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Have you ever baked salmon in parchment paper? It can look somewhat fancy and intimidating, but I assure you, it’s crazy easy to do. The fillets basically steam in their own juices, which are all contained in the parchment pouch. Preparing these salmon fillets takes just 30 minutes, including cooking time. If you don’t have parchment paper, you can use aluminum foil. The cool thing about the paper is that it’s pretty, and you can even serve the salmon in the parchment pouches, letting the diners unwrap them on their plates.
It’s January! Meaning as pretty as it may look on a sunny winter day here in Northern California, as soon as I step outside I want to turn around and head back in, where it is still toasty warm. Days like these are perfect for cooking a big pot of chili beans, don’t you think? The basis for this turkey chili recipe comes from my friend Kelsey’s mom Janeen. It’s one of their family favorites. It uses naturally lean ground turkey, plenty of black beans, onions, carrots, and red bell peppers, and can be made in one big pot. I’ve dressed the original up a little with a bit more seasonings. It’s great over rice, or with tortillas, and tastes even better the next day when the flavors have had more time to blend. Enjoy!
Years ago an aikido friend of mine and I travelled to Shikoku, a Southern island of Japan. On a brisk walk one day we discovered the path covered with chestnuts. We gathered a bunch and took them back to where we were staying. Not knowing exactly how to cook them, but having seen plenty of NYC vendors with pans of hot chestnuts in them, we decided to pan roast them. We placed the chestnuts in a single layer in a large frying pan and put them on high heat. I bet you can guess what happened next? A few minutes into our little experiment the chestnuts started exploding, like popcorn, all over the kitchen. It was all we could do to avoid getting hit by these blazing hot, golf ball-sized projectiles. Who knew you had to score the shells first? Still, after the mess, I still remember how good those chestnuts were.
Don’t you love a good stir-fry? Years ago I had this big wok with wooden handles, well seasoned, in spite of a housemate’s attempt one day to scour off all of the pan’s beautiful black seasoning I had worked so hard to create. I don’t know what eventually became of that wok; these days I’m loving my friend Jaden’s non-stick enamel cast iron wok. It does a great job with high heat, it’s stick-free and I don’t have to worry about it rusting. The good thing about stir-fries is that you don’t need a lot of fancy ingredients to have a perfectly presentable dish. All you need is a pan and a cooking oil that can take high heat. Woks work well for this, as do large pans of cast iron or hard anodized aluminum.
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