Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pesto Salmon

I can't believe I haven't posted this recipe before now.  This is a recipe Alex turned me on to several years ago when we were first dating.  I used to be that girl who needed tarter sauce to stomach fish so the first time I had this recipe I felt like I was choking it down.  Now that my palate is more refined (LOL!!!) I LOVE this recipe!

I topped the salmon fillets with  my favorite pesto recipe and cooked them at 475F for about 15 minutes.  I know, you're wondering why I would cook the fish at such a high temperature.  I was cooking the salmon with the butternut squash from the previous post and wanted to make sure they finished cooking around the same time.  I REALLY enjoyed the way the salmon cooked at the high temperature.  Because it was so high it cooked the olive oil completely out of the pesto frying the salmon almost and leaving a yummy basil, garlic, pine nut and parmesan goodness  on top.  I LOVE when I find a new means of cooking something I LOVE!

Roasted Butternut Squash

With Fall come the cravings for Fall foods.  Within the last few years I have really started liking all kinds of squash.  Tonight I was planning on making a Martha Stewart recipe for twice baked butternut squash, but I got started cooking too late to make the recipe.  I opted to roast the squash with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, thyme  and rosemary cooked at 475F for 40 minutes.  The balsamic vinegar ended up tasting more vinegary that I expected and caused a coating on the butternut squash that made you taste the vinegar first and then the squash. I do think I will try this concoction again.

Goat Cheese!

Friday I was watching Diners, Drive In's and Dives and saw recipe for Blueberry Goat Cheese Pie.  Guy Fieri has been doing that show for something like 2-3 years now.  He has been to TONS of restaurants and seen thousands of recipes.  Not much surprises him these days.  But this pie did!  I have never been a fan of goat cheese, it was Guy Fieri's reaction to this pie that made me want to make it.  He was stunned when he tasted it...and I wanted to be stunned too!

Soon after baking the pie I took it to my monthly BUNCO as dessert.  Many of the people steered clear when I told them it was a goat cheese blueberry pie.  I probably would have too, under other circumstances.  The few people who did try it said they couldn't get past the basil.  That first night the basil did stand out.  After letting the pie hang out in my refrigerator overnight the flavors were able to meld together for a seriously KNOCK OUT dessert!  **However!  I will tell you Alex was NOT a fan of this pie***  He doesn't like goat cheese and couldn't get past its distinct taste in the pie.  I loved this pie, in part because so many people tried it and walked away with different opinions with regard to the individual ingredients.  This should be renamed 'Controversy Pie!'

Cooking note: I did have to cook this for nearly DOUBLE the time the recipe called for.  Not sure if that is due to my altitude here in Colorado.  I also didn't make the topping because I realized too late that I didn't have almonds.

Blueberry Goat Cheese Pie:


2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups cold margarine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • Cold water


  • 1/2 cup soft goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • 5 cups fresh blueberries


  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted margarine


For the crust:
Combine the flour, margarine, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Work with your fingers
gathering and crumbling until you have a crumbly mixture, about the size of peas.
In small amounts, slowly add cold water, gently incorporating by hand. As soon as the dough comes together in a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
For the filling: Mix the goat cheese, heavy cream, egg, sugar, flour, salt and basil together in a bowl. Add the blueberries and mix to desired texture.

For the topping: Mix the almonds, sugar and margarine in bowl, set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out the dough and place in a 10-inch pie pan. Pour the filling into the crust and sprinkle the topping over the top. Bake 25 minutes, rotating at the pie halfway through.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Gettin' the BBQ fired up!

Alex FINALLY broke down and bought a gas grill this summer.  I have been harassing him for years to get a gas grill because of the convenience of being able to light it up and start cooking.  He refused because he feels charcoal tastes better than gas.  That might be the case, but it isn't as versatile as a gas grill because you can't control the temperature of the grill.  I won and Alex is happy to have been on the losing end of this disagreement. :)

I've been on a Bobby Flay kick lately.  I think I just need to use up the spices in my cupboard.  I don't know how he figures out how to combine so many different flavors that compliment each other so well and layer the tastes.  He must waste a TON of spices!

Spice Rubbed Chicken Tacos:

Grilled Poblanos:

  • 3 large poblanos
  • Canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 3 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small head cabbage, cored, finely shredded
  • 2 carrots, finely shredded
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal


  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts (8 ounces each)
  • Canola oil
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 2 grilled sliced poblanos
  • Barbecued onions
  • Coleslaw
  • Guacamole, recipe follows

For the poblanos:

Heat the grill to high.
Brush the poblanos with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the chiles on the grill and cook until charred on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove from the grill, place in a bowl and cover with plastic for 10 minutes. Remove the skin, seeds and stem and cut into thin slices.
For the Cole Slaw:
Whisk together the mayo, sugar, celery, celery seed, vinegar and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cabbage, carrot, onion and scallion and stir to combine, season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Let slaw sit at least 15 minutes before serving.

For the Chicken:
Heat the grill to high.
Whisk together the ancho, cinnamon, cumin, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper in a small bowl.
Season top side of the breasts with the rub mixture, turn over and season the back with the remaining salt. Drizzle with some of the oil and place on the grill, rub side down and grill until lightly golden brown and a crust has formed, about 3 minutes. Turn the chicken over, close the lid and continue cooking until just cooked through, about 6 minutes longer. Remove from the grill and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Grill the flour tortillas briefly, just to mark and heat. To build the taco, fold each tortilla around some of the chicken, poblanos, onions, coleslaw and guacamole.
These tacos were a HIT!!!  So yummy and flavorful!  Despite all the steps and ingredients involved in making these tacos, they were surprisingly easy to make!  The left over chicken made for GREAT quesadilla's the next day too!

Truly Magic Sauce

I was scoping out Grilling blogs this week and stumbled upon a KILLER recipe for a chimichurri type marinade. The sauce is so crazy simple I'm surprised I didn't think of something like this myself, but then again, I'm not awesome at making up new recipes. :)

2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 medium cloves of garlic, smashed into a paste
1 well-crumbled bay leaf
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon + fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

The author of this blog suggested doubling the batch because you can use it on EVERYTHING!!!!!  I marinated a flank steak over night in this sauce and it was UNREAL!!!!  It was tender, perfectly flavored and I found myself wishing I had reserved some Magic Sauce to use a a steak sauce while eating it!  I did drizzle some on my eggs before I used it as a marinade and it WAS magical. :)

'Tis the season for PUMPKIN!

My favorite thing about fall?  PUMPKINS!  I was dismayed to find that none of the grocery stores had pumpkin stocked when I searched it out.  I searched high and low and ended up finding it at Sunflower Market.  I plan to buy a case of it when the regular grocery stores start carrying it.

I've recently become addicted to Pinterest.  I originally thought it was just a crafting web site, but no, like an a it!  Then you can scroll through all the 'pins' other people have found and you can pin it on your wall.  I have been pinning recipes like nobody's business!  I am especially glad I found the following recipe.  It is supposed to be a knock off of the Starbucks Pumpkin Scones, but I think they're better!  I am always disgusted that the food at Starbucks isn't made fresh in their individual stores.  Everything is day old...or more!  These babies are FRESH!  Warm from the oven scones beat hard crumbly ones ANY DAY!...especially if they are pumpkin!  :)

Starbucks Pumpkin Scones Knock Off Recipe:

Starbucks Pumpkin Scones Ingredients :
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 7 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 6 tablespoons cold butter

  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin

  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

  • 2 tablespoons whole milk

  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar

  • 2 tablespoons whole milk

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 pinch ginger

  • 1 pinch ground cloves

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees
     F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

    Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife, fork, or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious. Set aside.In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half and half, and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.  

    Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide). Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions. Cut those three slices diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 14–16 minutes. Scones should begin to turn light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.

    To make the plain glaze:
    1. Mix the powdered sugar and 2 tbsp milk together until smooth.
    2. When scones are cool, use a brush to paint plain glaze over the top of each scone.
    To make the spiced icing
    Combine the ingredient for the spiced icing together. Drizzle this thicker icing over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (at least 1 hour). A squirt bottle works great for this, or you can drizzle with a whisk.

    I'm not sure why people who create these recipes call for SO MUCH glaze!  Let alone TWO glazes!  I didn't bother with the plain glaze and halved the spiced glaze.  I have more than enough for the scones.  The glaze really IS the frosting on this recipe!  It was SO tasty and spicy!!!  If I ever get around to making pumpkin donuts, I'm going to use this glaze on them too!!!

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    AMAZING Peach Cobbler!!!!

    'Tis the season for peaches!!!  I got a whole flat of peaches at Costco with the intention of canning them, but never made it that far.  They were going to go bad in a couple of days if I didn't so something with them so I searched out a recipe for peach cobbler on com before my husband yelled at me for buying peaches and letting them go bad.

    Growing up my mom made the same peach cobbler over and over and over again.  I wanted to try something different and this recipe had over 1,000 reviews and a nearly five star rating.  I followed all the direction EXACTLY and the top of my crisp came out looking like the top hadn't gotten enough moisture to make it crust over.  I was pretty skeptical...until I tasted it!!!  HOLY HELL!  Trust me when I tell you this is the BEST peach cobbler I have EVER had!!!  The cobbler I grew up with had a sweet biscuit like crust on top and the topping on this was much more crisp like.  I am thinking it would be fun to combine the recipe from my childhood with this one and make an even BETTER peach cobbler. :)

    Peach Cobbler 
    8 fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and sliced into thin wedges
    1/4 cup white sugar
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    2 teaspoons cornstarch
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup white sugar
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
    1/4 cup boiling water 

    • 3 tablespoons white sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

    • In a large bowl, combine peaches, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly, and pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. 
    • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips, or a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.
    • Remove peaches from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Sprinkle entire cobbler with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.
    HA!  The Queen of NOT Follow Directions just realized I forgot to add the hot water!!!!  No wonder it didn't have enough moisture to crust the top!  Still, it turned out heavenly!!!  I have to admit, I ate WAY too much of this cobbler!  I'm going to need to hit the gym hard for a WEEK to make up for this one!