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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bacon Tomato Bisque

This bisque can be made with general every day ingredients that I know I almost always have on hand. It was a first run, but I doubt I'll change anything for next time. It was delicious!

Bacon Tomato Bisque


4-6 slices of bacon, chopped up
1/4 cup butter (half stick)
1/4 cup flour
pinch of nutmeg
1 can vegetable broth (or chicken)
4 oz cream cheese, SUPER soft
1 can Italian style diced tomatoes, not drained
1 can regular diced tomatoes, not drained
1/4 cup milk (i used 2%, but it shouldn't matter)

In a saucepan (whatever you're going to make the soup in), brown the bacon until crispy. Remove to a paper towel to drain. Discard drippings. In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, slowly whisk in the flour and nutmeg (I always use whole nutmeg and just grate what I tastes so much better) until smooth. Slowly whisk in the broth. Bring to a small simmer and whisk occasionally until nice and thick. Reduce heat and add cream cheese, whisking until smooth. (I added my cream cheese after the tomatoes and had trouble getting all the lumps out, so I think adding it before the tomatoes is going to be your best bet.) After the mixture is smooth, add tomatoes and juice. Heat through. Add milk and stir. Do not bring to a boil after adding the milk. Garnish with the crispy bacon. You could also use green onions to garnish as well.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Grilled Salmon and Asparagus

I don't eat fish. I don't like fish. But my husband does. So tonight I decided to treat him and make grilled salmon. And one of the only vegetables my husband will eat outright is asparagus. So I picked some up (even though it's out of season).

The first step is to marinade the salmon. Here's the recipe I used:

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt (kosher)
1 tsp lemon pepper
2 garlic cloves, pressed (or minced)

Mix it all together and throw it in a ziplock bag with the salmon. Leave it in there to marinade 2-8 hours.

When you're ready to grill it, turn your grill on high and let it get really hot. Spray your grill rack with non-stick spray. Be careful when you do this because the flames will get HUGE. But it's necessary if you don't want your fish to stick and fall apart. Put the salmon on the grill, skin side up. Grill with the lid closed for 4 minutes. Using a large flat spatula and flip the fish over. grill for another 6 minutes with the lid closed. When you take the fish off the grill, you might be able to slide your spatula between the fish and the skin. You don't want to eat the skin. It won't taste very good. Then again, I don't think ANY of the fish tastes good.

That's it! You're done with the fish! Super easy!

For the asparagus, snap each piece in half. You don't want the thick bottoms of the asparagus. It's very chewy and woody. Not good for eating. My dogs won't even eat it. It will naturally snap between the edible and "I wouldn't eat that if you paid me" part. I put my asparagus in a grill basket so I don't have to worry about it falling between the grate on the grill. If you don't have one, let me know. I can get you an awesome one. I drizzle the asparagus with olive oil and grind fresh pepper over it, then sprinkle with kosher salt. Throw the basket on the grill for about 3 minutes (no more!) on high heat. That's it! Done!

Super easy dinner and my husband said it was delicious!

Holy Guacamole!

I really don't think there is any better snack than a bowl of fresh guacamole and some chips. I'm actually taking a break after I write each sentence here to eat some. :-)
Here's the recipe:

3 Ripe Avocados*
1 Lime
Cayenne Pepper
Ground Cumin
2 Roma Tomatoes (or 1 small vine ripened tomato)
1/2 small red onion
2 cloves garlic

*Avocados are ripe when the flish gives a bit when pressed gently, but is not "squishy."

Pit and peel the avocados. Juice the lime over the meat of the avocados to keep them from browning. Add salt, pepper and cumin to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon of each) and mash. Chop cilantro and seed and dice tomato(es). Dice the red onion. Mince the garlic (or use a garlic press). Fold the cilantro, garlic, onion, and tomato into the avocado mixture. Let sit for 15 minutes so that the flavors meld together. ENJOY!

I think I made it three sentences without stopping to take a bite. My guac now feels neglected. So I'm going to get back to it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chocolate Buttercream Icing

Is there anything better than buttercream icing? Normally I'd say no, but I have to say....chocolate buttercream can be JUST the thing to hit the spot. Especially when it's combined with a rich devil's food cake.

Here's my recipe:

1/4 cup cocoa powder
4 cups confectioners sugar
8 T of butter
a few tablespoons of milk

Beat butter until smooth and creamy. Add sugar 1/4 cup at a time, mixing on slow until combined and then on medium high to whip until all the sugar is incorporated. Add milk a tiny bit at a time, beating it in until you get the right consistency. Thick enough to hold form, but thin enough to pipe. After you have a good consistency, add the cocoa powder, mix on slow until incorporated (or you'll make a BIG mess) and then beat the frosting until fluffy.

I just used a simple Devil's Food Cake mix to make my cupcakes and piped the chocolate buttercream on top of them using my Pampered Chef Easy Accent Decorator. LOVE that tool. Makes anyone look like a master decorator!

Oh, and they were delicious. I won't tell you how many I ate today. :-D