Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Candied Salmon II: You should have seen the papers I used to smoke these guys...

I thought I would follow up on my earlier candied salmon experiment.

Today I smoked my second batch of candied salmon with some slight variations to my first batch.

I used approximately 1/2 as much salt as the original recipe suggested. It made a huge difference in flavor, but did not seem to affect the quality of the fish. It may mean that it doesn't keep as long, but realistically, it doesn't keep long in my house anyway.

This time, I also basted the fish periodically with the honey-water mixture, as recommended by the recipe. I didn't do that with the first batch, and this addition gave the fish a little boost of sweetness and a beautiful lacquered look.

Miss Thing ate about a half a pound today.

And I used the left over brine (with a splash of added soy sauce) for some beef jerky. Have you ever had beef that tasted like candy? It tastes kind of like candied bacon. Again, Miss Thing ate as much as I would let her.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My first piece of real clothing...

I finished the knitting portion of this baby kimono a while ago, but I wasn't quite sure how to finish the ties off.

I'm very pleased though, and hopefully it will fit the new baby it was knitted for...

Monday, July 21, 2008


A part of the reason for our relocation was to get closer to our little hobby - sailing. Our boat is now only 20 minutes away from our house.

This will be the second year for our boat-neighborhood cruise. Three families, three boats, almost ten days on the lake. Three of those days at the amusement park. Hopefully the weather will be nice. Much rum is consumed. Much ice cream is consumed. For me, much fudge is consumed. I love fudge.

One of the largest challenges for this trip is mapping out the food. There are meals that you can only eat on the boat (because you're sailing someplace). There are days when you have no power (we have a gas stove, but no microwave when we are without shore power). And our fridge is small, so you have to consider packing one or two coolers for ten days. We use dry ice, but after 10 days in even the most well insulated coolers, it's gone too. You also can't always count on grilling - we don't have a grill on the boat, and some places do not encourage grilling at the docks. Plus, hamburgers and hot dogs get old after 10 days.

I am currently in the plans for what food stuffs to bring. I like to bring meals that are frozen but can defrost over a couple days. This serves two purposes - they last longer, and they act as an ice pack. I also tend to bring a lot of snacks - they are easy, and you don't always want a big meal. Lots of appetizers.

Some of the ideas I am tossing around to bring with us - gazpacho, sesame noodles with tofu, chicken wraps (pre-made, frozen and then thawed), pizza (this worked great when we are under power - we have a toaster oven), smoked salmon and beef jerky (already currently being brined). I made some caponata last year, and I loved it, although no one else ate it. I may make that again though. I'm hoping to get a batch of red pepper jelly made too.

The harder part for me is the sweets. I like to have a sweet nibble around. Last year I brought toffee covered crackers. I need some ideas of for travel friendly sweets.

Jamón ibérico....

It was exactly three years ago that Mr. H and I were adventuring our way through Spain. It was our first time in Europe (not that we have been back again... yet), and we were traipsing our way in a country whose language we did not completely understand.

Jamón ibérico is similar to a prosciutto, but only produced in Spain and Portugal. The pigs eat acorns, which is part of the reason it has such a beautiful flavor.

Our very first meal there was Jamón ibérico. It was sliced thinly, and served on hard crusty bread with tomato oil. We came to a sandwich shop, and I made Mr. H stop because I really, really wanted to try this jamon I had heard so much about. He didn't get it at first, but after one bite.... In Spain, I don't think we went to a restaurant that did not serve it. Just about every restaurant legs of ham hung from the ceiling. I think we ate jamon every single day.
And because of this gluttony of ham, it made us even more sad when we found out that jamón ibérico was not available in the states. Three years ago, it was illegal to import it into the states. But trust me, I seriously, SERIOUSLY considered sneaking one of the legs into my carry on luggage.

I had heard that this ban had been lifted last year, but I had yet to see any.

Until Sunday.

Mr. H and I made a run to that city up north and stopped by the mecca of cheese and other tasty things, Zingermans. Which was where I saw the leg. And I nudged Mr. H and made a jamon comment, something like, "What does that remind you of... if only, right?" To which the guy behind the counter confirmed that it was indeed jamón ibérico. And would we like a taste? I begged Mr. H to say no, knowing that if we had a taste, we would end up buying some. It was expensive in spain, let alone imported to the states.

Two ounces. We ended up with two ounces of heaven.

Last night we ate gazpacho, a variety of cheeses and jamón ibérico. I wanted to cry.

Now if only I could find those fried peppers and fried fresh anchovies... And yes, I took a lot of pictures of ham while we were over there...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Saturday was my 11th wedding anniversary. Mr. H even looked up what our "anniversary solid" or metal or whatever it is, and discovered that 11 years is the steel anniversary.

Several web sites mentioned jewelry - for EVERY anniversary. I'm not a big jewelry girl. I like it, I wear, but don't dump tons of money into it for me. Well, maybe every once and a while you can. But not every holiday.

Mr. H purchased a set of stainless steel coffee mugs for us. This made me very happy because I lost my last mug, and have been much forlorned using the mug I have. It has fallen apart, it's bent, and it's starting to look worse for wear on the inside. I'm quite certain that I am making compost with the amount of old coffee crud on the inside of it. The new mug should even fit into my bike, so finally I can drink coffee on those morning trips to the gym.

We also decided to purchase a coffee roaster as a joint present. I had read about using a popcorn popper to roast green coffee beans years ago but never really seriously considered roasting my own until a friend showed me her automatic roaster. Mr. H and I have been occasionally whispering about procuring one of these magic things ever since.

With the anniversary upon, well, past us, we are still debating which one to finally purchase. My friend gave the I-Roast 2 a rave review, although I don't know if she would use it quite as often as we are planning to. The biggest fallback for us of the I-Roast is the size. While my friend swears that it's enough for two (of our) pots of coffee, my husband remains unconvinced. The fallback of the larger roasters is the price. It was just a little more than we wanted to spend, especially for a hobby we haven't completely commited to yet. On the other hand, I am fairly confident that we will enjoy roasting our own beans. We make our own pickles, peanut butter and jam, what's a little coffee roasting? I'm fairly certain that in the long run we will make up our investment, because the cost of green beans is so much cheaper, let alone how much better it supposedly tastes...

The decision will be made by the end of the week.