Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Scenes from Thanksgiving

Well, I didn't get to host the Thanksgiving festivities this year after all, but I think I might have been just as tired from traveling first to Olympia and then to Portland for two nights of feasting.

Don't we look hungry here?

And check out this beautiful bird Stephen brined and Charlie butchered.

I made the Creamed Haricot Vert and Corn Casserole, which I didn't get a photo of because I was too busy stuffing my face by the time it was done. It was quite delicious, though, as was everything.

We were almost still full on Day 2, but then we found out that there was a chef in the house:

As if I had to tell you.

In addition to these mouth-watering photos, I also have a prized recipe to share, even if I didn't bring it to either party. But it did go well with all of the leftovers Stephen sent us home with!

Mai Ling's Mashed Potatoes
3 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
4 T. unsalted butter, room temperature and cut in chunks
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature and cut in chunks
1/2 c. sour cream, room temperature
2/3 c. warm milk
Salt and pepper, to taste

Boil potatoes until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain, then gently pour back into the pot to shake off excess moisture.

Blend the potatoes with a hand or stand mixer, and slowly add the unsalted butter, cream cheese and sour cream until well blended. Gradually add in milk until the desired consistency is reach, then add salt and pepper to taste.

P.S. Do you like my new blog template? I don't, but at least it has the attributes I want again. Hopefully I'll be changing it around so that it suits me a bit better someday ...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I may be taking a break from the blog

As you can see from the below photo, the photos still aren't uploading correctly and I'm about to go crazy. Anybody know how to remedy this madness? Do share!

My favorite salmon recipe

So, most of Ruining Mom's Recipes is back to its original appearance, and what has changed I've given up on. But for some reason this photo insisted on uploading vertically. Finally worked around it, but I can't deny that frustration was mounting last night.

Anyway, like you want to hear about that! Check out this beautiful salmon! It's the last of the batch we got from Bryan's cousin Ryan this summer while we were in north B.C.

Although I tried a few new recipes with his fish (can't link to them right now because this new blog format is not very cooperative ... ), but last night I returned to the tried and true recipe I learned from Nicole years ago, who of course learned it from Chelsea.

Easy Baked Salmon
10- to 12-oz. salmon filet
1 T. unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
1/2 t. seasoning of your choice (I use Mrs. Dash Garlic Seasoning, Nicole uses onion salt)
1-2 T. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse salmon and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a large piece of foil. Sprinkle with butter, salt, pepper, seasoning and brown sugar, then close foil tightly around it. Cook salmon for about 35 minutes, or until cooked through.

Monday, November 22, 2010

What happened to my blog?

Oh goodness, I consider myself pretty intelligent when it comes to design, yet I can't figure out for the life of me how to put my blog back to the way it used to be. I don't like the way it looks now, photos aren't uploading correctly ... well, that's about it, but the photo thing is more than just a slight problem.

Well, hopefully I will figure it out soon and show you the gorgeous salmon I ate for dinner tonight.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chicken Soup for the Cold

Bryan's been sniffly all weekend, so I decided to throw together some chicken soup for him yesterday to warm him up and get him on the mend.

This is just a basic recipe, but I thought I'd share it in case you're like me and always have frozen chicken, onion, carrots and celery ready to go. I used frozen chicken thighs because that's what I had, but you could use any cut as long as it has bones (otherwise, use chicken stock instead of water). Ideally, I would have thawed the chicken beforehand, then browned it before adding the water to give the soup a little more flavor, but it turned out well regardless.

Also, take note that the rice will soak up all of the water. If you're not going to eat this all in one setting, be sure you have some extra stock on hand to add to what will look like gumbo after has sat in the pan for more than, say, 20 minutes.

Chicken Soup for the Cold
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 c. chopped yellow onion
1/2 c. sliced celery
1/2 c. sliced carrot
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 chicken thighs (or whatever you have as long as it has bones)
6 c. water
2 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper
1 c. uncooked rice

Heat olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot, and cook until soft, for about 5 minutes. Stir frequently, then add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add chicken and water and bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour. Remove chicken, then add salt, pepper and rice, bring back to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, after the chicken has cooled, throw away the bones and skin, then shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. When the rice is finished cooking, return the chicken to the pot, stir to heat chicken through, then serve.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How to destroy a Spanish Tortilla

The first time I made Tortilla Espanola, it was beautiful and delicious. But no, I didn't take a picture. Instead, you only get a photo of the Spanish Tortilla that I destroyed this morning.

Sorry about the lighting. But really, the shadows tell you more than a flash could anyway. There aren't supposed to be peaks and valleys in a tortilla, it's supposed to be a fluffy, flat potato-onion-egg dish that's perfect as a main course, a side dish or an appetizer, for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

In this case, it was just inedible.

Not only was I unable to correctly turn it over, but alas, I didn't even cook the potatoes all the way before adding the eggs. And the outside parts that were cooked were burned because I haven't yet mastered the use of the cast-iron skillet.

All that for this mess. Ugh.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Teriyaki Black Cod welcomes Mom home

So what did Mom make for us while Bryan dined on Stuffed Squash? Our favorite fish, black cod, served teriyaki style, along with sweet purple potatoes, stir-fried asparagus and stir-fried choy sum.

Teriyaki Chicken was one of the first recipes I made Mom teach me back when I was in college, but since then Teriyaki Fish has become a more frequent guest at the dinner table.

Teriyaki Black Cod
3 black cod steaks
2 T. canola oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 c. Chinese cooking wine
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. water
2 T. sugar

Heat saute pan over medium high heat. Add canola oil and swirl to coat. Add garlic and ginger, and cook for 30 seconds, then add cooking wine and simmer until evaporated. Add soy sauce, water and sugar, then stir until sugar is evaporated and sauce is bubbly. Place cod steaks in pan and cook until heated through, turning a couple of times, about 6-8 minutes. Serve with sauce.

(To make teriyaki anything, the three main ingredients are soy sauce, water and sugar. Play with the measurements to make it the amount of salty/sweet that you like best.)

Even Mom likes my Stuffed Squash

Mom was finally rested enough last night for a visit from me, and she was more than happy to return to the kitchen and cook a wonderful meal for Charlie and me. Which meant that my original plan to send Bryan out to fend for himself for dinner simply wasn't acceptable.

Plus, I was feeling the need to redeem my cooking abilities after I made this Butternut Squash Filled with Spinach and Ricotta Recipe from Relish that was quite horrible. Why didn't I just stick with my own recipe? Heck, even Mom likes it!

This stuffed squash recipe changes each time I make it but the players are generally the same: Spinach, rice, Parmesan cheese, walnuts and butter are what make it so fabulous.

Mai Ling's Stuffed Squash
Large acorn squash
1-1/2 c. leftover rice pilaf (recipe follows)
8-oz. package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
2 T. butter
Salt and pepper to taste
2 T. bread crumbs

Cut squash in half and cook, cut side down in about an inch of water at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until soft, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, mix rice, spinach, 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese and walnuts in a medium bowl.

After squash is cool enough to handle, gently spoon out the flesh into the bowl. Add butter and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste, then scoop back into each squash half. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs, then cook at 375 for another 25-35 minutes, until beginning to brown on top.

Rice Pilaf
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c. onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 c. basmati rice
1/2 c. orzo
2 c. water
1 t. salt

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan and add onion. Cook for about 5 minutes; add garlic during last minute. Add rice and orzo to pan, and continue stirring until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add water and salt, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool, still covered, for 10 minutes before serving.