Per l’Amore del Cibo is no longer located at this address. I have moved to my own domain name, themartinblog.com/food.

Unfortunately, I am not able to set up a redirect at this time, so if you got here through a search, please visit my new site by clicking here. Sorry for the inconvenience, and thanks for sticking with me through this site change!

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve made the move to my very own domain name! I’ve been thinking about doing this a lot lately, and Billy and I finally made the plunge. I have to say…it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. It’s been a crazy couple of days trying to get everything set up, but the site is finally all ready to go (hence the big announcement).

I’m in the process of setting up a redirect so that I don’t lose any of my awesome readers in the process, but if you’re a frequent visitor or if you have my feed in your favorite reader, you should update my address. The new site is http://themartinblog.com/food (just add /feed to the end of the address to update your reader).

Thanks to everyone who has stuck with me through the craziness that is the bloggosphere. I love being a part of such a great group of people in the foodie community, and I know that my blog can only get better from here.

I’ve jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. I swore that I would never be on Twitter…but it just seems like the logical thing to do. For the blog, of course. I’ve already found a bunch of my foodie friends, but you have yet to find me! So…start following me!

Also, I’ve made some changes to the sidebar over there. <—–
What do you think? Working with wordpress.com is a little limited, but I'm glad I was able to find a way to link those nifty icons to my RSS feed, Facebook and Twitter accounts. For anyone that's currently using WordPress or has in the past, any pointers on how to make my blog look a little more spunky and not WordPress-like?

…the healthy(er) version.

I love fish and chips, but there’s nothing worse than getting a plate full of soggy, greasy fish piled on top of soggy fries. But, when it’s done right, this classic British dish can be mouth watering. I think one of the most important components to good fish and chips is the breading. If it’s not crispy and crunchy, it’s just not right. But that crispy, crunchy flavor comes at a cost: deep fried unhealthiness. In an effort to make a healthier plate of fish and chips, we turned to cornmeal as the breading in hopes that it would be lighter, yet still have a great crisp texture. No deep frying here!

Here’s what you’ll need:
Serves: 2
Fish
– 2 cod (or any other white fish) fillets, about 4 oz. each
– 1 cup flour
– 2 eggs
– 2 tbsp water
– 1 cup corn meal
– salt and pepper
– paprika
– vegetable oil
Chips
– 1 large russet potato
– 1 large sweet potato
– olive oil
– salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Set up a breading station for the fish — first the flour in a shallow bowl, then the eggs and water (beat gently together), and finally the cornmeal in a shallow bowl. Season each with salt, pepper and paprika.

The fish will only take a few minutes to cook, so you want to get your fries going before hand so they have plenty of time to cook though. Cut them into the desired shape/size/thickness (we use one of these) and toss with oil and salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and cook in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until mostly cooked through. Once the fries are nice a tender, turn the heat up to 425 or 450 to let them get nice and brown and crispy, this should only take about 10 or 15 minutes.

After turning the heat up for the fries, begin breading your fish and heating the oil (the timing from this point on should be perfect). In a large, non-stick saucepan, heat about an inch of oil over medium to medium-high heat. While the oil is heating, coat the fish in flour, then dip in the egg mixture, then dredge nicely in the cornmeal. Test the oil with a bit of cornmeal, it’s hot enough if the cornmeal dances around.

Gently place each fish fillet in the hot oil and let cook for two to three minutes, or until it begins to brown. Do not mess with the fish once you’ve laid it in the oil…you want it to cook and brown evenly. Once you have a nice brown crust, gently flip the fish and cook for another two to three minutes. After about six total minutes, the fish should be nice and crisp and brown on both sides and completely cooked through on the inside. Remove from the pan onto a paper towel to let it drain, and season with more salt while it’s still hot. Serve the hot fish on a heaping pile of fries with tarter sauce and ketchup.

Healthy(er) Fish and Chips

This was definitely not your typical restaurant (or pub) style fish and chips, but it sure was delicious! The fish was so flakey and tender with a nice crispy, crunchy outside. The cornmeal breading was completely different than any breading I’ve had on a fish fillet before, but it worked really well. The fish wasn’t greasy at all, but it still had that great fried fish taste.

The fries were perfectly cooked — crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. And talk about healthy, no frying here! Avoiding deep frying really gives the fries a whole new taste, you actually taste the potato instead of the oil they were cooked in. The texture is also really nice.

Overall, I thought this was a great alternative to the typical greasy fish and chips. That’s not to say that I’ll never indulge in the real deal again, but this was a great way to enjoy something that is typically really unhealthy without feeling guilty. Plus, less grease and fat meant more room for ice cream for dessert!

I’m late (again) with my menu post. I need to come up with a better way to get this thing up on time…otherwise it’s no fun because the week is half over. Or many I just need to eliminate the menu post all together? Who knows…but this does require some kind of remedy.

I always find myself talking about weather in these posts…but it seems like a logical explanation based on what’s going on in our kitchen, I suppose. Weather has been absolutely crazy around here lately. We get one or two days of beautiful sunshine and temps in the mid-60s, then one or two days of cloudy coldness (and SNOW for God’s sake). For anyone who knows what it’s like to live in New Mexico, this is quite normal behavior, but it’s still annoying. We’re pretending spring is here to stay though, so the grill is working full-swing these days.

Here’s what we’ve got going on this week:
– Ribs with Corn and Mashed Potatoes (this is a carry over from last week that was never made, shame on us)
– Sausage, Pepper and Onion Kabobs
– Pasta with Saffron, Seafood and Cream with Salad and Bread
– Pork Schnitzle with Spaetzle and Baked Fennel
Chicken with Saffron Cream Sauce with Rice and Cauliflower
– Cajun Jambalaya

We’ve got quite the array of foods this week, a little of the same and a little something different. It should be a good blogging week, as long as I can keep up! So, until next time, happy eating! Ciao.

I’m a late with my St. Patty’s Day post, but my excuse is that we actually didn’t even make this “traditional” meal until Saturday. I know…what were we thinking? Something that takes three to four hours to cook just isn’t practical on a week day, but we were determined to give this Americanized meal a try this year, so we indulged ourselves a few days late. The only complaint I have about our corned beef and cabbage is that we didn’t corn our own beef. There’s always next year though, right? Right.

While corned beef and cabbage is in fact an Irish meal, it most definitely isn’t a St. Patty’s Day (or any other day, for that matter) tradition in Ireland. (As noted in one of many interesting articles we found while researching recipes last week.) After reading about Ireland’s “foremost cooking authority,” according to Epicurious, we decided to go with Darina Allen’s recipe with a few Martin twists. Traditional or not, it certainly was delicious.

Here’s what you’ll need:
Serves: 6 to 8
– 4 lb corned beef brisket
– 6 onions, quartered
– 1 tsp dry English mustard
– 1 large sprig of thyme and 3 parsley stalks, tied together
– 3 to 4 large carrots, cut into large-ish chunks
– 1 head cabbage, cut into 6 to 8 wedges
– 2 to 3 russet potatoes, quartered
– salt and pepper

As far as one pot meals go, this is a winner. It takes little to no prep work, makes the house smell absolutely fantastic and the end results are worth the time it takes to cook. In a large Dutch oven, put the brisket with the onions, herbs and mustard and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer (covered) for two hours. During this time, you don’t need to do anything to the brisket, just let it simmer away over low heat.

After the brisket has been simmering for two hours, remove the lid and add the carrots, cabbage and potatoes. Make sure everything is submerged in liquid, then return the lid to the pan. Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes to an hour, until all the veggies are nice and tender. Remove the brisket from the pot and let it rest before slicing it. Serve the meat and vegetables with lots of cooking liquid, some good bread and spicy mustard.

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Potatoes and Carrots

I happen to love corned beef and cabbage, so I had pretty high expectations for our first attempt at it. The results of three hours of simmering on our stove was delicious. The brisket picked up all the flavors from the mustard (though, I would put more next time) and herbs and the veggies picked up all the delicious flavors from the cooking liquid. Everything was perfectly tender, and the meat pretty much just fell apart. Billy made a delicious Irish soda bread (more on that later) to go along with it, and was absolutely perfect for soaking up all the juices.

I think probably the only thing I would do differently next time is actually corning our own beef. I’ve heard this takes like 10 days, so next year I’ll have to remember that before it’s too late! Luckily, a lot of recipes called for prepared brisket or said it was an okay substitute if corning your own wasn’t possible.

Darina’s original recipe can be found on Epicurious.

Sorry folks, no recipe here today, but I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk about the most delicious scallops I’ve ever had. I’m a huge fan of most seafood, but scallops have never been my favorite. That is, until I tasted the most succulent, melt-in-your mouth, sweet scallops ever. Ever.

In recent months, we’ve given up on buying seafood in the regular grocery store. In this land-locked state, it just never seemed that fresh (even though 99 percent of the seafood around here is frozen anyway). Plus, we had a few experiences where we ended up throwing fish out because it just didn’t smell or look that great, and that’s one food we definitely don’t want to take risks with. Enter our new favorite fish monger: Nantucket Shoals Seafood Market in Albuquerque. A friend of my family suggested this place to us for the freshest fish you’d ever find in this state, and he wasn’t messing around. It’s a little bit of a drive from our house, but it’s conveniently on my way home from work. Needless to say, I’ve been stopping on my way home at least once a week for the last two or three months.

While putting together our menu last weekend, we decided on throwing together a shrimp and scallop pasta. Little did I know that I would soon be eating the best darn scallops I’ve ever eaten. We bought a bunch of bay scallops, since the little guys always seem to taste better than the big guys (at least around these parts) from our new fish monger and cooked them that night to go along with our favorite alfredo sauce and a nice thick spaghetti. (We ended up scratching the shrimp because the scallops looked amazing.) Since the alfredo sauce packs a lot of flavor, we just sauteed the scallops in a little garlic and olive oil for about three minutes. Honestly, they didn’t need any help in the flavor department.

Scallop Alfredo Pasta

I honestly never have tasted a scallop this good in my entire life. These little guys literally melt in your mouth as soon as you bite in to them, not to mention how sweet they were. They paired perfectly with the alfredo sauce, but totally could have stood on their own with just that simple saute. After eating these, I’m a scallop fan for life! Thank you Nantucket Shoals!

For any of you in the Albuquerque/Rio Rancho area, make sure to check out Nantucket Shoals for the best (and freshest) fish around. The address is 5415 Academy, just east of Academy and San Mateo (right next door to Trombino’s). And if you’re not convinced yet, a ton of restaurants in the area get their fish from Nantucket’s wholesale market — so they must be doing something right!

I have a major sweet tooth, and I always have. And as a kid, there was one thing my mom made that I loved more than anything in the whole world. Chocolate chip pound cake. When it came to special events, especially my birthday, she didn’t even have to ask what I wanted. She knew the answer. To this day, it’s still one of my favorite sweet indulgences. Move over cookies and milk, chocolate chip pound cake comin through!

A few years ago, I decided I would try making my mom’s famous cake on my own. I didn’t just ask for the recipe though…I made her show me how to make the cake. After all, I was learning an art, not just a recipe. Over the last few years, I have perfected my favorite cake, and it’s just as delicious as I remember it as a kid.

Here’s what you’ll need:
– 3 cups flour
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 2 cups sugar
– 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
– 3 tsp vanilla extract
– 4 eggs
– 3/4 cup milk
– 2 cups (1 12 oz package) mini chocolate chips (yes, mini is important)
– powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a bunt pan by completely greasing and flouring the inside.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer), beat together the sugar, butter and vanilla together on low speed until creamy. Crack one egg at a time into the sugar/butter mixture, and beat on medium speed until each one is thoroughly combined before adding the next.

After all the eggs have been added to the mix and everything is smooth, gradually begin adding the flour mixture, alternating with the milk. I usually add about a cup of flour and beat on medium speed until it’s combined, then add a quarter of the milk, then more flour and so on until all the flour and milk has been mixed in. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips until their evenly distributed throughout the cake batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared bunt pan and bake in a 325 degree oven for 70 to 80 minutes, or until a a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan on a cooling rack. Make sure not to take the cake out of the pan until it’s completely cooled because it’s very heavy and fragile while it’s still hot. Sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar, if desired.

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

This cake is rich and delicious, it’s the perfect balance of chocolate and cake. The texture is like a mix between a regular cake and a typical pound cake — a little crumbly, but pretty dense. The only way to eat this cake is heated with a huge glass of ice cold milk. And believe me, after your first bite, you’ll be hooked for life. It’s worth the hour and a half it takes to bake, not to mention that your house will smell heavenly the rest of the day.

If there’s one recipe from this blog that you decide to try, it should be this one. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. And…if you decide to give it a try, please comment and let me know how it goes and how you enjoyed it!

It’s hard to believe that spring is (finally) here and St. Patrick’s Day is literally days away. Weather has been crazy here lately. Over the weekend we went from temperatures in the mid-60s to snow all day on Sunday. Regardless, spring is here and hopefully the weather will start to reflect that.

This year we’re giving corned beef and cabbage a shot on our own — we usually just throw a munch on my mom’s whenever she makes it. We don’t have the time to try corning our own beef this year, but we did spend a lot of time looking for the perfect recipe, so we’re hoping it turns out delicious!

Here’s what else we have going this week:
– Shrimp and Scallop Pasta
– Roast Chicken with Roasted Parsnips, Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts
– Fish, Chips and Fried Okra
– Ribs with Mashed Potatoes and Corn (helllllooooo summer)
– Corned Beef and Cabbage with Potatoes, Celery and Irish Soda Bread

I’ve never had soda bread before, but Billy decided he’s going to give it a shot this year. Other than that, dinner this week is pretty standard, but hopefully not boring! Until next time, happy eating! Ciao.

While thumbing through the latest issue of Cooking Light over the weekend, I saw an “advertisement” for Norwegian salmon which included three recipes. I’ve never heard of “Norwegian” salmon, nor do I know where I could get it around here. Nevertheless, the recipe for chioppino-style Norwegian salmon looked delicious (and easy), so we put it on our menu anyway. (We used Atlantic salmon, by the way, and it still turned out delicious as ever.)

Here’s what you’ll need:
Serves: 4
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 onion, diced
– 4 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
– salt and pepper
– 2 cups tomatoes, diced (we used half fresh tomatoes and half canned)
– 1/2 parsley, roughly chopped
– 1 cup clam juice
– 4 (Norwegian) salmon fillets

As a side note before we get into the recipe, we served this over pasta because it sounded (and looked, in the picture) like the tomatoes, onions and clam juice created a nice sauce. If you plan on doing this, bring a pot of water to a boil while you work on the sauce so the pasta can cook while the salmon is cooking.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan (you’ll want to use one that has a lid) over medium-high heat. Add the onions to the pan and saute until they become translucent, about three minutes. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, then add the garlic to the pan. Continue to saute the onions and garlic until the garlic becomes fragrant, one to two minutes. Add the tomatoes, parsley and clam juice to the pan and stir to combine. Let the tomato mixture begin to bubble, then reduce the heat to low and let simmer for five minutes.

After the sauce has been simmering for five minutes, raise the heat to medium and place the salmon fillets in the pan (this is also where you’d drop the pasta). Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the salmon is completely cooked through (we flipped the fillets halfway through the cooking). Serve the salmon and some sauce over freshly cooked pasta or rice.

Cioppino-Style Salmon Over Pasta

This salmon was absolutely delicious. It was juicy and flavorful from cooking the the tomato sauce and it paired perfectly with a little angel hair pasta. The tomato sauce was very fresh and went well with the salmon (and it also made a perfect sauce for the pasta). This is a great recipe for the spring and summer months, as it was very fresh and light. It would also be delicious with added vegetables such as zucchini or mushrooms. This will definitely become a regular in our repertoire of recipes.

I was able to find a PDF of the “advertisement” with the recipe, but it can also be found in the March 2010 issue of Cooking Light.

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