Tuesday, March 27, 2012

5 Ingredients or Less... Curry and Fig Salmon

A few weeks back, I wrote about Pam Powell and her delicious line of natural, organic salad dressings available at Whole Foods. Take a look back at the post HERE!

I've tried, and love, every single one of them, but my absolute favorite is the Curry and Fig. It's sweet with just the perfect amount of spice. In fact I like it so much, I've started using it as a sauce on more than just veggies.

Last week, I was making pan seared salmon for the Mr. and me... One of our favorite dinners. I wanted to try something a little different, so drizzled the Curry and Fig dressing over the top of the fish, just before serving. The flavors complimented each other perfectly. I'm pretty confident in saying this is my new "go to" recipe. And, the best part is, only five ingredients are required. Enjoy!

Curry and Fig Salmon
Fresh Atlantic Salmon Fillets, Skin Removed
Salad Girl Curry and Fig Salad Dressing
Olive Oil

Dry the salmon with paper towels to remove any excess moisture on the fish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.

Heat 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, place the salmon in the pan and cook for a couple minutes on each side.

Remove the fish from the pan and place in a serving dish. Drizzle the Curry and Fig dressing over the top of the salmon, according to taste.

For a little garnish, add some fresh Italian Parsley, as well.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Signs of Spring

Tulips in the City
Aside from the very near April showers, this is my second favorite (behind fall) time of year. And, I don't want to speak too soon, but I really think Spring is here to stay!

Bright colors and budding flowers. Green grass and fresh veggies. Lovely sunny weather. These are some wonderful, sweet signs of Spring.

Fresh Roasted Asparagus with Lemon

Coffee and the Paper in the Park

Brown Farm Eggs

A Pretty Bicycle for the Greenmarket

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dinner Party Simplicity:: Mustard Roasted Fish

Last weekend, we hosted a dinner party and I was itching to try a new recipe. I had been eyeing Ina's Mustard Roasted Fish for a long time, but for some reason had never tried making it.

Since our gathering was the evening of "Spring Ahead" and we were experiencing unseasonably warm weather, I felt it would be the perfect main course for the occasion. Paired with steamed asparagus and herbed cous cous, obviously I couldn't go wrong.

What I liked most about this recipe (and to be honest, the entire menu), was that it could be prepared in advance of guests arriving. There's nothing worse than not attending to your company because you're slaving away in the kitchen preparing dinner.

I planned dinner for 7:30PM that evening. Ten minutes before that, I snuck away for the "oh so very last minute" preparations. I simply put the fish in oven for 8 minutes, ccooked the asparagus for 4 minutes, and heated my cous cous (which I had made beforehand).

The fish turned out wonderfully. In fact, we didn't even have leftovers! And for dessert, we had stewed fresh berries with vanilla bean ice cream. Simple and delicious.

Everyone asked for the recipe when they left. Therefore, a worthwhile blog post! Enjoy!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekend Notes

Hello, Monday. It's hard to get back to reality after spending a few days last week in beautiful Newport, Rhode Island. It was our first time there and we will definitely be going back during the summer!

We stayed right by the water in a quaint, new hotel called Forty 1 Degrees.

Many of the hotels in the area are small and family owned. The service was wonderful and the space was very modern and cozy. The view from the room looked out on the water... Simply stunning!

The rooms were open and airy, complete with a fireplace and modern amenities.

This Grill was a great spot to sip a glass of wine and look out at the gorgeous view.

I loved all the flags and pennants: most situated on hotels and historic buildings. All in all, what a charming beach town!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Whiskey Infused Ganache and Baileys Buttercream

Time to break out the Guinness, St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner!

I was in a baking mood this weekend and came across a recipe for chocolate cake made with Stout. Dark beer tends to have cocoa notes, so I figured the addition would intensify the richness of the cake. And, it sure did!

These cupcakes are fantastic. You can make them without the ganache filling to save time, but I don't recommend.

I tend to love little desserts, so I made these bite-size treats using a mini-tart pan... Enjoy!

Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes (50 mini cupcakes)

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Whiskey Infused Ganache
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)

Baileys Buttercream
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperate
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)

Gather your key ingredients...

Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Make the filling: Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.) Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.

Fill the cupcakes: Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. Those are your “tasters”. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

Make the frosting: Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

'Takeaway' Homemade Chicken Chili

Just two days ago, I was sitting by the pool at the Wynn in Las Vegas, sipping Peach Palmer's and adoring the sun. Oh it was wonderful!

Back at home, however, winter wants to stick around a little longer. So, as the snow fell last night, I made a giant pot of spicy, chicken chili, adapted from THIS recipe. The flavor tasted so fresh because of the peppers and the basil really added an interesting twist. But, be warned, this recipe makes a lot!

With our excessive leftovers, I decided to portion out individual servings. Simply store these jars in the refrigerator, or freezer, and you'll have a quick, healthy lunch to enjoy at the office.

For a little extra indulgence, top with a dollop of sour cream and some shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese.