Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Morning Poached Egg on Salmon Cakes with Creamy Caper Mayo and Arugula

I love salmon and as it is readily available fresh to us here on the West Coast, we try and eat this protein at least once a week to obtain that high content of Omega 3 and 6 oils which are incredibly good for our health.

And while I also have a lot of fresh Arugula currently growing in my vegetable garden, I thought I would put together an easy dish that includes some left-over mashed potatoes from last night's dinner, farm fresh organic eggs, which I picked up from the farmer's market then top it off with a creamy caper sauce for a healthy, satisfying Sunday brunch.

This also makes for a wonderful luncheon dish, served with a fresh side salad of your choice. I raided our raspberry bushes for a sweet side served with low-fat yoghurt to round out this brunch menu.

Poached Egg on Salmon Cake with Creamy Caper Mayo and Arugula

2 large potatoes, peeled, diced, boiled and cooled, then pressed through a potato ricer/or 1 1/2 cups left-over mashed potatoes
2 small fillets sockeye salmon, grilled, cooled and flaked/or 1 can sockeye salmon, drained
1 Tbsp dried tarragon, crumbled
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 Tbsp bread crumbs
Extra virgin olive oil for frying
4 poached eggs
2 cups fresh Arugula leaves, washed and drained well
Oil and vinegar

1/4 cup mayonnnaise
1/4 cup plain yoghurt
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp capers
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh chives, sliced

1. In mixing bowl combine potatoes, peppers, onion, tarragon, salt, pepper and egg. Gently fold in flaked salmon. Add bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture holds its shape when formed into a ball.
2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Shape salmon mixture into 5 patties and fry in oil until lightly golden brown, about 5 minutes per side.

For the sauce: combine mayonnaise, yoghurt, Dijon, capers and parsley in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

Toss Arugula lightly with your favourite oil and vinegar; divide amongst 4 plates. Place one salmon cake on each mound of Arugula. Top with poached egg and sauce. Garnish with chopped chives. Serves 4.


Friday, July 27, 2012

The Big Apple

In keeping with my recent trip to New York, I thought I would pay homage to one of the greatest cities in the world and name this week's Friday Night Cocktail: The Big Apple.

New York is a Mecca of restaurants and bars and its just plain tough walking past a place brimming with patrons chatting in that Nuu Yoork twang without at least popping inside to check out what the locals are eating or drinking. We did our share of that, true and I would be amiss not to mention I didn't discover a plethora of new ideas for my blog there...stay tuned!

At first I was thinking Manhatten-ish on the cocktail front, but I didn't have any red vermouth to blend with my whiskey and I am definitely not a maraschino cherry fan - no red dye #40 entering this body thanks! I do like a crisp tart apple all shiny and red, so incorporating this flavour into a drink seemed a no-brainer... could I duplicate the taste of that crisp tart apple in liquid form without the addition of apple jack, or baked apple bitters?

First I poured some rye whiskey into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Then I added some apple juice and lemon juice and gave it all a good shake. I then strained it into a chilled Martini glass that was rimmed with maple syrup and cinnamon and topped it all off with an apple cider float. Garnished with a crisp apple slice - a sophisticated looking, yet tongue-in-cheek libation: "A Big Apple a day, may just keep the doctor away!"

The Big Apple:
2 ounces rye whiskey
1 ounce apple juice
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce apple cider
Drizzle of maple syrup
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Apple slice for garnish

On one side plate drizzle a circle of maple syrup. On another side plate sprinkle cinnamon; dip the Martini glass rim into the maple syrup, then roll around in the cinnamon until the rim is well coated. Set aside.
In cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake rye whiskey, apple and lemon juices until well chilled. Strain into prepared Martini glass; top with a apple cider float. Garnish with fresh apple slice. Cheers!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Week In The Empire State - our culinary indulgences via Manhatten to the Catskills

I've been feeling a 'titch' guilty about neglecting my blog this past month and I would like apologize to those of you who visit my site regularly and have perhaps been getting bored by the lack of  new is always my hope that this could be an opportunity to dig deeper into my previous posts and recipes, that may have been missed when I was able to actively post on a regular basis. BUT there are some very good reasons...not only have I started a new full-time job outside of the house (which has proven to be quite demanding...I think I am nearing the point of hiring a housekeeper, just so that I can free myself up to get back to some of the things I love to do - including my blog!)

That aside, our trip to New York was a huge hit. We spent 2 1/2 days in the Big Apple discovering and re-discovering places that have been so prominent in movies/tv, songs and books: Central Park,  Times Square, Park Avenue, SOHO, just to name a few. I have been to New York 4 times and I must say I never tire of the place. There is just never enough time to see and do everything on my list of adventures in this amazing city and this time was no exception!

I have this obsession with a certain TV show on the Food Network called 'Eat St.', which features food trucks from all over North America. New York City is known for its food trucks and having been witness to the hectic pace at which people move around in Manhatten, it didn't surprise me to see that grab-and-go meals are the absolute norm here. We arrived in the city with my carefully assembled list of food trucks I wanted to find: Waffles and Denges, Fill Your Hole and The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. Unfortunately I found neither, nada, nope, not one. I know. Disappointed with a semi-capital D! But I did find Mr.Softee, which immediately became my favourite  truck to stalk (32 trucks in total around the city) for a chance at the best soft ice cream cone on this planet. Bar none.

Of course New York Cheese Cake and bagels are tops on the list as are hot dogs, but Middle-Eastern fare has become a huge trend in New York City and there seemed to be a Sam's Falafel, Shwarma and Donair stand on every street corner. Delish!

One of the best cities by far to take in by foot, my two lower appendages are still recovering a week after we spent 11 hours one day walking from our hotel near Grand Central Terminal down 5th Avenue through Little Korea, The Meat Packing District, The Garment District, Greenwich Village, Tribeca, into SOHO then due South through the Financial District and Wall Street to Ground Zero. As you can imagine, moving through so many areas of a monumental city can offer as many options for sustenance as the imagination can conjure up! We stopped into places like The Cook Shop for trendy regional cuisine, Civediamo Beyoglu for the best Turkish, actually the only Turkish fare I have ever sampled, as well as the Magnolia Bakery, my personal favourite cupcake store and one of the oldest established bake shops in Manhatten. Freshly squeezed lemonade was our beverage of choice (aside from cold beer) as the temperatures soared in the upper 30's (90's) with the addition of high humidity.

One of my favourite stops was at the Central Park location of Le Pain Quotidien, a trendy bakery chain that serves delicious sandwiches, soups and pastries. We enjoyed a lovely lunch under the Linden Trees amongst locals (equipped with painting easels) and tourists (sporting maps), sampling menu items such as venison pate, roasted red pepper hummus and Baba Ganoush accompanied by a beautiful selection of home baked breads. And what meal would be complete without the addition of a fresh raspberry and French cream tart for dessert? I know, right?

In the afternoon of our last day in Manhatten, we made our way to the Car Rental Kiosk near Times Square to pick up our mode of transport to Up-state New York, where we would be attending a family function hosted by my best childhood friend and her husband in a tiny town in the Catskills...

To Be Continued...