Friday, June 15, 2012

Asian Grilled Salmon

No witty story behind this one.  I had salmon and needed to use it up before it followed in the footsteps of a few of my in-the-freezer-so-long-you-can't-pass-it-off-as-good proteins lately.  Once I first got a deep freeze, I sort of lost track of expiration dates and had a few "Um, what's with the chicken?" meals.  So, I wanted to make sure that didn't happen again. 

The recipe is super simple and delicious.  I used a grill pan instead of grilling it outdoors, but I'm sure it would be just as good in a skillet, too.

My salmon didn't have a skin, which didn't present with a problem on the grill pan.  I also didn't let it rest, like the recipe suggests (I didn't even see that part until writing this blog entry), so if you want it hot, go right ahead and serve that sucker up.

Asian Grilled Salmon
Serves 6

1 side fresh salmon, boned but skin on (about 3 pounds)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

 Oil the grill or spray the grill pan with cooking spray and then heat the grill/grill pan (or skillet) on medium-high.

While the grill is heating, lay the salmon skin side down on a cutting board and cut it crosswise into 4 equal pieces. Whisk together the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic in a small bowl. Drizzle half of the marinade onto the salmon and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.

Place the salmon skin side down on the hot grill; discard the marinade the fish was sitting in. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Turn carefully with a wide spatula and grill for another 4 to 5 minutes. The salmon will be slightly raw in the center, but don't worry; it will keep cooking as it sits.

Transfer the fish to a flat plate, skin side down, and spoon the reserved marinade on top. Allow the fish to rest for 10 minutes. Remove the skin and serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Thai Vegetable Rice Noodles

Photo via Cooking Light

If you read my blog you'll know that I don't get to eat what I cook very often.  As the lone vegetarian in a house full of carnivores, my choice for dinner is many times met with a squinted-up look of doubt from the masses.  Abe handles it pretty good, but I tend to make my veggie meals on the days we don't have Jimi to prevent a "It's good!  I swear.  Please try it!" conversation.

Thai food is a love that I don't get much of and when I do, it's pad Thai.  Abe and I are usually on opposite ends of the rice-or-noodle-dish spectrum, with him firmly on the rice end and me completely in love with noodle dishes (come on, noodles and a bowl... love, love, love).  So, when I saw this recipe, I thought I'd have to do an extra song and dance to sell it to him.

Surprisingly, Abe loved it.  So much that he packed up a bit to take to his mother to sample.

I had to make a few adjustments because we are a peanut-free home (sniff, sniff) and I had to swap out the fish sauce for soy sauce.

Fish sauce, for those who aren't familiar, is a great addition to not only Asian dishes, but anything that you want to give that bit of depth, like sauces or soups.  It gives dishes an umami component.  What's umami, you ask?  It's the 5th taste sense and it comes from things like mushrooms and meat.  If you don't want to get fish sauce, which keeps in the fridge for a long time, use soy sauce.

Original recipe from

Thai Vegetable Rice Noodles

4 ounces uncooked flat rice noodles (pad Thai noodles) ( or any rice noodles)
1 cup thinly sliced radishes 
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce (or soy sauce)
2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 1/2 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
6 garlic cloves, sliced
2 Thai chiles, finely chopped
1 pound snow peas, trimmed
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
Sesame oil, for drizzling (optional)

Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain. Place in a medium bowl. Add radishes and next 6 ingredients (through fish sauce); toss well.

Combine oil, ginger, garlic, and chiles in a large skillet over low heat; cook for 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; cook an additional 1 minute or until garlic begins to brown. Add snow peas and salt to pan; cook 3 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Add snow pea mixture to noodle mixture; toss well. Sprinkle with nuts and drizzle sparingly with sesame oil, if using.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Best Chicken Marinade

Image courtesy of Google

I'm not much of a marinader (Not a real word, I am aware).  I know growing up, if your mom wanted to make a fancy meal for company, she's throw the chicken into bottled Italian dressing and call it gourmet.  Hell, that was gourmet cooking back in the era of Shake N Bake and soup can casseroles.  

So, when I started out cooking, I shunned most marinades as "too simple".  Plus, after so many years of doctored up proteins, Abe would give me some pretty serious puppy-dog-sad eyes when I'd do a simple chicken breast and get a "It was not bad" as a reward.  This girl needs more ego stroking than that!

But, alas, some days I am unprepared and don't have a recipe ready for dinner and have to scramble.  The other day I had very few ingredients and a hungry troop.  So, I decided to ask Chef Google what he thought I should do and "marinade those breasts" came up.

Chicken breasts... chicken breasts, people.

It seemed a weird combo, but I nervously presented it to the boys and then waited.  Abe took a bite.. and then another and then declared it delicious and moist and told me to make sure to add it to the regular rotation.   He mentioned it twice again, which is always a ringing enforcement of a recipe.

This recipe is cut in half.  People were recommending to make a big batch and keep it refrigerated for up to a week.  Reviews said they used it for chicken, pork and beef.  I might even try it on grilled mushrooms.

Perfect for the grilling season.  Recipe from

Perfect Chicken Marinade
Makes 16 servings

3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper
3/4 teaspoon finely minced fresh parsley

 In a medium bowl, mix together oil, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, wine vinegar, and lemon juice. Stir in mustard powder, salt, pepper, and parsley. Use to marinate chicken before cooking as desired. The longer you marinate, the more flavor it will have.