Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Grilled Citrus Basil Salmon with Pinapple Salsa

Grilled Citrus Basil Salmon

Since this is the Growing Gourmets blog, most of my recipes are family-friendly. I love to post recipes that the whole family can enjoy, especially yummy, homemade comfort food. But we can't eat like kids all the time! Sometimes they need to eat like adults, or at least, sample something new even if it is not their favorite. Around our house we call this being a "taste treat tryer." Don't you love that!

In other words, you don't have to love it, you may not even have to eat all of it (depending) but you have to try it! I have strong opinions on this issue. I don't make them eat everything prepared exactly the way my husband and I like it, for one thing, we like really spicy food and I think a child's palette is different than an adult's, particularly when it comes to spice. However, it is not unreasonable to try something new, and even eat a few bites of it. If the food is healthy, put it on the plate. Just seeing it there all the time, can help them get used to the idea. If they need a little Ranch dressing to eat all those vitamin-packed raw veggies, I am OK with it. They are getting used to the taste and texture of those vegetables and one day they won't need the Ranch dressing. This is my opinion...not everyone will agree, but I always wanted my kids to eat fruits and veggies even if they had to have a small amount of something to dip.

So, last night we grilled out one of our favorite dishes, citrus basil salmon, and when my oldest son actually said "YES!" as his reaction to finding out what was being served for dinner, I nearly cried. The pickiest child in our house was celebrating the fact he was being served grilled salmon for dinner. So take heart my young-mom friends, there is hope. It only took thirteen years...not too shabby!

This salmon recipe, including a version of the pineapple salsa, came from a dear friend of mine. The recipe is long lost, but I know the basic ingredients by heart, I've made it so often. Last night we made it into a salad with balsamic vinaigrette and fresh sliced avocado. So good!

Grilled salmon with pineapple salsa and avocado salad

Grilled Citrus Basil Salmon
1 1/2 lbs Fresh Atlantic Salmon fillet
juice from 2 orange
juice from 1 lemon
8 large basil leaves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine all the ingredients in a shallow baking pan. Place salmon, upside down on top of the juice mixture and marinate the salmon in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.

Lightly oil the grill rack, two-sided grilling basket or aluminum foil. Grill salmon over medium heat, starting on the skin side. Cook the fish until opaque, turning once during cooking. This will not take long, about 8 to 10 minutes, so watch it carefully. Make sure that no flame touches the fish directly. We prefer to keep the skin on while grilling because it holds the fish together. Then we remove it before serving.

Pineapple Salsa
1 cup fresh pineapple,chopped
1 tomato
1 tomatillo (optional)
1/2 Serrano pepper, minced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
juice of 1 lime

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate until fish is ready. The salsa just gets better with time as the flavors marinate together.

Toss fresh butter or bibb lettuce with your favorite balsamic vinaigrette. Layer on a plate and top with a slice of fresh grilled salmon. Cut several slices of avocado and place them around the fish. Top the salmon with a tablespoon or two of the fresh pineapple salsa. Enjoy. Serves 4-5 people.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Spiced Caramel Apple Cider

Spiced Caramel Apple Cider

I have many recipes for different versions of apple cider like candy apple cider, wassail and my mom's percolator punch, but I wanted to try a sweet version of caramel cider.  My kids thought it was good, hope yours will too.  Enjoy!

Spiced Caramel Apple Cider

6 cups apple cider
1/2 cup prepared real caramel sauce
1/2 cup half and half
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
10 cloves

In a medium saucepan, combine the the caramel and half and half over medium heat.  Continue heating until caramel and half and half are combined.  Add the apple cider and spices and simmer on low for 10 minutes.  Scoop out the cloves with a strainer.  Pour into mugs, top with whipped cream, cinnamon and drizzle a little of the caramel sauce on top.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Glaze

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Glaze

I have always loved to mix up concoctions in the kitchen.  That's the word I used for the original recipes I created as a child and then bullied my younger sister into sampling.  She still talks about the time I made "cookies" by mixing bran flakes, peanut butter and honey.  I rolled this concoction into balls and refrigerated them.  You know, they might not have been that original but they didn't taste half bad.

Ever since childhood, I have been mixing and measuring, dreaming up new ways to create tasty treats in the kitchen.  It is a genuine hobby, and like I tell the children in my classes, we mix a little science and a little art to make magic!

Rows of yummy goodness.

I am grateful that I had lots of inspiration in my life including a little sister who was mostly willing to be brave and try what no one else was willing to try.  I should add that she is now an excellent cook in her own right.  More than anything in the world, I love going to her cozy house and sitting in the kitchen while she whips up treats for me!  I am supremely thankful for a mother who let me talk and talk and talk her ear off while I stirred whatever dinner she was making.  A ritual that we still participate in today and I am happy to say she still has both her ears.  My dear grandmother, Nini, who sat me down in college and helped me copy all the family recipes on cards for my own collection.  And my other dear grandmother, Grandma, who sifted through her family recipes and photographs and made a family cookbook.

Add in all the aunts, cousins, college roommates, coworkers, neighbors and friends and you begin to piece together your life by the recipes you've collected.  When I pull out my recipe box, it is a trip down memory lane, like an episode of "This is Your Life" each recipe is a reminder of the dear person who shared it with me.

So this beautiful Fall morning with sun shining and coffee brewing, I played in the kitchen, mixing this and adding that, and out came warm, slightly sweet and tempting pumpkin scones.  This recipe was created by me for you and I hope it will be good enough to find it's way into your recipe box!

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Glaze

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
6 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup pumpkin, canned puree not pumpkin pie filling
1 tablespoon molasses

Maple Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon half and half

In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and pumpkin pie spice.  Add the butter and cut into the flour mixture using two forks until the mixture resembles course meal. 

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk, molasses and pumpkin.  Mix until just combined.  The dough should be thick.  Turn out onto a floured board.  Dust flour on the top and roll out to 3/4 to 1 inch in thickness. 

Using a fluted biscuit cutter, cut into rounds and place on a cookie sheet.  Bake in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes or until orange-brown in color and firm to touch.

While the scones are baking, mix the powdered sugar, maple syrup and half and half in a small bowl.  You want the glaze to be thick because it will melt onto the warm scone.

Remove scones from the oven and top with glaze.  Eat immediately.

Makes about 15 scones