Grilled Salmon Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette 

I’m not sure I could think of a more perfect late spring/early summertime dinner than this dish right here. Seriously, you can easily have this on the table in 30 minutes or less. If you aren’t a fan of fruit flavors in your salad, this isn’t for you- but even my “no frou-frou salads for me” hubby enjoyed this one. I think the honeyed goat cheese really kicks it up a notch, and you know ANYTHING involving a baguette gets top marks in my book. Try this one soon! 

Ingredients: 

  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for brushing baguette and oiling grates
  • 1½ tbsp honey
  • 6-7 oz fresh blueberries, divided
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 salmon fillets (about 5-6 oz. each)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into ½-thick slabs (rings intact)
  • 1 demi baguette, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 6-8 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2-3 oz honeyed goat cheese (you can also drizzle some honey into plain goat cheese and mix together if that’s what you have handy!)

Directions:

Begin by making the glaze/vinaigrette. In a small saucepan, combine the ¼ cup olive oil, honey and 4 ounces of the fresh blueberries over medium heat. Stir occasionally, until the blueberries are releasing their juices, about 5 minutes.  

 Remove from the heat and puree until smooth with an immersion blender or food processor. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the mixture for brushing the salmon pieces. Add the white wine vinegar to the remaining blueberry mixture and whisk until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  

 Slice the baguette, brush both sides of the pieces with olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper, and set aside.  

Baguette slices… my kryptonite!

Heat the grill to medium high heat. Slice your onion, brush both sides with oil, and season with salt and pepper; set aside Brush the salmon pieces evenly with the reserved blueberry mixture on the skinless side of the fillets.  Once the grill is heated, oil the grates with additional olive oil. Place the salmon pieces on the grill, skin side down first. In addition, add the onion slabs to the grill. Let the salmon cook until the skin is crisp and darkened.  

  

  Carefully flip the salmon once so that the glaze side is down, then flip the onions. Once browned, remove the onion slices to a cutting board and coarsest chop. Continue to cook the salmon until the glaze side is blackened and the internal temperature registers 135˚ F on an instant-read thermometer. Once finished, carefully remove to a plate and let rest. 

 
I lost a chunk to the grill…. Whoops! 😁 Once both the salmon and onions are off the grill, add the baguette slices in a single layer. Grill for a minute or two, then flip once and grill until browned. Remove to a cutting board and coarsely chop for croutons.  

 I have a big acacia salad bowl we like to use, but of course you can plate these individually if you prefer. 😊 Put salad greens into the bowl then top with additional fresh blueberries, the grilled onions, grilled baguette pieces, honeyed goat cheese, and give it all a toss.  

Serve, topping with a piece of salmon and a drizzle of the blueberry vinaigrette. Serve immediately. Devour. 😉  

 

Recipe from Annie’s Eats.

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Mocha Brownie Cupcakes

Let me preface this by saying these are not your average cupcake. The first time I made these, I had just started out in my baking adventures and thought I’d massively screwed these up. The cupcake’s texture itself is not what you’d expect from a cupcake; it’s more like it’s namesake… denser, richer… In short, more like a brownie. The rich chocolate gets a boost from some espresso powder and even more of a coffee punch from some coffee liqueur, then the delightful cake gets topped with a fluffy, coffee-infused buttercream. Definitely not for those who don’t like that coffee-chocolate flavor combo, but I wouldn’t bother spending time with someone like that. 😜 

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 11 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup coffee liqueur

For the frosting:

  • 16 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee granules
  • 2 tsp hot coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

To start, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line two cupcake pans with paper liners. Combine the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until completely melted and smooth, stirring between.  

 Set aside and allow to cool slightly. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, espresso powder, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the eggs and sugar and beat on medium speed until light. Stir in the chocolate mixture and the coffee liqueur until well combined.  

  

Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed just until combined and no dry streaks remain. Fill each liner about 2/3 full with batter. . Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs. Allow to cool in the pans about 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

 To make the frosting, beat the butter in your stand mixer bowl on medium-high speed until smooth.  Mix in the confectioners’ sugar on low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until smooth and light. Mix in the coffee granules, hot coffee and vanilla extract until completely incorporated.  

  Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes and enjoy! 

  
*The only place I’ve found espresso powder locally has been Sur La Table. This is what it looks like in case you’re out hunting for it!  It adds a nice richness to chocolate desserts without necessarily making it taste like coffee. Happy baking! 😀

 

Recipe adapted slightly from Annie’s Eats.

Restaurant Review: Milktooth

You know that new restaurant in town that it seems like everyone is talking about? Here in Indianapolis, that’s Milktooth. They opened up shop down in Fletcher Place back in October, and the buzz has only gotten louder since the restaurant and chef/owner Jonathan Brooks were featured in Food & Wine magazine. Milktooth boasts the first ModBar coffee bar in the city, as well as a rotating menu of mainly locally sourced, seasonal dishes. The menu does have the slightly pretentious line stating no modifications are allowed to the dishes, but hey- that’s their prerogative, right? A ringing endorsement from my friend Nicole was the kicker- I NEEDED to try this place. Thankfully, a warm and sunny brunch opportunity with one of my very favorite people, Ali, presented itself and we took full advantage. 😊 

As with any restaurant with some hype surrounding it, there was a little wait when we arrived. We were invited to order coffee, cocktails and/or pastries from the coffee bar while we waited, so we stepped over the peruse the offerings. We stuck to iced coffee since I had to work and she had to drive, but MERCY, did those mimosas and Bloodys look divine! And with fresh squeezed juice to boot. I’ll be returning if only to try one, along with one of the delectable looking chocolate croissants. Mmmmmm. 

We were seated at the bar in less time than the hostess had estimated (yay!), which gave us the opportunity to scope out the menu choices as they came off the grill/prep tables. I tell ya, I’m not sure if that was a blessing or a curse! Everything looked and smelled amazing, and Chef Brooks was right there in the center of it chatting with staff and customers alike. We found him super charming and friendly, and even offered to allow us to order the “Baby Bear”, a.k.a. kid’s plate, when he overheard us commenting that it looked like the perfect breakfast. Ha!

After mulling over the menu for a bit (and changing our minds a dozen times), I went with the sweet Dutch baby pancake and Ali chose the uova al forno. Hers was an Italian style dish of a baked egg with thick semolina toast from Amelia’s, smothered in rich tomato sauce. She also opted for merguez sausage, which added a smoky, spicy crunch. Italian for breakfast, you say? And YES. The bite I tried was absolutely delicious, so I’m sure the bowl as a whole was satisfying.  

 

Now, surely ordering a single pancake doesn’t sound like much of a breakfast, right? Ok ok, I also ordered a side of sorghum-glazed bacon at the suggestion of our fabulously-moustached server, Brady. But really, let’s just admire before I describe.  

 

Amirite?! The sweet pancake offering this visit incorporated lemon curd and huge, ripe blackberries. Guuuuuh. I would eat this for breakfast EVERY DAY! Sweet for sure, a little tart, and just enough that you won’t feel disgusting or sick once you polish your plate. The pancake itself was light and crispy around the edges- in a word, perfect. The bacon was a nice salty counterpart, although the syrupy glaze was pretty sweet too. A bit pricey at $5 for a side, but I’m glad I tried it. 

I wish I’d gotten photos of the interior of Milktooth. It’s a vintage-lover’s dream! It seriously looks like they raided only the most chic thrift stores for all the mismatched dishwater/table top knock knacks they could find. It just works. The restaurant itself is housed in a converted auto repair shop, which I think is pretty awesome. In addition to the hip reputation, Milktooth also offers off-street parking (albeit a small lot, it’s still a plus) AND it’s kid-friendly. It is a little on the pricey side for breakfast (think $4-5 for coffee, entrees $10+) but honestly, for the quality of the meal and the outstanding service… It’s worth the splurge. I’ll be going back with the hubby and son soon- I REALLY want to try that sweet tea fried chicken! 😉

Check out Milktooth at 534 Virginia Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46203, and browse the menu here.