Off line

The Steady Table will be off line for a few days while we travel to Ireland to spend time with family. Look for a whole bunch of posts coming soon.

Salmon in a hurry

This meal takes 30 minutes to make, start to finish: salmon cooked in parchment, jasmine rice, broccoli and salad.

I used this Salmon in Parchment recipe it takes less than 10 minutes to prep and 20 to cook. Turn the oven on immediately, by the time the salmon is prepped, the oven will be pre-heated. As soon as the salmon is in the oven, put the rice on. While the rice and salmon are cooking, prepare the broccoli and a simple salad. That’s it!

I usually use a different salmon in parchment recipe, but this one popped up when I googled salmon in parchment, and I’m glad it did. It was quicker than my usual recipe and I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand.

A couple of notes: I couldn’t find any string, so I didn’t tie my parchment packages. Instead, I folded the right and left side of the parchment up over the salmon and then the top and bottom back behind the salmon to make a little packet that would stay intact enough for cooking. It worked fine. The broccoli was steamed and buttered, but any quick and simple broccoli would work. The rice was jasmine, cooked with a little butter and Better Than Bouillon. The salad was just organic lettuce from my csa box, but with my mom’s signature dressing, which would make even a less qualified leaf taste really delicious.

• Rita’s Dressing •
Zest or peel and cut into slivers the skin of one lemon. If you’re Rita, you might enlist a team of friends and family members to sit around and slice hair-thin slivers of lemon peel for you, otherwise, just do your best. Add the juice of one lemon and more or less an equal amount of seasoned rice vinegar. I prefer Nakano Original or Marukan Seasoned, (some of the other brands have inferior flavor). Any fresh herbs you have on hand can be chopped and added to the dressing at this point. So far we have not found an herb that didn’t compliment this recipe. Add olive oil until it tastes good, not too oily and not too tart. 



I’m not going to lie, tonight’s dinner was just so-so. I’m off my game. Does this happen to you? Maybe I was trying to hard to accommodate last night’s pasta. Also I had some ideas about a cucumber yogurt dish that weren’t entirely clear. We had great company though, my cousin Kirst came by, fresh back from the Galapagos Islands.

The broccoli tonight was good, from my csa box of course. I like to use the broccoli leaves as well as the florets.

• Basic Broccoli •
Heat some olive oil in a large skillet until shimmering, add a smashed clove or two of garlic and saute until just barely golden. Add the broccoli florets and leaves, some red pepper flakes and salt. Cook stirring frequently until still bright but tender. Yum.

Almost simple Sunday

We had my sister Anna over for an almost simple meal tonight. Almost simple, because Shane made the pasta from scratch. Otherwise it would have been a really quick and easy prep. I’m labeling this post quick assuming most folks don’t make their own pasta on a regular basis (we certainly don’t), and would be using pre-made.

Shane cooked his (delicious, fresh, homemade) fettuccine with pepper and pecorino cheese. I like the Lidia Bastianich recipe and this one from Smitten Kitchen for this dish. Both are super-quick and simple to prepare.

I used up three whole zucchini from my csa box with only a little leftover (for lunch tomorrow).

• Basic Zucchini •
Cut zucchini into 1/4″ thick rounds. Saute zucchini in equal parts butter and olive oil, I use about 1.5-2 tablespoons of each for 3 medium zucchini. Zucchini cooks better when it’s not too crowded in the pan, so use a large saute pan. While cooking add salt and pepper to taste. When zucchini is tender but still bright and not mushy or greying add a handful of slivered basil leaves. Remove from heat and serve topped with parmesan cheese.

I made the carrot salad from two nights ago, again tonight, per Rose’s request but without the radicchio or chick peas. Frankly it was quite boring. The very exciting news is that Rose, a dedicated non-veggie eater, has eaten more carrots in the past three days than in the previous three years. If you are a parent you’ll understand my excitement, apologies to non-parents.


All the Swiss chard

Thanks to the bounty of the Golden Earthworm Farm this season, I had in my possession today, not one but two large, bunches of beautiful, organic Swiss chard. I don’t get much help around here, eating-wise, with my csa veggies. When we go to the Cape I bring them with me and they are gleefully consumed, but when at home, it’s pretty much all me.

I was almost stressed out about the chard so I called my mom to ask for the recipe for her Torta Verde, or Swiss Chard Pie. The recipe only calls for 8 to 10 leaves but I was determined to use it all. My mom says she also uses much more chard than it calls for. She adds a bunch of cilantro, which can be parsley if you have a cilantro problem. Below is the recipe as I made it tonight, and more or less as my mom makes it. You can be pretty flexible with this one.

To add some color we had a radicchio and carrot salad (both from my csa box) with chick peas and a honey-balsamic dressing. Even Rose ate some of the carrots (for the first time in four years). The meat eaters had Weekday Grilled Chicken, this time with Camp Mix’s Spud Fixin’ as the seasoning.

• Torta Verde •
Adapted from I don’t know where, because my mom sent me the recipe in a series of 5 photos taken with her iPhone. 

1 ¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

2 bunches swiss chard leaves, washed, stems removed and coarsely chopped.
1 medium yukon gold potato, boiled, peeled and diced
2 cipollini onions (or 1 medium sweet onion of another kind) 
1 bunch fresh cilantro (or parsley if you prefer) washed and leaves pulled from stems
1 ¼ cups feta cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons olive oil

1. Mix together the salt and flour in a large bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil, stirring with a fork. Add in up to ½ cup of water one tbsp. at a time until dough just holds together. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic. Cover with a damp towel and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. You can probably refrigerate it for longer, but I haven’t tried.
2. Put chard in a colander and sprinkle with 1 ½ tbsp. salt, toss to mix and set aside to drain for 20 minutes or more.
3. Mix together potatoes, onions, cilantro or parsley, and feta in a bowl. Season to taste with pepper. Squeeze juices out of Swiss chard by hand or by pressing chard against the side of the colander with a wooden spoon. Discard juices and add chard to potato, onion, feta and herbs. Mix in eggs and 2 ½ tbsp. olive oil.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil and flour a large baking tray (the pie will be about 14” in diameter). Divide the dough into two balls, using 2/3 of the dough for the bottom crust and 1/3 for the top. Roll out the larger ball, the bottom crust, on a lightly floured surface (this will take some persistence) until it is 15” in diameter. Lay the bottom crust on the baking tray and top with the filling leaving about 1 ½” of dough sticking out around the edges. Roll out the smaller ball of dough, the top crust, into a 13” diameter circle. Place top crust on top of filling. Brush exposed edges of bottom crust with water and fold up to meet top crust. Use a fork to crimp the two crusts together. Poke the top crust a few times with a fork. Then make small indentations with your fingertips (I love this part) and drizzle the rest of the olive oil (1 1/2 tablespoons) over it so it pools in the indentations.
5. Bake for about 35 minutes or until golden.

Table for two at Jahn’s

It’s just Rose and me tonight, so we went to Jahn’s. It seemed silly to go, because we had just stopped at Farm Spot to pick up this week’s csa box, but I’ve still got this headache and Rose has been wanting to go for a while.

Jahn’s (pronounced Jans, as in the abbreviation for January, with an s) is an institution. It’s an old fashioned ice cream parlor restaurant that also serves typical fare. Our location here in Jackson Heights is the only Jahn’s restaurant left, there used to be a lot of them all around the NYC area. The food is what you would expect, I find the ice cream to be better than average. It’s worth a visit for the booth and counter appeal, and for the regulars who are generally very old and can be fun to observe.

We topped it all off with a gooey brownie from Three Little Birds Baked Goods, which we ate messily while walking home. Three Little Birds doesn’t seem to have a web site but can be found Thursday evenings at Farm Spot.

Just two things

Honeys, I have a headache. Due to a rigorous vacation schedule, I missed too many appointments with my amazing acupuncturist, and now I’m paying the price.

Back in the dark ages, Shane and I used to think ourselves quite fancy whenever we managed to cook more than two dishes for dinner. Nowadays three is the norm, sometimes even four or five. Ooh la la! Tonight, thanks to my headache, we went back to having just two things.

Sauteed zucchini from my csa box with a little of last nights pesto, topped with grated parmesan. Capellini with Shrimp from this recipe by way of Teresa Sheedy of Teresa Cooks. Teresa makes the very good point that who really makes only half a pound of pasta? The recipe makes more than enough sauce for a full pound. My family doesn’t like angel hair pasta so we use thin spaghetti instead. Capellini with Shrimp is very quick if you buy the kind of shrimp that’s already peeled and de-veined.


It’s hot, so we had a cold meal, except for the meatballs which were warm.

Components of our mostly cold meal: Fresh mozzarella with basil, roasted red pepper, olive oil and salt. Simple salad with cilantro and lemony dressing. Prosciutto and meat balls (for the man and the kid). Cheeseless pesto, which was surprisingly good considering it had no cheese in it. And good bread.

• Cheeseless Pesto •
Combine a bunch of cleaned basil leaves, a handful of raw almonds, a good splash of olive oil and a hearty pinch of salt into a food processer. Blend until it’s the right consistency, adding more oil or almonds as needed. Taste for seasoning. Add water to thin, if desired.

Flounder appeal

Shane caught some flounder yesterday, just before we left the Cape. I emailed my mom this morning to find out how to cook it:

Subject: Shaney’s Flounder
From: Nina Max Daly
Date: July 16, 2012 10:09:19 AM EDT
To: Rita Daly
Hi Mom,
How should I cook Shane’s flounder? The Adriatic way? If so, can you remind me how? And can I add capers?
xo Max

Subject: Did you get my message about fish?
From: Nina Max Daly
Date: July 16, 2012 3:17:23 PM EDT
To: Rita Daly
Please let me know.

Subject: Flounder appeal
From: Nina Max Daly
Date: July 16, 2012 5:02:36 PM EDT
To: Rita Daly, Morgan Daly
Hi Mom and Dad,
Help! How do I cook Shane’s flounder? Can you send me instructions for the Adriatic way, if that’s the way I should cook it?
xo Max

Subject: Flounder appeal
From: Nina Max Daly
Date: July 16, 2012 6:02:07 PM EDT
To: Rita Daly, Morgan Daly
Mom and Dad,
Disregard. I’m sure I can figure it out.
xo Max

I still haven’t heard back from them, so…

• Fish Cooked the Adriatic Way •
Adapted from my memory, of my mom’s version, of Marcella Hazan’s recipe
Wash your flounder and pat dry with paper towels. Place flounder into an (olive) oiled glass baking dish. Mix the juice of one lemon, lots of salt, olive oil and plain bread crumbs into a thick paste. Spread paste all over flounder. Let sit at room temperature for a while. Broil for approximately 6 minutes, until just cooked through. Top with fresh herbs or capers, if you want. Super easy and always a hit.

We also had a delicious beet salad using the beets as well as the greens, with a cipollini onion and blue cheese.

• Beet Salad with Cipollini Onion and Blue Cheese •
1 bunch beets with their greens
1 cipollini or other sweet onion
olive oil
balsamic vinegar (optional)
blue cheese, crumbled

Trim beets, rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roast in a 400 degree oven until soft. Sauté one chopped cipollini or other sweet onion, in olive oil until soft. Add washed and roughly chopped beet greens and a little salt, and sauté until wilted. Meanwhile, peel and chop cooked beets. Add chopped beets to onion and greens with a dash of balsamic vinegar (optional). Stir in some crumbled blue cheese, more olive oil if needed, and serve. Yum.

The raw kale salad from this recipe was so-so tonight. I don’t know why, I think it will be really good tomorrow after the kale has had some time to relax. I’ll report back if it is. When Anna made this earlier in the summer it was perfect. Anna suggests that half a clove of garlic is ridiculous, feel free to use the whole thing.


Picnic in the car

From a cottage fridge with little left in it, comes this not-too-shabby car picnic for three:
2 Hot dogs
2 brie, roasted red pepper and arugula sandwiches
1 bufala mozzarella, basil and olive oil sandwich
1 cream cheese and honey sandwich

We were tired, but not starving, when we arrived home at 11pm last night.
Mission accomplished.