My friend, Fern who lives all the way in Australia and I had lost touch until very recently. She moved to Australia for college while I stayed behind and during the initial years we kept in touch by writing good old fashioned blue aerograms to each other. Somehow in the transition from snail mail to email we lost each other. We reconnected via Facebook (there are some advantages to giving up your privacy) and I was amused and delighted to see on Facebook the photos of the yummy looking food she cooked regularly.
She just started her own blog, To Food with Love and has been posting some pretty delicious creations. The recipe below is just one of the amazing dishes she has been cooking up.
We have not spoken for years but are now in constant touch through our shared love of food, cooking and taking photos of our food. Interestingly enough, when we were friends in high school, we never talked about food. I didn’t even know she was such a foodie. Perhaps, we had more important things to discuss (Chemistry, Physics and boys!).
Fern, had we known this about each other I am sure we would have been much better friends.
Salmon with Teriyaki Glaze and Broccoli
When the kids are at home, I try to prepare a simple dinner that doesn’t require too much time in the kitchen or over the stove. Usually, that means using the oven (roasts and grills), braising or steaming. Somehow, Japanese food can be so simple to prepare with such basic ingredients, which is why I decided on baked salmon teriyaki with a simple side of steamed broccoli. Quick, easy and delicious. Here is the recipe below:
3/4 lb salmon
Sauce and marinade:
1/3 cup Japanese soy sauce
1/3 cup mirin
1 tbsp sake
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
Preheat oven to 400F
Coat the salmon with some of the marinade and stand for 10 minutes. Place in an oven-proof dish and bake in oven for about 10 minutes (depending on thickness of the salmon) or until done to your liking. Do not overcook. Baste with marinade once or twice while baking.
Place the rest of the marinade in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, and cook till reduced to a thick syrupy consistency. Drizzle over salmon and serve with Japanese sushi rice or Thai Jasmine rice.
Garlic Seaweed Broccoli
1 small head of broccoli
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 sheet nori/seaweed, torn into pieces (note from Simran – I did not use)
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp peanut oil
Pinch of salt
Steam broccoli until cooked (2 min. or so). Alternatively, blanch in a pot of salted boiling water with a dash of oil added to it. Remove, drain and place in a bowl/plate.
Heat up oil in a small pan and fry garlic till light brown and crisp. Remove garlic and place on top of broccoli. Sprinkle a little salt to season.
Add the seaweed to the pan with the garlic oil and sear for a few seconds. Remove from heat and carefully add the soy sauce into the pan. Pour onto broccoli, toss lightly and serve.
Roast chicken is one of those things I make when I am out of ideas and do not have a lot of time to prep and slave over the stove. This dish practically cooks itself in one baking dish. Since I don’t make gravy, I line the baking dish with aluminum foil, which minimizes clean-up. Ten minutes of prep, about an hour of baking time and dinner is served. This also makes an elegant and impressive dinner for unexpected guests. Make two chickens on a Sunday and you will get many meals out of this dish. Leftovers are versatile and can be made into chicken sandwiches, salads, a pasta dish or quesadillas/tacos/enchiladas. Basically almost anything you can do a rotisserie chicken.
Yes, you can buy a rotisserie chicken at most grocery stores, so why bother? For one, you can control the quality and size of the chicken. It is always cheaper to cook yourself than buy prepared food. However, the best reason is because the home will smell great and hopefully the intoxicating smell of baking poultry and vegetables will get the kids interested in dinner.
As a child, the roasted whole chicken fresh out-the-oven held mythical status for me. Who wanted the “delicious” and complex, perfectly spiced curries my mother made? Not me! I wanted something different and nothing was more majestic, opulent, “oh-so-French” and bountiful than a whole roast chicken. She never made it – we barely had an oven for most of the years I was growing up because mom used the oven as storage for pots and pans. All of us want what we can’t have – even the young ones!
Here’s my “humble”, simple, go-to dinner that never fails to impress (me at least).
Simple Roast Chicken
- 1 (3 to 4 pound) roasting chicken- I like to use smaller chickens since I feel they are juicer, are sized just right for our family and cook faster
- 2-3 sprigs thyme/rosemary or other herbs (optional)
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 head garlic, cut in quarters, no need to peel
- 1 small onion, quartered
- Vegetables of choice – potatoes, carrots, fennel, squashes, parsnips, sweet potatoes, onions, etc. roughly cut up into even size pieces
- Olive oil
- 2-3 tbsps butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425F
- Salt and pepper the inside of the chicken.
- Stuff the cavity with the thyme/rosemary or other herbs, if using, halved lemon, garlic and cut-up onion
- Place the vegetables in a roasting pan and spread around the bottom of the pan. Toss with salt, pepper and olive oil
- Place the chicken on the vegetables or in a roasting rack on top of vegetables. Spread olive oil over skin and place little bits of butter all over the chicken
- Roast from 50 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes depending on size of chicken. If the vegetables are burning move them around or take them out and continue to roast the chicken. The chicken is ready when you pierce the leg and thigh joint and the juices run clear
- Remove from oven and rest for 10-15 minutes before digging in