Apricot-Glazed Salmon with Pomegranate-Scallion Relish

Apricot Glazed Salmon with Pomegranate-Scallion Relish

Every three weeks or so, a group of my friends get together for a themed potluck dinner. Our first dinner was over a year ago and mainly engineered to take advantage of a friend’s spacious and well-appointed backyard. By number three, we were in a rhythm and just kept scheduling through the winter, despite moving the festivities inside. We usually pick a theme in the weeks leading up to the dinner and then email a few days out about what we’re each making. Even though our potlucks are more about spending time together over a meal, we’ve eaten extremely well. Most themes seem to inspire us all to get out of our culinary comfort zone in the best way.

Apricot Glazed Salmon with Pomegranate-Scallion Relish

Recently, we decided to take advantage of the still-warm-enough weather and grill on a friend’s deck. We met some logistical difficulties while trading shifts on the grill to finish each of our dishes, but no one minded having a more leisurely meal. While waiting for the next few dishes to make it to the table, I found myself picking at an addictive pomegranate-scallion relish that accompanied grilled sweet potatoes. The bright flavors were accentuated with lime juice and a touch of heat from fresh ginger. I couldn’t stop eating it and finished off most of the bowl by the end of the night.

Apricot Glazed Salmon with Pomegranate-Scallion Relish Apricot Glazed Salmon with Pomegranate-Scallion Relish

 

This sweet-and-spicy glazed salmon is delicious on its own, but the freshness of the pomegranate-scallion relish makes this dish for me. The apricot glaze has a touch of Dijon to offset the sweetness and cayenne for heat. The glaze and relish are easy to throw together and the salmon is cooked perfectly after a very short trip under the broiler. If I brought this to a potluck, I’d make sure to get a piece with plenty of caramelized glaze. But as it turned out — when no scheduled or impromptu potlucks turned up on my calendar — I had no problem finishing all the salmon off myself over the course of a few days.

Apricot Glazed Salmon with Pomegranate-Scallion Relish… 

Read More »

Chocolate-Cherry Chess Pie Bars

Chocolate-Cherry Chess Pie Bars

Some recipes take a lot of tinkering before I get them right. Others never quite turn out at all and, for the purposes of this blog, are abandoned. Some ideas get scribbled down and then never go anywhere. Even in my day-to-day cooking, I tend to try new variations rather than stick to favorite recipes.

But sometimes everything just goes right. I try something for the first time and it’s so good that I know I will be making it again. These chess pie bars are one of those once-in-a-blue-moon recipes. I threw them together on a whim. I’d never had chocolate chess pie and wanted to give it a try. I decided to do bars with a shortbread crust because they would be faster and easier to serve at a friend’s barbecue. Since I’m not a big chocolate-on-chocolate-on-chocolate dessert person, I added a slick of cherry jam to provide some fruity contrast.

And they weren’t just good, they were incredible.

Chocolate-Cherry Chess Pie Bars

Until recently, I wasn’t familiar with the chess pie family. They are traditional, Southern pies. Sources differ on how the pies got their name, but most attribute their prominence to the fact that they could be made with basic pantry ingredients that were widely available and inexpensive – butter, eggs, and a sweetener like sugar or sorghum. The most classic version also contains vinegar and cornmeal, to cut the sweetness and add texture, respectively. The ingredients are mixed and baked in a pie crust until they thicken and set. Once fully cooled, the texture is similar to lemon bars’.

Chocolate-Cherry Chess Pie Bars Chocolate-Cherry Chess Pie Bars

Now, I’m sure all the other chess pies – classic, buttermilk, lemon, etc. – are good. I haven’t tried most of them, but I can tell you that chocolate is undeniably my favorite for one remarkable reason, which no one on the internet ever had the courtesy to tell me. If they had, I would have certainly made it already. Here it is: Chocolate chess pie filling tastes exactly like brownie batter. It was love at first bite.

Chocolate-Cherry Chess Pie Bars

I could have seen it coming. The ingredients are the same as a standard brownie recipe, just without the flour and leavening agents. Instead of baking into something with cake-y structure, these stay dense, soft, and slightly gooey. As someone who compulsively scrapes every bit of leftover batter from the bowl, it was a revelation.

Chocolate-Cherry Chess Pie Bars

… 

Read More »

Scallion-Ginger-Sesame Sauce (to put on everything)

Scallion-Ginger-Sesame Sauce (to put on everything)

I’m still getting used to my new work routine. I started biking this week, which is faster (and better for me) than taking the bus, but I still leave earlier and get home later. There’s lots of food for snacking at work, which means I don’t eat as many real meals. Every day, there are… 

Read More »

No-Churn Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Sundaes with Peaches and Cookie Crumbles

No-Churn Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Sundaes with Peaches and Cookie Crumbles

Despite the 12-word recipe title, there are actually only two things you need to know about these sundaes. The ice cream is made with goat’s milk dulce de leche – a.k.a. cajeta – and it is probably the single simplest and most delicious thing I have ever made. Like, couldn’t-put-the-spoon-down, scraping-every-last-drop-out-of-the-jar, expletive-inducingly good. I’m going to tell… 

Read More »

Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad with Mint and Pine Nuts

Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad with Mint and Pine Nuts

The last few weeks of work have been some of the most exciting and unpredictable I’ve ever had. I started working four days a week at the restaurant, which has been a roller coaster of an adjustment. When I was going in one day a week, I would spend the afternoon on whatever prep tasks… 

Read More »

Plum Galette with a Buckwheat Crust

Plum Galette

I didn’t realize that I’d been giving all my stone fruit love to peaches and nectarines this year. I can’t seem to avoid walking out of every grocery store or market I visit with a bag of them. But no plums. I’ve been unintentionally neglecting them. I’ve been passing on cartons of the big, dark… 

Read More »

Fresh Corn Cakes with Tomato, Avocado, and Basil Vinaigrette

Fresh Corn Cakes with Tomato, Avocado, and Basil Vinaigrette

I’m heading off to Maine in a few hours and they can’t pass quickly enough (especially the part where I have to deal with the pile of dishes in the sink). It’s a very different type of excitement than I felt six weeks ago, heading off to the other side of the world to catch… 

Read More »