Bourbon Glazed Salmon

BOURBON! Hope that go6O9C2353t your attention. Y’all, this bourbon glazed salmon dish is straight up heavenly. I’m so excited to share it! Sean and I love it so much that it was our choice for dinner on a recent Monday night. This wasn’t just any ol’ Monday – it was December 8th – our wedding anniversary. We went out in Tulsa for dinner the Saturday night before to celebrate, but for the actual night it seemed fitting to cook a nice dinner at home.

The combination of flavors leaves you wanting more: the sweetness of the brown sugar, sharpness from the soy sauce, the tangy spark to your tastebuds from the lime juice, the shy little heat from the pepper, and the not-so-shy burst of bourbon…ohhh that bourbon. It provides an amusing punch to the sauce that brings the whole thing together.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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2 or 3 skinless salmon filets

3 tablespoons of bourbon

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

3 tablespoons of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of minced garlic

1 tablespoon of lime juice

1 tablespoon of a ginger/garlic/sesame mix…or just ground ginger (…but that all in one stuff is awesome!)

3 tablespoons of sliced green onion

 

STEP 1

Once you’ve got your mis en place (everything in it’s place – ingredients ready for action!) ready, it’s crazy easy from here on out. Mix brown sugar, soy sauce, bourbon, garlic, lime juice, ginger mixture, and black pepper all together in a bowl.
Mixture/Glaze

STEP 2

Well that was easy! Give the liquid mixture a little taste…and I mean little…but beware of the hearty punch to your senses from the bourbon! A little goes a long way, and it cooks out…trust me. It’s the perfect amount when the dish all comes together. Lightly salt the salmon, then pour just half of the mixture over the salmon filets, resting patiently on a plate.

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STEP 3

Place the plate in the fridge to chill until you’re ready to cook. No longer than an hour in advance. When I cooked this, it was about 20/30 minutes early while I waited for Sean to come home and worked on desert. While that chills, Step 3 is really all about the other stuff (took everything in my not to say “all about that bass”…but I stayed strong!) like…oh I don’t know…pouring yourself a hella good glass of red wine? YEAH!

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Quick pause from the recipe to talk about this red blend. Ghost Pines‘ red blend came recommended by a staff member of our neighborhood liquor store, Kwenchers, which has quickly become our favorite place to get wine/beer/scotch (Sean’s a scotchy-scotch guy). I asked for “a nice red blend” and mentioned I usually love Apothic but wanted to try something different for our anniversary dinner. Kwenchers certainly knows good wine, because this recommendation was perfect. As I started to prepare dessert in advance, I took a sip…and it was like a Zack Morris style “time out” where the world stopped for a moment and let me savor its beautiful balance. Anyone else like a good red blend like me? It’s a medium bodied red, similar to Apothic, but slightly less sweet with a dryer finish. It’s absolutely perfect for this kind of dish. Just had to share!

STEP 4

Sides! Most any sides will do. I just threw together some small whole carrots and white rice. For the carrots, I sautéed them in a bit of a random mixure (but a personal favorite) of chicken broth and pumpkin pie spice. SUPER random sounding, right? But try it. Juuuuuuuuust try it 🙂 Be sure to let it simmer and roll around in the broth while covered. It’s our favorite easy way to cook carrots while also giving it a hint of spice. Nothing too fancy with the white rice. I always add a little butter, salt, and pepper to taste, then finish it with a little chopped parsley mixed in.

STEP 5

Cook the salmon in the pan for just a few minutes each side, depending on how thick your slices are. Our’s were thawed from frozen and on the thinner side, so about 3 to 4 minutes on one side, flip carefully, and 2 to 3 minutes on the other did the trick. After you flip the salmon, add the remaining glaze that you set aside originally and let it all come together just before it’s perfectly cooked; soaking in the fresh flavors at the last 2-3 minutes.

6O9C2380Sprinkle some chopped green onions over the dish (or a lot…like we did!) and ENJOY! I can’t wait to make this again. It’s a perfectly divine, perfectly easy recipe to make any night of the week. It was a classy compliment to our special night.

After dinner we decided to join the chilly Oklahoma evening outside for a fire in our fire pit. Jackets on, drinks refreshed, and a perfect night by the fire to laugh hysterically and catch up on life with my best friend, love of my life – my dear hubby. Love you so much, Sean.

Fire pit

 

Enjoy this dish for a special night, or for any ol’ day. We adore it. Hope you do too!

Happy cooking 🙂

 

Engagement Chicken

Have you ever heard of the “Engagement Chicken” recipe? Legend has it (and apparently the legend goes back a only few years, but let’s just go with it) that if you’re dating a guy, and then you make this dinner for him, he’ll propose soon after. It’s a cute tale…and an AMAAAAZING recipe! So amazing, that my house was filled with the mouthwatering scent of fresh rosemary, lemon and roasted chicken on this fine summer’s evening. No, I don’t need my man to propose to me (because he already DID! Waaahooo!) but I thought:

What the heck. I have the day off. We’re engaged. It’s called ‘engagement chicken.’ The recipe sounds easy enough, and oh my goodness…there’s a full 2 1/2 lb chicken right there in Trader Joes just staring at me. That’s it….I’m making it!

And so I did : )

Well this is awkward.

I obviously don’t handle full chickens very often. If this seems a little much for you, and you thought about cooking it at first, don’t worry, you’ll get through it just fine! Just take out the baggie of “stuff” inside and rinse the chicken thoroughly.

This is where I started crying. No, it wasn’t for the chicken’s life. I said a little “thank you for this chicken” prayer, and remembered that the chicken we eat all the time has to be prepared somehow. So thankfully I was over that. The tears were brought on by these extremely fresh onions. Ahhhhh! I was a hot mess. I dried my eyes, then continued on.

Ooohhhhh yeaaaaa!!! I dressed up this bad boy with 3 whole lemons, 1/2 a cup of lemon juice, 3 small yellow onions, rosemary, salt, and pepper. I chopped the whole lemons into slimmer sections so that they could be stuffed in there, and then I also added the onions in there too. Whatever was left over was simply scattered around the chicken.

So while the chicken is cooking to perfection (350 degrees for an hour & a half), I toasted our favorite little zucchini bites up top! These are so delicious and simple to prepare. Check out the recipe, found it on Pinterest!

Ta daaaaaaa! Dinner was served, and Sean was in love all over again. I couldn’t get over how delightful my house smelled from this creation. It tasted pretty darn delicious too. SUPER tender. We threw on tiny red potatoes and those zucchini bites as sides. After dinner, Sean cleaned up the kitchen while I sipped my wine and thought about how much I love my life. Thank you, engagement chicken!

Happy cooking.

“Choose your own Tuesday!”

Back in my “single days” when I was living in a group house with friends after college, I remember one of my best friends suddenly announcing while she peacefully cooked her dinner over the stove:

Ya know…I’m so excited to meet my future husband one day, fall in love, and live with him for the rest of my life. But…the thought of not being able to make a meal that ONLY I want every night…a meal for JUST myself each night without worrying if he won’t like it, or if I won’t like what he’s making…I’m not gonna lie, it makes me a little sad!

When she said that I just smiled and giggled with an inexpensive glass of pino grigio in hand, as I sat there feeling grateful that I wasn’t alone on that thought. Cooking for only yourself is pretty therapeutic. What do YOU want for dinner? Healthy? Unhealthy? As long as you took the time to cook it, and you cooked it to your own special taste – it’s a pretty rejuvenating experience after a long day at work. It’s a sign that you’re taking care of yourself (especially if you chose the healthy route). Sure, there are nights when all you want to do is have someone else cook for you (like that handsome man of your dreams who you get to spend the rest of your life with!), or to get take out from the best pizza place in town. There are also nights when all you want to do is have good friends over, cook for them and celebrate how much you appreciate them. And, of course, there are the days when you’ve met the love of your life and you practically want to prepare a 6 course meal for them. You’re in love!

But seriously though…Sometimes it’s just nice to cook for yourself.

When Sean and I were in our first full year of dating, his work led him out to Salisbury, Maryland while I stayed in the D.C. area. Because the driving distance was 3 hours or more, we only saw each other on the weekends. Dinners together, cooking together, or cooking for whomever was traveling on that particular Friday after work – that was the norm. It was also so incredibly special. We had the week to cook on our own, be on our own, and then the weekend to spend time together, to cook together, and to explore either the Eastern Shore or D.C. together. It was a uniquely beautiful balance of time.

So, now that we’re living as an engaged couple, cooking most nights together is typical. However, we also started something pretty cute: “Chooooose you’re own Tuuuuuesdays!” It’s a night when he makes whatever he wants, and I make whatever I want…whenever I want. We definitely have our own meals other nights…like…I once spontaneously decided that I didn’t want what he wanted…so I said “….Hmmmmm…..WHATEVER YOU WANT WEDNESDAYS!!!…..eh?…………ehhh?” And he just smiled 🙂

So tonight is Tuesday night. Why yes, that’s right. You’ve been following along, haven’t you! It’s CHOOSE YOUR OWN TUUUUUESDAY! Here’s what I made, and keep in mind that I made ALL that pasta with extra lunches in mind for the rest of the week…I don’t actually eat that much pasta by myself for dinner:

Whole wheat pasta! Sean doesn’t like it…but I do!
Sautéed onions, ground pepper & salt, garlic salt, and extra light olive oil … just to set the mood.
Arugula Attack!

So yeah, that was delicious. If you like simple yet delicious tastes, I recommend it. At the end I added two kinds of cheese: Blue and Shredded Parmesan. Then…comes my not-so-secret ingredient: cinnamon. Seriously. Cinnamon adds a perfect balance to the whole dish. I’ve started putting a little tiny bit of cinnamon in nearly every pasta dish I make – it smoothes out the overall taste beautifully. It was delish! Had enough for dinner and two lunches stored for the rest of the week.

Happy girl.

On that note…PLEASE share your favorite recipes with me! I’d love to give them a whirl. You’ll even get a blog shot out, and you can find out how it goes in a post! Summertime puts me in the mood to be a cooking monster (cookie monster would be appropriate as well…), and I absolutely welcome any delicious dishes that you recommend. Here are a few newies that I’ve collected so far on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/kathashmunn/delicious-dishes/

Happy cooking, happy living, and happy Tuuuuesday!

Day Off (Part II)

Operation day-off was a total success! If you’ve read my previous post from this morning, you’ll remember my wish list of items to conquer today. Well guess who got competitive….this girl:

  • My day-off breakfast. Started off the day with my FAVORITE day-off breakfast: coffee (duh), an egg white omelete with feta cheese and arugula, and grits (no judging, I’m a proud child of the South). It was delicious. Stella and I cozied up to the Today Show while I enjoyed the first few hours of my day.
  • Running with Stella. Today was unbelievable. Truly. Did you see it? Did you literally breathe, smell, and completely take in that spring air? Oh my goodness gracious. It was a lovely little run. And by little, I do mean little. Even though the sunshine was delightful, I was hurtin’ yet again up this one massive hill that completes the trail in our neighborhood. Stella was an angel though. She just kept me going, looking up at me with her drooling smile as she guided me back home. Just under 3 miles today, but it was well worth it.
  • Target time! Got cute, inexpensive clothes (see “Cute new dress.” listed on the previous wish list – DONE AND DONE!), bought new pots and pans for our kitchen, wall art on canvas for the guest room, and way too many other goodies!
  • A clean house. I’m seriously exhausted. I haven’t cleaned like that in a long time. I’m talkin’ vacuum cleaner pumpin’ (which I despise using), swifer jet moppin’, “Fantastic” sprayin’, dish washin’, laundry folding’ ~ kind of cleaning that lasted all day. I may be exhausted, but my house smells delightful. Sean was really happy and surprised to come home to all of this tonight. Love that man!
  • Wedding Wishes. Sometimes, your first choice venue just doesn’t work out the way you want it to. Up until recently, we had found the PERFECT wedding venue in the mountains of South Carolina.  But just about a week ago, we received a notice that this golf course + real estate community (which held our chapel and reception venues) has declared bankruptcy. It’s truly a wake up call to experience the harsh repercussions and inconsistencies of this economic situation that our beloved America continues to face. Although we hear that the community may be bought by a new owner, we don’t want to stew in worries all year just hoping that all will turn out well. Maybe it will, but who really knows? After speaking with family and friends – it seems like the best idea to move on with a new venue search. Luckily, we didn’t loose our deposit, giving us a clean break. So today I called our photographer, hoping that she can still work the new potential location in Asheville, NC. I also researched potential vendors’ price points and reviewed our budget. All in all – it was great to have a day to catch up on this little “hiccup” and set us down a better path. As for other fun wedding news: we’ve chosen our honeymoon destination….Hawaii!!! Predicable? Perhaps. Unbelievably romantic and adventurous? Absolutely 🙂 We want two weeks…and we have been recommended to go to Maui. Any recommendations on places to stay, things to do (I really want to hike a volcano!), all-inclusive resorts, etc? Let me know. Sean & I have both separately been to Hawaii before, but we’re excited to plan our first two weeks out there as  Mr. & Mrs. Mason!
  • Pinterest. All over it today!
  • Cupcakes! Yay!!! This was one task that I wasn’t sure about. I loved the idea of making cupcakes today, but it was a bit of a long shot considering all that I wanted to accomplish. Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting = deliciousness. 
  • New recipe. Here’s where I went even crazier. Brushetta for an appetizer AND this phenomenal meal which happens to be the cover of my new favorite cookbook, “Buonissimo!” by Gino D’Acampo. You have to…have to…HAVE TO buy this cookbook:Okay so there’s the cover…and let’s compare to how my meal worked out:

Buonissimo indeed! It was SO GOOD! Ohhhhh my goodness. Unbelievably good. My perfect day of productivity was ended with a romantic dinner with my future hubby, followed by a hilarious episode of New Girl. So…when’s your next day off?

Welcome to “Newlie!”

There’s always a new opportunity to learn more each day, so why not look at each moment as wide-eyed as possible? Typically I’m not the best at sticking to that philosophy. I might think I am, but let’s be honest – I go through my work day, maybe exercise…maybe not, cook, watch t.v., go on Facebook and Pinterest, sleep, and repeat! So, my blog “Newlie” is an archive of me devoting more positive attention to the time I can call my own:

my new adventures in cooking:

my new travel escapes:

being newly engaged:

living in a new house and neighborhood … with a boy : )

…and more newness to come!

I want to share the refreshing little day trip escapes that I normally would’ve never thought to visit. The heart warming restaurant service that made my day. The cooking experience gone horribly wrong, and the unbelievably tasty meal that came from learning my first mistake. The special deal on a kayaking adventure. The genius Pinterest inspiration that turned into a dinner party sensation. Life is too short not share it with each other…am I right?

Happy reading : )