After a stressful week, I love un-winding with some weekend cooking! Weekend cooking, to me, means a whole day ahead to yourself, nowhere to be, and making food that I will take time to sit and really enjoy.
Last week, I was inspired after a trip to the store and spotted a package of lox. I was tempted to pick it up but the last time I did, the salmon had a taste of plastic and was too salty. I decided it was time to try my hand at curing salmon to both expand my cooking skills and have as many slices of lox on my bagel as I please.
I had no idea curing salmon for lox would be so easy. I mainly followed this recipe on Instructables (because it has lots of pictures), but all the homemade lox recipes were similar:
- Cover salmon with a mix of equal parts kosher salt and sugar
- Wrap tightly except for one end so it can drain in the fridge (in a tilted container of course) with something heavy on top of it
- Let drain for 2-5 days
- SLICE AND CONSUME
- …realize you need to remove excess salt and sugar
For my cure, I added a few cranks of black pepper and I was pleasantly surprised that you could taste it in the end! When I sliced my lox, I placed them in a single layer on parchment paper so they wouldn’t stick.
Since curing salmon actually takes very little work, mid-week I decided I was ready to take on another project that has intimidated me — making bagels.
Contrary to the “practice makes perfect” saying, the beautiful round bagels on the left were the first ones I made.
I know, I don’t understand either.
It was the lovely picture of bagels on 17 and Baking that pushed me over the edge to make bagels. The bagels in the picture look so perfectly round, plump… and that golden color? I wanted it to be part of my kitchen!
But instead I got two round, pale bagels, and then the rest were flat.
Surprisingly enough, these bagels did not take long to make. Sure you have to shape them, boil, and then bake these little round bastards but it all happens fast. The bagel recipe is in the earlier link and she provides a shortcut to rising your dough that works like a charm! Take a cup of water and microwave for 3-4 minutes. You have now created a warm, humid environment for your dough :) Keep the bowl of water in there with the dough and watch it grow!
Despite how funny looking the bagels are, they tasted like a good bagel. I was a little disappointed because when I make bread, I’m always surprised at how good it is compared to what I’ve had. This didn’t happen with the bagel which means A) I’ve had some good bagels and B) I did it right.
After all my hard work and patience, I sliced that bagel, smeared a good amount of cream cheese, added a few capers with sliced onions, and topped with a healthy helping of lox. The lox came out perfect — slightly salty with a pepper-y undertone.
I ate bagel and lox the entire day. I shared it with Andrew the next day and I’m pretty sure he fell in love with me again (even more, of course ー(￣～￣)ξ).