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.

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!

 

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.

Crispy Catfish and Plum Sauce with Jasmine Rice, Snap Peas, and Carrots

Crispy Catfish and Plumb Sauce 2-3 loaeez

Mise en place

Crispy Catfish and Plumb Sauce 1-3 MP lowrez2 Catfish Fillets.
½ cup Jasmine Rice.
3 Carrots peel and slice into 1-inch pieces.
4 oz Sugar Snap Peas remove the string then cut into 1-inch pieces.
2 cloves peeled and finely sliced Garlic. To make peeling the Garlic simpler as a friend suggested, remove the root and the loose paper like skin then gently smash each clove with the side of your big knife then the last layer of skin will separate from the inner clove and you can throw that skin away. I slice the Garlic with a heavy Garlic press.
Remove pit and large dice the Plum.
½ bunch Garlic Chives cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tbsp. Thick Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp. Mirin

Cooking

In a small pot boil Rice 1 cup Water, Rice, and Salt (I use freshly ground Sea Salt.) After it starts to boil cover and reduce heat for 13 minutes fluff with a fork and put aside in a warm place

In a pan with olive oil Salt and Pepper the Carrots and cook for l to 2 minutes. Then add the Sugar Snap Peas and Garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Add ¼ cup of Water and cook until Water has cooked away.

Turn off the heat and add half the Garlic Chives.

Mix the cooked Vegetables and 1-oz of Mirin into the rice and put aside in a warm place.

Cook the Catfish in a pan with a Tbsp. of hot Olive Oil. Approximately 3 minutes depending how thick your fillets are.

Prepare the sauce by adding the diced plumb cooking for 1-minute. Then add the Thick Soy Sauce and cook stirring constantly for 1-minute. Finally Add the Butter and cook for 30-seconds until the it has melted and is well combined.  Turn off the heat and add the rest of the Chives and 1-Tbsp. of Mirin.

Crispy Catfish and Plumb Sauce 3-3 lowrezPlate your dish. There will be enough for two plates unless you are very hungry.

 

 

 

 

Wine Pairing: Cold Heaven Viognier, 2016

Catfish wine lowrezI’m trying to learn about wine and this Santa Inez Valley, California wine seem a good choice since it is floral and aromatic.

ENJOY WHAT YOU HAVE MADE !

I have added a page of my adapted kitchen for cooking from wheelchair for your convenience just click its link at the top of this page.