How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Honey-Peppered Salmon, Honey

This week's nueva receta was for our anniversary dinner, so we turned of course to a few of the more romantic titles in our cook-book book case. And since it was on a Friday after my Thursday rowing, we looked for seafood recipes.

While I was looking through Booty Food (yes, that is a real book), Pam found a simple recipe in our early edition of InterCourses. Regular readers of this blog will know that both are full of delicious and delectable ideas for cooking together. In this case, Pam found a very simple recipe for salmon that I was able to prepare on my own with minimal effort.

Honey-Peppered Salmon starts with salmon steaks, which I purchased at Kyler's Catch. On Friday evening, I simply whisked together the following in a flat-bottomed bowl:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 T honey
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t dried cilantro (the recipe calls for ground coriander)
  • 2 T lemon

We had been invited to festivities on campus, and I should have prepared this marinade before heading out, but it worked out well anyway, since this was easy to prepare and required leaving the salmon steaks in this marinade for only 30 minutes, at room temperature.

The recipe calls for baking the fish, 6-7 minutes on each side, at 350. I had started with a cold oven, so it was going a bit slowly. So after about a dozen minutes, I turned on the broiler. The result was a delicious, slightly caramelized glaze -- hot and sweet! We will definitely try this again.

These sweet, peppery steaks brought out the very best in an ordinary Shiraz from Yellow Tail.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Six-Minute Chocolate Cake - The "Espresso" of Cakes!

So, James had a birthday on Sunday. I baked him a cake, but he was away most of the day taking a train from Baltimore to Providence, Rhode Island where Paloma and I picked him up. It was almost 9:00 p.m. when we met the train, and then we stopped for a bite to eat, so it was close to 10:30 when we got home - past my bedtime. I had to work the next day, so the cake sat until after our Cinco de Mayo Celebration on Monday.

I found the recipe in the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home cookbook. The editors say they got the original recipe from a 1976 House & Garden magazine. It is quite simple, and really only takes about 6 minutes to whip together.  Mixing of ingredients is done directly in the pan in which it is cooked.

The recipe calls for:
1 1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. sugar (I used a little less - about 3/4 cup)
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. cold water OR brewed coffee (regular readers of this blog will have no problem guessing which one I chose!)
2. t. vanilla extract
2 T. vinegar

The dry ingredients were sifted directly into an ungreased 9" round cake pan. Then everything else, except the vinegar, was poured into a 2-cup measuring cup, then poured and mixed with the dry ingredients. Once the batter was smooth I added the vinegar (I used one tablespoon of Espresso-flavored vinegar; and one tablespoon of dark chocolate-flavored) and mixed well. It baked at 350 for about 25 minutes. It was such a dark brown color it was almost black after it baked.

The recipe also includes directions for an optional glaze, which I also made.

Ingredients are:
1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate (I had to re-read that several times, yes 1/2 pound, which was all I had in my cupboard)
3/4 c. hot milk
1/2 t. vanilla

The chocolate was melted in a 300 degree oven then mixed with the other ingredients. It was not so much a "glaze", but rather a blob of bittersweet chocolate. I could not figure out why it called for so much chocolate, I ended up using only a tiny fraction of the "blob" to frost the cake. I added some confectioners sugar to the top of the cake, along with a bit of ground cocoa, coffee, and sugar. The cake had a rich flavor, not too sweet, and was enjoyed by us both (alas - poor Paloma did not get to partake).  James is taking the rest over to his Social Justice League meeting today.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Maryland Day!

Bloggers sport their Maryland Day gear

Maryland Day was last Monday, April 28. We celebrated a day early for the simple reason that we somehow got the date wrong. We got out our trusty Dishing Up Maryland cookbook and found a simple recipe for Zucchini Fritters with Thyme. We still had some shredded zucchini in the freezer from last year's farm box so it was a perfect choice.

I began by sifting together 3/4 c. flour and 1 t. backing powder and then added two eggs, and 1/4 c. milk. Once these ingredients were combined I added the thawed zucchini, 2 t. dried thyme,  and 1 t. pepper flakes. When the batter was well mixed I dropped tablespoons-full onto a hot griddle with olive oil, and cooked like pancakes until done. We served these topped with plain yogurt. They were quite flavorful and filling.

See also Black Bean Fritters