Garlic Oven Fries

Try these the next time you’re grilling hamburgers.

Garlic Oven Fries

  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • 2 Tbs. crushed garlic
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put the garlic and oil into a 1-gallon zip lock bag, or into a large bowl.  Let the garlic visit happily with the oil while you cut the potatoes into fry-shaped slices. Toss the potatoes with the garlic oil, spread on a pan and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until browned. If you want a little extra browning, turn on the broiler for a minute or two.

A socially responsible fish shopper’s solution: Garlic Crumb-Topped White Fish

White Fish served with wild rice, broccoli shoots and cantaloupe.

Standing next to the fresh fish case at Sam’s Club, I phoned my socially aware sister, Maralee. “Is it still okay to eat talapia? I heard that deep fishing methods kill off coral reefs and dolphins, but this talapia is farm raised.” Maralee advises me to look for wild-caught salmon. But Sam’s salmon was from a farm in Norway (This would not be slow food.), the pink trout was farmed in Chile, and there was cod from Columbia. The white fish, however, was wild caught from relatively nearby Canada. These days, when purchasing fish, one must consider fishing practices, mercury content, distance transported; frankly, it gives me a headache. To be socially responsible while purchasing fish, concerned about impacting the environment and being safe, is about as much fun as buying a new car. At the Sam’s fish counter, admittedly not the ideal place to be responsible, the White Fish was the best choice. So tonight I made white fish, something that I’ve only ever used before as part of a gefilte fish recipe.

Garlic Crumb-Topped White Fish

  • 1 pound White Fish fillet
  • 3/4 cup crumbs (I used half panko and half matzo meal)
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 2-3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • fresh lemon

Place the fish, skin side down, in a greased baking dish. Blend together, using a fork, the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top of the fish, and press it down into the fish. Bake 1t 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the fish flakes off and the crumbs are slightly browned. Serve with fresh lemon.

The White Fish, just coming out of the oven.

Raspberry Vinaigrette

This is the time of year that I try to use up the berries that have been stored in my freezer all winter. Most of them go towards jam, but I keep some on hand to use in muffins and pancakes. Since berry-picking season is approaching, it’s time to clear out the freezer. Tonight, to dress up some cold green beans, I blended up some raspberry vinaigrette.

Raspberry Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup frozen, or fresh, raspberries
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 c. cilantro
  • 2-3 Tbs. sugar
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2-1 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Keep out 1/4 cup of the chopped cilantro. Blend together all the rest of the ingredients, then stir in the 1/4 cup of reserved cilantro. Store in the refrigerator.

Use the vinaigrette as a sauce to pour over steamed green beans, or as a marinade.

To use as a marinade for green beans:

Steam the green beans until just tender and not too soft, then immediately cool under running water. Put the beans in a ziplock bag with about 2 Tbs. of the marinade. Refrigerate for an hour or more. Serve cold.

Pasta Salad with Sausage and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Not only was it much too hot to cook, I really didn’t know what to make for dinner! My brilliant son, Max, reminded me that it’s pasta night so I forced myself to think up something to make out of the dish of unappealing, cold, leftover, plain bow tie pasta. Combining the bow ties with a few other leftovers led to tonight’s main course, Pasta Salad with Sausage and Sun Dried Tomatoes.

To the bow tie pasta, I stirred in some thinly sliced, browned chicken sausage (okay, a little stove-top cooking was necessary), tossed in some chopped parsley and chopped sun dried tomatoes, and seasoned with some salt and lots of ground pepper. We’ll have this, served cold, with a side of cantaloupe and some cold green beans with raspberry vinaigrette.

Three summer salads: Chicken salad, Fish salad, Egg salad

Trying something new with traditional favorites such as egg salad, chicken salad and tuna salad takes a little courage; a willingness to experiment with spices, herbs and textures. Wanting to please all the palates in our family, Molly and I concocted these tonight:

Curried Egg Salad

Mix together chopped hard boiled eggs, mayonnaise, chopped parsley and curry powder. Use more or less mayo and curry, plus salt, to taste.

Chicken Salad

Combine shredded chicken with mayonnaise, cilantro, toasted pecans or almonds, sliced tart apple, and sliced celery. Season with seasoned salt, to taste.

Fish Salad

Combine equal parts canned or fresh flaked salmon with canned tuna. Add in mayonnaise, chopped green onions or a small quantity of chopped sweet onion, dill weed, and salt, to taste.

Welcome potluck season with Lemon-Ginger Coleslaw

Tonight is the first of the summer potluck picnics. Joe’s class is having a hot dog barbecue and the parents are bringing side dishes. With an international group of families there is always a terrific showing of dishes at these gatherings, so I decided to liven up an American classic with my version of coleslaw.

Lemon-Ginger Coleslaw

  • 1 medium head green cabbage
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 4 green onions
  • 3 carrots
  • 1-1/4 c. mayonaise
  • the juice of 1-1/2 lemons
  • 1 2″ piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 2 navel oranges, cut into chunks
  • 1 can pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 3/4 c. raisins
  • 3/4 c. slivered almonds, toasted

Slice cabbage, celery and green onions very thin and grate the carrots. Mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, ginger, sugar and salt, then combine everything together. Serve very cold.

Recital cookies follow-up

Cream Cheese cookies on our blackboard plate. The notes were chalked on this morning.

This morning, before the house got hot, I baked a second batch of the Cream Cheese Cookies to take to the piano recital. This time I followed the recipe. My panel of tasters agreed that these are much better than last night’s batch, so I encourage you to indulge in the butter fat and follow the recipe as written. These are much lighter, taller and delicate than the version with only half of the butter.

Welcoming summer weather with a platter full of Chef’s Salad

Ninety degree weather descended upon us today, forcing me to quickly dust off our favorite hot weather, no-cook supper ideas. A chef’s salad, served up beautifully on our Thanksgiving turkey platter, made a great presentation and a fun dinner with something for everyone. Start with a bed of mixed organic greens and top with your family’s favorite deli meats, cheeses, hard boiled eggs, cold cooked shrimp, and plenty of raw vegetables. (Sorry, but this is so not Kosher.)

We had ours with Macey’s favorite Thousand Island dressing, and a bowl of fresh, sliced cantaloupe.

Fancy goodies for Joe’s piano recital: Cream Cheese Cookies

Joe’s piano recital is tomorrow and I want to take something a little bit fancy, not so sugary, in an attempt to broaden the palette of the young musicians. (Or at the very least to give the parents something interesting to eat.) These cookies have no sugar or eggs in the dough, sweetened only with a dollop of jam and a dusting of powdered sugar.

I love Joe’s piano recital. It is a very sweet event, held on a grand piano in a church sanctuary, lovingly run by Mrs. Todd and her family. First the really little kids play their pieces, with Mrs. Todd helping them make things even more musical by accompanying them on a duet. Then the older kids play their pieces solo. After wards, the Todd family has a reception with punch and treats donated by parents.

I botched this recipe tonight, but I’m posting the finished product because they still tasted pretty good. My teenagers like them! I left out half of the butter, so if you’re interested in a flaky little, not-too-sweet cookie with not quite so much butter fat, then you can do as I did.

Tomorrow morning I’ll make a new batch using the correct recipe (below), so that I can properly spoil the young musicians.

Cream Cheese Cookies

  • 1 8-oz package of cream cheese
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2-1/2 c. flour

Cream the cream cheese and butter, then slowly mix in the flour. Knead for a moment to make a smooth ball, and then refrigerate for an hour or so. Roll out about 1/3″ thick in some powdered sugar. Cut into shapes and dent the middle with something round like the back of a wooden spoon, or your thumb. You can dip the spoon end into a little powdered sugar if it sticks. Pipe or spoon in a small dollop of thick jam. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly brown. Dust with powdered sugar when cool.