Gravlax – For Salmon lovers

Salmon is by far my favourite fish, and the more I have it, the less cooked I want it :-). In my books, there is nothing worse than an overcooked dry piece of salmon, then again, that is just my taste.

But my most favourite way to eat salmon, other than Sashimi/Sushi style, is to make it the Norwegian way!

Gravlax is so simple to make, super tasty, perfect snack, appetizer and the best part, it keeps for quite a while.

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Here is how I made mine today:

  • 1 1/2 lbs of salmon (you can ask them to remove the skin, will make it easier when slicing, but I prefer to make it with the skin on)
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of salt
  • 2 tbs of black pepper
  • 1/8 cup of brandy or aquavit (used brandy today)
  • Bunch of fresh dill

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The best way to keep this easy and non messy is to grab a gallon ziploc bag, put in the salmon, sprinkle in the sugar, salt, black pepper and then add the brandy or aquavit. Then grab a handful of dill and place it on top. Close the bag carefully letting as much air out as possible and then give the bag a gentle massage to get it all mixed up.

Place on flat surface in fridge for 3 days, and everyday, give it a little love, slight massage and turn it over.

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Yes you need to be patient, but 3 days just fly by and then this fabulous treat is ready to eat! Serve it on its own, on crackers with some sour cream and a touch of caviar, or simply with Mustard sauce (you can find various recipes on the internet), we usually skip the mustard sauce :-).

Enjoy and hope you like it as much as I do ❤

 

Deep Fried Brie

Deep Fried Brie is one of my old time favourite appetizers that I used to order in restaurants whilst I lived in Europe.

Since I have been living here in South Florida, I have not seen or come across it in any restaurant, so every once in a while, I like bringing back the old memories and at the same time, making the hubby and the kiddos happy.

Its amazing how a simple dish, with only a couple of ingredients, can delight our palates in such a way!

Serves 4 – For this dish you will need:

Get 2 medium size bowls, in one beat up both eggs and add a dash of salt and pepper. In the other put about  1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs, you can always top it up if you need more.

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Grab the wheel of cheese and cut it into 8 equal pieces

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Dunk one piece at a time in the egg mixture, then cover it in breadcrumbs, pat it down to make sure they stick and then repeat the same again (each piece will go through the egg and breadcrumbs twice).

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Once you are done with all 8 pieces, place to the side and get a small casserole and add the vegetable oil till its about 1 1/2 inches deep and turn the heat on high, and while the oil is warming up, place the cranberry sauce in a microwavable bowl, add a tablespoon of water and microwave for about a minute.

Mix the sauce and once you get a runnier consistency, spread a nice bed of sauce on each plate.

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Now that the oil is hot, turn the heat down to medium (don’t want to burn your breadcrumbs) and place 2 pieces at a time and remove them as soon as they turn a nice golden colour.

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Place 2 pieces of brie on each plate, garnish your plate with whatever you have at hand, I used Rosemary as I have the biggest bush outside 🙂 , but a touch of green makes for a nice contrast with the bright cranberry colour on the plate.

Serve with slices of french baguette and dig in, you will see it disappears as soon as it hits the plate! What the hubby would call, finger licking good ❤

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

I recently saw a recipe on Facebook for what they called Chicken Pot Pie Cupcakes. Tonight I decided to test my own version on the kids!

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken breast, chopped into small pieces, sautéed with a drizzle of olive oil and a touch of salt and pepper
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese
  • 6 baby new potatoes boiled and chopped into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 box of puff pastry defrosted

I used my muffin pan, sprayed it with some pam, stretched out the puff pastry a bit more to make it a bit thinner. I cut 6 large round circles and lined each holder with it.

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In a bowl, mix the chopped chicken, chopped potatoes, cream of mushroom soup, chopped chives and cayenne pepper.

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I filled each holder to the top with the mixture and then cut some cute little hearts out of the left over pastry which I placed on top of each one.

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Bake in a 400 Deg F oven for 25 minutes.

I am pleased to report that they turned out pretty darn good, kids polished them all off 🙂

Cheers to a successful dinner…. ❤

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George Chang’s Cannoli Dip…

A good friend, Mr. George Chang, gave my a tub of his fabulous Cannoli Dip to see how I could incorporate it into my baking.

After a few days of pondering I settled on the following:

Sugar Cookie Bowls filled with cannoli dip, fresh strawberries and a drizzle of chocolate to finish them off! Don’t tell me that doesn’t sound good?

I have to confess I did not make my own cookies this time round, just used a pack of Betty Crocker Sugar cookies. Only change I made was I added 2/3 of a cup of flour to ensure that the dough was more manageable.

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I grabbed one of my muffin/cupcake pans, turned it upside down and sprayed all the bottoms with non stick cooking spray.

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I divided the dough into 12 kind of equal sized balls, flattened them with my hands and then lightly pressed them around each cupcake holder.

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Instructions say to bake for 9-10 minutes, I left them in for about 15-18 minutes as I needed them to hold their shape. I removed them from the oven and let them cool down before I popped them off the pan.

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And there we have them, some lovely sugar cookie bowls ready to be filled with this light, fluffy, tasty cannoli dip!

I piped some dip into each cookie bowl, topped them off with some chopped strawberries, a little drizzle of chocolate and they are now ready to be tested….. 🙂

Mr George Chang, hope you approve of the use of your fabulous cannoli dip ❤

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“Fall Dinner” – Florida Style

At this time of year everyone in the USA gets excited about fall. The color of the leaves, the cooler temperatures, the fresh smell in the air, the pumpkins, spices and I could go on and on. In Florida, Fall is just another day on the calendar, weather doesn’t change, hurricane season is at its peak and the humidity does not allow for any fresh air as such and the green on the trees is there to stay!

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So the only way to get the “Fall” comfort cozy feeling around here is by cooking dishes that fill our homes with those “Fall” smells as well as pumping that A/C and lighting some fall smelling candles :-).

Today I was having a “fall” moment so I decided to make some Butternut Squash soup.

  • 2 butternut squashes
  • 4 green apples
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • nutmeg and all spice
  • 2 cups of broth (I used beef broth because it’s what I had in the fridge)
  • 1 cup of heavy cream or half and half

Preheated my oven to 385 Def F . Stared by peeling, deseeding and chopping up 2 whole butternut squashes as well as the onion and apples. I left the garlic cloves whole but smashed them up a little.

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Grabbed a large baking pan and lined it with foil (this of course helps a lot with cleanup). Tossed everything in olive oil and placed it in the baking pan. Sprinkled some salt and pepper (about a tsp of each).

I let it all roast nice and slowly for a good hour, checking it every once in a while to make sure nothing was burning or sticking too much.

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Once everything was nice and roasted I removed it from the oven and let it cool down a little. Out came the blender where it all went into, together with 1 cup of broth and I blended it away!

Once it was all nicely pureed, I transferred the mixture over to a saucepan, added the rest of the broth and the cream, a dusting of nutmeg and 1/4 tsp of all spice.

The soup is nice and thick, so if you prefer it less thick you would need to add some more liquid, but do it little by little so you don’t lose the flavour!

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All that is left to do is to pump up that A/C, light the cinnamon candle, put some garlic bread in the oven and its time for a “Fall Dinner Florida Style”! ❤

Family Evening Soirée…

Today was the first time we had a family dinner, with everyone present, eating at the same time and in the same place for a long long time…..

Family time is so precious and hard to come by in this busy hectic world, that its a nice feeling when we all manage to get together. So with that said and although I ‘m still not feeling myself after my surgery, I still found some strength to put together a tasty meal and a little sweet treat which we enjoyed whilst chatting , having a drink and catching up!

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I started by preparing the little sweet treat which was inspired by 2 lovely huge pomegranates that were sitting on the counter without a purpose. I cut them open, took the lovely juicy seeds out and put them to the side.

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Then I melted some milk chocolate (preferred over dark chocolate in our home) and then put to good use my handy dandy Pampered Chef herb gadget, which obviously was not used to store/freeze herbs 🙂

I filled 1/3 of each cavity with the melted milk chocolate, then spooned in some pomegranate seeds and then topped it off with more melted chocolate and into the fridge they went.

I still had some chocolate and pomegranate seeds left, so I mixed them up and plop them on some wax paper into clusters and they also went straight into the fridge.

Then I pulled out some lovely skirt steak, seasoned it well and let it rest a bit before it went onto the grill.

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I did mention that I am still recovering from surgery, which is my excuse of using a few ready prepared sides to stop me from standing too long in the kitchen.

I had been to Trader Joe’s and found some frozen Asparagus Risotto which turned out to be pretty good but next time I need to doctor it with a little extra salt, some black pepper and maybe a dash of cayenne pepper and fresh parmesan cheese to give it a little umpf if you know what I mean.

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I also bought at Trader Joe’s a Greek Spinach Spanakopita tart which again wasn’t too bad but I have to say that I prefer my home made Pascualina which is a Uruguayan version of the Greek Spinach Pie. No feta cheese is used in the Uruguayan one but its so much tastier, or so I think of course…..

Evening was greatly relaxing, ate, drank, chatted and caught up with Mama Gaye whilst also enjoying the company of by busy teenage kids and hubby, oh and let me not forget the cats that of course made sure we knew they were there ❤

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After dinner we got to enjoy the lovely sweet treats that ended up being a big hit so they for sure will be part of future menus…..