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.
I've had to pause my Try The World subscription, because I have been so slow to go through the boxes, plan a meal/blog post, make it, and write it up. Oops! So I've made a goal for 2017 (I don't like the word "resolution") to work on 1 Try The World post per month. This month I made tapas with the Spain Box! So much food!!!
The Spain Box came with El Navarrico salsa tumaca con ajo (tomato sauce with garlic); El Avión paprika; Oleum Hispania extra-virgin olive oil; and Espinaler canned white tuna - all of which were used to make the tapas.
It also contained P. listo jasmine floral jam; Ines Rosales cortadillo citrus crumble cakes; and El Almendro turrón (almond candy).
It's time for April's Secret Recipe Club reveal! I was assigned Morsels of Life. The author is an engineer, and brings her desire for efficiency to her blog. She doesn't like to use any crazy complex methods, and is loose with measurements. She writes, "Generally, if you like something, use more; if you dislike something, use less, substitute something else, or just eliminate it altogether. You’ll probably be fine." I love that. Often when I'm writing recipes, and have to try and figure out how much of something I used, I just want to write - use your best judgement. She also has pretty extensive privacy and disclosure information on her blog, which I think is admirable.
CJ's blog has a lot of Asian influence, and I really like the look of this Pork Meatball Ramen, as well as this Cha Shao Chinese BBQ Pork. For sweets, I was drawn to Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes, and Spiced Date Ice Cream (made with cashew milk!). But I ended up running out of time before leaving on a last-minute trip; so when I saw this Seared Salmon with Lemon Herb Butter and Pasta, and realized that I already had all the ingredients for it - I knew that's what I needed to make!
This was incredibly easy to make - just toss hot pasta with lemon herb compound butter, spinach, and Parmesan, then top with seared salmon and more compound butter. I used frozen Alaskan salmon, frozen spinach, and store-bought garlic butter spread (I added lemon juice and zest to it) - so this was really quick and easy. Plus (with the salmon, spinach, and protein-plus pasta), it was really healthy!
Earlier in the month, I helped Melissa of Smells Like Brownies with her Secret Recipe Club recipe - Prosecco Poached Salmon. (My October SRC post is here.) It was so delicate, creamy, and yummy that I wanted to make sure to share it with my readers as well!
First, make sure that you are using good quality salmon. I refuse to eat farmed Atlantic salmon, and wild caught Alaskan can be expensive. So I usually opt for the farmed Norwegian or Icelandic, which never fails to be thick and fatty - yum.
First you will cook shallots in butter, then add Prosecco and thyme to make a poaching broth. Then, you will carefully place the salmon into the broth and spoon hot liquid over the top until cooked to your liking (Melissa and I both prefer medium).
Everyone knows that crab legs go perfectly with drawn (melted) butter, especially if it had lemon and garlic in it. But what do you do if you are craving that combo in a lighter dish? Melissa and I decided to make a quinoa salad incorporating those flavors, along with fresh avocado, to keep things nice and light. Yum.
Step 1 - acquire crab legs. I got a pretty good deal on pre-cooked king crab legs at Costco.
Step 2 - remove crab meat. This was both thrilling and frustrating. I felt compelled to extract every last shred of meat from those suckers - not an easy task, but very rewarding. This will take a while, so start cooking your quinoa in the meantime (Step 1.5? 2.5? I give up). We used a 3:1 mixture of white and black quinoa because we thought it would look pretty (we were right), you can use whatever you like.
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!
This innocent looking container holds a magic ingredient that will take your food to the next level. What is it? Miso butter. Two ingredients - miso and butter - combine to make a perfect substance. So simple, but so good. You could just slap this on some toast and call it a day. But if you want to get a little more creative, I have a bunch of ideas for you.
First up - scallops seared in miso butter. That's it, it's that easy. I served these with my other miso obsession - miso creamed kale.
Next - broiled salmon topped with miso butter, served with miso butter glazed baby carrots and coconut-miso barley.
Moving away from seafood for a bit, I made this coconut chicken recipe and replaced the regular butter with miso butter. It made it so much better than the original, which I was already a fan of. I also used cherry preserves in the sauce because that's what I had, but apricot or peach would work better. I made a side salad with romaine, sliced radishes, blanched green beans, and a carrot-ginger dressing to go with it.
Lastly, we have a stir-fry made with miso butter. Fast, easy, and delicious. The salmon was broiled with a store-bought red miso and yuzu glaze. I'd say it wasn't any better than the salmon topped with the miso butter.
Best of all? All these meals are healthy and low-carb. Most of them are grain-free! What would you do with your miso butter?