Sunday, December 30, 2012

Salmon Sliders

We had leftover grilled salmon, so for lunch the next day, we decided to make salmon sliders, or open-faced salmon sandwiches.

2 grilled salmon filets, about 6-8 oz
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup mayo
1 large slice of sourdough bread, diced (you can use regular breadcrumbs too)
1/3 small red onion, minced
½ small red bell pepper, diced
1 Tbsp freshly minced Italian flat leaf parsley
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Vegetable oil for frying

Goat Cheese Pesto Spread:
4 oz goat cheese
½ Tbsp mayo
1 tsp pesto sauce

Baguette, sliced into ½” pieces  

Fresh lime juice
Sliced avocado

In a sauté pan, heat ½” of oil over medium high heat. Oil should be about half way up the salmon patty.

While oil heats, use your hands to gently flake apart the salmon into a large bowl. Gently mix in remaining ingredients. Do not over mix or the salmon will turn to mush.  If the mixture is too wet, add more bread. If the mixture is too dry, add more mayo. Using your hands, form 2” patties.

When oil is ready, gently place each patty into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until they are crispy and golden brown. Remove patties from oil and set on paper towel lined plate, to soak up extra grease.

In a small bowl, combine ingredients for spread.

Smear each slice of bread with goat cheese pesto spread and top with a salmon patty. Top each slider with a slice of avocado and squirt of fresh lime juice. Serve with an arugula salad tossed in a light vinaigrette dressing.

Helpful tips:
How do you know if your oil is ready for frying? Test by dropping a little bit of food into oil, if it sizzles, it’s ready!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Light-As-A-Cloud Lemon Mousse

My little Meyer lemon tree is full of fruit, which means it's time to get creative on what to do with all of those lemons! We found a great dessert recipe in my new cookbook, At Blanchard's Table. It was the perfect compliment to the Caribbean Coconut Chicken with Lime dish, which was also inspired by the cookbook.

Serves 4-6
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
toasted coconut shreds or extra lemon zest, as garnish (optional)

In the top of a double broiler over simmering water, combine the sugar, lemon juice, egg yolks, eggs, and lemon peel. Cook, whisking constantly, until a thermometer reads 160 degrees. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill.
When the lemon mixture is cold, whip the cream until soft to medium peaks form. Gently fold a quarter of the whipped cream into the lemon mixture to blend, and then fold in the remaining cream.Chill in a large serving bowl, or spoon into individual glasses or bowls.
Garnish with toasted coconut and/or fresh lemon zest.

Caribbean Coconut Chicken with Lime

We went to the British Virgin Islands in November and I came across a book in the airport called 'A Trip to the Beach' about a couple from the US that moved to the Caribbean to open a restaurant. I loved the book and the tales of their adventures as they chased their dreams of opening a small restaurant on the beach of Anguilla in the BVI. I loved the book so much that I also bought their cookbook, At Blanchard's Table.
On our last night with all the family together for the holidays we decided to make their Calypso Chicken with Lime. It was a huge hit with everyone! We changed it a little to add a kick of spice, but this certainly didn't distract from the tropical flavors and memories of the Caribbean that it brought us back to.

Caribbean Coconut Chicken with Lime

Serves 6

1 lb chicken tenders, or slice 4 chicken breasts into strips
3 Tbsp plus 1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
1 1⁄2 Tbsp fresh lime zest
3 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp black pepper
1⁄3 cup chopped cilantro
3 Tbsp shredded coconut, toasted

Preheat the broiler or prepare the grill.

In a large bowl, coat the chicken with 3 tablespoons lime juice, EVOO and jalapenos. Marinate for 30 minutes.

In a medium saute pan, whisk together 1⁄4 cup lime juice, coconut milk, cream, lime zest, ginger, salt, and pepper. Cook on medium heat until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan and set aside. Turn heat to low.

Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, and broil or grill them until just about cooked through, 2-3 minutes per side. Add chicken to coconut sauce on stove top over low heat. Mix in cilantro. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, or until chicken cooks all the way through.

Serve over Cilantro Lime Rice (recipe below), spoon extra sauce over chicken and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

For dessert, we selected another recipe from the cookbook for a fresh Lemon Mousse.

Cilantro Lime Rice

2 cups basmati rice
4 cups chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 green onion sprig, chopped
Juice from 1/2 lime

In a rice cooker, combine rice, broth, salt and EVOO. Once rice is ready, mix in cilantro, green onions and lime juice. Mix well and set aside until ready to serve.

Variations - Think think this dish would also be wonderful with the following revisions:
  • Sub the chicken for sauteed snapper.
  • Sub the chicken for grilled swordfish.
  • Kick up the heat by adding diced jalapenos into the rice when you add the cilantro and green onions.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Spicy Rice & Beans

I love this rice because it's so easy to make and delicious.

1 cup rice
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 packet of taco seasoning
1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 can black beans, drained
1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced
Juice from 1/2 lime
In a rice cooker, combine rice, broth, seasoning and EVOO. Cook until tender and done. Stir in beans, jalapenos and lime juice, until heated through.
If the jalapenos are too spicy then add to the rice when it's cooking.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Loaded Potato Pancakes

I was watching one of the episodes on the Food Network where the stars share their tips and favorite recipes. I got this technique from that lady with the spiky blonde hair that looks like Guy Fieri, and the overall inspiration from Paula Deen's Smashed Potato Pancakes.

3 medium Russet potatoes, steamed or boiled until tender
2 medium Russet potatoes, raw & freshly grated
1 egg, beaten
2 slices of sourdough bread, diced
1/2 cup diced ham
3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 green onion sprigs, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

flour for dusting
Vegetable oil for frying

In a large frying pan, heat about 1/2" of oil over medium high heat. The oil should come half way up the pancakes when placed in the pan.

While the oil is heating, press the steamed potatoes through a ricer and combine with the remaining ingredients in a large boil. If the mixture is too wet, add more diced bread. Using your hands, form patties from potato mixture. Sprinkle each side with flour and gently place into oil.

Fry each side for 3-4 minutes, until crispy and golden brown. Place pancakes on a paper towel lined plate to soak up extra grease.

Serve warm and enjoy!

Note: To see if the oil is ready for frying, test it by putting a little bit of food into the pan. It's ready if it starts to bubble and cook. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Stuffed Chicken over Creamy Mushroom and Leek Sauce

For our Christmas party last night, I made chicken breasts stuffed with sundried tomato pesto, ricotta cheese, and fresh spinach. I thought the red and green colors would complement our Christmas theme. I served the chicken sliced over a creamy mushroom and leek sauce. Delish. I served this with scalloped potatoes, but it would also be good over rice.

Serves 10

6-7 chicken breasts
3-4 oz sundried tomato pesto
6 oz Ricotta cheese
1 egg
Fresh baby spinach, stems removed (about 5-6 leaves per chicken breast)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese and egg; set aside. Slice the thick part of each chicken breast and flip open. Pound each chicken breast to about ¼” thick. Season outside of chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Flip breast over and spread the inside with pesto, then ricotta cheese and top with 5-6 spinach leaves. Starting with the thin side, roll up as tightly as possible and tuck in the ends to form a neat roll. Secure each breast with 2 toothpicks or tie closed with cooking string.
In a large frying pan with a few drizzles of EVOO, heat over high until oil starts to smoke and oil ripples. Brown all sides of chicken and transfer to a large casserole dish. Bake uncovered for 15-18 minutes, or until chicken is cooked all the way through and juices run clear. Let rest before slicing.

1 Tbsp butter
1 large leek, cleaned and thinly sliced
3 large baby Bella mushrooms, diced
½ cup white wine
½ Tbsp cornstarch
½ Tbsp Dijon mustard
½ cup heavy whipping cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

In the same frying pan used to brown chicken, add butter, leeks and mushrooms; sauté for 3-4 minutes. Scrap up browned bits of chicken from pan. Add wine and cornstarch, bring to a boil and whisk together. Turn heat to low and let reduce for about 5 minutes. Whisk in mustard. Add cream and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, pour sauce into a shallow serving dish and top with sliced chicken.

Pecan and Walnut Pie

We had a little holiday potluck at the house last night and I made this for dessert. I love the combo of the crispy pecans and walnuts withthe gooey center. I would definitely go for the store bought pie crust as a time saver.
1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 9” piecrust (store-bought)
Heat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, combine corn syrup, brown and granulated sugars, eggs, butter, vanilla, and salt. Mix in the pecans and walnuts.
Place the pie crust on baking sheet. Fill with the nut mixture and bake until the center is set, approx. 50 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Crock Pot Roast

This is the perfect cozy comfort food for a chilly day. Throw everything in the crock pot and come home to mouthwatering smells that will fill your whole house!

2-3 lbs chuck roast or bottom round, cut into 1” cubes
3 large carrots, sliced into 2” long pieces
3 celery ribs, sliced
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
½ Tbsp salt
½ Tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 can of diced or crushed tomatoes
2 cups beef broth (or water)
½ cup red wine
¼ cup chopped parsley (I like to use Italian flat leaf)
2 Bay leaves

In a crock pot, or slow cooker, combine all ingredients and cook on low for 8-10 hours. The liquid should come half way up the meat, but do not cover completely. If there’s too much liquid, reduce the amount of broth, or water.

Serve in a shallow bowl over mashed potatoes or rice. Serve with carrots and spoon over extra sauce.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cheesy Salsa Fresca Pasta

This may sounds strange, but it’s really tasty. It’s cheesy with a fresh and spicy kick. Top with your favorite grilled meat – chicken or fish.

5 oz premade Alfredo sauce
½ cup pico de gallo (salsa fresca)
Fettuccine pasta
In a sauce pan, combine Alfredo sauce and pico de gallo; heat through. Boil pasta according to directions. Drain and toss with sauce mixture.

Top with grilled chicken or fish. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Tip: For a quick chicken or fish seasoning, sprinkle with taco seasoning.