June’s Guest Test Kitchen comes from our friend Eric who also lives in Los Angeles. It’s always a delight to discover someone you’ve known for a while just happens to be a good cook. That’s precisely what happened in this case. Today, Eric shares a couple of dishes to make a full meal, complete with a refreshing summer cocktail. As luck would have it, his cocktail of choice is also my favorite. Chrystal and I always excited to see a complementary beverage paired with dinner. Here’s Eric to fill you in on everything you need to know to make his recipes.
“Catering. Event Planning. Restaurants. Former Obese Child. I’ve done and eaten it all. Lucky for me, I’ve worked with some great chefs who, in a nutshell, taught me to keep meals simple but interesting and delicious.
There’s no need to feel pressured to come up with something clever when you invite people over. “Oh no! I can’t do cheese and crackers again! And I guess I like hummus, but…”
Tonight’s dinner is really simple, healthy, and perfect for summer! I recently read an article that declared “Tuna burgers are OVER; it’s all about salmon!” So here you go…
Pomegranate Gimlet – Serves 8 to 10
Fine imported vodka (or a plastic jug of vodka)*
1 Bottle of 100% pomegranate juice
2 fresh limes
Rose’s Lime Juice (or sour mix)
A gimlet is essentially a martini on the rocks, so this drink is meant to be strong. Fill a cocktail glass with ice, then pour nearly 1/2 the glass full of vodka. Quarter the limes. Squeeze the juice of two quarters of lime into the drink. Top with pomegranate juice and a splash of Rose’s Lime (or sour mix). Stir. Step it up with a garnish of lime and mint or berries.
*You can substitute rum for vodka in this drink as well.
Salmon Patty Melt – Serves 4
4 frozen salmon patties**
1 red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar or granulated sugar
1/4 pound Havarti Dill cheese
8 slices sourdough bread (or traditional rye), toasted and warm
Wasabi mayo or another favorite sauce with a kick
Heat a small skillet on medium high heat. Coat with olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add sliced red onions and sugar to caramelize. Reduce the heat to medium, then let the onions cook for about 8-10 minutes, tossing occasionally, while you heat the burgers. (You may need to reduce the heat to medium low if they begin to stick. Just stir often.)
Heat a separate large skillet on medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, coat it with a thin layer of sesame oil. (You could also use olive oil here instead of sesame oil.) Place frozen salmon patties into the skillet and cook each side for about 2 minutes. The salmon is best when it’s still a little pink inside, but if you want a more well done burger, reduce the heat, and continue to cook on each side another 2 minutes.
Once salmon burgers are done, set them on a plate and add a slice of Havarti cheese. Slide into a preheated oven (or use your microwave if necessary) and warm just until the cheese is slightly melted. Place the cooked salmon patties on a piece of toast, dress with wasabi mayo or your favorite condiment, add the caramelized onions, then top with remaining bread.
**Available at your neighborhood Trader Joe’s.
Arugula Salad – Serves 6
1 bag pre-packaged arugula
1 1/2 cups sugar plum or sweet cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 pound Fresh Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese, shaved
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Place the arugula in a large bowl, then top with the tomatoes. Drape cheese over the salad, then drizzle liberally with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle salt and pepper, to taste, over the greens.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.