Mustard-Soy Glazed Salmon with
Brown Sugar and Ginger (pg 11)
Salmon is like a blank artist’s canvas. Who could have known that salmon would become so popular? It has such a rich, satisfying flavor and it complements every single ingredient in all cuisines. So salmon is a bit of a chameleon. You are limited only by your imagination and culinary aptitude.
I like salmon first of all because every place I shop carries at least one choice, wild and/or farmed, so it is easy to pickup on the way home. I don’t like looking for unusual ingredients unless I have lots of time. The almost-asian marinade here ended up being one of my favorites.
They are all ingredients easily in my pantry: soy sauce, Dijon, ginger, brown sugar. I love minimal prep, 5 to 10 minutes at most. This recipe fits that criteria-I can glance at the list of ingredients and toss it all together. The reward is that the salmon flavor and texture is enhanced, not overpowered, and there is a different flavor than if I made the salmon plain with some lemon. This is also a favorite since it was a gift from one of my dearest friends, who has the same palate choices that I do.
Chicken Piccata (pg 52)
Chicken Piccata is one of my all time favorite dishes. Again I love that it utilizes pantry items: lemon, parsley, capers, chicken broth. The sauce is thin so there is no worry about excess fat. It cooks insanely quickly, in the blink of the eye. Pounding the chicken breast in a heavy plastic freezer bag changed my life; no more messing with the pieces of parchment on a cutting board. I have never met anyone who didn’t like a piccata unless they were vegetarian, and even then I suspect they might love it. Everyone in my family-mother, sisters- all make this recipe so it is well tested.
Ravioli with Mushrooms and Sweet Peas (pg 157)
When I wrote "Weeknight Cooking", I took advantage of including recipes that I make for myself and/or that came from my family. I first made this recipe in the 1980s for a quick dinner. The combination of the peas and mushrooms was one I come back to over and over. I then started to make it in large batches for catering jobs. It was wildly popular. A recipe is really alive when you love it so much you make it over and over. Again a very fast dish to prep and prepare with pasta being very economical. Keep a few packages of the fresh ravioli in the freezer.
Cobb Salad (pg 242)
I have a passion for crispy cold main dish salads, which is why I dedicated a full chapter to them, and Cobb is the one that reigns supreme. I like to keep an assortment of vegetables in the fridge for making salads. I shop once a week for leafy greens, and then complement with canned beans, bacon, crumbled cheese, deli meats.
For some reason the raw with the protein added is perfect for my metabolism and I don’t even need bread. I will even wash the greens one day and have bags ready to use immediately. Some nights even washing produce is too much. A main dish salad is a sure thing when a friend comes over for dinner. I use a homemade ranch style dressing on my cobb. Then I use it on small side salads or tossed greens the rest of the week. Always keep a jar of salad dressing in the fridge designed to last you one week. If you don’t have a good dressing, you might skip the salad altogether.
Open-Faced Hot Turkey Sandwiches
with Tarragon Gravy (pg 270)
One of the greatest coups of the poultry industry was their decision to market turkey parts instead of just whole turkeys. When I grew up turkey was a strickly holiday meat. I waited for it all year long. The whole roast was eaten one day, stuffed of course, with all the predictable accompaniments. Then the next day, hot turkey sandwiches, and the next turkey soup. It was a massive undertaking. Now a hot turkey sandwich is less than half an hour away with sliced turkey breast and a delicious package of gravy doctored up slightly. Turkey is no longer relegated to the winter holidays; it is an all season meat. Hot open faced sandwiches of all types is the next big rage in the culinary world. For good reason. A sandwich is an entire meal, nutritionally complete and satisfying. I make some type of composed sandwich for dinner once a week.
Beth Hensperger writes a baking column for the San Jose Mercury News and is a regular contributor to numerous national magazines. She is the author of more than twenty cookbooks, including the James Beard Book Award winner The Bread Bible, and the best-selling Not Your Mother's® series. She has twice been nominated for the Julia Child/IACP Cookbook Award.
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