Barbecued Salmon with Sumac

barbecued salmon with sumac

Marinate a salmon filet in olive oil, lemon juice, dried dill, salt and a sprinkle of the lemony Middle Eastern herb Sumac. Throw it on the grill for an easy and delicious summer meal. The salmon is moist and lemony.

marinade with sumac and dill lemon juice and olive oilMake the marinade with the juice of half a medium lemon and a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO as the hipsters call it). Add a dash each of dried dill, salt and sumac. I buy the sumac in Arab markets in Berkeley. You can buy it online if you don’t have such markets where you live.

marinating salmonI marinated a 3/4 pound tail piece (tails don’t have bones) skin-side up, for about 15 minutes. Heat the grill to high and place the salmon skin-side down on it, basting the  salmon with a few tablespoons of marinade. Cover the grill and cook for about 5 minutes, until the top is pale in color and the skin is beginning to cook. Flip the salmon over and peel off the skin with a spatula. Baste the salmon with more marinade. Cook another 3-5 minutes until it is just done.

 

 

Lemon Fruit Tart

lemon-tartI just made this lemon fruit tart for my daughter’s 24th birthday. She declared it the best birthday dessert she’s had. Which of course raises the bar for next year!

Although I didn’t have any rosemary blossoms on hand, I used lemon-rosemary tart pastry
(It still works without them.)

I filled it with lemon curd. I used the recipe from epicurious http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/lemon-tart-231349 which they call Lemon Sabayon:  I used a tad less sugar (2/3 cup instead of 3/4 cup) than their recipe called for. Here’s their recipe with the reduced sugar:

  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 2 large egg yolks, cold
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

    1. Bring about 1 1/2 inches of water to a boil in a pot that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the bowl you will be using for the sabayon. Meanwhile, in a large metal bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, and sugar for about 1 minute, or until the mixture is smooth.
    2. Set the bowl over the pot and, using a large whisk, whip the mixture while you turn the bowl (for even heating). After about 2 minutes, when the eggs are foamy and have thickened, add one-third of the lemon juice. Continue to whisk vigorously and, when the mixture thickens again, add another one-third of the lemon juice. Whisk until the mixture thickens again, then add the remaining lemon juice. Continue whisking vigorously, still turning the bowl, until the mixture is thickened and light in color and the whisk leaves a trail in the bottom of the bowl. The total cooking time should be 8 to 10 minutes.
    3. Turn off the heat and leave the bowl over the water. Whisk in the butter a piece at a time. The sabayon may loosen slightly, but it will thicken and set as it cools. Pour the warm sabayon into the tart crust and place the pan on a baking sheet.
    4. Preheat the broiler. While the sabayon is still warm, place the tart under the broiler. Leaving the door open, brown the top of the sabayon, rotating the tart if necessary for even color; this will take only a few seconds, so do not leave the oven. Remove the tart from the broiler and let it sit for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve at room temperature or cold.

I topped the tart with raspberries, strawberries and pomegranate seeds. I put a slice of orange in the center, sprinkled with a bit of orange zest, and cut out the middle white part to place a candle inside.

candle-tart

Quinoa Tabouli

quinoa tabouliA dressed up tabouli made with protein rich quinoa instead of the traditional Bulgar wheat makes a delicious low-carb summer meal. I based my recipe on Mollie Katzen’s Bulgar wheat one in the classic moosewood cookbook  and added lots of extras like artichoke hearts, pine nuts and feta cheese.

Make the quinoa ahead of time and stir in the olive oil and lemon. Then refrigerate until cold. I used a food processor to mince the green onions, mint, parsley and artichoke hearts.  I learned the hard way not to use it for the cucumbers or red peppers (it got mushy) Just take out the sharp knife and chop chop!

Makes 10 cups

Ingredients

Tabouli ingredients

1 cup dry quinoa. You can use white or red

2 cups water

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large or 2 medium lemons)

3 Tb high quality extra virgin olive oil

1 Tb garlic infused olive oil

 

1 bunch parsley -approximately 4 cups leaves makes 1 cup minced leaves

4 scallions, both white and green parts

3 sprigs fresh mint leaves (about 15 leaves)

3 medium tomatoes. I used dry-farmed tomatoes for outstanding flavor

1 red bell pepper

3 pickling cucumbers, peeled and seeds removed

1 avocado

14 ounce can artichoke hearts in water, drained and rinsed

15 ounce can garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained and rinsed

1/3 cup pine nuts

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Rinse quinoa well under cold water, rubbing the seeds between your hands. Drain quinoa for a few minutes, then add water and salt and bring to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, cover and cook for about 25 minutes. It will make 3 cups cooked quinoa. You can also make it in a rice cooker using the white rice setting.

Transfer quinoa to a large bowl or container. Whisk together lemon juice and olive oils in a small bowl, then stir into the quinoa. Let it cool and refrigerate until cold.

Using the blade in the food processor, mince green onions, mint, parsley and artichoke hearts until feathery. Stir into cooled quinoa.

Dice red bell pepper, cucumbers, tomatoes and avocado and stir into quinoa along with garbanzo beans.

Serve cold, sprinkled with feta cheese and pine nuts.

tabouli with quinoa

 

 

 

 

 

Tender Juicy Pan Fried Lemon Butter Salmon

salmon with sauceI’ve developed this cooking method through trial and error to make the most tender and juicy salmon. The secret is to fry the salmon skin side down. This makes the skin crispy enough to easily remove. The salmon develops a crusty exterior and tender interior.  I brush it with lemon butter and finish it with a wine reduction with lemon butter.

Coho wild salmon is a good choice, economically and ecologically.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 Tb olive oil, divided

1 pound salmon fillet

1/4 tsp sea salt

several grinds of black pepper

Sprinkle of dill weed

1 lemon to make 2 tsp lemon juice, plus lemon slices to garnish

1 Tb butter, melted

2 Tb Chardonnay or other dry white wine

Approximately 1 Tb sliced almonds to garnish

Directions:

Mix lemon and melted butter together and set aside.

Sprinkle fillet with 1 teaspoon olive oil, salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Place salmon, skin side down, in the hot oil and turn stove to medium.

sprinkle dill weed
Sprinkle dill weed on salmon and cook for 3 minutes.

brush top with lemon butterBrush top with lemon butter. Flip salmon over.

remove fried skinRemove crispy skin using a metal spatula.

brush bottom with lemon butterBrush salmon bottom with more lemon butter. Cook for 2-4 minutes, depending on how well you like it cooked.

Flip salmon again so that the bottom gets a little brown, then put on a plate.

sprinkle saltSprinkle salmon with a tiny bit of sea salt.

wine reduction with lemon butterAdd 2 Tb white wine  to the pan and stir about a minute. Add remaining lemon butter to the wine reduction.

salmon with saucePour sauce over salmon.

Cut salmon in half to serve two people.

Garnish with a sprinkle of sliced almonds and a slice of lemon.

salmon with almonds and artichoke and lemon butterServe with steamed artichokes with lemon butter dip and a glass of Chardonnay

Lemon-Rosemary blossom Tart Pastry

blossoming rosemary

baked pastry

This delicately-scented pastry is ideal for making fruit tarts.  Make it when rosemary is in bloom and it will compliment the taste of fresh strawberries. It tastes like lemon butter shortbread cookies. Have ingredients as cold as possible. This recipe makes pastry to fit a 10” removable bottom tart pan.

lemon zest and rosemary flowers

Ingredients:

Ingredients:
8 rosemary blossoms
Zest of one large lemon (yellow part of peel only)
¼ cup sugar
1½ tsp cold lemon juice (Meyer lemon is best)
1¼ cups all-purpose flour, frozen for at least 30 minutes
¼ tsp salt
1 cube = 8 Tb cold butter

1 egg yolk
ice water

Directions:

Prepare ice water: Add ice to approximately ¼ cup cold water and let sit until water is ice cold.

Make dough in food processor:
Pulse sugar, lemon zest and rosemary blossoms in food processor. Add flour and salt and pulse briefly to mix.
Cut butter into 8 tablespoon-size slices and add to ingredients. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

dough in processor before forming

Juice 1/2 a  lemon and measure 1½ tsp lemon juice. Mix lemon juice, egg yolk and 2 ½ Tb ice water in a small bowl or cup,  pour into processor and pulse a few times. Don’t over-mix the dough or it will toughen. Dough should be soft and malleable.

dough disk on tart pan

Pour the dough into a large bowl and form a ball and flatten into a disk. Place it in the center of the tart pan.

push dough into edges of tart pan

Press the dough into the sides of the pan so it gets that pretty fluted look. Be careful not to stretch the dough, or it will shrink when it bakes. Pat the dough with the flat part of your palm in the center so it’s even. Press on the rim of the edges to trim the excess dough. Reserve a little extra dough in case you need to repair the shell.

Cover entire crust with the parchment paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.

About 15 min before taking the pastry out of the fridge, preheat the oven to 375◦

Remove the pastry from the fridge and fill with ceramic pie weights. (You can substitute beans). and trim the excess parchment with scissors so it won’t burn.  Cover the edges with a pie protector or foil strips. Bake on the middle rack for 10 minutes.

unnamed

pricked pastry

Take the pan out and remove the parchment paper and pie weights. Prick the entire bottom of the pastry with a fork.  Cover edges with the pie protector again. Return the pastry to the oven for about 15 minutes until it is golden brown. Let it cool completely on a rack before filling.

baked pastry

Marinated Eggplant

eggplant saladThis delicious Italian-style eggplant is marinated in olive oil, Meyer lemon and a touch of balsamic, with garlic and oregano. It makes an excellent side-dish for Italian food.

Make the dish a day before serving and marinate overnight in the fridge. Serve at room temperature.

eggplants3 medium or 4 small globe eggplants or 3 long eggplants

1/4 cup kosher salt

1 leek

1/4 cup plus 2 Tb garlic infused olive oil

1 cloves garlic, minced fine

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Tb balsamic vinegar

Juice of Meyer lemon

Several grinds black pepper

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp dried oregano

1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives

12-oz jar Italian-style roasted red bell peppers

14-oz can of artichoke hearts in water

10 fresh basil leaves

2 slices Meyer lemon (from blossom end)

chopped eggplant with leeksCut the eggplants at different angles into 2 inches pieces. Each piece should have skin on it. If using long eggplants, slice lengthwise, then cut crosswise into half coins. Put them on a rack above a rimmed baking pan, such as a jelly-roll pan. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the eggplant. Let it sit for 30 minutes. You will see it sweat. This improves the texture of the eggplant and is supposed to make it less bitter.

While eggplant is sweating, heat the oven to 350º F. Cut the white part of the leek length-wise and then crosswise into 1 ” pieces. Soak in a salad-spinner, then rise thoroughly. Spin until dry.

After eggplant sweats for 30 minutes, briefly rinse the pieces in the basket of the salad spinner, then spin, and pat dry with a paper towel. Grease a roasting pan with 2 TB garlic infused olive oil and add eggplant. Pour in the rest of the garlic oil and toss so that all the eggplant is coated with oil. Bake for 10 minutes at 350º F. Add the leeks to the roasting pan and roast an additional 15 minutes. Mince the garlic and add to the hot pan. Turn off the oven and let the baking dish sit in the oven until it is cool, about an hour. The eggplant and leeks should be very tender.

Cut two thin slices of lemon from the blossom end (opposite the stem end), then cut each in half and set aside. Juice the lemon and pour it into in a deep casserole dish. Whisk olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and oregano with the lemon juice.

Transfer the eggplant and leeks to the casserole dish. Stir in the Kalamata olives.Pour the jar of roasted peppers into the eggplant, then fish out the peppers and slice  into strips and stir into the eggplant. Drain the artichoke hearts and quarter them lengthwise and stir into the eggplant. Place the lemon slices on top.

Let the eggplant sit at room temperature. Adjust seasonings. Refrigerate for about 24 hours, and fold in the fresh basil leaves. If you have time, let it sit until it is room temperature before serving, but if not, it’s delicious cold as well. Serve as a side dish or over a lettuce and tomato salad.

Champagne-Shallot Vinaigrette

saladThis light vinaigrette is perfect to toss into salad greens and arugula. I sprinkle a few strawberries, blueberries, feta cheese and sliced almonds over the coated greens.

Champagne vinegar is a light golden, mild vinegar made from Chardonnay grapes aged in oak barrels. It can be expensive, but the Berkeley Bowl brand is a good deal. I’ve generally avoided salad vinegars because of their strong acidity. But  just ½ tsp honey is needed to balance the acidity of the champagne vinegar in this dressing. Since I don’t like the sharpness of fresh raw garlic, I prefer to get the garlic flavor from garlic olive oil. I used a shallot, which is milder than an onion.

Makes ¾ cup, which is enough to sprinkle on about 6 large or 10 small salads. Refrigerate leftovers and use within a week.

vinaigrette ingredientsIngredients:
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tb minced shallot
3 Tb champagne vinegar
½ tsp honey
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt (to taste)
a few grinds of black pepper
1 Tb garlic oil
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

champagne vinaigretteIn a small bowl or blender, whisk together all ingredients except oils. While blending or whisking, slowly add the olive oil in a stream until the vinaigrette is emulsified.

Bright and Crunchy Kale/Broccoli/Carrot Salad

DSC03091I combined 3 popular salads: kale, broccoli and carrot, into one delicious and nutritious salad. Carrot and jicama add natural sweetness and a bit of crunch, Meyer lemon juice and cilantro brighten the flavor; and almonds give an added crunch.

Kale is quite tough and bitter, but a good massage will break down its cell walls. This cell damage frees the enzymes which break apart the bitter chemical compounds. You can even light candles and put on soothing music to relax the kale.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Broccoli Broccoli stems are very tender once you peel off the tough outer layer. Broccoli salads are made from grating these stems.

I made this with only one bunch of kale, which created a balance between the kale and the other vegetables. If you like your salad with more kale, add another bunch.

Serves 4

ingredients1 bunch Dinosaur kale (also known as Tuscan or Lacinato ), or curly kale ,stems discarded

3 large carrots, peeled

3 or 4 broccoli stems, peeled (use crowns for another purpose)

1 small jicama, peeled

2 Tb cilantro leaves, stems discarded

1/4 cup sliced raw almonds

Dressing:

2 Tb garlic-infused olive oil (or 2 Tb olive oil and 1 clove garlic)

¼ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)

¼  tsp salt to taste

2 Tb lemon juice (Meyer lemon is best)

If you don’t have garlic-infused olive oil, pour extra virgin olive oil into a teacup or ramekin with 1 clove garlic and microwave for 1 ½ minutes. Pour into a food processor with blade and run on high until garlic is minced.

Add tahini and salt to garlic olive oil. Run processor on high until dressing is emulsified. It will be  thick.

chop kaleStrip the leaves from kale and discard the stems. Chop leaves, rinse well in salad spinner and spin dry. Put in a medium bowl.

DSC03087Roughly squeeze and massage dressing into kale leaves with your hands for several minutes until kale shrinks to half its volume and becomes darker and silky.

Peel carrots, broccoli stems and jicama, then shred using the grater attachment to the food processor.

Add these vegetables and the lemon juice to the kale. Toss salad until the dressing coats it.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with almonds and cilantro leaves. Throw on some pomegranate seeds if they are in season.

Peachy Pie

sliceLate summertime brings fresh peaches, the sweet juice dripping down my chin. And of course peach pie. Make your own pie crust, topping with either a full crust or a fancy lattice. You can also top with a crumb crust.
Compared to commercial pies and most recipes, I use very little sugar, letting the natural sweetness of the peaches bring out their flavor. I also don’t peel the peaches, since the peel brings a pretty red color to the pie.

cut pie

Preheat oven to 425’ Move oven rack to lowest level.

Use 6 soft medium or 5 large peaches =2 ½ lb peaches= 5 cups sliced peaches. Slice peaches ¼ inch thick on skin side and place in a large bowl.

Sprinkle over peaches:

¼ cup brown sugar

2 Tb white sugar

3 ½ Tb quick cooking tapioca

2 Tb lemon juice

¼ teaspoon almond extract

a couple of shakes of  nutmeg

a few shakes salt.

Stir gently with a large spoon. Let peaches stand 15 minutes, and stir occasionally.

???????????????????????????????Pour into bottom crust and top with 2 Tb butter cut into small pieces.

Cover with upper crust or lattice and crimp together tightly. Cut steam vents in top if using solid upper crust. Brush with a bit of milk and sprinkle about a spoonful of raw sugar evenly on top.

Immediately place on lowest rack of preheated oven. Bake for 30 minutes.

Line a jelly roll pan or baking sheet with foil. This will make clean up much easier. Slip it under the pie and lower oven to 350’.  Bake 30 -35 minutes more until thick juices bubble up through the vents and the top crust is browned. If outer crust begins to burn, cover it with a foil pie protector. If the top gets too brown before its time, tent with a sheet of foil.

If you can stand to wait until the pie cools, the juices will solidify and it will be easier to serve, but that never seems to happen in my house.

DSC02992

Sumac and Za’atar Roasted Chicken

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Ground sumac and za’atar seasonings are available at Middle Eastern markets. Sumac (also spelled sumaq or summag) is made from the red sumac berry and has a lemony taste. Za’atar is a mixture of dried thyme and cilantro, sesame seed, sumac, and salt. There are different versions that you can buy or make.

?onion, sumac and za'atarPreheat oven to 450’ Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Place breast up on an oiled roasting pan.

Slice an onion thinly and sauté in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil with a few spoonfuls of sumac, za’atar, and 1 teaspoon of salt until soft.

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While onions are cooking, chop 6 garlic cloves and stuff them between the skin and breast meat. Sprinkle salt on the top of the chicken and use your hands to spread garlic infused olive oil over the skin. Sprinkle some za’atar on your hands and rub it under the skin and inside the cavity.

Stuff the breast cavity with half a lemon and as many onions as will fit. Reserve the rest of the onions to serve with the roasted chicken. I can tell you from experience that if you over-stuff the chicken, the onions will fall out and burn!

Turn the chicken on its breast and salt and oil the back side. Roast the chicken breast down for an hour or until it is brown. Serve with the roasted and reserved sautéed onions.