Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Barley Salad with Fresh Veggies from Bridget

A great summer salad -- and gluten free, too

A while back Bridget and I were in the car together, chatting about recipes, and talking about what to make with barley because we both had some in our cupboard.

She told me about this dish, which she has taken to events, where it was successful... and there were vegetarians and vegans.

I got around to making it this past week.  Yum!  The cottage smelled great while the barley was cooking.  Very easy, too.

Beware, the recipe makes a huge amount of salad.  It was very good, served hot the first night, then served cold over the next few days.

Farro can be used instead of barley.  And I would think quinoa would work, too.

Barley Salad with Fresh Veggies
(adapted from Color Me Vegan)

Serves 8 generously

2 cups uncooked barley or farro
5 cups water
1 cup diced red pepper
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup quartered hot house cucumber, unpeeled
1 cup chopped scallions (about 6), using both white and green parts
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil, good quality extra virgin
juice of 1 lemon, seeds removed
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a 4 quart saucepan, combine the barley and water, and bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently, without stirring for 35 to 45 minutes until all of the water is absorbed.  It could take longer depending on how low your heat is.  Remove from heat.

In a large serving bowl, add the bell pepper, carrots, cucumber, scallions, parsley and mint.  Stir to combine.

In a small bowl, make the vinaigrette:  combine the vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice and whisk together until emulsified.

Add the barley to the large serving bowl on top of the veggies, add the vinaigrette, and use a large spatula or spoon to gently mix the veggies with the barley and coat it all with vinaigrette.

Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top, and gently mix together.

Serve hot.  Or refrigerate, and serve later, cold.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Grilled Apricot-Glazed Ham Steak by Tom

Tom's Grilled Ham Steak with Apricot Glaze

Even though I like ham, we tend to have it as a spiral cut honey-baked whole or half ham.  But we do not have ham that frequently.  Ham steak virtually never.  However in a recent purchase direct from the farm, several ham steaks came with the order.  So I needed a new recipe in order to use the ham steaks.

I did a search on the internet, and found this apricot glaze, grilled ham recipe.  It sounded pretty good to me and had good reviews.  It comes from "Taste of Home" magazine.

The apricot glaze was very simple to make.  It basted well on to the ham steak while grilling.  And it added a nice flavor without being overwhelming.

We both liked it, so I will make it again.


Grilled Apricot-Glazed Ham Steak 

Serves 2 to 4 (depends on the size of the ham steak)

1 ham steak about 2 pounds and 1" thick
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a small sauce pan combine the preserves, mustard, lemon juice and cinnamon.  Cook and stir over low heat for 2-3 minutes.  Set the glaze aside.

Score the edges of the ham steak with a sharp knife.  This will help to prevent the ham steak from curling while grilling.
Grill for 8 - 10 minutes per side. 

Brush with the glaze during the last couple of minutes before turning.  Do the same when nearing the end of grilling the second side.  I heated up the glaze a bit before basting, which made it a little more fluid.

I made fresh grilled asparagus to go with our ham steak.  Simultaneously, grill the fresh asparagus after you have turned the ham steak. The asparagus takes about 7-8 minutes.
Baste the ham steak until it is all gone.
Remove from the heat, cut into portions, and serve.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Roasted Salmon with Red Pepper Almond (Romesco) Sauce

Red Pepper Almond Sauce also known as Romesco

Romesco is a delicious sauce, and it is not hard to make at all.  It originated in Catalonia, Spain, and goes well with fish, vegetables or meat.  It is a versatile sauce made of raw nuts, sweet red peppers and tomatoes.

This is Food TV chef Geoffrey Zakarian's version of Romesco.  He uses piquillo peppers instead of regular roasted red peppers (but they would work just as well.) He omits the tomatoes and uses lots of fresh herbs-- tarragon and basil -- along with garlic.

Piquillo peppers were new to us. We found them in the same aisle of the grocery store as jarred roasted red peppers.

Romesco (Red Pepper Almond Sauce)
(from Geoffrey Zakarian's My Perfect Pantry cookbook)

Serves 4

1/2 cup whole almonds, toasted
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh tarragon leaves
1/2 cup piquillo peppers, drained well (or jarred roasted red peppers)
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
4 skin-on salmon fillets(about 6 ounces each)
olive oil or canola oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a food processor, combine the almonds, basil, tarragon, piquillos and garlic.  Pulse to make a chunky paste.  In a spouted measuring cup, mix together the vinegar and oil, and with the processor running, pour it in
to make a thick, chunky sauce.  Add 1 T. or so of water to adjust the consistency, if necessary.  Season with salt to taste.

To make the salmon, I used the technique I prefer, which is to roast them in a very hot oven, but you can also grill them.

To roast them, pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees.  Pat the filets dry, then place them skin side down in a roasting pan, generously salt and pepper, then drizzle with oil.
Roast for 8-9 minutes until firm.  Carefully remove the filets from the pan, leaving the skin behind.
Serve with a generous amount of  Romesco sauce.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Chicken Tarragon from Paul T.

Delicious Chicken Tarragon from Paul T.

Old friends, Paul and Natalie, moved back to our neighborhood after being away for 15 years and invited us over to a delicious meal featuring Paul's Tarragon Chicken.
He said it was one of the first meals he learned to make---from an old cookbook called America Cooks, a compilation of Women's Clubs recipes --- which he then proceeded to pull out to show me the recipe.
I can see why it has become one of his favorite recipes.  It is simple yet special, due to the slow cooking of the chicken and the tarragon, which is one of the four fines herbs in French cooking, and has an anise-like flavor.  Tarragon is used in Bearnaise sauce.

Chicken Tarragon 
(from America Cooks cookbook)

Serves 4

1/4 cup sifted flour
2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 pounds chicken parts
1/4 cup butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 T. chopped fresh or 1 t. dried tarragon
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth

Combine flour, salt and pepper in a paper bag. Add chicken; shake to coat well.

Melt butter in a heavy skillet; saute chicken and onion until chicken is browned on all sides.

Add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil;  cover, simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  (Paul says check after 1 1/4 -- don't overcook-- you still want the chicken to have some texture.)
This is how it will look.
Place in a serving bowl and garnish with fresh tarragon and sliced lemons.



Friday, July 1, 2016

Thai Shrimp Salad with Ginger and Mint by Tom

Refreshing Cold Thai Shrimp Salad by Tom

Barbara asked me to look through the William-Sonoma cookbook "Soups, Salads and Starters" to see if there was anything that I might like to make.  This Thai Shrimp Salad with Ginger and Mint caught my eye.  The ingredients looked inviting, and most importantly it could be made mostly ahead of time, and then putting it into the refrigerator allowing the flavors to marry.

The "ahead of time" part took about 30 minutes to prepare.  The "put it all together to eat" part was simply plating some salad greens and spooning the refrigerated portion on top.

This was a pretty easy salad to make.  Refreshing on a hot summer's day, and had some nice Thai flavorings.  I will make this again!


Thai Shrimp Salad with Ginger and Mint
(from Williams-Sonoma Soups, Salads, and Starters cookbook)

Serves 4

The Ahead of Time Ingredients:
1/2 cup fish stock
1 - 1 1/2 # peeled deveined shrimp, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped lemon grass
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 fresh jalapeno seeded and finely chopped
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1//2 small thinly sliced red onion (I chose not to use this)
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

The Plating Ingredients:
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/4" halves or quarters
Salad greens of your choice, I chose fresh baby spinach

The first step is to cook the shrimp in the fish stock. 

In a covered skillet get the fish stock boiling.  Then add the shrimp.  Cook it for a minute or two covered, if fresh, a little longer if frozen.  Either will work.  Then flip them over and continue cooking covered until pink.  Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon into a small bowl.  Cool the shrimp in the refrigerator.  Discard the remaining fish stock.
Here I am slicing up the fresh mint.  Not very exciting.
Whisk together all of the ingredients in the "ahead of time" ingredient list, including the cooked and cooled shrimp (not shown in this picture).  Cover the mixture and put into the refrigerator for a couple of hours. 

As you can discern in the picture, I added the cucumber early .  I think it made our final mixture a little too watery by marinating with all of the other ingredients.  That is why I am recommending adding the cucumber to the refrigerated mixture during the plating step.

Plate with salad greens of your choice, I used baby spinach which worked very well.  Spoon over the refrigerated mixture which now contains the cucumbers.

This salad is large enough for a whole meal or could be used as a side with another entrĂ©e.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Wine Poached Salmon with Arugula Salad from Cindy

 Wine Poached Salmon with Arugula Salad 

I asked our friend Cindy to share with us her "go to" recipe for salmon with arugula salad, so she invited Tom and me over for a weekday meal to show us how she does it.

It is so fast and easy, and uses just a few ingredients:  the salmon, any wine, orange juice, a shallot, arugula, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Just orange juice and wine for poaching the fish
And the best part is that it can be made using frozen salmon, if you don't have time to defrost!

Cindy used red wine for our meal, but you can also use white wine.
Easy Green Salad with Orange Shallot dressing
Wine Poached Salmon with Arugula Salad
(from Cindy)

Serves 2-4

For the fish:
1  6-ounce salmon fillet (skinless) per person
1/2 cup wine (white or red, anything you have)
1/3 cup orange juice
lots of salt and pepper

For the salad:
1 bag of pre-washed greens, arugula or spinach
1 T. diced shallot
3 to 1 ratio olive oil to orange juice
    - 9 T. extra virgin olive oil
    - 3 T. orange juice
salt and pepper

Start the salad, by dicing the shallot and place it in the bottom of a salad bowl.
Measure out the olive oil, then add the orange juice in a 3 to 1 ratio and use a whisk or a fork and stir vigorously to emulsify the dressing.
(Which means that you are combining the oil and juice.)  Add salt and pepper and mix.
Pre-heat a non-stick pan with a tight-fitting cover to medium-high, then heavily salt the bottom of the pan.
Cut open the frozen salmon fillet
and add it directly to the pan, and brown it, then flip it over to brown the other side.
Add more salt and lots of pepper.
Add 1/2 cup wine to the pan.  Then, 1/3 cup of orange juice.
Cover and reduce the heat to low to slowly cook the fish.  If the fish is defrosted, it will cook much faster.  Keep the sauce at a simmer.
After a minute or two, turn the fish over.
Meanwhile, add the dressing to the bottom of the bowl, then add the arugula a little at a time and toss it all together.
The greens will start to wilt a little.  Be sure all of the greens are evenly coated.
Go back to the fish, and continue to poach until the fish is cooked.  It will be tender but still firm.
Remove the fish from the pan, and set aside.  You will use the remaining juices to create a sauce.
Turn the heat back up, and reduce the liquid until it becomes syrupy.  It will only take a minute or two.
As needed, removed it from the heat to check the consistency, i.e., be careful not to burn it, but reduce it to a very thick syrupy sauce.
Drizzle the reduced sauce over the fish.
Divide the salad evenly, and place a piece of fish on top.
Serve with hot 7 grain bread, if desired.
And extra salt and pepper.



Monday, May 2, 2016

Barbara's Guide to Restaurants in Corning (Summer 2016)

Outside my art studio at 11 West Market Street
At my art studio on Market Street here in historic Corning, New York, I get asked all of the time for restaurant recommendations.  So I have compiled a list two ways: frequently asked questions, and by location, i.e, by block, and east or west Market street.
(I have included links on the location list.)

This is a work in progress, so feel free to let me know your thoughts...

Barbara's Restaurant Guide to Corning's Gaffer District, mostly Market Street

There are over 40 eating establishments in the downtown area of Corning, New York including Market Street where my art studio is located.

Go directly to the restaurant guide page by clicking here:

And in case you didn't know I had an art studio, here is a link to see my paintings and art photography:


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

An easy, crisp side salad which goes well with baked salmon or chicken.  You can also add Feta cheese.  Cut the recipe in half to make a large salad for two.

For best results, be sure to use very ripe sweet cherry tomatoes.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad
(adapted from Fine Cooking)

Serves 4

1 English hothouse cucumber
1 pint very ripe sweet cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced sweet onions or scallions
2 T. red wine vinegar
3 T. good quality extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 t. dried oregano
1/8 t. dried dill or 1 T. fresh dill

In the bowl you are going to serve the salad, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, dried oregano and salt and pepper.

Cut the hot house cucumber lengthwise in half, then into quarters, remove the seeds, then slice into bite size chunks.  Add to the serving bowl.

Slice the ripe sweet cherry tomatoes in half.  Season with salt, then add to the serving bowl.

Slice the sweet onion into crescents.  (Or the scallions into bitesize pieces.)  Add to the serving bowl.
Sprinkle the salad with the fresh or dried dill.  Then, toss it all together, evenly coating the cucumber and tomatoes.