Saturday, April 30, 2011

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Roasted Salmon


Without a doubt our favorite protein is salmon. We eat it as least once a week - usually on Friday nights for a special treat. In the past, we typically cooked it at a high temperature on the grill, stove top, or oven for just a few minutes to end up with fish cooked no more than medium. And, we always loved it.... that was until we tried roasting our salmon at a very low temperature for a substantially longer amount of time. All I can say is - it's like buttah (aka butter). It literally melts in your mouth, it is foodie heaven, if we could eat only one meal for the rest of our lives it would be this!

I first prepared salmon this way for Alfred's birthday dinner - we have since decided this is the only way we will cook our salmon. You can use any seasonings you like, we usually keep things simple to allow the flavor of the fish to shine through. Our typical seasoning consists of a bit of minced garlic and/or herbs, sea salt and pepper.

Slow Roasted Salmon:

Honestly, this isn't so much a "recipe" as a very simple cooking method.

Ingredients:
Thick Salmon Fillet - Really try to get the thickest one available, allow for 6-8oz per person
Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Pepper
Additional Herbs and Spices of your choice (e.g., garlic, basil, parsley, cilantro)

1) Cut the salmon into individual portions about 6-8oz each, leave the skin on.

2) Coat each portion in a bit of olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and any additional seasonings You can let it marinate for a couple of hours if you like - but it isn't necessary.

3) Place the fillets in a baking dish that will allow a little space between each one. Let the fish sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.

4) 30 minutes prior to cooking, preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes.

Prepare for extreme pleasure!


*In the picture above, our salmon is topped with a bit cucumber salad - diced seedless cucumber, red onion, tomato, lime juice, cilantro, and sea salt.

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, and Nifty Thrifty Sunday.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Apple Turnovers


Alfred's all-time favorite pastry is apple turnovers. So, for his birthday I made him some - but, of course, I couldn't resist healthy-ing them up a bit. Rather than using puff pastry (which is mighty tasty, but full of butter) I used philo dough. And, rather than sweetening the filling with sugar, I used honey. The result was awfully pretty and he assures me they were very tasty! I think they would work equally well as part of a special breakfast/brunch or as a dessert (especially if served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream).

Apple Turnovers (Makes 8-10 Turnovers):

1 Package of Philo Dough, thawed (I only used half of the the box)
Olive, Grapeseed, or Melted Coconut Oil for brushing on the dough

Filling:
3 Large Firm Sweet Apples, such Fuji of Gala (peeled, cored and chopped)
1/2 Cup Raisins
1/4 Cup Honey (or Agave for a Vegan Substitute)
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
Pinch of Cloves
1/2 Cup Water plus 2 Tablespoon
2 teaspoon Cornstarch

Optional Topping:
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tablespoon of Water
Cinnamon Sugar
Sliced Almonds

1) Prepare the filling: In a medium saucepan, combine the apples, raisins, honey, spices, and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the apples are just tender (10-15 minutes). Meanwhile, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of water and the cornstarch. Add the cornstarch mixture to the apples, stirring just until the mixture is thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

2) Assemble the turnovers:

***But, first a bit of advise. Philo dough is very thin - because of this it can be a bit of pain to work with. The secret is to work as quickly as possible so the dough doesn't dry out - keeping the dough covered while you work is helpful in this regard. Also, you have more dough than you need for this recipe so if a couple pieces tear, just throw them away and move on!

Okay now to the assembly. First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and line a large baking sheet with parchement paper.

Next, on a clean, dry surface, stack two sheets of philo dough on top of one another, brush the top layer with just a bit of oil - you really just need to barely coat it, add two more layers of dough, brush the top one with oil, and then add one final piece of dough on top. So, you should have 5 layers of dough in the end. Use a very sharp knife to cut the stacked sheets lengthwise into two long strips. Place a heaping tablespoonful of the cooled apple filling in the corner of one end on each strip of dough. Fold the corner over like you would fold a flag, then fold it down, then over, then down, until you get to the end of the strip! Place the turnover, seem side down on the parchment lined baking sheet and repeat the process until you have used up all of your filling.

3) Topping (optional): Lightly brush the beaten egg mixture over each turnover, then sprinkle with almonds and cinnamon sugar.

4) Baking: Place the baking sheet in the over and let the turnover cook 15-20 minutes, until they are nicely browned and crispy!



Enjoy!

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Sweet Tooth Friday, Sweets for a Saturday, and Nifty Thrifty Sunday.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Magic Chocolate Mousse Tart















This is one of the most decadent desserts I have ever had the pleasure of consuming! It is also unbelievably simple to prepare - which brings us to the magic part! The magic ingredient is (drum roll)....water! Water? Yes, water! This rich, decadent, creamy, truffle-like mousse is a simple combination of chocolate and water. This video provides the best explanation of how it works, but trust me that it works - we've made this tart three times now, and it was perfecto every time!

***In this recipe it is especially important to use a very good quality dark chocolate - the flavor of the mousse is completely dependent on the flavor of the chocolate, so make sure you like the taste of your chocolate before proceeding with the recipe! We use Trader Joe's 73% Cacao Belgian Dark Chocolate, it is divine!

Note: You can actually serve the mousse as is, but we like it in a slightly salty almond crust - it provides the perfect balance to the bittersweet chocolate. You can also flavor the mousse in a countless number of ways by adding a bit of extract or liqueur - orange, mint, raspberry, coffee, etc.

Magic Chocolate Mousse Tart:

Salty Almond Crust
1 1/2 Cups Finely Ground Almonds (AKA Almond Meal or Almond Flour)
3/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract (optional)
2 Tablespoons of Honey or Agave Nectar
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all of the crust ingredients. Press the crust evenly into the bottom and sides of an 8 or 9 inch tart pan. Bake 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden brown, set aside to cool.

Magic Chocolate Mousse:
A large bowl, filled half way full of ice
1/2 Pound Finely Chopped Dark Chocolates
1 Cup Boiling Water
1/4 Cup Honey or Agave Nectar (optional - add more or less depending on the sweetness of your chocolate and your taste preferences)
1 teaspoon of Cinnamon (optional - we just love cinnamon!)
1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds, toasted (optional - for sprinkling on top of the tart)

1) Have your bowl of ice ready.

2) Place the chocolate, honey, and cinnamon and a glass or metal bowl that will easily fit within the the large bowl of ice. But don't put it in the ice yet - first melt the chocolate!

3) To melt the chocolate, pour the boiling water over the chocolate, honey, and cinnamon. Use a whisk to stir the mixture until it is completely melted - the finer the chocolate is chopped the easier and quicker this will be. *If your chocolate doesn't melt all the way, you can melt it in a pot, over a double boiler, or in the microwave, and then return it to the metal or glass bowl.

4) Once the chocolate is melted, nestle the bowl of chocolate in the bowl of ice and immediately start whipping it with your whisk - whisk vigorously like you would to make whipped cream or meringue. Your arm may get tired, switch hands if you need to or have a side kick take over (my preferred approach), but don't stop whipping until the mixture has lightened a bit in color and it has become slightly thicker than whipped cream - it should hold stiff peaks.

5) Immediately spread the chocolate mixture in the cooled tart shell, then sprinkle with toasted almonds (if using). ***If your chocolate becomes too thick and won't easily spread in the crust don't panic (this has happened to me) just do your best to press it into the tart evenly and then dip a spoon into hot water and use it to smooth out the top.

Another great part of this mousse is it is ready instantly - no refrigeration needed, so dig right in and prepare to swoon!



Best of all, you don't need to feel guilty about eating it: anti-oxidant rich dark chocolate, omega-3 filled almonds and no refined sweeteners or animal fat make for a pretty great nutritional profile!

P.S. You also can't go wrong adding fresh raspberries to the top!




As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Sweet Tooth Friday, Sweets for a Saturday, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, and A Themed Baker's Sunday - This week's theme is Chocolate! Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Simple Tomato Soup


We love pretty much all soups, but we especially adore a nice tomato soup. For many years (back in Ashlie's dairy and wheat eating days), our favorite lunch was velvety tomato bisque served with plenty of fresh ciabatta bread to sop it up! We would drive about an hour to Central Market in Dallas to indulge in this delight. Recently we were are out of town and needed to grab lunch and we ended up trying Corner Bakery Cafe's tomato soup. It was very different from the tomato bisque of years past, so different it's not quite comparable. But, it was very tasty in its own right - it was chunky, sweet, and richly tomatoey with a nice herby aroma. In fact, we've been craving more tomato soup ever since! So, we set out to make some of our own. The soup we came up with is super simple and simply delicious! Because it relies on canned tomatoes you can make it year round.

Simple Tomato Soup
Olive oil for the pot
1 Medium Onion, diced
1 Large Celery Stalk, diced
1 Large Carrot, peeled and diced
4 Large Garlic Cloves, minced
2 14oz. Cans Diced Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 Tablespoon Honey
2 teaspoons dried Basil
Sea Salt to Taste

1) Heat a medium pot over medium heat. Coat the pot with a little olive oil, add the diced vegetables and saute until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

2) To the pot add: the tomatoes along with their juice, the tomato paste, honey, and basil. Fill up one of the empty tomato cans with water and add it to the pot too.

3) Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and add salt as needed.

Serve piping hot with a nice green salad for a lovely light lunch!

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, and Foodie Friday.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pretty Darn Perfect Pizza Crust


For years we've been searching for the perfect pizza dough, as well as the perfect pizza cooking method. We've tried many kinds of flour (bread flour, all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, semolina flour, etc.). We've tried no-knead dough and dough you knead the heck out of. We've tried baking the crust on pans, on baking stones, partly on pans and then finishing it on a baking stone. And, we have had plenty of good pizzas, but our latest dough recipe and cooking method combination has produced the best pizza yet! The dough is a combination of bread flour for chewiness and whole wheat for flavor and whole grain goodness. It benefits from an extra long rise in the refrigerator, and it is baked in a very hot oven in a cast iron skillet. The resulting crust has a crunchy bottom and a light chewy interior that is incredibly flavorful.

Pizza Dough (Enough for 4-10 inch pizzas)
3 Cups Bread Flour
2 Cups Wheat Flour
1 Tablespoon Honey
2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Yeast
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Cups Water

1) In a large bowl, use a wooden spoon to combine all of the ingredients. Once everything is well mixed, let the dough rest 5 minutes.

2) After the dough has rested, stir it or mix it with your hands for 3-5 minutes, until it is nice and elastic.

3) Divide the dough into 4 equally sized pieces, shape the pieces into balls, and coat them with a little olive oil. Place each of the oiled dough balls into a quart-sized baggie. Refrigerate the dough for at least 8 hours or overnight. *You can also freeze the dough balls, just let them thaw in the fridge overnight before proceeding with the recipe.

Cooking Instructions:
1) One hour before you intend to bake your pizza, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.

2) Thirty minutes prior to baking the pizza, place a large cast iron skillet on the lowest shelf of your oven, and heat the oven to 500 degrees. *Put the other shelf on the very top level - you'll use it later.

3) Remove the dough from the bag and use your hands to shape it into a roughly 10 inch round. Let the shaped dough sit on a piece of parchment until you are ready to bake it.

4) After 30 minutes, remove the skillet from the oven, coat the bottom of the skillet with a little olive oil, place the dough in the hot skillet, and put the skillet back on the lowest shelf of the oven. Let it cook for 5 minutes.

5) After 5 minutes, remove the skillet from the oven and cover the crust with your desired toppings. Place the skillet back in the oven, but this time place it on the top shelf. Let the pizza bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown, 10-15 minutes.




As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, and Foodie Friday.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Asparagus with Balsamic Onions and Grapes





















Alfred's birthday was this week, and being the foodies that we are, our celebration revolved around food. I (Ashlie) made him his favorite breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And I'm pleased to report that everything turned out pretty marvelous (toot toot - that's me tooting my own horn). I will be posting several of the recipes in the days and weeks to come. Today's recipe was his birthday dinner side dish. Asparagus is our favorite Spring vegetable, so this time of year we eat all of it we can get our hands on - raw, roasted, blanched, grilled - we'll take it any way we can get it! The sweet and sour onion grape topping on this dish makes it extra special!

Asparagus with Balsamic Onions and Grapes
1 lb. Fresh Asparagus, wooded stems trimmed
1 Medium Sweet Onion, thinly sliced
1/2 Cup Red Grapes, halved
1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Pepper

1) Heat a large skillet to medium heat, coat it with olive oil and add the onions. Cook the onions, stirring frequently until they are soft and golden brown (about 8 minutes). Add the grapes and vinegar and simmer until the vinegar is reduced to a thick syrup. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.

2) Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus to the boiling water, cover the pot, turn the heat off, and let the asparagus sit in the hot water for 1-2 minutes depending on the thickness of your asparagus. You basically want to warm the asparagus, but keep it crisp and bright green.

3)To serve, pour the onion and grape mixture over the drained asparagus.

Bon Apetite!

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, and Foodie Friday. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

I've also included this as part of the April SOS - Sweet and Savory - recipe challenge. This month's secret ingredient is Asparagus. Thank you to Ricki of Diet, Dessert, and Dogs for hosting this wonderful event! I can't wait to see all of the recipes featuring our favorite veggie!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Buckwheat Waffles


I am a firm believer that breakfast is the most important meal of the day - it is also probably my favorite meal! I always start out the day with some fruit and/or vegetables (because I love them and because they are full of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants) and some nuts (for healthy fats and protein). That said, when it comes to making breakfast, I prefer to keep things simple. I'm always hungry (and inpatient) in the morning - so simple and quick are pretty important to me! Most often I eat a baked sweet potato with some toasted pecans and steamed greens (collards, turnip greens, cabbage, etc). I bake several sweet potatoes and make a big pot of greens on Sunday so during the week I only have to spend a few minutes heating up my breakfast (FYI - a medium sweet potato with the skin has more fiber than a bowl of oatmeal!).

These gluten free (and vegan), buckwheat waffles are another one of my favorites - they are about as simple as a recipe could be. They are also 100% whole grain, so they are very filling. If you do not have a waffle iron, no worries because the same batter can be used to make pancakes. Although they are simple, they are soooo statisfyingly delicious. I always feel like I'm having a special treat when I have them for breakfast. Hence - you can certainly feel comfortable feeding these "healthy" waffles to guests! Another nice perk, any leftover waffles and pancakes can be frozen and then warmed up in a toaster (just like Eggo's) for a super quick breakfast later in the week - or if you are cooking for a big group you can cook them in advance and then rewarm them.

Buckwheat Waffles, makes 4 servings (adapted from Florida Coastal Cooking)
2 Cups Buckwheat Flour (I use Arrowhead Mills Organic Buckwheat Flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 1/2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
2 Cups of Water
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce (or mashed banana, pumpkin or sweet potato)

Use a whisk to combine the first 5 ingredients, then stir in the water and applesauce until you have a thick, but smooth batter. Lightly oil your waffle iron or skillet. For waffles cook according to manufacturers instructions, for pancakes cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes per side.

While pure maple syrup or honey are nice, my favorite toppings for these waffles are:
1) Tahini or nut butter and sliced bananas (pictured above)
2) Blueberry sauce with toasted walnuts and cinnamon (as a side note - I recently read that eating blueberries and walnuts together makes the nutrients in both of these super foods more readily absorbed in the body!)



Blueberry Sauce, makes 1 serving (adapted from The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook)
1 Cup Fresh or Frozen Blueberries
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 Cup Water
1 teaspoon of Arrowroot powder (or Cornstarch)
1 Tablespoon of Maple Syrup (optional, and you can add more or less depending on the sweetness of your berries)

Combine the berries, nutmeg and 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the berries are soft, mash them slightly with a fork. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of water and the arrowroot powder - whisk until smooth, then whisk the mixture into the berries stirring constantly until the sauce thickens (this will only take a few moments). Remove from heat, stir in the maple syrup and serve!


As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Induglent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, and Messy Missy's Marvelous Mess Party. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

I am also including this recipe as part of the Build a Better Breakfast Challenge at Daily Bites. A big thank you to Hallie for hosting this wonderful event. Finally, I have included this as part of this month's Go Ahead Honey it's Gluten Free recipe round-up. This month's theme is Brunch and it's being hosted by the incredibly talented Maggie of She Let Them Eat Cake. Be sure to head over to their blog for lots of wonderful breakfast and brunch ideas!