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Warm Potato and Salmon Salad with Blue Cheese

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I haven’t been a salad person, but lately I’ve been finding myself almost eagerly awaiting lunch or dinner so I can create a hearty and delicious salad. I think wilted leaves and over salted dressings are the reason for my past dislike of salads, but anything you create at home will be better than what it was when you went out. That’s a guarantee. This guarantee has allowed me to be a salad person again. It feels great.

The idea for this salad came from Jamie Oliver’s cookbook. He has a similar dish, in which a large plate is lined with smoked salmon, and warm potatoes are laid out on top to be eaten after being dressed in oil, vinegar, spices, and dolloped with a horseradish sauce. Overall, the dish is amazing, and I did make it earlier this week. The smoked salmon and potatoes went so well together that I wanted to recreate the dish, but use more ingredients, specifically those I bought earlier in the week, and I knew I had to use.

This led me to a marvelous salad. Honestly, I’m quite proud. Not only was this salad super filling, but it was unbelievably healthy. I think the healthiest thing I’ve ever made.

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Warm Potato, Salmon and Blue Cheese Salad

  • fingerling potatoes, enough for one (I think I used about 6 for myself, and cut them in half)
  • approx 1 handful of micro greens of your choice (I used micro kale)
  • 2-3oz of smoked salmon
  • few sprigs of fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • about 1 cup of baby heirloom tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 oz blue cheese of choice, cut up into bite sized, dollop-able pieces

Boil a pot of water for the potatoes. Salt the water and add the potatoes, if you cut them in half they will cook faster, about 9 minutes or so. Test with a knife to make sure they are done and soft all the way through.

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In a bowl add the micro greens and dill. Mix with your hands to make sure the dill is more or less evenly distributed. Using your hands, rip the salmon into bite-sized pieces and place on top of the greens.

In a separate bowl, add the oil, salt and pepper, garlic, and vinegar. This will be the bowl the warm potatoes will be added to.

Start prepping the tomatoes and add to the greens as the potatoes are cooking.

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When the potatoes are done drain and let sit for about two minutes to make sure they aren’t scalding. Add to the vinegar and oil bowl and mix. Add them to the salad, making sure the oil and vinegar and garlic bits are all in the salad bowl. This will be a type of dressing. You don’t need much since the salmon is equally oily.

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Attempt to mix together as quickly as possible. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Dollop the blue cheese on top and enjoy!

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My Pasta Rosa

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I’ve been looking up recipes online and through pinterest for quite some time now. And something just dawned on me. I need to stop. I have maybe 20+ cookbooks that are just sitting in the bookcase, and they are screaming at me to be used. My last cookbook purchase was Nigella Lawson’s new book, Nigellissima. Almost every recipe that I open this cookbook to, is a keeper. The one that I’ve been eyeing the most is Nigella’s Pasta Rosa.

I didn’t quite have the ingredients for her version, but I will admit I was heavily influenced by her recipe when making my own.

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Pasta Rosa

  • 2 oz (or whatever single serving of pasta you prefer) of spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup small, cooked shrimp
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche
  • 2 tbsp creamy horseradish sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • milk, to texture (I used almond milk, but you can use coconut, whole or part fat milks)
  • 2 tbsp or so of fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Put a large pot of water on stove and heat to a rolling boil. Salt the water heavily, and add the pasta. Cook till al dente, about 8 minutes or so, depending on if you’re using thin or regular spaghetti.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a skillet. Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Heat through, about 5 minutes or so, turning occasionally. Add creme fraiche, horseradish, and paprika to the pan. Let everything melt together, creating a sort of thick sauce. Add a little bit of milk to get the desired consistency you like.

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When the pasta is done use a pasta spoon or tongs to remove from the water, and allow to drain excess liquid while holding over the pot, very minimally. The starchy water helps the sauce adhere to the pasta.

Before serving sprinkle with parsley and parmesan. Serve immediately, and eat greedily.

Berry and Stone Fruit Galette

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I went blueberry picking last Saturday. It was short, and my friend and I quickly realized that we had gone too late in the season (good, ripe, berries were few and far between). I did manage to get about 3 lbs though. And although I won’t be making my blueberry jam again this year, I will be using it to make a various, and large, assortment of baked goods. I think that’s only fair.

I realized that I was in the mood for pie but not for the double crust prep, nor the extra steps to ensure the pie was cooked all the way through, and the berries would be soft, but not too juicy and fall apart. Blueberry is very hard to make. I saw my friend make one with her blueberries and it was a mess. I mean, she did great, but I don’t think I could have that sort of patience. Instead, I picked up some raspberries and nectarines and decided a galette (or crostata, as some say) would suffice.

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Berry and Stone Fruit Galette

  • 2 small nectarines, or any stone fruit of your choice such as one large peach, or 2-3 apricots
  • 8 oz of raspberries (one of those containers at the super market)
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • teaspoon of butter
  • teaspoon of vanilla
  • teaspoon of Australian Pink Salt ( just got this today, from Williams-Sonoma, use any salt you like)
  • 1 store bought pie crust
  • 1 egg (for egg wash, optional)

In a medium pot, over low heat, melt the butter. In a bowl mix the berries and brown sugar. Add berries to pot and stir in vanilla. Cook for about 15 minutes or so on low heat to allow the juices to escape. Add salt, and turn off heat. Allow to cool for about an hour or two.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare your baking sheet by adding and greasing your parchment paper.

Roll out your down, either homemade or store bought.

With a slotted spoon, scoop out the berries into the center of the dough. Slice up the stone fruit and layer on top of the berries. Fold over the dough leaving an opening in the center of the pie. I like to put a round piece of stone fruit in the center, almost like an eye. Crack an egg in a bowl and quickly whisk. Brush over the crust of the pie and in the center. If you like, you can also sprinkle some raw sugar over the crust for added crispiness.

Bake for 15-17 minutes. Take out of the oven and allow to sit for a good 15 minutes before transferring as the berry juices will not be stable. Some of my mine leaked out, but that wasn’t not a problem, the point of this sort of pie, is that it’s rustic, and a few small holes in the crust, where juices leaked out, are just fine.

 

Enjoy~

On A Side Note

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Stuff has gone down in the last few months (well, more like last two months really). Not to go into details, let’s just say that a lot has changed in my life, and rather quickly. First off, work has me running around back and fourth, and although I’m flattered that I’m getting so much work, I’m also a little (a lot) bummed out that I won’t be getting much of a summer break. I’m scared I’ll be too burned out when LAUSD starts back up and I’ll be working 100% full capacity.

 

School is almost over (for the summer). I have one more class this coming Tuesday, and then I have a break for about three weeks before my next class. I know that my horrid oral exams are also coming up and I have not cracked a book to study due to personal reasons, and that alone is enough to keep me up at night. 

Due to the lack of time, and overall hot weather later, I haven’t been cooking, and instead relying on going out, or making quick pasta with canned sauce for sustenance. Long story short, I will be attempting cooking sometime this weekend, I hope, and perhaps you’ll see a lasagna, or ribs, or some sort of stew in your future. 

 

Till then!

Chocolate Chip Cookies of a Lifetime

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Going along with this weeks earlier post on tea time and scones, morning coffee is not the same without something sweet to munch on. Sure I can go with drinking a cup of coffee after I’m done with my cereal, but a nice bit of sugar right before I leave the door sometimes gets me through the harder times of the day. These cookies are perfect for that. Chewy and gooey and made in less than an hour, I couldn’t ask for me.

Granted, I’ve made chocolate chip cookies before, however, I’m still searching for the perfect, and the best recipe possible. The one that should be my go-to recipe for birthdays and potlucks and lonely Saturday nights, and I think this might be it.

Cookies taken directly from The Little White Kitchen

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Chocolate Chip Cookies 

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (or hard margarine), room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 white sugar
  • 2 eggs , room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla (i love vanilla)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (you can also add nuts, toffee bits, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

I n a mixing bowl, cream the butter and the sugars until fluffy (making sure your butter is room temperature really helps the process go smoothly). Add both eggs and mix until incorporated. Mix in your vanilla.
In a separate bowl, use a whisk to mix together your flour, salt and baking soda. Pour your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and mix well. Add the chocolate chips and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Spoon the cookie dough into tablespoon sized balls (about 3 inches apart) onto your cookie sheet (do not grease the cookie sheets, but feel free to use parchment paper if you don’t like to wash pans afterwards).

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes (depending on the size of the cookies and whether or not you like them well done)
on the center rack of your oven.

Remove cookie sheets from the oven and place them on cooling racks (do not try to remove the cookies at this point or you’ll end up with a gooey mess).

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Let cool for about 10 minutes on the cookie sheets and then remove the cookies and place them on a cooling rack.

Eat the cookies whenever you need a pick me up, or the world gets you down.

An English Tea Deserves Scones

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Now that LAUSD is out of session– yay summer– and I have a fairly regular working schedule that’s keeping me busy, yet open enough to do anything and everything in the mornings and afternoons, I decided instead of eating a very late lunch (after 3pm), I’d instead have a decent tea to hold me over till dinner.

I know 3 pm is also too late for a “traditional” tea, but I’m at work during the regular hours. An hour late won’t hurt, right? I love tea, I love clotted cream, jam, cookies and scones so why not? Firstly, I need scones. The ones in this post were a little dry, partly because of the oven temperature, however, the second batch was a lot better. Below is the adjusted temperature for the lovely muffins. Note that I also subbed in orange zest for lemon, and omitted the use of the glaze. I really don’t need it in presence of syrup and clotted cream. That’s enough calories for me, thank you.

Strictly Based on The Messy Baker scones.

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Blueberry Orange Scones

  • 2½ cups white whole wheat flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tbs. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1¼ cups fat-free buttermilk
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries (do not thaw frozen blueberries)
For the Glaze- I omitted
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 3½ tbs. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles very coarse sand (the mixture will still be a bit dry).

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In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, Greek yogurt, egg, vanilla extract, and lemon zest.
Using a rubber spatula, gently stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture. Gently fold in the blueberries. Scoop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet using a large ice cream scoop.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top of the scones are golden brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Drizzle the glaze onto the slightly warm scones or slice open and serve with clotted cream, jam, and or syrup or honey.

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Glaze
In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and lemon zest. Slowly whisk in the lemon juice until smooth.

Chicken Parm Meatballs

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I love ground chicken. I love ground turkey, too. Basically, I feel like the chicken has a slightly creamy texture when cooked with. I don’t even know how that’s possible, but beef seems too, basic. It’s almost like it’s drying. Which isn’t the case if it’s not in ground form. Obviously, I’m not talking about the super lean beef, but the ground chuck that you’re supposed to use for good flavor. Nope, I just can’t do it lately, I can’t cook with beef.

I suppose that’s good for me, in the long run, so it works out.

But I have to say, I’ve used ground chicken in pasta sauces, with lasagna, stuffed into peppers, and made chili with it. I’ve been working with ground turkey less than chicken, but today I’m returning to my old poultry friend in these delicious, and giant (!) meatballs.

From Dinner, A Love Story

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Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill or parsley
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino (or Parm)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • paprika to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (or there abouts)
  • 1 14-ounce can store bought pizza sauce (or pasta sauce, I had pasta sauce so that’s what I used)
  • about 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly (I didn’t have that, so I used a shredded mozzarella blend, with a bit of cheddar mixed in)

Preheat oven to 400°F, setting rack to upper third part of oven.

In a large bowl, using your hands, gently mix together first 11 ingredients (everything up to the olive oil). Shape into lacrosse-ball size balls (that would be somewhere between golf and tennis) and place a few inches from each other on a foil-lined baking sheet.

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Brush oil on top of each meatball (I just drizzled it around them and on top so some oil got under the meatballs as well. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

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Remove meatballs from oven, spoon some sauce on top of each meatball, and cover each with a slice of cheese. Broil another 3 to 5 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden.  Heat remaining sauce in a small saucepan.

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Serve with some pasta or potatoes. I used some spaghetti squash, to keep it healthy.

These meatballs (if the same, large, tennis ball size) are about 128 calories each. Two is more than enough, especially with a side, for a meal.

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