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Smitten

31 Jul

Smitten Zucchini Bread

What do you do when a neighbor kindly gifts you a 3 pound zucchini?  You make zucchini bread.  Lots of zucchini bread.  And if you’re me, where is the first place you look for a zucchini bread recipe?  Smitten Kitchen, of course. Continue reading

GOOPy

27 Jul

Dried

Dear Gwenny,

You really do make it too easy to pick on you.  You can’t help the fact that you are genetically blessed, so I won’t hate you because you’re beautiful.  I also won’t hate on you for your career success (truth be told, I really enjoyed you in  View From The Top and I was sorry to see you lose your head in Seven) or for landing a rock star husband.  Some people are just lucky. Continue reading

Waste Management

24 Jul

Wasted Potential

Buying items just because they are on sale is only a bargain if you use them.  Otherwise they’re a  huge waste of money.  Impulse grocery shopping usually comes back and bites me in the butt.  My most recent example?  Those cherries on sale at The Fresh Market were a great price.  I was expecting cherries as delicious as the ones I got direct from the farm at Baugher’s.  What I got instead was a heaping serving of disappointment. Continue reading

Muscle

22 Jul

viking-48-oven-12-56-2006A good amount of the disk space on our Tivo gets taken up with cooking shows.  Food Network, PBS, I like to mix it all up.  When I watch them, I frequently experience kitchen envy.  Seriously, have you seen Paula Deen’s or Ina Garten’s kitchen?  Dreamy.  Multiple cooktops, deep fryers, and refrigerator drawers.  Best of all are those professional stoves.  48 to 60 inches of high btu muscle with double ovens.  They are the kitchen equivalent of the Ford Mustang in Steve McQueen’s Bullitt.  High revving, rubber burning, wild horses.  I so wish I could have one of those.  My kitchen, in comparison, is more like a Honda Accord.  It’s reliable for getting you where you need to go but would never win in a drag race.

Not that having fancy, expensive equipment means anything when it comes to serving up good food.  Deb, who I heart, from Smitten Kitchen turns out the best food from a teeny, tiny New York City apartment kitchen.  Think your kitchen is small?  Try working in a 24 square foot space.  That’s smaller than my closet.  And yet, without the aid of fancy equipment, she turns out all sorts of baked, fried, and roasted goodness.

Like anything else, your equipment is a tool that either you know how to use or you don’t.  That 48 inch Viking isn’t going to magically transform a bad dish into a good one.  So work with what you have, find its muscle, and make it work for you.  Your kitchen may not burn rubber like Steve McQueen’s Mustang, but it won’t need new tires as quickly either.

Oven Roasted Salmon

Cook’s Illustrated

I added paprika and chili powder, not original to the CI recipe.

  • 1 skin on salmon fillet, 1 3/4 – 2 pounds (I used two individual skinless fillets)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Paprika
  • Chili powder
  • Salt

Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees.  If using skin on salmon, make 4 or 5 shallow slashes about an inch apart along the skin side of each piece, being careful not to cut into flesh.

Pat salmon dry.  Rub fillets with oil and season with salt, paprika, and chili powder.  Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees and remove the HOT baking sheet.  Carefully place salmon skin side down on baking sheet.  Roast until centers of thickest part of fillets are still translucent when cut into with paring knife or instant read thermometer inserted in thickest part of fillets registers 125 degrees, 9 to 13 minutes.  Transfer fillets to individual plates or platter.

Pineapple Avocado Salsa

The Washington Post

  • 4 ounces fresh or canned pineapple, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch dice (1/2 cup)
  • Flesh of half a medium avocado, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 scallion, white and light green parts, cut crosswise into thin slices (2 to 3 teaspoons)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 1 to 2 limes (1 tablespoon)

Combine the pineapple, avocado, scallion, salt, and lime juice in a mixing bowl.  Toss to combine.

Atlantic Salmon on Foodista

Don’t Judge a Book by the Cover

20 Jul

i want chocolate

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Not only is that some commercial tag line, it’s also the God’s honest truth.  Sometimes, bad first impressions can’t be overcome.  Other times, if you look past them, you find that you were totally wrong.  Like that time in middle school when both Kristen Heher and I thought each other was trouble, with a capital T.  Maybe we were, but after we got to know each other, we were best friends for two years.  As hard as it is for me to admit when I am wrong, it’s even harder not to share with you something so ugly it’s good. Continue reading

Tastes Like That Good Old Fashioned Lemonade

17 Jul

Lemon

In my childhood, a container of Country Time mix was the closest we ever got to homemade lemonade.  You remember Country Time, don’t you?  It “tastes like that good old fashioned lemonade”, or so they say.  I say it tastes like: Sugar, Fructose, Citric Acid (Provides Tartness), Natural Flavor, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Maltodextrin, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Citrate (Controls Acidity), Magnesium Oxide (Prevents Caking), Calcium Fumarate, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Color, Yellow 5 Lake, Tocopherol (Preserves Freshness).  How’s that good old fashioned lemonade? Call me silly but I thought lemonade was lemon juice, water, and sugar. Continue reading

Intersection

15 Jul

W2-1

Here at Exit 51, like in life, it’s funny how sometimes totally unrelated things intersect.  One day I’m going on and on about pickled this and pickled that.  The next I’m gushing over my glorious mandoline.  And today, I shall bring the two together. Continue reading

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