Thursday, February 29, 2024

ChezCindy: Salmon Piccata with Lemon Caper Sauce


Salmon piccata is a dinner that seems very elegant that you might order from a restaurant.  However, it is a quick cooking meal that you can serve at home in under 30 minutes.  Be sure to have all your measuring and chopping of the ingredients before you start cooking.  Once you start cooking, everything moves along very quickly.  I like to serve this with a rice pilaf or a thin spaghetti pasta.  

Piccata was once thought to have been created for Italian nobility during the Renaissance.  Further research leads to piccata being a dish made by Italian immigrants first noted in the 1930's.  It is more commonly made with chicken or veal, but always with a buttery pan sauce spiked with lemons and capers.  When you make piccata home, you and your family may feel as if you are dining like royalty.  Enjoy!!

Salmon Piccata with Lemon Caper Sauce
4 6-ounce skinless salmon filets, center cut
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Dry the salmon filets with a paper towel.  Evenly season the filets with 1 teaspoon salt.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the hot skillet.  Carefully add the filets to the pan flesh-side down.  Allow to cook without moving or turning for 4-5 minutes.  This will create a deep brown color on this first side.  Using a flexible spatula, flip each filet over to cook on the second side.  Cook on this side for 2-3 minutes.  The filets should be slightly pink at the center.  Remove the filets to a plate to rest.

Working quickly, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan.  Add in the chopped shallots and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Stir to combine, cooking for about 1 minute.  Add in the chicken broth, lemon juice, capers, and lemon zest.  Simmer for 2 minutes to slightly reduce the mixture.  Whisk in the butter and mustard until smooth.  Turn off the heat, removing the pan from the heat surface.  Spoon the sauce over the salmon, sprinkle with the chopped parsley.  

Friday, February 16, 2024

ChezCindy: Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie


This is such a fun and delicious recipe!!  So easy for an impromptu weeknight sweet treat.  

Think of traditional chocolate chip cookies, but as a single giant cookie.  I made it using an electric mixer, although it could just as easily be mixed in a bowl with a wooden spoon.  The cookie dough comes together in minutes.  Transfer it to a cast iron or cast enamel pan, no need to coat the pan with oil or baking spray.  It is fully baked in 25 minutes, less time if you prefer a gooey center.  Ready for you to eat straight from the pan!  Top the warm cookie with ice cream for extra indulgence.  

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/4 cups chopped chocolate* from a bar, or chips from a bag

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer, combine the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar.  Mix until smooth and creamy.  Add in the egg and vanilla, mixing to combine.

Add in the flour, baking soda and salt to the butter mixture, mixing until barely combined.  Add in the chocolate, mixing until just combined.  

Transfer the batter to an 11-inch oven-safe skillet, cast iron or cast enamel recommended.  You may need to use your fingers to spread the batter evenly.  Bake in the hot oven for 22-25 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let the cookie rest for about 5 minutes.  Serve warm, or at room temperature if desired.  

*use your favorite chocolate, either milk, semi-sweet, dark, and/or white  

Monday, February 5, 2024

ChezCindy: Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Ganache


Consider making this delightful chocolate cake for your next celebration or simply for the love of chocolate cake.  

The recipe is one that has been shared on the internet in various iterations for the past several years.  I'm not sure of the recipe origin but pairing chocolate and red wine is always a winning combination.  It certainly is in this house.  The cake batter is made by using a cup of red wine along with the standard ingredients of butter, sugar, egg, flour, cocoa, etc.  The outcome is lovely without being too sweet as the wine adds balance to the flavor yielding a chocolate-forward taste.  The cake is once again a magically disappearing chocolate cake as often happens in this house.  This is one I will make again and again.  And, it goes great with a glass of red wine, pictured here is a Nebbiolo Italian wine.  An Oregan Pinot Noir or French red Burgandy would also pair very well.  Just imagine which part of the world you would like to "travel" to by way of chocolate cake.  

Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Ganache
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 cup dry red wine, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3-ounce semisweet chocolate bar, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons dry red wine, room temperature

Flakey sea salt for topping the cake, Maldon salt flakes recommended

To Make the Cake:  
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  
Butter an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan on the bottom and sides.  Line the bottom with a round parchment paper, butter the parchment.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, whisking to combine.  Set aside.  In a separate small bowl with a pour spout, combine the red wine and vanilla.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl with using an electric hand mixer, add the sugar and melted butter, mixing on medium-high speed to cream together until the mixture turns pale yellow.  Add in the egg, mixing until just combined.  Add in a third of the flour mixture along with half of the wine mixture, mixing to combine.  Add in the next third of the flour mixture and the remaining half of the wine mixture, mixing to combine.  Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.  Add in the remaining third of the flour mixture, mixing and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl.  

Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan.  Place the pan onto the center rack, baking until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean with just a few crumbs.  About 40-45 minutes for a 9-inch round and 45-50 minutes for an 8-inch round.  Allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack.  

To Make the Ganache:
While the cake is cooling, prepare the ganache.  Place the chopped chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl.  Add in the diced butter and the corn syrup.  Microwave on high at 20 second intervals, stirring until melted and smooth.  Stir in the sifted powdered sugar and the red wine, stirring until fully combined and smooth.  Let stand at room temperature until the cake is cooled.  

Putting It All Together:
When the cake has fully cooled, run a small offset spatula around the side of the cake to loosen from the pan.  Carefully invert the cake onto the wire rack.  Brush off any excess crumbs.  Transfer the cake to your serving plate.  Using a ladle, pour the ganache onto the center of the top of the cake, using the ladle to work the ganache out to the sides of the cake, until the ganache is fully covering the top of the cake and beginning to drip down the sides.  Gently sprinkle flakey sea salt over the top of the cake.  Cut into wedges and serve with red wine if desired.