Monthly Archives: July 2011

Miso crusted salmon

Doesn’t a little mold infused, fermented soybean paste sound like the perfect way to top a beautiful piece of salmon??  Ok, it does sound pretty awful, but I swear to you it is not!  I absolutely love miso with its salty, nutty, earthy flavor and all of the super interesting ways it can liven up a dish!  I should also add that it is super rich in vitamins B12 and K, important trace elements AND is thought to be chemoprotective–especially against breast cancer.  So don’t be afraid to layer it on your salmon thick and get ready for an omega three feast!  I love this fish over pea and sweet onion rice–the peas add such a nice texture and the sweetness really works well with the salty miso!  Serve this with my arugula and avocado salad to get your weekend off to an especially SMART start! The miso is pretty salty, so make sure to wash it down with a big glass of water!

Bon Appetit!

Miso salmon

Miso crusted salmon

Servings:  5-6

  • 1 1/2 # Sockeye Salmon (wild)
  • 1/4 c white miso paste
  • 1 1/2 T agave nectar (or more to taste)
  • 1 T freshly ground ginger
  • 2 T rice wine vinegar
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • PAM cooking spray

Preheat oven to low-broil.

In a small bowl combine miso, pepper, chipotle pepper, agave nectar, rice wine vinegar, and ginger.

Spray a lasagna pan with PAM cooking spray and place the fish skin side down in the pan.  Coat the fish with the miso sauce and cook for 12-14 minutes.  Keep an eye on the fish.  Once the top is browned to your liking, turn off the broil and start the oven on bake at 425 degrees F and cook for the remainder of the time or until it is done.  Serve with a generous garnish of chopped green onions.

 

 

Arugula and avocado salad

Hydroponic Arugula

Betcha you didn’t know that I am an organic, hydroponic gardener!  Ok, stop it!  Do not go THERE–I love the show Weeds, but am not getting into THAT line of work!  I only grow arugula (spinach is coming soon) in my nutrient dense Jacuzzi tub!

Arugula is hands down my favorite green and we eat plenty of it here at the casa–which is why we decided to grow it year round in the storage room!  I can educate you on starting your own hydroponic garden later if you are interested, but this post is dedicated to the unbelievable salad I made for the first time last night.

The hot, very nutty, and just slightly bitter flavors of this Mediterranean green make it so much more interesting than regular lettuce.  Plus, it is loaded with vitamins A, B, and C, potassium, folate, calcium, iron, and it surprisingly provides a high level of protein (about 25% of its content is protein!)!  On top of that (hee, hee), it has been considered an aphrodisiac since Roman times!   Sound good??  Then get out your cutting board and start chopping!  This one will only take a few minutes to prep and will make your tummy (and significant other?) very, very happy!

Green and gorgeous!

Arugula and avocado salad

Servings:  2 large, 4 small

  • 4 c arugula, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced into rounds
  • 1 champagne mango, cubed
  • 1 avocado, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 1 large lime
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1/8 t freshly ground pepper
  • dash of chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 1 t agave nectar (or more, to taste)
  • 1-2 T chopped cilantro (more to garnish, as desired)

Mix together the EVOO, agave nectar, cilantro, salt, pepper, hot pepper and 2 T lime juice and let sit.  Stir occasionally to keep from separating.

Place the arugula, onion, and mango in a large bowl and add 1 T of lime juice, put a lid on the bowl and shake (if you don’t have a lid, just stir it well) to coat the vegetables with the lime juice.  Add the dressing and repeat the stir/shake.  Plate the salad and add the sliced avocado to the top.  Sprinkle with a little more lime juice and the cilantro garnish and serve.

 

 

 

 

Corn flatbread

Adding the butter

I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to make naan…honestly, it pains me to think about it!  How?  Why?  What??  UGH!!  It doesn’t matter…I am over you naan!!  But, the success that I had making tortillas, has made me a little stubborn and cocky so I thought I would try one last time for something similar to naan, but a little more forgiving.

This is it!  Not only is it easy, it is CRAZY good!  When I made it last week, I had a very hard time not cowing (yes, not chowing) down the entire stack before the curry was served!  I did save enough to sop up every last bit of the burmese chicken booyah, and it was soooo good!  Anyway, I would imagine this flatbread would work in just about every situation requiring a side bread or even when serving sandwiches.  I can even see making yummy breakfast burritos with this savory bread!  Anyway, have fun with it, be creative, and ENJOY!

Corn flatbread, perfectly brown!

Corn flatbread

Servings:  9

  • 2 c yellow corn flour
  • 1/2 c AP flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 4 1/4″ pieces of fresh ginger
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 1/2 c red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1-1 1/4 c warm water
  • 1 T butter, melted
  • PAM cooking spray, butter flavored

In a medium bowl, combine the flours and salt.  Chop the ginger and jalapeno in the food processor until finely chopped, but not pureed.  Add to the flour mix along with the onion and cilantro.

Drizzle the warm water over the flour mix 1 T at a time stirring as you go until the mix forms a nice ball.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead until soft (about 1-2 minutes).

Divide the dough into 9 balls.  Cover the balls with a damp towel and let rest until you are ready to cook them.

Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium/low and coat with PAM cooking spray.

Press out the balls into flat circles about the size of a small tortilla.  Carefully lift them to avoid tearing, place them one at a time in the skillet and cook until slightly browned on both sides.  Using a butter brush add a light brush of the melted butter to each piece.  Continue until all are cooked to your liking.  Serve warm and enjoy!

 

Pea and sweet onion rice

You must use this as the base for Burmese chicken booyah.  The sweet onions and peas are the perfect accompaniment to this rich and flavorful curry!  Because of the texture and mild sweetness, it marries well with many of my favorite indian and thai dishes.  I know you will love what it does for your Asian cooking, so give it a try!

Pea and sweet onion rice

Servings 4-6 (depending upon the size)

  • 1 c jasmine rice
  • 1 c water
  • 1/2 t freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • 1/4 c frozen sweet peas
  • 1/2 c minced sweet yellow onion or shallots
  • 1/2 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • Splash of EVOO

In a small/medium stock pot add the evoo, chipotle pepper flakes, salt and pepper and heat over low.  Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the frozen peas and cook for another 5 or so minutes.  Add the rice and stir in very well to coat with the oil and veggies.  Add the water and turn the heat to high until it starts to boil. Stir the rice well.  Cover and cook for about 30 seconds and then turn the heat down to low.  Cook for another minute and turn the heat off.  The rice will be ready in about 30-35 minutes.

 

 

Burmese chicken booyah

Booyah Burmese Chicken Curry

This is my very favorite curry–EVER!  The Mr. and I have been enjoying this one for at least the past eight years–wow, hard to believe it has been that long…

Anyway, I have already told you about our courtship days and the time and money we spent eating out in KC.  Once we got serious about cooking and eating at home, I knew that being able to make a good curry was an important ingredient to our success!  As you also know, curries are not my specialty, though I am getting much better!  Somehow, with a little google guidance and sheer luck I managed to create this delight!  There is one ingredient in the curry that is tough to get, but is critical to the crazy good flavor–the sour paste.

Important! Sour paste

I purchased it by accident at our local (Mission, KS at the time) Asian grocery, decided to use it simply to get rid of it, and it stuck!  Boy did it stick.  I have tried this curry recipe without it–just using extra red curry paste and many other substitutes, but nothing compares.  Nowadays, I purchase it in bulk online through importfood.com .  Their prices and service are very good, so give them a try if you can’t find it where you live.

Anyway, this curry reminds me of a cross between tikka masala and massaman chicken–rich with tomatoey, creamy, and spicy eastern flavors.  You will have to try it to understand the depth of unique flavors layered so neatly in this curry.  Serve this with my Indian corn flatbread and atop my pea and sweet onion rice.  This is another good one to serve when you have guests coming for dinner because you can make it way ahead of time and just let it slow simmer until you are ready to stop talking and start eating!  I like a nice light white wine with this dish, but last night I had an oaky Cabernet already corked so I decided to give it a try.  It worked beautifully!

Tull-ee-ho!

Burmese chicken booyah

Servings:  6

  • 2 # boneless chicken thighs, cut in bite size pieces
  • 1/4 c grape seed (or veg) oil
  • 8 shallots, very thinly sliced
  • 1 can sour paste
  • 1/2 T curry powder
  • 1 c water
  • 1 1/2 c Silk’s original coconut milk
  • 1/4 c tomato puree
  • 2 T fish sauce
  • 1 T palm sugar or regular sugar
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 t red curry paste
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped

In a large saute pan, heat grapeseed oil over low.  Stir fry the shallots until they are browned and tender.  Drain, reserving the oil in the pan, and set aside the shallots.

Reheat the oil over medium/low and add the chicken.  Stir in the curry powder well and cook for a few minutes.  Add the water, fish sauce, sour paste, red curry paste, and tomato wedges, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes.  Add the coconut milk and sugar and continue to cook uncovered over low heat for 20-30 minutes–until the curry begins to thicken.  Serve with a healthy sprinkle of cilantro and caramelized shallots as the garnish.

 

It’s burger time!

Andy and I have just returned from our annual lake trip with our friends, The Bells.  We paddled around on the kayak, noodled, boated, drank large quantities of beer and wine, and most importantly ATE loads of great food and had many good laughs!

Lisa and Nate both enjoy food and cooking about as much as we do, so we always spend a good deal of our lake weekend in the cabin’s kitchen, whipping together ridiculously tasty spreads for our evenings on the deck.  This year was no exception, we made grilled pizza, the baconator (modified to be even more toxic–recipe will not be posted–ever!), atomic buffalo turds (modified to be a little less toxic–I will post this recipe soon!), smoked pork, and much, much more!  I know, I know–quite a weekend for a couple of flexitarians!

What we didn’t have was boring old burgers.  We saved that for our first dinner home–on our much needed post vacation, nitrate vacation.  I am sure you are wondering what in the he** I am talking about, but stick with me and you will quickly understand, and I promise you the burgers are anything but boring!

So this story really begins about a year ago.  On one of my weekly trip to Sams, I eyed a two pack of ground turkey (2-2# packs), thought ‘what the heck’, bought it, and stuck it in the freezer.  Why?  I really don’t know–I didn’t have anything in mind for it, I just thought maybe one day it will be good for something tasty.  And it was…please refer to my turkey loaf!  Anyway, back to the burger…I decided to create a health conscience and grilless burger to finish off the turkey two pack.  So I fired up the oven, cast away all previous burger rules, and quickly created this smokey turkey burger that blew my mind.  In fact, after a quick trip back to Sam’s to load up the freezer with MORE turkey, poor Andy was eating these tasty burgers for about two weeks straight!  Introducing my Smokey turkey burger!

Fast forward to yesterday:  Unfortunately (for me anyway), Andy was ready for a burger change.  So I put on my thinking cap, pulled a pack of turkey out of the freezer, and gave it a go!  My latest version of the turkey burger is nothing like the orginal! It is completely different in flavor and MAYBE even healthier and TASTIER!  Andy thinks so anyway!  For now, I am calling it Andy’s berry burger, but you can purchase the naming rights for a small monthly fee…:)!  Again, back to the burger–this burger is so tasty with the piney, pungent fragrance of rosemary combined with the salty feta and the sweet/tart craisins–oh, this is a wildly delicious combination and Andy’s favorite!  It might be yours too!  Give them both a try and let me know which one wins at your house!

Smokey turkey burger

Servings:  4-6 depending upon your size preference!

  • 1# lean ground turkey
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c finely chopped red, yellow, or chopped GREEN onion
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 T cumin seed
  • 1/2 T chipotle peppe flakes
  • 1/4 c finely chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/4 c finely chopped green olives
  • 1/2 c finely chopped fresh cilantro or italian parsley
  • 1 t freshly ground black pepper
  • Pepper jack cheese slices (optional)
  • Whole Wheat buns
  • Sliced red onion (optional)

Preheat oven to broil (or low broil).  Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Shape into 4-6 patties (depending upon your size preference) and place on a pam sprayed cooking sheet or in a large lasagna pan.  Broil for 6 minutes, flip the burgers and broil for another 6 minutes.  Thow the burger on your bun with the optional garnishes/accompaniments and ENJOY!

Andy’s berry burger

Servings:  4-6 (depending upon the size)

  • 1 # lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 c bread crumbs
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c red or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c craisins (dried cranberries)
  • 1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 T raspberry vinaigrette dressing, light
  • 2 T ketchup
  • 2 large sprigs of rosemary leaves, minced
  • 1 t freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1 t chipotle pepper flakes

Preheat oven to broil (or low broil).  Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Shape into 4-6 patties (depending upon your size preference) and place on a pam sprayed cooking sheet or in a large lasagna pan.  Broil for 6 minutes, flip the burgers and broil for another 6 minutes.  Thow the burger on your bun and ENJOY!

 

 

 

Smoothie love

Spinach smoothie

My breakfast!  This refreshing smoothie was the perfect way to start my day!  Remember those awesome peaches that I picked up at Gordon’s a few weeks ago?  Well many of them made it to the freezer for breakfasts like this!  Loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and protein this remarkably delicious drink left my hubby begging for seconds!  It literally takes about 5 minutes to make and will power you through even the most stressful mornings!  Give this one a try–you will be so very happy that you did!  Oh, and head to your farmer’s market and load up your freezer with peaches, nectarines and berries now so you can enjoy smoothies like this even in the off season!

Enjoy the love!

Smoothie love

Servings:  2

  • 2 big fistfuls of baby spinach
  • 1/4-1/3 c hemp protein powder
  • 1 c vanilla coconut milk
  • 1/2 c frozen peaches
  • 1/2 c frozen mango
  • splash of agave nectar
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 1 T ground flax seed

Thow it all in your blender and give it a rip!  All of my measurements are just estimates–use as much as you need to create the perfect flavor and consistency for YOU!  Garnish with a frozen peach or mango!

 

Ode to summer onion tarts

Globes of smelly goodness

The garden is growing extremely well so far this season–quick break to knock on wood–and I just pulled the last of the onions.  WOW, there were soooo many globes of smelly goodness!  I love all varieties of onions…green, yellow, red!  Don’t even get me started on shallots.  The sweetness that evolves with cooking astounds me and their nutritional value does too!  These babies are full of fiber, phyto compounds for cancer protection, B & C vitamins, and trace minerals.  I am feeling better just thinking about them!

I was feeling especially creative last night, so I decided to make tarts with a few of them!  I put Andy in charge of slicing up the onions, sorry honey (hee  hee).  He smartly put on my onion goggles (thank you Niki) and made quick work of the task–wish I had that picture to share!

We decided to try several different combinations of ingredients to add some variety to our evening with onions.  What a great plan–holy cow were they good!  We tried onion/mushroom/pancetta, onion/mushroom/pancetta/egg, onion/mushroom, and  onion/mushroom/egg.  Go figure that our favorite was the least complex–onion/mushroom.

I used a muffin tin to cook the tarts and it worked beautifully. The puff pastry was a gorgeous golden brown and the layers of carmelized onion were just beautiful.  These tasty tarts would make great hors d’oeuvres at your next party.  Serve either of the egg combos at breakfast with some fresh fruit and your family will be bragging on you all week long!

Caramelized onions

Ode to summer onion tarts

Servings:  6-8 large cupcake size tarts

  • 1 box pepperidge farm puff pastry
  • 3 large onions of varying color, sliced
  • 1 t salt
  • 1-2 T EVOO
  • Butter flavor PAM cooking spray
  • 2-3 eggs, scrambled (optional)
  • 1 c finely chopped mushrooms
  • 2-3 pieces of crispy, cooked pancetta or bacon (optional)
  • 2 t fresh thyme
  • 1 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 c freshly grated parmasean cheese
  • 1 t chipotle pepper flakes (mandatory)
  • Splash of agave nectar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large saute pan saute the sliced onion in the evoo over low/medium heat.  Add the salt and agave nectar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are nice and soft and carmelized to a golden brown.

If using bacon or pancetta, cook it until it is nice and crispy in a medium skillet, and then set the meat aside.  Using the same pan with the bacon grease, saute the mushrooms with the chipotle pepper flakes until nice and soft.  If not using meat, just throw some EVOO and pepper flakes into a skillet and saute until soft.

Make sure your puff pastry is thawed.  Using a round cookie cutter (or something similar) cut 3 pieces for every muffin whole you want to fill with the tart.  You will build the tarts in layers–kinda like a lasagna.

Generously coat the muffin tin with PAM butter spray.  Place a piece of puff pastry at the bottom of each muffin whole.  Add a thin layer of mushrooms, onions, and meat (if using) on top of the pastry.  If using egg, add a drizzle on top.  If not, just add the cheese and freshly ground pepper.  Repeat the next layer starting with the pastry circle.  Top the last layer with a pastry circle and then use an onion or sprinkles of pepper or thyme (or all three) to make a pretty garnish.  Give each pastry a quick spray of PAM and then bake for about 40 minutes–or until they are golden brown.  Allow the pastries to cool for at least 5 minutes before lifting them out gently with a fork.

The puffier one on the left is made with egg. On the right is just onions and mushrooms.

 


 

 

Go green raw salad

Go green!

Are you thinking of going green??  Give this recipe a try and you will be on your way…not really what you had in mind when thinking green??  So what!  This recipe is super simple, packed with flavor, and very, very green!  You can serve this salad along side about anything–fish, chicken, or pork.  To add more color, throw in some freshly roasted beets!   This is also a great one to take as your contribution to the next family gathering or neighborhood bbq!  Heck, add some extra cheese and call it lunch or dinner–it may be mine today!

Bon Appetit!

Go green raw salad

Servings:  4

  • 1 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1 T diced garlic
  • 2 T EVOO
  • 2-3 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • 1/4 t freshly ground pepper
  • 1-14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1 # asparagus, tough end removed and chopped into thirds
  • 1 small bag of frozen edamame beans, thawed
  • 3/4 c more or less shaved parmesan cheese (optional)

In a medium lidded bowl stir together the lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano, hot pepper, and garlic.  Add the veggies and edamame, put the lid on the bowl and gently shake until the contents are coated with the dressing.  Allow to sit for 15 or more minutes at room temperature before serving.

 

 

Cod with split green peas

YUMMY Cod with lentils!

Do you have some cod in your freezer looking for an escape??  If so,  well then you have landed on the perfect recipe! If not, go out and get some so you can amaze your family with this dish!   I love my new fish creation because it is knee deep in a healthful variety of nutrients AND it provides sweet, yet savory flavors in every mouth-watering bite!  And I know YOU will appreciate the simplicity of the preparation and the compliments you are sure to receive after serving this for dinner tonight!

Cod with Lentils

Servings:  4

  • 4 – 6 oz pieces of cod or halibut
  • 1 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1T EVOO
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 c frozen or fresh green peas
  • 1 c finely chopped white cap mushrooms
  • 3/4 c dried slit green peas
  • 1/2 c yellow lentils
  • 2 1/2 c chicken broth
  • 1/4 c dry white wine
  • 1 T dried tarragon or 3 T chopped fresh
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 1 t freshly ground pepper

Heat 1 T EVOO in a large non-stick saute pan over medium.  Add the chipotle pepper flakes, 1/2 t salt and onion and sweat it out for about 7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, mushrooms, and tarragon and continue cooking for 5-7 minutes.  Mix in the white wine, chicken broth, dried peas, and lentils and cover with a lid for about 15 minutes.  Add the peas and continue to cook covered for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the veggies are cooking in the broth, get the fish out of the fridge and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper–add some hot pepper flakes to the fish if you like!

Now it is time to add the fish to the saute pan.  Push the veggies to the side of the pan and place the fish in the broth.  Now scoop the veggies over the fish and drizzle the broth over the fish.  Cover and continue cooking over medium/low for about 5 minutes.  Uncover the pan and baste the fish with more broth.  Add more veggies to the top of the fish if needed and cook for another 7 -10 minutes.

When you are ready to serve, put a large spoonful of the veggies on your plate and set the fish on top.  Add a sprinkle of the veggies to the top of the fish to garnish.  Serve with a nice green salad and a cool glass of chardonnay or sauvignon or fume blanc.