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Baked Halibut


Fish has always intimidated me. I'm not sure why. It probably stems from growing up in a house where fish wasn't cooked -- well, except for a few meals of fried catfish. Not long ago I decided to take the plunge and jump in feet first. I wish I hadn't waited so long -- baked fish is so easy! When you buy your fish, be sure that it doesn't smell too fishy. Fresh fish will be best, but frozen will work fine. Also, ask the cute fish guy for a cut that is pretty consistent in thickness from one end to the other. If they are customer-oriented, they will do so with a smile on their face. If not, find another cute fish guy.

Serves 4 to 6

1 1/2 pounds halibut or cod
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Canola or olive oil

Heat oven to 400° F.

Remove the skin from the fish either now, or before serving.

Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper to taste and place it in a baking dish that has been sprayed with a little oil.

Melt butter in a medium-sized bowl in the microwave. Be sure to cover the top of the bowl with a paper towel to save yourself clean up time inside the microwave.

Combine the bread crumbs with the butter until well coated, and spoon the crumb mixture over top of the fish. Cover the top of the fish evenly.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes if about 1 inch thick; 30 minutes if 1 1/2 inches thick. When done, the fish should flake with a fork. Sprinkle it with chopped fresh chives, and serve.
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Flax Seed Potato Bread


This fragrant, chewy bread is moist and somewhat addictive. Last year, my older son asked me to buy some flax seeds for his morning oatmeal -- and it didn’t take long to realize that it adds a nice texture and a slightly nutty taste to the breads I usually make. This recipe starts with my favorite mashed potato recipe, and uses the potato water to good advantage.

WHO: AntoniaJames is a baker living in Piedmont, CA.
WHAT: A sweet, dense mashed potato-based bread.
HOW: Form a dough out of mashed potatoes, milk, bread flour, yeast, flax seeds, olive oil, and salt, sweetened with honey. Alternate between kneading the dough and allowing it to rise until it reaches the desired consistency. Brush the loaf generously with olive oil and bake it using either a clay pot, conventional loaf pan, or pizza stone. Let it cool, then dig in.
WHY WE LOVE IT: While labor-intensive, the end result -- a dense and slightly nutty, sweet bread -- is worth the effort. The crispy browned crust and the crunch of the flax seeds provide a contrast against the smooth texture of the bread. Enjoy it as a side with dinner or with your morning cup of coffee.The recipes yield a large loaf, so consider dividing it in two and sharing one with a friend -- or save it all for yourself.

Makes 1 large loaf

2 to 4 medium potatoes
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
Reserved water from cooking the potatoes
3/4 cup slightly warm whole milk, or as needed
3 tablespoons honey, lightly warmed
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus some to grease and brush the bread
3 cups bread flour, plus some for kneading
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup flax seeds, golden or brown

Cut the potatoes in half, without peeling them, and put them in a pot. Pour in enough cold water to cover them by about 1 inch, then bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until very tender, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, then let the potatoes sit in their cooking water until cooled. Reserving the water, remove the potato halves with a slotted spoon. Peel the halves with your fingers or with a small paring knife, and discard the peels. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl if kneading by hand, or to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mash the potatoes using a potato masher or a fork. You should have roughly 1 1/2 cups.

Proof the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water (no hotter than 110o F) with the sugar for 5 to 10 minutes.

Pour the cooled cooking liquid from the potatoes into a liquid measure, then add enough milk to measure 3/4 cup total. You should have a ratio of roughly 1/2 cup potato water to 1/4 cup milk. Pour the milk/potato water mixture into the bowl of mashed potatoes. Add the honey and the olive oil. Mix well to blend.

If kneading by hand: Add the yeast mixture and 3 cups bread flour to the potato mixture. Using a sturdy wooden spoon, stir to bring the dough together. Add the salt and continue to work the dough until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes. If using a stand mixer with a dough hook: Add the yeast mixture into the bowl. Add 2 cups bread flour and run the mixer for 1 to 2 minutes with dough hook, scraping down the sides as you go. Add the salt and and 1 cup additional bread flour. Run the dough hook to incorporate. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes.

Once the dough has finished resting, begin to knead it. If using a stand mixer, add the flax seeds all at once. If kneading by hand, flour your work surface generously, then add only as much flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. Add the flax seeds a few tablespoons at a time while you knead. Knead the bread for about 10 minutes, until stretchy and supple.

After 10 to 12 minutes, determine whether your dough is smooth and elastic using a windowpane test. If it's not, keep kneading for 5 more minutes, or as needed.

Wash and dry your bowl. Put about 1 teaspoon olive oil in the bottom, and place the dough in. Turn to coat.

Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and set in a relatively warm, draft-free place to rise for 1 hour 30 minutes. *See note about rising below.

Punch the dough down gently, knead it a few times, and shape it into a loaf. Preheat the oven to 325o F for a convection oven, or 350o F for a regular oven. If using a pizza stone, put the stone on a shelf in the bottom third of the oven at the same time that you turn the heat on.

This recipe works well either as a free-standing oval on a pizza stone, in a clay pot, or in a loaf pan. If using a clay pot: Fill the lower half up about 3/4-full with water, then turn the lid over and fill it with water as well. Place both the water-filled lid and base in the oven while the dough rises. Shape the dough and let it rise in a parchment-lined loaf pan approximately the same size as the clay baking pan. Once the clay pot is warm, remove it from the oven and empty it, but leave the water-filled lid in the oven while baking. Make a sling with the parchment paper to transfer the dough into the clay pot, with the parchment paper still attached. If using a conventional loaf pan: Lightly oil the pan with olive oil, gently shape the dough into an oval, and place it inside of the pan with the parchment paper. If using a pizza stone: Shape the dough into an oval on the parchment paper. Slide a baking sheet under the parchment.

Regardless of the baking method, use the sides of your hands to stretch the dough down from the top to create surface tension over the top of the loaf. Cover with a tea towel and allow the dough to rise again for 30 to 40 minutes.

Using a bread knife or bakers' lame, cut one deep, long slit lengthwise or several shallow diagonal slits across the loaf. Brush the top of the loaf generously with olive oil. This gives the bread a beautiful, fragrant crust.

Place the loaf in the oven to bake for 50 minutes, or until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Checking it after about 25 minutes: Convection ovens can often make the crust a bit dark, especially loaves made with milk, so if the crust is looking too brown after 25 or 30 minutes, cover it very lightly with a piece of foil.

When it's done, remove the bread from the parchment and it let cool on a rack for at least 1 hour, preferably 3 or 4 hours.

*A note about rising: Your bread dough won’t rise easily if it’s cold or subjected to drafts. My favorite place for protecting it from both is in my microwave. To create an ideal rising environment in your microwave: Put a small cup of water in your microwave, and turn it on high for 2 minutes. Remove the cup and put your covered bowl of dough in there and shut the door. This is only practical if you don’t expect there to be much activity with the microwave for the hour or so that the bread will rise. Or, you can warm up your regular oven to no more than 120o F (turning it off as soon as it is finished preheating so it doesn’t get any hotter), leave the door open just a crack for a minute or so, then pop your bread bowl in there, covered lightly with a tea towel, with the door closed.

Secret Ingredient Beef Stew

I created this recipe for a dinner party I was co-hosting with my sister. I took a lot of steps to make the stew as savory as humanly possible. These steps included: carefully browning the meat; adding great proportions of veggies reenex, including mushrooms and leeks; and stirring in a surprise ingredient: anchovies. The result was delicious, and I served it over buttery, parslied orzo and accompanied by crusty bread.

This savory, rich stew may be named after one secret ingredient, but it's because of a complex mix of components that it succeeds so well. Tomatoes and tomato paste give it a sunny sweetness, diced veggies lend texture, and red wine and vinegar brighten everything up. Anchovies, the "secret ingredient," are briny and buttery, giving the sauce a smooth, complex finish. We recommend using beef with generous marbling for the best results.

Serves 8-10

5-5.5 pounds beef stewing meat, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
salt
pepper
1/3 cup mixed olive and canola oil
2 leeks, washed well and cut thinly
1 large onion, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
4 celery ribs, diced
4 ounces white mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 anchovies
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup red wine
3 cups beef broth
1 cup canned whole tomatoes with juices
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 bay leaves
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup chopped parsley

Season the beef with salt and pepper on both sides. Brown the meat in batches in a 5-6 quart Dutch oven over high heat reenex, adding more oil as needed. Remove to a plate.

Lower the heat and add all the vegetables. Cook for 5-10 minutes until softened. Stir in the tomato paste and anchovies and cook to melt the anchovies and distribute.

Add the beef back in, with its juices. Add the wine, vinegar, and tomatoes with juice (breaking them up against the side of the pot as you go) and bring to a boil. Add the stock to cover (you may need a bit more than 3 cups). Put in the salt, bay leaf, thyme, bring to a boil. Simmer, partially covered, for 2-3 hours until the meat is tender. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate.

When cool, skim off much of the fat from the top. Reheat over low heat, letting the stew simmer 30-45 minutes before serving reenex.

Mix in half of the parsley and garnish with the rest.

Drunken Noodles


I have cooked for a few drunks in my day... and this recipe right here is a great one to accompany a beer or cocktails. Traditionally in Thailand, these noodles are served to late-night patrons to help sober them up. This dish is spicy, but you can prepare it to your own liking. My favorite drunken noodles are at the the “I Like Thai” cart in Portland, OR, and are all of $5, but when I don’t want to drag my three-year-old son downtown, I make my own second place version that serves at least four noodle munchers. I have access to many Asian markets and I pick up my ingredients there, where they are usually cheaper and better quality, but most of these items can be found at your local supermarket du jour. After you have done your prep, this dish comes together quickly, so if you do your mise en place the night before, you could make this in front of your guests and even invite them to help, or just let them watch your stir-fry ninja skills! - Alexandra V. Jones

Food52 Review: WHO: Alexandra V. Jones is a self-proclaimed kitchen ninja.
WHAT: Go home noodles, you’re drunk (with our favorite Asian flavors).

HOW: Use a mixture of powerful sauces -- soy, oyster, and fish -- and fiery chili garlic oil to douse a stir-fry of shrimp, fresh vegetables, and wide rice noodles.

WHY WE LOVE IT: We will gladly drink large amounts of beer if it means we get to sober up with these noodles. They’ll be as good as the best drunken noodles you’ve had at a Thai restaurant -- and even if they only come close, at the very least you’ll feel cool that you made them yourself. - The Editors

Serves 4

2 tablespoons thick soy sauce or hoisin
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Thai chili garlic oil (if you can’t find this, use sambal oelek or Sriracha)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 eggs, whisked
12 medium shrimp, shelled and deveined, tails on
1 cup chopped tofu (I used fried, but well-drained raw tofu will also work)
One 12-ounce bag rice flake noodles, soaked in lukewarm water for 10 minutes and drained
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup packed basil leaves

Heat a wok (or the biggest skillet you have) over medium-high heat. In a separate bowl, whisk together thick soy sauce, regular soy sauce, oyster sauce, chili oil, and fish sauce together and set aside.

Add peanut oil to wok and cook the garlic and shallot until light brown, then add eggs and scramble together. Add shrimp and tofu and cook for 2 minutes, then add the drained noodles, bell pepper, and sauce mixture. Stir-fry for 5 minutes, add basil and cook for 2 more minutes, or until some of the noodles are a bit crisp on the edges. Serve with an ice cold lager or I.P.A.

5 Latkes and Sauce Pairings for the Ultimate Hanukkah Fry Fest


We are clearly in a latke frenzy this week. Now we are dreaming up all the ways we can devote a whole party to them. Imagine: a spread of assorted crispy assorted fritters with an array of sauces for dunking. What could possibly be better Dream beauty pro hard sell?

Sure, that means a bit more effort, but just imagine your guests' greedy glee when a new kind of latke hits the table. No time for multiple latke varieties? Then time to get creative with your dipping sauces. Read on to meet the power latke couples:


Greek-Herbed Spinach Latkes + Herbed Feta Dip

These spinach-packed and dill-spiced latkes are begging for a tangy feta dipping sauce.

Carrot Pancakes + Salted Yogurt

Latke meets pancake in these gluten-free carrot fritters, which are made with chickpea flour. Use good flaky salt to give the salted yogurt a tangy crunch Dream beauty pro hard sell.

Potato Parsnip Latkes + Savory Applesauce

Potatoes and parsnips are a match made in heaven, as seen by this mash and this latke recipe. Serves these fritters with an herby twist on your typical applesauce. If you can't find savory, substitute thyme, marjoram, or sage.

Our Favorite Latkes + Lox Sauce

Our Favorite Latkes are pefect in every way and crispy enough to stand up to a variety of sauces. Plus you can eat them in just a couple bites, which makes them perfect for a latke party. We couldn't decide if we wanted them dunked in sour cream or topped with salmon, so this lox sauce combines the best of both worlds Dream beauty pro hard sell.

Porcini Mushroom Latkes + Extra-Green Green Goddess Dip

We thought a creamy tarragon or parsley dip would pair well with these earthy mushroom latkes. This green goddess dressing is packed with herbs and watercress, so it's extra green and zesty.

Vegetable Latkes + Beet Yogurt with Herbs

A bit lighter than a classic latke, this veggie version is chock-full of parsnips, carrots, and leeks. We are pairing it with a cool, creamy, and vibrant beet yogurt that will surely add a pop of color to your latke spread.

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