Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Salad and A Side


      This year, I'm hosting Easter brunch for Roy's side of the family.  It's got to be easy to do, because everyone is coming over right after church and they will be ready to eat!  For the side, we are going to have asparagus with a drizzle of Zippy Sauce - one of Caroline's favorites.  I'll make the sauce ahead of time and quickly cook the asparagus just before we sit down.  Likewise with my current salad obsession, (it's so refreshing and pretty) -  I'll combine the ingredients, store them in the refrigerator, then whisk up the dressing before church to be put on at the last minute. You can substitute any type berry or any kind of lettuce, but I love the look of the blackberries against the colors in "Baby Spring Mix".  The dressing can be changed up as well - any berry jam will do.

Asparagus with Zippy Sauce

Enough fresh asparagus for your crowd
1 cup mayonnaise
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped (optional)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced onions
1 teaspoon prepared mustard (I use Dijon country style)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon bottled hot sauce (I use Frank's)

Rinse the asparagus and cut the ends off.
In a pan large enough to hold all the asparagus, bring 3 to 4 inches of water to a boil. Drop the asparagus in, cover and cook for about 4 minutes or more if more tenderness is desired.
While the asparagus is cooking, whisk the other ingredients together in a microwave safe bowl.
Plate the asparagus and just before serving, microwave the sauce for a minute. Give the sauce a good stir and drizzle it over the asparagus. 

Spring Salad

For Salad:
One large package of "Baby Spring Mix" ( or baby spinach leaves, etc.)
1 package of fresh berries such a blackberries or raspberries
1 large cucumber, sliced, then slices quartered
3 tangerines, peeled and sections separated
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Rinse and drain the berries. Gently, combine all the ingredients in a salad bowl.

For Dressing:
1/2 cup light olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup some kind of berry jam such as raspberry - I love Pensey's Raspberry Enlightenment
3 tablespoons sliced green onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Whisk all the ingredients together.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Quiche Alternative - Salmon Loaf

          When I was a kid, sometimes my mom would make tuna pie and frankly, I wasn't that crazy about it.  Later, when I was a young adult, she and I took some cooking classes and one of them taught us how to make a salmon pie for brunch.  It was a bit more glamorous than tuna, but I still didn't think it was special enough to serve for company.  Then I came across a picture of Coulibiac, Russian Salmon Loaf, in my wonderful 1981 Betty Crocker's Intenational Cookbook.  Although I've never followed the Betty Crocker recipe which calls for rice and mushrooms along with fresh salmon, I sure like the impressive way it looks. I have served this at brunches using my salmon pie recipe and premade pie crusts. Another way I cheat a bit a is by using canned salmon, but I think it would almost be just as easy to steam a salmon filet until it flakes with a fork. This tastes best when it is served with Cucumber Dill Sauce - the recipe is included below.


1 (16 oz.) can of pink salmon
2 eggs, beaten
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup diced onions
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 package containing 2 premade pie crusts
1 egg and 1 tablespoon water 


    Drain the can of salmon and remove any skin or bones.  Combine the beaten eggs, milk, diced onions, parsley, dill, basil, salt, and pepper.  Gently stir in the salmon and the diced hard boiled eggs.  Set aside.

     Unroll the premade pie crust and place on a cutting board.  Cut off the "wings" on both sides.


      Lay the "rectangle" onto a greased cookie sheet.  Trim the remaining wings so they have two straight sides and attach them to one end of the pie crust by pinching the ends together.  Save and set the trimmings aside.

      Mound the salmon mixture along the length of the pastry to within 1 inch of all the sides.

     Prepare the top crust the same as the bottom, and lay it on top of the salmon mixture.

     Pinch the edges together and seal them with the tines of a fork.  Cut a circle out of the middle top of the loaf to let the steam escape.  Use the left over pieces of pie crust to cut out decorations and place on top.  Whisk the egg and 1 tablespoon of water together to make an egg wash.  Brush on the top of the loaf.  Bake at 400 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Cover with foil if it browns to fast.  Cut into slices and serve with Cucumber Dill Sauce

Cucumber Dill Sauce

1/2 of an unpeeled cucumber, seeded and cubed into small pieces
1 tablespoon finely diced white or yellow onion
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 cup of sour cream or Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried dill or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh dill
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, and then lengthwise again.  Scoop out the seeds and cube the cucumber into small pieces.  Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Extra Eggs? Try Dijon Shrimp Egg Salad

   A couple days ago I turned to Pinterest for some Easter inspiration and rediscovered something I pinned last year from the librarian of my old school.  It was a photo of deviled eggs that looked similar to mine above (only even cuter) and said "via mobile apps".  No website was credited so I'm guessing she snapped the picture using her phone while she was at some springtime gathering.  Since there wasn't a recipe attached, I turned to what's actually billed as a shrimp roll filling from the Simple Fresh Southern cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee.  I tweaked the ingredients and proportions just a bit. It's like egg salad that's super pumped up and I thought if I diced the ingredients finely enough, the stuff would taste great stuffed in an egg!  It did - but it's still really great in some crusty French bread along with lettuce and tomato!


For every six hard boiled eggs you use you will need:

1/4 cup mayonnaise

6 medium sized precooked shrimp, tail off and deveined

1 tablespoon finely sliced green onions

1 tablespoon finely diced seeded tomato

1 tablespoon finely diced cooked bacon (optional)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

a bit of carrot and black peppercorns for garnish


If stuffing the eggs, cut off the top third for the "head". Then make another slice so that the bottom half of the "chick" will equal half of the hard boiled egg.  Carefully scoop out the yolk in both the bottom and middle pieces and put in a bowl.  Chop up the egg white from the middle slice and add it to the bowl.  If you are just making the filling for a sandwich, just chop all the eggs up.

     If you are stuffing the eggs, finely chop the shrimp up and add it to the bowl.  If you are only making sandwich filling, it's nice to keep the shrimp pieces a bit bigger.  Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Fill the bottom half of the hollowed out hard boiled egg with the mixture and mound it up.  Top with the smaller piece that's left of the egg.  Garnish with the carrot "beak" and black peppercorn "eyes"  or enjoy this egg salad on a toasted roll with lettuce and tomato.