Culinary Delight #13: Citrus Salmon Salad

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I was in the mood for something light and summery, so I threw a bunch of random things together and it ended up a delicious (and mostly healthy) burst of flavor. It helped that I picked up fresh salmon from the Japanese supermarket… soooo yummy!

Anyway, I was really bad about measuring exact quantities. I guesstimated based on what I thought would taste the best and what I wanted to dominate (mostly citrus.) In a small mixing bowl, I combined the following ingredients in order of decreasing amounts:

– Grapefruit juice

– Lemon juice

– Olive oil

– Soy sauce

– Minced garlic

I soaked the salmon chunks in the bowl for about 10 minutes, then sprinkled them with lemon pepper and baked at 375 for 20 minutes. They were perfectly flaky and juicy!

Meanwhile, I laid out a bed of organic spring greens and topped with

– Sliced peppers (red and yellow)

– Chopped tomato

– Mandarin oranges (the only thing out of a can!)

– Feta cheese

I forked the salmon into flakes and added to the pile of veggies and cheese, then topped lightly with the remaining marinade mixture and cracked pepper.

Seriously… flavor explosion!! Chuck and I both loved it 🙂

Culinary Delight #12: Egg, Bacon, & Basil Breakfast Pizza

Generally, Chuck is the Breakfast Master. He is capable of whipping up pretty much anything and it will be delicious. Since he is gone, I resort to the basics (cereal and yogurt), but the other morning I was feeling adventurous. I found a recipe on Pinterest that looked relatively simple, in addition to delicious. As it turns out, it was messier and more awkward than I anticipated, but it ended up being totally worth it in the end. Besides, if the recipe had included a bit more detail, I would have known what to expect and it probably wouldn’t have been such an ordeal. It literally listed ingredients (not quantities) and said combine. So, I am re-writing it for those who are like me, and less adept at “just winging it!” 🙂

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Ingredients

1 tube of Pillsbury crescent rolls
4 large eggs
8 bacon strips
Basil leaves
Shredded cheese (as desired)
Pepper

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease a cookie sheet (original recipe said to leave it ungreased, which was disastrous. I am still trying to salvage my poor cookie sheet.)
3. The Pillsbury rolls should naturally unwrap into a set of 4 squares (or rectangles – whatever.) Lay them out on the cookie sheet.
4. Lay 2 strips of bacon on each square. I cooked the bacon first, but the original recipe didn’t specify if that was necessary. If anyone knows that bacon can adequately cook after being baked in the oven, please let me know, as it will save a step for next time! Plus, I hate cooking bacon.
5. Crack a single egg over each square. THIS was the extra messy part. Try to keep the egg centered and not on a bumpy bacon-y part. It’s okay for the liquid to run all over the place, onto and in between other rectangles, but the yolk should stay on the dough.
6. Sprinkle cheese of your choice (I used shredded 4-cheese Mexican because that’s all I had). Be generous, if you love cheese like me! 🙂 Next time, I will be adding crumbled feta.
7. Tear up basil leaves and sprinkle (or strategically place.) Top with some cracked pepper.
8. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until “pizza” is golden brown.

I feel like this is the type of thing where you can customize however you’d like. I bet it would also be delicious with avocados, for instance, or tomato, not to mention any combination of herbs or cheeses. I think next time I will also add olive oil for a tad more moisture. Some parts were a little dry for me!

Culinary Delight #11: Ginger-Tomato Salmon with Coconut Jasmine Rice

#tbt to last night’s dinner! Ginger-tomato salmon with coconut jasmine rice. I think it’s a keeper!

Coconut jasmine rice (Start making this first):

1 cup jasmine rice (though I had basmati rice handy and used that instead)
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 tsp sesame oil (I used olive oil)
1/4 cup pre-sliced green onions
1/4 tsp sea salt

Place the rice, stock, coconut milk, and oil into a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 18-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Fluff with a fork, then stir in the salt and green onions.

GInger-tomato salmon

2 cloves garlic (I just threw in a heaping teaspoon of minced garlic)
2 tsp ginger paste
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 lb salmon fillets, skin removed
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup pre-sliced green onions
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat a large saute pan on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Place garlic, ginger, stock, and coconut milk in pan and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, season salmon on both sides with salt and pepper.

Add tomatoes and salmon to the sauce, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 8-10 minutes, basting fish with sauce occasionally, or until the salmon is 145 degrees (or opaque and separates easily). Place salmon and sauce on rice, then sprinkle with green onions and serve!

Culinary Delight #10: Mini Brownie Cupcakes with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe – because it’s been a while since I’ve actually cooked anything interesting! Some friends were noting my lack of baked goodies recently, but there just hasn’t been the same surplus of time and energy now that I’ve started working full time. Of course, losing one of my biggest consumers to Afghanistan hasn’t helped motivate me to get in the kitchen, either! But this weekend I decided to pull out the apron again.

I modified a brownie recipe to a cupcake recipe (of course.) I say use whatever brownie recipe you like – whether boxed or from scratch – and make them towards the cakier side (more eggs, and milk instead of water.) After spooning the batter into a mini-muffin tin, I dropped a mini Rolo or mini Reeses cup in the center, for a little something different! I always like little caramel or peanut butter surprises in my cupcakes.

The Frosting is what was truly unique though!

Beat 1 (softened) stick of unsalted butter with 3/4 cup of light brown sugar until creamy. Mix in 1/2 cup of flour (for a doughy consistency) and 1.5 cups of powdered sugar. Add 1 tsp of vanilla and 1 tsp of molasses. Add heavy cream (or half n’ half) until you get the desired consistency, or to thin if necessary.

Gently fold in mini chocolate chips, and frost your cooled cupcakes!

 

Culinary Delight #9: Apple Cider Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

These were pretty much to die for. Perfect for fall. Chuck got that eyes-rolled-back-in-the-head look when he tried them. I served them at our Halloween bash in all sorts of cheesy creepy embellishments, so I’m including the internet photo from which I got the recipe. 🙂             

For the cupcakes:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 bag Kraft caramels, melted with 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp. milk for thinning, if necessary
Instructions:
 
Mix all ingredients for the cupcakes together in a large bowl. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake at 350 for 19 minutes.
For frosting, cream together the butter and shortening. Add the powdered sugar and the caramel alternately (add the salt in with the caramel.) Add milk by the tablespoon as needed for thinning. I pretty much used Chuck as a taste-tester to gauge how much caramel vs. milk vs. powdered sugar I needed. He was happy to oblige!

Culinary Delight #9: Chicken in Basil Cream Sauce

Sooo good but sooo rich! I think next time I will bake the chicken so that it’s healthier. No need to fry it in all that butter…the sauce is what matters anyways. 🙂 I served it over angel hair pasta with sliced tomatoes.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

2-4 chicken breasts

3 tbsp butter

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

1 can (4 oz) Pimento, diced

1/4 cup fresh Basil, minced

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Pepper to taste

Instructions:

Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Place the milk and bread crumbs in separate, shallow bowls. Dip and coat the chicken in the milk bowl, then in the bread crumbs bowl.

Add the chicken to the skillet with half of the butter. Flip the chicken to cook the other side and add the rest of the butter. When the chicken is fully cooked, remove and keep warm.

Add the broth to the skillet and bring to a boil over medium heat to remove fond. Stir in the cream and pimentos; boil and stir for 1 minute. Reduce the heat and add the parmesan cheese, basil, adn pepper. Cook until heated through.

Serve the chicken with the sauce poured over and enjoy. Would be good with rice or pasta!!

I was craving straight up chocolate decadence last night, so I whipped up a devils food chocolate layer cake (just out of a box) with semi sweet morsels and a cream cheese frosting center… And a rather lopsided powdered sugar heart on top? 🙂 I added a few tablespoons of heavy whipping cream for extra richness!!

I’m not gonna lie, it tastes GLORIOUS.

(Taken with Instagram)

Culinary Delight #8: Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

These are one of my favorite cupcakes yet! Even my more health-conscious friends ate two, and Chuck had four. There’s no combo better for the beginning of summer than strawberries  and lemonade 🙂

For the cupcakes:

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup lemonade powder mix (Country Time was really good)

1 cup milk

3 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pans with liners. In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, lemonade powder, lemon zest, and set aside.

IN another bowl, cream butter and sugar until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the lemon juice and vanilla. Mix well. Gradually add the dry ingredients and the milk, alternating starting and ending with the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Fill the liners about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes, then cool for 5 minutes. Ice with Strawberry Lemon Frosting.

For the Frosting:


2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

4 cups powdered sugar

3 tbsp strawberry puree (I used more than that – I pureed something like 5-7 strawberries)

1 tsp lemon zest

Cream the butter for 1-2 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar until well mixed. Mix in the strawberry puree and lemon zest. Frost your cupcakes!

**I topped my cupcakes with strawberry slices, but they ended up molding over time – so I had to throw everything out 😦 It was yummy though, so next time I will just add the strawberry slice to a few, and add after that as I go along. **

Culinary Delight #7: Pan-Roasted Apple Garlic Chicken

I’m proud of this one because it’s a tasty and easy diversion from my usual unhealthy comfort foods. I’m also proud because I kinda sorta came up with it myself! It was originally going to be lemon-garlic chicken, but I thought the lemon was too strong. I had apple chicken served at my wedding, and it was just amazing, so I started substituting in this recipe to get a similar effect. FYI, this picture was taken when I used lemons, and it doesn’t do it justice.. it’s way juicier and more golden 🙂

1/4 cup olive oil

1 apple, half thinly sliced, the other half cut into chunks

1/4 cup apple juice

1 tbsp lemon juice

4 cloves minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

3/4 pound trimmed green beans

8 small red potatoes, quartered

4 chicken breasts

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and lightly coat a casserole dish with olive oil. Arrange apple slices in a single layer on the bottom of the dish.

In a large bowl, combine the oil, apple juice, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the green beans and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the apple slices.

Add the potatoes to the same olive-oil mixture and toss to coat. Arrange the potatoes along the inside edge of the dish or skillet on top of the green beans. Place the chicken in the same bowl with the olive-oil mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the chicken, skin-side up, in the dish or skillet. Arrange apple chunks around the chicken and potatoes. Pour any of the remaining olive-oil mixture over the chicken.

Roast for 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dish. Place the beans and potatoes back in the oven for 10 more minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Place the chicken back in the dish, cool, and serve!