Saturday, January 21, 2017

Toffee bars

I recently had these toffee bars at my friend Susan's house, and I made sure to take the recipe home with me--these are delicious, and extremely simple to make.  I am always happy to find a cookie or cake recipe that starts out with melted butter rather than having to beat the butter until soft--so much easier.  I made these last night for the Oneg Shabbat at Temple, and they disappeared quickly.  Next time I'll make a double batch!

adapted from Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies

8 T. unsalted butter
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar (either light or dark sugar is fine)
1 t. vanilla
1/8 t. salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, or 6 oz. semi-sweet or dark chocolate cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans (or almonds or walnuts)

Use 8-inch square pan, lined on the bottom and all 4 sides with parchment paper (foil might work also).  Toast the nuts in a sauté pan for a few minutes, or in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

BASE:  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.  Remove from the heat and stir in the brown sugar, vanilla, and salt.  Add the flour and mix until just incorporated. Press the dough into the bottom of the baking pan.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until well-browned at the edges and golden brown in the center. 

topping:  Sprinkle the hot crust with the chocolate and return to the oven for 1-2 minutes, or just until the chocolate softens.  Remove the pan from the oven and spread the chocolate evenly with the back of a spoon.  Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate and press them down gently into the chocolate.  Set on a rack to cool.  Lift the edges of the liner to transfer to a cutting board.  Use a sharp knife to cut into 16 or more squares.  

Monday, January 16, 2017

Steamed Salmon with Snow Peas

For the last several years, I've purchased superb salmon from Sitka Salmon Shares. This salmon is so good that most of the time, I just steam, bake, or pan-fry it and spend my cooking time on the sides.  But last night I tried this recipe and we really enjoyed it.  The fish is perked up a bit with ginger, garlic, and a little sauce, and the snow peas and orange were really nice companions for it.  I have upped the amounts of ginger, garlic, and lime juice from the original recipe.

Sitka Salmon has expanded significantly this year, and in 2017 will be delivering everywhere in the Midwest and some places beyond.  They're working on a map for the website.  Until that's up, here's what you have to do to find out if they sell to your area: Click on "Join now," put something in the cart, and that will take you to a page where you put in your state and zipcode, to see if they will deliver to you.

steamed salmon with snow peas
adapted from The Flat Belly Diet, by Lisa Vaccariello
4 servings

1 to 1-1/2 lbs. salmon fillets, cut into four pieces
2 t. grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 t. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 t. toasted sesame oil
12-16 oz. snow peas
1 cup diced avocado
4 oranges, cut into eighths

Rub the salmon fillets with the ginger and garlic.  Coat a steamer basket with nonstick cooking spray and lay the fillets in the basket.  (I use this kind of steamer basket.)
In a saucepan, bring 1-2" of water to a boil.  (I use a 3-qt sauté pan with straight sides, something like this.)  Put the steamer basket in the saucepan and cover.  Steam for 8 minutes.
While the fish is steaming, whisk together in a small bowl the lime juice, soy sauce, oil, and scallions.  Set aside.
After the salmon has cooked for 8 minutes, put the snow peas on top and cover.   Cook for another 3-4 minutes, until the snow peas are crisp/tender and the salmon is opaque.
Spoon the snow peas onto four plates, making a bed for the salmon.  Put on the salmon, sprinkle with the diced avocado, and then drizzle with the reserved sauce.  Serve the cut-up orange as a side dish.
392 calories