Whitefish Salad

Whitefish Salad

Whitefish

Show up as early as you can get yourself to drag out of bed.

Wander around the industrial section of Greenpoint at dawn.

Sneak into the unmarked, graffiti-ed door, looking behind you as if you were trying to throw the mobster trailing you off your scent.

Buy pastrami lox and whitefish from the no-nonsense, lab-coat clad fishmonger – after much sampling, of course.

Rendezvous with the friend responsible for the bagels + cream cheese.

Plot your next Acme Smoked Fish heist between ravenous bites.

Whitefish Salad Ingredients

Salad Building

Whitefish Salad

Whitefish Salad

The following recipe is a variation of this recipe by Bobby Flay.

Whitefish Salad

  • 3/4 cup good-quality mayonnaise (I used olive oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 pounds smoked whitefish, skinned, boned and flaked
  • 1 large stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Bagels, for serving (I used baked spaghetti squash)
  • Pickled Red Onions, for serving, recipe below

Pickled Red Onions:

  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced

Whisk together the mayonnaise (or olive oil), lemon zest and juice until combined. Add the whitefish, celery and onions, and gently mix until combined; season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Pickled Red Onions:
Combine the vinegar, lime juice, sugar, salt, coriander seeds, mustard seeds and peppercorns in a small saucepan over high heat. Cook until the sugar and salt is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

Put the onions in a medium bowl, pour the vinegar mixture over and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 48 hours before serving.

Brenna’s Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls

Thanks to Brenna Ozment, guest baker, photographer,
and author of this post!

I am not an experienced baker, but I have done holiday baking as assistant to my lovely sister Jessica. Here documents the most elaborate baking endeavor I’ve attempted on my own.

I saw three bananas in the fruit bowl slowly turning black and decided to make something for the family. We all love cinnamon rolls yet they have had a sporadic appearance on the table. I settled on Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls from the Cooking Classy.

I definitely didn’t learn from that silly project in elementary school, where they give you a whole list of directions like “write your name on the chalkboard” and then at the end it says to not do any of it, and I definitely didn’t read the recipe directions in their entirety before I started baking. This recipe is intense! The dough needs to be left to rise twice, exact temperatures for the milk and butter mixture when you add the yeast. Anyway, I decided to wing it.

First purée the bananas with lemon juice. I just put them in a standup mixer and squeezed some fresh lemon juice in. I really hope no one finds a stray lemon seed… oops. Meanwhile, I heated the milk and diced butter mixture on the stove. Then I removed the banana bowl and put a new bowl where you add the oil and the milk/butter and let it cool (no thermometer so I just guesstimated) and add the yeast then let it stand for 5 minutes. Thank god for timers on stoves. Next you add the sugar, salt, egg yolk, and 2 cups of BREAD flour and bananas. The directions say to use a paddle attachment; I just used the whisk ones and kept stopping it to fold the dough around. Also, I just used bleached white flour. Then add more flour and corn-starch with a different attachment (I used the same one again) and let it rise for an hour and half.

When I came back I had forgotten where I was in the directions and so I re-read it like 5 times skipping around trying to find my place. Not very time efficient, but that’s the way I roll! In a small bowl I added a bunch of light brown sugar, and dumped in some cinnamon and nutmeg. Measure, you ask, I answer: why?!

Separately, add more flour and baking powder to the now risen dough. I kneaded it with my hands, not the mixer, despite it covering my hands as it is very very very sticky by this point. Next lay it out on a surface that is very floured and roll out with a rolling-pin. Keep a little cup of flour next to you so you can re-flour your hands and the roller constantly. Next, spread melted butter with a spoon, spreading it around with the back of the spoon, on the now flattened dough. Pour the awesome cinnamon roll filling on the dough. The more square you make the dough when you roll it out, the less likely you will have two oblong rolls when you cut. Once it is rolled up (be careful about the dough sticking underneath!! Pull lightly!!) use a large non-serrated knife to cut it into 12 rolls. They will flatten: when you pick them up and put them on a buttered cooking pan, reshape them circular. Then cover AGAIN and let rise for 45 minutes. Bake and then put some awesome stuff on top like cream cheese frosting and nuts.

They are in the oven now… I am very curious if my “winging it” will work. Baking is not always forgiving to this approach.

They look okay, but they are came out looking very powdery from the flour on the outside of the rolls. So, perhaps butter the outside of the rolls so the flour looks like its gone after putting them on the pan.

*A few hours later*

Now that I have awaken from a very pleasant sugar coma, I must say, those rolls are awesome. They may have been better had I followed the directions precisely, but I can’t imagine by much. Cooking is an experiment! And although I thoroughly enjoyed mine, when I am make challah bread tomorrow, I will follow those directions as close as possible and read ALL the directions diligently before I begin.

Rhubarb, pear, & cranberry compote parfait

As the only meal where the entrée very well may have a higher sugar content than even the most indulgent desserts, breakfast is easily my favorite meal.  This deceptively healthy treat passes as breakfast, dessert or an afternoon snack and is one of best efforts to thwart my monstrous sweet tooth. An added bonus, rhubarb is in season for a bit longer and can still be seen at very reasonable prices. Though I doubt I’ve ever seen more than the stalk of the plant available at the grocery store, be aware that the leaves are toxic.

Compote:
1 bunch rhubarb, trimmed, washed, cut into 1 inch lengths
4 ripe pears, peeled, cored, halved, each half cut into large chunks
whole berry cranberry sauce, half a can
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup water

Parfait:
compote
1 cup greek yogurt
blueberries, fresh or frozen
chopped walnuts

  1. Place the water and cranberry sauce in a large saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until sauce melts.
  2. Add the rhubarb, pears and cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover and cook for a further 5 minutes or until fruit is tender and liquid thickens slightly. Remove from heat and set aside for 15 minutes to cool.
  3. Layer yogurt, compote, blueberries, and walnuts in a serving dish.

Sunday Brunch

This weekend I had the privilege of being served undoubtedly the best breakfast potatoes I’ve tasted; crispy on the outside, supremely garlic-y with bits of grated Parmesan fried to crunchy perfection– simply delicious. Served with eggs scrambled with hunks of steak and homemade orange juice, they were barely the star of this amazing meal.

Matt, the gracious host and kitchen gadget affectionado, kindly offered these tips for achieving hash brown perfection:

The key to good home fries, and most things that are sautéed, is consistency in size. Potatoes take a while to cook, and the different sized chunks will cook at different speeds. I like to cut mine into small (1-2 cm) cubes to help them cook fast and thoroughly.I used to hand chop, now I rough cut them and use a chopper ( a la Slap Chop ) to streamline the process. I first bought a table top chopper about 6 years ago ( I think it was a Cuisinart ) and honestly didn’t use it much. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of dicing and when I stumbled across a Farberware chopper still in the box at a secondhand store I spent the 4 bucks and took it home. The choppers make short work of dicing most anything to a uniform size in seconds flat.
Putting my chopped potato cubes, diced onion and garlic ( again, all in the chopper ) into a very hot pan with 2 tablespoons of hot olive oil swirled around to coat the pan. I cook on high heat to get a good brown and stir or shake the pan to get a good even crust. Add seasoning to taste ( I like paprika, chili powder, black and white pepper from the grinder and a bit of cayenne to taste.)  After the outside has a bit of color, I turn down the heat to about halfway add a tablespoon of butter and let the potatoes sit and cook through for about 8-10 more minutes, getting a nice crust in the process. about a minute before the potatoes are done, I sprinkle in a healthy dose of fresh grated Parmesan cheese to stick it all together.
These work well for me, but different pans and ovens may give different results (another key to good cooking – good pans) the best advice I can give you is: experiment, and write down what works for you. Bon appetit!