Valentine's Day is coming up. Are you wanting to stay home and cook something special? I have some ideas for you!
I consider Beef Wellington to be very romantic - it's decadent and it takes a lot of work, so it's definitely a special occasion food. Check out this post for the recipe.
Steak is a quintessential Valentine's dish. I have long used a method of quick aging with salt to tenderize and season even cheaper cuts. Find the method in this post, along with recipes for Spinach and Gruyere Souffle and Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Mixed Berry Compote. I used a compound butter to top the steak in that post, but since then have more often made a pan sauce by deglazing with sherry, then adding butter.
For one of our earliest Valentine's, I made an herb crusted standing rib roast; along with a chopped salad, heart shaped roasted potatoes, roasted asparagus, and Yorkshire pudding. All of the recipes are in this post, along with some pretty decorations.
You know what is very summery? Tacos. Especially fish tacos. Melissa and I were looking for something light and fresh, with a lot of flavor and texture. So we cobbled together a bunch of different ideas and came up with these gorgeous tacos!
We started out by marinating mahi-mahi with tequila, lime juice, garlic, red onion, and cumin. Yum, yum, yum! We chose mahi-mahi because it is a mild white fish that will take on a marinade and stand up to searing.
We wanted a good sear on the outside, so we sauteed it at high heat for a short time, let it rest, and then flaked it into big pieces with forks.
We also wanted to make our own condiments, and came up with a lime and crema (Mexican sour cream with tons of flavor) coleslaw and a chipotle mayo, along with avocado, pickled onions, cotija cheese, and cilantro (or parsley for me).
I grew a monster dill plant - I'm talking like 3 feet tall with stems as thick as pencils. So I went to Melissa and begged her to help me use up a ton of dill. We brainstormed for a bit and came up with this salmon recipe. I mean, what goes better with dill than salmon?
This recipe couldn't be easier - pour melted butter over a flank (or filet) of salmon, spread on minced garlic, top with dill, lemon slices, salt, and pepper. Then just pop into the oven for 10 minutes, for a regular sized fish. I picked up salmon from my favorite fish shop (MediterraFish at Mosaic, if you are a local), because their Norwegian salmon is healthy, sustainable, fatty, and HUGE. Like really, really thick. So it was more of a 15 minute fish (though I cut off a piece for me a bit early because I like my salmon medium - not quite opaque in the center, but still able to flake).
The house smelled Ah. Maze. Ing. while this was cooking, and just a few ingredients imparted a lot of flavor. It would have been just fine on it's own, but we also made a sauce with sour cream, horseradish, lemon, shallot, and dill that took it to the next level. So good, simple, and summery - get on it, people, and make this! Stay tuned for the side dish recipe - Greek style zucchini salad.
It's time for another collaboration with Smells Like Brownies (although we actually made this back in June, oops!) - not vegetarian this time, but rather pescetarian. A hearty tomato based broth filled with all kinds of seafood - Cioppino. Melissa actually chose this dish for her blogging group, the Secret Recipe Club. For more info on that, check out her post here.
Making the broth takes up the most time in this recipe, but you want to let it simmer and develop deep flavor, so it's worth it. Olive oil, garlic, shallot, oregano, and a bay leaf go in first; followed by bell pepper, tomato paste, and red wine. Oh yeah, and red pepper flakes - watch it here, this is where you determine your spice level. Next comes canned tomatoes in their juices, clam juice, lemon juice, and veggie broth (not stock). Let it do it's thing for 30 minutes before adding in some mussels.
I meant it when I said this soup was full of all kinds of seafood. While the mussels simmer away; prep the rest of the seafood - scallops, red snapper (or something similar, like halibut), and shrimp. Who knew a bunch of raw seafood could look so pretty?
After the rest of the seafood is cooked through, top with fresh basil and parsley and dig in. Serve with some crusty bread for dipping and eat right away! This Italian stew is perfect for any time of year - hearty and warming, but not heavy - so enjoy!
In the ever continuing quest to eat less grains, I decided that I wanted to see how lentils paired with salmon. I found a couple recipes that I liked and combined them into one that worked for me. The lentils are cooked up nice and tender with veggies, and then mixed with the same mustard and herb butter that tops the salmon. This butter, you guys, it's outstanding. I had a little bit left over and I spread it over toasted sourdough and savored every bite with eye-rolling pleasure. I want to make more of the butter just to do that again. This meal is so healthy and so yummy that I can't stand it.
1⁄2 pound French green lentils
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 leek, white and light green parts only, sliced into half moons and thoroughly washed
few sprigs fresh thyme
2 tsp kosher salt
3⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp minced fresh garlic (2-3 cloves)
4 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 1⁄2 cups Chicken Stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp good red wine vinegar
4 (8-oz) center-cut salmon fillets, skin on
2 tbsp butter
5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp chopped chives
2 tsp grainy mustard
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Place the lentils in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 15 minutes, then drain.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saute pan, add the onions, leeks, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the drained lentils, celery, carrots, chicken stock, tomato paste, and bay leaf. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Remove the thyme stems and bay leaf, add the vinegar, and season to taste.
Stir together the softened butter, chives, grainy mustard, and lemon juice with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add 3 tbsp of the butter mixture to the lentils and stir to combine.
Pat salmon dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then sauté salmon, turning once, until golden and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes total.
Serve salmon, topped with remaining 2 tbsp mustard-herb butter, over lentils.
I don't really know what to say about this place. The reviews were all great, and my husband really liked it, but I wasn't impressed.
We tried plenty of sushi, as you can see, and I thought it was just average (especially for the price). Taro and Kushi are way better in my opinion.
I was more impressed with this creamy lobster and scallop dish, but not enough to make me come back.
There was nothing really wrong with any of it, but it didn't stand up to my expectations. My husband might disagree, but I found it to be overpriced for average sushi. The pear martini, however, was delicious.
Now that Hurricane Sandy has passed us without incident, I can catch up on posting! Thanks to everyone for praying and thinking about us out here on the East Coast.
I have been trying to expand my repertoire of fish dishes beyond just salmon and discovered a really easy way to cook halibut. Wrapping it in parchment paper with with various other ingredients and baking it leaves it moist, flaky, and flavorful. Plus the presentation is really cool!
One combination that I really liked was lemon, cherry tomatoes, artichokes, olive oil, and basil. I made this right at the end of summer with super sweet cherry tomatoes - look at those colors!
I don't normally cook a lot of seafood other than my usual seared salmon, but in the summer I do get cravings for it. The reason is unknown - maybe because it is light and refreshing, maybe because I wish I was at the beach. Either way, I have a couple of light and healthy Summer seafood recipes to share with you.
These shrimp tacos are filled out with a slaw of cabbage, corn, fresh squeezed orange and lime juice, and a dab of sour cream. A great balance between warm tortillas, hot shrimp fresh out of the pan, and cool, crunchy slaw - they are healthy, filling, and super tasty.
This next recipe combines two superfoods into one awesome meal for Salmon Burgers with Tangy Avocado Sauce.
More salmon! I am always questing for tasty salmon recipes so that we will eat more of this super healthy fish (note that it is only super healthy when it is wild caught Pacific/Alaskan; farm raised Atlantic salmon is full of toxins). This recipe makes super tender, super moist salmon that is packed with sweet and salty flavors.