Monday, May 14, 2007

Grilled Salmon

This salmon recipe turned out to be so easy and delicious that Joseph said it was one of his favorites. I mixed up a quick marinade of honey, soy sauce, and ginger and used half for the actual marinade and reduced the other half for a quick and flavorful sauce. An impressive looking dinner for such a small amount of effort!

Honey Ginger Salmon

2 6 oz salmon filets
1/4 c honey
1/3 c soy sauce
1 T grated fresh ginger
1 orange, juiced

Mix marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Add half to a medium ziploc bag and add salmon. Gently turn bag over and over to completely coat fish. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before grilling. Grill on medium-high heat until fish pulls apart easily when poked.

For sauce, heat remaining marinade in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce until slightly thickened or add a small amount of cornstarch to thicken quickly.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Super Cupcakes

A few months ago when my young son developed his own sign for wanting things my husband and I were thrilled. Gabe took one hand and pointed out something that he wanted and then he took his little hand and pointed into his opposing palm repeatedly. He would look up with his big beautiful brown eyes as if saying "Please, Mommy." This method has been a wonderful tool to both Gabriel and us and I believe it actually saves us all from a lot of whining and crying.
Today I made each of us our own little cupcake treat but I allowed Gabe to start eating before either of us started. I figured that putting the filling on the side would slow him down as he dipped before each bite. Just as I sat down to enjoy my dessert I looked over to see those little hands working hard to sign and point at my cupcake. I just had to laugh as I relinquished nearly half of my sweet treat over. Needless to say, this was a winner with the little one.

Strawberry Cream Cupcakes
adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis

1 box white cake mix (recommended: Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe)
1 1/3 cups water
3 large eggs whites
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces fresh strawberries, crushed
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar, plus additional for dusting
Line 18 muffin cups with muffin papers. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cake mix, water, egg whites, melted butter, almond extract, and vanilla extract in a large bowl for 2 minutes, or until the batter is well blended. Using about 1/3 cup of batter for each cupcake, spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
Bake the cupcakes until they are very pale golden on top, about 15 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely on a cooling rack.
Using a fork, coarsely mash strawberries in a medium bowl. Beat the cream and 1/3 cup of powdered sugar in a large bowl until firm peaks form. Fold the mashed berries into the whipped cream.
Remove the muffin papers from the cupcakes and cut the tops off of each cupcake. Spoon the strawberry whipped cream atop the cupcake bottoms. Place the cupcake tops on the cupcakes. Dust with more powdered sugar and serve with the remaining berries.

These are delicious with either strawberries or raspberries...I did find that the strawberries are much juicier which makes the cream a little droopy. I suppose leaving them a bit chunkier would help but I actually preferred the berries crushed.

My Favorite Pasta

This pasta dish is based on one I had years ago and fell in love with immediately. It is great because I can substitute in any vegetables available and it is always delicious. Some of my favorite veggies for this are asparagus, zucchini, red/green peppers, red onion, and peas. I normally use bowtie pasta but this time I tried out campanella and loved it because it catches little bits of cheese and peas in the nooks and crannies.

Katie's Favorite Pasta

1/2 lb pasta
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed (thighs would be wonderful as well)
1/2 red bell pepper sliced thinly
1 large zucchini sliced into sticks
1/2 red onion sliced thinly
1 cup peas
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 t dried bouquet garni or herbs de provence - optional

1/2 - 1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup half and half or cream
2 T butter
1/2 lemon

Cook pasta according to box directions. While pasta is cooking, season chicken with herb mixture, salt, pepper, and thyme. Brown chicken in medium pot and add garlic towards the end to prevent burning. Remove chicken and add onions and red pepper. Cook on low for 3-4 minutes or until slightly tender then add zucchini and peas for another 3 minutes. Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir together. Add sauce mixture to vegetables and cook until all vegetables are as tender as you like. Fold in chicken and pasta. Serve with parmesan cheese.

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