Sunday, 6 January 2013

Smoked herring salad and updates on my cooking adventures

I bought an entire smoked herring from a local shop a few weeks ago. I LOVE smoked fish, and the stuff  from my nearby smokehouse is delicious AND cheap. The herring is caught by a local fisherman (who I actually interviewed for work once!) from Lake Superior. He departs from a marina about 15 miles from my house to snare the unsuspecting fishies and then sells to a smokehouse just down the road. Fresher than fresh, I tell you. Anyways, people in my family do not like fish unless it "doesn't taste fishy," and this was apparently too fishy for them to handle. So, I've been slowly pecking away at my entire fish. 

I'm almost done!

I consumed most of it by just plain snacking on it, and the other portion was put on salads with a balsamic dressing. So good, but after four smoked herring balsamic salads for lunch in one week, I was a little over it--and so were my coworkers, I think. Turns out, smoked fish can really smell up our tiny fridge.

Anyways, so I developed this EXTREMELY DIFFICULT, GOURMET salad to use up a little more of my fabulous little fishy. 


1/3 cup smoked herring
3 Tbsp. minced onion
2 Tbsp. chopped cucumber
4-5 sliced cherry tomatoes
1 heaping Tbsp. mayo
juice and zest from half a lemon
lots of pepper

1. Mix all ingredients. Put on a pita.

Tough, right? Anyways, it's delicious. Here are some more awesome things I've made in the past month or so.

Lasagna cups:  Mini lasagna cups baked in a cupcake pan. These are great--so much easier than regular lasagna! I made them for a potluck with some friends. The only issue is the wonton wrappers--I coated the exposed edges in olive oil so they would brown, which worked fine, but the rest of the wrapper became a mushy/rubbery texture during baking. I tried covering the second pan for 3/4 of the baking time to try to make them cook more thoroughly, but I'm not sure it worked. I'd like to find a better "pasta" to substitute or a better way to bake them to solve this problem.

Chicken gyros: Another day, another potluck. These were great, my dear friends LOVED them (I think feeding them a lot of wine helped). I used Greek yogurt and cooked the chicken in a crock pot. Other than that, followed Annie's recipe. I served the gyros with a Greek salad and...

Zucchini keftedes/mucver: Fried zucchini patties with yogurt dipping sauce (I just used the tzatziki sauce from the gyros). These were TO DIE for. They are also a Turkish dish (gotta represent!) but this particular version is Greek. I was too cheap to buy fresh mint and my grocery store doesn't have panko so I just used regular bread crumbs. These fell apart when frying, so I'll have to work on binding them a little more effectively.

Brioche French toast: This is from another cooking date with my friends (WHAT CAN I SAY, we love to eat). This recipe is just all around wonderful. I am obsessed. It's more like dessert than breakfast, but for an indulgent day or special occasion, it's perfect.

Chocolate caramel cookies with sea salt: This woman should get some sort of medal for this recipe. It's mind-blowing. I'm super into the whole sea salt/caramel trend, and these satisfied my cravings. JUST MAKE THEM THEY ARE SO GOOD.

Bal kaymak: Condensed cream with honey. This is something I've been craving ever since I left Istanbul. Turks always have this with breakfast, and I had to make it. You basically just constantly "stir" a pot of simmering heavy whipping cream over med-low heat for 20 minutes--healthy, right? Then, you chill the condensed cream. To serve, bring it to room temp and drown it in honey. Best on bread. It turned out pretty good, but a little scalded--I have to work on my technique.

Ghee: I'm starting this 7-day Yoga Journal detox on Wednesday, and you basically eat the same rice and bean stew for 7 days and drink a lot of herbal tea. Thrilling, I know. I really need a detox after all the junk I've put in my body lately, so this will be good for me. Anyways, the recipe called for ghee (clarified Indian butter) and I couldn't find it at my Whole Foods (and was too embarrassed to ask because I don't know how to pronounce it) so I just flipping made it. A win win, really.

That's all for now!