Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Cod with Tomato and Herb Butter

This dish is as beautiful as it is delicious.  The cod is flaky and tender, then when you top it with this tomato herb butter sauce it takes it over the top.  This recipe comes from the blog Little Broken.  You'll have to check out her blog for her step by step photos of this recipe.  

I'm going to try this flavorful tomato herb butter sauce on salmon and chicken soon.  So GOOD!

INGREDIENTS
Tomato and Herb Butter
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for drizzling the cod
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (I used chicken broth)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt (I used 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt)
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, sliced (I used salted butter so I cut down the the salt)
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped herbs (basil, parsley, chives, cilantro), plus extra for garnish (I used 1 Tblsp. of each basil parsley and cilantro)
Cod
  • 2 - 2¼ pounds fresh cod fillets, cut into 6-8 oz. portions* (I used only 4 portions because you'll want enough butter sauce for each serving)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper


Tomato and Herb Butter
  1. In a small saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté shallot for 3 minutes, then add garlic for 1 minute or just until fragrant, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add tomatoes, chicken stock, sea salt, red pepper flakes, and sugar. Simmer, uncovered, for 15-17 minutes or until tomatoes break down and release their juices and liquid has almost evaporated. ( While this is cooking prepare cod and put in the oven so both are done around the same time.)
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat (I turned the sauce pan to low) and stir in the butter and fresh herbs. The herb butter should be velvety. Cover and keep warm while the cod is baking.
Cod
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Drizzle the bottom of a casserole dish lightly with olive oil. You want a dish big enough to fit the cod in a single layer.
  3. Pat dry the cod really well and place in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the top lightly with olive oil and squeeze of fresh lemon. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 15-18 minutes or until easily flaked. Baking time will depend on the thickness of the cod.
  4. Remove from the oven (I drained off the extra liquid in the pan so it wouldn't thin out the butter sauce) and evenly spread the tomato butter over the cod. Cover back with aluminum foil and let stand at room temperature for 1-2 minutes before serving. You just want all the flavors to come together.
  5. Garnish with fresh chopped herbs, if desired, and serve immediately.
Serves 4

NOTES
I like to serve this with a rice pilaf. 



Thursday, August 2, 2018

Peach, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad


When summer produce is at its peak this simple salad is summer on a plate! I just got a box of 12 peaches at Costco and they are so good, firm but ripe, juicy and so sweet.  Perfect for this salad as each ingredient needs to be at it's best.  I also got some wonderful heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market that taste like a tomato should taste.  I will be making this again real soon as the peaches are ripe and ready.  
Ingredients:
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil *
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar *
1/4 -1/2 teaspoon flaked sea salt, divided
1 heirloom or vine ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 ripe peaches - halved, pitted, and sliced
4 leaves fresh basil, torn
4oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced and quartered *

Directions:
1.  Whisk olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and 1 pinch flaked salt together in a bowl until dressing is smooth.
2.  Alternate tomato slices, peach slices and mozzarella slices in layers on a platter.  Sprinkle salt and basil on top. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve.

Serves 2-4

*Instead of the oil and balsamic vineagar dressing, you can use a balsamic glaze.
*You can use burrata instead of fresh mozzarella



Monday, July 16, 2018



Concerts on the Square, Madison WI 

I don't do much baking these days but when I do, it's usually these cookies.  I have to have people to share them with because I'm not able to stay out of the cookie jar, they're that good!   Today's my opportunity as we're having a picnic with family and friends.  In the summer every Wednesday evening is an outdoor concert by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra held on the lawn of the Wisconsin State Capitol.  It has been called "The Biggest Picnic of Summer."  It's really a sight to see all the families and friends gathering around the Capitol lawn, having a fun summer evening.


I've posted this recipe a long time ago but thought I'd post again as it's really one of my all-time favorite cookies.  The combination of dark chocolate and dried cherries are amazing.  I got this recipe from Cooks Illustrated.  One thing I've learned from making recipes from Cooks illustrated is that if you follow the recipe that they worked very hard to get just right it will turn out for you too.  Their little tricks like measuring the ingredients, toasting the pecans for more nut flavor, or using cool butter so that the cookies hold their shape and don't spread too thin.  Also the timing on the mixing, one minute here and 30 seconds there, not to add to much air to the batter.  So, if you follow the directions they'll turn out perfect every time.  Crispy, chewy, chocolate and cherry in every bite.  They are worth every calorie!

Ingredients


1 1/4 (6 1/4 oz) cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon  salt
1 1/4 (3 1/2 oz) cups rolled oats, old-fashioned (not instant)
1 cup toasted pecans (4 ounces), chopped (*see note)
1 cup (5 oz) dried tart cherries (chop coarse *I leave them whole)
3/4 cup (4 oz) dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons)  butter, softened but still cool 
1 1/2 (10 1/2 oz) cups packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. In a second medium bowl, stir together oats, pecans, cherries, and chocolate.
3. In a standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until no sugar lumps remain, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of the bowl with rubber spatula; add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low speed until fully incorporated about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl; with mixer running at low speed, add flour mixture; mix until just combined, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running on low, gradually add oat/nut mixture; mix until just incorporated. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed.
4. Roll between palms into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (2 oz); stagger 8 balls on each baking sheet,  flatten slightly spacing them about 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake 14-16 minutes until cookies are light brown. Do not over bake.
5. Cool cookies on baking sheets on wire rack 5 minutes; using a wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Makes 2 Dozen large cookies


*  To toast pecans place on cookie sheet and place in oven while preheating.  When the oven reaches 350 pecans are toasted.   Every oven heats up differently so keep a close eye not to burn nuts.  Make sure they are cool before adding to cookie batter!


*  If chopping dried cherries, it works better if you freeze them slightly before. 








                                                                                                       


Friday, June 29, 2018

Lemon Basil Grilled Salmon

I made this for lunch today and I'm so happy right now.  It was so good!  So fresh and bright, summer on a plate.  I got the recipe from the blog, I Wash You Dry.  I'm sure I'll be making this again soon as it was so easy.  While the salmon and corn were on the grill, I made the tomato salad and lunch was ready in less than 30 minutes.   I did make one change, the recipe called for Land O Lakes® Butter with Olive Oil & Sea Salt but I used regular salted butter.  Check out I Wash You Dry for the recipe.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Orecchiette with Italian Sausage and Spinach



This is a one-pot dinner.  That is if you start out with a large skillet.  The first time I made it I didn't use a big enough skillet and had to dirty another.   There's a lot of spinach that has to fit into the skillet so keep that in mind.  It does cook down fast but you have to have the room so just start out with a big enough skillet and you're good to go. 

I got this recipe from Kent over at Cooking 4 One.  Tonight I'm cooking for two so I doubled and made a few slight changes.  This recipe is so tasty, quick and easy cleanup.  Win, Win & Win!!

INGREDIENTS:

2 tsp olive oil 
6 oz Italian sausage 
2 tbsp shallot, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced 
6 oz orecchiette
1 3/4 cup beef broth
5 oz spinach, washed and roughly chopped 
1/3 cup cream 
14 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese (plus extra for serving)
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, heat until simmering.  
2. Add the sausage, crumble and brown until almost no pink is left, about 5 mins.
3. Add the shallots and cook for about 3 minutes until softened. 4. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, approximately 1 minute. 5. Add the orecchiette and stir it into the olive oil and sausage renderings, 
spreading the mixture into an even layer in the pan. 
6. Add the beef broth and bring to a heavy simmer. 
7. Cover and reduce the heat to medium­ low, cooking for approximately 11 mins. until the pasta is nearly done and the liquid is well reduced.
8. Add the spinach and cover for 3 minutes. 
9. Stir in the wilted spinach before adding the cream and the cheese.

10. Stir the cream, cheese, and red pepper flakes to create the sauce.  Remove from the heat.

Serve with extra parmesan cheese. 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Coconut Lemon Scones

I love coconut so when I saw this recipe, Toasted Coconut Lemon Scones from Two Peas & Their Pod I had to make them.  These scones are so tender, loaded with coconut and a hint of lemon.  Delicious!
I did make a change to the recipe.  When making scones I like the shortcut of using a food processor.  I don't enjoy cutting the butter in the flour with a pastry blender, just takes too long.  Using the food processor helps get the butter evenly distributed in just seconds and when the butter melts while baking, it produces the air pockets that make scones so tender.  The trick is to use really cold butter.  These scones will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days but they are best the day they're made.  They also freeze well.  




INGREDIENTS:
FOR THE SCONES:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • zest of one large lemon (should yield 1 Tablespoon for scones and 1/2 teaspoon for glaze)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

  • 6 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE LEMON GLAZE:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (If your lemon didn't give you enough juice you can use some water)
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes or coconut chips
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  2. In a large food processor, add flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and pulse a few times until mixed.  Add lemon zest, and coconut and pulse a couple times to incorporate. Add cubed butter and pulse (about 15-20 times) just until the butter resembles coarse meal, with a feel of larger butter lumps.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of heavy cream, lemon juice, coconut extract, and vanilla extract. Using a spatula pour mixture over the ingredients in the food processor and pulse just until dough begins to form. Don’t over mix.
  4. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and gently knead the dough to form two balls.  Form each ball into a 6" round circle.  Cut each circle into 6 triangles, 12 scones total.
  5. Place scones on the prepared baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush scones lightly with the additional heavy cream. Bake scones for 13-15 minutes, or until scones are light brown. Cool scones on a wire cooling rack.
  6. While the scones are cooling, make the lemon glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth. While the scones are still warm drizzle or frost the glaze over the scones and top with toasted coconut. 

12 Scones - Can store in airtight container for 2 days or freeze to enjoy later.






















adapted recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod