Sunday, August 29, 2010

Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes Recipe for Minneapolis Farmers Market

Exciting news! This year, I have been invited to do a cooking presentation at the Minneapolis Farmer's market. This is my second year being part of their Market Talk program and I'm thrilled! I will be preparing two recipes utilizing many ingredients found at the market. Salmon Cakes with Sweet Potatoes (see recipe below) made with fresh salmon caught by Matt Oxford of Wild Run Salmon. My second recipe is a dessert: an easy to assemble Raspberry Trifle. (Yes, raspberries are still in season so get them before they are all gone for the year!) The best part? You can sample these recipes. So come early!

My salmon cakes are the most popular food at home these days. We have them in a sandwich (just like a crab cake sandwich) and as a side dish. Both the salmon and the sweet potato have to be cooked in advance. For the salmon, my method is baking it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes but other options (faster options) are steaming, grilling, and searing in a skillet. However you decide to precook the salmon, the most important step is to season it well. Salt and pepper of course but try adding other flavors here because it will enhance the finished cakes. My choice for extra flavoring is maple syrup; a nice layer adds sweetness and caramelizes the top. *

The sweet potato too is roasted in the oven. I would not suggest boiling it (which was what I did when I first made this recipe) because it becomes water logged and leads to mushy cakes. No good.*

And that's it: a couple quick prep and you're ready to make some savory salmon and sweet potato cakes.

Hope to see you at the market this Saturday 4th at 10:30 am!

Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes
Serves 4 to 5

1 sweet potato (about 3/4 to 1 pound) roasted and mashed* (see above)
1 pound salmon, cooked and crumbled * (see above)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely diced red pepper
1/2 cup finely diced onions
1/4 chopped cilantro
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cup bread crumbs

1. Set a skillet over medium heat and add two tablespoons vegetable oil. Saute the peppers and onions until they have softened and the onions have browned slightly.
2. Combine the sauteed peppers, onions, cooked salmon, cilantro, salt and pepper. Mix well.
3. Assemble a work station with the salmon mixture in one bowl, and the bread crumbs in a separate dish next to salmon mixture.
4. To form cakes: Scoop two tablespoons of the mixture into the palm of your hand and form into a ball, then flatten to form a patty about half an inch thick. Coat patty with bread crumbs on both sides. Cook in a skillet over medium heat, two to three minutes on each side until golden brown. Repeat until all of the mixture has been used up.

Pound Cake French Toast

I've been hosting my friend Stephanie for the weekend. She's visiting from Seattle, and I had not see her for about two years. Way too long! So I couldn't think of a better occasion to make this recipe: pound cake french toast. Probably the most luxurious of luxurious brunch foods.
The pound cake used here was my last production (see previous post) but of course any old pound cake will do. And the raspberry sauce is optional but highly recommended. Enjoy!

Pound Cake French Toast
Serves 2

4 slices pound cake
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Raspberry Sauce (see below)

1. Heat a skillet over medium heat and melt one tablespoon of butter.
2. Whisk milk, egg, and spices together. Dredge each piece of cake, on both sides, with this egg mixture. Cook in the hot, buttered skillet for two minutes on each side.
3. Serve with raspberry sauce and light sour cream.

For the Raspberry Sauce: Puree one cup of fresh raspberries and press through a sieve. Discard seeds. Usually raspberries are too tart for me so I would add a couple tablespoons of honey here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Blueberry Swirl Pound Cake

Making pound cake has to be one of the most enjoyable baking experiences for me. What is it about whipped butter and sugar that is so comforting? Needless to say, very rarely do I need an excuse to make a pound cake. My husband is also a huge fan (of eating it, that is) so it's usually gone before the end of the week.

Today, I decided to make a blueberry version by folding in pureed berries to the prepared batter. Making the puree is straight forward: simply blend in a food processor or blender until smooth. I went a little further by evaporating off most of the liquid before folding into the batter. Pound cake recipes usually don't call for any real liquid so I didn't want to throw off the recipe by adding a very watery puree. Also by preparing it this way, the skins if the berries and all their fiber and antioxidant properties are retained. Another good reason to make this cake!

Blueberry Swirl Pound Cake
Makes one 9" x 5" loaf

1 cup fresh blueberries
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup densely packed brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1. Set oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9" x 5" loaf pan with baking spray and flour lightly. Set aside.
2. Puree the berries in a blender, then pour into a sauce pan set over medium low heat. Allow the liquid to evaporate and the puree to reduce to about 1/4 cup of thick berry pulp, about 1o minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
4. Whisk together butter and sugar on high for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking between additions. Add the vanilla extract followed by the flour mixture. Remove 1 cup of batter and add to the berry puree, combining thoroughly. Pour batter-berry mixture back to remainder of batter and fold in so that the batter is streaked with blue.
5. Pour into prepared baking dish, and smooth out the top lightly. Sprinkle the almonds evenly across the surface. Bake at 325 degrees F for 50 minutes to 1 hour until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and and cool completely before serving.