Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Salmon with Orange and Radish Salad

The joy of mid summer.  I can't begin to explain how wonderful Fairbanks can be in the summer. The sun shines all the time, right now it get into the 80s every day, so far there is no smoke from the forest fires, I have Fridays off...the list is long and lovely.

One problem with summer is I run out of fish.  I cooked my last pkg. of fish from last summer.  I'm hoping someone refills my freezer for me, otherwise I'll be fishing at my local grocery store.  I'm always successful fishing at Fred Meyer,  but it does cost a pretty penny!

So I saved my last pack of fish for my folks (because I'm kind like that).  They drove up to spend the summer.  They used to live in Fairbanks, now share time between here and Tucson.  They arrived Sunday afternoon and we had salmon, these ribs, cole slaw and Grandma's beans.  It was a delicious dinner and good to catch up with my folks.

I pulled radishes from the garden box, cut some oranges and let them marinate for a couple of hours.  I squeezed some fresh orange juice over the fish, Dave grilled it and I'm lucky to have left-overs for my lunch.

How ever you get your fish, enjoy it this way.
Yes, it is the same picture, I was too busy eating to take more than one picture.

Salmon with Orange and Radish Salad
for fish
Salmon Fillet, deboned
1 orange, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

for salad
12 radishes
2 oranges
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
mint, optional ( I was going to add it, but forgot!)

Trim tops and bottoms off radishes, cut in half then in thin half moons.  Cut ends off oranges, then  trim the peel off oranges with a knife, following the contour of the orange.  Section oranges and add to radishes.  Squeeze juice from the remaining membranes and add to radishes and oranges.  Add olive oil, sal and pepper, and mint, if using.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 to 4 hours.

Heat grill.  Pull bones from salmon, see here how to do that.  Juice oranges and pour over meat side of salmon, salt and pepper.  Let sit for 15-30 minutes.  Grill over med. heat for 6-10 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets and desired doneness.

Cut into serving size pieces and top with salad.  Enjoy!

June 26, 2013    Sunrise 3:02 am  Sunset 12:45 am  Temp. H 91/ L 64°F

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Zombie Cocktail

Zombies are everywhere these days.  I am not allowed to watch zombie movies (should zombie be a capital?), read zombie books, or play zombie games.  It was only a few months ago I had to ask someone how zombies are made! (It is a virus, you know) And, why do they eat brains? (no one had an answer, do you know?)  Many times at bootcamp, I ask the trainer, "And how will this help me in a zombie apocalypse?"  When the trainer has a good answer, I work that much harder, if he doesn't have a good answer I don't work quite so hard.

Well, zombies have been on my radar the last couple of weeks.  Not because I want them to be, they just are.  First, there is some movie where a zombie boy falls in love with a human girl (are zombies still considered human?), then there is the Brad Pitt movie about zombies and you see those previews everywhere.  Last, someone posted on Facebook about the new flu shot and how it is being made with insect DNA and someone wrote in the comments, "That is how zombies are made." One of the blogs I regularly read, Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity, talked about zombies this week.   There is even a picture of zombie Mario on Pinterest.  I just can't get away from them.

Early this week, I was having lunch with my friend Katie and I told her how I hadn't slept well because Dave was gone and I was dreaming about zombies.  A lady from the next table overheard me and had to come join the conversation!  Apparently, some people are not afraid of zombies and she was one of them ( I don't think she realized they are a real threat).  We laughed, she joked and then introduced herself to us.  At the end of our conversation she said something like, "Thanks for being such a good sport."  Does this woman not realize I was completely serious the whole time?  I'm not allowed to talk about zombies in public anymore. (My husband says it is for my own safety and that zombies are not real.  What does he know?)

Now, I won't be going the either movie mentioned above, because I'm not allowed, but I will be relieved when the previews for Brad's movie isn't shown anymore.  I'll celebrate with this drink.

Zombie Cocktail
adapted from Help! Zombies

1 shot white rum
1 shot golden rum
1 shot dark rum
1 shot apricot brandy
1 shot pineapple juice
1/2 shot 151-proof rum
1 shot lime juice
Garnish of your choice on a pointy stick  (why a pointy stick?  It makes me feel safer)

Pour all ingredients except the 151-proof rum into a shaker full of ice.  Shake until very cold.  Strain into a collins glass filled with ice.  Top with the 1/2 shot of 151-proof rum. Garnish with fruit on a pointy stick.   This can be lit on fire, but house fires are another issue with me so I'll pass on that step.

June 20, 2013  Sunrise 2:58  Sunset 12:47  Temp. H 91 (Yes, that is correct!)/ L 63ºF

Monday, June 17, 2013

Grilled Shrimp Salad with Berries, Avocado, and Grapefruit

Dave went camping last weekend.  I had a quiet weekend at home, rested and read a lot.  It is a good thing I had some quiet time, I think I needed it with all the house projects and traveling for work I've done recently.  I've been a little grumpy and forgetful.

Last week, we were working around the house.  Dave was outside and I was doing something inside.  The phone rang, so I answered it.  It was for Dave.  I looked around the house and he wasn't anywhere to be found.  I looked across the street and there he was, on a ladder in the neighbor's yard, with the neighbor holding the ladder.  I thought to myself, "How nice Dave is helping the neighbor.  Now we will never get our own stuff done because Dave is always helping everyone else and never gets anything done around here." (See, a little grumpy)

I walked all the way across the street, right up to the ladder and said, "Honey."  Then I looked up and IT WASN'T MY HUSBAND!  It was the neighbor (who is 84) with his son holding the ladder.  The both looked at me with a startled expression.

"You're not Dave."  I stated the obvious. And I started to laugh as I walked back across the street.
They just shook their heads at me as I retreated into my house.
Dave had gone to the store to pick something up.  If I had bothered to notice the car was not in the driveway, I might have saved myself some embarrassment.

Over the weekend, the neighbor was washing his truck.  I shouted across the street to him, "If I call you honey again, will you wash my jeep?"
He declined.

To continue our Salad Summer, I made this delicious entree salad.  It has shrimp for the protein, mixed baby greens, berries for the antioxidants, and avocado for a healthy fat.  The shrimp were grilled and brushed with a sweet rum marinade.  I'm sure this is brain food, and obviously, I need it.

Grilled Shrimp Salad

For the Shrimp
1 1/2 lbs. large shrimp (I use 26-30 count)
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. salt

For the Rum glaze
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup dark rum
1/4 cup corn syrup
3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. black pepper

For the Salad
Mixed baby greens, depends on how large you want your portions
1 pink grapefruit
1 cup blackberries
1 avocado

For the Dressing
1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup good olive oil
minced garlic, optional
1 tsp. Dijon mustard

If using wooden skewers, completely submerge in water, soak for 1 hour or longer.

Mix canola oil, lemon juice pepper, salt and garlic in a large ziplock bag.  Add shrimp.  Seal and chill for 15 minutes.  Thread shrimp on skewers.

Combine brown sugar, rum, corn syrup, mustard, vinegar, butter, salt, cinnamon, and pepper in a saucepan.  Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes until syrupy.

Mix mustard, salt, pepper, and vinegar together in small bowl.  Whisking constantly, drizzle olive oil into vinegar mixture.  Set aside.

Rinse greens and dry, I love my salad spinner for this.  Divide among 4 plates.

Cut grapefruit segments, and divide between plates.  Rinse berries and divide between plates.  Cut avocado and divide between four plates.

Grill shrimp skewers, 3 minutes each side, over medium-low heat.  Brushing with rum glaze several times. (Because of the sugar content, it tends to burn easily, so I brush the glaze on after each side gets cooked).

Remove shrimp from skewers and divide among salads.  Pass dressing separately.
Serves 4

June 17, 2013   Sunrise 2:59 am  Sunset 12:45 am  Temp. H 88/ L 59 ºF

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Light Pina Colada

So, Dave and I have been working really hard on our house.  We finished painting the inside and we (meaning mostly Dave) are now working on the outside.  The weather is not cooperating, I wanted the house on the market by now, and (I'm told) I'm being a little demanding.  What?

I saw the previews for the movie So This Is 40 (I think that is the name of the movie), and there is this one scene that the husband and wife are in bed talking about killing each other, have you seen this?  And the husband says something about a wood chipper.  I laughed and was telling Dave about this and he said (with a wistful look in his eye), "Oh yea, but you have to wait to 40 below and just shoot the frozen body chips over the Tanana River so they float down with breakup..."

So, have you been thinking about this long, honey?

Well, about a week later we were outside painting on the house and the neighbor was working in his yard, and out comes the wood chipper.  I about wet myself!  I told Dave I had to go to the store or something and quickly left the neighborhood for a couple of hours.  I wasn't taking any chances.  By the time I got home, the chipper was gone, but my nerves were shot.  I needed a drink.

I do think I'm pretty safe right now.  Dave is tired and grumpy, but it is about 70° F  and he did say a person should wait to 40 below.

In any event, I figure I have a few months before it begins to get cold again and I might as well enjoy this drink as often as I can, with the time I have left.


Skinny Pina Colada
The tropical taste of coconut and the fresh fruity taste of pineapple make this the perfect summer drink.  Part needs to steep overnight, so plan ahead.  It is so worth the effort.  I am doubling the recipe so I'll have plenty on hand.

Cooking Light June 2012
8 servings about 2/3 c each serving

2 cups flaked sweetened coconut 
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated fat-free milk
2 cups cubed fresh pineapple 
2 1/2 cups ice cubes
3/4 cup gold rum (such as Bacardi Gold) 
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons light agave nectar 
8 fresh pineapple slices
1. Combine 2 cups coconut and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and cook until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil), about 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

2. Arrange pineapple in a single layer on a baking sheet; freeze at least 1 hour or until firm.

3. Strain coconut mixture through a sieve over a medium bowl, pressing coconut with the back of a spoon to remove as much milk as possible. Discard solids.

4. Combine pineapple, ice cubes, rum, juice, and agave nectar in a blender; process mixture until smooth. Add milk mixture, and process until smooth. Serve with pineapple slices.

June 13, 2013   Sunrise 3:03 am  Sunset 12:39 am   Temp. H 72/ L 50

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Key Lime Flan

We have really been working on the outside of the house now that it has warmed up.  Dave is painting the outside, I'm planting now that all the snow has melted.  We both are looking forward to Mondays so we can go back to work and rest!

I did just spend a week outside (aka the lower 48) .  I went to Las Vegas for a conference then spent a couple of days in Seattle with the curly haired boy and his chick.  The chick and I went shopping and then we all went to a baseball game.  It was a very fun couple of days.

But, I'm home and it is time to get a few more things done around the house.

Adding the caramel to the bottom of the custard cup.  
My mother-in-law's 87th birthday was Saturday.  We had family dinner and I made Dave grill.  It was a nice break from painting.
Toasting the meringue in my tiny kitchen.  Yes, that is ALL the counter space.
I made these key lime flans.  The MIL loves lime so these were perfect for her.  I toasted the meringue with a propane torch.  Don't waste your money on the little ones from the cooking store.  Go to the hardware store and get a real one.  Trust me, it goes so much faster and is easier.
Don't bother with the small torches you get at the cooking store.  Go to the hardware store and get a propane torch there.
It is a good thing this dessert is light, my mother in law told me my jeans were getting too tight so I couldn't have dessert, when we took her out for dinner on Mother's Day.  Gotta love honesty!

Key Lime Flan
adapted from Fine Cooking

For the flan
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup fresh Key lime juice (from 14 to 16 limes) or bottled Key lime juice ( I used bottled)
For the meringue
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 6 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
Make the flan
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 300°F.
In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the sugar and 3 Tbs. water. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to medium high and boil, without stirring, until beginning to turn golden-brown on the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Gently swirl the pan over the heat until the caramel is dark amber, another 1 to 2 minutes.

Immediately divide the hot caramel among six 6-oz. ramekins, swirling each one to cover the bottom. Arrange the ramekins in a 9x13-inch baking pan and set aside.
Set a fine strainer over a 1-quart liquid measure or bowl.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, salt, and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the evaporated and sweetened condensed milks, and mix on low speed, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until well blended, about 2 minutes.
Add the eggs yolks, whole eggs, and vanilla and mix on low speed until well blended. Add the lime juice and mix until incorporated.
Pour the mixture through the strainer, then divide it evenly among the ramekins (about 1/2 cup each).
Pour very hot water into the baking pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins (be careful not to splash water into the ramekins). Tightly cover the pan with foil and bake until just the centers jiggle slightly when a ramekin is gently shaken, 30 to 40 minutes.
Transfer the baking pan to a rack. Uncover and let the flans cool completely in the water bath, about 2 hours. Remove the ramekins from the water, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
Make the meringue
Up to 2 hours before serving, bring 1/2 inch of water to a simmer over medium heat in a pot that will hold the bowl of a stand mixer without letting it touch the water. Reduce the heat to low. Off the heat, put the egg whites in the bowl and gently stir with a balloon whisk to loosen. Gradually whisk in the sugar.
Put the bowl over the simmering water and whisk until the whites are very warm and the sugar is thoroughly dissolved (when you rub the whites between your fingertips, you should feel no grit), 2 to 4 minutes.
Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Add the cream of tartar and beat on low speed until well combined. Gradually increase the speed to medium high and beat until the whites form thick, glossy, medium-firm peaks, 3 to 5 minutes.
To serve
Holding a ramekin upright and slightly tilted in one hand, hit the side with the heel of the other hand; this breaks the vacuum and should create a small gap between the flan and the ramekin. Immediately invert the flan onto a small plate, holding the ramekin and plate together and shaking as necessary to get the flan to release. Scrape any liquid caramel from the ramekin over the flan.
Spoon the meringue on the flans and swirl decoratively. Toast the meringue with a torch, if you like. Serve right away or keep at cool room temperature for up to 1 hour.
Make Ahead Tips
The baked flans can be refrigerated in their ramekins (wrapped in plastic) for up to 2 days.
The flans can be unmolded and topped with meringue up to 1 hour before serving. 

June 11, 2013   Sunrise: 3:07 am, Sunset 12:36 tomorrow am!   Temp. H 70/ L 45°F