Tuesday, February 16, 2010

365 Recipes - #32 - BarbaraQ Salmon Salad

Every year... well due to financial difficulties... excluding this past summer... I have my annual BarbaraQ at my house. I love love love BBQs. The smell of the grill (charcoal of course!) The refreshing ice cold beers, overflow of guests bringing "home made" potato salads... fresh cut grass... the laughs coming from the volleyball court... Oh do I wish it was summer now.

Did you know it's snowing right now? It seems like it's never going to stop...

Oops... And there I go off on a ramble again. Well... Because it was snowing, and because I needed something fresh and light and NOT a winter fating comfort food... and because I was in the mood for BBQ... I decided to recreate the Hulahan's BBQ Salmon Salad.

I'm not really sure what they put in that salad, and it's been a few months since I had one... but this is close, with a twist.

Here is my "BarbaraQ Salmon Salad"

I started with a nice sized piece of Salmon, this piece was enough for 3 people.

I rubbed in some good extra virgin Olive Oil with fresh ground Sea Salt and Pepper.

Then... In the grand tradition of grilling in the winter... I forgoed the wonderful smelling charcoal Weber grill (which by the way currently had a 5" tall snow hat and is buried in up to a foot of snow...) for the George Forman Grill. I have a grill pan for the stove top... but I really wasn't in the mood to light the stove... you know how gas prices go and all... during the winter it is not my favorite bill to pay.

I left the salmon on the grill while I threw together the salad... my "Blood Orange & Granny Smith Apple Salad" is very similar to Hulahan's. It has the oranges, granted mine are "blood red" hehe, and it has nuts, and yes I used almonds in the place of pecans, it has coconut shavings and... well... I opted for thin sliced green apples to give it a crunch in the place of those crunchy chip strip things ( a healthy alternative I felt ) and then I drizzled some ranch all over the top) (Oh and tossed in some other things...)

When I was finished with the salad, the Salmon was ready... It really only takes a few minutes for the salmon to be perfect... and it was... it was nice and flaky and flavorful and... moist... Mmmm.

I placed a nice size strip of the Salmon on my plate with the salad and topped it off with a little bit of BBQ sauce. The BBQ sauce wasn't anything fancy, just "original" flavor I think... But it adds a sweet and tangy zing to the Salmon that I just can't get over.

This dish is light, and yummy, and pack full of flavor... AND it leaves you full but not "STUFFED". I highly recommend giving this a try.


Recipe #32, 333 more to go.


Monday, February 15, 2010

365 Recipes - #31 - Blood Orange and Granny Smith Apple Salad

So I was slacking taking photos tonight... so there are only a few...

This is a very very yummy salad. It's fresh and light and sweet and savory and sour all at the same time!

I sliced up some blood oranges... I picked the blood oranges for color... I never had them before, man they pack some flavor punch ! I love them...

Then I sliced up some small Granny Smith Apples... these added a punch of sour and crunch...

Insert a whole bunch of photos of me chopping up some almonds and a avocado... slicing up some grape tomatoes and white button mushrooms... Then sprinkling coconut shavings all over the salad along with some fresh ranch dressing....


LOOK at those colors !!!! This salad was sooo yummy and crunchy and sweet and sour and savory and light... all at once! I highly recommend it !

And a perfect drink... of course had to be a Sour Apple Smirnoff... you know to keep with the theme of the salad. :-D

The Line Up :
1 Blood Orange
1 Granny Smith Apple
Grape Tomatoes
Chopped Almonds
1 Avocado
Coconut Shavings
Ranch Dressing

Recipe #31, 334 more to go.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Here It Is!

Here it is... my new pride and joy of my kitchen.....


Out of the box...

Oh my... my poor little kitchen counter...


Oh boy, Oh Boy, Oh BOY ! Just you wait and see... just you wait and see....

(obviously pics to come soon... I just have to get it out of the box!)


Conversion Charts Basics

I'm posting this because I know you want to know, because I know I want to know, because somewhere out there someone never knew and now they know.... ok I'm in a crazy mood today, maybe because I might actually buy my very first food processor !!!!! Or maybe because I'm a little nutty... oooo nuts I'm buying nuts today too... Oops I almost went off on another tangent there...

Anyway... I found this information on "KitchenScrapbook" I can't take credit for any of it, because, well, I didn't know most of this information.... I knew the basics like 4quarts = 1gallon... but honestly that is all I remember from grade school home economics class.... :-D

So... Thank You ! Kay from "Kitchen Scrapbook" !

3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon
4 tablespoon = 1/4 cup
5 1/3 tablespoons = 1/3 cup
8 tablespoons = 1/2 cup
16 tablespoons = 1 cup
2 cups = 1 pint
4 cups = 1 quart
16 cups = 1 gallon
4 quarts = 1 gallon

Macaroni 1 cup (3 1/2 oz) uncooked = 2 1/2 cups cooked
Noodles, med 3 cups (4 oz) uncooked = 4 cups cooked
Speghetti 8 oz uncooked = 4 cups cooked
Popcorn 1/3 - 1/2 cup unpopped = 8 cups popped
Rice, long grain 1 cup uncooked = 3 cups cooked
Rice, minute 1 cup uncooked = 2 cups cooked

Bread 1 slice =3/4 cup soft crumbs
= 1/4 cup dry crumbs
Graham crackers 7 squares = 1/2 cup crushed
Ritz crackers 12 crackers = 1/2 cup crushed
Saltines 14 crackers = 1/2 cup crushed

Bananas 1 medium = 1/3 cup mashed
Lemons 1 medium = 3 Tbsp. juice
Limes 1 medium = 2 Tbsp. juice
Oranges 1 medium = 1/4 - 1/3 cup juice

Lettuce 1 head = 5 cups shredded
Carrots 1 pound = 3 cups shredded
Celery 1 rib = 1/2 cup chopped
Corn 1 ear = 2/3 cup kernels
Green pepper 1 large = 1 cup chopped
Mushrooms 1/2 pound = 3 cups sliced
Onions 1 medium = 1/2 cup chopped
Potatoes 3 medium = 2 cups cubed

Almonds 1 pound = 3 cups chopped
Pecan halves 1 pound = 4 1/2 cups chopped
Walnuts 1 pound = 3 3/4 cups chopped

Thursday, February 11, 2010

365 Recipes - #30 - Fresh Motz Grilled Cheese

Fresh Motz and Fresh Basil YUM

In keeping with my last post... here is another twist to an old favorite. The fresh motz. and fresh basil grilled cheese sandwich. I made this a few weeks back to go along with my "HOT" Tomato Soup

It is a great sandwich for dipping or just enjoying on its own.

The Line Up:
Sourdough Sliced Bread
Fresh Basil
Fresh Motz
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Take one slice of bread and cut it in half and lay down slices of the fresh motz...

On top of that lay down some fresh basil... Then place on the top slice of bread...

In a small bowl mix together some EVOO and a dash of pepper and a few good twists of a salt grinder...

Then brush that on to the top piece of bread. Here you can see my old brush... I have since replaced it with a shiny new black one...

Then take the sandwich and place it oil side down on to a grill... leave it there for about 2 minutes... you can then oil the top to prep it for flipping.

Then flip over the sandwich and leave it on the grill for 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve alone or with soup... it's yummy and gooey and it's good for you :-) is it ? probably not... but it will taste like it :-D


Recipe #30, 335 more to go.


365 Recipes - #29 - Pigs in Bacon in a Blanket

Double Wrapped Pigs!

Here is a simple twist to the classic Pigs in a Blanket.... Try adding a layer of bacon! No...not the healthiest choice... not by any means... no not at all... but seriously folks... how many do you eat at a party? 1? 2? 10? HA!

Well, no matter how many you eat, you will FLIP over how these melt in your mouth. I'm not sure but it must have to do with the juices of the bacon... but the "blanket" will just melt in your mouth with every bite...


Start with croissant roll dough. I used the kind that comes in a tube. What I did here, because the triangle shapes don't make good blankets... I cut the dough in to 8 strips and then cut each strip in half.

I took 8 strips of bacon and cut them in half.

Start with the mini dog...

Then wrap it with one 1/2 strip of bacon...

Then wrap once again with one 1/2 strip of dough...

Place them on a non stick baking sheet (us a cooking spray if you need to)

Bake them for... well... I forget ;-D... I just baked them until the dough was golden brown, and the bacon started to brown on the edges...

This only made 16, but you can easily make more just by doubling or tripling the ingredients... I suggest making a lot... they will go fast.

These are totally amazingly yummy, and totally amazingly not good for you, and totally will be spending a week on my hips along side of the Football Cake Bites I made for the Super Bowl Party last Sunday :-D

But they are perfect for parties... give them a try....

Recipe #29, 336 more to go.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Natural Light

Oh natural light how do I love theeeeee.... I would count the ways... if I only had more of you in my kitchen!

(This random thought was brought to you by the snow day...)

Some New Kitchen Tools

I had mentioned the other day that I took a trip to Chef Central.... and here is what I bought... Nothing fancy, just some basic necessities for the kitchen.

Some TINI TINY Ramikins... mostly for photography needs rather then cooking needs :-)

Some random scrapers... these are great on stove top grills, panini makers, etc.

Pizza pan... But I'm sure I can find other uses for it...

I oped for one of these rather then the new fancy design with fewer thicker bristles... I like the old school brushes...

Cooling Racks ! The next rack I need to get is the one that fits in the cookie sheet for dripping icings and stuff.

Some cookie cutters... You can see here the football I used in one of my previous posts... I tried that football helmet shape... but the rice krispie treats looked more like Packman then football helmets :-D

How adorable ?! I needed a small hand whisk for eggs... and thought this guy was just perfect !

And the most expensive item of the night was this microplane zester. At a whopping $15 I think it was a good deal.

Now trust me folks... I could have easily bought the Kitchen Aid Mixer, a professional grade food processor, $500 knife set, at $500 3" thick cutting board... but I restrained myself and my credit cards... for the time being ;-)

Monday, February 8, 2010

365 Recipes - #28 - Football Cake Bites

Eatable Footballs.

Who doesn't want to eat a football right? OK maybe no one would... but I bet you'd change your mind when you have one of these little guys... I came up with these football cake bites as a treat for Superbowl Sunday. My friend Jen hosts this big SB party every year at her apartment. for fun I usually make a HUGE 3D theme cake... But this year I was not inspired by the teams, and to be honest I didn't even know who was playing! Sometimes you just gotta change up things once in a while to keep it interesting... and keep them guessing... :-)

I think they were a hit... Most all were gone by the end of the game.

The Line Up:
Box Cake Mix
1 Can of Butter Cream Icing
Melting Chocolate
Melting White Chocolate

I made the cake the night before so it would be completely cooled and less "moist" then a "fresh out of the oven" cake normally is.

Now Crumble up the cake.... yes we get to play with out food today weeeeeeeeeeeeeee...

Once the entire sheet cake is crumbled up....

Put it in a bowl if you have not done so already, ;-)

Then mix in the icing... You'll want to use your fingers here... or maybe a pastry blender... but I think i twill be easier to just dig in and use your hands...

Keeping it as fluffy as possible get it all mixed in well and good...

Then form the cake in to little footballs. Once they are all formed you'll want to chill them so they stiffen up a bit. A hint to remember here for size... is to think about eating it yourself... as one bite... you do not want them to be massive, but you definitely do not want to be standing there decorating hundreds of them if you make them too small... So keep them to one to 1.5 bites big. this will keep them coming back for more !

While they footballs are "stiffening up" I melted some chocolate chips in the microwave... BLASPHEMY! I'm sure some of you are thinking... why in the microwave?!??! Because I don't have a double boiler and I needed to melt them quick. If you do it this way you have to watch them or you will burn the chocolate really easily ! Trust me, I did.

I then coated each and every foot ball by hand...(I'm guessing there were a few dozen (give or take a dozen) I now melted the white chocolate and poured it in to a decorating tube. Do not put them in the fridge... I found that keeping the chocolate at "room" temp as apposed to fridge cold will allow the white chocolate to bond to the chocolate better with out popping right off when hardened.

Then the fun(?) part started... Do you know how strong you have to be to decorate almost 4 dozen miniature footballs??? VERY ! By the time I finished them I literally could not let go of the icing decorating tube. My fingers were locked around the tube for life HA !

After I peeled my fingers away from the tube I tossed the chocolates into the fridge to set.

Oh my Oh my... these little footballs are soooo divine... so rich... so melty in your mouth... so going to live on my hips and butt for the next week !

Recipe #28, 337 more to go.


365 Recipes - #27 - Teriyaki Beef Skewers

Leftovers On A Stick

Here is a great way to use up left over steak! I had a little bit a steak from the night before and a loan pepper from making morning omelets. I searched around to try to come up with a dish and then I found the Teriyaki marinade sauce. DING! I knew what I was going to make. Simple easy... go...

The Line Up:
Left over cooked steak
Cherry Tomatoes
Teriyaki Marinade
Green Bell Pepper
Olive oil

I poured a little of the marinade in to a bowl and then sliced up my steak in to bite size pieces.

And then tossed them in to the marinade. I put the lid on the bowl and shook it around for a bit and then put it off to the side.

I grabbed the pepper and sliced it up in to bite size squares.

And then grabbed the tomatoes and set out all my ingredients in to an assembly line.

I didn't soak my skewers because I was not cooking over an open flame, I wasn't really afraid of them catching on fire. But if you are... then go a head and soak the skewers before you start your food prep, and if you on BBQing over open flame I would soak them for at least a half hour.

Then I started with the pepper...

Next came the tomatoes...

Then a piece of steak...

Try to keep them all "flat" so both sizes get a chance at touching the grill.

I then sprayed the grill with some oil, and popped the skewers on the grill until there was grill marks on both sides....

And TaDaa! Teriyaki Beef "leftover" Skewers... Sooo yummy, I just love how the grill brings out the flavors of tomatoes don't you? But be careful they can burst real easy :-) I didn't use any salt or pepper because the Teriyaki sauce definitely had enough salt for me...

Recipe #27, 338 more to go.