slow cooker for eight hours prior to adding the chicken. It yields a large quantity of sauce that freezes well if you’re feeding a smaller group.
Ingredients
• 2 onions, diced
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 tbsp (45 mL) butter
• 2 tbsp (30 mL) grated fresh ginger
• 2 tbsp (30 mL) packed brown sugar
• 2 tsp (10 mL) chili powder
• 3/4 tsp (4 mL) ground coriander
• 3/4 tsp (4 mL) ground turmeric
• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cumin
• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
• 1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes
• 1 cup (250 mL) sodium-reduced chicken broth
• 1/4 cup (60 mL) almond butter or cashew butter
• 3 lb (1.4 kg) boneless skinless chicken thighs, quartered
• 1 cup (250 mL) sour cream
• 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
Preparation
In slow cooker, combine onions, garlic, butter, ginger, brown sugar, chili powder, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, salt, pepper and tomatoes. Whisk broth with almond butter; pour into slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low for 5 to 8 hours. (Actually, it was ready in about 4 hours…must be our altitude)

With immersion blender, puree sauce until smooth. (I choose not to puree sauces as I like the chunkiness of the ingredients!) Add chicken; cook, covered, on high until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, 30 to 40 minutes.

Stir in sour cream. Serve sprinkled with cilantro.

Maple Glazed Ribs

Thanks to our departing friends we had some previously frozen ribs to cook. Since I only got them in the afternoon and they were already partially thawed, I had to cook them! Yes, according to the USDA Safe Food Handling website, I could have re-frozen it! If in doubt about safe food handling check the site yourself…

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/freezing-and-food-safety/ct_index 

Refreezing
Once food is thawed in the refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze it without cooking, although there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through thawing. After cooking raw foods which were previously frozen, it is safe to freeze the cooked foods. If previously cooked foods are thawed in the refrigerator, you may refreeze the unused portion. Freeze leftovers within 3-4 days. Do not refreeze any foods left outside the refrigerator longer than 2 hours; 1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F.

My reason for checking the site was that I just recently watched a programme on CBC which identified problems in restaurants as a result of improper handling…wash your hands in hot water before you start this recipe and especially when you are handling the raw ribs! Follow this link for more info – http://www.cbc.ca/player/Shows/Shows/Marketplace/Season+41/ID/2448613655/

So here’s the recipe…

Maple Glazed Spare Ribs
3 lb. baby back ribs
¾ cup maple syrup (what true Canadian has no maple syrup in the cupboard?)
2 T. catsup
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. dry mustard

Cut ribs into serving sized pieces. Place in roasting pan. Roast at 425F (220 C) for 30 minutes.
In small saucepan, combine remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Pour over ribs after 30 minutes and bake uncovered at 325 F (160 C) for about an hour or until tender. Turn ribs occasionally during cooking.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Caramel Apple /Cream Cheese Dip

We had this one at a recent party and really enjoyed it…perhaps it should be called Dentist’s Delight, since if the nuts don’t get your teeth, the caramel sure will…LOL.

CARAMEL APPLE DIP
Printed from COOKS.COM
________________________________________
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese
1 (19.5 oz.) jar butterscotch caramel fudge topping
1 (7 oz.) can Fisher Nut topping or fresh chopped pecans
8 to 10 sliced apples
Mix softened cream cheese with about 1/2 the jar of topping. Spread on large plate. Spread more of the caramel topping over the cream cheese layer. Sprinkle with nut topping, as much as you like. Serve with sliced apples.

You can use a variety of hard fruits..i.e. pears, firm peaches, etc. It all depends on how soft the cream cheese is…

BTW…Have a glorious Easter!!!

Easter Bunnies2

Salmon Crunch Pie

Before getting into this recipe, here is a little background I found on the Pacific Salmon official site –

Pink salmon is inexpensive; red salmon costs more. Red salmon flesh is actually red, and pink salmon looks more like tuna. When red and pink salmon are pulled fresh from the sea their flesh is, in fact, distinctly red or pink. The cooking process of canning reduces coloration in both. Red salmon gets its enhanced color from eating krill, a type of small shrimp. Pinks are the most abundant salmon, followed by reds.

Supply and demand and a historic bias for red salmon account for the cost differential. We have done blind taste tests, and when people don’t know which fish they are eating, statistically they report a slight preference for pink over red.

Wild Pacific Salmon of Farmed Atlantic Salmon?

In the marketplace: If it isn’t labeled, you can’t always be certain without asking the retailer or restaurant. It is always best to ask. However, there are some clues. If the label reads “Atlantic” salmon then it is farmed. In Canada, there are no legal commercial fisheries for Atlantic salmon and virtually all Atlantic salmon served in restaurants or sold in stores are farmed fish. If the label simply reads “fresh salmon”, there is a good chance it is farmed. Most wild salmon will be identified by species – pink, coho, sockeye, spring/chinook or chum salmon. But Chinook (also called spring) salmon are farmed as well so the name is not a guarantee. Always ask. If it’s farmed, don’t buy it and tell the store to stop selling it until the industry adopts better practices.

Having shared all of that my preference is still for Wild Pacific Salmon, which I buy in cans identified as such! The recipe I am sharing today comes from a dear friend, Ellie, who served this to us along with a great salad…. I think you’ll like it!

 Salmon Crunch Pie
Ingredients
1 (15 1/2 oz) can salmon
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon grated onion
3 drops hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed

***Whole Wheat Crust***
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup finely chopped almonds
Directions
Whole Wheat Crust: Combine whole wheat flour, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, salt and paprika. Cut in butter making crumbs. Add finely chopped almonds. Reserve 1 cup crumbs for topping and press remaining crumbs into a deep 9″ pie plate.

***

Drain and flake salmon, reserving liquid. Mix the beaten eggs, salmon liquid, sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese and seasonings and mix well. Add to the flaked salmon, mixing thoroughly. Turn into deep dish pie plate lined with the whole wheat crust. Sprinkle with crumbs reserved from crust. Bake in preheated 400F oven for about 45 minutes or until filling is set.