The following post was originally published on BAH on 28 August 2009.
A good amount of the disk space on our Tivo gets taken up with cooking shows. Food Network, PBS, I like to mix it all up. When I watch them, I frequently experience kitchen envy. Seriously, have you seen Paula Deen’s or Ina Garten’s kitchen? Dreamy. Multiple cooktops, deep fryers, and refrigerator drawers. Best of all are those professional stoves. 48 to 60 inches of high btu muscle with double ovens. They are the kitchen equivalent of the Ford Mustang in Steve McQueen’s Bullitt. High revving, rubber burning, wild horses. I so wish I could have one of those. My kitchen, in comparison, is more like a Honda Accord. It’s reliable for getting you where you need to go but would never win in a drag race.
Not that having fancy, expensive equipment means anything when it comes to serving up good food. Deb, who I heart, from Smitten Kitchen turns out the best food from a teeny, tiny New York City apartment kitchen. Think your kitchen is small? Try working in a 24 square foot space. That’s smaller than my closet. And yet, without the aid of fancy equipment, she turns out all sorts of baked, fried, and roasted goodness.
Like anything else, your equipment is a tool that either you know how to use or you don’t. That 48 inch Viking isn’t going to magically transform a bad dish into a good one. So work with what you have, find its muscle, and make it work for you. Your kitchen may not burn rubber like Steve McQueen’s Mustang, but it won’t need new tires as quickly either.
Oven Roasted Salmon
I added paprika and chili powder, not original to the CI recipe.
- 1 skin on salmon fillet, 1 3/4 – 2 pounds (I used two individual skinless fillets)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Chili powder
Place a sheet pan on an oven rack in the lowest position and heat oven to 500 degrees. If your salmon has skin, make 4 or 5 shallow slashes about an inch apart along the skin side of each piece. Do not cut into the flesh.
Dry salmon with a paper towel, rub with oil and season with salt, paprika, and chili powder. Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees and remove the HOT baking sheet. Carefully place salmon (skin side down) on your sheet pan. Roast until salmon is still translucent in the thickest part of fillets when cut into with paring knife or when an instant read thermometer inserted in thickest part of the fillets registers 125 degrees, 9 to 13 minutes. Transfer fillets to individual plates or platter.
Pineapple Avocado Salsa
The Washington Post
- 4 ounces fresh or canned pineapple, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch dice (1/2 cup)
- Flesh of half a medium avocado, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch dice
- 1 scallion, white and light green parts, cut crosswise into thin slices (2 to 3 teaspoons)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Juice of 1 to 2 limes (1 tablespoon)
Combine the pineapple, avocado, scallion, salt, and lime juice in a mixing bowl. Toss to combine.