One of my favorite things about spring? My neighborhood farmer’s market opens back up for the season and it’s bursting with fresh, local produce like asparagus. I adore these tender spears – lightly steamed and served with an aioli, roasted with lemon and parmesan cheese, or sauteed al dente with herbs and spices.
For this recipe, I used the latter technique. My inspiration was the Salade Niçoise, a traditional dish from the southeast of France. I love the tangy dressing and so I decided to recreate the flavors of the dressing as a marinade and dressing for the tuna and asparagus in this dish.
The dressing for the Salade Niçoise is flavored heavily by dijon mustard and lemon juice with a hint of worcestershire sauce that makes all the difference. I use half of the dressing as a marinade for a couple of albacore tuna steaks and the other half I toss with the asparagus and a sliced up shallot.
Now I hate doing dishes, so in the interest of containing the kitchen action to a single pan, I cook up the tuna first then, while it is resting, I saute the asparagus and shallots in the same pan. The secret to good asparagus is to not overcook it, I’m not sure there’s anything worse than stringy, mushy, overcooked asparagus. A mere 5 minutes or so in the pan is enough to cook the asparagus so that it still retains a bit of it’s crunch but is also cooked through.
Perhaps the best part of this recipe is that it cooks up in about 15 minutes, making it perfect for a busy weeknight. But then did I mention that the whole dish has less than 300 calories? That’s right, it’s not only delicious but it’s also good for the waistline. That’s just how I roll here in my kitchen!
Spring has sprung with a vengeance in the Pacific Northwest. Here it is early March in Portland and temperatures are in the mid-to-high 60’s. Crazy!
And of course there’s me, with my leg still healing, unable to get out and hike my favorite trails in this beautiful weather. I am slowly getting mobile again, though, venturing out on my own for short strolls of the market. I always love to see the seasonal produce rolling in, and this time of year that means artichokes.
I love artichokes. My mom tells me they were my first food, so maybe that’s where my love affair with these meaty, leafy thistles began. I love them grilled, steamed, and stuffed, like I have here.
For this recipe, I made a stuffing of tender Oregon bay shrimp meat with some nutty whole wheat orzo, spinach, creamy ricotta and parmesan cheeses, and a touch of lemon zest to bring out some tang in the dish. I then stuffed the mixture into small globe artichokes, topped them with a little more parmesan cheese, and then baked them.
My favorite way to eat them? I like to use the leaves to scoop out bits of the stuffing into my waiting mouth. With a glass of chilled Pinot Gris on the side, of course. It’s absolute heaven on a warm, sunny spring day.
Fresh spring artichokes are stuffed with a mixture of tender baby shrimp, spinach, orzo and cheese for a delicious, seasonal meal.
4 small globe artichokes
¼ lb. baby shrimp meat
¼ dry whole wheat orzo, cooked according to package directions, drained and rinsed
½ cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed
Zest of 1 lemon
½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
¼ cup plain, nonfat yogurt
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 oz. shredded parmesan cheese, divided
Trim the top and stems from the artichokes. Place top down in a steamer basket and place the steamer basket in a pot of boiling water so that it sits about 1” above the water. Cover and steam for 20 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the artichokes. Remove the steamer basket with the artichokes and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
In a medium bowl, mix together the baby shrimp, orzo, spinach, lemon zest, ricotta cheese, yogurt, thyme, basil, salt, pepper, and 1 oz. of the parmesan cheese.
Halve each of the artichokes lengthwise and use a spoon to gently scoop out the fuzzy interior of the artichoke and the very inner leaves, creating a hollow space in the artichoke half. Place the artichoke halves in a shallow baking dish, cut side up.
Scoop the shrimp mixture into the hollow of the artichoke half, evenly distributing the stuffing in each of the artichoke halves.
Sprinkle the remaining 1 oz. shredded parmesan cheese evenly over the stuffed artichoke halves.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is golden. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
You would think that in this heat wave we’re having in Portland that I would be seeking out cold chilled foods. Instead, I’ve found myself drawn to spicy foods that are easily prepared on the grill in the backyard, out of the heat of my little kitchen.
Jumbo scallops are marinated in lime juice, olive oil and garlic then threaded on skewers with slices of lime and grilled to tender perfection.
Last week I brought you my delicious Chargrilled Chipotle Salmon and Corn Salad, this week it’s a super easy and spicy Grilled Scallops with Sriracha Slaw. I start by marinating the scallops in a simple mixture of olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper. I want to infuse the scallops with a bit of flavor but not overwhelm the tender meat.
A convenient store-bought slaw mix is sweetened with dried cherries and pineapple then livened up with a spicy sriracha dressing.
I like to use jumbo scallops for this recipe because they are perfectly sized for threading on skewers. Alternate them with thin slices of lime for an extra hint of flavor, and make sure to use 2 skewers to keep the scallops stable for even grilling.
When you can beat the heat with a dish this yummy and easy, why wouldn’t you?
The heat of the dish then comes from the slaw. To keep the recipe easy, I simply use a packaged mix of shredded cabbage and carrots from the produce section of the store. I always like to balance spicy with either sweet or sour, so I add sweet dried cherries and canned pineapple tidbits to the mix before tossing it with a simple dressing of sriracha, Greek yogurt, and salt. Add in some freshly chopped cilantro and black sesame seeds (aka nigella) for an additional pop of flavor, texture and color.
And the bonus? This entire recipe is under 300 calories leaving plenty of room for a side of warm, crusty bread or a scrumptious summer dessert afterwards.
Jumbo scallops are grilled and served over an easy spicy-sweet slaw with dried cherries and pineapple in a spicy sriracha dressing recipe.
1 14 oz. bag of classic coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
½ cup coarsely chopped dried cherries
1 cup canned pineapple tidbits, drained of juice
½ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tbsp + 1 tsp sriracha hot sauce
½ tsp coarse sea salt (divided)
1 lb. jumbo sea scallops
1 tbsp olive oil
juice of 2 limes
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
dash of freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
In a large salad bowl, combine the coleslaw mix with the cherries and pineapple.
Whisk together the yogurt, sriracha, and ¼ tsp of the salt in a small bowl. Pour it over the coleslaw mix and toss well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, ¼ tsp of the salt, and pepper.
Place the scallops in a resealable bag and pour the mixture over them. Seal and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Remove the scallops and thread onto skewers, alternating with thin slices of lime.
Preheat your grill then reduce the flames to low and lightly oil the grate. Grill the skewers with the hood closed for about 1½ minutes on each side or until the scallops are cooked through. Remove from the grill and set aside.
Give the coleslaw a good toss then stir in the cilantro and black sesame seeds.
Serve a helping of the slaw topped with skewers of the grilled scallops.
1. If using bamboo skewers, always soak them in cold water for at least 20 minutes before threading the scallops on them and placing them on the grill. 2. The scallops can also easily be grilled on an indoor, cast-iron grill pan. Simply heat the grill pan on medium-high and lightly spray with olive oil. Cook the scallops for about 1½-2 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
When it is a hot and scorching day outside, I love to cook on the grill. The clean up is easy, I keep the house cool, and I get to grill under the shade of my apple and pear trees while sipping a glass of wine.
Salmon, corn and a poblano pepper are cooked on the grill until they are lightly charred.
Salmon and corn are in season now so I’ve been playing with these a lot on my grill. For this recipe, I like to marinate the salmon in a simple, spicy chipotle sauce and then place it on the grill with some corn and a poblano pepper. I cook them until they get a nice char on the outside.
The finished product is as pretty as it is delicious!
This salad is meant to be served slightly warm. I let the salmon, corn and pepper sit for about 10 minutes to let it cool a bit before tossing it up with some cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and a light dressing. The result is a delicious entree salad that is hearty enough to fill you up yet light enough for the warmest of summer days.
Spring is in the air and the winds of change are blowing through my life.
First, I offer you a halibut recipe. That may seem fairly tame, but what if I told you that I have never been a fan of halibut? And what if I told you that as I experimented with different varieties of fish for this recipe, I simply fell in love in with this dense, flaky, buttery fish?
Fresh halibut filet nestles atop tender spring asparagus and thin slices of lemon then is dressed with fresh thyme, salt, pepper and white wine.
Well I did. Halibut is not cheap, but for a special meal for 2 people this recipe hits the spot. I simply toss some fresh spring asparagus with a little olive oil then top it with some lemon slices, halibut fillet, salt and pepper, fresh thyme, and white wine. When baked in paper French style, the wine, lemon and thyme combine to create a sauce that steams the halibut to scrumptious perfection.
The white wine, lemon and thyme combine to form a delicious sauce in the packet.
Learning to love halibut was not the only change in my life this week, though. I took the unprecedented step of changing my Facebook status from “Single” to “In a Relationship” this week. I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but what if I told you that is the first time ever in my singleton life that I’ve done that? I’ve been wrestling with the idea for a couple of weeks, going to that profile page and hovering my mouse over the edit button then chickening out and going back to what I was doing. But this week I finally screwed up the courage and did it.
I think this was a daunting change for me because it is such a public declaration of how I feel about a certain someone. And the thought of that relationship ending and having to change my relationship status back is even more terrifying to me. Again, because it is so public to my family and friends.
Trusting myself and my own feelings has been the biggest challenge for me in this relationship. I thought I loved someone (my ex-husband) before and that did not turn out so well for me. While that marriage left me with two beautiful children – whom I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world – that relationship of verbal, emotional and physical abuse left me with severe self-esteem and trust issues that I still carry around.
I introduced you to my new guy about 6 weeks ago, we’ve known each other for a long time but just reconnected in January. When he first told me how amazing I am and how in love he is with me, my first reaction was one of skepticism. How could he possibly love me? Doesn’t he see all my flaws? Then as I’ve worked past that self-doubt into acceptance, I’ve found myself questioning my own feelings. Is this really love that I’m feeling? Or is it just lust? I confused the two before and it’s difficult for me to trust what I’m feeling.
I’m still not completely sorted out. I can tell you that I love how he makes me feel and the picture of a future together that he paints for me is thrilling. So perhaps updating my Facebook status – publicly declaring my commitment to my family and friends – is the first step in learning to trust myself again.
Next step? Introducing him to my children.
Life is never boring, is it?
Halibut and Asparagus with White Wine and Herbs en Papillote
Flaky fresh halibut and tender spring asparagus are baked French style in paper with dry white wine and thyme for an effortless, healthy meal that will leave you wondering how such good food can be good for you too.
1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-3" pieces
2 tsp olive oil
1 lemon, thinly sliced
½ lb. raw, fresh halibut filet
¼ tsp coarse sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
4-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tbsp dry white wine
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Lay out 2 pieces of parchment paper 20" in length. Fold down the center of the width of each, creasing it hard with your index finger.
Divide the asparagus pieces into two halves and lay each half on each piece of parchment paper next to the crease. Toss each with 1 tsp of olive oil.
Top each pile of asparagus with lemon slices.
Divide the halibut into two halves and lay one half over each packet on the top of the lemon slices. Season the halibut with a bit of salt and pepper.
Lay 2-3 sprigs of thyme over the top of each halibut piece and drizzle each with 1 tbsp dry white wine.
Fold the paper over and, starting with the longest edge, fold the edges together, tightly creasing them to ensure a good seal. Place the packet on a baking sheet and bake at 400F for 10 minutes per 1" of thickness of the halibut filet.
Carefully cut open the packet and serve immediately.
I highly recommend a Spanish Albariño wine both in and accompanying this recipe.
I received a promotion at work along with a stellar performance appraisal and a really, really nice bonus. I splurged and bought myself a racy, red, little sports car, my first non-mom car ever. And, drum roll please… I have met someone.
Or maybe re-met someone would be a more accurate statement. Let me explain.
Back in high school, I was friends with, and had a crush on, this guy, we’ll call him J. He was the cool kid, played in a band, and rocked the guy-liner and big hair that the 80s are so famous for. Towards the end of our senior year, we had one hot night in the backseat of my mom’s car. (Sorry Mom!) I’m not sure why we didn’t continue to see each other, but shortly after that I met my now ex-husband and I never saw J again.
Fast forward almost 25 years later and I suddenly get a friend request and private message from J through Facebook. He’s back in town after living in other parts of the country, so we decide to get together for a drink and to catch-up. He came over to my place and we spent almost 4 hours just talking, laughing and drinking. It was like stepping into an old pair of comfortable shoes, I found myself sharing things that I’ve never told anyone else, except maybe my therapist. And if you’ve read my blog posts on my dating adventures you know how awkward I get around guys, so this was huge for me. Perhaps because during that time with J, I wasn’t intentionally flirting or in search of a relationship, it was just two old friends catching up. Completely platonic.
At the end of the night, we promised to stay in touch and J left. Maybe 10-15 minutes later he calls me and says to me, stuttering nervously, something to the following effect:
“I’m kicking myself for not doing this before I left, I was just so nervous around you. But I have to tell you this so I’m pulled over to call and tell you that you’re beautiful and amazing and I want to take you out. I want to date you.”
How sweet is that? His nervousness was just so cute that of course I had to say yes. And then he got giddy, practically giggling on the phone. Cutest. Thing. Ever.
So we’ve been seeing each other for a month now, kind of a tricky feat since J works nights and I work days. I feel like I’ve found my best friend though. We talk for hours on end, sharing every bit of our inner selves, and best of all he loves every inch of me just as I am. That’s right, not more of this or less of that, but just as I am. In fact this week he told me that he has fallen in love with me. I’m not there yet, I’m a little cautious with my heart due to past experience. When I told him that, though, he smiled and told me that’s okay, he’ll wait for me to catch up. I told you he’s cute.
I am so completely happy right now that I just want to shout it from the rooftops. So what better way to share my joy than through my blog?
But you’re probably here for the food right? Okay, okay. Let me shift gears and get back to your regularly scheduled programming.
A tender salmon filet is perched on a nest of carrots and green beans then topped with a glaze of sweet tangerine juice and peppery ginger root. A few sundried tomatoes are then sprinkled on top for additional flavor.
Full of healthy fats and nutrients, salmon is a perfect fit for a healthy lifestyle. If you haven’t tried cooking it in the French “en papillote” style of cooking, you really need to give this a try. It’s an easy way to cook salmon without having to add lots of additional oil. Sometimes I cook it with just a little lemon juice and herbs. The fish and vegetables steam inside the paper packet, creating a sauce that coats the vegetables. Plus, there’s no mess to clean up.
Salmon should be cooked at 400F for 10 minutes per 1-inch of thickness.
For this particular dish, I first create a glaze using sweet tangerine juice and peppery ginger root. I then slather that on the top of the salmon filet, which is nestled atop a bed of carrots and green beans. During the baking process, the glaze combines with the fish and drips down through the vegetables, creating a meal that is out of this world.
With the en papillote style of cooking, the salmon and glaze create a delicious sauce that coats the tender vegetables.
And the best part? This is a super quick dish as well, perfect for a weeknight wonder. The entire meal takes about 20 minutes to prep and cook. Score!
Have you cooked meals en papillote before? What’s your favorite?
Tangerine Ginger Salmon and Vegetables en Papillote
You’ve probably surmised by now that I like cooking. Kind of a no-brainer.
What you probably don’t know about me is that I love a guy that can cook as well. Call me weird, but there’s something infinitely sexy about a man in the kitchen.
Good food is like sex on a plate. Okay, I’m not unpracticed nor modest enough to claim that food is as good as sex. However, it can be (almost) equally pleasurable. Good food should seduce the eyes and nose, tantalize the taste buds, and leave you desiring more.
Good food should seduce the eyes and nose, tantalize the taste buds, and leave you desiring more.
I created this meal to do just that. What could be more perfect for a lover’s meal this Valentine’s Day?
I start by prepping the lobster tails. Cut down the back of the tail with a sharp pair of scissors then pull the meat out, remove the membrane, rinse the meat and shell in cold water, then season the meat with a bit of salt and pepper before stuffing it back in the shell. I like to run a skewer through the entire tail lengthwise so that it doesn’t curl up when it cooks. But wait – one more finishing touch before I cook it – I place a small pat of unsalted butter, just 1 tsp, in the crevice running down the back of the tail. The butter will melt up during the cooking process and coat the lobster meat with additional flavor.
Use a sharp pair of kitchen shears to cut the shell from front to back, lengthwise, down the top of the tail.
Use your fingers to remove the meat from the tail. Rinse both the meat and shell in cold water then pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle the meat with a bit of salt and pepper then insert back into the shell.
Insert a small skewer through the meat, lengthwise, to keep it from curling up during the cooking process.
Break a 1 tsp pat of unsalted butter into pieces and insert into the crevice along the top of the tail.
It’s important that both the lobster and the risotto finish cooking at the same time as both need to be served immediately. So once the tails are prepped, I set them aside and begin cooking the risotto.
The risotto starts with a minced shallot sauteed in olive oil. I add a generous pinch of saffron to the rice once I start adding the broth in, it adds an exotic warmth to the dish that is perfect for an occasion such as this. The secret to a good, creamy risotto is to slowly add in the liquid. I use a salt-free chicken broth for extra flavor. The best method is to add one ladle of broth to the rice, let it absorb and then add another ladle of broth; keep repeating this until the rice is cooked through.It’s important to never let the rice get completely dry, you always want a little bit of liquid in the bottom of the pan.
To bulk up the risotto and add some nutritional value, I like to add in some chopped sundried tomatoes and artichoke hearts. The flavors combine exceedingly well with the saffron. Make sure to add them towards the end of the cooking cycle for risotto, you want the vegetables warmed through but not overcooked. Once the risotto is cooked, I add a bit of chopped Italian parsley for color and some shredded Parmesan cheese for additional creaminess and a slight nutty flavor.
Steaming the lobster over Chardonnay wine and herbs infuses a ton of delicate flavor without adding calories.
Of course, before the risotto is done cooking you also want to cook the lobster tails. I got the idea to steam the lobster over wine from my aunt who prepared some fresh crab in much the same way. Simply place some Chardonnay and herbs in the bottom of a large saucepan; I used some thyme to enhance the slight lemon flavor from the Chardonnay and a bay leaf. Once the mixture comes to a boil, place the tails in a steamer basket about 1″ above the liquid then cover and let steam for 8 minutes. The result is a tender lobster full of flavor, yet no additional calories because it didn’t actually cook in the wine.
How would you thank your honey for making this decadent meal?
I would squeal with delight if my man made me a dish such as this. Let’s hope he does the same when I serve this on Valentine’s Day.
Chardonnay Steamed Lobster Tails with Saffron Risotto
Use a pair of sharp kitchen shears to cut down the top of each lobster tail lengthwise.
Use your fingers to gently pry open the shell and remove the meat from each shell.
Remove the membrane from the lobster. Rinse the meat and shell in cold water.
Season the lobster meat with salt and pepper then place back into the shell.
Place a pat of 1 tsp unsalted butter in the crevice down the back of each tail. Push a short skewer through the tail, lengthwise, to keep it from curling up while cooking. Then set both tails aside for now.
In a small saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot to the skillet and saute until lightly browned.
Add the arborio rice to the skillet and stir to coat with the oil. Let cook for 1-2 minutes until very lightly toasted.
Add 1 ladle (about ½ cup) of the chicken broth to the risotto. Stir in the saffron and salt. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the liquid is almost absorbed. Add another ladle of broth, cook and stir until it is absorbed, and repeat until the rice is cooked.
With about 2 ladles of broth left to add to the risotto, you want to start the lobster. Place the chardonnay, a thyme, and bay leaf in the bottom of a large saucepan. Place a steamer basket in the pan so that it sits about 1" above the liquid.
Bring the chardonnay to a boil. Place the lobster tails in the steamer basket, cover the pot, and steam for 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
When adding the last ladle of broth to the risotto, stir in the sundried tomatoes and artichoke hearts.
Once the rice is cooked through, turn off the heat. Stir in the Italian parsley and parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Make sure to use dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts that are not packed in oil!
I really wanted one of my entries to feature locally sourced ingredients, an ode to my hometown if you will. I started by mixing shredded zucchini and yellow squash from my garden with the rice, after all food doesn’t get more local and fresh than my backyard. I had some leftover grilled salmon, a delicious locally caught variety, that I then flaked into the mixture.
I wanted to use a local cheese so at first I tried a Rogue Creamery’s Smokey Blue, which is a blue cheese smoked with hazelnut shells. The cheese is absolutely phenomenal, particularly in my Urban Farmer’s Salad, but I didn’t care for it with the salmon in this dish. Then I tried an alpine style gouda from Willamette Valley Cheese Company. Winner! This gouda is hard and shreds up beautifully, and the mild flavor pairs nicely with the other ingredients without overpowering the dish.
I add eggs to the squash, rice, salmon and cheese mixture to help bind the cakes and then simply form it into patties on a greased baking sheet. I found that baking them at 425F for 15 minutes then turning the patties over and baking for another 10 minutes yields rice cakes that are crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.
For a final touch, I created a salsa using a variety of cherry tomatoes from my garden, a shaved ear of locally grown sweet corn, chopped fresh herbs, and a wee bit of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Spooned over the top of the cakes, this meal boasts all of my favorite flavors of Oregon summers. What are your favorite local flavors of summer?
In my 3rd and final entry for Jaime Oliver's Search for a FoodTube Star with Uncle Ben's competition, I am incorporating my favorite seasonal flavors of my hometown into crispy, baked rice cakes. It's fresh, local food at its best!
1 box Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice, cooked according to package directions -- omit the seasoning packet and oil/butter
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup shredded yellow squash
½ lb. wild-caught salmon filet, cooked and flaked
2 oz. gouda cheese, shredded
2 large raw eggs
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 ear sweet corn, cooked and kernels cut off
2 tbsp minced fresh basil
2 tbsp minced fresh Italian parsley
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 425F. Grease a baking sheet with a little olive oil and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the rice, zucchini, squash, salmon, cheese, eggs and a pinch of coarse sea salt until well mixed.
Form the rice mixture into 8 patties, about ¾"-1" thick, on the baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes then use a spatula to turn each patty over and bake for another 10 minutes until crisped on the outside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, corn kernels, basil and parsley. Whisk together the vinegar and oil, adding a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss the tomato-corn mixture with the oil-vinegar mixture.
Serve the rice cakes topped with the corn and tomato salsa.
I was actually shying away from doing another boring rice bowl dish. But when it’s so easy and the ingredients are so fresh, why not?
This recipe starts with salmon, which is found fresh locally this time of year. When buying salmon, always look for wild-caught salmon to avoid anything with added colors or chemicals. Frankly, I think wild-caught salmon is more flavorful than farm raised as well. For this recipe, I don’t put any marinades or rubs on the salmon at all, I simply season it with a little salt and pepper and cook it on a cedar plank on the grill. This allows the full flavor of the salmon, and the fresh veggies and herbs it’s eventually served with, to shine through.
Next, I add in a zucchini and yellow squash from the garden, as well as an ear of sweet corn and a nice, fat sweet onion; I used one of our infamous local varietals, the Walla Walla sweet onion. I love to cook with these because they have such a caramel sweet flavor, and grilling brings out all those delicious sugars in these local beauties. Plus they’re only available for about 1 month out of the year.
I simply slice up my vegetables, lightly mist them with olive oil, and throw them on the grill. Whatever you do, don’t use a canned cooking spray as these are loaded with chemicals. I love my Misto spray pump for this job, but absent of that you can always use the old-fashioned method of a pastry brush and a bit of oil instead of a mister.
Once the veggies are grilled, I chop them up, toss them with some brown rice, freshly chopped oregano, and crumbled goat cheese then serve it up with a nice chunk of the grilled salmon and a handful of sweet, juicy cherry tomatoes on top. It’s easy, it’s full of flavor, and it’s good for you. Who says rice bowls are boring?
In my second entry for Jaime Oliver's Search for a FoodTube Star with Uncle Ben's Competition, I'm serving up some tender summer salmon on a bed of grilled veggies, nutty brown rice, herbs, and creamy goat cheese. It's an easy weeknight meal that packs a flavor punch!
1 lb. raw salmon filet
salt and pepper
1 cup quick cooking brown rice
1 baby zucchini, trimmed and cut lengthwise into ¼" widths
1 baby yellow squash, trimmed and cut lengthwise into ¼" widths
½ large sweet onion, cut into ¼" rings
1 ear of sweet corn, husked
1 tsp olive oil in a mister can/bottle
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
2 oz. crumbled goat cheese
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Soak a cedar grilling plank in water for 1 hour. Preheat your outdoor grill.
Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Place on the soaked cedar plank and place the plank on the grill. Close the lid and cook on low for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Make sure to keep a spray bottle of water nearby and keep a close eye on the grill to put out any flames before they catch the plank on fire.
Meanwhile, cook the rice according to package directions.
Mist the zucchini, squash, corn and onion with the olive oil (or baste with a pastry brush). Grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
Shave the ear of corn into a large serving bowl and add the cooked zucchini, squash and onion cut into ¼" cubes.
Mix in the rice, oregano and goat cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve a scoop of the rice and vegetable mixture topped with a piece of salmon and a scattering of the cherry tomatoes.
I blame fast food for my obesity experience. Rather, the lifestyle of being a single mom, shuttling my kids from home to daycare to school to activities, and not having the time or energy to create authentic, healthy meals.
My kids are grown now, they are 19 and 22, but my life is still full. After work, I typically spend at least an hour at the gym before going home. At least once a week I meet up with friends after work too, which means I usually don’t get home until around 6:30 at night. And if I have to stop by the grocery store to pick something up, forget about it. My cooking style and level of enthusiasm changed for the better during my weight loss journey, I rarely indulge in fast food, so during the week I look for dishes that are quick and easy to prepare.
That is how many of my dishes come about during the week. Sometimes it’s a happy accident that I quickly jot down to share, other times it’s a planned experiment. Either way, I look for dishes that satisfy my post-workout hunger pangs and are quick to put together. These wraps are just such a dish.
I whip up a thick glaze of spicy sriracha, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a touch of worcestershire sauce for flavor depth. Then I coat strips of albacore tuna steaks in the sauce and grill them up on my barbecue. Finally, I wrap them in a low-calorie, multi-grain wrap with a generous dollop of a creamy yogurt and mint sauce, packed with crunchy cucumbers as well. I often add lettuce and tomatoes as well, but just the spicy tuna with the cool yogurt and mint is enough to make me go “Mmmmm…” And aren’t those the best kind of meals?