Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pear & Pecan Spinach Salad w/ Salmon + Citrus Mint dressing

Best salad I've ever had. By far. And it's quick and easy!

For the salad:
Salmon (seasoned with a bit of Salt & Pepper, Saffron - just a pinch, and Olive Oil - a light drizzle)
Pecans, chopped
Goat cheese, crumbled
Pear, thinly sliced

For the dressing*:
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Pinch of crushed, dried mint
Salt & Pepper to taste (Just a pinch of these, too)
*Makes 2 servings

I found this amaaaazing Wild Alaskan Salmon at HEB. The quality of your salmon really can make or break a dish. The key words you're looking for when purchasing are "fresh" and "wild." If it fits both categories, it's definitely worth splurging a little. (I've settled for "frozen" and/or "farm-raised" salmon before... never again.)

My filet came in a long strip, so I sliced it, rinsed it, and placed it on pan greased with olive oil.

You can marinate your salmon in the refrigerator if you plan ahead, but I rarely do that. I sprinkled it lightly with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and saffron. Be very, very stingy with the spices. There's so much flavor in the salmon, and you don't want to mask that. Then, give it a quick drizzle with olive oil and gently rub in the seasoning with your fingers.

Bake that in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 min per inch of salmon. (Measure the thickest piece, and use that to set your cooking time.) Mine took about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the pear. I only sliced about 1/4 of the pear and snacked on the rest!

Chop the pecans.

And prepare your bed of spinach.

When the salmon is flaky and no longer translucent, it's done! The tiny bit of saffron goes a long way and smells so good!

Begin assembling...

Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients with a fork and drizzle over the salad.

Mmm dinner.

Sending you love from my kitchen.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mushroom Fettuccine Alfredo

I've been M.I.A for a while, which is a really good way for a blogger to lose followers... but I'm hoping you'll try this pasta and forgive me! I adapted this recipe from The Pioneer Woman's blog, so you know it's good! Check out her site for some really great step-by-step photos of this pasta.

You'll need:
8-10 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 lb. fettuccine 
1 stick butter
1 cup heavy cream
About 1 cup chicken broth
2 cups Parmesan, grated
Dash of Salt
1/8 tsp. Pepper
1/8 tsp. dried basil

Sauté mushrooms about 8 minutes on medium heat until tender. Sometimes I'll just cook them with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, but you can also use about 1/4 cup dry white wine (shhh...) to give the mushrooms lots of flavor. Just be sure to sauté until all the liquid is gone so the alcohol evaporates out of there. :)

While those are wrapping up, begin cooking the fettuccine until al dente. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan on medium-low heat. 

Once the butter is melted, whisk in the cream!

Add salt and pepper.

To create the pasta, add 1 cup of Parmesan to a large serving dish/bowl. Pour the warm cream mixture over the cheese. Resist the temptation to stir... and add the drained pasta to the top of the mixture. Now, add the rest of the cheese and stir it all together with tongs or a pasta server. The pasta will probably be a little goopy and sticky, so gradually add the chicken broth until the pasta reaches a creamy consistency that makes you happy. You may not need to entire cup of broth. (Pioneer Woman uses a cup of pasta-water reserved before draining the pot of fettuccine, so you could do that to make this a vegetarian dish. I prefer the flavor of the chicken broth!)

Kinda messy, but so delicious. Throw in the dried basil, and please, use fresh if you have some. I was out!

I served the mushrooms separately because I had a crowd over, and not everyone is a fan of mushrooms. Crazy, I know. But you could mix them in before serving as well. Or add other vegetables, chicken, or shrimp. The fettuccine alfredo is a great base for whatever meat/veggie you're craving.

Sending you (better late than never) love from my kitchen!