Here's my second entry for Food Network Canada.
Monday, September 17
Sunday, September 16
Since we're protesting against cable television (read: too cheap to pay for cable), we rely on podcasts, youtube, the library, and 'other' sources for our mindless entertainment. Recently, we found episodes of "Hell's Kitchen" on youtube, and we've been catching up on all three seasons. Each season begins with Gordon Ramsey ordering the contestants to make their signature dish. Of course, after tasting each dish, Ramsey proceeds to spit it out, swear profusely and call the contestant very rude names.
This got me thinking (not the spitting and swearing - the signature dish!). If I had to pick one dish that I might label as my signature dish, what would it be? Hmm...
There are dishes that I always seem to bring to potlucks - ribs, grain salads, pork tenderloins, strawberry-white-chocolate mouse cake - but those are just crowd-pleasers. I wouldn't exactly call them my signature dish.
Then it dawned on me. I make a pretty awesome fatty fish (except when doing a zillion things at once and not paying attention it becomes less than awesome). But for now, I'm going to call this my signature dish - I love it's simplicity and clean flavours. Besides it can be made in less than 30 minutes.
Please don't use frozen (or frozen and thawed) fish for this. Buy good quality salmon from a fish monger or farmer's market. If you have access to it, try to find wild-caught Alaskan salmon. For other fish choices, check out Seafood Watch to learn about which varieties of fish won't kill our oceans. Note that if you do decide to buy responsibly, you're going to have to shell out $28/lb or so. Just buy smaller portions and eat less meat the rest of the week to make up the cost :)
Asian-inspired Salmon (or trout or tuna or other fatty fish)
- boneless fillets of fatty fish
- soy sauce
- maple syrup
- grated fresh ginger
- lots of fresh ground pepper, coarsely ground
- a little salt
3. Mix it all together with a fork and TASTE. Depending on your brand of soy sauce, you may need to add some salt or more maple syrup. Adjust the seasonings.
4. Place your fillets into the vessel and let them marinate in the goodness for as long as you can wait, flipping them over every once in a while. Sometimes I think ahead and do this part as soon as I get home from work so they marinate for 1 hr or so, but sometimes I just let them sit for 10 min if we're in a hurry to eat.
5. Preheat your oven to 425 F. Oil a metal baking tray and place the fillets gently on the tray, with at least 2 cm between them.
6. Bake until done. Yeah, that's right. It's now up to you to watch the fillets. When I'm making 2-4 fillets, I usually check them after 6 minutes, then I watch diligently. When I'm making 6 fillets, I check them after 10 minutes, then I watch diligently. Sometimes I take them out and poke them with a butter knife to see if they're about to start flaking.
DO NOT OVERCOOK. Know that after you take them out, they will keep on baking with the residual heat left in the fish and on the baking tray.
7. Serve with Garlic Scallion Noodles (inspired by Jaden) and steamed baby bok choy like in the photo above, or choose your own favourite sides.
Saturday, September 8
Just wanted to invite you to check out my first entry on the Food Network Canada blog. Please write some comments there so I don't feel lonely!
Sunday, September 2
Each time we travel home, we try to schedule in as many visits with family and friends as possible. Of course, this means that some people get left out (like my friend Jen in Toronto, who we only get to see every couple years). Driving between London and Ottawa, with an occasional stop in Toronto or Kingston to have a meal with a friend is pretty tiring when you're (supposedly) on vacation. I hate trying to schedule in friends like they are business appointments.
Having said all that, when we do get to visit with a handful of friends, the visits are always a great time to catch up and laugh. Of course, they most often center around food.
When Mel and Mark invited us out to Tanakaya, a small Japanese place in the Covent Garden Market in London, we agreed immediately. We ordered an assortment of dishes - gyoza, bbq eel sushi, edamame, veg tempura, a bento box each and some matcha ice cream to finish it off.
I was impressed with the sushi and many items in the bento box (especially the pickled beet and the dressing on the salad), but my salmon was a bit dry. For my tastes, it was slathered with too much sauce and I couldn't taste the flavour of the fish.
I know, I know - in a sushi place, if I wanted to taste the flavour of fish, I should have gotten something raw. But still, you would think that out of all the places I've had sub-par seafood, a sushi joint should not be one of them. Next time we're in town, I'd like to visit again, try something raw and get back to you - hopefully it was just an off night for salmon because the rest of the meal was delicious. Thanks to Mel and Mark for suggesting Tanakaya and for the wonderful company.
Before we left on vacation (like, a month ago!), Wendy and Mike invited us over for the last supper. Ah, the idea is, you can spend the week getting rid of all the food in your fridge and not have to worry about what you're going to eat the day before your trip because you have wonderful friends who will provide an awesome meal. Got that?
Which leads me to my next point - Mike is the King of Cheesecake. Since we first met them, I think we have tasted about seven different cheesecakes made by the King, one of which is described here (where you can see that Mike is also the King of Pizza).
The last supper cheesecake was a very light raspberry and had a texture that was unlike most cheesecakes - very smooth and not at all grainy. In the photo below you can see a little indent that an errant raspberry made. That's right, the cheesecake was so light that the weight of a single raspberry marred the surface. Absolutely delicious in flavour but what did it for me personally, were the fantastic texture and lightness.
Roasted garden vegetables and grilled skewers rounded out the last supper. Mucho thanks to Wendy and Mike for making travel easier.