Thursday, May 27, 2010

Orange-Ginger Salmon

With the weather heating up, I always like to find dinners that are a little on the lighter side. I love salmon because it's healthy, but also meaty. Salmon is great becasue it can be a substantial dinner and not leave me hungry a few hours later like some other fish can. This recipe is really simple, but the flavors are bold and delicious - perfect for a quick summer meal.

Orange-Ginger Salmon

2 fresh salmon steaks
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 in. freshly grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup soy or teriaki marinade (recommended: Yoshida's Gourmet Sauce)
1/4 tsp. pepper

In a medium bowl, mix together the soy sauce, orange zest, orange juice, garlic, ginger, and pepper. Whisk to combine. Set aside a small portion to dip, if desired. Add the salmon steaks and marinate at least 1 hour or up to overnight. (The longer you marinate the salmon, the better!)
Grill or broil the salmon until it is cooked through and golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chocolate Raspberry Bars with White Chocolate and Almonds

I saw this recipe and immediately knew that I had to try it. The combination of tart raspberry, rich chocolates, and salty almonds was too good to resist. Using a simple boxed brownie mix, this dessert comes together really quickly. It looks and tastes much more gourmet than it seems when you are putting it together! I might experiment with other fruit flavors, like orange, the next time I make this delicious dessert! Also, I found that it tasted richer the next day...if it lasts that long!

Chocolate Raspberry Bars with White Chocolate and Almonds
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

1 cup raspberry jam
1 box fudge brownie mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup white chocolate, melted
1/2 cup salted almonds, chopped

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9X13 pan and set aside.
In a small saucepan, stir the jam over low heat until pourable, about 1 minute. Set aside.

In a large bowl, blend together the brownie mix, eggs, oil, and water. Beat for 1 minute on medium speed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spoon the jam over the batter. Using a butter knife or small spatula, swirl the jam into the brownie batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Drizzle with the melted white chocolate and top with the chopped almonds. Allow the bars to cool completely. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Spinach and Pepper Quiche with Roasted Chicken

This recipe all began with a craving for quiche and a need to clean out the refrigerator. I took my basic quiche recipe and added a few ingredients that I had on hand. The results were a tasty combination of flavors that I will definitely use again! Although the weather is turning warm and quiche is not typically a spring/summertime dish, it's a great way to use up the last bits of food you may have laying around. So, before it gets too warm and you yearn to fire up that grill, give make some room in that fridge by giving this quiche a try!

Spinach and Pepper Quiche with Roasted Chicken

1 Tb. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 sweet bell pepper, chopped (I used an red pepper, but an orange or yellow would work too)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
1 - 8oz. package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 chicken breasts (I used the meat of a store-bought roasted chicken. Leftover chicken would work just fine)
5 eggs
3/4 C. half and half (milk works fine here, too)
4 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
4 oz. Fontina cheese, grated
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper, optional
1 pie crust

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach, parsley, 1/2 tsp of the salt, and 1/4 tsp. of the pepper. Cook an additional 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs and half and half. Stir in the cheeses, nutmeg, crushed red pepper, chicken, the remaining salt and pepper, and the spinach/pepper mixture.

Place the pie crust in a pie pan and place it on a baking sheet (to catch any overflow, if there is any). Scrape the egg mixture into the pie crust - it will be very full. Bake until the filling is set and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pork Chops with Caramelized Apples and Onions plus Parmesan-Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I came across this recipe and was a bit skeptical at first. There aren't a lot of ingredients (which is good) but I was also afraid that meant there wouldn't be a lot of flavor (which is bad). I couldn't have been more wrong!! This dish came together within minutes and I was able to throw it in the oven and forget about it for a while. The result was fork-tender pork chops with incredible flavor. The apples and onions were amazing and the brown sugar mixes with the juices to create a sweet and savory sauce. It also pairs really well with Parmesan and Garlic Mashed Potatoes (Bonus recipe below!)

Pork Chops with Caramelized Apples and Onions

4 bone-in pork loin chops (at least 1/2-inch thick)
2-3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
2 Onions, sliced
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
Black Pepper
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, optional

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 X 13 inch baking dish. Place the onion slices in an even layer on the bottom of the dish. Top the onion slices with the apple slices. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top of the apples and onions. Season the pork chops generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange the chops in a single layer on top of the apples and onions. Sprinkle with a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes. Cover tightly with foil and bake in the oven for 3 hours. Serve each pork chop topped with the apples and onions. Enjoy!

Parmesan and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

5 lbs. potatoes (Yukon Golds are a great choice here!)
2 tsp. salt
1 Cup grated parmesan cheese
4 T. butter
3/4 Cup milk
4-5 cloves roasted garlic

To roast garlic: trim the pointy end off a whole head of garlic. Place sprout-side down on a piece of foil and drizzle with 1 Tb. of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the sides of the foil up to enclose the garlic completely and cook in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the garlic is tender. The cloves squeeze right out of their skins when they are ready!

In a large pot, place the potatoes and cover with water. Add the salt. Bring to a boil and cook the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Begin mashing the potatoes. Add the butter and mash into the potatoes. Add the milk, cheese, roasted garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash until the potatoes are smooth. Serve hot!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf Cake

I was looking for a recipe to use up some blueberries that I had. When I came across a lemon-blueberry yogurt loaf, I knew I had to try it. I LOVE lemon. Because of my lemon obsession, I decided in this recipe to use lemon flavored yogurt (instead of plain) to add to the lemon flavor and, also, because it's what I had in my fridge! The result is a very moist, lemony loaf cake that perfectly compliments the blueberries. It's a rich loaf cake that's not overly sweet and it works equally well as a muffin paired with your morning coffee.

When it comes to blueberries, I highly recommend using fresh, so wait until they go on sale at your grocery store! You can certainly substitute frozen, but they tend to be mushy and stain the batter purple when you fold in the berries.

Next time, I plan to experiment with other yogurts and fruits, just to see if they turn out as fabulous as this! If you try it, or another combination, I'd love to hear about it!!

Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf Cake
1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup lemon yogurt (you can also substitute vanilla or plain yogurt if that's what you have)
1 cup plus 1 1/2tablespoons sugar, divided
3 eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (approximately 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups blueberries, fresh (if you only have frozen, make sure that they are thawed and patted dry)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
powdered sugar, optional for garnishing

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Mix the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of flour, and fold them very gently into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 60 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, use a toothpick to poke holes all on the top of the loaf. Then, using a pastry brush, brush the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Allow the loaf to cool and top with powdered sugar just before serving.

Adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cauliflower Gratin with Bacon and Porcini Mushrooms

As a member of the Foodie Blogroll, I got the opportunity to request some mushroom samples from Marx Foods. Justin, from Marx Foods, got ahold of me and sent them right away. I am so excited to try out some new recipes using the Marx Foods' wild mushrooms. There are a few varieties that I am not familiar with so it will be interesting to see how I can use them!
For this recipe, I decided to pair some Porcini mushrooms in a Cauliflower gratin with bacon. Let me tell you, it is really great! You can hardly call this a vegetable dish because of it's creamy goodness. The cauliflower is tender and the bacon adds a bit of salty goodness. Also, I like that you can use regular milk instead of heavy cream or half and half. It's just easier because I always have milk on hand and it definitely helps with the calories (which I will take the help where I can get it because this dish is a creamy, cheesy love fest!)

So, now lets talk about the mushrooms. Without the addition of the Porcini mushrooms, I think this dish would have been OK, but the Porcinis really make it decadent. They are tender and so flavorful (Thanks again Justin!!) The Marx Foods mushrooms came dried, with instructions on how to rehydrate them and how to calculate the amount needed when a recipe calls for fresh mushrooms. I thought this was really helpful. However, I decided that with all of the cheesy goodness going on, there'd by more than enough moisture to just add them dried. It saved time and worked out perfectly. The sweet, earthy taste of the mushrooms pair really well with the salty bacon and creamy cauliflower. I also think that the Chanterelle mushrooms would be nice in this dish, too. **Edit: After talking with Justin from Marx foods again, he suggested reconstituting the Chanterelle mushrooms if you use them in this dish. They tend to be a bit woody when reconsituted and need to be chopped, which can be difficult when they are dried! Thanks for the tip Justin!**
I recommed going on over to Marx Foods ( and trying out some samples they have - it's much more than mushrooms!

Cauliflower Gratin with Bacon and Porcini Mushrooms

1 head cauliflower, cut into large florets
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup freshly grated Gruyere, divided
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
8 oz. bacon
1/4 C. Porcini Mushrooms (or any other variety you like)
1/4 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon until very crispy. Drain on paper towel and set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Turn off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 3/4 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan.

Pour about 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 8 inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top, sprinkle bacon and mushrooms over the cauliflower. Then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top.

Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cheesy Stuffed Artichokes

I'm always looking for new ways to cook old favorites. When I came across this recipe, I knew I had to try it. Combining tender artichokes with warm, cheesy stuffing is a decadent twist on my traditional stuffed artichokes. There is a little bit of prep work required, but the artichokes will come out perfectly tender and delicious. They are a hearty side and you could definitely cut them in half to make smaller portions, but they are so good you may just end up eating it all yourself!

Cheesy Stuffed Artichokes

Cold water, as needed
3 to 4 lemons, juiced, divided
6 medium artichokes, stems trimmed
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 to 3/4 cup fontina cheese, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Fill bowl with cold water large enough to hold the 6 artichokes. Add the juice of 2 lemons to the water. Use a paring knife to trim the dark green skin from the stem and the base of each artichoke. Also, slice about 2 to 3 inches off the top. In a circular motion, using a paring knife peel the outer, dark green bitter layer of the heart until the fleshly, light green part is exposed. Trim and leave about 2 to 3 inches off the stem. Use a tablespoon to scoop out the "hay" from the center of each artichoke. Squeeze some of the remaining lemon juice over the artichoke, rubbing the lemon directly on them to prevent them from discoloring, then submerge them in the lemon water.
In a large bowl, combine 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil, the bread crumbs, garlic, and parsley with the Fontina and Parmesan. Stir to blend. Season with salt, to taste. Remove the artichokes from the water, pat dry and transfer them to a bowl. Reseason with salt and drizzle them with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stuff each artichoke with the bread crumb mixture and arrange them in a baking dish. Don't be afraid to pack the stuffing into each artichoke. Top the artichokes with any remaining stuffing. Add a little water to the bottom of the baking dish to prevent the artichokes from drying out or scorching on the bottom as they cook. Cover the dish with a tight layer of aluminum foil and put the baking dish in the center of the oven.

After 45 minutes, remove the dish from the oven. Test the center of the artichoke with the tip of a knife. The knife should pierce and remove without resistance. Remove the foil and put the dish under a broiler for 5 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Cut each artichoke in half to reveal the stuffing, arrange on serving plates and serve.

Makes 6 generous portions

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lemon Garlic Chicken

I love cooking with lemon when the weather turns warmer. Plus, the beautiful weather is a great reason to start cooking on the grill. This delicious and easy chicken comes together with a really simple marinade. Let the marinade really get into the chicken and the flavors will melt together beautifully. Also, the fresh herbs give the chicken a light, earthy taste that compliments the lemon and garlic. Serve this with a side of broccoli or rice and you have a healthy, light meal that's just in time for summer!

Lemon Garlic Chicken
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tsp. fresh rosemary
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
4 chicken breasts (you can use either bone-in, or boneless skinless chicken)
lemon slices for garnish, optional

Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper in a large Ziplock bag. Shake well to blend. Place the chicken in the bag with the marinade and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Remove chicken from the marinade and grill until crispy, well browned, and cooked through - about 5 minutes per side. Let the chicken rest about 5 minutes before serving. Transfer to a serving platter with lemon slices and serve.
Blog Design by Creative Girl Media