a piece of salmon

Salmon has always been my favorite fish.  Haddock is nice.  Cod is lovely.  A trout from the lake is almost incomparable. 

But when all is said and done, my heart belongs to a piece of wild caught salmon.

Some people are off-putted by salmon’s strong flavors.  Where haddock is subtle and shy, salmon is loud and confident.  But the secret to working with its vivid personality, is to either (a) showcase it with simplicity or (b) find a marinade or rub that works well with the stronger flavors, thereby masking any “fishiness” that some find to be overwhelming.  That being said, a good piece of salmon should never taste “fishy.”  Strong.  Loud.  Sweet but lively.  Yes.  But never “fishy.”

Most of the time, a sprinkle of sea salt and a dash of fresh pepper are the only extras that find their way on my plate.  But once in a while, on some rare occasions, I find the need to try something new. 

I prepared a simple rub, taken from Cooking Light’s website.  I was a little skeptical of the ingredients (chili powder?  cumin?) but decided to just roll with it.

On the side, we grilled up some asparagus…

…and roasted some butternut squash (425 degree oven, 20-25 minutes, flipped halfway through.)

One important thing to keep in mind when cooking salmon is to please, please, puh-lease avoid overcooking!  Nothing will ruin a beautiful piece of wild caught salmon like letting it sit a few minutes too long on the grill.  Salmon should flake when it’s ready.  And it should melt on your tongue as you take your first bite. 

In other words, if you are chewing your salmon like you chew your chicken, you know there’s something wrong. 😉

Dad is the grill master in our family, and so this highly pressured job was left in his hands.  As always, it came out perfect. 😀

Grilled Asparagus with a Spritz of Fresh Lemon

Roasted Butternut Squash

Brown Rice

Maple Glazed Salmon

Maple Glazed Salmon—courtesy of Cooking Light

This recipe is quick and easy to prepare.  You can even make the rub the night before, sparing you any of the preparation duties for the following day.  This is especially nice during a busy week. 😀 

Any leftovers are fabulous served as a sandwich, in a stir fry, or simply as a salad topper for your lunch. 😀

  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground ancho chile powder (or, you could use an extra tsp of regular chili powder)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 (6-oz) salmon fillets, preferrably wild caught
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  1. Prepare grill, heating to medium.
  2. Combine first 5 ingredients.  Sprinkle fish with salt, rub with paprika mixture.
  3. Place fish on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 7 minutes.  Drizzle fish with syrup; grill1 minute or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
  4. ENJOY! 😀

Question: Do you regularly eat fish?  What is your favorite kind and how do you prepare it?

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that’s a wrap

Yesterday, I admitted to being a food hoarder.

Today, I made one big (small?) dent in my ever growing food supply. 

For whatever reason, I have the habit of trying a new food and saving just enough for one more serving.  This is especially true when it comes to cereals and grains.  I probably have at least 6 different types of grains sitting in little glass containers, way back in the pantry.  Way, way back.

But today, I decided that my food supply (and my over-abundant pantry) needed to be brought back down to normal, more realistic levels.  

Any recipe that involves wrapping, dipping, and the resulting sticky fingers is one that I must, must make.  I don’t care if you serve me the same sandwich that I’ve had for 7 days straight.  If it’s reconstructed and served in a wrap, it may as well be a brand new recipe.  I’ll love it.  All the more when there’s a sauce for dunking.

And so, with that in mind, I set out to make a wrap for dinner.  Or a roll-up.  Or whatever seemed to hold my millet concoction the best.

Unfortunately, there were no rice wrappers or flour tortillas to be found anywhere in the house.  Fortunately, there was one big head of cabbage.  Perfect.

Cabbage makes a fine wrap substitute when the need arises.

Simply peel the top layer off, one by one, and place in a pan with a bit of water and steam on medium-low.  Stop the cooking once they’ve reached the tender but crispy stage, and pat dry with a paper towel.  You now have yourself a wrapper, ready to be filled with whatever your heart so desires.

As simple as the cabbage wrappers were, I wanted my filling to be simple as well.  Millet.  Roasted Veggies.  Kidney Beans (also roasted.)  Canned, diced tomatoes.  See?  Easy.

The fun part was the rolling…

…and the dunking…

…and the eating.

Roll-ups.  Wraps.  Spring rolls.  Whichever suits your fancy, there’s something about wrapping, dunking and the resulting sticky fingers that makes any meal complete. 😀

Veggie Roll-Ups–serves 1

If by some chance you happen to have leftovers, throw together the remaining cabbage and millet mix in a large bowl.  Place in a container, and bring for lunch the following day!

  • A few large leaves of cabbage
  • 1/4 c. millet
  • 1/2 c. diced tomatoes, drained of juice
  • 1/2 c. kidney beans
  • About 1/2 c. of your favorite veggies, roasted (broccoli, mushrooms, onions, turnips, etc.)
  • All-Natural Dipping Sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a medium frying pan, pour just enough water to barely cover bottom of pan.  Place the large leaves of cabbage in pan, and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low and cook until tender but still firm.
  3. Meanwhile, place a cookie sheet, sprayed with cooking spray, into the oven with bite sized pieces of your favorite veggies.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Stir and add kidney beans.  Continue cooking for another 10-15 or until browned.
  4. While the veggies are roasting, bring 1 c. of water to a boil.  Add millet, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes or until most of the water is evaporated and/or the millet tastes tender.  Add diced tomatoes, stir and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so.
  5. After patting cabbage leaves dry, stuff with filling and wrap gently, one at a time.  Serve with favorite dipping sauce.  ENJOY! 😀

Question: Are you a food hoarder, or do you like to use things up before buying something new? 

toodles to tahini

Back when summer was still here, along with its surrounding warmth and sunshine, I pretty much lived off of basil hummus.

Bunches and bunches of home-grown basil found their way into my heart, my home, my food processor.  I worried that the family would grow tired of this beautiful combination, but nobody every did.  We ate it with lunch.  With dinner.  And sometimes I even snuck in a spoonful or two for an afternoon snack. 

But when summer disappeared, so did basil hummus.  Until next year.

Tonight, I was craving hummus once again.  And since basil was no longer a viable option, I would simply have to discover something new and exciting. 

Secret ingredient of choice?

Yes, you actually did see that correctly.

Peanut butter.

The idea came to me while I was flipping through countless hummus recipes, all asking for ‘tahini.’  Well, I don’t commonly have tahini in my pantry.  Let me rephrase that.  I have never had tahini in my pantry. 

“So,” I asked myself.  “Why not peanut butter?”

I googled the idea—just to make sure I hadn’t completely gone off the deep end—and realized that other people have tried this before as well.  Some people claimed that the peanut butter flavor threw them for a loop.  Others said this peanut flavor disappears by the following morning.  Others said they preferred the peanut version over tahini.

That’s it.  My interest was piqued.  There was absolutely no turning back.

My dusty food processor was pulled out of hibernation and put to use, once again.  No basil this time.  Just peanut butter.

Zwurrppp…20 seconds in the processor.  The result was puffy.  Whippy.  Garlicky.  Tangy.  Soft. 

In one word: Interesting.

I couldn’t decide if I liked it on first bite.  So I took another.  And then I loved it.

Obviously, the hummus is finding its way into my lunch for tomorrow…

…along with some veggies and a slightly battered (but still delicious) apple. 

I’m kind of excited. 😀

Peanut Butter Hummus
This is definitely a complex and savory “peanut butter” flavor.  If “sweet” is what you’re after, you may want to nix the garlic and lemon juice.  Try adding some cinnamon or another common “sweet” spice to add some excitement. 😀  I also think this would go well with canned pumpkin.  Just sayin’.

  • 1 15 oz. can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 c. natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt (less or more depending on sodium level of beans and peanut butter)
  • garlic powder, sprinkled liberally
  1. Process ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. 

 Question: What is your favorite flavor of hummus?  Have you ever tried an “unusual” or slightly “unexpected” flavor?