A personal kitchen diary. I try new recipes and make notes on what works and what doesn't. Sometimes I can things, and sometimes I dry herbs. This is the story of my kitchen.

Month: October 2015

Cantonese Steamed Fish

Cantonese Steamed Fish

This recipe is getting moved to my Pinterest “Recipes Tried and Worth Keeping” board.  I’ll make a few small changes, but overall this was so simple and fast–and delicious–I will definitely be making it again. Notice that there aren’t a lot of ingredients! The recipe […]

Caramelized Onions

Caramelized Onions

Edited to update photos 2/19/18 I couldn’t remember if I had posted about caramelized onions before.  But when I found that I had, I also found that the pictures were awful, and since I took pictures through the process yesterday, I decided I would update […]

Apple Pie!

Apple Pie!

I went out to Peters Orchards in Waverly Missouri a few weeks ago and got two gigantic bags of apples to carry us through the winter (seriously, I find it amazing that if you keep them in your garage fridge, in the bags they come in, they will keep all winter).  I haven’t had a chance to make an apple pie yet, but today was the day.

I’m really swamped today so I’m not making my pie crust from scratch.  Yes, I know it is easy and fast, and in fact I make good pie crust.  I just don’t have time today.  Take a look at the Fresh Peach Pie post for how I make pie crust.
I already have the flour, cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg measured out, along with the butter, and prepare to peel the apples.  I’m using a mix of Granny Smiths and Jonathans.  I read somewhere that you should mix apples and I have no idea if that is true but I’ve done it ever since.
Now for one of the best kitchen gadgets I have:
Bed Bath and Beyond, $19.99 and you know you never buy anything at BBB without a 20% off coupon.
Peel, slice, and core each apple in seconds.
All my apples are ready for the next step.
 

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I cut them in half vertically to get perfect slices for my pie.
I then use a small paring knife to clean them up a little bit, which doesn’t take long.  The  tops and bottoms that didn’t get peeled are simply snacks for me as I finish the pie.  I wasn’t working fast enough and they browned a little.   They will taste fine of course.
Mix up the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl.
And carefully add to the bowl of sliced apples and gently mix until all the apple slices are coated.

(See my snacks?)

The apples go into the prepared pie pan and are dotted with butter.
Yes, I do use a pie “bird” and it really does help to keep the filling from overflowing.
Top with the second crust and cut vents to release steam, and then I like to sprinkle some sugar on top.  Onto a pan to catch any possible overflow, and into the oven at 400 Farhenheit.
About 50 minutes later your pie is done.  It always starts smelling delicious just before you should take it out of the oven.
Yes, my house smells like fall today.
I use the Better Homes and Garden red checked cookbook Perfect Apple Pie recipe.  It was published in 1978 and I apparently felt the need to inscribe my name on the the front page.  It’s my maiden name so I am guessing I got this probably when I was 18–maybe as a HS graduation gift!
It’s page 271.
Perfect Apple Pie
6-8 tart apples, pared, cored, and thinly sliced (6 cups) (I always use 8 because I have a deep dish pan)
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 to 1 tsp ground cinnamon (I always use 1 tsp–we like cinnamon)
Dash ground nutmeg
Pastry for 2-crust 9 inch pie
2 Tablespoons butter
Oven 400 Fahrenheit
 
You may add 1 Tablespoon lemon juice to the apples if they are not tart.
 
Combine sugar, flour, spices, and dash salt; mix with apples.
 
Line 9 inch pie plate with pastry and fill with the apple mixture, dot with butter.
 
Add top crust, cutting slits in the crust for venting steam.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 400 for 50 minutes or done.  I always start checking at 40 minutes. 
Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches – that Midwestern Classic.

Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches – that Midwestern Classic.

I’m not from the midwest, but my husband’s family is.  Each of the five years I was dating Steve, he would go back to Missouri on vacation and he and his mom, sister, and brothers couldn’t stop talking about how they couldn’t wait to have […]

‘Not Bad’ Tomato Mozzarella Melts

‘Not Bad’ Tomato Mozzarella Melts

I had the tail end of some bread from my CSA, 1 last tomato, it was lunchtime and I was hungry. I decided to make some tomato melts. The last bits of a round loaf of bread are harder to slice evenly than you would […]

Sweet Potato Oven Fries – Couldn’t be easier

Sweet Potato Oven Fries – Couldn’t be easier

There’s nothing original about this happening in Merri’s kitchen. Simple sweet potato fries with ranch dressing.

Facebook friends already had a field day with the sweet potato positioning so we will just leave that for now.
Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit.
Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into fry shapes all about the same size so they are all done at the same time.   By the way, this was one large sweet potato.
Place the strips in a large bowl and drizzle olive oil over them and a few cranks of coarse sea salt.
Lay them out on a baking sheet, ensuring there is some space between them.
Bake 20 minutes and then turn the potatoes over. I found I needed to use a spatula rather than tongs or they stuck. Another 20 minutes and they were done. I could have left a few minutes more to get them crispier but I was hungry. Served with ranch dressing for dipping.
Pretty Good Cashew Chicken

Pretty Good Cashew Chicken

I’m not really sure why I decided I wanted to try making Cashew Chicken this week.  But, I got it in my head, and I mostly had everything I needed except cashews (or so I thought). So, Googling, Pinterest, and Yummly searching done and I […]

Salsa Sunday (not really, you can have this anytime, it’s reallyRobin’s Salsa)

Salsa Sunday (not really, you can have this anytime, it’s reallyRobin’s Salsa)

My friend Robin would whip up this salsa in a flash every time we had a gathering.  It is so good, and so many people would ask her for the recipe, that she finally made a bunch of copies and keeps a stack in her […]

Grilled Sockeye Salmon tonight-still grilling!

Grilled Sockeye Salmon tonight-still grilling!

After a busy day I was looking for something quick and easy to cook for dinner.  Add in that we had another spectacular fall day here and I figured griling something would be the quickest, easiest way to get something on the table.

I stopped by the store and got some wild-caught Alaskan sockeye (my personal favorite), headed home, and pulled together some ingredients.
I also came to the realization that a pretty significant number of my cooking begins with garlic, butter and lemon.  And why not?  Hard to lose with a base like that.
Some fingerling potatoes needed to be cooked so I quickly got those going and roasting in the oven (details in the roasted fingerling potatoes post).  Then I got the grill heating up and unwrapped the salmon.
The rest is pretty loose.  I just try to make it like my Dad made it.  It starts with melting butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  I had a little too much butter for this piece of salmon, but oh well.
While it melted, I minced a few cloves of garlic, then tossed them in the saucepan.  I was rushing it today and should have waited for the butter to completely melt before adding the garlic, and then sautéed the garlic briefly.
Next up was the parsley.  This is the last of the parsley from my summer herb pot.  I chopped some for the sauce, and hung up the rest to begin drying.
Next up is the lemon.  I just squeeze in a little to taste, add a little salt and pepper, and heat it until it smells good.
The salmon was already on the grill pan, so I took the grillpan and the saucepan out to the grill, put the salmon on the grill, and poured the sauce over it.  Again, as you can see, just a little too much sauce!
I turned down the gas grill to medium, and cooked it maybe 10 minutes?  This is terrible that I can’t remember.  But I’m pretty sure it was 10 minutes.  I checked it when I took out the potatoes and it need just a couple of minutes more, so I turned the heat up to closer to medium high, and took it out 3 minutes later.
I was pretty lazy today and got a quart of cut up fruit at the grocery story.  A lot of people like to put lemon juice on fruit salads, especially to try to keep the fruit from browning.  I got into the habit awhile back to use lime juice instead.  I really prefer the flavor.
Although the fruit is already naturally sweet, I like to sprinkle a little sugar over the fruit, then add the lime juice, then toss it all together and let it macerate while preparing the rest of meal.  It makes a nice, light syrup.
So this was dinner!
Sorta Shirley’s Meat Loaf

Sorta Shirley’s Meat Loaf

My Mom made awful meatloaf (sorry Mom!) so I thought all meatloaf was awful.  Then I had my mother-in-law’s meatloaf.  I miss them both very much, but I miss my MIL’s cooking more. I never watched her make it before we got married, and we […]