Monthly Archives: February 2013

Pan Seared Salmon with Dill and Lemon

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I happen to be a lover of salmon and dill is one of my favorite herbs.  It’s easy to cook and pretty forgiving and is perfect when the center is still pink and not cooked through.  It took me awhile to be okay with the fact that salmon can be treated like beef — cooked to a medium or medium rare is ideal temperature.  And now, I personally prefer it cooked this way as it leaves it still moist and tender.

  • 2, 4 oz. salmon filets
  • 1 lemon, sliced thinly
  • 2 T. dill, chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • Olive oil for searing in pan
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 T. of olive oil in a pan over medium high heat.  Dry the salmon on both sides and season with salt and pepper.  Add salmon skin side down (if there is skin) and cook for 2-3 min. and top with dill and garlic. Flip and cook for another 2 min., depending on thickness.  Like beef, the side of the filet is a good indicator of doneness, you can actually see if it’s overcooked.  Make sure that it’s not fully opaque to ensure a nice medium-medium rare center. Top with lemon slices.

Pair with my couscous salad or quinoa salad for nice, healthy, satisfying meal.

Notes:

  • This is a totally Gluten Free dish!
  • Add some hot pepper flakes for a nice kick.
  • Add other herbs for a nice herb crust.

Mixed Greens with Green Beans, Beets, Goat Cheese & Candied Pecans

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My husband is Philadelphia born and raised and has the good fortune of still being really close to most of his childhood friends. Being a transplant myself, this has been good for me, giving me an instant pool of girlfriends (it is fortuitous that we actually all get along). When we got pregnant with baby #2, my husband went to share the news with one of his closest friends, at which time, we discovered that they were actually pregnant too, with baby #3!

And as I shared with one of my besties (the wife of another of my husband’s best friends) with whom I shared my first pregnancy experience (our daughters are 6 weeks apart), I was apprehensive… We had vowed to get pregnant together again for our second babies and I figured she would KILL me. 🙂 Instead, she reacted in such a way that a month later, she called to tell me that her pregnancy test was positive… We would actually get our way and do this together again!

From there, it became a domino effect… Within two months, we discovered that about a dozen of the neighborhood crew were expecting! This year’s christmas party was an incredible display, with our friends’ entire living room filled with eight carseats and newborns.

So, by now, I have thoroughly confused you with a story that may or may not be of any interest, it is actually relevant… I created this recipe for a girls/mommies lunch. With our new babies in tow and time to kill, we would gather for an extended lunch and yummy treats.

This salad is so simple. I guess you can’t actually call it cooking, but it is delish. The beets give the salad a nice earthiness and are really good for you as they are the rich with antioxidants. Goat cheese is delicious, it’s mild, tangy and creamy, but the best part is that it is low in fat and cholesterol and high in protein. The candied pecans give the salad crunch and just a hint of sweetness. And the green beans add nice texture and added nutrients. I use a fat free balsamic vinaigrette, but it would be good with any dressing.

  • 1 bag of mixed greens
  • 1 small log of goat cheese
  • 1 C. of haricots verts (or green beans), blanched (bring a pot of water to a boil, add green beans, as soon as it boils, remove green beans and place in water bath)
  • 2 large beets or a bag of baby beets, cut into about 1 inch pieces
  • 1 C. of candied pecans

Assemble the salad with your own aesthetic eye. It’s colorful and beautiful and is really yummy – you can’t go wrong!

Notes:

  • To roast your own beets: turn oven to 400 degrees. Wash beets and trim stems. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until fork tender. Cool and slice and sprinkle with olive oil and salt and pepper. You may want to wear some gloves when you slice as your hands will turn pink!

Quinoa Salad with Green Beans, Tomatoes, and Ricotta Salata

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Quinoa is a really versatile ingredient that is very similar to couscous.  A teeny, tiny grain, it is mystifyingly good for you – full of protein, vitamins, and fiber.  It fills you up but doesn’t make you feel weighed down, and the best part is, you can eat a lot of it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 C. quinoa
  • 1 1/2 C. chicken stock
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 5 pieces of sundried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped finely
  • 1/2 C. of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 C. ricotta salata, crumbled (can substitute feta)
  • 3 T. parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sweat the onion and garlic in small pot and season with salt and pepper (you don’t want browning) until translucent.  Add quinoa and toast for 1 minute.  Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed.

In a sauté pan, boil 1 inch of water and add green beans.  Blanch for 1 minute (remove from water and submerge in an ice bath to keep the vibrant green color).  Mix quinoa with the rest of the ingredients and stir gently.  Taste for seasoning and add as necessary.

Daeji Bulkogi (spicy Korean pork)

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My husband and I love this dish so much that it was part of our wedding festivities. Our wedding was a dream – took place in the very scenic, unique, picture perfect landscape of the Adirondack’s. We were fortunate to have the best of the best early fall weather on Labor Day weekend. We knew that loved ones would be traveling far to celebrate the long awaited nuptials with us (I think my parents had almost begun to think marriage wasn’t going to happen) and we wanted to make it a weekend full of festivities.

For the first night, we had our rehearsal dinner immediately followed by a welcome reception, both at my parents’ home in Saranac Lake. We wanted the menu to be homey and reflect us, so it was a fusion of my American upbringing with the Palmateer Family’s tradition of grilled sirloin piled high on buttery garlic bread and topped with the trademark Pop’s pickled red onions (recipes will come, I promise – these are super special) and George’s Korean roots with skewered bulkogi and daeji bulkogi grilled to perfection with kimchee on the side. It was perfect.

In Korean, “Daeji” means pork and “bulkogi” literally translates into fire meat. The most traditional way of making this dish is using very thinly sliced pork butt, which looks similar to the thinly shaved ribeye in my bulkogi recipe. It’s a little spicy, a little sweet, a little salty, a little garlicky, and a lot yummy. 🙂 When I can’t find the thinly shaved pork and I don’t feel motivated enough to do it myself, I use boneless pork chops and pound them with a meat mallet until it’s nice and thin. Tastes just as good and is perfect for an outdoor grill (I actually only pan fry the thin stuff because it will cause a bit of a mess on the grill).

The thought of this recipe puts a smile on my face and my belly growl in anticipation. But this marinade is actually incredibly versatile… A friend once referred to it as the “Korean barbecue sauce” and he couldn’t have summed it up more perfectly. This sauce works perfectly on chicken too, so to call it the Korean barbecue sauce is spot on.

If you like spicy food, I guarantee you will enjoy this spicy porky goodness. (as a note, if you make this pork, it is actually really awesome in the Kimchee Fried Rice recipe in place of the pork belly.)

  • 6 boneless, center cut pork chops, pounded to a 1/4 inch thickness
  • 3 heaping T. of gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • 1/4 C. mirin
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (or 1/2 tsp. cayenne)
  • 2 T. honey
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 scallions, chopped finely (or one small onion)
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced finely (or 1/4 tsp powdered ginger)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. black pepper (depending on your preferences)

Pour mixture over pork and marinate for at least one hour or overnight for best results. Grill about 2 min. on each side – do not overcook as it will dry out. For a complete Korean meal, serve with rice, roasted seaweed, kimchee, tofu, and spinach or lettuce for wraps.

Notes:

  • To make this Gluten Free, just use GF soy sauce… As always, everything else is safe!
  • Seriously, this marinade is good on anything, especially chicken. Marinate the chicken for the same length of time and it just permeates the meat.

Kimchee Fried Rice with Pork Belly

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Although this is a dish that you actually will find on the menus at Korean restaurants, I didn’t know that when I created this recipe.  This is one of those meals I made up years ago when my husband and I were just dating in yet another attempt to get some veggies into his diet. (you’re probably starting to think that before me he would sit and eat a hunk of meat and a bowl of rice, and well, you would be right :))

My Kimchee Fried Rice has the best of all worlds…  Chunks of pork belly, carrots, onions, peas, fluffy scrambled eggs and a whole lot of kimchee.  While the last ingredient is my husband’s reason for eating this dish, it is just as yummy without it (and a bit more kid friendly).  I have grown to love this one pot meal just as much as my family – it’s warm, satisfying, and made in one pot.  Here’s a tip: before I add the kimchee, I spoon out the serving for my daughter.  I also make enough so there’s plenty of leftovers.

  • 3 C. rice
  • 3 C. water
  • 1/2-3/4 lb. pork belly, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 carrots, chopped into a small dice
  • 1 C. frozen peas
  • 1 small onion (or half of a large), chopped into a small dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 eggs, scrambled and cooked
  • 1 1/2 C. kimchee, chopped
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook rice. Don’t know how to make rice?  Worry not – it’s ideal if you have a rice cooker, but if not use a regular old pot.  Add rice and water – make sure to rinse and clean thoroughly until the water runs clear.  Bring to a boil, as soon as it boils, turn the burner to low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked through.  I use Korean sticky rice, so it won’t be fluffy, but rather sticky but not gummy.

In your largest skillet, add the 1 T. sesame oil and the eggs.  Cook until still soft but cooked.  Remove from pan and set aside in a bowl.

In the same skillet, add 3 T. vegetable oil, add onions, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper and cook until soft.  Add pork belly.  Season again with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown and most of the fat is rendered off, about 4 minutes.  Turn off heat.  Add cooked rice and mix together.  Add eggs and peas. Add kimchee last and stir to combine.

Korean Spinach

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My favorite, favorite thing about eating at a Korean restaurant is the namul and other tiny dishes that are delivered to your table when you sit down.  I wait in anticipation of which delectable treats will be offered that day. My husband laughs at me because I’m known to hypothesize and dream about what tasty morsels we will encounter that day.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a risk taker nor do I like surprises.  I am known for my thorough researching and weighing of all the pros and cons before making any decision.  Loved ones like to poke fun at me for how much I take solace in routine and predictability.   So I consider the unpredictable smorgasbord of tiny Korean side dishes my way of living free and without abandon. (and as I read this, I realize just how rigid I seem, so let’s imagine that I’m being incredibly sarcastic and exaggerating for the sake of comedy and lightheartedness).  🙂  But in all seriousness, I do find it fun because oftentimes you try something you wouldn’t normally sample just because it’s right in front of you.

The Korean word Namul refers to any of the seasoned vegetable side dishes that are served in accompaniment with a traditional Korean meal.  This is actually my most craved way to eat spinach and one of my two favorite namul (the other is bean sprouts which will inevitably show up on this blog in the very near future).

There’s something about the fresh spinach with the garlic and nutty sesame oil with a touch of salt.  It’s light, healthy and flavorful and again, a really good way of introducing spinach to a non-veggie lover.

  • 1 bag of fresh spinach
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 scallion, finely minced
  • 1/4 tsp. white vinegar (or more if you like, omit if you prefer, but I think it gives it a nice balance)
  • black pepper
  • sprinkle of kosher salt (I find it needs it even with the soy, but omit if you prefer.  You might want to wait for 5 min. to see if it needs it)
  • sprinkle cayenne pepper (optional)
  • sesame seeds for garnish

Mix ingredients in bowl.

Being a pot of water to boil.  Add spinach.  Cook for 1 min. or until it comes back up to boil.  Drain and squeeze out water (make sure it is very dry other wise the end result is very watery).

Use chopsticks to gently separate the spinach and then add sauce.  Mix thoroughly.  Sit for 5 min. and taste.  Adjust salt if necessary.

Chocolate Chip Bars

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When I really want something sweet with very little effort, I turn to these chocolate chip bars.  These are my mother’s chocolate chip cookie recipe with a little bit of molasses to keep them nice and moist.  And they are easy, peasy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 C. butter (2 sticks), softened at room temp
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1 C. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 C. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 T. hot water
  • 2 T. molasses
  • 1 package chocolate chips
  • 1 C. chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add baking soda, salt, vanilla and hot water (note: I just run my tap water on the hottest setting).  Add flour one cup at a time, scraping down edges in between.  Add molasses and incorporate well.  Add chocolate chips last and only mix for a moment so you don’t break up the chips.

Spread evenly on a cookie sheet.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the golden brown and the edges just start to pull away from the pan.  Do not overcook so that they stay soft and chewy.  Remove from oven.  Let cool in pan.  Cut into even pieces and store in airtight container.

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