Monthly Archives: December 2010

Salmon Rillettes

 

Salmon Rillettes

Salmon Rillettes

It is hard to believe that 2010 is almost at a close.  It has been a very busy year in our household.  Between raising two growing girls, starting a new business, and dealing with the day-to-day of life, we haven’t had as much time to blog as we would like.  Hopefully, 2011 will mean more frequent blogging!

 

Poaching the salmon fillet

Poaching the salmon fillet

So, to help you celebrate the New Year, here is a delicious little appetizer to add to your party spread.  It can be made a day in advance to ease pre-party preparations.  It is quick to put together but looks rather sophisticated on the table.  Pack it in a pretty container and serve in the same dish.

 

Salmon, onions, and butter

Salmon, onions, and butter

The best part, the flavor… I love salmon (especially smoked salmon) and when you combine it with lemon, wine, onion and capers, it is extra delicious.  The combination of two kinds of salmon mixed with butter makes the texture very smooth.  The capers, onions, and spices add a nice little kick of flavor.  For the best taste, allow the dish to come to room temperature before serving on toasted slices of crusty bread or crackers.  Happy New Year!

 

Almost ready

Almost ready

Salmon Rillettes

Adapted from Gourmet

Ingredients:

1/2 lb skinless salmon fillet

1 cup dry white wine

1/2 lb thinly sliced smoked salmon, finely chopped

4 tbls butter, softened

1/4 – 1/3 cup shallots (about 2.5 oz), minced

1/8 – 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

2 tbls fresh lemon juice

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp drained capers

2 tsp Cognac or other brandy

Zest of one lemon (freshly grated)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

To Make:

In a shallow skillet large enough to hold the fresh salmon, bring 1.5 cups water and 1.5 cups wine to a gentle boil.  Add the fresh salmon, reduce the heat, and poach at a bare simmer until the salmon is just cooked through (about 4 minutes).  Remove from the poaching liquid and let cool.

Flake the fresh salmon, chop the smoked salmon and add both to your serving dish.  Stir in the butter, shallots, parsley, lemon juice, mustard, capers, Cognac, and lemon zest until well blended.  The final dish should be well mixed but with some texture to the fish.  Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight, until firm.

To Serve:

Serve spread on toasts or hearty crackers.  Allow the dish to come to room temperature before serving.  Makes about 2 cups.  Recipe can easily be doubled.

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Filed under Appetizers, Fish, Gluten-Free

Chocolate Mint Brownie Thins

Chocolate Mint Brownie Thins

Chocolate Mint Brownie Thins

First, I would like to offer a warm hello to all of our new readers.  We were “Freshly Pressed” on WordPress the other day and got a lot of traffic.  We hope that everyone sticks around!  We love to read all of the comments, ideas, and suggestions about the blog that others have.

The cast of characters

The cast of characters

And now, it is time for more cookies!  I really love cookie season because I love any excuse to bake (and eat) butter and sugar-laden treats.  Last night I got the urge for something chocolate.  Since it was already late I knew I needed something relatively quick (no long rests in the refrigerator) and easy.  These cookies fit the bill.

Melted chocolate goodness

Melted chocolate goodness

These are rich and chocolatey cookies with an unusual chewy/crispy texture.  The recipe describes them as the top layer of a brownie and that is exactly what they are like.  If you could skim the very top crackly layer off of a pan of brownies, you would have these cookies.  They deliver all the chocolate punch of brownies but they are lighter and less of a commitment.  The addition of a little bit of mint extract makes them very festive.  Of course, if you wanted pure chocolate, you could omit the mint and use chopped nuts instead of peppermint candies on top.

Spreading the dough

Spreading the dough

A couple of notes to make baking these easier.  First, the thinner you spread the dough, the thinner and crispier the cookies will be.  This makes the cookies great for eating, but challenging to get off the pan.  I found that using a very thin, flexible spatula (like an offset spatula that you would use to frost a cake) helps to get the cookies off the sheet in one piece.  Also, the original recipe says to bake the cookies for 7 minutes.  My oven probably runs a bit cool but I found I needed to go to 10-11 minutes in order to get cookies to the appropriate state of crisp.

Cookies ready for baking

Cookies ready for baking

Chocolate Mint Brownie Thins

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients:

6 tbls butter, cut into pieces

2 ounces good quality dark chocolate (at least 72% cacao), chopped

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

3 tbls plus 1 tsp all purpose flour

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp mint extract

pinch of coarse salt

Crushed peppermint candies, for garnish

To Make:

Position your oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Grease two baking sheets and set aside.

Place the chocolate and butter in a medium, microwave safe bowl.  Microwave the chocolate and butter using medium power until almost melted (about 1.5 minutes).  Remove from the microwave and whisk until completely melted.  Add the sugar and egg and whisk until smooth (about 1 minute).  Add the flour, extracts, and salt and stir until just combined.  Set the batter aside and let it stand for 10 minutes.

Scoop teaspoonfuls of batter onto the baking sheets, spacing them so you get about 12 per sheet.   Using the back of a large spoon, spread the dough into thin circles, about 2 inches in diameter.  Top with the crushed candy.  Bake in the oven, one sheet at a time, until the edges are darkened and the centers are nearly set, 7-10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 4 minutes.  Using a thin spatula, remove cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

To Serve:

Serve with milk.  Makes 2 dozen.

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Filed under Baked goods, Bars and Brownies, Cookies, Dessert, Recipes

Simple Peanut Butter Cookies

Simple Peanut Butter Cookies

Simple Peanut Butter Cookies

Cookie season is in full swing.  Thing 1 and I had a great time making the first batch of Christmas cookies last Sunday and I will be making these this coming weekend.  In the meantime, when I get a hankering to whip up a batch of cookies on a weeknight, this peanut butter cookie recipe is one I reach for again and again.

Mmm, sugar, butter, and peanut butter

Mmm, sugar, butter, and peanut butter

First, it is super simple to put together.  The dough doesn’t need to be refrigerated before rolling so the cookies come together quickly.  They are easy to decorate (a must when you are talking about Christmas cookies).  And they taste just like peanut butter cookies should… buttery and full of peanut flavor, with a texture that is soft but a little crumbly.

Peanut butter balls

Peanut butter balls

Putting a tray of these together only takes about a half an hour so if you find you need to make an emergency batch of cookies for your next holiday party, this is the recipe for you.  It is easy enough that it makes a great project to do with budding chefs.  Kids love to roll the dough and to use the fork to flatten the balls.  And of course they are excellent to decorate.

Dressed and ready for the oven

Dressed and ready for the oven

Simple Peanut Butter Cookies

Adapted from Clueless In the Kitchen

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 egg

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

To Make:

Combine butter, peanut butter, white sugar and brown sugar in a mixing bowl.  Beat until combined.  Add in the egg and beat until smooth and creamy.

Whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth.

Scoop out the dough with a teaspoon.  Roll into 1″ balls and place on foil lined cookie sheet, approximately 2″ apart.  Use a fork to flatten each ball, making a criss-cross pattern.  Since it is Christmas, feel free to decorate the cookies with chocolate candies, sprinkles, cinnamon candies, etc.

Bake in at 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.  The cookies will be soft when they come out of the oven but don’t over bake.  They will firm up once they cool.  Allow them to cool on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes before you remove them from the cookie sheet to a wire rack to cool completely.

To Serve:

Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies.  Store in an air tight container for 3 days.

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Filed under Cookies, Dessert, Recipes