RFC Certified Unofficial Website food
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Minneapolis Picnic of June 22, 2002

Bob Ball


Red Onion and Caper Spread

This I shamelessly used a receipe from www.3men.com... a site about 3 guys with nothing better to do than Q and smoking of fish, and accessory foods.

8 oz cream cheese
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp Worchestershire Sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 Tbsp Capers

Mix with mixer until smooth.

Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon

At the request of several of our attendees, here's the scoop on the smoked salmon dishes...

  1. Get yourself some salmon.

    Apparently self-caught or friend-caught is best (based on my unscientific study of the matter). Be sure it's caught within a couple days of smoking time. Usually I get mine at the fishmonger (best quality) or grocery store (best for budget). For me, I usually go with 1-2 pound fillets (more manageable).

  2. Brine

    1 qt. water
    1/4 c. salt (Kosher is what I use...)
    1 c. Brown Sugar
    1 c. white sugar
    small handful (I don't know... 2 tablespoons?) whole Allspice

    Stir until dissolved (over heat will help dissolve it faster, but then you gotta let it cool, etc).

    Salmon in, flesh side down/skin side up. Use a bowl, plate, etc. to help hold them down in the brine if you're worried about such things.

    Put it in the fridge and leave it alone (except to slosh it a little if you're worried about coverage) overnight (or around 6-8 hours).

  3. Take the fish out of the brine.

    Rinse briefly in fresh water, and put on a rack to dry. Attaining a nice pellicle (the tacky feel) is important. Depending on the airflow/humidity/temp of your home, this takes about an hour or so. While this is resting...

  4. Prepare the smoker

    Hardwood lump (not briquettes), and a little wood for flavor. Me. I cook with some lump and a lot of wood, but YMMV... depends on your grill/smoker. Get the temp to about 225-250F. If you're using a kettle grill, build the fire on one half, with the salmon reserving space on the other half... Indirect cooking is the plan here. Otherwise you'll have grilled salmon instead.

    A little on wood...

    In my experience, mesquite is not a good wood for salmon. Fruitwoods generally do well, as does maple, oak, hicory, or ash. Actually though... for that "Northwoods" bit, I use birch... bark removed. Stay away from pine type stuff though. As for those storebought woods... if you can, go with chunks and don't soak them. Understand they'll burn hotter, and put them in an appropriate place and adjust your charcoal accordingly.

  5. Salmon on!

    Put them on a lightly oiled grate (Pam works well), and smoke them for about an hour to an hour and a half. Don't peek until the hour mark! Watch your temps... too hot and it will be baked instead... worse case scenario... better to go a little too cool and a longer time.

  6. When is it done?

    It should be done dripping/oozing those fish oils, be firm to touch, and have kind of a reddish/golden color. Carefully remove them from the grill and let them cool on wire racks. Then wrap airtight in cling wrap and foil for refrigeration/freezing. In the fridge it seems to keep about a week (hard to say, it usually disappears sooner). In the freezer... I did a test one for 5 months with no significant taste/texture decline. No longer was as good as fresh, but was still better than store-bought.

Best taste at room temp or a little cool. Serve with crackers and a little spread if you like. You can also use it in omlettes or a host of other stuff. Use your imagination!

There you have it...long, but all there.

Again, thanks to everyone at RFC's Mpls. Cook-in for the warm welcome!


Damsel and Crash

Crash and Damsel

The cook-in was a resounding success! Dan had found us a nice, secluded area of a local park, with two picnic tables. We all huddled around one of them, which we moved from time to time, so it would be in the shade. The low-hanging branches of a pine tree poked us in the heads, but it wasn't a huge problem (Lynn did get a pine-turd stuck in her hair at one point, but I brought it to her attention discreetly, so no one else even noticed). [Editor's Note: Damsel made a HUGE production of the matter!]

Got a chance to meet everyone who attended. We got there a few minutes before Bob left, and we left a little while after Steve arrived. You couldn't ask for a nicer bunch of people! There wasn't a bad one in the bunch!

There also wasn't any bad food served! Well, my beer bread didn't turn out so hot, but there was enough good food to make us all forget that little tragedy. At least people were polite about it. My favorites were probably the Coho salmon, the curried wild rice and turkey salad, and the rhubarb custard cake.

I tried buffalo and lamb for the first time today. Both were good, although the lamb was absolutely amazing! Barb likes her meat raw, but her flank steak was good, anyway. The seasonings on the kebabs and the steak were all superb.

I'll shut up now, and will comment on individual things as people post their recipes. I'll have pictures and recipes on my website as soon as I have an opportunity to gather the recipes from people.

Thanks again, Dan!

Chocolate Cake with Creamy White Frosting

Chocolate cake

I don't remember exactly which day is Barb's birthday, but it's soon. Very soon. So, we made her a birthday cake as one of our contributions to the cook-in (Crash made the cake, I made the frosting). The cake is a standard, but delicious, one. But there is nothing standard about the frosting. I got the recipe here on RFC many moons ago, and it's since become my favorite frosting. It tastes remarkably like whipped cream.

I didn't use a real egg white, as I usually do. This time, I substituted 1 3/4 teaspoon of egg white powder and 1 tablespoon of water. Didn't want to buy pasteurized eggs when I only needed one, and didn't want to go down in history as the woman who killed everyone at the Minneapolis Cook-In.

(Happy birthday, Barb!)

Recipe By: Hershey's
Serving Size: 12
Categories: cakes

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Source: http://hersheyrecipes.hersheys.com/

Creamy White Frosting

Recipe By: Gail (gwallenm@northland.lib.mi.us)
Serving Size: 18
Preparation Time: 0:20
Categories: frostings/fillings

1 stick butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 pasteurized egg white -- beaten foamy
2/3 cup skim milk -- lukewarm
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

With electric mixer, cream together the butter, shortening, and sugar.

Add egg white and beat well.

Add milk and vanilla; beat for 10 minutes.

Notes: Frosts: 2 - 9" layers or 1 -13x9" oblong.

Stir-of-the-Moment Bread

I'm not sure what I did wrong (or maybe it was the bodaciously high humidity), but the beer bread turned out very dense and strange. Crumbled into a million pieces when I tried to slice it. I couldn't *give* it away. The folks who tried it were VERY polite about not spitting it out into their napkins. Not my finest hour. Here's the (usually good) recipe.

Recipe By: Cyndi Hackett
Categories: quick breads

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder -- optional
1 teaspoon dried basil -- optional
1 teaspoon dried oregano -- optional
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme -- optional
12 ounces beer

Mix all together and pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350°F. for approximately one hour.

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