Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Linguine with Salmon and Tomatoes

This is from The Dallas Morning News food section from long ago. It was absolutely simple, fresh, and delicious. Certainly it made a perfect second-night use for grilled salmon and I can imagine it doing equally well with other grilled fish such as tuna or swordfish.

This made more than 4 servings for us and I actually made sure the sauce was ready before the pasta so that the linguine wouldn't all stick together waiting to be tossed with the sauce.

8 ounces linguine
2 teaspoons olive oil (divided use)
3 or 4 cloves thinly sliced garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup whole grape tomatoes (I had cherry tomatoes and cut them in half)
Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish (I didn't have fresh dill and didn't use any at all)
1 tablespoon butter
2 (4-6 ounce) cooked (leftover) salmon filets, flaked

Cook linguine according to directions, reserve 1/4 cup cooking water and drain pasta.

Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil on medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook 1 minute or until golden and fragrant. Transfer to a small bowl.

Reduce heat to medium, and heat remaining oil in same skillet. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes or until skins begin to split; crush a few tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Add reserved pasta to skillet along with dill, reserved cooking water nd butter; toss to combine. Gently stir in salmon. Heat salmon briefly. Serve immediately. Garnish with additional dill. Serves 4.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Food Talkin'

When hanging around the retreat during the slow times, our talk turned to cooking. Here are some of the recipe links which came up:

Quick and Easy
Tuna Noodles

Used for the Team Potluck
Spicy Caesar Dressing

Given to Others
(Which means that Rita included these in the family cookbook made for her little brother now that he is on his own.)
Creamed Jalapeno Spinach
Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Just Because It's a Favorite of Mine and So Easy

Easy Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Now Serving Hot Links

Chinese Food Recommendations for Foreigners
Ben, who is living in China, is putting together a guide that has thorough information about various dishes, including a photo, the characters for the name, a pronounciation guide, the name we would call it, and a brief description.

Is Cooking For Your Family "Retrograde June Cleaver" Nonsense?
Barbara responds to a commenter on a NY Times story about personal strategies for putting home cooked meals on the table. Needless to say it was the commenter who made strangely judgmental remarks about cooking dinner.

How Do You Carry Your Groceries Home?
Slashfood's article looks at various approaches but winds up endorsing reusable bags. This is an approach I also would endorse if I didn't need the plastic bags for what is scooped out of the litter box and the paper bags for putting our newspapers out for recycling. Needless to say, I view those bags as a valuable commodity in our home.

What's In Your Food Sur-Thrival Kit?
Serious Eats asks what foods you keep around in order to not only survive but thrive. My list would include: egg noodles, albacore tuna, olive oil, garlic, Parmesan, Central Market flour tortillas, tortilla chips, and refried beans.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Breakfast in Hong Kong

Clearly this is another spot where cultural differences make a big difference ... I see that they do have a nice cuppa java there though ... From Tien Mao's Little Read Book.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Different Kind of Kitchen Confessions

Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler
"A potato," I told my brother, when he asked what I'd eaten for dinner. "Boiled, cubed, sauteed with olive oil, sea salt, and balsamic vinegar."

"That's it?" he asked. He was one to talk. He'd enjoyed what he called "bachelor's taco night" for three dinners and counting.

"A red cabbage, steamed with hot sauce and soy sauce," I said the following night.

"Do you need some money?" he asked.

But it wasn't that, or it wasn't only that. I liked to think of myself not as a student on a budget, but rather as a peasant, a member of a group whose eating habits, across cultures, had long appealed to me.

"Are you full?" my brother asked.

"Full enough," I said.

"What about protein?"
This was the beginning of Jenni Ferrari-Adler's journeys cooking only for herself. Later, rereading Laurie Colwin's seminal essay on cooking only for oneself, she was struck by the fact that we are all connected by the fact that we cook for ourselves in a drastically different way than we would ever feed other people. Thus was the idea for this delightfully entertaining book of essays by twenty-six widely varied authors. The intriguing mix includes cookbook authors such as Marcella Hazen and Paula Wolfert, and authors like Anne Patchett and Haruki Murakami. What becomes clear is that everyone takes on the task of self-feeding very differently.
Eight p.m. and stomachs all across the land are beginning to rumble. Down in the village, women are darting out to buy last-minute baguettes before the shutters on the boulangerie crash shut for the night. The men are drinking aperitifs of cold Chablis at the cafe-bar and chatting in duos and trios and quartets about why the village needs a new well. Any minute now, their coins will clink onto the counter. They'll wrap scarves around their necks and wanter their separate ways through the wood-smoke-scented air, along cobblestone streets, in the final wisps of light, toward home. And there, waiting for them in the warm glow behind the windows, will be more talk and laughter, and no doubt an enormous pot of coq au vin or boeuf bourguignonne or pot au feu, one of those mellow, classic, slowly cooked dishes, the privilege of families and intimate gatherings of loved ones.

The Lonely Palate, Laura Caulder
I remember well those days when I only had myself to cook for. I tended to have large salads as daily fare while cooking meals on the weekends that I could divvy up and freeze for later consumption. However, I came from a family where food was our religion (think French attitude living in Kansas). Most of the people I knew never cooked for themselves at all. They lived for those visits home or invitations to join friends who had families. In these days of frozen dinners, which were not nearly as good or available in the days when I was single, I fear very few will undergo the trials and pleasures which we see detailed in these varied, fascinating essays.

The funny thing is that this book arrived in the mail on the day that I have a weekly, early evening class which puts everyone in our family on their own for a meal, instead of our usual practice of sitting down together. I settled down to begin reading, pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't a recipe book but filled with essays, before my solitary meal. It was only then I realized that on my one weekly chance to have a "meal for one" I invariable take great pleasure in the same thing ... Page Whole Yogurt (Greek), drizzled with honey, a handful of walnuts, and a glass of Viognier to finish. It was the perfect beginning to a book that is about that very same thing ... whether we choose to cook, to go out, or to forage for our dinner when alone. You too may find that these essays prompt similar reflections and remembrances of your own, which simply adds to the value and enjoyment of this book.

I found the every selection delightful and this struck me as possibly the perfect summer reading for anyone who enjoys reading food writing.

I can't resist closing with a bit of the M.F.K. Fisher essay. Fisher is the penultimate essayist and food writer and this essay gives you a taste of her appeal and sense of humor.
And the kind people -- they are the ones who have made me feel the loneliest. Wherever I have lived, they have indeed been kind -- up to a certain point. They have poured cocktails for me, and praised me generously for things I have written to their liking, and showed me their children. And I have seen the discreetly drawn curtains to the family dining-rooms, so different from the uncluttered, spinsterish emptiness of my own one room. Behind the far door to the kitchen I have sensed, with the mystic materialism of a hungry woman, the presence of honest-to-God fried chops, peas and carrots, a jello salad and lemon meringue pie -- none of which I like and all of which I admire in theory and would give my eyeteeth to be offered. But the kind people always murmur, "We'd love to have you stay to supper sometime. We don't dare, of course, the simple way we eat and all."

As I leave, by myself, two nice plump kind neighbors come in. They say howdo, and then good-by with obvious relief, after a polite, respectful mention of culinary literature as represented, no matter how doubtfully, by me. They sniff the fine creeping straight forward smells in the hall and living-room with silent thanks that they are not condemned to my daily fare of quails financiere, pate de Strasbourg truffe en brioche, sole Marguery, bombe vanilla au Cointreau. They close the door on me.

I drive home by way of the corner Thriftimart to pick up another box of Ry Krisp, which with a can of tomato soup and a glass of California sherry will make a good nourishing meal for me as I sit on my tuffet in a circle of proofs and pocket detective stories.
A is for Dining Alone by M.F.K. Fisher
*All quotes are from a review copy, which was an uncorrected proof for limited distribution. Final quotes in the published hardback may differ somewhat.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Hungry to Know About Ratatouille?

My embarrassingly long review (yes, I loved it in so many ways) can be found here.