Keep it simple…SALMON

June 8, 2010

Skip to Simple Salmon Recipe

I’m intimidated by fish. There, I’ve said it.

I blame a tragic Long John Silver’s episode of my early childhood (don’t ask) for my fear of undercooked, “fishy” fish.  For those who are curious I DO like sushi rolls… but sashimi creeps me the heck out.

Despite my, admittedly, irrational fear of preparing fish (the mercury poison scare didn’t help either) I do LOVE eating it… and so I have committed to myself and to Keith (who would eat seafood every night if he could) that I will do my best to make a fish entree once per week.

In the past, I have approached salmon with an arsenal of spices, rubs, marinades, and gallons of lemon juice out of a fear of my fish being “too fishy.”  I think part of this is from growing up in a thoroughly land-locked state where reasonably priced fish is anything but fresh.  However, at the trusty Amish Market on the corner I can find very fresh Salmon fillets for $12.99 per lb (I know the price is ridiculous, but let’s just ignore it).

As a result of the “fresh factor” I felt comfortable following my good friend Laurie’s recommendation to “keep it simple [stupid]” when it comes to preparing Salmon.  I have to say, this recipe was FAST totally STRESS-FREE and HEALTHY (if you can believe it).

FUN FACT:  Salmon is one of the “moistest fishes”… meaning you don’t need much liquid in a pan to get some steam going over low heat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 lb Salmon Fillets
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

What you’ll need to clean up afterward:

  • 1 sautee pan and lid
  • fish spatula

Step One: Pour one tablespoon lemon juice and olive oil into pan and put over medium-low heat, swirl liquids evenly across the pan.

Step Two: Place salmon fillets into pan.  Salt and pepper to taste and drizzle half the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice over the two fillets.

Step Three: Cover the pan with lid and let cook on medium low heat for eight minutes.

Step Four: Remove lid, flip fillets and repeat the seasoning from step two.

Step Five: Re-cover the pan with lid and let cook for 6-7 more minutes, or until cooked to desired texture (should be flaky and not “wet” in the middle”).

-Eat Hearty

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Lianne’s PERFECT Sweet Grilled Corn

June 3, 2010

Skip to Grilled Corn Recipe

I’ll be the first to say the grill is where my culinary skills come to a SCREECHING halt.  And I don’t really know why, my Dad (father of Corn Dip), is actually an amazing Grill Chef… go figure.

HOWEVER, I have decided that summer 2010 will be my grill apprenticeship.  In that spirit, I went over to my friend Lianne’s on Memorial Day for my first class.  We kept it simple… no meat this time (she said I wasn’t ready), but I did learn a remarkably simple way to prep corn for the grill.  The end product is ridiculously delicious.

I’m tempted to say you don’t really even need to grill the corn, but as this is my grill apprenticeship I’ll shut up and stick to the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ears of corn (chopped in halves)
  • 3-4 cups of milk (enough for the corn to float in)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Aluminum Foil (not really an ingredient but you need it)

What you’ll need to clean up after:

  • 1 medium sized pot

(Grill should already be prepped to cook meat)

Step One: Pour milk into medium-sized pot (milk should fill pot half way) and mix in sugar

Step Two: Add corn to pot and bring to a low simmer.

Step Three: Simmer for 10-15 minutes (corn should be tender enough to eat)

Step Four: Pat corn dry then rub with butter (I like to butter down a napkin and apply the napkin to the corn) and salt and pepper to taste.

Step Five: Wrap corn in aluminum foil and put on the grill for ten minutes.

-Eat Hearty!

A taste of the Caribbean…vacay in St. Thomas

May 27, 2010

Let me just say… There’s nothing more relaxing than an island vacation. I’ve been knocking the “typical beach vacation” for YEARS.  Examples of things I might have said:

“Beach vacations just SOUND boring, who wants to lay around all day?”

“What’s there to SEE on an island?  Sand, water… maybe a snake?”

“I don’t like rum… “

I was so mistaken.

I’ll spare you all the rubbing it in about laying in the sun, snorkeling, sailboats, jet skiis, etc. (I guess I just did it… ).  But what I have to share with you over the next week (I just got back so it’ll take some time with the one billion work emails waiting for me) are a couple of the recipes I picked up on the island… watch out there’s some dangerous one’s in there 🙂

Bushwacker (the perfect beach drink)

Coral Reef Cooler

Jerk Chicken

Caribbean Stewed Chicken

-Eat Hearty!

Bushwacker… the ultimate beach drink

May 27, 2010

Skip to Bushwacker recipe

I can’t tell you how many of these I sipped on the beach at St. Thomas (where they were invented by the way)… SO DELICIOUS.  The only problem you think you’re just drinking a milkshake…until you stand up. But you’re on the beach, right?… who cares?

Seriously, though, this is one of the tastiest drinks I’ve had in a while (and I don’t like blended drinks generally)… and it took me a least 3 to figure out it had nutmeg in it.  YUMMY.

Ingredients (one drink, just multiply for multiple drinks):

  • 1/2 ounce rum(Cruzan is the best, but use whatever brand you have)
  • 1/2 ounce vodka (any brand)
  • 1/2 ounce Bailey’s Irish cream (or a similar cheaper brand)
  • 1/2 ounce Kahlua or other coffee liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce amaretto liqueur (any brand)
  • 1/2 ounce chocolate-flavored liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce Frangelico (optional)
  • 1/2 ounce creme de coconut (Coco Lopez)
  • 1 cup crushed ice (more or less to make the proper consistency)
  • 3 dashes of grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon whipped cream (or coolwhip)
  • 1 maraschino cherry (for the top)
What you’ll have to clean up after:
  • Blender

Step One: Put everything (except nutmeg, whipped cream and cherry) into a blender and blend, using enough ice to yield a milkshake consistency.

Step Two: Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream, cherry, and a couple dashes of nutmeg.

-Eat Hearty

Ginger’s (healthyish) Glass Noodles with Chicken

May 27, 2010

Skip to Glass Noodle Recipe

My dear friend Ginger recently pointed out that Grandma Millie has yet to feature an Asian inspired dish and insisted I come over and learn how to make a simple (but delicious) Thai recipe she learned from her mother.  I’m so glad I did.

Given that there really isn’t anything bad for you in this dish, it’s AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS.  Even better, it’s quick and there’s only one pan to clean up…. the best of every world.

Admittedly, I’m a little intimidated by Thai cuisine.  I LOVE it, mind you (Keith and I probably order at least once or twice a week), but have this irrational fear of cooking noodles that aren’t paired with a “classic” French or Italian sauce.  Well that has changed. Now that I know how easy it is, look for a lot more Thai dishes coming your way.

Neither Ginger or I claim this is a 100% “authentic recipe” but it’s delicious nonetheless and I (we) think you’ll enjoy.

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  • 2 Chicken breasts (chopped into bite sized pieces) – you can also use pork or shrimp
  • 4 oz glass noodles (we used Vermicelli, but whatever brand works)
  • 3-4 large cabbage leaves (rinsed and chopped)
  • 1/2 medium yellow/white onion (diced)
  • 1/2 regular jalapeno (diced, no seeds)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced or pushed through garlic press)
  • 1 bouillon cube (chicken)
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Black Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or more, to taste)

What you’ll need to clean up afterward:

  • One medium sautee pan
  • One mixing bowl

Step One: Marinate chicken in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice and salt/pepper to taste for 10 minutes.

Step Two: Place glass noodles in mixing bowl of lukewarm tap water and let sit while cooking chicken and vegetables.

Step Three: Sautee chicken in pan with remaining olive oil until almost cooked.

Step Four: Add cabbage, peppers, onion, garlic and the bouillon cube (you can break in half to add in) in with the chicken and continue cooking for 1 minute.

Step Five: Remove noodles from bowl of water and shake excess water out (there can still be come water dripping of the noodles when you add) and stir in with the chicken and veggies.

Step Six: Add egg and stir for another minute until incorporated.  Add soy sauce to taste. *you can also add Louisiana hot sauce if you want to give it a little kick.

ANOTHER OPTION: if you want a delicious soup, just heat some chicken stock/broth in soup pot while preparing the above and add the noodle mixture to the broth… DELICIOUS.

-Eat Hearty!


Charlie’s Corn Dip…Don’t Judge (It’s Delish)

May 14, 2010

Skip to Corn Dip Recipe

In my second installment to what is apparently “dip week”, I give you my Dad’s Corn Dip.  Yes, that’s right… corn dip.

It’s funny because my Dad really started cooking when I was 10 or 11 when my Mom went back to grad school, and yet the first thing I really remember my Dad making that I just couldn’t get enough of was corn dip.

It’s possible that my mild obsession is b/c of fond memories as the only times he makes it is for the Wright-Family-New-Years-Day-Smorgasboard (I don’t know why we used the word “Smorgasboard” but, to this day, that’s what we call it), and the occasional summer bbq.  It could also be b/c there is mayo, sour cream and cheese in the recipe and you eat it with Fritos (one of my favorite chips).

Whatever the reason, I really love this dip and enjoy bringing it out every now and then for my friends in the City so they can turn their nose up and say “that’s gross” only to be licking the bowl clean when I turn around.  Oddly, I find that to be the case with many midwester recipes… like Pink Salad.

Don’t judge this dip by it’s looks… at least take a courtesy bite (as my Mom likes to say) — I guarantee you won’t “courtesy tasting” until it’s gone.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans fiesta corn
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 small can diced jalapenos
  • 1 bundle green onions (chopped)
  • 2-16oz pkg shredded cheese
  • 1 small can of green chiles

What you’ll have to clean up after:

  • Mixing Bowl
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Can opener

Step One: Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir.

Step Two: Cover and chill for at least an hour before serving (you don’t HAVE to, but it tastes much better).

-Eat Hearty!

What’s your Guacamole?

May 12, 2010

Guacamole Recipe

As we are (or were before the cold weather) heading into the summer months, it seems appropriate to talk about guacamole.

“I love guacamole.”  That’s really all I need to talk about it.

BBQ’s, drinks on the roof, or just an impromptu gathering: Guac is the perfect nosh.

It’s got everything I like: salt, a creamy texture, and you eat it with chips.  And there is NOTHING better to get a party and the conversation started than to prepare your guacamole with people standing around.  What’ s so interesting about the “guacamole prep” conversation is that it almost always hinges around what other people put into theirs.

So, I’d like to have a digital guac’ conversation: below is my “recipe” (it’s really all to taste, so my measurements are very conservative so as not to over spice)… please leave your guacamole recipe as a comment…unless you’re one of those super-secretive-recipe-people.  In that case, I’ll understand if you don’t participate.


Ingredients (makes around 6 cups)

  • 5 avocados (cut in half and pitted)
  • 1/2 medium red onion (diced)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1-2 diced tomatoes (around 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon salt (start with 1/2 and add to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • Juice of 2 limes

Step One: Scoop out avocado halves with spoon into a medium mixing bowl.  It helps to make 4 or 5 horizontal AND vertical cuts (making a criss-cross pattern) in the avocado before scooping it out — minimizes mashing later.

Step Two: Mash up the avocado with a fork or potato masher to desired consistency (I like mine a little lumpy).

Step Three: Add the remaining ingredients and stir.  Add additional amounts of spices to taste.

-Eat Hearty!

Peanut-Buttercream Frosting

May 10, 2010

Frosting Recipe

For the BBQ on Saturday, I decided to make another batch of the Peanut-Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcakes I made last weekend (I realize it’s only been a week… clearly, I have a problem).

The only difference is that this time I didn’t drop my frosting bowl and get powdered sugar all over the floor.  The result? I was finally able to make the Peanut-Buttercream Frosting that I had wanted to try on the cupcakes.

One word: Delicious.

Now, if you’re not a peanut-butter fan – clearly – you won’t like this frosting.  Everyone else is sure to enjoy on pretty much any type of cupcake (barring Red Velvet, Carrot Cake, or Lemon cake).   You might have to finesse the amount of peanut butter you use depending on how you want to apply the frosting and what consistency you’re looking for (more PB makes a denser frosting).

Interesting Frosting Anecdote: As usual, I was running WAY behind getting ready for the BBQ and -more importantly – the requisite commute to Jersey City (thank GOD my friend Lianne drove). By “running late” I mean I was supposed to arrive at 1:30 and STARTED making the cupcake batter at 12:30, which clearly meant we arrived at 3* (traffic in the tunnel… I swear).  Obviously, this meant I did not have time to cool and frost the cupcakes at home, so I brought my handy frosting knife and my freshly made frosting and did a little “on site frosting demonstration” – margarita in one hand cupcake in the other.

In my somewhat tipsy state, I came up with the phrase “press and swirl” to describe how to adequately frost a cupcake a la Magnolia or Billy’s.  I had a small crowd watching and even had a couple “first timers” try their hand at frosting their own cupcake.  So Fun!  Press and Swirl – remember that. 🙂

*Fortunately they “fake timed us” (the party didn’t start until 3 anyway) so we were fine.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup smooth (not chunky) peanut butter – I used Skippy
  • 1 1/4 lb of powdered sugar (1 1/4 boxes – the conversions of this are tricky, it’s going to be around 3 1/2 cups if you pour the sugar into the measuring cup and don’t pack)
  • 4-6 tablespoons of milk (depending on desired consistency)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

What you’ll need to clean up afterward

  • 1 Mixing bowl
  • 1 wooden spoon (if you’re going hard core… if not, a hand mixer)
  • Measuring cup, tablespoon and teaspoon
  • *hopefully not* the floor 🙂

Step One: Combine the peanut-butter and powdered sugar and one tablespoon of milk in the mixing bowl.  Using your hands (or mixer, but honestly hands are easier at this point) mash the sugar and peanut-butter together into one large lump (if you feel like there’s too much sugar to combine everything, add a little more peanut butter – 1/8 cup at a time).

Step Two: Start stirring (or mixing on medium speed) and adding milk it one tablespoon at a time.  If, after adding the remaining 3 tablespoons of milk, the frosting is too thick, add additional milk one teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Step Three: Apply frosting to your cake, cupcake… or eat with a spoon 🙂

-Eat Hearty!

The Press and Swirl

May 10, 2010

I had no idea someone was taking video of me frosting cupcakes at the BBQ this weekend (click on the link below 🙂 Thanks Nando!

It’s all about the press and swirl–here’s how on 12seconds.tv

This video is me applying Peanut-Buttercream Frosting to Peanut-Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcakes… yummy!

Disclaimer: at the end I drop the KNIFE not the cupcake (which I put back on the tray).  The knife was then cleaned before continuing, just want to be clear.

-Eat Hearty

BBQ Pressure

May 8, 2010

I’m heading off to a Pig Roast in Jersey City and I’m a little unsure if my contributions will be up to par.  Why is it the tiny phrase “bring a couple of your favorite snacks or side dishes” can cause so much Anxt.  I have literally been vacillating on this all week (enough to drive Keith up the wall).  I finally made some decisions.

Here’s what I’m bringing (recipes to follow tomorrow):

I should mention… they asked for finger/snack foods.  I have another BBQ next week with work people so I’d appreciate any additional BBQ suggestions you might throw my way.

-Eat Hearty