Cooky Jason’s World Famous Pouched Salmon

Cooky Jason’s World Famous Pouched Salmon

Alrighty, campers. I know a lot of the country is still gridlocked in a winter wonderland and most of you won’t be camping anytime soon. So with that in mind I try to FB_IMG_1451784156186write recipes that are just as easily done at home as at the campsite. Pouching is a very efficient way of cooking over a campfire or on a grill. And with fish it’s great because sticking isn’t a problem. You can very well do these in the oven. In my opinion, salmon needs very little help in the flavor department. However, in pouching you’re essentially steaming the food and not getting that charbroiled flavor from open fire. But that’s ok because steaming is much healthier than charring food anyway. And the key to countering that, especially with fish, is a combination of herbs. Follow along…

Major players:

  • 1 6oz salmon fillet per person (these will be individual servings per pouch)
  • ½ cup of 2 to 3 different chopped herbs. (Thyme, sage, tarragon, dill, marjoram, parsley, etc…)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper (I prefer white pepper here.)
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (This is about half a lemon, so you can do two per lemon.)
  • 1 foot x 1 foot square of heavy duty foil

OK, now for the fun stuff. Put the olive oil down on the foil first. (Put oil on the foil) Then sprinkle a little salt on the oil and also about half of the chopped herbs. Then place the salmon, skin side down, on top of your bed of oil and herbs. Next, place the pad of butter directly on top of the fillet and top with the remaining salt, pepper, herbs, garlic, and lemon zest. The grill heat should be medium…ish. Try to keep it to around 325 to 350 degrees. The salmon will be done in about 30 minutes or so. When you get close, you can peel one back and check by cutting one fillet open. And lastly, drizzle the lemon juice over the finished product and serve. If you’re plating, also pour all the deliciousness from the pouch over the salmon and other veggies or pasta. (See below)

I don’t like handling raw meat at the campsite. So what you can do is prepare the pouches at home and just keep them on ice until you’re ready for them. Let them sit out, out of the ice or refrigeration, for about 20 minutes before cooking to take the edge off the chill.

Also, you can throw in broccoli or asparagus right in with the salmon. You can even steam pasta the same way. Take fettuccine or linguine and break it in half so the uncooked noodles are about the length of the salmon. Just place the pasta on top of the salmon and close it up. The pasta will steam and cook just fine. A whole meal all in one pouch. Enjoy!

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at jasonr@pahaque.com.

Cooky Jason’s June Recipe – Quesadillas

Quickin’ Quesadillas

As far as quick snacks go, you can’t get much simpler than the awesome quesadilla. In its most basic form it’s only two ingredients: a tortilla shell and cheese. And it takes about 3 minutes to make and costs less than a dollar. But obviously, we can’t just leave it at that. So let’s check out some simple variations. We’ll start with the simple version and go from there.quesadilla2

Major Players

One soft tortilla shell: You can pick up a package of these for only a few bucks. (Get the blue corn ones if you can find them. Trust me…)

Shredded cheese: Use ¾ cup for a standard size tortilla shell, 1 cup for a large one. I like to use sharp cheddar and shred my own because it’s cheaper. But sometimes buying shredded cheese is worth the convenience.

Heat a skillet over very low heat and lay in your tortilla. (Or heat the grill up to medium. Lightly coat each side of a tortilla shell with olive oil and salt.) Sprinkle in your cheese on only one half of the tortilla. Salt and pepper to taste and add a few pinches of garlic powder. Or scratch the regular salt and use garlic salt instead. Fold over the other half of the tortilla to make a half-circle. Give it about a minute per side and you’re in business.

Game Changer

Sautee ½ cup onions with ½ cup sliced mushrooms in 2 Tbsps olive oil. Also add in one finely diced dehydrated chipotle pepper (dried smoked jalapeño) with the seeds removed. You can find these at most grocery stores these days. They are not spicy-hot and have an amazing smoky flavor. Also add 2 Tbsps water to your skillet to help soften the chipotle. Let this go for about 4 minutes and remove from heat. When you add your cheese to the tortilla, add only half of it. Then spread your onion/mushroom/chipotle mixture evenly on top of the cheese, then add the other half of the cheese and fold over the other half of the tortilla. Again, we only need to go about a minute per side.

Additionally, how can we forget a little poultry? Marinate 2 to 3 chicken breasts in the juice of 3 limes, a Tbsp of chili powder, and about a half cup of olive oil for a couple hours, up to overnight. Drain and grill over medium heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes preside. Slice thinly and add to the tortillas between layers of cheese.

*Note: if you can’t find chipotles, feel free to use diced fresh jalapeño. There are endless variations you can do here. We can add tomatoes, bell peppers, fresh diced garlic, avocado slices, blah blah blah… You get the idea. You can even use store bought salsa or guacamole. The point is to get in there and try some things and find what you like. This whole process takes about 10 minutes for two quesadillas. These are perfect for that late night snack or serve them up at a party or at the campsite. Score.

Cooky Jason’s April Recipe – Grilled Scallop Potatoes

Cooky Jason’s World Famous Grilled Scalloped Potatoes

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I love these. And they’re quite simple to make, even with the extra step of grilling the potatoes first. But that’s important here. Grilling the potatoes takes an ordinary batch of scalloped potatoes to a new level with that coveted grilled/smoked flavor we all love. And while I don’t usually use ANYTHING out of a can, making cream of mushroom soup from scratch is a bit of a long process, so taking some help from the store here is OK in my book.

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 medium-sized potatoes. Russets, or Yukon Golds if you can get them
  • 8-9 green onions, sliced
  • 1 10oz can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup crumbled (cooked) bacon
  • 1 cup sliced and sautéed mushrooms
  • ½ cup butter
  • 6 to 7 cloves of garlic, crushed and diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To start, slice the potatoes into about 1/8 inch slices. Toss them with a little olive oil and salt and grill them over medium heat for about 3 minutes per side. They don’t need to be cooked through at this point. Remove from grill and set aside.

Combine the soup, cheese, green onions, garlic, bacon, mushrooms, and salt/pepper in a bowl. Now at this point you can a couple ways. What I like to do is use a disposable aluminum roasting pan. Select the appropriate size. Spread the potatoes in an even layer on the bottom and cover with the soup mixture. Distribute some pads of butter over the top. Cover the pan with foil and place back on the grill for about 25 to 30 minutes. Be careful when removing the foil and watch for the hot steam. Serve…

The other way is to make up individual foil packets. This batch size will be about 8 servings. Just tear 8 pieces of foil about 10 inches long and evenly distribute the grilled potatoes and soup mixture into each one. Top with butter and close to seal. Same cook time. Done!

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at jasonr@pahaque.com.