Citrus Roasted Salmon & Barley Risotto

I made the BEST dinner the other night from Power Foods – a cook book that I have had for over a year, but never used. Anthony has been keeping up with his vegetarian diet, so the salmon was just for me. The risotto is made with barley instead of rice, and it was really delicious.

The salmon is roasted on orange and lemon slices for 17 minutes at 400 degrees and topped with a puree of fresh peas and watercress. The risotto has leeks, asparagus and peas, and is prepared just like regular risotto. Delicious

Here is the recipe for the Spring Barley Risotto.

Tiny Tomato Tarts

I have been trying to get better about using up all of the food in our fridge before buying new stuff, so when I was planning for our family Easter party, I looked at what we had first before hitting the grocery store. I had some fresh mozzarella in the fridge and frozen phyllo cups in the freezer, so I picked up some grape tomatoes and fresh basil to make these cute little appetizers.

They were pretty easy, and most of the prep-work was done the night before the party.

Tomato Tarts:

  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, chopped into little pieces
  • 4 dozen phyllo cups (found in the frozen food section with desserts)
  • about 5 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
  • fresh basil
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place tomatoes, garlic and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Bake for about 35 minutes.
  2. Once tomatoes are roasted, cool to room temperature and mix in mozzarella.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Place phyllo cups on a rimmed cookie sheet and add a small scoop of the tomato mixture to each one. Add a small piece of fresh basil to each one. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

We served them with an asparagus tart on this cool two-tiered server that my sister had. The were delicious and we ended up making the roasted tomatoes again today for lunch. I really need to set up a tomato plant on our back porch because I think we’ll be eating a lot of these this summer!

Easter Treats

I am baking for our family’s Easter party this weekend, and I made these Easter Egg sugar cookies yesterday. Usually I decorate actual eggs, but these are much tastier. I have a few more things on my list to make, including some of this good stuff:

The Secret to Chocolate Chip Cookies via America’s Test Kitchen

– This Asparagus Gruyere Tart from Martha Stewart has been on my list of things to try for a while, and I had it at the shower I went to last weekend – it was amazing!

Jello in Real Eggs from Just a Taste is hilarious, and I am thinking of giving it a try.

– If you’re crazy, you might try this tutorial from Shauna Sever – How to Make Your Own Marshmallow Peeps.

– This Arugula Pistachio Pesto from Love and Olive Oil looks delicious.

– I have a huge craving for these Mussels in White Wine Sauce and might give them a try next week.

– The 100 Greatest Cooking Tips of All Time from The Food Network.

Have a great (and delicious) weekend!

Sweet Things for the Weekend

My oven has been on for 2 days straight, as I am baking for a few parties and getting Valentine’s Day treats ready. I used disco dust (edible glitter) for the first time this morning, and I can get enough of it. I was to cover everything I eat with pink glitter.

The internet is full of super-creative ideas for things to make your sweethearts next week:

Crazy creative homemade candy necklaces from Bakingdom via Not Martha
Valentine’s Day Heart Punch Napkins from Make, Grow, Gather
Pretty Lace Heart Cookies from Sugarbelle (I am making these today)
Ruffle Fondant Cupcakes from Jessicakes
Cherry Vanilla Layer Cake from Sprinkle Bakes

Pasta with Goat Cheese, Roasted Asparagus and Lemon

I love goat cheese. A lot of people don’t (at least people in my family). This makes the following recipe fairly controversial, but I promise that the cheese turns into a delicious, creamy, mild, amazing sauce when it melts into the pasta. If you have any hesitations about trying goat cheese, this recipe is a good way to give it a try.

Ingredients:
– 1 box curly pasta such as rotini or campanelle
– 1 bunch asparagus
– 1 small package goat cheese
– Zest and juice of 1 lemon
– 2-3 sprigs tarragon, chopped
– 1/4 cup olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Trim asparagus into bite-sized pieces and spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Coat with olive oil and sprinkle with a little coarse salt. Roast for 10 minutes.
2. In the meantime, prepare pasta according to package directions.
3. Crumble goat cheese into a bowl, add olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and tarragon.
4. Add cooked pasta and asparagus to cheese mixture and stir until cheese is melted and pasta is coated. Serve immediately.

You Want to Make this Orange Cake

I made a delicious orange cake for dessert last night, and couldn’t wait to share the recipe. It was dense and buttery, but not overly sweet and had just the right amount of orange flavor.You probably have the ingredients for the cake in your house right now, so you should definitely make one tonight. Here’s what to do:

Ingredients for Cake
– 4 eggs
– 1 1/2 cups sugar
– 1/2 cup vegetable oil
– 2 cups flour
– 4 teaspoons baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
– zest from 1 large orange
– 1 teaspoon orange extract (you can substitute vanilla if you want)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ round cake pan and set aside.

2. Beat together eggs, sugar and vegetable oil until well blended. Add flour, baking powder and salt and continue mixing. Add the remaining ingredients – orange juice, zest and extract and mix until blended.

3. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Ingredients for Frosting
– 3 egg whites
– 1/2 cup water
– 1 1/2 cups sugar
– 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Beat egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until soft peaks form.

2. Combine water, sugar, and cream of tartar in a small saucepan over high heat until boiling. Once the mixture turns clear and all the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat.

3. While the mixer is running, pour the sugar mixture into the egg whites in a steady stream. Continue mixing for 5-10 minutes, until the frosting is light and fluffy completely cooled.

For extra credit, top with candied orange slices. Cake serves 8-10 people.

My Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes

It’s only 2 weeks until Christmas and I am going into full baking mode. Every year I try to make as many cookies as I can until my feet give out, and I have started to collect a list of absolute must-make recipes that I can rely on to be awesome. Here are my favorites:

Smitten Kitchen Almond BiscottiThe first time I made these, I was amazed at how many people asked for the recipe.

Glittering Lemon Sandwich Cookies from EpicuriousThese win the prize for being beautiful and delicious. Plus, they are pretty simple to make. I always make mine pink, but they look really great in any sparkly color.

Peppermint Patties from Erin CooksAnthony would be in heaven if I kept these in the freezer all year long. I am making mine star-shaped this year.

Foolproof Fudge from Martha StewartI tried and failed at fudge a few times before I found this recipe. It is seriously easy, especially if you’re making multiple batches.