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Monday, May 25, 2015

Dijon-Crusted Salmon

My neighbor goes salmon fishing each year, and he was kind enough to share some salmon with us. Some people are iffy with salmon because it has a stronger flavor than other fish. I like most fish, but salmon is one of my favorites. I decided to coat the salmon in a garlicky dijon mustard glaze then top with a garlic-herb panko bread crumb topping. I then baked it for about 12 minutes until it was cooked throughout and the topping was crispy. The bold flavor complemented the dense and delicious salmon.








Dijon-Crusted Salmon

4 salmon filets
1/4 cup dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic (chopped finely)
1/2 panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter (melted)
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 tablespoon thyme
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place salmon skin side down on a lightly greased baking pan.
In a small bowl, mix together dijon mustard and half of the garlic.
Brush the mustard mixture on top of salmon.
In another bowl, mix together the remaining garlic, panko bread crumbs, butter, parmesan cheese, herbs, salt, and pepper.
Press mixture on top of each piece of salmon.
Bake for 12 minutes until topping is crispy.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Scalloped Potatoes

Growing up, we always ate scalloped potatoes from the box. I'm not going to lie, I loved those cheesy, salty orange potatoes. I've had homemade versions, but they did not stand up to the box. I found them oily and grainy, and the cheese always seemed to separate. After we gave up most processed foods, I had no choice but to make my own. And I'm glad I did. These were creamy and cheesy, and the sauce did not get oily nor did it separate. So I've been converted and will never eat those orange scalloped potatoes from the box again.

Scalloped Potatoes
Source: inspired by Southern Food.com via Pinterest

4 cups thinly sliced potatoes
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt, pepper, paprika (to taste)
2 cups milk (I used skim.)
1 and 1/2 cups shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a pan, melt butter over medium heat and whisk in flour.
Whisk in milk, and turn down heat to low.
Add ground mustard, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and paprika.
Cook on low, stirring until sauce has thickened.
Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup cheese.
Arrange potatoes in a layer on the bottom of the baking pan.
Top with sauce and cheese.
Repeat with the rest of the layers.
Sprinkle top with remaining cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Easy Danish

Raspberry Danish with Vanilla Glaze
Since I have found the recipe for this danish, I have made it several times, each time subbing different fillings. I love how versatile and simple this recipe is. You can whip one up in less than an hour. In one, I used pumpkin puree blended with cream cheese to make a pumpkin cream danish. I drizzled a cinnamon glaze over the top. Another time, I used raspberry pie filling and topped it with a vanilla glaze. Both were delicious. 

Easy Danish
Source: Adapted from Center Cut Cook

1 tube Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations Seamless Dough Sheet (If you use regular crescent rolls, pinch the seams together.)
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese (softened)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup filling (I used pumpkin puree in one and raspberry pie filling in another.) 
Pumpkin Cream Danish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
With a hand mixer, beat together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. (If making the pumpkin, fold in the pumpkin puree.)
Unroll the dough sheet onto the baking sheet.
Using scissors, make about 2-inch long cuts about 1 inch apart on each side of the dough. 
Spread the cream cheese layer down the middle of the dough.
If making the raspberry, spread the raspberry pie filling on top of the cream cheese. 
To give the dough a braided look: Starting at one end, fold the strips over the filling on an angle alternating from one side to the other.
Bake for 15–20 minutes until the danish is golden brown.
Let cool and top with glaze if desired.


Cinnamon Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Whisk together all ingredients and drizzle over danish.

Vanilla Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk together all ingredients and drizzle over danish.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Beer Turkey & Sausage Chili

Even though it's supposed to be spring, it doesn't feel like it in the Northeast. It's cold! The sun has been shining, but it's been so windy and cold. To warm us up, I decided to make chili. I didn't have ground beef, but I did have sausage and turkey. The sausage made it rich, while the turkey mellowed its richness. I also added a leftover beer we had in the fridge from the previous night. It was a Saranac Legacy IPA, and it lended a hoppy aroma to the chili. It was the perfect way to warm up on a chilly spring day.

Beer Turkey & Sausage Chili
adapted from Hanover

1/2 pound sausage (casings removed)
1 pound ground turkey
1 green bell pepper (seeded and chopped)
1 bottle (12 oz.) beer (I used an IPA, but a lager, porter, or stout would also work.)
1 large can (40 oz.) light red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 large can (29 oz.) tomato sauce
1 small can (15 oz.) fire-roasted tomatoes
1 small can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes with chipotle peppers 
1 small can (15 oz.) black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
shredded cheese, sour cream, and tortilla strips for garnish (optional).

Brown sausage in a large skillet, drain fat, and add to a crock pot. Brown turkey in sausage drippings, drain, and add to crock pot. Add beer, pepper, tomatoes, beans, spices, and sauce, and mix well. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and tortilla strips, if desired.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Chocolate Peep Cupcakes

I made these for my cousin's birthday, which just so happens to be close to Easter. She asked for chocolate cupcakes, which was a surprise since she loves vanilla. I decided to make her triple chocolate cupcakes, but I instead filled them with whipped white chocolate ganache. I then decorated them with a festive Peep and some sprinkles.

Whipped White Chocolate Ganache
Source: Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon butter

Place white chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Simmer the heavy cream in a small saucepan until hot. Pour hot cream over the white chocolate chips and let sit for one minute. Add the butter and stir until silky and smooth. Cool completely. With a hand mixer, beat ganache on high speed for several minutes until light and fluffy.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Cranberry Danish

The last time I made a danish I was in culinary school. We made laminate dough, also known as puff pastry, which is filled with butter and folded, rolled out, and rested until it yields the perfect dough. It is heavenly but a lot of work. When I saw a recipe that used Pillsbury Crescent rolls as the dough, I knew I had to try it. Come on, who doesn't like crescent rolls? The original recipe called for cherries and cream cheese, but I decided to make cranberry cream cheese. You can top it with a simple glaze or leave it plain. This recipe was simple and delicious and a winner with guests.

Cranberry Danish
Source: Adapted from Center Cut Cook

1 tube Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations Seamless Dough Sheet (If you use regular crescent rolls, pinch the seams together.)
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese (softened)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup filling (I used whole berry cranberry jelly.) 


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
With a hand mixer, beat together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
Unroll the dough sheet onto the baking sheet.
Using scissors, make about 2-inch long cuts about 1 inch apart on each side of the dough. 
Spread the cream cheese down the middle of the dough.
Spread the cranberry filling on top of the cream cheese. 
To give the dough a braided look: Starting at one end, fold the strips over the filling on an angle alternating from one side to the other.
Bake for 15–20 minutes until the danish is golden brown.
Let cool and top with glaze if desired.

Simple Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together all ingredients and drizzle over danish.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mermaid Cake

I used to make cakes all the time. But they are stressful to make. Between baking, leveling, smoothing, and decorating, they take a lot of time and a lot can go awry. Now I mostly focus on cupcakes. Every one in a while, however, someone will request cake. Sometimes I oblige. This time, my little cousin requested a mermaid cake (a simple vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream). I decided to keep it simple and focus on the tail of the mermaid and surround her with blue water and star fish.