Friday, September 30, 2011

Pan-Roasted Salmon with Soy-Ginger Glaze

We are at #17 of the 50 Women Game Changers in Food, Dorothy Cann Hamilton.  She founded The French Culinary Institute in 1984 and more recently The Italian Culinary Academy which together they formed The International Culinary Center in 2006. She has won numerous awards including the prestigious Ordre National du Mérite (National Order of Merit Award) from the French goverment.  Among the Institute's notable alumni are Dan Barber, Bobby Flay, and David Chang, just to name a few.  A powerhouse in the culinary world....she is truly a Game Changer!

As a tribute to this week's icon, I chose Pan-Roasted Salmon with Soy-Ginger Glaze a recipe created by one of the instructors at the FCI, Chef Bobo.  It was not only delicious but healthy too! (Recipe below as it appeared in Food & Wine's January 2005 Issue). 

Pan-Roasted Salmon with Soy-Ginger Glaze

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Four 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets
Freshly ground pepper
Cilantro leaves, for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.  In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce and ginger and bring to a simmer.  Remove from heat and stir in the honey and mustard.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick ovenproof skillet.  Season the salmon with pepper and add it to the skillet, skinned side up.  Cook over high heat until golden and crusty, 2 to 3 minutes.  Turn the salmon and spoon the ginger-soy glaze on top. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake the salmon for 5 minutes, or until cooked through.  Using a slotted spatula, transfer the salmon fillets to plates, garnish with the cilantro and serve.
Serves 4

For additional dishes honoring Dorothy Hamilton, please visit the wonderful ladies listed below. You'll love their blogs:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Daring Bakers make Croissants!

The Daring Bakers go retro this month!  Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, The Daring Bakers were challenged to make croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!

I never imagined myself making croissants from scratch.  Now I know why!! Don't get me wrong, I'm really glad I did but it was a 2 day process!  It really was not that difficult just very time consuming... but the results were definitely worth it. As I write this I have decided I would definitely make them again.  

I had my friend Ana, her hubby, and daughter over for coffee and croissants.  She brought over a can of condensed milk to drizzle on them!! Little did she know how much butter I had used for this recipe.....needless to say we diet tomorrow!

France is credited for many wonderful culinary contributions and croissants are definitely at the top!
See the recipe below as provided to us by Sarah.
Bon Appetit!


Servings: 12 croissants 
¼ oz (7 gm) of fresh yeast, or 1¼ teaspoon (6¼ ml/4 gm) of dry- 
active yeast (about ½ sachet) 
3 tablespoons (45 ml) warm water (less than 100°F/38°C) 
1 teaspoon (5 ml/4½ gm) sugar 
1 ¾ cups (225 gm/½ lb) of strong plain flour (I used Polish all- 
purpose flour, which is 13% protein) 
2 teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) sugar 
1½ teaspoon (7½ ml/9 gm) salt 
½ cup (120 ml/¼ pint) milk (I am not sure if the fat content 
matters. I used 2%) 
2 tablespoons (30 ml) tasteless oil (I used generic vegetable oil) 
½ cup (120 ml/1 stick/115 gm/¼ lb) chilled, unsalted butter 
1 egg, for egg wash 

 1. Mix the yeast, warm water, and first teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl. Leave aside for the yeast and sugar to dissolve and the yeast to foam up a little. 
2. Measure out the other ingredients 
3. Heat the milk until tepid (either in the microwave or a saucepan), and dissolve in the salt and remaining sugar 
4. Place the flour in a large bowl.  
5. Add the oil, yeast mixture, and milk mixture to the flour 
6. Mix all the ingredients together using the rubber spatula, just until all the flour is incorporated 
7. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and let it rest a minute while you wash out the bowl  
8. Knead the dough eight to ten times only. The best way is as Julia Child does it in the video (video link). It’s a little difficult to explain, but essentially involves smacking the dough on the counter (lots of fun if you are mad at someone) and removing it from the counter using the pastry scraper. 
9. Place the dough back in the bowl, and place the bowl in the plastic bag
10. Leave the bowl at approximately 75°F/24°C for three hours, or until the dough has tripled in size.
11. After the dough has tripled in size, remove it gently from the bowl, pulling it away from the 
sides of the bowl with your fingertips. 
12. Place the dough on a lightly floured board or countertop, and use your hands to press it out into a rectangle about 8 by 12 inches (20cm by 30cm).
13. Fold the dough rectangle in three, like a letter (fold the top third down, and then the bottom third up)
14. Place the dough letter back in the bowl, and the bowl back in the plastic bag. 
15. Leave the dough to rise for another 1.5 hours, or until it has doubled in size. This second rise can be done overnight in the fridge 
16. Place the double-risen dough onto a plate and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place the plate in the fridge while you prepare the butter. 
17. Once the dough has doubled, it’s time to incorporate the butter 
18. Place the block of chilled butter on a chopping board.  
19. Using the rolling pin, beat the butter down a little, till it is quite flat. 
20. Use the heel of your hand to continue to spread the butter until it is smooth. You want the 
butter to stay cool, but spread easily. 
21. Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured board or counter. Let it rest 
for a minute or two
22. Spread the dough using your hands into a rectangle about 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm). 
23. Remove the butter from the board, and place it on the top half of the dough rectangle 
24. Spread the butter all across the top two-thirds of the dough rectangle, but keep it ¼ inch (6 
mm) across from all the edges.
25. Fold the top third of the dough down, and the bottom third of the dough up. 
26. Turn the dough package 90 degrees, so that the top flap is to your right (like a book).  
27. Roll out the dough package (gently, so you don’t push the butter out of the dough) until it is 
again about 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm). 
28. Again, fold the top third down and the bottom third up. 
29. Wrap the dough package in plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge for 2 hours. 
30. After two hours have passed, take the dough out of the fridge and place it again on the lightly 
floured board or counter.  
31. Tap the dough with the rolling pin, to deflate it a little 
32. Let the dough rest for 8 to 10 minutes 
33. Roll the dough package out till it is 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm). 
34. Fold in three, as before 
35. Turn 90 degrees, and roll out again to 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm). 
36. Fold in three for the last time, wrap in plastic, and return the dough package to the fridge for two more hours (or overnight, with something heavy on top to stop it from rising) 
37. It’s now time to cut the dough and shape the croissants 
38. First, lightly butter your baking sheet so that it is ready 
39. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it rest for ten minutes on the lightly floured board or 
40. Roll the dough out into a 20 by 5 inch rectangle (51 cm by 12½ cm). 
41. Cut the dough into two rectangles (each 10 by 5 inches (25½  cm by 12½ cm)) 
42. Place one of the rectangles in the fridge, to keep the butter cold 
43. Roll the second rectangle out until it is 15 by 5 inches (38 cm by 12½ cm). 
44. Cut the rectangle into three squares (each 5 by 5 inches (12½ cm by 12½ cm)) 
45. Place two of the squares in the fridge 
46. The remaining square may have shrunk up a little bit in the meantime. Roll it out again till it is 
nearly square 
47. Cut the square diagonally into two triangles.
48. Stretch the triangle out a little, so it is not a right-angle triangle, but more of an isosceles. 
49. Starting at the wide end, roll the triangle up towards the point, and curve into a crescent 
50. Place the unbaked croissant on the baking sheet 
51. Repeat the process with the remaining squares of dough, creating 12 croissants in total. 
52. Leave the tray of croissants, covered lightly with plastic wrap, to rise for 1 hour 
53. Preheat the oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9. 
54. Mix the egg with a teaspoon of water  
55. Spread the egg wash across the tops of the croissants. 
56. Put the croissants in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops are browned nicely 
57. Take the croissants out of the oven, and place them on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Banana Nut Cake

I am honored to be part of a really great group of ladies that have chosen to pay tribute to the Gourmet Live 50 Women Changers in Food.  Each member chooses a recipe to make by the icon of the week then they post about it including the recipe. The list began with Julia Child (naturally), they are now in week 16.

This week's honoree is Maida Heatter.  I have more cookbooks than I care to mention (at least in front of my husband), but not one of Maida's!!  Well, after much research and browsing through tons of her recipes I picked one from Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts.  Since I love all things BANANA, it was the obvious choice.

OMG!! I was running so late for today's posting that I actually baked it,  took the picture and bang "photo finish!"  I just had a piece of the cake and it is truly fabulous.  It is moist, very tasty, and her instructions were so easy to follow like most of her recipes.  This is definitely a keeper!

For more delicious recipes by Maida Heatter, please visit the other bloggers in the group:

Val - More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets 
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Kathleen -Bake Away with Me
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - The View from Great Island
Barbara - Movable Feasts
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Amy - Beloved Green
Jeanette - Healthy Living 
Linda - Ciao Chow Linda
Linda A - There and Back Again
Martha - Lines from Linderhof

Banana Nut Cake: 
7 ounces (2 cups) pecan halves or large pieces
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large or 4 small bananas (to make 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups mashed)
1/4 pound (1 stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk

Adjust rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven. Preheat oven to 375˚ degrees/ Butter a 9 x 3 1/2 -inch tube pan and dust it all over lightly with fine, dry, bread crumbs.

In a small bowl, toss the nuts with about 1 tablespoon of the flour to coat them thoroughly. Set aside. Sift remainder of the flour with the baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl of electric mixer, break up bananas. Beat them at low speed only enough to mash. You should get 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups. Set aside.

In a large bowl of mixer (with same beaters) beat the butter to soften it a bit. Add vanilla and sugar and beat for a few minutes, using a rubber spatula as necessary to hep mixture blended. Add the eggs and continue to beat for 1 to 2 minutes. On lowest speed add half of the dry ingredients, then the buttermilk, and then the remainder of the dry ingredients, continuing to scrape bowl with rubber spatula as necessary. Add mashed bananas, beating only enough to blend. Remove from mixer. Stir in nuts.

Turn batter into prepared pan. Level top by rotating pan briskly back and forth. Bake 1 to 1 1/4 hours on until cake tester comes out dry.

Cool in pan on rack for about 10 minutes. Cover with rack or a small cookie sheet. Invert and remove pan. Cover with rack and invert again to cool, right side up.

I sprinkled mine with powdered sugar (optional).