Friday, June 21, 2013

Buffalo Cauliflower Salad

This is a veggie salad, but spiced (trashed?) up with hot sauce and blue cheese.  It fills your buffalo chicken cravings without the potentially weird chicken pieces.  If I'm eating chicken and I get a piece of cartilage or something it ruins the whole experience from me and I pretty much throw the rest at Jon and then complain about being hungry.

Coating the cauliflower in batter and baking gives them a slightly crispy exterior, which kind of negates the whole vegetable thing, but at least it's not deep fried.

Buffalo Cauliflower
from Skinnytaste

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup water
1 cup flour
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2-3/4 cup hot sauce

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.
Whisk together flour, garlic powder and garlic in a bowl.  
Toss in cauliflower florets until coated and spread on baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and pour hot sauce over cauliflower.

Salad ingredients: Lettuce, carrots, celery, radishes, etc.

Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dressing
based on Food Network 
1/4 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 Tablespoons chives, chopped
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup blue cheese (I used extra, because I like it cheesy)

Whisk together yogurt, mayo, buttermilk and lemon juice until smooth.
Stir in chives and blue cheese.
Season with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pan Seared Roasted Salmon with Lemon Orzo

Earlier this week, my local Whole Foods posted on Facebook that they were looking for food bloggers to post some new recipes featuring their Sockeye salmon, which is going on major sale this Friday.  A food blogger who loves salmon and Whole Foods?  Sign me up!  They graciously offered to provide me with a piece in advance to test my recipe, but you can bet with the great deal they are featuring, I will be going back.  Whole Foods is my favorite place to have lunch dates with my little guy, so I'm always happy to have an excuse to visit.

Now, some people say you shouldn't ever have cheese on the same plate as seafood.  I say food rules are meant to be broken and you should eat what you like.

Pan searing and then oven roasting the salmon gives it a slightly crispy exterior and a rich, almost buttery interior.  Paired with the orzo and the tart lemon vinaigrette, crisp cucumbers, salty feta, delicious green herbs and the slight bite from the onions, this is a keeper.  A perfect dish for summer!

Pan Seared Roasted Salmon with Lemon Orzo

Serves 4, with leftover orzo salad

1 pound orzo
1 seedless cucumber, sliced
4 scallions, sliced (~1/2 cup)
1/2 medium red onion, sliced (~1/2 cup)
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup dill, chopped
8 oz. feta, cubed

1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

1 pound Sockeye salmon filet
olive oil
kosher salt
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook orzo for 8 minutes.  Drain.
Whisk together lemon juice, maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper.  Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking until dressing is emulsified.
Pour dressing over orzo in a large bowl.
Add in cucumber, scallions, parsley, dill and feta.

In a large, ovenproof skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
Season salmon with salt and pepper.
Sear on both sides for 2 minutes each.  Stand back, it sizzles!

Lay lemon slices over the salmon and add the red onion to the pan.  I do this because I find raw red onion to be a little overpowering, but if you like, just add it directly to the orzo salad.
Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 7 minutes.
Serve salmon over orzo salad.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Berry Lime Cake

I know I'm always saying things like, I don't like cake.  But I do like cake, I just don't like it when it's dry and tasteless or covered in that awful grocery store frosting.  This cake was neither dry nor tasteless, plus it looked so pretty in it's little bundt shape.

I love using buttermilk, it makes me feel all fancy.  Inevitably, I am left wondering what to do with the leftover buttermilk and keep it around until I can justify throwing it out.  Not this time, however.  Our Friday morning pancakes were given a boost and the Buffalo Cauliflower Salad (recipe to come...) was topped with homemade buttermilk blue cheese dressing.  If you don't want to buy buttermilk, you can add a teaspoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to regular milk and let it sit for a few minutes.  

Taking a cake out of a bundt pan is somewhat nervewracking.  I put the plate over the bottom, gave it a flip, said a silent prayer and heard the thunk when the cake released.  The moment of truth is when you lift up the pan to see whether it all came out or you need to frantically glue it back together with icing and eat an ugly piece yourself.

I made this with my kitchen helper.  It can be a bit of challenge to wrangle him and follow a recipe, but I put him on the very important task of measuring limes.

Berry Lime Cake
recipe from Joy the Baker

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime zest
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 large eggs
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3/4 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare a bundt pan by buttering and flouring.  Do not scrimp on this!  See note above about how scary it is to unstick a bundt cake.
In a small bowl, combine granulated sugar and lime zest.  Use your fingers to combine until you have a lime scented sugar.
In a large bowl, combine lime sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.
In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, butter, buttermilk and lime juice.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Stir until all of the dry ingredients are moistened and the mixture is thoroughly combined.
Add the fresh berries and gently fold in until evenly distributed through the batter.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve as is, sprinkled with powdered sugar, or with a simple glaze.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cod Cakes

I bought cod.  Cod can be so boring, and sometimes, kind of fishy.  Why did I buy cod?  It was on special and had that little "wild caught" sign in front. I picked up a filet and decided I'd figure out what to do with it once I got home.  Plain baked or broiled sounded exceedingly boring, and my basil plants weren't quite ready to be harvested for pesto.  I asked google for some suggestions and came upon cod cakes.  Always a fan of food in cake form, I went with it.  Good reviews from big and little diners, alike.  Jon and I ate them with snap peas done in the lemon-garlic style

Cod Cakes
Yield: 12 cakes
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup parsley (about 8 sprigs), chopped
2 cups potatoes, mashed (I used red potatoes and didn't peel them)
2 eggs, beaten
1-1 1/4 pounds cod
Old Bay (optional)
3/4-1 cup breadcrumbs
canola oil

Lightly saute or steam onion and mix with parsley, potatoes and eggs.
Season cod with salt, pepper and Old Bay.
Put in a covered pan with 1/4 inch water and steam until easily flaked with a fork, about 6-7 minutes.
Add cod to potato mixture combine.
Form patties and pan fry in canola oil, about 4-5 minutes per side until golden brown.
Keep warm or reheat in the oven.
Serve with lemon wedges.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Lemon Garlic Green Beans

These are the best green beans.  The Best.  They are so good they make you excited about green beans.  Plus, they only take a few minutes to put together.  If you serve them with a very simple sauteed fish, like I did here, the whole meal takes about 10 minutes.  You could easily use this sauce with other vegetables, it would be delicious with asparagus. These measurements are approximate, I usually just throw all the ingredients in a bowl, so adjust to taste.

Lemon Garlic Green Beans

4 cups green beans
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 garlic clove, grated or finely minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2-4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Boil or steam beans until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.
Immediately immerse beans in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and maintain their bright green color.
In a large bowl, mix together lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Add in green beans and top with parmesan cheese.
Toss to coat and serve any temperature.

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