Thursday, April 3, 2014

Salmon Poke


I was at a neighborhood sushi spot recently and one of the rolls was absolutely amazing: spicy and sweet and a bit crunchy.  It wasn't because of the roll though, it was the hawaiian-style salmon poke on top of the roll.  After chatting with the sushi chef and getting some tips on the ingredients, I think I nailed it pretty well with this recipe.  The key is to start with a very fresh, fatty piece of salmon.  My absolute favorite is Scottish Salmon.  If you live in Colorado you can get it at Tony's Meat Market or Marczyk's. If you live outside of Colorado you can order fresh Scottish Salmon fillet by the pound from Chef's Fresh Fish - an online seafood market. It will be delivered to your door the next day. It's the best salmon on earth...I promise.  Sushi-grade. Fatty. Clean-tasting. Buttery. Perfect!

Ingredients: 

-2 Tbsp light mayo
-2 tsp sriracha (or more or less, depending on your heat tolerance)
-1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
-2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
-salt and pepper to taste

optional: 2-3 Tbsp panko breadcrumbs for crunch

Sunday, December 15, 2013

2013 Holiday Foodie Gift Guide



Whether you have a friend who is a foodie, beer drinker, or wine sipper, one of these gift will be perfect for the one who has everything. Have a friend or family member that keeps asking you for ideas to get you? I bet you could have fun with one of these things, so pass it along! I've tried about 90% of these and the other few I'm dying to try.

1. DRAM Cocktail Bitters - Shae Whitney is an herbal alchemist who makes these cocktail bitters in her mountain town of Silverplume, Colorado. They're a perfect way to bring a whole new level to your drinks. Two of my favorite are the honey chamomile and wild mountain sage.

2. Ribbon Vegetable Peeler - You know those long ribbons of vegetables people use as a healthy alternative to pasta? How do they do that!?! With this little guy.

3. Badger Mountain Pure Red Organic Boxed Wine - I will drive out of my way for this wine...and yes, I know it is boxed.  A sommelier (master-o-wine) once told this was his favorited boxed wine and I agree.  Organic = no added sulfites = much less of a hangover (at least for me)

4. The Victorinox 8-inch Chef's Knife - I use this every day. Multiple times a day.  This is the most reasonably priced knife for how amazing it is. It's even been rated a top pick by Cook's Illustrated multiple times.

5. Fiesta Juan's Spinach Artichoke Dip Mix - I grew up eating this stuff and still serve on a regular basis.  I'm a KC girl so I have a special place in my heart for this KC-based dip and sauce company. Mix 1/4 jar with a block of cream cheese....it's spicy and amazing!!

6. Oyster Gift of The Month Club - Oyster Lover? Shipped to your home once a month with 4 dozen oysters, 2 east coast and 2 west coast varieties.  The first shipment even comes with an oyster shucking glove and knife. They also have a ton of other fresh seafood that would make the perfect gift.

7. Italian Cheese Kit - Make 10 different types of cheese with kit. Just add milk.  I think this would be a great thing to do with a friend before a party. Really impress your guests when you tell them you MADE the cheese platter.

8. Cuppow - The mason jar trend just keeps on growing.  This company makes attachments for your mason jars.  Cups to hold dips or salad dressing, sippy-cup lid, a martini shaker, and a pour-over coffee attachment. Genius.

9. Helliemae's Salted Caramels - Some of the most gourmet caramels I've ever put in my mouth.  Ellen aka Helliemae handcrafts amazing flavors such as chili palmer, candy cane, cardamom, and coffee. Oh, and she's a fellow Denver-gal!

10. Giant Ice Cube Tray - Perfect if you know a "sipper" of whiskey, gin or vodka. This has become one of the most used items in my kitchen.  At first we started with just water, but then got crazy and made apple-juice ice cubes with an orange twist frozen inside.  Imagine a whiskey with that beautiful baby!?

11. Olli Salame - I was at a food show this week and couldn't stop eating every variety Olli had.  They're newest gift packed lets you mix-and-match your favorite salame's.  An easy way to make a custom charcuterie platter.

12. Captain Spongefoot Honey Sriracha Sauce - If you know a sriracha feen, then this is for them.  Sriracha turned a bit more gourmet with a touch of honey.  The same amount of heat hits your tongue at the end but it has a sweeter beginning.  I use this as a fabulous glaze on fish and chicken.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Baked Brie with a Brown Sugar Brandy Sauce



Baked Brie is a pretty amazing holiday party appetizer. If there isn't some of this melted cheese at a party, it's a real shame.  Bring this EASY appetizer recipe to your next get-together. It's only a few minutes hands-on time to make the sauce, drizzle on the brie and then bake.  If you're bringing it to a party you can make the sauce beforehand and just bake once you get to there.  Here are a few more easy holiday appetizers

Ingredients: 

-1 cup brandy
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 wheel of brie

optional garnishes: 

-nuts such as pine nuts, pecans, or walnuts
-earthy herbs such as lavender flowers, rosemary or sage

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup


I first had a version of this soup at a friend's house. They purchased the prepared soup at Whole Foods. It was delicious! A perfect way to start a meal.  I figured I had to make it myself so I found a recipe and tweaked it a bit. I also added some fun garnishes because I think not only do they make the soup more visually appealing, but they add more flavor and substance. 

Ingredients: 

-1 large yellow onion (or two small)
-8 cups of vegetable broth
-6 cloves of garlic
-2 lbs of carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
-2 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
-3 Tbsp of freshly grated ginger
-1 Tbsp. cumin
-1 tsp. cinnamon
-2 tsp. jalepeno powder (optional)
-2 Tbsp salt
-3 Tbsp sugar
-2 tsp lemon juice

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pesto Glazed Corvina Sea Bass


An easy but really good fish recipe can be hard to find.  This one can be done in a matter of minutes but is fancy enough for guests.  You can use a jar of pesto you have in the fridge, but of course homemade pesto is always the best.  You can garnish with a sweet pepper relish or olive-oil tossed tomatoes as pictured above. The red and green color contrast is quite stunning on a platter.  Not sure where to get fresh Corvina Sea Bass? My favorite spot is ordering from Chef's Fresh Fish.com. 

Ingredients: 

2 lbs of fresh Corvina Sea Bass fillet
1/4 cup pesto - freshly made is the best, but pre-made will work
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Monday, October 7, 2013

Italian Wedding Soup


Italian Wedding Soup has been one of my favorites for years. It's a meal in a bowl and who doesn't like meatballs? Brings me back to my Spaghetti-O's with Meatballs phase. But this is much butter. The recipe I originally followed was Rachael Ray's, but I've tweaked and added (specifically more broth) over the years.  Make this big batch and freeze the leftovers in muffin tins. They reheat wonderfully. 

Ingredients

-2 Tbsp olive oil
-4 carrots, peeled and diced
-3 ribs of celery, peeled and diced
-1 large white onion
-1 dried bay leaf
-1 lb lean ground beef, veal or pork
-1 egg, beaten
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-1/2 cup bread crumbs
-10 cups chicken stock
-1 pkg (16 oz) of small pasta - I use Acini di Pepe (orzo or mini shells will work, too)
-1 lb (large bag) baby spinach


Monday, May 20, 2013

Red Wine Vinegar, Shallot and Cucumber Mignonette


Freshly shucked oysters are just the best....even better with a little mignonette. A mignonette sauce means "cracked pepper" and is usually used to top raw oysters on the half shell.  There are many different varieties, but the classic uses red wine vinegar and minced shallots with of course freshly cracked pepper.  This is a version of the classic, but with finely diced cool cucumbers and a bit of chopped parsley mainly for color.  Try this out at home with a dozen oysters from your local market.  Also, if you need some assistance in shucking, check out this video on my Oysters Rockefeller post. 

I'm used to making this in large batches for oyster bar events for my company, Denver-based Seattle Fish Company so I've had to scale down the measurements.  Luckily this saves for quite awhile since the main ingredient is vinegar.  Also, the shallot ratio may seem like a lot, but it really gives the mignonette it's flavor and can be opted out when you scoop some on your oyster. 

Where to buy oysters? My favorite are from Chefs Fresh Fish - you can buy them buy the dozen online, overnight shipped to your house the next morning. 

Ingredients: 

-1/2 cup red wine vinegar
-a few Tbsp. chopped parsley
-1 whole shallot, minced
-1/2 seedless cucumber (or seeds removed), skin removed and finely diced
-1 tsp. freshly cracked pepper
-1 tsp. salt 

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