Friday, February 26, 2010

Lenten Friday Salmon Burgers

I love Bitten, Mark Bittman's wonderful blog.  I have great luck with his recipes and I really enjoy reading his posts.  I saw this recipe a long while back and have had it saved to my favorites folder.  I decided that today would be the perfect day to give this recipe a try since I had a nice portion of salmon fillet and I do not eat meat on Fridays during Lent.   I deviated slightly from his recipe by sauteeing the shallots in a little olive oil and I also coated them in panko for a crisp crust.  I served the burgers over a bed of greens tossed with dijon vinaigrette.  They were very tasty!  I love that they were nice and light - no mayonnaise.  They held together nicely because of Mark's method of pulsing 1/4 of the salmon until pasty and then pulsing in the additional salmon.  This recipe could easily be changed up according to your taste and/or what you have on hand.  I am happy that I have leftovers!  My lunch tomorrow will be one of theses burgers on a roll with remoulade.

Mark Bittman's Salmon Burgers


1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless salmon
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 shallots, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup coarse bread crumbs
1 tablespoon capers, drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
Lemon wedges
Tabasco sauce


1. Cut the salmon into large chunks, and put about a quarter of it into the container of a food processor, along with the mustard. Turn the machine on, and let it run -- stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary -- until the mixture becomes pasty.

2. Add the shallots and the remaining salmon, and pulse the machine on and off until the fish is chopped and well combined with the puree. No piece should be larger than a quarter inch or so; be careful not make the mixture too fine. (I added my sauteed shallots in step 3).

3. Scrape the mixture into a bowl, and by hand, stir in the bread crumbs, capers and some salt and pepper. Shape into four burgers. (You can cover and refrigerate the burgers for a few hours at this point.) Toss lightly with flour, next in egg wash, and lastly in panko crumbs (not in original recipe).

4. Place the butter or oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet, and turn the heat to medium-high. When the butter foam subsides or the oil is hot, cook the burgers for 2 to 3 minutes a side, turning once. Alternatively, you can grill them: let them firm up on the first side, grilling about 4 minutes, before turning over and finishing for just another minute or two. To check for doneness, make a small cut and peek inside. Be careful not to overcook. Serve on a bed of greens or on buns or by themselves, with lemon wedges and Tabasco or any dressing you like.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Best Instant Belgian Waffles with Blueberry Sauce

My husband came home the other day from Costco with a Waring Pro Belgian Waffle Maker that was on clearance - $39.97.  I always thought that it would be nice to have a waffle maker but always resisted spending the money.   I am very happy with his bargain purchase!

Traditional Belgian waffle recipes are yeast based and require a lot of prep time.  I am not so good at planning ahead and never have a lot of extra time so I went with an "instant" recipe.  The waffles were crisp on the outside and light in the middle.  As good as any Belgian waffle I have had out.  These were super easy and fantastic. 

I served them with a quick blueberry sauce and real maple syrup.  I love Sunday mornings! 

Instant Belgian Waffles
Recipe found here
Serves 6
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon

3 large eggs
1 2/3 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat waffle iron. Mix all dry ingredients in small bowl.
Beat eggs in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in milk, oil, and vanilla.
Add dry mixture and mix just until smooth.
Pour batter onto hot waffle iron. Serve immediately.

Blueberry Sauce
from Cooking Light

Yield: 1 1/4 cups (serving size: 1 tablespoon)

2 cups frozen blueberries, thawed
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons cornstarch


Combine all ingredients in a medium nonaluminum saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes over high heat or until thick, stirring constantly.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hungarian Goulash

Well I am kind of resigned to the fact that winter will be with us a little longer.  I am making the most of it by enjoying some cold weather activities:   catching some of the Olympic events, reading food magazines, and watching movies.  I am also enjoying some hearty and comforting winter cuisine such as this tasty Hungarian Goulash served over buttered egg noodles.  Make sure to use a good quality Hungarian paprika.  I also like to mix in a dollop of sour cream when serving.  Maybe winter isn't so bad after all! 

This recipe was published by edibleJersey magazine - a wonderful quarterly magazine that celebrates food from the Garden State! 

Chef Aichem states, "Hungarian beef goulash is one of the first recipes I cooked with my father. I’m 42 now, and even after 30 years, I haven’t tired of the warmth and comfort this recipe brings to the soul in wintertime".

Recipe courtesy of edibleJERSEY magazine and
Heinrich K. Aichem, Chef de la Cuisine Black Forest Inn, Stanhope, NJ

11/2 pound beef stew meat, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds (I ground whole caraway seeds)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh marjoram, chopped
2 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons tomato puree
1 quart beef stock

Sauté beef in a skillet, browning on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
In same skillet, add butter, onion, garlic, lemon zest and caraway. Add thyme and marjoram as well. Saute until onions are soft, then add paprika, tomato puree and beef stock.
Simmer and add beef, cooking until meat is fork tender.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with egg noodles and your favorite Merlot or Syrah wine. (Serves 4.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lots of Snow and Comfort Food!

The Jersey Shore has been pummeled by snowstorm after snowstorm this winter.  The latest brought blizzard conditions and more than an additional foot of snow to the already significant base.  The cold and snow has had me craving some of my favorite comfort foods - pizza (Buffalo Chicken Pizza), pasta (Linguine with Shrimp and Lemon Oil), tacos (Baja Fish Tacos), and Truffle Tremor cheese - ripened goat's milk cheese with truffles! 

I heard on the news that one in every 3 people in the US was affected by yesterday's storm.  So, it looks like a lot of us are in the same boat!  Spring will be here before we know it - well that's what I'm telling myself!  In the meantime, stay warm, stay safe, and eat well!

Scenes from my backyard:

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pasta with Sausage, Broccoli Rabe, Cannellini Beans & Roasted Tomatoes

Well the Jersey Shore got hit with another huge snowstorm!  Final snowfall total here is 20.5 inches!  It just happens that my daughter was home for the weekend from college to go to a concert in New York with her sister.  So we all ended up snowed in together!  What to do?  Cook, eat, laugh, and enjoy time together!  I wasn't sure what to make for dinner since I seemed to be missing at least one ingredient for everything that I wanted to make...  The large bunch of broccoli rabe seemed to be calling my name.  Perfect comfort food and yes I had all of the ingredients!  I make pasta with broccoli rabe all of the time, but changed it up a little using ideas from Marie's most beautiful blog, Proud Italian Cook.  Everything that Marie makes is spectacular!

My younger daughter doesn't like sausage and eats around it, so I love that Marie added beans for some extra protein.  I cooked my sausage separately and sliced it making it easy to avoid :)  I used broccoli rabe sausage and it was just delicious!  I also love Marie's addition of roasted tomatoes - perfect! 

For dessert I made Marie's delicious rice pudding.   Simple and delightful!

Pasta with Sausage, Broccoli Rabe, Cannellini Beans & Roasted Tomatoes

1 lb. Orecchiette Pasta
1 large bunch Broccoli Rabe (washed and trimmed)
1lb. Italian Sausage (cooked and sliced)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves of minced garlic
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 can of cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
1 cup of reserved pasta cooking liquid
fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
Roasted Tomatoes to taste

I started by roasting the tomatoes and cooking the sausage. Simply sliced tomatoes, salt, pepper, fresh thyme, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil roasted at 400 degrees. The sausage went in a separate pan and cooked beside the tomatoes.

Next, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the broccoli rabe for 1-2 minutes, strain out the broccoli rabe and add to an ice bath to stop the cooking and keep the lovely vibrant green color. Reserve the cooking water, return it to a boil, add the orecchiette, and cook for 11 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large saute pan. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Saute the garlic until fragrant and softened. Toss in the cannellini beans and strained broccoli rabe. Next add the roasted tomatoes to heat them up.

Drain the cooked pasta and place in a large bowl. Top with the sliced sausage, broccoli rabe, beans, and tomatoes. Moisten with some of the reserved pasta water. Add the grated cheese and fresh pepper to taste.

Monday, February 1, 2010

CSA Time! Earthen Harvest Organics

This is the time of year when I start dreaming of summertime.  Long, warm days and lots of fresh NJ vegetables - I can't wait!  I am so tired of short, cold days.  I need sunshine! 

One bit of winter excitement - I just bought a share from a local CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture) and I can't wait for my first box of fresh produce.  Yes, I get excited by fresh produce and it will be like Christmas once a week for me!  I waited too long last year and all of the shares were sold out.  So if you want to join a CSA, I would suggest reaching out to the farmers now.   I joined Earthen Harvest in Ocean County, NJ.  It is a small organic farm that delivers its CSA share boxes right to your doorstep - how great is that!