Cooking is still enjoyable, but it’s getting old. I have to think about what’s in the pantry and freezer, then peruse recipes that cross my desk (in magazines or digitally, even cookbooks). Several same old, same old, much enjoyed family staples are chosen – this past week, broiled chicken, steamed rice, and steamed vegetables – continue to grace the dinner table. Then something sparks me to try something new. The dilemma is what to do when it does not turn out quite right?
This week, we had a bit of both. A recipe for Shallow-Poached Salmon with Leek Beurre Blanc appeared in the most recent issue of Food and Wine magazine. Here’s it is should your interest be piqued; it was relative easy, with some adjustments – https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/shallow-poached-salmon-with-leek-beurre-blanc.* This dinner was a hit.
*Despite the best efforts at due diligence I forgot to take pictures … I’m slipping.
The adjustments. First, as recommended in the recipe I used shallots in place of leeks. Also, olive oil instead of butter. Preserved lemon replaced the fresh lemon. Months ago when I had a surplus of lemons followed instructions from an earlier zoom cooking class. The jar has been sitting on my kitchen counter, waiting just for this use. Here’s cookbook maven and expert Joan Nathan’s recipe – https://www.marthastewart.com/355595/preserved-lemons; it’s really easy.
Preserved lemons. Wash 8 lemons. Cut them into quarters lengthwise, make sure to leave one end intact. Stuff 2 tbsp of coarse salt inside each lemon, close them and stuff into an 8-cup, sterilized, wide-mouth jar. You can also slice the lemons; layer them in the jar and coat the slices thickly with salt. As you stuff the jar, push the lemons down to get as much juice as possible. Add more salt on top of everything. If necessary, top the jar with lemon juice to fill. Let it stand on your counter for about 3 weeks, shaking the bottle every day. To use, rinse with water, remove seeds and pith and discard – I used everything in this recipe.
Next, a dinner using the miso in the back of my cheese drawer and a block of tofu in the freezer. First was miso soup with turmeric and tofu (another Food and Wine recipe). Vegetable broth was made with vegetable scraps in the freezer plus a chopped onion in place of carrot, fennel, et al, along with 2 tsp of turmeric – in 6 cups of water. Strain after simmering about 20 minutes. Next, return the broth whisk 3 tbsp of white miso into the broth. Stir in 6 ounces of firm tofu, cubed. Simmer for about 2 minutes. https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/miso-soup-turmeric-and-tofu.
Miso-butter mushrooms and noodles from Kitchn was the main course, used more miso, a box of spaghetti, mushrooms, and shallots – all from the pantry. Cook the pasta according to the package. Save ¾ cup of pasta water when you drain it. In a skillet, heat some olive oil (or butter), add sliced shallots til softened. Stir in thinly sliced mushrooms, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook about 5 minutes, til mushrooms are tender. Whisk in ¼ cup of miso and saved water. Simmer a few minutes. Add the pasta and toss to coat. Remove from heat and stir in ¼ cup torn basil leaves and red pepper flakes. https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-miso-buttered-noodles-248312.
The spaghetti was another hit, very tasty, rich, yummy. The soup was a miss.
Here’s what happened. I was going too fast and put 3 tablespoons of turmeric instead of 2 teaspoons. Turkey congee using a turkey carcass from the freezer came to the rescue of the misbegotten soup. This family favorite has appeared here twice – 7/31/20 and 12/28/20 – find the recipes there. The turmeric-rich broth from the miso soup was added to about 6 cups water for the congee. When that cooked down, etc. I added the tofu along with chopped turkey (another freezer find). It was a successful repurposing of a big mistake.
Maybe cooking is an art; Daughter’s elementary school art teacher always told the kids that there were no mistakes. You can always redo what you were working on even if you think is not quite right. How true for my most recent miss.
And now … wishbones. Do you save and dry your poultry wishbone for making wishes? The person who pulls the larger side gets their wish. Well, daughter and I readied ourselves and pulled and here’s what happened. Who gets the wish?