Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Grilled Salmon with Chili-Lime Sauce

This is from Quick & Easy Vietnamese by Nancie McDermott. McDermott has become a real favorite of mine for simplified but authentic Asian meals.

This could not have been easier or more delicious. 'Nuff said. Get out there and cook it!

Grilled Salmon with Chili-Lime Sauce


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped ginger
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped shallots or onion
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/4 pounds thick salmon, tuna, halibut, or other meaty fish filets

Combine all the marinade ingredients, dissolving sugar. Marinate fish for 20-30 minutes at room temperature or refrigerate for up to 1 day.

STEP 2 — Chili-Lime Sauce

1/4 cup fish sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice or white vinegar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onions

Combine sauce ingredients, dissolving sugar. Place on platter on which fish will be served.


Grill fish for about 5 minutes each side or bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Transfer to serving platter alongside Chili-Lime Sauce and serve hot or warm.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tips & Tricks: Side to Side Whisking

I like to whip cream using a whisk instead of my Kitchen Aid mixer.

There's something tactile about watching the cream change as I whisk it around. And to my mind it makes less to wash up after. Though that's probably not really true. But it's stuck in my head, so there you go.

I was interested when the July/August Cook's Illustrated has a piece on The Best Way to Use a Whisk.

It turns out that "side-to-side" works best. Much better, in fact, than the standard beating action we've all been taught. There's a lot of scientific talk about "shear force" and suchlike, and you can pick up a copy to get all the scoop.  I made a Pavlova last weekend and whipping up that cream with a back and forth action was definitely easy.

I also must put in a word here for Trader Joe's heavy cream. They've got really great dairy products, including a cottage cheese that is better than any of the regular stores. And their whipping cream is a nice thick and delicious product.

More about that Pavlova to come ...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pavlova with Strawberries

This is from The Silver Palate Cookbook. The Pavlova is a meringue based dessert which was created in honor of the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. Like her, as the story goes, it is light, airy, and elegant.

I'll tell you this. It is absolutely delicious. Everyone had two helpings.

It is also much, much easier than you might imagine. If you've got a mixer for whipping the egg whites it will be a real breeze. If not, however, hand whipping will do just fine. It will just take a little while. I'd say that more important than a mixer would be the superfine sugar which blends so easily into the egg whites.

I've worked with meringue cookies enough that when I realized I didn't have an 8" springform pan, I didn't panic. Instead I experimented and it worked out just fine (details of that are in the recipe). The guest of honor whose visit inspired this dessert production doesn't drink so I didn't use any liqueur on the strawberries. It was delicious anyway, of course.

This is from Wikipedia because
I forgot to take a photo of mine, which looked just like this,
except it had sliced strawberries.

4 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup superfine sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream, chilled
2-3 cups strawberries, sliced and sprinkled with sugar and Grand Marnier

1. Preheat oven to 275 F. Butter and lightly flour an 8-inch springform pan. [I didn't have a springform pan. I traced an 8" circle on parchment paper, using a cake pan and pencil. No buttering or flouring needed that way. Put the parchment on a cookie sheet.]

2. Beat egg whites, salt and cream of tartar together in a bowl until the whites hold a stiff peak. Add the sugar a few tablespoons at a time, beating until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Beat in the cornstarch, then the vinegar, and the vanilla.

3. Gently fill the pan with the meringue mixture, spreading it higher around the edges than in the center of the pan to form a depression. [If using my "panless" method, spread the meringue over the circle and build the edges up ... or conversely, gently put a depression in the middle of the meringue so that one has a hollow shell form.]

4. Bake until the meringue is firm and lightly browned about 1 to 1-1/2 hours. [I baked it for 1-1/2 hours.] Pavlova will remain moist inside. Cool slightly, unmold, slide onto a serving plate, and cool completely.

5. Lightly whip the cream. Just before serving, spread the pavlova with whipped cream and then with the strawberries. Serve immediately.