Showing posts with label salmon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label salmon. Show all posts

Friday, June 16, 2017

Salmon with Leeks and Phyllo Pastry

I’m finally purging my freezer of the ancient phyllo pastry, left by my daughter during her spanakopita phase several years ago. Note: old phyllo dough, even frozen, crumbles into tiny pieces if you breathe on it, so it’s not worth saving for long. I decided to start with fresh.

The recipe was born on one of those evenings when I was staring into space thinking “what’s in the fridge?” and “what do I feel like eating?” There was salmon—at staple in our household—and there was phyllo pastry. And leeks! I went hunting for a recipe that fit and found a variety online, but none was just right, so I sort of combined a couple.

The hardest part of this recipe is making a tidy packet when you try to wrap the salmon with the phyllo dough. Don’t beat yourself up if it looks messy—it’ll taste good anyway.

Salmon with Leeks and Phyllo Pastry

(as usual, this is a recipe for four, but I cut it in half)

8 Tblsp (1 stick) butter

2 cups small strips leeks (white and pale green parts only, washed to remove any grit)

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 tsp fresh dill, chopped (you can use dried, but it has less flavor)

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup sour cream

12 sheets fresh phyllo pastry, or the same amount of frozen pastry, thawed

6 5-oz. skinless salmon steaks [Note: you can make this recipe with fillets, but they’re hard to wrap neatly. Using cross-cut steaks of the same weight makes them neater.]


Melt two Tblsp butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the leek and sautée until the leek is tender (about 5 minutes)

Add the wine to the skillet and simmer until the liquid evaporates (about 4 minutes).

Remove the skillet from the heat and let the vegetable mixture cool. Stir in the dill, sour cream and salt.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Melt the rest of the butter in a small saucepan. Take one sheet of the phyllo pastry and lay it flat (keep the other sheets covered with a damp paper towel—otherwise they will get brittle). Brush the sheet with some of the melted butter. Top with a second pastry sheet and brush that one with butter.

Place a salmon piece crosswise on the pastry sheet and top it with 1/4 cup of the vegetable mixture. Fold the phyllo pastry over the salmon, then fold in the sides and tuck the whole thing into a rectangular packet.

Transfer each packet to a heavy baking sheet, keeping the vegetable side up. Brush the packet on all sides with more melted butter. 

Repeat until you’ve used up the salmon fillets. (If you’re not baking them right away, cover with plastic film and refrigerate.)

Bake the salmon packets until the pastry is pale golden and the salmon is cooked through, about 25-30 minutes (depending on thickness).

So it's crunchy, tangy, and fun! And you get to wrap up your fish like a gift.

Oh, right, books. Next in line: A Late Frost (Orchard Mystery #11), coming in November.

The New York Times bestselling author of Seeds of Deception returns with a story of orchard owner Meg and the search for a poisoner.

The usually quiet town of Granford, Massachusetts, is even drowsier during the colder months. But this year it’s in for a jolt when Monica Whitman moves into town. She’s a dynamo who wants to make friends fast in her new home, and she throws herself into community activities. Meg Corey, now Chapin after her marriage to Seth Chapin, is intrigued by the new arrival, who has already sold the town board on a new, fun way to bring in visitors during the off-season: WinterFare, which will feature local foods (such as Meg’s apples) and crafts, as well as entertainment. 

Tragically, Monica falls ill and dies after the event in what looks like a case of food poisoning. When all the food served at WinterFare has been tested, including Meg’s apples, it becomes clear that there’s a more sinister explanation to the older woman’s sudden demise. 

Meg’s investigation uncovers a bushel of potential suspects, one of whom is rotten to the core.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Smoked Salmon Tartlets

I am in Ireland now, furnishing my very own cottage (once I get the electric and water turned on). I first visited Ireland in 1998 and fell in love, but it took until 2016 to stake a claim to a small piece of it (one-half acre, to be precise), in the heart of West Cork, where my father’s family came from. In fact, if you look up the hill, you can see where my great-grandmother Bridget Regan was born in 1841. The house is still standing.

When we first started traveling to Ireland, the food was as bad as everyone said: watery stews, with chunks of ham, cabbage and potatoes. The bread and butter were always good, as was the Guinness, but the sit-down meals? Not so much.

Now the food is terrific, even in smaller towns. I’ve watched the restaurants moving in, and I’ve sampled the menus (all for research, of course), and I’m blown away. Even the pubs have stepped up their game.

This recipe is adapted from The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook, which has gorgeous pictures. If I can find a pub where they make this dish, I may stake out a permanent seat. I do know where to find locally-made smoked salmon, made in a small building in Union Hall in West Cork (near the wonderful fish store I keep returning to)—and you can buy it at the Skibbereen Saturday Market. I’ve been known to plan trips so I can visit the market.

Smoked Salmon Tartlets

The original recipe called for six 3-1/2 inch fluted tart pans with removable bottoms. Most of us probably don’t have those, so you can improvise. I had one shallow six-space pan (a flea-market find), so that’s what I used. Line the bottoms with foil if you need to, to make it easy to get the tarts out. (You could also use standard muffin tins or even mini-muffin tins, if you want to make appetizers—just adjust the cooking time.)


1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
5-1/2 Tblsp cold salted butter, cut into pieces

It doesn't get much simpler than this,
does it?
Grease (or line) your tart pans. Put the flour and salt into a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the butter and process until the mixture looks line fine bread crumbs.

Place in a large bowl (or just leave it in your food processor bowl) and add just enough cold water to let the dough stick together. Place the dough on a floured surface and cut into six equal pieces. Roll each piece into a circle, then press into the tart pans. Clean up the edges. Put a piece of parchment paper in each, then fill with pie weights or dried beans and chill for 30 minutes.

I feel the need to point out that in general I am pie-crust challenged. This absolutely simple recipe produced one of the best I have ever made. It was easy to roll and didn’t fall apart, it didn’t get tough with handling, and it tasted great.

(Yanno, you can just buy your crust ready-made and then cut it to fit. I won’t tell.)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the tart shells from the refrigerator and bake (yes, still with the paper and beans) for 10 minutes. Then carefully remove the beans and paper.


1/2 cup crème fraiche OR 1/4 cup sour cream mixed with 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp creamed horseradish
1/2 tsp (oh, all right, a squeeze) of fresh lemon juice
1 tsp capers, chopped
3 egg yolks
8 oz. smoked salmon trimmings (the scrappy bits, which is cheaper), coarsely chopped
Bunch of fresh dill, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together the crème fraiche, horseradish, lemon juice and capers and add salt and pepper and blend well. Add the egg yolks, smoked salmon and chopped dill and mix carefully (you don’t want it to turn into mush). 

Divide the mixture amongst the pastry shells and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the top and the crust edges have just begun to brown.

Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes before serving, garnished with sprigs of dill.

They'd look a bit tidier with a different baking tin, but they sure tasted good! (My husband approved.)

Is there a book? Well, the last Irish book was A Turn for the Bad, and in that one I send Maura and her friend Gillian to a nice small cafe in Union Hall, and then to the fish store. It's a lovely tiny town where the fishing fleet is based.

I can't tell you about the next Irish book because I haven't written it yet, and it doesn't have a title. But it will be coming next spring! I'm busy doing research in Ireland now, including exploring one very nice upscale hotel. The life of a writer is hard!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Grilled Salmon with dill + book #giveaway from author @DarylWoodGerber

From Daryl aka Avery:

to Lucy Burdette & Leslie Budewitz on their new releases!!!


I love the creativity in our group. 
May every fan of Mystery Lovers Kitchen go out 
and buy the book or tell a friend or librarian this week!!!

And celebrate upcoming release of FUDGING THE BOOKS  (a month from now; August), there's a giveaway below...keep reading.

I’m writing the next Cookbook Nook Mystery (#5), and the event in Crystal Cove is the Wild West Extravaganza, so I’m researching all sorts of grilling recipes, barbecue, and fun foods to serve “on the range” or at horse-type events. Fun and tasty!

In the series, I mention titles of a variety of cookbooks. Now, I don’t always purchase these books because that could really rack up the $$—I research and review the  books as I can online and in bookstores—but occasionally, I do purchase one, usually based on sample recipes and photographs I've seen. I found one that I had to have. 

It’s called: Grill Every Day: 125 Fast-track Recipes for Weeknights at the Grill by Diane Morgan. I love to barbecue. I love to find recipes I can use with fish.

This one is divine.

In the book, it is called Alder-Planked Salmon with Lemon-Vodka-Dill Marinade, but I don’t have an alder-plank, so I went without...which would be considered a "tweak."  You can do whatever you choose. No matter what, enjoy the aromas and flavors.

From Grill Every Day: 125 Fast-track Recipes for Weeknights at the Grill by Diane Morgan


¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons vodka
Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon Juice (whole lemon)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 whole side of salmon, about 3 pounds


Like I said, I don’t have an alder-plank, and I remember years ago using a cedar plank to cook a salmon, and my husband wasn’t happy. He didn’t like the smoky flavor.


I simply used this recipe as a marinade, and I barbecued, and it was fabulous!!! I think you can grill it or cook this in the oven.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, vodka, lemon zest, lemon juice, dill, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Place the whole salmon fillet, flesh side up, on a large rimmed baking sheet (if you use a cutting board, the oil WILL spill over, so be careful). Pour the marinade evenly over the top. Set aside while the grill or oven heats.

When ready to grill, baste the grill with olive oil, then heat the grill to medium (about 300 degrees). Set the fish on the grill, close the lid, and grill for 5-8 minutes. Using two spatulas (very important), flip the fish.

Grill another 4-6 minutes until the salmon is almost opaque (light pink), yet still moist when tested with a knife.

On a charcoal fire, this all might take longer by 2-4 minutes a side. I have a gas grill.

**In the oven, I’d cook the fish at about 300 degrees, as per above, but I would broil the fish at the end, flesh side up, for about 4 minutes for color.

Slice into portions and serve hot.

Click here to PREORDER

I've set up a Goodreads giveaway for 5 lucky winners to win Fudging the Books. It starts July 15 and ends July 31.  Good luck!

Also I'm having a release party on Facebook on August 4th, so mark your calendars! Look for the event invitation. There will be door prizes!

Also, I'll offering a giveaway August 3rd via my newsletter to someone (or a few someones) who are signed up to receive it! Don't delay. Sign up.


Today's giveaway, as a thanks for being my fans, you will have your choice of the first three Cookbook Nook Mysteries OR any of the Cheese Shop Mysteries on the shelves + some fun swag. Leave a comment, with your email (cryptic, if you must) so I can contact you!  

And tell me what's your favorite thing on my Fudging the Books cover!

Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames
Tasty ~ Zesty ~ Dangerous!

Friend Daryl on Facebook
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Follow Avery on Twitter
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Check out our website.

order here

FUDGING THE BOOKS, the next Cookbook Nook Mystery, is available for order: order here.

If you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list 
so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

We're Growing!

I am delighted to announce that Leslie Budewitz is joining us at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen! Leslie goes way back with Daryl, Sheila, Peg, and me. In fact, all the way back to the days when none of us were published. We all met through the Guppies, the Sisters In Crime Chapter for unpublished writers. Of course, all these years later, we have met face to face at conventions. It's an odd feeling meeting someone you've only known through a cyber connection. We instantly became old friends!

Leslie writes the Food Lovers Village Mysteries. Her first book in that series, DEATH AL DENTE, won the Agatha award for Best First Novel in 2013. And now, she is also writing the Spice Shop Mystery series. It debuts in March with ASSAULT AND PEPPER. In addition, Leslie won the Agatha award for Best Nonfiction in 2011 for BOOKS, CROOKS AND COUNSELORS: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure. 

You're probably wondering who is leaving. No one! But Cleo will be cutting back to two posts a month. Not to worry, Cleo will definitely still be around. In fact, she's taking over our special seasonal pages. Keep an eye on the left sidebar where we'll be posting a link to recipes that we recommend for holidays and celebrations. Leslie will be posting the first, third, and fifth Tuesdays of the month, and Cleo will be posting on the second and fourth Tuesdays.

And now on to a recipe~

Seems like I'm on a roll with recipes that have few ingredients, are easy to prepare, and cook relatively fast! After trying out some less than desirable recipes, suddenly I've stumbled upon some that are so simple and delicious that they will become part of my no-brainer quick fixes.

I bought a nice piece of Sockeye salmon at the store this week. I have to admit, though, that I'm not the best at preparing salmon in interesting ways. And, since it's January, it's just way too cold to stand outside and grill.

I've been testing recipes for THE DIVA STEALS A CHOCOLATE KISS, and I had quite a bit of sour cream left over. I'm not big on dill with sour cream, so I dared to Google the words sour cream and salmon. The very first recipe to pop up was on Inspired Taste. It sounded too easy and maybe even too good to be true. I tried it anyway.

This is the perfect we-just-got-home-and no-one-wants-to-cook recipe. Seriously, you could plop this on a bed of lettuce and have a meal. It takes seconds to prepare the sour cream topping while the oven preheats. And then it cooks in 15-20 minutes. Quick, easy, and almost no cleanup if you bake it on parchment paper.

Did I mention that it was delicious?

I do have one suggestion, though. In a moment of supreme laziness, I did not cut the salmon into four pieces like the recipe suggests. I loaded the sour cream topping on the whole piece and popped it in the oven for twenty minutes. It was perfect. Go for the shorter cooking time of 15 minutes if you have four small pieces. I suspect that cooking it as one large piece kept it from drying out. I was worried that the middle might be undercooked but it was just right.

I didn't have whole grain mustard, but my favorite horseradish mustard worked beautifully.

Sour Cream Baked Salmon

Four 6-ounce salmon filets (or one 6-7 inch-ish filet)
1/2 cup sour cream (whole fat)
1 1/2 teaspoons whole grain mustard (or horseradish mustard)
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Mix together the sour cream, mustard, and parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spread the sour cream mixture over the entire top of the salmon. Bake 15-20 minutes. (15 minutes for individual pieces, 20 minutes for one larger piece.)

I didn't cut it into pieces.

With sour cream topping before baking.

Almost looks like meringue!

Coming in June!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Cornmeal-Crusted Salmon with Yogurt Sauce

by Sheila Connolly

Often I start cooking with one ingredient that I want to use in mind and then back into a recipe from there. This is one of those times.

The Plimoth Plantation Grist Mill

I live near Plymouth, Massachusetts, and recently I learned that I’m descended from John Jenney, who managed the first mill built in the Plymouth Colony. It’s still there—in spirit, at least—and now belongs to Plimoth Plantation. The site of that first mill is known, although once it shared space along the small river that runs through the town with a lot of other mills of varying kinds—but the original mill itself burned down in the 19th century and was rebuilt then. The millstones (there are only the two, top and bottom) in the newly-rebuilt mill came from Pennsylvania.

Anyway, I decided to pay tribute to the memory of great-great…grandfather John and visited recently, and learned how corn was ground in 16-whatever and for a long while after that. It’s a process that still works, so of course I came home with some ground corn, both coarse and fine.

The "Sampa" on the left is coarser
Now, what to do with it? Cornmeal is a little sweet, and so is salmon, so I decided to put them together. Cornmeal also adds a nice crunch to the fish, but you’ve got to make it stick. So I came up with a recipe for a yogurt sauce. Most sauces using yogurt seem to come from Middle Eastern recipes, with herbs such as mint or coriander, but that didn’t seem to work with the colonial theme, so I tinkered with the recipe to emphasize the savory rather than the sweet.  Here’s the result.

Cornmeal Crusted Salmon with Yogurt Sauce

1 pound salmon filet (I used a single piece, which 
   doesn’t dry out so quickly when you broil it)

1/2 cup Greek style plain yogurt
1 Tblsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauce ingredients
1/2 cup coarsely ground corn meal

Mix the yogurt, olive oil, garlic and spices together. Coat the salmon with the mixture, then press the cornmeal onto the surface to form a thin crust. Save the sauce you have left over to add after cooking.

Cover a broiler pan with foil and place the coated salmon piece on it (you could also do this on an outdoor grill, but watch that it doesn’t overcook). Set the oven rack in the middle of the oven, not too close to the broiler flame—you need to make sure the fish is cooked through before the crust is too brown. Broil for 5-10 minutes (sorry to be vague, but this time depends on how hot your broiler is, and how thick your salmon filet is), or until the fish feels springy rather than squishy.

Serve immediately, topped with some of the remaining yogurt sauce, accompanied by a vegetable—in this case I had some lovely little peppers so I sliced those and sauteed them quickly in olive oil while the fish was broiling.

Breaking news! Reunion with Death (Beyond the Page Publishing, 2013) will be available for a week starting Saturday, October 4th, for 99 cents! In case you missed it when it first appeared, here's the description:

Laura Shumway couldn’t say why she’d agreed to go on the class reunion trip to Italy. Maybe it was to take stock of her life, or maybe it was just to catch up with old friends, take in the sights, and relax in the beautiful Tuscan countryside. Either way, she knew she’d discover a lot on the trip, both about herself and her former classmates. What she didn’t expect to discover was the dead body of esteemed professor Anthony Gilbert.

Before the polizia or carabiniere get involved, Laura and a few trusted classmates set out among the vineyards and hills of the Italian Riviera to solve the murder on their own. With the help of some influential locals and good old-fashioned detective work, they're soon led to the conclusion that one of their classmates might be a killer—and what started as a trip to see how far they’d all come may turn into a stark lesson about just how far one of them would go.

Available for Kindle and Nook, and most other e-formats.
And in case I haven't reminded you enough, Picked to Die (Orchard Mystery #8) comes out next Tuesday!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Smoked Salmon Chowder

by Sheila Connolly

I love to talk about Irish food. And I happen to be in Ireland at the moment, making the most of local food.

Smoked Salmon Chowder

Irish food keeps evolving, and quickly. I first visited Ireland in 1998, with my husband and daughter. With just my daughter in 1999. In 2001, with a friend I’d met online because we both had ancestors who lived in a tiny townland in County Carlow. There was a pause of a few years, and then I started going back in 2011, and 2012, and twice in 2013, and now again in 2014. The trips began long before I even thought of writing, but once I started writing, I knew I had to write about Ireland, and in particular, County Cork, where my grandfather was born.

Looking back on those first few trips, I have trouble remembering any noteworthy meals, either in Dublin or out in the country (unless you count the French fry sandwich in Carlow). It was almost as though the Irish were trying to live up to their own reputation for lousy food: watery potatoes, mushy carrots, soggy cabbage and grey meat. I ate my share of it, because there weren’t a lot of choices.

But things started changing. In an Irish paper just this month, I read that West Cork is now “a byword for good food.” The writer went on to say, “anyone who doubts that West Cork is now driving the food revolution begun in Ballymaloe [site of the Ballymaloe Cookery School, also in Cork] should visit the farmers’ market in Skibbereen any Saturday morning.”

I wrote about that famers’ market after I visited last November. Believe me, this year I’ll be there, shopping bag in hand.

This year I’m going back to Ireland (unexpectedly) because the pub that I write about—that used to be called Connolly’s—is reopening this month, after it went dark several years ago, and I want to be there. Having decided that I was going, I started making a list of places I wanted to visit or revisit, and the farmers’ market was near the top of that list (right after Connolly’s and the Drombeg Stone Circle). I’m actually staying in Skibbereen this time, and can walk to the farmers’ market. And to the amazing grocery store, where last year I bought wild game. Funny—sounds like I’m flying a couple of thousand miles just to eat, doesn’t it?

But it’s not happening only in the big town (Skibbereen’s population is about 2,700), but in the smaller villages as well. There’s Leap, which now has a bistro (that opened last year) with good food. There’s tiny Union Hall (2006 population, 192, although there are plenty of summer holiday visitors), which has its own fishing operation and a fishmonger with fresh fish that make me want to weep; and a place down the road that makes its own smoked salmon; and a new distillery that makes Irish whiskey.

Yes, West Cork has discovered food--fresh, local, and outstanding. They even have a food festival (in September, alas, so I will miss it). So rather than find a cute B&B (since I’m traveling without family and friends this time), I’ve rented a small one-bedroom place so I could have a kitchen and take advantage of some of this fabulous fresh food.

And lest you think that this town has gone food-mad merely as a tourist gimmick, as a central town in the region Skibbereen has been holding weekly markets for well over a century—year round. Live chickens and ducks. Apple trees. “Tat” dealers (sort of like a flea market table). And one man who carves magic wands from bog oak. Yes, I have one.

This recipe is a nod to the Union Hall Smoked Fish Company that I hope to have explored fully by the time you read this. (Wonder how much I can fit into my carry-on?) The recipe is derived from one I found in Margaret Johnson’s The New Irish Table, into which I inserted more than a dozen sticky notes the first time I read it. Yum!

Smoked Salmon Chowder

3 Tblsp unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 oz. white mushrooms, chopped
2 Tblsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
4 oz. smoked salmon, chopped
Ground white pepper to taste
1/4 cup flour
2 cups fish stock or bottled clam juice
1/2 cup cream or half-and-half
Sour cream and a few fresh dill sprigs for garnish

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic, mushrooms and parsley. Cook for 2-3 minutes until tender. Add the salmon and the pepper and sauté for another two minutes, until the salmon is heated through.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour. Return to the burner  and cook over low heat, stirring (this “cooks” the flour). Gradually add the fish stock or clam juice, stirring continuously until the flour is incorporated. Return to medium heat and bring to a boil, then quickly reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Stir in the cream.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Add a spoonful of sour cream or crème fraiche and top with a dill sprig.

It's a fairly quick recipe (once you get done chopping everything!), and I have a suspicion that this soup might be good cold as well.


And since I'm talking about Ireland, here's a sneak peek at the cover for the next County Cork Mystery, An Early Wake (coming February 2015)