Sunday, July 29, 2012

Smoked and Fresh Salmon en Chemise

This is a unique, but quick way of cooking salmon. The smoked salmon infuses the smokey taste into the fresh salmon. The green sauce provides a nice counterpoint to the salmon and makes for a very pretty dish. However, if you can't find tomatillos, I would still give this dish a shot.

One year ago: Cashew Chicken with a Cilantro Sauce
Two years ago: Lime-Flavoured Rice with Yellow Split Peas

Smoked and Fresh Salmon en Chemise (from Radically Simple)

6 salmon fillets with skin, 150g each
250g thinly sliced smoked salmon
450g tomatillos
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup packed basil
1/2 cup packed cilantro
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp fresh lime juice

1. Preheat oven to 475. Season salmon with salt and pepper and place on a rimmed baking sheet (I would recommend covering with aluminum foil as I had problems with sticking). Enrobe the top and sides of each fillet with a thin layer of smoked salmon. Roast 12 - 14 minutes, until firm.
2. Meanwhile, cut tomatillos into 1" pieces. Add to food processor with oil, basil, cilantro, onion, lime juice, and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Process until smooth.
3. Spoon puddle of sauce onto 6 plates. Top with salmon and serve.

Israeli Couscous with Fresh Corn, Tomatoes, and Feta

This is a simple dish, but a celebration of summer. I used grape tomatoes in place of diced tomatoes.

One year ago: Spinach with Ginger and Green Chiles
Two years ago: Thai Shrimp and Spinach Curry

Israeli Couscous with Fresh Corn, Tomatoes, and Feta (from Cook This Now)

1 large garlic clove, minced
3/4 tsp plus pinch kosher salt
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1 large ripe tomato, diced
85g crumbled feta cheese
2 tbsp chopped basil

1. Using a mortar and pestle, mash garlic and pinch of salt to a paste. In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, lemon juice, 3/4 tsp salt, and pepper. Whisk in olive oil.
2. Cook couscous according to package directions (or if your directions are weird, cook it like pasta for at least 15 minutes). Add corn for last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain well.
3. In large bowl, combine couscous-corn, tomato, and vinaigrette. Let cool for 10 minutes.
4. Fold in feta and basil. Serve.

Corn Salad with Tomatoes, Avocados, and Lime Cilantro Dressing

It's hard to get much cooking done in the summer. The warm weather outside beckons with far too many distractions. Living without air conditioning also means I have to be careful not to overheat my apartment by running the stove or oven too long. Fortunately, with fresh fruits and vegetables in season, there are delicious alternatives that require very little cooking. This dish is quick and easy. The avocado gives it a bit of something extra and makes it more filling if you're looking for a nice summery lunch. I used grape tomatoes in place of diced tomatoes.

One year ago: Turmeric Rice
Two years ago: Pasta Pesto Salad

Corn Salad with Tomatoes, Avocados, and Lime Cilantro Dressing (from Cook This Now)

3 ears corn, kernels sliced from cob
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large tomato, diced
2 ripe avocados, diced
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cook corn until tender, 2 minutes. Drain.
2. In a bowl, whisk together lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Whisk in oil.
3. In a large bowl, combine corn, tomato, avocados, scallions, and cilantro. Add dressing, toss to coat, and serve.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Spaghetti with French Breakfast Radishes, Bacon, and Greens

This is a quick and easy dinner recipes that's surprisingly good. I mostly made it to use up some radishes, but I'm so glad I stumbled upon this dish. Warning, the recipe below makes two servings.

One year ago: Apricot Plum Crisp
Two years ago: Raspberry Cheesecake Pots

Spaghetti with French Breakfast Radishes, Bacon, and Greens (from Radically Simple)

170g spaghetti
several large bunches large French breakfast radishes, greens included
4 strips bacon
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta 12 minutes until just tender.
2. Meanwhile, separate radishes from greens and slice 1/8" thick to yield 1 cup. Measure out 3 cups of packed radish greens and coarsely chop.
3. Cut bacon into 1/3" strips.
4. Cook bacon in large saute pan over high heat for 3 minutes until fat is rendered and bacon is soft.
5. Add oil, chopped radish leaves, and sliced radishes to bacon. Cook until greens wilt and radishes soften, 5 minutes.
6. Drain pasta. Add to radishes and cook 2 minutes.
7. Toss with half of cheese and coarsely cracked black pepper.
8. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and serve.

Sweet Watermelon with Garlic and Red Chiles

I wasn't sure what to expect from this curry, but I greatly enjoyed it. The heat and spices from the curry are set off nicely with the hint of sweetness from the watermelon. It is a watery curry, but you can always mash some of the watermelon to make it slightly less watery.

One year ago: Walnut Muffins with Coffee Glaze
Two years ago: Sausage and Balsamic Tomatoes

Sweet Watermelon with Garlic and Red Chiles (from 660 Curries)

1 piece (3 lbs) seedless watermelon
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp dried thyme mixed with 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp nigella seeds
4 dried red Thai or cayenne chiles, stems removed
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp coarse salt
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

1. Cut off and discard outer dark green skin of watermelon, leaving rind intact. Separate red fruit from rind. Cut rind into 1" cubes and fruit into 1" cubes, keeping them separate.
2. Heat oil in medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle cumin seeds, thyme, black pepper, nigella seeds, and chiles into oil and cook until they sizzle and smell nutty, 10 - 15 seconds.
3. Add garlic and stir-fry until golden brown, 30 seconds.
4. Sprinkle in turmeric.
5. Add watermelon rind and salt. Stir once or twice and stir-fry until light brown around edges, 5 minutes.
6. Pour 1 cup water into pan, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally until fork-tender, 5 - 10 minutes.
7. Add red watermelon cubes and stir. Raise heat to medium-high and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
8. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Berry Summer Bundt Cake

It wouldn't be summer without a new way to put berries into cake form. I upped the berries in this to 4 cups and used a mixture of currants, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries. I also skipped on the icing so it would be slightly more appropriate for breakfast. This is highly adaptable for whatever berries you have on hand. Mine took a little bit longer to bake and still came out slightly undercooked in parts. The berries also sank a tiny bit.

One year ago: Chipotle Pork Cheeseburgers
Two years ago: Vodka Cream Pasta

Berry Summer Bundt Cake (from Smitten Kitchen, originally Rustic Fruit Desserts)

2 1/2 cups (355 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (20 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
1 cup (8 ounces or 225 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups (340 grams) granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (175 ml) buttermilk
3 - 4 cups mixed berries

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 10-cup Bundt pan, either with butter or a nonstick spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk or sift 2 1/2 cups flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and impossibly fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Then, with the mixer on a low speed, add your eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition.
5. Beat in vanilla, briefly.
6. Add 1/3 flour mixture to batter, beating until just combined, followed by half the buttermilk, another 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining buttermilk and remaining flour mixture. Scrape down from time to time and don’t mix any more than you need to.
7. In the bowl where you’d mixed your dry ingredients, toss the berries with 2 tablespoons of flour.
8. With a silicon spatula, gently fold the berries into the cake batter. The batter will be very thick and this will seem impossible without squishing the berries a little, but just do your best and remember that squished berries do indeed make for a pretty batter.
9. Spread cake batter — you might find it easier to plop it in the pan in large spoonfuls, because it’s so thick — in the prepared baking pan and spread the top smooth. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, rotating the cake 180 degrees after 30 (to make sure it browns evenly). The cake is done as soon as a tester comes out clean of batter.
10. Set cake pan on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes, before inverting the cake onto a serving platter to cool the rest of the way. Cool completely.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Black Olives

This is a refreshing alternative to typical salads. Sweet and salty, it hits all the right notes.

One year ago: Bell Pepper Sauce with Sausages
Two years ago: Arugula, Strawberry, and Caramelized Pear Salad

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Black Olives (from Radically Simple)
500g piece ripe watermelon
170g feta, crumbled
170g black olives, pitted and chopped
3 tbsp chopped basil
3 tbsp olive oil

1. Remove rind from watermelon, seed, and thinly slice.
2. Layer watermelon with feta and olives.
3. Top with basil and black pepper.
4. Drizzle with oil and serve.

Rabbit with Tomato and Green Olives

This recipe is a little out of season, but I hope you'll bookmark it and save it for later. The flavour on this is fantastic and it comes together fairly easily. We made it as a celebration dinner for our engagement after returning home from vacation (and because I wanted to use up the rabbit his mother had given us before the boy moved to San Francisco!). This can be dressed up for an elegant meal, but requires no complicated ingredients.

One year ago: Strawberry and Rosemary Caramel Buckwheat Tart
Two years ago: Leftover Skillet Eggs

Rabbit with Tomato and Green Olives (from Twelve: A Tuscan Cookbook)

4 tbsp olive oil
1 medium rabbit, cut into 8 pieces
1 sprig sage
1 sprig rosemary
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 small dried red chili, crumbled
1 cup red wine
400g (14 oz) can tomatoes, pureed
2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 cup green olives

1. Heat olive oil in large stockpot. Add rabbit and brown.
2. Season rabbit with salt and pepper and add sage, rosemary, garlic, and chili and saute until fragrant.
3. Add wine and simmer.
4. When most of the wine has evaporated, add tomato puree. Simmer for a couple of minutes.
5. Add stock, reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 1.5 - 2 hours or until rabbit is very tender.
6. Uncover, add olives, and increase heat to medium. Simmer until sauce is reduced, about 10 minutes.