Browsing articles in "Main Course"
May 13, 2011

Recipe for: Pan Seared Soy Salmon

From the kitchen of: Isabel Canfield

I grew up eating salmon. Better yet, I grew up eating salmon marinated in soy sauce, lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. My parents prepared it this way ever since I can remember. So, this is how I prepare my salmon as well. What’s so great about this recipe is the combination of salt from the soy sauce and the bright citrusy flavor from the lemon, allowing the flavor of fish to truly shine. If you see in the list of ingredients, I don’t give exact measurements. Well, it’s because the marinade isn’t an exact science and plus, Filipinos just pour straight from the bottle. They just eyeball things. I did, though, change the recipe a tiny bit. My parents just cooked the salmon on the stove, sometimes leaving it a little dry. Um, don’t tell them! My way, I like to get a nice sear on the stove and finish it in the oven. 99% of the time, you’ll end up with salmon that’s super moist, tasty and tender.

4 salmon fillets
soy sauce (I prefer dark soy sauce)
juice of 1 lemon
salt + pepper (Not too much salt, since the soy sauce is already very salty)
olive oil

1. Cut salmon in portions.
I actually purchase my salmon regularly from Costco. It’s so inexpensive. You get a whole slab of salmon that can be portioned among seven people. But wherever you decide to get it, be sure it’s fresh, pink and non-smelly. A smelly fish indicates an old fish. Once you slice the salmon into your desired portions, place in a baking dish.

2. Marinade the salmon. Pour a heavy drizzle of soy sauce, olive oil, lemon, salt (go easy on the salt) and pepper. And there you go! A simple soy marinade. You don’t have to be exact with the measurements. Filipinos never are. Just drizzle the ingredients over the salmon and gently rub to cover all the salmon. Let the marinade soak into the salmon in the refrigerator for only about 5 minutes.

3. Pan sear the salmon. First, preheat the oven to 350º. Heat a large non-stick, oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, about 3 tablespoons. Once the pan and oil get hot, gently place the salmon fillets down on the pan. It should sizzle. Do not fiddle with fillets once you lay it down. Leave it alone and let one side cook for 2-3 minutes. Once you get a nice sear, gently flip them over.

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Apr 26, 2011

Bacon and Tomato Pasta

From the kitchen of: Guy Fieri

I think Guy Fieri is ridiculous. I mean, really. Just watch one of his shows on the Food Network. He’s a little too much with his spiked bleach-blonde hair and Mr. T jewelry, but you’ve got to hand it to him. He has certainly blossomed after winning the Next Food Network Star. Since then, he’s been the host of several different food shows on the Food Network and was even a game show host on NBC’s Minute to Win It. Needless to say, I was a little hesitant to make this recipe since I’m not a huge fan of his cooking, but we gave it a shot and boy were we wrong. The bacon is definitely the star in this dish. With every bite, it added saltiness and a crunchy texture. The tomato sauce was not heavy and made perfectly from scratch with the freshest ingredients. We were both pleasantly surprised with this dish, so maybe we’ll just put aside our dislike for Guy’s ridiculous hair and jewelry…for now.

salt + pepper
1 package of spaghetti pasta
1 package of thick-cut bacon
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup red onion, diced
1 teaspoon of chili flakes
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 cups Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup red wine
4 tablespoons basil, chiffonade
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1. Boil water and prep the ingredients. In a large pot, boil about 3 quarts of water with 1 tablespoon of salt to flavor the pasta water. Meanwhile, prep the ingredients by mincing the garlic, dicing the onions and tomatoes, and chopping the bacon in large chunks.

2. Fry the bacon. In a large saute pan over medium heat, add bacon and saute until bacon is crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and place it on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. At this time, add the spaghetti pasta to the boiling water and cook until pasta is al dente.

3. Make the tomato sauce. In the same saute pan you cooked the bacon, you’ll cook the tomato sauce. Place the pan back on medium heat and add the olive oil. Saute onions with chili peppers until translucent. Add garlic and continue to saute for a few more minutes. Add tomatoes and let it simmer for 5 minutes. At this point, you can use your wooden spoon to push the tomatoes down to release the juices. Add wine to the sauce and continue to cook for 10 minutes.

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Apr 19, 2011

Braised Short Ribs in Red Wine

Anything braised in red wine is a winner in my books. That’s why I love this recipe. Yes, this recipe does take some time, probably 3 hours total, but braising is exactly that. It’s allowing something to cook for a long period of time in order to get the meat super super tender. You allow all the flavors to marry while cooking on the stovetop or in the oven. End result is something so savory and hearty. It certainly reminds me of home. A must in a kitchen for braising is a dutch oven. My dutch oven is from the Mario Batali brand available through Crate & Barrel. It was a gift from a dear friend for our wedding. I would also recommend Le Creuset. A dutch oven is an investment, but it’s a wonderful tool in the kitchen and it will last you a lifetime.

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
salt and pepper
short ribs (with or without bones)
2 cups of red wine (a cheap cabernet sauvignon)
2 cups of chicken stock
1 large onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
4 celery stocks, chopped
4 garlic gloves, chopped
4 fresh thyme springs

1. Pan sear the meat.
Salt and pepper both sides of the short ribs. I purchased mine from Costco, they were boneless. Heat a dutch oven pot on the stove. Swirl 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add the ribs to the hot pot. Over moderate heat, leave the ribs on one side for about 8 minutes. Turn over to get the other side brown and crusty as well. Cook the other side for 8 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer to a plate.

2. Meanwhile, prep the vegetables. While the meat is browning, prep the vegetables by chopping the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Once the meat has been removed from the pot, add the vegetables. Cook over low heat stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes.

3. Add the wine, chicken stock and thyme springs. After cooking the vegetables for 20 minutes, add the wine, stock, thyme springs and shorts ribs back into the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.

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Mar 30, 2011

Recipe for: Carne Asada Tacos

From the kitchen of: Tyler Florence from Food Network

Carne Asada Tacos

I love me some Tyler Florence. One of my favorite chefs, Tyler is not your average Food Network cook. He’s more contemporary with his bold flavors and is very knowledgeable on several cuisines such as American, Italian and Tex-Mex. Looking through my arsenal of cooking websites and blogs, I found a recipe for Tacos Carne Asada from Tyler. There are three main pieces to this recipe, but you can certainly assemble the mojo and pico de gallo ahead of time. The only thing really left to do when you’re ready to cook is grill the steak! How easy is that? Believe me, it’s not a complicated recipe. The prep work pretty much involves a lot of chopping and mixing. The ingredients are so fresh and citrusy. This recipe is a keeper.

flat iron steak (or flank or steak)
mojo, recipe follows
pico de dallo, recipe follows
olive oil for grilling
salt + pepper
1 package of corn tortillas (if corn isn’t your favorite, use flour)
shredded romaine lettuce
shredded Jack cheese
2 limes, cut into wedges

1. Make the mojo.
The mojo is the marinade for the flat iron steak. Using a mortar and pestle (or improvise like I did with a regular bowl and the back end of a ice cream scooper), mash together garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, salt and pepper into a paste. Transfer paste in a plastic container and add lime juice, orange juice, vinegar and oil. Shake well to combine.

Ingredients for the mojo:
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 large handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon of salt + pepper
2 limes, juiced
1 orange, juiced
2 tablespoons of white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

2. Marinate the flat iron steak. The recipe calls for flank or skirt steak, but none were available at Kroger, so I got the flat iron steak, which ended up being really juicy and delicious! Place the steak in a rimmed dish and pouring almost all of the marinade on the flat steak. Save about 1/4 cup for serving. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, more if impossible, but no more than 8 hours because it breaks up the fibers. I only marinated the steak for an hour, but I wish it was longer.

3. Make pico de gallo. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients together. Mix thoroughly. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes to an hour for flavors to marry. This makes a lot, about 2 cups.

Ingredients for pico de gallo:
4 vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lime, juiced
1/4 olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt (taste to see if it would need more)

 4. Grill the steak. It’s still a little cold outside, so grilling the steak indoors is perfectly fine. I had a grill pan, which was perfect. Pre-heat the pan over medium-high. Add some olive oil to prevent sticking, about 2 tablespoons. Pull out steak from marinade and season with more salt and pepper. Once pan is nice and hot, place steak on the grill. Depending on thickness of steak, mine was fairly thick, it took about 10-12 minutes per side, turning once, to get the steak medium. If you use flank or skirt, it’s best when eaten medium-rare so it’ll take less time, about 7-9 minutes per side. Remove steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes for juices to settle. Thinly slice steak across the grain on a diagonal.

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Mar 29, 2011

Recipe for: 5-ingredient Pasta Alfredo

From the kitchen of: Isabel Canfield

5-ingredient Alfredo Pasta

I ran the Ukrop’s Monument Ave. 10k when I first moved to Richmond, back in 2006. I don’t know why I ran it, because I hate running. Jared loved running at the time, so maybe I just wanted to impress him. The night before the race, we filled our bellies with a hearty pasta dish at Robin Inn. Loading up on carbs the night before is what you’re supposed to do to have fuel for a race, so pasta is obviously a popular choice. I ran the race fairly well—not well-enough to tell you how long it took me to run—but it was an accomplishment. Since then, I don’t think I’ve put on my running shoes. Haha.

So, for all you runners out there running the 10k this Saturday, I’ve designed a super-easy pasta recipe for you to cook in less than 20 minutes. This beats the time you’d have to wait at a restaurant, since everyone and their mom will be out. With only five main ingredients, you’ll have a delicious, homemade pasta Alfredo. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

5 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 cups of heavy cream
2 cups of grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 boxes of linguine pasta
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
salt+pepper to taste

1. Grate the Parmesan cheese. I bought a medium-size wedge of Parmesan at Kroger and used more than half of it to get two cups of grated Parmesan cheese. Grate a little more for the end to top off the pasta. Set aside.

5-ingredient Alfredo Pasta5-ingredient Alfredo Pasta

2. Boil the pasta. Fill a large pot about half full of water and add a tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil. Add the pasta. The linguine takes about 9 to 11 minutes to cook al dente.

5-ingredient Alfredo Pasta

3. Start the cream mixture. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet at medium-low temp. Add the butter until it melts. Slowly add the cream, whisking constantly. Bring the cream mixture to a low simmer, never letting it boil. Add the nutmeg and continue whisking. Nutmeg makes the dish; do not leave this out. You can switch over to a rubber spatula and stir until the pasta is cooked.

5-ingredient Alfredo Pasta

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