Monday, June 22, 2009

Lemon Scented Salmon with Roasted Beets and Greens, Oven Roasted Potatoes

Summer calls for light delish dishes ... and I was craving some fish on a Monday evening after decadent weekend fare. Fresh lemons in the house, plus beets and potatoes from the CSA ...

People keep telling me that baking fish with citrus is easy and very tasty ... which I agree with, however, I will say ... the result is very 'mildly' citrus ... hence the lemon 'scented' title. Hindsight 20/20, I would probably do this and add a lemon reduction of some sort to kick it up a notch. But anyway ... this was all a recipe based on my ideas, no cribbing from elsewhere and it is super easy.

Lemon Scented Salmon, served with greens, roasted beets and potatoes
  • Two 5oz filets of salmon, mild ideally
  • 1 lemon, zested (zest set aside) and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Basil, in chiffonade (cut into thin chiffon like strips - see you learned a new word!)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil
  • Pan & Tin foil
Preheat oven to 350. Rinse the salmon in cold water and pat dry. Get a piece of tin foil that is large enough to wrap both your filets in with enough to close it like a pouch. Line the base of the pan with the foil.

Place the salmon in the foil, drizzle with a little olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, lemon zest and basil. Squeeze one or two of the lemon slices over the fish and then layer three lemon slices over each filet. Close the tin foil tightly over the fish, ensuring that all the seams are tight.

Bake the fish for 16-20 minutes, checking to verify doneness. Normally, when I broil fish, it only takes about 10 minutes, but this method uses less direct heat. If you are so inclined, and I am because I love caramelization, when the fish is almost done, remove it from the oven, open the foil and set aside the lemon slices. Place the fish back in the oven on broil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the top of the fish becomes golden.

Serve this very easy and light fish entree alongside your favorite sides ... maybe even creating a white wine and lemon reduction to go with it ...

I think this would go great with pasta and asparagus or even a chilled pasta salad.

Have fun, eat your omega 3s and see you soon!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer CSA produces Zucchini galore ... what to do!?!?!

In the fall I bought a share of the Johnson Backyard CSA ... then this spring/early summer I split a CSA share from a different farm (who shall remain nameless) ... Turns out this new farm really didn't subscribe to the concept of variety. I swear, I have never seen so many radishes and random greens!!! But in early June we got squash ... and I mean lots ... I think I had 6 or 7 full size zucchini and yellow squash on my hands with an impending business trip (meaning this stuff was going to go bad). What is a frugal, German girl who hates waste to do? Surf the net ... Locate variety of random recipes ... Settle on a tasty, yet semi-naughty one ... Zucchini Cakes - kinda like a Latke or as we say in Germany, 'Reibekuchen' (lecker)!!!! Pretty easy recipe that is only annoying when it comes to the whole shredding part. I was dining alone that night, so I paired them with a poached egg and some quick marinara sauch - TASTY and kinda healthy. John polished off the remaining EIGHT in the batch the next day for lunch:))))

Zucchini Pancakes (modified from Low Carb Cooking)

  • 4 cups shredded zucchini (or combo of shredded zucchini & yellow squash)
  • 1 medium sized shallot, diced (my addition)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried basil (I also added thyme which I love)
  • 2-3 Tbsp. parmesan cheese (my addition, more if you like;)))
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Place zucchini and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt in a colander. Drain for ten minutes, pressing down with paper towels to push out all the excess water. Whisk the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and eggs together in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, garlic, basil and zucchini. Mix until all the ingredients are well-combined.

Place the olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, drop the zucchini mixture by rounded tablespoons. Flatten gently with a fork. Cook 2 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Flip and cook another two minutes. Remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Serve immediately.

Original nutrition info per pancake (without my parmesan adder) (based on 15): 26 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 28 g cholesterol, 4 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein, 2% vitamin A, 8% vitamin C, 2% calcium, 2% iron

These make a great side and other than zucchini bread are a really tasty way to ensure you make good use of these veggies ... I bet you can even get kids to eat em!

Serving Suggestions: spicy marinara, chutney of any sort, pesto, chimichurri, apple sauce, apricot chutney, with canadian bacon and an egg on top as a modified benedict (mmmm) ... the ideas are endless!!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Decadent ... out of character Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cake (made by John:)))

Dinner parties with friends are one of my fave things ... and since I have some friends who can throw down ... we knew it was time for the big guns when it was our turn for dessert ...

... with that, I will now blog on behalf of my man John who is the recognized baker of our couple ... I cook, he bakes. (I experiment with measures, he is a scientist and has a healthy respect for the chemistry of baking ... not I:))).

John let me help pick the cake to be baked so I gave him two recipes - both three layer chocolate cakes, one with a berry filly and chocolate frosting and the other with peanut butter frosting and a chocolate peanut butter ganache. Clearly, based on imagery you can see what we chose ... and can I say - PEANUT BUTTER!!!!! mmm mmm mmm ri-dic-u-lous!!!

We ended up doing a little Kirsten-ization of the recipes as we combined one choco cake recipe with the decadent frosting duo ... and 3 painstaking hours later, John was putting the finishing touches on this unbelievable cake, that we estimated at approximately 850 calories per slice!!!!

Needless to say you won't be seeing a whole lot of other posts with recipes like this on em ... :)))
Enjoy the abbreviated versions below and the images of that moist, flavorful, amazingly decadent cake below!

Genoise Cake Recipe - Courtesy of Emeril Legasse
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Genoise (cake): Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch cake pan.

Into a small bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch and baking soda. In a large metal bowl set over barely simmering water, whisk eggs and sugar with a hand-held electric beater until thick, foamy and doubled in volume. Mixture should form a ribbon when beaters are lifted. Make sure that mixture does not get too hot and curdle eggs. Remove from heat and gently fold in flour mixture until just combined. Fold in melted butter and pour into cake pan. Bake 20 minutes until cake is springy to touch. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a cake rack, turn out and cool completely.

Frosting Recipes - Courtesy of Smitten Kitchen (whom I love, but for caloric reasons avoid!)

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)

1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze

  • 8 ounces seimsweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half

1. In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

As you can see, this recipe is not for the faint of heart ... but it will certainly gain you a lot of admirers! Happy baking from me and John!!