Saturday, July 7, 2012

Glazed Salmon

July 1, 2012

Salmon with Soy-Mustard Glaze
Glazed Rainbow Carrots
Green Salad
Classic Lemonade
Fresh Strawberry Pie

For the second week it was just Caryn and me for Sunday dinner. Caryn is a flexible vegetarian; she chooses not to eat meat because of the way animals are treated on the factory farms that produce most of the meat we eat as well as for health and environmental reasons. Thus her decisions about what to eat and what not to eat are driven by her own conscience rather than the dictates of any external agencies or by what someone else might say is correct fare for a vegetarian. She recently mentioned she had eaten  salmon at a friend's house, thus opening the door to us having salmon together. 

I shopped at Whole Foods for the fish. They had four or five different varieties of salmon to choose from, both farm raised and wild. I was immediately drawn to the wild sockeye salmon because of its bright red color, especially compared to the other salmon. While it was neither the most nor the least expensive choice it was towards the high end at $19 a pound. The fish monger was very knowledgeable and helpful; after listening to his descriptions of the various varieties I stuck with my original decision and purchased a 1 pound fillet of the sockeye. The recipe called for using a 1½ to 2 pound fillet, but with just the two of us a pound would be enough for Sunday dinner plus some left over for another day.

The salmon and its glaze were very easy to prepare. The glaze was made by combining the ingredients in a sauce pan and simmering them for a minute or two to thicken. I made several substitutions to accommodate the contents of our pantry. I used low-salt soy sauce, water in place of mirin, red wine vinegar instead of sherry vinegar, and dijon mustard replaced whole grain mustard. I try to avoid buying ingredients which will be used for only a single recipe, especially if we have a reasonable substitute in stock. The fish was seasoned, browned on top of the stove, and finished in the oven. A coating of brown sugar on the fish helped with browning and cornstarch helped the glaze stick to the salmon. Even with the changes I made, the glaze was delicious. The soy and mustard were not overpowering and complemented the salmon very well.

We got rainbow carrots in our monthly box from Farm Fresh To You. There were only two colors, purple and white, to which I added regular orange carrots. I used a dependable recipe from America's Test Kitchen (ATK) to prepare them, substituting water for the chicken stock the recipe called for as this is not on Caryn's OK list. The stock provides some added flavor but the recipe works fine with water. Rainbow carrots taste very much like orange carrots, being perhaps just a little less sweet. They look strangely like fruit to me in the photos of the finished carrots, perhaps because the purple carrots dyed the cooking liquid.

Lemonade was prepared using another ATK recipe. (I think I set a record this month, using five America's Test Kitchen recipes.) The lemons were sliced then mashed with sugar creating a syrup rather than just juicing them. This extracts additional lemon flavor from the zest. I was concerned, though, that it would also extract bitterness from the membranes and pith that lies under the zest. The lemonade turned out well and was extra lemony with no bitterness. I did adjust the sugar, adding a few additional tablespoons. However, I don't think this lemonade was good enough, compared to lemonade made with juice alone, to justify the extra effort it takes to slice and mash the fruit. Lemonade made from fresh lemons is superior to bottled lemonade no matter how you make it.

It's summer time and with all the fresh fruit that is now available it is time to start making pies. I'm still a novice with pie crust so enjoyed an opportunity to practice. I used the recipe for "foolproof" pie crust from the Test Kitchen. It replaces some of the water with vodka to make the dough easier to handle but still tender. The fresh strawberry pie that I made uses just one crust so I also got to blind-bake a crust for the first time. I have no pie weights so used coins from a jar that sits on my nightstand. The filling consisted of fresh strawberries that were held together with a strawberry jam. My crust came out pretty well this time. I was able to roll it out into a reasonable circle and transfer it into the baking dish without tearing. I even crimped the edge, though there is certainly still room for me to improve. The raw berries surrounded by jam were fresh and juicy, though there was more jam than needed to hold the berries together.


Glazed Rainbow Carrots from Cook's Illustrated

Kitchen tip

When using on-line recipes, I like to print them and hang them on the stove hood using magnets. They are then at eye level, easy to read, and not taking up precious counter space in our small kitchen.


We had leftover deep dish pizza for lunch several days. It was good either warmed in the microwave or, to get a crisp crust, heated in a skillet then microwaved.