Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fruity salmon (honey lemon mango salmon)

Ok, this recipe is not for the manly-men in my family! They all hate sweet meats, but in the last few years I've actually learned to love them. It's weird, I thought my taste in food would change during puberty, but it didn't happen till I turned 20!

This recipe was actually a cross between two other very simple recipes. I'm going to describe them quickly without any measurements (which I'd have to make up anyway).

Recipe 1:
Make marinade/sauce for salmon (soy sauce, lemon juice, honey; ginger is also good here). Split into two tupperware containers, marinade salmon in one, save the other for sauce. Fry or bake the marinated salmon, adding the extra sauce on the top.

Recipe 2:
Take some fresh salmon and rub with salt and pepper. Take some mango puree (I just grate the mango), pour in some tinfoil and place the salmon filet on top, adding more mango on the top. Wrap and bake for 10 or so minutes. Unwrap and let brown for another 3 minutes or so.

Combined recipe:
Marinade the salmon. Put mango puree on the bottom of the tinfoil, then salmon, then top with extra sauce. Wrap and bake for 10 or so minutes. Unwrap and let brown for another 3 minutes or so.

I like the combined recipe because the honey, lemon, and mango play off each other really well.
Simple! Easy! Fun! Delicious!

Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers

So I decided to finally update here! Are you excited?? I do have some photos for this recipe, but I will upload them later.

I wanted to try being vegetarian at least once a week, but the problem is I hate beans and i have a hard time with tofu. I was thinking about what other sources of proteins there are, and the only one I came up with were nuts!

The recipe I came up with is pretty original and incredibly tasty! This is totally vegetarian, but my grandma didn't believe it, since the food was so "hearty." So here is my recipe for vegetarian stuffed bell peppers:

1 onion - diced
1 or 2 cups of fresh walnuts, ground
butter, salt, pepper, spices?
1 egg
1 large bell pepper - cut into quarters lengthwise
a splash of balsamic vinegar

Caramelize the onion with butter, salt, and pepper to taste. I don't usually add anything else, but if you think of something good to add, try it and let me know how it turns out. I use a mortar and pestle to grind the nuts, but I've also found you can use a rolling pin :). Put the nuts in with the onions, and stir a bit, then take off the heat.

While the onion-nut mixture is cooling, prepare the pepper. Cut it lengthwise into 4 "boats." This works well with the big American bell peppers, which tend to be sectioned into 4 anyway. If one is not available, you'll have to tweak the recipe, and probably use a couple peppers. Sprinkle the insides of the peppers with salt and splash them with balsamic vinegar (just a bit).

Add 1 raw egg into the onion-nut mixture and stir it in. This is your stuffing. Spoon it into the pepper-boats and bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes, until the mixture is solid. Yum!

Some ideas for changing things up:
1) Use pecans instead of walnuts. Or other nuts, but I wouldn't get too carried away with trying some. I experimented with peanut dishes and it all just tasted too much like peanut sauce in solid form. Bleh.

2) Add crazy spices, depending on what kind of feel you want the dish to have. For an Indian feel, you could try adding turmeric or something. For a more Middle Eastern feel, maybe mint or parsley. I suspect parsley would be the best.

3) For a more traditional stuffed-pepper taste, you can add rice or tomato sauce. But again, don't get carried away, or you will lose the integrity of the dish. The beauty of the onion-nut stuffing is how solid it becomes with the egg baked in there.

4) For a Mediterranean or Italian feel, try adding pine nuts and sun dried tomato. Yum.

By the way, if anyone has any ideas for veganizing his recipe, I want to hear about it. Vegan cooking is a bit of a stretch for me. I'm not sure what I could use to replace the egg!

Friday, July 27, 2007

First Post + First Recipe

So I'm starting a new blog for one of my secondary passions (after art), cooking! Not just cooking, but inventing new recipes, or innovating old ones.

I have a bad habit of never measuring anything, being random and spontaneous while cooking, and never making any recipe the same twice. So when reading my recipes, I encourage you to keep in mind that nothing is set in stone, all the measurements are approximate, and you should feel as free as I do to substitute. In fact, if you take my recipe and tweak it and get something good out of it, please message me and let me know!

So to start, here is a reinvented version of fried rice, which is pretty different. Instead of putting egg directly on the skillet while frying the rice, I make a mixture with the egg and various sauces and spices, and pour directly over rice, and mix quickly to make sure all the rice is evenly coated. Depending on the mixture, the dish tastes very different, but the overall effect, usually, is that it tastes more homey, more comfort-foody.

Reinvented Egg-Fried Rice
This is the recipe for the rice above:

1 cup of cooked white rice
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp olive oil

1 egg
2 tsp soy sauce (depending on how salty you want this)
2 tsp Gourmet Garden Ginger Spice Blend
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp brown cane sugar

Directions: Beat the egg lightly with a fork with the rest of the ingredients. Set rice to fry in the olive oil and spoon the egg mixture evenly over rice and use a spatula to mix the rice with the egg quickly, before the egg solidifies. Toss in the red pepper, and fry rice until it's dry and falls apart easily.

By the way, the Ginger Paste I used is ok, but I am not endorsing or recommending it. In fact, if you happen to have fresh ginger on hand, that'd probably be better, and you could just throw in an extra teaspoon of cane sugar. The ginger blend is just what I happened to use this time.

Other variations for egg mixtures have included, but are not limited to tamari (I use South River Miso tamari, but you can find cheap tamari in your local japanese market), spicy Russian mustard, garlic, tomato juice, and much more. More concrete variations to come. Also, don't limit yourself on the veggies: throw in squashes, scallions, zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, bean sprouts, and whatever else suits your fancy!

Hope you enjoy and send me your own variations!