Salmon Tikka with Cucumber Sauce

March 26, 2009

Yes Please!! That was C’s enthusiastic response when I asked if I should make this dish again. It was fantastic. And devoured by both of us in a matter of minutes. It was also super quick and easy. I whipped up the sauce before I went running, then did the rice and salmon when I got home in under 3o minutes.

Say what you will about Jamie Oliver (I heart him!), but I have yet to cook a recipe of his that hasn’t turned out great. I have his Jamie at Home cookbook and his recipe for roast pork is my go to recipe for impressing company. Now I think I will add Ministry of Food to my wish list.

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Salmon Tikka with Cucumber Sauce

Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food
Yield: 2 servings

Cucumber Sauce:
1/2 cucumber
1 red chili
1 lemon
4 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
salt and pepper (to taste, I like lots of pepper)

Salmon:
2 salmon fillets
1 heaping tablespoon Tandoori Curry Paste (I used Patak’s brand)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup cilantro (for garnish)

Cucumber Sauce:
Peel and halve the cucumber lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds using a small spoon. Chop finely and place in bowl.

Halve the chili and remove the seeds by scraping the flesh with the back of your knife. Chop finely and throw in bowl with cucumbers.

Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice of one half into the bowl. Add the yogurt and salt and pepper. Stir well and set aside.

Salmon:
Slice the fillets lengthwise down the centre so that you end up with 4 long pieces.

Spoon the tandoori paste into a small dish. Use the back of a spoon to smear one side of the fish.

Heat a frying pan over high heat and add olive oil. (Let the pan get quite hot so that it will sear the salmon and make the paste stick to the fish). Place the fish in the pan, paste-smeared side down. While that side is cooking smear the other side with the rest of the tandoori paste. Cook each side for 1 1/2 minutes.

Serve over rice or naan bread. Top with a large dollop of the cucumber sauce and a sprinkle of cilantro. Yum!

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Lemon Sugar Cookies

March 22, 2009

It is the first weekend of spring and after a week of rain the sun is finally shining. We had our first barbeque of the season to attend and our friends’ new baby to meet. Somehow these cookies seemed perfect for all these occasions: spring, get-togethers and babies. I think it’s the lemon.

So yesterday after a nice walk in the sunshine to go purchase a zester, I baked these cookies and packaged them up to take to our friends. They were excellent and everyone loved them. In fact when I went back for seconds (okay – thirds), they were gone! I will definitely be making (and C requesting) these again soon.

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Lemon Sugar Cookies

Adapted from Baking Bites
Yield: 48 small cookies

2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (room temperature)
1 1/2 cups sugar
zest of 2 lemons (reserve 2 teaspoons for the glaze)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze:
1 cup icing sugar
juice of half a lemon
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon light corn syrup

Preheat oven to 375F.

Mix together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

In the bowl of the stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until fluffy. (This can also be done with an electric hand mixer). Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture. Mix until all the flour is incorporated.

Roll the dough into small balls (about 1 inch round) and place on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes until very slightly browned on the bottom.  Cool on a wire rack.

While the cookies are cooling prepare the glaze. Whisk the icing sugar, lemon juice, zest and corn syrup together until smooth. Using a teaspoon, spread a little bit of glaze over each the top of each cookie. (Note: the cookies are delicious without the glaze, but it is a nice touch and a great way to use up some of the zested lemons).


Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

March 22, 2009

I was craving peanut butter cookies all week and trying to resist making them since I was the only person home (and the only person to eat them!). On Wednesday night, I even got out all the ingredients, before resisting the urge and putting everything back in the cupboard. Finally, on Friday, C was back from his trip and we had a BBQ to go to the next day, so I succumbed and made the cookies. As the title says, they are super easy and can be made with stuff you have kicking around in the cupboards. Perfect for a can’t-deny peanut butter craving.

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Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

Yield: 24 cookies

1 cup peanut butter (I use light)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg

Preheat oven to 325F.

Cream all the ingredients together in the mixer.

Shape the dough into balls and place on a baking sheet. Press the balls flat with a fork to make a cross-hatch pattern.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Place on wire rack to cool.


Granny’s Soda Bread

March 18, 2009

In honour of St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to whip up a loaf of my granny’s Irish soda bread. This is the first true “family recipe” that I have shared here and one of my most used recipes.

I could probably eat this bread everyday. In fact back in November, I did. For two weeks straight. I cooked a loaf on Sunday and took for lunch everyday with a slice of cheese. It was perfect for clandestine eating in my library carrel.

Which brings me to my top 4 ways for eating this soda bread:
(1) Fresh out of the oven, just plain.
(2) Slathered in butter.
(3) With a slice of Dubliner cheese.
(4) Topped with a teaspoon of blackberry jam.

Mmmmmm.

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Granny’s Soda Bread

From my Granny (Eileen Way)
Yield: 1 loaf

2 cups white flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I use the 1% buttermilk)

Preheat oven to 375F.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the centre, add the buttermilk and stir lightly until everything is combined.

Make into a flat loaf and cut an “X” in the top. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. (Note: If you are using an electric oven, place a pan of water on the lower rack to provide moist heat during cooking).


Spicy Ground Turkey Lettuce Wraps

March 12, 2009

So I have a little confession to make: I may just be slightly addicted to carbs. I came to this realization after a loaf of soda bread from my mum was gone a mere 24 hours after it had come through the door. So I decided that maybe I should eat a little bit more lean protein and vegetables and a little less bread and rice (and cookies and banana bread and …). The Baked Eggs were the first step in the plan, these Lettuce Wraps were the second.

This recipe came together fairly quickly which is good because when I arrived home from running yesterday, I was hungry and grumpy and needed something to eat – stat! These took about 30 minutes from the time I pulled out the cutting board to us sitting at the table eating. Now, it may just be that I was ravenous, but they tasted really good (I didn’t even miss rice or noodles).

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Spicy Ground Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Yield: 4 Servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red onion, diced
1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons sambal oelek (chili paste)
1/2 to 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 head of iceburg lettuce, separated into whole leaves

In a large saute pan over medium heat, saute the onions, ginger and garlic until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add in the peppers and cook for another 2 minutes.

Then, add the ground turkey to the pan and use a wooden spoon to break it apart. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce and sambal oelek. Cook until the turkey begins to brown and is cooked through, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro.

To serve, set out lettuce and the turkey mixture in separate dishes. Let each person fill the lettuce with the turkey to make their own wrap.


Baked Eggs

March 11, 2009

I love breakfast. If I could eat cereal for every meal I probably would. So any breakfast-like recipe I can pass off as dinner – works for me.  So when I was craving a little breakfast tonight, I dreamed up this recipe.

It has a lot of protein to give me some more energy for running, but is also healthy and delicious. These eggs turned out great and were very quick to boot.

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Baked Eggs

Yield: 4 egg cups

4 large eggs
4 strips of bacon (I used turkey bacon)
4 tablespoons milk
4 teaspoons parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F. Lightly grease 4 ramekins.

Using on strip of bacon per ramekin, line the outside of the dish. Then crack an egg into the centre of each dish. Pour on tablespoon of milk and 1 teaspoon of parmesan cheese into each. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and put into the oven. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes depending on how soft you like your eggs.


Sweet Potato Soup

March 8, 2009

This recipe really should be called “procrastination soup” since I made it this afternoon to avoid writing my legal philosophy paper. Peeling, chopping and simmering is much easier than postulating on the value of money.

I have had two huge sweet potatoes kicking around the kitchen for a couple of weeks. My mum passed them on to me since she’d had them kicking around since Christmas and doesn’t like them. So clearly something had to be done with them. The paper had to wait!

The soup turned out surprisingly delicious. I was a bit skeptical of how it would taste given the relatively few ingredients. The ginger gave it a nice heat and the curry powder was not too curry-ish – a great balance of flavours. It also came together very quickly and easily – definitely a make-again.

(Yay! This recipe was featured on Tastespotting! Hello to all the new readers visiting from there.)

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Sweet Potato Soup

Adapted from Canadian Living
Yield: 4 – 6 servings

2 large sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger
2 teaspoons curry powder
4 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste

Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into small chunks (roughly 1 to 2 inch cubes).

Chop the onion, garlic and ginger. Precision and size is not really important in any of the chopping since everything is whizzed through the immersion blender.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute the onion, garlic, ginger and curry powder in the olive oil for abut 5 minutes or until the onions begin to soften. Add the sweet potatoes and stir until they are coated, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 30 minutes.

Once the sweet potatoes are quite tender, remove from heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender (you could also use a regular blender or food processor). Serve.