Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pecan-Brown Butter Salmon

Prep:  30 Minutes    Cook:  20 Minutes

4  10- to 12-oz.  pan-dressed Kokonee Salmon
3/4 to 1 tsp Ground Cumin
3/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper, divided
Dash Chipotle Chili in Adobo Powder
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 bunch Green Onions, cut into thin strips
4 Tbsp Butter
1/4 C Pecans, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

1.  Spread Salmon open; sprinkle meaty side with Cumin, Salt, 1/8 tsp Black Pepper, and Dash Chipotle Chili Powder.  Heat Oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add two Salmon, skin-side-up; cook for two minutes.  Turn skin-side-down; cook two minutes more.  Flip and cook an additional two minutes, or until fish flakes easily when tested with fork.  Line serving platter with Green Onion tops.  Transfer Salmon to platter, cover and keep warm.  Add additional Oil, as needed, to fry remaining fish as directed above.  Cover all and keep warm.

2.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add Butter and Pecans to skillet; cook, stirring often, 1 to 2 minutes, until nuts and butter begin to brown.  Stir in Lemon Juice and Balsamic Vinegar; cook for 30 seconds until slightly thickend (aroma will be strong).  Add remaining 1/8 tsp Black Pepper and Salt to taste.  Pour nut mixture over Salmon; serve immediately.  Serves 4.

***Other Fish to try with this recipe:  Trout, Halibut, and Catfish.  Also try with Pork Chops, reducing salt to 1/2 tsp.***

As adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chinese Chicken Salad

I don't know about you, but in my family growing up we very rarely had a 'main-dish-salad' for dinner.  My family more of the mind set of 'skip the salad, save room for dessert'.  And then I met and married my husband.  For him, a really great summer meal was a cobb salad, garden veggies and peach halves with cottage cheese.  After twelve years of marriage I'm slowly learning that yes, a cool salad makes a great supper.  Thankfully the children all seem to take after his family because this Chinese Chicken Salad (or Chicken Nugget Salad, as they call it) is much requested.  And yes, I still save room for dessert.

For the Dressing you will need:
6 Tbsp Honey
3 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
1/2 C Mayo
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/4 tsp Sesame Oil
and mix it all together.

For the Salad you will want to mix the following in a large bowl, adjusting amounts as you prefer:

Chicken--bite-sized pieces of Chicken Nuggets, Chicken Patties, Grilled Chicken, Home-Canned Chicken, any will work.  I like to keep Chicken Patties on hand.

Romaine Lettuce
Napa or Green Cabbage
Red Cabbage

Shredded Carrots
Green Onions
Sliced Almonds
Chow Mein Noodles

Now, you can buy Chow Mein noodles from the grocery and use them but there's just no competing with the flavor and fun of frying your own noodles.  It is super easy.  Here's what you need to fry your noodles:

Maifun or Saifun Noodles, also called Rice Sticks.  You should be able to find them in the Asian section of your grocery store.  My preference is the Maifun Noodles (which resemble Angel Hair pasta in size) but the store I was at only carried the Saifun, which are more of a fettucine size.

Notice that although this is a 16-oz. package I only set out a small handful.  You'll find out why in a minute.

Heat Oil in a skillet until very hot, almost smoking.  To test to see if the Oil is hot enough, drop one small noodle in.  If the noodle sinks to the bottom and just sits there, the Oil isn't hot enough.  It should rapidly spaz out, expand and rise to the top.  I know that 'spaz out' isn't a culinary term but there's really no other way to describe it.  The noodles simply spaz out.  You'll see what I mean.  Then, using a slotted spoon, carefully lift out the noodles onto paper towel to drain.  Here's what happens, step by step:

The Noodle briefly sinks to the bottom of the pan,


Curls and

Spazzes out.

Here's what it looks like when you start to fry in bunches:

First this,

Then this:

You can see that the center hasn't fried; just flip it over and fry it, too.

Remember the small amount of noodles I had set aside?  This is what they look like all fried up:

A little bit goes a long way, doesn't it!

So, toss the Salad with the Dressing, stir in the Noodles and serve!

And don't forget to save room for dessert!

***Be careful when frying the Noodles, the oil can spatter.  Use extra caution when the kids are watching; they will want to fry more Noodles than you will need.***

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Manly Scone

Okay, so this spring I've really been into Scones.  It started back at Christmas time when I was trying to think of a homemade, unique gift to give the children's teachers.  Tea Rings, Coffee Cakes, been there, done that.  Some of the teachers have children at home, some are single.  Big food gifts can get stale, small gifts might not cover the family.  Hence, the teachers got Scones.  Quick to make, quick to bake, easy to give a few or a lot.

But my family got tired of the 'girly' Scones.  So one Saturday I tried this recipe I had cut from the newspaper.  My husband walked through the kitchen on his way out to go mow the orchard--right at lunchtime--so I grabbed a few warm scones to send with him to tide him over.  When he came home that evening he pronounced "These are the best scones you've made yet, except for those other almond scones.  You can put a few of them in my lunch on Monday." 

The proper name is "Oat-Nut Scones" but that's not near as fun as "The Manly Scone".  Say it in a deep, gruff, impressive voice:  The Manly Scone!  See? MUCH more fun!  So here's the recipe:

The Manly Scone

Prep Time:  15 minutes    Makes:  16

1  Cup Walnuts  (we like Pecans better)
1 1/2  Cups  Flour
1/2  Cup  Sugar
1 1/2  Tsp  Baking Powder
1/4  Tsp  Baking Soda
1/2  Tsp  Salt
1/4  Tsp  Cinnamon
Pinch  Nutmeg
1/2  Cup  Cold Butter, in pieces
3/4  Cup  Buttermilk
1  Cup  Old-Fashioned Oats
Turbinado or Raw Sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400*.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or waxed paper).  Spread Walnuts (or Pecans) on one baking sheet and bake until fragrant, 6-8 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, chop coarsely.  Leave oven at 400*.

In a large bowl, whisk together the Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt, Cinnamon and Nutmeg.

Cut the Butter in with a pastry blender or fingers until coarse, irregular crumbs form.  Stir in the Buttermilk until just combined, then stir in the Oats and Walnuts (or Pecans).

Drop 2 heaping Tablespoon-sized mounds two inches apart on prepared baking sheets (I use the largest Pampered Chef cookie scoop).  Sprinkle with Turbinado or Raw Sugar.  Bake until golden brown with crisp edges, 12 to 15 minutes.

And there you have it:  The Manly Scone!

Original recipe from "The Good Neighbor Cookbook" by Suzanne Schlosberg and Sara Quessenberry, as published in The Modesto Bee, April 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011


 Another Year

With Gifts
both Large and Small

With a Special Meal

by 'dining al fresco'

{"No, Mommy, I didn't eat it 'al fresco,'
I ate it all gone!"}

with Family

with Candles
{ 9 x 2 }

with Surprises

{You mean we get to pick out our own BB guns?}

with Love

Happy Birthday, My Sons!
May you continue to
Grow in Grace and Knowledge of Our Lord
and Savior, Jesus Christ.

That's All, Folks!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wedding Gift to a Dress

They had sat in the Linen Closet for twelve long years.  I had faithfully carted them from house to house to house to house as we moved.  White one-hundred-percent cotton wrinkle-prone sheets with pale yellow pillow cases, they were a wedding gift from Great-great-aunt Rachel S.  I knew we would never sleep on them but was reluctant to part with them (they were, after all, from her own linen collection).

Then I saw a friend's Facebook post about how she had taken her Grandmother's vintage pillowcases and transformed them into darling dresses for her girls.  My pillowcases weren't quite as beautiful as her embroidered heirlooms, but they were still vintage--about 1970s vintage.  So, with a little help from April W. in pointing me in the direction of a good blog tutorial, I got to work.

I ripped the floral trim off of the sheet and trimmed down one of the pillowcases.  Using jumpers which fit the girls well, I cut armholes and then a very large neck.  I sewed on the collars, inserted elastic into the neck casing, finished of the sleeves, and that was that!  A very easy, fun project with a memory of Aunt Rachel, too.

The girls aren't too certain about the shawl collars but they'll learn to like them (I hope).

Monday, June 6, 2011

Cottage Cakes

Cottage Cakes

1  Cup  Cottage Cheese
4  Eggs,  beaten
4  Tbsp  Butter, melted
1/2  Cup  Flour

Whisk together the first three ingredients.
Fold in the flour.
Bake on pancake griddle, using medium-high heat.
Serve with maple syrup or jam.

Serves 2.
From The Inn at Manchester in Vermont

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Gift of Simplicity

"Tis a Gift to be Simple,
'tis a gift to be free,
'tis a gift to come down to where you ought to be..."
~Shaker Song

"Give me your arm as we cross the street,
Give me your shoulder to cry on,
Give me the warmth of a secret smile,
Give me your strength to rely on,
For always and ever,
Now and forever,
Little things mean a lot"
~from the song "Little Things Mean A Lot"

"And some, having compassion,  making a difference"
~ Jude, verse 22

It is the little things, the simple things, that mean the most.  The Gift of Simplicity.