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Recipes from the Outlander Kitchen

"It would give me great pleasure, Lord John, was you to join us. I have two brace of partridge ordered, a fresh-caught salmon, and a vast trifle to follow..." ~The Scottish Prince

We are back at it again this month trying out a couple recipes from a cookbook related to a book or series we have been reading. Since Kelli has been working her way through the Outlander series (currently on book #4 Drums of Autumn) by Diana Gabaldon, we thought we would attempt a meal from Outlander Kitchen: To the New World and Back Again: The Second Official Outlander Companion Cookbook by Theresa Carle-Sanders.

When Chelsea went to The Book Loft in Ohio, she was sending pictures of books to Kelli to see if she was interested in any of them. One of those books was this cookbook, and we thought it would be the perfect next choice to make some recipes from! I think it is fair to say that we both think these were the best recipes that we have made so far! Let's get into it!

After skimming through the cookbook, we decided on making the Herb-Roasted Salmon and Rice Pilaf for dinner. As always, we see what we already have in our kitchens, and then split up what needs to be purchased. Once we got together and unloaded our ingredients, we realized two things. First, Kelli forgot to bring the jar of capers that she had on her counter, which was needed for the salmon, and second, Chelsea went to three different stores hunting for shallots but couldn't find any! And thirdly, the rice pilaf called for brown mustard seeds, but Kelli could only find yellow mustard seeds. Does anyone know the difference here?! We looked up what a replacement for capers could be, but since the suggestion was green olives, and Chelsea is not a fan of olives, we decided to just leave that ingredient out. As for the shallots, since we needed a scallion for the salmon, we decided to use scallions for the rice pilaf to replace the shallots. Now that those were taken care of, we were ready to get a cookin'!

The herb-roasted salmon was the easiest dish we have, and probably ever will, make for these cooking blogs! As the oven was preheating on a low temperature, we chopped up basil, parsley, and scallions. We mixed those ingredients in a bowl with the zest of one lemon and softened butter. The salmon was placed on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and we spread the herbed butter mixture all over the top. Into the oven it went for 40 minutes. Bam, done! How much easier could that be? And the herbed butter smelled phenomenal as we were spreading it over top of the salmon. We couldn't wait for it to be done and ready to eat!

Now, we thought we timed the salmon correctly to finish at the same time as the rice pilaf since Kelli read that the rice needed 30-35 minutes, but what she failed to notice when reading over the recipe was that the 30-35 minutes timer started after just a couple of steps. One of these days we'll finish a recipe without any mishaps...maybe!

Once the salmon went into the oven, we chopped up some more scallions and garlic. We heated up olive oil in a pan and added the scallion to cook. After 2 - 3 minutes, we added the minced garlic and mustard seeds to cook and pop away. We weren't very sure what the mustard seed should be doing to "pop" so we had to look it up. After those steps, we then added the rice (it is said you can use any type of long-grain rice so we went with organic brown rice that Kelli had at home), and stirred it until it was coated in the oil. After this step, we added raisins. Yes, you read that right. We added raisins and vegetable stock to the pan and brought it to a boil.

At this point, we can now start the time for 30-35 minutes. We thought we would be okay at this point because there was only a 10 minute difference from when we started the timer and how much time was left on the salmon. Well, we didn't take in to account that brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice. So, when our 35 minutes were up, the rice still had liquid in the pan and was still hard looking. We turned the oven off and just kept the salmon in the oven. Since it was on such a low temperature to begin with, we didn't think it would dry out the salmon or anything. Finally, after an additional 10-15 minutes, and higher heat on the stovetop, we finished the rice! The last step was to add in toasted nuts. We chose cashews.

We plated up our dishes and were very excited for the salmon and a little skeptical of the rice as we just were not sure about raisins and rice! We like raisins, but neither of us are very big on sweet with our savory. The salmon was amazing! The flavor was so delicious and fresh - we absolutely loved it! Have you heard us say that yet about a recipe we have made?! Well, we are saying it now! The herb-roasted salmon was fantastic!! We both agree that we are going to make that again since we enjoyed it so much. And honestly, it was the easiest recipe ever! Less than 10 minutes of prepping and then you just pop it in the oven!

Now as for the rice pilaf - it was okay. Since we were getting impatient and turning up the heat to try and get it to finish sooner, the rice still had a slight bite to it. The scallions as a shallot replacement were very good, and we think if you do not have a shallot on hand, it is a delicious replacement. We, or should we say miss Italian Kelli, added more than the required amount of garlic, but it was not overpowering at all. As for the mustard seeds, we are not quite sure what flavor that added to the rice, but the overall flavor of the rice was okay. The raisins were not as bad as we were imagining it would be. It gave a nice, slightly sweet flavor to the rice, but honestly, both of us could have gone without the raisins and might have even thought it was better. The cashews were delicious mixed with the rice but we both think that almonds might have have been slightly better.

Overall, this was honestly our best cooking experience so far! The recipes were very easy to follow and nothing was overly complicated about either of them. We made a few minor changes due to our missing ingredients but we think that it worked for both of the recipes. We will both be making the salmon again, but we don't think either of us will make the rice pilaf again unless we continue to change it up, but that gets away from the initial recipe. It was, as always, a fun day together cooking up some yummy food and planning more blogs and experiences that we can share with you!

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