It’s Okay to be a Hero

It’s Okay to be a Hero

Lets chat for a bit about heroes.  The new, modern, trendy, super cool, trench coat-wearing thing nowadays is anti-heroes.  Batman, Joel from The Last of Us, Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn.  All these characters are dark, mysterious, brooding, kind of morally ambiguous, and dreamy.  It seems that the media and critics are obsessed with the anti-hero and anything even remotely resembling a hero is a boring trope that’s obviously been done before.

But you know who I love?  The hero.  I love Link, Mario, and Captain America.  I love the brightness, the hope, the radiating goodness that pours out of a hero and into our lives.  Heroes are absolutely still relevant and, especially in these dark times, still necessary in our games, movies, and media.

So what’s the exact difference, you may ask?  Well let’s check Wikipedia – because that’s what we do nowadays.

A hero is defined as a “person or main character who, in the face of danger, combats adversity through impressive feats and ingenuity, bravery, or strength, often sacrificing their own personal concerns for the greater good”.  Let’s break it down.  A hero is someone who utilizes their natural abilities to overcome evil.  They are always found giving up what they want to help others and are good, true, honest, and kind.  These characters always do the right thing and have a fantastic moral compass.

An anti-hero is a “protagonist who lacks conventional heroic qualities such as idealism, courage, or morality.  Although anti-heroes may sometimes do the right thing, it is often for the wrong reasons and because it serves their self-interest rather than being driven by moral convictions”.  So these are the people who fight against the system, break the rules, live by their own code, and do their own thing.  And somehow they usually end up doing the right thing for the people around them.  But it’s not always the best way to do it or the best reasons.

Because anti-heroes are much more flawed and much more like us they tend to be more loved.  They appeal to us because we relate to their circumstances, they struggles, and dilemmas.

But…

Just because a character is a hero doesn’t mean they’re flat.  Or outdated.  Or boring.  It just means they are a good person with good morals who does good things for people.  It’s because they are heroes that makes them people we should emulate.  I mean, add a couple of cut scenes of Batman sneaking through a window with an ax and this just became a horror film.  Instead of focusing on the parts of a hero no one feels they can relate to, lets focus on the fact that these are characters we can strive to be!

My sister-in-law and I have this debate semi-regularly.  She is a hard-core anti-hero fan and I am a die-hard hero worshiper.  It’s why she loves Brontë and I love Austen.  Why she loves Rogue One instead of Force Awakens and I… well I love both.  And I wish I could help her understand that a character doesn’t need to be an anti-hero to be worthy of praise or positive critique.

Lord David Cecil once said (when talking about Austen’s novels, but let’s be honest, it can be applied to any hero character, “There are those who do not like [heroes]; as there are those who do not like sunshine or unselfishness”.  These character’s can bring light and happiness into our lives and into our perspectives.  Instead of focusing on the flaws and negativity and selfishness we are given the option to look at the selflessness, the integrity, the courage of characters doing the right thing because it’s the right thing.  Link saving Hyrule in every iteration simply because he’s in the right circumstances.  Mario rescuing the kidnapped girl and freeing countless worlds from the clutches of tyrants.  These are the people with hope and the ones who can teach us to hope.

The website Literary Devices explains that “in modern society when we are presented with a character that is overly righteous and upright, we find it too good to be true. The social turmoil that the entire world as a community has been facing recently has disposed us to be skeptical of almost everything. . . So, we relate better to a character that has suffered through life and has both good and bad sides than a character that is only seen doing good.”  And maybe that’s true, but I like to believe there’s some good left in this world and that heroes exemplify who we can become in order to make things right!

Who are your favorite heroes?  Or, if you prefer anti-heroes, which is your favorite and why?

P.S: Special shout out to the artist Kurama805 on DeviantArt for the artwork I used as my featured image!  This is a downloadable wallpaper and is gorgeous!

Fish Pie

Fish Pie

Guys- I’m sorry about the whole “no post thing” yesterday.  I’m currently preparing for a vacation on top of several fires at work and I completely forgot it was Tuesday…

Link sure has some serious pastry and cooking skills.  This recipe, while not exactly difficult, was a bit strange.  I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve never had fish pot pie before.  I’ve never had fish anything pie before.  And while I learned that a lot of people make seafood pie, hardly anyone uses fish – it’s typically crab, shrimp, or a combination of both.  And if they do make fish pie, it’s made with a puff pastry crust, which isn’t quite as malleable and shape-able as shortcrust.  But, from past general experience and a whole lotta luck, I bring you fish pie.

Fish Piefish pie difficulty and time meter

This recipe gets a involved kinda fast.  It feels like it starts off easy and then all of a sudden food is ready to be turned, you weren’t paying attention to correct cooking order and you’re dirtying extra pans just to make it all work, your crust starts to get too warm and difficult to roll out, and children start crying.  At least, mine did!  But you got this – because we are going to do this together.

Fish Pie ingredients

First, in order to make things easier in the future, put a large cookie sheet in the fridge.  Having something cold to put your crust shapes on while you roll everything else out will make sure they stay nice and flaky!  Then we start with the filling.

all the veggies on a plateDice carrots and onion and get those peas thawed.  You can do this by either microwaving for a minute or simply running them under water.  The peas don’t need to be cooked, or even warm, since they will go through a few more heat steps before you eat them!  Heat your pan on medium and then add your oil.  Add your onions and saute (a fancy word for cooking in a minimal amount of fat over relatively high heat) until slightly tender and they turn translucent.  Add your carrots and cook for a few minutes or until the carrots are tender.  Add the peas next and cook until warm and mixed thoroughly.  Remove your veggies from the pan to a plate or bowl and put your pan back on the heat.

poaching white fish in milk

Make sure your fish is thawed properly if it was frozen and, for the first time ever, we don’t need to warm it up to room temp or even pat it down!  Add all your milk, your fish, and half the thyme, oregano, and dill to the same pan you cooked your vegetables in.  Keep the heat on medium and allow to come to a boil.  Once it’s boiling drop the heat a bit so it simmers.  Simmer your fish for 2-3 more minutes on this side and then flip them and simmer for an additional 3 minutes.  You don’t want to overcook it or the fish will get rubbery and gross in the pie.  Remove the fish to a plate, and, if you did it right, it’ll be flaky and beautiful and still a bit glistening on the inside.  Break the fish up on the plate into bite size pieces.

Now we start the roux.  Roux can be seriously hard, especially if you’ve never done it before.  I became really good at it when I was determined to make homemade mac and cheese.  It took me a long time to get it right and I had to throw out a lot of batches before I really nailed it down.  Here are my tips for a perfect roux:

Melt your butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.  You could probably use a regular saucepan, but I always use my enamel dutch oven since it keeps the heat nice and even.  Wait until the butter is completely melted and bubbly.  Once it is, whisk in half the flour.  This is important!  If you try and do it all at once it probably won’t melt back down.  Once all the flour is incorporated and the mixture starts to melt and become a bit liquidy again add the remaining flour.  Whisk is continually until it starts to melt again.  At this point start timing – you’ll want to whisk continually for at least 2 minutes or until you reach the blond stage of a roux (a little darker than when you added it. you want all the flour taste to be gone!).  Once the butter/flour mixture is melty and blond start slowly adding the milk that you left in the pan.  Add about half the milk – the flour/butter may ball up on itself but just keep whisking.  Just keep whisking, just keep whisking, just keep whisking, whisking, whisking…  It’ll sort itself out!  Whisk until the mixture is homogeneous and slightly thick.  Add the remaining milk and repeat.  If the mixture is too thick you may have added too much flour.  Add regular milk until it reaches a nice, gravy-like consistency.

If you are unlucky and screw up your roux this is how you’ll know:

  • The flour and butter never reach that nice, melty stage after any flour addition
  • The flour/butter balls up when you add the milk and never mixes properly.

Don’t worry!  If one of these things happen just throw it out and start again.  Especially the first one – you can sometimes come back with even more vigorous whisking from the second but it’s very difficult to fix the first.

add veggies and fish to sauce

Once you have nice sauce add veggies, the remaining spices, and the fish.  Stir until combined, adjust spices for taste, and remove from the heat.  This we will set aside until the crust is ready!

Phew – all done with step one.  Now on to step two… which is just as long and just as rough.

Start by adding ice cubes to a cup or two of water.  You want the water to be as cold as possible!  Add all the flour and salt for the shortcrust (which, for those of you who are normal people, is pie crust) to a large bowl and whisk to mix.  Use butter flavored shortening (for a better flavor) and cut it into large chunks.  Mix in the shortening, using your hands, by rubbing the shortening into the flour until it’s combined into a nice, crumbly texture with some pea-sized clumps.

From this point forward you’ll want to handle your crust as little as possible.  The more you fiddle with it the tougher and denser the crust will be.  And we want a light, flaky crust because that’s the delicious way!  Slowly add the water 2 tablespoons at a time and combine it with the flour mixture.  I mix by hand because I have a better grasp on how the dough is actually doing.  Only add water until the mixture is just combined with some flour mixture not perfectly mixed in.  Too much water and you’ll be left with a tough, dense crust.  Take your cookie sheet out of the fridge and lightly flour a surface.  Take about 1/4 of the dough, mash it into a ball, and roll it out.  You’ll want it to be nice and thin, at least 1/8-1/4 inch, or it won’t cook evenly and your distribution of crust to filling will be weird.

fish template on crustAt this point I took a knife and, using a template I made before I started, cut out the base of the fish.  If your rolled out piece isn’t big enough just tack on more from the bowl and roll it out with the piece you’re working with to make it bigger.  Place this on the cookie sheet, gather up the scraps and lay them to the side, and repeat for another 1/4 of the dough.  Repeat two more times until you have 4 base pieces, which will be enough for two pies.  Take all the scraps, mash them into a ball, and roll them out together.  From this there should be enough, if you angle properly, to cut out all your designs perfectly.  Lay them to the side (or leave them where they’re at).

filled pie shapes

Fill two of the fish shapes to within 1/2 inch of the edge – don’t fill them too high and don’t fill that gap or your pie won’t close properly and it’ll leak.  Wet the edges with water (I use my finger because I’m super fancy), place the other fish shape on top, and press down along the edges.  Crimp each edge with a fork to help seal the dough.  Repeat for the second pie.  Wet the back of each of the designs and place it down on the fish shape where you’d like it.  Using a fork, poke a few holes in the top crust, ensuring it pokes all the way through to the center.  This will help the steam escape and keep your pie from exploding!  Beat and egg and brush the tops of each pie with it.  Place in the oven and bake for 40 or so minutes until the crust is golden brown!

fish pie

If you want my honest opinion this pie #1) tastes way better with tartar sauce smothered on top, and #2) is more work than it’s worth.  Unless you want to make something extra special and pretty I’d just cover a pie dish with your shortcrust, add the filling, cover the top, seal, and bake that way!  It’ll be much easier!  But this way definitely turned into a show-stopper for looks!

Link’s Salmon Meunière

    • Tabantha Wheat
    • Goat Butter
    • Rock Salt
    • Any Seafood

Fish Pie

  • Servings: 2 large pies
  • Difficulty: moderately difficult
  • Print

White fish pot pie with vegetables


Filling

  • 3/4 lb white fish of any kind
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1-2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1.5 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2-1 tsp dill
  • 2-3 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup peas, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons oil

Shortcrust

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 4-9 tablespoons ice water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten, for egg wash

Directions

  1. Put a large cookie sheet in the fridge or freezer.
  2. Dice the carrots and onion.
  3. Thaw the peas by microwaving for 1 minute or running them under water for 1 minute.
  4. Heat the pan on medium. Add the oil and onion and saute until slightly tender and translucent. Add the carrots and cook for 3-5 minutes or until tender. Add the peas and continue cooking until warm and mixed thoroughly.
  5. Remove your veggies from the pan to a plate or bowl and put your pan back on the heat.
  6. Add all your milk, your fish, and half the thyme and oregano to the same pan you cooked your vegetables in.  Keep the heat on medium and allow to come to a boil.  Once boiling, drop the heat to a simmer.  Simmer your fish for 2-3 minutes on this side. Flip the fish and simmer for an additional 3 minutes.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat, leaving the milk in the pan, and place the fish on a plate and break it into small pieces.
  8. Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When the butter is completely melted and bubbly whisk in half the flour. Once all the flour is incorporated and the mixture starts to melt and become a bit liquidy again add the remaining flour.  Whisk continually until it starts to melt again. Continue whisking for about 2 minutes or until you reach the blond stage of a roux (a little darker than when you added it but not brown).
  9. Once the butter/flour mixture is melty and blond start slowly add half the milk from the pan.  Whisk until the mixture is homogeneous and slightly thick.
  10. The flour/butter may ball up on itself but just keep whisking.  Add the remaining milk and repeat.  If the mixture is too thick you may need to add an additional few tablespoons of milk. Whisk until the mixture reaches a nice, gravy-like consistency.
  11. Add the veggies, remaining spices, and fish to the sauce and stir until combined. Adjust spices for taste and remove from the heat.
  12. Add several ice cubes to a cup of water and set aside.
  13. Add all the flour and salt for the shortcrust to a large bowl and whisk to mix.
  14. Cut the shortening into large cubes. Add it to the flour and, using your hands, mix them together by rubbing the shortening into the flour until it’s combined into a nice, crumbly texture with some pea-sized clumps.
  15. Make a small well in the center of the flour mixture and slowly add the water 2 tablespoons at a time. Using your hand mix the water and flour together until combined. Continue adding water until the mixture is just combined but not perfectly mixed in. Don’t add too much water and don’t overmix or the crust will be dense and chewy.
  16. Take your cookie sheet out of the fridge and lightly flour a surface.  Take about 1/4 of the dough, mash it into a ball, and roll it out to 1/8-1/4 inch thin. Using a template (or freehanding it) cut the base of the fish out with a knife. If your rolled out piece isn’t big enough just tack on some more from the bowl and roll it out with the piece you’re working with to make it bigger.
  17. Place this on the cookie sheet, gather up the scraps and lay them to the side.
  18. Repeat step 14 3 more times to make 4 fish shapes.
  19. Take all the scraps, mash them into a ball, and roll them out together.  From this there should be enough, if you angle properly, to cut out all your designs perfectly.  Lay them to the side (or leave them where they’re at).
  20. Fill two of the fish shapes to within 1/2 inch of the edge – don’t fill them too high and don’t go in that 1/2 gap or your pie won’t close properly. Wet the edges of the pastry with water, place the other fish shape on top, and press down along the edges.  Crimp each edge with a fork to help seal the dough.
  21. Repeat for the second pie.
  22. Wet the back of each of the designs and place it down on the fish shape where you’d like it.  Using a fork, poke a few holes in the top crust, making sure it pokes all the way through to the center.
  23. Beat and egg and brush the tops of each pie with it.
  24. Bake for 40 minutes at 425°F. Allow to cool for several minutes before serving.

Today’s poll is cancelled 

So today’s poll is cancelled… but it’s okay, I promise!  I’m heading out of town soon and I have a few ideas on how I’d like to handle that. Instead of doing a poll I’m going to choose the next two recipes.  Yay! After a few in a row I haven’t been super excited about this will be a nice break! Thanks for sticking with me and show up tomorrow for the newest recipe, fish pie!

Changing the World One Gamer at a Time

Changing the World One Gamer at a Time

As gamers I think we have so much potential for changing the world.  I actually, legitimately do.  The more I think about gaming the more convinced I am that it’s a great metaphor for the world – there are different people from different countries, ethnicity’s, backgrounds, financial situations, and preferences interacting on a daily basis.  We meet up in online chats for all sorts of games and we experience this thing we love together.  And that, I think, gives us a positive advantage over so many other people.  The skills we learn while gaming can help, to use a bit of a cliche, make the world a better place.  Here are 5 reasons why I truly believe that:

Gaming online can help with positive social interaction:

When you interact with someone new it can be daunting, intimidating, and unfamiliar.  It’s so much easier to bond with people who enjoy the same things you do and who, frankly, you don’t have to look in the eye when you chat.  Instead of using online chat and online gaming as a toxic dumping grounds of sadness try using it to build positive social interaction.  Treat it like you would if that person where sitting right next to you gaming, instead of sitting 600 miles or more away.  Talk, be kind and understanding, helpful instead of hurtful.  Take the opportunity to instruct in a positive way instead of criticizing and bond over the fact that you both love playing as D.Va.  This will translate to how you treat people offline, as well.  The kindness we show becomes a part of us and helps mold our interactions everywhere.  We, because we are with people who love the same things we do, have a unique opportunity to encourage and uplift!  Let’s try and make someone’s day just a bit better by being a person worth knowing.

Games can help us understand other cultures:

I love how much I learn about Japanese culture when I play JRPGs.  Or the minor insights I get when I read bio’s on Overwatch.  It incites my curiosity and makes me want to actually learn more about the real cultures!  I don’t know about you guys, but I see that kind of infectious appetite to learn about the people and cultures that are deep within our games all around me.  Learning about others helps us become more tolerant of them, more accepting of who they are, and less critical of why they choose to be certain ways.  So take a leaf out of your own book and go learn about other people, both on and off screen.  Ask someone in chat about why their name is unfamiliar.  Read up on why a particular animation was used for a particular game.  Learn something new and I bet it’ll make you love not only your game, but also those people, a lot more!

Games can help break down prejudice toward other preferences and points of view:

I love that the entire Zelda franchise has no qualms about inter-race relationships.  Ruto, princess of the Zora’s in Ocarina of Time, falls in love with Link, a Hylian.  A Hylian and a Gerudo wind up getting married in Breath of the Wild.  Nintendo acts like it’s no big deal – and it isn’t.  There are so many subtle and not-so-subtle points in a story that can help break down social barriers against any kind of prejudice.  This includes sexual preference, gender identity, religious beliefs, and cultural “norms”.  Everyone in the games get along based on a scale of good and evil, not a scale of differences.  These messages are ingrained in us from childhood (those of us who grew up gaming) and are something we can easily translate from the screen to the real world.  Lets become more like these characters and become more accepting, loving, and kind toward others.  Because what they identify as or what they choose to be should not define whether they are a good person.

Goal setting and goal achieving can help our outlook on life:

Raise your hands if you’ve ever felt better about yourself after completing goal?  Me, too.  It has some serious motivating power and can help us feel 1,000 times better about how we are doing in our lives.  Now, I know this is a mechanic developers use to try and get it hooked but achieving small goals in games can help us achieve goals in real life, too.  Whether you are accomplishing a task in a game, at the gym, or at work the feelings of happiness and the endorphin rush are the same.  And this motivates you to set and achieve even more goals.  It’s a fantastic positive feedback loop.  All we need to do is take that high we get when we finish that side quest and, when we turn off the game, use it to finish something else.  Finishing that other thing will make you more likely to finish other side quests, or other real life goals.  Lather, rinse, repeat and you’re an unstoppable force of awesome.

Stories can positively affect our outlook on the world around us:

How many games do you play that follow this format: some kind of evil took over the world/destroyed it, and now you have to rebuild/figure out what the evil is/fight the darkness threatening the world/etc…  Horizon Zero Dawn, any of the Arkham series, and the entire Zelda franchise follow this, along with a myriad of other games.  You know what this says to me?  The world has been and can again be messed up.  But you know what happens when it becomes like this?  People step in and clean up the messes.  Most of the time these stories involve some kind of destiny surrounding the hero, but not all of them.  And that’s great because we, just our regular selves, can affect positive change on our surroundings!  We can be the good neighbor who makes someone’s day a little better.  We can take small steps to fight the enemies surrounding us and help make the world a more positive place, not more despondent.  We should take the lessons we learn in our games and know that the work we do in the real world can make a difference in overcoming the darkness that threatens us.

So let’s do it!  Let’s become the positive change we want to see in the world.  We’re already being trained with the skills to make a difference because of our love of gaming.  Why don’t we use that love and make the world a happier, safer, more accepting place to be.

 

Salmon Meunière

Salmon Meunière

I learned a lot while making this recipe.  Here are my top three – and then on to the food…

First: it is very important to choose your butcher carefully when you get seafood.  I mistakenly used a grocery store butcher that I usually trust.  Apparently the betray you when it comes to seafood.  The salmon wasn’t scaled properly and still had all it’s pin bones.  And, not only that, but the cut was uneven.  I wound up slicing off a decent amount of fish that wasn’t really usable to get even portion sizes!  I was pretty disappointed.  So make sure you choose a reputable seller, double check that they scaled and removed the bones prior to purchasing, and then hope you have a very sharp knife if they don’t cut evenly!

deboning a salmon filetIf you do get unlucky enough to have to debone the fish yourself it’s really easy.  Just annoying.  Wash a pair of pliers with hot water and soap.  Carefully push the flesh of the salmon in and grasp the tip of the pin bone.  Pull it as carefully as you can to prevent the flesh from ripping.  It’s not bad if it does, it just isn’t as pretty anymore.  Make sure you get all the bones – you’ll be able to feel them if you gently run your hand down the length of the fish.  If you are doubly unlucky and they didn’t remove all the scales just flip the salmon over to skin side up.  Run the blade of the knife down the fish and watch all the clear, inedible scales pop off.  But you can always skip both these steps by choosing a better store!  Which I will do for all my fish from now on.

Second: experimenting with a very basic, traditional recipe turns out sub-par results.  I tried really hard to fiddle with this this recipe a bit and make it my own.  Turns out this recipe is so straight forward it doesn’t do well with a lot of tweaking.  I tried the sauce twice before I finally gave up and realized sometimes the old school way is the best way.

Third: no matter how many times I try it I really, really hate salmon.  It’s very fishy, even fairly fresh, and fatty.  The flavor is just… not my favorite.  If I’m going to spend this much on a protein you can bet it’ll be something I actually want to eat.  Unlucky for me, there are still a handful of salmon recipes left in the official Breath of the Wild guide…

Salmon Meunièredifficulty and time meter

salmon meuniere ingredients

You’ll find a lot of themes in these recipes.  One of them is to allow the meat to warm up to room temperature and to pat it dry before seasoning.  I explain why in my Meat and Rice Bowl recipe.  And that’s exactly how we are going to start salmon meunière – take the salmon out of the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking and allow to warm up to room temperature.

While it’s warming up wash and pull the leaves off the parsley.  It’s pretty easy, actually.  Just grab the stems and line up the leaves, place the knife edge down right at the base of the leaves, and gently but firmly pull the parsley through the knife blade.  It’ll get most of the stems off and leave you with a nice pile of leaves.  And no, it’s not one of the piles that hides a korok seed.  Sorry.  Roughly chop the parsley into pieces, they don’t have to be perfect.  You’ll want a small handful of parsley.  If you’re using fresh lemon cut it in half and squeeze the juice of one of them.  You only need 3/4 tablespoon so no need to go crazy. Smash the garlic by placing the flat of a knife blade against the garlic clove and smash your hand into the blade.  Never do this on the edge of the knife and never smash the knife down – both these could result in some serious cuts and I refuse to be held responsible for that.  When the garlic is smashed peel off the skin.  Get the butter cut and ready to go and play a few rounds of Splatoon 2 until the salmon is ready.

dreding salmon in flourWhen you’re ready to cook pat the salmon dry and season with kosher salt and pepper.  Turn your burner on to medium, add your oil, and get your pan nice and hot.  When the pan is hot add the butter.  Be really careful, the butter will splatter and pop as the water cooks out of it!  We add the salmon when the butter stops popping so when the mixture starts to calm down spread the flour out on a plate and dip and pat the salmon into the flour to completely coat it.  This is called dredging and it’s a pretty awesome technique to get a nice, crispy, almost fried skin.  Make sure you don’t dredge too early or the flour just gets soaked into the fish and it doesn’t fry quite as well.

pan fried salmon filet

Add the fish to the pan, skin down, laying it away from you to prevent any oil splatters.  Let it cook for 3-4 minutes on this side then flip the fish and allow it to cook for 3 more minutes.  Take it out of the pan, place it on a plate, and cover with foil.  You’ll want to do this next part quickly – the longer the fish sits under that foil the less crispy it gets!

Using a few paper towels rolled in a ball and a heavy duty oven mitt pour out the oil into a heat safe container and wipe the inside of the pan.  We don’t want to keep any of the old mixture since it’s likely to burn if it cooks too long.

melting butterbrowned butterAdd the new butter and smashed garlic and wait for it to melt and cook down.  It will take 2-3 minutes to turn brown and nutty and delicious.  Remove the pan from the heat (don’t follow my photo example and just turn off the heat.  It’s not good enough!).  Add the lemon and parsley and stir to combine.  Again, use caution, this mixture may splatter as well.  Uncover the fish, pour the sauce over, and serve immediately.  PS- if your pan is still really hot your parsley may brown pretty quickly and it’ll make your sauce look a bit burned.  I promise, if you use this recipe it won’t burn and will still taste good!

salmon meuniere close up

Link’s Salmon Meunière

    • Tabantha Wheat
    • Goat Butter
    • Hearty Salmon

Salmon Meunière

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
  • Print

Salmon drizzled with a meunière butter lemon sauce


Salmon

  • 2 8 oz portions salmon
  • 1-2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour

Sauce

  • 3/4 tablespoon lemon juice (juice from half a small lemon)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 large garlic clove, smashed

Directions

  1. Warm the salmon to room temperature.
  2. Using the blade of your knife pull the leaves off the parsley by gently but firmly running the blade along the stems. Roughly chop into small pieces.
  3. Cut the lemon and juice one half, making sure not to get any seeds in the juice.
  4. Using the flat of a knife blade smash the garlic and remove the skin.
  5. Pat the salmon dry and season with kosher salt and pepper.
  6. Heat a pan over medium with the oil.
  7. When the oil is hot add the butter. Be careful, as this will splatter and pop until all the water is cooked out of the butter.
  8. When the butter mixture starts to calm down add the flour to a plate and dredge the salmon by patting it into the flour. Immediately add the salmon to the pan, skin down, by laying it away from you.
  9. Cook the salmon for 3-4 minutes, turn, and cook for another 3 minutes.
  10. Remove the salmon and cover with foil.
  11. Acting quickly pour the remaining oil mixture out of the pan and wipe out with paper towels. Be careful not to burn yourself and use proper heat proof equipment.
  12. Add the 5 tablespoons of butter and garlic to the pan and allow to melt and brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  13. Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon and parsley. Again, use caution when you add the lemon because it may splatter and pop.
  14. Immediately pour over the salmon filets and serve.

A New Poll is Here

It’s poll day again!  After making tomorrow’s recipe, which contained a food I really don’t like, I made this poll everything I want.  With the notable exception of fish pie, which was requested by my new instafriend!  So everyone vote and let’s see what I’m making next week!

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

It’s came! It finally came!  The recipe you’ve all been patiently waiting for (I’m looking at you, Later Levels).  Since I had a little more time with this recipe I decided to experiment a bit and go a little different route than your traditional “carrot cake”.  Most carrot cake, at least in the U.S. is more of a quick bread than a cake – it’s dense and crumby, though still good.  Instead I combined a few different recipes I found and made a much more light, airy crumb texture, that had plenty of height and reminded me much more of an actual cake.  But, by doing this, I made it a bit more complicated.  So bear with me and let’s dig in!

Carrot Cakecarrot cake difficulty and time

Carrot Cake ingredients

Start by mixing together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon, and most of the sugar.  Put it in a bowl, use a whisk, and get it nice and evenly aerated and blended.  Oh, and make sure you pull out the eggs.  You’ll want them to sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before you whip them.

Grate the carrot using a fine grater.  It’ll take about 4-5 large carrots to get enough for this cake.  That seems like a lot, but can you imagine a better way to eat your veggies?  I usually don’t peel my carrots.  I feel like the skin has the potential for being good for you and is not, at the very least, not bad for you.  And it saves you that extra few minutes in time and clean up.  Win-win.  And, because we aren’t using Endura carrots, anything that shortens the time is worth it. When the carrots are ready slightly squeeze handfulls of them over a sink to get a little of the juice out. This will help keep it from falling to the bottom of the pan and from letting the cake be too wet.

whipped eggNow here comes the different part and the reason this isn’t an “easy” recipe.  Add all the eggs to a bowl and whip on high, using a whisk or electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, until they start to get bubbly.  Stop and add the rest of the sugar and all the oil, and continue whisking until the eggs get light in color, start to get fluffy, and can almost double in volume.  This will take at least 5 minutes.  If you’re lucky enough to have a stand mixer like a KitchenAid you can do this while grating the carrots and save yourself even more time!

All three bowls of mixture

Once the eggs are ready slowly fold in the carrots.  This mixture will be really thick and you’ll wonder why on earth we spent all that time whipping eggs, but trust me.  It’s worth it.  Slowly add the flour mixture and stir until just combined.

 

Butter a cake panButter a 10 inch round cake pan, making sure you get all the cracks and crannies.  I prefer a springform pan because they are the easiest to get a cake out of.  If you don’t use a springform you may have to flour the pan as well as butter it.  Just throw in some flour after you grease it, shake it until the butter is covered, and dump out the excess.  It’s pretty easy.  Add the cake batter and stick it in the oven.  The entire bake process is an adventure, like completing a shrine.  Depending on the oven, the type of oven, how old your oven is, etc… your baking time will be different from someone else’s.  But my oven bake time was about 45 minutes.  Yours will be pretty close to this, but just watch starting around 40 minutes.  Getting a perfectly domed cake is all about timing.  Take the cake out to early (or even check on it too early) and the whole thing will collapse on you.  Take the cake out late and it’ll be so dry you’ll regret eating it.  So if you open the oven door to check on the cake and the center wobbles a bit close it quick and wait another 5-10 minutes before you even try again.  A toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean when it’s ready!

While the cake is baking feel free to make some good, old fashioned cream cheese frosting.  Make sure the butter and cream cheese is at room temperature and add them to a bowl with the vanilla (again, a stand mixer comes in really handy right about now).  Beat them together until they are well combined.  If you use a stand mixer make sure you scrape the bowl at this point with a spatula.  Add the powdered sugar 2/3 cup at a time until it becomes spreadable.  How much powdered sugar you add is really up to your taste preferences.  I prefer a more sharp, tangy frosting (if I eat it at all) so I was good at 2 cups.

When the cake is done take it out of the oven and allow it to cool completely before frosting.  I take the springform sides off after about 5 minutes so it doesn’t keep cooking.  If you use a regular round cake pan take it out of the pan after 5-10 minutes and let it cool on a wire rack.  This will prevent the bottom from getting soggy.  No one wants a soggy bottom.

Make sure you wait until the cake has cooled completely before you frost. If you don’t the entire top layer will peel away into the frosting and become a big, giant mess. When cooled, frost and enjoy!  Oh, and I don’t recommend garnishing with a raw carrot.  But I won’t judge if you do…

Close up of carrot cake

Link’s Carrot Cake recipe:

    • Any Carrot
    • Tabantha Wheat
    • Cane Sugar
    • Goat Butter

Carrot Cake

  • Servings: 1 10 inch cake
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting from Breath of the Wild

Carrot

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups finely shredded carrot (about 4-5 large carrots)
  • 3/4 cup cooking oil

Frosting

  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Whisk together flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together until aerated and combined
  3. Shred carrot with a fine grater. There is no need to peel beforehand but you may if you desire.
  4. Slightly squeeze handfulls of carrot to remove excess moisture.
  5. Using a stand mixer or electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment whip eggs together until frothy. Slowly add the oil and remaining 1/2 cup sugar and whip together until light in color, fluffy, and almost double in volume.
  6. Gently fold carrots into the egg mixture. Be careful not to deflate the eggs.
  7. Slowly add and stir in flour mixture until just combined.
  8. Butter and, if not using a springform pan, flour a 10 inch round cake pan. Make sure the butter gets in all the cracks. If you need to flour the pan add a handful of flour and knock the pan in circles until it’s covered in flour after buttering. Dump out excess flour.
  9. Add cake batter to the pan and use a spatula to smooth down and even the surface.
  10. Bake for about 45 minutes. The cake will be done when a toothpick comes out clean.
  11. Make the frosting while the cake is baking by adding the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla to a mixer or bowl.
  12. Mix until combined and slowly add powdered sugar, 2/3 cup at a time, until you reach a spreadable consistency and desired flavor. This, for me, is 2 cups powdered sugar.
  13. When the cake has cooled for 5-10 minutes remove from the pan and allow to finish cooling.
  14. Frost and serve! This cake will store well at room temperature for a few days tightly covered.