Archive for the ‘Fish’ Category

Salmon Patties with Lemon-Thyme Cream on Wilted Swiss Chard

I recently got in on a bulk wild salmon purchase from Lummi Island which included some ground salmon. (You even got a free hat with purchase. Gotta love the freebies.)

On nights that I have classes at the gym I need something quick AND I’m a sucker for anything fried in butter, so tonight I tried my hand at some salmon burgers – turned out delicious!

KKF Salmon Patties with Lemon-Thyme Cream

1 lb. ground salmon

2 eggs

1 T Old Bay seasoning

2-3 T butter

For the cream:

1/2 c sour cream

1/2 T lemon juice

1/2 t lemon zest

6-7 sprigs of fresh thyme

Mix together the ingredients for the cream and set aside. Mix up the ground salmon, Old Bay, and eggs. Melt butter in a cast iron frying pan. Shape salmon into balls (as many or few as you’d like, I made 6). They will be loose and not really hold their shape at this point. When the butter is melted and hot, place the salmon balls in the pan and press down lightly to form patties. Flip after a few minutes of frying. When patties feel firm, they are done. Serve hot with lemon thyme cream.

Hint: if you used unsalted butter, you may want to add 1/4 tsp or so of salt to your salmon mix, or try adding it to the cream.

This was VERY fast. I got home from yoga, made this and wilted some swiss chard in bacon fat (heck yeah) and was done eating within an hour. Easy and delish, as a KKF fast food should be!

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My latest Viking cooking class covered some classic Thai cuisine. I have a favorite Thai place by my house and I have to say…the stuff we made was BETTER. Here’s the menu:

Thai Spring Rolls with Sweet n’ Sour Dipping Sauce

Chicken Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Banana Leaf Wrapped Snapper (with Red Curry Sauce)

We also got to sample Thai Cucumber Salad and Thai Roasted Coconut Cashew Nuts. (Both delish!)

The roasted cashew dish is a cinch. Pretty much all you do is heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok (I would use coconut oil), stir in a few tablespoons of honey, toss in a few cups of cashews and a few cups of unsweetened shredded coconut (the kind that looks like shavings) and toast them. At the end, toss in a few seeded, finely chopped fresh red chilies and salt and pepper to taste. Wok it a few more minutes until everything is as you please. Nice party dish!

Spring rolls. Check me out. I did the stylish plate arrangement myself!

The spring rolls were UH-maze-ing. Sure, it takes some time to do all the chopping, etc., but once you get everything rolled up…guess what? You don’t have to deep fry. I’m serious. We pan fried these spring rolls, just rolling them around in a pan with some oil (again, I’d use coconut oil, but we use canola oil in class which I try to avoid) and they turned out fantastic. Next time you’re on a roll try a pan fry (and make sure you’re using spring roll wrappers, not egg roll wrappers).

Chicken Satay

The chicken satay was good but I’ve gotten so accustomed to the deep flavor of the dark meat on a pasture raised chicken that they seemed really dry to me. I would definitely try them at home along with their dipping sauce but I’d use thighs from a free range bird.

Snapper in banana leaf

The snapper dish was really interesting. We made the curry sauce first (which tasted almost exactly like the red curry I get from my favorite Thai place – wow!) and let it cool while we prepared the fish. We cut banana leaves into strips, then crossed them, added the fish and some sauce and wrapped them up. Using kitchen twine, we tied them up and into the oven they went for a steam. The fish turned out really delicate and moist.

Snapper unwrapped!

I have to say this was probably my favorite class. The dishes and techniques were excellent, and the instructor was very enthusiastic. So exciting to see someone else get worked up over quality ingredients! Thanks for a great class Chef Sandra!

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You know it’s a busy semester when I don’t even have time to post blogs I’ve had written for a few months….whew! But it will be over soon. In the meantime, enjoy some eggplant….

Baba Ganoush

About a week after I made the Mahkloubeh lamb I had more eggplant to use and decided to give in and try the baba ghanouj. It was something I’d thought about doing for a good while and just never got around to. I should be slapped for waiting so long. Sara’s recipe is easy and so yummy, again I ate the whole thing. Not all at once. I used more Asain eggplant as I rarely see the traditional large supermarket version of eggplant in my CSA or at the farmer’s market. 

Baba Ghanoush

 1 large eggplant ( roasted whole over a charcoal grill fire, baked in an oven until it is thoroughly cooked. )

2-3 garlic cloves

1 cup tahini

½ cup lemon juice

¼ cup vinegar

salt to taste

These amounts are approximate and the best way is to try it and taste, then balance the flavor.

Process peeled garlic, salt, and lemon juice in food processor or blender until thoroughly mixed. Take peeling off the cooked eggplant and process. Add the tahini and blend. Doing this in the food processor will leave the seeds of the egg plant whole but if the blender is used the seeds are ground up. Add vinegar and if it is too thick add water to reach the right consistency. Serve in rather flat dish with olive oil, parsley and thin radish slices for garnish. Dip pita bread.

(This same basic recipe can be used for Humus by substituting Garbanzo beans for eggplant.) 

I plan to use this version for hummus the next time I make it. YUM.

But I wasn’t satisfied leaving this tasty spread on the side. A friend of ours provided us with some wahoo fish that he caught and I thought hmmm…what if…

Usually when I go off like that it ends badly. This time, however, it turned out quite well!

Mediterranean Wahoo with Baba Ghanouj

¾ pound wahoo filets (I’m sure any similar firm-fleshed fish would also work)

2 T butter

One lemon

1 T dried oregano

Baba Ghanouj

Feta cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Season fish on both sides with salt and pepper. (I try to bring my fish to room temp before cooking so it can cook more evenly.) Melt butter in frying pan. When pan is good and hot, add fish. Squeeze lemon halves over the fish. (Roll the lemon with your palm against the counter to get it loosened up and release more juice before cutting it in half.) Sprinkle on half the oregano. Turn fish after about 3-4 minutes depending on thickness and add the rest of the oregano. Fry another few minutes until done.

Plate with baba ghanouj and sprinkle feta cheese over all.

Wahoo with baba ganoush and veggies

I served mine with buttered green beans and carrots that I’d steamed with fresh dill. If I’d had some fresh tomatoes I would have tossed them in the pan with the fish.

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My Korean tutor took me to the asian market one day to go shopping. While shopping we picked up a package of croaker – three whole, salted fish. They are smaller fish, but we noted that they were a lot bigger than the tiny little fishies we got in Korean restaurant. Hmmph. Anyway, I was told to rinse the fish, heat some oil in the pan and fry the fish straight up as is. Sounds easy enough, especially considering I’d never worked with a whole fish in my life.

I pulled the fish out of their saran wrap prison and rinsed them as directed. The fish were firm feeling, which may be from the fact that they were salted. I looked at the hot oil in the pan and back at the fish in my hand. Just throw it in? That’s all you do? Suspiciously, I eyed the fish. No knife marks on its belly. Was this fish…fully intact?

Just follow instructions, I told myself, and added the fish to the pan. I set the timer for three minutes and stared at it. I felt kind of mean, with the fish staring at me and everything. I flipped it and set the timer again. It was starting to resemble the pan fried fish I’d eaten and enjoyed at the Korean restaurant. Two points for me. Then…the belly kind of swelled and split and…I could see the innards.

That was it. Apparently I’d screwed it up somehow but I was not about to eat it then, after seeing it’s intestines in the pan. I felt bad as I dumped it, since the fish died for nothing.

chinese croaker1I turned back to the other two croakers and decided I was going to gut them. Having never gut a fish before, of course I dove right in without instruction or research. I actually did a decent job on the first one even though it was a little creepy. Meanwhile, Bill did an internet search on fish cleaning and came back with a few tips for the last one. With two gutted fish ready to go, into the hot oil they went.

Flipping a whole fish is a bit of a challenge. I was trying to use tongs and it worked ok, but if I do this again I’m going to want a more efficient tool. Something that will hold the fish together better. But amazingly enough, I managed to get both fish cooked and onto plates.

I was a little nervous. I looked at the fish. He looked back, almost like he was irritated. You’re an idiot, he had to be thinking. What did I do to end up in your house?

Tentatively, Bill and I each took a bite. That’s good, we agreed. Really good. Mmmm. I ended up devouring the whole fish with a fork and my fingers like I was starving, then looking around to see if Bill was going to eat all of his. He did. Dangit.

Traumatic? Yes. Educational? Of couse. Turning something simple into something complicated? Most definately. Worth it? Yeah, baby. That’s some tasty croaker!

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A few weeks ago a friend of ours went deep sea fishing. It sounds interesting, but not sure if I could do it (physically or mentally). However, when he offered us some of his haul, I was more than happy to take it off his hands. We scored some red snapper, amberjack and mackerel.



A few days ago I made the red snapper. I did almost nothing to it. Squeezed lemon juice over it and stuck it in the oven. When it was done and ready to plate, I had a hard time getting it to come off in one piece, so I ended up just pulling chunks off with a fork and placing them on top of a pile of arugula from my CSA box. Even before adding just a little salt and pepper, it was the best red snapper I ever tasted. Amazing! I served it up with some steamed green beans and squash I got in my CSA box. (I think the beans got a little discolored from the lemons I dropped in there…or did I just cook them too long? Hmmm.)

Today was a day of ups and downs, kitchen kung fu yo-yoing. I haven’t made bread for a while, ever since my sorrowfully neglected starter began growing something orange in it (ack) and I had to toss it. But a few days ago I mixed up a new batch of starter and left it on the counter to work its magic. Ok, kung faux pas – I can’t believe I did it again. I forgot how it turns into frankenstarter and grows into a massive blob. I put it in a container that was too small and ended up with starter all over the counter. Grrr.

Anyway, I left it on the counter (in a bigger container) for about two and a half days this time (last time only about 24 hours). I think that concentrated the yeasties because it was very flat when I scooped out my 1 1/2 cups of starter to make my bread, but when it was rising it was out of control. Also, it was suuuuper sticky. When I was dividing the dough between the two loaf pans I couldn’t get it off of my fingers. It was nasty. However, it seemed to bake up ok, not too bad looking, but when I cut a slice and tasted it…I realized I’d forgotten to add the SALT when I made the dough. Major kung faux pas. I’m so embarrassed. The good news is that this did not stop test subject Bill from plowing his way through half the loaf at dinner. We both enjoyed the very light, porous texture of the bread, which I think is a result of the starter’s long rest.

I got a pint of blueberries in my CSA box so I’ve been thinking muffins like crazy. Using the blueberry muffin recipe in How to Cook Everything, I whipped up a batch. Unfortunately I realized that my baking powder was expired. So I added a little extra in case it was losing its lift. I don’t think that was a good idea. I also think I over-stirred and let my batter get too dry. The muffins were dry, marginally edible and a disappointing waste of good blueberries. Poop.

Apparently I was in the mood to cut vegetables today (or just wanted to cut the heck out of something) because I ended up making two salads for dinner. First is one I’ve made often, an insalata with heirloom tomatoes (from North Carolina via Whole Foods), fresh mozzerella, red onion, basil (Georgia grown, via Whole Foods), olive oil salt and pepper. Sometimes I add balsamic vinegar to this, but with how delicious the tomatoes were I didn’t want to detract from that. It was super yum, and Bill had two servings.

Second is something I came up with to use some zucchini and yellow squash (from South Carolina via Whole Foods). I sliced up the veggies, salted and peppered, chopped up some chives from my CSA box, then added fresh parsley from my back deck. Drizzled with olive oil and red wine vinegar. I had red onion left so I tossed some in for good measure. This concoction marinated in the fridge for about six hours. It was so good even Bill, with his hatred of onions, ate it! Wonders never cease.

Summer salad plate

Summer salad plate

Here’s the plate I put together for dinner, from the top: smoked salmon, leiden cheese (from my CSA box), marinated squash stuff, insalata, fresh bread and in the center is some garlic I roasted up. It was all very good and I felt redeemed from my day of DUHs.

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When it comes to canned fish, I’m picky. There’s only one brand of canned tuna that I like (Bumble Bee). I recently ate a higher-quality sardine and it was acceptable. Recently I discovered this canned salmon at Costco that is actually quite good. I was really suprised at how good it is and therefore wanted to find new ways to use it other than in pasta salad or mixed with mayo (tuna salad-esque). I found this recipe calling for canned salmon and decided to give it a shot.

The recipe itself is so simple it’s ridiculous. Fish, breadcrumbs, an egg and some onion. I added some Old Bay seasoning half way through actually making the cakes and I think I like it better with the little added kick. A reviewer on the Allrecipes site said they had made a sauce out of sour cream, lemon juice and dill. Since these are all my favorites, I was in. I threw it together, made some patties and threw them in the frying pan.

I discovered that salmon patties such as these probably need two eggs instead of one. They didn’t want to hold together very well. Also, patties formed on the curve of your hand that already don’t want to stick REALLY don’t want to stay in one piece once they hit a flat pan. So I started forming the patties against the flat surface of a plate and that seemed to help somewhat.

Salmon Patty

Salmon Patty

I did get one patty to come out really nice. The sour cream sauce was THE BOMB on these. Totally made them. So, is it Irish? Doubtful, but since the holiday’s coming up and I made PATTIES and there was some green (dill!), that was good enough for me. Cheers!

As a side note, I also created home made pickled ginger yesterday. More on this later.

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How to Not Cook Fish

So a while back I bought a sushi making kit. For several weeks it has stared at me, waiting. Biding its time, knowing that eventually I would give in and try to unravel its secrets. Tonight, I opened Pandora’s sushi box.

My first stop was to Fresh Market for the software, and boy did I hit the jackpot! The fish guy had spent much time in Japan and loves sushi, so when I told him what I was doing he threw himself into getting me the best fruits de mer possible. He went to the back and pulled a portion of ahi tuna that they use for the sushi they make in house (score!) then packaged me a up a nice filet for tuna tatake (seared tuna). Then he gave me a sample of the tuna tatake they make there (nice!). I asked about the snow crab vs. king crab for a California roll and he gave me two legs for free because I was only making a small amount of CA roll. Talk about hooked up! Finally, I picked up some local Georgia shrimp.

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

When I got home, I assembled my wares: nori sheets, rolling mat, rice vinegar, wasabi paste, pickled ginger, sushi rice, soy sauce, and I was just getting started. I sliced up my cucumber and started assembling my sushi station.

After rinsing and draining the rice several times I put in on to cook and made the vinegar/salt/sugar mix (courtesy of Alton Brown). While I was waiting I made a cute little garnish to go with the tuna tatake (more on that later.) I also cooked up the shrimp for nigiri and the crab for the cali roll.

Once the rice was done I turned it out into a wooden dish, dumped on the vinegar mixture riceand started folding it in, fanning the rice with a paper plate. Apparently the fanning thing is important. Saying that this rice was sticky is like saying that diamonds are hard. Holy crap for crap! Once it was on my fingers I had to wash my hands to get it off! Anyway, it tasted good and there was no question it would stick together so I was happy.

Me, on a roll

Me, on a roll

I launched myself into roll making and nigiri sushi making. After watching the Good Eats episode “Wake Up Little Sushi” a couple of times I figured I had it down pretty good. My ingredients were all assembled and I became a sushi making MACHINE, BABY!

I made four rolls: a traditional California roll, a not really philly roll (tuna, cream cheese, avocado) an inside out not really philly roll (rice on the outside of the roll) and a tekka maki (regular tuna roll, nori on the outside). I also made nigiri sushi (fish on rice) with tuna and the shrimp. I was going to do some with smoked salmon also but when I saw how much food there was going to be for the two of us I put the brakes on. It was already going to be an all-you-can-eat sushi extravaganza.

Tuna tatake?

Tuna tatake?

The final dish was tuna tatake. This is where I made my real kung faux pas of the night.Tuna Tatake?Tuna tatake is supposed to be slightly seared and raw in the middle. I guess I got distracted or something because mine was waaaay overdone when I cut it up. However, the garnish looks super cool and with the ponzu sauce the dish really did taste good!

Of course, no sushi dinner would be complete without a little sake to throw back! Woot!Test subject Bill and I settled in to eat and honestly it was suprisingly good. The fish was nice and clean tasting, tender, high quality. My california roll fell apart a little bit and I used too much

Too much sake!

Too much sake!

rice on the nigiri sushi but for a first attempt I think it turned out pretty darn good. My presentation skills could use some work and I’m lacking a fair amount of technique, but darn if I didn’t make some tasty fish!

Even Test Subject Bill was impressed and said it tasted very good. Trust me, if he didn’t like it he would be honest (which is very frustrating at times – just lie to me, already.)
Through the whole three hour escapade, the kitties in the house were very interested. Kitties, however, do not get sushi. But I did give in and let them have some seared tuna. Viktor tore into it and then threatened my life if I didn’t provide more on a regular basis.
I think the photos speak for themselves: there may be a new chef in town, boys. Of course, I don’t know if a white girl behind the sushi bar would inspire much confidence in the dinner crowd….hmmm….
Tekka maki and nigiri sushi

Tekka maki and nigiri sushi








Dinner time!

Dinner time!

California Roll

California Roll

Satisfied Customer

Satisfied Customer

Inside out non-philly roll

Inside out non-philly roll


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