Plum Glazed Salmon + Fish Brine

Similar to last week’s post, today’s article is a double feature.

Plum Glazed Salmon

Recipe #1 is Plum Glazed Salmon, a simple dinner recipe that comes together in a snap. Recipe #2 is a Fish Brine recipe that may just vastly improve your fish-making skills (it definitely improved mine!).  Let’s dive into #1.

Over the past several years, I’ve found that I really enjoy cooking salmon fillets during the week. They’re simple to prepare, healthy and cook up in a matter of minutes. Just what I need when I come home tired from work. But, I recently realized that I’ve yet to share a single salmon recipe here on Kitchen Konfidence! That’s all about to change.

The glaze for this salmon is a simple mix of pantry/fridge staples: plum jam, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. The salmon then gets cooked under the broiler until firm, glossy and golden. A final scattering of sliced scallions provides contrast in color and flavor. So simple, but so incredibly delicious. PS. If you can’t find plum jam, apricot would work well here too. Continue reading for the recipes plus more on #2.

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Hard-Boiled Egg Toast with Chermoula

Chermoula.  Sounds crazy, but it’s super tasty.  Let me explain.

Hard-Boiled Egg Toast with Chermoula

Chermoula is a North African sauce made with herbs, spices, lemon, garlic and olive oil, similar to a chimichurri or an Italian salsa verde.  It’s bright.  It’s fresh.  And it’s just packed with flavor.  For the past few years, North African condiments and spice blends have really been coming to the forefront in home kitchens (harissa, za’atar, preserved lemon), providing big hits of flavor with minimal effort.  I think Chermoula might take the spotlight next.

Here, I’ve paired this bold North African sauce with hard-boiled eggs and toast as a satisfying lunch or snack.  But that’s not the only thing you can do with Chermoula.  Far from it actually!  Dress up some broiled white fish with several spoonfuls of Chermoula to take a weeknight fish dinner to the next level.  Rub chicken thighs with this sauce then roast until tender and golden.  Serve extra Chermoula on the side!  Drizzle over charred slices of rare flank steak.  Mix with mayo for a vibrant burger topping.  So many tasty options!  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Roasted Poblano Queso Fundido

Queso Fundido, Spanish for “Melted Cheese”, is truly a thing of beauty.

Roasted Poblano Queso Fundido

In it’s most basic form, Queso Fundido is just melted stringy cheese flavored with onion and garlic, and it’s often paired with roasted poblano peppers, spicy chorizo or sautéed mushrooms.  Here, I’ve taken the classic poblano pairing to the next level.  Three fat peppers get nice and charred under the broiler, and one gets chopped and mixed into the Queso Fundido while the other two transform into a vibrant green purée flavored with garlic and lime.  The contrast of the warm, rich cheese and the bright, smokey sauce is 100% addicting.  So much so that the boyfriend and I easily consumed the entire skillet (shown above) in one sitting!! Continue reading for the recipe.

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Raw Carrot and Beet Salad with Feta, Mint and Harissa

Good morning and Happy Friday!

Raw Carrot and Beet Salad with Feta, Mint and Harissa

Today, I’m sharing a vibrant raw salad made with purple carrots and beets.  These nutrient-packed vegetables are grated, and then tossed with fresh herbs and a bold citrus-harissa vinaigrette.  After a brief rest in the fridge, the salad is finished with crumbles of salty feta cheese.

Carrots and beets have been showing up regularly in my weekly Specialty Produce Farmers Market Box, so I’ve been trying out all sorts of cooking preparations to use them up.  This method of soaking grated veg in a spicy, acidic dressing is common in Moroccan cuisine.  And it’s brilliant!  The acid in the lemon juice tenderizes the grated beets and carrots while infusing with tons of flavor.  Flavors here include orange, garlic, olive oil, paprika and harissa, a spicy, North African chile paste.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Porchetta Pork Tenderloin

I have been dying to share this recipe for Porchetta Pork Tenderloin with you guys.

Porchetta Pork Tenderloin

Why?  Because it’s quickly become my new favorite weeknight meal.  With just 10 minutes of prep work and 30 – 40 minutes cook time, this show-stopper entree can turn a boring weeknight dinner into a dazzling pork on pork extravaganza.  And I mean, how bad could that be?

Before we get to this pork-tastic recipe, let’s talk about porchetta in general.  Porchetta, Italian in origin, is traditionally made by stuffing an entire de-boned pig with ground pork (usually offal), and seasonings.  Garlic, rosemary, fennel, salt and pepper are most common.  The pig gets tied up around a spit, and then roasted until the skin is crispy and crackly and the insides are moist and tender.  This Italian specialty has been all the rage here in America over the past several years.  Here’s the porchetta sandwich I had from the People’s Pig in Portland.  And last year, I made a whole porchetta roast for Valentine’s Day (here’s a slice photo)!  Both were seriously tasty.

Traditional porchetta is super labor-intensive, and even the roast I linked to above took some time to prepare.  This Porchetta Pork Tenderloin recipe captures the flavors and textures of it’s traditional counterpart without the hours and hours of prep and cooking.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Pasta Puttanesca with Roasted Cauliflower

Pasta Puttanesca aka pasta in the style of the ladies of the night aka slut’s spaghetti is on the menu today.

Pasta Puttanesca with Roasted Cauliflower

If you are unfamiliar with this dish, you may be scratching your head at all this whore talk so early on a Tuesday morning, but let me explain.  Pasta Puttanesca is a classic Italian dish where pasta (spaghetti pictured above) is dressed in a sauce made of tomatoes, garlic, olives, capers and red chile flakes.  Rumor has it that the ladies of the night would simmer this sauce, and let the aroma waft out of their open windows with the intent of luring men into their establishment for the evening.  Others say that this sauce was popular amongst these ladies, because all the ingredients can be stored in the pantry.  No need to go to the market to get fresh ingredients between clients!

Whores aside, let’s talk about this version of Pasta Puttanesca.  There are many aspects of the traditional dish that are very enticing.  Pasta Puttanesca is easy (no pun intended), quick-to-prepare, and can be made with a handful of pantry staples.  Here, I’ve added freshness and substance by way of Roasted Cauliflower, freshly chopped parsley and lemon wedges to finish.  Cauliflower gets wonderfully nutty when roasted, and this flavor pairs nicely with the olives, capers and tomatoes.  Parsley and lemon add fresh hits of green and acid for balance.  Each bite is incredibly satisfying.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Roasted Salsa Verde Recipe

Salsa Verde was the first salsa I attempted to make at home. Let’s just say my initial batch was a complete disaster.

Roasted Salsa Verde Recipe

It was 2008, I was living with several roommates at the time, and I was using this recipe for reference. My instincts told me that a quantity of 5 serrano chiles would make the finished salsa waaaaay too spicy, but I went ahead and made the recipe as written. Instincts were something I wasn’t listening too that much at the time, so my first batch of Salsa Verdes was fiery to say the least. Instead of throwing the salsa out, I tried to make the best of it, and my roommates and I suffered through several extremely spicy meals together.

Since then, I’ve 100% mastered this vibrant salsa. Made with roasted tomatillos, jalapeños, garlic, scallions, cilantro and lime juice, this salsa verde recipe is bright, balanced and so, so addicting. Continue reading for the recipe.

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Broccoli and Potato Soup

A simple soup that nourishes the body and soul.

Broccoli and Potato Soup During the winter months in San Diego, when the weather at night can dip into the 40’s (sometimes 30’s!), I find myself craving soup time and time again.  In the past seven days, I seriously made three different types of soup and two batches of stock.  This Broccoli and Potato Soup was my favorite of the three, and surprisingly, the healthiest as well!

The recipe starts with crisp stalks of organic broccoli.  I am making the organic distinction here, because the main flavor of this soup comes from the broccoli, so it’s got to be top notch.  That means organic and preferably local.  Two pounds of said broccoli get divided and cooked two different ways.  The first pound is tossed with olive oil and salt, then roasted until tender, caramelized and aromatic.  The second pound is simply added to the soup raw.  This split treatment results in the most wonderful depth of flavor (with minimal added effort!).  Deep savory notes from the roasted broccoli, and fresh, grassy notes from the raw broccoli.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Smoked Turkey + Garlic-Herb Dry Brine

I should start by saying that turkey isn’t really my thing.

Smoked Turkey Year after year, I’ve failed miserably at making that perfect, picturesque Thanksgiving turkey.  The first Thanksgiving I hosted in 2009 (pre-Kitchen Konfidence) was the worst.  The night before Thanksgiving, I was fumbling around trying to wet brine a 22 pound turkey, salt water and turkey contamination splashing all about my kitchen.  The next day, I got the turkey out of the brine (hands burning from the salt), dried, and on to the roasting pan.  A roasting pan that I later realized was too big to fit in the oven.  At the time, I didn’t own a meat thermometer, so I kept the turkey (which was sitting cramped in a 9 x 13 baking dish) in the oven until it “looked good.”  I remember the smile on my face as I brought the glorious golden turkey to the table, and the disappointment that quickly followed as I started to carve.  The turkey was bone dry with the texture of powdery saw dust.

In 2010, I surveyed all my friends and family for the perfect Thanksgiving turkey recipe.  Results and processes were widely varied.  Bake the turkey in a bag.  Roast the turkey covered in cheese cloth and baste in butter every 15 minutes.  Deep fry the turkey.  Start in a high oven.  Start in a low oven.  Cook the turkey in parts.  Somehow, everyone was cooking their turkey perfectly except for me!  Overwhelmed by the options, I chose what I thought was the easiest suggestion, “cook the turkey in parts.”  After a significant struggle to actually get the turkey in parts, the finished bird was blasé at best.

The next  year, I cooked 2 smaller turkeys side-by-side, slathered in truffle butter and fresh herbs.  Results were juicy, but underwhelming.  I was expecting a WOW moment given the white truffle butter.  And in 2012, I reverted back to turkey in parts.  Uninspired, and a bit dry.

In 2013, everything changed.  Last year, I put Jorge in charge of making the turkey.  He prepared this Smoked Turkey, and the finished bird was incredible.  Juicy insides with a mouthwatering, smoky flavor.  Our Thanksgiving guests couldn’t stop raving about it.  Preparing the turkey on the grill also freed up some much-needed oven space.  We had such an awesome turkey experience last year, that I just had to share it with you all this year!  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Pumpkin Chicken Chili [Giveaway]

Today I’m giving away a gorgeous KitchenAid 4 Quart Cast Iron Pot PLUS I’m sharing an easy (and healthy!) recipe for Pumpkin Chicken Chili.

Pumpkin Chicken Chili Let’s start with the chili. Freshly ground chicken thighs, skin and all, are sautéed with onions, bell pepper and garlic until fragrant and brown. Flavor and body are added by way of chile powder, red pepper flake, cumin, pumpkin beer, pumpkin purée, red beans and fire-roasted tomatoes. The chili is finished with a dollop of rich sour cream, cilantro, crunchy pumpkin seeds, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Made in just one pot, this comforting fall soup comes together in under an hour!  Rich, bold flavors.  Hearty, satisfying texture.  So.  Yum.  Continue reading for the recipe, and giveaway details.

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