Main Dishes

Smoked Salmon Salad

Smoked Salmon Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

My brother and I are very different from one another, but there is definitely one thing we have in common: we both LOVE to eat. We also share a lot of favorite foods. I’m talking to you macaroni and cheese, sushi, and asparagus!

Smoked Salmon Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Another item high on the list is smoked salmon. Man, we can seriously chow down on smoked salmon. Toss us a platter with toast, hard boiled egg and some red onion and we are very, very happy campers. Or happy diners. I wouldn’t suggest bringing a smoked salmon platter camping, but that’s just me. When the two of us walk into a buffet we… oh you got the point already? Okay then, I promise all this raving about our cravings has a point.

Smoked Salmon Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

And it is this amazing smoked salmon salad. All the balanced flavors you love from a traditional smoked salmon platter with an added freshness. Refreshing leafy greens are piled with salty smoked salmon, fluffy hard boiled egg crumbles, crunchy mini pumpernickel croutons and red onion.

Smoked Salmon Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

The whole salad is lightly drizzled with a lemon and shallot vinaigrette that brings an extra pop of acidity and brightness to the dish.

Smoked Salmon Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

So a special happy early birthday to my brother who inspired this outrageous dish! I hope you get to eat all your favorites on your birthday.

Smoked Salmon Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Smoked Salmon Salad
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
for the salad
  • ⅔ cup ½ inch cubes of pumpernickel bread
  • 8 cups mixed greens
  • 6 ounces smoked salmon slices
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, crumbled with a fork
  • Thinly sliced red onion
for the dressing
  • ½ shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon capers, optional
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
for the salad
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Very lightly toss the bread cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place evenly on a pan and cook until crisp, about 10 minutes.
  2. Place the greens on a medium serving bowl or platter. Layer the smoked salmon, hard boiled egg crumbles and sliced red onion on top. Drizzle the salad dressing on top then serve.
for the dressing
  1. Combine the shallot, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, parsley and capers, if using, in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Mini Eggplant Pizzas

Mini Eggplant Pizzas  |  Lemon & Mocha

I can’t believe I waited so long to share this recipe. Matt and I love these eggplant pizzas so they get made quite often in our apartment. Aside from being out-of-this-world delicious, they are perfect for vegetarian nights, quick weeknights and carb-free nights.

Mini Eggplant Pizzas  |  Lemon & Mocha

Carb-free pizza, you ask? Well, it’s actually quite simple. Slices of melt-in-your-mouth roasted eggplant serve as both the base and the topping for these individual pizzas. The first time I came across this idea I was extremely skeptical. I am a pizza fiend and seriously doubted that anything could compare to chewy, crispy pizza dough. Well, my friends, I am here to let you know that I doubt no more!

Mini Eggplant Pizzas  |  Lemon & Mocha

These easy eggplant pizzas are so darn tasty that I don’t even miss the pizza crust for one second. Did I mention the ease of this meal? That is the second reason these bad boys are made so often in our place.

Mini Eggplant Pizzas  |  Lemon & Mocha

Thinly slice an eggplant. Drizzle with olive oil and season it up. I like to do a mix of salt, pepper, dried oregano and garlic powder to really take-home those Italian pizza flavors. Roast in the oven until tender, about ten minutes, then pull out of the oven. Top each roasted slice with tomato sauce and shredded cheese, usually mozzarella or whatever well-melting cheese you have on hand.

Mini Eggplant Pizzas  |  Lemon & Mocha

I recently used Gruyere and oh-my-heavens! I’ll just leave it at that. Anyways, through the topped eggplant slices back into the oven for another minute or two so the cheese melts and voila! Dinner is served.

Mini Eggplant Pizzas  |  Lemon & Mocha

Mini Eggplant Pizzas
 
Yield: 2-3 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 eggplant, thinly sliced (about ¼” thick)
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Salt, pepper, dried oregano & garlic powder for sprinkling
  • ½ cup tomato sauce, more or less depending on quantity of eggplant slices
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, more or less depending on quantity of eggplant slices
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with nonstick aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Place the eggplant slices on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to very lightly coat. Spread the slices out so they are evenly spaced with none touching. Sprinkle the seasonings over the top.
  3. Roast until the eggplant is tender, about 10 minutes depending on the thickness of your slices.
  4. Carefully pull the pan out of the oven. Use a spoon to top each eggplant slice with tomato sauce then top each with shredded cheese. Return to the oven until the cheese melts, about 1-3 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.

 

New England Classic Quesadilla

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m going to jump right to the point here with this post. It is the last post in my apple series and I wanted a recipe that would blow your socks off. My alma mater, Boston College, has some unbelievable sandwiches. They spark constant debates, long lines and even extensive blog posts.

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

However, there is no denying that the New England Classic Panini is among the top contributions to society that this New England college has ever shared. Turkey breast, slices of Granny Smith apple, creamy honey mustard and sharp cheddar cheese come together in sandwich perfection. The sandwich is pressed until the cheese is gooey, which is of course the best way cheese can be consumed.

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

Boston College’s version, and the reason it is so remarkable, is the special cranberry-apple bread they serve it on. I do not have their amazing bread so instead of trying to completely replicate the New England Classic I decided to make my own spin on it. This quesadilla brought me right back to the dining hall and I was so absorbed in how delicious it tasted I devoured it with unusual speed.

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

The crispy fried tortilla envelopes the turkey, apple, honey mustard and cheddar cheese perfectly. Tartness from the Granny Smith, saltiness from the cheddar and creaminess from the honey mustard come together in sweet lip-smackin’ harmony. If you really want to get fancy with it you could grab some cranberry sauce for dipping. Okay fellow Eagles, it’s your turn:  what do you crave the most from BC dining?

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

New England Classic Quesadilla
 
Yield: 1 quesadilla
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tortilla
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard, plus more if desired
  • ⅓ cup shredded yellow extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices deli turkey
  • ¼ Granny Smith Apple, peeled & thinly sliced
Directions
  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-low heat.
  2. Spread the honey mustard all over one side of the tortilla then place in the skillet, honey mustard side up. Evenly sprinkle the cheese all over the honey mustard so it’s completely covering the tortilla. Place a lid or splatter screen over the skillet to help the cheese melt.
  3. Once the cheese is melted evenly place the turkey slices so they are covering the whole tortilla. Evenly place the apple slices on one half of the tortilla. Carefully use a spatula to fold the tortilla in half.
  4. Turn the heat up to medium-high to crisp the exterior of the quesadilla. Watch carefully, this should only take a minute or two. Once browned, flip the quesadilla to crisp up the other side. When the quesadilla is browned on both sides remove from the heat. Let sit for a minute or two then cut into sections before serving.
Notes
To make your own honey mustard mix together 1 tablespoon honey, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise and 2 teaspoons dijon mustard. Adjust honey-mayo-mustard ratio according to taste.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

Five minutes into making this soup I knew I had a winner sitting on the stovetop in front of me. Intense smells swirled around me while the softening onions took on a rich color from all the spices. I don’t get cravings for soups unless they pack a lot of flavor and this sweet potato and apple soup hits the mark so I am extremely pleased to be posting it for as the second post in my fall apple series.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

This soup does take a shortcut by using applesauce instead of whole fresh apples, but you could easily turn your apple picking finds into an impromptu applesauce by peeling, coring then crushing them. And then making this soup of course.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

The original recipe uses curry powder, but since I didn’t have any on hand I substituted with what was in my cabinet. Feel free to use my version or substitute with curry powder according to the notes in the recipe. The soup has that delicious warming quality that all fall soups should have as well as an exciting complexity of taste.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

Finishing the soup with a splash of curry butter really deepens this complexity. You might think, “Oh, it’s just a garnish, I’m going to skip the curry butter,” but do not make this mistake my friends! Although it’s just a simple concoction of butter, spices and apple cider vinegar, it adds a final richness and tang to the soup.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

The apple chip pictured in the soup photos is the perfect crunchy texture addition and I’ll be sharing the recipe later this week in my third apple post.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1¼ cups applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Directions
  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl then set aside.
  2. Place the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once warm add the onions and garlic then cook until the onions are soft, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add the ginger, additional nutmeg and 1¼ teaspoons of the spice mixture that was set aside in the first step. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes and vegetable broth then cover and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir in the applesauce then let simmer, covered, on medium-low for 20 minutes.
  5. When the potatoes are tender, puree the mixture until smooth with an immersion blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm while you prepare the spiced butter.
  6. In a small skillet over medium heat melt the butter then add the remaining ¼ teaspoon of the spice mixture. Stir over the heat until browned, just a couple minutes, then remove from the heat. Mix in the apple cider vinegar then drizzle over each serving of soup.
Notes
If you are using curry powder instead, substitute 1.5 teaspoons curry powder for the first 5 ingredients.

Recipe adapted from September 2010 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pizza is a wonderful thing. Unless you’re lactose intolerant or soulless, otherwise, truly wonderful. The combination of crispy and chewy crust, gooey savory cheese, and whatever inventive toppings your tastebuds desire is irresistible.

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula  |  Lemon & Mocha

Last Christmas my stepmom got me this countertop pizza oven from Sur La Table. Ever since then Matt and I have been pizza making machines! Well, the pizza oven is the machine, we’re just an extension of its awesomeness. This bad boy cooks up crispy bottom pizzas with chewy crust and molten cheese in under ten minutes. Oh yeah!

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula  |  Lemon & Mocha

I didn’t make a list of possible pizza combinations as I usually do with other foods, but I don’t think we have made the same pizza twice. When my Uncle Rob sent me a huge jar of his homemade honey I instantly knew I wanted to use some of it for a pizza. I love recipes that combine sweet and savory.

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula  |  Lemon & Mocha

This is a white pizza, which does not mean that it has heliophobia or that it is attending a Diddy party. It simply means it doesn’t have any sauce. Which is fine because the honey, cheese, pear, prosciutto and arugula do more than alright on their own. They come together fabulously for a delightful sweet, savory, salty, herby, cheesy and thirds-don’t-mind-if-I-do dinner.

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula  |  Lemon & Mocha

Okay, time for you to go ahead and make this pizza! I’m going to be sitting here writing a pizza combination list, don’t mind me.

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula  |  Lemon & Mocha

Honey Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula
 
Yield: 3 servings
Ingredients
for the pizza
  • 1 ball pizza dough
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1½ cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 pear, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 slices prosciutto
  • ⅓ cup crumbled gorgonzola
for the arugula salad
  • 4 cups arugula
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
for the pizza
  1. Preheat oven and prep dough according to pizza dough instructions. Lightly pierce the dough all over with a fork to help keep it from puffing up in the oven.
  2. Mix the honey with the olive oil and brush over the dough, leaving the crust untouched. Top with the mozzarella then the pear slices. Tear the prosciutto slices and place evenly over the top of the pizza. Add the gorgonzola then bake according to pizza dough instructions.
for the arugula salad
  1. While the pizza is baking whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Toss with the arugula, being sure not to overdress. Place on top of the pizza after it comes out of the oven just before serving.