Thursday, March 19, 2009

Magic Pie & Salmon Salad - 3/19/2009

I've been mostly eating last week's leftovers, but I did do some culinary work this week (I swear!). To continue my push to avoid eating sandwiches, I made this miso salmon salad.

Miso Salmon Salad

I may have said this before, but I'm not a huge fan of salads. For me, while a pile of lettuce may relieve your hunger pangs, it is not, by any stretch of the imagination, satisfying. For instance, I only ever get the salad bar if I know it will have meat and/or hefty, dense add-ons (broccoli, chickpeas, olives, potato salad, avocado, boiled eggs, etc.). That's why Cobb salad is probably one of my favorites. Anyhow, this salad has some nice non-traditional add-ons along with lots of protein. After marinating salmon fillets in a combination of rice wine, soy sauce, grated ginger, white miso paste, sugar, and lemon juice, it is baked for about 15-ish minutes in a 400 degree oven until they are cooked to your liking. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. While cooling, make the rest of the salad by tossing fresh spinach, blanched and halved snow peas, cucumber chunks, and chopped scallion. Make salmon into chunks and put on top of salad. For the dressing, combine equal parts soy sauce, rice vinegar, rice wine, and sugar with 4 parts white miso paste. Drizzle on top of salad and enjoy. The salmon itself was moist and dense but not fishy in any respect, and there was a vast array of other flavors: salty/tangy from the dressing, aromatic from the green onion, and sweet from the snow peas. Nicely Asian but appropriately light for a lunch course.

Funny Cake Pie

Yes, yes, another baked good. I made it in honor of National Pi Day (3/14), celebrating the wondrous glory that is the transcendental number pi. This one is called "funny cake pie." It's claim to fame is two-fold: 1) it is part cake, part pie, and 2) it performs a bit of a magic trick while baking. While I'm sure everyone would love me explaining the magic of pi, I will have to save that for another day and settle for the magic of pie. The recipe is very simple and is split into two parts:
1.5 cups sugar
0.5 cups vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat the first three ingredients until well blended. Then add the remaining ingredients and beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour into pie crusts (I used store-bought graham cracker crusts). Don't worry too much about overmixing the batter because it comes out a bit like pancake batter.

Funny Cake Pie Batter

Pretty basic so far. Next, mix together 1 cup sugar with 0.5 cups cocoa powder and 1 cup of hot water. If presentation is important, be sure to mix this together well. I was a little lazy and didn't fully mix the cocoa powder into the water (It is hard to mix chocolate into water with all of the oils in the chocolate, another reason I like to make hot chocolate with milk.). Top the pie(s) with the chocolate mixture. As you can see from the picture, the watery chocolate mixture sinks right through the cake batter. My theory is the batter has been aerated from the mixing, so it allows the thin chocolate mixture to fall right through it's pores, invisible as they may be to the naked eye. As you can see, some chocolate residue was left on the top of my pies.

Funny Cake Pie - Oven Ready

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour for a full pie, about 30-40 minutes for minis (check with a toothpick or you can just eyeball it.

Funny Cake Pie - Inside

The inside of the pies turned out very good. The cakey portion had a nice vanilla sweetness, paired with a thinner layer of fudgey goodness on the bottom. A basic dessert, but very fun to make.

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