Monday, January 23, 2012

Honey-Lime Salmon over Quinoa {and dolphin watching!}

Pin It Now! What a beautiful Sunday!  One of the benefits of living right on the coast is the opportunity to watch stunning sunsets on the beach.  Hubby and I took a walk to the Ellwood Bluffs/Coronado Butterfly Preserve to catch the sunset, and we were definitely in for a treat...  dolphins!  While we took in the sunset from the bluffs, dozens of dolphins played in the waves below.  It was really an amazing sight. 

Another benefit to living on the coast is fresh seafood.  We have a great fish market in the Harbor, with a selection of lots of local seafood as well as some flown in from around the nation. We chose a beautiful wild salmon from Washington.  (ALWAYS buy wild when possible.)

Santa Barbara Fish Market 

We love salmon in our house.  My usual standby is to drizzle it with olive oil, squeeze a bunch of lemons over it, scatter garlic slices on it and toss it in the oven.  Nothin' wrong with that, but it was time to switch it up.  So this time I went with a glaze of lime and honey, and it turned out great!  Hubby loved it (yay!) and even had seconds.

Another switch-up to our usual salmon dinner was with quinoa (pronounced keen-wah).  I've been meaning to give this a try for quite some time and I'm really not sure why I didn't do it sooner.  We loved it!  Quinoa is one of those superfoods you've been hearing about.  Each serving is loaded with protein, fiber, folate, magnesium (great for people like me who get migraines), iron AND all eight amino acids!  It's no wonder the Incas called quinoa "the mother of all grains."  And if you're not sold yet, it cooks in 15 minutes with zero supervision.  That scores high, in my humble opinion.  Quinoa is like a blank canvas; you can do anything with it.  We'll definitely be enjoying quinoa quite frequently.  Give it a try!

Honey-Lime Salmon
Juice of three limes
3-4 tablespoons honey
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, honey, salt & pepper.  Place salmon in baking dish and pour half of the glaze over it, letting it rest for five minutes before baking.  Bake until cooked to desired doneness.  Serve over a bed of quinoa, drizzling the rest of the glaze over the filets immediately prior to serving.

Garlic & Shallot Quinoa
1 c uncooked quinoa
2 c water or chicken broth
1 small shallott, thinly sliced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 15-20 minutes until liquid is absorbed. 

We enjoyed our salmon and quinoa with steamed broccoli and corn.  Enjoy!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

One Year Anniversary Prosecco Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Filling

Pin It Now! As you know, I love cupcakes.  They are my favorite treat to make for all occasions and somehow they just make an ordinary day seem special.

One year ago today, I became a Mrs.  And at our wedding we had the same kind of cupcakes that Mr. M. used when he proposed to me.  It seems only fitting to make cupcakes to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary, right?  But they had to be extra-special....  so bring on the bubbly!

Prosecco is basically Italy's answer to champagne.  It's slightly sweet with that beautiful champagne-y tang, and of course, the signature bubbles.  The cake recipe I found at Sprinkle Bakes, and to switch things up a bit I filled them with a simple chocolate ganache (1 pt cream to 2 pt chocolate.  Melt chocolate, simmer cream, combine. Cool.  Done!)  Since our wedding was accented with deep purple and lavender I used food coloring gels to tint the frosting a lovely, romantic lavender.

Prosecco Cupcakes

Note: make sure you allow the Prosecco plenty of time to come to room temperature, especially for the frosting. 

Forgive the short blog post, but I'm ready to go celebrate with my handsome hubby over some Prosecco and cupcakes...  cheers!  :)

Prosecco Cupcakes
from Sprinkle Bakes
(Makes one dozen cupcakes)
1/2 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 c AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c Prosecco or champagne

Prosecco Buttercream Frosting
1 c Prosecco
2 tbsp reduced Prosecco (instructions below)
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
Powdered sugar, sifted

For the cupcakes...
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a muffin tin with baking cups.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy.  Add in sugar and mix well.  Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition.  Mix in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, combine sour cream and Prosecco.  Set aside.

Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, alternately add it and the sour cream/Prosecco mixtures to the butter, sugar and egg mixture.  Batter will be somewhat thick.  Fill cupcake liners with just under 1/4 c of batter.  Bake for 17-22 minutes, until cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely.  To fill with ganache, fill a pastry bag fitted with Wilton tip 230.  Carefully insert the tip into the top of the cupcake and gently squeeze until ganache is just barely oozing out the top of the cake.

For the reduced Prosecco...
Pour one cup Prosecco into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Allow to simmer approx 20 minutes, until reduced to 2 tbsp.  Set aside to cool.

For the frosting...
Cream butter until light and fluffy.  Add in sifted powdered sugar, 1/2 c at a time, until a stiff frosting forms (stiffer than your desired consistency).  Add in one cup of Prosecco and the 2 tbsp reduced Prosecco and carefully mix until thoroughly incorporated.  If frosting is too thin, add in more sifted powdered sugar.  Too thick, add in more Prosecco one tbsp at a time.  Use gel food coloring to add color, if desired.  Top with sparkling sugar or any other decor you like.  Enjoy!!