Sunday, January 31, 2010

Salmon Salad with Russian Dressing by the Deen Brothers

This is another recipe from the Deen brothers. I was hesitant as it called for microwaving salmon, but it turned out delicious and is a quick salad for a weeknight dinner.


2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely chopped gherkins
1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 8-ounce salmon fillets*
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1⁄2 head iceberg lettuce, cut into wedges or shredded
1⁄2 red onion, thinly sliced

In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Set aside.

For the salad, season each fillet with salt and pepper. In a microwave-safe baking dish, combine the butter and lemon juice. Place the fish in the dish, turning to coat. Sprinkle with fresh dill. Cover dish with plastic wrap and poke several holes in the plastic with a fork. Microwave on high (100% power) for 2 to 3 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Once fish is cool enough to handle, remove any skin and flake the salmon into chunks.

Divide the lettuce and onion between two plates. Place salmon chunks on top of the lettuce. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. *Use Alaskan salmon if you can fi nd it.

Servings: 2

You will need some dill, butter, cornichons or gherkins, mustard, ketchup, lettuce, lemon, onion, mayo and of course salmon.

Chop the gherkins, I used cornichons which are more sour than sweet.

Combine them with the mayo, ketchup, mustard and lemon juice. Save 2 tbs of lemon juice for the salmon.

Chop up your dill.

Slice your onion and get it in some water, this will help to mellow the flavor. This is a great trick if you don't need or want a bold onion flavor.

Mix up the dressing.

After you've got the dressing made, melt the butter. I used lots of Pyrex making this salad!

Finally it is time to season the salmon and yes, microwave it. Hit it with some salt and pepper.

Then pour the melted butter, the reserved lemon juice and the dill over the salmon. Mix it up a bit to get the flavors all over the salmon. Cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the microwave on high for about 2.5 minutes.

While it is in the nuker, arrange your lettuce and onions on a plate.

Get the salmon out and make sure you can flake it with a fork, if you can, it is done.

Flake the salmon on top of the lettuce and top with the dressing. I cannot tell you how good the salmon turned out, it was amazing. The other star is the dressing. I am usually just a vinaigrette person, but this dressing was so tasty I will definitely be making it again.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lemon Chicken with Grapes from the Deen Brothers Cookbook

You are going to be terribly surprised to find that I am bringing you a chicken thigh recipe, but you can do this with drumsticks or a whole chicken cut into pieces. The choice is yours, but either way, this is so easy and so tasty you will love it. I found this in the Deen Brother's cookbook that MY brother got for me. For reference, I cut this recipe in half.


4 to 5 pounds chicken drumsticks and thighs (bone in) / or 1 whole chicken cut into pieces
1 clove garlic, halved
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds seedless red grapes
1 teaspoon sugar


1. Preheat over to 425 degrees. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the chicken pieces all over with the cut sides of the garlic clove. Place chicken in a large bowl.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, the lemon zest, and lemon juice; season generously with salt and pepper. Pour the butter mixture over the chicken pieces and toss to coat.

3. In a separate bowl, toss together the grapes, the remaining two tablespoons melted butter, and the sugar. Season the grapes with salt and pepper. Arrange the grapes in the bottom of a 9-by-13 baking pan.

4. Place the chicken on top of the grapes. Roast, without turning, for 40 to 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when chicken is pricked with a fork.

Preheat your oven to 425°. You will need some chicken, garlic, lemon, butter, grapes, sugar and salt and pepper.

Zest your lemon. Mine is in a great little Pyrex casserole.

Melt the butter, again mine is in Pyrex!

Combine half of the butter with the lemon zest, lemon juice and some salt and pepper.

Get the chicken rubbed all over with the cut side of some garlic and toss it in a bowl. Pour the butter and lemon zest over it and get the chicken nice and covered.

In a separate bowl, combine grapes with the rest of the butter and the sugar. Also season with some salt and pepper.

Get that mixture into a casserole dish. This is a Pyrex space saver and the pattern is called Embroidery.

Put the chicken on the top and pop it in the oven. Cook for about 45 minutes, this gives you plenty of time to wash up all your prep dishes.

I had a lot more than just prep dishes to take care of!

After 45 minutes the chicken looks delicious and you are ready to eat. I served this with some steamed asparagus.

This was easy and definitely something I will make again as it combines savory with sweet, which I love, and chicken thighs, which are cheap and delicious.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tacos and POM Wonderful

I thought you might like to see the Taco Rack in use.

Tom really was excited to try it out.

He loaded it up with all his favorite toppings.

And then doused it in hot sauce. He finished all those open bottles and started on the two unopened ones. Perhaps the reason he doesn't like anything I cook is because he has no functioning taste buds left!

Recently I got a case of Pomegranate juice from the great folks at POM Wonderful. I love to drink the stuff, but would like some suggestions for recipes.

Has anyone cooked with Pomegranate juice and care to share a recipe with me? I would appreciate a comment or an email if you have something you've tried before.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The husband...

So you might wonder what my husband eats, since he doesn't like what I cook on most nights. Well, if he had a choice, he would eat tacos 5 nights a week. Beef tacos preferably, but I have got him accustomed to the 'fake meat' that is out there these days. Boca crumbles, Morningstar Farms crumbles, Smart Grounds, Yves and Quorn are all on his approved list.

You might think I am joking about his taco fetish and ability to eat it multiple times a week, but I assure you I am not exaggerating. So when I was out thrifting this past weekend and stumbled upon this, you better believe I snatched it up...

Oh yes, it is a rack for Tacos!

He was so genuinely thrilled with it that I am so glad I spent a whole dollar on it.

In addition to that great find I picked up a couple of pieces of Pyrex at the antique stores.

This was in the parking lot sale for just $6, I had to snag it. I love the simple pattern.

This style of dish is called a Space Saver. I use it in the oven and for storing leftovers in the fridge. What is so unique about this one is the lid...

The pattern is repeated there, which is rare on these style of dishes. I was very excited when I found it. I have several antique stores and thrift stores close to my house and I try to hit one or two every weekend, so I will post more about what I find.

Of course now that I have purchased a taco rack, Friday will be taco night for Tom the hubby. I will let you know how it turned out!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tuna Steak with Tomatoes and Mushrooms

This is another recipe from Robin Miller of the Food Network. I picked up her cookbook recently and it has a lot of really easy and healthy recipes in it.

As I tried to get photos of the recipe, my sous chef offered his assistance by walking all ove rthe book so I apologize for the shadows and blur.

Lets gather some ingredients and get cooking. You will need some tomatoes, shallot, vermouth, thyme, olive oil, mushrooms and salt and pepper.

Chop up the mushrooms and the shallot. If you can't find shallot you can use red onion.

Season the tuna steaks with salt and pepper.

Heat some oil in the pan and get the tuna steaks in. Brown them for just a couple of minutes on each side.

Get them out of the pan and add a bit more oil in.

Add the shallots and mushrooms.

Stir in the thyme...and then...

Where are the pics of the final steps?? Well, I totally forgot because I was so excited to eat this. But the last steps are simple, add in the tomatoes and the vermouth and return the steaks to the pan. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes and you are ready to eat.

This is a simple after work meal that comes together in no time. It is also pretty healthy. If you can't find tuna this would be good with any white fish you might be able to get in your area.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Picante Roast Beef by Robin Miller

You won't believe this but I am not making chicken thighs! I am actually making a quick and easy roast beef dish that will warm you up as I know most of the country and some parts of the world are freezing. This is a quick meal you can make after a long day at work. It comes from Robin Miller of the Food Network. I cut this recipe in half.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced onions
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces sliced roast beef, sliced into strips
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (4-ounce) can minced green chiles
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Salt and ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute 3 minutes, until soft. Add roast beef slices and saute 3 to 5 minutes, until browned on all sides, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes, jalapenos, lime juice, and cumin and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes, to heat through and reduce slightly. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.

We need some ingredients to start out. Grab some sliced roast beef, lime juice (fresh is best), onion, olive oil, green chiles (or jalapenos if you like it hot), canned tomatoes, cumin, garlic and cilantro (or parsley if you don't like cilantro like me).

Chop the roast beef into strips.

Dice your onion and garlic.

Combine the tomatoes with the cumin, lime juice and the green chiles. I did this in my awesome little Pyrex mixing bowl.

Store the leftovers in cute little Pyrex containers. You could use these on some nachos later or in some chili.

Once you are all prepped you can cook. This will be done in no time at all.

Get some oil in a pan and drop in the onion and garlic. Cook for just a couple of minutes until the onions have softened.

Drop in the roast beef and cook this for 3-5 minutes. You want to get it browned all over so stir it around.

Stir in the tomato mixture and let this simmer for 5 minutes.

While this simmers I made some of my new favorite rice.

This is from Trader Joes and is quick and easy. I know its not going to be as delicious as making it myself, but sometimes I want rice and I want it now!

Can't get much easier than that. You could also serve this beef dish on rolls if you prefer.

Once the simmering is through, remove it from the heat and stir in the herbs. You are ready to eat!

Talk about fast, filling and pretty low in fat. This would probably be pretty good with some roasted turkey also, if you are not a red meat fan. Enjoy and stay warm!