food amongst family and friends

Roast Salmon in yogurt dill sauce on a bed of Israeli CousCous and cherry tomatoes July 21, 2012

Filed under: Fish and Seafood,Mains,Pasta,Quick and easy — blisteringlydrunk @ 12:14 pm
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First, just writing that titled sounded complicated and this is not; the whole meal came together in 40 minutes, and a lot of that time was waiting for the salmon and pasta to cook. This is one of those great recipes of simple, yet flavourful ingredients, that just tastes like summer come to life (thank you Bon Apetit, you never let me down). That said, it is definitely fancy enough to serve to your snootiest guests. So feel free to serve it to your family for a quick and healthy weeknight meal, or to a dinner party of strangers you need to impress, you won’t regret this one.

Yogurt Sauce

1 cup Greek yogurt

2 – 4 Tbsp milk

3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives

1 Tbsp lemon zest

salt to taste

Combine yogurt with dill, chives, lemon zest and salt. Stir in just enough milk to thin to the consistency of a thick gravy. Set aside to allow flavours to blend while you make the salmon.


4 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1/2 bunch dill fronds

1/2 bunch thyme

1, 3lb piece of centre cut salmon

8 oz of cherry tomatoes, on the vine if possible

Preheat oven to 325.  Pour 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil in a roasting pan just large enough for the salmon. Make a bed of the herbs on top of the oil, and top with salmon (skin side down if it has it). Drizzle remaining oil on salmon and season with salt and pepper. Top with tomatoes. Bake until salmon is just cooked in centre 22 – 30 minutes (my salmon was closer to 2 1/2 lbs and 22 minutes was perfect).


2 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes

4 Tbsp olive oil, divided

2 Tbsp chopped parsley

2 Tbsp za’atar (a middle eastern seasoning I couldn’t find, so I substituted an equal combination of oregano, marjoram, summer savory, and thyme, plus some sesame seeds, and I subbed one of the Tbsp of olive oil for sesame oil)


2 cups Israeli couscous (I think orzo would work pretty well here if you can’t find the Israeli couscous, but try, because its texture and flavour is hard to replace)

1 Tbsp butter

Toss tomatoes with 3 Tbsp of oil, parsley, and za’atar in a medium bowl, season with salt. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook couscous like you would pasta, about 8 minutes or until al dente, then drain. Stir in 1 Tbsp each butter and olive oil, the add in the tomato salad.


To serve, slice the salmon into portions (6-8, depending on your salmon and appetites)  and serve each on a bed of couscous, topping with dill sauce.




Sliders in gougeres with kalamata olive aioli July 17, 2012

Filed under: Appetizers,Beef,Make Ahead,Sauces — blisteringlydrunk @ 4:19 pm
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This is ones of those things that sounds fancy, looks fancy and tastes amazing, but is actually quite simple. Not to mention that it pleased everyone from my 3 year old, to my foodie sister (and more importantly, me). We actually had these at my husband’s Christmas party way back at the end of November last year and I have been meaning to make them ever since. It was a fantastic, cook your own Christmas dinner party at the Cookbook Company here in Calgary and they sent  home the recipes afterwards. I was in charge of a lot of egg whites for the souffles and didn’t actually get to see how this was done, so I had some strangely shaped gougeres at the end of it, but they tasted fantastic, so all’s well that ends well. Thank you Chef Craig Westhaver for the wonderful recipe!


1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup cold water

1 cup flour

salt and red pepper flakes to taste

1/2 tsp cumin seed

4 eggs

1 cup crumbled blue cheese

In a medium sauce pan, bring water and butter to a boil. Once all the butter is melted in, add the flour, salt, red pepper flakes (a dash or two), and cumin seeds. Stir together and continue to cook over medium heat until a ball forms and pulls smoothly from the walls of the pot. For me this happened pretty much by the time everything was combined. Remove from heat and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated between each addition. Stir in the cheese. Preheat oven to 400 and line two cookie sheets with parchment. Pipe or spoon onto parchment into the size (keeping in mind how big you want your sliders to be) and shape you want; they will puff up a little, but not a ton, so pile the dough up a bit or you will end up with very flat gourgeres like me. Bake for about 20 minutes without ever opening the oven door. They are done when crisp on the outside but still soft in the middle. This should make about 2  to 2 1/2 dozen. I made mine the day before, kept them in a plastic bag and then just popped them back in a hot oven for 3 minutes to crisp them back up before serving; worked like a charm.


2 lbs lean ground beef

1 egg

2 Tbsp bread crumbs

2 cloves garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together using just the ends of your fingertips, taking care not to squish or squeeze the meat, this will keep it very tender. I made 2 oz patties, which was actually a little too big, I think next time I will aim for 1 to 1 1/2 oz patties, which should make about 22 to 25 sliders. I cooked mine on a hot grill for about 3 minutes a side, which was perfect. Again, I made the patties the day before and then cooked them just prior to serving. I have also frozen some raw, which came out perfectly if you were wanting to get this step done well in advance.

Olive Aioli

1 egg yolk

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1/2 lemon, juiced

4-6 cloves garlic, pureed (I did this with the parsley in the food processor, then added to olives at the end until finely chopped)

2 Tbsp minced parsely

1/2 cup kalamata olives, finely chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

red pepper flakes and salt to taste

1 – 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar (optional, taste first as lemon may be enough)

In a non-reactive bowl. whisk together egg, mustard and lemon juice. Then, slowly, in a long, thin stream add in the olive oil while vigorously whisking to emulsify. Add the remaining ingredients, tasting and adjusting salt, vinegar and red pepper flakes at the end. Again, I made this the day before.
To serve, halve the gougeres, add a Tbsp or so of aioli to the bottom, followed by a slider, top with the top of the gourgere. With everything done the day before, the whole platter of these came together in about 15-20 minutes, including cooking the sliders.