Wednesday, May 27, 2009

An Asian Style Dinner

I've still got some things to cover, the garden, Rose's birthday, maybe even Sticky Fingers. But right now I need to cover last night's dinner.

Last night's menu:
I watch a lot of Food Network. Though all of the shows aren't as good as they used to be but there are still a few really good ones. I'm actually a big fan of Barefoot Contessa. I think Ina Garten is one of the most natural personalities on the network. She really seems like she could be the cook next door. On a certain level I think she's even sexy. Her stuff is actually pretty simple though I have learned that she has steps and ingredients on her show that she doesn't include in her written recipes. Good to know. It's rare that I ever see a show where I want to copy the entire meal presented but this time her meal looked like a perfect combination.

Why is it that my garlic never looks as good as the garlic they get on TV?

This turned out to be a great meal. I would say the dishes are Thai inspired without the heat. That was a little disappointing, I'd have preferred it if the noodles were spicy but that can be fixed next time. I would definitely be willing to serve this to company, especially for my more persnickety friends who don't eat beef or pork. Bah!

All of the ingredients were easy for me to find here in the sticks so you shouldn't have a problem. I was not in the mood to multitask so I took the whole day to make the entire meal, but if you multitask you can whip all of this up fairly quickly, especially the noodles and salmon. Just remember to plan on the 15 minutes for the salmon to marinate and the 15 minutes for the salmon to rest after cooking. Oh yeah, this can all be served room temperature or even cold. That could come in handy.

On the noodles, I guess if you can buy toasted sesame seeds, go that route. I was able to easily toast mine in our new toaster oven. It was quick and easy, just be sure to watch them as you can quickly burn them. I had used up the fresh ginger I had on the salmon marinade so I substituted an 1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger. It probably wasn't as strong as using fresh ginger but it didn't hurt. Not being a fan of bell peppers, I left them out. Your choice. At the grocery I hesitated when buying the sugar snap peas almost buying snow peas instead. I like snow peas more and besides, they are "more" Asian. Then I thought about buying an eight ounce package of each. In the end I went with the snap peas. The peas I buy you can microwave in the bag so that's the cooking method I used. The snap peas were tasty.

The salmon came out great. I have very few fish dishes so it was good to add one to the repertoire. Again the ingredients were easy to find. I was surprised that my grocery didn't carry the ubiquitous squeeze bottle of Sriracha which I was going to buy for the chile paste. I think I remember that was what Ina Garten used on the show and I remember my friend's crazy half Asian-something ex-wife cooking with it so it seemed like the right stuff to get. Instead I found some Sriracha sauce from Ka-Me. The panko bread crumbs were supposed to form a crusty crispy layer. Mine did not so I suppose if you don't have any panko on hand, just use regular bread crumbs.

The lemon cake is very lemony, very good. I'm sure that is from using real lemons. It is so good that you don't need to make the blueberry sauce but blueberries and lemons go so well together it's a nice added touch. This is the first time I have used yogurt as a cooking ingredient I think. The recipe called for whole-milk yogurt. Try to find some. We've brainwashed ourselves over time that we can only have low-fat or fat-free yogurt or somehow we are going to die of clogged arteries. Do you realize how much yogurt you would have to eat for that to be an issue? And the truth is the whole-milk yogurt is actually probably healthier for you. Since I have some plain yogurt left over, maybe this is my excuse for finally getting around to making some homemade yogurt. It was the covered on Alton Brown a few nights ago. An omen? I did not have any vanilla sugar on hand. Since it takes several weeks for the vanilla beans to permeate through the sugar it wasn't something I could just whip up. But this was a wet application for the vanilla sugar so I used a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to one cup of sugar and I think that was fine. My blueberry sauce was not thick like it was on TV but it still tasted good. I put it in a squeeze bottle for Dinah to take to work with the left overs.


Brook said...

Ina Garten is my very favorite-she has a tuna avocado salad recipe that is delicious(I cut the salt quite a bit as it is waaaay to salty as written)
This sounds really good-and very different from my asian salmon/slaw supper which I love but after oh 6 years I could try something new!
And the lemon cake-OMG! I love lemon cake and blueberries-so, do you think if i used vanilla yogurt and cut back on sugar it would work? Cause I have everything except plain yogurt-I agree whole heartedly on the whole milk yogurt and cheeses etc, btw(and yet drinking whole milk is beyond me-too thick or something)
Yummy Yummy Yummy!

Huff Daddy said...

I think vanilla yogurt would work fine. I don't find vanilla yogurt that sweet, maybe it depends on the brand, so I'm not sure you'd need to cut back on the sugar. If you did, I wouldn't cut back by much.

Brook said...

hmmm-I get umm Stoneyfield Farm which is less sweet than any other brand but is still quite sweet to my tastes buds. Keep in mind we are the 1/4 cup sugar to one pack of kool aid for a half gallon kinda people. Not so big on sweets we. I even dilute my Dr Pepper with seltzer to cut the sweet down to size. and now that I've taken the time to think about it I can do the math using the ingredients/nutrition info on the side of the yogurt container. Duh.

Huff Daddy said...

Stoneyfield is good stuff. It's the only whole milk yogurt I have seen, though not all of it. Babies need whole milk so if you don't want to the premium for YoBaby brand, Stoneyfield is about your only choice. Rose liked it. :)

Yep, you can calculate the reduction with the label. I'll leave the math to you :)

Dinah said...

The lemon cake is so lemony and sour, which is great if you like sour. The blueberry sauce was so fresh and mildly sweet, so the balance between the two made for the perfect amount of sweetness and tartness. I think I could use the blueberry sauce as an ice cream topping!

Huff Daddy said...

The left over blueberry pulp from pressing through the sieve was awesome on toast!

Amy said...

These recipes look great. Can't wait to try them. I so agree on the yogurt issue-and w/ Brook too about fat free cheese. Good grief..The yo baby is good stuff.
Lemon and blueberry are so good together..they should go on and get married.