From the “Edge of the wilderness”…Smoked fish

Growing up I remember the many trips up north to grandma’s house in the Northeastern portion of MN so rightly named, “Edge of the Wilderness” Big Fork, MN to be exact and within the Chippewa National Forest. I remember the long drives and in particular the part where each and every one of us would get sick due to the “windy road”. No, not wind with air, but twisty with curves. Although we did open the windows to see if that helped. Oh man there was nothing any of us could do, but hold on tight and listen to our parents tell us to “stare out the window and breathe”. Never helped, it was inevitable one, if not all of us were green in the face. In the end, it was definitely worth it. A favorite memory of mine, unlike the aforementioned, was reaching the dirt road that lead directly to grandma’s house, several miles long, beautiful scenery. Describing or photos would not do it justice. It was breathtaking. Another not so favorite memory of mine was when my step-dad thought it would be a good idea to teach me to drive (when I was 6 or 7) in this big ‘ol rickety truck down the dirt road and he told me to “grab the wheel” and I did and then we hit a tree. Not my favorite memory. Going up to grandma’s we did a lot of crazy things as kids. ATV’s, guns, mouse traps and small animals included, even large ones’ like beavers and bears had a run in with us a few times. Oh no, we did not hurt them. I don’t think. I may have blocked it from my memory.
The smell of grandma’s house always hit me just as we could see the dome house approaching. It was the smell of a wood burning stove, the woods, the cedar sauna and to me smoked fish. It must have been the combination, but to this day when I smell smoked fish my mind immediately snaps a photo of Grandma Mary’s dome house. Smoked fish is a favorite of my family and when we can get it we devour it. Right out of the newspaper is ideal, but sometimes we cheat and it just might come on foam wrapped in plastic. Hey! I am just sayin’. As I have grown older and traveled much around the state of MN exploring I have come to love the smoked fish from Kendall’s Fish house along the scenic byway headed through Duluth towards Two Harbors. They have never failed me and I have always recommended them to anyone up in that area. Their smoked salmon is to salivate for and their smoked trout is divine with crackers and bit of, that’s right, Tabasco or just simply plain right out of that day’s local newspaper.
I hadn’t been able to get smoked fish lately that I am head over heels for, until we had a tasting at work and someone made a smoked trout dish that almost made me cry. I will ask her permission to post the recipe and get back to you, but until then I have not been able to stop making dishes with it. Guess what? It comes in a tin can. I know! I couldn’t believe it. It is the smoked trout in oil found at Trader Joe’s, http://www.traderjoes.com about $3 a can and most certainly worth every penny.
I submitted a recipe in a http://www.food52.com recipe contest for favorite breakfast meals and posted this (Trout Hash) as it is one of my new favorites that I wish I could eat everyday. Enjoy.

Smoked Trout Hash
Serves: 4

Ingredients
• 2-3 sweet potato, peeled, diced cut into 1/2″ cubes
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon large shallot, peeled and diced
• 2 cloves garlic, diced
• 1 can trout in oil (Trader Joe’s, smoked trout in oil)
• 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons capers
• 2 green onion, diced, green only
Method
1. In a sauté pan over medium heat add 1/2 T of oil and the sweet potato, sauté until sweet potato is tender 6-8 minutes
2. Add shallot and garlic and continue to sauté for another 3 minutes
3. Add trout and oil from trout into the sauté pan and stir
4. Let sit for about 4 minutes until it begins to brown and becomes crisp and then flip
5. Let this side sit for an additional 4 minutes until brown and crisp, then add salt, fresh ground pepper and capers and stir
6. Let both sides crisp up once more only about 2 minutes per side and then add in green onion and serve
7. Add additional salt to taste, serve with toast

“Whatever it is you are searching for, I hope you can eat it”

Señorita Tijerina
@senoritatijerin
http://www.senoritatijerina.com

 

 

 

 

Kohlrabi’d My Taste Buds

Welcome back. Strolling through my local grocer the other week, yes strolling AND smiling. I take my sweet time. Some loathe to grocery shop (my mother), some don’t mind it, but I love it! I once thought about opening a business where I grocery shop for people. I very quickly realized, unless I had complete control of where I shopped, what they purchased and how to cook it, I would eventually Chef Ramsay myself out of a job. While strolling and smiling, I noticed a bulbous, green rooted, beet-like vegetable teetering off the produce shelf.
imageI went to tip it upright on the shelf and naturally the entire row of them came bowling down as though I were being video-taped on “good-efforts, failed”. As I put them back up, about 12, still wet from the “random” produce spray (Hey! Guy in the sky with the trigger finger, I am onto you), I noticed right away how heavy they were. I put them at about 2.5 pounds for 3 tied together and approximately 16″ tall to include the leafy greens. I looked up at the sign, Kohlrabi $3.99 a bunch. I placed a bunch in my cart prepared to learn, play, cook, eat and educate.  We have a few local farms who produce kohlrabi, The Long Siding Farm, organic, produces them for their CSA and local farmer’s markets. I know they are just one of several as I have seen kohlrabi at other farmer’s markets in the cities. http://www.localharvest.org or www3.mda.state.mn.us
I did attempt to locate an encyclopedia, say what?! I feel when researching, the internet is not always the answer, some of the best resources are old books and farmers. Not kidding.
I cut off the greens and let the kohlrabi sit in the refrigerator for 3 days. The greens are edible and full of nutritious stuff, but I didn’t eat them this time.
I cut one in half and to my extreme surprise it was very juicy. I could see the tough outer layer and peeled that away and sliced the rest into sticks.image It smelled sweet, root-like, earthy. It tasted of a cross between, a broccoli stem, a raw potato and jicama. Grainy in texture, but, again juicy. I know you have squishy face right now, but try it, bake it with some salt and ancho powder or your favorite spice mixture and fries it is. I also added sweet potato to that mix as I will eat the heck out of some sweet potato fries.
In my stroll through juggling at the store, slicing, tasting, baking and eating the kohlrabi, I like them best baked or in a soup.
The recipe I have below is baked with lot’s of love, kohlrabi ratatouille with mozzarella. imageI made it the evening it decided to snowstorm, April 3rd, 2014. Photo proof shown. For both the dinner and the snow. Enjoy!image

Quick Facts:
1. Introduced to Germany in the late 1950’s after it was developed in Northern Europe by crossing cabbage with white beet or turnip. Hence, the “green rooted, beet-like” quality I first observed. I felt a self win for recognizing this prior to any research.
2. German word, Kohl “cabbage”, Rabi “turnip”. (thank you Wikipedia and foodgeeks.com)
3. Germany provides over 40,000 tons to the world with help from a few other countries.
4. Same species as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens and brussel sprouts
5. They can be white (light green) or purple-ish.

“Kohlrabi Ratatouille – Señorita Tijerina-style”imageimage

Serves 4 or 12

Ingredients (think layers)
2 bulbs kohlrabi, peeled and thinly sliced into medallions
1 onion, diced
4 mini sweet bell peppers, sliced in half, seeded and stemmed
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
1 8oz package fresh mozzarella thinly sliced (or mozzarella you just made at home)
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (or fresh sauce you made at home)

Method
Pour 1/4 cup of sauce over bottom of 9×13 pan or muffin tin (12)
Begin the layering, kohlrabi, tomato, cheese, pepper, onion, garlic, cheese, kohlrabi
Pour remainder of sauce, 2 cups over top and add remaining cheese
I had leftover carrots in my crisper and I did what I always do, I placed them in the dish
Bake entire contents in a 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes or until you want to eat the cheese right off the top, but don’t knowing you will burn your entire face 🙂

Let cool 5 minutes, serve, eat and enjoy!image
If you want to fancy it up a bit you can top with fresh oregano or parsley.

“Whatever it is, I hope you can eat it!”

Best Regards,
Señorita Tijerina
@senoritatijerin