BHG

BHG Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger: Salmon Burgers

Hi Friends, I’m Nik Sharma and I blog at A Brown Table where I develop recipes that showcase the wonderful flavors of Indian cuisine. My favorite recipes are the ones where I get to showcase ingredients that are commonly used in Indian cooking and infuse them into everyday meals that are tasty yet wholesome and healthy.

Warm summers always remind me of grilling and spending vacations at the beach, so when Better Homes and Gardens asked me to cook and write about their recipes, I figured what could better than a delicious burger (any excuse is a great excuse to fire up the grill!). I picked their easy salmon burger recipe, which seriously guys, no jokes, this is one super EASY and tasty way to prepare salmon.  All you need to do is add the ingredients to a food processor, click the “Pulse” button a couple of times, shape and then toss them on to your grill and watch them sizzle!

We eat a lot of seafood at home and salmon is definitely a common item on our menu. So we were eager to try this recipe out from Better Homes and Gardens.

My favorite way to eat these babies, is to grab a salmon patty, throw on some lettuce, add a dollop of mustard, and sandwich it inside a freshly toasted bun.

I kept the entire method of preparation and ingredients the same as listed in the original recipe but I did make a few of my own changes to it.

  • Instead of using crackers, I used 1/2 cup oat bran. Not only does oat bran act as a binding agent it also gives a nice texture to the burger. If you have a gluten sensitivity issue, I recommend using oat bran that’s prepared in a gluten-free facility (just in case there’s cross contamination).
  • I also added 2 tablespoons chopped red onion, 2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro leaves (but parsley could also be substituted in the same amount), 1 clove (approximately 1 teaspoon) of garlic , 1 small (1 teaspoon) thai chili pepper, 1 teaspoon garam masala, and 1 teaspoon salt to the salmon before processing it in the food processor.

If you’re looking for a no-fuss recipe to prepare a flavorful salmon burger, then this recipe will not disappoint!


BHG Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger: Grapefruit Bars

Grapefruit-Bars from Savory Simple - www.savorysimple.net

Hello! I’m Jennifer Farley, the creator of Savory Simple, and I’m happy to be guest posting for Better Homes and Gardens. My blog focuses on quality ingredients, bold flavors and recipes with a gourmet twist. I recently shared a recipe for grapefruit pie that was very well received so I’ve decided to keep going with that theme. For today’s post I’ve created grapefruit bars by adapting this Better Homes and Gardens recipe for strawberry-lemon bars. You’re going to love them.

Grapefruit-Bars from Savory Simple - www.savorysimple.net

I absolutely adore grapefruit. I can’t say I’ve ever tried a citrus fruit that I didn’t love, but to me there’s something especially wonderful and unique about grapefruit. I love assertive flavors and grapefruit packs an extra level of sweetness that’s counterbalanced by just the right amount of bitterness. But for some reason it’s not used nearly as often in recipes as lemons, limes and oranges. I’m here to change that!

Grapefruit-Bars from Savory Simple - www.savorysimple.net

These grapefruit bars are incredibly easy to make. The bottom crust layer is a rich, flaky shortbread. The top layer is delicate and sweet with just the right amount of grapefruit flavor.

Grapefruit-Bars from Savory Simple - www.savorysimple.net

I made several changes to the strawberry-lemon bars recipe:

  • I added a pinch of salt to the crust layer. Simply add it in while stirring together the flour and powdered sugar.
  • I replaced the 2 teaspoons of finely shredded lemon peel with 2 teaspoons of finely shredded grapefruit peel.
  • I replaced the 3 tablespoons of lemon juice with 1/4 cup of fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice.
  • I added 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice along with the grapefruit juice since grapefruits are slightly sweeter and less acidic.
  • To balance the additional juice, I added 1 additional tablespoon of all-purpose flour for a total of 3 tablespoons.
  • I omitted the baking soda.
  • I omitted step 3 and all of it’s corresponding ingredients (strawberry jelly, lemon juice, strawberries) entirely.
  • In place of the strawberry topping, I added a light dusting of powdered sugar.

Grapefruit-Bars from Savory Simple - www.savorysimple.net

If you love grapefruit as much as I do, you’re going to love my version of grapefruit bars based off Better Homes and Gardens’ Strawberry-Lemon Bars. Enjoy!


Heather Baird

Chocolate Mojito Cupcakes

Hi friends! It’s Heather from Sprinkle Bakes again, and today I’m sharing a cocktail-inspired cupcake. Mojitos are so refreshing with bright citrusy lime flavor and fresh mint, so when I saw these Grasshopper Cupcakes I knew they were destined for a mojito makeover.

As for the cake portion, don’t change a thing!  You’ll bake up the chocolate cupcakes as directed. They’re  rich and chocolaty – a nice contrast to the airy whipped cream topping.

I might suggest you eat one (or three) of these warm from the oven, because we all know there’s nothing quite like a warm chocolate cupcake.  That said, be sure you let the remaining cupcakes cool completely before frosting. The whipped topping will melt quickly on a warm cupcake.

For the frosting, replace the 2 tablespoons cold water with rum, and sprinkle over 2 teaspoons of powdered gelatin. When the gelatin has set, heat it in the microwave for 10 seconds (or until liquid) and then add it to the frosting ingredients as directed in the recipe instructions. Also fold in 1 tablespoon lime zest.  If you like things a little more zesty then add more to taste!  I piped the frosting on with a large star decorator tip and then garnished the cupcakes with fresh mint leaves and more lime zest – delicious!

Light rum is the usual mojito ingredient, but dark rum is delicious and goes well with chocolate. It’s okay to use whatever you have on hand! Green creme de menthe will give the frosting a pretty hue, but if you use clear then a few drops of green food color can be added to the frosting.  To get started on your own mojito cupcakes,  print the original recipe here.  Enjoy!


Sheena Chihak

Clearwater Beach Uncorked

Hi all, it’s Sheena, editor with BHG.com joining today. On day three of the Sochi Winter Olympics, I attended day one of the 3rd annual Clearwater Beach Uncorked food and wine fest on the white sand beach of Clearwater, FL. Unlike Sochi there were no extreme downhill slopes or frozen ice rinks, but temperatures in the mere 50s and 60s had weather-spoiled Floridians shaking in their boots (they were literally wearing boots in the sand!). I admit it did look strangely like snow with palm trees jutting out.

The chilly temps and wind didn’t stop hundreds of people from lining up to get into this much-anticipated food and wine fest. In the spirit of the Olympics, I broke down Uncorked into three events and scored myself against the crowd.

Event 1: The line.
My score: Gold!

Just look at all these hungry mouths salivating with thoughts of cheese, seafood, and wine. I blissfully wore my VIP badge like a gold medal and walked right in. Note to future Uncorked attendees: This is a major perk of the VIP ticket.

 

Event 2: Getting through the crowd.
My score: Nowhere near the podium.

As you can tell, Uncorked is a hot ticket for foodies. When the crowd became too much for my figure skater-like height (I come in below the 5’3” female figure skater average) I escaped to the VIP area where I enjoyed lobster mac and cheese from The Lobster Pot and sipped on Mount Gay Rum and Four Roses Bourbon. I learned a bit about the extensive histories of these two liquor brands. Mount Gay dates back all the way to 1703 and wow, their Extra Old rum was amazing! Four Roses was able to keep operating through prohibition because bourbon was considered medicinal. Doctors would actually prescribe a pint of bourbon every 12 days for various “illnesses,” such as having the vapors, a hurt back, etc.

 

Event 3: Eating!
My score: Bronze. (Much like Bode Miller in the super-G, I put forth an impressive effort that only a few could beat.)

Those who know me well know my ultimate favorite food is cheese. Thanks to Tillamook, Cabot, and Kerrygold, I indulged in some of the most delicious cheeses I’ve tasted. My personal gold-medal cheese sample was Tillamook’s Vintage Extra Sharp White Cheddar. YUM! The folks from Tillamook told me this product is trickier than some of their others to find, but I will definitely be on the hunt. Every few steps through the tents of the festival brought another scrumptious nibble. Crab dip with hot sauce, scallops on a creamy risotto, pasta tosses, gelato, bruschetta, smoothies, and on and on the list could go.

It was a truly delicious day sampling food products and chef creations in a setting that can’t be matched. As a parting gift for all of Uncorked’s attendees we were treated to a breathtaking sunset. Anyone who’s interested should start planning for next year’s 4th annual Uncorked event.

 

 


Erin Gleeson

Let’s Party: Butternut Quesadillas

 

I made a big batch of these Butternut Quesadillas recently for a party, and they were a hit! They’d be perfect for a Superbowl Party. I started with this BHG recipe for Avocado Quesadillas, but swapped the avocado out for roasted, mashed butternut squash. I found that with the squash, you didn’t need quite as much cheese, and it was still moist and delicious! I made them ahead of time and kept them warm in the oven, which worked great.

I use a potato peeler to remove the rind from the squash, which makes things much quicker. Then you can just slice it up and remove the seeds. I cut the squash into cubes (about 1 inch) and spread them out on a cookie sheet. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast them at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until a fork goes in easily and they are a bit browned. When they come out, mash them in a bowl with a fork.

Just spread about 2 tablespoons of mashed butternut squash onto a tortilla (I used corn). Then sprinkle with cheese (I used Manchego like in the BHG recipe, but anything works!), and a pinch of fresh thyme. Cover with another tortilla and heat in a skillet until the cheese melts, flipping once. Stack the quesadillas in a warm oven until it’s time to eat. I cut them right before serving, and top each with a dollop of sour cream and/or salsa.

Enjoy!

By Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast, a blog and forthcoming cookbook full of simple recipe and entertaining ideas inspired by living in a cabin in the woods.

 


Sheena Chihak

Rubbing Elbows with Celebrity Chefs in St. Pete

Hi all, Sheena Chihak, digital food editor at BHG.com here. Just two weeks before the biggest food holiday of the year I was given stomach-stretching practice in beautiful St. Petersburg, Florida at their inaugural Enjoy Arts & Tastes Food and Wine Festival. Thanks to HSN, which is based in St. Pete’s and was a sponsor of the event, the festival was swarming with celebrity chefs such as Curtis Stone, Ming Tsai, Scott Conant, Donatella Arpaia, Ingrid Hoffmann, and Lorena Garcia who all have product lines with HSN.

The celeb chefs all lined up.

My first stop was a behind-the-scenes tour of HSN.

Yes, that is Curtis Stone standing mere feet away filming a LIVE TV segment. Let me tell you, HSN is a well-oiled machine. Those counter-tops Curtis is working are on wheels so when his segment is finished they simply roll the table out into the hallway and the next chef rolls his tables in. Above you can see Curtis working at the counter that I saw afterward sitting in the hallway waiting to be cleaned. The craziest thing though, is how many people come and go with doors to the studio opening and closing while filming live TV. Curtis and the HSN host are definitely pros, they tuned everyone out and proceeded as though no one else was there. After filming, I got to sit down with Curtis for a brief interview.

Insights gleaned from Curtis:

  • Look for the continuation of the kale trend. Curtis thinks you’ll be seeing more chefs getting creative with hearty, intense veggies such as rutabaga, celery root, and kohlrabi.
  • If you’re in the Beverly Hills area, you’ll soon be getting a new Curtis-operated restaurant named Maude after his grandmother who taught him how to make fudge.
  • Curtis is on the juicing trend. Each morning (when he’s home) he and his 2-year-old go out to their garden, pick some produce, and make juices to start their day.

The rest of the festival was full of food and cooking demos by the chefs. Duff Goldman hosted a huge late-night dessert tasting party at the Dali Museum. There was a Grand Tasting with 60+ local restaurants, wineries, and artists. Ingrid Hoffmann hosted an event called Sip, Savor & Swing with Latin-inspired dishes and dancing. The festival was capped off with a burger showdown called Battle of the ‘Burg hosted by Donatella Arpaia.

Here’s just a taste of my food samplings.

A few more things learned:

Donatella’s Tips for Perfect Pasta

  • Give pasta room to dance (use lots of water)
  • Add salt to your water (and don’t be stingy)
  • Maintain a rolling boil
  • Bonus tip: Do NOT add oil to your water. It keeps the sauce from sticking to the pasta later

“Iron Chef is the most real of reality TV,” Donatella Arpaia

Based on my own observation, Ingrid Hoffmann is a fantastic dancer! It felt like that needed to be shared.