Summer Salmon and Couscous Salad

As the weather warms up thoughts turn towards picnics. Yeah, picnic season is upon us and I’ve been working on a couscous and salmon salad just right for bringing to a spread out blanket. This is still early in the development stage. It combines a Moroccan style French couscous with an Israeli Tune Couscous salad. But for what it’s worth let head down to the lab and see what’s on the slab…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped shallots3 cups water
  • 2 cups of couscous
  • 14 oz can of salmon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted, oil-cured black olives, coarsely chopped (3 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, medium-diced (4 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1 cup chopped scallions (6-8 scallions)
  • 1/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan. Add the couscous and reduce the heat to very low. Cover the pot and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the couscous is just tender. (I pull the pot halfway off the heat.) Drain in a colander.

Meanwhile, combine the salmon, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, capers, olives, red peppers, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper in a large bowl. Pour the hot couscous into the mixture and stir well. Cover and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, stir in the scallions, basil, juice of the 1/2 lime, and 1 more teaspoon of salt. Taste for seasonings and serve warm or at room temperature.

I like to garnish this with wedges if lime, so you might as well serve this with tequila coolers!


Quick Red Borscht

So I was running errands in the city yesterday and passing by a German bakery. All of a sudden I had a hankering for fresh pumpernickel rolls. So I picked up some rolls and went over to the Polish deli for a length of smoked kielbasa. So a couple of beets, an onion, and some cabbage later and dinner was in the making. The past couple of days have been cold and rainy and a steaming pot of comfort borscht sounded perfect.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 small beets
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1/l pound of kielbasa
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 2 tablespoon course sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

I grate the beets right there in the soup pot to make things easier, then dice up the onion and toss that in, and add the water, salt, and pepper. Get this on the stove on medium heat for about ten minutes.

Add in the cabbage and the kielbasa and cook another ten minutes.

Ladle out into deep soup bowls and serve with slightly toasted buttered pumpernickel rolls.


Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

I was talking to my Mom the other day, and some how it came up about freezing milk. And then I thought that buttermilk freezes and thaws rather well and being that it does, why is it that I’m not enjoying buttermilk pancakes as often as I like. I was in the city the other day and got a really nice price on blueberries, so… this morning I’m off to make some buttermilk pancakes for brunch.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 21/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter

In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Beat the eggs with the buttermilk and melted butter. Combine the dry and the wet ingredients into a lumpy batter, being careful not to over mix. This is really something best done by hand and not with one of those electric mixers because if you if you mix this batter too much you get these rather flat and heavy pancakes. You don’t want to beat all of the air out of the batter.

Heat some butter in a skillet over medium heat. Spoon 1/3 cup of batter into the skillet and sprinkle the top with some of the blueberries. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Drizzle, yes drizzle not drown these with some REAL maple syrup and enjoy with some tennis or Grand Prix racing live from Monaco and a mimosa.

Gingerbread Pancakes

Gingerbread Pancakes


Scrambled Breakfast On The Go 1

I enjoy these simple, breakfast-on-the-go treats. Take a large tortilla and fill it with stuff, and you are good to run off to the basketball court, or tennis court! So, I filled mine this morning with the usual scrambled eggs and salsa. Straight forward, uncomplicated (since the salsa was made ahead of time), delicious and healthy. So… without further ado…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • One large tortilla
  • Two eggs scrambled
  • Two tablespoons of salsa…

Today’s salsa:

  • 6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 seeded and minced jalapenos, plus 2 roasted, skinned and chopped jalapenos
  • 1 red bell pepper, fine dice
  • 1/2 red onion, fine chopped
  • 2 dry ancho chiles, seeded, cut into short strips and snipped into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Chili powder, salt, and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh scallions, cilantro or parsley, to taste

Mix all of these in a bowl. Then I transfer them to a large bell jar and let it sit a couple of hours to meld. Then, pop the top and grab the chips… or, as in today’s dish, spoon it onto the scrambled eggs in the tortilla… wrap it up and go out and play!


Barefoot Smoked Salmon Spread

The time for outdoor picnicking is coming into full swing now and I’ve been going over some recipes for various salads and spreads. I came across a recipe from Ina Garten for making a smoked salmon spread. I think that her addition of dill and horseradish add a nice twist to the straight forward lox and cream cheese.

  • 1/4 pound (4 ounces) smoked salmon, minced
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt, and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve crackers, or toasted pita strips.

This spread goes nicely with the crab salad stuffed tomatoes I posted earlier.

So get out there and picnic already!


Eggs in a Skillet Long Island Style

Now that we know the difference between a frittata and an omelet, lets make a more Long Island style frittata. Frittatas, like omelet can contain just about anything you could want to put in there. For this ‘Long Island’ variant we’ll use fresh local scallions for the vegetable and lump crab meat. Just before transferring the frittata from the stove to the broiler, sprinkle the top with some fresh thyme.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 cup scallions
  • ¼ pound of crab meat
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves

Preheat oven to broil setting so that we can set the top of the frittata.

In medium size bowl, using a fork, blend together eggs, scallions, crab, pepper, and salt.

Heat 12-inch non-stick, oven safe saute pan over medium high heat. Add butter to pan and melt. Pour egg mixture into pan and stir with rubber spatula. Let this cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the egg mixture has set on the bottom and begins to set up on top. Sprinkle with thyme.

Place pan into the broiler for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly browned and fluffy. Remove from pan and cut into 6 servings. Serve immediately.