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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cured Salmon (Gravlax) with Blinis

If you want to serve a great appetizer at your next cocktail party that is both easy to make and luxurious, you should definitely try this recipe.

When you think of luxurious foods, you might also think of expensive foods. Well, if you cure your own salmon you will just be paying for the salmon and not for the cost of someone else's labor. Plus you will be able to customize its flavor with the aromatics of your choice.

Gravlax is Scandinavia's most distinctive dish. The process of curing salmon is extremely easy, yet you will impress your guests! Raw salmon is cured with salt and sugar and infused with fresh dill, white peppercorns, citrus peel and aquavit or brandy.

Carving gravlax is the hardest thing and you will absolutely need a sharp knife.

I found this recipe in Saveur magazine; I added a few ingredients of my own and here it is!


Makes about 50 pieces of blinis and salmon

For the gravlax:
1 lb fresh salmon (wild caught if possible) with skin-on
1 cup dill (finely chopped)
2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons white peppercorns (crushed)
Peel of 1 lemon (sliced)
3 tablespoons aquavit or cognac

For the blinis:
4 eggs
1 cup crème fraîche
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Fresh dill and lemon slices to garnish

Combine dill, salt, pepper, sugar and lemon peel in a small bowl and stir together. Place fish in a baking dish.
Rub salt mixture into flesh, then sprinkle aquavit or cognac over fish.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap, then place a slightly smaller plate or pan on top of plastic. Place heavy cans on plate. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 days.

Rinse fish in cold water and pat dry. Use a long, sharp knife to slice salmon thinly.

Whisk eggs and sour cream in a large bowl. In another bowl combine flour, salt and baking soda. Add to egg mixture and whisk until smooth.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spoon batter into pan to form small 2-3'' rounds. Cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides.

Transfer to a serving platter, top with slices of gravlax and sprinkle with finely chopped chives.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Quinoa Bowl with Veggies and Yuzu Vinaigrette

Quinoa is a "superfood", high in protein, fiber and minerals. It does not contain any gluten and it is not a cereal grain. Quinoa was an important grain for the Inca Empire, referred to by them as "the mother of all grains". It has been eaten for centuries in South America, but only became trendy and reached "superfood" status in the rest of the world a few years ago.

Quinoa is cooked in just 15 minutes. It has a subtle nutty taste that goes well with all kinds of ingredients. Make sure you rinse quinoa well before cooking to remove a bitter coating that grows with quinoa.

This quinoa bowl I made today is served warm with an olive oil and yuzu vinaigrette. It is really easy to make and you will have it ready in about 20-25 minutes. You can add a poached egg if you don't want to go completely vegan.

Yuzu is an aromatic citrus fruit originating in East Asia. Its flavor is tart and very refreshing, having elements of other citrus fruits like grapefruit and mandarin. You will not forget its flavor! Yuzu's juice and peel are widely used in Japanese cuisine, from cocktails to savory dishes and desserts.

Though really hard to find, fresh yuzu is available in season, from September into January, in specialty stores. Yuzu products can be found year round. I usually buy yuzu juice from and keep it in the fridge for sauces and vinaigrettes. Yuzu marmalade is also great!


Serves 4

1 and 1/2 cup quinoa (rinsed)
1 and 1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1lb cremini mushrooms (cleaned and sliced)
1/2 lb baby spinach
1 lb brocoletti (washed and thinly sliced)

For the vinaigrette:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons juzu juice
crushed red peppercorns
zest of one lemon
salt to taste

Start by cooking the quinoa: In a medium saucepan put the quinoa and water and bring to a boil; cover and simmer for 15 minutes; remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes before uncovering. Fluff with a fork and reserve.

Stir fry the veggies: Heat a deep skillet or wok over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mushrooms and cook until tender and slightly browned (about 2 and 1/2 minutes). Transfer mushrooms to a plate and reserve. Add one tablespoon of olive oil, spinach and brocoletti and cook over medium heat until tender (about 3 minutes). 

Transfer mushrooms and quinoa to the skillet and mix well with spinach and brocoletti.

Prepare the vinaigrette:Add olive oil, juzu juice, red peppercorns, lemon zest and salt to a small glass jar, cover with lid and shake vigorously. 

Add vinaigrette to quinoa and veggies away from heat and mix well. 

Serve warm and enjoy!

Close lid and shake well

Emulsified vinaigrette