Fish, more fish
January 29, 2008, 7:12 pm
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My big New Years resolution was to improve the quality of the food I prepare and eat. A subset of this involves fish. I don’t know much about preparing fish, and tend to be a little leary of it. However, through careful piddling around I have come to the conclusion that Tilapia is where it’s at for me. It’s sweet and mild, no fishy over or under tones, I can get a 4 lb box of it for $10, which will make 2 meals.

I can also negate any nutritional value it may have by frying it, so I’ve been looking for non-frying alternatives. Last night I made pan-seared fish with a lemongrass mayo. Yum.

(a hint…if you ever come up on lemongrass, buy a bunch of it, prep it and freeze it. Then you’ll have all the appearance of fresh lemongrass in your cooking without having to send to California, wait 2 weeks, and hope it’s not all dried out when you get it.)

Crispy pan-seared tilapia

3 egg whites
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Beat the egg whites and soy sauce together until soft peaks form. Then:

8 Tilapia fillets
1/2 cup flour, sifted
salt and pepper
Season the fish with the salt and pepper, then dredge in the flour, knocking off the excess.
Dip the fish in the egg whites, coating them well. Roll them around in:

2 cups of rice krispies cereal, lightly crushed

Add a little oil to a non-stick skillet, and get it nice and hot. Pan sear the fish until golden brown, maybe 2 minutes to a side, and lay the fillets on a cookie sheet. Put in a 300 degree oven while you work on the rest of the meal.

The fish scorches easily, I learned this the hard way by using a cast iron skillet instead of a nonstick one, so you will have to keep an eye on it. Since it’s going in the oven to finish, you don’t need to worry that it’s not quite done in the skillet.

Lemongrass slaw
5 stalks lemongrass, just the tender white part, cut into 1 inch pieces
small handful of fresh cilantro
3/4 cup mayonnaise
juice of 1 lime
1 green onion, cut into 1 inch bits
tablespoon soy sauce
tablespoon rice vinegar
Whizz all this up in a food processor, until it is smoothish with no chunks. Taste and adjust seasoning
Set aside 1/4 cup of it to use in the slaw. Use the rest as a sauce with the fish.

generous handful of snow peas, slivered lengthwise
1 whole bell pepper, slivered much like the snow peas
1 carrot, use your vegetable peeler to slice into ribbons, the same size as the other stuff
1 very generous handful of fresh mung bean sprouts
Toss all this with a 1/4 cup of the lemongrass sauce.

Almond Rice:
3 cups water
1-1/2 cups white rice
1 tsp salt
Cook according to directions
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
1 green onion sliced thin
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (if you have it, if you don’t, go get some)

Even #4 liked this meal, and he pretty much only ever wants to eat chicken fingers.


Smoked Salmon Quich…er…pie
January 25, 2008, 11:59 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Recipe courtesy Lab Munkay, Resident Chef of Scandinavian Heritage

Smoked Salmon Quiche:
It is all in the pastry base. Really!!! What you want is something that is firm and interesting, and for this reason I added about 20 almonds that I had ground into small crumbs. They are surprises in the pastry. In addition I added half a teaspoon on rough crushed extra hot red chillies and half a cup of grated tangy Hergard cheese from Sweden. The other ingredients are 3 cups of flour and six table spoons of olive oil. Mix the whole lot in a bowl until it looks like a pastry dough. Squeeze it though your fingers untill all the crumbs are bonded together. Then place it in the centre of a big baking dish and press it out from the centre to the edges until it covers the dish. Put it in the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 350 Now for the killer filling and I do mean killer filling since the amount of calories and fat and cholestorol is equivilent to a heart attack on a plate. Crack three eggs into a bowl and add i container of sour cream and half a cup of grated strong mature black label Emental. Then add three large dollops of mayonase, and five finely cut mushrooms.
Beat the hell out of the mixture and when it looks thick and creamy pour it into the pie dish and then sprinkle some smoked salmon over the top and dust down with som Parmesan cheese. Pop it in the oven for 40 minutes at 325 and sit back and enjoy the aroma that fills the kitchen.
Course where you are at- you might use corn meal in place of almonds, and any dry stinky cheese in the crust, and with a house full of boys I do not call it quiche but pie.

My favorite way to eat it is on rye crisp slathered with butter, minced onion on top and a squirt of sweet creamy mustard and a shot of cold vodka or aquavit

January 24, 2008, 8:59 pm
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I have 8 oz of premium wild smoked salmon, and I have no idea what to do with it. I read some recipes at and and they all seem to involve cream cheese, dill and red onion. I read a frittata recipe, a soup recipe, all the same stuff with the cream cheese, dill and onion. What have you done with smoked salmon that worked? All I know of for sure is to put it on a bagel w/ cream cheese, or scramble it in eggs. I want some new ideas.

Beans, Beans, the magical fruit
January 24, 2008, 12:21 pm
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In the comments of the last post, LabMunkay requested beans recipes- you know, BBQ beans type stuff. Here’s 2 ways I make them, one is Georgia Style, and the other isn’t. Post your bean recipes in the comments sections, and I’ll put them up front with these recipes.

1. Georgia Style Baked Beans
1 huge can of Bush’s Homestyle Baked Beans (or Showboat Beans)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoons mustard (the yellow kind)
1/4 cup brown sugar
Mix everything together and put it in a casserole dish.
Top with several slices of your favorite bacon
Bake at 325 for a long time, at least an hour, maybe even 2. You want the bacon done. Time and temp aren’t critical as long as the temp is low and the time is long.
I have been known to add a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses, it gives a smokey flavor. I also know not everyone has a bottle of the stuff, so it’s not really all that important. It’s more my thing, instead of a Georgia thing.

Texas Style Beans
1 small piece of salt pork, cut into dice
4 cups cooked pinto beans. Canned are fine.
1 tablespoon dried onion chips
2 teaspoons ground toasted cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried chipolte pepper (more if you want some heat). Really any kind of dried red pepper is fine, but chipotle has some smokey thing going on.
Salt and black pepper to taste

Fry up the salt pork dice in the cast iron dutch oven (or oven safe pot, if you don’t have a mesquite fire in your back yard).
Stir it all together and simmer in a cast-iron dutch oven over an open mesquite fire. (or an oven, if you’re a city-slicker).
If you’re so inclined, and you don’t have the backyard fire, you could add a shot or two of liquid smoke. Be careful tho, it doesn’t take much.

The Grand Reopening
January 23, 2008, 7:54 pm
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Welcome to Rootie’s Kitchen, where the Elite Meet to Cook Tasty Treats (or something like that). The purpose of this blog is to share ideas and opinions on all things culinary. If you try a new recipe, and love it, please share it! If you hated it, share that, too.

I will from time to time post lessons, as I learn new techniques. I am always trying recipes on for size, and I’ll let you know how they fit, and if they were as easy as touted (sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t).

Bro. Scott sometimes shows up and rattles on about “hardwood lump charcoal” and making roux and stuff. He is my REAL brother, and I can bear witness to his culinary prowess, even if he is a charcoal snob. Me, I’m content with my %!&-@$$ gas grill, and reserve charcoal for smoking boston butts and the like. But that’s because I don’t really ever decide to grill something until, like 20 minutes before supper.

This forum is intended for every level of cooking skill. If you’re strictly a mac-and-cheese from a box person, and want to learn some ways to maybe branch out without having to invest in fish sauce and panang curry paste, we can help you. If you have mastered the art of ganache, then share the wisdom! A place for everyone, that’s this. Rootie’s Egalitarian Kitchen. Aprons recommended.

Crispy Fish Tacos- makes 4 tacos
January 2, 2008, 1:03 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

For the slaw:
2 T lemon juice
1 t olive oil
1 t sugar
1/2 cup green cabbage, shredded fine
1/4 cup carrot, shredded
1/4 cup red onion, sliced thin
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced thin
salt to taste

For the tartar sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 T sweet pickle relish
1 T lemon juice
2 t. prepared horseradish

For the tortillas
You’re supposed to get fresh tortillas and fry them up yourself. Phooey. Get some from the box and crisp them in the oven.

For the fish:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 t salt
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 cup club soda
1 T tabasco or other hot sauce (I used sriracha)

1 cup panko crumbs. Seriously, buy the ones in the bag, they’re cheap and perfect.

1/2 pound firm white fish, cut into 8 pieces. (I used tilapia. Cod is good, and catfish would probably work well)

Make the slaw- whisk together the first 3 ingredients, and drizzle over the remaining slaw ingredients. Refrigerate.

Make the sauce- combine all the sauce ingredients, cover and chill.

Warm the taco shells in a 350 degree oven for about 6 minutes, cover to keep warm.

Make the fish- whisk together the flour, slat and baking soda. Add the club soda and hot sauce. Whisk until combined (will be a little lumpy, that’s ok). Spread the panko in a shallow dish
Heat 1/2 inch of canola oil in a skillet until the handle of a wooden spoon stuck in the oil has bubbles coming out of it (Or, roughly 375 degrees if you have a thermometer). Dip the fish in the batter, then coat in the panko and fry, 2 monutes to a side, until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.

To assemble the tacos, put some slaw in the bottom of the taco shell, put a piece or two of fish on top and spoon some tartar sauce on it all.

These are strangely more filling than the usual beef taco. My family will typically eat 4 or 5 beef tacos, but were content with 2 fish tacos.

Baja Fish Tacos
January 2, 2008, 12:51 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Baja Fish Tacos

Serves/Makes: 4 | Difficulty Level: 4 | Ready In: 30-60 minutes


1 lime Juiced
1 pound fresh fresh fillets, cut into 3 X 1 inch strips (I used tilapia)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon dried cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Canola oil for frying
8 7″ corn or flour tortillas, wrapped in foil and kept warm in a 250 degree oven
2 cups green cabbage, shredded
Quartered limes
Purchased or homemade salsa
Sliced avocado
***Chipotle Cream***
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream (I used fat free yogurt)
2 chipotle chilies in adobo, minced (I used 2 teaspoons dried chipotle. Any dried red pepper would work, I believe)
1/2 lime Juiced
Dash of sugar
Salt to taste

Toss the fish pieces in the fresh lime juice and marinate for ten minutes. Meanwhile, combine the flour, cornmeal, chile powder, oregano, cumin and salt in a large, shallow bowl. Heat the canola oil to a depth of 1/2-inch in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until a small amount of flour sizzles when flicked into the pan. Dredge the fish in the flour mixture and fry in batches until golden and cooked through, about 7 to 10 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.

To serve, place two tortillas on each plate and divide the fish evenly down the middle of each. Top with cabbage and drizzle with Chipotle Cream. Pass limes, salsa and avocado at the table.

Chipotle Cream Stir all ingredients together in a bowl and add salt to taste. Let stand at least 10 minutes to let flavors blend. (May be made up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate until ready to serve.)