Saturday, July 30, 2016

Best Salmon Ever: Planked Maple-Ginger Salmon

Cooked by Bob on the BBQ in Sunnyvale

1 cedar plank, soaked in warm water for a minimum of 2 hours, longer is better
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp olive oil
4 skin-on salmon fillets (or one large that covers plank - we used coho)
2 lemons, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp salt
freshly cracked pepper to taste

combine vinegar, syrup, ginger and oil; brush 1/2 of mixture over salmon

preheat grille to high; place soaked plank on grill, and get it good and hot (recipe says until it starts to smoke); flip plank over and lay lemon slices over the toasted side; place salmon, skin side down, on the lemon slices.  sprinkle with salt & pepper.

cook, lid closed, 5 minutes; brush on remaining maple mixture, and (optional) cover with more lemon slices.

close lid and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes, until salmon flakes slightly when presssed

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Gran's Creamy Leek Soup (from Thrifty's)

Creamy Leek Soup with Crumbled Stilton

or aged cheddar

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic and cook until they are softened, about 4-5 minutes. Mix in flour until well combined. Slowly stir in the stock. Mix in the potatoes and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook until leeks and potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes. Puree in a food processor, and then return to the pot. Bring back to a simmer. Whisk in whipping cream; season with salt and pepper. Pour into soup bowls. Sprinkle cheese on top and serve.

Make a creamy onion and Stilton soup by replacing the leek with 2 mediums onion, halved and sliced. Instead of Stilton, use any other blue cheese in the soup that appeals. Or, if you don’t like blue cheese, use a 1 cup of grated aged cheddar cheese instead.

Gran's Crunchy Garlic Chicken

Start with oven at 425 and nonstick spray or parchment paper on a baking sheet.

In one dish mix 2 tbsp melted butter, 2 tbsp milk, 1 tsp chopped fresh chives, ½ tsp salt and 1 large garlic clove, minced.

In a second dish mix 2 cups crushed cornflakes, 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, and ½ tsp paprika.

Dip 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves in butter mixture, then in  cornflake mixture, and place on baking sheet. Bake uncovered 20-25 minutes. (I always need the longer time).

Yum hot and cold - great for picnics!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pope's Valentine Cookies for Small Hands

S made these with Baba this week as Valentine gifts for her friends at school. The recipe is adapted from Allrecipes; the cookies are wonderful to bake for small hands because they can do the kneading, the cutting out of hearts, and then add the red sprinkles at the end.

1/2 pound butter, softened
2 1/2 cups (sifted) all-purpose flour
1cup (sifted) confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2.  Mix butter in a mixer until light, add remaining ingredients and continue mixing until "too stiff for mixer".
3. Knead until velvety.
4. Roll one-half of the dough at a time to about 1/4 inch thickness using the smallest amount of flour possible. (The thickness is important so that the small hands can do the cutting - too thin and the dough won't hold.)
5. Cut out and bake on a lightly greased pan for 12 minutes.  Cookies will be almost white when cooked.

Red sprinkles enhanced our Valentine cookies.  The recipe would work wonderfully for other shapes at other times of year, with appropriate sprinkles.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Graf's New Orzo Dinner

Graf made us a great one-dish meal tonight, though the littlest critic prefers his ribs.  Anyway, here is the recipe.  It even has eggplant, and I still liked it!

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables
Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
Copyright 2001 Barefoot Contessa Parties!, All Rights Reserved

1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound orzo or rice-shaped pasta
For the dressing:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
To assemble:
4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup pignolis ( pine nuts), toasted
3/4 pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pignolis, feta, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.
Total Time:
1 hr
20 min
40 min

6 servings

© 2014 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hot and Sour Soup

Since S loves this SO MUCH, I thought I'd try to make it.  The red tofu soup, that is - not the brown California version which, S tells me, is totally unacceptable.  "Mum," she sighs, "I am nostalgic for Toronto tofu soup."

So here's a recipe that did the trick:

6 cups chicken stock
1/2 - 1 lb firm tofu, sliced into 1" x 2" rectangular prisms
1/4 c. sweet chili sauce (or more to taste - I used nearly twice this)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 eggs, beaten
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 (15 ounce) can peeled straw mushrooms
1/2 ounce dried black fungus (soak in water for an hour before using - I omitted this)
1 (7 ounce) can sliced bamboo shoots
1 (15 ounce) can baby sweet corn cobs
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil (to garnish)
finely chopped scallion (to garnish)


Bring stock to a simmer, add soy sauce, mushrooms & chili sauce, simmer for 10 minutes.
Add, pepper, vinegar, bamboo, baby corn, and tofu, simmer 10 min.
Mix cornstarch with 5 tbsp water and add.
Bring back to a simmer and pour the eggs in a very thin stream over the surface.
Let stand for 10 seconds before gently stirring in the sesame oil (I used oil as garnish only).
Serve with a garnish of chopped scallions.

This recipe was adapted from It makes a tasty Canadian (red) hot and sour tofu soup.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Meatballs and Shortbread

OK, so this is something of an odd combination.  But, as Christmas approaches, we've been making more of an effort to spend time cooking. And we didn't eat them together!

So, a few weeks ago S decided she wanted meatballs for dinner (!) and I just grabbed the nearest recipe we had, which is Polpettine alla Salvia from Rustic Italian Cooking.

We used 1 1/2 lbs. of organic ground beef, a finely diced onion, chopped fresh sage (a dozen leaves), some salt and pepper, nearly a cup of freshly grated parmesan (the recipe calls for a quarter that amount), an egg, and some leftover Panko (maybe a quarter cup). S squished them together for half an hour with her sturdy little hands and then she and P rolled them into small meatballs before he fried them in butter. They were AMAZING.

Then I decided we had to make Christmas shortbread. As usual the never-as-good-as-The-French-Laundry shortbread was disastrous, so I made Mom some of Baba-Grandma's whipped shortbread cookies with candied cherry in the middle. They were JUST like Baba's. It was incredible - I hadn't tasted that taste in 20 years.

Anyway, here they are, from the Women of Unifarm Cook Book. 2 lbs. softened butter (!), 2 c. icing sugar, 1 c. cornstarch, 6 c. flour. Whip. Drop. Bake at 325 for 20 mins. The crumb on these is absolutely perfect - they are like butter clouds.