Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tarragon Chicken Salad

I'm going to be completely honest, I thought I hated tarragon before I even tasted it. It was one of those herbs that just sounded overpowering and unpleasant, so I avoided it whenever I saw it in a recipe.

My suspicions about not liking it where further confirmed when I smelled it for the first time. It was musky, bitter, and smelled like licorice—and I'm not talking about the delicious cherry-flavored vines you get at movie theaters; I mean the black, anise-flavored licorice, which is not my cup of tea.

The first time I eventually tried it was at my friend's house for lunch. I winced and pleaded with her to only add half the amount in the chicken salad in case I ended up actually hated it. Since it was her first time trying it, too, she happily obliged and added less than half than what the recipe called for. When we tasted the salad we both had one of those "AHA!" moments. It was delicious. So fantastic that we didn't just put in the missing half of the herb, but added more.

The scent of tarragon turns out to be absolutely nothing like the actual taste of it when it's mixed with poultry and fish. It completely enhances the flavor of the chicken salad and takes that simple meal to an entirely new level. Mixed with chicken it becomes peppery, sweet, tangy, and completely addicting. It also goes great with tuna salad, and I'm anxious to start using it in other recipes.

Made with a few less ingredients than below (only what I had on hand) and served on Wasa Flatbread with avocado. Yummy.

Tarragon Chicken Salad

1 pound cooked chicken breast, shredded or diced
½ cup mayo
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup fresh tarragon
2 celery stalks, diced
¼ cup onions, diced
½ pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
4 oz. red or green grapes, cut in half
½ teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon green chile or jalapenos, diced (optional)

Mix all ingredients together, chill and serve!
(Use this recipe as a starting off point! If you like creamier chicken salad, add more mayo or sour cream. If you want to be a bit healthier, use the low-fat varieties. Skip the onions and tomatoes if you don’t like them, and don’t fret if you’re out of grapes! Use what you have on hand, just don’t forget the tarragon!)   
{Head on over Jessica Lynn Writes for your chance to win a Barilla pasta-sauce pack! Deadline to enter is tomorrow night!}

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'm back, with Salmon :)

Where in the world have I been?! That's a good question! You're probably thinking that I'm not the most reliable person in the world, that's alright, I look like a flake. Really it's just been a season of non-cooking. Dieting and hot weather definitely doesn't make me want to cook. So I got in a slump. But I'm here! Don't let me fail!! Hold me to it, I wanna be here!!! So on to the food. Considering it's blazing hot here in Albuquerque I absolutely don't want to turn on the stove or oven. This is the time of year I'll grill everything.... or get take out. Instead of take out I turned on the grill and made the EASIEST salmon I've ever made. You could do this with any fish really, but salmon is just so wonderful! And very very diet friendly. So if you managed to sit through that entirely too long blog post and are still interested here's the recipe!!

Salmon a La Easy
1 large salmon fillet- cut into 4 steaks
1 lemon- sliced and seeded
Garlic- 2 Tbsp minced
Salt- to taste
Pepper- to taste
Olive Oil- 2-3 Tbsp
Fresh Basil- handful chiffonade (long strips)

Season the salmon steaks with salt and pepper. Cover each steak with a generous amount of olive oil and rub them with garlic. Sprinkle the basil over each one and place a lemon slice on each steak. You can let this sit in the fridge all day or 1/2 an hour, your choice. If they look dry put more oil on, you can't hurt em! Make four foil packets. Fold three edges of a square piece of foil, leaving one end open. Pour a little oil in the packet so the fish won't stick. Place a piece of salmon in each packet and close it up! When your grill is hot and ready take each salmon packet and place them on the grill. I grilled mine on low for about 8-10 minutes. Close it up and leave it alone! Take them off the grill when the meat is still pink but firm. If you overcook them the meat will be dry and lacking in flavor. Take them out of the foil, pour the juices out of the foil onto the fish and ENJOY! I served mine with brown rice and green beans. I cooked the green beans in foil packets on the grill as well!!! Easy peasy!!!!

Place salmon in packet
Close it up.
Put on the grill until cooked!
Easy easy easy!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ginger Glazed Mahi Mahi

We had this for dinner tonight and it was so good and so easy to make that I had to share it with you ASAP.

This fish was sweet, spicy, and even a little tangy, and would be great served over rice and with grilled or roasted veggies. My husband licked his plate and said he wants it again soon. We baked it in the oven, but it would be just as delicious—if not better—grilled.

Ginger Glazed Mahi Mahi

3 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ginger
Pinch of red pepper flakes (kick it up a notch with 1/2 teaspoon!)
3 cloves garlic, crushed or to taste
1 teaspoons olive oil
4 mahi mahi fillets (tilapia would be great, too)
salt and pepper to taste
sliced scallions (optional for garnish)

In a shallow glass dish, stir together first seven ingredients. (If the honey is too thick, heat mixture in microwave for about 20 seconds). Season fish fillets with salt and pepper, and place them into the dish. If the fillets have skin on them, place them skin side down. Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to marinate. If fillets don't have skin, flip fillets and continue marinating after 15 minutes.

After marinating, pour the marinade into a small pot and bring to a boil on medium heat. (Keep an eye on it that it doesn't boil over quickly.) Turn down to a simmer and let it thicken while you grill/bake the fish.

Grill the Mahi Mahi for 4 minutes on each side or bake at 400 degrees for around 10 minutes are until flaky and done.

Serve by pouring the glaze over the fish and sprinkling with scallions.