Month: February 2015

Friday Fish — Fish Taco Salad

Friday Fish — Fish Taco Salad

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My husband is nuts for fish tacos and, in an effort to provide a more fun Friday night meal, I made them a couple of weeks ago.  (I usually take Friday afternoons to create something gorgeous and time-consuming that requires a knife and fork to eat.) Fun to him means protein between big pieces of some sort of grainy holders or, alternately, anything that gets dipped or is spicy or is slathered in bacon and barbecue sauce.  These tacos were so good that I then made them at work and brought leftovers home. While leftovers from work aren’t typical, they are when the weather is as it’s been for the last week.

(below: look closely–Tucker’s watching a doe in our yard)

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Days of snow and cold drove us indoors where we were sustained by those leftovers followed by vats of barley soup I’d frozen ahead and no small amount of nightly red wine.  When the tortillas were gone, I made a salad we maybe liked better than the tacos.  Maybe.  If you’re eating fish on Fridays for Lent or if you’re just looking for a tasty healthy dinner, try this salad. Even if it’s as cold at your house as it’s been at mine. You’ll have room for dessert if you do! Continue reading “Friday Fish — Fish Taco Salad”

Friday Fish — Asian-Style Salmon on Fennel, Celery, + Onions with Ginger Asparagus

Friday Fish — Asian-Style Salmon on Fennel, Celery, + Onions with Ginger Asparagus

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Friday Fish is a big thing in Saint Paul, Minnesota where Dave and I lived for a few years and where Irish Catholics built the town.  All year ’round, there are Friday Fish Nights at local restaurant-bars, but during the season of Lent, they sometimes become ALL YOU CAN EAT FRIDAY FISH, including at the iconic Groveland Tap,which was just 1/2 block down from our old house.  Currently the all-you-can-eat fish is just over $11 and includes slaw and fries.  Beer’s extra. Sigh.

If, by chance, you’re interested in Lent, you might like to visit my day-by-day Lenten Journey, “Praying in Saint Paul.” There is a post for each day in the season.  For a particular day, click the word CLASSIC in upper left corner and then click on SIDEBAR; the list of each of the 40 days will appear at left.

Stop in at The Groveland Tap:  Fairview/St. Clair — Saint Paul, Minnesota

Living in Colorado Springs, I don’t see this, but perhaps I don’t know where to look.  If I showed up at a bar near one of the big Lutheran or Catholic churches, maybe I’d see a good fish fry. I’ll keep my eyes peeled.  In the meantime, I thought I’d serve up  fish each week of lent just because.  This week salmon caught my eye at Whole Foods, where you can buy individually cryovaced (sp?) packages of salmon fillets for a really good price.  Wild salmon is out of season, so if this is how you get your salmon fix.  (Skip most farmed salmon for health reasons; we’re encouraged to eat it only on the rare–uh–occasion.) Our regular grocery store often has a side of frozen wild salmon, as well and that’s a bargain at $11.99 per pound. See if yours has this good deal.

Belated note:  Upon further investigation, it looks like TONY’S BAR on Tejon in downtown Colorado Springs is serving Walleye and a Draft for $9.95 on Friday nights.  Go Tony’s! I love Walleye, mid-western girl that I am. BTW: I think Tony’s is closer to the Methodists and UCCers than to the Catholics or Lutherans. (below:  courtesy Tony’s)

Friday

 Anyway, try my….

Continue reading “Friday Fish — Asian-Style Salmon on Fennel, Celery, + Onions with Ginger Asparagus”

Chinese/Lunar New Year Dinner:  Just Make These Hot or Cold Sesame Noodles

Chinese/Lunar New Year Dinner: Just Make These Hot or Cold Sesame Noodles

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If you’re wondering how the French cooking class turned out, see the post before this one; I added a few pics from the class so you could be part of it all.  Cook that meal!! It was such a fun day. Many thanks to a great group of students.   Come back soon.

A tip-top Asian cook, I’m not. Dave has always been the wokker in our kitchen. (Is “wokker” a word? I fear not. Maybe it’s “wok man?”)  But in recent years, as his work load keeps increasing, he often defers to me for a little blast from China, Viet Nam, Thailand, etc., or a reasonable melange from a couple different lovely Eastern cuisines.  He and daughter Emily always insist they must go out for a Chinese lunch alone because “Mom doesn’t like Chinese food.”  (Whatever the reason, daughters and dads should have lunch alone.)  There’s nothing farther from the truth.  I just don’t like greasy Chinese food or huge bowlfuls of deep-fried whatever the nugget it is covered in slimy-sweet orange sauce.  Now I’ve really got your tastebuds going, right? I’d just rather make it in my own kitchen unless I’m near a fabulous restaurant I’m sure of.  (In Colorado Springs, I’ve been to really few, but am partial to Saigon Cafe downtown or Bhan Thai on Centennial.)

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If I have to say what my favorite Asian dishes are, I’d have to go with noodles or soup… or soup with noodles even.  The comforting heat and fresh herby fragrance wafting up from the plate make me swoon.  This combo noodle-chicken-vegetable dish arrived on our table after I’d seen a very popular, though couple-year old BON APPÉTIT recipe for Sesame Noodles with Chili Oil and Scallions and was dreaming about something scrumptious for Chinese New Year Dinner.  At first I didn’t pay close attention to the amounts of Szechuan pepper plus crushed red pepper, nor did I (silly girl) read the COMMENTS, which indicated a “too much vinegar” feeling. (Not at all for us.)  No tears here, I loved the idea, knew we couldn’t stomach all that heat once I read the recipe thoroughly, and wanted a much more rounded dish at any rate.  Here’s what I came up with…  We ate it warm for dinner, and then ate off it for a couple of days cold. You could have very happy lunches. Heaven.  (above: Rosie and Tucker hoping  for a piece of chicken) Continue reading “Chinese/Lunar New Year Dinner: Just Make These Hot or Cold Sesame Noodles”

French 3-Course Meal to Make at Home: Think Chocolate!

French 3-Course Meal to Make at Home: Think Chocolate!

IMG_5300On occasion, or when someone requests it, I teach a short course on making a simple French or Italian meal at home.  Sometimes it’s quiche and salad, complete with learning how to make a crust and vinaigrette from scratch. For the Italian cooking session, it could be learning to make your own pizza and/or crostata.  Other times it’s something like this soup-fricassee-mousse meal where all my food fantasies merge into one happy morning/afternoon and lunch or dinner.  Soup, chicken, chocolate, paired wines: what more could you want for a short French menu class or for Valentine’s Day at home?

NOTE TO READERS: I’VE INSERTED 2/14/15 CLASS PHOTOS INTO THIS POST, WHICH WAS WRITTEN BEFOREHAND.

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 This Saturday’s class is full.  I might repeat it if enough students are interested. Let me know if you are by leaving a note in the Comments, on fb, or via email.  I’m currently looking at a 3-month series at home beginning next September — one Thursday night or one Saturday per month focused on basic French menus.  I’ll keep you posted.

For those enrolled in this Saturday’s Valentine class, here are recipes and a few basic instructions with photos.  I’ll have the whole deal printed off for you–no need to copy and paste from here.  We’ll take some photos together and I’ll replace these as needed or make another post just for grins and giggles.

Bon appétit, mes amis!  I can’t wait to cook with you. Continue reading “French 3-Course Meal to Make at Home: Think Chocolate!”

Frozen Pot Roast Slow-Cooker Dinner in 4.5 Hours + Leftover Beef-Vegetable Soup

Frozen Pot Roast Slow-Cooker Dinner in 4.5 Hours + Leftover Beef-Vegetable Soup

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If you wanted a slow cooker pot roast recipe, I doubt you’d look here.  (I don’t do a lot of slow cooker.) Maybe you wouldn’t look anywhere; you’d just put your meat and vegetables together into the pot with your wine, broth, or herbs and turn it on.  That’s what I do on the occasions I make this meal.  I decided to blog it, though, because I had such good luck getting a big frozen piece of meat cooked and on the table quickly using a slow cooker.  No more excuses if you’ve forgotten to unthaw your meat and the morning has disappeared; you can still make a great no-watch meal in a short afternoon.  The rest of the time is yours to take a bath, watch the dogs sleep, read the paper, garden, call your daughter, or binge-watch Downton.  So put this one in your back pocket for when you need it…

(Below:  Right after the Super Bowl.  All worn out.

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TRY THIS:

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FROZEN POT ROAST SLOW COOKER DINNER with horseradish, carrots, and onions IN 4.5 HOURS

Using a large hot skillet to brown and unthaw the roast quickly, you can then add red wine to de-glaze the pan and form the basis of a sauce. After you add the beef, wine, and vegetables to a slow cooker and set it for 4 hours on high, you’ll have dinner right on time. I like to cook my potatoes separately (recipe for mashed cheddar potatoes given at bottom), but if you like them in the slow cooker, add a 3 or 4 you’ve peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces right along with the carrots and onions.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Beef
Servings: 6
Author: More Time at the Table

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3-4 pound frozen beef chuck roast with bone
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated horseradish
  • 2 cups dry red wine I used a mix of leftover Cabernet Sauvignon and Chianti
  • 10 large carrots,trimmed, peeled, and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 stalks celery,trimmed, and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 large onions, cut into wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic,minced
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 Bay leaf,broken in half

Instructions

  • Brown the pot roast well on both sides; it thaws as it browns:
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high flame with 2 tablespoons canola oil. Add frozen pot roast sprinkled evenly with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Brown well, covered, 10-15 minutes; turn and spread evenly with the horseradish, cooking another 10 minutes. Add wine and cook another 5 minutes uncovered or until the wine has cooked down a bit.
  • In the meantime, cut up the vegetables and put them in the slow cooker while the meat browns:
  • Trim, peel, and cut carrots, celery, and onions; peel and mince the garlic. Add about 3/4 of the them, along with half the thyme, half the bay leaf, and a 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, to the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker turned to high. (You’ll add the rest of the vegetables and herbs on top of the beef in a moment.)
  • Add the beef and the wine to the slow cooker and… read a good book ’til dinner’s done:
  • Add browned beef and wine, scraping the bits from the bottom of the skillet into the slow cooker. Place the remaining vegetables, and the rest of the thyme and bay leaf on top of the beef. Sprinkle everything with one last good pinch of salt and pepper. Put the lid on top and cook for 4-5 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.
  • Slice meat, place on platter surrounded by vegetables (remove thyme stems), and drizzle with juices. Serve with cheddar mashed potatoes if desired. (Recipe below: takes 35-40 minutes for the potatoes.)

Notes

COOK’S NOTE: You can sub 3 good-sized sprigs of rosemary for the thyme and bay. Add one on top of the first (bottom) layer of vegetables and two on top of the meat. Copyright Alyce Morgan, 2015. All rights reserved.

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CHEDDAR MASHED POTATOES                                     Serves 6

  • 6  large white, very well-scrubbed potatoes (about 3 pounds), cut into eighths**
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black or white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon softened salted butter
  • 1 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (I like Vermont–Cabot– or English Cheddar–a white cheese, if you can), plus a little extra for garnish
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup hot milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions (just greens is fine, but both the greens and white will work) or chives — See note below if serving meat over potatoes.

1. Place potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt with 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a 6-quart pot and cover with water–plus an inch or so.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are just tender.

2. Drain and put potatoes back in the hot pan with the butter and the cheese. Mash well and then stir in about half-cup of the milk.  Mash again, adding more milk if needed, until potatoes are moistened and tender.  Taste, adjust seasonings, and spoon into a boIMG_7197wl.  Garnish with green onions or chives, if using, and a little of the grated cheddar.

**I don’t peel these, but you’re welcome to if you’d like.  I like the texture of hand-mashed and unpeeled potatoes and am all over that fiber.

MEAL OPTIONS: Replace carrots in the slow cooker with butternut or acorn squash pieces.  Trade fennel for celery.  Skip the wine and use low sodium beef broth.

WINE:  Côtes du Rhône or another light red such as Pinot Noir or Beaujolais (not nouveau)

NEED MORE?  Green salad and crusty bread with butter are the quintessential accompaniments if you’re really hungry or have more people. You might like my Apple-Cheddar Green Salad with Spicy Honey-Apple Cider Vinaigrette.

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DESSERT: Maybe none at all….  But if you need something:  Apples and cheese if you haven’t made the salad above.  If you have, try Pears with Stilton, and Walnuts.

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USING UP LEFTOVERS TO MAKE A BEEF-VEGETABLE SOUP:

Sauté an onion, two chopped carrots, 2 chopped stalks celery, and a minced clove of garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium flame. Season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, a pinch of crushed red pepper, a teaspoon of dried thyme, a bay leaf, and 1/2 cup fresh minced parsley.  Cook until the vegetables are starting to soften.

Stir in 1-2 cups of chopped, well-trimmed leftover pot roast, all of the sauce or gravy,  1 15-ounce can of chopped tomatoes, two quarts of low sodium beef or chicken broth,  2 or more cups of water, and a few drops of hot sauce.  Bring to a boil.  Add two peeled and chopped potatoes, 1 cup of chopped cabbage, and two cups frozen mixed vegetables or fresh vegetables such as trimmed and chopped green beans, English peas, zucchini, etc.  Lower heat to a steady, but gentle boil, cooking until everything is tender. Stir regularly and add any leftover, cooked, and chopped vegetables from the slow cooker for the last 5 or 10 minutes to heat through. Pour in more water or broth if the everything isn’t floating very freely in the liquid.

Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, including hot sauce.  Serve hot with crusty bread for dunking.

Options: You can add a 1/2 cup (or more) of a very small pasta — such as tubetti or elbow macaroni– during the last 15 minutes of cooking or, if you’ve time, 1/2 cup barley, which takes 45 minutes.  If you’d like to use spinach, add it during the last five minutes.

STORAGE:  You can cool, put into containers with tight lids, and store in the refrigerator 2-3 days or in the freezer for 4-6 months. Label and date your soup! It freezes better without potatoes or pasta, if you can manage it. If not, it’ll still be a good dinner you didn’t have to cook that night.

Sing a new song while your beef cooks happily without you,

Alyce