24 February 2010

Creamy Horseradish Yogurt Sauce


This is a sauce I made to go over pork last weekend. I got the recipe from Recipezaar.

Creamy Horseradish Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients:
1½ cups vanilla yogurt
½ tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp prepared horseradish cream
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp barbecue sauce
1 tsp dried dill weed

Directions:
Whisk together all sauce ingredients in a small bowl; allow to come to room temperature. Serve over pork, chicken, or beef.

Makes 8 servings.


The comments on the recipe at Recipezaar say that even though those ingredients sound really weird together, that the sauce is really good. So I made it to go over pork loin when we had some friends over for dinner. I put the sauce together, then gave it a taste. I thought it was horrible. I am not a horseradish fan and didn't like it at all. I thought I would end up having to pitch it and use something else for a sauce. I had my husband taste it and was really surprised when he loved it! He thought it was delicious. So, I went ahead and served it thinking he would be the only one to like it. Wrong! Our two friends both raved about it as well.

So I was happy to find I was in the minority on this one. If you like horseradish, you will like this sauce. If not, I would skip it unless the people you are cooking for like it.

Note: It does make a lot. I have a bunch leftover in the fridge and a husband begging me to make pork again!


17 February 2010

Sweet and Spicy Salmon


This is a recipe I tried back in September that didn't turn out well at all. But instead of abandoning it, I retooled it to make it work. You can read the saga of how it didn't turn out below.

Sweet and Spicy Salmon

Ingredients:
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp grated orange rind
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp orange juice
4 (6 oz.) salmon fillets
Cooking spray

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl. Brush glaze over both sides of salmon fillets. Place salmon on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes or until salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Makes 4 servings.



This turned out so much better than the original recipe. Much more of what I was expecting. It still doesn't come out with bold orange flavor, so I have renamed it Sweet and Spicy Salmon. You can easily adjust the spices to your taste. As written, it has great flavor without being overly spicy. Still, I thought it might be a bit much for my two year old, but she wolfed it down like she hadn't eaten in months! The girl loves her salmon!

With the changes I made, it was more of a glaze than a rub, which works much better. It's not the best picture, but you can see below how well it coated the salmon (compared to the pics farther down from the first time I made it.) Lena, my two year old, ate the whole fillet in the middle.



Here is my post from September 2009 when I first made this recipe.



This is a recipe that didn't turn out so well the first time I made it, but I think can be salvaged with a bit of tweaking. Here is how I am going to make it next time.

Sweet Orange Salmon

Ingredients:
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp grated orange rind
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp orange juice
4 (6 oz.) salmon fillets
Cooking spray

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl. Brush glaze over both sides of salmon fillets. Place salmon on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes or until salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Makes 4 servings.


I got the recipe from Cooking Light magazine. I think sweet flavors go with salmon really well and have several salmon recipes that have some sort of sweet glaze or coating involved. But I have never tried pairing orange with salmon before. So I thought I would give it a try. It didn't turn out so well. Here's what happened.

The original recipe calls for 2 tbsp of brown sugar and no orange juice. After I put together the "rub" (as it is called), I was surprised that it only had ½ tsp of orange zest and no other orange ingredient. Since it is called Sweet Orange Salmon, I was expecting orange to play more of a lead role. I gave the "rub" a taste before putting it on the salmon, and I couldn't taste the orange at all. I added another ½ tsp of orange zest, thinking this would boost the orange flavor. The "rub" was not the consistency of any rub I've ever used before. It was really wet and clumpy. It was impossible to actually rub it onto the salmon fillets (hence the quotation makrs when I refer to it). I had to kind of just clump it on. As a result, I didn't have enough "rub" to cover the fillets (and I only had three fillets instead of four). It only covered about half. So I quickly made another batch of the "rub" and did the best I could to cover the salmon fillets with the clumpy stuff.

The recipe said to broil the salmon, but I've never had much luck using the broiler, so I just baked them at 400°.

The result was not good. As you can see from the above picture, the "rub" stayed clumpy and was a gloppy mess on top of the salmon. The brown sugar didn't melt down at all and tasted really grainy and way too sweet. It had just the slightest hint of orange flavor. Not at all what I was expecting. It was quite disappointing.

But instead of trashing this recipe, I decided to try to figure out how to make it work. I came up with the above recipe. I decreased the brown sugar to half the amount. I might even be tempted to cut it back even more; I'll experiment next time I make it. I also added 2 tbsp of orange juice. The orange juice will do two things: it will turn the "rub" into a glaze that can be easily brushed on the salmon fillets. This will eliminate the problem I had getting them evenly coated. And there won't be any graininess from the brown sugar. The other thing the orange juice will do is add more orange flavor to the dish. Since I am adding the orange juice, I left the zest at 1/2 tsp, like the original recipe. Two tablespoons of juice was my best guess for how much to use; I may need to adjust that after making it again. I definitely want to highlight the orange flavor more than the brown sugar flavor.

Here are some pics to show you what a hard time I had with the "rub":

This was the result of trying to rub the rub into the salmon. I couldn't really rub it into the salmon because it was clumpy and salmon is a fragile fish that can't take much pressure. The "rub" barely covered half of the salmon, and I was even using less salmon than was called for. That's when I made a second batch of the "rub". (Don't you like how my salmon fillets were in three sizes: Daddy size (right), Mommy size (middle) and Baby size (left)? :)


This was after I doubled the "rub". I got the salmon coated completely, but I had to just kind of glop it on. I thought it would thin out as the salmon baked in the oven. Not quite!

I am looking forward to trying this recipe again using the changes I thought of. I will certainly update this post when I do.

16 February 2010

Greek Style Roasted Chicken


I like roasting chickens in a rotisserie, but I felt like doing something a little different this month. I got this recipe from my favorite recipe website, RecipeZaar. I made a few changes; here is my amended recipe.

Greek Style Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:
1 (2½ lb.) roasting chicken, gutted, rinsed, and patted dry
1 tbsp garlic-flavored olive oil (or 2 cloves garlic and regular olive oil)
2 tsp oregano
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
1 slice whole wheat bread, cut into small pieces
¼ cup sliced olives
¼ cup melted butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325°. Brush chicken with oil. If not using garlic flavored oil, cut the garlic cloves and rub over the skin before brushing with oil. Combine oregano, garlic powder, and salt. Rub onto chicken. Combine spinach, feta, bread, olives, and butter. Slip fingers in between skin and breast, and lightly stuff the pockets on both sides. Lightly spoon stuffing into main cavity and neck, if desired. Place in broiling pan, breast side up. Roast for approximately 1½ hours, or until meat thermometer reads 160° when inserted into thigh, and juices run clear.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Info:
Serving Size: ¼ of chicken and stuffing
Calories: 302
Fat: 25g
Sat. Fat: 8g
Cholesterol: 82mg
Sodium: 191mg
Carbs: 2g
Fiber: 0g
Protein: 18g


This was very tasty chicken. I am not a huge fan of stuffings; I usually prefer to make a dressing on the side, but this one really gave the chicken lots of flavor. The original recipe for the stuffing included ham and pine nuts, but I omitted them and added sliced olives instead. Make sure you don't add salt to the stuffing; with the feta and the olives it is already a bit on the salty side.


The stuffing before going into the bird. So pretty!


The bird going into the oven. I tried roasting some red potatoes alongside the chicken, but that didn't work so well. I tossed them with oil and Penzey's Greek Seasoning and placed them all around the chicken. Even though the chicken cooked for at least an hour and half (if not two), the potatoes were still quite hard when the chicken was done. This surprised me. If anything, I thought they would get overdone. So if I try it again next time, I will boil the potatoes for a few minutes before adding them to the roasting pan.

A note on the cooking time: The recipe says an hour and a half, but that is just an estimate. The only way to make sure poultry is sufficiently done is to use a thermometer. Poultry should be served at no less that 160°. I use a probe thermometer that has an alarm on it. I put the probe in the dark meat because it takes longer than the breast. In this case, when the dark meat was done, I checked the temp on the stuffing and it was only at 130°. Make sure your stuffing is up to temperature too, because it can carry the same harmful bacteria the chicken does. So I put the chicken back in for a few minutes until the stuffing was 160°.

12 February 2010

Peanut Noodles with Chicken and Veggies


I got this recipe from A Taste of Thai. They make easy-to-use Thai ingredients that you can find in the Asian section of the grocery store. It was originally called "Peanut Chicken and Vegetables with Noodles", but I think the noodles are more prominent than the chicken.

Peanut Noodles with Chicken and Veggies

Ingredients:
6 oz. vermicelli or rice noodles
1 tbsp oil
1¼ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
3 cups chopped vegetables
1 tbsp fish sauce or 1 tsp salt
1 (13.5 oz.) can coconut milk
1 (3.5 oz package) A Taste of Thai Peanut Sauce Mix (both envelopes)

Directions:
Boil noodles to al dente according to package directions. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over high heat. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Add vegetables and fish sauce and saute for 3 minutes. Add coconut milk and peanut sauce mix. Stir to combine. Bring to boil while stirring and boil 3 minutes. Add noodles and combine. Stirring, cook until noodles are firm but tender.

Makes 4 servings.


This was pretty good. I only made a few changes. I used vermicelli instead of the rice noodles called for. I don't really care for rice noodles, and since vermicelli is so thin, it works well as a substitute. I also changed the method just a bit. The original recipe says to add the chicken and the veggies together, but I found that the chicken took a really long time to cook that way. I think it will go faster if you cook the chicken by itself, then add the veggies. We like our veggies with some crunch left to them, so this will ensure that they don't get overcooked as well.

This is a super simple dinner and I love the "all-in-one" dishes that combine the protein, starch, and veggies so that I don't have to make three individual dishes.

Lena (my two year old) really liked this dish. As you can see in the picture below, she couldn't even wait until I had taken the picture before she was digging in with her spoon!