Sunday Dinner Series: Bobby Flay’s Ancho-and-Honey-Glazed Salmon with Black Bean Sauce and Jalapeño Crema

Bobby Flay never fails to disappoint in the flavor department.  If you love the spice and bold flavors of the Southwest, you are probably a big fan of his restaurants.  After tasting many dishes of his and watching him cook on TV for years, I assumed an attempt to replicate any dish would be a recipe for failure.  B Flay is notorious for dishes involving multiple steps and many ingredients.  I was excited to receive a copy of his Mesa Grill cookbook a few years ago, but became quickly overwhelmed on where to begin.  So I started with dinner.  I was trying to eat more fish and found myself drawn to the level of flavors and balance of sweet and spicy highlighted in his ancho and honey-glazed salmon recipe with black bean sauce and jalapeño crema.

The first time I prepared this dish it seemed like it took several hours to make which was probably because I tried to prep everything at once, feeling exhausted and ravenous by the time I sat down to eat.  This time I prepped the jalapeño crema and black bean sauce that morning so by the time it came to make dinner I didn’t feel like I was slaving in the kitchen for hours.  Even so, the resulting dish was well worth the wait.  I think it’s a perfect fall/winter fish recipe – it’s a little heartier, and the jalapeño and ancho chile will be sure to warm you up on a cool evening.

I made a slight time-saving and calorie-cutting adjustment to my recipe by not making fresh black beans (in my opinion, it tastes just as good to me with the can!), using fat free sour cream and cooking the salmon differently using my no-fail salmon cooking technique.

Bobby’s recipe with my prep/cooking instructions are below but you can also find his full unadapted recipe here.

Bon appétit, my friends!

Ingredients

  1. 1 1/2 cups canned black beans
  2. 1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
  3. 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  4. 1 large chipotle chile in adobo, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  5. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  6. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  7. 1 large jalapeño
  8. 1/2 cup fat free sour cream
  9. 1/3 cup honey
  10. 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  11. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  12. 8-ounce skinless center-cut salmon fillets
  13. 1/4 cup chopped scallions

Directions (Steps 1 and 2 can be done the day before or a few hours earlier)

  1. Drain 1 can of black beans under cool water.  Transfer to food processor with red onion, garlic, chipotle and cumin and chop until desired texture.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°. Roast the jalapeño directly over a gas flame until charred all over. Transfer the jalapeño to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool. Peel, seed and coarsely chop the jalapeño. In a food processor, puree the sour cream with the jalapeño until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the crema to a small bowl and refrigerate.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the honey with the ancho chile powder and mustard and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Rub the salmon fillets with the vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the cold oven and turn up to 400 degrees to cook for 20 minutes.  Take out and brunch the salmon with the glaze and place back in the oven for 5 more minutes.
  5. Spoon the black bean sauce and the jalapeño crema onto plates and arrange the salmon fillets on top or next to the sauce. Brush the salmon with a little more of the ancho-honey glaze and serve.
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Sunday Dinner Series: Crab Cakes with Spicy Rémoulade

I’m always looking for healthier ways to prepare some of my favorite foods.  Crab cakes are a summer staple, but you need to proceed with caution when ordering from a restaurant since preparations can vary so greatly and seemingly small nuances including full fat mayonnaise and deep frying can quickly pack on calories.  Below is a crab cake dish I came across last April in Cooking Light magazine.  I love making them because although it sounds like a daunting kitchen endeavor, this is not at all the case and I can tell you many reasons why you should go make it right now:  It takes less than 30 minutes including prep and cooking, it looks quite impressive on a plate if you have guests over for dinner, it’s light and fresh yet very filling to eat for a dinner dish, then you always have leftovers for lunch the next day (they are just as delicious served cold!)

Check it out below and let me know what you think.

Bon appetit!

Ingredients

Crab cakes:

  • 2 tbls finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tbls chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 tbls light mayonnaise (obviously Hellmann’s)
  • 1/2 tspn grated lemon rind
  • 1 tbspn fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tspn black pepper
  • 1/8 tspn ground red pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup panko
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, drained and shell pieces removed
  • 1 tbls olive oil, divided

Rémoulade:

  • 1/4 cup Hellmann’s Light
  • 1 tblsp chopped shallots
  • 1 1/2 tbls capers, drained and chopped
  • 2 tspn Dijon mustard
  • 1 tspn fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tspn ground red pepper
  • 1/8 tspn kosher salt

Directions

  1. To prepare crab cakes, combine first 8 ingredients. Add panko and crab, tossing gently to combine.
  2. Gently pat crab cake mixture into a 3/4-inch-thick patty. Repeat procedure with remaining crab mixture, forming 8 cakes.
  3. Heat Olive Oil Pam spray in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 crab cakes to pan; cook 4 minutes or until bottoms are golden. Carefully turn cakes; cook 4 minutes or until bottoms are golden and crab cakes are thoroughly heated. Remove cakes from pan; keep warm. Wipe pan dry with paper towels. Heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in pan. Repeat procedure with remaining 4 crab cakes.
  4. To prepare rémoulade, combine 1/4 cup mayonnaise and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Serve with crab cakes.

Sunday dinner series: pesto shrimp with spinach, toasted walnuts, tomato and blue cheese

This is one of my favorite dishes that I used to make all the time with whole wheat penne.  Since I’m not a huge fan of pasta and never make it for myself at home I now skip the ingredient altogether.  I love the flavor combination of the toasted walnuts, blue cheese and pesto.  It’s incredibly filling and very easy to prepare, minus what I believe to be a painfully annoying process of cleaning the shrimp.  Open a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and you’re good to go!

Ingredients:
3 tbls. pesto (make your own!)
3 tbls. blue cheese
2 tbls. toasted walnuts
1 bag of baby spinach
1 lb. shrimp
1 tomato chopped, seeds removed
l garlic clove chopped
Directions:
Clean shrimp, salt and pepper, coat in pesto
Toast walnuts over heat and set aside to cool
In pan add a little olive oil , saute garlic, then add baby spinach and cook until wilted
Cook shrimp over medium heat
Add shrimp over spinach and sprinkle chopped tomatoes, blue cheese and toasted walnuts on top
Bon appétit!

Mother’s Day in the kitchen with Mom

I went home to Stamford, CT this weekend to spend some quality time with my mom and brother.  As I mentioned, my mom is a ninja in the kitchen so now that I started my new blog I was really enthusiastic to cook for her on this special weekend.

Before we even figured out a recipe for Saturday dinner, the first stop was Paganos’ Seafood in Norwalk so we could check out the goods and choose our cut of fish.  We were debating between the red snapper and halibut, but ended up going with the fresh halibut from Nova Scotia.

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After perusing through a couple different preparations, we decided we’d try the Roasted Halibut with Walnut Crust.  The only ingredient we didn’t have was chive so I substituted with scallion.  It seemed like a perfect recipe because it would have a little bit of crunch from the panko and toasted walnuts and two of my favorite herbs, which were picked from the new herb garden my mom gave me along with her own little harvest in the backyard.  A a little side story – my mom loves to bring fresh flowers and plants to my apartment.  I enjoy having them there to brighten up the rooms, except plants and I never get along.  I didn’t think watering would be too complicated and I certainly don’t care to read a damn thing about gardening, so it’s always a touch-and-go process for me.  However, I’m determined to make this herb garden work.  It didn’t really help when I went outside to grab the basil and pulled from the stem instead of the leaf.  Mom correction #1.  Gardening for Dummies begins now.

From left to right (thyme, basil, rosemary, mint)

Herb garden de Krystina

It was a big hunk of fish for the three of us so I was little nervous I would undercook it but it cooked through perfectly.  I will definitely make this recipe again!

My brother and I prepared brunch for Mom today.  I was in charge of the watercress-fontina souffléd omelet that she picked out and wanted me to make and Adam concocted a kick-ass Bloody Mary.  Note: before you start any dish, make sure you know all of the cooking terms.  Of course, I didn’t know what soft peaks meant; I assumed it just meant to beat the eggs with a fork until Kath had to intervene (after she was done laughing hysterically in my face) and show me that I needed to use the beater.  Other than that, it was a smashing success!

Check out the recipe prep from start to finish in this fun little Vine video.

Hope everyone enjoyed their Mother’s Day as much as I did.  I am so lucky to have such a wonderful and beautiful maman et famille.

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