Tag Archives: appetizer

Smoked Salmon Dip

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASmoked Salmon Dip

It’s late October and I’m having a tough time giving up my warm weather habits…  I’m resisting the impending cold weather as long as I can.  Even if it is a bone chilling 32 degrees outside, I still prefer to order my latte over ice early in the morning on my way to work.  I know that once I start to order it piping hot, I’m going to be drinking it that way until the warm weather arrives again in the spring.  I look at it this way, we still have at least another week of glorious warm weather here in Southern Oregon and I am going to take advantage of it.  That means getting outdoors and enjoying the bright sunshine while it is still here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASmoked Chinook Salmon

While preparing my Smoked Salmon Dip for an appetizer for a dinner party later this evening, I spied some cedar waxwings in one of the trees outside my kitchen window.  I immediately stopped what I was doing and grabbed my camera.  Cedar waxwings are sleek crested medium sized birds that frequent my neighborhood in the fall of the year.  They arrive in large noisy flocks to eat the fruit off of the flowering crab apple tree in the back of the yard.  Cedar waxwings are distinctive for they look like little bandits with dark black masks streaked across their faces.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACedar Waxwing

Another way of identifying a cedar waxwing is by the glossy dark grey wing feathers and bright yellow tip on its tail.  Cedar waxwings are similar to Bohemian waxwings but are smaller in size.

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A pair of cedar waxwings deciding on which juicy berry they are going to pick first.  The one on top of the photo is a juvenile.  You can tell by the lightly mottled brown feathers on its breast and back.  By next spring its plumage will look like the mature adult perched on the branch below.

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Cedar waxwings are without a doubt, greedy little birds.  They are in the trees as soon as the sun comes up in the morning, and they stay throughout the day, gobbling up as much fruit as they can fit into their bellies.  It’s amazing to see how many berries one single bird will gulp down.  Within a few short weeks all of the fruit will be stripped from the trees.  Regardless of what the calendar says, that in my mind, officially marks the end of the warm summer months…

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After snapping a few photos of the cedar waxwings, I resumed preparing my Smoked Salmon Dip.  My Smoked Salmon Dip is light, flavorful and easy to make. It’s made with good quality smoked Oregon Chinook salmon, fluffy cream cheese, light sour cream, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, fresh squeezed lemon juice, hot sauce, salt and pepper.  My Smoked Salmon Dip tastes amazing on crackers, toasts, chips and even fresh vegetables.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces smoked salmon
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1 tsp horseradish
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • a few dashes hot sauce (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • garnish with bits of smoked salmon or fresh snipped herbs

Begin by placing the cream cheese, sour cream, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper and hot sauce in a medium sized bowl.  Using a hand mixer, whip the cream cheese mixture until it is light and fluffy.  Be sure to use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure that the mixture is well incorporated.  Break apart the smoked salmon into smaller pieces removing the skin or any bones.   Add smoked salmon to the cream cheese mixture and blend well.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Keep chilled.  Place in a dish and serve.  Garnish with bits of smoked salmon and herbs.  Makes approximately two cups.

Salmon Cakes

Salmon Cakes

I love living in Southern Oregon.  We may not have the fanciest of restaurants like faraway places such as New York, Los Angeles or even Paris but we do have some amazing local ingredients at our fingertips.  And fresh salmon is definitely one of them.

I remember the very first time I caught a salmon on the Rogue River not far from my home.  The Chinook salmon that I caught was almost three feet long and it pulled so hard that it felt like I was reeling in a Volkswagen bus. It took me about twenty minutes (it seemed like an eternity) and all of my strength to successfully land that fish.  I will never forget that day.  I had such a great time!

Well, it has been many years since I caught a fish that big but I know that if I want to prepare fresh salmon, all I have to do is stop by my local grocery store or butcher.  Even if salmon is not in season, I know that I can always find a good quality frozen salmon filet in the freezer section of my local grocery store.  My Salmon Cakes are a wonderful representation of Southern Oregon cuisine.  They are light, flavorful and have a wonderful salmon flavor.  They are made with delicate panko bread crumbs, onion, celery, shredded carrots, fresh herbs and spices.  You can make about 10 large (3 ounce) cakes or two dozen smaller cakes for tasty little appetizers.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound cooked flaked salmon (no bones)
  • 1 cup celery and leaves (diced fine)
  • 3/4 cup white onion (minced)
  • 1/3 cup flat leaf parsley (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrot
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • canola oil for frying

In a nonstick fry pan, on a medium flame, cook the celery, onion, parsley, carrots, butter and Old Bay seasoning until the onions are cooked or about 5 minutes.  Let cool. In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and eggs.  Gently fold in the salmon, the vegetable mixture and the panko bread crumbs.   Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.

Using a 3 ounce scoop, form mixture into 10 patties.  Fry patties in a small bit of canola oil in a non stick pan.  Use only a tablespoon or more of the oil because you want the nonstick pan to do all the work.  Cook about 6 minutes on each side or until cooked through.  Remove from heat.  Serve with lemon wedges or your favorite dipping sauce such as tartar or cocktail sauce.

Indonesian Chicken Wings

My mother and her family are from Jakarta and one of the most cherished things that they brought here to America was their Indonesian influence on food.  The burn of fiery hot chilies, the smell of pungent shrimp paste, and the comfort of warm fluffy rice all brings back fond memories of a childhood long gone.  Fortunately, at a young age I was able to observe the kitchen matriarchs prepare the most amazing dishes that anyone could imagine.  Regrettably, so many of the recipes that those sweet women prepared are forgotten for no one bothered to write them down.  However, their techniques, flavors, and love of Indonesian cuisine are shared with my family today.

My chicken wings are baked and then tossed in a sweet, sour and spicy glaze.  The flavors of ginger, garlic and sambal oeleck make these wings a definite winner.  Enjoy my Indonesian Chicken Wings!  – Tessa

Ingredients:

4 pounds chicken wings, split and tips removed
1/4 c. Indonesian soy sauce (medium)
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. tomato ketchup
1/4 c. lime juice
2 tsp . garlic paste
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tbls. sambal oeleck (chili pepper paste) or to taste
1 tsp. seasoning salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Let’s begin.  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray.  Sprinkle wings with salt and pepper.  Place wings on baking sheets and bake for about 40 minutes, turning the wings over after about 20 minutes.  In a large mixing bowl, mix together the Indonesian soy sauce, honey, ketchup, lime juice, garlic paste, ginger, and sambal oeleck.  When wings are done, remove from oven and toss in bowl with sauce.  Put back on baking sheets and bake for about 5 more minutes or until glazed.  Serves 6  – 8 people.  Enjoy!