Archive for May, 2008

One-Pot Salmon with Snap Peas and Rice

 

Salmon is one of my favorite fishes (see blog banner…) so I’m always looking for new ways to make it. And with my time constraints holding down a full-time and part-time job, dinner needs to be quick lately – anything that says “one-pot” gets my attention. So when the new issue of Real Simple arrived, this recipe was on my to-do list.

This recipe called for steaming the salmon with the rice. The salmon came out very nice – tender and flaky. The sauce that topped the dish was equally delicious. I’d consider making the sauce as a marinade for the salmon and even grilling it. Overall, a good dish – tasty, quick, and healthy. The only modification I made was using brown rice instead of white. And I wished I had cut the scallions smaller and used less as they were slightly overpowering.

Overall rating – 3.5 stars

 One-Pot Salmon with Snap Peas and Rice

 
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 pound salmon fillet, skin removed
Kosher salt and pepper
4 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
4 scallions, trimmed and sliced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

Mix the rice and 2 1/3 cups water in a medium skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. 

 

Slice the salmon on a diagonal into four 3/4-inch-thick pieces. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place on top of the partially cooked rice. Cover and cook 7 minutes.Scatter the peas over the salmon and rice. Cover and cook until the rice and peas are tender and the salmon is opaque and beginning to flake, 3 to 5 minutes.

Mix the soy sauce, scallions, vinegar, ginger, and sugar in a small bowl. Spoon the sauce over the salmon, rice, and peas and serve.

 
 Yield:  Makes 4 servings   

CALORIES 418 (19% from fat); FAT 9g (sat 1g); SUGAR 5g; PROTEIN 32g; CHOLESTEROL 72mg; SODIUM 706mg; FIBER 2g; CARBOHYDRATE 49g  
 
 Real Simple, JUNE 2008

 

 

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The Flakey Tart, Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Moving down to Monmouth County a couple of years ago has proved a culinary challenge to some degree. Sure, I’ve found some great restaurants in the area and recently found a good pizza place (Denino’s in Aberdeen). But there have been some areas where it’s been lacking. And bakeries were no exception. I’ve tried a few in the area and they were all terrible. Growing up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, I was spoiled by Saraceno’s Italian Bakery. I can still remember going there after church on Sunday at St. Anthony’s and getting a cream puff or chocolate eclair. But alas…even Saraceno’s isn’t the same anymore….

But then I started hearing all this buzz over on the boards at Chowhound…. Everyone was talking about a little bakery, not far from my home (7.4 miles to be exact, 12 minutes) in Atlantic Highlands. So Mother’s Day was coming up and I needed something for mom. Years ago, while in college, I started a tradition for Mother’s Day by giving her a baby cake from Cafe Beethoven in Chatham, NJ. I continued this tradition while I lived in the area for several years but when I moved down to Monmouth County, that tradition faded due to the lack of bakery. So I figured The Flakey Tart would definitely have something for her. And I was right.

As I stepped into the tiny bakery, my heart started to pitter patter. Trays and shelves full of brownies, croissants, scones, cakes and other beautiful pastries. Now reading all the buzz over at Chowhound, I was looking for a few things in particular. First things first though, something for mom. And there it was, a lovely baby carrot cake. I’ll take it. And then the fat girl in me came out. I then got started on those buzz-worthy items from my fellow chowhounds – the mac ‘n’ cheese, pan au chocolat,  and a ham and Gruyere croissant. Then I tried a few other items – a maple-walnut scone, a spinach-bacon frittata, and a little cinnamon-cream cheese muffin with “Monkey” in the name I think?? And not all in the shop people, please! I took it home and pigged out! 

I was having heart palpitations as I drove home with those pastry boxes next to me. Oh dear God, please just let me make it home before I tear into these I thought. As soon as I got home, before I touched one heavenly morsel, I paused and remembered you my dear readers and whipped out the camera.

Everything was out of this world. I closed my eyes with each taste and wondered why I hadn’t taken the 7 mile ride down there before. The mac “n” cheese were made with a combo of cheeses and a delicate topping. It was gooey and cheesy and sinful. The frittata was bursting with flavors of smoky bacon, spinach, and some other vegetables that have escaped me. The maple-walnut scone, covered with a light layer of sweet glaze, was moist, light, and delicious. The ham-gruyere croissant was fabulous with the ham and cheese baked right into the croissant. A few seconds in the microwave to warm the ham and melt the cheese. Perfection. The monkey muffin was a little tart with a sweet, danish-like flavor that was great. And last but not least, my favorite, the pan au chocolat, a flaky, delicate croissant with just the right amount of chocolate. To die for. The next day, my family enjoyed the moist, spicy carrot cake with a light, sweet cream cheese frosting with crushed walnuts on the rim of the cake.

The Flakey Tart has found a place in my heart. I am thrilled to have found some an incredible bakery where it’s obvious that the owners care about the quality of the product. I urge you to take a trip out there and give it a try. In fact, if you are a visitor to the Jersey shore and have to head down Route 36 to hit up Sandy Hook or any of those locations in the vicinity, the Flakey Tart is on your way there! A few minutes right off of Route 36 at 145 First Ave., Atlantic Highlands, NJ.

I know I’ll be making the trek many, many times in the near future….

 

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Mojo Pork Chops…Yeah baby!

When I read the name of this recipe I had to giggle. All I could think of was my favorite shagadelic Brit, Austin Powers, “yeah baby!” Remember? Austin Powers lost his “mojo…” hehe….

Anyways….I love me some Cuban food. Give me a Cubano sandwich any day and I’m a happy girl. However, I’ve never really made any Cuban food. Don’t know why since I enjoy it so much… But when I saw this awesome recipe in my weekly newsletter from Serious Eats I had to make it. That pic looked so appetizing (unlike most of mine…sigh…). It’s a very quick marinade that is also used as a sauce once the pork chops are done. The flavors were fresh and delicious and I’m sure this would have tasted even better if I had grilled the pork chops. I can see myself using this Mojo Sauce for chicken, seafood, even vegetables. I seriously wanted to drink it, it was so good. Call me silly, but what I also really liked about the Mojo Sauce was the color. It was creamy and slightly lime green and looked fabulous on top of the pork chops. I served this with some roasted red potatoes topped with the Mojo Sauce.

Overall rating – 5 stars

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2008/04/grilled-pork-chops-marinated-in-mojo-recipe.html

Grilled Pork Chops Marinated in Mojo

– serves 2 –
Adapted from Our Latin Table

Ingredients

2 thick-cut pork chops, preferable bone-in, about 1 pound total
5 cloves garlic
5 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 juicing orange
Juice of 2 limes
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 T dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

1.In a small food processor or blender, puree the garlic, oregano, olive oil, lime juice, cumin, pinch of salt and pepper, and all but 1/4 cup of the orange juice. Adjust the seasoning if necessary, and reserve a couple tablespoons of the mojo sauce (for spreading on the chops post-cooking).

2.In a non-reactive bowl, whisk the mojo sauce with the remaining orange juice. Add the pork chops, cover with plastic, and marinate in the liquid for as long as you can bear, at least 20 minutes, even better, two hours. Turn occasionally.

3.Heat a cast iron skillet with a film of oil, or a grill pan, until very hot. Cook the chops to desired doneness, 5-7 minutes per side for medium.

4.Spoon reserved mojo over the chops and serve.

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Share Your Discovery Contest at Chow.com

So one of my favorite foodie websites, Chow, is having a little contest, “Share Your Discovery.” Here’s the premise from Chow’s site:

“What’s your single favorite food discovery in your city? It could be the peaches at a particular farmer’s market vendor or the lamb served at your favorite Middle Eastern restaurant. Tell us how you found it, why you love it, and why other people should check it out.”

 I’ve written up a little piece on one of my favorite dishes from one of my favorite restaurants that I’ve reviewed here twice already, Trinity Restaurant in Keyport, NJ. It’s a little bowl of heaven called Catalan-Style Clams. Now the contest is unclear if votes from readers count or not, but if you go over there and vote, maybe it will help me 🙂 As I write this post, I’ve watched one entry, jump over 200 votes. It could be the writer themselves doing it because the two votes I have so far, are mine (ssshhhh!). But here’s the link:

Catalan-Style Clams, Trinity Restaurant, Keyport, NJ

Thanks for checking it out!

Dani

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Pesto Shrimp Pasta

Did you ever buy something at the grocery store with the intentions to use it for a recipe and then completely forget what recipe it was for? This happens quite often to me and the latest instance was a bunch of basil. I can’t remember what I was going to make with it, but it was approaching a week old and I knew I needed to use it. Since I am sooooooo creative, I decided on pesto. Pesto with what though? I knew I needed it to be something quick as I had a softball game that night (oh, the bruise I have from that game from diving head first back to first base…) and I knew I’d probably want to carb up afterwards. But pesto and pasta, just too simple. Give me something else.

So I made my way to the grocery store and hit up the seafood counter. The colossal shrimp were looking lovely so I grabbed a pound of those. But still needed something else. I started scouting the produce and ended up with some shallots, grape tomatoes, and zucchini. Ok…this might work…

The pesto recipe I used was Giada DeLaurentis’ recipe that I’ve posted here before. It’s quick and simple and delicious. I used whole wheat linguine and threw the rest together for a fast, yummy, healthy meal.

Overall rating – 5 stars

Pesto Shrimp Pasta

Giada DeLaurentis Basil Pesto

 1/2 pound whole wheat linguine

1 pound colossal shrimp, cleaned

3/4 c grape tomatoes, cut in half

2 shallots, diced fine

2 small zucchini, diced

olive oil

Prepare Basil Pesto, set aside. Meanwhile, bring water to a boil and cook pasta accordingly. Coat pan with 1-2T of olive oil, add zucchini and shallots over medium high heat until slightly caramelized. Add shrimp and tomatoes and more olive oil if necessary. Cook several minutes until shrimp are cooked through and turn pink. Using a large bowl, combine pasta, pesto, and shrimp and vegetables and gently toss to combine and serve.

Servings 3-4

 

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Nutty Sweet Potato Soup

This soup looks lovely doesn’t it? The bright, vibrant colors combined with the interesting and healthy ingredients should turn out a winner, right? Wrong…just so wrong. This soup was terrible, I could only slurp down a few spoonfuls, each time hoping it would get better and it never did. The recipe came from my new Ellie Krieger cookbook I’ve been using maybe too much lately and described it as an African-type soup. I’m a big fan of African cuisine and the flavors seemed intriguing but it just didn’t taste good at all to me.

Now I made this a couple of weeks ago and I never put my finger on why it just didn’t work for me. But after watching this week’s episode of Top Chef, it hit me. One of the chefs in the bottom three for the elimination challenge made a dish with peanut butter and tomatoes, and while I know that this is a base for some African cooking, I think I’ll agree with Tom Colicchio (my Peterstown buddy) on this one. It just doesn’t taste right together (for me). And I think that’s where this soup went wrong. I really wanted to like this one too….

Overall rating – 1 star

Ellie Krieger’s Nutty Sweet Potato Soup

60 Minutes to Prepare and Cook

1 tablespoon canola oil1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (2 cups)
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt added diced tomatoes, with their juices
2/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup chopped scallion greens (about 3 scallions)

Directions

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over a medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell pepper and carrots and cook, stirring until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the cayenne, black pepper, garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the sweet potato, broth, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
*Puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender or in a regular blender in 2 batches and return the soup to the pot. Add the peanut butter and honey and stir, over low heat, until the peanut butter melts. Serve warm, garnished with the scallions.
*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.
Servings: 6Number of Servings: 6Recipe submitted by SparkPeople user SLBBW66.
Number of Servings: 6 http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=224436

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