Aloha From Oregon Cranberry Pepper Jelly

November 24, 2014 by andrea | Comments Off on Aloha From Oregon Cranberry Pepper Jelly | Filed in Appetizer, Life in Oregon, Local Goodness, Products I Love, Recipes


I’ve been buying locally-made Aloha From Oregon pepper jellies for years. They have a potpourri of flavors so you can switch it up depending on the season (Cranberry Pepper Jelly for Thanksgiving, Mango Pepper Jelly in the summer, etc). This last weekend I took a jar of their pepper jelly to a barn party and served it with cream cheese and crackers. pepper-jelly-on-crackerIt’s one of the easiest appetizers on earth and it’s always a hit.

For a perfect holiday hostess gift, buy a few bottles of Christmas Pepper Jelly (half of the jar is red Cranberry Pepper Jelly and half of the jar is green Jalapeno Pepper Jelly)…so festive!

Aloha From Oregon products are sold all over the United States. Check out their website for retail locations, online orders (sold in 3-packs) and recipes using their delicious pepper jellies, preserves, fruit butters, and chutneys.

P.S. I’m not getting paid anything for this post. I just like their products and love supporting local Oregon businesses.

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Sicilian Meatballs with Fresh Basil Marinara

October 25, 2013 by andrea | Comments Off on Sicilian Meatballs with Fresh Basil Marinara | Filed in Comfort Food, Italian, Kid-friendly, Main Dish, Recipes


If you’ve never made homemade meatballs, it’s time to step up to the plate and give it a swing. Sure, you can buy a bag of them at the grocery store but there’s really no comparison between a good, homemade meatball and the spongey, frozen store-bought variety! These Sicilian Meatballs are flavored with fresh herbs, good parmesan cheese (worth the splurge here!), and some chopped onions and garlic…simple ingredients that create delicious results. The little bit of effort is sooooo worth it!

While this recipe makes a great marinara sauce for the meatballs, it’s not enough to sauce pasta. I serve the meatballs with good crusty bread (to soak up the sauce) and a mixed green salad tossed with an Italian-inspired vinaigrette. Enjoy!

Sicilian Meatballs with Fresh Basil Marinara
-recipe from Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food

These baseball-sized meatballs are a mainstay of the Bi-Rite market’s deli case. One is enough for most appetites, but have two if you’re ravenous. Variations: Add some capers, anchovies, and olive oil to the marinara for a puttanesca sauce or a pinch of chile flakes for arrabiata sauce.

Makes 6 large meatballs.

1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, more for sprinkling
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tbs. chopped parsley
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
Sugar, as needed
2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil

Put a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking pan with parchment or a nonstick liner and set aside.

Put the breadcrumbs and milk in a large mixing bowl, stir to blend, and set aside for 5 minutes. With your hands, squeeze and mash the breadcrumbs so that they make a smooth paste. Add the egg and whisk, then add the Parmigiano, ketchup, parsley, oregano, thyme, half the onion, half the garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir to blend.

With your hands, break the beef into small chunks and add to the bowl. Mix gently but thoroughly; overmixing will make the meatballs tough and dry. When all the ingredients are evenly combined, shape the mixture into 6 balls and arrange on the baking sheet.

Bake until an instant-read thermometer reads 165°F at the center of a meatball, 40 to 45 minutes.

While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining half onion and 1 teaspoon salt and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining half garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, bring to a boil, and lower the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a thick sauce,
10 to 15 minutes. Taste the sauce and add a pinch or two of sugar if it seems too tangy, and season with more salt if necessary. Stir in the basil and keep warm until the meatballs come out of the oven.

Spoon the sauce generously over the meatballs and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Garnish with a sprinkling of Parmigiano.

Leftovers: Slice up any leftover meatballs, reheat in the sauce. and put them in the middle of a good crusty roll. Then top with mozzarella or provolone.


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The “Seattle” Sandwich with Cured Wild Salmon

August 2, 2013 by andrea | 1 Comment | Filed in Breakfast, Fish, Recipes, Sandwich


I love egg sandwiches and am always looking for new ways to make them. Here’s a creative version from superstar Seattle chef Tom Douglas. The recipe features lox (thinly sliced cured salmon), cardamom-spiked pickled onions and dilled cream cheese. All I can say is, “WOW!” If you like bagles with lox and cream cheese then you’ll love this recipe!

The best way to tackle the recipe is to make the pickled onions and dilled cream cheese ahead of time (or the day before) which will greatly speed up the sandwich-making process.

The recipe calls for gravlax (Swedish cured salmon) or lox (brined and cold-smoked). Both types of salmon have a delicate texture because they are uncooked, and both come thinly sliced in the package. Do not buy traditional hot-smoked salmon which is dense, flaky and fully cooked in a smoker…this is a totally different type of salmon product and would not work in this recipe.


The “Seattle” Sandwich with Cured Wild Salmon
-recipe from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook by Tom Douglas


Here’s an English muffin sandwich with moist, salty lox, mellow herbed cream cheese, and the sweet- spicy kick of pickled onions. You won’t need all the pickled onions, but the leftover onions can be covered and refrigerated for several days. Drain and add them to salads or sandwiches. Try them on a tuna fish salad sandwich. You can make your own cured wild salmon or just buy lox or lox-style smoked salmon. – The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook



Pickled Onions
1 small to medium red onion (about 7 ounces), thinly sliced
1⁄2 cup red wine vinegar
1⁄2 cup water
1⁄3 cup sugar
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds (see Note above)
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Dilled Cream Cheese
4 ounces (1⁄2 cup) cream cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 English muffins, split, toasted, and buttered on top halves only
6 to 8 ounces thinly sliced Gravlax or Lox-style salmon (about 12 slices)
Unsalted butter as needed for cooking the eggs
4 large eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black Pepper

1. To make the pickled onions, put the onion in a heatproof bowl and place a fine strainer over the bowl. Put the vinegar, water, sugar, spices, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and heat to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Pour the pickling liquid through the strainer and over the onions, discarding the spices in the strainer. Allow the onions to sit at room temperature until cool. When the onions are cool, use a slotted spoon to remove as many as you like for your sandwiches and drain them on paper towels. Cover the remaining onions with plastic wrap and reserve them, refrigerated, for another use. They will last for about a week.

2. To make the dilled cream cheese, put the cream cheese and cream in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment and beat until the cream cheese is softened. (Or you can use a food processor.) Add the dill and mix to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, but use a light hand with the salt because the lox is salty.

3. Put the muffins on 4 plates, cut sides up. Spread a fourth of the dill cream cheese on the bottom (unbuttered) half of each muffin on each plate and top the cream cheese with 3 slices of lox.

4. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, using butter as needed, cook the eggs over easy or over medium to your liking. Season the eggs with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Top the lox on each sandwich with a cooked egg and top the egg with some of the drained pickled onions. Put the other muffin half on top, buttered side down, to make a sandwich. Repeat with the remaining muffins to make 4 sandwiches and serve immediately.


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Cobb Salad with Fresh Herbs

July 26, 2013 by andrea | Comments Off on Cobb Salad with Fresh Herbs | Filed in Chicken, Grilling/BBQ, Main Dish, Salad, Summer, Vegetable


Who can resist a good Cobb salad? The combo of smoky bacon, perfectly ripe avocados, tomatoes and blue cheese mixed with salad greens is an American classic!. The updates in this version come from the use of grilled chicken, pine nuts, fresh herbs, and a tangy Lemon-Sherry Vinaigrette. The salad is hearty, flavorful and makes a perfect summertime meal!

I use a good-quality, thick-sliced applewood-smoked bacon. You can cook the bacon and make the vinaigrette ahead of time then refrigerate both until you’re ready to make the salad. The recipe calls for Boston lettuce but I used a combo of that and some mixed baby greens.

I like to support local companies so I usually use a blue cheese from Oregon’s own award winning  Rogue Creamery.  The recipe calls for Roquefort but you can use your favorite kind of blue cheese, or substitute feta or goat cheese if you prefer.

Serve the salad with some crusty bread. Enjoy!

Cobb Salad with Fresh Herbs
 -recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine

This update on the classic Cobb Salad features mustard-crusted grilled chicken, crunchy pine nuts, and tons of fresh flavor from the mint, chives and parsley. Yields 6 large dinner salads.

2 Tbs. mayonnaise
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (7 to 8 oz. each), tenderloins separated if still attached
2 heads Boston lettuce (about 12 oz. total), trimmed, torn into bite-size pieces, washed, and dried
1-1/2 cups lightly packed fresh parsley leaves, torn if large
3/4 cup lightly packed mint leaves, torn if large
1 recipe Lemon-Sherry Vinaigrette  (see below)
3 large avocados
2-1/2 cups (about 1 lb.) halved grape tomatoes
1 heaping cup (6 oz.) crumbled Roquefort
2/3 cup toasted pine nuts
12 slices bacon, cooked, cooled, and crumbled
1/2 cup sliced chives (3/4 inch long)
Grill the chicken: Heat a gas grill to medium high. In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Grill until well marked and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes per side for the breasts, and 2 to 3 minutes per side for the tenderloins. Let cool and cut into small dice.

Assemble the salads: Set 6 large dinner plates on your counter. Combine the lettuce, parsley, and mint in a large mixing bowl. Toss with just enough of the vinaigrette to coat lightly, 4 to 5 Tbs. Season with a little salt and pepper and toss again. Divide among the plates, arranging the lettuce in a circle with a small hole in the center.

Peel, pit, and cut the avocados into medium dice and toss them in a medium bowl with 2 Tbs. of the vinaigrette. Combine about a sixth each of the avocados, tomatoes, Roquefort, pine nuts, and chicken in the mixing bowl. Season with a little salt and pepper and toss with about 1 Tbs. of the vinaigrette. (You won’t use all the dressing.) Mound the mixture in the center of a salad. Repeat for the rest of the salads. Sprinkle on the bacon and chives and serve.

Lemon-Sherry Vinaigrette
Yields 1-1/4 cups.

3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (from about 1 large lemon)
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Put all the ingredients in a glass measuring cup or a jar with a tight-fitting lid and whisk or vigorously shake to combine. You can store the vinaigrette in the refrigerator for up to 5 days; let come to room temperature and shake or whisk before using.


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Big Tony Brown Super Spicy BBQ Sauce

June 26, 2013 by andrea | 1 Comment | Filed in Condiment, Grilling/BBQ, Life in Oregon, Local Goodness, Morsels & Musings, Products I Love, Recipes

Super-Spicy-SauceLast summer I posted about my family’s favorite condiment: Big Tony Brown BBQ Sauce. The sauce is made locally in Newberg with all-natural ingredients, and is a must-have for condiment and/or barbecue lovers. Flavored with a blend of warm spices, it has a touch of tang, a balance of sweet and heat, and no trace of the fake smoke flavoring found in many barbecue sauces. I like to call it Liquid Gold!

A recent conversation with my boys about Big Tony Brown BBQ Sauce went like this (I’m not exaggerating either…I immediately wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget it):

“Boys, I saw Big Tony today and bought a few more bottles of sauce,” I said after returning from a store run.

“It’s the best sauce in the world!” bellowed Younger Boy.

“I agree!” exclaimed Older Boy with hearty enthusiasm.

There you have it…WE LOVE THIS SAUCE!

The really BIG news here is that Big Tony Brown BBQ Sauce is now being carried by Made In Oregon, the retail store that carries products that are…uh, made in Oregon (I bet you figured that out). This means more business for Tony Brown, and more deliciousness being served up across America. While the products are not on the Made in Oregon website yet, they are carried in their stores. Woohoo!

The sauce is available in 3 levels of heat: Mild, Spicy and Super Spicy (their newest addition). Other Big Tony Brown products include The Mild Dry Marinade, The Spicy Dry Marinade, and The Dust (an all-purpose seasoning with a peppery kick and less salt than brands like Johnny’s or Lawry’s).

The sauces can be found online at Big Tony Brown BBQ or at these fine Portland metro stores:
Made In Oregon (all mall locations and PDX Airport), Red Hills Market (Dundee), The Meating Place (Hillsboro), Otto’s Sausage (SE Portland), Barbur World Foods (SW Portland), Market of Choice (SW Portland & West Linn), Chuck’s Produce (Vancouver).

Buy some today!

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Herb Deviled Eggs

June 21, 2013 by andrea | 1 Comment | Filed in Appetizer, Eggs, Recipes, Side Dish, Snack, Vegetarian


I never met a deviled egg I didn’t like. Seriously, I  love all versions of this classic summer potluck staple! This particular version sports tangy dill pickles, Dijon mustard and white wine vinegar, a punch of flavor from fresh herbs, and a bit of heat from cayenne pepper.

Feel free to add more dill and/or chives if you want more herby flavor. For a little extra color, sprinkle a tiny amount of cayenne on the top of each finished egg. Enjoy!

-recipe from Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen

With their outsize flavor and perfectly bite-size proportions, deviled eggs never go out of style. The best part is that they’re one of the few dishes fit for entertaining that’s also so simple, you can probably throw them together on a moment’s notice without even going to the grocery store. All you need are some eggs and a little something to give them zip, from chopped pickles or pickle relish to cayenne pepper or spicy pepper relish. I like this version, which is topped with fresh herbs and cornichons or other pickled vegetables, like okra or asparagus. – Sara Foster

Makes 1 dozen.

6 large eggs
2 tablespoons your favorite or Homemade Mayonnaise
4 cornichons or mini dill pickles, 3 minced and 1 thinly sliced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish, if desired
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish, if desired
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the eggs in a saucepan with enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring the water to a low boil over medium-high heat. As soon as the water comes to a boil, turn off the heat, cover, and let the eggs sit in the water for about 10 minutes longer.

Drain the eggs, rinse under cold running water, gently crack the shells, and let sit in cold or ice water until completely cool. Remove the eggs from the water and carefully remove the shells. Place on a paper towel to drain.

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Scoop the yolks into a medium bowl, being careful to keep the whites intact. Place the whites on a plate and set aside.

Add the mayonnaise, minced pickles, mustard, vinegar, dill, chives, cayenne, and salt and black pepper to taste to the egg yolks and mash with a fork to form a smooth paste.

Spoon about 1 heaping teaspoon of the yolk mixture back into each egg half and refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve, or for several hours.

Top each egg with a thin slice of pickle and a sprinkling of fresh dill or chives and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired, just before serving.

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Herb-Roasted Potatoes and Onions

June 17, 2013 by andrea | Comments Off on Herb-Roasted Potatoes and Onions | Filed in Potatoes, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetable, Vegetarian


“These potatoes look gourmet!” exclaimed Husband as I handed him his Father’s Day dinner plate that included a grilled rib-eye, these Herb-Roasted Potatoes and Onions, and steamed green beans drizzled with a little olive oil. I love roasted potatoes anyway, but the addition of frizzled onions and fresh herbs takes the deliciousness to another level!

As you can see from the photo, some of the onions got a bit crispy (which I actually liked). If you want your onions to be cooked but not too browned, just cut the slices a little thicker (but not too thick). The sliced onions provide a bed for the potatoes to roast on, and the onions that get crispy are the ones that don’t have potatoes on top of them. 

I used fresh rosemary and thyme for the hardy herbs, which get roasted along with the potatoes and onions. Right before serving, a generous sprinkling of chopped Italian parsley and chives completes the dish. I made a quick sour cream and horseradish sauce (sour cream, horseradish, salt, pepper) to serve along side the taters. Delish!

Herb-Roasted Potatoes and Onions
-recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine

In this dish, hardy herbs are roasted with the potatoes and onions, infusing them with flavor. Then tender herbs are tossed with the hot potatoes just before serving; the heat brings out the herbs’ flavors, but they stay green and fresh tasting. Serves 6.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil; more for the baking sheet
2 lb. small (about 1-1/2-inch) potatoes, halved
Kosher salt
2 Tbs. coarsely chopped mixed hardy fresh herbs, such as rosemary, savory, and thyme
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped mixed tender fresh herbs, such as chives, parsley, and tarragon
Flaky sea salt for serving (optional)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Oil a large rimmed baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes with the olive oil and 1 tsp. salt to coat.

Sprinkle the hardy herbs over the bottom of the baking sheet, spread the onion slices over the herbs, and top with the potatoes, cut side down. Scrape any olive oil remaining in the bowl over the potatoes.

Roast until the potatoes are tender and brown on the edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the potatoes and onions to a bowl and toss with the tender herbs. Season to taste with sea salt, if using, or kosher salt and serve.

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Grilled Sausage and Balsamic Onion Sandwich

June 13, 2013 by andrea | 1 Comment | Filed in Grilling/BBQ, Quick Cooking, Recipes, Sandwich


Until about five years ago, I was never that excited about sandwiches. Then all of a sudden I started finding creative recipes for them all over the place, like this one that combines simple ingredients in a fresh new way:  Grilled balsamic red onions and flavorful Italian sausages, juicy tomatoes, and peppery arugula served on lightly toasted ciabatta rolls. It’s a great weeknight meal and perfect for weekend entertaining.

The recipe calls for grilling the sausages and onions at high heat but I turned the grill down a bit so I didn’t burn anything.

I thought the ciabatta rolls were perfect for these sandwiches because they were sturdy (which you need for this recipe), and crusty on the outside without being too crusty. Costco and Fred Meyer sell bags of ciabatta rolls in the bakery section, and I’m sure many other large grocery stores carry them, too. You can also use sliced crusty Italian bread for this but it will get pretty crunchy once you grill it (great for crostini but harder to eat as a sandwich). Enjoy!

Grilled Sausage & Balsamic Onion Sandwich
-from Fine Cooking Magazine

Serves four as a main course.

1 large red onion, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch disks
5 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. good balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large ripe tomato (about 8 oz.), thinly sliced
8 slices (about 1/2-inch thick each) crusty Italian bread or 4 ciabatta rolls
1 clove garlic, smashed
4 links sweet or hot Italian sausage (about 1 lb. total)
1 packed cup arugula, washed (if the leaves are large, stem them)
2 to 3 Tbs. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Heat a gas grill to high. Drizzle the onions with 1 Tbs. oil and 1 Tbs. vinegar and season well with salt and pepper. Toss gently to keep the disks intact. Season the tomato slices with salt and pepper and drizzle with 1 Tbs. oil. Brush 2 Tbs. of the oil over both sides of the bread, rub with the smashed garlic, and season with salt and pepper.

Put the sausages and onions on the hottest part of the grill. Grill the onions, turning them a few times, until they’re browned and have softened to a limp texture, about 8 minutes. Grill the sausages, turning occasionally, until fully cooked (160°F on an instant-read thermometer), 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the sausages and let them rest. Grill the bread for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

Dress the arugula with the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and 1 tsp. vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Arrange a small handful of the arugula and 1 or 2 slices of tomato over four of the bread slices. Slice the sausages in half lengthwise and lay them flat over the tomatoes. Lay a generous portion of the grilled onion rings and a sprinkling of Parmigiano over the sausages. Top with the remaining four slices of bread. Slice the sandwiches in half and serve.


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Green Bean Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette

June 8, 2013 by andrea | 1 Comment | Filed in Recipes, Salad, Vegetable, Vegetarian

I first had this salad years ago in a dinner group I was part of. It was an amazing start to a great meal. The salad is both beautiful and delicious, with a variety of flavors and textures: sweet and juicy tropical mango (or papaya), crisp tender green beans, salty feta, dry roasted pistachios, and a tangy, easy-to-make apricot vinaigrette. 

The vinaigrette dressing is good as is but sometimes I add a little olive oil, a small clove of garlic and some freshly cracked pepper when pureeing the mixture in the blender. These additions add another layer of flavor to the dressing. Play with it and see what you like best. I use Kerr’s apricot nectar because I’ve never been able to find apricot-pineapple.

The recipe calls for papaya but I prefer to use mangoes. You’ll need about 4 large, ripe mangoes. Here’s some helpful tips on how to cut a mango.

Everything can be made/prepped ahead of time but don’t toss the greens with the vinaigrette and assemble the salad until you’re ready to serve it (otherwise you’ll end up with wilted greens). Enjoy!

Green Bean Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette
-recipe from Bon Appétit Magazine

There is no oil in this most original salad. Serves 6.

1 11 1/2-ounce can apricot-pineapple nectar (or apricot nectar)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots (about 1 ounce)

1 1/4 pounds slender green beans, trimmed

1 5-ounce package mixed baby greens

1 papaya, peeled, seeded, thinly sliced lengthwise
3 tablespoons chopped unsalted dry roasted pistachios
1 1/2 ounces ricotta salata* or feta cheese, crumbled

*Available at cheese shops, some Italian markets and some specialty foods stores.

Boil nectar in medium saucepan until reduced to scant * cup, about 5 minutes. Mix in vinegar and apricots. Let stand until apricots soften, about 15 minutes. Puree mixture in blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool.

Cook green beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. Cool in large bowl of ice water. Drain again. Pat beans dry with paper towels. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap green beans in paper towels. Cover vinaigrette and green beans separately and refrigerate.)

Place beans in large bowl. Add 6 tablespoons vinaigrette and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. In another large bowl, toss mixed greens with enough remaining vinaigrette to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mound mixed greens in center of 6 plates. Surround with papaya slices. Arrange beans atop mixed greens. Sprinkle with pistachios and ricotta salata or feta.

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Cedar-Planked Salmon with Red Pepper & Caper Sauce

June 7, 2013 by andrea | 1 Comment | Filed in Fish, Grilling/BBQ, Main Dish, Recipes


Salmon — famous in the Pacific Northwest — is my favorite type of fish, and cooking it on a cedar plank is my favorite method of cooking it. The plank not only keeps the fish moist because it protects it from the direct heat of the grill, but it infuses the salmon with a wonderful smoky flavor. The tangy, Spanish-inspired roasted red pepper sauce is the perfect compliment to the dish. This is a perfect meal for summer!

The recipe calls for salmon fillets but I usually use a whole big piece of salmon (I just cook it a little longer). Costco recently had a 6-pk. of cedar grilling planks for about $7, which is a great price.

I couldn’t find hot paprika of either variety (smoked or Hungarian) so I used regular smoked paprika with a few dashes of cayenne pepper.

You need to soak the plank in water for about 1 hour before putting it on the grill. I usually do this in a large baking pan or in the sink with enough water to cover the plank. Also, it helps to weigh the plank down with something heavy like a tea kettle.

Serve the Cedar-Planked Salmon and Red Pepper & Caper Sauce with Mediterranean Rice Salad. Enjoy!

Cedar-Planked Salmon with Red Pepper & Caper Sauce
-recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine 

Though this grilling method hails from the Pacific Northwest, it’s paired with Spanish flavors in the sauce. You can find small cedar planks meant for cooking at many supermarkets. Serves four.

For the sauce:
1/2 cup jarred piquillo peppers or roasted red peppers
1-1/2 Tbs. sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 Tbs. brine-packed capers, rinsed and chopped
1-1/2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salmon:
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. hot pimentón de la Vera (Spanish smoked paprika) or Hungarian hot paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Four 6- to 8-oz. skinless salmon fillets (preferably at least 1 inch thick)
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Make the sauce:
Put the peppers, vinegar, mustard, and garlic in a blender and begin to puree. With the blender running, add the oil in a thin, steady stream. Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the capers, parsley, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if needed.

Prepare the salmon:
Soak a cedar plank in cold water for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. In a small bowl, mix the sugar, cumin, pimentón, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Sprinkle the mixture over the salmon and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

Prepare a two-zone fire on a gas or charcoal grill: On a gas grill, set two of the burners to high (one if your grill only has two burners) and leave one burner off. On a charcoal grill, push all of the lit coals to one side of the grill.

Set the cedar plank on the grill over the hot zone, cover the grill, and wait until the plank starts to smoke, 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, rub the skinned sides of the salmon fillets with the oil. Slide the plank to the cooler zone and arrange the salmon on top, oiled side down and thicker ends closest to the hot zone. Cover the grill (vents open on a charcoal grill) and cook until the fish is almost cooked through with just a touch of pink in the center—make a nick with a paring knife in the thicker part of a fillet to check—or an instant-read thermometer inserted in a thick part registers 135°F, 10 to 14 minutes. Transfer the fish (still on the plank) to a serving platter and serve with the sauce.

Make Ahead Tips:
The sauce can be made up to two days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

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