mint and cumin-spiced lamb chops with grilled baked potatoes

DSC_0768

Getting depressed about the summer coming to an end? It’s bittersweet for me.  We all know that I love autumn, especially September, but I will miss the long days and warm weather.  I’ll also miss my little brother who heads back to college in upstate NY for his senior year tomorrow! Anyway, don’t despair, there’s still some summer left! And here’s an amazing meal of which all the components can be cooked on the grill while you sit outside and enjoy the last days of August.  Some of you may have seen that I posted a “blog preview” of this meal — I know I made you wait long enough for the recipe (sorry) ! 

                 DSC_0735       DSC_0742

Ingredients

Mint and cumin-spiced lamb chops

  • 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cups fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. ground paprika
  • 2 tsp. allspice (shout out to the neighbors who ground us some fresh allspice!)
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 lbs. lamb chops
  • Vegetable oil

Grilled baked potatoes with chive butter

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped chives
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 4 baking potatoes

Method

For the lamb:

Pulse onions, parsley, mint, cumin, paprika, allspice, and crushed red pepper in a food processor until finely chopped. Season with salt.  Place lamb in a large dish and rub with the spice mixture. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours (you can also marinate overnight).

Prepare grill for medium-high heat and oil the grate. Grill lamb to desired doneness and let rest five minutes before serving.

For the potatoes:

In a small bowl, mix the butter, chives, sour cream, salt and pepper until smooth. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. 

Slice a raw potato cross-wise at 1/3-inch intervals, cutting down but not all the way through. Add chive butter to each slice. Wrap each potato in aluminum foil. Set the potatoes on the grill over low heat and cook until tender, about 45-50 minutes, turning occasionally. Garnish with more sour cream and chives.

How I eat it: with sautéed green beans on the side and a glass of cabernet

Lamb adapted from Bon Appetit; Potatoes adapted from Food & Wine

DSC_0751

 

blackened salmon with mango & avocado salsa

birds eye view

Apparently I’m really into salmon lately.  So, I apologize if you’re not a salmon fan and all I’ve posted the last few times are salmon recipes. I promise to mix it up in the next post!

Ironically, this recipe was actually an attempt to mix it up.  Usually, I end up doing one of two things when I cook a salmon fillet: roast with teriyaki sauce or roast with some fresh herbs, lemon, and white wine.  Both are delicious, but I wanted something different so I took to the Internet and came across a few blackened salmon recipes.  I immediately thought of Cape Cod and these delicious fish tacos I once had for dinner at the Island Merchant with jerked cod, mango salsa, and guacamole.  Ahhh, take me back to the Cape!

DSC_0486           DSC_0515

Again, in an effort to make something different I decided on polenta as the side rather than the same old roasted potatoes or quinoa that usually accompany the fish. Polenta on it’s own is pretty bland so I found a recipe that included sharp cheddar cheese to liven it up. Altogether, this meal definitely satisfied the need to change up my typical salmon and side dish recipes!

mango and avocado salsa

Ingredients

For the salmon:

  • ~ 2 lbs. wild salmon fillets, boneless, skin removed
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter*
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cracked pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • olive oil

For the salsa:

  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 3 scallions, white part only, thinly sliced
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 tbsp. parsley (or cilantro if you’d like)
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the polenta:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

First make the salsa by combining all ingredients in a bowl. I refrigerated until ready to serve.

To start the polenta, bring the milk and 2 cups of water to a boil. Whisk in the cornmeal and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the salmon.  Combine all spices, butter, and garlic in a bowl.  Rub the spice mixture on both sides of the salmon.  In a large skillet, heat enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add salmon.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, until the spices “blacken” and the center is opaque.

Once polenta is done simmering, add more water if it is too thick.  Then add butter, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve salmon over the polenta and top with the mango and avocado salsa!

*I do have one note about the recipe that I will most likely change next time I make it: the butter in the spice mixture made it hard to evenly coat the salmon. I will probably omit the butter and do a completely dry rub to get a more even, crispy coat.

Recipe(s) adapted from: Against All Grain & Shared Appetite

How I eat it: with a little bit of everything in each bite! And a nice fresh salad on the side.

By the way, I revisited this yummy french yogurt cake recipe for dessert tonight. Take a look and enjoy 🙂

 the dish

 

salmon burgers with sriracha aioli



salmon burger

Hi! You are probably used to my typical few-month hiatus from blogging. But these past few months have been a little different for me as some major life changes have occurred: I’ve graduated with my Master’s from NYU, decided to switch over from NYU and attend Stony Brook for my PhD in Pharmacology, adopted a precious little 10-month old kitty named Samson, and just today I bought myself a brand spankin’ new car (still can’t believe this one!).  It’s so crazy that so many goals I’ve set for myself the past two years are actually starting to be fulfilled and I’m super excited, but also nervous about this new chapter of my life.

Starting with this post, I’m hoping to at least have one month of consistent blogging.  I just graduated last week and I have one month of recovery until I start my new program at Stony Brook.  In this time, I’m hoping to cook, cook, bake, and cook some more.  Our town’s farmer’s market is also up and running again since this past weekend and I can’t wait to get my hands on some fresh produce, seafood, and bakery goods — I’m feeling inspired and ready to go!

This recipe is adapted from Rachael Ray’s “BLAST Burger” recipe.  I’ve actually never had a salmon burger and they’ve really never appealed to me, but cooking shows can always suck me in and make anything look absolutely amazing.  Not only did this meal look delicious, it truly was! I was afraid of the burgers being dried out or lacking flavor, but they were extremely yummy just on there own. And how can you really go wrong by adding bacon and sriracha to the mix!?

Even though the burgers weren’t grilled (which they probably would be even more delicious grilled), it was a great recipe to kick off the summer!  We served it with some veggie fries, which included yams, parsnips, turnips, and zucchini.

Ingredients (serves 4)DSC_0409

  • 1.5 lbs. salmon fillet, skin removed, cut into chunks
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4-cup chopped fresh dill, parsley, and chives
  • 1 large clove garlic, grated
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • canola oil
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 small white onion, sliced
  • 3/4-cup mayo
  • 3 tbsp. srirarcha
  • 4 burger buns

Method

Preheat oven to 375 F and bake bacon on slotted pan until crisp.

Place fish in food processor and pulse chop (this actually wasn’t as gross as it sounded to me).  Remove to a bowl and combine with egg, herbs, garlic, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, and salt and pepper.  Divide into four sections and form four patties.

In large nonstick skillet coated with canola oil, cook patties over medium-high heat.  This will take about 4-5 minutes on each side for an opaque center.

Meanwhile, combine mayo with sriracha sauce* and prepare other sides. Dress avocado with lemon juice to prevent oxidation/browning.

Place fish on bottom of burger bun and top with bacon, avocado, tomato, and onion (and/or any other burger toppings you prefer!)  Coat top of bun with sriracha aioli.  Press down and enjoy!

DSC_0371                        DSC_0412

Recipe adapted from: Rachael Ray

How I eat it: with a lot of spicy sriracha aioli!

*If you are not a fan of spicy, I would use only 2 tbsp. of sriracha sauce when you make the aioli.  Personally, I like the kick, but it’s not for everyone!

aioliiiii

 I hope you all try and enjoy this, and hopefully there will be more recipes coming your way by next week!

For now, you can take a look at my 2 new pride and joys…

IMG_3601

IMG_3623

 

 

chocolate “birthday” pie

the best thing you'll ever eat

There is a strong possibility that this is the tastiest and most delectable recipe I have ever, or will ever, post on my blog.  I know, it’s a bold statement.  Since I can remember, my mom has made my brother and I “birthday pie”.  After the first year she made it for us, we never wanted a birthday cake again, we just wanted pie. We are chocolate people in this family and this is truly as chocolatey and fudgy as it gets.  Made with semisweet chocolate, crushed almonds, sugar and butter, the filling is a perfect match to the flaky pie crust and sweet, but tangy raspberry sauce. (Are you drooling yet?)

Both my brother’s and my own birthday fall in the winter, so now to us, winter = pie time.  Once I realized my passion for cooking and baking, I started to take over the tradition. I admit, there were a few years that the pie baking really got out of hand — as soon as one pie was finished in about all of 2 days, I would bake another, and another. And maybe even another… It was bad.  Therefore, I warn you: once you try this recipe all self-control goes out the window.

DSC_0449

Chocolate “Birthday” Pie

Ingredients

For the crust & filling:

  • 2 pre-made pie crusts (I opt for deep dish)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg, separated

For the raspberry sauce:

  • 1 12-oz. bag frozen raspberries, without syrup, thawed
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

Method

For the crust & filling:

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Thaw both pie crusts.  Poke holes with a fork in one of them and bake for 3 minutes.  Press other crust out of pan and lay flat on a cutting board.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate chips with 2 tablespoons of the butter, stirring constantly until smooth.  In a medium bowl, beat remaining 6 tablespoons of butter with sugar until light and fluffy.  Add almonds, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, and chocolate, and blend well.  Spread mixture evenly over bottom of crust that was baked.

To make lattice top, cut the crust that was previously laid flat into strips.  Arrange strips in a lattice design over the chocolate mixture.  Trim edges and seal.  In a small bowl, beat egg white until foamy and gently brush over lattice top.

Bake at 425 F for 10 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 F.  Bake an additional 30 to 35 minutes.  Cover edges of pie crust with foil after about 15 to 20 minutes to prevent excessive browning.

For the raspberry sauce:

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, blend raspberries at highest speed until smooth.  In a small saucepan, combine raspberry puree, sugar, and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil over medium-low heat.  Boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Serve the pie with the raspberry sauce. Store both the pie and the sauce in the refrigerator.

DSC_0488

As you can see, I was about to eat a slice before taking a picture of the finished product. It’s that irresistible!

Recipe courtesy of my mom who cut it out of a newspaper years ago

(Those newspaper recipes can be real keepers!)

How I eat it: with raspberry sauce on the bottom and a whole buncha whipped cream on top!

happy holidays!

cookies

As always, it’s been a while! But, I just wanted to wish everyone happy holidays! 2013 has been a busy, but great year and I hope that 2014 brings everyone luck, love, & joy!

Here are some holiday season highlights…

treePresents under the tree on Christmas Eve

sushiFirst attempt at homemade sushi for Mike’s family Christmas party- made by myself & Mike’s mom!

mike family christmas eveMike & I being cheesy on Christmas Eve ❤

IMG_2533Alex making brie baked in puff pastry with raspberry jam, basil, & bacon – an awesome Christmas Day appetizer!

dessertsChristmas Day dessert table – brownies, seven layer bars, Oreo truffles, peanut butter cookies, chocolate covered pretzels and German apple crumb cake.  Later joined by a homemade birthday cake. My family isn’t really into dessert… uhhh NOT.

alex birthdayOut to dinner on the 26th for Alex’s 21st birthday!

There were plenty of delicious & wonderful memories not included in this post and I just want to thank all my family & friends for such a wonderful holiday season!

It wouldn’t be a real post if I didn’t share recipes, so here are the links to some of the recipes that I followed this holiday season:

Seven layer bars (made without walnuts)

Peanut butter cookies with Reese’s cups (definitely my favorite new cookie recipe!)

Oreo truffles

Homemade California rolls

Brie baked in puff pastry

Happy New Year!