Pear Butter Pork Chops

I’ve been dying to use the pear butter I made last weekend in our crock pot. Huzzah! Thanks to Tracy for the apartment-warming gift.

Pear Butter

Pear Butter

I modified a basic pork-chop-and-fruit recipe from the Canadian paper Metro News. The author of the recipe is affiliated with a massive blog, but I don’t know whether the post appeared in the newspaper or online first, so I decided it would be OK.

Pear Butter Pork Chops
Serves 2

• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• 3 thin-cut bone-in pork chops (original recipe calls for 4 inch-thin chops)
• 1/4 cup pear butter
• salt & pepper

1. Season chops generously with salt and pepper.

2. Set a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat and heat one tablespoon olive oil.

3. Add chops and cook, flipping once, until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

4. Transfer chops to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm.

5. Plate meal. Pour pear butter on top. (This is the part I modified! Can you tell? :))

Pear Butter Pork Chops

Pear Butter Pork Chops

The pork chops were juicy, the pear butter was ginger-y and amazing, and the crackers with brie made for a nice side. Seeing as how we have 14 cans of pear butter, we’ll probably be making this again.

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Cooking for Two, the second time around

I was checking out Google’s new, expanded newspaper archives this weekend, because Toby’s been feeling under the weather and I’ve renewed my pledge to attempt to cook more. First of all, let me say that I’ve believed this site will revolutionize Clipped & Diced since the moment I heard about it on Lifehacker.

First of all, as a big visual person, I was floored to see the timeline breakdown of when articles were published. Here’s what I saw when I searched for recipes.

One of the first pieces I found was an LA Times article discussing the increase in recipes designed for two diners. Toby and I receive subscriptions to several magazines targeted for two-person households, and we have a few cookbooks along those same lines. The interesting part of the article to me was the fact that it was printed in 1986. It could have very well been written today.

Look at the increase in articles that match the term “Cooking for Two” over time.

Twenty years after the L.A. Times article was written, the Pillsbury Bake-Off caught onto the trend and added a Cooking for Two category, as I discovered from The (Doylestown, PA) Intelligencer. However, it appears as though by 2008, the category was eliminated. Never fear, I contacted the folks at Pillsbury as to the history of this category, and perhaps they will get back in touch with me.

I needed more facts and figures. So I went to the US Census Web site and trolled through a few reports.

The image is tiny (I took a screen capture from the PDF I opened at school), but you can see two-person households increased from 25.2 million in 1980 to 34.4 million in 2000. That’s a lot more potential subscribers to Cooking for 2 magazine.

The previous image may have seemed dramatic, but this graph indicates that the average household size actually only decreased from 2.75 people to 2.59 people between 1980 and 2000. According to the Cansus Bureau, “The steepest decline in average household size occurred in the 1970s, a period coinciding with the baby-bust period, relatively low levels of immigration, and increasing proportions of people living alone.” Additionally, the relatively small chance between 1990 and 2000 may be because of “higher immigration levels and the tendency for immigrants to live in larger households.”

Have I mentioned the Census Bureau is a delightful source of random interesting information?

For our attempt at a two-person meal, Toby and I settled on a 2004 recipe from our very own Seattle Times.

Red Curry Chicken Saute with Coconut and Lime

– 1 baby bok choy
– 2 green onions
– ¾ teaspoon cornstarch
– ½ cup light coconut milk
– 1/3 cup reduced-sodium and fat chicken broth
– 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
– 2 boneless and skinless chicken breast halves
– 3 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
– ½ to ¾ teaspoon red curry paste
– 1 tablespoon lime juice
– Hot, cooked rice

1. Separate the bok choy leaves, then cut both stems and leaves on the diagonal into ¼-inch-thick slices. Discard all but 2 inches of the onion greens. Slice thinly on the diagonal and set aside.

2. Put the cornstarch into a measuring cup and whisk in a couple tablespoons of coconut milk. When smooth, whisk in the remaining milk. Combine broth and fish sauce. Slice each chicken breast in half crosswise, then lengthwise into thin strips.

3. In a heavy skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium heat. When hot, put the bok choy stems into the pan and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add the leaves and cook another minute. Remove from the pan.

4. Pour the remaining 2 teaspoons oil into the pan. When hot, add chicken and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes, or until just cooked through. Remove from pan. Put the curry paste into the pan, mashing briefly with the back of a spoon. Add green onions, saving a few for garnish, and stir briefly. Remove pan from heat and slowly add coconut milk, stirring until well-blended with the curry. Put back on heat and stir in broth. Simmer a couple minutes, until thickened. Pour juices that have accumulated around chicken into the pan and simmer 30 seconds. Stir in lime juice, chicken and bok choy. Simmer a few minutes to blend, then spoon over rice. Sprinkle reserved green onions on top.

Notes

  • I was able to do this! Me! So it’s really not that difficult.
  • Toby thinks you should add more curry if you attempt this. Not a lot, but some.

The funny part about this was that we actually had a hard time finding just two chicken breasts, so we increased the recipe by half to add another breast in. Cooking for two fans claim that too many leftovers just won’t do, but I’m floored by the fact that both Toby and I will have lunch ready to go tomorrow!

This begs the question, if you live in a one- or two- person household, do you cook for two? Or do you reap the benefits of leftovers? And how much is too much when it comes to leftovers?

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Published in: on October 26, 2008 at 7:22 pm  Comments (3)  
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Getting Braver

I’ve been getting more daring in my cooking attempts. While visiting friends in Boulder, Colo. (food pictures and stories forthcoming), I made guacamole and even helped prepare a slow cooker chili recipe. They sound simple enough, but they were a real stretch for me.

Now that I’m home, I’m attempting to get back on the healthy, home-cooked band wagon. This morning I decided I wanted hard-boiled eggs, yet… I had no clue how to make them.

Searching recent newspaper articles, prompted by the recent Easter holiday, I’m sure, I discovered there are a lot of people who stress out about eggs.

Luckily, Moyra Fraser answered my call. This Telegraph reporter explained how to create hard-boiled eggs that will offer sunny yellow centres. I’ll post later with my results.

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Published in: on April 2, 2008 at 9:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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YWCA Cookies

Watch your backs, Girl Scouts. This was way ahead of your time, Mrs. Fields.

Apparently, the YWCA ladies can bake a pretty mean cookie.

1919 YWCA Poster

It all started when I had a hankering for some chocolate chip cookies. I found a 1977 article buried in the back of the Washington Post that began thus:

It is highly unlikely that the Downtown YWCA’s recipe for chocolate-chip cookies will ever be revealed. But that doesn’t stop people from asking. Or from trying to reproduce it.

The popularity of the cookies has fended off competition from Famous Amos and the Famous Amos knock-off called The Famous.

But a cooking teacher in Arlington took up the chocolate-chip cookie challenge two years ago when the Y re-buffed her request for the recipe.

This teacher, a Mrs. Carol Finkelstein, spent two years trying to recreate this famous recipe — at one point, the article says, she even considered taking the YWCA cookie to be analyzed by a lab.

But if this cookie is so legendary, why haven’t I heard of it? Famous Amos, sure. Toll House, of course. The Neiman Marcus urban legend, yes. But I’ve certainly never been to a YWCA or a YMCA and discovered cookies so good they prompted a two-year quest for the recipe.

I was so perplexed I e-mailed the PR coordinator for the YWCA in Washington, D.C. Apparently, my ignorance was so profoundly idiotic that it didn’t warrant a response. So I stepped up my online investigation.

The National Capital Area YWCA recently held a YWCA cookie bake-off, in the spirit of those great original cookies. Again, though, this article assumes I already know the wonder of the cookies! The article goes on to explain that thousands of these cookies were sold from one YWCA in ONE DAY. Barbara Bush and Sandra Day O’Connor are apparently big fans.

But this is the only non-newspaper place where I can find mention of the “famous” treat. Frankly, the Post and the New York Times seem borderline obsessed with them. This Post article provides a pretty good history of the cookie, which was baked by the same four women from 1951 to 1981.

I think a large part of my intense curiosity surrounding these cookies is the fact that I am so perplexed that something treated as common knowledge in several articles was so totally foreign to me. Reporters constantly struggle to walk the line between making sure their readers have all the background information they need without making the article sound like they’re talking down to readers.

For example, I feel as though people in my generation chuckle a bit when local news stations do specials on Internet predators or the newest, hip thing for kids. I wonder if my great-aunt would be laughing similarly at me and my twitterpations over a freaking famous cookie. (P.S. My spellcheck recognized “twitterpations, but not twitterpate)

And what will happen in the future, when people forget that “tots” is a reference from Napoleon Dynamite and Brittany and Paris are no longer household names? When I first thought about this, I figured it wouldn’t be a problem people could go to Wikipedia or the Urban Dictionary to track down dated references. But if the YWCA cookie is so completely erased from most circles of pop culture, isn’t it inevitable that this will happen to some degree even in our time?

And as for the recipe? I spent too much time researching this weekend and not enough time baking. Check back in a day or so!

AJC for Jamie G.

I have a new food reporting obsession. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s recipe finder.

On many sites, I’ve had a difficult time searching through recipe archives. My queries for “chicken” wind up netting either zero hits or 23946732875. Even ProQuest fails me at times.

So it was a welcome change to discover the AJC’s food page. I admit, I was skeptical of the newspaper’s site at first — the home page was so crammed with advertisements that I thought I hit one of those error pages, where you misspell a word in the URL, so scam artists design a site that looks similar but is just all links and ads.

The food site itself is divided into several categories that seemed pretty intuitive to me:
• What are you bringing? (recipes suitable to bring to a potluck or work function, they seem to serve more people than an average recipe without being restaurant-sized batches)
• Sunday Dinner (more involved meals designed “for when you have more time”
• Fit to Eat (healthy, obviously)
• 5:30 Dinner Challenge (30-minute meals)

Bottom line: AJC: UR DOIN IT RIGHT.

The Journal-Constitution is also doing it right because they’ve hired the talented Jamie Gumbrecht from the Lexington Herald-Leader, where she worked as a pop culture reporter. And although it’s silly that she’s moving away from Seattle instead of closer, I can’t help but be happy for her.
Jamie and Shannon
Jamie and me in 2003.

Just for Jamie, I stepped out of my comfort zone again this week with another cooking-but-it’s-sort-of-baking recipe. I attempted broccoli corn bread, and then in a flash of inspiration (and because the site was so freaking easy to navigate), I also tried the peanut butter and jelly cupcakes.

A note to food page designers: I loved being able to rate the recipes, as well as see how many people rated them. Toby was highly skeptical of the corn bread, but I pointed out that 16 people gave it 4 stars.

However, it would have been helpful to know when the recipe was posted and how long the recipes stay posted on the site. I assumed that because 16 people had a chance to try the corn bread, it wasn’t just posted super-recently, but as our Detroit News adventure taught me, I don’t expect it to stay online terribly long.

This meal was served with my mom’s fantastic chili recipe, which is not from a newspaper, but is delicious nonetheless. And I should mention that *I* made this entire meal, so you know it’s simple.

Broccoli Corn Bread

2 (8 1/2-ounce) boxes Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup finely chopped onion (1 medium)
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed, excess water squeezed out

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine corn muffin mix, butter, eggs, cottage cheese, onion and broccoli.

3. Spread in baking pan and bake until cake tester comes out clean and edges are lightly browned, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Chili and Corn Bread

Notes and Modifications
• Don’t be afraid to overcook this one a bit. It’s extremely moist, so it’s nice to have a crunchier crust.
• Toby’s cousin Alex joined us for dinner. Alex likes corn bread!!

And for dessert, Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups warm milk (or water)
1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup strawberry jam

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter and warm milk or water with an electric mixer until well-blended. Add the cake mix, eggs and vegetable oil. Beat 2 minutes, until smooth.

3. Spoon the batter into the lined cups. Drop a teaspoon of jam on top and in the middle of the batter in each cup. Press down on the jam slightly with the back of the teaspoon.

4. Bake 20-25 minutes, until the centers are firm. (Do not underbake.) Cool in pan for at least 5 minutes before removing

Nutrition information per cupcake: 199 calories (percent of calories from fat, 44), 5 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 10 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 25 milligrams cholesterol, 209 milligrams sodium.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

Notes and modifications
• Let’s be frank. (And slightly not safe for work.) If you put too much batter in the cupcake cup, the batter doesn’t completely surround the jelly and you wind up with cupcakes that look a bit like this. I mention this on a practical note, in case you don’t want lady-bits cupcakes at your next office party. If, on the other hand, that suits your purposes, I highly recommend them.
• The recipe insists you need paper muffin tin liners, but you don’t. I thought the jelly might seep through the bottom if you didn’t use them, but that wasn’t a problem.
• We used Pillsbury yellow cake mix because it was on sale, and it worked just fine.

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Chicken Sunday

My mom and dad always joke about the years when my dad would visit Grammy’s house on Sunday afternoons and join the Beltowski family for a chicken dinner.

Mom and Dad, 1972
Mom and Dad, 1972

The chicken got a bit tiresome. And so Chicken Sundays became a bit of a joke in our family.

This year, I belatedly discovered the amazing children’s author/illustrator Patricia Polacco (a fellow Michigander). Her version of Chicken Sunday is quite a bit more touching (and tasty) than ours.

Both these anecdotes are relevant because Toby and I have recently been having Chicken Sundays of our own. Our most recent version of this featured a recipe that ran in the Washington Post in 1999. It’s from an article with the headline, “First you take a chicken breast; one way to saute and 13 ways to sauce a weekday dinner favorite.”

Reporter Pam Anderson supports a pared-down approach in the art of saute:

“There’s no need to pinch, prod, poke or push around the chicken. If the oil temperature and pan size are right, the breasts should be done with one turn in about six minutes.”

She gets straight to the good stuff (at least for me, because I need such basic instruction):

Over time, I’ve learned that to saute chicken breasts properly, you must start by heating the pan before you ever touch the chicken. Since neither oil nor butter is ideal, use a combination of the two. Butter for flavor; oil to increase the smoking point. As soon as you turn on the burner to low, add the butter and oil. Slow, steady heat keeps it from wildly sizzling, spitting, smoking and burning.

This was a pretty basic recipe, from what Toby tells me.

Toby makes the meal
The cook at work.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Sauteed Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

(4 servings)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed of fat
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup flour measured into a pie plate or other shallow pan
Lemon wedges or pan sauce (see following recipes)

1. Pull the tenderloin–the flap of meat attached to a boneless, skinless chicken breast–from each breast half and saute them separately. Some brands of chicken breasts come with their tenderloins already removed.

2. Place the breasts between 2 sheets of wax paper and pound or roll until even in thickness.

3. In a 11- or 12-inch skillet over medium heat, melt the butter in the oil.

4. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts and tenderloins with salt and pepper to taste. Dredge the chicken in the flour. Set aside.

5. A couple of minutes before sauteing, increase the heat to medium- high. When the butter stops foaming, turns brown and starts to smell nutty, transfer the chicken breasts and the tenderloins to the skillet. Cook, turning only once, until the chicken breasts are golden brown, about 3 minutes per side (tenderloins will be done a little sooner). Remove the chicken from the skillet.

Orange-Dijon Pan Sauce With Rosemary

(4 servings)

1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon butter

1. To the drippings in the skillet, add the orange juice, mustard and rosemary and boil over medium-high heat until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup.

2. Carefully tilt the skillet so the liquid collects at 1 side of the pan.

3. Whisk in the butter until the sauce is smooth and glossy.

4. Spoon a little sauce over each sauteed breast and serve immediately.

The meal.
This week’s meal.

Notes and Modifications
• Per serving: 43 calories, trace protein, 4 gm carbohydrates, 3 gm fat, 8 mg cholesterol, 2 gm saturated fat, 8 mg sodium, trace dietary fiber
• Toby said, “I just followed the recipe to a tee.” So apparently that’s all you need to do.
• Recipe taken from: First, You Take a Chicken Breast; One Way to Saute and 13 Ways to Sauce a Weekday Dinner Favorite. Pam Anderson. The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.:Sep 22, 1999. p. F01

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Published in: on February 24, 2008 at 6:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Why on Wednesday?

When I mustered up the courage to call and ask for a tour of the Seattle Times’ test kitchen, I knew not to reach anyone on Tuesday. That’s because Wednesday is the day the Food and Wine section is printed, so I figured Tuesday calls would be impacted by deadline stress that I didn’t want to be a part of.

Seattle’s not the only city to print its food section on Wednesdays. In fact, ponding why many papers print their recipes and reviews on this day was one of the impetuses that caused us to create Clipped and Diced in the first place.

There aren’t many cut-and-dried reasons for why the tradition started. Nor are there researched answers — I quizzed several of the journalism history profs at Michigan State University, and none of them knew anything definite. I do know the author of the now-defunct Saute Wednesday blog assigned special food significance to this day of the week, reinforcing the fact that I’m not the only one interested in it.

The best information I can cobble together is this: Grocery stores began their weekly sales on Thursday. The ads for these sales went out on Wednesday. Thus, if newspapers printed their recipes on the same day the ads went out, efficient homemakers could plot their shopping list and weekly menu in one fell swoop.

This explanation makes sense particularly because many small-town papers align their recipes to items that are on sale.

The author of Endless Simmer calls Wednesday the nation’s newspaper food section day, a phrase I find accurate and sucinct.

Unless you lived in the Bay Area in the 1950s. If you did, Wednesday were just another day.

I found further proof of the print-recipes-on-the-day-the-ads-run theory when I was fiching through the San Francisco Chronicle (I just made that verb up, by the way. Sort of. This guy beat me to it).

In 1957, the Chronicle’s food pages ran on Thursdays. So did all of their grocery ads. Not only that, but “Jean Friendly”‘s food advice column touting the benefits of the three new flavors of Campbell’s soup ran immediately next to a five-column ad for… you guessed it, Campbell’s soup.

Soup!
Article or Ad?

I attempted to see if Jean Friendly was a pen name, and I discovered there actually was a Mrs. Friendly related to journalism. I don’t believe she contributed to this article, however.

I haven’t yet decided if the small “Advertisement” print at the bottom applies to Jean Friendly, or if it applies to the article below. Here’s the whole page for you to decide (I’m not sure why the PDF formatting is wonky):

San Francisco Chronicle, Thursday, October 3, 1957, p. 14.

I know I skipped out on a few weeks’ worth of entries. I’ll make it up to you, believe me. I just raided the University of Washington library for books on the women’s pages.

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Pineapple Pound Cake

Phew. This past week has been devoted to tracking down the date that the Detroit News printed a delicious pineapple pound cake recipe.

Pineapple Pound Cake Recipe
The recipe.

Allow me to take you through the process that we undertook to attempt to put this tasty recipe in a historical perspective.

First, we visited the Detroit News’ Web site. The home page gave me the option of perusing the last seven days or looking into the Rearview Mirror at the photo store of Michigan’s yesteryears. I could find nothing beyond that, not even a basic archive search.

Then I tackled ProQuest and Lexis Nexus. Lexis Nexus Academic doesn’t have the News, nor does it have the Free Press. The Daily Yomiuri, yes. Detroit News? No.

I finally had to contact my talented copy editor friend, Benita, to help me out. She found the archive search page at detnews.com, which was a battle in and of itself, but even that only went back a year.

Dan & Benita
The lovely Benita with Freep copy editor Dan Austin, Detroit’s biggest fan.

She hooked me up even further and went through the News’ internal archives, but those only went back three years. “The font recipe exchange is totally ’80s type,” said Benita, which would obviously put us back much further than three years. We seemed to be a dead end.

But why stop there?

I sent off an e-mail to Neal Rubin, metro columnist at the News. I thought he might be able to unearth something Benita didn’t, because he often writes posts about figuring out random stuff. I also knew him from a high school internship, and we stayed in one-e-mail-a-year touch, so it seemed like a better option than contacting someone random in the News’ library.

Neal was back with answers in a day or so:

Recipes aren’t indexed as far back as this one goes. What I do know is that [reporter] Andrea Wojack worked for the News prior to the JOA, which means before 1989.

So we know that it was, indeed, from the late ’70s or the ’80s.

I just found out today what Wojack is doing now, so I’m planning on contacting her soon. Not that she probably remembers this one particular recipe, but it’s worth a try.

Bottom line: At some point in the 1980s, the News printed a fantastic recipe for pineapple pound cake.

I can wager a guess that the Detroit News reduced its free archived content because it wanted a way to make more money from the Web site. But how can it make money if it won’t even tell me what it has hidden in its archives?

Anyway, onto the cake.

I just skirted disaster when I attempted this recipe, as I was under the mistaken impression that a “tube pan” was just a longer, thinner version of a loaf pan. I needed a ten-inch tube pan and my loaf pan was 9 3/4″, so I assumed I’d be close enough. I called Mom to confirm, and was surprised to discover that a tube pan actually means a Bundt cake pan. Whoops!

Clearly, my background weighs more heavily on the reporting side than the baking side of this endeavor.

That crisis averted, I cautiously brought my laptop into the kitchen so I could bake.

MacBook in the Kitchen
My MacBook meets my kitchen.

The recipe was crazy easy, and although I was skeptical about the pineapple glaze (because it looked pretty gross), the finished product was remarkable. And now, you can make it too!

Crushed Pineapple Pound Cake

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup butter or margarine
2 3/4 cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups sifted flour
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup crushed pineapple with juice

Glaze:
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained

1. Don’t preheat the oven!

2. Cream together shortening, butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.

3. Sift flour with baking powder and add to creamed mixture in small quantities, alternating with milk.

4. Add vanilla and stir in crushed pineapple. Blend well.

5. Pour batter into well-greased 10-inch tube pan.

6. Place in cold oven. Set the temperature to 325 degrees and bake 1 1/2 hours or until cake springs back in pan when lightly touched.

7. Let cake stand a few minutes in pan, then loosen and invert on rack.

8. For glaze, combine butter, sugar and pineapple. Pour over warm cake. Cool before serving.

Finished Pineapple Pound Cake
Delightful.

Notes and Modifications
• We had regular canned pineapple on hand, but it’s worth it to go out and get diced/crushed pineapple instead so you don’t have to mess with a food processor or anything.
• Obviously, this cake needed to be placed on a larger plate. Don’t make the same mistake we did, as we came dangerously close to a glaze disaster.
• A big THANK YOU to Benita and Neal for all their help!

And just think, without my mother obsessively saving recipes, this one would have been lost for all eternity.

Coming up: the history of the Bundt pan revolution, and a test kitchen adventure.

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Published in: on January 27, 2008 at 8:52 am  Comments (5)  
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Salmon Burgers with Yogurt-Dill Sauce

I stumbled upon this recipe when Toby and I went up to Everett to celebrate his mom’s birthday. We were just going to enjoy something simple, like pizza or burgers, I was told.

Imagine my surprise to discover a newspaper clipping on Norm’s counter when I padded into the kitchen for a root beer. It was a recipe for salmon burgers, and it was being used so Toby’s sister Jessie could join in the feast. She’s vegetarian.

Salmon Burger recipe
The recipe.

Jessie doesn’t like critter flesh, but I suppose fish are OK because they’re not fuzzy, cute critters. (I discovered this class of vegetarian is “pesce-vegetarian” which apparently irks “real” vegetarians, as evidenced by these passionate forum responses. Additionally, I have a title too. I am apparently a Vegetarian Sympathizer.)

I asked Norm why he pulled a recipe from the paper, especially because vegetarian cookbooks are every freaking where, especially, it seems, in the Northwest (Unless these veggies shun pesce-vegetarians too).

“It just caught my eye,” he said. He said other quote-worthy material, but as I’ve long run out of reporter’s notebooks since leaving the profession and had no paper on me, I don’t feel qualified to quote him properly.

(A brief note, and then I promise I’ll be done with parenthetical comments. In searching for a link for reporter’s notebook, I discovered that A. Lot. of people think it’s witty to name their blogs “Reporter’s Notebook” or the more plurally-minded “Reporters’ Notebook” like it gives them street cred or something. It doesn’t. But then again, that’s coming from the girl without enough street cred to even own an empty reporter’s notebook.)

Anyway, here’s the cook:

Norm cooking salmon
Norm Keseric, chopping salmon like a pro.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of the whole “It’s vegetarian, but kind of not” debacle is the fact that the salmon isn’t deboned. Hopefully the bones are pulverized enough, I guess. Jessie did a pretty spot-on impression of what salmon bones might sound like while being crushed.

Jessie and the burger
Jessie, eating this week’s creation.

Anyway, to omnivores such as myself, the salmon burger was decent. The recipe doesn’t call for tomato, and Norm tried to stay true to its instructions, but I guess the burger needed the extra oomph the tomato provided. If you want to try it yourself, here’s how:

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 13, 2008.

Salmon Burgers with Yogurt-Dill Sauce

1 pound skinless salmon fillet, finely diced (see note)
1 tablespoon prepared white horseradish
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons plain, dried bread crumbs
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup plain, low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, split and toasted
Romaine lettuce, for serving

1. Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat.

2. In a medium bowl, combine salmon, horseradish, lemon zest and juice, egg, scallions, bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; mix gently with a fork.

3. Form salmon mixture into four 3 1/2-by-1-inch patties; place on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil without turning until browned on top and opaque throughout, 6 to 7 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, combine yogurt and dill in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Serve burgers on buns with yogurt-dill sauce and lettuce.

Note: To finely dice salmon without crushing it, start by thinly slicing the fillet with a sharp knife. Cut the slices lengthwise into strips, then crosswise.

img_0333.jpg
Jessie’s Salmon Burgers. Lovely work, Norm!

Notes and modifications:
• I already mentioned the benefits of the tomato addition.
• Be careful not to let the patty burn. Charred salmon doesn’t have quite the same appeal as the smoky taste of a regular burger.
• I learned this was kind of a cheating recipe (guilty again, Seattle P-I!) because it wasn’t originally from the newspaper. It’s from a Martha Stewart publication. Bah.
• This can be a pricey meal to make because you need to increase the amount of salmon. The recipe calls for a pound of salmon, but Norm pointed out that salmon’s weighed with the skin, which isn’t used in the meal.

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Published in: on January 20, 2008 at 2:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Just an ordinary guy

Before we left for Michigan, Toby and I made our trip to UW to scrounge through the L.A. Times microfiche. We were on a quest to satisfy my inexplicable curiosity with what sort of students would undertake a marinated flank steak salad.

img_0154_edited-2.jpg
The grad school library, Suzzallo.

Suzzallo is probably my favorite building at UW, and it didn’t let me down.

Searching for our fiche
Locating October 2004.

The fiche readers they have are pretty high-tech. They’re great quality, plus you can highlight any part of a page and instantly e-mail that portion to yourself. It was extremely convenient, considering that the machines I use at the Seattle Public Library require you to do a preliminary scan, a crop, a final scan, then a save onto a thumb drive (or print it and never have access to it again).

Searching through the archives.
Searching through the archives.

The pictures were pretty muddled, but it looks like the gents who crafted the marinated flank steak salad are just ordinary college students. I did notice that the article gives the disclaimer that these are part of the “essential (but adventurous) kitchen.” So these aren’t run-of-the-mill Top Ramen guys. That makes more sense, then.

I realized I never posted our final product, so here’s that as well:

Marinated Flank Steak Salad 
Ta da!

And so we arrive at the end of our L.A. Times marinated flank steak salad adventure. Thanks for playing along with us!

Join us next time, where we will either:
a) show you my awesome newspaper-related Christmas presents or
b) share the culinary results of Pat Nixon‘s favorite banana bread recipe (true story).

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

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Published in: on December 28, 2007 at 1:11 pm  Comments (1)  
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