Thursday, May 27, 2010
So, I went to the market to pick up some shrimp, and low and behold, no local shrimp. However, there were some plump, happy looking Alaskan scallops waiting to be taken home. The chords of Dusty Springfield's "Anyone who had a heart" rang in my head as I considered taking home some foreign little shrimps... no, I did not have such a heart, so, Scallop Provencal it became!
I first rinsed and coated the scallops in some seasoned flour, then tossed them in the pan for a quick sear. I added a pinch of crushed red pepper at this point for a little extra kick. Just a personal preference. Look at that golden garlic and butter gorgeousness! It smelled even better than it looks! ...pics are out of order - I know :( technical difficulties.
There were some beautiful asparagus that also needed to be taken home. Yay for spring vegetables! Look at those fatties! I steamed them up, let them cool, and drizzled a little vinegarette over them for a nice little kick. I love all vegetables picked or spiked with a little olive oil/vinegar/S&P. Once again, it did not dissappoint!
Monday, May 24, 2010
The night I decided to make the Onion Buns was windy, a little chilly and I wasn't interested in going to bed any time soon. So, at about 9 in the evening I began adding the ingredients in my trusty orange Kitchen Aid mixer.
I followed the recipe exactly...except...I realized after I started that I only had 3 cups of unbleached white flour. I ended up using 3 cups all purpose, and three cups of whole wheat instead of the 4:2 ratio the recipe calls for.
Buns glazed with egg, sprinkled with sesame seeds, and ready for the oven.
When I pulled the buns out of the oven, I was hit with the comforting smell of sweet onion and starch. I was resisted the urge to break into one of the hot buns - making the prudent decision to let them cool a bit.
In retrospect, I should have let the dough rise for even longer than the recipe suggests (2hrs) - likely due to the extra cup of whole wheat flour.
The next evening, we invited a good friend over for dinner. Burgers are a fabulous, quick meal that can be satisfying and health (not usually the word one would use to describe a hamburger). In about 30 minutes I had delicious, hamburgers that were juicy and tender. The burgers were completed with freshly sliced tomato and local onion, lettuce and cheddar.
Burgers on the deck - doesn't get much better.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Figuring I'd treat my coworker to lunch, I made the suggested honey mustard at home and brought it in to work along with two croissants, thick sliced honey ham, brie, and a pink lady apple, thinly pre-sliced at home.
The sandwich was extremely easy to prepare, which was helpful given the small office space I was working in. The two croissant bottoms piled high with toppings also fit perfectly in the toaster oven where they sat under the broiler until the brie was perfectly melted.
After adding the tops and serving with a side salad (left over from last night's dinner), voila! We had before us a complete and filling lunch.
The sandwiches looked and tasted delicious. The salty ham contrasted nicely with the sweet apples and the flaky, crusty croissant and creamy brie really rounded out the overall taste. The recipe calls for equal parts honey and dijon mustard to be mixed for the honey mustard that is slathered on both sides of the sandwich- I think in the future I would use slightly less honey to allow the spice of the dijon to remain.
In the end, this sandwich would be great anytime, especially if you find yourself with some leftover ham lying around!
Thursday, May 13, 2010
The planning: I wanted to first familiarize myself with the Fiddlehead cookbook - I only purchased it about a week ago. Reading, drooling and decision making ensued. All of this thought is actually very enjoyable for me - I like methodically thinking out each step and tracking down / selecting each ingredient. On day two of planning I settled on Chicken Teryaki (pg. 82) with Teryaki Marinade (pg. 210), buckwheat soba noodles and a mandarin sesame salad with the Oriental Vinaigrette (pg. 217).
The prep: With so much going on in my life (I know I'm not special in this arena), doing prep work the day before really helps get dinner served before nine o'clock at night. I cut up carrots, zucchini, green pepper, and broccoli. The recipe also calls for mushrooms and cauliflower, but I subtituted sugar snap peas (still in their shells) since my husband is not a fan of either. I mixed the sliced veggies, tossed them in a bit of lemon juice to prevent browning, and tossed them in the fridge in an air tight container.
That evening I also mixed up the marinade. Before heading out to work the next morning, I chopped up the chicken and added it to the marinade. Here in Fairbanks we are fortunate enough to have an actual meat market where I'm able to purchase locally "grown" beef, goat, chicken, pork. They also import Alaskan seafood from the coast.
The cooking! This is actually a really nice quick meal once the preparations are done. I sliced the onion and whipped up the oriental vinaigrette while the wok heated and the sesame seeds for the salad toasted.
Veggies in my tiny wok
The veggies cooked up nicely - I decided to cook them uncovered to prevent over cooking (love my veggies on the crispier side) and in two batches. I also browned the onions a bit before adding the pre-sliced veggies.
The teryaki chicken
While the veggies rested in a warm oven, I tossed the chicken into a hot wok. I strayed from the recipe a bit by adding the marinade liquid to the wok rather than leaving it out. I was glad with the result since there was plenty of liquid to coat the veggies when I put them back in the wok for the final mixing.
The final result was absolutely delicious! I highly recommend the oriental vinaigrette - I ended up mixing it in with the soba noodles. There wasn't a lot of talking as me, my husband and a guest tucked into the meal and there were compliments to follow (Thanks Fiddlehead!). I would deffinitely recommend this meal and it would be easy to adopt it for a vegetarian/vegan diet.
P.S. As I get ready to post this, I want to make a small note. Today I took the extra soba noodles and veggies with a little bit of the vinaigrette in for lunch. It made a really nice little pasta salad that I didn't even have to heat up.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I suppose my first post is a good time to get this out of the way, but Internet? I do not like mushrooms. Not one bit. I try them every few months to see if I've changed my mind... and nope. So no mushrooms for me, or this recipe.
With a little side salad, and a glass of tempranillo, this sandwich made a lovely- and filling-dinner, and I'd definitely make it again. It'd be pretty easy to make the separate components earlier and then make a bunch for a crowd, or assemble at work the next day. The recipe really lends itself to improvisation. I almost threw on the avocado you see on the salad. It could be open-faced rather than closed, or thrown on a grill pan. Next time I might use a sharp cheddar instead of mild, or take it in a different direction with feta or goat cheese. Regardless, I'll definitely turn down the heat on the frying pan so that the cheese has a little more time to melt before the bread burns.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Before we get this show on the road, we wanted to take a minute to tell you a little bit about ourselves. We're all different. Some of us were born here in Alaska. Some of us were born to live here. Some of us live in "the big city." Some of us live in smaller towns. Some of us have running water. Some of us don't. We all love food, and love to cook, and we can't wait to share our delicious Alaskan summer with you.
Kristen has always said that every Alaskan should have a Fiddlehead cookbook. Always just baking her favorites, Kristen came up with the idea to cook and bake her way through the cookbook to discover more favorite recipes, and recruited her girlfriends from work to join. Kristen has fond memories of cozy weekend breakfasts at the Fiddlehead. Her favorite recipes include: Eighteen-Carat Cake, Honey and Yogurt Scones, Reality Cookies, and North Douglas Chocolate Cake.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Swiss Chicken (Page 84)
Orange-Wine Cake (Page 188)
We cooked up the idea for this wine-infused dinner menu while out on the water. I read the Fiddlehead introduction and perused recipes while sitting on the bow of my brother's boat, barefoot, April sun beating down. No spring king salmon even but nibbled our hooks all day long, and so it was chicken -- and not fish -- to be eaten for my inaugural Fiddlehead meal.
This is a very basic chicken casserole dish. There's no Swiss cheese involved, which my guests found disappointing, but the sauce is heavenly. I ended up not coating the chicken in flour before browning and that may have been reason for how liquidy the final sauce was. I served it over hot noodles (you can also do rice) and it should've been in bowls.
I used organic orange and butter for the cake. Moist and flavorful, the walnuts and raisins added interesting texture to the cake. It could have even used pieces of orange or pineapple in the cake batter. The frosting is rich--buttery with orange and sherry--and the outcome a winner. Even though I prepped the cake ingredients in the AM before work, a 5:30 after-work start set me -- and boyfriend (in charge of defatting and slicing chicken with my subpar knives) -- scrambling. Every dish in the apartment was dirtied.
There's wine in the chicken sauce, wine in the cake. A perk to this recipe was drinking the Pinot Grigio while some of it simmered in the cream sauce.
I know I'm going to love this project!