Saturday, August 27, 2016

Thai Curry Salmon Patties

I love a good salmon burger and over the last few years have tried them every way I possibly could. Then I cam across this recipe for a fish burger that is heavy on the Thai flavors. The original recipe called for cod or some other white fleshed fish but since I have a ton of salmon in the freezer I wanted to try it with salmon. What caught my interest about this recipe was the use of red curry paste and fish sauce. They are two of my favorite ingredients and any opportunity I get to use them I jump at. 

There isn't to much to this recipe and you don't add anything as a binder so the patties are little loose. I think if I make them again I will add a little coconut flour or maybe even an egg to help bind them together a bit. I would also like to try this on a toasted bun but my wife has me on a diet currently that doesn't allow breads. The other thing I kept thinking was how good this salmon mixture would be in a fried wonton. So stay tuned you might be seeing that soon.  If you like curry and you like salmon burger you have to give this a try.

Thai Curry Salmon Patties

1 lb. boneless, skinless cod fillet, roughy chopped
14 cup thai red curry paste
2 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
3 tbsp. roughly chopped roasted, salted peanuts
2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp. fish sauce
zest of 1 lime plus 1tsp. of lime juice

Mix the ingredients together and form into patties. I pan fried mine in coconut oil for 3 minute preside.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Buffalo Steaks with a Mushroom Port Sauce

I was sitting down to dinner the other night and had made one of my all time favorite dishes. Steak with a mushroom port sauce. It doesn't matter what kind of steak, although I used Bison steaks this time, this sauce is so good it works with any kind of steak. As I was eating, it dawned on me that I have never written about this recipe. how I managed to over look that is beyond me.

It is one of the first things I learned how to make way back in 1998 when I returned home from the Navy. I saw Emeril Lagasse make it on one of his TV shows and ran out to buy everything I needed. I didn't have any venison or wild game at that time to use so I bought strip steaks at the grocery store. I love Port wine and always have a bottle on hand for drinking. The first time I tried this with venison I was sold and it is one of the dishes I make sure to serve to anyone who claims they don't like venison. I made it for my mother-in-law and she told me that this sauce would make cardboard a delicacy.

It goes like this, salt and pepper your steaks generously. Then melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium high heat. Sear the steaks for 2-3 minutes per side until you get a nice crust. Remove the steaks and set aside.

Add another tablespoon of butter to the pan and add minced garlic and shallots. season with salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Dump in the mushrooms (I like to use hen of the woods mushrooms for this but I also will use a wild mushroom blend that I get at the grocery store) and cook for 4-5 minutes. Pour in the broth, port, Worcestershire and balsamic vinegar and continue coking until the liquid reduces by half. whisk in 2 more tablespoons of butter. Return the steaks to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. To serve Place the steaks on the plate and spoon the mushrooms and the sauce over the steaks.

Its not a bad Idea to have some good bread on hand to soak up the sauce. Otherwise you will end up licking the plate and nobody wants to see that.

Mushroom Port Sauce

8ounces of fresh mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced thin

2 cloves of garlic minced
1 shallot finely chopped

1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup Ruby Port

3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chilled butter. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Poor Man's Lobster (Version 1)

Last month I said I was going to start making some of the different versions of Poor man's lobster that I have heard of. If you are unfamiliar with poor man's lobster click the link and catch up. If you are familiar with it then this one might sound familiar to you. One of the old Vets I took care of at the VA told me this one and I figure it was a good place to start.

The recipe goes like this, Cut up pieces of northern pike and soak them in white vinegar for 2-3 days. then boil the pieces of fish in sugar water and dip in butter I used a half cup of sugar for about 4 cups of water. Seems reasonable I suppose, the vinegar would soften the bones and the sugar water would make it sweet and it should be just like lobster. Well some of that it true. Yes the vinegar soften the bones and yes the sugar water made it sweet but it in no way tasted like lobster. I soaked the fillets for 3 days and I am certain that is to long. Not only were the bones soft but the whole fillet was soft. The only way I can describe it is that it had the texture and flavor of pickled lutefisk if pickled lutefisk existed. The over all wasn't horrible but I certainly wouldn't want to sit down to a meal of it anytime soon.

I had said that I was going to try and make each version in a couple of ways. Served with butter and then in a lobster roll. That wasn't possible with this recipe the fish was so mushy and soft that it would have turned to paste if I tried to stir in mayo. So as far as this version goes I can say that it doesn't at all remind me in any way of lobster. I may try it again if I get really bored and only soak the fillets in vinegar for a day at the most. I don't know if that will be enough time to soften the bones or not but maybe the fish will have a better texture.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Pike For Breakfast

I know most people don't immediately think about fish for breakfast but lately I have been loving it. On one of my last fishing outings I was on a lake that has high numbers of Northern Pike and they have special regulations. They want you to keep the smaller pike and encourage you to let all the bigger pike go. (over 24 inches) That wasn't a problem for me because I personally believe that any pike between 20-24 inches is the perfect eating size. It didn't take me long that day and I had my limit of pike in the live well.

I have quite a bit of pike in the freezer now and have been slowly making my way through it. I love eating pike because of its firm texture and mild flavor. It holds up well to a variety of cooking methods and goes well with anything. For breakfast I like to toss it in a little flour with Cavender's Greek seasoning and fry it in butter served alongside some fried eggs and charred tomatoes. It is one of my favorite breakfasts. I like to dip the fish in the runny yolks. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Poor Man's Lobster (The Original)

What is Poor Man's Lobster? Is it one thing, or is it just a term used to describe dozens if not hundreds of fish. I was at work the other night taking care of an old vet and we got on the topic of fishing. He told me that they used to catch Northern Pike and then fillet them leaving the y-bones in. They would then soak the fillets for three days in vinegar to soften the bones. After that they would rinse the meat and then boil it in sugar water and serve it with drawn butter. He then called it "Poor Mans  lobster". I have heard so many people tell similar stories to that. I would be willing to bet that everywhere you go you will find a different version of "Poor Man's Lobster" and they all claim that by cooking some usually less than desirable fish in some ridiculous manner it tastes just like lobster.

I started thinking about this "poor man's Lobster". Do any of them actually taste like lobster? How many different versions are there? I went on a couple of Facebook forums and asked what everyone considered "poor man's lobster". I got a hundred responses from Gar boiled in 7-UP to Black fish Poached with lemon and served with butter. I decided that I was going to try them all, or at least as many as I can.

I decided I would start with the original poor man's lobster, Lobster. In the early days of the colonies Lobsters were considered garbage food. Up until the later 1800's lobsters were so plentiful and undesirable that they were fed to prisoners and livestock. It wasn't until that late 1800's that people further in from the coast were traveling out to the coast and finding lobsters and eating them. They realized how good they were and started transporting them into the bigger cities where they were sold for a premium. Today of course lobster is regarded as a delicacy.

I am going to try and make this a regular post and try as many different types of "poor man's lobster" as I can find. If you read this and have a recipe that I should try please send it to me and I will post it on here. I will try to make at least one recipe per month. Since most recipes for "poor man's lobster involve dipping it in butter I am going to make every version two ways. The first will be with butter and the second will be made into one of my favorite ways to eat lobster. The lobster roll.

My Lobster Roll

1 cup chopped lobster meat
1 large spoonful of mayonnaise more or less depending on how much you like mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 stalk of celery finely chopped
1 green onion thinly sliced
1/4 tsp Old Bay Seasoning.

Mix all ingredients together and serve on a toasted hot dog bun or Brioche roll.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Miso Glazed Salmon Skewers

Well my latest trip over to Lake Michigan was much more successful than my last one. I even got to experience sea sickness for the first time in my life. Our first day out the wind was howling and the lake was rolling out 5-6 foot waves. I don't usually get sea sick and truthfully was doing just fine for the first couple of hours and then went below to use the bathroom and something about being in that tiny little closet of a bathroom and the motion was more than I could take. I broke out in a sweat and just couldn't shake the nausea after that. I held it together the best I could for the remainder of the day but it was everything I could do not to start chumming the waters. We only got three fish that first day and we had to work for the three we got.

The second day out was much calmer and we started getting fish shortly after they set out the lines. I can't say the action was non-stop but we did have a fish or a strike about every 20 minutes through out the day. We ended the second day with 11 fish and a total of 14 for the 2 days. When I got home I weighed it all out and packaged it and we brought home 46 pounds of fillets.

The first thing I wanted to do was make some type of salmon skewer. I wanted to try some type of miso on them and found a great Miso and honey glaze to brush on the salmon as it grills. This salmon from Lake Michigan is some of the cleanest tasting salmon I have ever had and the glaze adds a sweet and salty touch that is hard to beat.

Miso Glazed Salmon Skewers

1 lbs. salmon fillets (cut into 1 inch wide strips)
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp grated lemon grass

Combine the oil, soy sauce, ginger and lemon grass and then pour it over the salmon strip and marinade for 30 minutes prior to grilling.

For the glaze

3 tablespoons Red Miso Paste
2 tablespoons Mirin
2 tablespoons cooking rice wine
2 tablespoons honey
1 clove of garlic minced

Stir the ingredients for the glaze together until well combined.

grill the salmon skewers on a hot grill for 2 minutes on each side. After you turn the skewers the first time brush with the glaze and grill for a couple more minutes on each side for a total of four minutes per side. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Fishing With the Kids

Sometimes I forget about the simple things. When I was a kid I would fish off of my grandparents dock usually under the boat lift and catch perch, rock bass and sunfish. I would go through 3-4 dozen worms a day and when I ran out of worms I would have to go up into the woods and dig for more worms or get creative and find something else that would work. Many times I would resort to using bit of hotdog or a piece of bacon. The great thing about those panfish is that they would bite on just about anything. 

Some of my favorite fishing memories are from fishing off a dock and catching a stringer full of pan fish. I remember one day when I was about 10, my cousin Tony and I went from dock to dock along the shoreline and caught probably 30 fish. It was a mixed stringer of perch, rock bass, sunnies and if I remember correctly there was a northern and a walleye mixed in there as well. Another time I was staying at a resort with all my family and my mom's husband, my brother in law Flip and myself caught a stringer of perch and rock bass that was enough to feed 15 people.

Sometimes I think we forget the pure joy of just catching fish and we get hung up on catching walleye's or northern's. I like catching big Northern's just as much if not more than the next guy and I will never turn down an 18 inch walleye but putting pride aside and just going out with my kids to catch sunnies or perch or rock bass  is one of the most rewarding experiences I can have. 

Last week my daughter asked if we could go fishing and my first thought was, we don't have time. I was thinking about getting the boat out and packing a lunch and being out all day. Then it occurred to me that I don't have to do any of that. All she wanted was to go catch a fish. And that could be done at any number of fishing docks within ten minutes of my house. I grabbed the fishing poles and a couple dozen worms and took my kids fishing. Nothing fancy just a small hook and some split shot set under an orange bobber. We weren't there 2 minutes and Eleanor had already caught a small sunny. You'll notice in the picture at the top the small sunny brought a smile and joy to her face. Shortly after that she caught a much bigger sunfish and it brought the same joy only it brought some panic along with it. the bigger fish was harder to real in and was much more difficult to hold up for the picture. 

She asked if we could keep the bigger one and I threw it in the cooler on ice. She kept asking me if I was proud of her for catching such a big fish. I kept telling her that I am always proud of her. We kept fishing until we ran out of worms and both Ellie and Charlie caught a lot of fish. Charlie lost interest and wanted to race his truck on the shore but Ellie wanted to catch more fish. When we ran out of worms Ellie had caught probably 30 fish and 5 of them were big sunnies that we kept.

I cleaned those sunnies and fried them up with some tartar sauce for dinner that night. Eleanor realized during dinner that night that she caught all of the fish we were eating and that she was in fact responsible for feeding our family that night. She kept asking me if I was proud of her and I kept telling her that I am always proud of her. But when she realized that we were eating all the fish that she had caught, she was proud of herself. Ever since that day last week she has been asking to go fishing again. I need to remember that it doesn't have to be an all day outing and that some of the greatest fishing memories can just be an hour at the dock.