Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Blackened Salmon with Potatoes and Green Beans----20 minutes or less!!

This is one of our favorite meals. Blackened Salmon. I buy our salmon at Sam's Club in the frozen section. The salmon comes in individual portions and is ready to go without any de-boning or skinning.

Blackened Salmon

I make a mixture in a shallow bowl of paprika, garlic, seasoning salt, pepper, red pepper (cayenne), and anything else that sounds yummy at the time. I just rub that seasoning into the salmon while I have a pat of butter and a couple tablespoons of olive oil heating in a pan (I like to use cast iron). Once the butter is melted, I put the salmon in the pan on a medium heat. I let the salmon cook, without moving it around, until it starts to cook atleast half way through. Sometimes I cover the pan with a lid, sometimes I don't. Once it has cooked half way through, flip the salmon and finish cooking.


For this dinner I was craving potato skins. But with potato skins you scoop out all the actual potato leaving just the skins and all the fattening stuff. For this recipe I left the potato in, just scooping out a tiny bit so the cheese didn't fall off.

After scrubbing 3 potatoes, I pricked them and put them in the microwave until they were soft enough that a fork went through them fairly easily. I then sliced them in half lengthwise and let them cool a minute. Once they cooled enough to touch, I scooped out just a slight bit of potato--enough to make a little pool for the stuffing. Then I used "real" bacon bits (or if you wanted to take the time to fry bacon and crumble it, you could), then I sprinkled on the cheddar cheese. Next, stick them under the broiler on low for a minute or two to melt the cheese. Serve them with sour cream. YUM!

Green Beans

I love fresh green beans but this time of year, they aren't looking too good in the stores. So I resort to frozen ones. I use a small pan with a touch of butter and olive oil heated. Then I throw in the beans and let them saute for a minute with some salt and pepper. Next I add a key ingredient; stock or broth. I use any kind I have around. Chicken, beef, or vegetable. This gives the beans a great flavor. I put just enough broth in the pan to steam the beans for a few minutes. Cook till tender.

Enjoy!!!! Dinner in under 20! Leftover blackened salmon is great too!! I love to make a green salad for lunch and top it with the cold salmon. Super healthy and yummy.

Friday, December 08, 2006

We had friends over last night for dinner. They brought Chinese and I made desserts. I remembered them saying that on a trip to France they had fallen in love with macaroons. So yesterday I attempted to make french macaroons. I researched and realized that french macaroons are vastly different than the macaroons I was used to seeing here in the States. The ones I see are all coconut lumps. (I did make a batch of those as well). But the french macaroons are essentially pulverized almonds and sugar. They were a bit time consuming and after seeing the finished product I was skeptical. I chilled them as directed (an ESSENTIAL step) and served them last night. As I put them on the table our guests gasped and said "are those macaroons"? The first good sign---they looked the way they were supposed to. They took a bite and said they were just like the ones they had eaten in France.---YEAH!!!! And my skepticizm was laid to rest when I ate one myself. They were suprisingly delish even though they did look like a plastic hamburger.
All that to say---try these!!! They are worth the effort and taste amazing! They need to be served cold. YUMMY!!!!!

Chocolate Macaroons with Chocolate Filling

Chocolate filling
3/4 cup whole milk
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 1-pound box powdered sugar
2 cups whole blanched almonds
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup egg whites (about 6 large)

For chocolate filling: Bring milk and butter to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer to small bowl. Cool. Cover and refrigerate until thick and cold, at least 1 day and up to 3 days.

For macaroons: Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Blend powdered sugar and almonds in processor until nuts are ground to powder, scraping sides of bowl often, about 8 minutes. Add cocoa and blend 1 minute more. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold nut mixture into whites in 4 additions, making thick batter.

Spoon half of batter into pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch plain round tip. Pipe batter onto each prepared sheet in 12 walnut-size mounds, spacing mounds apart (cookies will spread slightly). ** note: I used the bag but ended up finding it much easier to just use a spoon to put them on the parchment paper.

Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until firm to touch in center and dry and cracked on top, about 11 minutes. Slide parchment with cookies onto work surface; cool cookies. Repeat with remaining batter, cooling sheets completely.

Assembly and serving: Arrange 1 macaroon, flat side up, on work surface. Drop 1 scant tablespoon filling onto cookie. Top with second macaroon, flat side down. Press lightly to adhere, making sandwich. Repeat with remaining macaroons and filling. Arrange macaroons on platter. Cover; chill at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Serve cold.

Makes 24 sandwich cookies.
Bon App├ętit
Cooking Class
May 2001

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Happy Holidays everyone!!!! As you may have noticed, I have been slacking a bit in my postings and communication with you all. The holidays sure can be a crazy time, eh? I am 99% done with Christmas shopping. Now it is a matter of wrapping, packaging, and shipping many of the gifts to family and friends around the country.
Needless to say, I am sure many, if not all of you, are as busy or busier than me. So on that note, lets aim at picking up the recipe swap again in January. Sound ok?
I am going to try to post some recipes with pics of my own on here throughout the month so check back for some recipe ideas. Tomorrow I am making a trifle, some macaroons, and chocolate cookies for some guests we are having over. I'll post the results tomorrow or the next day so look for that!
Feel free to drop a line, a recipe, a Christmas idea, or whatever is on your mind.