April 24, 2011

Almond Jelly

Over the weekends, while cleaning in the garage where most of my cooking and blog supplies are stored. In the process of doing that, I found a couple packets of almond flavored agar mix. Agar agar is a vegetarian gelatin substitute produced from a variety of seaweeds. This brought to my mind of the new molds I bought at an antique store.
This is one of the simplest and EASY things to make or should I say a no-brainer dessert. You can serve it with chilled fruit cocktail. I serve mine with some green jelly to resemble grass in the meadows. It would be fun to present it to a fellow who likes cow--might I need to say who?
1 packet Almond jelly mix (Golden Coins brand is my favorite)
food coloring (if prefer)
1 can fruit cocktail for garnishing
All you need to do is open the box, pour the contents into water. Bring to a boil and pour into rinsed jelly molds. Chill in refrigerator to set and unmold to serve with canned fruits.
Chef's tips: I used a cup less water to get a firmer jelly.

April 19, 2011

Pasta with Wild Fennel and Sausage

This afternoon, I took a walk down to the creek near my house to pick some wild fennel fronds. Wild fennel are different from the ones you buy at the supermarket or farmer's market, as they do not produce a large edible white bulb and the fronds have a distinctive flavor of anise. Note: Be sure to pick them away from the roadside and in areas that are not expose to traffic, smog, or dogs. For my sanity, I steep the fronds in water mixed with a teaspoon of salt for about 5 minutes and rinse it well.
½ lb penne rigatoni
A good handful of wild fennel fronds
½ lb fresh Italian sausage (hot or sweet)
4 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. Rinse and drain fennel fronds well. Bring a large pot of water to a fast boil with enough water to cover the fennel. Add the fronds and boil for about 10 minutes to remove any insects. Remove and drain into a colander. When cool enough to handle, chop and mince the cooked fennel. Reserve the water to cook the pasta.
2. With a knife slice open the sausage casing and break the meat into small clumps. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and fry garlic and sausage meat over moderate heat. Cook the meat until it is no longer pink and begins to brown on the sides. Break into smaller chunks with a wooden spoon, add fennel greens and stir well to mix with the oil. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
3. Add a tsp of salt into the strained fennel water and cook pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain pasta and add it to the pan with the sausage and fennel. Continue to cook over low heat for about 2 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb the flavor of the sauce. Add some pasta water if you prefer more sauce. Serve warm.
Printable Recipe

April 10, 2011

Grilled Salmon with Mango Salsa

I love to make this dish when mangoes are in season. Enjoy!
3-4 slices of Snapper or Salmon
1 can black bean, washed and drained
1 large semi-ripe mango, peeled, seeded and chopped finely
1 cup chopped tomato, skin removed
½ cup finely chopped onions
½ cup finely chopped red pepper (optional)
1 jalapeno (optional)
A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
Juice of 2 lemons
2 teaspoons oil
2 tsp. sugar
2 russet potatoes (peeled, coarsely grated with hand grater)
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. flour
salt and pepper
Oil for frying
1. Combine potatoes and salt and let stand for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Press firmly on solids to remove as much liquid as possible. Discard any accumulated liquid. Transfer potato mixture to large bowl. Mix in egg, flour and pepper.
2. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 250°F. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, drop 2 tablespoonfuls of potato mixture into hot, flattening slightly into 3 inch diameter cakes. Cook until crisp and golden, about 5-8 minutes on each side. Transfer and drain on paper towel and keep warm in oven Note: Can be prepared a day ahead and reheat.
3. Mix all the above ingredients for the salsa and season to taste. Put in fridge for later use.
4. Season fish with salt and pepper. Heat oil in pan and fry fish until cooked on both sides.
5. Serve warm with potato cakes and salsa on top.
Printable Recipe

April 9, 2011

Tandoori Chicken

This is an Indian recipe for chicken that makes your hands glow nuclear orange. It is an easy dish to prepare especially when you have a party or you need something spicy and versatile. Yogurt, one of the main ingredient is mildly acidic and is a great tenderizer in this dish.
20 chicken drumsticks or any cuts of chicken meat
2 pips minced garlic
1 box tandoori paste (easily bought from Indian grocery stores)
½ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tsp oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. Washed and pat dried the drumsticks. Mix the rest of ingredients in a bowl.
2. Add the drumsticks to marinate for 4-6 hours in the refrigerator.
3. BBQ on the grill on both sides until meat is no longer pink. Serve with rice or salad.
Printable Recipe