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Say that three times fast! This was indeed a salmon dinner perfect for summer entertaining. Lots of fresh vegetables, simply flavored salmon, and beatifully roasted potatoes and tomatoes.

I guess you could call this my take on the traditional “meat and potatoes” dinner. Salmon, standing in for the meat, delicious oven roasted fries tossed with a fragrant garlic/parsley oil, and well…I guess the vegetables don’t exactly fit, but that’s why it’s my updated version of the classic.

Salmon with Lemon, Capers, Rosemary and White wine (Adapted from this recipe)

1 pound salmon

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp dried rosemarry

2 lemons, sliced

1 lemon, juiced

1/2 cup white wine

4 tsp capers

Brush top of salmon with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and rosemarry. Place in large baking dish and top the salmon with lemon slices, lemon juice, white wine, and capers.

Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes until cooked through. Spoon extra juices on top when serving…it would be a shame to waste the lemony goodness in the pan!

For the tomatoes, I used this Cooking Light recipe. I think next time, to make this even simpler, you could roast the tomatoes along side the salmon. A one dish supper with less clean up? Sounds perfect to me!

To complete the plate and my updated classic supper, I made a simple and fresh snap pea and asparagus salad. Because when the spring and summer produce comes out, one vegetable on your plate just simply won’t do!

Snap Pea and Asparagus Salad

1 bunch sugar snap peas

1 bunch asparagus, cut into pieces

1 red pepper, chopped

grated lemon rind from 1 lemon

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 shallot, minced

handful of fresh basil, chopped

handful of walnuts, toasted

shaved parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Blanch snow peas and asparagus for about 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water and pat dry. In a large bowl mix together lemon rind, juice, oil, shallot, mustard and season with salt and pepper. Add the snap peas, asparagus, red pepper, basil and toss to coat. Top with walnuts and parmesan cheese.

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I was never really a fan of cabbage rolls. Boiled cabbage stuffed with a ground meat and rice mixture covered in a sweet tomato sauce…this was just never really my thing. The cabbage was too soft (and a little bit too smelly!), the sauce was always too sweet, and the filling a little too greasy and heavy for my liking. If you like these traditional cabbage rolls, then my apologies. But I do love making and eating stuffed vegetables so I figured there must be a way that I could transform these green meat pockets into something oh so appealing. I found my inspiration on a rainy afternoon, watching Giada make stuffed swiss chard rolls…I like goat cheese, I like lentils, I like swiss chard…and my updated take on the traditional cabbage roll was born.

To make these more of a “hearty” meal for Adam and I, I added some vegetarian ground round to the filling…my substitute for the usual ground beef mixture. I also may have added just a tad more cheese…I figured anything stuffed with goat cheese and covered in parmesan couldn’t be a bad thing. And right I was! If you think you don’t like your grandmothers cabbage rolls, give these a try! Side note: some times the most delicious food is the least eye appealing…these swiss chard rolls may not photograph well, but do not be turned off! Have I ever steered you wrong??

Lentil, Goat Cheese, and Soy Stuffed Swiss Chard Rolls (Adapted from this recipe)

1 head swiss chard (you want about 10-12 leaves)

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 package veggie ground round (I used Yves)

1 cup goat cheese, at room temperature (it should be soft)

1 cup cooked brown lentils

1/2 cup chopped mint

1 cup baby arugula leaves, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce or homemade sauce

3/4 cup grated parmesan

Remove the thick stems from the swiss chard and cut in half lengthwise if very large. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add chard leaves and boil for about 10 seconds (you just want to soften them so they are easy to roll). Rinse under cold water and pat dry. They are a little delicate so just be very gentle with this step.

Mix together the brown rice, ground round, lentils, goat cheese, mint, arugula, garlic, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon about 1/3 cup of filling in each swiss chard leaf and roll up like you would a burrito. Spoon about 1 cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish and layer the swiss chard bundles on top. I had extra filling leftover so I just baked it along the side but you could eat it just as is (it is very very good!)

Topped with the extra filling…quite good actually!

Spoon the rest of the tomato sauce on top and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes, until bubbly and hot.

Served with a green salad

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So it may not be tomato season just yet, but I could not resist using them when I saw a recipe in The New Brooklyn Cookbook Adam gifted me as a souvenir of our time there. This book is fantastic…it highlights all the restaurants that helped put Brooklyn on the foodie map. So many of our favorites are featured with recipes of some of their house specialties….from the rabbit at Al Di La to the fried goat cheese salad at Rosewater…the memories of delicious dishes brings tears to my eyes!

And after using Ici’s dish as an inspiration, I will now have to visit this Fort Greene restaurant on my next visit to Brooklyn. The next time you are in a tizzy wondering what on earth you are going to make for your vegetarian dinner guests, try this recipe and prepare to wow even the biggest carnivores in your group. It’s the perfect way to showcase all of spring and summers fantastic vegetables!

Pan Fried Tomatoes topped with Goat Cheese and Lima Bean Succotash (Adapted from The New Brooklyn Cookbook)

3 eggs

1/4 cup skim milk

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 cups panko bread crumbs

3 large tomatoes, sliced about 1/2 inch thick

1/4 cup fresh basil plus 1 tbsp chopped basil

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

kernels from 3 ears of fresh corn

1 cup frozen lima beans, microwaved according to package instructions

1/2 large red onion, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1/4 cup goat cheese mixed with 1 – 2 tbsp buttermilk until spreadable

salt and pepper

Beat the eggs and milk in a bowl and place the flour and panko in two separate bowls. Dip each tomato slice in the flour, then egg, and then panko and set aside until ready to cook

In a food processor or small blender, mix 1/4 cup basil leaves with the 1 tbsp olive oil and puree. Set aside

Heat two tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan and pan-fry the tomatoes in batches until golden brown on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm in an oven at about 250 degrees.

Heat the butter in the pan over medium-high heat until bubbly. Add the corn, lima beans, onion, and bell pepper and saute until the corn is cooked, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped basil and salt and pepper.

Spread the goat cheese mixture on the tomato slices. Spread a spoonful of the basil puree onto each plate (serves about 4 people) and spoon the succotash on top. Then lay three slices of fried tomatoes on each plate.

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I’m so excited to get back to sharing some recipes with you all, and just in time for summer. Craving pasta, I wanted something light, but flavorful to avoid overheating in the scorchers we’ve been having. When I saw a fellow blogger tweet about making a caprese pasta, I knew a bowl filled with bright tomatoes, fragrant basil, and fresh mozzarella would hit the spot.

The ingredients

This bright and fresh take on a Giada recipe came together so quickly. And you can really change-up or leave out any of the vegetables I used.

Caprese Linguine with Asparagus and Zucchini

1 box whole wheat linguine

1 tbsp olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 bunch asparagus

2 zucchini

2 pints grape tomatoes, halved

1 1/4 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into pieces

3/4-1 cup fresh basil, torn

salt and pepper

Boil pasta according to box directions and reserve about 1/2 cup pasta water. In the last 2 minutes of boiling the pasta, add the asparagus and place in a bowl of ice water. Dry and cut into bite size pieces.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Sautee the garlic for about 1 minute. Add the zucchini and sautee until they start to get tender. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook and smush them with a fork to release their juice (this is what makes your sauce). Continue cooking until the tomatoes are totally soft and you have a nice sauce in the pan.

Add the asparagus, basil, pasta, and cheese and toss to combine. If the pasta isn’t “saucy” enough, add some of the reserved pasta water (I didn’t need to add any). Season with salt and pepper and ENJOY!

I hope you like this fast, healthy, and simple pasta dish as much as I did. A new summer family favorite!

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Applewood is situated on a small street off 7th avenue in Park Slope. You actually wouldn’t even notice it from the main street if you were on a little stroll. But once you walk in, you can’t help but be taken a back by its very charming atmosphere and farmhouse feel. Which is very fitting as Applewood focuses on seasonal, farm-to-table cuisine. My friend and I planned a “date” night to have a nice dinner together before I left and headed north to Toronto. And it also happened she had her wedding at this restaurant…which I could definitely picture with all the candles and cozy setting.

Three spreads: lentils cooked in duck fat, soft and salted butter, spinach cream cheese

Spreads and breads were given to start. The bread was freshly made in-house (sorry no photo-but just imagine a two large pieces of white and whole wheat bread with crispy crusts and soft interiors). The lentils were definitely my favorite and I proceeded to eat them also as a side dish with a fork. Can anything cooked in duck fat every be bad?

Sautéed ramps topped with a fried egg and dill aioli

Squid salad with rhubarb and sunflower shoots

Lemon risotto with parsnips and watercress

Pan seared hake with sweet potatoes, arugula, and lemon fondue

As the blog title states, the fish was delicious. Perfectly cooked, flaky, and buttery and that lemon cream sauce was simply divine. Both apps were also a hit but I have to say, my friends lemon risotto was really just not good. The rice was cooked well but there was no flavor at all. Not just under-seasoned, but really no seasoning — quite disappointing. Overall, I really enjoyed the meal at Applewood and have heard really great things…maybe it was an off night for the risotto chef?

I know I said I was trying to get all my restaurant reviews out to you, but I simply HAD to share this chicken dish with you as I think it is perfect for a light summer meal. This recipe for chicken marinated in a fresh lime mixture and served over marinated red onions and a cilantro infused black bean sauce is a great way to jazz up that boring boneless, skinless chicken breast.

Baked Lime Chicken with Black Bean Sauce (Adapted from Simply Recipes)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 limes, juiced

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp salt

1 red onion, sliced thin

Black Bean Sauce

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 quart water

2 bay leaves

stems from one bunch of cilantro, chopped

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

salt and pepper to taste

Combine lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, oregano, salt and pepper and place in a bowl with chicken. Let marinade for at least 2 hours in the fridge.

Place beans and remaining ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour or so until reduced and nice and thick. Remove bay leaves and puree with hand blender. Place onions in a baking dish and place chicken and marinade on top. Bake in 400 degree oven, covered with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Remove foil and broil for about 5 minutes until top is browned and chicken is completely cooked through. Serve chicken on top of black beans and onions.

Really delicious served with some guacamole and tortilla chips, and of course, a margarita on the side is always a nice touch!

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In an effort to continue to stay away from my touting everything as “the best____ I ever ate,” I am here to tell you not of “the best” black and white cookie, but what I think is “the ultimate” black and white cookie. And it is found only mere blocks from our small apartment at Joyce Bake Shop in Prospect Heights. I am by no means a black and white cookie connoisseur. I’ve tried a couple of versions, but am definitely not an expert. However, this cookie, you really couldn’t help but fall in love.

What really set this cookie apart from all the others was not the super tender crust, but the black and white frosting. That’s right, FROSTING! Not the usual gloppy glaze that sits on top of your average black and white cookie. This is true cupcake frosting, laid on nice and thick on the buttery cookie base. Just trust me and try it!

But before you indulge in this delicious cupcake-like cookie, I encourage you, no, I implore you to try this super easy and super tasty recipe staring avocado. Who doesn’t like this buttery and rich green fruit (yes, I do believe avocado is in fact a fruit). Normally found in guacamole, salsas, and as a salad topper, I have turned this fruit into the perfect taco accompaniment or Mexican themed dinner appetizer.

Panko Crusted Avocado Fries

1 Avocado, sliced into fry like sticks

1/2-1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 lime, juiced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine panko with spices. Squeeze lime juice over avocado slices and toss gently in panko so you don’t break the avocado. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until panko is brown.

I served them with a dipping sauce made of Greek yogurt mixed with a little lime juice and some adobo sauce from a leftover can of chipotle peppers kicking around in our fridge. A delicious start to an Mexican fiesta!

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There seems to be a trend in my household….a weekend of eating out for EVERY single meal leads to a craving for a simple and vegetable filled dinner the night after. Let us recall some of my previous meals post-visitor weekends of delicious dining.

#1: A weekend filled with arepas, pizza, and big gay ice cream was followed by a Giada inspired recipe for salmon.

Salmon steak with pea puree and lemon bordetto

#2: A wonderful two days of shrimp & grits, doughnuts, and homemade pasta was followed by a salmon cake and kale salad dinner (oddly enough, another Giada recipe)

Salmon cakes with lemon-caper yogurt sauce and kale salad

After the latest weekend of dining on fried oyster sandwiches, more doughnuts, scotch eggs, and burger and fries, it was time for yet another veggie filled salmon dinner. It seems I enjoy a salmon and vegetable rich meal very much to help “detox” after an indulgent weekend. But this time, it was not Giada that guided me. My friend was so kind to gift me with a wonderful cookbook called Bite Me, Too,the second cookbook from the Bite Me authors. Having cooked and enjoyed many recipes from their first cookbooks, I was very excited to give this one a whirl.

Salmon and Vegetables with Homemade Teriyaki Sauce (Adapted from Bite Me Too)

Teriyaki Sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup mirin

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp water

Salmon Marinade

1 pound salmon

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

Vegetables

1/2 tbsp sesame oil

1/4 cup sliced shallots

1 clove garlic, minced

1 bunch bok choy, chopped

2 cups snow peas, sliced

2 red peppers, thinly sliced

For the teriyaki sauce, combine soy sauce, wine, mirin, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water. Add cornstarch to saucepan mixing constantly and reduce heat to low. Cook for a couple of minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place salmon in a large baking dish and mix together all marinade ingredients. Pour over top and let marinade for about 30 minutes in the fridge. Spoon a couple spoonfuls of teriyaki sauce over salmon and bake in 425 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes.

For the vegetables, heat a wok over high heat and add sesame oil. Add shallots and garlic and stir for a couple of minutes. Add remaining vegetables and cook for a couple of minutes until crisp tender.

It will look like a lot of vegetables…I mean A LOT! But they will wilt down

Add 3-4 tbsp of teriyaki sauce and stir until all the vegetables are coated with your delicious sauce.

Vegetables fully cooked and wilted down in size

Serve the salmon over vegetables drizzled with extra teriyaki sauce

This teriyaki sauce would be delicious on chicken, tofu, or drizzled over rice or noodles. Another successful salmon “detox” meal! Now back to eating NYC…stay tuned!

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