Lemony Smoked Salmon Dip

Lemony Smoked Salmon Dip

This is a recipe I think Ina would appreciate, especially when she notices that I followed her high/low rule by serving elegant smoked salmon with simple potato chips straight from the yellow Lay’s bag. This recipe also closely follows the make-ahead and low or no-cook rule by helpfully improving with time in the refrigerator and requiring a minimum of mixing and prepping to be incredible.

Last time I made this dip I whipped up a batch the night before knowing it was exactly the type of item I could hand off to literally any early arrival - up to and including a middle-schooler - and say “put this in a bowl, sprinkle it with these herbs, and pour chips around it” with utter confidence it would be perfect when guests walked through the door.

Lemony Smoked Salmon Dip

SuperBowl parties are coming up, so add this baby to your repertoire and sleep soundly smug in the knowledge you have a knock-out appetizer up your sleeve and it took almost no effort to prepare.

Lemony Smoked Salmon Dip (serves: 8-10)

Ingredients:
8 ounces smoked salmon
2 cups whole milk greek yogurt (I prefer a milder flavor like Fage here)
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup minced fresh chives, plus more for serving
1/3 cup tablespoon minced fresh dill, plus more for serving
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Instructions:
In a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt, minced herbs, lemon juice, salt* and pepper until well combined. *Both smoked salmon and potato chips are pretty salty (duh) so go easy here!

Using your fingers, pull the smoked salmon into large pieces and fold into the yogurt mixture until evenly distributed.

Just before serving, sprinkle the top of the dip with more chives, dill and freshly ground pepper. Dip can be made 2 days ahead. Place in an air-tight container and refrigerate.

Re-written and adapted from Bon Appetit’s Lemony Smoked Trout Dip by Alison Roman.

Small Kitchen Friendly?
100%. I used a medium mixing bowl, chef’s knife, medium cutting board, and rubber spatula. The recipe is easy to eye-ball, but if you want to be precise then measuring cups & spoons.

Lemony Smoked Salmon Dip
Lemony Smoked Salmon Dip

Cannellini Beans with Spinach

Cannellini Beans with Spinach  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Cannellini Beans with Spinach | Image: Laura Messersmith

After an odd few days of 80 degree temperatures in New York we’re back to the weather I associate most with late October. Weather more in the vein of “a dark and stormy night” full of windy breezes that swirl the leaves and pulse with energy straight from Ghostbusters.

It’s days like today that absolutely call for something simple, warming, and earthy. A dinner that calls to mind the safety of hearth and home; simmering merrily on the stovetop through the afternoon then bringing family to gather around the table. As written this is a dish reminiscent of a Tuscan stew – creamy beans, bright lemon, leafy spinach – but with a bit more chicken stock could easily translate into a wintery soup. Even better? With just a quick swap in of vegetable stock for the broth you’ll have a fantastic main course that I’d be proud to serve to any vegetarian.

Cannellini Beans with Spinach  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Cannellini Beans with Spinach | Image: Laura Messersmith

Stews always improve with a bit of time to think about what they’ve done, and so this is also a dish that I would absolutely make extras of and squirrel away in the freezer for use this winter when something cozy is just the ticket. Perfect with a slice of crusty bread toasted and rubbed with garlic or a sprinkle of parmesan melted on top.

Cannellini Beans with Spinach (serves: 8)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups dried cannellini beans
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise; plus 2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 sage leaves
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 bunches mature spinach, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions:
Place the dried beans in a large French oven or bowl and cover with double the amount of water. Cover and allow to soak for 16-24 hours at room temperature.

Drain the beans and return them to the pot. Bring beans, head of garlic, sage, 3 tablespoonsolive oil, and 6 cups chicken broth to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat, add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and simmer gently until beans are creamy all the way through but skins are still intact, 35–45 minutes. Some of the beans will break down slightly and thicken the broth. Let cool while you move onto the spinach.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large deep sauté pan over medium. Cook crushed garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring, just until garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Working in batches, add spinach, letting it wilt slightly before adding more, and cook, tossing often, until leaves are just wilted, about 5 minutes; season with salt.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer beans to sauté pan with spinach and cook, tossing gently, until beans are warmed through. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup bean cooking liquid and toss, adding more cooking liquid if needed, until coated. The mixture should be closer to a sauce than a soup in consistency. Be careful not to over cook or the beans will begin to break down. Taste and season with salt as needed. Serve drizzled with oil and a slice of toasted crusty bread.

Do Ahead: Beans can be cooked 3 days ahead. Keep in cooking liquid; cover and chill. Cook spinach and seasonings when ready to serve.

Re-written and lightly adapted from Bon Appetit’s Cannellini Beans with Spinach by Rita Sodi & Jody Williams.

Cannellini Beans with Spinach  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Cannellini Beans with Spinach | Image: Laura Messersmith

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Yes! I used a 6 qt. French oven, large deep sauté pan, fine mesh sieve, medium cutting board, chef’s knife, liquid measuring cup, slotted spoon, microplane grater, and measuring spoons.

Cannellini Beans with Spinach  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Cannellini Beans with Spinach | Image: Laura Messersmith

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa | Image: Laura Messersmith

It’s been a bit of an odd summer. We rang in Memorial Day with a non-traditional trip to Alaska where the weather was more like March than May. Then came the excitement of meeting the newest member of our family when my brother and sister-in-law welcomed their first baby, an adorable boy named James. He’s precious and already dearly loved by his aunties and uncle Mike.

In the meantime, I actually have been cooking a ton and making deep dives into the amazing produce that summer brings; I’ve just been incredibly neglectful of this space! I’ve become a bit obsessed with certain ingredients lately and I’m afraid to even begin sharing all the rhubarb related baked goods and tomato-laden salads that have come out of my kitchen in the last few weeks.

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa | Image: Laura Messersmith

As a slow start I’ll share this one – spicy pan-seared flank steak thinly sliced and served with a bracingly fresh cilantro, lime, and jalapeno spiked salsa. It rocks that strange place where a cool temperature meets a heated flavor profile and it’s dead easy to throw together last minute and have dinner on the table in 30.

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa | Image: Laura Messersmith

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa (serves 4)

Ingredients:

Salsa:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ears of corn, shucked
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2-3 teaspoons (1 small) finely minced jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed
1 1/2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper

Dry Rub & Steak:
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon English mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 pounds flank steak

Instructions:
Shuck the ears of corn and cut kernels from cobs. Heat 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat and sauté the corn for 4-5 minutes or until lightly caramelized. Place in a medium bowl and allow to cool. Add the onion, jalapeño, tomatoes, cilantro, and lime juice to corn and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Set salsa aside to allow the flavors to develop. Note: Salsa can be made 1 day ahead if covered and chilled.

Prepare the dry rub. Combine brown sugar and spices in a small bowl. Just before searing, coat both sides of the steak with all of dry rub mixture pressing lightly to help the rub adhere.

Heat a small drizzle of olive oil in large sauté pan over medium-high heat until the oil coats the pan and just starts to smoke. Sear the steak 3-4 minutes on each side. Don’t fuss with the steak while it’s cooking, set a timer if need be to resist the temptation to move it around in the pan.

When an instant read thermometer reads 130 degrees in the thickest part, remove to a cutting board and allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes. Slice against the grain and serve with the salsa.

Rewritten and adapted from Dry Rubbed Flank Steak with Grilled Corn Salsa by Brian Luscher of Luscher's Red Hots, Dallas, TX via Bon Appetit Magazine.

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Absolutely. I used a 10” stainless steel sauté pan, medium cutting board, large mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, chef’s knife, spatula, tongs, and measuring spoons.

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa | Image: Laura Messersmith

Chewy Molasses Cookies

Chewy Molasses Cookies   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Chewy Molasses Cookies | Image: Laura Messersmith

It’s fully dark by five-thirty these days, but thankfully New York City has put on its holiday glitter to compensate and my evening walks with Maddie have been transformed into a stroll through twinkle lights and piney tree lots. I’m fairly sure that the powers that be scheduled Christmas for December knowing we’d need a little boost when the thermometer drops and the sun sleeps a little longer. Even holiday food seems determined to balance out the chilly temperatures with extra pizzazz and flavors like cloves, ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon to warm the spirit.

The moment I spotted these cookies in a Bon Appétit round-up, I knew they were destined for this year’s baking extravaganza. What better form to deliver the sweet heat of cinnamon and cardamom than a soft molasses cookie sparkling with coarse sugar? The double bonus is that they couldn’t be simpler and I’d be willing to bet that 95% of the ingredients are already in the pantry, which means you’re just a quick stir away from filling the house aromatic good-cheer. What are you waiting for?

Chewy Molasses Cookies   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Chewy Molasses Cookies | Image: Laura Messersmith

Chewy Molasses Cookies (yield: 2 dozen cookies)

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/3 cup coarse sanding or raw sugar (for rolling)

Instructions:
Place oven racks in lower and upper thirds of oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and salt. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg, butter, granulated sugar, molasses, and brown sugar until well combined.

Add in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated. If the dough is sticky, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes until firm and easy to handle.

Place the raw sugar in a shallow bowl and line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. To form the cookies, use a cookie scoop or tablespoons to portion the dough and roll into 1 inch balls. Roll each ball in the coarse sugar and place on the baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until cookies are puffed, cracked, and just set around edges. Overbaked cookies won’t be chewy. Cool cookies on wire racks.

Do Ahead: Cookie dough can be made and rolled into balls 2 weeks ahead. Freeze on a baking sheet; transfer to zip top plastic bags. Let sit at room temperature 30 minutes before rolling in sugar.

Re-written and adapted from Alison Roman’s Chewy Molasses Cookies for Bon Appétit.

Chewy Molasses Cookies   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Chewy Molasses Cookies | Image: Laura Messersmith

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Definitely. I used a medium mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, and a small shallow bowl. I also needed two rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment paper (or reuse one), a rubber spatula, cookie scoop, a liquid measuring cup, and dry measuring cups and spoons.

The Verdict:
These cookies are beautifully crunchy and crisp on the outside while the interior remains soft and deeply spiced, like the soft-bellied kissing cousin of the ginger snap. The simplicity of the ingredients and process belies the complexity of texture and flavors, which is a win in my book. I also have a feeling that these would be a crowd pleaser - especially my father, who loooooves anything gingery, would be a very happy camper with a few of these babies and a glass of milk.

Chewy Molasses Cookies  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Chewy Molasses Cookies | Image: Laura Messersmith