...lime and honey glazed salmon with basmati and broccolini...

Wow, that was a mouthful.  And a one pot wonder.  After reading the recipe, I decided to make this.  Who doesn't love a good one pot wonder and all of the ingredients are pretty healthy as well.

I could have used a larger pot so everything wasn't as tightly packed in.  Also, I used brown basmati rice which takes longer to cook, so note how done your rice is before throwing in the rest of the ingredients.  Overall, you've got your veg, your protein, and your card all in one dish with a tasty sauce.  Sounds good to me.

Recipe thanks to and loosely adapted from, Bon Appetit

Ingredients You'll Need
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons lime peel
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
4 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup sliced shallots
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
3 1/4 cups vegetable broth
4 salmon filets, about 5 ounces each (enough for 4 people)
1 bunch broccolini, bottom inch cut off

1.  Preheat oven to 450.  Whisk lime juice, peel, honey, cilantro, and soy sauce in a bowl.  Set aside.

2. Heat oil in a dutch oven, add shallots and saute until beginning to brown about 5 minutes.  Stir in rice then 3 1/4 cups broth and bring to a boil.  Cover pot tightly with a lid and place in oven for 10 minutes or until the rice is just about cooked through.

3.  Remove the pot from the oven and season the rice with some salt.  Season salmon with salt and pepper and arrange on the rice, pressing in.  Now tuck the broccolini around the fish.  Spoon 1 tablespoon sauce over each piece of salmon.  Cover pot and return to the oven to bake for 8-10 minutes, until salmon is done (when you can push it apart easily with a fork) and broccolini is crisp tender.  Drizzle remaining sauce over fish and rice, sprinkle with additional cilantro if you'd like, and serve it up!

...benny's jalapeno burgers...

On a snowy day here, we made hamburgers.  Ready for summer much?  Also, ready for some meals that I know Benjamin can make, all by himself.  I got the ground beef and when we started talking about how to make them, he told me he'd put some jalapeno in there, A1, salt, pepper, maybe something garlic...and I said, "See..you can do this!"  So, as I did some other things Benjamin made dinner tonight.  It was a success indeed.

We used Organic Ground Beef that was 85/15 lean, and it was a great ratio and perfect amount for 4 burgers.  Guess what he's having for lunch tomorrow?

Benny's Jalapeno Burgers:
1 lb organic ground beef
salt, pepper
a pinch of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of A1
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 of a green pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, diced

Mix everything together and form into 4 patties.  Grill those babies up for about 5-7 minutes per side til brown.  Ours we're just about medium not quite well, but very little pink.

Summer meals in the winter time taste oh so good.  The jalapeño added a nice kick without being too hot.  Gentlemen, you can do this!

..let it snow & no-knead bread (again)...

I'm still here, alive, and not neglecting you.  It's snowing out, not too much, but enough that DC has shut down just about everything it thinks it can.  There are delays with work and schools and with power being out some places, I've got more time to blog for you today.

While I write, you can thinking of me with tea in hand and the background noise of kids yelling as they ride their sleds down the hill near our house.  I'm hoping for more of this snow- less wet- and more powder like in the weeks to come.  Then again, people here don't know how to deal with it, and having grown up in Ohio where Lake affect snow was a way of life, I think they're just plain silly.

In cooking news, I made no-knead bread the other day.  I've made this before, but while in California.  Baking bread there seemed so much easier.  I was able to know my house was around 70 something, and if it needed to be warmer, I simply places the bread in the sun.  Not so here.  I think I'll be placing rising dough right near our base board heat next time.

If you want to start this recipe Friday night and know Saturday will be a lazy day, I'd recommend this recipe.  It's great for bread beginners like myself, and pretty fun when you bite into bread you've made, all by yourself.

No-Knead Bread
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
via New York Times
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours' rising
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

...prosciutto wrapped dates...

Happy Monday!  Did you have a good weekend?  Let's hope so.  To carry on the enjoyment that comes with weekends, why not make up some of these this week and serve them as an appetizer.  Surprise yourself, or whoever else you're cooking for with this simple and delicious start to any meal.

I made them from dates I got at the famers market in Santa Barbara, some Gorgonzola, and thin sliced prosciutto.

Simply cut the dates in half, remove the pit, stuff them with some cheese, and wrap with some prosciutto.  Bake at about 375 for 7-10 minutes, checking for melted cheese and crispy skins.

I drizzled on some honey to go the extra step which added a touch more sweetness.  Enjoy!

... Italian sausage cassoulet...

The weekend is here!  It'll be another cold one for us, lacking in snow that would make the weather all the more bearable.  Oh well.  If it's been a long week for you and you're wondering what to fix for dinner tonight, allow me to introduce this.

So easy, so delicious. This is a "throw together in the oven and let it do some magic" kind of meal.  Serve with a salad and some crusty bread, perhaps a glass of red wine, and you're set.

Recipe thanks to a video I saw over at Three Many Cooks

Ingredients you'll Need
1 package Italian Sausage
I package cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, sliced
sprinkle of tarragon
1 - 1 1/2 onions cut into wedges
2 bay leaves
olive oil for drizzling on top
balsamic vinegar for drizzling on top
salt and pepper
3 cans of white beans

Add everything but the beans to a deep roasted dish.  Cook at about 375 for 50 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir in beans.  Your house smells fantastic at this point.  Cook for another 10-15 minutes until bubbly, remove from the oven, and serve.  Now that...that was easy!

...brioche rolls...

When I've got time I like to make recipes that take awhile.  Like brioche rolls.  Some of you may be thinking you'll never make these, others are ready to write down the recipe.  I found this recipe in Cooking Light's Enlightened Cook section, read it, and thought I'd take a stab.  I think it'd take maybe 3 more times of making this before I felt extremely confident about it.

I'm learning making bread in the winter in a house with no central air is a bit tough.  When it says, "a warm place, 85 degrees" I think "should I turn on my oven for this?"  Really though, 85 is no where near the temperature of any warm place in our house these days.

Nonetheless, these turned out awesome right out of the oven, and great warmed up over the next few days.  What I fell in love with most was the dough- so silky and pretty- it was really fun to make these and pretty easy as well, minus the amount of time you have to devote to them.

Brioche Rolls, thanks to Cooking Light

Ingredients You'll Need

  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/3 cup warm 1% milk
  • 15.75 ounces flour (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and divided
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 large egg white

1.  Dissolve yeast in warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Let stand 5 minutes then add flour, sugar, salt and eggs beating until well combined.  Now switch out your paddle attachment for the bread hook.  Mix on low for 5 minutes until it begins to pull away from the sides.  Cut 6 1/2 tablespoons butter into cubes, and add half to the dough now mixing at medium speed.

2.  Add the remaining half of the butter until incorporated, another 4 minutes until smooth and elastic.  Place dough in a large bowl covered with cooking spray, turning to coat.  Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees!), free from drafts, for 1 hour or until doubled in size.  Press 2 fingers into the dough- if they stick it's been long enough.  Punch dough down, form into a ball, now return to bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

3.  Uncover dough and let stand for 90 minutes.  Divide dough into 4 equal portions.  Working with one portion at a time cut into 6 pieces and roll each piece into a ball.  Repeat process with remaining dough and place the dough balls into muffin cups coated with cooking spray.

4.  Cover and let rise 45 minutes, until doubled in size.

5.  Preheat oven to 350.  Combine 1 tablespoon water and egg white- stir with a whisk.  Gently brush rolls then bake at 350 for 14 minutes, until golden.  Place remaining butter in a bowl to melt, then brush the butter on top of the warm rolls.

Enjoy these nice and warm buttery rolls!

...curried lentil soup...

Can you tell it's cold here?  I'm all about soups and stews and comfort food these days.  I'm also all about making them healthy and easy for you, and me, so here's another winner.  I do love me some Orangette and was happy to make this and consider it a staple now.  I bought some more lentils the other day and I think I'll be making this again this week.

It doesn't take too long to prepare, especially if you're like me and buy the package of already made lentils and drop the whole shabang into the soup.  It cooks up in no time.

Recipe thanks to and loosely adapted from Molly Wizenberg as seen in Bon Appetit

Ingredients you'll Need
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 package prepared lentils from trader joes
    (or 1 cup French green lentils)
4 1/4 cups water
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter

1.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy pot over medium heat and add onion and carrot and season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is cooked, stirring occassionally, about 4 minutes.  Add 1 tablespoon garlic and cook about 4 minutes.

2.  Add 2 tablespoons curry powder and stir until fragrant, about a minute.  Add lentils and 4 cups water , season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.  If the lentils are not cooked you'll need to cook this for 30 minutes. If your lentils are, well then you're just fine.

3.  Puree chickpeas, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, and 2 tablespoons olive oil, and remaining 1 tablespoon garlic.  Add chickpea puree and butter to the soup, season with salt and pepper to taste, stir til combined, heat through, and enjoy!

...boeuf bourguinon soup...and horseradish butter bread...

Who doesn't love Boeuf Bourguinon?!  Beef stewed in red wine, as I've said before, is always a good thing.  This recipe comes thanks to Mad Hungry, and after cooking it, I'd say make sure you season it well- and also, maybe add egg noodles.  They're recommended, I didn't, and I should have.  Next time.

This soup was a ton better the next day- the meat was more tender and the flavors had come together so much more.  I also seasoned it more.  If you are making this, feel free to make it a day before you're going to serve it!

I would however make this bread- it's a great side and I used a bread that had caraway seeds in it, a perfect pairing if I do say so myself.

Recipe thanks to and loosely adapted from Mad Hungry

Ingredients You'll Need for Boeuf Bourguignon Soup

1 package of stewing beef from your market - usually about 1.5 - 2 lbs.
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces white button mushrooms, quartered
3 carrots, 2 chopped and 1 cut into 1 inch pieces
3 shallots chopped, or 1/2 onion chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 strips bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
dash of dried tarragon
1 dried bay leaf
1 cup red wine
8 cups beef stock
2 cups water

(get egg noodles if you'd like to add them too!)

1.  Season meat with salt and pepper- sprinkle on cornstarch and turn to coat.  Heat oil in a heavy pot and lightly brown meat on all sides, about 6 minutes.  Remove from pot and place on a plate.

2.  Add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and add 1 inch carrot pieces

3.  Add onion, celery, bacon, and chopped carrots.  Cook until everything is caramelized, about another 6 minutes.  Stir in tomato paste.

4.  Return meat and it's juices to the pot.  Add tarragon and bay leaf and season with some salt and pepper.  Raise heat to high and add wine, scraping any brown bits for about 1 minute.  Add stock and water, reduce heat and simmer until beef is tender, 2-2 1/2 hours.  Taste as you go to make sure it's seasoned well and not bland!

5.  Add reserved mushrooms and carrots, bring to a simmer and cook until carrots are tender.  Again, check your seasoning and then serve hot!

Oh.  How could I forget?!

Horseradish Butter Bread

We've all heard of garlic bread.  I'd say this is much better, especially with this soup or any hearty beef dish really.

Preheat oven to 375.  Mash 1 stick room temperature unsalted butter with 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish.  Season with coarse salt.  If you have chives, chop them and add them here as well.  It would add a nice color and taste.

Slice a loaf of bread without cutting all the way through. Spread the butter mixture in the cracks, wrap in foil, and bake for 15 minutes.  Serve warm with the soup.  This pairing is sure to bring you new friends.

...kung pao chicken...

Sometimes I just have a hankering to make something with Asian flavors.  I don't cook Asian food too often, but I do like it so and was happy to come upon and then make this recipe.  It was found in Cooking Light so naturally healthy, and thankfully easy as well.  A great week night meal I would say.  Also, the ingredients were all basically in my pantry.  I loved throwing all the vegetables in there as well, a one pot wonder, plus some rice you should make to go with this.

Recipe for Kung Pao Chicken loosely adapted from and thanks to Cooking Light

Ingredients You'll Need:
2 T. dark sesame oil
1 chopped onion
2 minced garlic cloves
1 lb. skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
3/4 cup water
3 T. soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup snap peas
peanuts for a garnish

1. Heat sesame oil in a skillet, then add onion and saute 3 minutes.  Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds then add chicken and saute until chicken begins to brown, 3-5 minutes.

2.  Combine 3/4 cup water and then soy sauce, cornstarch, brown sugar, and red pepper in a bowl.  Whisk until sugar dissolves then add this mixture to the pan and bring to a boil.  Add bell pepper and peas, cook until crisp tender about 2-4 minutes.  Sauce will thicken and everything will be hot and ready to serve over rice.

Speaking of...

Coconut Jasmine Rice
Combine 1 cup jasmine rice with 1 1/4 cups water and 1/2 cup light coconut milk.  Add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat and cook 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Serve with the chicken!

...pumpkin and barley soup...

Well hello there dear readers.  My apologies for just now getting back to the recipes.  I have a stack here to post and I know I've said it before, but I just may post as much as I can tonight in hopes of getting to the point in the near future where I can write, "for dinner tonight.." not "a week ago..."  We'll get there.

So, a week ago I made this recipe.  I think it encompasses what a lot of you may be looking for- extremely healthy, but also incredibly satisfying.  For those of you cooking for the men in your lives, this is a winner. 

I tore the recipe out of my Mom's Better Homes and Garden and was pleasantly surprised with the results.  I tweaked it just a bit as I didn't have sage, but it still turned out really great.  So great in fact that Benjamin asked if we had more...and we didn't because I ate it all.  mwahahaha.

Pumpkin and Sage Soup thanks to Better Homes and Garden

Ingredients You'll Need:
8 oz. cooked andouille sausage, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup quick-cooking barley 
1 tsp. vegetable better than bouillon
1 15 oz can pumpkin
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1.  In a large pot heat oil then add sausage and onion and cook about 3 minutes, stirring often.  Add barley, 4 cups water, and bouillon.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 12 minutes, covered.  Lift the lid to stir it occasionally.

2.  Stir in the pumpkin, maple syrup, and vinegar.  Heat through, season with salt and pepper and enjoy.

Let's also note that along with delicious this is budget friendly, and simple!

...morning sunshine...

So, I'm back.  Back to life as I know it.  Back from a great weekend with friends and sand and babies and food and wine and beer...and olive oil.  It was a perfectly wonderful trip!  Before I begin the posting of recipes again, here are some shots from the weekend.

We made it of course to the farmers market where I stocked up on Avocado Blossom Honey (which tastes a bit like molasses), jalapeño blueberry jelly (used by the Burger Bus on their burgers), some local cheese- which was consumed all weekend, and some other goods we ate over the course of the time there.

We also made it to my favorite restaurant, Hungry Cat, my favorite spot for drinks, the Boat House- seriously- sat on the pacific ocean while drinking a $4 glass of wine and had a $6.95 kobe beef burger with fries.  Did you hear me DC?!  Lower your prices!

We also got up to Santa Ynez and tasted at Briddlewood (wedding wine) and Stolpman (very delicious).  I got some of their olive oil which is extremely tasty.

We made it to the urban wine trail for a tasting at Carr- their wine has gotten a lot better since last I tasted! and then next door to the beloved Telegraph Brewing where I was able to taste and bring home my absolute favorite Oatmeal Stout.

I got to hang out with friends at Los Arroyos & Jeannines- another yum- and came home to a husband who had lost weight, and myself who had gained weight from the weekend.  Not too surprising.

I got home to this face below, and some snow.  A good dinner of fish and chips at a little pub that opened up near us, and thankful for where I've come from, where I've been, the fact that I got to live in such an amazing place, and ready to hit the ground running here in 2011 with whatever it may bring.