What’s the White Stuff on Cooked Salmon?

The white stuff on salmon is called albumin. Albumin is a protein that exists in the fish in liquid form when it’s raw that coagulates and becomes semi-solid when you subject the salmon to heat when cooking. As the meat cooks, the coagulated albumin gets squeezed out and becomes a white coating.
The more aggressively you cook your salmon the more albumin will appear on its surface.

Think of what happens when you wring out a wet towel. The water inside the fibers of the cloth is pushed out as you squeeze the fibers closer together. The same principle applies to salmon. As salmon cooks, the flesh contracts, pushing out albumin to the fillet’s surface. The higher the heat, the more quickly the flesh contracts, and the more albumin becomes visible.

To have as little albumin as possible visible on your finished dish, follow these guidelines:

  • Cook your salmon at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time. It’s gentler on the fillet, resulting in a super-tender piece of fish with less nasty white stuff.
  • If you are searing salmon (and fish in general), always do so with the skin side down. The skin acts as a protective barrier between the fish and the hot metal pan. **TIP: Even if you plan on taking the skin off, cook your fish skin-side down for 90% of the way, turn off the heat, and then flip the fish so the skinless side cooks on the pan’s residual heat.
  • Don’t overcook your salmon. You want it medium to medium-rare in the center, still a bit translucent. Overcooking salmon is the easiest way to get albumin everywhere. **TIP: When you can push on the top of your salmon with a fork, and the the layers of flesh separate easily and seem moist, your fish is finished cooking.

Thanks to my friends at Epicurious for the cooking tips! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Lazy Sunday Skewers

salmonskewers

You work all week looking forward to the two long lazy days off, but how often do you just get to relax and do absolutely nothing on Saturday and Sunday?  If you’re like most people, there’s errands to run, kids to shuttle to one sporting or social event or another, family gatherings, and maybe even date night on one or both nights so that by Sunday you’re exhausted.

The last thing you want to do on your one day off is spend it in the kitchen.  Skewers are the perfect solution to that cooking dilemma.  Skewers are also great for grilling at picnics, parties, & tailgates.

No matter which recipe you are making there are some simple kebab tips:

  1. Cut the ingredients into similar-size pieces and prepare as the recipe directs.
  2. If marinating, refrigerate 1 hour for fish and up to overnight for meat and poultry.
  3. Preheat a grill to high.
  4. If using wood skewers, soak skewers in water for at least 20 minutes.
  5. Thread the ingredients onto skewers.
  6. Use 2 skewers per kebab, side-by-side, to keep the food from spinning and make flipping on the grill easier.
  7. Grill the kebabs, turning, until the ingredients are charred and cooked to desired doneness, 3 to 15 minutes.

Rosemary Lamb: rosemarylambskewers

  • Marinate 1 pound cubed lamb leg in 1/2 cup olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, 4-6 stems fresh rosemary (leaves stripped), 3 smashed garlic cloves, and salt & pepper.
  • Skewer with 1 to 1+1/2  inch chunks of zucchini & grill.

Garlic-Dijon Salmon:

  • Marinate 1 to 1+1/2 pounds de-boned, skinned, chunks wild-caught salmon in 1/4 cup olive oil, the juice of 1/2 a lemon, 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 TBLS chopped fresh parsley, freshly ground sea salt and pepper.
  • Skewer with slices of lemon between the salmon. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  • Serve on top of grilled asparagus spears.

caesarskewer

Chicken Caesar:

  • Mix 1 pound ground chicken2 tablespoons Caesar dressing1/2 cup Parmesan1/4 cup breadcrumbs and 1 teaspoon lemon zest.
  • Form into mini burgers, skewer and grill.
  • Serve on whole romaine leaves with grilled crusty garlic bread and more dressing.

bucaneerporkskewerBuccaneer Pork:

Boil 1 cup water, 3 TBLS each salt and brown sugar, 2 tsp pickling spices & 4 garlic cloves. Add 1 cup rum, then cool. Add 1 pound cubed pork tenderloin and marinate. Skewer with pineapple chunks. Grill, basting with bottled jerk sauce.  Serve over steamed white rice#ThisGirlLovesToEat

How to Ruin Chocolate Chip Cookies

THCookiesAnyone who cooks or bakes regularly should be able to whip up a batch of Toll House Cookies without incident, right?

Today I proved that assumption wrong.  UG!

First you preheat your oven to 375° and gather your ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup (2 Cubes) Butter – Softened to Room Temperature
  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup (Packed) Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 Large Eggs (at Room Temperature)
  • 1 –  12 oz Package (Appx 2 Cups) Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 Cup Chopped Nuts (Optional)

OK, so far I’m good to go!  Oven is on & I have everything I need on hand.

I pulled out my baking sheets, lined them with my trusty Artisan Metal Works Silicone Liners, got the measuring spoons, measuring cups and bowls out of the cupboard.  Time to make some cookie dough!

Minolta DSC

I measured out the flour, baking soda and salt and put them into a medium sized bowl.  Gave that a quick stir to combine and set the bowl aside.  No problems with this step!

The butter had been sitting on the counter for a couple of hours and was nice & soft.  Into the stand mixer bowl it went along with the brown sugar, the granulated sugar and vanilla.  A minute or two of beating and a quick bowl scrape and I was ready to add the two eggs. Everything is going great!

At this point I notice  batter isn’t as light and fluffy as it usually is.  No problem, the butter just must have been softer than I thought. No problem, time to add the flour mixture – full steam ahead.

This is when the wheels fell off….

I dropped the bowl on my stand mixer and began adding the flour mixture.  Just as I lifted the bowl into place to start the mixer I noticed that a blop of the vanilla, sugars, butter & egg mixture had flown off the beater onto one of the cookie sheets.

I defied the rules regarding not eating raw cookie dough (GASP!) and swiped the blop up and into my mouth.  UG!  WTF? ICK!

Expecting a buttery sweet taste, I was horrified to instead have a mouth full of salty yuck!  What in the world had I done wrong?

I glanced around the counters checking off ingredients and came upon an empty Ziplock bag.  I immediately realized what I had done wrong.

For the last month I’d been moving the Ziploc bag full of a white granulated substance around in my spice cabinet everytime Iassuming that it was The superfine C&H Baking Sugar that I routinely have on hand.  I never thought to check for it to be anything but that, as I often pour the last bits out of the larger carton and into a Ziplock Bag for storage.  This time I was oh so wrong!  I got a flashback of a day, only a few weeks ago when I had accidentally pushed the metal pouring spout all the way in to the container of Morton’s Iodized Salt.  I then poured what was left into a Ziplock bag and went back to what I was doing.

To be fair, I haven’t bought a container of Morton’s Salt for some time, as we’ve changed to salt and pepper grinders when we use salt at the table, so I wasn’t so far off assuming the bag was baking sugar.  But UG!  I should have tasted it first.

I’d already poured 1/2 of the flour mixture into the ruined butter and sugar mixture so everything had to be thrown away.  SUPER FAIL!

Lessons learned:

  1. When putting things into Ziplock Bags, MARK THE CONTENTS & Date.
  2. Always taste mystery ingredients if you’ve failed to follow #1
  3. When in doubt, like I was when I noticed a different consistency, taste the wet ingredient mixture before adding (and wasting) your dry ingredients

I guess there won’t be freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in my house tonight. 😦

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood