Posts Tagged ‘salmon’

This is it.  This is the year I jump on the hippie bandwagon.  You’ve probably seen it coming, last year I started really looking into what we are doing to ourselves through food.  I believe the hype, but it’s not hype at all.  That’s what the people hurting you want you to believe.  Hype.  Stupid hippie hype.

Evidence that “they” are feeding us B.S. (pun intended) came up during the 2012 election and Prop 37 in California.  Big bucks were poured into the No campaign for Prop 37 so that manufacturers would not have to label foods with genetically modified organisms.  There is a petition against GMO salmon right now that I’ve signed and I hope you will too.

I’m reading labels and looking for the Non-GMO Verified stamp.  No high fructose corn syrup, which includes pop.  I’ve found alternatives to my Dr. Pepper crutch, one is a Dry Soda in Vanilla that was fizzy and refreshing and natural.  Pop in Canada was (and I hope still is) made with real cane sugar, I’ll admit this is not much better but at least it’s a step away from the corn that could be GMO corn.   No aspertame, this is not a hard change to make because I’ve never liked the weird flavor and after taste.

Eating more organic food, less meat, and drinking water has dramatically improved my skin.  I was smearing on a prescription cream for rosecea every morning, I haven’t used the cream in over a month!  Getting all the chemicals and possible GM contaminated foods out of my system also seems to help with mood swings.   Feeling kinda crappy?  Eat an avocado and a pommegranate, I’m not sure what combinations of omega-3’s and vitamins would be in there, all I know is how I feel after boosting up on good food.  The only meat I’m not sure will forever disappear from my kitchen is bacon.  I know about the monsterous hog farmers who keep the pigs so confined that they can’t turn around in their pens.  I’m hoping that places like that will be forced to change.

At the AFBA Christmas party, I received a copy of Michael Natkins’ book Herbivoracious which is full of (lacto ovo) vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan dishes.   Just reading through this book makes me drool!  These are a few recipes earmarked so far:

    • Chana Chaat with Pappadams
    • Risotto Balls [Arancini di riso]
    • Tempeh-filled Potstickers [Gyoza]
    • Quuinoa Cakes
    • Middle Eastern Rice and Lentil Pilaf [Mujadara]

2013 is out with meat-n-potatoes, in with wholesome veggies and grains, smaller plates, and no soda pop.

C’est bon, mes amis!


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Fish is one area where I don’t stray far from my very beaten path.  I love salmon.  How could you blame me if this was what hooked Hubby to my cooking, and after a while, to me.  There is truth to the saying “too much of a good thing”, when I come home to a gigantic fillet of salmon that could feed an army and their allies, perhaps a few foes as well.  Too much salmon is too much salmon.  Smaller doses of Omega-3’s suit me just fine, no matter how low the sale was at the fish monger’s corner of the store.

I baked the whole sucker.  Half with BBQ sauce, all of it covered in salt, pepper and freshly minced garlic.  Sauté some turnip greens (a very cheap way to get more of those beneficial dark green veggies into your diet) with onion and butter, and make your favorite rice.  Dinner is served!

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One Pan Lunch

Normally I would think of a one-pot meal occurring in a large pot or crock-pot.  This was a one pan lunch, well two if you could the counter-top rice cooker.

We were visiting Grandma and Grandpa on the farm.  Hubby picked up a few things from one of the two grocery stores in town, including a hefty slab of Atlantic Salmon.

The Grandparents cook mostly very simple meals.  I always have a hard time finding spices that are fresh, nevermind any BBQ sauce.  I’d love to cook more while we are visiting, and often I just venture out to find the ingredients.  I once found bugs in a sealed box of pasta, wondered how long that box was living in the cupboard.  The rule of thumb for spice life expectancy is one year, six months for dried herbs. If the grandparents had gone to culinary school online, they would have known that.  After this time, you might find surprises in the herbs and your cayenne tastes like sawdust with a little pepper mixed in. I threw out the cayenne.

If you are not a regular spice it up type of cook, or your dining room patrons have less tolerance for creative dishes, it’s best to buy the smallest quantity of herb or spice you need.  Bulk bins have not caught on as much in the town near Grandma’s house, but this is the way to go.  Some spices with a lot of punch (cardamom) lose their flavour quickly, I encourage fresh grinding for these.

This salmon should have been coated in my lucky fish sauce, however most of the ingredients were M.I.A at the Grandparent’s house.  A dry rub of sorts was made with white pepper, sea salt, garlic powder, and onion powder.  The skin is on the bottom of the fillet that will roast whole, this keeps it moist.  Arrange a bundle of fresh asparagus in the voids of the pan.  Roast uncovered at 200ºC (Grandma’s gas stove is in metric!) for 15 – 20 minutes.

We had the salmon and asparagus with brown rice.  It was light and filling for lunch, just the right feeling you want in your belly before a 5 hour car ride home.

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Salmon Baked with Garlic

It’s been too long since we’ve had salmon for dinner.  I found a beautiful wild sockeye at my local market on sale, I couldn’t resist.

Succulent sockeye salmon only requires a few ingredients: garlic, salt, pepper and baking for 10 minutes per inch of thickness at 325-350ºF.

This fish could be the one I had to throw back during our fishing trip many moons ago.  It was August and sockeye season had ended for the year.  We caught a Chinook, King, and my Sockeye in the wee morning hours on the water.  I always though of the ocean like the jewel tone sparkling waters and white sandy beaches you see in advertisements for the Bahamas and Mexico.  Those Canadian fjords full of salmon were dark, cold and deep.  They seemed especially ominous while the sun scraped the far side of the costal mountains.  Everything was covered in a blanket of mist and fog in the distance along the shores.  Most shores were straight drop-offs, the mountains and cliffs provided no shelves to cling to above the black abyss.

My new goal is to return to the west coast to kayak with Orcas.  It’s on my growing list of things I want to achieve in life.

Have you made a list of goals?  Tell me about some of them in the comments!

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Are you a college student or recently moved out on your own and find yourself in the fast food trap?  Making a meal for yourself and maybe a friend or two can be easy and tasty, and gosh darn it – good for you!  Cooking does not require fancy equipment, expensive ingredients, nor cook books.  You’ve been eating since you were born, silly, use the flavours you like so far and run with them.

I’ve always craved sweet over savoury.  When I moved away for school I started with sweet potatoes, chicken with pineapple or oranges, and grilled cheese sandwiches (Mom taught us how to make them when I was little so I could at least manage to work a stove and one pan).  Simple, yes.  Easy, of course.  Exciting?  Not so much.  Since breaking out on my own and away from the bland monotony of meals on the farm, I wanted to try something new every chance I got.  This strategy is good for expanding the palette but not so good for honing a recipe to its peak of culinary mastery.  Now I’m not trying to turn you into one of those chefs on TV, but everyone should have a stash of reliable and quick dishes in their noggin.  Or in a small coil bound notebook they’ve had since grade 9.

Maybe you’ve been around the kitchen a few times already.  And lately you have no inclination to cook?  Well get in your kitchen, or take over a friends’ for an evening and make something for yourselves!

Here are five easy ways to get cooking tonight.

1. Cheap Eats!

Ground Turkey with Gravy and Mashed Potatoes

Fry (on medium heat) a pound of ground turkey in a little oil in a large frying pan (at least 10″ in diameter) or use a wide bottomed pot.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper as it cooks.  Stir gently.

Peel 3 potatoes (Russet – the dark brown-skinned ones, be sure to buy firm potatoes).  Cut the potatoes into large chunks that are about the same size.  Put them into a pot of cold water and turn up the heat.  Lower the heat to medium-high when it begins to boil.  Do not put a lid on the pot or it will boil over.  Let the potatoes cook while you watch the turkey in the other pan.

Mix 1 packet of gravy mix (like McCormick’s Turkey Gravy) with half a coffee mug of water (about 2/3 cup if you want to measure it).  Have a can of cream of chicken or mushroom soup ready to deploy (open the can).

When the pink hue of the turkey meat is gone it’s time to add the sauce.  Pour the can of cream of whatever soup in the pan with the meat, follow with the gravy/water mixture from the coffee mug.  Stir to dissolve the soup into the water.  When this bubbles turn down the heat to low.  Now check your potatoes.

Potatoes are mashable when they can be stabbed with a fork and they fall off the tines easily.  Turn off the heat.  Pour off the water and add a splash of milk and some butter.  Add salt now if you forgot to salt the water for boiling the taters.  Mash using whatever you have available: fork, ricer, big spoon. Although the process goes faster if you have a masher.

Serve as pictured above.  (You are half way to a Sheppard’s Pie btw!)

Cost: about $6  ($1.50 per serving)

2. Soup

Beef Soup

Soups are very forgiving.  They can have just a handful of ingredients or a wide variety when you are trying to use up veggies hanging out in the fridge.  My thought on soup is this: all you need is a good base.

I make my chicken stock from bones and scraps of veggies that I collect in the freezer until there is enough to fill a stock pot to boil up at stock.  But you could buy a box, can or powder to create the soup base.  Try looking in the international foods isle at your grocery store, you can find some interesting stuff to use as your base.  Even a pack of Ramen Noodles can get you started on a tight budget buy adding some meat and/or veggies to the water for the noodles.

Try any of these recipes:

Texas Beef Soup

Dill Pickle Soup

MrsWheelBarrow’s Mushroom Soup

Cream of Poblano and Turkey Stew

Caldo de Res

3. Baked Salmon with Garlic

Salmon Baked with Garlic

If you like fish and you can afford to buy a pound or two at the market, go for this recipe.

Cover a baking sheet with foil.  Place a salmon fillet on the foil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and freshly smashed garlic.  Bake at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes.  Serve with rice or pasta and a salad.

4. Roast Chicken Breasts with Root Vegetables

Chicken Breasts and Root Vegetables

Cut some potatoes (white or red) into wedges and layer them into a casserole dish or some sort of oven-proof pan with sides.  Season with salt, pepper, and maybe an Italian herb blend?  Add baby carrots or peeled adult carrots.  Lay chicken breasts that still have the bone attached on the potatoes and carrots.  Rub the skin with oil or butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Ready, Set, Roast!

Roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 425ºF. Cover with foil and return to a 375ºF oven for another 20 – 30 minutes.  (Always check the temperature of your chicken at the thickest part, it should read at least 180ºF)

Full recipe is here.

5. Something Sweet to End the Meal

What about dessert?

I can hear your thoughts: I can’t bake!  Nonsense!  Try a crisp.

Take some sliced fruit (apple, apricot, peaches, blueberries, or rhubarb if you are luck enough to live where it grows like weeds) or buy a can of pie filling then top it with a crumbly lumpy mixture from my recipe here.

It’s perfect with its imperfections.

Rhubarb Cookie Crisp

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Salmon with Leeks

I love salmon any which way you give it to me.  I also really like leeks and they are one of those veggies I think many people overlook.  They have a milder flavour than onions and are quite good in soups.  Have you ever tried leeks with fish?

Well here’s your chance to try out this awesome combination!  Since you can’t, nor should you, eat the computer screen here is how you can create this dish at home:

  • Make a pocket using aluminum foil or parchment paper and place this on a baking sheet
  • Slice one large leek in half lengthwise and rinse out any sand between the layers
  • Slice the leek crosswise into very thin half moons
  • Clean your salmon fillet (I removed the skin so that more leek flavour could be adsorbed)
  • Mince some garlic
  • Get some dill if you like
  • Put half the leek and some butter (1 Tbsp) and salt & pepper in the pouch first
  • Season the salmon with salt and pepper on both sides and lay it on the leeks
  • Top with garlic, butter (1/2 Tbsp) and remaining leeks, add dill if you have some (1 Tbsp)
  • Seal up the pouch and bake at 450ºF for 10 minutes per inch thickness of the salmon, don’t dry it out!

Open the package and get a face full of Mmmmm!

The leeks and butter caramelize on the bottom and the salmon stays beautifully moist in the pouch.  Make sure you bring the pouch to the table and open it for all to get smacked upside the head by the waft of flavours jumping out!  I wish I could bottle up the smell of this dish, it will make you drool all day long.  I tried this using foil and parchment paper, I would use the foil since this is not acidic and the metal helps conduct more heat to brown the butter and leeks quicker.  The parchment will keep everyone moist, like a Finnish sauna in November, but you won’t get the same flavour boost from the leeks as you would with the foil.

I made fluffy jasmine rice to go along with the salmon, but this would pair equally well with mashed potatoes or a fettuccine alfredo (just go for a lighter sauce).

Fish... it's what's for dinner!

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The first time I made dinner for my husband when we began dating, I made salmon.  It was a gamble, for sure.  I had no clue what he might like, or hate, but I wanted to impress his taste buds.  I was so nervous to present him with the first meal I had ever prepared for him, however the nerves melted away when he lit up at the table.  What I learned was that he loves fishing, and I could not have picked a better suited dish than a perfectly cooked piece of salmon.

  •   salmon fillets
  •   Dijon mustard, a good tbsp
  •   maple syrup or honey, 1 tbsp
  •   BBQ sauce, enough to coat the fish
  •   garlic a clove or two, minced
  •   Mrs. Dash (regular flavor)
  •   parsley or cilantro – dry
  •   Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tsp

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.

Wash and pat the fish dry.  Cover baking sheet with foil.  Spray or lightly rub veggie oil on the foil, just enough to let the fish slide.  Place the fillet skin side down on to the greased pan or foil.

In a cup mix together the BBQ sauce, mustard, honey/syrup, Worcestershire, garlic.  Spread on the fish, sprinkle Mrs. Dash and parsley on top.

Bake the fish for 20-25 minutes.  It should be flaking but still juicy when done.  You can make a bit extra sauce to put on half way through baking.

Delicious when served with roasted asparagus and rice!  This edition was a trout fillet with basmati rice and romaine salad.

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While wondering why my last batch of molasses spice cookies were a near total disaster, I thought about genetically modified foods. 

The cookies were made in a double batch with the addition of 1 teaspoon of cornstarch.  The batter looked a bit wet once everything was mixed up, but I proceeded anyways.  When the first sheet of cookies came out of the oven, I thought I had baked Quasimodos.  Some were slanty on one side, just sticky and flat.  The cornstarch was added to keep the middles chewy, but something had gone horribly wrong.  They just didn’t look right.  The sound they made coming out of the oven was a loud “BLLLAAHHH!” like Robert Munsch reading one of his hilarious children’s stories where the mud jumps up and lands on his character.  They looked like mud puddles.  But…. they tasted like cookies.

Now take this into the context of genetic modification of food.  A common example today is the Frankenfish, or GMO Salmon.  The gene that controls the growth rate, maybe it’s a hormone, I’m not the expert of these things, it was tweaked.  Turned up a notch.  Excited.  So now fish farms can grow salmon faster, and bigger, much bigger.  The people wanting to sell us these fish have taken it up to the FDA, both sides of the controversy are lobbying against each other. 

But would the big salmon taste the same as a normal salmon?  I changed one ingredient in my cookie batter and ended up with odd, flat cookies – but they are edible. 

For me, wild caught salmon is the way to go.  I can live with flat cookies.

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Winter in the South is mostly cold and rain. I’m glad not to have to deal with snow, especially with the huge dumps everyone back home are dealing with.  The annoying part about so much rain is that the yard starts to turn to mush and mud.  A happy place for the rambunctious Pepper, she got herself all full of mud!  You should have seen how much I had to wash off of her.

I found this soup on Good Bite (.com) and made my version with what ingredients were available in my kitchen.

In the midst of chopping the sweet potato I heard, what I though was, rain. Shhhhh! Then a clank as if something heavy and half full hit the tile floor of the kitchen. To my surprise, Little Sister was busy cooking up something herself.

See why it sounded like rain – the rice gently pouring out of the container. And the bang was Little Sister dropping the container and watching it hit the floor. Little Sister is often milling around the kitchen, or around me rather, as breakfast, lunch or dinner is underway. I never shoo her out, unless I need to open the oven door, then she it picked up and placed safely in her high chair or distracted by something in the living room for the 30 seconds needed to complete my maneuver. I guess the latch on the rice container was hardly difficult for her to figure out!

Bokkie inspired the tag-along for the soup: salmon melts. Essentially the same idea as your typical tuna melt, only a can of wild salmon is swapped in for the tuna. Canned salmon, I thought would be uber-fishy, both in taste and smell, was not fishy at all. Actually, it’s less so than tuna. So there’s your encouragement for today – try canned wild salmon! Of course the best thing in the world would be a wild salmon, which you caught yourself and smoked – but that’s a whole other sandwich…

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Soup

Made after Julie Van Rosendaal’s Sausage, Black Bean, Sweet Potato Soup

  • 1 good sized sweet potato, diced (the exact size is not the greatest concern – just make it all the SAME size)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • pinch cumin seeds
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 link chorizo sausage
  • 3 tbsp hot salsa
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup water, or enough to cover the potatoes
  • 1/4 cup crushed tomatillo

The tomatillo adds some acidity to round out the flavours of the sweet potato, smoky cumin and spicy salsa.  If you don’t have them where you live, you can use a diced tomato and tablespoon of vinegar. 

The salsa I used it not a typical off-the-shelf sauce, this is a very thin, hot and smoky sauce made in one of the Mexican grocery stores here.  Hubby bought some with taco fixings as a quick weekday supper.  It would otherwise sit in the fridge waiting to be tossed in a few weeks, or when I’m really in my pack-rat mood, I will freeze the leftovers.  (There’s still about 3 small frozen containers of a similar style salsa in the freezer right now!)  By all means, adjust the amount of salsa to the level of heat you desire.

I started the soup by browning the chorizo, then removing it to work on the onion.  Once the onions are soft, add the cumin seeds to lightly warm them to release the oils.  Add the chorizo back in as well as everything except the black beans.  Bring the soup to a boil and simmer, covered, for 5-6 minutes.  Turn down the heat to low and add the beans, salt and pepper to taste.  Continue simmering for another minute or until the sweet potato pieces are tender (but not falling apart).

Salmon Melts

  • 1 can wild caught salmon, drained
  • 1 slice of red onion, diced fine
  • 3 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • shredded cheese of choice (I used a Mexican Blend, good cheddar would work too)
  • salt and pepper

Mix the salmon, mayo, onion, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Turn on the broiler to low.  The platform of the open-faced sandwiches were slices of my olive-rosemary bread, lightly toasted under the broiler, just until stiff but not browned.  Then I buttered the toast, slathered on the salmon mixture, sprinkled with cheese and returned the pan under the broiler.  When the cheese melts, they are done!

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