Sunday, July 27, 2014

Taco Smorgasbord

Have you seen the really small corn tortillas? They're ridiculously cute, about 5 inches across, and perfect for making taco smorgasbord.

Smorgas what?

Yes, I combined Mexican and Swedish food words to create a taco smorgasbord. Think of it as Mexico's answer to sliders, only they're mini tacos with a variety of fillings. Smorgasbord is a tradition in Sweden where a variety of dishes are offered buffet style, usually associated with holidays. Growing up, we always had Smorgasbord on Christmas Eve when we opened presents.

When offered a gift of a stack of mini tortillas, I crafted four different types of fillings. Putting them in a muffin tin was a stroke of genius for serving - only one dish to clean!

The smorgasbord just came together based on what I had in the house, so feel free to improvise based on what's in your refrigerator or pantry. Of course add all your favorite toppings, it's a party after all!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Broccoli and Mushroom Quiche with Olive Oil Crust

When was the last time you made quiche? Maybe it was yesterday or last week or last decade, like me. Quiche used to be in my regular rotation when I was a graduate student, back in the '90s (egads, that's so long ago!) And I don't know why it fell out of favor, it's a fantastic way to use up veggies heading south and odd assortments of cheese collecting in the fridge!

Perhaps quiche falls by the wayside because of the pesky crust question - homemade or not. In my grad school days, I made it all from scratch because it was cheaper. Now when I look at the ingredient lists on store-bought crusts, my stomach curdles. So I still make the crust. But here's an easier version, healthier too: olive oil crust.

Frozen olive oil that is. Or at least very chilled. You don't actually want to freeze it, just chill it for 1 hour (don't go more, it will be too cold). And then you have the making for a perfect crust!

A side note to the photo above, with the extra slice of mushroom quiche. It turns out that I forgot that my beau's youngest daughter is not a huge fan of broccoli, so I made half the quiche mushroom and cheese and half broccoli; everyone was happy!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Corn, Red Cabbage and Avocado Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Corn season will soon be full blown and here's and easy and fun salad to enjoy corn to its fullest!

Cut fresh corn off the cob, saute with some jalapenos, garlic and onion and toss with a lime vinaigrette and add cabbage and cilantro and presto! Delicious side salad bursting with summer freshness!

I was inspired to create this because we had leftover roasted corn from our 4th of July party, but only 1 ear of roasted corn. So instead of firing up the entire grill (which does not mean flicking a switch, we're hardwood grillers!) I resorted to my cast iron pan and stovetop. Great flavor even if it lacked the smokiness of hardwood grilled corn. But don't let that stop you from roasting a bunch of ears and making up a picnic size portion of this beautiful salad!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Quinoa Mushroom Burgers

Although I have noted in the past that I am not totally enamored of quinoa, I do still like to find fun ways to use it and not simply as a bowl to cradle some sauteed vegetables. Here I transform it into a burger with the help of some refried beans and mushrooms.

I'll admit that this is much easier to make with leftovers (of quinoa and refried beans), and that is exactly how I ended up creating it the first time around. But it was so good, that I have made it several times since, so it's worth the effort!

These are delicate beings that cook best when the mixture is at room temperature. So if you happen to make them ahead of time make sure you bring them out of the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to frying.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Crème Fraîche Braised Salmon and Peas

Salmon is one of my family's favorite fish to eat and I'm always looking for new ways to cook it. Since my boyfriend loves sauces and particularly French style ones, I was thrilled to find this one. Not only was it incredibly delicious, but fast and easy to boot!

If you can, make your own crème fraîche, it's ridiculously expensive if you can find it in a store and so easy to make at home; you pour a tablespoon or so of buttermilk into a jar with heavy cream and cover it and let it sit out on the counter for 24 to 36 hours until it thickens. Then refrigerate and voila! crème fraîche! It's the key to this dish and you'll be surprised how you'll find other ways to use your creation - with fresh fruit, swirled into or on top of pancakes, anywhere you'd use sour cream, because that's what it is!

The original recipe called for fava beans along with the peas, but I skipped them and simply served it with the best broccoli you've ever had (use this recipe, it's the truth!) and definitely mashed potatoes. A real winner, 5 star dish in our house!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tofu "Fish" Sticks with 3 Dipping Sauces

Fake meat is really one of the most unhealthy things you can eat...unless you make it yourself. But sometimes you just want some comfort food quick and so you buy that box of faux chicken nuggets or sausage, and then you make the mistake of looking at the ingredients, argh!!!

So bread some tofu and bake them up and be happy, healthy and wise!

Breading anything is so tasty and satisfying, but when you make the breading with these additional flavorings, it's a party in your mouth. Add some fun dipping sauces, and it's almost like you've recreated a fast food restaurant in your kitchen, without the guilt or horrendous ingredients!