Posts Tagged ‘garlic’

Of all the things to run low on, salt should never be one of them. I kept thinking the box of little crystals would continue providing this essential ingredient.  To say the least, we’ve been on a low-sodium diet lately.

That is until today.  Finally remembered to pick up salt at the store, two canisters: regular salt and sea salt.  Why both?  Well I have my own OCD tendencies in the kitchen, besides being burly and over bearing on anyone else who might try to cook in it.

Regular salt is used in baking.  Since baking typically involves mixing so many different ingredients, you can’t tell me you would know that chocolate muffin was made with regular salt or sea salt.  If you can, your palate should be used on Iron Chef or something.

Sea salt is used in cooking.  If the precious rock crystals run out, thou may substitute regular salt.  Sea salts, in my opinion, are less harsh on the tongue, a softer salt flavour if that makes sense.  Sea salt is a must for caramel popcorn.

So tonite’s dinner was surf ‘n’ surf and could have been doused in sea water.  I put way too much sea salt on the poor fish fillets, I think I double salted them.  Try eating very little salt for a week and then eat salty chips, you mouth will be on fire and you’ll be looking for the nearest water fountain.  That was pretty close to the sensation after eating this plate.  I need to pay more attention when cooking fish, too much of anything will overpower a thin fillet.  Salmon stands up a bit better to my cooking style and is forgiving.  Thank you Njord!

  • 1 fillet of white fleshed fish per person
  • 1/3 lb shrimp per person
  • 3 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp butter per pound of shrimp
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • sea salt

Sprinkle fillets with garlic powder, onion powder and sea salt on both sides, easy with the salt there cowgirl.  Heat olive oil briefly in a pan, sear both sides of the fillets.  Hold fish in a warm oven.  Melt the butter in the pan.  Add the shrimp in a single layer, add the garlic and sea salt to taste.  Flip the shrimp once, they should be “C”s and opaque when finished cooking.

Serve with rice and/or salad.

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I love ribs.  I can go to town on some finger-licking glazed, smoked, or BBQ pork ribs.  It’s not a pretty sight and not real lady-like to be seen gnawing on a bone, face covered in sticky sauce.  Doubly true whilst pregnant!  I ate a lot of ribs while carrying Big Brother, I can’t believe he turned six on Friday.  Speaking of which, I’ve lost quite a bit of baby weight using a simple trick.  Eat like French women.  There’s a book available that is on my wish list… French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano, although without reading the book I have one simple rule: only eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full.  Listen to your body and drink plenty of water and hot tea.  The hot tea bit is more of a Chinese thing, so my neighbour says, you should drink warm or room temperature drinks to not shock your system.  Green and white teas have additional benefits.

I have a craving for this one Chinese restaurant, Din Ho, where Hubby and I occasionally catch up over lunch.  I saw these ribs on Martha Stewart as part of a Pupu Platter, I didn’t have baby back ribs but these turned out just as delicious.

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baby Back Ribs

  • 6 lb rack of ribs, trim excess fat, divide into 3-4 rib portions
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 TBSP fresh ginger
  • 3 tsp chili powder
  • 3 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup red plum preserves
  • water (if needed)

Put the marinade in a large zippered bag, mix to combine adding a bit of water if it looks too thick.  Add the pork ribs and refrigerate in a container for 12-24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Reserve the marinade as the ribs are removed to a foil lined rack on a sheet or broiler pan.  Bake for 45 minutes to 75 minutes (it depends on how thick the ribs are and how you portion them), use the reserved marinade as your basting liquid.  Remove from the oven and allow the ribs to rest before cutting individual ribs.

* You could bake the ribs until they are just cooked, then finish them off on the grill.  This is a great way to get ahead of the game if you have guests to feed!  Same applies to chicken, only the chicken should be covered in foil while in the oven to help maintain its moisture.  Grill marks add a delicious touch to both ribs and chicken.

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I used the left over no-knead bread to make the garlic infused cheese toasts to accompany the soft salty greens studded with beef.

For the toast: slice the bread to your desired thickness, I prefer a thick piece so that the underside stays chewy.  Toast under the broiler just until lightly brown around the edges, don’t walk away from that oven!  Rub half a garlic clove on the toasted side of the bread as soon as it comes out of the oven.  I added a smidge of butter and let it melt into all those holes of the bread.  Then top with an aged cheddar cheese.  Big Brother, being the avid shopper he is at the tender age of five, threw a chunk of English Gloucester into the shopping cart at the store today.  I didn’t realize it until we were at the check out.  Grate the cheese over the garlic-rubbed toast and return to the broiler for less than a minute.  My advice is to leave the door ajar so that the toast can be extracted as soon as the cheese melts completely.

For the greens: sauté some beef with salt and pepper, or a spice blend like Montreal Steak spice.  Wilt the green tops from a bunch of beets and a bunch of Swiss chard cut crosswise into roughly 2 inch pieces.  Wait for the greens to soften before adjusting the seasoning.

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Rack of Lamb

Today we bought our first rack of lamb.  This is not a typical main dish in our home, as it’s quite expensive for our family of 4.5 (counting the dog of course).  I thought it would be a nice treat and something to get my culinary fangs into.  A challenge.

Lamb is very forgiving to work with.  This rack is from New Zealand, and had the ribs Frenched before packaging, a big time saver for a busy mom like myself.  There was a thin fat cap and silver skin, I loosened the skin in preparation of a buttery implement.

Sure, you could use a dry marinade, but why not use a compound butter?  Take a good tablespoon of butter, add an insane amount of freshly minced garlic and a tablespoon of fresh rosemary – and I mean just-picked-off-the-plant fresh rosemary.  This makes a difference, I think, because the essential oils of the plant have not had a chance to wither away, the herb is very fragrant and that’s how it should be.  To the butter, include sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, plus a few drops of olive oil to ease the viscosity of the butter.

Take a little of the butter mixture and stuff it under the loose skin on both racks.  Then smear the remainder all over the outside.  Interlace the ribs and place into a shallow roasting pan, or a stainless steel pan with no rubber handles.  Sprinkle a dash more sea salt and pepper on the top of the meat and the ribs.  Roast, fat side up, in a 425 F oven for about 20-25 minutes.   The internal temperature should read 130 F minimum, 140-150 F for medium, which may add 5-8 minutes.  Then turn on the broiler to finish the crust, the salt will help the meat brown, the butter under the skin will melt into the meat as it cooks.  Allow the finished rack of lamb to rest for 10 minutes before carving between each rib.

I’ve also made single lamb pops using a dry marinade consisting of the same formula as the compound butter, only there’s to butter added.  Rub the pops on both sides and let them marinate in the fridge for 2 hours.  Let them warm up on the counter before cooking, 20 minutes or so – not too long.  Lightly coat with olive oil and quickly sear in a skillet on both sides.  Finish the pops in the oven (425 F) to your desired doneness, I let mine roast for about 12 minutes.  Under the broiler would cut that amount of time in half easily, however you would need to watch the lamb pops like a hawk, or like Pepper our dog.

Rack of lamb only sounds complicated and fancy, it’s really not!  Try this at least once and tell me about it…

~ midnitechef

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Mother Clucking Good!

I was appointed the task of roasting a chicken which my hubby thawed for me.  How could I flavour this clucker and keep it from drying out in the oven?  There must be something around here… Lime.  Garlic. Butter.  Perfect.

I shave a few slices of lime, right from the center so they are nice and juicy.  The garlic gets a similar treatment.  The thin pieces, along with butter, fresh rosemary, pepper and sea salt are pushed under the skin of the breasts and legs – as far as they can go.  The cavity was sprinkled with sea salt, pepper, then stuffed with moisture rich ingredients: the ends of the limes, hunks of onion, and smashed garlic cloves.  Top the bird off with butter or olive oil, salt and pepper.  You’ve got yourself a mother cluckn’ good chicken.

I guess I put too much stuff under the skin, since this one got away on me and split open.  Nevertheless, the breast meat was moist and had a hint of lime and garlic.  Also note it was roasted on a rack inside the pan, this lets the fat drip away (hence why the butter is needed).  Is butter that much better than chicken fat?  Roasting is better than deep-frying, I can say that much.  

By the time this little chic was finished, it was about 11:30-something at night.  The only bad thing about it was that the boys were waiting, ever so patiently, for this chicken for supper.  Sorry guys, next time I’ll have to start earlier!

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chicken ceasar a la midnite chef

chicken caesar a la midnite chef

We found this awesome garlic spread at Costco recently, it makes a quick garlic bread out of any fresh or left over bread you have lying around.  I tried some sprinkled on my favorite salad: chicken caesar!  My croutons are two halves of a bolio roll, covered in softened butter (a good tablespoon) and a shake of garlic spread.  Put this under the broiler on low (or place the pan further away from the broiler if you only have one setting) until the edges are lightly browned.  You will smell this garlic parmesan and mediterranean herb blend as soon as it’s ready. 

The chicken is simply browned in a pan with sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, and for a hint of added herbage: ajwain.  (Since I have a whole jar of this, I’m trying it on anything that suits the flavour of an oregano-thyme sort of cousin) 

I remember going out to Vancouver Island when I graduated from SAIT.  My dad and brother came with me to Vancouver.  We visited my uncle Byron on the island, he had this huge magnolia tree in the back yard.  My brother and I took pictures of the giant tree and other odd flora not typically seen on the prairies.  Meanwhile, uncle Byron was whipping up a caesar salad for us.  I wish I knew his secret because his salad was the best!  I know the dressing was made completely from scratch in a wooden bowl which would retain the garlic and what ever else was in it.  It’s worth the trip up there, if he will prepare it again… and I’ll bring my notepad.

For now I’ll settle for this plate of fresh romain, gently browned chicken breast, and toasty garlic bolio bread.

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