Because Sharing is Caring

little_chef_1280x800-02Tips, hints, tricks, and little kitchen ‘hacks’ learned along the way and shared with you… please feel free to share your hints with me. Let’s talk about scaling fish…

  • Keep them wet
    Keep the fish wet until you scale them. If they have dried out, soak them a few minutes in ice water before scaling to make the scales easier to remove.
  • If they are from the market… do it now
    If you’re buying a whole fish from the market, clean it as soon as you get home, rather than storing it in the refrigerator. You should also plan to eat it the same day you buy it
  • Set up a table outdoors and cover it with newspaper
    Try to find a table high enough to work comfortably on, that can be rinsed easily with a garden hose when you are finished
  • Gather your supplies before you begin
    Set out a bucket for the fish parts, gloves if you want to wear them, a sharp cutting knife, and a container for the cleaned fish. If you have a lot of fish to clean, set out a cooler full of ice to keep the cleaned fish cold
  • Begin scaling the fish
    Hold it firmly by the head and scrape the scales from the tail toward the gills with a butter knife or scaling tool. Test for the right pressure; the scales should come loose easily and fly off.

    • Keep the strokes of your scaler short and quick. Avoid pressing too hard and gashing the fish
    • Work carefully around the fins, since they can prick or puncture your skin
    • Be sure to remove all of the scales from both sides of the fish. Don’t forget the scales around the pectoral and dorsal fins, and up to the throat, which is the edge of the fish’s gills
    • Rinse the fish, put it in the cooler, repeat!

So, a couple of hints, tips, take what you like and leave the rest… speaking of leaving… leave a comment to share one of YOUR tips!

Thank You!

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Because Sharing is Caring

little_chef_1280x800Tips, hints, tricks, and little kitchen ‘hacks’ learned along the way and shared with you… please feel free to share your hints with me. Let’s talk stock…

  • Stock is its own creation
    A liquid concentration of meaty bones and aromatics. When made from scratch its a creation all its own.
  • Size the Vegetables
    When cutting vegetables to cook with bones, use smaller diced vegetables for quicker cooking chicken stock and larger chunks of vegetables when using large bones for beef stock.
  • No need to season stock
    Stock is itself an ingredient in a dish that will be seasoned.
  • Always be skimming
    remove the impurities and concentrate the flavor. to that end…
  • Do not boil stock
    Boiling pushes the impurities back down to the bottom on the liquid.

So, a couple of hints, tips, take what you like and leave the rest… speaking of leaving… leave a comment to share one of YOUR tips!

Thank You!

Simple Salmon Croquettes

A can of salmon, some bread crumbs, and a little oil make for a simple dinner croquettes. These are also good to serve cold the next day. Remember, use home made bread crumbs, or Japanese panko breadcrumbs when possible because most commercial bread crumb companies put way too much sodium in their crumbs! And you don’t need that extra salt. Another alternative to commercial bread crumbs, pick up a bag of crumbs from your local bakery.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 (6 ounce) can salmon, drained and flaked
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

In a medium bowl, mix together the salmon, egg, celery, green onion, dill, and garlic powder. Form the mixture into golf ball sized balls, and roll in bread crumbs to coat.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Flatten the balls slightly, and fry for about 10 minutes, turning as needed, until golden brown. Serve with a fine Ale.

Salmon Cartoon

Sea Bass Stew

Its that time of year… winter is a great time to cook warm hearty soups. This one is quick and easy. Also Cherry Valley Market has been having Italian loaves on sale for $1.29 for a pair on Fridays.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 lb sea bass filets, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup of fresh chopped tomato (about 1 medium sized tomato)
  • 1 cup of chopped onions
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 8 oz of clam juice
  • 1/2 cup Duck Walk white wine
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • Touch of dry oregano, Tabasco, thyme, pepper
  • Salt

Heat olive oil in heavy large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and garlic and sauté 4 minutes. Add parsley and stir 2 minutes. Add tomato and tomato paste, and gently cook for 10 minutes or so.

Add clam juice, dry white wine, and fish and simmer until fish is cooked through, less than 10 minutes. Add seasoning. Salt to taste. Ladle into bowls and serve with toasted Italian bread.

bluefish bikini

Red Clam Chowder with a kick

Clam chowder is a wonderful dish this time of year. When the weather turns cold and blustery, there’s nothing like a warm bowl of soup. And with the added kick of minced jalapeno and Texas Pete’s hot sauce, this soup will open up those sinuses!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 5 drops Texas Pete, or other hot pepper sauce

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, place the vegetable oil, onion, carrots and celery. Slowly cook and stir 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Mix in the bacon, potato, clam juice, tomatoes, tomato sauce, white pepper, seasoning salt, parsley, marjoram, garlic powder, thyme, mustard, Cajun seasoning and hot pepper sauce. Reduce heat and simmer until the potato is tender, about 20 minutes.

Mix in the clams and cook approximately 5 minutes more. Serve with oyster crackers.roasted-tomato-soup

 

Sweet Glazed Sweet Potatos

A little maple syrup goes a long way. Especially since Best Yet market has a 37 cents a pound sweet potato sale! I think I feel a side dish coming on. Please Please Please, support ‘real’ agriculture and purchase only real maple syrup, not the chemical concoction called breakfast syrup…. One, because its healthier and more natural, and secondly, because the chemical one often turns too runny when cooking with it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2   pounds sweet potatoes (4 to 6 medium)
  • 1/3  cup pure maple syrup
  • 2  tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2  cup cranberries

Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 1- to 1-1/2-inch chunks. In a large bowl combine the maple syrup, oil, salt, and pepper; add sweet potatoes and cranberries. Toss to coat. Transfer mixture to a 3-quart baking dish, spreading mixture evenly.

Bake, uncovered, in a 400 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until potatoes are glazed and tender, stirring twice. Makes 8 servings.

As an added option, you can topped with chopped pecans.

sweet sweet potatos

Creamy Tomato Soup

Best Yet Market out here by me has a sale on its canned tomatoes, one dollar per can, and a great price on basil at the same time. So, a little chill in the air and a thought springs to mind. The market often has a nice variety of rolls, and I could really use a nice bowl of warm soup, with a warm buttered roll… yeah, I think I have a recipe for this.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 1lb cans of diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped basil leaves
  • 1 large Spanish onion chopped
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in onions and cook until tender. Mix in tomatoes and chopped basil. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the chicken broth, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking 15 minutes.

Grab your immersion blender and blend the mixture till smooth. Reduce heat to low, and gradually mix in the heavy cream. Pour soup through a strainer before serving. Garnish each serving with a sprig of basil. Toss that roll in the microwave for a second or two, butter it up, and sit down for lunch.

toamtosoup01

Because Sharing is Caring 02

Tips, hints, tricks, and little kitchen ‘hacks’ learned along the way and shared with you… please feel free to share your hints with me…

  • Go Slow
    To save time, avoid injuries, and cook better… slow down! Don’t be in a rush, making harried actions. First master the basics, especially where knives are concerned, and then earn speed as an external expression of internal fluency.
  • Use a cold pan for butter
    Heat the pan and the butter together. Adding cold butter to a hot pan will burn the butter due to its dairy component. Burnt butter is toxic, throw it out and start again.
  • Use a hot pan for oil
    Add oil to an already heated pan. The oil will be hot enough to cook your food in seconds, but not yet hot enough to smoke the oil. When it does smoke the oil becomes toxic, throw it out and start again.
  • Rest that Bird!
    When cooking whole poultry, let it rest before carving. This gives the juices in the bird enough time to redistribute within the flesh making for juicer slices and little juicy mess in the carving board.
  • Eat!
    Just as a good writer should read, a good cook should eat. Mangia!

So, a couple of hints, tips, take what you like and leave the rest… speaking of leaving… leave a comment to share one of YOUR tips!

Thank You!

little_chef_1280x800-02

Because Sharing is Caring…

Tips, hints, tricks, and little kitchen ‘hacks’ learned along the way and shared with you… please feel free to share your hints with me…

The first one come from watching ‘Good Eats’.

  • Avoid buying single-use gadgets
    too often they truly become useless.. good knife skills will save you from shelling out money on a garlic press, and you can do a better job with a good knife. But in all honesty, I do have a small apple corer, but I do core a lot of apples, so…
  • Invest in a good quality knife
    one good durable knife will save you from shelling out a small fortune buying multiple ‘cheep’ knives. So far my Henckels have been sharpened and honed and still going strong some twelve years after I bought them.
  • Set your pantry for a FIFO system
    canned goods should be no different from frsh goods, put the oldest ones in front and the newer ones behind. Use the First In First Out system, and if you label things with their purchase dates, you can use this system in your freezer too
  • Buy groceries for your menu
    when it comes to fresh produce, build your shopping list around your menu to avoid buying things that you ‘intend’ to use but don’t actually use and instead toss…
  • ABS!
    always be skimming… when it comes to preparing stock, always be skimming, and… don’t boil the stock, simmer the stock. Boiling drives te impurities that you are trying to skim back to the bottom of the pot whereas simmering the stock draws the impurities to the surface… we you are waiting to pounce

So, a couple of hints, tips, take what you like and leave the rest… speaking of leaving… leave a comment to share one of YOUR tips!

Thank You!

little_chef_1280x800

Bay Crab Chowder with Corn

As the weather turns cooler, thoughts turn to… chowder! Since I used one can of crab for the appetizer, I will use the other can of crab meat for… you guessed it, chowder! You can’t just buy one can of crab… or at least I can’t. Add it to some chicken broth and milk, with some corn, and a shake or two of Old Bay seasoning, and you can make a simple Chesapeake Bay style staple.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8 ounces lump crabmeat
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 medium potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 4 teaspoons OLD BAY® Seasoning
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 leaf McCormick® Bay Leaves

Heat butter and oil in large saucepan on medium heat. Add potatoes, onion, celery, bell pepper, Old Bay Seasoning and bay leaf; cook and stir 8 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with flour; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and chicken broth. Bring to boil. Add corn and crabmeat. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.

corn-crab-chowder-finished-1