Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Maple Glazed Southwestern Dry Rubbed Salmon with Marinated Avocado Salsa

I am an avid salmon-hater. I'd literally rather eat my own foot than even buying the fishy stuff. But as of lately, my husband and I have been trying to eat a tad bit healthier. And unfortunately for me, my mountain man is an avid salmon-lover. So, when we were going over healthy dinner options, he asked me if I was willing to give it one more try and make salmon for a weekday meal. I knew that in order for me to eat it, I would have to try and mask the fishy flavor that gives me the goosies (shutter). I eventually decided upon dry rubbing the filets in a southwestern spice mix that you broil in the oven until it blackens just slightly. After that, you just brush on the smallest amount of maple syrup to give it a little bit of sweetness. Now you've got this smokey, spicy blackened salmon that is cooked just perfectly with a candied flavor, which perfectly complements the bold southwestern seasoning. But what really takes this dish over-the-top is the marinated avocado salsa! This salsa is essentially a more rustic guacamole because it has big chunks of avocado instead of being finely mashed. The addition of the extra virgin olive oil gives it such a luscious texture, it feels like absolute velvet. However, the biggest compliment I could give it would be that it completely hides all of the fishy flavor that I have hated my entire life! We have made this dish 4-5 times since and I gobble up the whole thing, which is newsworthy. I decided to finish up the meal with some sauteed bell peppers and onions, but I also think that rice, black beans, or a salad would go great with this meal! Enjoy y'all :) 
For the Maple Glazed Southwestern Salmon:
1t Smoked Paprika
1t Chili Powder
¼t Cumin + Coriander
1t Sugar
1t Salt + Fresh Cracked Pepper
4 Salmon Filets
2T Maple Syrup
Fresh Minced Cilantro, For Sprinkling

For the Marinated Avocado Salsa:
3 Ripe Avocados, Sliced
1 Lime, Zested + Juiced
1 Large Shallot, Minced
1 Clove of garlic, Finely Minced into a Paste
1-2 Fresh Jalapenos, Minced (depends on your spice preference)
2T Fresh Cilantro, Roughly Chopped
Kosher Salt + Fresh Cracked Pepper, To Taste

1. Preheat your oven to broil, set an oven rack about 6 inches from the top of the oven, and line a baking shit with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. For the Marinated Avocado Salsa: In a mixing bowl, add in the sliced avocado, followed by the lime zest, lime juice, EVOO, minced shallot and garlic, fresh jalapenos, roughly chopped cilantro, kosher salt, and fresh cracker pepper. Toss all of the ingredients together, so that the avocados are covered in the lime. The sliced avocado should have some still some large chunks, instead of being like guacamole. Set the marinated avocado in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it with the salmon.
3. For the Maple Syrup Glazed Southwestern Salmon: Mix together all of the spices together into a bowl and place the salmon onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the spice mixture heavily and evenly all over the filets of fish. Broil for 5 minutes, remove the pan from the oven, and brush the salmon with the maple syrup. Place the pan back into the oven and broil for one more minute.
4. Assembling the Salmon: Remove the glazed and blackened salmon from the oven onto a serving plate and top it with a large serving of the marinated avocado salsa. I served our dinner with sautéed bell peppers and onions, but rice and black beans would be a great option as well!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Instagrub: Sticky + Garlicky Korean Beef Noodles

And here's the last recipe to kick off our week of Asian dishes! Remember how I mentioned on Wednesday that I would post my Sticky + Garlicky Korean Beef Noodles? Well, here they are! There are very few recipes that we make more than once. My husband hates me for that because I'll make something so delicious, and then when he requests it again, I have to tell him that I've already made that and I'm a food blogger who needs to constantly come up with new recipes for all of my followers! However, there are a few exceptions to that argument, and one of them is certainly this Asian pasta dish. We have made these Korean Beef Noodles every week for the last six months! We think it's pretty easy-peasy to make and it makes enough to feed an army! The sauce is pretty straight forward, as I already went into how to make it on my post for the Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Sweet + Salty Sauce (literally, it is the exact same sauce). As for the pasta, I really love to use Trader Joe's Pappardelle Pasta for this recipe, but honestly, any kind of noodles will do! The most important cooking process is by far the beef component. I start off by cooking the ground beef in a cast iron skillet until it has just barely finished cooking, and then I drain the excess fat out of the pan, using a pasta strainer. While the beef is separating from the extra fat and liquid, wipe down the cast iron skillet, so that it is completely dry. Return the skillet to your stovetop and crank up the heat to as high as it will go. Once it is screeching hot, add the ground beef back in, along with the minced garlic. Quickly pour in half of the sweet + salty sauce and stir to coat the ground beef. I find that if you cook this at a very high heat, the sauce will perfectly caramelized onto the meat and deepen the flavor. Really all that is left to do is to combine all of the components... al dente pasta, caramelized onions, charred green onions, minced green onions, sweet + salty sauce, caramelized ground beef, + seasonings. We really like to overdo it with the minced, dried garlic, toasted sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes, so I'll leave that up to you on how much you want to put in. Now all you have to do is eat the Sticky + Garlicky Korean Beef Noodles while they are still hot!! Enjoy :)
For the Sweet + Salty Sauce:
1C Light Brown Sugar
½C Soy Sauce
¼C Hoisin Sauce
1T Toasted Sesame Oil
1-2T Sriracha (depending on how spicy you like it)
1T Rice Wine Vinegar
1t Freshly Grated Ginger
1t Red Pepper Flakes (less or more to your preferred spiciness)
4 Large Cloves of Garlic, Minced

For the Caramelized Onions:
2 Vidalia Onions, Sliced
4T Unsalted Butter
2T Vegetable Oil
1t Kosher Salt
1T Sugar

For the Korean Beef Noodles:
1T Canola Oil
2 Bunches of Green Onions (1 bunch finely sliced + 1 bunch cut into 1-inch pieces)
1T Toasted Sesame Oil
2-3lbs 80/20 Ground Chuck
4 Large Cloves of Garlic, Minced
16oz Pappardelle Noodles (I like Trader Joe’s brand, but really any kind of pasta will work)
2T Korean Chili Seasoning
Prepared Sweet + Salty Sauce
Prepared Caramelized Onions
2T Minced, Dried Garlic (or to taste, but we love adding a bunch to this pasta)
1T Toasted Sesame Seeds
1t Red Pepper Flakes (this is optional, but you can add more or less to your liking)

1. For the Sweet + Salty Sauce: In a small pot, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients until it is well incorporated. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-low heat, making sure to continuously whisk. Reduce to a simmer and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the sauce cool for a few minutes. Repeat this process of bringing it to a boil and simmering the sauce three more times. After you have done this, allow the sauce to cool while you make the Korean Beef Noodles.
2. For the Caramelized Onions: Heat the butter and oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add in the sliced onions, salt, and sugar. Cook for 10 minutes, and then reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to caramelize, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes. The onions should be browned and caramelized. If at all during the cooking the onions begin to darken or burn, just add a few tablespoons of water. After they are done, turn off the heat and leave the caramelized onions in the pot.
3. Charring the Green Onions: In a cast iron skillet, over high heat, add in the canola oil. Take the one bunch of green onions that were cut into 1-inch pieces (leave the other bunch of thinly sliced green onions uncooked) and put them in the searing hot pan. Stir the onions around for a minute or two until they have begun to char and slightly soften. Remove the charred green onions from the pan and place them into the pot with the caramelized onions.
4. Preparing the Pasta: Boil your pasta according to the package directions. Once they have cooked to al dente, strain the noodles and add them into the pot with the onions. Sprinkle the Korean chili seasoning on top of the pasta and toss to combine all of the ingredients in the pot (that way the noodles won’t stick together).
5. Cooking the Ground Beef: Heat 1T of toasted sesame oil, in the same cast iron skillet that you charred the green onions in, over medium-high heat. Add in the ground beef and cook until just browned, about 5 minutes. Make sure to crumble the beef as it cooks, so smaller pieces form. Drain the excess fat out of the pan. Return the cast iron pan to high heat. Once it has gotten extremely hot, add the cooked, crumbled beef back into the pan, along with the garlic. Stir this mixture around for 1-2 minutes. Quickly pour half of the sweet + salty sauce over the ground beef and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Cooking at such a high temperature will help the sauce to caramelize into the beef and deepen the flavor.
6. Finishing the Korean Beef Noodles: Pour the sauced, caramelized beef over the pasta in the large pot, and then drizzle in the remaining sweet + salty sauce and add in the finely sliced green onions. Using tongs, toss together all of the ingredients until they are evenly incorporated. Season the pasta with the dried minced garlic, toasted sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes. Mix everything together and serve while the noodles are still hot!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Sweet + Salty Sauce

We've been on a real Asian kick this week when it comes to cooking dinner. Sometime in the next few days, I'll post my Garlicky Korean Beef Noodles, which have become a weekly meal for the last 6 months. But today, we're going to talk about chicken lettuce wraps. Lettuce wraps are a must for me whenever we go out to a restaurant, so why not make my own version at home? This recipe is pretty easy when it comes to cooking other dishes on my food blog, although you will do a lot of chopping. But if you have another person helping you, y'all will be done in no time! I started off by making my go-to sweet + salty sauce (that also goes on the Korean Beef Noodles) and all you have to worry about is bring it to a boil, reducing it to a simmer, whisking continuously, and letting it cool. You'll repeat that cooking process 3-4 times until the sauce is smooth and has reduced slightly. After you have done that, just let the sauce cool in the small pot until you are ready to pour it over the chicken. Now, I have a pretty firm belief that everyone likes chicken, but if you are that one person who doesn't, then just trade out the ground chicken for ground pork and ground beef. Now let's talk about all the vegetables. We were recently eating out at one of our favorite thai restaurants and they have the most glorious chicken lettuce wraps. Something a little different that they include are red + green bell peppers. Both my husband and I enjoyed that addition so much, that I had to put some peppers into my chicken-vegetable mixture. It is important though, that you dice up the sweet onions and bell peppers to the same size, so that they will all cook for the same time. Once those vegetables have become slightly softened and somewhat translucent, throw in the minced fresh garlic, diced water chestnuts, minced green onions, fresh basil, minced dried garlic, toasted sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil, and some red pepper flakes. Stir it all together and let it cook for a minute or two. Now, all that is left to do is to pour some of the sauce over the chicken mixture until everything is coated. I would suggest starting with half the sauce and working your way up because you don't want an overwhelmingly large amount drowning your chicken + veggies. The goal here is to add just the right amount of sauce to your liking, that way the chicken lettuce wraps taste light and delicious. All that there is left to do is to assemble them. Get a piece of butter lettuce, spoon in some of the sauced chicken mixture on top, drizzle with a little bit of extra sauce, and garnish with a pinch of minced, dried garlic, red pepper flakes, and toasted crushed peanuts. Voila, you have made yourself a real crowd pleasing recipe! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! 

For the Sweet + Salty Sauce:
1C Light Brown Sugar
½C Soy Sauce
¼C Hoisin Sauce
2T Toasted Sesame Oil + 2T Sriracha
1T Rice Wine Vinegar
1t Freshly Grated Ginger
1t Red Pepper Flakes (less or more to your preferred spiciness)

For the Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps:
Prepared Sweet + Salty Sauce
4T Vegetable Oil (separated)
2lbs Ground Chicken
2 Sweet Onions, Diced
1 Red Bell Pepper + 1 Green Pepper, Diced
1t Salt
8oz Sliced Water Chestnuts, Diced
8 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
2 Bunches of Green Onions, Minced
¼C Fresh Basil, Minced
2T Minced Dried Garlic (plus more for garnishing)
1T Toasted Sesame Seeds (plus more for garnishing)
Red Pepper Flakes (to your preferred spiciness)
1T Toasted Sesame Oil
1-2 Butter Head Lettuce
Toasted, Crushed Peanuts, For Garnishing

1. For the Sweet + Salty Sauce: In a small pot, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients until it is well incorporated. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-low heat, making sure to continuously whisk. Reduce to a simmer and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the sauce cool for a few minutes. Repeat this process of bringing it to a boil and simmering the sauce three more times. After you have done this, allow the sauce to cool while you make the chicken lettuce wraps.
2. Cooking the Chicken: Heat 2T oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in the ground chicken and cook until just browned, about 5-7 minutes. Make sure to crumble the chicken as it cooks, so smaller pieces form. Drain the excess fat out of the pan and set aside the cooked chicken while you sauté the vegetables.
3. Making the Asian Chicken: In a large pot, heat the other 2T of oil over medium-high heat. Add in the diced onions, diced red bell pepper, diced green pepper, and the salt. Sauté these vegetables for about 5-10 minutes, until they have cooked down and gave become translucent. Next, toss in the diced water chestnuts, minced garlic, and minced green onions. Stir everything so that it is all mixed together. Bring the heat up to high and let it cook on that temperature for a minute. Drizzle in half of the reduced sweet + salty sauce, stirring to make sure the lettuce wrap mixture is completely coated in the sauce. Lastly, finish off the dish by throwing in the fresh minced basil, minced dried garlic, toasted sesame seeds, as much or as little red pepper flakes that you like, and toasted sesame oil. Turn off the heat and taste the sauced, ground chicken-vegetable mixture. If you think the chicken needs more sauce, salt, or red pepper flakes, then add it to your liking.
4. Assembling the Chicken Lettuce Wraps: Pull off the individual leaves of butter lettuce and wash and dry them. Place the lettuce leaves onto a plate, and then spoon some of the chicken mixture into each leaf. Garnish the top of the chicken lettuce wraps with a drizzle of the sweet + salty sauce, dried minced garlic, pinch of red pepper flakes, and some toasted, crushed peanuts. Enjoy the lettuce wraps while they are still hot (but they are just as delicious if you serve them cold)!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

"Bae" Toast with Crispy Bacon Lardons, Marinated Avocado, + Luscious Cheesy Scrambled Eggs on Garlic-Rubbed, Bacon Fat Fried Multigrain Sourdough Toast

If you could do one thing for me when it comes to cooking, it would be to make this avocado toast... before anything else. Have you ever wondered what "bae" stood for? Some people believe it to be what I already previously stated. But in my crazy foodie world, it obviously stands for bacon, avocado, + egg. Yep, the craze of 2016 had to be avocado toast. I wasn't really on board with it in the beginning because I'm not much of an avid avocado person. Don't get me wrong though, I love me some guacamole. But just toast and avocado? I wasn't quite buying it just yet. However, I started seeing recipes pop over all over the blog-o-sphere and pinterest and they included much more than just a piece of bread + avocado. That inspired to make one of our favorite dishes yet, Smoked Avocado Toast with Herbed Crab Salad, Bacon Fat Fried Sourdough, + Citrus Caviar. It's so good that we make it a few times a month. So, I knew I would've eventually come up with another twist on this new-found classic. What I absolutely love about this recipe is that you can literally eat it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, a snack, or dinner-- it is so versatile! Now, let's break down each component. First let's talk about the "toast"... if you could even call sliced thick cut, multigrain sourdough pan fried in smokey bacon fat toast. It's crunchy on the exterior, but perfectly melts into your mouth like a perfectly cooked piece of bacon. That golden brown piece of bread is then rubbed with garlic, which gives the toast a little bit of bite, especially in such a rich dish. Speaking of rich, let's get to the marinated avocado. I personally think avocado is a little too bland to me. So any time I use it, I like to "marinate" it. I do this by buying an almost ripe avocado, cutting it into slices, and then smashing it ever-so-slightly with some salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, and lime zest. This adds just a wee bit of flavor and intensifies it just enough to bring everything together. Now far and away, the best component of this toast are the luscious cheesy scrambled eggs. A chef can make or break a recipe by the way they cook their eggs. And this is the only way I will scramble an egg. Eggs are beaten together with heavy cream (YES), kosher salt, and fresh cracked pepper. They are then slow-slow-slow-and-low-low-low cooked in a skillet with butter and oil. This is very, very important. The key to getting fluffy, luscious, and creamy eggs is to continuously stir and fold the egg mixture with a rubber spatula. If I could describe it best, I would say to graze the pan, gently moving the cooked eggs from the outside of the pan towards the center. I will say that this method will take some time, anywhere from 15-30 minutes, but it is so unbelievably worth it. At the very end of cooking, I like to grate some parmesan on top of the curds and gently fold it in. I also love to garnish with fresh chives, but that's completely optional! Really, all that is left are topping the toasts with crispy bacon bits and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes... and that is it! It is such a simple dish, but oh-so-amazing! I mean, anyone can make this. I hope y'all love it as much as we did. Enjoy :)

For the Marinated Avocado:
2-3 Ripe Avocados, Sliced
1 Lime, Zested + Juiced
Kosher Salt + Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, To Taste

For the Luscious Cheesy Scrambled Eggs:
2T Unsalted Butter + 1T EVOO
6 Extra Large Eggs
¼C Heavy Cream
Pinch of Kosher Salt + Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
½C Freshly Grated Parmesan
1-2T Fresh Snipped Chives

For the "Bae" Toast:
Prepared Marinated Avocado
Prepared Luscious Cheesy Scrambled Eggs
6 Slices of Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, Cut into Lardons + Cooked until Crispy
Reserved Bacon Fat, For Frying
4-6 Slices of Multigrain Sourdough Toast, Fried in Bacon Fat
1 Large Clove of Garlic
Dried Red Pepper Flakes, For Sprinkling

1. Fry the bacon lardons in a large skillet over medium heat until they are perfectly crispy (but not burnt). Remove the bacon lardons from the hot pan and place them on a paper towel to drain and cool them. Reserve the rendered bacon fat for frying the toast.
2. For the Bacon Fat Dried Multigrain Sourdough Toast: In the same large skillet, over medium heat, add in about 1-2 inches of the rendered bacon fat. Fry the toast for a couple minutes on each side until they are golden brown and slightly crunchy. Repeat this process until all of the bread has been fried/toasted. Set them aside and let the toast cool for a few minutes, and then rub the clove of garlic all over the warm surface of the bread. Set them aside before assembling.
3. For the Marinated Avocado: In a mixing bowl, add in the sliced avocado, followed by the lime zest, lime juice, EVOO, kosher salt, and fresh cracker pepper. Toss all of the ingredients together, so that the avocados are covered in the lime. Right before assembling, mash the sliced avocado slightly, so that there are still some large chunks amongst the smoother smashed avocado. Set the marinated avocado aside until you are ready to assemble the toast.
4. For the Luscious Cheesy Scrambled Eggs: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, kosher salt, and fresh cracked pepper. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over low heat. Add the butter and EVOO and allow it to melt and start to froth a bit. Pour the egg mixture into the warm pan. Using a heat-resistant rubber spatula, continually stir and fold the eggs until super soft curds form. It is important that you neatly and gently scrape (or graze) the sides of the pan, making sure to never stopping the motion. Push the eggs from the outside of the pan towards the center and repeat it until they are creamy, but cooked through. This process should take 15-30 minutes depending on your stovetop. Once the curds form and the eggs are cooked, sprinkle the top with the freshly grated parmesan and snipped chives. Stir to combine and be prepared to serve them while they are still warm.
5. Assembling the "Bae" Toast: Grab your perfectly browned bacon fat fried toast and rub the surface with the clove of garlic. Top each of the slices with some of your marinated mashed avocado and season with a pinch of salt. Spoon a mound of the luscious cheesy scrambled eggs on top of the creamy avocado. Scatter the crumbled, crispy bacon lardons evenly over the avocado. Garnish with some red pepper flakes for some spice and enjoy!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Our Favorite Recipes of 2016: Savory + Sweet

I'm back on tha grind... I know I have been horrible with my posting
But, here's to a new year + new recipes!!
We have some amazing food from last year, ranging from sweet n' salty combos 
to some southern favorites with elevated flavors. 
And don't forget about desserts either 'cuz it's all about interesting takes on everything chocolate.
I'm looking ahead and can't wait for y'all to see everything I have made!!
Thank you to everyone who has liked, commented, followed, pinned, and shared this year.
XOXO, Juliana


Spicy Barbecue with Caramelized Red Onions, Pulled Pork, + Smoked Cheddar Cheese
Braised Short Rib Ragu Pasta
Smoked Avocado Toast with Herbed Crab Salad, Bacon Fat Fried Sourdough, + Citrus Caviar 
Farmer's Market Finds: The Best Damn Deviled Egg Salad Sandwich with Crispy Prosciutto, Peppery Arugula, Soft Herbs, + Sriracha Powder on Buttered White Bread
#instagrub: Eggplant Parmesan with Homemade Brown Butter-Heirloom Tomato Sauce, Creamy Burrata Cheese, Fresh Basil, + a Drizzle of Balsamic Reduction
Autumn Fuji Apple Crostini with Whipped Herbed Goat Cheese, Bourbon Caramelized Shallots, a Drizzle of Winter White Honey, + Fresh Basil on Bacon Fat Fried Baguette Rounds
Saturday Down South: NOLA-Style BBQ Shrimp
Maple Roasted Pear Pizza with Pistachio Olive Oil, Caramelized Shallots, Crispy Prosciutto, + Crumbled Goat Cheese
Mexican Bell Pepper Shakshuka with Habanero Cheddar Cheese, Cilantro Whipped Feta, + Garlic Rubbed Grilled Bread
Summer Strawberry Pizza with Sauteed Ramps, Crumbled Gorgonzola, Shaved Speck, Baby Arugula, + a Balsamic Reduction Drizzle on Multigrain Pizza Dough


Espresso Infused Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Whipped Sea Salt Buttercream, Honey Caramel Sauce, Smoked Fleur de Sel, + Crispy Cake Crumbs
Saturday Down South: University of Alabama-Inspired Houndstooth Pudding Trifle with Homemade Red Velvet Pudding, Cream Cheese Whipped Cream, Crushed Double Stuffed Oreos, + Red Velvet Cake Sprinkles
New Orleans "King Cake" Cronuts with a Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Custard Filling, Toasted Pecan Sugar, Bourbon Glaze, + Festive Mardi Gras Sprinkles
Spicy Mexican Chocolate Silk Pie with Vanilla Bean Pâte Brisée , Salty Cajeta + Cajeta Infused Whipped Cream
Gourmet S'more Pie with Chunky 'Nilla Wafer-Graham Cracker Crust, Espresso Infused Brownie Truffle Filling, + a Toasted Homemade Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Topping