Sunday, October 30, 2011

Maple Mustard Salmon

This is a recipe for maple mustard salmon.  It is so easy and quick that the first thing you should do is preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Then mix a couple of Tbsp of maple syrup with a large spoon of a grainy mustard.  I'm not sure you can get maple syrup depending on where you live.   Here in Canada it is plentiful.  If you can't, try some honey as a substitute.

Lined a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place a nice large fillet of salmon on it.  Spread the maple mustard mixture over it and season with salt and pepper.

This salmon was fairly thin so I baked it for 15 minutes.  Just keep an eye on yours so you don't overcook it.  Take it out when it is starting to flake and enjoy a dinner with rice and salad that took about 30 minutes to make!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fabulous Fried Chicken

Tonight's dinner was fabulous fried chicken.  As this is fried, it is a rare treat.  The secret is soaking it in buttermilk for 3 or 4 hours at least (you can soak for 24 hours if you'd like).  I like to do chicken thighs and I wash and trim them very well.  Get rid of all the visible fat and extra skin.  Then place them in a casserole and cover with buttermilk.  I added a bit more milk after taking the picture so you could see the chicken.

Once you are ready to cook, heat oil in a heavy Dutch oven so it would barely cover the chicken.  Then in a large plastic bag, add 2 1/2 cups of flour, 3 tsp of  paprika, 1 tsp of cayenne, 2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper.  Mix well to combine. Then using a pair of  tongs to keep your fingers dry, add a piece of chicken and shake to coat well.

Gently place the piece of  chicken, skin side down into the hot oil.  Don't overcrowd the pan or it will lower the temp of the oil and make your chicken soggy.  I find I can do 4 thighs at once.  They take about 10 minutes and then I turn them over with a clean pair of tongs and cook another 7 to 10 minutes.  You'll know they are done when they are mahogany coloured.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

This is my nephew Eric's favourite appetizer and I can't blame him - everything is better wrapped in bacon.  Use 2 small or one large can of water chestnuts - usually about 30 or 32 chestnuts.  Make sure you buy the whole water chestnuts - I made a mistake this time and bought sliced so I had to use 3 slices to make one chestnut - just a little more fiddly to assemble. Drain them and soak them in soy sauce for at least 20 minutes.  Soak your toothpicks in water for at least 20 minutes too so they won't burn in the oven.  I always soak a few more toothpicks than water chestnuts in case any splinter.

Next you need to partially cook a pound of bacon.  You need half a slice of bacon for each water chestnut.  The bacon needs to be cooked just enough that it can be wrapped around the chestnut without crumbling.

Pour a cup or so of white sugar into a bowl and dredge each chestnut in the sugar before wrapping it with bacon and securing with a toothpick.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place your chestnuts on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

You can serve them right out of the oven but I'm usually making them to take to someone else's party so I put them in a casserole.  This can then be microwaved for 2 or 3 minutes til hot.  These are amazingly good.  So give them a try - even if you think they sound a bit disgusting - you'll be surprised.

Thanksgiving - my favourite holiday!

Thanksgiving dinner is my favourite meal of the year.  A gorgeous turkey with all the trimmings - like Christmas without the hassles of shopping, etc.  I bought a fresh turkey at Flannigan's - a 17 pounder.  I also got my mother to teach me her dressing secrets because my dressing always sucks.  We started with stale bread - white and whole wheat - broken into small cubes that were about a half inch square.  You'll need 8 to 10 cups of bread.  We made a very simple sausage stuffing that was so delish!  I bought a pound of sausage meat from Flannigan's and browned that.

I then sauteed 2 stalks of chopped celery and 1 1/2 medium chopped onions in a couple of tablespoons of margarine.

Then the bread cubes were sprinkled with 2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper and 1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp of ground poultry seasoning.  To that we added the vegetables and sausage and mixed well.

The turkey was stuffed front and back and stitched up.  It was brushed with 2 Tbsp of melted margarine seasoned with 1 tsp of dried savoury and 1 tsp of poultry seasoning and 1 tsp of paprika.  Add salt and pepper.  I then placed it in a preheated 325 degree oven in a large roast pan covered with foil.  I cooked it slowly from 1:30 pm to 6 pm.  It was basted hourly and the foil was removed about 4 pm.  At 5, I increased the heat to 350 for the last hour to finish browning it.  It was a great dinner with my family contributing - Connie brought apple pie and pumpkin mousse pie, Allyson brought her spinach and pear salad, Cheryl brought turnip and bread, Mom made coleslaw with Grandma's dressing, I did the potatoes and gravy and we started with my bacon wrapped water chestnuts (recipe to follow).  It was a memorable meal - sad to see another Thanksgiving weekend over....