Crispy Salmon, Fennel Slaw & White Wine

Salmon Fennel Slaw | Aprons & Stilettos

Spring is almost here which propelled me to think about the warm weather ahead, white wines and springtime dishes. As I was scrolling through my usual Instagram feed I came across Food & Wine Magazine’s white wine pairing recipe of the day and I knew exactly what I was going to draw inspiration from for tonight dinner. After work, I swung by Molsberry Market to pick up the essentials – Salmon Fillet, Fennel, Red Onion, Lemons and Dill. The weather today was absolutely perfect so when I got home I opened all of the windows, threw on the Bob Marley Pandora station, poured a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and began cookin’.

Veggies for Slaw

This recipe is extremely easy and only requires the below seven ingredients.

  • Two 6-ounce salmon fillets with skin
  • Kosher salt
  • 1  1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon dill, chopped
  • Olive oil

Crispy Salmon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the fennel, onions, dill, lemon juice and a tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt and set aside. In an oven proof skillet (I used my cast iron) heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium / medium – high. Everyone’s stove is different so just make sure to watch the fish. Season the salmon with salt and place the fillet skin down in the skillet. Cook until the skin is crispy – about four minutes. Transfer the salmon to the oven and bake until cooked through, about  3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and serve with fennel slaw. Serve with a light-bodied white such as a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris or Albariño. Some suggestions:

What are some of your favorite spring time wines? Share with us at @ApronsStilettos

Cheers ~ Crystal

Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple-Ginger Soup

Apple Butternut Soup

We finally received some much needed rain here in Northern California a few weeks back. For a minute there, I forgot it was winter with all of the beautiful, warm days we’ve experienced in December and January.

It was a Friday night and I had planned for my dear friend Morgan to come over and make dinner together. That morning over text we both had same idea for dinner: SOUP! What a perfect choice to pair with this rainy evening. She had a few ideas that we kicked around and then we both settled on making a comforting squash soup with granny smith apples paired with a pear & pomegranate salad.

Apple Butternut Squash Soup & Salad

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3 granny smith apples, peeled & cored
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 granny smith apple, for garnish

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Quarter the butternut squash, coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 45 minutes – 1 hour. Remove the skin and let cool. (If your local store doesn’t have whole butternut squash available, check to see if they have cubed butternut squash.)

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Add the apples and 2 cups of broth into a blender or food processor (I used my Ninja and it worked great!) Puree until smooth and transfer it to a bowl. Set aside.  In a heavy stockpot, add olive oil, onions and garlic and saute over medium heat until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the onions from pot and place in a bowl. Transfer the apple / broth mixture to the stock pot and simmer. Add the cooled squash to the blender along with 1/2 cup of broth and puree until smooth. Add the squash puree to the apple / broth mixture. Add the half & half and stir continuously until completely mixed together. Add the fresh thyme and ginger. Season with salt & pepper, to taste.

Apples & Broth in Blender

Garnish soup with thin slices of apples & fresh thyme sprig. Enjoy with your favorite salad or crusty bread.

Serves 4 -6

Pear & Pom Salad

Pear, Pomegranate & Gorgonzola Salad

  • Arugula salad
  • 1 – 2 ripe pears, sliced
  • Gorgonzola, crumbled
  • Pomegranate seeds (click here to learn an easy way to deseed a pomegranate)
  • Walnuts, toasted
  • Citrus vinaigrette (recipe below)

Combine pears, cheese, pomegranates and toasted walnuts over a bed of arugula salad. To make this simple vinaigrette, combine juice from 1 orange, 1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil (slowly added), salt & pepper.

Enjoy! ~Crystal

Safari Themed Baby Shower

Giraffe CakeIn the beginning of December my sister’s best friend, Christina, and I threw a baby shower for my sister Sarah. Several years ago my sister, grandmother and I departed on an adventure throughout East Africa so right away we knew what the theme should be! Not to mention my sister’s affinity for giraffes. So it was set – now let the planning begin!

TABLE SETTING

The color palette we chose for the majority of our decorations were browns, greens, yellows, and blues. So let’s start at the table.

Congrats Sign

Safari Baby Shower Table

The table runners were made by my friend & co-worker Kim who purchased the fabric from a local fabric shop. For the center pieces, I purchased several large and small mason jars, wrapped them in burlap and finished it with a twine bow. The flowers were a combinations of green Poms, Hydrangeas, Birds of Paradise and Eucalyptus from our backyard. The plates, napkins, cutlery, table cloths and premium stemware were purchased online from PartyCity.com.

Baby Shower Center Piece

FAVORS

As a takeaway for our guests, we had a 187ml bottle of Kenwood Vineyards Yulupa Sparkling wine wrapped in a burlap bag with a tag that read:

Capture1Additionally, we had these adorable (and delicious!) giraffe cookies made by Trisha Thomas who owns Dessert Divas in Sacramento.

Dessert Diva Cookies

MENU

1454680_10101160479112657_640340608_nQuiche Lorraine • Mushroom Spinach Quiche

Parmesan & Cranberry Salad • Fruit Salad • Assorted Muffins

Assorted Cheeses • Giraffe Cake • Safari Cake Pops

Cucumber Water • Jungle Juice (Pomegranate / Cranberry Punch)

Safari Table SettingTo save on time (as we had a lot to do in terms of decorating and last-minute crafts), we ordered the quiche from Whole Foods catering and picked up the fruit salad, muffins and cheese from the local market.

Parmesan & Cranberry Salad with Peach Vinaigrette

  • 8 cups mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Toasted walnuts
  • 2/3 cup peach nectar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • pinch of salt

This recipe yields 6 – 8 servings so I tripled it for the shower. To make the vinaigrette, mix together the peach nectar, vinegar, mustard, and salt in a large bowl. Slowly add in the oil whisking constantly. Add the cranberries and toasted walnuts to the mixed greens and toss well with vinaigrette. Garnish with the Parmesan cheese. The original recipe, adapted from Sandra Lee, calls for Pear Nectar but I swapped it our for peach and I also added in the walnuts to give it some crunch!

Punch & Water

Jungle Juice Punch (Cranberry, Pomegranate & Tangerine)

  • 5 cups cranberry juice
  • 3 cups tangerine juice
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 liter soda water
  • Fresh cranberries, for garnish

This was a huge hit at the party and it was so easy to make. In a large punch bowl combine the cranberry, tangerine and pomegranate juice. Top with soda water and garnish with fresh cranberries. (Variation: swap out the soda water for sparkling wine to give it an adult kick!)

Cake Pop For Parties

For dessert we had these adorable safari cake pops, made by our dear friend Lisa and this amazing raspberry marble (chocolate marble cake layered with chocolate ganache, vanilla buttercream, and fresh raspberries) giraffe cake made by Diana Katra, Cake Whimsy in Campbell.

Giraffe Cake | Aprons & Stilettos

While my sister was opening presents, we played baby bingo! These cards were so easy to make in Photoshop (or InDesign). If you don’t have the time to design your own baby bingo cards, you can find an array of adorable cards for purchase on Etsy.

Baby Bingo

My sister is due any day now so we’re just waiting around for the call! This will be her first, my parents first grandchild and my first time being an Auntie! I can’t wait! Cheers! ~Crystal

Table Setting