Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lemony Salmon

Throughout the weekend, my mom and I did this great little exercise called We-Are-Only-Going-To-Cook-Meals-With-The-Ingredients-We-Have-In-The-House. And besides going to get baking soda for cookies - we succeeded! I found a nice salmon filet in the freezer and was planning to grill it but had some grill trouble so I searched for an idea on how to bake it.

In the back of my mind I've been thinking about going on the South Beach Diet again so I picked up the book to look for a recipe. I once made a great poached salmon from the SDB book and I was actually after that recipe but instead I made Phase Three Lemony Fish in Foil...

* I modified the below for one big piece of salmon

4 large fish fillets
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup chopped green onion (I used red onion)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 lemons thinly, sliced
salt and pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut four 2-foot lengths of foil and fold each in half to make a 1-foot square. Place 1 fish fillet slightly below the middle of each square of foil. Sprinkle 1/4 of the carrots, celery, onion, and parsley on each fillet. *I also sprinkled generously with salt and pepper.* Top with lemon slices.

Fold the foil over the fish and crimp the edges together slightly. Place the foil-wrapped fillets on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.

This was very easy and delicious - you get the omega oils from the fish and a serving of veggies. Make sure to squeeze the baked lemons over the fish to get the most lemon flavor as possible.

You may need to add more salt and pepper to taste.

These foil packets would also be good to do on the grill.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Zucchini Pancakes

This is a specialty of my late Aunt Joyce who was a wonderful cook and known for this simple yet delicious recipe. We had two huge zucchinis and besides roasting them or making bread, I was craving these little treats. They are a great side dish but we made them for a mid-morning snack. Yum!

1/2 cup flour
2 cups shredded zucchini
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, separated
Butter or ketchup for serving

In a bowl, mix flour, zucchini, salt, pepper and egg yolks. In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into zucchini mixture. Drop by heaping tablespoons into about 1/4-inch hot oil in skillet and brown both sides. Serve immediately.

The batter fries in a layer of canola oil. Make you put them on a plate of paper towels to soak up the excess oil.

A crispy fried delight! I prefer to eat mine with butter but ketchup is supposedly good too.

What to do with the rest of the zucchini....mmm...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Foto Friday

This is a photo of the lavendar field at Willow Pond Farm during the PA Lavendar Festival, which was held last weekend. I can't get the wonderfully calming scent out of my mind.. mmm, I'm ready for a nap just thinking about it!

A full post of my day there coming soon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pheasant Field B&B

Pheasant Field Bed and Breakfast post now on Savvy Grouse.

What a beautiful, homey, historical place for a nice getaway!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bulgur Breakfast Porridge

Now I've never been a fan of hot oatmeal - as a child or now - until I tried Quaker's Simply Harvest Instant Oatmeal. It was super good! Then one day I couldn't find it in the grocery store so I assumed it was discontinued (or my specific grocer dropped it from inventory) and kind of forgot about hot cereals until about a month ago...

I recently bought bulgur to make tabbouleh so I had some extra in the pantry. Shortly after, I found this recipe in an Everyday Food magazine (forget the issue) and thought it would be a filling breakfast. It is and to me, it's a nicer, more delicate consistency than oats.

1/2 cup medium-grind bulgur
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup milk
1 cup water
pinch salt
brown sugar

In a medium saucepan, combine bulgur, raisins, milk, water and salt. Bring to a boil. Continue to simmer on medium heat, stirring often, for 15 minutes - until it's the consistency of oatmeal. Serve with brown sugar and berries.

This recipe serves 2.

I've made it twice - the first time with fresh strawberries and the second time with thawed frozen blueberries (pictured).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Party Series - Potato Salad

Here is yet another potato salad for my blog! There are just so many good combos out there, I have yet to decide my favorite. This recipe is my mom's favorite and she makes it quite often. It is Ina Garten's recipe. It was a hit at the party!

3 pounds small red potatoes
Kosher salt
1 cup good mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk, milk, or white wine (we just use milk)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red onion

Place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Allow the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, dill, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Set aside. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into quarters or halves, depending on their size. Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl. While the potatoes are still warm, pour enough dressing over them to moisten. (As the salad sits, you may need to add more dressing.) Add the celery and red onion, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature.

This is a very creamy salad and my mom makes lots of dressing with it.
The dill and the whole grain mustard gives it a fresh taste. We made tons of this and kept the big trays of it in the refrigerator and kept filling the serving bowl (see below) as needed.
I've found that I love keeping the skin on the potatoes for the salad - it looks more colorful which makes it more appetizing (to me, anyway) and you don't have to peel the potatoes!
We made this 2 nights before the party so the flavors were mixed nicely. If you're lucky, you'll have some left over from your party to snack on later!

Photo by Bec.

New Header!

Thank you all for participating in the header photo election! Photo 2 won by 50%, followed by Photo 6 with 27% of the votes. The masterful skills of Rebecca created the current header with both of these photos. Besides me being very squinty in the center photo, I love it!!

Bec tells me that she has another very similar photo of me where I'm squinting less so we may swap to that one.

Thank you for helping me choose the photos!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer Party Series - Cocktail Umbrellas

Ok, so this wasn't totally my idea - I got it from Martha Stewart - but I think they're a nice touch for an outdoor party!

I used to be an avid scrapbooker and I have a ton of supplies, especially pretty papers.
You'll need: a round can to use as a template, colorful paper, wooden skewers, glue sticks, glue gun, scissors

1. Use a can - about 4 or 5 inches in diameter - to trace circles on the paper.
2. Cut the circles out - some with crimping sheers.
3. Cut out a small pie-slice (about 1/4 in.) of the circle. Discard.
4. Curl the paper around to make an umbrella. Use a glue stick to secure the shape.
5. Poke the sharp end of the skewer through the top and dabbed it with hot glue. I held each on in place for a few seconds until the glue cooled.
And tah-dah! Beautiful drink umbrellas! You may need to shorten the length of the skewer depending on the size of your glasses. You can also make smaller umbrella with a smaller circle template (a can or cup can be used to trace around).

Not many people used them for their drinks but they add color to the table!

Photo by Rebecca

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer Party Series - Shrimp Kabobs

We make these kabobs multiple times throughout the grilling season. They're super easy and everyone loves them!

shrimp, deveined & peeled but leave the tail on
lemon wedges (can get 8 wedges from a lemon - make sure you get all the seeds out)
coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
olive oil
salt & pepper
wooden skewers

Soak the wooden skewers for 15 minutes so they don't burn on the grill. Alternately thread the shrimp and lemon wedges onto the kabobs. Sprinkle with cilantro, salt and pepper. Brush with olive oil. Grill until done.

You can prepare these ahead of time and then add the olive oil right before grilling. If you put the olive oil on and then refrigerate them, the oil congeals.

Here's the shrimp on the bar-bee! Ok, well not exactly, but... My dad rented a 6 foot charcoal grill for the graduation party. We weren't exactly prepared because the grill got sooo hot and our tongs and potholders were not big enough to shield us from the heat! After a few singed hairs and red arms, we had some delicious grilled meat!

Here is the done shrimp in the chafing dish beside the meatballs (will post about those suckers later).

Photos by Rebecca

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Party Series - Black Bean Salsa

This begins my series of posts on throwing a summer party. A refreshing and healthy salsa is a great appetizer and snack to have available at a party from the arrival of the first guest to the departure of the last one. People can nibble on the following concoction for a long time - I know I can't get a fill of this salsa. Thanks to Paula Deen, I have found a great go-to recipe for entertaining and for an any-time snack:

2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (17-ounce) package frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 large avocado, peeled and diced
1 small onion, diced
1/8 to 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl. Cover and chill overnight. Taste and add salt, pepper or more lime juice as necessary. Serve with tortilla chips as an appetizer, or with grilled chicken breast as a meal (can't wait to try this!).

For Arielle's party, I doubled this recipe and it was plenty for a large crowd. Use Paula's recipe as a guide - I began estimating according to what ingredients I had and what looked good. I realize I should have used a little more chopped tomotoes when it was too late. I was also generous with the lime juice - mostly to perserve the avacados, which I added right before serving.

At the party we served this with blue, yellow and white corn chips.

Photo by Rebecca.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Vote for your Favorite Photo!

Rebecca took some photos of me for my new header (current header is rather wintery) and I want you all to help me pick my main photo!
Below are 6 photos, all numbered and to the right, is the poll.
You can only vote once.
The poll closes on Monday, June 22 at 2:40 p.m. EST
Happy voting!




Arielle's Party

After months of planning, Arielle's graduation party was a great success! We had a perfectly beautiful day on Saturday. The planning of the food was right on - except for too much pasta salad and not enough chicken satay - and I believe everything tasted good too!

Here is a photo of a dinner plate - a little bit of everything:

The menu:
Black Bean Salsa with Tortilla Chips
Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
Spanish Meatballs
Shrimp and Lemon Kabobs
Pasta Salad
Dilly Potato Salad
Fruit Salad

I plan to do a little series over the next few days on planning a picnic party - everything from explaining the recipes above to the centerpieces. I hope you check back daily and try some of my ideas this summer!

Our Family Photo on Saturday:

**Photos compliments of Rebecca Sior Photography**

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Potato Salad

Well again I slacked on getting a photo of my creation but really wanted to share the recipe anyway. If you try hard enough, I'm sure you can imagine what it would look like! The ingredients make this salad colorful.

I wanted to make a potato salad for our church choir picnic last evening. Because there are so many recipes out there for potato salad, I feel like I have to keep experimenting to find my favorite. I love my mom's dilly potato salad (she's making it this weekend) and Susi's German potato salad, but I found something a little different in the June 2009 issue of Country Living. Here it is:

Potato Salad

3 pounds red skinned potatoes
1/4 cup chopped white onion (but I used chopped scallions - the white and green parts)
3 chopped hard boiled eggs (I omitted, much to Greg's disappointment)
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup chopped dill pickles
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons dill pickle juice
3/4 cup mayo
salt & pepper

Scrub potatoes and cut out any eyes. Place in a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until done - about 40 minutes. Drain.
In a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients. Once potatoes are just cool enough to handle, cut into bite-sized cubes (leave skin on) and add to bowl. Mix all together. Let chill for a few hours for flavors to mix.

It's important to dress your potatoes while they are still warm because the potatoes are porous and you want the flavors of the ingredients to really settle into each bite of potato.

I've learned that I love pickles in my potato salad... mmm!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

St. Thomas Roasters

A new Savvy Grouse post is up!

The St. Thomas Roasters in Linglestown, PA is cute super and serves up great coffee!

East Meets West Burger

The weekend I made a unique burger recipe I found from the June issue of Country Living (I'm a new subscriber - it's my first issue!). This recipe is from Ming Tsai, chef-owner of Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Massachusetts. It's called the East Meets West Burger, an apt name for this burger with plenty of spicy Asian flair.

A hoisin-lime sauce is used a a barbeque sauce and generously brushed onto the burger when half way done cooking. This is enough sauce for glazing 6 burgers. You can make more and reserve it if you want to have some extra to top on the burger once on the bun.

2 Tablespoons minced garlic (I used 2 cloves)
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
canola oil
1 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup canola oil
Salt and pepper

In a small saucepan, saute garlic and giner in canola oil until soft. Stir in hoisin sauce and cook for one minute. Transfer to a blender, add lime juice and oil; blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

After the burgers are done, top with a slice of sharp cheddar and allow to melt on grill.

Grill the buns (sesame if you can find them) if desired.

To top the burger, we used sliced avacado, tomato and iceburg lettuce, as well as a hot mustard - a mixture of Dijon and red chili sauce (or paste).

This was a very unique burger - lots of flavors going on. Everyone enjoyed it!
Don't be shy with the mustard - it gives it a real kick! I'm not even a fan of mustard and I loved this!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Foto Friday

Today for breakfast I had this deliciously thick and creamy Liberte Mediterranee yogourt. It's like a Greek yogurt, but this particular brand is from Quebec. It's so much better than your Yoplait or Dannon - you can really taste the better quality. Look for it in the organic/health food aisle of the grocery store.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Julie & Julia

Last night, as Greg flipped between the Penguins game (his choice) and 40 Year Old Virgin (my choice), we stumbled upon the trailer for a movie I’m super excited about:

*Click on the poster to watch a trailer*

Not only do I love Amy Adams and think Meryl Streep makes a brilliant Julia Child, this movie seems very inspiring to me as I try to find my place in the blogging world. I like Julie's idea to have a specific blog theme - writing about her experience of cooking through Julia's cookbook, every day for an entire year. And the story of how Julia found and built her name in the respected world of cuisine. Just today I've been thinking about some themes I could focus on for my blog (they will remain a secret until I begin one) instead of just writing random food-related posts. I think they have some potential. As I anxiously await the opening day (August 7) of Julie & Julia, I am going to do some more research on the two stories that inspired the movie, and hopefully I too will become inspired enough to think of a clever, attention-grabbing blog series.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mr. Hog, First Name Ground

Yesterday I went to the driving range with Greg so I could make videos of his golf swing. We were the last people left at the range when a curious, rather bold groundhog came running across the range. I was so mesmerized by his fat little body running all around the green. Then Greg was like, why don't you record him? So I did! He was just so amusing to me. Of course this has nothing to do with food (unless you know a good roasted groundhog recipe), but I just wanted to share it!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

On Saturday, my mom and I went to Strite's Orchard in Harrisburg for the first day of pick-your-own strawberries. We got two containers of very nice strawberries. At $1.85 a pound, we are enjoying sweet, delicious, local berries for a good price! Just be sure to take your own containers if you go.

I also picked up a bunch of rhubarb at Strite's because I've been craving some strawberry rhubarb pie. Last night I final made one and boy, did it hit the spot! I forgot to take a photo of the pie! Darn!
The quick and simple recipe comes from the Farm Women's Cookbook I've referenced before:

Prepare and bake one pie shell. I used the refrigerated Pillsbury pie shells (taste good to me!) that you simply roll into the pie plate, poke the bottom with a fork and then bake for 10 minutes. Or you can make your own pastry if you have the time. Let shell cool.

In a medium saucepan, mix 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, and 2 stalks chopped rhubarb. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Boil until mixture is clear. Remove from heat.

Stir in 1 quart (approx.) of halved strawberries (I just halved mine, but you can slice them if you prefer). Pour berries into the prepared pie shell. Let sit until pie cools and then transfer to the refrigerator. Pie is best when served thoroughly chilled. Serve with whipped cream.