Tag Archives: Butter

Greek Yogurt Extravaganza

17 Apr

 

This week I gave in to my deep love for greek yogurt.  If you haven’t used it in recipes, you’re missing out.  Besides the obvious parfait and breakfast uses, it’s a great, healthy substitute in many recipes that use mayo or sour cream.  I decided to search for a recipe that involved both salmon and greek yogurt.  My main gal, Martha Stewart, came through for me with a recipe for Roasted Salmon and Herbed Yogurt.  With that recipe in mind, I thought asparagus would be a good side dish, and heck why not use greek yogurt with the asparagus as well.  A quick google search, and I decided to go with an asparagus soup.  I modified a recipe from whole foods for Creamy Spring Asparagus Soup substituting greek yogurt for sour cream.

The two dishes were relatively simple, but for timing I enlisted my favorite sous-chef.

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Chris as given the task of snipping parsley and dill from our potted patio herbs, and then chopping them into tiny bits.IMG_0933

He then mixed the herbs in with our greek yogurt of choice, Fage.

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Meanwhile, I chopped the light green and white parts of our gigantic leek, and then browned the pieces in a bit of butter.

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While the leek browned, I peeled and chopped a yukon gold potato into one inch strips.

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After about ten minutes, I added the potatoes and chicken broth to the leeks, and brought the liquid to a boil.

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I then reduced the heat, added the chopped asparagus, and let the mixture simmer until everything was nice and tender.

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While the soup simmered, Chris mixed together the herbs, greek yogurt, dijon, salt and pepper.

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Everything for the salmon was ready long before the soup, so Chris stuck the yogurt mixture in the fridge and relaxed while I prepped the blender.  I had some time to spare, so I improvised and chopped a bit of garlic for the salmon.

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With approximately 10-15 minutes to go on the soup, Chris placed the salmon in a baking pan, covered in the herbed yogurt sauce, and topped it off with chopped garlic.  He couldn’t resist giving our three cats a taste of raw salmon.  They are definitely sushi lovers like their mama and papa.

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Once the potatoes and asparagus were tender, I poured the mixture into a big blender and set it to purée.  Chris finished off the purée and then complained about how tightly I put on the top to the cat rubbing up against his legs looking for more delicious, raw fish.

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Once pureed to our satisfaction, I poured the soup back into the pot and brought it to a boil.  The timer sounded for the salmon just as I finished the soup.  Could we have actually timed everything perfectly tonight?  Unfortunately, no.  Chris cut into the salmon and found it still a bit raw in the center after 15 minutes at 450.  We had to stick the salmon back in the oven for another 10 minutes, and that was even a bit too much.  It amazes me how quickly fish goes from undercooked to overcooked.

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Before realizing the salmon needed more time, I had spooned the soup into bowls, and topped it with croutons, parmesan, and freshly ground black peppercorn.  Not wanting our soup to get cold, we finished it off while the salmon baked.  It was absolutely delicious!  I loved the flavor and texture, and the topping I improvised was perfect.  It tasted like spring in my mouth.

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When the salmon finished, we cut a small portion for us each, added a bit of lemon, and sat down to finish the latest Game of Thrones episode.  The salmon was delicious.  I always worry about salmon tasting fishy, but it didn’t at all.  The garlic roasted perfectly on top, and was a great addition.  The herbed yogurt was fresh and moist.  Overall a fantastic dish, and I’m sure it would have gone great with the asparagus soup.

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Blackpeachrange Tartlets on a Sunday Night

23 Jan

This past Sunday evening, I had a hankering for something sweet. As you’ve no doubt noticed when we get a sweet-tooth, we bake. So I started to sift through desserts on Epicurious.com trying to find something delicious to cook up.

Here’s the problem – we had no eggs.

Since pretty much every dessert recipe under the sun (related to baking anyhow) includes eggs I had a problem. Then I remembered that we could make tarts.

A while back (not sure if we blogged about it here), we made a delicious lemon tart. I remember it distinctly, because I’d never run across a crust that when complete (prior to baking), was completely crumbly. Like, not bonding, or sticking together at all after you finish food-processing it. This recipe didn’t use any eggs what-so-ever (vegans pay attention).

So, I tried to find that particular recipe again, aiming to make a blackberry tart (as we still had some in the fridge from earlier in the week). I searched…and searched…and searched. Completely failed in my Google-Fu. You’d think that if you search for “Blackberry tart without eggs,” or “Blackberry tart no eggs,” that you would be successful. It took me over 30 minutes of looking to find the first recipe without eggs.

Anyhow, I should have seen that as a sign I should give up on the idea for the evening…but no I continued on, blissfully unaware of what was to come…

Eventually I found one – and it’s not linked here because I cleared my browsing history… Basically, it’s a “mix it all together and food process the hell out of it” recipe. The problem was, we only had 1/2 a stick of butter (out of the requisite 1 stick). Strike 2 in recipeville. So, I ended up adding the difference in soft-spread margarine. The main difference was the final dough was slightly stickier than I would have expected for an eggless recipe. Anyhow, I did process the hell out of it, using a spatula ever so often to pull additional flour away from the edges to fold into the dough.

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I had already pulled our tartlet pans out (yes, we actually have tartLET pans). And began to pack to dough into them. It made four, and I tossed them into the oven to start baking while I turned to the filling.

So, remember that “package” of blackberries that I had mentioned? Yep, about 1/2 a pack left. Strike 3. So at this point, I pulled a “Chris cooking without Colleen’s adult supervision” and  started to wing it.

I crushed up the blackberries into a pot (with my hands – squishing the juices out of the little buggers – and yes, it was QUITE cathartic), then proceeded to rummage in the fridge for other, possibly, complimentary flavors. I found some not too ripe peaches, that were starting to shrivel from the cold. I sliced them up and tossed them in with the blackberries. Next I added some orange juice (I really have no idea how much exactly) and a poured about four seconds-worth of sugar. I cranked up the heat and let it stew for about 20 minutes.

I pulled out the cornstarch next and added about 3 tablespoons of it to the mixture (which by this time was frothing and bubbling like a cauldron). I figured that it’s about 1 tablespoon of cornstarch per cup of liquid (I think I read that somewhere), and it looked like it was “about” 3 cups of liquid.


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I spent the next 20 minutes whisking the mixture like a mad-man trying to break up the clumps of cornstarch. Pro tip: when you’re adding cornstarch to a liquid, first mix it with liquid to form a paste before adding it to the liquid.

Onwards. It actually tasted delicious. I took the mixture, and poured it into the newly cleaned food-processor and then blended it well so that it appeared to be a purple jelly. By this time a quick check of the crusts revealed them to be nice and golden brown. I popped them out of the oven and then poured the purple goo into their centers, and then returned it to the oven for another 5 minutes.

I shouldn’t have – that was just enough for the nice golden brown crust to go only slightly brown. If this has ever happened to you with a butter crust you know that the flavor is still ok, it’s just that the texture gets hard as a rock, really fast. Regardless, after the five minutes, I pulled them out of the oven and set them aside to cool.

Voila! Blackberry/Peach/Orange tartlets. They were actually quite delicious, albeit hard around the edges. The inside crust was perfectly cooked and Colleen raved about the filling. I’m going to count it as a success.

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Oh, and I have only some idea of how to recreate them. Sometimes things come to mind with madness, never to return…

 

My Very First Thanksgiving Dinner

20 Jan

This past year Chris and I offered to give my mom a break and make Thanksgiving dinner for the family.  Thanksgiving with my family is usually small (just the immediate family).  We spend the day snacking on appetizers and playing games.  My mom pops in and out of the game while cooking dinner.  Mom’s dinner varied slightly over the years, but it was always delicious.  The staples of the dinner were turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy, green bean casserole, and pie.  This year I kept the spread the same, but changed the recipes to add my own twist on the evening.
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My sister, Heather, and my boyfriend, Chris, were the perfect helpers for the day.  Heather chopped like a pro and Chris took charge of the turkey and dessert.  They both chipped in and helped out when needed, and delegation was super easy with my 5 page plan right in front of me.  The plan included guidelines for timing, ingredients, materials, and step by step instructions.

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As you can see, the type A side of my personality was in full force.

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The menu consisted of a herb butter turkey and gravy, creamy cheesy potatoes, crispy shallot and green bean casserole, herb bread vegetarian stuffing, and pumpkin pie.  It was hard work, but the day went flawlessly and everyone really enjoyed the meal.  Here’s to many more years of good food and good times with family!  Scott and James – We missed you this year.  Hopefully you’ll be chipping in and enjoying the dinner with us again soon!

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