Friday, May 22, 2009

Salmon and Couscous...who knew?

When I was growing up my dad got on a couscous kick and it totally creeped me out. It looked so grainy. No part of it appealed to me. As I got older and saw it more in cafes and restaurants I always remembered my dad eating it by the pan load. UG!

A month or two ago Alex brought some couscous home and told me we had to try it. I was pretty reluctant, but agreed. Surprise, surprise it was pretty dang good. Tonight we were wrangling for ideas of what to make. I wanted to BBQ and Alex wanted couscous. So we compromised. I got online and searched Salmon and Couscous and picked the first recipe that came so happened to be a Food Network recipe by Bobby Deen of all people. Yes, his mother is Paula Deen, who is hell bent on giving everyone heart disease. Who would have thought he would be capable or allowed to create such a healthy recipe.

Salmon and Couscous:
Olive oil
4 (4-ounce) pieces salmon

The recipe calls to bake the salmon at 350F putting the lime juice and olive oil on top, but we grilled it and drizzled the lime juice over the top after it was done cooking.

2 1/4 cups water or chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons butter
10 ounces couscous
1 cup diced tomatoes - we used canned tomatoes rather than fresh
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup green onions

Combine water or chicken stock, salt and butter in a saucepan, over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir in couscous. Add diced tomatoes, crumbled feta, and green onions. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork, and serve hot or cold.

We also added pitted kalamata olives to the couscous and it was FABULOUS!

Alex wasn't so keen on the idea of the feta so I left it out until I was plating up my one picture is with feta and the other is without. :)

This is a GREAT light recipe. The additional ingredients in the couscous add some serious flavor to this dish. I usually like my salmon with a little tarter sauce....and even went as far to make some up...but didn't use it with this dish because the couscous was so AWESOME! Take the leap...try it out!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thai Mango Rice!!!

Alex and I had dinner with some friends at a FABULOUS Thai restaurant called Sawadee in downtown Salt Lake. Our friends, Tom and Kortney introduced us to this place and consequently introduced us to the dish in this post. Each couple decided order the Thai Mango Sticky Rice to go. Alex and I didn't get around to eating our desert for two days. By that point the rice had sucked up all the 'Sweetness' but we decided we LOVED the desert!

I decided to search out a recipe online so we could have Thai Mango Rice any time. I found a GREAT recipe for Thai Mango Sticky Rice on ( Alex didn't want to make a special trip to the Thai food store down the street so we made it with regular minute rice. NOT BAD AT ALL!!!! If you want to find the original recipe, check out the link. This is the recipe I made.

Thai Mango Rice:
2 cups Minute Rice
1 3/4 cups water
1-2 ripe mangoes, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 can good-quality coconut milk
1/4 tsp. + pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder dissolved in 2 Tbsp. water
Make the Minute rice as directed on the box, but instead of using two cups of water with the 2 cups of rice use 1 3/4 cup water and 1/4 cup of coconut milk and add 1 Tbsp. brown sugar.
Warm the rest of the can of coconut milk with 1/4 cup sugar, a pinch of salt, and 1 tsp. vanilla flavoring over medium heat (5 minutes).

Add cornstarch (dissolved in the water) to the sauce and stir to thicken it slightly. As it thickens, turn down heat to low. When thickened, remove from heat. Be careful not to boil the coconut milk.
The original recipe has two suggestions for serving this rice, but I mixed the sauce with the rice and stirred them together until completely mixed. I topped the rice with fresh mangoes cut into small bite sized pieces.
This recipe KICKS ASS and totally resembles the flavor of the Thai Mango Sticky Rice we ordered at Sawadee. Using the minute rice didn't change the dish much...but I can't call it 'Sticky Rice' as a result. :)
I hope you make this over and over again like Alex and I will be doing!!!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

MINI Corn Dogs

Oh yeah! I don't care who you secretly think corn dogs are the bomb! I LOVE corn dogs, but they pack on the fat like nobody's business. I scored a TOTALLY sweet recipe for Bakes Mini Corn Dogs from this month's issue of Food Network Magazine. I wasn't sure what to expect from these babies, but did they deliver! AND they are cute and small...well, the picture in the magazine makes them look cute and small. Mine turned out bulky and huge...but it was my first time and they tasted who cares what they looked like, right?

Baked Mini Corn Dogs:
1 cup reduced-fat milk
1 package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting and kneading
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
9 reduced fat hot dogs, halved crosswise - I used 3 brats and cut them into 3-4 small pieces
1 large egg, beaten - I omitted this part
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds (optional) - I omitted this too

Warm the milk to about 100 F in a sauce pan; pour into a medium bowl. Spring in the yeast and left soften for about 2 minutes. Stir in the olive oil, brown sugar and corn meal with a wooden spoon. Add the flour, salt, baking soda and cayenne pepper; stir to make a sticky dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if needed, until smooth but still slightly tacky, about 5 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Meanwhile, insert a wooden stick or small skewer into each hot dog half about 1 inch deep; set aside. Preheat the oven to 450 F and lightly oil a large backing sheet. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface; divide into 18 pieces. With our palms, roll each piece into a 10-inch length. Wrap each piece around a hot dog half, tucking and pressing the edges to seal; place on the baking sheet. Brush the dough-wrapped dogs with the beaten egg; sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired. Bake until golden brown, 15 minutes.

The Food Network magazine also had a suggestion for spicing up your condiments. I added wasabi paste to the mustard to give a FABULOUS kick. Try it out!