Posts Tagged ‘onions’

Sweet and soy grilled salmon & flowers to make my apartment a home

Well, now I have tons of stuff to blab about. I am debating if I should break all of this up into separate posts? Yes, yes I should.

OK. Now. I do want to talk a bit about what’s the deal with how I changed my blog theme (and ask for your opinion, although it’s not done yet so I guess that doesn’t matter…) and announce that I did indeed graduate last weekend and I managed not to trip across the stage or forget to bring my name card or some other Kelly-like embarrassing thing, in addition to lots of other mushy crap about how much I love everyone who’s been reading my silly blog over the past semester and told me how much they enjoy it. I also want to talk about where this blog is going now that my independent study is over (I got an A, in case you were wondering, and even though it’s “over” I am thinking I may following in Jacquie’s footsteps and try to print up my most relevant posts up and bind them together. I might be good to show future potential employers, no? I can’t quit you, blog!)

Anyhow, all of that can wait because I made this delicious salmon dinner for a friend and I Thursday and holy crap. Ah-mazing.

Let’s discuss.

I decided I wanted to go all out and get that most sustainable salmon available at Whole Foods (Wild King Alaskan, $24/lb.), which in my humble opinion, tastes the absolute best. I ended up buying two 1-inch (at the thickest) fillets for $17.

Here’s what I did.

Sweet & Soy Grilled Salmon with Avocado, Capers, and Red Onion

Combine in a bowl the following:

  • 1/4 c. olive oil (exact amounts don’t really mater, you might need more if you are marinating larger fillets)
  • a few T. of soy sauce (I don’t know how much, I just poured the rest of the bottle in)
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • a dash or seven of garlic powder, depending on how much you love garlic

Yeah so swirl all that stuff around and plop your salmon fillets in and if you are super fancy and have a brush, coat them with the marinade. Then cover the bowl and pop in the refrigerator. Mine marinated for about 7 hours, but I am sure you could do for much less time, probably even 3-4 hours would suffice.

Then, slice up some avocado and some red onion and tomatoes (if you want) and drain some capers. Whatever you love on salad. You could also do a couple hard-boiled eggs using Jaden’s method (from the Steamy Kitchen) that makes the egg somewhere in between soft-and hard-boiled. I opted to leave the egg out. I initially was going to use Jaden’s recipe for a grilled salmon sandwich but then decided to use a marinade for the salmon…and then never actually made the dressing and I also made a salad instead of a sandwich…so really my dinner ended up totally different and I’m not sure why I am even referencing that recipe aside from the fact that it made me think to use capers, which I never have cooked with before.

By the way, I should also mention that my parents got me three new K. Sabatier knives as a graduation present, and they are fantastic. I have never had nice knives and it feels so nice to be able to actually slice through food without applying pressure. Fabulous. (When you begin asking for things like food processors and knives for presents, does that make you officially old? Yikes.)

I also bought myself a new eco-friendly skilet at Target the other day, which made me laugh because I never would have thought that a skillet could be not eco-friendly but hey, I guess that’s just the direction we are heading and I dig this pan a lot. I made eggs the next morning without a speck of cooking spray and it just slid around the pan like in an infomerical, it was hilarious.

Back to the salmon. You then heat up a skillet to medium-high and set your fillets on it. I ended up grilling the salmon for about 3 minutes each side, but it obviously will depend on how thick your fillet is.

Yes, mom, that’s a band-aid on my thumb. Yes, it’s from the knife. Yes, I will be more careful next time. Yes, I know those knives “could CUT OFF my finger.”

Definitely don’t overcook the fillet. If you have any feeling it might be done, take it off and take a good look at the center–with salmon you don’t really want the rare-ness you might go for with a tuna steak, but it should still be rather pink. Also, about halfway through cooking, throw your onion slices and capers in with the skillet (I much prefer grilled onion over raw.)

Once everything is ready, you plate it all up and voila! We found the salad didn’t really need “dressing” especially if you let the salmon marinate for as long as I did, because it was sooooo juicy and the onions had collected that marinade as well. But do what you like. I suppose you could do a drizzle of honey-dijon or some such over the lettuce if you prefer.

By the way, we drank a Pinot Noir with dinner which was a great pair. Pinot Noir’s are a bit more smooth and sweet, which went well with the hints of brown sugar sweetness in the salmon. (This is me trying to sounds like a foodie. Or a wino that doesn’t know wine, either/or.)

That meal tasted like you would pay at least $25 for it in a restaurant (maybe even more because of the fact that it was Alaskan King salmon, which is the priciest.) But when it came down to it, not including the wine, it  cost about half that to buy all the ingredients. And it was so so worth it. It just melted in your mouth. The best part, for me, is you could almost feel good about eating it knowing that it didn’t have the added dyes and hadn’t been raised in a confined space being fed tons of antibiotics, etc. I’ll spare the nasty details for here.

OK. So not to be all jumbly, but I do want to give you a glimpse into last weekend, in a post later on today or tomorrow in case anyone cares (I’m mainly thinking of relatives…)

…and next up, what I am looking forward to doing today (and hopefully for the rest of my life!)…Yoga! =)

It feels good to be back.

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D.C. Chillin’: Enjoying a gorgeous day while the veggie soup cooks

So today I got a wee bit sidetracked with things like….enjoying the beautiful weather outside.

But I managed to throw some ingredients together to make some veggie soup.

Here’s what went in…

This is about how much I put in of each.

I mean, what do you think, do I use too much garlic? I asked the same thing last time though and then I could barely taste it! I sauteed it this time to perhaps bring out more flavor…?

So here is everything that went into the slow-cooker, on low:

  • A wee bit (rest of can left over) of crushed tomatoes aka tomato sauce
  • Veggie broth, whole box
  • Beans
  • Garlic, sauteed
  • Carrots, three, not cooked
  • Onion, one, sauteed
  • Mushrooms, sauteed
  • Parsley, oregano, basil, salt, pepper
  • Once the veggies are near done I am going to add chopped up potatoes. Apparently those should only take 1-2 hours. Didn’t end up adding potatoes. Fine without!

That’s all cookin’ up now. Cheated and took the top off (don’t do this if you are on a time constraint, slows the cooking down) and anyway I tasted it and it’s good 😉

So today, Jen, Charlie, Tom and I walked down to get lunch at this little deli. I got a grilled veggie “hero.” It was OK. Then we got coffee at Politics and Prose and Jen and I invented the Best Game Ever. It basically started when I picked up/pretended to be reading this book to be funny because Jen isn’t a foodie like me and she gets so overwhelmed (annoyed) by my constantly talking about it. And then she picked up this book to be ironic. Get it? Anyway, it was really funny, and we continued to play that game for about 20 more rounds. Talk about acting like you’re in high school again. Must be the weather! I love it.

Then Jen, Charlie, Mike and I went for a cruise.

D.C. chillin’.

I’ve sort of neglected the homework/dealing with life today in order to enjoy this weather. Tomorrow will be less blogging, more work. Right now it’s go for a run (or maybe just lift at the gym?) and then out for an Eaglet’s birthday.

Happy Saturday! =)

I love butterhead lettuce & some lessons in Indian cooking

So here is something about me: I love to cook. But I’m not very good at it.

This weekend I learned a few crucial things about food and cooking:

  • Crushed tomatoes in a can do not equal diced tomatoes (Crushed tomatoes equal tomato sauce, diced tomatoes equals there will be small chunks of tomatoes and some juice and whole, peeled tomatoes equals small little tomatoes that don’t have their peel on them) Key point: don’t buy crushed tomatoes unless you actually want sauce.
  • When you are making Indian cooking, be sure to have curry powder on hand. Don’t rely on the Indian neighbors to get you through this unfortunate predicament.
  • Potatoes take a lot of time to cook if you don’t have a proper cover over them.
  • It takes a while to macerate strawberries—we’re not talking wam-bam thank you mam-strawberry.
  • Update: You are apparently supposed to rinse brown rice before cooking? Anyone ever heard of this?
  • With a little resourcefulness, you can always make it work.

Let me let the pictures tell the story from here on out…

So Saturday I went to the farmers market and got all sorts of delicious goodies.

I am so sad, it was the last day of the farmers’ market (well, that particular one right down the street that I go to) until June 5th! That is in a million years almost! 😦

Here is what I spent at the market. As promised, I am tracking all my food spending this week. You will notice that apples were only $1.60 — that’s a full dollar cheaper than at the Giant this week. Just sayin’. The carrots were also a steal, I got a TON of those for $3. Yeah I have to peel them myself but they taste so much better. And you’ll see how good of a deal all that lettuce was…(seriously, what happened to that post about cheap, processed food?! Um, I’ll take the fresh from the farm food for cheap mmkthx.)

So I got done washing my lettuce and dried it off and realized I had enough lettuce to feed a small country so then I start nibbling away on this stuff like a freaking rabbit and that was when I decided butterhead lettuce might be my new favorite vegetable. There, I said it. Move over, iceberg, there is a new lettuce in town and it tastes divine. Butterhead lettuce is called that because it actually has a buttery texture to it and when you eat it the amazing taste just goes straight to your head and you start making all sorts of butterhead lettuce sandwich combinations. Seriously, that’s why.

Like hummus + carrots (use vegetable peeler to get really skinny and delicate) + cucumber sliced really thin (cuc’s aren’t in season but I was craving them this week so I got ’em. Yes, I crave cuc’s sometimes.)

And then!

Whipped cream cheese spread + teeny tiny chopped up apple! = holy this tastes like dessert but like salad but it’s a snack-size and sweet yet savory. Phew.

So I had this plate of goodness for my lunch.

I have never entertained myself in the kitchen with lettuce for such a long time. In fact, you should go out, find a farmer selling butterhead lettuce (I hope it’s season isn’t now over!) and then create your own butterhead creation and tell me about it!

It was a good thing all I did was essentially eat lettuce for lunch because later on big sis Katie and her main squeeze John came over and we, well, I…decided we had all the ingredients to make a wonderful Indian dinner! And by all the ingredients, I mean, about half of the ingredients, and none of the crucial ones. But oh well it was a carb-fest! Here’s what happened…

The spread…

Potatoes: The recipe I found online said these pot’s would cook up fine and they did not. In fact, we had to make a make-shift cover to keep in the heat to cook them better, they just kept getting crisp on the outside.

So knowing that, here is what I would suggest you do.

  • Boil the potatoes until they aren’t really quite done. You want them cooked through but al dente, or whatever. (I’m just making this up but I bet it’ll work better than what we did.)
  • Cool them down in ice water or whatev’s. Then peel off the skin.
  • Cut ’em up like the size above. Put them aside.
  • In a wok, heat up 2-3 T. of your fave oil. When heated (medium heat), throw in 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds.
  • Cover that thing ’cause the mustard seeds are going to pop ALL over the place, trust me. (So make sure you have a cover for the pan/wok or else you have to McGuiver your way through it. Read: aluminum foil.)
  • When the seeds are done popping, throw in some tiny chopped up bell pepper, garlic, onion or whatever you like. I like all of that so we used it all. John hates onion so naturally I used onion in literally everything we cooked that night.
  • Throw in some salt, a tsp. of cayenne pepper, a dash of turmeric.
  • Once everything is basically almost about done cooking, put the potatoes in to brown them up and finish them off cooking.
  • Voila! Or whatever the Indian version of that word is.

Stir the potatoes.

Also, if you really want to cop out, like we did, because we didn’t have curry powder, you can just throw this kind of stuff in…

I recommend you don’t because this stuff is loaded with sodium. But whatever, we did. Because we didn’t have curry. I mean, it’s top of the charts in the UK.

OK so meanwhile you are cooking the rice, by the way, don’t forget about the rice (yes, you do need Naan, potatoes, and rice.) NOM NOM carbohydrates. Just kidding, we probably could have done without one of those three, but couldn’t decide which. And who doesn’t love naan?

So, simultaneously we had this other thing going on:

Oops, I meant…this:

Tomato-Chickpea Curry:

  • Melt down like a T. of butter in a saucepan.
  • Throw in little tiny chopped onions. Cook those for 10 minutes.
  • Add a T. of curry powder (or if you are like us and forgot to buy the star ingredient, just toss in some curry sauce).
  • Add a can of DICED tomatoes (not crushed, aka pureed) *Sigh*
  • Add juice of one lemon, can of chickpeas, 1 T. of sugar, salt, pepper, 1/4 c. water (or ’til it looks right—we obviously didn’t need any water!).
  • Bring that to a boil, then turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 more minutes. This should thicken it up.

Then we popped the naan in the oven for a couple minutes and were ready to eat!

OK, maybe I have low standards in the Indian department, but despite all the hiccups with cooking this dinner, it came together well.

THEN. Katie brought soy ice cream. So we made ate it.

And I macerated the strawberries in about 30 seconds. (I know, you’re supposed to let strawberries macerate overnight. We didn’t have that long. Heh.)

Dessert!     El fin!

In the end, this dinner was about 50% local and basically 100% organic, which was great. The strawberries were from the USA, so I made an exception with those. I cannot wait for summer and all the delicious fruits it brings.

Ever just have a complete flop of a cooking experience but still manage to make it work? (Still don’t understand why we didn’t just run to buy some curry…) Sometimes that’s part of the fun of cooking for me. Why’s cooking have to be so serious?? It shouldn’t be! Just don’t burn the house down and that’s all that matters I say.  😉