Salmon and Pasta with Strawberry Lemon Cream Sauce

Pasta with Strawberry Lemon Cream SauceWe have a bumper crop of strawberries this year. I planted the patch the first summer we lived here. That was 3 years ago. It is finally producing lots and lots of berries. Big juicy ones too. We’ve had strawberry shortcake, smoothies, salads, and I’ve even frozen a few bags for later. We were getting a little tired of the usual berry dishes, so I tried to come up with something a little different. I got the idea for this dish after making a salad with tuna, arugula, basil, cheese, almonds, and strawberries with a lemon/olive oil dressing for lunch one day.

It’s a great pasta dish for summer. It is light and hearty all at the same time. It also has sweet, savory, and tart notes all in one dish, which will make your taste buds smile. At least they made mine smile. The kids approved too.

Salmon and Pasta with Strawberry Lemon Cream Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 Salmon filet
  • 1 lb of your favorite pasta (I used Angel Hair, but any kind will work)
  • Olive Oil (a few tablespoons for sauteing and drizzling on the salmon)
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 vidalia onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup cream (half and half works too)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • salt
  • freshly ground white pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Salt, pepper and oil the salmon to taste. Bake until flaky (about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your filet and your oven). You can also grill the salmon if you like.
  3. While the fish is cooking, prepare the other ingredients. When the fish is done, remove from oven and allow to cool.
  4. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  5. While the pasta is cooking, heat about 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a saute pan.
  6. Saute onion until it’s translucent.
  7. Add garlic, cook about 30 seconds.
  8. Add basil, cook a few seconds until it wilts.
  9. Add wine, broth, salt, and pepper. Bring to a bubble and then reduce heat.
  10. Mix a small ladle full of the pasta water with the cornstarch. Then whisk the cornstarch mixture into the pan, stirring constantly until it thickens.
  11. Add cream, lemon juice, and zest.
  12. Toss with pasta and cook for a few minutes to finish cooking the pasta.
  13. Remove from heat.
  14. Add flaked salmon and strawberries and toss again.
  15. Serve immediately with fresh grated pecorino cheese, fresh basil, and lemon slices.

Salmon and pasta with strawberry lemon cream sauce

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Quick and Easy Pizza and Garbanzo Beans

pizza and garbanzo beans

This house is full of pizza lovers. We each have our own favorite toppings, so trying to get everyone to agree on a pizza for takeout can be an ordeal. That’s why we’ve taken to making our own. That way everyone get’s their own piece of the pie (ha, ha).  And my kids go nuts over fried Garbanzo beans. They are a quick, easy and healthy snack while you are waiting for the pizza to cook up.

pizza

Quick and Easy Pizza

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups flour (I think bread flour works best, but all-purpose works too)
  • 2 1/2 tsp fast-rise yeast (or one envelope)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • cornmeal for dusting

Sauce

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp Basil
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seed, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 1 15 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 TBSP Olive oil

Toppings

  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Veggies, Sausage, Chicken, Pepperoni, etc….whatever you want to put on top.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and sugar together. Let stand about 5-10 minutes until it gets creamy.
  3. Add the flour, salt, and vegetable oil to the bowl and mix. (I usually start mixing with a fork and end with my hands when it gets tough to stir.) Shape it into a ball and let it rest in the bowl for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. While you are waiting for the dough to finish resting, heat olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the onions. Cook until onions are soft.
  5. Add the garlic and other herbs and spices, cook until fragrant. Stir in tomato paste. Once tomato paste is blended in with the spices, add the crushed tomatoes. Simmer until the dough is ready.
  6. Sprinkle a pizza stone or cookie sheet with cornmeal to prevent sticking. Roll, stretch, and press dough to desired size and thickness and place on pizza stone or cookie sheet.
  7. Cover the pizza dough with the sauce to within about 1 inch from edge.
  8. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  9. Top with your choice of toppings.
  10. Place in oven and bake about 15-20 minutes – until cheese browns and is bubbly.

For a crispier crust, preheat the pizza stone in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. I have 2 pizza stones, so I usually preheat one and use the other to assemble the pizza. Then I use a large spatula to transfer the pizza from the cold stone to the preheated one.

I also like to brush the crust with garlic butter before I cook it. And I brush it once again right when I take it out of the oven. It make the crust crispy and garlicky – yum!

garbanzo beans

Garbanzo Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz. can of garbanzo beans
  • pizza seasoning from above recipe (or seasoned salt)
  • Olive oil

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. You need enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan evenly.
  2. Cook the beans in the heated oil until the skins start to pop and they get a little brown.
  3. Add the seasoning just at the end of cooking.
  4. Drain on a paper towel.

My favorite pizza toppings are chicken, mushrooms, spinach, and red onions. I also have a weakness for a greasy slice of pepperoni pizza from time-to-time. What are your favorite pizza toppings?

Food + Family = Fun

Sorry I haven’t been around much the last 2 weeks. I was taking advantage of the warm weather and doing lots of clean-up around the yard. I’ve also been busy with the kids, Spring Break, and I got suddenly busy with design work, which is good for me but bad for the blog.

I don’t have a post prepared for today either, but I did find this old post from my previous blog. It made me smile and it comes with a yummy recipe that is perfect for the rainy, spring days ahead, so I thought it was worth re-posting here. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any photos. This was written before I had a nice camera or even knew how to use them.

My son always frustrates me at the dinner table. There are very few foods he will eat. He won’t eat anything that looks “weird”. And he won’t eat anything that “his smell sensors” tell him are off. Last night I accidentally found a remedy to this situation.

A few days ago, while the kids were at school, I had an ambitious moment and decided to roll my own tortellini. I spent all afternoon in the kitchen making the pasta and strolling down memory lane. I remembered slurping tortellini soup in my grandmother’s kitchen when I was little. I remembered getting bags of fresh rolled tortellini from my grandmother to take back with me when I was in college. I also remembered a weekend I spent with my grandmother talking and rolling, stuffing and folding pasta. It was a fun and relaxing day. And so was this particular afternoon.

When I served up my labor intensive creation for dinner, my son responded with, “What the heck?”

“It’s tortellini soup.”

“It looks weird.”

“But it’s very good.”

“My smell sensors tell me it’s off.”

“Your smell sensors must be off then, because this is very tasty.”

“Delicious!” my daughter exclaims as she noisily slurps up the soup. At least somebody likes it. Joe on the other hand made himself a salami sandwich with some carrots.

Last night, I had some filling left over so I decided to make a batch of tortellini to freeze. Joe wandered into the kitchen while I was getting my pasta roller out.

“Wow! What is that?”

“A pasta roller.”

“You mean you’re going to make pasta? Without a box?” He was completely amazed that you could make pasta from flower and eggs and that there was no box involved. “Can I help?”

“Sure.”

We spent the next three hours kneading, rolling, stuffing and folding. And when all the filling was gone, but there was still dough left, we rolled out some fettuccine to dry for later. And then surprisingly he asked if we could eat some of the tortellini for dinner. “Sure, buddy.”

So while he went into the living room to work on his homework, I heated up some chicken stock and put into it the left over tortellini from the night before. I put our new tortellini in the freezer for another day. And you know he ate 3 servings of the same soup his “smell sensors” told him was off the night before. And now I know to have him help me make dinner the next time I serve something new. Maybe then his “smell sensors” will tell him its good!

And for the recipe:

For the filling I use:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb of ground turkey or chicken
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • oregano
  • basil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • You can also substitute portabello mushrooms for the meat for a vegetarian version.

Directions:

  • Heat up olive oil in a skillet and saute garlic just until you start to smell it. Add the meat and brown. Add oregano and basil. Stir for a minute more. Remove from heat. Add cheese, salt and pepper.
  • The filling needs to cool completely before you can stuff your tortellini.
  • I make the pasta dough following the instructions that came with my pasta roller. It’s never disappointed me yet. After I roll out the dough as thin as I can get it, I cut it once lengthwise down the center with a pizza cutter. Then I cut it into 1-2 inch squares.
  • You’ll need to get a little pastry brush and a cup of water for the next part.
  • In the center of each square, place a small amount of filling. You don’t want to over stuff them or they will fall apart when you cook them. After you’ve placed the filling on each square, brush the edges with a little water. Fold them into triangles and press the edges together. Then fold two of the points around your finger and pinch together.

(Here’s a trick I learned if you plan on freezing them – place all your tortellinis on a cookie sheet and put the freezer for about 20 minutes. Take them out and put in a freezer bag. Now they won’t stick together. They should keep in the freezer for about 3 or 4 months.) You can also use wonton wrappers instead of rolling your own dough. It’s not as good, but it works.

You can serve your tortellini with your favorite sauce. Or you can serve them my favorite way, in clear broth. Just before serving I throw some fresh parsley into the broth and serve with warm, crusty Italian bread.