Thursday, June 26, 2014

Steamed Salmon with Lemon and Vegetables

I found this recipe in the magazine Midwest Living and made it for dinner. Arthur loved it and said he wanted me to save it in my blog so that I could make it again.  Typically I make a recipe once and unless it is really good I throw it away.  With so many recipes available it is hard to keep track of the really good ones which is one of the purposes of my blog.

This one is interesting because the vegetables are made into vegetable ribbons and serve as a bed for the salmon.  The salmon steams on top of the vegetables and remains very moist.

1 lemon
1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow summer squash
2 medium carrots, peeled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1 1/4# salmon fillets (if the salmon has skin it can easily be removed after cooking)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried tarrgon, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 teaspoons olive oil

Zest and juice the lemon (to yield about 4 teaspoons juice and 2 teaspoons zest). Set aside.
Trim ends from zucchini squash and carrots. With a vegetable peeler, peel vegetables lengthwise into long, thin ribbons.  A Y-shaped vegetable peeler works best to get long wide vegetable ribbons. Place the ribbons in a 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and drizzle with the 4 teaspoons lemon juice.     

Place salmon over vegetables. Sprinkle with garlic, tarragon, 1/4 salt and the pepper. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with reserved lemon zest. Cover and bake in a 425 degrees oven for 16 to 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve with Herbed Quinoa Pilaf and, if desired, lemon wedges.

Herbed Quinoa Pilaf

3 sliced green onions
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup rinsed and drained quinoa
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Cook the green onions in olive oil until tender in a medium saucepan.  Add the chicken broth, cover and bring to a boil.  Stir in quinoa and return to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Corn & Black Bean Pico

This very simple recipe is a favorite of my 11 year old grandson.  Who would have thought it!

1/4 or less red onion or yellow onion, finely chopped or chopped green onions
 1 1/2 cups frozen corn (no need to cook)
1 can drained & rinsed black beans
1/4 cup or more roughly chopped cilantro
1 can Ro*tel tomatoes with green chilies or any available brand
Juice of 1 lime (or lemon)
Salt to taste
1/4 t. black pepper
1/4 t. ground cumin
1/8 t. cayenne pepper (optional)
Mix it all together and allow to sit for 30 minutes for the corn to defrost and the flavors to blend.  Serve with corn or taco chips.  The quantities are all adjustable to suit your own tastes.

Adapted from Ten Dollar Dinners on the Food Network

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Rhubarb Custard Cake

This recipe is a great way to use a substantial amount of rhubarb.  I made it for my book club when the meeting was at our place and everyone really liked it.  There is one caveat--the recipe uses a cake mix!  I never use store bought cake mixes but did make an exception with this recipe.  You could probably use homemade yellow cake batter, but I caved in and used a cake mix.  The three yellow cake mixes receiving the best reviews were:
King Arthur Flour All-Natural Golden Vanilla Cake Mix - I think this is only available through the King Arthur catalogue

Betty Crocker SuperMoist Golden Vanilla Cake Mix (reviewed well on Good; this is the one I used)

Pillsbury Moist Supreme Classic Yellow Cake Mix (reviewed the best on Epicurious)

1 yellow cake mix
5 cups chopped raw rhubarb
1 cup sugar (or a bit less)
1 pint heavy whipping cream (2 cups)
Additional whipping cream for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cake mix according to the directions on the box.  Pour into a 9 x 13" oblong pan, preferably Pyrex.  Cover the batter with the chopped rhubarb and sprinkle with the sugar.  Pour the whipping cream over the ingredients in pan.

Place a pan on the rack under the cake.  The cream in my pan cooked over the top a bit.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly.  You can also test the cake with a cake tester.  The cream and the rhubarb sink to the bottom forming a custard layer.  Serve the cake in squares with cream whipped with a teaspoon of vanilla.

Store any leftover cake in the refrigerator.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sweet Potato Soup with Spinach & Harissa

I love sweet potato soup.  I wanted to try this recipe because I had spinach from the farmers market as well as a jar of harissa.  Harissa is also known as Tunisian chili paste. This spice mixture originated in Tunisia. It contains chilies, cumin, garlic, coriander, caraway seeds, cinnamon, olive oil and sometimes tomatoes.  The harissa that I have is quite hot.  The first time I used it, my husband said he couldn't eat the dish.  I didn't think it was quite that hot, but now I use less then the recipe calls for and add more after tasting.  This recipe originally called for 1 1/2 tablespoons of harissa.  I cut it in half and used 2 teaspoons.  Your harissa may not be as hot as mine or you may have a higher tolerance than Arthur.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
3 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp creamy peanut butter (chunky is OK too)
2 teaspoons harissa paste (read intro above)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground turmeric
3/4 tsp ground cumin
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 5 cups)
3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3-4 oz. baby spinach leaves (about 2 cups packed)  If you are using larger spinach leaves just chop them up a bit.
Salt to taste
Garnish with chopped peanuts (optional, but good)

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add leeks and saute 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in tomato paste, peanut butter, harissa, garlic, turmeric and cumin.  Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add sweet potatoes, broth and 1 1/2 cups water.  Simmer over medium-low heat, partially covered, 20 to 25 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.
  2. Blend mixture with immersion blender, adding more water if soup is too thick.  Bring soup back to a simmer and stir in spinach leaves.