Monday, July 30, 2012

Grilled Salmon Sandwiches {with Bacon!}

Lots of exciting things are happening. In the last 2 weeks, I indulged in a beast of a feast at Burning Beast, ran my 4th Ragnar Relay, threw a bridal shower, went to a bridal shower, shook it all night at a joint bachelorette party, hung out with a BFF who's visiting from the UK, celebrated Amanda's 29th birthday (ps. when Mel was 29, Amanda was 8, and I was 6…whoa! Mel also had a wicked perm in those days), and won a softball championship. No big deal. 

I also made grilled salmon sandwiches with bacon and sun dried tomato mayonnaise (I wanted to name them slammin' salmon sammies… but then I'd sound like Rachel Ray). I like my salmon pretty simple, not covered in a lot of heavy sauces or tucked between other attention-stealing ingredients. Which is why it may be surprising that I couldn't get enough of these sandwiches, with sweet and tangy mustard-honey-thyme glazed salmon surrounded by attention hogs like bacon and sun dried tomatoes. It worked. Somehow, people, this combo just worked for me. And I think it will work for you too. You can cook the salmon on a grill or under the broiler. I actually sort of did both… our gas grill's propane tank ran outta gas about half way through, so these tasty-fresh filets were finished under the broiler, which was actually kind of awesome. The salmon got a nice smoky flavor from the grill, and then a perfectly caramelized glazed top from the broiler. I totally planned that. 

Grilled Salmon Sandwiches 
Adapted from Food & Wine 

2.5 tablespoons grainy mustard
2.5 tablespoons honey
1.5 tablespoon mayonnaise
1.5 teaspoon fresh thyme

4 six ounce salmon fillets, skinned
Vegetable oil
Fresh ground black pepper

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup pureed sun dried tomatoes
splash cider vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

8 slices cooked bacon
4 hamburger buns, toasted 

For Salmon: Light grill, and brush with oil. Mix the mustard, honey, mayo, and thyme. Rub the salmon with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the salmon over moderate heat, skinned side down, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip and grill for 3 minutes longer, until the salmon is almost cooked through. Flip again and spread each fillet with a hearty layer of glaze. Turn and grill until glaze is gooey and cooked into salmon, about 30 seconds. For a cleaner, less fishy flavor, scrape the grey flesh off the bottom of the salmon after cooking. Broiler method: Preheat  broiler. Line a heavy rimmed baking sheet with foil, and spray with nonstick spray. Arrange the oiled, S&P'd salmon fillets on the baking sheet and broil for 2 minutes. Spread sauce over the salmon and continue broiling until the cooked through, about 5 minutes longer.

For Mayo: Whisk together mayonnaise, sun dried tomatoes, vinegar, and s&p. Taste and adjust as necessary. 

For Sandwiches: Spread bun with mayo, top with lettuce, salmon, and bacon. 


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Strawberry Ice Cream + Summer Sweets Poll

What's your favorite sweet summer treat? You vote, and I'll make the winner, take pictures of it, and post it right here for you to enjoy. Check out the poll to the right! 

And, in the meantime, you can cool off with some homemade strawberry ice cream!

Egg-free Strawberry Ice Cream

While I love the creamy richness of a custard (egg-based) ice cream, I love the simplicity and spontenaity of an eggless ice cream, one that you can throw together at the drop of a hat, with minimal prep or planning. With how crazy-busy my summers are, these kind of recipes are a must. You can't taste the balsamic vinegar, but it brings out a great tangy-tart flavor in the berries, which goes perfect with the sweet, sugary vanilla cream. 

(ice cream maker required) 

1.5-2 pints strawberries
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup white sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla

In a large bowl, combine strawberries, vinegar, and 1 T sugar. Mash with a pastry blender (or similar mashing object) to desired mashed-ness (bigger chunks can get icy and difficult to bite into once frozen) and let sit. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, cream, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, and vanilla. Pour into the ice cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Add the strawberry mixture about half way through the freezing process. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Homemade Everything Burgers

It's almost July 4th, and in my mind, nothing is as all-American as the good ol' grilled hamburger. And, nothing is as delicious (seriously) as an all-American burger with homemade everything! I'm talking home-baked buns, homemade mustard and ketchup, and fresh ground steak burgers. 

I may never be able to go back to bottled ketchup. I definitely won't go back to pre-ground meat. Although, I must admit, it was my first home-grinding, and I was a little squeamish. I just kept picturing Pink Floyd's The Wall music video (not all-American). 

I discovered the recipes for these bad boys in an old issue of Gourmet, and couldn't think of a better way to celebrate Lady Liberty's birthday (Happy Birthday, old gal!). Luckily, Gourmet still has the recipes online too, so after you give Lady Liberty the ol' hip-hoorah and 236 spankings, you can celebrate Independence Day with the best burgers ever. Or with Will Smith. Whatevs. 

Give yourself plenty of time to make these burgers. The mustard seeds need to soak 1-2 days, the buns need to rise twice, and the ketchup is best after cooling a few hours. These homemade everything hamburgers are so worth the wait and effort. 

I would recommend talking to your butcher about the best cuts of beef for the patties. Mine recommended a mix of two cuts (top sirloin and a choice something-or-other), and the combo made incredible burgers. I also ran it through the thick-grind and then the smaller-grind, but you could totally keep these chunky and meaty, and it would be awesome. The recipe calls for just salt in the meat, but I did my standard salt, pepper, and a dash of worcestershire. 

And, the buns are adorable. Yes, Michael Scott... That's what she said. 

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