Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lemon Dill Salmon

This Lemon Dill Salmon is so delicious and elegant. The ultimate culinary trifecta of lemon, dill and tender fish makes for a great meal that is simple enough for a weeknight dinner and fancy enough to entertain with.

The flavors are refreshing and bright, packed with the taste of spring that I have been craving in this endless winter!

I absolutely LOVE salmon -- it is by far my favorite fish, and it is packed with good nutrients for your body. I have also been on a kick with dill...I've used it in these steak sandwiches and it is the ultimate flavor boost in this white bean dip. It seemed logical to combine all of my favorite things, and the results were just what I was craving.

Oh, and of course, there's a compound butter involved. Just wait until you see how easy this dish is:

Lemon zest and fresh dill are combined with a bit of unsalted butter. Dynamite.

Compound butter gets spread over a well-seasoned salmon filet.

The butter is topped with thinly sliced lemons and additional fresh dill. The flavor train can't even handle this!

All that is left to do is bake, wait, and enjoy!

This salmon would be delicious served on top of a bed of rice pilaf with steamed broccoli for a yummy healthy dinner. Or pair it with a light salad for a tasty lunch. Ingredients below will serve 2, but this can be easily doubled to yield 4 salmon servings. Either way, let's get our salmon on!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Honey Butter

Today is the day that we will talk about butter in a very serious way.

Butter is a great thing. It adds body and flavor to pan sauces. It is the only thing that makes puff pastry the ultimate culinary vehicle. Without butter, cookies would be bland and scones would choke us half to death.

I don't want to take this any further. I just want to tell you about this Honey Butter.

The addition of sweet honey, spicy cinnamon, and soft vanilla extract takes ordinary butter and makes it extraordinary. It compliments sweet breads and homemade muffins in a way that will make you weak at the knees. You might want to bathe in it, and that's something you can do on your own time. If you want to put this on buttermilk pancakes, Lord knows I won't stop you. In fact, I'd really enjoy an invite to that breakfast.

This recipe is an easy way to elevate a breakfast or brunch table to the next level. It is an added touch of homemade that tells your guests (or just your family on a daily basis) that you truly care. Odds are you probably already have all these ingredients awaiting you in the pantry.

Last weekend, a couple of my good friends from college and I got together for a Sunday brunch. I was in charge of the carbohydrate and, since it was St. Patty's day and all, I made an Irish Soda Bread. But I couldn't leave well enough alone, and I brought a big log of honey butter over as well. HOLY YUM. So worth it.

The process of making honey butter is pretty simple. Take 2 sticks of butter and cut then into smaller pieces. I just sliced them by the tablespoon. Allow to soften just slightly.

Butter gets softened in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Honey, cinnamon, and vanilla extra join the party. You start drooling uncontrollably.

The butter mixture then gets wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and chilled for at least 2 hours.

Once the butter has set, you can use it as a topping for all sorts of baked goods. It would even be delicious as a quick snack on top of salty Ritz crackers. Leftover butter can be frozen for future use. And it all happens in 15 minutes. You know you want it.

Winter's Wrath

Is it just me or can winter just not quit it this year? I'm still wearing my down coat, and for the past two days I've had to wear my intense snow boots. Today is the official first day of spring but winter is just holding on for dear life, spraying every last bit of frozen and powdery snow upon us.

I'm really angry with winter right now.

I have been crazy busy this week with work and appointments and presentations. That's why I've been a little MIA in the blog-o-sphere recently...I apologize for that. I even made Irish Soda Bread for St. Patty's day but was too much of an airhead to properly document that process. UGH. There's always next year.

In the spirit of being cold, this is a perfect time to remind everyone that there is a wealth of heartwarming soups here on Gas Stove Girl that are sure to ease winter's continued  chill. Here is a wrap up of some of my favorites. If you have snow in your forecast again (BOSTON DOES GRR!) this is the perfect opportunity to make one of this flavorful dishes.

If you love Panera's broccoli cheddar soup, this Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe hits all the right notes. I'm talking two different cheddar cheeses, loads of broccoli, and shredded carrots. Add in a crusty bread or go all the way and put this in a bread bowl for the ultimate soup-eating experience.

Chicken Tortilla Soup is so hip these days, and this recipe is the best one I've ever tried. Packed with bold flavors and hearty vegetables and topped with smooth avocado and homemade corn tortilla strips. I can't wait to get my hands on another pot of this.

Sweet Potato Lentil Soup is a wild and crazy idea that turns out to be the ultimate combination of sweet and spicy goodness. Plus it is packed with all sorts of great nutrients from our good friend, sweet potato, and our other good friend, lentil.

Tender beef and a rich tomato base takes this Beef Barley Stoup to the next level. I stole the term "stoup" from Rachel Ray, who describes it as a combination of a stew and a soup. This dish is so rich, and thick, and hearty that the term "stoup" fit in seamlessly.

Potage Parmentier, or Potato Leek Soup is a classic comfort food that begs for a delicious french baguette for dipping. This soup is elegant enough to entertain, and yummy enough to feed to a ravenous family of 4. It is the epitome of Julia Child in a pot -- what could be wrong with that?

Enjoy these delicious soups -- I hope they warm you up like a snuggie! I will be back soon with some fun new recipes I think you'll love!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Steak Sandwiches with Quick Pickled Onions

Steak and sandwiches. Are there two foods in this world that you cannot live without more than steak and sandwiches?

I didn't think so.

When Jeff Mauro AKA The Sandwich King won the seventh season of The Next Food Network Star, I realized that I was rooting for him the whole time. First of all, he's a hoot and a holler. He makes these silly jokes that I would make if someone stuck me in front of a camera while I was cooking, and when I watch his show on Sunday mornings I cannot help but laugh out loud. Also, he always has bloopers at the end of his show. This reminds us that Food Network personalities are real people too.

The second reason I was rooting for the Sandwich King is just that -- he is literally the king of sandwiches. What a fun and unique idea it is to be inspired by all sorts of meals and create fun, flavorful sandwiches from it.

I've learned a lot from Mr. Sandwich King, and I wanted to channel some of that in today's post.

These Steak Sandwiches with Pickled Onions were quick to make and even quicker to eat. Tangy onions pair well with a bright lemon and dill mayo and soft baby romaine leafs. Top round steak was on sale at my grocery store this week, and it was a great cut of meat for this sandwich. Flank steak would also be a great choice. You may recall, I actually really love flank steak.

Sandwiches are a great weeknight meal choice because they come together really quickly. Just add a bit of good high quality ingredients, like a delicious fresh baguette from a local bakery, and they can feel like sophisticated and composed dishes--plus they are great for entertaining.

Pickled onions are an easy and elegant component to any sandwich. I soaked thinly sliced red onions in hot vinegar and water with sugar, salt, and pepper. Let them rest for 30 minutes on the counter, then either use immediately or refridgerate overnight.

Instead of going through the labor of making my own mayonnaise, I simply dressed up the store-bought kind with chopped fresh dill and the zest of one lemon. I may start making this spread more often, it's that good!

The steak is seasoned well then grilled until desired doneness. For me, that's be medium...closer to a medium I like steak to be very tender for sandwiches.

I picked up this beautiful baby at the bakery. I love baguettes.

A light toast is all this needs and then it is time to build the ultimate steak sandwich.

Bottom half of the bread, with a healthy smear of lemony dill mayo. Swoon.

Thinly sliced juicy.

The pickled onions.

Baby romaine lettuce. Be still my heart. More lemony dill mayo on top? You guessed it.

We gobbled these sandwiches right up and I already can't to have some leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Fresh bread, juicy steak, bright lemon, fresh dill, tangy pickled onions. And it can all be yours in under 30 minutes!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Kale, Green Apple, and Feta Salad

Let's talk about a salad today. I want to talk about salad because I feel like I have been throwing lots of carbs and cheese and overall gut-busting (BUT DELICIOUS) food your way. Really, I just need some company to help me enjoy the pizzas, and breads, and cookies in my life. Thanks for being there when I need you the most.

Lunch this week has actually been quite delicious, which is surprising because lunch has been this Kale, Green Apple, and Feta Salad. And usually anything that is based in "kale" is already pretty low on my list of delicious. Sorry, kale...

The flavors in this salad are fresh and light. The tangy feta and sweet green apples love each other big time. Kale and toasted walnuts add body to this salad, keeping you full straight until dinner. Fresh cucumber and thinly sliced red onions bring the whole thing together.

I particularly love this salad as a lunch option because as all the flavors marry so beautifully in the refrigerator overnight. And since we are using kale, it stands up to the dressing without getting soggy. The dressing, on that note, is a simple cider vinaigrette. The apple cider vinegar keeps the apples from getting brown and sad-looking..extra win!

The composition of this salad is quite simple. I start by mixing together a touch of brown sugar, salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil. A big batch of kale is tossed in the dressing and set aside to soften slightly.

In the meantime, walnuts get toasted in the oven until they are fragrant and enticing.

Vegetables are sliced thin.

Everything along with feta cheese gets tossed together with the kale. And that's all there is to it.

Elegant and simple and tasty. Plus, this salad is packed with all sorts of good-for-you elements. If you are tired of boring sandwiches at lunch or need a filling dinner in a hurry, this salad is for you! Recipe below will serve 2 big dinner portions or 4 small lunch portions.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Chicken, Spinach and Artichoke Pizza


Look, guys. I know what people are saying about me.

I've gone mad. I need to go to Spin Dip Lovers Anonymous. You and carbohydrates make me crazy.

It's OK...I think the rumors are true. I love spinach and artichoke dip.  I surely love pizza. Of course I had to marry the two together for something completely out of the box that is worth every calorie.

I have such a small amount of pictures for this post because I made this pizza for some guests on Oscar night and I couldn't hold them back any longer!!

OK, really, I was just embarrassed to have people witness my behind-the-scenes work...blogger blush.

I used the pizza crust recipe from this post to get things going. That recipe yields two 13-inch pizzas, so here is my second creation. The measurements below would be for two pizzas. Is that confusing? I only made one, but I'm giving you the measurements for two. Did that help? UGH MONDAY.

This pizza is exactly what it sounds like...a simple spinach and artichoke dip topped with chicken and mozzarella cheese. It is so gooey and rich, with the slight bite of artichoke and soft undertone of spinach. The pizza crust makes this easy to eat in a party setting. Remember not to over-fill your pizza crust or else you won't get as puffy of a crust and it might get tough.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

A part of me thinks I should start off this post by apologizing for the amount of cheese, butter, and milk that is in this soup. But now I'm thinking otherwise.

You know how Panera's broccoli cheddar soup is, more or less, the best broccoli cheddar soup out there? Well, when a severe craving set in for broccoli cheddar soup yesterday, I decided that it was time to try and whip up my own. Mostly because it was ONCE AGAIN snowing in Boston and I realized that this soup may be the last soup this season! It had to be a good one.

My Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe is packed with two types of cheddar cheese (mostly because I was indecisive and didn't know which one would be just right. Turns out having both was a big win). I went with a traditional yellow sharp cheddar, and I also grated up a generous amount of extra sharp white cheddar for an added kick. I really liked the color and smoothness of the yellow cheddar along with the bite and body of the white cheddar. Mostly, I just love cheese.

A large onion is diced and sauteed in a touch of olive oil to begin. I will never start any soup without an onion, the flavor is unmatched. 

Next, a thick roux is made in the soup pot by vigorously whisking together a stick of unsalted butter (wee!) with 1/4 cup of flour. Allowing this mixture to thicken will ensure that your soup is creamy and dreamy all the way through.

Of course, this is a cream-based soup so a few cups of milk join the party next. A part of me really wanted to use skim or lowfat milk, but I was worried it wouldn't thicken up as nicely as the whole milk does. So I went with whole milk this time and boy was this soup rich. I would imagine, though, that everything would still taste  amazing if you swapped in a low or non-fat milk.

2 cups of each cheese is grated and thrown into the pot. This may seem excessive but since CHEDDAR is in the name of the soup, I had to be sure that we were slapped with it's cheesy goodness. A big bunch of chopped frozen broccoli and grated carrots are in the wings waiting to go for a cheese bath. They get stirred in along with 1 cup of chicken broth.

I cooked the soup, simmering on low, for about 30 to 45 minutes until thick and the vegetables were very soft and tender. As it cooked, it did get thicker so I would gradually add in more chicken stock a cup or so at a time until I felt it was just right. You can play with the stock measurements below until it suits you!

The final verdict: this soup completely satisfied my cravings for Panera's broccoli cheddar. It wasn't quite as thick, but I liked that it felt much more like a soup than a cheese dip. The broccoli and carrots flavor up the soup beautifully as they cook, complimenting the cheeses in a way that will definitely keep you coming back for seconds. Warm and flavorful comfort food was just what we needed to melt away that extra bit of snow that was dumped on us. I highly suggest you try out this soup before soup season is over...or hell, just make it any time of year. It's THAT good.

Friday, March 1, 2013

I'm off to sea!

Hi blog-loves!

Hope you've been enjoying the recent posts here on Gas Stove Girl. I'm having a ton of fun cooking and eating them, and I hope you do too!

Like any good adult, I'm treating myself to a tropical vacation for the next week. I'll be cruising with my good friend to Belize and Cozumel--can you say bright sunshine and 85 degree weather?! I NEED IT!

Since I will be in the middle of the ocean, I won't have any new posts for you. That doesn't mean you can't be cooking though! Perhaps you want to give one of Gas Stove Girl's most popular recipes a try.

These Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers have far and away attracted the most readers. They are cheesy and hearty, all the amazing flavors of a traditional Philly Cheesesteak stuffed in a pepper...YUM!

Perhaps you need something to warm you up. In that case, Mom's Lentil Soup is a popular stop. This soup is healthy and flavorful, and makes you feel right at home.

My Ground Lamb Lettuce Wraps are packed with rustic Mediterranean flavors. They are light and satisfying. A great alternative to a traditional taco.

This French Onion Pasta is comfort food at it's finest. A full meal inspired by a traditional French Onion soup. That means there is bubbly melted cheese on're welcome!

If you love your Crock Pot as much as I do, then you are going to love this Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore. This meal rocked my socks off. A little bit of prep work leads to a rich, flavorful, and down-right addicting chicken dish.

Have fun cooking while I am away! Let me know what kinds of recipes you'd like to see when I get back, and be sure to comment on any posts with recipes that you've tried -- I'd love to know how it went for you.

Pictures of my tropical paradise to follow!

Until next time,

Jess xo