Another salmon

I`m not very good at cooking fish. My latest favorite was tilapia in egg whites and almonds (next time I make it, you`ll have a picture and a recipe). This time: the boring salmon with a more original seasoning.
Rub salmon filet (whole) with coarse sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, brown sugar, and orange zest. Pour over juice of 1 orange. Bake in the oven. A bit of ginger would work as well; I chose not to add it in a hope that the kids would eat dinner.
Rice:
In a skillet coated with roasted sesame oil, gradually add and fry a chopped onion, 2 cloves of garlic, bell pepper, and rice. Season with salt and curcuma, cover with water. With the lid on, simmer until rice is soft and the water is soaked.


Baiba

Spinach Soup

Although it`s raining outside and you still need gloves in the morning, the summer has entered our kitchen and dining room. This is the time for local asparagus, rhubarb, and green leaves, including spinach. I find fresh spinach rather blunt, and when overcooked, it does not look very appealing either. For me, the right way is just blanching it, like in this hearty yet fresh tasting soup.
Allow several hours to prepare it unless you have the stock ready. 30-minute rule does not apply until June, since I`m at home with a baby and have the time for cooking.
For the soup, you will need:
beef (with bones - a cut suitable for stock)
aroma vegetables and herbs: thyme, rosemary, garlic, onion, persil, carrot, celery stick
carrots
potatoes
spinach
a couple of eggs
1. Beef stock. Cover the beef with cold water. Bring to boiling, then discard the water. Cover the beef with fresh water and bring to boiling again. While it simmers, prepare aroma herbs and vegetables in a gauze wrap, adding some black pepper corns. Put the wrap in the simmering water, add sea salt. Continue simmering at least an hour, preferably more. In the end, discard the aroma wrap and lift out the beef.

2. Peel and chop the carrots and potatoes. Add to the stock. Chop the cooked beef, add to the pot as well. While the vegetables are cooking, chop the spinach (discard the hard stalks). When carrots and potatoes are soft, add spinach and take the pot off the stove. The soup is ready; serve with boiled eggs.

Baiba

Eggplant casserole

In the previous post, I complained about the prolonged season of hearty dishes.
And finally it has arrived: a sunny spring. It feels so good that I fast-forwarded a few months and served this casserole of summer vegetables and low-fat mozzarella.

Slice an eggplant lengthwise. Whisk an egg with salt and pepper. Dip each slice in the egg, then breadcrumbs, and fry in a skillet. In a casserole dish, layer slices of mozzarella, the eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and bell pepper. Sprinkle with chopped garlic, basil leaves, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Repeat the layers. I only had the eggplant and mozzarella twice. Bake in the oven and serve with fresh salad greens.
Reminds of august evenings, of vacation and late dinners on the terrace with friends.

Baiba

Chicken and bean stew

Winter just wouldn`t go away, and hearty comfort food are still on the top of the list. This chicken and bean stew is really good: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1570643/spicy-chicken-and-bean-stew.

I almost followed the recipe this time. The exceptions are a can of chickpeas instead of 2 cans of butter bean, and lots of fresh bell pepper instead of 250 g frozen peppers. No coriander, served with rice and lamb`s lettuce.

Baiba
Potato dumplings with pesto and green beans
Pesto potato salad sounded a bit weird, though all the ingredients are among my favorites: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/06/pesto-potato-salad-with-green-beans/. I planned to go for the traditional pasta instead, but then it turned out Sandis already had pasta for lunch. What`s in between pasta and potatoes? Potato dumplings! Otherwise, the recipe is from the link above. I also added some salad leaves, as they were withering in the fridge. Crumble feta on top to make the dish more filling.

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Baking night

The 7-year-old asked for cinnamon buns. I doubled the amount of yeast dough to make sweet potato calzones for the adults at the same time.
For the filling, you`ll need:
Sweet potatoes and regular potatoes in approximate proportion 2:1
Feta cheese
Rucola
Peel and chop the potatoes. Boil until almost soft. Mix with the crumbled cheese and rucola, and you`ll have the filling. I hoped feta would be strong and salty enough, but I suggest you add some nut oil and spices as well. Roll out the dough (you want it to be rather thin), fill the calzones and glaze them with a whisked egg. Bake in the oven until slightly brown and cooked through. Serve with salad greens. The filling is tasty also without any baking or crust, don`t discard the leftovers.

Baiba
Carrot soup

I don`t use the printer very often. As I switched it on yesterday, this recipe came out: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2013/01/carrot-soup-with-tahini-and-crisped-chickpeas/. A message from God? I swear I had never seen it before. However, the soup seemed rather simple and delicious, so I decided to try it out. Besides, it was an opportunity to use the leftover tahini dressing from the evening before. My chickpeas were tossed in curry powder instead of cumin, as it would be a little too much cumin for Sandis (he`s not a big fan). The roasted chickpeas is all you need to turn dull blended vegetables into a substantial meal with a kick.
Later on, I realized it must have been my sister struggling with the printer during her visit last month. In that case, thanks for the recipe!
Baiba

Lazy turkey salad

I am ill, and have no energy for cooking. This salad is a quick combination of what I found in the fridge.
Marinate turkey pieces in chili flakes, soy sauce, honey and roasted sesame oil for some 15 minutes. In the meanwhile, chop an onion, a bell pepper and prepare the sauce. For the sauce, mix tahini paste, lemon juice, water, salt, pepper, and a minced garlic clove. Fry the onions, then add the pepper. Pour over some porto and saute a little. Set the vegetables aside, and fry the turkey. Serve on a bed of mixed salad leaves, sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds.

Baiba

Burgers

Usually, I cook for the adults, and the kids have rice or make a sandwich. Tonight, it’s the other way round. I made chicken patties, and Sandis combined the burgers.

Baiba

Hardly a few days since the last post, and already another one… 

Another curry with coconut milk
If you like nutty curries as much as I do, you have to try this one: peanut butter AND coconut milk. To round it up with more nuts, choose plain yoghurt with maple syrup, cinnamon and walnuts for the dessert.
For the curry (about 6 servings), you`ll need:
spring onions
pork, chopped bite-size, 500 g
red curry paste, 3 spoons
peanut butter, 2 spoons
brown sugar, 1 spoon
vegetable stock, 1 cup
low-fat coconut milk, 1 can of 400 g
deep-frozen cauliflower florets, a package of 250 g
palm hearts, a can of 400 g
juice of half-lemon
Fry the pork for 5 minutes to seal the juices. Add chopped spring onions and fry another minute. Add curry paste and peanut butter, then the sugar. Cover with stock and coconut oil, add the cauliflower, bring to boiling and simmer for some 10 minutes. Cut palm hearts, add to the sauce and heat through. Stir in lemon juice and serve with rice.
For one of the next posts, I`ll try out David Lebovitz recipes from his “Sweet Life in Paris”. A brilliant book, recommended by my sister who`s much more into desserts than me. Even if you choose to skip the dessert recipes, the book charms with its witty and accurate description of the Parisian lifestyle and some appealing ideas for non-sweet dishes. Breastfeeding a baby means a lot of time for reading:)

Baiba