Cedar Plank Salmon

A side of Copper River Sockeye Salmon on a cedar plank with lemon slices and seasoned waiting for the grill to be warmed up.

We were back in Seattle this past week to celebrate our 10th Anniversary though we enjoyed a lot of local seafood, I didn’t do much cooking so this weeks post will be pretty brief. One of the many things Seattle is known for is seafood (and rain and yes it really does rain there a lot. Just not so much in the summer) and specifically, amazing salmon.  There are several species native to the rivers of the PNW and Alaska and this time of year, its easy to come by (if you’re in the PNW) and economical because it is in season. Elsewhere frozen may be the way to go. Sprouts carries some nice options for wild ethically caught frozen fish. I was able to pick up a side of fresh, wild caught Alaskan salmon from my local Von’s/Pavilions for about $18 per lbs. a few days ago.

You can use gas, charcoal or electric grill for this and cedar planks are available in the grilling section of hardware stores or online. Just soak the planks in water for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling. Preheat you grill if using gas or electric, or get you coals to white hot. If using charcoal, move the coals to one side of the grill  or gas/electric turn off one set of burners to create an indirect heat zone. Remove excess water from the cedar plank, and line with slices of lemons. Lay the salmon onto the lemon slices and remove pin bones. You can also ask your fish monger to do this for you. Lightly dust with the spice rub. Place the cedar plank on the indirect zone on the grill and cook until the fish turns a light opaque pink, this will take anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the filets. Enjoy!

Spice Rub

  • 3 parts brown sugar
  • 1 part ground black pepper
  • 1 part garlic powder
  • 1 part ground mustard seeds
  • ½ part cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 part salt
  • 1 part ground paprika

Mix everything in a large bowl until combined. I like to place mine in an old spice shaker. It makes for easier application and reduces cross contamination.

 

Every blackberry has it’s thorn..or something like that

Freshly picked wild blackberries are the star of this shortcake.

We’re celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary this week back in the PNW. Enjoying fantastic views of Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, the occasional ferry and amazing sunsets. We’re also enjoying lots and lots of fresh sockeye salmon and wild blackberries.

I was spoiled growing up with wild blackberries growing just about everywhere and easy access to freshly caught wild salmon. Which even in the greater LA area its hard to find fresh salmon. Most grocery stores carry frozen farm raised Atlantic Salmon and it doesn’t taste even close to fresh caught, wild salmon.  As for the blackberries, its hard to want to pay $6 and $7 a pint for something you’re used to having in near limitless supply for free.

Blackberry brambles are extremely hearty and will grow just about anywhere and you don’t have to go to farms or any place special to find them.  They grow along paths and roadways all over the PNW  My only caution is to avoid picking them along heavily travelled roads, because they get sprayed with herbicides and are exposed to unhealthy levels of vehicle exhaust.

Conveniently there is a blackberry bramble that runs along the property line here. Since i have access to freshly picked blackberries this week, I’m going to make Shortcakes with vanilla whipped cream and honey macerated blackberries.

Blackberry Shortcake

1/2 cup of chilled butter cut into cubes

1 ½ cups AP Flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp white vinegar

pinch of salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup whole milk

1 tsp vanilla extract.

1 pint fresh berries

2 TBS honey

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 TBS powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine, flour, sugar, bakng powder, salt and butter into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until mixture is sandy texture (about 30. times). Add the vanilla extract and vinegar and slowly drizzle in milk until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and starts to form a ball. You may not need all of the milk.

Turn mixture out onto a floured board and press out until dough is roughly ¾ to 1 inch thick disc. Wrap in wax paper and let chill for about an hour. While dough is chilling, clean and thoroughly drain the berries then toss with the honey and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375F. Remove dough from fridge and cut into desired shape. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 20 minutes or until tops are golden brown.  Remove from oven and  place on a wire rack to cool.

Place 1 cup of whipping cream into a chilled bowl, whip until doubled in volume and vanilla and sugar and whip until stiff peals form.

To assemble. cut shortcake in half, Place some of the whipped cream on the bottom half, place a couple of tablespoons of blackberries on top of the whipped cream.  Place a dollop of whipped cream on top of the berries then top with the other half of the shortcake.

 

Enjoy..

 

It’s National Ice Cream Day….maybe

Homemade coconut milk based Raspberry, French Vanilla and Double Chocolate ice cream. In a triple sunday with blackberry syrup, mango syrup and marshmallow syrup and of course with a cherry on top

Depending on the website you’re looking at, today is National Ice Cream Day. It may also be this coming Sunday. But no matter which calendar you choose to follow, I’ve got you covered with ice cream recipes this week. You can also check out this link to see all my frozen treat recipes.  All of this weeks recipes will be coconut milk based and use sweetened condensed milk as the sweetener. You will need an ice cream maker. I’m aware that there are several recipes out there that don’t require an ice cream maker, I’ve not tried to make these without one so I don’t know how well they’d work without one. If you try it, let me know how it turns out.

So first up is classic French Vanilla

French Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 2 13.5 oz cans coconut milk
  • 1 13.5 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1TBS Vanilla paste

Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix with a whisk or a electric mixer until all the ingredients are well combined. Chill ice cream base in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Churn according to you ice cream machines directions. Place churned ice cream into airtight containers and place in the freezer to harden for at least 4 hours but best to make a day ahead. Yield 1 quart of ice cream.

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream

  • 20 mint candies like Andes mints coarsely chopped
  • ½ tsp peppermint oil
  • ½ can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • Green Food Coloring (optional)

Combine, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla paste and peppermint oil (and green food coloring if you want that green color) in a large bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Chill ice cream base in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Churn according to you ice cream machines directions. Once the ice cream has churned, mix in the chopped up mints. Place churned ice cream into airtight containers and place in the freezer to harden for at least 4 hours but best to make a day ahead. Yield 1 pint

Raspberry ice cream all dressed up with mango syrup, blackberry syrup, whipped cream, fruity cereal and a cherry on top

Raspberry Ice Cream

  • ½ cup freeze dried raspberries
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
  • ½ can sweetened condensed milk

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until the raspberries have ben completely broken down. Chill ice cream base in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Churn according to you ice cream machines directions. Place churned ice cream into airtight containers and place in the freezer to harden for at least 4 hours but best to make a day ahead. Yield 1 pint

The Ultimate Chocolate Sundae

Double Chocolate Malted Milk Ball, Cookies n Marshmallows

  • 2 13.5 oz cans of coconut milk (divided)
  • 1 13.5 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 TBS cocoa powder
  • 3 oz extra dark chocolate chopped
  • 1 TBS vanilla paste
  • 1 tsp ground coffee
  • 3 TBS malted milk powder
  • ¼ cup crushed malted milk malls
  • ¼ cup mini marshmallows
  • ¼ cup chocolate wafer cookies chopped
  • 3 oz of chocolate coarsely chopped (which ever kind you prefer)
  • pinch of salt

Pour one can of coconut milk into a microwave safe bowl and heat at 50% until it just starts to bubble. Place 3 oz of the extra dark chocolate into a large mixing bowl and pour the warm coconut milk over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted. Add in the remaining can of coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, vanilla paste, milk powder and coffee. Stir until well combined and then chill in the fridge for a few hours. Churn according to manufacturer’s directions for you ice cream machine. Toward the final 5 minutes of churning add in the the malted milk balls, marshmallows, cookies, salt and the remaining chocolate. Place ice cream base in airtight containers and let chill overnight.

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet ‘n Spicy Way to Beat the Summer Heat

Chamoy, chili and mangoes make for a refreshing way to beat the heat.

I’ve mentioned in the past that our kitchen gets super hot in the summertime so I tend to do a lot of grilling and ice cream making and not a lot of baking. As a result, I’ve been making quite a lot of ice pops lately (and thanks you to my co-workers that have been taste testing these recipes over the past few weeks.). I’m also working on a way to boozify my piña colada and sweet lime ginger mint lemongrass ice pop. Though preliminary spherification tests did not fair well. Anyway…this week ice pop recipe is Chili Mango with Homemade Chamoy. a.k.a. mangonada or chamango. What’s chamoy you may ask? Well its a spicy, sweet and sour condiment that’s frequently served with fruit and is really popular down here in Southern California.

Chamoy

  • 2 dried ancho chilies (seeded, stemmed and cut into strips)
  • 1 dried pasilla peppers (seeded, stemmed, and cut into strips)
  • 2 cups boiled water (divided)
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 TBS chili powder
  • 1 TBS Tajin
  • ½ cup orange marmelade
  • ¾ cup apricot jam

Place the dried chilies into a medium sized bowl and cover with 1 cup of boiling water. Let sit until soften (about 30 minutes). Drain the chilies and place the chilies into a blender along with all the other ingredients. Blend all the ingredients until smooth. Run through a find sieve to remove any large pieces and then store in a squeeze bottle and set aside to cool to room temperature. You can adjust the amount and type of chilies to your preference.

 

Ice Pop molds of mangonada paletas waiting to be placed in the freezer to freeze over night.

Mangonada Paletas/Ice Pops

  • 2 large ripe mangoes diced or 3 cups of frozen mango slices (reserve some of the pieces to place in the bottom of the ice pop mold
  • 1 11.5 oz can of mango nectar (such as Jumex or Kerns)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ½ tsp Tajin
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • agave syrup or sugar to taste*

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Assembly

  • soak ice pop sticks in warm water
  • squirt chamoy on sides and bottom of ice pop molds
  • place a few pieces of mango into the bottom of the ice pop molds
  • fill molds with mango purée
  • insert sticks
  • freeze for at least 5 hours or overnight
  • Enjoy!

 

*depending on how ripe and sweet the mangoes are you may not need to add extra sweetener

Getting Toasted

 

Avocado Toast..BLTA Edition

I love going out to brunch like anyone else and there’s some really great (and overly popular) brunch spots within walking distance of our house. But what I don’t like is the often long wait for these very popular (crowded and busy) brunch spots. So that’s where having an arsenal of quick and easy to prepare brunch worthy recipes comes in. So this week’s post is exactly that, a few quick and easy recipes for dressing up toast. A good toast needs a solid foundation and I’m partial to sourdough for toast and there’s an added benefit that sourdough is Low FODMAP diet friendly. But you can use whichever bread like base you’d like.

Avocado Toast

First up is that brunch mainstay, Avocado Toast in this case, the Bacon Lettuce Tomato and Avocado edition.

Freshly picked tomatoes, micro greens and crumbled bacon dress up this avacado toast

For my version, I coat sourdough bread in bacon grease and toast on a griddle until golden brown on each side. In a small bowl, I mash 1 avocado with salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of mayonaise together. Feel free to add any herbs that you like then top with micro greens which is acting as the lettuce in this case, fresh tomatoes and crumbled bacon and season with salt and pepper. It’s that easy.

Fig Toast

Our next toast features figs which are just starting to come into to season here. We had a decent amount of rain and expect another bumper crop of figs from the two trees out back. So this will come in handy to highlight the figs as well as use them up.

For fig toast, mash 8 ounces of goat cheese with 2 tablespoons of honey and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread on toasted bread and top with quartered figs, top with a drizzle of honey and crumbled blue cheese. Place under the broiler until the blue cheese and figs start to brown. To take this over to the savory side, add candied bacon and caramelized onions. This would be good on soda bread or a cinnamon raisin form.

The next few recipes use whipped feta which is a great salty tangy alternative to cream cheese or goat cheese.

Whipped Feta

  • 8 oz of crumbled feta
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 oz of mascarpone cheese

Toss all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and whip until smooth. This takes about 2-3 minutes.

Pastrami Smoked Salmon with Whipped Salmon

We recently discovered that our local Trader Joe’s has pastrami style smoked salmon and it’s really good. They also have a really good gluten free everything bagel. Whipped Feta and micro-greens make a great accompaniment to the salmon and bagel.

Tomato and Whipped Feta Toast

Tomato and Whipped Feta Toast is as simple as it sounds, its just really fresh tomatoes on top of whipped feta. A finish of a really good olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper will bring out the sweet brightness of the tomatoes. This is a great way to really show off homegrown tomatoes.

Roasted Corn Cucumber Tomato Salad with Whipped Feta Toast

Roasted Corn Tomato and Cucumber Salad

  • 2 cups of fresh corn kernels
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes seeded and cut into cubes
  • 1 medium sized English Cucumber
  • 1 Tablespoon of fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons flat leaf parsely (Italian Parsley) finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil divided
  • salt and pepper to taste

Spread out the kernels of corn on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast in an oven preheated to 425F until kernels start to brown and blacken, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Allow the cool to room temperature. In a large bowl combine, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs and dress with the remaining olive oil, salt and pepper.

The toast part is dead simple, just spread whipped feta on the toasted bread of your choice and top with the salad.

That’s it. All are super easy, flavorful and seasonal.