Thursday, July 29, 2010

Salmon w/Tomato & Lemon Vinaigrette

I don't think it's any secret that I absolutely love to eat and cook fish! Just don't make me clean them! I think fish is even more desirable to me now since it's the closest I can get to shellfish (developed an allergy- boo!)

So, I'm always up for a new recipe to add to my fish repetoire. And I can not get enough of this salmon recipe courtesy of Emeril. Light, zingy and addictive, it's enough to convert even the most hard core salmon haters. It also made me fall in love with the possibilities of marjoram. I now use this fresh herb in most of my sauces. I think it's almost replaced tarragon as my new fav.

Broiled Salmon with a Warm Roasted Tomato and Lemon Vinaigrette
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2006
4 servings

2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram leaves
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
4 (6-ounce) portions salmon fillets
8 sprigs fresh marjoram

Preheat the oven to broil with the rack 6 to 8 inches below the lighted broiler plate.

Place the tomatoes, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, marjoram, lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper, and the lemon juice in a 10-inch saute pan, saute quickly, and set in the oven on the rack. Cook until the tomatoes are well caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Add the basil to the vinaigrette and toss to blend. Set aside until ready to use.

To cook the salmon, lay the fillets in a 12-inch saute pan and season with the remaining salt and remaining black pepper. Brush the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the salmon, arrange marjoram sprigs over top, and broil in the oven until the salmon is browned and cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the tomato and lemon vinaigrette after plating.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tequila Lime Chicken Tacos

I love stocking up on bone in chicken breasts, particularly when they are .98 a lb or less. It seems most people are afraid of bone in chicken parts, which is too bad for them, but leaves more for me! :) They also come in handy for this Tequila Lime Chicken recipe courtesy of Ina Garten.

Ina wants you to have the skin left on your boneless chicken breast in order for the breast to stay moist while grilling. Getting rid of the bone minimizes cooking time. The only way I know to get a skin on boneless chicken breast is to debone a whole chicken breast yourself. If you want to know how, check out this video here. Super easy!

You can use regular boneless, skinless chicken breasts if you don't want to go to all the trouble. I halve this recipe for the 2 of us and it never goes to waste. If there's any left over from dinner, it goes in a pita for lunch the next day.

Love how easy this recipe is-- marinate overnite, grill up quickly the next day to throw into tacos. Great for a quick, fresh weeknite dinner option! This fragrantly mouth watering chicken melts in your mouth!

Tequila Lime Chicken
Copyright 2002 Barefoot Contessa Family Style
6 servings

1/2 cup gold tequila
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (5 to 6 limes)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno pepper (1 pepper seeded)
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 whole (6 split) boneless chicken breasts, skin on

Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeno pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat a grill with coals and brush the rack with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, sprinkle well with salt and pepper, and grill them skin-side down for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove from the grill to a plate. Cover tightly and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

I peel the skin off and discard. I think pull the chicken apart w/2 forks for tacos. Serve w/toppings of your choice- ie: salsa, cheese, lettuce, sour cream etc.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Prosciutto & Peach Salad

I've had some succulent peaches, ripe for the eating, ready to jump off my shelves this week. So, I decided to incorporate them into a fresh summer salad, riffing off of a recent Cooking Light recipe.
Prosciutto & Peach Salad

Dressing: (enough for 4 servings)

2 - 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tspns honey
2 tbsp olive oil
Pinch salt and pepper
1 tbsp finely minced fresh mint


Baby lettuce of choice
Fresh slices of ripe peach
Sunflower seeds

Combine dressing ingredients and toss w/lettuce and peaches (amounts depend on how many salads you want and if you're making this as an accompaniment or main course). Place lettuce and peaches in individual serving dishes. Top w/desired amount of prosciutto, feta and sunflower seeds. Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Strawberries in Orange Caramel Sauce

I fell in love with this recipe a year ago when my friend made it for me. I vowed to make it myself one day and today was that day! It definitely lived up to the hype in my memory. Don't be fooled by the short ingredient list, together they pack a powerful punch of flavor.

Strawberries in Orange Caramel Sauce
Gourmet, May 2008

1 large navel orange
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur
1/2 cup sugar
1 lb small strawberries, trimmed (3 cups)
Accompaniment:mascarpone or Greek yogurt (regular plain yogurt is great too, makes it taste like strawberry cheesecake).

Grate zest from orange into a small bowl, then squeeze juice into bowl. Add butter, liqueur, and a pinch of salt.

Heat sugar in a dry 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring with a fork to heat sugar evenly, until it starts to melt, then stop stirring and cook, swirling skillet occasionally so sugar melts evenly, until it is dark amber. Remove from heat and immediately add orange-juice mixture. Boil, stirring, until caramel has dissolved and sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

Add strawberries and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute. Serve immediately. Top w/yogurt/marscapone.

Watermelon Lemonade

Tripped over this recipe thumbing through a recent GH mag and tweaked it a bit. Pretty good stuff! Would be even better with a splash of prosecco, melon vodka, cucumber vodka and/or limoncello. I'm just sayin'.

It's a clean, crisp canvas for your libation leanings.

Watermelon Lemonade

5 cups of 1" cubes of watermelon (enough to fill a blender)
1/2 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup super fine/caster sugar

Blend watermelon, lemon juice and sugar until finely pureed.
Pour in pitcher and place in fridge to cool.
Or pour over ice immediately and enjoy!

Herb Roasted Tilapia w/Fresh Tomato Sauce-

If you saw my fresh roasted tomato sauce post the other day, you may have been wondering what other delicious items you could infuse w/your new sauce. My suggestion would be serving under some herb roasted tilapia. Light, quick and easy. Perfect mouthful of summer, even when it's raining outside and the grill is on hiatus--

Herb Roasted Tilapia w/Fresh Tomato Sauce
serves 2
For the sauce:
1/4 large onion, finely minced*
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Splash olive oil
1 cup fresh roasted tomato sauce
3 tbsp fresh chopped herbs, divided
I used:
Small handful basil leaves, 1 long thyme sprig, a few sprigs savory and 5 small mint leaves
Salt & pepper to taste

For the fish:
2 large tilapia filets
1/2 lemon
2 tspns butter
Salt & Pepper to taste
The 1 leftover tbsp of chopped herbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add tomato sauce, simmer 15 minutes. Add 2 tbsp herbs, reserving 1 tbsp for the fish. Simmer for a while longer-- 15 to 45 minutes to let the flavors mingle appropriately.

Meanwhile, 15 minutes prior to eating, place fish on roasting pan. Squeeze lemon over top both filets, place bits of butter over each fish, sprinkle w/1 tbsp of herbs, salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes (if frozen) until they flake easily with a fork.

For each serving, place 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom of a shallow (pasta) bowl. Place fish on top of sauce. Or you can do fish on bottom and sauce on top. Whatever you like! I also like to serve with a side of parmesan couscous and something green like roasted asparagus or a salad.

*I usually chop a whole onion and freeze what I don't use for a recipe. That way I have chopped onions in a pinch!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pimm's Cup on the Porch

Fizz No. 1 at Acacia started me down the road of longing for a proper Pimm's Cup. So, after fiddling around with a few ingredients, I think I've come up with what I think to be a superbly tasty version. Nothing like a little Pimm's Cup for porch sipping w/friends on a muggy summer's eve to take the edge off.......

Bella's Pimm's Cup for the Porch-

3 large mint leaves
Splash simple syrup
1/8 slice of lemon ( I do quarters )
1" chunk of cucumber
1/2 tspn grated, fresh ginger
1 shot Hendrick's gin
1 shot Pimm's No. 1
Ginger beer
Piece of cucumber shaved w/a vegetable peeler for garnish
Chilled 12 oz beer glass, filled with ice

Muddle mint, lemon, ginger and cucumber in a cocktail shaker. Add a splash of simple syrup, muddle some more. Pour in the shots of gin and Pimm's with a little ice, light shake, strain into glass over ice. Fill rest of glass with ginger beer, garnish w/cucumber shaving. Makes 1 drink. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Roasted Tomato Sauce

If you are up to your ears in fresh tomatoes from the garden, wanting to do something beyond canning or pickling, I would suggest making a nice roasted tomato sauce. Freezes beautifully and pairs well w/everything from pizza to pasta.

We found ourselves with gobs of homegrown heirloom and plum tomatoes that I used in this recipe.

Fresh Roasted Tomato Sauce-

2-4 lbs fresh tomatoes cut in half
Garlic Oil
Large pinch kosher/sea salt
1+ tbsp chopped fresh savory and oregano
3 tbsp double concentrated tomato paste

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray large sheet pan w/non-stick spray on which you will place the tomatoes on, toss with garlic oil (approx 2 tbsp) and sprinkle w/fresh herbs. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour. Should be starting to slightly caramelize.

Puree roasted tomatoes in blender (for best texture). I also like to pluck the skins off, if possible. Pour tomato puree into a pot lightly coated w/garlic oil, add tomato paste, combine thoroughly and bring to a boil for a few minutes.

I recommend letting it set up overnite in the fridge in order to develop the best flavor for the dish you want to use it in.

This week I picked up some spinach and ricotta ravioli from Trader Joes that I served this sauce over after heating it back up and adding a bit of fresh chopped basil. Delicious!