Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Best Ever...Salmon Burgers

Notice the Louisiana hot sauce in the background? What a coincidence. I was just mentioning on some replies on my previous post that tropical storm Isaac is in Louisiana now. Since about 1 week now, we've been having heavy winds and rain here in South Florida, but nothing compares to the windy heavy storm we had last weekend, finally ending last night with several huge BANGS of thunder that shook all the windows.

When you're stuck inside all day on Sunday and half the day on Monday, due to the storm, you better have a plan while you have electricity, to make the best of the situation. As for me, I yearn for comfort food...not necessary junk food but something satisfying...yet, healthy! I had a brilliant idea to make burgers on my little George Foreman grill...better yet, a juicy salmon burger, with robust flavor, not too spicy, but intense in flavor.

How could you not have a burger without sides?...not me! Either fries, or onion rings, but I must confess I do love onion rings...good onion rings, and I am not going to wast any time making them from scratch just for me alone when I can get the Alexia onion rings in my local supermarkets freezer section.

I even made the dipping sauce that was sweet, and spicy (recipe on the side of the bag) I adapted it my way by adding the Louisiana hot sauce to kick it up a bit. No frying with these onion rings. Just bake it for 10 minutes on 400 degrees F. for a crisp perfect, crunchy onion rings that were dipped in Panko crumbs.


You must have tartar sauce with a delicious salmon burger...if not a tartar sauce, but then a special sauce. Now I have both, a ketchup based sweet and spicy dipping sauce, and a homemade tartar sauce that is way better than the store bought!

I was so inspired to make the tartar sauce that I have been making for years, which is really a simple method. Just have a good brand mayonnaise, and to make sure you add sweet pickle relish, or make your own pickle relish by chopping the pickles in your food processor.

So let's get started. For 2 salmon burgers, I used a piece of salmon fillet that was just under 1/2 lb.

2 scallions, trimmed and chopped coarsely.
2 or three pieces of fresh dill, stems cut
1 teaspoon lemon zest
juice of half of a lemon
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
freshly ground pepper, and sea salt to taste
(I used coarse sea salt ground fine)
Cut the salmon into 1 inch cubes, and add it to a food processor, adding all the listed ingredients.


Being careful not to process; just give it no more than 2 pulses, to keep it coarse, and not make it like ground meat. The Panko will help it hold together.

Have your grill set up, or your favorite grill pan or electric grill heating up.




This is the ideal consistency you should have. (my only problem was, I should have chopped the scallion into smaller pieces) food processor does not seem to chop it up in 2 pulses.

Now you are ready to pat them gently into patties.









On a large plate, add 1/4 cup more of the Panko crumbs and roll the salmon burgers in them. Gently pat some extra on each side.

Spray with PAM or other brand cooking spray on both sides. At this time, you can refrigerate them while you prepare the other easy sides to go with it!



Grill the salmon burgers on the George Foreman Grill, which of course has two sides for grilling which takes half the time than grilling in a grill pan, or on an outdoor grill.
Spray extra cooking spray while you're grilling,








Total time on George Foreman is 4-5 minutes. On a one sided grill you have to flip over to the other side. (4-5 minutes on each side)

Dipping Sauce for the onion rings and for the salmon burger (optional)

1 cup good quality ketchup
(I use Heinz)
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
few dashes of Louisiana hot sauce
Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl and serve for dipping, or spreading
.



Linking to:Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage
               Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop @ KatherinesCorner

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Plum Upside-Down Cake




Since I've been food blogging for the last two years...I have not been thinking about that I would actually say,
"I have to bake something for my food blog"...hmm! wonder why did I say that to my daughter Lora, yesterday morning?
She told me the other day that her food blog is getting to be expensive...well, the reason for that is: She bakes every single day...really! There isn't a day that goes by when she does not bake...if nothing else, but the 'staple' banana bread, or homemade pancakes!
I was hoping to get this post up by yesterday...Friday, knowing that I did not have anything else worthwhile to post and that I don't do much baking cakes...although I love to put simple and yummy quick and easy desserts together!
We have such an abundance of plums...not the deep purple Italian ones, but the round ones which are so perfect just by themselves to snack on (which I did eat 3 yesterday)...and decide to make something with it. No time to start browsing through my cookbooks, old recipes, or favorite food bloggers' recipes...so what do you do first, if you don't have the basic recipe on hand?...The Internet...yes, that's the fastest way to google a recipe and do some adaptations of your own, which I did a little on my cake. Since I made this for my blog...still smiling to myself
about that one, I only kept one large piece for myself and shared the rest with my family.

Yesterday was such a stormy day on-and-off, with tropical storm Isaac on our heels by Sunday night...hopefully it's not turning into a hurricane!

Good day to be cooking and baking when you're stuck inside. I did go out on my balcony to take some photos of the beach, the clouds, and no less than 30 minutes wind, and a storm, but the worst is yet to come! We'll just have to be prepaired and be safe.

As you see, for my baking, I like to chose a comfy-cozy home type of dessert. For me they are super easy to make, and I do believe it will be easy for you, if you follow my easy and handy little tips. Don't let the layering of this beautiful upside-down all American simple cake intimidate you...and I DO recommend that you make this from 'scratch' and not from a mix, although I do use cake mixes, only to 'doctor' them up!
Here's the link to this awesome and easy cake!

Plum Upside-Down Cake 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mango-Strawberry Cobbler

Some cobbler have toppings that are actually as thick as biscuits, but to me it's patches of a crusty dough that has a cake-like flavor on the inside. I've been making all kinds of cobblers that is so easy, and so nice with fresh fruit that you want to use up.
Although, I did just state in my previous recent post that mango season is over in S. Florida...it really is over! This was the best mango season for us in years, and we were so blessed with all the abundance of these lovely tropical fruit, that we just had to use it in so many ways.

Last week, the final 4 mangoes fell down from the top of the tree and they were almost too ripe. Didn't want to use them for smoothies...it would be so selfish when we had smoothies just about every day for one month. I have not made a cobbler, since about one year ago, and it's time that I make one.

I made the cobbler this afternoon, and I was so very happy that we had beautiful sunshine today, but very, very, hot. Today was the first day of school for most of the kids in our area, and both my grandchildren started back! The weekend also went so nice with perfect Florida weather...rain again, in the late afternoon, but during the day was gorgeous and sunny!

Cobbler has got to be the easiest and fastest dessert to make...you just have to remember, that it starts out with 1 cup of flour, a little sugar, dash of salt, and don't forget the baking powder, and of course, a little butter, moisten it with either a little bit of milk to form a dough, or a little over 1 cup to be able to drop the dough on the fruit, and bake for 35 minutes...Let me tell you, the best way to eat this amazing cobbler; while it's still warm. This was gone so fast that I must say I will be making it more often now, with different fruits!
 I wanted to show you close up how juicy the fruits are (I have a little secret for that)...and for the cobbler, you can see the thickness, which is just right, and see how moist it is, yet has a crusty top!
This is my favorite photo...Gabby enjoying her cobbler, for an afternoon snack. She had her first day of school, 6th grade, and she came home so happy...all smiles, and such positive energy and lots of stories.If you want to make your family happy, with the most perfect, easy, afternoon snack...make them a fresh fruit cobbler...they will love it, and 'thank you' for it!  Now, on to the recipe...click on read more...(as if you didn't know it!?)

linking to: Hearth and Soul @ Zesty South Indian Kitchen

Friday, August 17, 2012

Chocolate Balsamic Strawberries

Another TGIF...and I feel I've been so neglectful in cooking, or baking something for a new post this week. Too busy eating lunches and dinners at my daughter Lora's.

 For instance, her amazing sourdough pizza that she made yesterday and just posted it...you gotta check out her Sourdough Pizza Margherita...as for me, all I could come up with for today, is a fabulous quick and light strawberry dessert that I made, and photographed at her house...playing 'tag' with the sun coming in and out!
It's been over a year now, that I have received an amazing giveaway gift set of fantastic walnut olive oil, chocolate balsamic vinegar, seasonings, and spice rubs. from ARTISANO'S  via my dear friend Lizzy! I have not opened the chocolate balsamic vinegar...until now, even though I know how amazing it is on strawberries. I did make balsamic soaked strawberries before, but nothing like this particular one!
I've been reading  quite a few recipes from my Hungarian food blogger friends...especially GIZI who happens to make a lot of desserts with mascarpone and whipped cream...'hmm'...I thought to myself; why is it that I have not seen a whipped cream incorporated with mascarpone?...what's so hard about it?...it's done the same way as if you are whipping cream, adding a little sugar and vanilla, to the mascarpone, and the cream...I'll tell you, it is pure HEAVEN! My 6yr. old grandson, took a soup spoon and was totally eating the cream...like 'no tomorrow'...I had to remind him that we need to save it for the dessert!

Monday, August 13, 2012

End of the Mango Season in S. Florida

I'm not trying to bore you with more mangoes...but this time, I just want to share with you the last of our mangoes and the  Mango Jam recipe that my daughter Lora and I share. My recipe calls for lemon juice, which her Italian recipe does not, but from the last batch that I made she like the slight tangy lemon taste...this time, I used the juice of fresh lime, and that even made it taste better!
I'm going to share my little secret of how to can jams perfectly and to make sure they stay sealed, tight. You have to hear that 'pop sound' when you twist the jar to open...otherwise its not sealed right! I could never do this kind of work in my tiny beach condo kitchen, now you can understand why I spend just about every day at my daughter's house...not so much because she has a much larger kitchen, but because they have plenty of counter space and the kitchen is open and well lit! Also, the patio has ample natural lighting as well. I made this batch last week, and hoped I would catch a little sunlight that was 'sneaking around' for a short time...then the rain came!

I will guide you through the easy process...although a little time consuming, but I promise you that you can make this with the half of the amount from the full recipe!

This is what 1 kilo (2.2 lbs) of fruit will allow you to make. These are 12 oz canning jars with lids, that have to be sterilized (just run it through the dishwasher cycle lid too) or boil in a large pot of water, and let it cool to the touch.

You can make this with other fruits...peaches is what I would love to make it with, hoping that the price will come down from $1.99 a pound, we will probably get it less at our local produce market. Plums would work well also, for this recipe.

I used Sure-Jell pectin for my previous batch, but this time I use my daughter's Italian pectin that comes in a big pouch, so I counted out how many Tablespoons it requires, and marked down everything on paper to be saved, so good thing that I'm actually typing up this recipe and method to save for myself too!

With a jar of leftover mango jam, I also made cream cheese bars filled with mango jam

Mango Jam
adapted from Italian basic jam recipe

2 kilo (4.4 lbs) mango, or other fruit
750 g.(about 2 1/2 cups sugar
juice of 2 lemons, or limes
5 Tablespoons pectin (I used Italian import)

note: you can cut the amount exactly in half if you
want to make less jam.

Wash, peel, and dice the mango, or other fruit, and put into a large bowl. With a potato masher mash it well, but leaving little chunks of fruit which is really very tasty.







Add the pulp of the fruit to a large heavy stainless steel, or other heavy duty pot. Add the sugar, the pectin and the juice of the lemon or lime, and simmer constantly, over med. high heat.


Make sure you keep stirring, constantly, until it comes to a bubble and a slow boil. You must take it off the heat as soon as it does that, and start getting your jars ready to be filled by the hot jam. Don't be alarmed that it looks liquidy, because it will start to jel, as soon as it starts to cool a little.







With a ladle, carefully spoon the jam up to about where the neck of the jar is, to assure it will not spill over...do not fill to the very top!











Just set them on a dish towel making sure the lids are well sealed, and here comes the tricky part that will assure double seal!













Turn the filled jars upside-down, and leave them sitting like that for about 10 minutes to assure safe sealing for the lids. You can also do a water bath in a large pot with water only up to half way, and simmer for 10 minutes, or just follow this method!

note: if you are planning to leave jams in a cool place in your cupboard, then you have to do the water bath method...otherwise just proceed with this method, but you must refrigerate after opening the jar...either way, when you open a jar of jam you must refrigerate it!

Jam is done...now you can go 'jamming along'...a cool song of Bob Marley...Jammin!

Enjoy the jam...and share, sparingly...it's that GOOD!

Linking to: Thursday Favorite Things @ Katherines Corner

Friday, August 10, 2012

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Legs

TGIF-where has the week gone by?...pretty soon, the kids will be going back to school at the end of this month, and the end of summer vacation for most people, as well! Living in South Florida most of my life, and my children, 'native Floridians'...grandchildren not even knowing what cold winter, and snow is all about...glad that we are here in the 'land of sunshine'...not so much of it for the last couple months. Although we get a 'sneak preview' of it just about every single day, even if its for an hour, S. Florida is still the SUNSHINE STATE!
Often, I have a dilemma about what to make for 1 person (myself) for dinner, when I'm not at my daughter's which is just about every day. We cook together, or I cook (she does most of the baking)...but when I eat alone, about twice a week, I just don't want to heat up my little kitchen and waste electricity, so I use my George Foreman grill, or my toaster over to make a small portion, for (2) ...yes, 2...either for one, and have another portion fore leftover lunch, or invite a friend!
Have you ever tried cooking a gourmet meal in the toaster oven?...well, you can, you know, it's as easy, if not easier than in your big conventional oven! I've been doing this for a long time now, and my best friend suggested that I write a 'toaster oven cookbook'...which of course, I haven't but then, they already have them and she gave me a cute little toaster oven cookbook!

You have to have at least a large enough tray for the toaster oven to be able to fit at least 6 pieces of chicken comfortably, or for roasting a few pieces of vegetable, fish, or even baking cookies...seriously!

I'm gonna share 3 different recipes...one for the Jerk seasoning, 1 for the Basmati rice which is a cilantro-lime scented, and a fabulous Cuban , authentic Havana based black beans, which you can mix with the rice, or serve it separately! So, are you ready?...because I will guide step-by-step for this semi-spicy delicious Caribbean dish, that will take you away to the island of Jamaica...or the Havana black beans to the 'forbidden island'...which I will not go into a long explanation but just that; it was referred to as the 'jewel of the Caribbean'...the largest of the Caribbean islands...frozen in time, from the 1950's!... see link-Caribbean, Havana!
We have a huge population of Cubans here, in S. Florida, as we also have a large population of Jamaicans, and Haitians. We have so much 'island influences' that you do not have to venture far to authentic cuisines of these colorful, tasty, spicy, Caribbean influences of their culture!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mango-Lime Sorbet

'Rainy Days, and Mondays'...is precisely what is happening here, in S. Florida at this very time! It is a lazy day...or I should say morning. I'm watching the Olympics as I'm typing my post...barely able to take my eyes off the T.V...watching the water polo with U.S. and Hungary...with a 4 - 0 ...Hungary leading! (ending with 11-6, Hungary winning!)

Very strong defense from Hungary! ...last night I watched the women's volleyball...U.S. against Italy, with U.S. pummeling the Italian team, wow!
Mango season is just about over now...I saw 3 lonely mangoes leftover on the mango tree, but we did get quite a few even towards the end to make some more mango creations. Nothing compares to fresh fruit sorbet...I love sorbet, more than ice cream...because of the light texture and pure fruit flavors along with the citrus fruit, such as lime! You really just have to know the formula, in making sorbet. It has to be equal amount of sugar and water for the simple syrup, which you just bring to a boil, and cool down, even best to chill several hours, or overnight!
Just add the chilled fruit puree with the cold simple syrup, and the lime juice, and you're good to go, mixing it in your ice cream maker.

Mango-Lime Sorbet
recipe by; Elisabeth

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups water
4 cups mango puree
juice of 3 limes
a pinch of salt

In a medium saucepan, bring water and sugar to boil.
Stir frequently, just until sugar melts, and water comes to a full boil. Set aside to cool.
Peel and dice about 4  mangoes...more if needed to make 4 cups of puree. Add the juice of the 3 limes to the puree. Cool the the simple syrup in the fridge for several hours, ore overnight, before adding to the puree.









Combine the simple syrup and the mango puree in in the ice cream maker, and mix for about 20-40 minutes. Next...with the mango sorbet in the ice cream maker cylinder, put into freezer...no more than 40 minutes.



Spoon sorbet into a quart size plastic container, and freeze until firm! It is the best sorbet, that you can make homemade with other fruits as well. I would love to make a strawberry, or blueberry sorbet. Next, on my list!

Speaking of which, I totally wiped out my blog list by mistake...always messing around, fixing things. Now, I have to add my favorites...one-by-one. I did not intentionally wipe your blog out, will get my list back up soon, since I rely so much on my regular commenter friends.











Linking to: Full Plate Thrusday, @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage

                Thursday Favorite Things @ Katherines Corner

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Blueberry-Peach Bread...for "Twelve Loaves"

I decided to make some fruit filled bread, since we are in the midst of the summer season, with plenty of summer fruits available and at such cheap price. Blueberry happens to be one of my all-time favorite berries, and to combine it with juicy ripe peaches, is the first time for me...although I have seen it on other food
bloggers site.