Monday, April 27, 2009

Grilled Seafood with Butter Rum Lemon Baste

Sundays at GreenWood are usually laid-back, late breakfast and leisurely work on the property being the general rule for the day. As our workload gets heavier during the week at the lab and in both studios, we find that we like at least one weekend day to be the proverbial Day Of Rest; this being GreenWood, that means not resting much but doing yard work, and devoting some time to What I'd Like For Dinner.

Rum. Silver spiced rum with citrus. That's what we imbibe on Sundays, and ... you know, as long as the bottle's right there... We also like to have seafood on Sundays, and after working on the garden I'm in a sweaty but tropical frame of mind- so this happened:

Mister C's Grilled Seafood With Butter Rum Lemon Pepper Baste

4 Fillets (4-6oz) Tuna, Amberjack, Snapper or other firm fish
12 Large Sea Scallops
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Oz. Silver Spiced Rum (the vanilla makes the difference)
1 Oz. Lemon or Lime Juice (or fresh-squeezed)
1 Tbsp Cracked Pepper

Heat the grill to 400F, and melt the butter in a small bowl. Add the rum, juice and pepper and stir until mixed. Dip the scallops in the baste, then brush both sides of the fish and toss on the grill. Grill, turning and basting frequently, until done (no more than 10 min for scallops and fish) and serve hot. Garnish with additional citrus slices and rum drink served with a silly straw. Brown bread and a fresh salad complete the meal, and you'll start Monday on a good note- especially if you have leftovers. This is also terrific in the salad.

Lush-Us Chocolate Guinness Chili

Anything can come up here at GreenWood- So I sort of got roped into a chili cookoff... and I had to make it on Band Night. I usually reserve chili for the "out of the box" meals but I had to make a gallon and was a command performance. No photos of the Chili as I've never seen one that didn't look gross... It's a bit on the sweet side, but a novel recipe and I thought it would do well:

Mr. C's Lush-Us Guinness Chili
2lbs Lean Ground Beef or Turkey
24oz Diced Tomatoes (about 6 good-size fresh or a large can)
1 Bottle Guinness Extra Stout (or other bitter dark beer)
1 Cup Strong Brewed Coffee
2 Chopped Onions
3 Cloves Garlic (chopped)
4 Cans Red Kidney Beans
2 Cans Black Beans
1 Can Beef Broth or 1Tbsp Better Than Bullion
2 Cans Tomato Paste
1/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar (optional)
4 Tbs Chili Powder
1 Tbsp Oregano
2 Tbsp Cumin
4 Hot Chili Peppers chopped
1/4 Cup Masa or Cornstarch Paste (optional)
2 Tbs Cocoa or Mole

Brown the meat with the garlic and onions, then drain and put in a large stewpot and bring the heat to simmer. Add the diced tomatoes, beer, coffee, beef broth or bullion and tomato paste. Simmer for 20 minutes, then add the brown sugar (optional), cumin, chili powder and peppers, cocoa or mole, oregano and salt to taste. Simmer another 20 minutes, then add the beans and masa if desired. Cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring to keep from sticking.

Now this is fine served after cooking for an hour or so, modified for your personal sweet-salty-spicy preferences; it's much better the next day. Usually a hunk of good brown bread and another Guinness is all that's needed to complete the tableau.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cookin With Mister C: Beautiful Baked Sockeye Salmon

The original inspiration for the salmon can be found on CDKitchen under the title "Firecracker Salmon". We like more "zip" and less "fire" so I modified it to suit our particular taste and it's a family favorite. The sauce is the heart of the meal but it's very easy to prepare. Regarding the fish: a friend of mine used to work in a salmon processing plant in Alaska, and she told me to never never never eat salmon that was not bright red; if memory serves, she referred to the typical orange farm-raised salmon as 'dog food'... and meant it. So, about once a month I pick up a nice slab of Alaskan Sockeye, bake it in this wonderful tangy sauce and make my family happy:

Fillet of Sockeye Salmon 2-3 pounds

Mister C's Salmon Sauce:
4 Tbsp Olive oil
4 Tbsp Soy sauce
4 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp Grated ginger or ginger paste
2 Tbsp Honey
2 Tsp Sesame oil
3 Cloves chopped garlic
1 Tsp Red pepper (adds zip)
Mix the sauce ingredients together in a large measuring cup or small bowl, until blended. I find that 30 seconds in the microwave will heat it up and facilitate mixing. Preheat your oven to 375F after you finish the mixing. Place the salmon skin-side down in a 9X13 baking dish, mix the sauce once more and pour evenly over the fish and bake uncovered for around 20 minutes adjusting for thickness and desired doneness. This also makes a fine glaze for grilling, just halve all the ingredients except the honey. Don't overcook the salmon or you'll realize just how good it could have been, and you can always pop it in the microwave for a minute if it's too rare.

My browned pine nuts and whole baby portobello mushrooms in an olive oil and butter sauce are definitely not low-calorie but so very good and packed with vitamins. You can throw it together in about 10 minutes:

8oz Whole baby Portobello mushroms
1/4 Cup Raw pine nuts
2 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Tbsp Butter

Heat the butter in a large skillet or pan until just sizzling, then add the olive oil. Add the pine nuts, browning them evenly. I like to take the pan from the heat for a minute or two and allow the oil, butter and pine nuts to develop a heady infusion; if you do so then remove the pan when the pine nuts begin to change color or they will overcook and turn dark brown. Take the time to grab that frosty beverage of your choice, then return the pan to the heat and add the whole mushrooms, toss and cover for a few minutes, then toss and cover for another few minutes. Uncover, toss once more and serve hot.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

On Tax Day

Well, it looks like the extra delay in filing my taxes was worthwhile if stressful- we're getting a larger refund as a result- but ye Gods! This is the reason I hire accountants! Now I have about two weeks' backlog in the jewelry studio, and an entire recording studio revamp while recording and editing a live CD due by late August. Yes, I know that after 14 years we shouldn't do this to ourselves but I'm beginning to believe it's a fundamental ingredient in the Emerald Rose Music Pie. Nonetheless, the taxes are done and I can get back to artistic-type endeavors. I have three pieces destined for Japan and three going to Australia, plus a couple of pieces which are to be used as Ayurvedic jewelry... so I have plenty to keep me busy in the shop. Recording is always a long and tedious process, even live CDs, because nothing is totally live (and hasn't been for a very long time). Emerald Rose has so many different facets that we have to offer at least 16 tunes or else we'll have left something out and catch it from our fans, which translates is one hell of a lot of work to achieve that effortless live sound.

Have you noticed a distinct band slant? Good reason, today's a Wednesday, and that's Band Night for the past 12 years or so. With that in mind, and taxes taking most of the day we're having crockpot country ribs, served with rice and a selection of Indian cuisine including Norvat Korma and Dal Makhani. And Guiness, because it's my last one and I can't get more until it's gone. You should never leave a Guiness alone in the cooler for more than a day, or it'll turn bitter.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday's Cookin With Mister C

So I had one of those proverbial days on the eve of Tax Deadline, and a billing error with the accountant pretty much derailed all my Studio work today. I'm blessed with a lot of very interesting jewelry commissions, but the delay is killing me. Sooo, with an eye towards preparing something that I can mash into goo I realized that my kids had never experienced the savage joy of the mighty meatloaf. Tonight's the night...

Barbecue Meatloaf with Smashed Potatoes and Vegetable Medley.

The Smashed Potatoes are simply a bit more... man-mashed, you could say. The vegetable medley is basically whatever I can find that I can steam together. That saves more time to devote to the meatloaf: It's an easy list of ingredients but more importantly it lets me rummage through my cabinets like a mad scientist, wield sharp knives and mangle meat with my hands. Some days a guy just has to make some meatloaf.

Preheat oven to 375F
1.5lb lean ground beef or turkey
1 cup oatmeal or breadcrumbs
1 onion chopped
1 egg
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1.5 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp coarse ground pepper or to taste (I use at least 1 tbsp)
24oz bottle of Barbecue Sauce of your choice or you can make your own:
16oz tomato sauce (fresh or from the can)
1 cup water
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp spicy mustard
1 tsp vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Combine three-quarters of the sauce with the rest of the ingredients, mangling until unrecognizable as anything other than raw meatloaf with onions. Dump the mixture into a casserole dish (9x6 should do), level it off and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Add the remaining sauce to cover the top of the meatloaf and bake another 30 minutes or until the loaf is 165F in the center. Before slicing, take 5 minutes to fix yourself a refreshing drink. With rum. And an umbrella. And a straw. That's better. Have another sip, to prepare for the slicing. Lay it out just like Mom used to do, diner-menu style if you want to add some presentation value to your meal, and the leftovers make a fine, tangy Shepherd's Pie. Just mangle them a bit more, heat and serve.

Inaugural Post

I finally decided to point my websites and social networking PR to a central blog where I can manage all the things I want to share with you. Here you'll find the most comprehensive cross-section of my life, work and musings.
Check back often, because a lot of stuff happens around here- Cookin' With Mister C will live here, under its own label, better and more like a food blog complete with pics and video. New projects for GreenWood Studio will be introduced here as well as on the Studio website, and I'll try to keep you updated about Emerald Rose as best I can. Ash paints with acrylic, makes pottery for sale to individuals and restaurants, and we help organize mythology-related seminars and conferences. Naturally, I'll let you know what's in the hopper as it presents itself...