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Fish in parchment paper -- recipes please!

I made this, it was pretty good:

Makes 4 servings
1 1/2 pounds small new potatoes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil or unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
4 6-ounce salmon fillets
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
4 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 lemons, halved

Adjust oven racks to the upper and lower positions. Preheat oven to 400° F. Place 1 piece of parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the potatoes on the paper. Season with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil or sprinkle with the butter. Roast in top of oven until fork-tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Meanwhile, place the remaining parchment on a work surface. Place 1 fillet on each. Top with the asparagus, scallions, and tarragon. Drizzle with the extra-virgin olive oil and season with the remaining salt and pepper. Squeeze 1/2 a lemon over each fillet and place the squeezed lemon on top. Pull the sides of the paper over each fillet, folding several times to seal the rectangular parcels. Place them on a baking sheet. Bake on the lower rack for 25 minutes while the potatoes finish cooking. (Although you can't check for doneness, this is ample time for the salmon to cook through.) Place a packet on each plate and cut open. Serve with the potatoes.

Jan 11, 2009
mortini in Home Cooking

Ordering groceries over the internet?

when i was growing up, my folks did some business with a guy who was an obsessive coupon nut. He had a room in his basement *filled* with every sort of canned food imaginable. When the coupons came out on Sunday, he'd visit 2-3 different grocery stores buying the maximum available of the items he wanted.

Not quite the same as buying a year in advance, but, still, long-range buying.

Jan 08, 2009
mortini in General Topics

Ordering groceries over the internet?

they're a food delivery service in the NYC area - freshdirect.com. I don't know about boston, but I don't think so.

Jan 08, 2009
mortini in General Topics

Bittman's In/Out Pantry List for the New Year

ah, 'spice house international' in NY vs 'the spice house' in IL.

Jan 08, 2009
mortini in Home Cooking

Ordering groceries over the internet?

& certainly try out their produce at least - it's been generally good for me. Given my average, I'm just as likely to not be paying as much attention at the grocery store as I should and pick up an apple or whatever that I'd rather not.

Jan 08, 2009
mortini in General Topics

Ordering groceries over the internet?

I meant my local korean grocery store prices are super expensive. They have things like boxes of Frosted Flakes for $9. Their fruit is high quality, but also super expensive.

The only thing I've noticed that was consistently higher with FD was the meat prices, but, again, it's also much higher quality meat than what my grocery store carries.

Jan 08, 2009
mortini in General Topics

Ordering groceries over the internet?

I've been using them weekly for about 6 months now (with the exception of a few weeks). Their fruits and vegetables tend to be of pretty good quality - generally better than my regular grocery stores nearby - probably not as good as the Korean grocery store, but their prices are also super-expensive. I've occasionally had some things I wasn't the happiest with - but I didn't try to rectify it. They claim to fix whatever they mess up.

One of the benefits of them for me is that you can get the meat in vacuum-sealed plastic bags, so it's ready to be frozen and freezes nicely that way. Their meat is more expensive than what my grocery store has, but it's also much higher quality.

I still go to my grocery stores, though - FD doesn't have everything I eat, or I don't like some of the things they have. As an example, today I was putting my order together, and was looking at the soups, there's a cambell's soup I've been getting at my grocery store and enjoying. FD only has the 'basic' soups from them - chicken noodle, tomato and clam chowder (Probably 1 or 2 other I'm not remembering, but you get my point). But, generally, this means a trip or two to the grocery store every few weeks for a small bag of items instead of buying everything.

Jan 08, 2009
mortini in General Topics

Bittman's In/Out Pantry List for the New Year

i bought some stuff from them online in december - just used a cc on their website.

Jan 08, 2009
mortini in Home Cooking

Low Carb cooking (SB recipes welcome!)

Kalyn's Kitchen has a bunch of South Beach recipes - she usually outlines where they're at in the SB diet regimen:
http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com/

I've done a few of her recipes, they're tasty.

Jan 07, 2009
mortini in Home Cooking

Canned fried onions as breading

heading into OT-land, but some cooking mag i was looking at recently used corn chips as a breading for a chicken sandwich. I guess if it's bread-like somehow, it might be worth trying out.

poptart-breaded-chicken sandwich, here i come!

Jan 05, 2009
mortini in Home Cooking

What are your best Prepare Ahead Freezer-Proof Meals?

I haven't seen this one listed - but enchiladas freeze really well. And are pretty easy/quick to make, depending on what you put in them.

Jan 03, 2009
mortini in Home Cooking

Eating better/losing weight?

I hear ya on that one. My problem's both, generally, but if i drink too much, I end up eating everything I have in my apartment that's remotely snack worthy.

Dec 29, 2008
mortini in Home Cooking

Eating better/losing weight?

Just made a post in the "member chat" portion of the forums @ CK. Stop by and say hi once you join.

Dec 29, 2008
mortini in Home Cooking

Eating better/losing weight?

Good luck!

Just remember, a regular glass of red wine is 150-200 calories. :)

Dec 29, 2008
mortini in Home Cooking

Eating better/losing weight?

I think there's a lot of truth to this in several regards.

If there's certain foods you love, it's better to figure out a way to live with eating them in a sensible manner than trying to constantly omit them. Can things be substituted, or is it all about moderation in general? Or is it not the food so much as what the food represents - like snack foods, could the snack food be replaced with something more healthy.

Or when you're at some family event and your family member makes one of your favorite dishes, have some. It's not the end of the world. Just don't do it every day.

Sure, you can loose weight by eating spinach and water, but it's not very much fun. And you won't stick to it for very long. Unless, of course, you're a masochist.

Dec 29, 2008
mortini in Home Cooking

Cooking Healthy

substitutions are good - these days you can get greek yogurt (fage is one brand) pretty easily - depending on the recipe, it can be a decent replacement for cream (or sour cream, or probably other stuff). I used it last time I made squash soup, and it was pretty tasty (although, the recipe I use only uses 1 cup of cream for 4 servings). I used it as a substitute for buttermilk when making biscuits - the biscuits were lighter & fluffier than with buttermilk. Although, YMMV.

As with anything, it has to do with moderation. I'm not so great at self-moderation, so I tend to omit stuff. I only use real butter, though, but I don't really like butter on bread and whatnot, so it's pretty easy for me to moderate with it.

Dec 29, 2008
mortini in Home Cooking

Cooking Healthy

thanks for the fatfreevegan link - her recipes look tasty.

I also enjoy kalynskitchen.blogspot.com - her recipes are 'South Beach Diet' friendly, but generally are healthy recipes.

Dec 29, 2008
mortini in Home Cooking

Eating better/losing weight?

it's also worth pointing out as far as exercise goes that there's a number of non-gym ways to do this. Personally, i hate the whole idea of going to a Gym. But, there's a 'Couch to 5k' program, wherein you work up to running 5k. There's a '100 pushups' program, where you work up to doing 100 pushups. There's probably others out there, but they're an easy way to gradually build on doing some regular exercise.

Dec 29, 2008
mortini in Home Cooking

Eating better/losing weight?

I've been using Calorie King as a food tracker since June. I have lost a fair amount of weight (76 lbs), and started cooking again more towards the end of Summer. Since mid-september, I've been cooking a lot. I find that I don't eat out as much if I cook - and what I cook ends up being considerably more healthy..

CK & WW are two systems I see mentioned - they're rather similar. One thing that I like about CK over WW is that I've actually learned what the calories are to various foods - not just some point value. The general gist behind CK isn't so much a 'diet', but more of a lifestyle change - eating better, getting more exercise, and keeping track of it all. CK has 'Calorie King University' in which they talk about poor eating habits, good eating habits, and the ideas of why one overeats. The life style change aspect of CK (And probably WW) is important - you probably didn't get overweight overnight, you're not going to get thin overnight, either.

If you do decide to use a food diary - I highly recommend that you start keeping track, and just do that for a few weeks. It's a pretty quick way to identify parts of your diet that are especially bad. After you've done that, slowly start modifying your diet changing or removing the foods you decide are bad. If you change everything at once, you'll most likely end up getting discouraged and stop. If you do it over some time, then it'll be less painful.

My general theory about eating is eating at least 4 food groups in a meal. With some whole grains. And a lot of vegetables. Perhaps different types of vegetables. I still eat meat - I just have a lot of vegetables to go with it. As an example, I'll cook a chicken breast, and have some sauteed spinach and a cup of brown rice as dinner. The spinach will be about 2 cups worth cooked.

I'm not anti low-fat items, I just prefer to pick my battles. As an example, I'm not a milk fan, so having 1% or 2% milk on my cereal isn't that big of a deal for me. I'd rather have those calories to use elsewhere.

I'm also for good quality and fresh ingredients. I've been trying out various Jamie Oliver recipes, and beyond those things, his recipes also tend to be pretty simple. Just with a nice combination of foods.

Finally, there's the completely non-cooking aspect of things. The exercise aspect. With the CK program, they allow you to 'eat back' your exercise calories. So, say, if you exercise 400 calories in a day, you can eat those back. I live in NYC and walk partially to work, so that gives me about 550 calories a day extra to play with. I don't eat it back every day, but it's always there. While exercise isn't a requirement, even something as simple as walking for 30 minutes at lunch can make a huge difference.

I've decided to get better at cooking and do more exploring and cooking different types of food. I've signed up for a class at the Institute of Culinary Education (The Fine Cooking 1 class). While I'm already an okay cook, i hope this will improve my skills and give me some other ideas to try out.

Dec 29, 2008
mortini in Home Cooking

Teaching a class on Mousse

teaching, in general, is partially about preparation - I'd run through the recipe yourself once or twice so you know you can get the results you want. Then showing someone else is a lot easier. You might also want to print out the recipe, and go through the ingredients with the girls - you don't mention how much cooking experience they have. But, running through the list, and talking about the ingredients is an important aspect of cooking, as well. (While probably not with a mousse, are there things like a chemical reaction going on with like baking soda and an acid and so on)

Dec 26, 2008
mortini in Home Cooking

Help with Tamales

you can also freeze the cooked ones and microwave them - they're good that way, as well.

Dec 26, 2008
mortini in Home Cooking

Top-5 Cooking Goals for 2009

I've been experimenting with variations on sauteeing leafy greens for several months now. Here's a basic guideline (Not really a recipe, because it's not that specific): Basically, you need 3 things to make tasty greens - the greens, aromatics and something acidic.

You need some leafy greens - not lettuce, anything that can stand up - spinach, kale, swiss chard. The bagged frozen spinach works pretty well - I'm not so thrilled with the frozen spinach that comes in a box.

My usual aromatic is 4-5 cloves of garlic and a small onion cut however you like it. I add this to the pan first, and let sautee for a few minutes until they're slightly cooked.

For an acid, you can use Lemon or some sort of Vinegar. Last night, I discovered the best way to do this - put some brown sugar (I used about 2 tbsp) in a pan along with some vinegar (I used a bit more than a cup), and let it reduce by about 1/2. An important note about the acid is that it needs to be added at the last moment before serving/eating - if it's longer than that, the flavor goes away.

With fresh leafy greens, I find they wilt faster if there's a small amount of liquid. I've used wine, water and chicken stock. A few tablespoons of a reduced chicken stock will add a nice 'full flavor' to the greens and make them wilt faster.

So, the basic progression is to sautee aromatics in oil, add the greens, add small amount of liquid if desired to speed wilting process, finally add acid. And serve.

Dec 26, 2008
mortini in Home Cooking

Top-5 Cooking Goals for 2009

I've lost about 75 lbs this year, not just from cooking, but it's a big part of making a more maintainable weight loss. I find myself not even wanting to eat out, really - I have better food at home. Plus it's about an hour every night I'm standing and cooking instead of sitting and watching tv/surfing the internet.

I might also suggest tracking your food intake - it can help tremendously. There's some online places that you can do this - Spark People is free (but has a lot of annoying emails) and Calorie King (which has a fee associated with it).

Dec 26, 2008
mortini in Home Cooking