Salmon makes a summery sandwich

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I haven’t done much cooking lately. I’ve been looking through my new cookbooks—Curtis Stone’s “Good Food, Good Life” and the Smitten Kitchen cookbook—and have been dining out a lot because it’s Dine Around Seattle month, and when I’m home I’ve been eating a lot of tacos and other homemade concoctions that I haven’t felt were exciting enough to share.

Yesterday I found myself with a couple hours at home, so I wanted to cook so I’d have something to blog about. Especially since I failed to post something last week. I pulled my Barefoot Contessa “Foolproof” cookbook off the shelf and found a recipe for a Salmon and Guacamole sandwich. I had most of the ingredients on hand, so I decided to put this together with a bit of improvisation. The original makes four sandwiches, but the one below makes one.

Ciabatta has been on my list of recipes to try for quite a while now. In lieu of having made any, I decided to just use some multigrain bread I had on hand. But I did get some ciabatta started. Hopefully I’ll have that to share next week.

Since I’m not a big fan of guacamole, I didn’t put all the usual stuff in it. I really like the flavor of fresh avocados on their own, and I’ve always felt the pepper and other additions just detract from that. For this recipe, I kept it simple.

Ingredients
2-3 slices of uncured turkey bacon, baked until crisp
1 4-ounce salmon filet, baked
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 avocado
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 tablespoon La Victoria jalapeño sauce
Pinch of salt
4 leaves of fresh spinach
2 slices of multigrain bread, or a ciabatta roll

If you haven’t baked the bacon or the salmon, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the bacon on a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place salmon in a baking dish and squeeze lemon juice on it. Once the timer goes off, place the salmon in the oven with the bacon and bake for 15 more minutes, or until salmon is cooked all the way through and the bacon is crisp.

Scoop the avocado into a small bowl and mash with a spoon. Add green onion, jalapeño sauce, and salt and stir until combined. Spread mixture onto one slice of bread. Place the salmon on top. Add bacon and spinach and top with other slice. Serve.

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Not your basic breaded chicken

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When fall rolls around, I tend to haul out my cookbooks and start looking for recipes I haven’t tried. The colder weather makes me crave savory soups and roasted meats, and I’m always looking for new ways to keep it interesting. I pulled out my copy of “Foolproof” by the Barefoot Contessa. I was shocked to realize that, although it was a gift I’d received last Christmas, I had yet to try any of the recipes.

Since it was a Tuesday after work, I wanted to keep it simple and use things I had on hand. Despite living pretty close to a grocery story, once I’m in my apartment and out of the rain, I’m reluctant to go outside again. I settled on this recipe for Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken.

It’s a pretty basic breaded chicken recipe, but the dijon mustard takes the flavor to the next level, so you really don’t need anything else to jazz it up. It was a perfect dinner for a weeknight and one I’ll definitely turn to again.

Ingredients
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups panko (Japanese bread flakes)
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup Dijon mustard, such as Grey Poupon
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) chicken, cut in eighths

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the garlic, thyme, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until the garlic is finely minced. Add the panko, lemon zest, olive oil, and butter and pulse a few times to moisten the bread flakes. Pour the mixture onto a large plate. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the mustard and wine.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle generously all over with salt and pepper. Dip each piece in the mustard mixture to coat on all sides, and then place skin-side down only into the crumb mixture, pressing gently to make the crumbs adhere. Place the chicken on a sheet pan crumb-side up. Press the remaining crumbs on the chicken pieces.

Bake the chicken for 40 minutes. Raise the heat to 400 degrees F and bake for another 10 minutes, until the crumbs are browned and the chicken is cooked through. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.