Living On Food



Pan-fried Salmon

cjo, 251 words, 2018-01-10

Today I tried a new (to me) method of cooking salmon. I read about it in Serious Eats. There's some extra information about the best way to salt the fish, how to lay it in the pan, etc, but the upshot of frying it is as follows:

Get the pan good and hot. Put the fish in skin side down and don't flip it. Turn the heat down and let it cook slowly. The skin will get very crispy, and the layer of fat between the skin and the flesh protects the rest of the meat from drying out.

The website claims that six short minutes will bring the fish to about 120*F, but it took me a lot longer. Every time I turned the heat back up, the spattering and smoky smell from the grill became obnoxious.

Anyway, once the meat reaches 120*F, you're supposed to flip it and just do a quick 15-second top-off on the other side. Since my fish wasn't coming along as fast, I did a bit longer… only to find my fish ended up overdone.

So… maybe the author and I had different techniques with our insta-read? Maybe I needed to insert it more deeply into the fish?

Even though my results didn't perfectly match those of Serious Eats, Uly gave the fish rave reviews and told me to make sure to record my method.

Website link:

Serious Eats 'Collard Greens Braised in Coconut Milk and Tomato Recipe' Take 1

cjo, 328 words, 2018-01-04

Last night I took my best go at this recipe from Serious Eats:

I made a couple of changes and a couple of missteps:

-I added a poblano pepper (after broiling and skinning it) because I needed to use it up -I made half a batch, but put in a whole can of diced tomatoes (because I didn't want half a can left over -I accidentally used coconut cream instead of coconut milk. They're pretty similar except coconut cream has more fat. I didn't even know we had coconut cream in the house! -I didn't toast the coriander -I didn't use asafoetida because I didn't have any. -I cut back on the oil, figuring I didn't need to fry the collards in so much oil when I was adding coconut milk anyway (plus the milk turned out to be cream, whoops!)

This was my first time cooking with black cardamom, and the smell was amazing. So smoky and complicated! I added only one pod, afraid I'd overpower everything else, but I ended up wishing I'd added more.

The recipe came out tasty but a bit bland at first, so I added fish oil, brown sugar, and salt. It was still a bit bland until I reduced the sauce. My collard bunch was pretty small, so the leaves were a bit lost in some overly mild sauce. After reducing it, the results were tasty but very rich due to the concentrated coconut cream.

I can't fault the recipe, as I used it more as a loose guide than a rigid plan. I think canned diced tomatoes aren't a great choice to mix with coconut milk unless a long cook time is planned, as they hold together too much. I've heard that whole canned tomatoes actually fall apart easier. (No point in using rock hard supermarket ones.)

Black Bean Burgers

cjo, 307 words, 2017-12-27

I have found bean burgers to be suprisingly challenging. If the mix is too wet, it won't fry up nicely and it stays mushy inside. If it's too dry, it will crumble and never form patties in the first place.

This mix tasted great and was a modest step up in frying ease, but I still found the frying process to be fussy. Too hot and the Panko crumbs burned, too cold and the Panko crumbs just slurped up the oil. Next time I plan to try baking them. But since the flavor was a hit with both Uly and me, I wanted to record the recipe.



Drain and rinse the beans. Then put them in the oven at 350*F for 15 minutes to dry them out a little. (I think 10 min would probably be enough.)

Grate the carrot and mince the shallot and jalapenos.

Mix the dried beans, carrot, shallot, and spices. Then process in a food processor until the mix will stick together. The beans shouldn't be totally mushed, just broken apart. If it's too dry to mix, add more of one of the liquid ingredients (you can do this after you pull the mix out of the food processor to avoid breaking the beans down too much.)

Form into patties. Coat with Panko crumbs. Refrigerate until use.(The patties will firm up in the fridge, which is nice. They'll soften right back up as you cook them though, so use a spatula to move them once they're cooked.

Panko-crusted Roasted Zuccini and Cauliflower

cjo, 106 words, 2017-12-19



Slice the vegetables into bite-sized chunks (I do "coins" for the zuccini.) Coat them with Panko bread crumbs. For the zuccini it helps if you press down a little. Place them on a tray and refrigerate until about 20 min before eating.

Preheat oven to 400*F. Roast for 10 minutes, then flip and roast for about 10 more, until cooked through.


Some of the Panko crumbs will flake off–they're tasty eaten plain, but I may try to find a way to get them to cling tighter.

These are tasty dipped in aioli sauce.

Bread Pudding Take 1

cjo, 246 words, 2017-12-19

This was my first attempt at bread pudding, and I made it for traditional reasons: I had old bread I wanted to use up. I'd cut off the crusts from a nice loaf because I neede bread crumbs, and I didn't want to waste them.

I used Julia Child's method of custard: egg plus (milk or cream) equals 1/2 cup. Since I used two eggs, I topped off the measuring cup at one cup total.

I went light on the sugar out of curiousity. I added a pear because it was ripe and needed to be eaten. I added cardamom and orange extract to give it some life.

The results were ok but not perfect. The pear was soft and bland… I need an unripe pear, or better yet, an apple. Or I could use the more traditional choice of raisins. The results were not very sweet, so Ulysses and I drizzled it with some caramel sauce. The custard and stale bread came out great though.



Beat the eggs, then add milk and mix. Toss the bread and let it sit for a little while to soften. Peel and chop the pear. Add everything else to the bread mix. Spread in a greased pan.

Bake for 25 minutes at 400*F, or until the custard is set.


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