Salmon Salad

September 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

One of my favorite sandwiches is the tuna sandwich and I love salmon, so why not mash them together? A salmon salad sandwich makes a great lunch that’s pretty healthy too (ok maybe the mayo takes the health points off, but still, pretty good).

Ingredients:

  • 9 0z cooked salmon (I steamed the salmon with no seasoning)
  • 6 gherkin pickles chopped
  • 1/2 c mayo
  • 3 tbsp spicy mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp chopped green onions
  • 1 tsp chopped cilantro
  • (1/4 c of finely diced red onions would be really good in here, but I didn’t have it on hand.)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and you’re done. Serve it on bread, crackers, salad, etc.

Makes enough for about 4 sandwiches.

 

 

Maca-wrongs….Almost Macarons!

September 16, 2011 § 14 Comments

This is batch #4 of my macaron trials. There are still things going wrong, such as a huge air pocket and not-so-pretty feet. Also the buttercream is in need of work. Once again, I’ll post the recipe when it actually comes out right. Also, if any of you have suggestions or tips please let me know. 🙂

Just piped batter. (Looks ok here I thought.)
Just out of the oven. (It’s too rounded here and the feet are almost non-existent.)
Big air pocket. (Not cooked long enough? Under-mixed?…)
Batch #4
Addition: Here is the recipe that I promised!
Lemon Macaron Shells (recipe adapted from BraveTart):
  • 115 g almond flour
  • 230 g powdered sugar (I still think it’s a little too sweet, so will probably work on the nut/sugar ratio)
  • 144 g egg whites
  • 30 g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 12 drops of yellow food coloring
Sift almond flour and powdered sugar. Set aside.
In a clean stainless steel bowl, beat egg whites and salt until foamy. About 3 minutes (I used a hand-held beater on med/low)
Add sugar and beat on medium for about 3 more minutes. It’ll look soft and like whip cream.
Turn mixer to med/high and beat for another 3 minutes until its shiny and stiff.
Add in zest and food coloring (all I had was liquid).
Beat on high for a minute so it can all incorporate.
Fold in the dry nut/sugar mixture until incorporated. (This is where I always under-mixed! I was so afraid to deflate the meringue, but you actually DO have to deflate it a bit)
Fill batter into a pastry bag with a round tip.
Pipe 2 inch circles on baking trays lined with parchment paper.
Give the trays firm taps on the counter or table to release any small air bubbles in the batter.
Let the piped batter rest until it is matte looking and dry to the touch. 30-60 mins. (Not too long or else they’ll stick to the parchment later. Learned this the hard way.)
Bake in a 300 degree oven for 20-22 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool on tray.
Blueberry Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 1/2 package of cream cheese
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 c powder sugar
  • 1/4 c blueberry jam (I used the jam from this recipe since it was in the fridge, but even pureed blueberries would work.)
Beat all the ingredients until fluffy.
Place filling into a pastry bag with a round tip.
Pipe onto a macaron shell and top with another shell similar in size.

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables and Turkey

September 14, 2011 § 9 Comments

I love baked pasta dishes, especially the burnt edge pieces. This dish is easy to prepare and can feed a lot of people. The best part is you can use up leftover veggies and change it up to make it yours.

Recipe adapted from Giada’s.

2 yellow squash quartered lengthwise and sliced

2 bell peppers cut into strips (I used one red and one orange for bright colors.)

8 cremini mushrooms sliced

1 yellow onion sliced

1/4 c olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

2 tbsp Italian seasoning

1 – 1 1/4 lb ground turkey

1 lb box whole wheat penne (doesn’t need to be whole wheat)

3 c store-bought arrabiata sauce (or you can use marinara, I preferred the spicy sauce)

1 1/2 c shredded mozzarella

1/2 c Parmesan

1 c frozen peas

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Toss the squash, peppers, mushrooms, and onion with olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1 tbsp italian seasoning.

Roast for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta for 10 minutes (I cooked mine long because it’s whole wheat and I like it really soft) and drain.

In a pan over medium-high heat, cook the ground turkey with 1 tbsp italian seasoning for about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss the pasta, turkey, roasted vegetables, sauce, cheeses (save a little of both for topping), peas, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.

Mix gently with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are combined.

Pour pasta into a greased 9×13 pan.

Top with some mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Blueberry Pie Pops (Poptarts)

September 14, 2011 § 22 Comments

These blueberry pie pops are super easy to make and fun to eat too. You can make the pie crust from scratch and keep it handy in the freezer or use store bought to keep it really easy to make.

This recipe is adapted from the blog Family Kitchen.

Pie Pops

  • 1 c fresh blueberries
  • 2-3 tbsp sugar (more or less depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 package prepared pie crust (or homemade…enough to make crust for two pies or top and bottom of one)
  • lollipop sticks

 

Glaze

  • 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp fresh blueberry puree
  • *1-2 drops of blue food coloring optional since the puree doesn’t really make the glaze blue

 

In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine the blueberries, cornstarch, sugar, water, and vanilla.

Stir and break down some of the blueberries until it has thickened.

Set aside to let cool.

 

Preaheat oven to 400 degrees.

Roll out pie crust and cut out rectangles (for pop tarts) or use cookie cutters for fun shapes.

Arrange half of the cut out pie crusts on baking sheets covered with parchment paper.

Spoon blueberry filling onto pie crust. (don’t overfill, the amount will depend on how large you cut your pie crusts)

Place a popsicle stick on top of the filling.

Cover the filling with the rest of the pieces of pie crust.

Crimp the edges together using a fork or a lollipop stick. (I didn’t seal mine well and they oozed while baking, but when cooled it stayed together anyway.)

Bake for about 10 minutes.

 

In a small bowl combine all the ingredients for the glaze and mix well.

Once the blueberry pops are out of the oven and cooled, spoon or brush the glaze onto each pie pop.

Choux Pastry with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream

September 14, 2011 § 11 Comments

If you’ve read my last post, you might know I have tons of egg yolks in the fridge from all my macaron attempts. I didn’t want to waste them so while doing some reading (reading a cookbook of course…) I came across the perfect recipe. Vanilla pastry cream from my Sugarbaby cookbook. 6 yolks needed, CHECK! I made the choux pastry from the same book and together they were delicious!

Recipe (adapted from Sugarbaby):

Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 c milk
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1 split vanilla bean

Beat eggs, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt until light and fluffy.

In a heavy saucier over medium-high heat, bring the milk,cream, and vanilla bean to a boil.

Take the vanilla bean out (save it for your vanilla sugar).

Carefully pour the hot mixture into the egg mixture. (very carefully and turn the mixer to low, but you will need to keep it mixing while pouring)

Scrape the bowl down and keep mixing for another minute.

Pour the mixture back into the same saucier (but cleaned).

Over medium-high heat, whisk the mixture until it gets thick like mayonnaise.. (it seems to happen all at once, so don’t stop mixing or step away)

Sieve the mixture into a bowl to make sure its completely smooth.

Cover with plastic wrap (touch wrap to the cream) and place in fridge until you’re ready to use.

Choux Pastry

  • 1 c flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c water
  • 1 c milk
  • 3/4 c butter
  • 6 eggs (the recipe said 10, but you might need more or less, explained below)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Whisk together the flour and salt.

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk, water, and butter to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add flour all at once.

Immediately start stirring with a wooden spoon until mixture becomes a ball.

Transfer ball to a bowl and beat it (I used the wooden spoon by hand, the recipe said to use the stand mixer with the paddle attachement…too lazy to lug that thing out) to cool the paste a bit.

Add eggs one at a time making sure to fully incorporate each one before adding more. (The amount of eggs you need will vary, beat one at a time until you get a paste like consistency that holds it’s shape when piped.)

Transfer dough to a large pastry bag fitted with a large open tip (I used a large star tip).

Pipe onto parchment lined sheet pans. (I piped mine like you would a soft serve ice cream.)

Bake for 10 minutes.

Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake another 30 minutes.

Allow the pastries to cool before filling.

Filling:

Transfer pastry cream into a pastry bag with a skinny round tip. Not too small so that it’s hard to squeeze out, but small enough so there isn’t a huge hole in your choux pastry.

Find a side of the choux pastry, insert the tip halfway and squeeze the pastry cream while slowly pulling out. You’ll feel the pastry getting heavier.

Thai Tea Macarons (actually Maca-wrongs)

September 14, 2011 § 4 Comments

So I’ve been daydreaming about making macarons for the longest time and recently I actually made time for it. I thought for awhile of the flavors I’d make and which technique. I took tips from the internet, from books and even from friends who’ve had success making them. No way it could be that difficult right? I mean there were only so many ingredients used. Maca-WRONG I was. Haha.

I love the flavor of Thai tea. It’s floral, creamy and just so delicious. There were a bunch of matcha and earl grey macaron recipes out there, so I took a tea macaron recipe and substituted it with the Thai tea leaves. The buttercream was thai tea infused of course and it tasted so yummy.

Here’s a picture of my first attempt at the Thai tea macarons.

I was so excited when they came out the oven because they have feet!! The problem was they were so fragile, had a peak on top, and was super grainy from too many tea leaves (even though it was grounded down really fine). So I looked up macaron troubleshooting and realized these were undercooked, undermixed and of course had too many tea leaves. My second batch I made my adjustments and kept checking them while they were in the oven to make sure they were “cooked”. I baked them to death. They were like biscottis. YIKES!

Here is my second batch.

 My third attempt I wanted to to take out the Thai tea completely to just concentrate on the technique. Simple with no added problems is best right? You’ll see no pictures of my third attempt here because they didn’t even resemble macarons. These had no feet, were like puffy muffin tops in the oven that deflated while cooling, and were super sticky. My guess is I messed up from the meringue stage.

After all that, I decided to give myself a week to recover. Let’s hope my next attempts are batches of macarons and not maca-wrongs!

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