Smoked Salmon Salad

Barry used some salmon filets that he had smoked to create a delicious salmon salad. Of course he just kind of threw it together, using what we had on hand. So instead of the usual recipe specifics, I’m just providing a basic outline . . .

Smoked Salmon Salad
Salad greens – he used a base of fresh spinach and chopped romaine lettuce
Chopped green or white onions – just enough to add some flavor
Sections of a peeled “Cutie” Clementine (sweet seedless mandarin orange) – he used o1 per salad
Smoked salmon filet, flaked – he used about 3 oz. per salad
Craisins (dried cranberries) – a tablespoon or two per salad (could be presoaked in some Celery Seed Dressing to slightly soften and plump before adding to salad)
Jicama, sliced and used to top salad

3 competition-style recipes -- Kansas ProStart student competition

The Abilene High School culinary team has been working and is ready for the Kansas ProStart competition being held in Wichita March 3-4. Below are the recipes they are preparing. See the story I wrote about this competition, "Abilene High School Students Cook Up Talent!" on the Abilene Kansas blog. All photos were taken by Sarah Geiger

Teia Potter’s POTSTICKERS     Makes 2 portions
Pan frying is the technique employed in this dish. It’s a shallow frying method where the food is only partially covered in oil. Teia drops her potstickers in oil that is hot enough to ensure that the moisture in them can escape in the form of steam. The force of that steam also keeps the oil from soaking into the potstickers. Concerning the origin of her recipe, she explained, “It’s a mix between what I found online and my mom’s family recipe for egg rolls.”

Ingredients
Potsticker Filling
   ¼ lb. ground pork
   ⅛ cup (2 tablespoons) chopped scallions (green onions)
   1 ⅛ teaspoon grated ginger root
   3 tablespoons vegetable oil
   2 tablespoons finely chopped cabbage
   1 tablespoon soy sauce
---
6 wonton skins  
---
Sauce  
   1 tablespoon granulated sugar
   1 tablespoon rice vinegar
   1 tablespoon water
   ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
--
Additional vegetable oil for pan frying 

Directions
Potsticker Filling: Brown the pork in a skillet. Combine cooked pot with remaining ingredients.
To Assemble Pot Stickers: Brush edges of the skin lightly with water; place about a rounded ½ teaspoon of the pork mixture in the center of the wrapper. Fold, shape and seal edges.
Pan Frying: Heat just enough additional vegetable oil to partially cover pot stickers as they fry.
Sauce: Mix together sauce ingredients and serve as an accompaniment to pot stickers.
 Teia works on plating her potstickers.


Teia’s offering includes three potstickers with dipping sauce.

Issaih Lopez’s KUNG PAO BEEF     Makes 4 servings
After consulting with Mrs. Farr, his culinary instructor, Issaih decided to use a cookie cutter to mold the rice that accompanies his Asian entrée. He also noted, “I combined two recipes but the first time I made this dish, we determined it was too salty.” He tried two more adjustments, and after his third try, he said, “I got it just right this time!”

Ingredients
1 ½ lbs. boneless beef sirloin
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine or sherry
1 egg white, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons peanut or corn oil
4 dried red chiles, split
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ tablespoon grated ginger root
1 teaspoon Szechwan pepper, toasted and crushed 
2 scallions (green onions), cut in ½” pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut in pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine or sherry
2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or balsamic
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
⅓ cup roasted peanuts

Directions
Trim fat from the steak and cut into 1” cubes. Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine/sherry, egg white and salt in a glass bowl. Add the beef and stir to coat. Marinate for 1 hour, covered in the refrigerator.
Place peanut/corn oil in a wok, swirling to coat the sides, and place over high heat. Add the chilies and cook until they begin to darken. Add the garlic, ginger and Szechwan pepper; continue to cook to infuse the oil. Add the scallions and bell pepper. Remove the steak from the marinade and add it to the wok. Stir-fry the beef for 3 minutes until brown. Blend in soy sauce, rice wine, Chinese vinegar, sugar and chicken broth. Dissolve the cornstarch slurry and add it to the sauce, stirring, to thicken. Sprinkle in the peanuts and stir to coat. Serve over rice.
Issaih Lopez stirs the ingredients for his Kung Pao Beef as Stephanie Mikulecky assists in the background.


Rice accompanies Issaih’s entrée dish that is garnished with a carrot flower.

Addie Alvarez’s STRAWBERRY-FILLED WONTON CUPS
Addie found the strawberry filling recipe online but had to tweak it to adjust the sweetness. She adds that filling and chocolate sauce to squeeze bottles for ease in dispensing, and to create the eye-catching chocolate designs on her dessert plate. She put her own spin on this dish by creating flower-shaped wonton cups that hold the sauce.

Strawberry Filling (this makes enough for several serving)
   1 cup fresh strawberries
   ½ cup granulated sugar
   2 teaspoons cornstarch
Mix ingredients together on a stovetop in a pan, mashing the strawberries. Cook over medium heat until the mixture becomes a thick paste.

Wonton Cups (ingredients & instructions for 1 serving of 3 wonton cups)
   3 wonton skins
   1 tablespoon vegetable oil
   1 tablespoon granulated sugar
   1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Using a cookie cutter, cut each wonton skin into a flower design. Lightly fry the skins in a pan with a small amount of hot oil. Remove and place them in the bottom of a small bowl (the bowl of a measuring cup works, too), allowing the skins to form into a cup shape. Mix sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle this mixture over the cup shapes.

Garnishes
   Chocolate plating sauce
   Whipped cream (made by whisking ½ cup heavy whipping cream with 1 tablespoon
   granulated sugar)
   Whole strawberries, partially cut lengthwise and fanned, then dusted with granulated
   sugar (1 per dessert plate)
To Assemble: Decorate dessert plate with chocolate sauce. Arrange 3 wonton flower cups on plate and fill with strawberry mixture; top each with a dollop of whipped cream. Add a fanned and sugared strawberry to each plate.
Addie sprinkles cinnamon sugar over a lightly fried, flower-shaped wonton dessert cup.

Pleasing to look at, delicious to eat—Addie’s Strawberry-filled Wonton Cups.       

Plain 'ole Chicken Noodle Soup — a comfort & a curative

Barry is under the weather so plain 'ole Chicken Noodle Soup is on the menu . . .

Chicken Noodle Soup
1 whole chicken (about 3 ½ lb.), rinsed, giblets discarded
2 to 3 quarts water
4 sprigs of dried sage (about 2 teaspoons
2 bay leaves
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 to 3 teaspoons Kosher salt
½ to 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons chicken concentration base or 2 chicken boullion cubes, optional
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and diced
8 ounces dried curly egg noodles
1 handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
  1. Place the chicken and 2 quarts of water in a large stockpot set on medium heat.
  2. Toss in the seasonings, and allow liquid to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.
  3. Add chicken concentrate of cubes to broth to add richness if needed.
  4. Remove chicken and cut into bite-size pieces when cool. Re-add about 1 ½ to 2 cups of the chicken (or as much as you want) and save the rest for another use.
  5. Add the chopped and diced vegetables (onion, cloves, carrots and celery. Cover over medium heat with lid on until all the veggies are tender.
  6. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until tender. Check seasonings and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
  7. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Recipe without photos . . .
Chicken Noodle Soup
1 whole chicken (about 3 ½ lb.), rinsed, giblets discarded
2 to 3 quarts water
4 sprigs of dried sage (about 2 teaspoons
2 bay leaves
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 to 3 teaspoons Kosher salt
½ to 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons chicken concentration or 2 chicken boullion cubes, optional
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and diced
8 ounces dried curly egg noodles
1 handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
  1. Place the chicken and 2 quarts of water in a large stockpot set on medium heat.
  2. Toss in the seasonings, and allow liquid to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.
  3. Add chicken concentrate of cubes to broth to add richness if needed.
  4. Remove chicken and cut into bite-size pieces when cool. Re-add about 1 ½ to 2 cups of the chicken (or as much as you want) and save the rest for another use.
  5. Add the chopped and diced vegetables (onion, cloves, carrots and celery. Cover over medium heat with lid on until all the veggies are tender.
  6. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until tender. Check seasonings and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
  7. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving. 

Pasta with a Pizzaz & it’s gluten-free! (tomatoes, onions, basil pesto & a little sausage form the sauce & we switched to rice pasta)


Pasta Sauce with a Pizzaz!
Hungry for pasta, I decided to put a twist on the sauce and swap traditional pasta for a variation made from ground brown rice and rice bran. As far as the sauce goes, it is pretty much my usual recipe except I went heavy on the veggies, light on the meat and added homemade pesto to the mix. The rice pasta, which just happens to be gluten free, is a product we thought might be interesting to try . . . and it certainly met with our approval and paired well with the sauce. It was definitely pasta with a pizzaz!

Pasta with a Pizzaz! (tomatoes, onions, basil pesto & a little sausage form the sauce & we switched to rice pasta)    3 to 4 servings
Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
¼ to ⅓ lb. ground pork sausage (we always opt for Zey’s store brand  -- Zey’s Market, 1020 W. 1st St., Abilene, KS)
1 to 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
½ to 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
4 oz. sliced button mushrooms
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
¼ to ⅓ cup basil pesto (I used homemade basil pesto

Pasta: 8 oz. of Tinkyada® Brown Rice Pasta, cooked according to pkg. directions (it takes 15 to 16 minutes to cook)  
  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; then add the onions and partially cook.
  2. Add sausage, breaking it up into small pieces. Cook and stir until sausage is lightly browned. Season with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper as mixture cooks.
  3. When sausage in lightly browned, add mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms cook down and sausage is nicely browned.
  4. Add diced tomatoes with juice + tomato sauce and basil pesto. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, allowing flavors to meld.
  5. Meanwhile, cook pasta (if using Brown Rice Pasta allow 15 to 16 minutes cooking time).
  6. Drain pasta and add to sauce.

    Recipe without photos . . .
    Pasta with a Pizzaz! (tomatoes, onions, basil pesto & a little sausage form the sauce & we switched to rice pasta)    3 to 4 servings
    Sauce
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 onion, diced
    ¼ to ⅓ lb. ground pork sausage (we always opt for Zey’s store brand  -- Zey’s Market, 1020 W. First St., Abilene, KS)
    1 to 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
    ½ to 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
    ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
    4 oz. sliced button mushrooms
    1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with juice
    1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
    ¼ to ⅓ cup basil pesto (I used homemade basil pesto

    Pasta: 8 oz. of Tinkyada® Brown Rice Pasta, cooked according to pkg. directions (it takes 15 to 16 minutes to cook)  
    1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; then add the onions and partially cook.
    2. Add sausage, breaking it up into small pieces. Cook and stir until sausage is lightly browned. Season with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper as mixture cooks.
    3. When sausage in lightly browned, add mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms cook down and sausage is nicely browned.
    4. Add diced tomatoes with juice + tomato sauce and basil pesto. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, allowing flavors to meld.
    5. Meanwhile, cook pasta (if using Brown Rice Pasta allow 15 to 16 minutes cooking time).
    6. Drain pasta and add to sauce.

Beginning with the basics: Aloo Gobi—Indian Style Cauliflower with Potatoes



After interviewing Kamila Dandu and tasting her Chicken Tikka (Dandu Style,  Sunflower Living Magazine, spring 2013, pp. 22-27), I was sold on Indian food. Since then we have continued to enjoy Indian cuisine at the Monsoon Grill in Topeka. However,  I must admit that we are still in the beginning stage when it comes to cooking Indian food, so we are starting out with a basic recipe.     
       This dish was fast, easy and very tasty. Several sources mentioned you could add stewed tomatoes to the basic dish, and that’s what we did. We served it as a side but it can  be used as an entrée. Also, we cut the recipe in half for just the two of us.

Aloo Gobi—Indian Style Cauliflower with Potatoes   4 servings
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
I love the colors & flavorsof Indian spices!
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ginger paste – see recipe below
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garam masala
Salt to taste
½ to ¾ cup stewed or diced tomatoes with juice
1 lb. cauliflower, cut into small pieces, similar in size to the potatoes
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro + a few leaves for garnish                  
  1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the cumin seeds, garlic, and ginger paste. Cook about 1 minute until garlic is lightly browned.
  3. Add the potatoes. Season with turmeric, paprika, cumin, garam masala, and salt. Cover and continue cooking 5 to 7 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the tomatoes and juice, cauliflower and cilantro.
  5. Reduce heat to low and cover; stir occasionally, and continue cooking 10 minutes, or until potatoes and cauliflower are tender.
  6. Garnish with a few cilantro leaves. 
I found the recipe for this paste recipe at Food Network, courtesy of Arti Sequeira.    I did it down as I wasn’t sure when I might be using it again!
Ginger-Garlic Paste:
½ cup cloves garlic, whole
½ cup fresh ginger, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices
¼ cup canola oil

Throw the garlic, ginger, and canola oil in a mini-food processor and let it go until it forms a semi-smooth paste. There will still be tiny little pieces in there, but overall, it should resemble a paste. (I used the pulverizing blade of a NutriBullet to make the paste.)

Save what you don't use in a small glass jar. It should last in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks. It's a delicious addition to marinades, pasta sauces, stir fry sauces, slow-cooker recipes, gravy etc.

Recipes without photos . . .
Aloo Gobi—Indian Style Cauliflower with Potatoes  4 servings
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
1 teaspoon cumin seeds 
1 teaspoon minced garlic 
1 teaspoon ginger paste – see recipe below
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed 
½ teaspoon ground turmeric 
½ teaspoon paprika 
1 teaspoon ground cumin 
½ teaspoon garam masala 
Salt to taste 
½ to ¾ cup stewed or diced tomatoes with juice
1 lb. cauliflower, cut into small pieces, similar in size to the potatoes
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro + a few leaves for garnish                  
  1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the cumin seeds, garlic, and ginger paste. Cook about 1 minute until garlic is lightly browned.
  3. Add the potatoes. Season with turmeric, paprika, cumin, garam masala, and salt. Cover and continue cooking 5 to 7 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the tomatoes and juice, cauliflower and cilantro.
  5. Reduce heat to low and cover; stir occasionally, and continue cooking 10 minutes, or until potatoes and cauliflower are tender.
  6. Garnish with a few cilantro leaves. 

I found the recipe for this paste recipe at Food Network, courtesy of Arti Sequeira.    I did it down as I wasn’t sure when I might be using it again!
Ginger-Garlic Paste:
½ cup cloves garlic, whole
½ cup fresh ginger, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices
¼ cup canola oil

Throw the garlic, ginger, and canola oil in a mini-food processor and let it go until it forms a semi-smooth paste. There will still be tiny little pieces in there, but overall, it should resemble a paste. (I used the pulverizing blade of a NutriBullet to make the paste.)

Save what you don't use in a small glass jar. It should last in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks. It's a delicious addition to marinades, pasta sauces, stir fry sauces, slow-cooker recipes, gravy etc.