Sunday, April 18, 2010

There's an app for that

So, I went grocery shopping today, and while I was at the store I was using my iPod touch for a few different things.
Mostly, I use it on the go because I can keep my shopping list handy with ziplist, and it works on the iPhone platform with Martha Stuart's Everyday food. Now, whatever you think of Martha herself, you can't really fault the quality of her recipes, and her "Everyday Food" recipes are more normal and call for less outlandish ingredients than her entertaining or holiday food-impressario recipes.
Ziplist will keep your list online, and on your iPhone, or text it to you (and you can text additions too). It categorizes things by department, and sometimes even knows what stores you shop at and how they're laid out, which is neat if it works for you.
Martha Stuart's Everyday Food  is handy, and gives a new recipe everyday as well as access to your ZipList and an extensive selection of searchable recipes. It's a good value for 99 cents.

But my favorite food app is actually the Monteray Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch app. With it, you can select the region you're in (for me, oddly enough, it's Southeast), and it will help you make sustainable seafood choices. For example today, I had thought I'd do a good environmental thing and buy farm-raised salmon. As it turns out, wild-caught Pacific or Alaskan salmon are actually much better for the environment than the polluting fish farms, especially because Pacific salmon are" among the most intensively managed species in the world, with excellent monitoring of both the fish populations and the fishery."Here's the info on salmon, if you're curious.
I've used this app at the store and at restaurants, and try to make good choices about what I eat. It can be tricky sometimes to get the staff to tell you where a fish comes from, but if you ask they will usually make a genuine effort to find out.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thai Red Curry Salmon

When I was home last weekend, my family went out for Thai food. We almost didn't notice the Salmon Curry special, but I'm so glad we did. It was amazing, and it inspired me to make my own today. This recipe was fast, easy, amazing, and both delightfully tasty and delightfully healthy.

Note: When shopping for salmon, look for a cold piece of fresh fish, from close to the ice. For environmental reasons, choose wild-caught Pacific or Alaskan salmon, and stay away from Atlantic if you can. For more info, see the Seafood Watch, or tomorrow's post on apps.  Get it home right away, and use it the same day if you can. Don't let it sit in the car, and pack in in the bags with frozen food if you can. It really doesn't take too much to spoil a nice fish.

Salmon fillet/s
red curry paste, 1 to 2 T
coconut milk, 1 can
fish sauce, 2T
brown sugar, 2T
jasmine/white/brown rice
crispy veggies (I used fresh asparagus and green beans, because I got them at the farmer's market this morning. This would also be good with bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, etc. Things that have a nice crunch to them!)
1/2 red pepper, sliced thin, optional

1. Make some rice. Start the rice as you're cutting and washing veggies, depending on how long your rice cooker/stove takes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350. Place your fish, skin side down, onto a greased baking dish. Add a little oil or butter to the flesh of the fish, and bake 10 minutes or so per inch of thickness.
3. In a pot, start to simmer the coconut milk. When it's nice and warm, add the curry paste and whisk to blend. Let it simmer for a few minutes.
4. Add the fish sauce, brown sugar, and 1/8 cup of water. Whisk, bring to a simmer. Add the veggies, and simmer until they're warmed/soft (depends on the veggie!)
5. Pull the fish out of the oven. Serve veggies and sauce as a bed for the fish, and add more sauce on top. Serve with rice on the side.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pantry Essentials

Plenty of people are ready to tell you what you need to have on hand to cook with. And while my pantry is usually well stocked, I don't even abide by lists like this or like this. In part, because I don't like or use some of those things all that often, so I don't feel the need to keep them on hand at all times. And, any list like this is necessarily subjective and based on how you cook.
That having been said, I'm still going to attempt it! I've already attempted a partial spice list, which you can find here, so those aren't on this list.
  • flour
  • sugar
  • rice
  • pasta
  • canned tomatoes
  • frozen veggies
  • onions
  • chicken broth/stock/boullion
  • vinegar (I keep rice wine for Asian recipes, and red and white for others.... but you can probably get away with white, and add more styles according to your taste)
  • olive oil
  • vegetable oil
  • butter/margarine
  • cooking spray-- not necessary, but darn handy
  • dried beans, dried lentils (or canned, if you prefer. they don't take as long to cook, but are often salty, more expensive, and you have less control.)
  • hot sauce
  • soy sauce
  • lemons or lemon juice can be very handy
  • Cooking wine: you can get little bottles for cheap (i.e. Holland House) to keep in the pantry to whip up a quick wine sauce or add to almost anything
  • Frozen chicken (or protein of choice)
  • optional, but I adore sesame oil
  • Italian dressing-- the normal, cheap stuff. Makes an amazing, quick, easy, cheap marinade for chicken, pork and fish!
If you bake, you will also want to have:
  • brown sugar
  • vanilla
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • yeast
  • cornstarch
Plus, it's always nice to have:
  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • peppers (hot, bell, sweet)
  • tomatoes
  • seasonal produce
  • salad
  • seasonal veggies
Happy cooking!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Whoa there, it's been a while

Sorry for the long long delay since I've posted! Things have been a wee bit crazy, and will continue to be crazy until I get back from Egypt in June. I'm going to try to post as well as I can (and I'm really hoping I can share some Egyptian recipes) but in the meantime, hang in there while I try to navigate finals and travel and the flu and moving and and and...

But I am going to try for another post soon-- one which Carly requested, on pantry essentials for quick cooking. Stay tuned!