Sharing a seriously fun love for food

Month: February 2012

Salmon with Tomatoes and Herbs

Salmon with Tomatoes and Herbs

Salmon is one of my go-to dinners, and nearly every one of my favorite recipes involves a foil packet. It’s just too easy! This salmon comes together quickly, and once it’s in the oven, it’s completely low maintenance. Salmon with Tomatoes and Herbs would be great with wild rice and a salad, and would erase whatever damage you did eating frozen yogurt for dinner the night before (guilty!).

Salmon with Tomatoes and Herbs

4 salmon filets, about 6 oz each
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
14-oz can diced tomatoes, drained (you can also use diced fresh tomatoes)
2 tablespoons capers
Aluminum foil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, place each salmon filet onto a piece of foil large enough to enclose it completely, folding  up the edges slightly to keep any liquids from running out of it. Drizzle with olive oil and cover generously with salt and pepper.

Layer each filet with diced tomatoes and herbs, and divide the capers among the filets. Fold up the foil around the salmon, sealing it well so it won’t leak.

Place the baking sheet in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, until salmon reaches desired doneness.

Divinity

Divinity

Luscious and fluffy… Well worth the time!

I’ve made candy during the Christmas holidays for years, and it occurred to me that Valentine’s Day is a perfectly appropriate excuse to pull out these recipes. Peanut brittle and divinity are about as Southern as it comes, and what better way to show your Valentine a little love than homemade candy? Who needs Russel Stover?

Peanut Brittle

This peanut brittle recipe is legendary and comes from my “other” mom, Jackie. This brittle is light in texture and its salty-sweetness is completely addictive. When it comes to candy-making, equipment is crucial, but not necessarily pricey. Three things you’ll need for this: a heavy saucepan, a candy thermometer (digital is the easiest to read), and a rimmed baking sheet.

1 cup white corn syrup
3 cups sugar
½ cup water
3 cups raw peanuts
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon butter

Combine corn syrup, sugar, and water in a heavy saucepan over low heat, cooking until sugar is completely dissolved, stirring frequently. Add peanuts and cook until a candy thermometer reads 295 (hard crack).  Meanwhile, place the butter in a small dish and in a separate small dish combine the baking soda and salt.

As soon as the mixture reaches 295, add the butter and stir until melted and combined.  Add the butter, stirring until melted, then add the soda/salt mixture, stirring quickly to mix thoroughly, but just until combined. Pour immediately onto a buttered rimmed baking sheet.  Don’t spread or touch it!  Allow to cool completely and break into portions.

 

Once the sugar is completely dissolved, raise the heat to medium and add the raw peanuts.

 

When the mixture hits 295 degrees, add butter, soda, and salt, then pour onto a buttered pan… and DON’T TOUCH IT!

 

All tied up and ready to give!

 

Divinity

This is my grandmother Tassie’s recipe for an old, beloved Southern candy.  It requires patience but is well worth the effort…  It tastes like a sweet cloud!

2 cups sugar
½ cup water
½ cup white corn syrup
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Combine sugar, water, and syrup in a large, heavy saucepan and cook to 252 degrees.  While mixture is cooking, beat egg whites and salt until stiff.  A stand mixer with the whisk attachment is ideal and highly recommended; switch to the paddle attachment for the next step.

Once the mixture hits 252 degrees, allow to cool for 2 minutes. Then with mixer running, slowly pour the mixture into the egg whites.  Add vanilla and beat on medium high until candy begins lose its gloss and stiffen, 20 to 30 minutes.  Add the nuts, combine and drop by teaspoons on a buttered or Silpat-lined baking sheet.  Allow to cool and store in an air tight container.

A stand mixture and a lot of patience are helpful tools!
Once the mixture stiffens, drop it by spoonfuls onto a Silpat-lined pan to set up.
Calzones

Calzones

There are some things (burgers, for example) that I like to make almost as much as I like to go out for. Pizza is one of them. I frequently make it as an excuse to finish a rotisserie chicken and whatever other various veggies may be hanging around.

I ran across a calzone “how-to” in a magazine several months back, and thought, “Why not?” I was thrilled with how easy they were.

Your calzones can be ready in no time if your ingredients are ready to go. (Think: leftovers from chicken or steak fajitas and how easy is clean-up?!) If they’re not, just allow the time to cook any meat and soften vegetables first. The store-bought pizza crust in the little tube works great – I went with thin crust to improve my crust-to-stuffing ratio. There’s plenty of ways you could use this: instead of making one large calzone, make individual servings, or make minis for a party. It would really dress up pizza night to set it up like an omlette bar and let everyone choose their own fillers (something fun for a sleepover?).

Although this probably should be 4 servings, I got 3 out of it. Don’t judge.

Olive oil
Pizza crust – store-bought works great
2 c shredded mozzarella, part-skim
3 links hot Italian sausage, or about 0.75 lb, cooked and broken apart
2 c thinly sliced green bell peppers, softened
2 c sliced baby bella mushrooms, softened
Pizza or Italian seasoning
Marinara, for serving

Place a rimmed baking sheet upside down in the oven and preheat to 400F.

On parchment, drizzle olive oil and unroll pizza dough; pat into a rectangle. Spread 1 c mozzarella over half of the dough, followed by the sausage, mushrooms, and peppers. Spread the remainder of the cheese on top. Fold dough over and pinch the edges to seal. Poke the top with a fork, sprinkle seasoning, and slide the parchment onto the inverted hot baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes, depending on dough directions, until golden.

Let the calzone sit for a few minutes before slicing and serving with hot marinara.

Here’s a good look at the delicious filling
Keep your ingredients on one side. I sandwiched the meat and veggies between cheese – because what’s better than one layer of cheese? That’s right – two layers.
Once the dough is folded over, pinch the edges together, poke the top with a fork in a few places, and sprinkle with pizza or Italian seasoning.
Serve with warm marinara, and you may never go out for a calzone again!