Monday, November 30, 2009

Conquering my fear of Salmon

Salmon is one of those foods that doctors, magazines and health gurus tell you to eat. It's full of healthy omega-3s and all that but it can definitely be intimidating if you aren't used to cooking it. I decided to give it a try and was very pleased with the results. So if you like salmon, I highly recommend giving it a try at home. It's much cheaper than ordering it at a fancy seafood restaurant and actually isn't as hard to prepare as I had thought.

The following recipe is my take on one of Bobby Flay's recipes in his cookbook Boy Gets Grill. It was super easy and absolutely delicious. By cooking the salmon on the stovetop, I was able to monitor the doneness of the fish. I prefer my salmon very lightly cooked and this was an easy way to prevent overcooking. But feel free to cook to your desired doneness.

The vinaigrette came from what I had on hand and the tangy sweetness paired perfectly with the spiciness of the salmon. It even tasted good on the couscous and asparagus I made with the salmon! So don't let this impressive fish scare you away. Making it at home is easy, delicious, and definitely good for you.

  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • 2 T dijon mustard, regular or coarse grain works
  • 2 T honey
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Add all ingredients together in a sealed container and shake well.

Salmon (with skin on):

Dust the flesh of the salmon with jerk seasoning (any variety will do) and some black pepper. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet. When oil is fairly hot, put salmon in skin side down for about 5 minutes. Allow the skin to get fully crispy (it tastes much better this way) and then flip the salmon. Cook for another 5 minutes or longer depending on how done you want it. The spices will get crisp as well and create a crust on the salmon. Serve with the vinaigrette and any sides you like. Enjoy!

For a printable recipe click here

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Brussel sprout soup?

Weird, I know. But it was actually good! I wanted to come up with a creative way to use the massive amounts of leftover brussel sprouts we had from Thanksgiving. I love brussel sprouts, but even I couldn't eat the almost 4 cups we had left over. Our brussels were simply boiled in salted water with some butter and parmesan cheese at the end. But roasted brussels or those cooked with onions would also work great. The soup I came up with is similar to a pureed zucchini soup my mom makes. It's a great way to eat more vegetables and produced a thick, creamy soup great for these cool nights. So give this a try if you have leftover brussels or even if you just want to try a new way to eat veggies. Enjoy!

Brussel sprout soup:

  • 1/2 onion
  • 1-2 carrots and celery
  • 2 medium russet potatoes
  • 3-4 c vegetable stock
  • 3-4 c cooked brussel sprouts (or try zucchini or broccoli)
  • 1/2 c parmesan
  • 3/4 c milk
  • S and P

Mince and saute the onion, carrots and celery (known as mirepoix in culinary lingo) in a bit of olive oil in a soup pot.
Peel the potatoes and cut into small cubes
Add the potatoes and enough stock to cover them; bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 min or until the potatoes are soft
Add the brussel sprouts and more broth as needed.
Once the brussels are heated through, use an immersion blender to puree the entire mixture. (A food processor would also work)
Add the parmesan cheese, milk and salt and pepper to taste.
Stir and enjoy!

You can make this soup as thick or thin as you want, depending on how much broth and milk you use. I used lowfat milk which tasted great and kept it healthy but cream would make a more decadent soup, so your choice. I served it with some toasted whole grain bread, great for dipping, and some leftover swiss chard (clearly I love veggies!). But the soup could definitely stand alone and be very satisfying.

For a printable recipe click here

Friday, November 27, 2009


Welcome to Bull City Food! I love to write, cook, eat and drink wine so I inevitably needed to start a food blog. I also think that Durham has one of the best food scenes in the country for its size. We obviously can't compete with New York or San Francisco but find me another city of Durham's size with as many good restaurants and dinner's on me.

Here in Durham we have everything from amazing taquerias to eclectic gourmet. Whatever your tastes and budget, Durham has the perfect fit. In addition, the Art Institute has opened a Raleigh-Durham branch right in downtown Durham at American Tobacco. With a great culinary program, Durham is bound to see even more growth in the food world as these students graduate and open their own restaurants.

As a culinary student at the Art Institute, I will include some useful tidbits of what I learn along the way as well as my own experimenting in the kitchen. And, of course, I will also discuss what's going on in the Durham food and wine scene to hopefully convince you that Durham really is a dining delight.

So check back to hear more about food, wine and cooking in Durham!