Monday, June 25, 2012

Salmon Pasta Pesto

It's been a while since I've blogged and that can mostly be chalked up to our recent arrival in America. Right now I am soaking up the vacation rays by not shopping (for food), cooking or cleaning but this utopia will soon come to an end. I am excited, though, to start cooking with the ingredients I don't get to use all year like blueberries and asparagus but in the mean time here is a recipe I made after Shavuot with really just leftover I had around- poached salmon, pesto and more dairy ingredients than I knew what to do with including tons of cream that I ended up having to freeze for future use. I've already made clear how much I adore a good pasta with salmon here and this is a similar take on that pasta but with the bright and vibrant taste of pesto. Tossed with a rich and delicious pesto cream sauce this pasta just hit the spot and I can't wait to make it again soon. Enjoy!

1 lb pasta
3 Tbl butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
250 grams or 1 cup cream or half and half
1 cup milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 pound salmon
1/4-1/2 cup basil pesto
1/2 cup spring peas
2 Tbl fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Coat the Salmon with 2 Tbl of the pesto and bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes until just tender. Alternatively, you can just take any leftover salmon and flake it up for this recipe. In a sauce pan melt the butter and saute the onion and garlic in it. Add the cream and milk and whisk over medium heat while it thickens. Add the Parmesan and whisk till it is melted and the sauce is thick and creamy. Remove from heat and add in the pesto using as much or as little as you want depending on how strong of  a pesto taste you want the pasta to have. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and keep warm. In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta till it is al-dente. One minute before the pasta is done add the peas to the water and drain them together. Toss the pasta with the warm sauce and add in the flaked salmon and the lemon juice. Serve warm and enjoy!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Summer Strawberry Pie

My first pie!!!!! I know that seems weird with all the cooking I do, but pastry and I are not such good friends. I enjoy baking every now and then but I steer very clear of dough because I just seem to be missing that special touch when it comes to rolling and transferring it. But, it was my sister's birthday and she was by us for Shabbat and she doesn't like to eat cake but how can there be no celebratory dessert for her birthday? So a few rummages through the pantry, fridge and freezer and this pie was born. At the end of the strawberry season I always go to the shuk and buy a crate of strawberries that I wash, clean and freeze in portioned amounts and store so I can have them for months past the strawberry season. I don't know if it was because the pie was for a special occasion or just because of sheer luck but I rolled and transferred and fluted the dough like a pro and felt so proud of myself!!! I served it with some vanilla scented whipped cream for a delicious and summery dessert. Enjoy!

For the dough:
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
3 Tbl sugar
2/3 cup shortening, butter or margarine
6 Tbl ICE cold water

2 Tbl milk or soy milk
2 Tbl sugar

In a bowl combine the flour, salt and sugar. Cut in the fat with a pastry cutter or your finger until the mixture has pea sized crumbs. With a fork, gently mix in the cold water. Divide the dough in two with one half being slightly larger then the other. Roll out the smaller piece and place it in a 9 inch pie plate. Fill the pie with the filling below and then roll out the second piece. Cover the top of the pie with the dough and flute or seal the edges. Brush the top of the pie with the milk and sprinkle on the sugar and then make a few slits in the dough. Bake on a lined baking sheet (likely some filling will drip out!) for 30-40 minutes until the crust is all golden brown.

For the filling:
4 cups strawberries, chunked
1- 11/4 cups of sugar (depending on how sweet your berries are)
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Mix the flour, cinnamon, salt and sugar together and gently toss in the strawberries and vanilla until fully coated.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cod Fillet with Melted Leek, Tomato and Mushrooms

Sometimes I just crave something a little nicer for dinner on a hectic weeknight instead of leftovers or pasta.  Recently, as I was browsing through my refrigerator I found all the makings of a delicious dinner-leeks, mushrooms, wine, tomatoes, basil - cooked all together these ingredients can make any protein sing. I would have made this with chicken breast which you can totally do by just omitting the butter but when I was browsing in the store I came across some beautiful looking cod loins and so that became my dinner. I served this over some couscous to absorb the delicious juices and it was a simple but super flavorful meal in one. Enjoy!

4 Cod fillet or Cod loins
3 Tbl butter
1 Tbl olive oil
1 leek, sliced and cleaned
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 mushrooms, sliced
20 cherry tomatoes (approx), halved
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced
salt and pepper to taste

In a pan melt the butter and olive oil together. Add the leek and garlic, season with salt and pepper and saute until the leek is tender. Add the mushrooms and and cook until the mushrooms are tender and season the mushrooms with a little more s &p. Seasoning each layer makes sure you have a well seasoned final product. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes over high heat until the alcohol cooks out. Add the cherry tomatoes and basil and continue cooking over high heat until the tomatoes start wilt. Season the fillet's with salt and pepper and nestle them in the pan with the sauce spooning some of the sauce on top. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the fish is cooked through.