Monday, June 21, 2010

Sardines Revisited

When I first started this blog, I posted a quick write up on how I love Sardines (Saltines and Omega 3) and the fact that I think they get a bad rep. I also posted a link to an Alton Brown, Good Eats recipe “Sherried Sardine Toast” that I had not tried out at the time, however recommended to folks who are willing to eat these lovely little fishes.

Well, I took the plunge and tested out this recipe and OH MY TASTE BUDS! The Alton Brown episode was extremely mouth watering, especially if you are a person who loves to eat sardines like me, but at the same time it does not do the justice it really deserves until you taste this wonderful snack/lunch and even more.

I personally had this tasty delight for what I call “Lupper”, the time between a late lunch and supper, which is generally when I eat, as I am not a big breakfast or for that matter a big lunch eater. I mainly see myself as a dinner hound and the occasional over the sink/counter eater.

Not to get off subject, but did you know that there is a difference between Supper and Dinner? Well, there was in my family according to my Nana on my father’s side. Supper was the feast between 4pm and 7pm on holidays and Dinner was any meals eaten a few hours later-between 7-9pm. Now…Don’t have a frenzy, I know this is backwards as the dictionary is Dinner first, then Supper. But hey, I loved my Nana (even though not that educated) and that’s how it was in my family.

So, back to the Sherried Sardine Toast…Again, WOW! I really think, if you are a person who may be a bit squeamish about sardines, to try this recipe out. The toast and the smooth buttery taste of the Avocado; with the initial splash of the sherry vinegar on the tongue really tones down the Sardine fishiness. I even believe that if the canned Brisling Sardines are still not something you want to be adventurous with, try just canned tuna in oil as a starting point. I might even try this with anchovies and add some small capers (not caper berries-but hey this could work too)!

So the pictures I have posted are not exactly the "Toast" the recipe calls for exactly, but at the time, I only had what I had.  So that should tell everyone that you don't necessarily have to have a boule to make this treat.  I used an italian long loaf of bread and cut it in long wedges, which is actually perfect for the snack/appetizer form which will yield 8 smaller slices instead of the bigger 4 the original recipe recommends.  For a more substantial meal, then use a thicker loaf of crusty bread as stated.

So, be adventurous for the rest of this month! This recipe is perfect for a Snack, Appetizer and if you are like me, perfect for “lupper” and a late night snack!  Just keep in mind, this is a recipe that does not store for more than the day you prepare it. Yes, you can make half (the toast should be prepared as you serve it)  for the early part of the day, but best make and eat the next half before the day ends.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cool your Cucumbers! Will ya?

Hi folks, sorry for the long delay in posting a recipe. Been kinda busy these days and like in my previous post, the foods I’ve been preparing and/or eating haven’t been all that exciting to write about.

As much as I love to cook, I still can’t figure out how all the chefs in the world can cook in such a hot environment through the summer months. Granted, you do lose a lot of weight, as it’s like being in a sauna somewhat, but try being in a sauna for eight or more hours straight. I know I can’t do it, that’s one reason I never went into the culinary arts profession.

With the real summer officially on the way soon (June 21st) and with more and more Hot and Humid days to come, cooking hot meals in the kitchen are just too much to take (FYI A Science Fact: After the Summer Solstace the Light loses 1 Minute a Day until the Winter Solstace, then the 1 Minute is gained again until the Summer begins again!). Eating hot meals in the summer months has somewhat always been a bit unappealing appetite wise for me and I am always looking to expand my main dish repertoire to cool and refreshing dishes that minimize the usage of heat.

I love using a grill, but I’m in an Apartment with no back yard to place a grill. All I’ve got is a grill/griddle to place on my stove top and even that generates a lot of heat, even with the AC on in my kitchen! If I can’t stand the heat, should that really mean I should get out of the kitchen? I think not and neither should you!

The other day I had been talking to one of my recruiters whom I gave my blog address to view my recipes. Turns out we had a lot in common when it comes to certain foods. She had checked out the Chilled Tomato and Avocado Soup and then we started discussing Russian foods, as she was from the Ukraine. She mentioned she had a few recipes for me, but I couldn’t wait and started looking for a Chilled Cucumber Soup recipe we had discussed, on my own.

So, my cold cucumber soup craving lasted for several days until I couldn’t stand it anymore…I found several recipes and like I usually do, take bits and pieces and modify. I can’t remember where I actually got this recipe from so sorry if I don’t provide an original link, but here is my modified version.

Please note this is not a “Dairy Free” recipe, but it IS a No Cook, No Bake recipe. However, you can substitute certain ingredients, which I will mention in the Ingredient list.
Chilled Cucumber & Dill Soup
Makes approximately 4 servings
Special Equipment: Either a large Blender or Food Processor.

  • 1 Tsp Fresh Dill (You can use ½ Tsp dried if that’s all you have)
    • Note: You can switch the Dill out for other Herbs such as: Mint, Tarragon, or even Lemon Thyme for a very distinct flavor. If using fresh herbs, I opt for double the dry measurements.
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (One Medium Fresh Lemon)
  • 1/2 Tsp celery salt (can use Sea Salt, but the celery salt provides a distinctive flavor element Salt cannot)
  • 1/4 Tsp pepper or try white pepper only
  • 2 green onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
    • Note: I used Kirby Cucumbers as they are my favorite. I used a total of 9 Kirby’s, reserving 1 Peeled but not seeded for adding a chunky element to the soup
  • ¾ or 1 Cup of sour cream or plain yogurt
To Prepare is extremely simple…
  1. Add all ingredients in the order listed except for the Sour Cream/Yogurt to your Blender or Food Processor.
  2. Pulse the ingredients until fully puréed. Once puréed, add sour cream/yogurt and pulse until combined.
  3. Place soup mixture in a glass or plastic bowl (Metal bowls are not good storage for this type of soup) in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours (24 would be even better-especially if using dried herbs) until well chilled. BTW: This soup can last for at least 4 days in the fridge. I wouldn’t recommend freezing this.
  4. Serve with a sprig of the Herb of choice and I would even go as far as drizzling a fragrant Olive Oil if that fancies you.
Enjoy and eat Cool!