Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Salmon and Couscous Packets

For my first blog recipe I thought I would start with something easy that and anyone can cook. The pearled couscous comes from a box making this dish only semi homemade. I like the Near East brand for the couscous (be sure to get pearled couscous, the larger balls) and for my house seasoning in use Paula Deen's. Also, for the matchstick carrots I like to use the ones that are pre shredded and come in a bag, found in the salad section of the grocery store. They are great for salads the next day. I paired this salmon dish with a light, crisp, carbonated Vinho Verde made by Gazela.


Serves 4
    2 (5-ounce) pkgs basil and herb pearled couscous mix, cooked according to directions
      4 (4-ounce) skinless salmon fillets
    1 c matchstick zucchini 1 c matchstick carrots
    1 Roma tomato, thinly sliced
      1 lemon, thinly sliced
      2 tsp house seasoning blend
    Salt & Pepper
    2 Tbs olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 425°F.2. On 4 sheets of parchment paper or aluminum foil, divide couscous evenly. Place salmon fillets over couscous. Top each evenly with zucchini, carrots, sliced tomato, and sliced lemon. Sprinkle with house seasoning, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Fold the paper or foil over and seal completely.
3. Bake for 15 minutes, on a baking pan, adding more time if your fish is more than 4oz.

Meet Casey (and Travis)

I have only been really "stirring the pot" as Jolene's mom calls it for about 3 years now. I was never very interested in cooking until my last year in college. Don't get me wrong I have always loved to eat and enjoyed all varieties of food. I was never scared to try something and to this day stick to my motto, always try something once. And even though my mother was a good cook, I never really cared how the food got to my plate, I cared more about consuming it. Until recently that is.

Once I discovered the joy of cooking I never really looked back. I began subscribing to food magazines, reading them front to back while meticulously post-it noting every thing I wanted to make. I dove right in head first skipping the "Easy 1-2-3 Meals" cook book and heading right to Bon Appetit. I began making things that I had never even heard of like Salt Braised Branzino, Coq Au Vin, and Sea Bass with Cucumber Relish and JalapeƱo Goat Cheese Hush Puppies. I was hooked. Now I have a fully stocked kitchen with many of the spices and condiments I need to make any dish along with all the basic appliances and them some.

But I am still learning, every day is still a new adventure to me. Unlike Jolene I go off everything by recipe. I still have not mastered the art of cooking without directions. I can also not use the notches of my fingers to measure (see her Grandma's photo). I use measuring cups, spoons and my trusty set of scales to weigh out larger items.

I owe most of my cooking inspiration to my best friend Monica. She really opened my eyes to the joy of cooking and gave me my first lessons as a chef. I am proud to say that she is usually impressed when she comes over for dinner at how much I have learned over the years. When she first began teaching me to cook I didn't know how to make box pizza dough and now I can make it from scratch. I didn't know how to bread chicken, properly cut vegetables or meat, flip pancakes...this list could just go on and on. But through much trial and error, now I can.

My other inspiration comes from my boyfriend and house mate Travis. He always encourages me and tells me how good my cooking is, even if it is not. In my family growing up eating was also our family time. To this day I carry on that tradition with Travis. I enjoy coming home from work every night and cooking our little family a home cooked meal. It is my relaxation for the day and I could not be happier to have someone to share it with.
I hope that anyone reading this enjoys our recipes and that you take away as much inspiration as possible!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Meet Jolene (and Joe)

I've been "stirring the pot" as my mom's helper for about 22 years, since I could stand on a chair and "stir" or make some form of make a mess of the ingredients in the kitchen. In my home we always ate dinner together every night, with very few exceptions. If you didn't like what was on the table, dinner might last a little longer than it did on lasagna night. My mom cooked to my dad's taste, and I've inherited the family ideal that the way to a man's heart is over the teeth and through the gums, look out tummy- here it comes. My mom's cooking heritage was originally bolstered by her creative, and intuitive Indian mother's cooking; it later doubled in size under the instruction of her loving, hillbilly, comfort-food-cooking mother-in-law. As you can imagine, I've soaked up so much of that heritage and added my own flare.

To make a long story short, in my family- we cook!

If I had to sum up "my own flare" it would be that I fly by the seat of my pants, no idea where a meal is headed. I like to pile up the fresh ingredients and take off from there. I have a few classic dishes that I can probably nail down a recipe for, but look out for "mods."

When I cook with my grandmother (Nani), she cooks- I roll, chop, grate, and get out of the way when necessary!

Joe, doing what he does second best- working up an appetite. (First best is obviously enjoying all of the wonderful things I make for him!)
To every ying there is a yang, and to every chef there is a hungry guy- hopefully he's madly in love with you and loves everything you cook. That's my #1 food critic and fiance, Joe. You'll notice some themes to my cooking that are catered to his "culinary interests" we'll call them... Most meals have meat, but Joe's  a veggie monster too so most everything I cook has multiple ingredients. We both love cheese- on anything. Joe loves ethnic cuisine, and his top requests (when I can trick him into helping me plan the menu) are enchiladas, fried rice or stir fry, and lasagna. He's always game for Indian food (mine almost as much as my Nani's), and will belly up for grilled Americana any day of the week.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Blogging about food!

Ok, our blog is up and running...  We each post recipes (with photos) of what we've been making for the other to see / enjoy! Let's try to do one a week, or more if we're feeling froggy? You can always go in and edit my posts (if something turns out differently for you than it did for me, or just whatever you want to say!)

Yay this is exciting! Look around on blogger a bit and let me know if you have any questions. It's fun!