In these days of pandemic and self-isolation, I received an email from a friend, suggesting we add a twist to an old idea — the recipe exchange. It’s called the #QuarantineCooking recipe exchange. What fun!
The most saved shows on my DVR are cooking shows. I love to cook, and for a “home cook,” I’m not so bad. However, looking back on my initial kitchen encounters, I wasn’t adept when it came to food preparation.
One of my first attempts involved surprising my parents – and I must admit, they were surprised. I came up with a plan to fix “breakfast in bed” for mom and dad. The menu wasn’t complicated. It consisted of toast with jam, coffee, and juice. I was old enough to manage the toaster, and pouring juice was no particular problem. It was the coffee that got me! I didn’t know how to work the electric coffee pot. How many grounds should I put in? How much water? Does it really have to heat up? My parents were grateful for the attempt, but it was their first taste of chewable coffee.
It’s also helpful to understand the terms used in recipes. Why do they call it “creaming” the butter? How much cream should you add?
But I digress. What was I going to use for #QuarantineCooking? When you’re isolating and limiting trips to the grocery store, you hopefully have a pantry filled with staples and spices. I generally have some meats or fish in the freezer.
A couple of weeks ago, on the Food Network show, “The Kitchen,” the cast did a segment on Quarantine Cooking. Jeff Mauro presented his recipe for Crispy Skin Salmon Provencal with a Red Cabbage Salad. https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/jeff-mauro/crispy-skin-salmon-provencal-with-charred-red-cabbage-salad-8553405
It looked outstanding. The salmon part of the recipe had a total of six ingredients: salmon, olive oil, butter, herbes de Provence, Dijon Mustard, and lemon. I had everything for the salmon. I didn’t have cabbage in the house, but I did have brussels sprouts (aren’t they like little cabbages?).
Check out Jeff’s recipe. If you aren’t interested in the crispy skin, remove it. You don’t have herbes de Provence. Try using dried thyme or Italian seasoning — you can rename it, Salmon Italiano. My sister-in-law doesn’t like mustard. If I would fix it for her, I’d simply swap mayonnaise for mustard.
Brussels Sprouts do very well when roasted. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the woody ends of the sprouts, and tear off any dried outer leaves. Drizzle with olive oil, making sure the oil is on all of the sprouts. Place on a sheet tray (cover the bottom with foil for easier cleanup), sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, turning them once about halfway through.
So there you have it with suggestions for “swaps” if required. Follow Jeff’s recipe for the salmon and mine for the side dish. Voila — you have dinner. If you’re doing the Provencal version, “Bon appetit,” or the Italiano version, “Buon appetito.” Whatever. ENJOY!