Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dry Rubbed Salmon

I love seafood. Of seafood I particularly love salmon. Its almost as much a staple as chicken is in our house. 
I came across a dry rub recipe to put on salmon in my favorite food mag a few years ago.. Food & Wine and after a bit of tweaking, its become a favorite way to prepare salmon. The rub leaves the salmon with this sweet savory glaze on it that is just yummy!

My favorite way to use this rub is for the grill. Put the rub on the salmon and then place it over foil on the grill, or if you have one of those fish grill cages you can use that. This time I just baked it because well, it was 30 degrees outside and I didn't feel like standing around in the cold while grilling. 

Dry Rubbed Salmon:
Serves: However many you like depending on the size of fillet you buy, for us usually 4-6
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes 

Purchase FRESH! I don't like using frozen unless its from Costco and is the Kirkland brand. 
If using a large fillet- cut into individual portions. Try to cut the salmon so that the pieces will all cook as evenly as possible. 

Dry Rub: 
(I use this on a fillet of salmon that feeds 4-6- just increase it all a bit if you are serving more!)
1 tbsp brown sugar/ light brown sugar- which ever you have, but it needs to be brown (not white, not raw)
2 tbsp Sweet Paprika
2 1/2 tbsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp Cilantro
1 tsp Basil
1/4 tsp Season Salt
1/4 tsp Garlic Salt
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Chinese Five Spice
1/2 tsp Red Pepper
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp Mustard Powder

Mix it up in a bowl- taste. Depending on your taste you may want to add or subtract for spice level and sweetness level but this is what I use. 

1. Pat salmon dry on both sides- don't need to wash it, but want it to have a dry surface. Then pour a little olive oil over and rub all over salmon- about 1 tbsp. 

2. Sprinkle dry rub generously over salmon fillets and rub into the flesh. Flip over and do the same for the other side. I like to get the whole fillet covered- both sides and all the edges. 

3. Place in a glass pyrex dish  if baking or on foil if grilling- use heavy duty foil and double it. 

4.  Bake- 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes - then flip fillets over gently using a wide flat spatula and bake another 8-10 minutes. This will cook it to a nice medium- the center on the thicker pieces will still be slightly rare- which is exactly how we like it. But hey, if you like your fish well done.. just keep on cookin it ;)


 Grill- I like to light the gril and then quickly lay down one large double layered flat piece of foil to create an even and hole free cooking layer. 
- put grill on high and close- let it get to at least 350 degrees 
- then open grill and place fillets on foil. Turn heat to medium/ low and close. 
- Come back and check in about 7-8 minutes. Turn fillets over carefully using a wide ideally silicon spatuala. Bake another 7-8 minutes!!

Serve over a salad, with rice, or really any side dish you like! We had ours with some jasmine rice and snow peas!

 If you look closely at the picture below- you can see that the thinner pieces of the salmon fillet on the two pieces I layered over the thicker pieces beside it so they wouldn't over cook. I find it works pretty well- it will still be more cooked than the thicker pieces, but it will also still be tender and tasty- no dry and over cooked.
 Here they are all cooked! I flipped them over half way through- keeping those thin bits still layered (now underneath) the thicker pieces!

If you like salmon- then I hope you get a chance to try this recipe! Its so simple and very tasty! Its great fro summer barbecues and can really be used on any meat! Yes! You can use this same dry rub on pork, chicken, steak, shrimp... what ever you like! I usually half the brown sugar when I use it on steak and chicken- but its up to you and your taste buds! 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lamb Osso Buco

So my Dad stopped at Costco on his way home from work earlier this week.. and grabbed the usual Costco family favorites (in ours at least) of fresh salmon and rotisserie chicken. But he also got Lamb Osso Buco cuts! 

I have never cooked lamb before, but since getting my Chasseur dutch oven a year ago, its one of the meals I've been dreaming about cooking! And of course, my parents have been dreaming about getting to eat it, after I cooked it! ;) (Truth!) Haha, anyway, I went ahead and made Lamb Osso Buco for Sunday Dinner this past weekend and it was DELICIOUS!! 
As well as surprisingly affordable and easy. The package of 6 lamb steaks with bone in was less than $15 from Costco! That's cheaper than most steaks or pork tenderloins!

This dish is rich, but not overly so, not in a heavy way. Its rich in a flavorful succulent delicious way. Cooking it low and slow in a dutch oven really allows the flavors to just blend and meld together. 

Rustic Lamb Osso Buco:
Serves- 4-6
Prep Time- 40 min
Cook Time- 4-6 hours

Lamb- osso buco cut- just ask your butcher!
1 large or 2 small onions- chopped 1/2 inch
2 carrots chopper 1/2 inch
2-3 stalks of celery chopped 1/2 inch
7 cloves of garlic- loosely chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup dry red or white wine
1 cup beef stock
2 sprigs Rosemary
4 sprigs Thyme
2 tbsp flour- can use gluten free!
Sea Salt
Olive Oil
1 large oven safe pot- I use a Chassuer enamel coated cast iron 7 qt pot.

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Pat your lamb dry with with a paper towel and season both sides well with sea salt and black pepper
2. Put 2-3 tbls olive oil in pot and place on mid-high heat. Once to temperature place lamb in pot and sear about 5 minutes each side.

3. Remove lamb and set aside on a prep plate. Turn to medium heat. Place onion in pot and cook 3 minutes. Add Carrots, Celery and Garlic- cook 7-8 minutes. Then shake the 2 tbsp of flour over veggies and cook another 2 minutes.

4. Add 2 tbsp tomato paste to veggies and stir. Then add 1 cup dry wine (white or red of your choice) and 1 cup beef stock. Stir with wooden spoon scraping bottom to get up the good bits! Salt and Pepper to taste.

5. Place lamb back in pot, settling it into the veggies and sauce. Add the sprigs of rosemary and thyme over lamb. (No need to detach leaves from stem- they will add the flavor just as is.)

6. Cover oven safe pot and place on rack- 1 below mid height- and set timer for 4 hours. Leave it in oven to slow cook for 4-6 hours!

Serve over Parmesan Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Polenta or Risotto! Enjoy!

 About to go in the oven for 5 hours!!
 After being in the oven for 5 hours... and fall off the bone tender!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sometimes You Just Need to Be FREE!

So I finally joined the Vine community. I'm SHEdesignswithgrace if anyone wants to follow me. So far I've just filled my account up with videos of my adorable little guy Fritz. I always want to say puppy but he's actually going to be 13 years old in June :( I just love him so much, the idea of him getting older and someday not being here to bring the joy and love he does makes me depressed! 

Which might be why I take so many picture and now videos of him!

Anyway, we've been going on a lot of walks lately and the path down across from our house leads down to the lake our community is on, so I like to let Fritz off his leash and let him feel a bit of freedom to explore. It's quite adorable. He's very serious about exploring every square inch of leafy ground and jumping up on logs or the dock bench looking off into the distance like he's king of the forest. 

Dock Patrol:

Free to Roam:

Monday, February 25, 2013

Week in Review- Via Instagram

 I spent a large majority of my week M-F holed up in the house taking advantage of some really amazing and free (only if you watched it live) photography classes! It was a great refresher and actually more informative than any photography course I've ever had.. and between high school and college... I've taken my fair share! I am so excited to start putting all this new knowledge to use! So please contact me to schedule your shoot! February is almost over and that means my $30 for 30 price will be over soon too! Good thing is.. March will only be going up $10 and be $40 for a 30 min session with 25-30 images! 

Ok, so, this week I...
Found some nice leather shoes in Men's 13 for my Dad for $5 at Goodwill! And he loved them!
Went on lots of walks with Fritz during the breaks to get out of the house and stretch my legs.
Took lots of pictures of Fritz, he's just so darn cute!
Rediscovered my love of greek yogurt and cereal, together.
Did my hair up in Knotted Maiden braids which I'm kinda of obsessed with.. so of course I took a few selfies.
Bought some pretty flowers to brighten up the kitchen and bathrooms- pink tulips for the vanities!
Had a photo shoot with this gorgeous friend!
Finally got out of the house and into the studio to make some new state pendants!
Made a delicious of the most Sunday Dinner that will be posted as a recipe soon!
And added to my Elephant collection with a lovely porcelain piece my mom got me when she was in Tampa!

Sunday, February 24, 2013


I am so excited to share these photos with you all! I met Christina a little over a year ago at a college church group we were both going to and since then we have had some fun hang outs and great conversation! When she texted me a few weeks ago to ask if I would take some updated pictures of her I was beyond excited! It's always extra fun to go on a photo shoot when its with someone your friends with and even more so when its with someone who's as photogenic as Christina is! 

 I suggested going to the Carillon at Byrd Park and her response was "The carillon is my favorite place in the world. That would be perfect!" Awesome! So it was decided! We met up at the Carillon early one morning and Christina was a trooper because it was cold and the wind made it even colder!

 Um HELLO! Can we just stop and talk about this girls eyes for a minute! They say a person's eyes are a window to their soul. I can say without a doubt that as beautiful as this girl is and as mesmerizing as her eyes are... and they are! Aren't they! They lead to an even more beautiful soul! 

 After getting a bunch of pictures around the Carillon we hopped down to Pump House Park- one of my favorite places- to grab a few more shots! 

Thanks for asking me to take you photo's Christina! It was a delight!