Thursday, March 31, 2011

Girl, I'll house (dressing) you.

So, I have a little confession to make. I like to listen to music when I cook... mostly dance/electronica/house.  Some might even call it techno.  I always leaned toward the term "progressive house." But if you asked me the definition of that term, you'd have me stumped.  But anyways, it lifts my mood and occasionally you might find me dancing around the kitchen, my 7" chef's knife in hand.  Best not get in my way.  :)

Tonight I made a big batch of a dish I posted on Facebook the other night before I started this blog. That was the first time I made the dish and we liked it so much (and I had lentils leftover), that I made a bigger batch tonight.  As I said then, the dish is inspired by this  I follow the dressing recipe fairly closely, I just use regular balsamic and skip the pine nuts and nutritional yeast, which I do not have on hand.  I LOVE this dressing.  In fact, it might become our house dressing.

Lemon Dill Lentil Rice

Ingredients for Salad

2 cups cooked green lentils
1 cup cooked basmati rice
As much as you like of diced veggies such as:
Green Pepper
(but use whatever you want)
Sliced Greek Olives
(I think some diced feta would be great too, but we're eating vegan tonight)

Ingredients for Dressing

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice + zest of one lemon
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

I mix the dressing first and then pour it over all the other ingredients in a big bowl.  Toss.  Yum!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cooking, not baking. Mostly.

Time off from work has allowed me to rediscover something that brings me much joy, cooking.  Please note that I said cooking, and not baking.  See the problem with baking, for me, is that you really do need to follow the recipe exactly.  Otherwise you end up with curdled buttercream frosting.  I need there to be room for mistakes.  While there are disasters to be had in cooking, I have found you can really deviate from most non-baking recipes and still end up with something tasty.  That said, don't be surprised if I occasionally attempt to bake.  But do be surprised if it's successful.

My #1 reason for deviating from recipes is missing ingredients.  I don't let lack of an ingredient stop me from making something.  I just take the recipe in a slightly different direction without the ingredient that I'm missing and with something I have on hand.  I make it up as I go along. 

I've done this so much that sometimes I just look at recipes online for inspiration and then create something different, but related to, the original.  Tonight, for instance, I knew I had mangos and at least once a week I make Hoisin Honey Salmon.  I googled hoisin and mango and found this recipe:  The recipe for the salsa portion of this dish gave me the inspiration to come up with my Strawberry Mango Salsa to go on the Hoisin Honey Salmon. 

(Since I don't follow recipes myself, I don't expect you to either, all amounts are rough approximates.)

Mango Strawberry Salsa on Hoisin Honey Salmon

1 mango, diced
2-3 strawberries, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/4 serrano pepper, seeded and deveined, minced
2 thin slices of red onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 tsp freshly grated ginger
3/4 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp mirin
Squeeze of lime
Squirt of Sriracha

Just mix all ingredients in a bowl!

And as for the Honey Hoisin Salmon.  It's roughly 1 tbsp of hoisin sauce to 1 tsp of honey.  Make as much as you need to cover your piece of salmon and bake in the oven to your liking.  Oh, and I always start by seasoning my salmon first with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.