Friday, July 19, 2013

THE Perfect Oven Roasted Salmon -- With "Fancy" Butter

Wild Salmon roasting in the oven.  Yum!

I was going to grill tonight.  The mosquitoes kept me away.  I guess I must be really sweet, because those bugs sure do like me.

But I have to admit; it's MUCH cooler down here in Florida than it is up north right now.  Amazing.  Being that I am not your local weather forecaster, I must be here for another reason? 

Yup.  FOOD!  I will get on with the show.

Salmon is a great food when you are trying to eat healthy.  Hubby and I both struggle with our weight.  I try to keep mine in check by jumping around the room like a maniac to my exercise DVDs - and shouting out a few choice words at the trainers, too.  Hey, they can't hear me. 

Or can they?

Cue the Twilight Zone music.

Up until I crossed the 40 yard line, as I like to call it, I never used to have to exercise, btw! But then, back in the day, I never wrote things like btw either.  So there you go!

Dan (hubby) does not care for salmon all that much, unless it's been cooked until it flakes.   Well done salmon can taste dry to those who love it.  So I came up with this easy weeknight meal that stays true to the fish, while catering to all sorts of tastes. 

Read on and you will see what I mean.

Serves 3-4.

3/4 - 1 lb. wild caught Sockeye Salmon, skin on
1 tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (good quality)
1/2 tsp. Canadian Chicken Seasoning (I used Weber brand)
1/2 tsp. seafood seasoning (I used Old Bay)
1 tsp. dried dill weed
3 slices fresh lemon
1 tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. capers, drained and rinsed

For the "Fancy" Butter:

2 1/2 tbs. butter
1/4 tsp. anchovy paste
1/2 tsp. chopped fennel fronds

Other:  Butter flavored cooking spray


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  

Place salmon , skin side down, on a tin foil-lined baking sheet.  Rub the salmon with the olive oil.  Sprinkle the chicken seasoning, the seafood seasoning and the dill weed on top.  Rub into the flesh of the fish.  Top with lemon slices.

Bake fish for 18 minutes for opaque, 23 minutes for well done.  Note: During the last three minutes of baking, top the fish the lemon juice and caper mixture.

Combine softened butter with anchovy paste and fennel fronds.  You can either leave it whole and slice it on top of the cooked fish, or you can smash it all together. If you decide to go with leaving it whole, I recommend you keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. Either way, you top the fish before you are ready to serve it.

I like to serve this dish with pasta tossed with olive oil and fennel roasted with red pepper and lemon juice.  It's a good way to use up some of my dried peppers that I am growing.  Check this out!

Enjoy.  Oh, and I promised you when I re-started this blog that I would be doing more special features and videos.  I'm going to attempt another video within the next couple of weeks.  We will see how that goes. 

Cheers and peace!

As usual, no product was supplied to blogger.  Names of products provided as substituting could change the taste of the dish.

Looking for a wine to pair with this dish?  Try a crisp Pinot Grigio.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

East Texas Six Pepper Jambalaya

My East Texas Six Pepper Jambalaya

If you’ve ever travelled through East Texas on the way to Louisiana, there is such an array of culinary delights, from Tex-Mex to Barbecue to Cajun cuisine.  Back in the mid-to-late nineties, I installed practice management systems for a living.  Florida, Georgia and Texas were my territory. 

I am not shy when I travel alone about taking myself out to dinner.  I take a good book, or some work, and bury myself in that while I get to enjoy a nice, relaxing meal after a long work day.   My tip to you if you travel on business;  Skip the room service.  It’s over-priced.  Go ask your concierge for a nice, local place where you don’t have to drive too far.  Often they will recommend a place within walking distance if you want to have a cocktail or two.  It’s a great way to experience the culinary treasures that reside in the various regions of this great county. 

AND...  you meet great people.

Back to my recipe:


I grow my own peppers on my patio garden each summer.  This recipe gave me an excuse to use them, as well as a little of this and a little of that I had in the refrigerator. 

My husband, Dan, makes the best traditional Jambalaya recipe I’ve ever tasted.  This is a close second.  I used his cooking technique for the perfect rice.  You will note I used the natural flavors of the peppers and very little added salt in this dish. 

The heat level on this is just nice; it’s hot enough to make you crave another beer or glass of sweet tea, but not so hot that you couldn’t add a little more hot sauce if you like it really spicy. 

Dan loves this dish.  He thinks the combination of the chicken, shrimp and smoked sausage give it a lot of “substance.”  You won’t go hungry. 

The list of ingredients looks long but I promise you, this isn’t complicated at all. Most of these things you probably already have around the house or could purchase on your next trip to the farmer’s market or grocery store. 

I used my late mom's favorite stew pot for this recipe.  It's very well... seasoned.  It's likely as old as I am.  I am sure they don't make these pots anymore for obvious reasons.   Hey, I've been eating out of it for 50 years and I'm still you be the judge.

Oh, and you will love the way I slipped the extra veggies into this dish.  Devious, I am, I am!


BTW- I am going to begin suggesting wine pairing notes with selected dishes, starting with this one. 


Serves 6

1 tbs. olive oil
Butter flavor cooking spray
24 slices (1/4 inch thick each) Kielbasa or turkey Kielbasa
2/3 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper, seeded
1 slightly dried fresh cayenne pepper, seeded and cut into three pieces
¼ cup (or one small) Poblano pepper, seeded and diced*
1 banana pepper, chopped*
1 large Jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped*
1 green Serrano pepper, seeded and chopped*

*Note:  the entire quantity of the last four peppers - minus the bell pepper and the Cayenne - should be about ½ cup chopped when combined.

2 tbs. butter
1/3 cup fresh corn
1/4 cup minced carrot
1/3 cup Vidalia or sweet onion, chopped
1 1/4 cup chopped celery
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
2 cups long grain white rice
1 beer, 12 ounces or non-alcoholic beer (something light)
1 cup organic vegetable broth
1/2 cup water plus one cup reserved
1 tsp. Creole Seasoning
1 tsp. paprika (regular)
1 tsp dried dill weed
1 tsp. seafood seasoning
1 chicken breast (5 ounces)
coarse sea salt, to taste
freshly ground cracked pepper, to taste
1 dozen medium pre-cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 tsp. blackened red fish seasoning (optional)
1 tbs. fresh lemon juice (optional)



Add olive oil and a generous amount of butter flavored cooking spray to a heavy Dutch oven.  Add in the Kielbasa.  Brown on both sides for about four or five minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside until ready to use.  Do not cover.   You do not want the Kielbasa to steam and continue to cook and dry out.


Add more cooking spray to the pan.  Add the bell pepper, cayenne, Poblano, banana pepper, Jalapeño and Serrano to the pan.  Cook for about three minutes until softened.


Add in the butter, the corn, onion, and celery to the pan with the peppers.  Cook for about three minutes until the butter melts.  Stir to make sure the vegetables aren’t sticking to the pan.

Remove the three pieces of Cayenne.  Dice up one of the pieces and return to pan.  Discard the other two.  (If you want this spicier, you can include all three pieces diced).


Add in the garlic, the rice, beer, vegetable broth and the 1/2 cup of the water.  Add the Creole seasoning, paprika, dill weed and seafood seasoning.  Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes over low heat.  DO NOT open the lid to the Dutch oven.


While the stew is cooking, sprinkle the chicken breast with salt and pepper.  Grill or pan sear until cooked through to 170 degrees.  Let rest and slice into bite sized pieces.


Sprinkle cooked shrimp with the red fish seasoning and the lemon juice.


Once the Jambalaya is cooked, remove the lid.  Add the remaining cup of water and gently stir in the Kielbasa, the cut up chicken and the shrimp.


Suggestion:   Serve with green pepper hot sauce on the side. 

Wow and double wow!

Wine Pairing Note:  Surprisingly, this dish even pairs nicely with a California (not too much oak) Chardonnay (very cold).  Suggest Rex-Goliath Giant 47 Round Rooster Chardonnay.

Wine pairing suggestion is not an endorsement.  No product supplied to blogger. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Herb Marinated Chicken with Sweet Muscadine Wine over Organic Galletti

BTW -  before I get started, I want to let you know that I am still getting used to Google plus.  With all of the social media out there today, it is often difficult to keep up, especially when you work full time as I do.    If I do not immediately follow you back, please do not be offended.  I try to go down the lists and follow Google and Twitter followers, but sometimes I don't get to that for a couple of weeks.

Enough of that.  Here we go!

I was shopping in Target the other day and I came across these wonderful Giada De Laurentiis pasta and sauce products which inspired me to make this light summer pasta dish.* 

Our area is famous for great Muscadine wines.  The health value alone will get you to switch from your regular table wine.

I love one dish pasta recipes in the summer.  You don't have to think about making anything else.

Oh, and the banana peppers and basil are grown on my patio.  Yum!

You can substitute any pasta you like and any Italian dressing you like.

With no further adieu, here is tonight's recipe.


For the Chicken:

2 split chicken breast halves
Whole fresh herbs of your choice, washed and on stem (suggest mint and basil)
2 smashed garlic cloves (no need to peel)
2 tbs. red wine vinegar
2 tbs. canola oil
Cracked black pepper, to taste
Seasoned salt, to taste
1/4 cup sweet white Muscadine wine (or late harvest Riesling)
1/2 lemon


Cooking spay for grill pan
2 cups (sliced ) red pepper (I used mini red peppers)
1/2 cup sliced onion
2 banana peppers
1/2 cup Italian Dressing (your favorite brand - I used Giada's Parmesan Garlic Vinaigrette)
1/2 lb. organic Galletti pasta, cooked per package directions
Grated Parmesan cheese for passing at the table
Fresh torn basil


Add chicken, herbs, garlic, wine vinegar, canola oil and black pepper to a container.  Cover and shake to coat the chicken.  Marinate for at least four hours, longer if you have the time; up to overnight.

Marinate the peppers and onions in the dressing (at least 30 minutes).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Spray grill pan with cooking spray and preheat grill pan.

Pat chicken dry.  Season on both sides with seasoned salt.  Add chicken to one side of the grill pan.  Grill for about four minutes each side until it gets nice grill marks.

Transfer chicken to oven safe skillet sprayed with cooking spray.  Squeeze lemon over chicken.  Include the rind into the pan.  Add the sweet white wine around the chicken.  Bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.  Adjust cooking time accordingly.  Internal temperature of chicken should be at least 170 degrees F.

Cook pasta per package directions.  Drain and keep warm.

On the other side of the grill pan where raw chicken did not touch, add the peppers and onions in batches.  Grill until charred. 

Let vegetables cool.  Slice once cooled into strips.

Toss the pasta, peppers and onions back into the marinade. 

Slice chicken and plate on top of pasta.  Top with cheese and basil. 


*No product was supplied to blogger and not an endorsement.