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Sara

      Sara and me

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Just finished reading The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. The premise of this book is different . . . a woman writer goes to Scotland to connect with distant heritage. She hopes to gain inspiration for her next book. As she investigates, she discovers she’s related to a family that lived in the early 1700s at Slains Castle on the east coast of Scotland near Aberdeen. This was the time of the Jacobite rebellion (the exiled King James and his hoped-for return to England). When I say this woman gets inspiration . . .well, it’s more than that. She questions whether she could possibly have genes that contain memory (what an idea, huh?), because she begins to know how events took place, who the people were, what they said, exactly where they stood, the layout of the castle, even the furniture in the rooms. She wasn’t channeling, actually, but I suppose it could be interpreted so. The book is full of the Jacobite history (more than I’d ever known before, but then I love English/Scottish history). There’s a romance back then, and a romance in the today time. Both lovely. Great book. An historical novel of the first order.

Another great read, The Island of Sea Women: A Novel by Lisa See. Six months ago I attended an author’s talk at the Bowers Museum. Lisa See was the speaker and shared her story about this book. I’ve heard her speak several times before (she lives near me) and have read several of her books. This one, though, is very different. She was sitting in a doctor’s office reading some magazine and spotted a tiny snippet of data about Jeju Island off the coast of Korea where the island as a whole is matriarchal because the women were trained from a young age to deep dive, free dive, for mollusks. These women were the bread winners. Husbands stayed home and cared for the babies. The island is real. The history is real. And what happened during WWII on this island is horrific – makes me feel ashamed that our military had a hand in what happened to many people. But everyone should read this book. It’s a novel, about 2 girls who are divers and how their lives diverge for a variety of cultural reasons and because of the war.

Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford. A novel about the early days of radio in London. This book takes place in the 1920s and tells not only the general history of the early days of radio, but also the role women played (a vital one). Initially it was in the background, because women weren’t considered intelligent enough. Maisie, the heroine in the book, works her way up the ranks. It’s a fascinating read from beginning to end. Many famous characters (real) flow through the studios. Early voting rights play a part in the story line also. And some wartime intrigue. You’ll find yourself cheering from the bleachers when women make a tiny inroad into the male-dominated field.

A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts by Therese Anne Fowler. My friend Ann, from Idaho, brought it with her as we spent a week in Palm Desert in February. She handed it to me and said I’d really like it. Oh, did I! Loved the book. This book is a novel, but based on the life of Alva Smith Vanderbilt (Belmont). Her family was nearly destitute (and faking it) when a marriage was proposed for her with William Vanderbilt. There is lots of dialogue in the book which is made up, but I’m guessing the author probably read many diary entries of Alva (and the family) to create a very intriguing and readable story. A life of unbelievable privilege. Several children, including one who marries into a titled family in England. You see the inner life of Alva – her day to day busy work, charity work, visiting for afternoon tea, the undercurrent of society’s morals – men were nearly expected to have mistresses or affairs. This was the Victorian Age when sex between husbands and wives was not necessarily, and usually not, passionate. I loved this book from page one until the end.  Alva was a suffragette of the first order. Having read the book, I have a lot of admiration for her, even though she lived in the highest echelons of society.

Also read In Falling Snow: A Novel, by Mary-Rose McColl. From amazon: Iris, a young Australian nurse, travels to France during World War I to bring home her fifteen-year-old brother, who ran away to enlist. But in Paris she meets the charismatic Dr. Frances Ivens, who convinces Iris to help establish a field hospital in the old abbey at Royaumont, staffed entirely by women—a decision that will change her life. Seamlessly interwoven is the story of Grace, Iris’s granddaughter in 1970s Australia. Together their narratives paint a portrait of the changing role of women in medicine and the powerful legacy of love. The book  gives you a vivid picture of the state of nursing in WWI, but the story is quite mesmerizing. And there’s a twist almost at the end. Highly recommend.

Also couldn’t put down The Secret Wife by Gill Paul. A long story that begins in war-torn Russia. Cavalry officer Dmitri falls head over heels in love with one of the daughters of Tzar Nicholas. But events intervene, as history tells us. That was 1914. Cut to 2016 when a young woman inherits an ancient cabin in upper New York State and she discovers a jeweled pendant. The two times weave together to make a really riveting story. Lots of Russian history; well written; as I said, couldn’t put it down.

Uncommon Woman. A book about Colonial America, but really the western frontier at that time, which is in western Pennsylvania. The warring native Americans play large in this book. There is a romance, yes, but this book is not “a romance.” It’s more than that – about the hardships of living on the land, away from protection, Tessa and her family struggle to make a living and avoid the angered natives who take revenge when their people are murdered. Clay Tygart is a respected officer/soldier and commands a fort near where Tessa lives. Clay was captured by Lanape Indians when he was a young man, so he straddles both sides of the equation – first hand, he knows how the natives feel, but also his role in the lure of American exploration of the west. The natives wish to preserve their hunting grounds from the encroaching settlers. This book takes place in the mid-1700s I think. Loved it. Not only the history that is brilliantly detailed, even to the summer heat they experience. The crops they raise, the constant fear of attack. And the sweet love that weaves through it. Not a speck of sex in it.

Reading mysteries has never loomed large in my reading life. Occasionally, yes. And some espionage type books. But light mysteries have not intrigued me much. But one of my book clubs had us read Louise Penny’s novel, A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel). The member actually handed out a cheat sheet of the characters in the book (many) and posed several questions of us as we read through it. The cheat sheet really helped. She asked us when (or if) we caught the foreshadowing of the murder culprit (I never did). The book takes place at a lovely inn in Canada and Chief Inspector Gamache (he is quite a character – along with his wife – are vacationing there) when a murder occurs. None of the characters escape the C.I.’s scrutiny. Lois, our book club member, led us through a very thorough and lively discussion of the book. Usually, my complaint about murder mysteries is that they don’t make for good discussion at a book club – but this book was an exception, for sure. Many of my learned book club friends rave about Louise Penny. One told me I should read Still Life next, and probably should have read it before I read this one.

Rachel Hauck is an author I’ve enjoyed reading over the years. Just finished reading The Memory House. It’s about relationships. Love. About family. About secrets. Doesn’t that just describe about 90% of every novel out there these days? Beck is a cop in NYC; a series of events occur and she is forced to take leave. Just then she inherits a house in Florida. She barely remembers the woman who bequeathed the house to her. Then you meet Bruno, a sports agent who will figure large in Beck’s life. Then the book jumps back in time to Everleigh, the woman who owned the house and you learn her story. Really stories of her two husbands. And how do those stories connect to present day. Very sweet book. Not a speck of sex in this one, either.

The Parrot Who Owns Me: The Story of a Relationship by Joanna Burger. Such an interesting book – nonfiction. The author is an ornithologist by profession (and a PhD) and this memoir of sorts is about her Red-Lored Amazon parrot she and her husband own. But no, it’s the parrot who owns her/them.

My Name Is Resolute by Nancy Turner. She’s the author of another book of some renown, These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 (P.S.). Resolute is what I’m discussing here. A book club friend recommended this book, I immediately bought it on my Kindle. I could NOT put the book down. I devoured it. Any other “work” I should have been doing was swept aside as I read and read of Resolute’s adventures. It’s fiction, but based some on a true story. Resolute, as a young girl from a privileged life on a plantation in Jamaica, was taken captive by slavers, eventually ended up in Colonial America. This book is the story of her life. The people she met, the men in her life, her children, and always about her indefatigable energy for life. Always hoping to return to Jamaica.

Finished The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Novel by Kim Richardson.  It’s a novel about the first mobile library in Kentucky (this is the 1930s) and the fierce, brave packhorse librarians who wove their way from shack to shack dispensing literacy, hope, and, just as importantly, a compassionate human connection.

The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape by James Rebanks. This book was offered as a bargain book from Bookbub, and something about the description resonated with me – maybe because of my Old Testament readings regarding the lives of shepherds back in ancient days. I utterly loved this book. It might not suit everyone – it’s a memoir, so a true story, of a young man growing up in the Lake District of Northern England, the son of a farming family, who sabotages everything in his being regarding going to school and leaves as soon as he is able (probably about 8th grade, I’d guess). And becomes a shepherd. And at night, he read literature that he accumulated from his grandfather. He bickers with his father, eventually moves out. One night in a pub with his blokes (friends) he enters some kind of a contest in the pub and realizes he has a lot more knowledge than he thought he did. In time he applies to get what I’d call here in the U.S. a G.E.D (high school diploma), which he does, and then he applies to Oxford, on a whim. And gets in. He graduates. He applies his knowledge to his rural life. He marries, has children, but still, his day to day life is all about his Herdwick sheep, although he does have a day job too working for UNESCO. You’ll learn more about sheep than you might have wanted to know. I absolutely loved, LOVED this book. If you are interested, James Rebanks has a Twitter feed, called @herdyshepherd1, and you can sign up to get updates from him about his farm and his sheep. I don’t do Twitter or I would.

Moloka’i: A Novel by Alan Brennert. A riveting book about the early days of Hansen’s Disease (leprosy) in Hawaii, and the stigma attached to the victims AND their families. It chronicles the story of a young woman, diagnosed almost as a child, and ostracized from her family, subsequently learning to live alone and remote.

House by the Fjord by Rosalind Laker. What a darling story. From amazon: A touching and atmospheric love story – When Anna Harvik travels to Norway in 1946 in order to visit the family of her late husband, the country is only just recovering from five cruel years of Nazi occupation. So it is with surprise that she finds in this cold and bitter country the capacity for new love and perhaps even a new home. I just loved this book – could hardly put it down; yet it’s not a mystery. You’ll come away with a desire to find that house by the fjord. I want to go there and have some coffee with the Anna, who was a Brit, yet fell head over heels in love with Norway.

Running Blind (Jack Reacher) by Lee Child. A Jack Reacher mystery. From amazon: Across the country, women are being murdered, victims of a disciplined and clever killer who leaves no trace evidence, no fatal wounds, no signs of struggle, and no clues to an apparent motive. They are, truly, perfect crimes. Until Jack Reacher gets in the middle of it. A page turner, as are all of the Jack Reacher stories.

Say Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde. This story, which takes place in a kind of Texas backwater, sets a town into an angry mess when two young boys, one white, one black, become friends, something most folks don’t like. At all. There’s a dog involved, the father of the black boy, the father of the white boy plus a woman who lives in the town and does her best to avoid people altogether. But they all get fused. Wonderful story.

Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart. A sweet book, true story, of the author and her friend, during one summer in the midst of their college years, going by train to NYC and ultimately getting a job of Tiffany’s.  Cute read.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. You might think what a stretch – what does an Indian (Native American) tribe have to do with the FBI. Read and you’ll find out. This is back in time, 50s I think, and a number of murders have taken place on the Osage Reservation. A wake up call, even for today.

Oh wow. Just finished reading David Guterson’s book, East of the Mountains. You know this author from his most well known book, Snow Falling on Cedars. I loved the Cedars book when I read it years ago, and assumed I’d like this other book (not new) as well. Have you learned to trust my judgment when I tell you, you HAVE to read a book? If I tell you the story line, I can already hear you thinking . . . oh no, I don’t want to read this kind of a book. Please trust me. You’ll come away from it being glad you did.

A fabulous read – Catherine Ryan Hyde’s newest book, Have You Seen Luis Velez? I marvel sometimes about how authors ever come up with the ideas they do, to create the premise for a novel. And this one is right up there at the top of the list. Raymond, a youngster, an older teenager, who has a big lack of self-confidence and feels like an odd duck sometimes, reluctantly (at first) befriends an elderly woman in the apartment building where he lives with his mother and step-father. He discovers she’s blind and needs some help, which he gives her.

Magic Hour: A Novel

Excellent Women

Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist) by Min Jin Lee

An American Marriage (Oprah’s Book Club): A Novel by Tayari Jones.

Recently finished Sally Field’s memoir (autobiography) called In Pieces.

If you want grit, well, read Kristen Hannah’s newest book, The Great Alone: A Novel.

You’ve got to read Catherine Ryan Hyde’s book – Take Me With You. What a story.  From Amazon’s description: August Shroeder, a burned-out teacher, has been sober since his nineteen-year-old son died. Every year he’s spent the summer on the road, but making it to Yellowstone this year means everything. The plan had been to travel there with his son, but now August is making the trip with Philip’s ashes instead. An unexpected twist of fate lands August with two extra passengers for his journey, two half-orphans with nowhere else to go. What none of them could have known was how transformative both the trip—and the bonds that develop between them—would prove, driving each to create a new destiny together. Have a tissue handy at the end. It’s such a charming, sweet story. You’ll fall in love with the young boys, and fall in love with them again 10 years later.

The Last Letter from Your Lover: A Novel by JoJo Moyes.

Mark of the Lion : A Voice in the Wind, An Echo in the Darkness, As Sure As the Dawn (Vol 1-3) by Francine Rivers.

Flight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early America

Answer As a Man

Celeste Ng Little Fires Everywhere.

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright.

C.J. Box’s book The Disappeared (A Joe Pickett Novel).

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.

The Boston Girl: A Novel by Anita Diamant.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen.

Leaving Blythe River: A Novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

The Girl with Seven Names by Hyanseo Lee.

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian.

The Good Widow: A Novel by Lisa Steinke.

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes.

How It All Began: A Novel by Penelope Lively.

 

Tasting Spoons

My blog's namesake - small, old and some very dented engraved silver plated tea spoons that belonged to my mother-in-law, and I use them to taste my food as I'm cooking.

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Posted in Fish, on February 26th, 2020.

halibut_sheetpan_nicoise_tapenade

Super easy dinner with loads of flavor.

I don’t know about you, but I love sheetpan dinners. They just simplify the dinner making. I’ve done dinner for guests using a sheetpan recipe – my favorite is still the  Chicken Thighs with Bacon and Sourdough Croutons. Some recipes roast several items for the same time period – not so with this one – you do have to start the potatoes ahead of time, then add other ingredients. But they’re all still done on the one sheetpan. And if you line the sheetpan with parchment or foil, you’ll have the simplest of cleanup ever.

This recipe uses small red or white (or a combination) potatoes. You want them to BE about 1” square or cut them into something close to that.  First the potatoes are tossed in EVOO, mustard, salt and pepper. Those are put out onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and roasted for about 20 minutes. That gives the potatoes a head start. The baby green beans (haricots verts) are tossed in the remaining oil mixture and go onto the baking sheet next. Those, along with the potatoes roast for 5 minutes, then you add the halibut that’s been topped with some ready-made jarred tapenade (olives). Another 12-15 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish) and everything should be roasted-done.

Meanwhile you will have chopped up some baby tomatoes, cut a lemon into wedges and chopped some parsley. Serve the fish with the toasty potatoes, green beans, the lemon wedge and the garnish of chopped parsley. Done. Easy-peasy. You can substitute sweet potato for the white potatoes, and you could easily add a small amount of squash or eggplant to the pan. The recipe came from a class with Susan V, although I changed it just a little bit to make it simpler.

What’s GOOD: how easy this is. Dinner on one pan. The nip of briny olives on the fish – a really tasty touch – and the crispy green beans. Also loved the addition of the fresh tomatoes at the end. Altogether delicious.

What’s NOT: nothing really.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook 15/16 file (click link to open recipe)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Roasted Sheetpan Halibut Nicoise with Olive Tapenade

Recipe By: Cooking class with Susan V, Feb. 2020
Serving Size: 4

1 1/2 pounds small potatoes — red, if possible, cut into 1″ chunks
8 ounces haricot verts
3 tablespoons EVOO
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
HALIBUT:
1 1/2 pounds halibut fillets — cut into serving pieces
3 tablespoons olive tapenade — use ready-made
GARNISH:
lemon wedges
1 cup cherry tomatoes — or grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons fresh parsley — chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. In a bowl combine olive oil, salt, pepper and Dijon. Stir until well mixed. Add the potatoes and toss gently. There should be enough of the dressing left to use on the green beans.
3. Place potatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast them in the heated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Meanwhile, toss the green beans with the dressing and add them to the sheetpan and bake for 5 more minutes.
3. Spread the tapenade on top of each halibut serving and add to the sheetpan. Roast fish and vegetables for 12-15 minutes, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Do NOT overbake the fish – start checking at 12 minutes.
4. Serve fish and vegetables with lemon wedges, fresh halved tomatoes and fresh chopped parsley on top.
Per Serving: 467 Calories; 17g Fat (33.7% calories from fat); 40g Protein; 37g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 54mg Cholesterol; 238mg Sodium.

Posted in Fish, Gundry-friendly, lectin-free, on November 27th, 2019.

creamy_lemon_salmon_dill

You can never have too many recipes for salmon. This one is easy and quick. Rich? Yes. So good, though.

Another one of the recipes from the salmon class with Phillis Carey. Very simple to make – done all in one pan. You’ll need some fresh dill (which really adds so much flavor) and heavy cream and a lemon. The salmon is pan-seared then removed while you make the sauce. Once it’s done, you add the salmon back in and cook it for a minute or two at the most. See? Easy. Phillis suggested serving this with orzo and spinach. You’ll want something carb (orzo, rice) or carb-like (riced cauliflower, millet) to soak up any extra sauce and juices from this.

What’s GOOD: how easy. Delicious. Tender texture. Loved the dill in it.

What’s NOT: nothing at all.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook 15/16 file (click link to open recipe)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Creamy Lemon Garlic Salmon with Fresh Dill

Recipe By: Cooking class, Phillis Carey, Oct. 2019
Serving Size: 4

24 ounces salmon fillets — 6 ounces each
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves garlic — minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh dill — chopped
Crushed red pepper flakes

1. Season salmon all over with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Do not allow oil to smoke or oil will burn. Choose a frying pan that won’t crowd the fish – it needs space around each fillet to cook properly. Add salmon, skin side-up, and cook until golden and seared, 6 minutes. Flip and cook until skin is crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove salmon from skillet and transfer to a plate.
2. Reduce heat to medium (and remove from heat if the pan appears to be too hot), and melt butter. Stir in garlic and cook 30 seconds, then stir in flour and cook 30 seconds more. Whisk in heavy cream. Bring to a simmer and let thicken slightly, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in lemon zest and juice and dill. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Return salmon to skillet and let simmer in sauce for 1 minute. Garnish with crushed red pepper flakes before serving. Nice served with buttered orzo and fresh spinach. Or riced cauliflower or millet – something to soak up the extra sauce and juices.
Per Serving: 520 Calories; 40g Fat (69.0% calories from fat); 36g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 198mg Cholesterol; 172mg Sodium.

Posted in Fish, on November 14th, 2019.

slow_roasted_salmon_sicilian

Sort of looks like a jumbled mess there, but it really isn’t. It’s supposed to look like that. A kind of rustic way to pull chunks of salmon, slow-roasted, then garnishing with a very flavorful olive and caper relish.

This recipe came from the salmon class Phillis Carey did a few weeks ago. It was SO delicious. I have some salmon in the refrigerator that I bought yesterday and I’ll be making this one night and the Tropical Salmon the next night.

There are a couple of things that are different about this – first, it’s slow-roasted, which makes for a very tender and juicy piece of fish. There are a few other recipes on my blog for slow-roasting salmon, and I think all of them came from a Phillis Carey class. The other thing is the method you use to serve it. Once the salmon is roasted, you use a big fork (easier with a big fork) to pull off small to medium chunks. Not orderly, even pieces, but chunks, randomly. And that’s what you serve. Or put it out whole, on a serving platter (heated) and gently tug the pieces apart with the fork, and garnish with the very flavorful sauce/relish.

Phillis took a trip (a tour she led) to Sicily last year and she said at a class after her return, that she’d be incorporating various recipes she gathered or devised herself, from her Sicilian adventure. And this is one of them, obviously. The sauce on top is a combo of oil, chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, a bunch of Castelvetrano olives, shallots, capers, lemon zest and garlic. Do seek out the Castelvetrano if you can – I have to buy them at a specialty market near me (and they aren’t exactly inexpensive) but they keep for months in the refrigerator. Someone told me Costco (some) carry a really huge jar of Castelvetrano, but I’d never be able to use up that many! The olives are a ripe olive, but they have a wonderful texture and taste all their own. If you can’t find them, use some other kind of green olive (NOT the ones  you’d put in a martini, however).

The slow-roasting is a simple task – at 300°F – and I always put the rack in the lower half of my oven to do this. The roasting takes a max of 20-25 minutes. Don’t overcook it. The beauty of this dish is that you can serve it at room temp. Would make for a lovely brunch dish. So count this recipe as versatile.

What’s GOOD: the succulence of the salmon when slow-roasted. The sauce is fabulous. And so very easy. And I like the rough-cut, pulled apart look of the salmon too. Different. Would be lovely for a company meal, or easy for a weeknight dinner too.

What’s NOT: can’t think of anything.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook 15/16 file (click link to open recipe)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Slow-Roasted Whole Salmon Fillet with Sicilian Sauce

Recipe By: Cooking class, Phillis Carey, Oct. 2019
Serving Size: 7

3 1/2 pounds salmon — 1-2 sides or salmon (halved is what’s meant here), pin bones removed, with or without skin
1/3 cup EVOO — plus more for drizzling
1/3 cup Italian parsley — chopped
12 whole olives — Castelvetrano type, chopped (or other green type olives)
3 tablespoons shallots — finely chopped
3 tablespoons capers — rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons lemon zest — plus 3 T of lemon juice
2 cloves garlic — finely minced
freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Place the oven rack in the center or slightly below center.
2. On a large, rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, arrange fish, prettier side up. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with EVOO.
3. Roast the fish until just opaque in the center, about 20-25 minutes. To serve, using a fork, separate serving sized pieces of the salmon (they’ll be in irregular shapes) and put on serving platter. Top with the Sicilian olive sauce and serve. This fish can also be served cooled to room temp.
4. SICILIAN SAUCE: In a bowl mix 1/3 cup EVOO, parsley, olives, shallot, capers, lemon zest and lemon juice, garlic, then season with freshly ground black pepper.
Per Serving: 369 Calories; 19g Fat (47.4% calories from fat); 46g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 118mg Cholesterol; 253mg Sodium.

Posted in Fish, on November 3rd, 2019.

tropical_roasted_salmon

That salmon was (and looks) so moist, you can almost see the juices running. You need to make this.

When Phillis Carey taught the salmon class a couple of weeks ago, she said of all the recipes she was sharing that evening, this one was her favorite. I could understand why as soon as the first bite entered my mouth. The piquant taste of the sweet pineapple (underneath that salmon, you just can’t see it) enhanced by the Thai sweet chili sauce (Trader Joe’s has it). I wanted more. This entire recipe would likely come together in less than 30 minutes, including the rice if you started that first thing. You can make the sauce while the salmon is cooking. The fish is placed on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet on top of half-rings of pineapple. If you have fresh pineapple, great, otherwise the Dole canned stuff works fine with this. You do want skinless salmon – reason?  – because you want the flavors to enter the fish both top and bottom.

The sauce: melted butter, the Thai sweet chili sauce, cilantro, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and red pepper flakes. That mixture is brushed all over the top of the salmon and some of it runs off, which, hopefully, gets absorbed underneath. Any of the juices that end up on the pan should be spooned out over the salmon when served.

What’s GOOD: the flavor, first and foremost. I wished my piece had been bigger, I liked it so much. Loved the little bit of pineapple underneath. Phillis used canned pineapple. It might be a stunner if you used fresh pineapple. A keeper of a recipe.

What’s NOT: nothing, really. Don’t make more than you can eat – my opinion – fish doesn’t ever taste as good warmed over. That succulent salmon gets overcooked when you reheat it.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook 15/16 file (click link to open recipe)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Tropical Roasted Salmon with Ginger, Pineapple and Sesame Seeds

Recipe By: Cooking class, Phillis Carey, Oct. 2019
Serving Size: 6

12 pineapple rings in juice — fresh or canned, drained
36 ounces salmon fillets — skinless (can also use swordfish)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter — melted
3 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons cilantro — minced
3 cloves garlic — minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger — minced or smashed
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
toasted sesame seeds for garnish
thinly sliced green onions, for garnish
lime wedges, for serving, or drizzle with fresh lime juice just before serving

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray. Arrange pineapple slices by twos on the foil. Season both sides of salmon with salt and pepper, and place a fillet on each set of pineapple slices.
3. In a small bowl whisk together butter, chili sauce, cilantro, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Brush all over salmon fillets.
4. Roast until salmon is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes, depending on thickness. Switch oven to broil and broil for 2 minutes, or until fish is slightly golden. Garnish with sesame seeds, green onions, and serve with lime wedges to squeeze on top. Serve with coconut milk rice and asparagus, if it suits your menu.
Per Serving: 553 Calories; 12g Fat (19.0% calories from fat); 36g Protein; 79g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 104mg Cholesterol; 121mg Sodium.

Posted in Fish, Salads, on October 29th, 2019.

smoked_salmon_pea_prosciutto_salad

Talk about a vibrantly colored salad, and full of texture and flavor!

Last week my friend Cherrie and I attended a cooking class with Phillis Carey. It was all about salmon. And I’ll share all the salmon recipes she prepared that evening (four) plus the dessert (cookies – I didn’t eat them because I shouldn’t but Cherrie attested to their deliciousness). This salad was such a standout. On this anti-lectin diet I’m on, I’m not supposed to eat sugar snaps or peas, but I ate the peas and one sugar snap; I just couldn’t help myself! What I loved about this salad was all the textures in it – Phillis even mentioned it as she was explaining the recipe – it’s served with a simple lemon vinaigrette. It was SO good. All of it. She blanched the sugar snaps and the fresh peas (although you can use frozen, thawed peas). Everything could be made ahead – you’d just have to compose the salad immediately before serving it – and it would be best to serve individual servings because you can make sure each person gets a specific share of the smoked salmon. And the crispy prosciutto added a lovely saltiness to the salad. So worth the effort.

In this case, Phillis said to use hard-smoked salmon. This is not a place for regular, thinly sliced smoked salmon, lox style. So seek out a grocer/butcher store that carries chunks of smoked fish. Or you could use canned smoked fish (which I just happen to have in my pantry). This could easily be a main dish, just make it in a larger portion. Great for a warm summer night – it was one the night we attended the class. We’ve been having Indian summer weather in SoCal this past week or two. Much too hot for my liking.

But, as a complete aside – – – a few months ago I had solar panels installed on my house. It was a big undertaking, and expensive (I paid up front for it). They guaranteed I’d have a 55% or more reduction of my electric bill. Not only did I have 2 swimming pools (regular and separate spa), but 3 A/C units (one for each floor of my house plus the wine cellar). Hence I use a lot of power. But then, I decided to empty my big swimming pool and had a deck built into/over the space. Last week I got my first electric bill since I did that deck. Talk about thrilled. We’ve had summer weather here since June and the A/C units run a lot . . . my bill was $37. Oh my goodness, was I thrilled. I danced a jig! That’s WITH the A/C running every day but about one or two. Over the winter, I’m certain I’ll be getting a $0 bill. Happiness.

What’s GOOD: Do try it. Look how vibrant it appears – love all the colors of green, and I did love all the texture in it. Loved the hard-smoked salmon with the greens. A keeper.

What’s NOT: nary a thing.

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Smoked Salmon, Pea, Arugula and Prosciutto Salad

Recipe By: From a cooking class with Phillis Carey
Serving Size: 4

4 tablespoons EVOO — divided use
2 ounces prosciutto — thinly sliced across into strips
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/4 cups green peas — fresh, cooked, or frozen, thawed
12 ounces sugar snap peas — about 3 cups, trimmed, blanched
4 ounces arugula — about 6 cups packed
10 ounces hard-smoked salmon — flaked in large pieces

1. Heat 1 T. EVOO in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto and cook, stirring often, until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain. Set aside.
2. Whisk lemon juice and mustard in a large bowl. Gradually add 3 T EVOO, whisking constantly, until emulsified; season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
3. Working in batches, cook green peas and sugar saps in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp tender, about 2 minutes per batch. Immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water and swoosh peas around until cold; this sets their color and halts the cooking. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
4. Add green peas, sugar snaps and arugula to bowl with vinaigrette and toss until well coated with dressing. Toss in prosciutto strips; season with salt and pepper.
5. Arrange salad on a platter or individual plates and top with smoked salmon and serve.
Per Serving: 307 Calories; 18g Fat (53.4% calories from fat); 22g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 26mg Cholesterol; 957mg Sodium.

Posted in Fish, Grilling, on October 31st, 2018.

grilled_salmon_arugula_salad_tunisian_relish

A kind of a salmon salad, but hot salmon, cold relish with arugula or greens underneath.

Vividly, I recall the first time I ate a peppadew pepper. Oh my golly, was I in love. It was at a restaurant in San Diego, and for a week I was on a mission to find them, and eventually I did. Now they’re in lots of places, even Trader Joe’s. Mostly, now, I buy them at an olive bar in one of my local grocery stores because I don’t use them often enough to keep it stocked in my frig. Peppadews are sweet and piquant at the same time. They have little to no heat in them. They add a lovely surprise in your mouth. And they work perfectly with this salmon dish.

First you need to make the Tunisian relish – dried currants (or golden raisins work fine), soaked in hot water to plump them. A cup of green olives chopped (tart type, not ripe), a bunch of the peppadew peppers chopped up, some olive oil and sherry vinegar, salt and pepper, and that’s it. Set that aside to marinate a little bit.

The salmon is marinated in some of the relish for half an hour then grilled. On the plate you combine the greens with the reserved marinade (serves as a dressing here) then divide the salmon amongst your serving plates, spoon any leftover marinade on top and sprinkle on the relish. A one dish meal in my book. From a class with Tarla Fallgatter.

What’s GOOD: the combination of the relish ingredients is sublime. You won’t need a huge serving of this (the salmon, I’m speaking of) because it is served as a salad – so you get some good salad stuff in there too. Loved it.

What’s NOT: nothing really – just the time to mix up the relish, I suppose. I think if you made more of it, it would keep for a week or so – to use on something else. For me, the peppadew peppers make this!

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Grilled Salmon with Tunisian Relish

Recipe By: Tarla Fallgatter class, Sept. 2018
Serving Size: 6

MARINADE:
1 medium red bell pepper — roasted, peeled, seeded
1/2 cup dried currants — or golden raisins
7 ounces Peppadew peppers
1/4 cup juice from the jar of Peppadew peppers
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound salmon fillets
2 cups arugula — wild, or other “power greens”
TUNISIAN RELISH:
1/2 cup dried currants — or golden raisins
1 cup pitted green olives — chopped
1/2 cup Peppadew peppers — chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

1. MARINADE: Soak currants in equal quantity of hot water until plump, drain and transfer to a blender. Add roasted pepper, Peppadew peppers and their liquid and the olive oil. Puree. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
2. RELISH: Prepare and mix the relish ingredients rogether and set aside.
3. SALMON: Toss salmon with half the marinade and let rest 30 minutes. Grill until fork tender.
4. SALAD: Toss the arugula or greens with some of the marinade and divide among plates. Divde salmon into individual serving pieces and place on top of the arugula. Spoon some of the reserved marinade over the salmon, then sprinkle with the Tunisian Relish.
Per Serving: 451 Calories; 32g Fat (62.7% calories from fat); 17g Protein; 26g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 39mg Cholesterol; 295mg Sodium.

Posted in Fish, on August 27th, 2018.

halibut_lemon_rosemary_aleppo

Is it halibut season? Found some at Costco and couldn’t resist!

Rarely these days do I have halibut – it’s so gosh-darned expensive. But I found a lovely 3-serving size slab of it at Costco for just under $20. I searched through my to-try recipes and didn’t really find anything that wowed me, so I went on the ‘net and found a recipe at epicurious that wasn’t difficult and contained plenty of lemons. I have fresh rosemary in my garden, and I’d just happened to have bought a small jar of Aleppo pepper at Penzey’s last week, so I was in business.

I made this in my toaster oven, believe it or not, and it turned out just fine. I lined a small rimmed baking sheet with foil, sprayed it with nonstick oil, blotted dry the piece of halibut and placed it on top. The top of the fish was oiled with EVOO (not much), then was sprinkled with salt and Aleppo pepper. You can see it on the front edges of the lemon slices in the picture above – Aleppo is quite bright red – and it’s not particularly spicy hot, so I was generous with the sprinkling of it.

My Meyer lemon tree is on its last few lemons of the season, and some of them still have juice in them, but the flesh has shrunk away from the outer peel – so interesting – have never seen this before – but probably owing to our extreme heat this summer. The lemon slices worked better by cutting each round in half and kind of layering them on top. I also sprinkled a little bit of chopped fresh rosemary on top of the fish before layering the lemon slices.

halibut_lemon_rosemary_before_bakingInto a 450°F oven it went. The recipe indicated 10 minutes, but this wasn’t cooked through to 120°F interior temp until about 13-14 minutes and I whisked it out in a hurry so it wouldn’t overcook. I drizzled the top with additional lemon juice and served a wedge on the plate as well. I removed the lemon slices, but if serving to guests, I’d leave the lemons on top just because it looks prettier. The lemon really didn’t “cook” as such and doubt you’d want to eat them. The recipe indicates broiling the fish at the last for 1-2 minutes until the lemons are charred. I didn’t do that step because I didn’t want the halibut to cook too much. To serve, I chopped up more fresh rosemary and sprinkled that on top too along with a dash more salt. The leftovers are going to be flaked into a large green salad. Doesn’t that sound good?

What’s GOOD: halibut has such a lovely tender flake to it – don’t overcook it, so use your instant read thermometer and remove it at 120°F as it will continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes. I loved the intense lemony flavor and liked the rosemary too. And I liked the little bit of heat from the Aleppo peppers. Was this off the charts? No, but it was really good and very, very easy!

What’s NOT: nothing, really. It was easy to do. Tasty, so no negatives.

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Roasted Halibut with Lemons and Rosemary

Recipe By: Adapted slightly from epicurious
Serving Size: 2

2 halibut fillets — preferably at least 1-inch thick
1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil — or more if needed
Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo chile pepper
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 small lemon — very thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary — minced, for garnish
1 small lemon — cut in wedges, for garnish
more salt to sprinkle on top

1. Heat oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray nonstick spray on the foil. Allow fish to sit out for 10-15 minutes, then blot the fish dry with paper towels. Place fish on the foil. Brush fillets with 1 teaspoon or so of oil and season with salt and Aleppo chili flakes. Top each fillet with several small rosemary branches and several slices of lemon. Drizzle remaining oil over lemon slices and sprinkle with additional salt. If desired, you can scatter Kalamata olive slices over fish.
2. Bake until just opaque, about 10 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 120°F. If lemon slices have not browned or singed (this will depend on how thinly you slice them), place pan under broiler for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve drizzled with more olive oil; sprinkle with more salt and Aleppo, if desired. Sprinkle additional minced rosemary on top and serve with lemon wedges.
Per Serving: 157 Calories; 6g Fat (31.9% calories from fat); 22g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 33mg Cholesterol; 57mg Sodium.

Posted in Fish, on June 24th, 2018.

orange_miso_glazed_salmon

Succulent is the word I wrote down on the recipe after my first bite. So very tender. And the glaze, oh my.

Doesn’t that dish look good enough for company? I think so, but it’s also easy enough to do for a weeknight meal as well. Just make sure you have a couple of fresh oranges on hand, white miso and some fresh green onions. That’s assuming you have fresh ginger, vermouth, soy sauce, sesame seeds, honey and avocado oil.

Being on this diet I’m on, I really shouldn’t have eaten the salmon (because of the honey – everything else was generally okay), but I couldn’t help myself. It was so SO delicious. I ate about half of that serving above, and a couple of days later I flaked some of the leftovers into a green salad as a dinner one night. It was equally good (cold) in that rendition.

The mixture that becomes the glaze is mostly orange juice (use blood oranges if you happen to have them, which makes the glaze a lovely rosy deep color) flavored with honey, ginger, garlic, vermouth, soy sauce. That is reduced down by half until it’s thick and syrupy, then you add in the white miso.

The salmon is broiled – but broiled from an 8-inch distance – it’ll take about 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon. But before broiling you spread that succulent glaze all over the top – that helps with the browning on the top, obviously. Once done, let it sit a minute or so, then garnish with the sesame seeds and chopped green onions. Done. Beautiful! Recipe came from Phillis Carey.

What’s GOOD: everything about this dish is delicious. More than delicious. Make the glaze ahead of time if you want. Serve with a simple green salad and a complementary vegetable (roasted broccoli, roasted asparagus perhaps?). You’ll hear raves from everyone.

What’s NOT: nothing other than making sure you have everything on hand to make this.

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Orange Miso Glazed Salmon

Recipe By: Phillis Carey, 2018
Serving Size: 4

GLAZE:
3/4 cup orange juice — strained (or use blood oranges)
2 tablespoons honey — mild flavored
1 tablespoon fresh ginger — grated
1 clove garlic — minced
1 tablespoon vermouth — or sake
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons miso — white type (mild)
SALMON:
24 ounces salmon — skinless fillets, cut into portions
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil — or avocado oil
2 tablespoons green onions — sliced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds — toasted (use either black or white)

1. GLAZE: whisk the strained orange juice, honey, ginger, garlic, wine and soy sauce together into a smooth mixture in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently (don’t let the clump of honey burn – stir until it dissolves) until mixture is reduced by half. It should be thicker and somewhat syrupy. Remove from heat and whisk in the white miso until the glaze is smooth. Set aside.
2. SALMON: Preheat broiler with the rack down at least 8 inches from the heat source. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and grease or spray the foil. Set the salmon fillets on the prepared sheet and spoon 1-2 T of the glaze evenly over the top of each piece.
3. Broil salmon 8-10 minutes, or until salmon is cooked through and the glaze is bubbly and beginning to brown. Serve salmon sprinkled with sesame seeds and green onions.
Per Serving: 351 Calories; 14g Fat (37.8% calories from fat); 36g Protein; 18g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 88mg Cholesterol; 516mg Sodium.

Posted in Fish, Grilling, Salads, on June 14th, 2018.

ahi_bowl_citrus_rice_spinach

Healthy, easy, refreshing for a summer evening.

A post from daughter Sara . . .

As I’ve started watching my diet a bit, I find myself looking for flavorful, yet easy dinner dishes.  This is a true match for the easy and healthy.  I had my first Ahi Bowl at a restaurant called The Fish District in San Diego, CA (near where I live).  The crisp veggies with warm rice and fish make this a wonderful summer dish. I love the combination of sweet teriyaki with the nose-burning touch of wasabi sauce.  I cook the Ahi outside on the side burner of my grill (well actually, my husband does – I’m banned from the grill as I apparently don’t clean it correctly!)  This is my own at home version.

With blackened seasoning to go on the fish, and julienned veggies to fix, I can bring this dinner together in about 20-25 minutes. With a bottle of teriyaki sauce to drizzle and a squirt of wasabi sauce (don’t use the pure wasabi) it’s so easy to just make a big platter with everything on it (rice on the side) and everyone can take what they want from the platter. For me, it’s no rice, but my family loves the lemony rice to go along side. Everyone loves it! And by the way, I buy my Ahi at Wal-Mart. I’ve found it to be really fresh. I buy it in a big pack and stick it in the freezer, then defrost what I need (one small steak per person, usually).

What’s GOOD: my family particularly loves lemon rice (which I make to serve with other things too), and they like ahi. We all do, and we can pick what we want to eat on the “bowl” with, or without rice. I use spinach only instead of rice. Easy dinner and healthy too.

What’s NOT: nothing really – maybe only the time it takes to julienne the carrots and cucumber. Otherwise, it’s such a cinchy-easy dinner to prepare. Be sure to not overcook the ahi – you want it bright red in the middle.

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Ahi Bowls

Recipe By: Sara C
Serving Size: 4

1 pound ahi tuna — (4 oz filets) seasoned with blackened spices
CITRUS RICE:
1 cup white rice
1/2 cup lemon juice zest from 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups water salt to taste
SALAD:
1 cup carrots — julienned
1 cup cucumbers — julienned
pickled ginger — (optional)
1 whole avocado — sliced
1/2 cup cilantro
4 cups fresh spinach
Terriaki Sauce
Wasabi Sauce (not straight wasabi)

1. Using outdoor grill, rub grill lightly with oil (use tongs and a saturated, folded square of paper towel), then place ahi over high heat until grill marks appear. Turn ahi over and repeat. Do not cook for more than about 45 seconds on each side – you want grill marks on the outside but the ahi to be rare/raw in the middle. Remove to a cutting board and cut across the grain into this slices. Quickly serve while it’s still hot.
2. If preferred, use a very large platter and place salad ingredients in decorative piles, with ahi in the middle. Serve rice on the side. For each serving, place rice and/or salad on bottom of bowl. Arrange each veggie separately around edge of bowl. Place just-off-the-grill sliced Ahi in center. Sprinkle cilantro on top. Drizzle with terriaki and wasabi sauce.
Per Serving: 438 Calories; 9g Fat (26.3% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 50g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 53mg Cholesterol; 115mg Sodium.

Posted in Fish, Soups, on April 5th, 2018.

fresh_salmon_chowder The simplest of ingredients, just a lot of them, to make a really flavorful chowder. With chunks of fresh salmon barely cooked at the last.

Making this happened on Oscar Sunday afternoon. I’d invited 5 widow friends of mine to come to watch the show together. I made soup, and everyone else brought something else to round out the meal. It was simple enough to do, although this took a bit longer than some soups, I suppose! Not by a lot, but there were more than the usual amount of things added to this. I started with a recipe at epicurious, but I altered it so much, it’s really doesn’t bear much resemblance to that recipe.

salmon_chowder_spoonfulIt started out with rendering a bunch of bacon. The meaty bacon I used didn’t give off much fat, but there was enough to then cook down some fresh leeks. Meanwhile, I cooked the potatoes separately in a pot of salted water. I’d cut them into small chunks and that took about 10-14 minutes at most. The potatoes were drained and set aside. Once the leeks were mostly done I added a whole bunch of celery and green onions (4 cups of the latter – I doubled the recipe you see below), including most of the green tops since they would add good flavor. Then I began adding in the other ingredients – corn, garlic, fresh thyme, some dried thyme too, a couple of Bay leaves, red chili flakes and some chicken broth. I brought that up to just BELOW a simmer, then added in the raw salmon chunks, milk, half and half and cream, plus the potatoes – oh, and the bacon. I brought that just barely BELOW a simmer again and let it stew for about 10 minutes until the salmon was cooked through. Discarded the bay leaves and served with chopped dill and chopped chives on top. DEFINITELY don’t bring this soup to a boil or it will separate – the half and half and milk can’t hold together over high heat. Not a pretty sight, so stay close as you watch it as it cooks at about 200°F.

What’s GOOD: Delicious soup. Just plain, simple, but very flavorful soup. Everyone raved, me included. I gave 2-3 portions away to my friend Gloria and her husband, had 2 more portions to take lunch to my friend Judy on a day when she was under the weather, and had one more portion for myself for dinner another night.

What’s NOT: nothing really; takes an hour or so to make, quite a bit of chopping and dicing. Very worth it, though.

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Salmon Chowder

Recipe By: Adapted significantly from an epicurious recipe
Serving Size: 6

1/2 pound red potatoes — scrubbed, but leave skins on
6 ounces thick-sliced bacon — cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
1 large leeks — cleaned, chopped
1 cup celery — chopped
2 cups chopped scallions
1 cup corn — fresh or frozen (use more if you like)
1 tablespoon garlic — finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme — finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 Turkish bay leaves — or half the amount of California bay leaves
1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 quart half and half
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 pound salmon fillet — skin discarded and fish cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Garnish: chopped fresh chives and fresh dill

1. Cut potatoes, skin on, into 1/3-inch cubes, then cook in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.
2. Cook bacon in a 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from pot, then cook leeks for about 5 minutes until wilted. Then add celery, scallions, corn, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and red-pepper flakes in fat in pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until scallions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Then add half and half, milk and cream and bring very low simmer – do not let it bubble or the soup will separate.
3. Reduce heat to moderately low, then add potatoes, salmon, bacon, salt, and pepper and cook, gently stirring occasionally, until salmon is just cooked through and begins to break up as you stir, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Discard bay leaf before serving. Garnish with fresh chopped chives and fresh dill.
Per Serving: 484 Calories; 31g Fat (56.4% calories from fat); 29g Protein; 24g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 102mg Cholesterol; 886mg Sodium.

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