Tag-Archive for ◊ citrus ◊

22 Aug 2013 Salmon in Parchment

salmon

Every once in awhile you run across a recipe that changes everything!  This is one of those recipes.  Cooking salmon in the microwave, with veggies.  How simple is that? How convenient is that? This main dish is simple, delicious  and healthy.  You’ll need a salmon fillet, a cup of fresh julienne veggies, a large piece of parchment paper, a little liquid, and a microwave. Chop and prep, five minutes in the microwave, then BOOM, a tasty, spot on healthy dinner of salmon and veggies!

I can’t get enough of this!  As much as I love, love, love the combination of veggies below, I often have to switch up the veggies and change the sauce to accommodate what I have on hand. The method always works, it’s always good and it never heats up the kitchen.  PLUS, dinner can be ready in ten minutes flat!

Fully Customizable Microwave Salmon & Veggies in Parchment

Recipe by Polly Ferguson, based on a recipe by Alton Brown

  • 1 (8-ounce) salmon fillet, pin bones removed
  • 1/3 cup julienne fennel bulb
  • 1/3 cup julienne leeks, white part only
  • 1/3 cup julienne carrots
  • 1/3 cup julienne snow peas
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander (this could be customized too—curry powder, cumin, or any other powdered spice you are partial to and that would complement the veggies and the salmon could be used)
  • Herbs: 6 basil leaves, chopped finely (or any mixture of herbs from your garden, or spices from your cabinet, that appeals to you—parsley, cilantro, dill, mint, rosemary, green onion, chives, fresh ginger, tarragon, lemon pepper, garlic, chili powder, curry powder, herbs de province, paprika, etc…)
  • Other Stuff: 1 tsp. grated lemon or orange peel, diced pineapple, jalapeño, (maybe even some brown sugar or a drizzle of maple syrup, or a sprinkling of ground coffee or mustard…, pesto or marmalade…)
  • Liquid: 1 tablespoon dry vermouth, OR orange juice, OR white wine… (just don’t use lemon juice, major Yuck!) I’d really like to experiment with soy sauce or teriyaki sauce, rice wine, melted butter (!), dry sherry, coconut milk, Asian Fish Sauce or beer 🙂
  1. Take a rather large piece of parchment paper and fold it in half  like a book. Lay fennel, leeks, carrots, and snow peas on parchment in the center of the paper and on one side of the fold.
  2. Mix together salt, pepper, and ground coriander (or whatever spice mix appeals to you). Sprinkle vegetables with 1/2 of the spice mixture.
  3. Lay salmon on top of vegetables and sprinkle with the remaining spice mixture.
  4. Top salmon with choice of herbs, sprinklings, and 1 tablespoon of desired liquid (wine, vermouth, orange juice, teriyaki sauce…)
  5. Fold empty side of parchment over fish and starting at top, fold up both edges of parchment, overlapping folds as you move along. Once you reach the bottom tip, twist several times to secure tightly.
  6. Place on microwave safe plate and cook for 5 minutes, on high in microwave (or until fish reaches 131 degrees if you have an instant read thermometer and wish to use it–I don’t). Let the package sit for 2 minutes.
  7. Open parchment carefully and serve for a complete meal. Serve from the parchment package, if you’d like. If I am feeling fancy I take the skin off the salmon fillet, place the veggies on the plate, and put the salmon on top and sprinkle with a garnish of  green onion, parsley or snipped basil.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today! :)

01 Jun 2013 Lemon Ice Cream

lemon ice cream closer

Bet you’ve never had Lemon Ice Cream!  Not lemon sorbet, or lemon sherbet, or lemon granita  or lemon frozen yogurt,  but lemon ice cream–creamy, rich, sweet, intense  lemon ice cream. Intrigued?  Tempted? I hope so, because I have a simple, oh-so-good recipe for you.  You do have an ice cream maker, right?  I use a “frozen bowl” ice cream maker, which seem to be everywhere for $40-$50 now, but sometimes you can get lucky.  This weekend my friend Sharon bought one at a garage sale for $5, and I saw one at  Savers for $12.99.

Homemade ice cream is very, very rich, and Lemon Ice Cream is no exception.  Serve small scoops (with an option for seconds, of course).  This recipe makes a quart of ice cream, richer and more filling than even the most premium commercial ice creams.  One quart of this ice cream will serve as many people as a half gallon of that store bought stuff.

I like to serve this ice cream on fruit pie, crisps and cobblers. My friend Sharon, whom I mentioned above, bought her ice cream maker after I fed her berry crisp with a scoop of this lemon ice cream.  This ice cream is also fantastic as a filling for an ice-cream sandwich.  To make a truly gourmet ice cream sandwich place a small scoop of Lemon Ice Cream between two ginger cookies, squish the sandwich a bit, square the filling up a bit, maybe roll the sides in a bit of chopped chocolate-milk, semi-sweet or white, then put the little bites of heaven in the freezer to firm up.   My pregnant daughter likes to eat  Lemon Ice Cream “as is” straight from a glass bowl with a long spoon.  She downed the sample above in one breath (at 9 o’clock in the morning one week before her due date!).

This recipe was first published in Gourmet magazine in 1999.  I’ve been making it since May 25, 2003.  Yes, I marked the date on my copy of the recipe, with this note, “Delicious and simple!”  “Simple” was written in caps and underlined twice!

Lemon Ice Cream

1 large lemon (zest plus 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup cold milk (I usually only have 2% at home, so that’s what I use)

1 cup well chilled heavy cream

 

With a vegetable peeler or microplane remove the zest from the lemon, do NOT include any of that bitter white pith in with the zest.  Put the sugar and the lemon peel in a food processor or blender and whirl until the sugar is finely ground and the lemon zest has been incorporated into the sugar. Add in the milk and the cream (On occasion, I have used 2 cups half-and-half instead of the milk and cream mixture).  Blend just to combine.  Stir in 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Process in ice cream maker for about 20 minutes.  Place soft ice cream in a freezer safe bowl, and set in freezer to harden up a bit (a few hours).  Ice Cream will keep at least a week, if not more, in the freezer but I doubt you will have to test the outer limits.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!  Looks like the next few days are going to be scorchers.  Stay cool. Squeeze lemons. Make ice cream. By the way, I think the picture above is one of the best so far for this blog.  My webmaster, Ratty, fixed it up real nice, didn’t she?

21 Aug 2011 Lemon Layer Cake

I haven’t been doing too much cooking lately.  It’s been too hectic.  My beloved “empty nest” imploded.  My two youngest moved back home for the summer, and brought with them all their stuff, most of it unwashed and unsorted. One of them brought a living and breathing human house guest for the summer, and had other friends stay with us for upwards of a week, too.  The other one had frequent overnight guests, four or five a week.  Then my elder daughter, her son and boyfriend moved in for a week, out for a week, then back for three weeks, then finally they moved into the house seven houses down.  They drop in at least twice a day, dropping off and picking up my grandson.  Borrowing my mixer.  Picking up some boxes they left in the garage.  Checking out the contents of the refrigerator. Then our house guest left. Then my younger daughter left, too.  She went to Ghana.  Yes, Ghana, Africa.  Not all her stuff fit into the two suitcases she was allowed to take.  She packed 93.7 lbs of stuff into those two suitcases.  She left her other ton of belongings here, unwashed and unsorted. Tomorrow my son moves out and into an apartment with three other boys, four hours from here.  He was going to go today, but not all his laundry is done.  All of his laundry may never be done.  He’s taking most of his stuff with him.  And a lot of my stuff, too.  Plus I’ve been trying to teach him how to cook before he goes. I can’t have him starving to death or trying to survive on convenience foods…

So, cooking for me has been down low on my list, but cookbook club sent out an e-vite.  It was time for a “Signature Cake” meeting.  I had to start cooking, and it had to be good, and it was probably going to have to be a little bit complicated.  A “Signature Cake”,  as I see it, is show-y cake,  one that we might become known for (remembered for?!), a special cake our family and friends might look forward to–even ask for–on birthdays and occasions; a from scratch layer cake, with a filling, and a frosting.  I had seen the recipe for “Lemon Layer Cake” in several America’s Test Kitchen magazines (YES, several!  Did you know ATK cycles their recipes through various publications?  I didn’t either, but I have this recipe in two magazines, and neither one of them is a “Best of…”!  I was a little surprised-and yes,  disappointed- to discover this little secret.)

Anyway, after being soooo busy and not cooking, I suddenly had to jump into creating a “Signature Cake” and the one I chose really was a bit of a project.  But it’s worth it!  It looks spectacular.  Look!

The white cake is delicious, very tender, not overly sweet, and sturdy enough to support the lemon filling without compressing. The lemon filling has a perfect texture, with a spot-on, bright and tangy lemon flavor.  The frosting is a “seven minute” or boiled frosting, which I had never made before, but I fell in love with it’s marshmallow-y creaminess which was a wonderful foil to the tangy lemon filling.  (I also loved the fact that the frosting had no butter and no powdered sugar.) I will definately be making this cake again. But I’d have a plan.  I’d do it in three parts.  Day one, make the lemon filling.  Day two, bake the cakes.  Day of party, make the frosting and assemble the cake.

A few other hints:

First thing, before you get everything else ready, cut 1 cube of butter into 1/2 inch pieces, and put in the freezer.  You will need to use these frozen butter cubes in the lemon filling.

I was tempted to grate the rind of a few lemons to add to the lemon filling.  I am so glad I didn’t.  The lemon filling was tangy enough as it was.  I think adding lemon rind would have ruined it.

Don’t be afraid of the frosting. You’ll need an instant read thermometer, a double boiler, and an electric mixer…but it’s really pretty easy to make (and it’s fat free and yummy!)

I frosted this cake the night before it was to be served, I don’t think that was a good idea.  The frosting seemed to loose a bit of it’s volume.  I think you could layer the cake with the lemon filling the night before, cover with plastic wrap (or a cake dome) and refrigerate, but I think the frosting needs to be made, and applied to the cake, just a few hours before the cake is to be served.

Lemon Layer Cake

America‘s Test Kitchen

For the filling:

1 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 6 lemons) (you’ll need an additional 1T. of lemon juice for the frosting)

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (less than one package, so measure out a teaspoonful)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon table salt

4 large eggs

6 large egg yolks (reserve all of the egg whites for the cake)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen

For the cake:

2 1/4 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting the pans

1 cup whole milk, at room temperature

6 large egg whites, at room temperature (leftover from making the filling from the six egg yolks)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, softened but still cool

Fluffy White Icing

2 large egg whites

1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)

1 tablespoon corn syrup

Begin by Preparing the Filling: Measure 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top to soften.

Heat the rest of the lemon juice, the sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot but not bubbling. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks until blended. Slowly whisk the lemon syrup into the eggs, then return the mixture to the saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 170 degrees on an instant read thermometer  Stir in the softened gelatin until completely dissolved.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the frozen butter until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth. If desired/necessary, pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a non-reactive bowl (I skipped this step). Cover the surface with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least four hours or up to two days. Stir mixture to loosen before spreading on cake layers.

To Make the Cake: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

In a large measuring cup, whisk together the milk, egg whites and vanilla. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt at low speed. With the mixer running on low speed, add the butter pieces one at a time until the mixture resembles fine, even crumbs. Stop the mixer and add all but about 1/2 cup of the wet ingredients. Beat the batter at medium speed until it is pale and fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour in the rest of the wet ingredients, then crank the speed back up to medium and beat for 30 seconds more. Scrape down the bowl and beat for 30 more seconds.

Divide the batter equally among the two cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean–do not overbake. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pans, peel off the parchment and cool completely, right side up.

When the filling has chilled and the cake layers are cool, begin assembling the cake. Slice the cake layers in half horizontally. Place one layer golden side down on a serving platter, and tuck a few strips of parchment paper under the edges of the cake to protect the platter. Spread a third of the lemon filling on the cake layer, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge of the cake. Repeat twice more with cake layers and filling. Place the top layer of the cake golden side up.

To Make the Icing: Combine all ingredients in bowl of standing mixer or large heatproof bowl and set over medium saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water (do not let bowl touch water). Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and transfer mixture to standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and continue to beat until mixture has cooled to room temperature and stiff peaks form, 5 minutes longer. Using icing spatula, spread frosting on cake. Serve.

Notes From ATK… Leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator, with the cut side of the cake covered tightly with plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today. I am glad I was home and cooking.  I hope you make this cake for an upcoming special occasion. It’s worth the effort…and you may become “famous” for it!

Polly

16 Jun 2011 Gravlax (sort of like Lox)

A few weeks ago my Aunt and I went on a seven day cruise to Alaska.  I spent most of the time reading while  looking out to sea and waiting for the next meal to be served, usually just a couple hour wait! It’s quite decadent to eat four multi-course meals a day (breakfast, lunch, tea, and dinner) all chosen off a menu, all served by waiters, while sitting at tables set with linen, too much  silverware, and many glasses.  And after all that, the biggest thrill yet awaits.  The getting up from the table, without removing a plate, and walking out the door, with not one thought about cleaning up or storing leftovers.  Now THAT, was lovely.  I wouldn’t be opposed to a fourteen day cruise next year!!!

As on most cruises, the Head Chef did a little demonstration for those of us who like to cook in real life (being on board ship is by no means real life). The Head Chef of The Dawn Princess showed us how to make Gravlax and Tiramisu. Tiramisu I can take or leave, and I usually leave, which is very odd since I am a cake person to rival Gayle King, and a coffee person to rival Howard Shultz but, hand me a raw fish and I get all giddy!  I took lots of notes during the Gravlax portion of the demonstration.  When I got back on land, I knew I was going to make  Gravlax for our Cook Book Club meeting.  The theme was “Something You Love But Seldom Make”.  This recipe fit perfectly, as I love it, but had never made it.  Gravlax is one simple recipe, and it’s a stunning appetizer plate or brunch treat.

I know some of you are asking, but what is Gravlax? Think Lox!  It’s very similar, but with a shorter curing time (two days versus six months). Gravlax is a Scandinavian dish of dry-cured raw salmon marinated in salt, sugar, dill, and citrus and often served thinly sliced on bread as an appetizer often accompanied by a dill-mustard sauce.

Dawn Princess Gravlax

  • 1 salmon fillet, about 2 lbs (very fresh, wild caught)
  • 500 grams of table salt (I weighed this out to be about ¾ cup)
  • 500 grams of sugar (I weighed this out to be about 1 ¼ cups)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • One bunch fresh dill
  • 1 large orange, sliced
  • 1 large lemon, sliced
  1. Place the salmon side on a large piece of plastic wrap. Run your hand over the surface and remove any and all bones with small tweezers.
  2. Mix the salt and sugar together. Sprinkle approximately half of the salt/sugar mixture over the salmon fillet. Then top with a good amount of  freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Top the black pepper with a heavy layer of fresh dill sprigs.
  4. Top the dill with a layer of the orange and lemon slices.
  5. Pour remaining sugar-salt mixture over the top of everything.
  6. Wrap the fish, covered with the salt, the dill, and the orange and lemon slices and a final layer of salt/sugar, completely and tightly in plastic wrap.
  7. Lay plastic wrapped fillet on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30-48 hours.  (80% of the recipes I read on the Internet said to weigh the fish down with something heavy during the refrigeration time. The chef did not say this, but after reading the recipes on line, I decided to do the same.  I used a 12-pack of soda.)
  8. Remove the plastic wrap from the fish. Drain off the liquid. Quickly rinse the salt off with cold water, then dry with a paper towel.
  9. Thinly slice the salmon, holding the knife at a diagonal.  Serve.  The chef served the gravlax on a sliced sweet baguette with a honey-mustard-dill sauce (equal parts of honey and mustard, with a few tablespoons chopped fresh dill).  My kids, and I, love to put the Gravlax on top of  bagel halves which have been spread with thin layer of cream cheese and then topped with thinly sliced red onion, capers, and tomatoes. Or how about Eggs Benedict with Gravlax rather than Canadian Bacon?
  10. Leftovers can be wrapped tightly in plastic and kept for one week in refrigerator, and can be stored in freezer for longer storage.  If gravlax is frozen, be sure to defrost gently in refrigerator, or the texture of the gravlax will be compromised.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  If you’d like to see more recipes, just click on the “In The Kitchen With Polly” header on the top left hand side of the page, which will allow you to scroll the recipes in order of posting.  If you would like to search on a particular ingredient, just type the name in the search box.  I think my dear friend Rattie has designed a very user friendly website!

Polly