Cooking again at last

For the last two weeks I haven’t been able to cook because I was remodeling my kitchen to better fit me. (Putting per-prepared food in the microwave is not cooking. I’m also using the word food very loosely.) The kitchen won’t be complete done until tomorrow or Monday. Only cosmetic things need to be done to the hood over the cooktop and the rack I’m having put in to store my pots and pans remains to be done. So, I actually cooked today. Here is a starting tour of my new kitchen.

This is the prep area.

New Prep Area lowrez

The counter tops are granite and only 25 ¼ inches high with space under them so I can get my wheelchair under them. (BTW the flag in the picture is my father’s who served in World War Two.)

I chose the low work surface height for two reasons. One so I can get as much leverage as possible. I don’t have a lot of upper body strength and it helps to bear down when trying to chop vegetables.

The second is for safety while actually cooking. A couple of months ago I was sautéing some chicken and the grease popped onto my face. The burns took three weeks to heal but I learned my lesson. Keep the cooktop as far away from my face as possible and be careful. So, I lowered the counter tops as much as I could.

Power Power Power

A modern kitchen really needs many power outlets. I was going to put power strips in several places around the counters. They would use a lot of space, didn’t look particularly good, and would have been in the way. My contractor found these popup power strips. If you’ve never seen them before I recommend them.

Power Strip Down lowrezPower Strip Up lowrez

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simply press on the silver button it pops up then just pull the power strip out of the counter top. Plug your mixer, juicer, or other electrical appliance in. Then when you are finished unplug it and the power strip disappears back into the counter. As a bonus it also includes two USB ports so you can plug your phone in. I’ve found this very useful since I like to listen to podcasts while copping vegetables and I still come away with a fully charged phone.

My new kitchen lightening

Since I’ve found I enjoy cooking so much I’m modifying my kitchen to make it both more convenient and safer. The contractor got started on my kitchen mods Tuesday. So far only the lighting has been changed. But even that is amazing.
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Kitchen Lights Before lowrez

These two pictures show the change. I hadn’t realized how much this would change my kitchen lighting until I saw this before and after. I can now actually read the recipe when I cook from one.

Kitchen Lights After.

There are going to be more changes but I was so excited about this one I just had to post about the lighting change.

Spicy Lemongrass Salmon with Green Beans and Herb Rice

Finished Salmon #1 lowrea

This dish has lots of ingredients but it can be prepared quickly and is a good summer meal.

Ingredients for 2 servings

  • 2 skin-on Salmond Fillets
  • ½ cup Jasmine Rice
  • 4 oz. Green Beans
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 bunch Cilantro and Mint
  • 1 stalk Lemongrass
  • 2 Tbsp. Golden Mountain
  • 1-inch piece of Ginger
  • 1 Bird’s Eye Pepper
  • 1 Tbs. Rice Vinegar

Mise en place

  • Cut off and discard the stem end of the Green Beans.
  • Cut off and discard the stem of the Bell Pepper then slice lengthwise.
  • Peel and roughly chop the Garlic.
  • Pick the Cilantro and Mint leaves off the stems then roughly chop the leaves.
  • Chop off the Chile Pepper stem. These can be very spicy if you leave the seeds in. But don’t do like I did and remove all the seeds. Carefully taste before you do that or this won’t be “Spicy Salmon.”
  • Cut off and peel the Lemongrass to the flexible white core then finely chop this.

Cooking

  • To a small pot add 1 cup of water, the Rice, and a big pinch of salt. When it boils cover, and reduce the heat to low. After 12 minutes and the water is absorbed fluff the rice and move to a serving dish
  • To a large pan heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil until it is hot. Then add the Green Beans, Bell Pepper. Ginger, Lemongrass, and Garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes stirring frequently.
  • Add the Golden Mountain Sauce, Vinigar, and as much of the Chile Pepper as you’d like. Season with salt and pepper and move to a serving dish.
  • Pat the Salmon Fillets dry the season with salt and pepper. Add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil. When it is hot then add the Salmon skin side down and cook for 3 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Add half the Mint and Cilantro to the bowl of rice.

Plate your meal.

Finished Salmon#2 lowrez

Top the salmon to some of the sauce from the vegetables then garnish with the remaining Cilantro and Mint. ENJOY!

 

Left Over Lunch- Chicken Tagine with Cherry Tomatoes, And Dates over Couscous, and Marinated Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, and Nicoise Olives on the side.

Chicken Tagine2 lowrez

I do a lot of cooking and most dishes are for two so often I have leftovers. Saturday’s lunch was two dishes.  Chicken Tagine with Cherry Tomatoes,  and Dates over Couscous, with Marinated Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, and Nicoise Olives on the side.

I made the Chicken Tagines yesterday.

Chicken Tagine1 lowrezIngredients

  • 10 oz. Chopped Chicken Breast.
  • ¾ Cup Couscous.
  • 6 oz. Cherry Tomatoes.
  • 1 Yellow Onion.
  • 1 bunch Cilantro and Mint.
  • 2 cloves Garlic.
  • 1 oz. Dried Noor Dates
  • 2 Tbsp. White Wine Vinegar.
  • 1 1 in piece Ginger.
  • 2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste.
  • 2 Tsps. Ras El Hanout.

 

Mise en place

  • Peel and roughly chop Garlic.
  • Peel and finely chop Ginger.
  • Peel and finely dice Onion.
  • Rough chop the Dates.
  • Half the Tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  • Pick the Mint leaves off the stems and discard the stems.
  • Roughly chop the Cilantro.

Cooking

  • In a small pot boil 1 cup of water and the Couscous. Once boiling cover and turn off the heat for 7 minutes.
  • In a large pan heat 2-Tsp. Olive Oil and cook for 7 minutes. Set aside on a plate leaving any browned bits (the fond) in the pan.
  • Begin the Tagine. Add 2 Tsp. Olive Oil to the pan the chicken was cooked in then add the Garlic, Ginger, and Onion and cook until lightly browned.
  • Add the Tomato Paste, and Ras el Hanout and cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly.
  • Add the seasoned Tomatoes, the dates, and ½ cup of water. Cook 2 minutes until slightly thickened.
  • Finish the Tagine. Add the cooked Chicken and Vinegar and cook 1 minute stirring constantly.

Divide the cooked Couscous between to dishes. Top with the Tagine. Garnish with Mint and Cilantro.

The marinated Cucumber, Nicoise Olives, and Cherry Tomatoes were pare of the Summer Vegetable Tartines I made last week. I think the extra week in the refrigerator helped.

Cheesey Summer Vegetable Quiche

Cheesey Summer Veg Quiche

Here is a great lunch for those summer days of great vegetables. If you don’t have to drive have a glass of wine with it.

Ingredients

  • 1-cage free Egg.

  • 2 small Pie Crusts.

  • 6 Oz. Cherry Tomatoes

  • 1-bunch of Chives.

  • 3-cloves Garlic.

  • 1-Red Onion.

  • 1-Summer Squash.

  • ½ cup Ricotta Cheese.

  • 4-Oz. Mozzarella Cheese.

  • Olive Oil

Mise en place 

  • Peel and finely slice the Onion. I used a mandolin.

  • Half the Tomatoes into a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

  • Peel and slice the Garlic.

  • Finely slice the Squash. I used mandolin.

  • Finely slice the Chives.

  • Tear the Mozzarella into small pieces.

Cooking 

  • Preheat oven to 425.

  • Heat 1-Tsp. Olive Oil in a frying pan and cook the Onions and Garlic for 4 minutes stirring frequently.

  • Add the Squash to the pan and continue stirring frequently for 2 minutes more.

  • Add the Tomatoes and continue stirring frequently. Then turn off the heat.

  • Wisk 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil, the Egg, the Ricotta Cheese, and 2 Tbsp. water until smooth. Then add the cooked vegetables and gently fold together.

  • Spoon the mixture into the 2 pie shells, place the shells on a cookie sheet, and bake for 11 minutes.

  • Then remove from the oven and top with the torn-up Return to the oven but watch it to make sure the pie crust does not burn but is a golden brown and the Mozzarella has melted.

  • Remove from the oven for at least 5 minutes. Then garnish with some of the chives and serve with fruity white wine. I used a Chenin Blanc.

Simple Spaghetti

Spaghetti Sauce lowrezI don’t always cook complicated dishes. Like the Yakiniku-Glazed Eggplant with Shishito Peppers and Ginger-Lime Cashews I made yesterday.  Sometimes I’m in a hurry or just don’t feel like taking the time. On days like that I usually make a version of spaghetti.

I’ve always liked spaghetti. My base sauce has

Ingredients for my base sauce

  • Crushed Tomatoes.
  • Sugar
  • Flaked Red Pepper.
  • Garlic
  • Red Wine.
  • Olive Oil.
  • Salt and Pepper.

That is my base sauce but often I’ll just look in the refrigerator or pantry and add something that I think will be good. Adding wilted spinach or mushrooms makes a good sauce. Lately I’m using sautéed Summer Squash a lot of the time.

Pasta

Dry Angel Hair Pasta lowrez

Most of the time I prefer Angel Hair Pasta. My pantry is full of it. But there are dozens of shapes.

If the sauce I make is thick I’ll use shells or some other shape.

Boiling Angel Hair lowrez

Something I’ve discovered recently by cooking my pasta in a small strainer in a small pot I’ll have the perfect amount for one person.

Spaghetti In Bowl lowrez

Transfer the pasta to a bowl, add some of the sauce, then top with some grated cheese. Then a glass of wine if you aren’t driving and you have a nice quick lunch.

Yakiniku-Glazed Eggplant with Shishito Peppers and Ginger-Lime Cashews.

Yakiniku-Glassed Eggplant with Shishito Peppers and Ginger-Lime Cashews lowrez

For those vegetarians amongst us. I’m not one of you but this dish is for you. I don’t eat that much meat. Humans evolved to be omnivores and I’m one. What meat I do eat does not go through the usual commercial meat network. It is what I call ethical food.

For example, chickens are free range and vegetarian fed even the beef (Which I eat only once a month.) is all grass fed and does not go through the feed lots and have hormones and other chemicals added.

Yakiniku-Glazed Eggplant with Shishito Peppers and Ginger-Lime Cashews.

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup Jasmine Rice
  • 3 oz. Shishito Peppers
  • 2-cloves Garlic
  • 2-Scallions
  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 Lime
  • ½ lb. Baby Bok Choy
  • 3 Tbs. Roasted Cashews
  • 2 ½ Tbs. Yakiniku Sauce
  • 1 1 in. Piece of Ginger
  • 2 Tbs. Mirin
  • 2 Tbs. Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tbs. Sambal Oelek

 

Mise en place

  • Cut off and medium chop the leaves and stems of the Bok Choy.
  • Peel and roughly chop the Garlic.
  • Cut off and discard the root ends of the Shallots then roughly chop the white ends.
  • Cut the Eggplant into ½ in. rounds.
  • Cut off the pepper stems the cut cross ways into ¾ in. pieces.
  • Zest the Lime skin then get the juice.
  • Roughly chop the Cashews.
  • Peel and finely chop the ginger.

 

Cooking 

  • In a small pot combine 1 cup of water, the Rice, and a generous pinch of salt. Once boiling cover and reduce the heat to low. Continue to cook for 13 minutes and the water is absorbed. Transfer to a serving bowl and put aside in a warm place.
  • In a large pan heat 2 Tbs. of olive oil. When it is hot add ½ the ginger stirring frequently for a minute and a half. Add the Cashews and cook stirring continuously for 1 minute. Add the Lime Zest then transfer to a small bowl.
  • Blister the peppers in a heated pan for 2 to 3 minutes without stirring.
  • In the pan, you made the Ginger-Lime Cashews heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil on medium. When hot add the Eggplant rounds and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until browned. Add the diced Shallots and the remaining Ginger. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 1 minutes stirring constantly. Add the Bok Choy, Yakiniku Sauce, Mirin, Sambal Oelek, Lime juice, and ¼ cup of water. Cook stirring well for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the peppers.
  • Stir in the Sesame Oil to the Rice.

 

Yakiniku-Glassed Eggplant with Shishito Peppers and Ginger-Lime Cashews lowrezPlate your dish and garnish with the Cashews. Makes 2 servings. There will be a good bit of heat in the dish. I think that is good in a vegetarian dish.