Don't you know it hurts so good...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jordan and I's favorite dish!! - Remember that Salmon I de-boned and portioned? Well, it ended up on our dinner plates. (Now don't puke) We share this dinner on one plate -- sweetheart style. The secret ingredient is Sriracha sauce - which you can find at any major grocery. This is actually a US made product developed for Americans to make us think we are eating a fancy foreign hot sauce.


1 Salmon Fillet with skin
Some Oregano
Some Rosemary
Some Sesame Seeds
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Cooked White Rice
** Don't for get the Sriracha sauce

Simply coat meaty side of the salmon in the herbs of your choice (I use a combination of oregano rosemary and sesame seed) Then, heat the oil in a skillet until shimmering (right before it steams). Carefully place the fillet skin down (watch for popping oil). Once the fillet looks about half cooked carefully flip it over (time depends on how thick the cut is - but you can flip once about half of the meatiest portion in a light pink instead of the sushi color) While the fillet continues to cook, place your hot cooked rice in the middle of a large plate and then place the salmon on top. Make sure to some Sriracha sauce on the side... and lots of stuff to drink!

Here are some photos from our dinner Tuesday night ...

Tip: Turn the Salmon over only once if you can, because handling it too much can make it fall apart or worse, toughen the meat.

As for tonight, we just got back from a delicious dinner with our friends from church John and Rachel. She cooked a fabulous peppercorn pork loin (two words I never thought I'd say in the same sentence: fabulous and pork!) It was really tender, tangy, and delicious. I know the secret now so I might even try making pork for Jordan and I.

Editor's note: seriously, I hope Jennie follows through on this, because I LOVE me some pork :)

Fish on Sale! What's the Catch?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I found a great deal on both Tilapia ($4.99) and Salmon ($3.99) at Kroger today! This time I stopped at the smaller Kroger on US 36 because I was in a bit of a rush and it was getting late (I was praying the meat counter stayed open until 9 was 8:52). Of course, the seafood had already been pulled from the display case so I thought I'd check out the pre-packaged items. I try and get my seafood from the meat guy -- I like being able to order just the right size for the meal I am making -- but I wasn't going to make my third trip to Kroger this week if I didn't have too -- and low and behold, I found better-than-advertised pricing on Salmon AND the Tilapia I needed.

Of course, there is a catch. There is always a catch. I would have to buy in bulk... These packages looked like they would serve an army -- or at least a family of 8. Seriously!^LOOK^ I checked out with my treasure, knowing that to get the 3.99 lb price I would have to stay focused and zip lock and freeze portions of two for Jordan and I the minute I got home. If I didn't it would sit in the fridge until I finally found time to cook this week, and by then it may not be fresh. I started with the Tilapia: 6 nice fillets, two in each zip lock. And, then on to the Salmon.And, I wasn't done just yet -- the Salmon had a surprise in store.... BONES! Luckily, I have dealt with de-boning Salmon a time or two --

Step 1: Dig through your tool box, closet, drawer, etc until you find a small pair of pliers with out those little grippy teeth. I prefer the kind that come in a computer repair kit -- but I couldn't find mine.

Step 2: Sanitize the tool (hot water and soap, or you could just use them as they are ... who knows where they have been)

Step 3: Run your fingers along the salmon ... WAIT - Wash your hands - you just dug around in a tool box... and then run your fingers along the salmon against the 'grain' of the bones -- AKA poke your self in the finger until you feel where they are.

Step 4: Grasp the bone firmly with the pliers (NOTE: Do not use wire cutters for this) and pull evenly and firmly with the 'grain' sliding the bone out like a splinter.

Step 5: Repeat step 3 and 4 until you are sure there are no bones, or you are so sick of pulling them that you no longer care if you or your husband choke on one.

Step 6: Cut fillets into portions for two, and place in zip lock freezer bags. Be careful to get as much air out as possible when sealing. (I like to seal the bag, all but and inch, and press the air out)

I ended up with 4 bags of Salmon (one a bit larger incase we have company) and 3 bags of Tilapia … all for under $25 dollars - and it is portioned and ready to go after about 15 minutes of searching for pliers and 5 minutes of pulling bones. ;)

Redbox and Salsa ...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tonight, Jordan and I went on a mission to find the Sunday paper. We were just going to run to Marsh (which is about a half mile away) hour & a half later we returned with a red box movie and salsa from the new Kroger in Speedway.

Marsh had the Indy Star, but I had to dig a bit through a stack with copies of Thursday's edition and Saturday's "Sunday Early Edition" to find the real Sunday edition, which surprisingly had zero grocery ads (I later found out they were in the Thursday edition - can you say newly wed.) I snagged one of the Marsh ads from a pile near the door - and Unfortunately, I quickly noticed nothing I needed this week was on special... so off to Kroger we went to check out the seafood selection and their ad for this week. (Our real mission was to spend some time in air conditioning I made pizza tonight -- & we really needed a break from our the heat in our house).

Kroger was completely re-vamped recently (the third I can remember) and it is now the second largest Kroger store in the state (second only to the one in Bloomington, as Jordan was quick to point out). It was about 10pm and of course the meat counter was closed (they have a fantastic seafood collection) so, we walked around and checked out the beer selection and the international aisle to find that they carry KOSHER foods!! I have spent a good 5 years asking grocery managers to order matzo meal special. NO MORE! They had a good selection of potato pancake mix, matzo's and matzo ball mix *(although they don't carry the large container, just the packets) -- my favorite part was the economy size container of chicken consummate which I haven't seen since my Grandmother was alive and cooking. If it wasn't so darn hot I might make some soup right now --

I will return tomorrow for some of the Salmon (on sale for 6.99 lb) and Tilapia fillets (4.99) Jordan mentioned trying a Pecan Crusted Tilapia -- anyone have a good recipe? Cooks Illustrated doesn't have anything on Tilapia :)

Cheap & easy food

Saturday, June 26, 2010

This week I thought I should take it easy -- we just returned from our honeymoon/missions trip in Honduras to find the dog's room/mud room flooded AND a random 3-inches of water in our (previously) completely dry crawl space. So, Monday I went grocery shopping using the Sunday paper ads and wrote out a list while I waited for the plumber to arrive (did I mention we also found a leaking toilet?)

This budget conscientious menu cost us less than $50. It included roast beef sandwiches for lunches as well as a few plums and nectarines. Each meal cost well under $10 dollars for the two of us. We were always full and had something leftover (but not TOO much) And the dessert of the week was mixed berries w/ homemade whipped cream --


Monday - burgers with grilled corn on the cob
Tuesday - grilled chicken with baked potatoes
Wednesday - sloppy-joes with mac & cheese
Thursday - brats with baked beans
Friday - Night out (hotdogs at the game)
Saturday - hamburgers and fruit (and a salad for me)
Sunday - homemade chicken & artichoke pizza with cheesy bread

The best part of this week was the chicken - instead of grilling frozen lumps of 'boneless skinless chicken breast' until crispy dry and 'cooked' (oh yeah no Air Conditioning - so we were cooking outside all week) I bought fresh bone in chicken breast that I found on sale at Kroger for just $1 pound and 'brined' them ... well actually Jordan was in charge of that since he stayed home that day from work (he was sick ...)

Brining is nothing I had ever seen growing up -- we simply took the chicken from the package maybe rinsed it and always baked it -- it was dry (sorry mom) and mostly blah. Brining is simply soaking the chicken in a water/salt solution -- which can include a bit of sugar. The chicken marinates in this for an hour or so and when cooked is SO juicy and tasty that you will never again cook chicken without this step.

You can do this with just about any meat -- here is a great article from Cook Illustrated

Tiramisu for two?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ok to start off my 'blog' I want to share my new favorite dessert recipe - the original serves 10 to 12 . (Published November 1, 2007. From Cook's Illustrated.)

I made this the first week we were married - and it was a blast... even in the 85 degree heat of our home (the air conditioning was/is broken). The recipe had photos and step-by-step instructions (see links below) and it turned out beautifully even with my last minute substitutions (no espresso, and amaretto instead of rum)

The result was a heaping 13 x 9 pan of heaven that my husband (Jordan) refused to share with his parents or mine. He didn't think it was appropriate for the church pitch-in, so he was going to finish it himself! It took a week and half and he came really close -- but I finally insisted on tossing it out before we left on our honeymoon.

It was really a nice dish -- and I can't wait to make it again, but this time much smaller and with hot chocolate instead of coffee. Maybe this weekend (I'l be sure to take photos this time!!)

I have a Cooks Illustrated online subscription - they have some amazing dishes. It is $35 dollars a year for access to the online site and magazine archive - on sale until July 7th for 17 bucks!

But for now -- visit this link to view the full recipe. Sketches, video, tips, and all.

I have made a few modifications to the measurements so that it serves just 2-3 people, and added some substitutions below to make it easier to cut the recipe down to size.


3/4cups strong black coffee (hot chocolate) , room temperature
1teaspoon instant espresso powder (I skipped this step)
2 1/2tablespoons dark rum (amaretto)
2large egg yolks
3tablespoons sugar
1/16teaspoon table salt (pinch)
6ounces mascarpone cheese
3tablespoons heavy cream (cold)
3 1/2ounces ladyfingers (10 to 15, depending on size 1/2 pkg)
1tablespoon cocoa , preferably Dutch-processed
1tablespoon semisweet or bittersweet chocolate , grated (optional)


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