Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Monday, April 04, 2005

The post about posts


I have a serious back-log of posts...I'll get them up as soon as I can!


I'd found a recipe for smoked salmon, and since that smoker I bought Matt a few years ago has gotten very little use, I gently 'suggested' he try it out.

One smoked fish later, with my homeade bagels, he put together this little treat.

Bagel, cream cheese, smoked salmon. Avocado was added later.

I, obviously, didn't have any of the salmon myself...Matt said it was good, but salty. Even though he'd taken the time to rinse the fish rather thoroughly, it was still heavy on the salt. This is the second time that's happened; we're not sure if he's just not rinsing the meats enough, or if it's supposed to taste that way.

Try it yourself; maybe you'll have better luck.

From the Baltimore Sun:

Sunday morning smoked salmon

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Notes: Every Saturday, Steven Raichlen cures a piece of salmon and smokes it in his stove-top smoker to have freshly smoked salmon with bagels on Sunday. Curing takes about four hours, but actual preparation is about 15 minutes. This recipe is adapted from Raichlen's "Indoor! Grilling."

1½ pounds skinless salmon fillet (preferably a center-cut piece)
1 cup vodka or rum
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
2 Tbsps. freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
Cooking oil spray, optional
Bagels and cream cheese, or toast points, capers and sour cream, for serving

You'll also need:
1 Tbsp. hardwood sawdust (or 6 to 8 hardwood pellets)

1. Run your fingers over salmon, feeling for bones. Use needle-nose pliers or tweezers to pull out any bones you find. Rinse salmon under cold running water; blot dry with paper towels. Place fish in a nonreactive baking dish just large enough to hold it, and pour on vodka. Turn fillet, then refrigerate for 20 minutes, turning twice.

2. Place sugar, salt, pepper and coriander in a bowl. Mix well, breaking up any lumps in sugar with your fingers.

3. Drain fillet and blot dry with paper towels. Dry the baking dish. Arrange one-third of sugar mixture in bottom of baking dish in the shape of the fillet. Place fish on top and cover with remaining sugar mixture. Cover dish with plastic wrap; let fish cure in refrigerator for 4 hours. When it is properly cured, a pool of liquid the salt has drawn out of the salmon will be in the bottom of the dish.

4. Rinse fish under cold water to wash off all the sugar mixture, then blot dry with paper towels.

5. Set up a stove-top smoker or a wok (see instructions below). Place sawdust in center of bottom of smoker. Line drip pan with aluminum foil and place it in the smoker. Lightly coat wire rack with cooking oil spray. Place rack in smoker. Place fillet on rack with what was skin side facing down.

6. Cover smoker and place it over high heat for 3 minutes; reduce heat to medium. Smoke until cooked through, about 18 minutes. To test for doneness, fish should break into clean flakes when pressed with a finger.

7. Transfer salmon to a wire rack over a plate and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve. (Salmon tastes best chilled.) The salmon can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 4 days.

Tips on stove-top smoking:

# Read and heed manufacturer's directions about use of stove-top smoker if you have a flat electric range top.

# For ease in cleaning, line smoker with foil before adding sawdust. (It is not necessary to soak sawdust in water, as for use outdoors.) After smoking, make sure sawdust is completely cool. Douse it with a little water and leave at room temperature for at least an hour to avoid any spark in the trash.

# While smoking, run stove exhaust fan on high; you may also want to open a window. If your smoke detector goes off and you disconnect it, make sure to reconnect it when you are done smoking.

# After several uses, the top of the smoker may warp slightly, allowing a little smoke to escape. Place a heavy object, such as a kettle filled with water, on top to restore the seal as soon as you close the lid.

2 Thoughts for food:

At 2:23 PM, Anonymous Julia said...

Wow, Matt smoked his own salmon? Impressive. Ok, I know this is a silly question, but is smoked salmon a cooked item? Yours looks cooked because it's opaque and flakes apart, but the smoked salmon I've tried look more like raw salmon slices.

At 3:22 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

I've emailed Matt's explanation to you!


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