Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Broiled Salmon

This was the best salmon I ever made! I've mentioned in some previous seafood posts that cooking fish is not my forte, but I'm making a concerted effort to learn.  I think I might be on to something with this salmon preparation.  I would even serve this to guests!

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Broiled Salmon
1 large fillet (about 2 pounds)
3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of garlic-butter zip sauce (the same garlic-butter in the pan-seared ribeye recipe)
zest from 1/2 lemon
cracked pepper

1) Unwrap freshly bought fish and place skin side down on a cutting board. Take a damp cloth and dab the top of the salmon to clean (as opposed to rinsing the fillet under water). Pat dry with paper towel, sprinkle lightly with salt, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and place the fillet in the refrigerator.  Leave the salmon in the refrigerator until about 45 minutes before you are ready for dinner. Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and set on the counter leaving the plastic wrap in place.

2) While the salmon is in the refrigerator make the garlic-butter zip sauce (unless you have some left over from the pan-seared ribeye like I did).

For the garlic-butter zip sauce

3/4 stick butter softened 
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 handful of parsley leaves, minced

--Mix all of the ingredients until smooth and blended.
--Place butter mixture on a sheet of cellophane and roll into a 1 inch roll.  Place in the refrigerator to chill.

3) About 30 minutes before you are ready to eat. Remove the plastic wrap.  Using a small amount of olive oil rub down the entire fillet taking the opportunity to gently feel for any remaining bones.  If you find any tweeze them out at this time.

4) Place the fillet on a lightly oiled pan.  Thinly "frost" the top of the salmon with 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise. Cut 3 medallions from the garlic-butter log. Cut each medallion into 6 small pieces and scatter all the little butter pieces on top of the mayonnaise. Finish the salmon preparation with fresh cracked pepper and lemon zest (using a microplane makes this step easy).

5) Set your oven to broil, place the salmon 4 inches below the heat element and broil for approximately 8 to 12 minutes.  Stay close and check often - if anything you want your fish underdone rather than over done.  You know it's done when it's lightly browned and bubbly.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Roasted Asparagus

I love roasted vegetables:  roasted potatoes, carrots, (or any root vegetable for that matter - as in my roasted vegetable salad), peppers, and onions, to name a few. However, roasted asparagus is my absolute favorite.  They are quick and easy enough to make for a week night dinner, and elegant enough to serve to guests.  This time of year you can find tender thin asparagus spears, but sometimes they can be rather large - and tough.  I don't remember where I picked up the trick of running a potato peeler over large asparagus stalks, probably a food network show, but it's a great way to make the spear even more tender.

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Roasted Asparagus
1 bunch of asparagus
1 tablespoon of olive oil
granulated garlic
fresh cracked pepper
kosher salt

1) Wash the asparagus, and cut 1 1/2 to 2 inches off the woody ends. Take a potato peeler to the bottom third of the spear peeling of the the top layer of outer "skin."

2) Place spears in a roasting pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over the spears.  Using your hands lightly toss the asparagus until they are evenly coated with oil.

3) Sprinkle with cracked pepper and kosher salt, and place in a preheated 350 degree toaster oven. (For a regular oven you may need to preheat the to 400 degrees).  Roast until desired doneness - about 12 minutes.  (I like mine with a little crunch).

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lemon Vinaigrette

If you are trying to reduce the amount of your sugar intake in your daily diet be sure to check the ingredient list of your salad dressing. I've read the back of a few bottles of dressing, and not recognized an ingredient or two. Now, I'm on a quest to make tasty, good-for-you salad dressings with fresh ingredients.  Most of my favorite homemade dressings (that are blog worthy) are listed in the salad category. This lemon vinaigrette is now my favorite basic salad dressing. I like to make a big batch of this lemon vinaigrette because it lasts for at least a couple of weeks in the refrigerator, and it's easy to add other spice blends to a small amount of the dressing to make quick and easy variations (for instance, Greek and Italian spice blends).

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Lemon Vinaigrette
Enough lemons to yield 1/2 cup of lemon juice (2 large juicy ones did the trick for me)
2 medium shallots, minced
1 handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 1/2 cups of quality extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons of low acid rice vinegar

1) Squeeze fresh lemons until you get 1/2 cup.

2) Mince the shallot - I probably could have chopped mine finer, but I was hungry.

3) Mince the parsley.

4) Put it all together in a bowl: oil, lemon juice, parsley, shallots, and rice vinegar.  Stir until thickened and salt and pepper to taste.

5). Be sure to use quality olive oil.  A friend gave me a bottle of Bariani Olive Oil as a gift and I'm hooked.

NOTE: you can easily adjust the amount you make by basically keeping a 3 to 1 ratio of the oil and acid.  For example:  3/4 cups of olive oil and 1/4 cup lemon juice.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pan Seared Ribeye with Garlic-Butter Zip Sauce

The first time I ever had "zip" sauce on my steak was at a restaurant in Ferndale, MI called Como's.  I had no idea what zip sauce was, and I was a bit nervous about having something on top of my steak besides salt.  I really just like the taste of the meat itself and I rarely like marinated meat.  My husband convinced me that I would like it.  When I got my steak I saw this melted substance on top, dipped my finger in it and realized that it was just butter. Hmm, good, I liked it.  The next time I had butter on my steak was several years later when I made food network magazine's Steakhouse Supper.  We liked it but we thought we would omit the tarragon next time.  Since this steak was going to be for Chuck's birthday dinner I decided to make a simple zip sauce including only herbs that I know we like.  I knew I was going to pan sear the steak but I wasn't sure if I should put a simple rub on on the steaks and refrigerate them, or just sprinkle with spices and go for it.  After all, I put rub on prime rib and leave it in the refrigerator for a couple of days. I could have sworn I read something about salting red meat, but when I looked in The Best Meat Recipes: From the Editors of Cook's Illustrated but I couldn't find anything.  Then I googled "salting beef before cooking," and found this post from Steamy Kitchen. Alas, I found my answer AND confirmed my thoughts on zip sauce.  Thanks Steamy Kitchen!

UPDATE 5/30/13: I've since learned you don't need to salt this cut of meat because it has such great marbling. Meaning, that all the fat keeps the meat moist and flavorful as it is cooking and it is a tender cut of meat already. However, I do still salt the meat and follow the process outlined below.

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Pan Seared Ribeye with Garlic-Butter Zip Sauce

For the Garlic-Butter Zip Sauce
3/4 stick butter softened (I just didn't want too much left over)
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 handful of parsley leaves, minced

1) Mix all of the ingredients until smooth and blended.

2) Place butter mixture on a sheet of cellophane and roll into a 1 inch roll.  Place in the refrigerator to chill.

For the Ribeye
1 inch thick ribeyes
Kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper
granulated garlic

1) For every inch of steak leave the steak out at room temperature salted liberally, both sides, with kosher salt.  

2) Pre heat frying pan on a medium heat. Rinse and thoroughly pat dry the steaks with paper towels  which is important to get a good sear.  Sprinkle one side of steaks with cracked pepper and granulated garlic.

3)  Place the steak spiced side down in the pan. Sprinkle other side with more pepper and garlic. Sear side one for 5 minutes.  Flip steaks and sear the second side for another 5 minutes.

5) Remove from pan and place on a cutting board, top with a tablespoon sized pat of garlic butter, cover with tin foil and let rest for a few minutes.  Note: Goes great with Steakhouse Baked Potato

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Steakhouse Baked Potato

My husband celebrated a birthday this week.  When I asked him what he would like for his birthday dinner he said, "steak, baked potato, and homemade ice cream."  That's my man.  I said, "ok but we are going on a diet starting Monday - no, really, seriously."  You may notice that the blog posts for the next few months may be very different from the last few months. It's time to shed some lbs (pronounced "L - Bees").  No more winter sweaters to hide under - I think I've gained 10 lbs since I've moved to Colorado 6 months ago, and that's on top of the 35 pounds I've gained over the last 10 years.  Yikes!  Stupid Scale! I guess this is all part of my foodie journey.  Spring is around the corner. I'm starting to see cute warm-weather clothes taunting me in store windows.  Not only that, I have my 10th wedding anniversary coming up in June, and we will be going to Miami where we met and fell in love (awwwww).  It would be nice to kinda, sorta, look like I did back then, albeit a little older and a lot wiser.  Anyway, this baked potato recipe is something that my husband actually taught me how to make while we were dating.  This is still the best baked potato I've ever tasted.  The crispy goodness of the potato skin makes it like having two different potatoes in one: the yummy goodness of the fleshy interior mixed with butter AND crispy potato skins.

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Steakhouse Baked Potato
1 per person - medium to large Idaho Russet potatoes (or your favorite baking potato)
olive oil
kosher salt (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Wash/scrub potatoes and dry with paper towel.

2) Pour a tablespoon of olive oil in the palm of your hand and coat potato.  Repeat this step for every potato. Optional: using your hands add kosher salt to the "jackets."

3) Do not cover these potatoes with tin foil.  Instead place them directly on a flat sheet of tin foil in the oven for two hours, flipping the potato over after an hour.

4) After two hours remove from the oven and slice open right away to let the steam out so that it doesn't steam the skin soft again.  (After all that is why we bake it without wrapping them in tin foil).

Personally, I like to scoop out all of the potato and add butter to the two crispy potato skins and the potato itself and eat that separately - but that's just me.  I could eat this potato as a meal in and of itself, but it sure goes great with steak.


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