Bob’s Spiced Rubbed Salmon with Cilantro-Lime Butter

February 23, 2011 at 5:41 am | Posted in Seafood | 57 Comments
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I love the results of grilled food, both from our gas and charcoal Webers and think the aroma of a steak or burger wafting from those hot grates is about the best smell ever, but have to admit I’m not a fan of the task of grilling. I’d much rather be in the kitchen chopping, dicing, fussing, sautéing, stirring, simmering, stewing, and braising, or sitting in the shade in my lawn chair with my glass of wine, watching someone grill.

So with all that said, I’m so very excited to announce that we now have a griller in the house. Bob received a certificate to a cooking class from Son Sean and Daughter-in-Law Stacey for Christmas. Sean suggested Bob enroll in the baking class because there would be more “chicks” there, (thanks Son) but after a long study of the lineup,  Bob chose the grilling class. So off he went to Kitchen Table Cooking School over at Landmark last week.  I was stunned with his first solo meal off our home grill, after his class to learn how to cook Spiced Rubbed Salmon With Cilantro-Lime Butter.  Let’s take a look.

First of all, take a look at this impressive and rich-colored blend of spices for the rub.  The aroma was intoxicating.

  • 2 T. Chili Powder
  • 2 T. Paprika
  • 1 T. Smoked Paprika
  • 1 t. Cayenne
  • 2 t. Garlic Powder
  • 1 T. Cumin
  • 2 t. Black Pepper

Place ingredients in a small bowl and blend together.

Pat salmon filets dry, slather in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, sprinkle on rub and rub into salmon.  Grill to desired doneness.

This is a photo after that wonderful Cilantro-Lime Butter oozed itself over and into the salmon. This salmon was perfectly cooked, juicy, tender and crazy with flavor. Hands down some of the best salmon I’ve ever had. An impressive outcome for Bob’s first grilling project, especially since the wind was blowing a gale and it was cold out there and fish can be tricky to start with. 

Let’s take a look at the Cilantro-Lime Butter recipe.

Look at this guy, one class and he’s a better chopper than I’ve ever been.

Cilantro-Lime Butter

  • 4 T. Butter, room temperature
  • 2 T. Cilantro, chopped
  • 2 T. Italian Parsley, chopped
  • 1 T. Honey
  • 1/2 Lime, juiced
  • Salt and pepper

Place ingredients together in a small bowl and mix together.

A delicious meal!

Spiced Rubbed Salmon with Cilantro-Lime Butter…It’s What’s for Dinner.

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Chevre Stuffed Mushrooms Balsamico

February 20, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Posted in Appetizers, Side Dishes | 42 Comments
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Stuffed Mushrooms. Always a wonderful treat and with so many recipe variations, any of these bite size offerings are delicious. We happen to think they make a wonderful side dish for steak and that’s exactly what I served for Sunday dinner. 

I’ve talked ad nauseum about our wonderful local market who spoils us with fine offerings of seafood, the best aged beef in town, deli meats and cheeses, and gourmet take home dinners, my beloved Tony’s Market. Tony’s also spoils us with weekly emails offering a fabulous selection of mouth-watering recipes. Last week this stuffed mushroom recipe arrived and it was quickly added to my menu. It’s wonderful and actually the only stuffed mushroom recipe that I’ve permanently added to my recipe database. 

I served these with Beef Tournedos With Mushroom Wine Sauce and twice baked potatoes. I must say this was a fabulous dinner. The tenderloin was cooked so perfectly, and topped with out of this world red wine reduction sauce, we’ll probably brag about the meal for years. Just one little blogging problem…except for the preparation of the mushrooms, no photos. Not even of the cooked mushrooms. With a meal that special, sometimes you just feel like digging in. 

Let’s at least take a look at the stuffed mushrooms.

As Chef Mick instructed, I simply removed the stems, chopped and sautéed them in olive oil with green onions and then filled the mixture back into the mushrooms. I used crimini instead of white mushrooms because that’s what I had on hand.

I picked up this adorable little tube of very soft goat cheese that I spotted in Tony’s cheese section.

Placed a dollop of the cheese on top of sautéed stems and onions. 

Then topped with a panko mixture. Last week on Food Network, I watched an Ina show where they ground panko bread crumbs before adding to meatloaf. I decided to copy this to make the crumb topping more manageable on the mushrooms, so spooned panko bread crumbs into my little food grinder, added some grated parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning and pulsed a few times to obtain desired smooth consistency. 

These were extremely flavorful. The sautéed stems and onions made for a wonderful base and topped with the salty cheese and Italian toppings the package provided a creamy, savory flavor with a perfect crunchy topping.  And with a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette, these mushrooms are a real treat. Even though I didn’t follow the recipe exactly as written, thanks to Chef Mick for this wonderful and easy recipe. You’ll find his original recipe below.

Chevre Stuffed Mushrooms Balsamico

6-8 large white mushrooms (I used crimini)
1-2 tsp minced shallot (optional) (I used finely chopped green onion)
pinch of fine sea salt
1-2 tsp olive oil and/or butter
Tony’s Balsamic Vinaigrette, as needed
3 TBS Chèvre, plain or flavored (prefer Haystack herb or pepper) (I used goat cheese pictured above)
Tony’s Italian or Parma Panko breadcrumbs, or your favorite (I used plain panko, chopped in a grinder and pulsed with Italian seasoning and Parmesan)
Parmigiano Reggiano, grated (optional)

For service: mixed spring greens – also great with Tony’s Marinara or Vodka Sauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wipe mushrooms clean with a wet towel, remove steps and chop. Combine stems with shallots and a pinch of salt, and then sauté with a scant drizzle of olive oil (or butter) until very soft.

Dip or brush mushroom caps with balsamic vinaigrette. Divide sautéed mushrooms between mushroom caps – do not overfill!

Stuff /top each mushroom with chèvre cheese (the amount you use really depends on the size of the mushrooms). Combine 2 TBS breadcrumbs with 1 TBS finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (if using) and sprinkle over each mushroom. Place on a sheet pan or jelly roll pan and drizzle or mist lightly with olive oil.

Roast on top rack of a preheated 425-degree oven for 5-8 minutes or until sizzling and cheese starts to melt. Broil if additional browning is desired. Serve over greens tossed with Balsamic dressing or with warm sauce. Serves 2

– Chef Mick Rosacci, www.tonysmarket.com   www.TonyRosacciCatering.com

Chevre Stuffed Mushrooms Balsamico…It’s What’s for a Side Dish with Steak.

Zuppa Salsiccia, Italian Sausage Soup

February 16, 2011 at 6:42 am | Posted in Italian, Soup | 39 Comments
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Zuppa Salsiccia simply translates to Sausage Soup, which seems like such a modest description for this incredibly flavorful dish. 

This soup, hands down, is our favorite in my database. I’ve had this recipe for many years and every time we make it we comment about why we don’t have it more often.  Alongside a beautiful green salad dressed with your favorite vinaigrette and a chunk of crusty bread, this is elegant enough to serve as a main course at a dinner party. 

An easy fix, the hardest part is giving up a cup and a half of good drinking red wine to simmer in the broth. The combination of both sweet and hot Italian sausage which has  long simmered in beef stock, red wine and tomatoes, seasoned with green bell pepper, garlic, onion and basil makes for an incredibly flavorful treat. Ladling it over some al dente large shell pasta and topping with it with some shredded Parmesan cheese finishes this delicious soup.  You really must give this one a try. 

Zuppa Salsiccia:

  • 3 links hot Italian Sausage
    3 links sweet Italian Sausage
    1 1/2 cups good quality red wine
    3 cups beef broth
    2 cans stewed tomatoes
    1 onion, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
    1 whole green pepper, chopped
    2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped, plus some for garnish
    2 Tbs dried basil
    3 whole garlic cloves,  minced
    2 Tbs olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
    Large shell pasta, cooked al-la-dente

1. In a deep pan brown sausage thoroughly, remove from pan and drain well. In same pan saute onions, green peppers and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add sausage and red wine and bring to a boil. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for at least one hour.

About 15 minutes before soup is done, cook the pasta according to package instructions, drain and keep warm. In a soup bowl spoon a few pasta shells, pour a generous helping of soup over top.  Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and some parsley for garnish.

Servings: 8

Zuppa Salsiccia…It’s What’s For Dinner.

Zuppa Salsiccia is heading over to paradise for Deb’s Souper Sunday.

And also entering this in: “Come join Soup-a-Palooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by Bush’s Beans, Hip Hostess, Pillsbury and Westminster Crackers

Larry’s Home-made Smoked Salmon Spread

February 10, 2011 at 7:53 am | Posted in Appetizers | 50 Comments
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I’m taking a big risk by publishing this photo. You see, my friend Vickie in Montana is as much of a dishaholic as me and as soon as she lays eyes on this little bowl with that adorable kitten peering over the side she’s going to flat-out sneak into my home and steal it. Well Vickie, be warned, we have a complex security system and two yappy little dogs that can bloody your ankles in a heartbeat. OK good…now that we’ve got that out of the way.

I’ll never purchase commercial smoked salmon spread again…ever. In the past, whenever I was feeling wealthy, I’d pick up a small tub of  Whole Foods Smoked Salmon Spread. Always a treat and an indulgence. But thanks to Larry over at Big Dude’s Eclectic Ramblings, I can have my cake and eat it too with this delicious home-made salmon spread.  It yielded twice the amount for less than half the cost. 

I served this at our Super Bowl Party and upon first bite my friend Cauleen exclaimed, “This is delicious…is it Ina’s recipe?”  I simply replied, “Actually no, it’s Larry’s“.  In a blink of an eye, and no questions asked, Larry became one of those famous chef’s that are referred to on first name basis.  Well, at least famous in our house…and on that day…and for probably 8 seconds.  Let’s take a look.

With softened cream cheese, this comes together in a jif. And everyone who tried it at our party, took the time to comment on how good it was. Although Larry smoked his own salmon for this recipe, I just picked up a package of smoked salmon at the grocery store. Can you imagine how good it would be if you took the time to smoke your own?

Larry’s Smoked Salmon Spread:

8 oz smoked salmon
8 oz softened cream cheese
8 oz sour cream
2 tbsp finely diced onion
1 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
4 tbsp roughly chopped capers, drained but unrinsed
1 1/2 – 2 tsp dried dill weed

Mix all together, let set over night and adjust for flavor 

I didn’t adjust much at all. Thanks to Larry for this great recipe.

Larry’s Home-made Smoked Salmon Spread…It’s What’s For A Party!

Linda’s Moist and Delicious Corn Bread

February 8, 2011 at 8:08 am | Posted in Bread | 45 Comments
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When I was growing up, my father’s signature dish was his Chili Soup. On cold dark windy evenings in the middle of Kansas he would combine fried hamburger meat and chopped onion, pinto beans, tomatoes and seasonings of cumin, chili powder and oregano into a delicious bowl of soup. Simply topped with hand-crushed saltine crackers, it was certainly a treat.

Over the years I’ve enjoyed it with flour tortillas, corn tortilla chips, topped with cheese, sour cream or chopped green onions, even chocolate shavings and more recently served with corn bread. Chili seems to be a welcome canvas for so many toppings but to this day my favorite way to eat it is with crushed saltines or corn tortilla chips. How do you take your Chili Soup?

My love affair with corn bread got off to a very long, dry, grainy, stick in the throat start. Jiffy, Marie Calendar’s, and even homemade found me wondering what the attraction was. I’m very well aware that any of my friends that are from Texas, live in Texas, or even are married to a Texan wouldn’t hear of having a bowl of  chili soup without it, so started my search for a good corn bread recipe.

One day, out of the blue,  my good friend Linda, who is married to David from Texas, unwittingly brought over a pan of the most delicious and moist cornbread that I have ever tasted. I was an instant fan and finally understood what all the fuss was about. I’ve made her recipe several times and served it this past Sunday with my big pot of chili for our Superbowl Party. Let’s take a look.

Linda and Z

Linda’s Corn Bread

1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs — beaten
1 cup buttermilk
3 Tbs canola oil
1 can corn — drained
1 cup shredded cheese — mexican mix
3 Tbs pickled jalapenos — diced

1. Preheat oven to 375. Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and oil. Gently fold the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until a batter is formed. Fold in the corn, cheese, and pickled jalapenos.

2. Pour batter into a lightly greased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the crust is light-brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the heat and let cool a few minutes.

Servings: 12

I’ve had several of you ask me what the “Z” stands for in the title of my blog. Zia is our little Yorkie, whose name, soon after joining our family, was abbreviated to simply Z.  Zia hails from New Mexico, and as her sun symbol name implies, is a ray of sunshine in our life. This photo is Linda holding puppy Zia the day LeRoy delivered all 2 pounds of her to Colorado.

Linda’s Corn Bread…It’s What to Serve with Chili.

Delicious and Easy; Chipotle Chicken Soup

February 3, 2011 at 8:40 am | Posted in Soup | 55 Comments
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Chipotle Chicken Soup.  It’s one of our favorite easy weeknight fixes. It comes together in about 30 minutes and brings a wonderful combination of textures and flavors with it. 

But before we get to the soup I want you to take a look at those little tubes of crispy sour cream filled tortilla rounds resting on the rim of the soup plate. Well, one.  The other decided to slide down into the soup for a swim before I could get a photo…there’s always one in every crowd.  

This recipe comes from a Better Homes and Gardens Easy Soups and Stews cookbook that I’ve had for umpteen years. 

I’ve made this Chipotle Chicken Soup a million times and never paid much attention to the little side addition of these tortilla tubes. If you look closely you can see one sitting unassumably in the bottom right corner of their photo. And before we go any further, no, I would never write in the autographed copy of my Rick Bayless cookbook.  Let’s take a look at these little rollups.

Just take  flour tortillas and cut them in 4ths. I used a sun-dried tomato flavored tortillas.  Place them on a paper towel and microwave for 15 – 20 seconds to soften.

Brush each side with olive oil.

Roll them up and secure with a toothpick to hold them open. Bake at 350 degrees for about eight minutes. 

Cool slightly and fill with sour cream. I filled these with sour cream to which I had added some drained Rotel tomatoes and chopped cilantro. Warm, chewy and a wonderfully unique compliment to the Mexican-style soup.

OK…are you thinkin’ the same thing I’m thinkin’? The filling possibilities seem endless. These little baked tubes would be a welcoming vessel for so many cheese appetizer ideas. 

Chipotle Chicken Soup

  • 3 14-ounce cans chicken broth (I used Better Than Boullion)
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce cut into slivers (I removed seeds and veins)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of the adobo sauce
  • 1 spinach, tomato or plain flour tortilla, quartered
  • 2 t. olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 12 ounces total)
  • 1/2 t. ground cumin
  • 2 t. olive oil
  • 1 small avocado, halved, peeled and sliced
  • 1 14-ounce can white or yellow hominy drained
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro for sprinkling

In a saucepan, combine chicken broth and chipotle pepper and sauce. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for ten minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the tortilla tubes as shown above.

Rub both sides of chicken breasts with cumin. In a large skillet cook chicken in 2 t. hot olive oil over medium high for 10 – 12 minutes, or until chicken breast is no longer pink. 

To serve, place one cooked chicken breast half in each of four warmed soup bowls. Add avocado and hominy to each bowl. Pour simmering broth into each bowl.  Sprinkle with cilantro.

Note:  I’ve served the chicken breast whole, but prefer to cube or shred the chicken. Either way, this soup is delicious.

Chipotle Chicken Soup…It’s What’s For Dinner.

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