Friday, May 30, 2008

Recipe Request: Rhubarb

I'm trying to be better about actually using the massive amounts of rhubarb we grow (partly because that will hopefully keep it from trying to tackle us as we walk past...). Last weekend I made a sweet rhubarb bread, and it was fine, but sort of generic. Tasty, but not particularly interesting. Other than the rhubarb, no ingredients to get excited about. So I'm turning to my recipeeples — do any of you have a good recipe that involves rhubarb?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wednesday Fun #35 - BBQ Season is Here!

Memorial Day has come and gone, and so the barbecue season is upon us!

What's your favorite thing to throw on the grill?

Is it all about the burgers? Are brats the way to go? Portabello mushroom caps? Beer can chicken? Are you a "shrimp on the barbie" fan? Steak, but it's gotta be cooked just so? Kabobs your fav? Let us know!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wednesday Fun #34 - With Silver Bells and Cockleshells?

It's been so nice lately! Time to get out and get gardening!

(Well, for some anyway. Ours will either be waiting until next year or just be quite small.)

What are you growing in your garden this year?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Stawberries with Balsamic Vinegar

Sewing Bee (formerly known as Turtle) just emailed me to ask for this recipe so she could use the yummy, yummy strawberry balsamic vinegar in it. I figured since I had it all typed up, a simple copy-paste could share it with y'all! Also excellent with regular great quality balsamic vinegar.

This comes from 50 Ways to Feed Your Lover, and next to it on the page I have written, "Amazingly simple & elegant." And it is.

Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar

1 pint ripe strawberries
2 Tbls. good balsamic vinegar
1 Tbls. superfine sugar (I've subbed regular & it works, but superfine is a bit better.)
1 tsp. grated orange zest

Wash and hull the berries, quarter them, add the balsamic vinegar and marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.
Combine the sugar and zest and sprinkle over the berries. Mix well and serve in pretty goblets.

(Yeah, don't combine the sugar and zest early like I did thinking I remembered the recipe because the sugar gets moist from the zest and turns into a clumpy mess. Oops.)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

LInk to How to Roast a Pepper

The Wednesday Chef is a food blog I read on occasion. I love Luisa Weiss's writing, and have several of the recipes she's posted bookmarked, but haven't tried any yet. (But I will! Really, I will!)

I was just over at her site, where she's posted this great tutorial on how to roast a pepper. While I'm sure a lot (or maybe all) of you know how already, I really liked how clear her directions are and how beautiful the photos.

(And I usually halve my peppers first and remove the seeds, but then the edges don't get as singed, so next time I'm trying 'em whole like she does.)

Additionally, in a cooking class I took once, the chef advised either putting the just-roasted peppers into a paper bag and closing it or putting them in a bowl and sealing it with plastic wrap for the 20 minutes or so while they cool. That way the steam helps loosen the skin, making removal easier. Another tip from him was to let them get way blacker than you think they should be. And it's true. Really. Great roasted flavor and much easier to peel when they're blackened like a burnt marshmallow!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wednesday Fun #33 - Coffee Call-Out

Coffee's been on my mind lately since our coffee maker is dying. It made me wonder - if you're a coffee drinker,

How d'ya like YOUR cup o' joe?

Black as sin? A little cream 'n' sugar? Some fancy half-caf, soy milk, venti, one-pump of vanilla to-go at your fav coffee joint? The best is the stuff they make in your church basement with the egg shells in the grounds? One time you were in Europe and you had this coffee and your eyes were opened as to its wonder? Do you have a favorite way to have it at home and a coffee-shop favorite as well? If it's got caffeine, it's good enough for you? Do tell!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fish/seafood resource

There's a lot of debate about whether fish is good for you or toxic, whether eating fish is sustainable or not ecologically, whether you should look for farmed or wild-caught, which fish to avoid. So wow do I love this website:

It lists most commercially available fish and seafood options and rates them on a best/okay/worst scale for your health and the health of the environment and fish populations. It breaks down how many servings a month of what type of fish are suitable for women/men/older kids/younger kids. There's a list to help you substitute eco-sustainable fish when your recipe calls for one that's not sustainable. There's even a recipe section, though I haven't tried any of them yet.

Peppered Tuna Skewers

Okay, tuna probably isn't the best choice for a fish/seafood newbie since it's not exactly subtle. But I have this recipe on hand, so this is the one you get first. It's from I've served it as an appetizer for weekly dinner a couple times. It comes together really quickly and it's always gone over very well.

Peppered Tuna Skewers with Wasabi Mayo

2 Tablespoons wasabi powder
1-1/2 Tablespoons water
1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 lb. tuna steak
2-1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
Fresh ground black pepper

Pickled ginger

Combine wasabi and water to make a paste. Add mayo and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. It takes this long for the wasabi flavor to come through — an early taste-test will not give you an accurate idea of the flavor. Marinate tuna in soy sauce for the same 30 minutes. While that part is sitting, thread pickled ginger onto short skewers (I just use heavy-duty toothpicks). The original recipe suggests serving on a bed of watercress for pretty.

After the 30 minutes are up, drain the soy sauce from the tuna and pat the tuna dry with a paper towel. Add pepper to tuna. Heat vegetable oil over a medium-high flame until shimmery, and quickly sear tuna (about 2 minutes on each side for a good, 1-2" thick tuna steak — you want it to be rare in the center). Remove from heat, carefully cut into 3/4" cubes (the tuna will want to flake into its own shape, particularly the parts that are the most cooked) and add to ginger skewers.

Serve with wasabi mayo dipping sauce.

Note: You will have lots of extra sauce. I've used it up as another fish dish. Take filets of whatever fish you like and place them in an oiled baking pan. Spread wasabi mayo over the top in a thin layer, then sprinkle seasoned bread crumbs/panko/crackers/whatever over that. Bake. (I refer to Joy for baking time/temp for whatever type of fish I'm using. If it's a thinner, lighter filet, you may need to switch it over to broil for the last couple minutes to get the top nice and crunchy.)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Recipe Request - Fish & Seafood

I have never really liked fish. Growing up, I could tolerate fish sticks or a fish sandwich if there was so much tartar sauce on it that you couldn't taste it.

But so many seafood recipes look and sound good, if I could get past the fish. And I always taste Mr. Kluges' seafood if he has some at a restaurant. And we've been served seafood dishes occasionally by friends and relatives. And sometimes it's delicious! Like when he had some Chilean sea bass at the Oceanaire once... or the absolutely, positively fresh cod we ate in Iceland on a day expedition that included riding Icelandic ponies... or in Paris where we had The. Most. Incredible. Meal. Ever. at a little place called La Casa di Sergio with stuff like mussels in pasta and it was all just *swoon*.

Ok, maybe I just need to travel to enjoy seafood.

But since that's not so much an option at the moment, I've been trying to stretch my taste buds a bit. And I've found a recipe or two (ok, actually, 2) that are fine.

But I'd like to be cooking a bit more fish and seafood for menu variety, for the Omega-3s and health benefits, and to help my girls learn to like fish. (Pumpkin seems to enjoy it already.)

So if you've got a yummy fish or seafood recipe, would you mind sharing it? Or any tips or hints about cooking fish? Because my experience with it is quite minimal.

Thank you!!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wednesday Fun #32 - Freezer Findings

Let's see if we can get a few more respondents for this WF by making it a fun, simple one.

Name (at least) 3 things in your freezer.

As always, bonus points if you can make them relate in some way - start with the same letter, ingredients in a single dish, the same color, etc.