Look who Kevin found in the kitchen sink as he started doing the dishes this morning--one of our midnight warriors! Go little gecko! Patrol away! Lead out in ant warfare! (Actually he was kind of dazed, and after his photo shoot he might be blind...)
Time for a new recipe--Steamed White Fish & Veggies
This is our favorite Sunday dinner; quick, nutritious, delicious!
In a large non-stick skillet layer the following: A thin layer of thick-slice onion rings and a few garlic cloves. This means you will still be able to see the bottom of the skillet but there are enough rings to hold your fillet off the direct heat.
Your fish fillet(s), rinsed. Give it a hearty lemon peppering, or use any other herbs or spices that suit you. Most white fish is mild so it will take on the flavors of what's cooked with it.
Sori sori to finish filling the skillet. Now don't run and hide because you don't have any idea what sori sori is! It' simply mixed vegetables that are stir fry compatible. You might be able to find it at your grocery store, a convenience item in the produce department, or you can cut up your own vegetables for these purposes, or those bags of frozen veggies would work too. Consider using bite-size anything, including winter squashes, eggplant, okra, celery, carrots, broccoli, more onions, mushrooms. Get the picture? Go ahead and fill up your skillet. It will be tasty.
Add a drizzle of olive oil or zesty Italian dressing, more seasoning if you wish, and you're ready for the burner. Start it on med-high until it's steaming then turn it to med-low. You didn't add any water, but the natural moisture in your fish and veggies should juice things up.
Check in 15-20 minutes. You want the veggies tender-crisp and the fish flakey.
Remove to a platter and serve with red or brown rice. Mmmm!
Bean and Bacon Soup
It's September tomorrow so you can reasonably think about cooking up a nice, cozy pot of soup--at least soon! We've done it from time to time also--just turned down the air conditioner and pretended it's was chilly autumn day!
This recipe is like delux Campbell's Bean & Bacon Soup. The dash of liquid smoke (find it in the spice aisle) it what makes it. We add a little milk for a creamy version, and make sure your beans are cooked until they're tender.
2 c. small white beans - soaked overnight 6 strips crispy fried bacon - minced 3 med. carrots - minced 3 med. stalks celery - minced 1/2 t. thyme 2 cloves minced garlic 4 oz. tomato paste 1 dash red pepper flakes 6 c. water, more if needed 1 T. wine vinegar few drops Liquid Smoke salt & peper to taste
Soak beans overnight and discard water. Place beans, water & bacon in a large kettle and simmer until beans are tender. Add remaining ingredients except for the salt and vinegar and simmer 30-60 minutes more. Add salt & vinegar. Puree 1-2 cups of soup and return to the pot. Mmmmm.
You need good bread to go with your Bean and Bacon Soup! This is a recipe for artisan bread that a good friend gave me. It is OUR bread here--there is no such thing as Philippine bread with substance, especially not whole grain. I bake it a couple of times a week and usually share part of the 12" round with missionaries.
You can use all white flour, all whole wheat, (I do 5 c. wheat, 1 c. white) or be creative and add some rye flour. Herbs are also very good--about 2 T. per batch. Italian Blend is good, dill seeds would be good (can't get them here--maybe I'll ask for some for Christmas), cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg would give this recipe a completely different face.
6 c. flour 1 t. yeast 2 t. salt 3 c. water
Mix these four ingredients together in a bowl with a lid. This part takes about 5 minutes. You don't knead it--just mix with a spoon or paddle until the flour is all incorporated. Cover and let rise for 10-12 hours. I usually mix it up first thing in the morning then bake it when we return from the office.
When it has risen for whatever time you allow (sometimes more, sometimes less--very flexible) dump it out onto a floured surface, coat it with flour and shape into a round. Put it on a tray or large plate and let it rise for 45-60 minutes. This step also takes 5 minutes or less. Once again, the rise time is flexible. I haven't made a single loaf that wasn't good, except for the one that I cremated because I forgot it.
When the 2nd rise time is approaching done, turn on the oven to 450. Put a large covered cassarole (I use a wok) in the oven to heat, including the lid. No need to grease. When it's good and hot (be careful now!) take it out of the oven and invert your bread loaf into it. You might think, ack! the pretty side is on the bottom! Don't worry. It will bake out just fine. Put the lid on and bake for 40-45 minutes. When you take it out of the oven it will slide easily onto a cooling rack.
Bean soup and whole wheat bread. You've just created a complete protein. Good job.
Asparagas, Red Pepper & Potato Salad
This is a GREAT recipe--a fresh, healthy twist to veggies! You can double it and use a single recipe of the dressing. 1 # new red potatoes 1 # asparagus pieces 1/2 large red bell pepper, seeded 1/2 c. slivered red onion
Dressing: 5 T. spicy brown mustard 6 T. balsamic vinegar 1 1/2 T. brown sugar 3/4 t. kosher salt 1/4 t. black pepper 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced 6 T. olive oil Tabasco sauce
Scrub potatoes and cook in boiling salted water till tender. Cut into 3/4" cubes and put in a bowl. Steam asparagas (no tough pieces please!) until tender-crisp. Shock in cold water and add to potatoes. Cut red pepper into bite-size sticks and add to rest. Add red onion.
Mix up dressing by stirring all ingredients together, drizzling oil while you whisk constantly to make a creamy dressing. Add Tobasco sauce to your liking.
Drizzle dressing onto vegetables and stir to coat. Serve right away for best asparagas color.
Fresh green beans or broccoli work great in this salad also.