Salmon Fit For the Holidays

Remember my recent post on the Julebyen Christmas Village in Knife River?!  Call this post “Julebyen: The Epilogue.”  With the Alaskan sockeye salmon we purchased at the outdoor market from “Fish” Johnson, we had a lovely early Christmas dinner with my parents who came to visit for the weekend.  When my book club hosted the author to our recent read, we enjoyed a special dinner of Mustard-Roasted Salmon with Lingonberry Sauce.  I convinced my husband to make this savory dish with the salmon fillets from Julebyen.

Salmon fillets ready for grilling

After covering the salmon fillets with the mustard glaze, my husband chose to grill the fillets on cedar planks rather than bake them.

In Minnesota, neither snow, nor sleet, nor sub-zero temps stop a grillmaster from firing up the grill.

First salmon fillet planked and grilling.

After the glaze turned a golden brown, the salmon was ready for plating with the lingonberry sauce.

Grilled salmon fillets with mustard glaze

Paired with roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts, it made for a lovely presentation and a delectable blend of flavors.

Mustard-Roasted Salmon with Lingonberry Sauce

The recipe is from the March 2004 issue of Bon Appetit, and can be found here.  While the recipe notes that cranberry sauce or huckleberry preserves may be substituted for the lingonberry preserves, the unique flavor of lingonberries is hard to replicate, so make the effort to seek out that Scandinavian cranberry alternative.

Ciao! ~ Kat

A Stuffing That Covers All Food Groups

The Thanksgiving Day dinner recipes and tips are coming out of the woodwork!  Blogs, magazines, Pinterest  . . . the Thanksgiving Day countdown has begun (two weeks from tomorrow!).  So, I decided I would chime in to the saturated conversation with one of our favorite stuffing recipes.

When you need that one dish to cover all bases, this stuffing fits the bill.  Bon Appetit’s New England Sausage, Apple and Dried Cranberry Stuffing graced our Thanksgiving Day dinner table last year, and the recipe is definitely a keeper.

Thanksgiving stuffing
New England Sausage, Apple and Dried Cranberry Stuffing

I can personally vouch for the versatility of this recipe, morning or night, cold (as in leftovers the next day) or hot — this is a recipe that should come out more than once a year.

Link to recipe here:  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/New-England-Sausage-Apple-and-Dried-Cranberry-Stuffing-812

Ciao! ~ Kat

Baked Garlic (I Hope We Can Still Be Friends Tomorrow)

Baked garlic with a slather of melted brie on a cracker is divine.  Of course, I live in a household whose occupants believe there is no such thing as too much garlic!

Baked Garlic and Brie

The four of us have been known to each consume our own head of garlic . . . and guarantee that no one else will dare to spend time with us in the day or two that follows.  As so astutely noted in this LIVESTRONG article, the odor that lingers on your breath and escapes through the pores of the skin for days after consuming garlic may not only repel insects, but unwanted social guests as well!

Baked Garlic and Brie on a Triscuit

Perhaps you will want to tuck away this recipe to consume a day or two prior to the arrival of houseguests who tend to overstay their welcome?!

Ciao! ~ Kat

Have You Been Getting Locally Laid?

LoLa is the little chicken that could.  With only three more daily opportunities to vote for this small business and help LoLa win a Super Bowl ad, I have become even more enamored with this cheeky local farm, Locally Laid Egg Company (where “local chicks are better”). LoLa’s daily Facebook updates, her sassy photo ops, the company’s admirable sustainable philosophy and pasture-raised chickens, what is not to love?  But, arguably none of that matters if her eggs are nothing special.  Well, LoLa, every time I find a recipe where you can shine, you remind me of why I love you so!

* Disclaimer: I have no family or professional relationship with this company — read on and you will see why these eggs are worth writing about . . . not to mention a great frittata recipe to try.

Frittata Ingredients

When a frittata recipe calls for 10 eggs, the quality of the eggs will make or break the success of that dish.  A 10-egg frittata calls for eggs that are works of art.  Let me introduce you to LoLa’s eggs:

A Dozen Shades of LoLa
A Dozen Shades of LoLa

Large, larger and largest — in every subtle shade of brown and cream, with a hand-rubbed glow to them, they could just as easily sit in as the table centerpiece.  This evening they were called into action as the main ingredient of the Mushroom, Goat Cheese and Herb Frittata (recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma).  The summer herbs have not been nipped by a hard frost yet, so a few cuttings from the herb pots on our front steps were pulled in, along with a mix of chopped mushrooms and shallots, and a small dose of red pepper flakes, .

Chopped frittata ingredients

Sautéing the chopped ingredients with a little olive oil filled the kitchen with the fragrant bouquet of fresh herbs.

Chopped frittata ingredients in the saute pan

Then it was time to have LoLa strut her stuff.  The eggs cracked cleanly and easily, with no worry of shell shards making their way into the mix.

Thick shells, perfect yolks

I used a relatively deep stainless steel mixing bowl.  Egg after egg dropped their yolk to the bottom, and the perfect yellow orbs remained.

Perfect yellow yolk orbs

After adding the cream and beating the eggs, the fresh goat cheese and mushroom mixture were added.  This recipe was a true frittata, initially pouring the mixture into a skillet with a little heated olive oil, before finishing the dish with a topping of Parmesan cheese under the broiler.

Skillet step of the frittata

The color of the eggs is exceptional — a rich golden hue. No rubbery texture or bland taste.  The eggs make this dish.

Mushroom, Goat Cheese and Herb Frittata ala Lola

Throw in a little salad with some of the season-end tomatoes and onions from our Northern Harvest Farm CSA share, and you have a plate full of local farm love.

Plate of local farm love

The full recipe for the Mushroom, Goat Cheese and Herb Frittata can be found on the Williams-Sonoma blog, Taste.  (Link to recipe, here).

Ciao! ~ Kat

P.S.  If you want to help local chicks make it to the Super Bowl, vote daily the next three days for Locally Laid Egg Company through the “vote for us” link on their website.  And if you miss out on this opportunity, check out their t-shirts instead!  LoLa’s fame is spreading, so keep watching your local Co-op or grocery store for a chance to enjoy LoLa firsthand.

Dessert for Summer Potlucks When You Have No Time to Cook (If the Cat Licks the Beaters, Even Clean Up Goes Quickly)

Kudos to those who enjoy and/or have time to spend hours crafting an elegant dessert that creates a memorable end to a meal.  I tend to be the one who thinks as I am working, “Crud, what are we going to make for the neighborhood gathering tonight?” and then runs a quick lunch-hour errand to pick up ingredients to throw together shortly before departing for the event (or frankly, runs an errand to pick up the end-product dessert itself!) .

Freshly washed berries

As we enter the season of family get-togethers, potluck celebrations, and graduation parties, I just had to share the newest of my “when you have no time to cook” recipes: Pillsbury’s Mini Fruit Pizzas While you are certainly welcome to make sugar cookies from scratch, I dutifully followed the recipe and gratefully placed the refrigerated sugar cookie dough squares on my cookie sheet (and thought to myself, “This could go even more quickly if I purchased plain sugar cookies from the bakery!”).

With time to spare before the oven timer went off, I whipped together the three-ingredient frosting (8 ounce package cream cheese, 2 Tablespoons frozen limeade concentrate and 1/2 cup powdered sugar), and set it aside as the cookies cooled.

Frosting the sugar cookie mini fruit pizzas

One of our cats, recognizing the time crunch I was in before we needed to head to the neighbors’ house, pitched in and took care of the pre-wash rinse cycle for the beaters.

Pre-wash rinse, courtesy of the cat

The recipe called for three cups of fresh berries and kiwi fruit, and I lazily went with items I could just rinse off, no cutting required!  Blackberries, blueberries and raspberries topped my fruit pizzas this time, but the kiwi suggested by the recipe would add a nice touch of contrasting color, don’t you think?!

mini fruit pizzas 5_24_13

Or perhaps strawberries, pineapple?

mini fruit pizzas 2 5_24_13

The small bite dessert was enjoyed by all, no serving utensils or plates required, making clean up a snap (even without the cat’s help).

mini fruit pizzas 3 5_24_13

I was rushed in dropping berries on the frosted rounds, but the possibilities are endless for creating mini works of art!

mini fruit pizzas 4 5_24_13

The full recipe for Mini Fruit Pizzas can be found on the Pillsbury website, here.

Ciao! ~ Kat