Smoked Salmon Roll Ups

roll-up-2

I pretty much slept through New Year’s Eve and most of New Year’s Day, which is why I’m still making and eating “party food” two days later. But, smoked salmon is just as tasty on January 2nd — especially when it’s wrapped around a creamy, tangy filling.

mix

There’s no recipe per se… simply mix together softened goat cheese (I used Montchevre) with lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon juice, capers, and fresh dill.

Spread the mixture on thinly sliced smoked salmon cut into appetizer-sized pieces.

Roll up!

roll-up-1

Garnish at will and enjoy a sublime start to any meal… or year.

Enjoying a late start in 2017,

~ Kim

Triangulated (A Tasty Trio)

I must live in the Bermuda Triangle.

Every day I chart my course, set sail, and end up somewhere else. The phone rings, a text demands urgent attention or an email requires immediate action, and whoosh there I go. So much for goals! (I suspect you’re in the same boat.)

Thankfully, I love triangles.

My fascination with three-sided shapes hearkens back to high school Calculus  — mostly because the words ‘Pythagorean Theorem’ intrigued me — and by some quirk of fate, I ended up in advanced math. (Insert chuckle and/or Bermuda Triangle here.) Despite my  verbal affinities (and/or innate proclivity for naivety, lol), I managed to pull an A. But, just because I fared well grade-wise doesn’t mean I knew what I was doing. (I still don’t.) Welcome to my life! :)

Some folks assert there’s an alternate reality, but I say: this is reality. Do the work, even if it’s not what you planned. (Surprise!)

There are greater forces than our “to-do lists,” but ya never know what God (or the Universe) has planned for you to “do” on any given day. The trick is to fit your dreams between interstellar cracks wherever and whenever  you can.

Which brings me to three unexpected flavors.. Good things come in 3’s, yes?

Tapenade on Toast Triangles 2

Bermuda Triangle Tapenade

(Adapted from 3 recipes: Wolfgang Puck’s Black & Green Olive Tapenade, Real Housemoms Three Olive Tapenade, and Olive Crostini by Simply Recipes.)

1 baguette sliced in 1/2-inch rounds, or triangles made from gluten-free bread, brushed with EVOO — or excess chive oil from this post. Waste not, want not.

1 c. Kalamata olives, pitted (if need be), halved

1 c. large green olives stuffed with pimentos (I used Mezzetta’s Martini olives marinated in Vermouth)

1 c. large black olives, pitted and halved (ditto on “if need be”)

3 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped

2-3 Tbsp. capers, drained (I tend to lean towards 3 Tbsp. :)

1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley

1/2 Tbsp. dried basil (fresh is best, but still workin’ on my herb garden)

1 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice

A dash or two (or three!) dried ground oregano and thyme

3-4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400º F. Place baguette rounds — or bread triangles — on an ungreased baking sheet lined with foil for easier clean-up. Bake 10 minutes or ’til lightly browned. Set aside on a wire rack to cool.

Pulverize all but the EVVO in a food processor until chunky. (Resist the temptation to over-process.) The same applies to life; we often over-process or overthink. No need!

Drizzle in EVOO until mixture reaches a spreadable consistency. You’ll know “when.” (If not, it’ll still taste good.) Slather tapenade on toasted bread or baguette slices. Enjoy!

Refrigerate leftovers for up to a week. Or, mix ’em with marinara and a bowlful of al dente pasta for a fab side dish or main meal before then. Salad & bread optional.

Crab Cakes and Marinated Asparagus Salad

The other 2/3’s of this Trio (even if they aren’t triangular!) are Chef Dennis Littley’s “My Famous Crabcakes and Kevin Lynch’s Grilled Asparagus with Marinated Roasted Red Peppers, Feta, and Kalamata Olives ala salad shown above — one of Kevin’s many alternatives. Thanks, gentlemen, xo! My taste buds were SO tickled — and yours will be, too, after you click on the links.

FYI, I scaled down all three recipes to meet TMOFW’s appetite (and mine lately) with our ongoing HOT streak. (100º+) Sorry for not including the conversions, but as I tell my kids when they’re facing life-altering decisions: “Do the math!”

Enjoying isosceles living,

~ Kim

Smoked Salmon Extravaganza

Biscuits and Smoked Salmon

Black Pepper Biscuits with Smoked Salmon

First of all, I want to reassure you that I don’t plan on posting quite so frequently as I have been lately (I admire those of you who do, but that’s not my cup o’ tea), however after a long, cold winter away from home ( 3-1/2 months to be exact), I was ready for some hedonistic pleasure and writing. For me, that equated to some unbridled cooking, smoked salmon, and the word “extravaganza.” (Gotta love it!)

Spring arrived around mid-March in the Northern hemisphere, but such was not the case in Minnesota. It was 40 degrees when I left Oklahoma and 40 below zero when I arrived in Minneapolis in January… plus, it snowed eight out of the first ten days in April. Such fun!

I haven’t written much (or at all) about that experience — mostly because it pertained to Mom’s medical issues, a stove that didn’t work, two blizzards, and 60-years’ worth of “downsizing” (plus my sanity), but suffice it to say that I’m ecstatic to be back at the lake. (And Mom is settled in her new home at last.)

In the month that’s ensued, I’ve been treating myself to these simple, yet extraordinary appetizers (in lieu of full meals) to appease my soul. Oh my, yes! Sometimes you have to eat what appeals to you, never mind the “recommended daily allowances.”

Chive Tartines with Smoked Salmon

Chive Tartines with Smoked Salmon

Generally I concoct my own creations, but I arrived home with my mind in a mess, and my soul and stomach in sore need of Googling a recipe or two. What a treasure trove exists in cyber space, and how grateful I am for it. (And you!)

Briefly, I reconnected with my Irish (and Bohemian) roots while I was away — a combination of nostalgia and heritage (hence the Kerry Gold butter in the first photo) and a true appreciation for my ancestors and the “story tellers” in my life. (Thanks, cousin Fred — your writing continues to inspire me.)

As for the flavors, oh my goodness! Take your taste buds on a flavor picnic and TRY some o’ these… I’m so glad I did.

Smoked salmon toasts

Smoked Salmon on Mustard-Chive and Dill Butter Toasts

The compound butter in the canape above blew me away. (Bear in mind, butter is a rare treat and I’m still on the fence about “dairy” and ifs effects on me, but all in the name of trial and error.) Live and learn.

The “crunch factor” combined with creaminess… so worth it, swoon!

Re: the Smoked Salmon Mousse below…  I hesitated to pulverize part of my precious smoked salmon stash, but I couldn’t resist trying a new “texture.”

Smoked Salmon Mousse

Smoked Salmon Mousse

FYI, I subbed goat cheese for the cream cheese and cut the lemon juice by half to compensate for the “tang” — plus it sets up slightly stiffer than “mousse” — bring to room temp first. (Just sayin’.)

For a photo of my resulting appetizer with cucumber slices, see my previous post.

And if you run out of cukes, you can always make more deviled eggs. ;)

Smoked Salmon Mousse Deviled Eggs

Smoked Salmon Mousse “Deviled Eggs”

Here’s the links (with heartfelt gratitude):

Goat Cheese and Black Pepper Biscuits with Smoked Salmon

Chive Tartines with Smoked Salmon

Smoked Salmon on Mustard-Chive and Dill Butter Toasts

Smoked Salmon Mousse

Salmon Mousse Deviled Eggs “self explanatory” (reserve yolks for egg salad sandwiches or potato salad)

Enjoying culinary freedom at HOME — at long last,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ June 2016

Smoked Salmon Mousse and Wilton replacements

Sometimes all it takes is one photo to encapsulate my state of mind (and everything else) In My Kitchen… a combo of the old and new. But then, isn’t that what life (and IMK) are all about? Integrating your past with your present.

Pictured above: Smoked Salmon Mousse (recipe coming soon) on cucumber slices with dill from my fledgling herb garden (!) served on a mid-1950’s tray after my recent foray to Minnesota, plus a Wilton tip (or two) to pipe the filling.

2-4-1 bonus!

The point of this brief essay (bearing in mind that our hostess, Maureen, is still recovering from back surgery and our next IMK isn’t slated ’til September) is this:

Live life to the fullest and tastiest to the best of your ability. Get what you need (or can afford) to make it happen, or throw a few relics into the mix just for fun. And never, ever look back. Forward momentum people!

Make each day and meal your own, even if it only consists of appetizers. (Make ’em just for you!) Eat what YOU WANT to keep you happy and forward moving.

If you’d like to join (or peruse) this world-wide gathering of Kitchen-philes, please see Maureen’s In My Kitchen side bar (or post your link) by June 10th.

Enjoying eating smoked salmon by the pound ;),

~ Kim

 

BLT Deviled Eggs

BLT Deviled EggsI’ve been on a bit of a deviled egg kick lately (if you haven’t already noticed), but these beauties were SO easy to make — and tasty — I couldn’t resist sharing.

You’re only five ingredients away from heaven!

(Taste bud heaven, that is…)

BLT Deviled Eggs

2 hard-boiled eggs, halved

2 Tbsp. (more or less) chipotle mayonnaise — I used “Just Mayo”

2 Tbsp. diced fresh tomato

Diced bacon, fried and drained (add at will and be sure to save some for garnish)

Baby arugula leaves, for garnish

Set hard-boiled egg white halves on a serving plate.

Place hard-boiled yolks in a small bowl; mash with a fork until crumbly.

Add just enough chipotle mayo to make a cohesive mixture.

Stir in the tomato and bacon. (Be liberal with the bacon.)

Fill egg white halves with mounds of the aforementioned.

Garnish with arugula leaves — and more bacon!

This recipe may be doubled… tripled… quadrupled… make as many as you need.

Or, make ’em for yourself. :)

This pre-holiday weekend treat was brought to you by a little lunch.

BLT Deviled Eggs 1

Enjoying impromptu appetizers,

~ Kim

Avocado Deviled Eggs

Avocado Deviled Eggs 3

I realize that Avocado Deviled Eggs have been “done” before by Martha and umpteen others (thanks for your inspiration!), however I give original credit to Dr. Suess’s Green Eggs and Ham. :)

Often the simplest things in life are the “funnest” (and tastiest) when you use your imagination.

There’s truly nothing new under the sun (Eccl. 1:9), so here’s I came up with:

Avocado Deviled Eggs

2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled & halved

1/2 ripe avocado, peeled & pitted (reserve the other half for pure pleasure)

1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (yes, lemon,  not lime… I wasn’t goin’ for Tex-Mex at this point… do ya hear me, Adam Holland? tee hee!)

Several grinds of cracked black pepper & a pinch of smoked sea salt “to taste” (despised culinary term that it is — use your judgment and your taste buds!) I added Pepper Creek Farms Applewood Smoked Sea Salt, although  I don’t currently see it on their offerings — oh well… just picked up their Mayan salt the other day. I’ve been away from home 1/3 of this year…. whatever works!

1-2 green onion tops, thinly sliced diagonally (save some for garnish)

Remove yolks from hard-boiled eggs and place them in a small bowl; mash with a fork until crumbly. In a separate small bowl (I know, I know, more dishes….) mash the avocado with a fork until creamy. Sprinkle with lemon juice, pepper, and smoked sea salt. Add green onions and stir well to combine.

Transfer avocado mixture to the egg yolk “crumbles” and blend well. Using two teaspoons (or a piping bag), fill egg-halves with avocado-egg yolk mixture.

Garnish with green onion slivers. EAT! (I promise you won’t miss the mayo.)

Avocado Deviled Eggs

Enjoying simplifying things and “new” recipe creations” at The Lake,

~ Kim

Smoky Guacamole and a “Project”

Paint 1

It was a glorious day at the lake recently and I couldn’t help but tackle an outdoor “project” — with a snack, of course. (I’m soooooo not a chalk-painter, but I was inspired to try something new.) There’s also nothing like a lil’ premeditated “stress eating” appetizer to appease my angst. ;)

Some of you may recognize the bench in my bokeh background (praise God for photos that turn out, intentionally or not) as the antique beauty that once belonged to my sis, Laurie. I dickered long and hard about “altering” it — partly due to sentimentality and nostalgia, but mostly due to my Sis’s profound reverence for antiques.

Yet, somehow I knew she’d give me her heavenly nod for braving new frontiers and personalizing “my space.” The dull black finish just didn’t fit with my aqua-color-themed master bath and I was feeling feisty (and hungry), so out to the “veranda” I went — paint, brush, bench, and snack in hand. After the preliminary coat, it was time to indulge in some Smoky Guacamole. Ahhhh…

Smoky Guacamole

1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, & diced

Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lime

Freshly squeezed juice of 1/4 lemon

1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. smoked sea salt, divided (I used Pepper Creek Farms applewood smoked sea salt — Oklahoma-made!)

1/2 small fresh tomato, seeded & diced

1 small clove garlic, peeled & minced

3 small green onions, thinly sliced (reserve some tops for garnish)

Frank’s Red Hot or Louisiana Hot Sauce (optional — or not)

Blue corn tortilla chips

1. Place diced avocado in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with lime juice, lemon juice, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon smoked sea salt; mash together lightly with a fork.

2. Add diced tomato, minced garlic, and green onions. Give it another gentle stir.

3. Add a few drops of hot sauce if desired; stir again. (For me, hot sauce is not optional, and it’s usually more than a few drops!)

4. Adjust seasoning with remaining smoked sea salt. (You may not use all of it — or you may need more of it; depends on your taste buds and the size of the avocado.)

5. Garnish with reserved green onion tops and serve with blue corn tortilla chips.

Paint 2This is my project mid-progress. I still need to sand off some corners (for character) and highlight the exceptional woodworking “garnishes” (curls & scrolls) before I give it a topcoat — and a new seat cover. The original worn red velvet is covered by faded green corduroy (indicating that somebody else was inspired to “re-do” it along the way) and I’ve been on the lookout for a stunning, artsy, bold print worthy of past memories and future enjoyment.

Life is about moving on… and forward.

In the meantime, I’ll bolster my refinishing efforts with more Smoky Guacamole. ;)

Enjoying fun in the Autumn sun,

~ Kim

Have you “personalized” your space? If so, how? (Do tell!)