Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sun Dried Tomato Salmon

My wife and I celebrated our 29th anniversary this week, by taking a trip to the beach. She is a big fan of lighthouses, so we went to the Bald Head Island and Oak Island lighthouses on the North Carolina coast. We have been to most of the other North Carolina lighthouses. The day turned out to be gorgeous 70's and sunny. We got to have seafood for lunch and dinner, if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you saw the food pictures.

Here is a salmon dish I made last weekend. I hope you enjoy it, as much as we did.

Sun Dried Tomato Salmon
1 salmon filet, about 8 oz

1 tbs sun dried tomato oil
3 tbs sun dried tomatoes, chopped
4 oz mushrooms, finely chopped
6 oz spinach leaves
Brown rice, 1/2 cup per person

Cook the brown rice according to directions. About 10 minutes before done start salmon.

Add oil to pan and heat to medium high. Add salmon. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes then add the mushrooms. Cook for 4 more minutes. Add the sun dried tomatoes and then spread the spinach over top of the whole thing. Cook until spinach is wilted.

To plate put the rice on the plate and spread out on the plate. Then add a layer of the spinach. Top with 1/2 of the salmon. Pour the sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms and any oil left over the whole thing.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Andouille Sausage Hash

Sometimes you just have to have breakfast for dinner.

Andouille Sausage Hash
2 Andouille Sausages, cut into coins Chorizo would work as well
2 potatoes, about 1 pound, cut into small cubes
1/2 pound of veggies cut into bite sized pieces, (Asparagus, mushrooms, roasted peppers, spinach, beans, etc.)
3 tbs onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbs canola oil
2 eggs, fried with runny yolks

Heat 1 tbs of oil in a pan, do not use a non-stick pan if you can help it.

Add thicker veggies, thick asparagus, mushrooms, etc. and cook until soft. Remove from pan and set aside. While thick veggies are cooking spread potatoes in a single layer and microwave until softened 3 or 4 minutes.

Add the andouille, cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the remaining oil and heat it. When hot add the potatoes, onion and any remaining vegetables. Sprinkle smoked paprika over the mixture. Cook until potatoes and vegetables are cooked. Plate the hash and top with fried egg.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Shrimp Burgers

According to my wife "this is my best recipe ever", but then she has always been easy to impress, after all she married me didn't she.

I have been thinking about making these for a while but just never got around to it. Today the sun was shining, it was in the 70's a perfect day for grilling out. My wife decided to defrost our freezer and said we have a couple bags of shrimp in here. So naturally my thoughts turned to what new recipe can I come up with for shrimp. Well here it is.

Shrimp Burgers
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tbs Old Bay
1 tsp parsley
1 tbs onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/4 red pepper, finely chopped

1 tbs mayo, I used light
2 tsp sour cream, I used light
2 tsp Chili Sauce
1/2 tsp horseradish, or to taste

For the sauce mix all ingredients aside and let the flavors combine.

Preheat the grill to medium. The shrimp will cook quickly, so don't set this on high or the outside will be cooked and the inside will be raw. We don't want sushi shrimp burgers.

Combine shrimp (set 8 aside), Old Bay and parsley in a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are pureed. Put in bowl.

Chop vegetables into pieces. Cut each of the 8 shrimp into 3 to 4 pieces. Thoroughly mix all of the chopped pieces into the pureed mixture. Form the mixture into 4 burgers. Grill until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Place cooked burgers on a bun with a dollop of the sauce on top.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Berry Tart

This year Easter was going to be a little strange for my wife and I. None of our 3 children would be home for Easter. We will be getting together in a couple of weeks for other special family events, so we just decided to wait until then. This is a recipe I have made a few times over the years and it is always a hit. The recipe is from Perfect Light Desserts by Nick Malgieri, yes he wrote a healthy cookbook.

Berry Tart

Sweet Pastry Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbs unsalted butter, cold and cut into 6 pieces
1 large egg
1 tbs cold water

Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor. Pulse to mix ingredients.

Add butter and pulse 12 times.

Add the egg and water and pulse until dough forms a ball.

Pour dough onto a floured surface.

Form the dough into a disk. Then wrap it in plastic.

Refrigerate for 3 hours to 3 days. You can use immediately but dough will be a little soft.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Before you use the dough unwrap it and gently knead it on a floured surface. Then form it into a disk again and roll it out into a 11 to 12 inch disk. Transfer to a 8 or 9 inch fluted tart pan. Press on bottom and sides and cut off any excess dough.

Poke holes in bottom of tart with a fork, about every 1/2 inch. Place tart on center rack and bake for 15 minutes, or until it just starts to turn golden brown. Do not over bake or crust becomes very hard.

Cool tart on a rack.

Pastry Cream Filling
1 cup fat-free milk, I usually use 1%
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbs all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs unsalted butter, softened

Combine the milk and 1/2 of the sugar in a small nonreactive saucepan. Bring to boil over low heat. Combine rest of sugar and the flour in a small mixing bowl and whisk together to mix. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. When the milk boils whisk in 1/3 of the egg mixture. Return the rest of the mixture to a boil. Whisking constantly add the rest of the egg mixture in a slow steady stream. Keep whisking until the pastry cream thickens and comes to a boil with large bubbles bursting at the surface. Whisk for 20 seconds longer and remove from heat. Add the vanilla and the butter. Pour the filling into a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the cream so a film does not form. Refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the tart.

Finishing the Tart
3 1/2-pints of raspberries or a mixture of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries
2 tbs powdered sugar

Pour the cream in the tart shell and spread evenly. Arrange the berries on top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Mushroom and Quinoa Soup

Here is another recipe that was on my top 10 things food bloggers make but I never will list. The special thing about this recipe is that it actually qualifies in 2 categories. Quinoa was on the list as a trend food I won't be cooking and it is gluten free which was also on the list of things I won't cook. This makes number 5 of the things I said I wouldn't cook but I have made. Does this mean I am growing as a cook? No, I said in the comments on that post I really have nothing against the things on the list I just don't know what makes these things so hot that every food blogger has to write about them.

Quinoa is often referred to as a grain, but it is not as it is not a member of the grass family. Quinoa is a chenopod like spinach. The difference is you eat the seed for quinoa and the leaf for spinach. Quinoa is a complete protein containing a balanced set of essential amino acids. Quinoa is gluten free, meaning this is another item on my foods I will never cook list.

This really was the best soup I have ever created. When my wife tasted it she said "this is like a gourmet soup". I think I should take as a compliment.

Mushroom and Quinoa Soup
2 Tbs Olive oil
1 pound Crimini Mushrooms (Baby Portabella), cut into bite size pieces
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp thyme
6 cups beef broth
2 tsp beef soup base (you can use 2 bouillon cubes but base has less salt)
1 cup quinoa
Heat the oil over medium high heat in a dutch oven. Add the mushrooms, onion, bay leaf, thyme and garlic. Cook until the  mushrooms take on color and the onions are translucent. Add the broth and the soup base and simmer for 1/2 hour. Add the quinoa and cook until it is soft. You can garnish with a little fresh thyme sprinkled over the soup.