"Of soup and love, the first is best."
Spanish Proverb

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Salmon with Lime Butter Sauce and Sauteed Spinach with Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins

My kids will like fish or I'll die trying. This version is simple and tasty. Lime and butter together? Me, me, me. The salmon was to be grilled, but our dog ate the wiring in our BBQ, so I broiled it. Just as well. Enjoy.

Salmon with Lime-Butter Sauce
(adapted from Epicurious)
1 Salmon fillet or 4 Salmon steaks
salt and pepper
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice, about 2 limes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted

zest of one lime
Salt and pepper salmon and broil in oven for 6-8 minutes. (Grilling would be lovely too.) In the meantime, purée garlic with lime juice, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. With motor running, add melted butter and blend until emulsified, about 30 seconds. Stir in lime zest and spoon over salmon.

Sauteed Spinach with Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins
1 1/2 Tbl. olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup golden raisins
3 Tbl. pine nuts, toasted
1 Tbl. apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. butter
5 cups packed baby spinach
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and heat. Add the shallots and garlic and saute until softened. Add the raisins and cook until warm, about 1 minute. Add the pine nuts, increase the heat, and add the sherry vinegar. Stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits that cling to the bottom of the pan. Add the butter and melt, then add the spinach and stir or toss with tongs until wilted. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Homemade Tortillas

The empty pot at the end of the month often challenges my ability to stretch what little is left in the cupboards and fridge. It so happens that I had leftover sweet pork salad fixings, but no tortillas, and I had promised not to go to the store unless it was absolutely necessary. So, I rolled these babies out myself. Easy and so, so much better than store-bought. Will make again.

Homemade Tortillas
3 cups flour (I used 1 1/2 cups white and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 Tbl. vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups warm water
In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients until combined. Make a well in the middle with your hand and pour in wet ingredients. Mix with a large wooden spoon or your hands until a soft ball forms. Knead 3-5 minutes until smoothish. Cover with a towel and let sit 5-10 minutes. Make small balls in the palm of your hand (smaller for taco size and larger for burrito size) and roll out on a lightly-floured surface with a lightly-floured rolling pin. Bake on a large, greased (Pam or butter) skillet or frying pan, about 3 minutes on each side until slightly golden. Hopefully a helpful image.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cadbury Eggs

It's that time of year again. Seriously, these gooey-centered devils do me in every Spring. And then there's these....have you tried the dark chocolate ones? Oh, the glorious temptation....

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pioneer Woman Cooks

This is one of my favorite food blogs: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/.
And this is one of my favorite posts of hers because they're her hand-picked favorites: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/03/salt/. I want to try all of them, including this: Peach Crisp with Warm Maple Cream Sauce

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Strawberries were .99 cents a pound. What's a person to do? I made Martha Stewart's Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream (http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/strawberry-cupcakes-with-strawberry-buttercream?backto=true), and was not impressed. They were okay, but definitely not worth the sweat on my brow. I've never had much luck with any of Martha's cupcake recipes, so I should've known. Next time, and there definitely will be a next time with strawberries, I will make this:


or simply this:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Indoor Ribs and Roasted Potatoes with Blue Cheese

These are Marko's favorite ribs, indoor or out. They're terrific for a lot of reasons: no need for an outdoor BBQ (however, in the summer, I just throw them on the grill at the end), they go on sale often (super cheap), and you throw them in the oven and virtually walk away to enjoy a few hours later.

Indoor Ribs
1 pkg. Country-style Pork Ribs (boneless or bone-in)
salt and pepper
Your favorite bottled or homemade BBQ sauce (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400*. Season both sides of ribs with salt and pepper. Place in large baking dish. Bake uncovered for about 10 minutes (at this high heat, it's like searing the meat). Take the ribs out of the oven, cover with aluminum foil (careful, it's hot) and reduce heat to 300*. Bake for another 2 1/2 hours. Remove aluminum foil, drain juices and slather with BBQ sauce. Bake until bubbly and carmelized, about 20 minutes. Serves 4.

The Ultimate BBQ Sauce (courtesy of Tyler Florence)
1 slice bacon (optional)
1 bunch fresh thyme or 2 tsp. dried thyme
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. cumin
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 Tbl. red or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup mustard
1 tsp. paprika

Heat about 2 Tbl. olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat and add bacon, if using, to render its yummy fat. Discard bacon once browned. Add the onion and garlic and cook slowly 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, give the sauce a stir, and turn the heat down to low. Cook slowly for about 20 minutes. If using fresh thyme, fish out stems and discard.

This is one of my favorite side dishes. It ends up on our plates a lot because it's no-nonsense and versatile. If you don't care for blue cheese (what?!), use Parmesan. Enjoy!
Roasted Potatoes with Blue Cheese
2 lbs (4 medium) Idaho or red potatoes, cleaned and sliced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 Tbl. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. each cumin, paprika and thyme
2-4 oz. Blue Cheese ( I prefer wax-sealed, so it's extra soft and gooey)
Preheat oven to 450*. Place the potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season. Toss with hands until well coated. Bake, uncovered, until tender when pierced with a fork and carmelized, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and crumble 2-4 oz. fresh blue cheese over hot potatoes. Once melted, serve and enjoy.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Potato Gnocchi with Roasted Peppers and Ricotta

This was a pleasant surprise. If only all my kitchen experiments turned out as well.... It's super quick and easy, and wait until the ricotta starts melting over the hot pasta. Perfectly yummy.

1 pkg. Potato Gnocchi (I prefer Target's Archer Farm's brand)
3 bell peppers, red, orange and yellow, large dice
1/2 purple onion, chopped
2 tsp. Herbes de Provence
3-4 Tbl. olive oil
salt and pepper
15 oz. container Part-skim Ricotta cheese
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Preheat oven to 400*. On a parchment lined baking sheet, toss peppers, onion, herbs, salt and pepper with olive oil to coat. Cook until carmelized, about 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare gnocchi according to package directions. With a large slotted spoon, directly transfer hot, cooked gnocchi to baking sheet with peppers. Toss together. Serve with freshly grated parmesan and a generous dollop of ricotta cheese. Enjoy!