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I debated posting this as I don’t think most people are really interested, but then Reno asked me for the recipe today and I thought it would be easier and make a nice permanent record. So . . . here goes with Salmon Pickles. This is a salty pickle, not a sweet pickle. The fish is not cooked, but instead it is preserved with salt and vinegar.

Sanitize quart jars. Making these pickles is a two-step process and I start with quart jars, then finish in a few days with pint jars.

Mix together in a pitcher, or other pouring vessel,  1/3 cup pickling salt and 1 quart cold water. Add 1 quart vinegar . The ratio is one part salt brine to one part vinegar. The vinegar can be any kind as long as it is at least 4 percent (40 grains). I have made this using white vinegar, cider vinegar, and rice vinegar. My favorite is cider vinegar. If you make too much brine-vinegar solution, save it, you’ll need it in four days.

Remove skin from red (sockeye) or silver (coho) salmon, don’t worry about medium and small bones because they soften and are quite edible. Cut salmon into strips, about 1”x4”. You will cut the fish into bite-size tidbits during the second step of the process in a few days.

Place salmon strips loosely into quart jars. Pour the brine-vinegar solution to the top. The salmon strips need to be coated on all sides with brine-vinegar so don’t pack them in. Put lids on the jars and refrigerate for four days. I tip the jars occasionally, even placing them upside down for awhile.

For the second step of the process, sanitize pint jars. Prepare leftover brine-vinegar or a new batch. Drain quart jars, saving the salmon strips, but discarding the used brine-vinegar solution. The salmon is now a pink color and feels firm.

Cut the salmon into tidbits. Slice onions. Slice oranges (or lemons). Have pickling spice handy.

In pint jars layer salmon tidbits, sliced onion, sliced orange, and pickling spice.

Pour brine-vinegar solution to the top, make sure to release bubbles so that everything is thoroughly coated. Put lids on jars and refrigerate for four days. Serve!

Keep refrigerated. Keeps for six weeks under refrigeration.

Side note: Better salmon pickles are made by withdrawing a filet from a salt barrel (salmon filets that have been layered with pickling salt for months . . . or dare I say, years?), let it soak in cold water that is refreshed occasionally for 24 hours. Cut into tidbits and layer with onion, pickling spice, and orange in pint jars. Pour in vinegar that has been cut to about 85 percent vinegar to 15 percent water. Let sit in refrigerator for a few days and then serve. But who has a salt barrel these days? Anyway, that is the way I was taught to make salmon pickles back in the dark ages.

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Savory Spinach and Artichoke Bread Pudding

This is a dish I’ve adapted from one posted on Food Network by Emeril Lagasse. It has a lot of ingredients, but is really very simple to make. Instead of Italian seasoning, I dash dried basil and oregano into it at the appropriate times. One thing that I think would enhance this dish is a sauce, but I haven’t quite come up with anything. I think a marinara would overwhelm it. Maybe a balsamic reduction would be good. If anyone comes up with something interesting, let me know! I served this with baked salmon the other night and it was a good accompaniment.

The first thing to do is prepare the spinach by steaming it, cooling, draining and wringing it as dry as possible, then chopping. Set aside.

Saute onion in olive oil until golden brown and tender.

Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds longer.

Add 2 tsp. Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Mix in artichokes. Heat for another 2 minutes. Set aside.

Prepare 7 cups French bread by slicing into cubes. Add onion mixture to bread cubes.

Cut Brie into cubes and stir into bread mixture, along with spinach.

Mix together eggs, cream, milk, lemon juice, more Italian seasoning (about 2 tsp.). Add to bread mixture, along with minced parsley and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Let mixture rest for 20 minutes.

Pour into greased (sprayed or with olive oil) 13 X 9″ baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Drizzle olive oil over top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.Serve warm. Yields about eight servings.

Savory Spinach and Artichoke Bread Pudding Ingredient List

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves chopped garlic

2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper (divided in half)

1 14-oz. can quartered artichoke hearts

7 cups cubed French bread

1# spinach (steamed, cooled, wrung, and chopped)

½ # Brie, rind removed, cut into cubes

3 eggs

1-1/2 cup cream

1 cup milk

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp. minced parsley

Olive oil for pan and drizzle

Chicken a la King

There are many ways to make Chicken a la King. This way is my favorite. It is based upon the recipe in Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (Golden Press 1972). In a pinch, you could use leftover chicken or turkey and canned broth. You could also use canned mushrooms. My way has better flavor. Served over popovers makes it fun. I will post the popover recipe as well.

Add water, at least two cups, to cover chicken in medium pan and simmer until chicken is cooked.

In the meantime, melt butter and sauté mushrooms in batches until nicely browned. Set aside mushrooms.

Saute bell pepper in the butter (don’t use more than 1/2 cup butter total while cooking this dish).

Add mushrooms to bell pepper and sprinkle with 1/2 cup flour, salt, pepper. Stir, over low heat, until flour is absorbed by melted butter and coats vegetables. Remove from heat. Remove chicken from water and save the water which is now chicken broth.

Into the mushroom, bell pepper, flour mixture, stir in 2 cups cream and 2 cups reserved broth. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir one minute. Shred or dice chicken. Stir chicken and 4-oz. pimientos into cream sauce. Heat through.

Serve hot over rice, toast cups, or popovers. Serves 4-6 people.

Chicken a la King Ingredient List

2 chicken breasts or other chicken parts

½ cup butter

1/3 lb. sliced mushrooms

½ cup diced bell pepper

½ cup flour

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

2 cups cream

1 4-oz. jar pimientos

Popovers

I have tried several different popover recipes and I’ll give you the one that works best. I’m still on the hunt for a better one, though. This is based upon a recipe by Ina Garten (2001 Barefoot Contessa Parties). Popovers are a little like puffs (think cream puffs), in that they are egg based. In a perfect world I suppose that you could quickly remove your perfectly rounded popovers from the oven, slice off the tops, and fill the popovers with Chicken a la King. I have never been so lucky. This does not detract whatsoever from how good they are. The recipe calls for room temperature eggs and milk. I am never so advanced in planning. One trick I do use is to preheat the muffin tins for 2 minutes before pouring in the batter.

Whisk together 1-1/2 cups flour, 3/4 tsp. salt, 3 extra-large eggs, 1-1/2 Tbsp. melted butter and 1-1/2 cups milk. I use a 4-cup measurer as a bowl so I can pour the batter into the muffin tins without a mess.

Place buttered, greased, or sprayed muffin tins (18) in 425 degree oven for 2 minutes exactly. Fill each hot muffin cup half full of batter and bake for 20-25 minutes. DO NOT PEEK!

Remove from oven. Don’t they look crazy! Serve as quickly as possible. They fall very fast. Have your guests open with a fork, being careful not to burn themselves, and spoon Chicken a la King over the top. Delicious!

Popovers Ingredient List

1-1/2 cups flour

3/4 tsp. salt

3 extra-large eggs at room temperature

1-1/2 Tbsp. melted butter

1-1/2 cups milk at room temperature

Whisk all together. Makes 18.

What kind?