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Carolyn

Sara

Sara and me

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Erik Larson’s tome, The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz. This book covers the “reign” of Winston Churchill during the height of WWII. You’ll learn so much more about him. About the war. About the inner workings of the British government, including political. I’m a great admirer of the late Mr. Churchill. One of my more recent trips to England I visited Chartwell, the family home and where Winston died. If you’ve never been there, do add it to your itinerary next time. Beautiful grounds, including the small studio he used to paint.

Ken Follett is one of my fav authors, and I pre-ordered his newest, The Evening and the Morning (Kingsbridge), which is a prequel to The Pillars of the Earth: A Novel (Kingsbridge), my all-time favorite book I’ve ever read. Time period: 975 to about 1007 or so. Give or take. It follows a poor, but eager and intelligent builder as he earns his trade. It’s about his loves. His failures. The families all around, and much about the ever-present church (and its leaders, some honest, many not). Could hardly put the book down. Love Follett’s style of writing.

Every so often I read a romance of some kind. Historical ones mostly. And most I don’t include them here. But one I liked a lot is The Secrets of Saffron Hall by Clare Marchant. It happens to be very inexpensive right now on amazon, on Kindle, in case you’re interested. It jumps from 1538 and to 2019. Having to do with a precious book, a Book of Hours, and what secrets it contains. The growing of saffron plays large here and both romance in Tudor times and a tenuous marriage in current time, but nearly all of it takes place at a Tudor castle. Loved the book.

The book Where the Blind Horse Sings: Love and Healing at an Animal Sanctuary shares the story of a number of animals brought to an animal sanctuary in the Catskills. If you’re an animal lover, you’ll enjoy the stories, each animal bringing more to the human-animal relationship than you might even guess. Profound stories of love of animals. Not a long book; I think I got it as a bargain book from bookbub.

The title caught my attention on this one: Threading My Prayer Rug: One Woman’s Journey from Pakistani Muslim to American Muslim by Sabeeha Rehman. She’s written her own autobiography, beginning when she was a young child in Pakistan, to her eventual settling in New York. It’s about the Muslim experience. Their beliefs, their customs and traditions, told in a very pleasing and informational way. She marries in American Pakistani Muslim (an arranged marriage) and it’s the story of everything. Nothing much is left out of the journey she made, and still makes. She became a kind of activist for her religion, trying to bring Muslim customs to integrate into American culture (not always an easy task). Her husband is a doctor; she a hospital administrator. Likely you’ll learn more than you thought about Muslims. Very well written. Enjoyed it very much.

Finished Chinn’s story, The English Wife. What a great read. Could hardly put it down. I’m reading 3-4 books a week these days, and am so happy when I have a book I can’t wait to get back to. Really the story is about two sisters. Partly in Norwich, England, then in Newfoundland. One there, one here. And some of it takes place during WWII in Norwich, and much of it Newfoundland, then, and more recent. I loved the part of the book that took place on 9/11 when flights were diverted to Newfoundland. Family secrets, family lies, much anger between the sisters. There’s romance. There’s war. There is love of family. Particularly I savored the descriptions of Newfoundland, mostly rock, if you’ve never been there. It’s a twisted tale, by that I mean the family secrets which become the undoing. It’s a bargain on amazon right now, as I write this.

Also finished reading Sue Monk Kidd’s recent book, The Book of Longings: A Novel. It is a book that might challenge some Christian readers, as it tells the tale of Jesus marrying a woman named Mary. The story is all about Mary, her growing up, her scholarly pursuits, and then from the moment she meets Jesus as a young man. The story follows along to and beyond his death on the cross. In the time of Christ it was extremely uncommon for a man not to marry. It was almost unseemly. Fraught with suspicions, I’d suppose. Although scripture, as scripture, does not play a very strong part here, if you’ve read the Bible you’ll see many of the stories of Jesus’ life through Mary’s eyes. I loved the book from the first word to the last one. The book is believable to me, even though the Bible never says one way or the other that Jesus ever married. It’s been presumed he never did. But maybe he did?

Jeanine Cummins has written an eye-opener, American Dirt. A must read. Oh my goodness. I will never, ever, ever look at Mexican (and further southern) migrants, particularly those who are victims of the vicious cartels, without sympathy. It tells the story of a woman and her young son, who were lucky enough to hide when the cartel murdered every member of her family – her husband, her mother, and many others. Her husband was a journalist, and his life was always in danger because he wrote the truth, and that was taking a risk. The story is about her escape, with harrowing chapters as she makes her way north from Acapulco, with various major detours, one step, or sometimes nothing more than a hair’s width ahead of the cartel minions trying to find her. I could NOT put this book down. The author is not Hispanic, and some have criticized her for that, but she did her research, and many authors write about places and people they are not. I have nothing but respect for her having told this story. You need to read this.

Also read JoJo Moyes’ book, The Giver of Stars. Oh gosh, what a GREAT book. Alice, living in an English home which lacks much, leaps to agree to marry a visiting American. It was an escape for her. He is a man of some family wealth, and she travels from England to Kentucky, during the 1920s. Once settled into the family home, she discovers married life is not what she had expected. Affection is lacking, and she must share the home with her tyrannical father-in-law, the owner of mines in the deep mountains. And with the ghost of the deceased mother-in-law. The family cook won’t tolerate Alice’s help in the kitchen. Alice is terribly lonely and unhappy. The town doesn’t much like this English woman with her funny way of speaking. But then, she meets a woman who encourages her to join the Horseback Librarians. With trepidation, she begins traversing the remote hills, through unbelievable weather, to deliver old, battered and tattered books to the remote inhabitants of the area. She makes friends, wonderful, loving people from all walks of life. There is tremendous tension from the danger of the mines, the unions trying to get a foothold, plus the unraveling of her marriage, including the dreaded father-in-law who feels she should answer to him, behave as he wants. Uh, no. Alice goes her own route. Her new friends become her family, and, oh, what love. There has been much criticism of Moyes’ possible plagiarism of another book regarding the Horseback Librarians. I read the other book – but I didn’t feel remotely as intrigued by that story as I was by Moyes’ version. A feel good story, but it takes some while getting to that “feel good” part, nearly to the end.

Frances Liardet has written a blockbuster tale, We Must Be Brave. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Although the scene is WWII England, this book is not really about the war. It’s about the people at home, waiting it out, struggling with enough food, clothing and enough heat. It’s about Ellen. Her early years, under much hardship. About her teens, some of it as an orphan. Then a young adult, which includes marriage, a marriage blanc, which I didn’t understand until you learn the meaning. Then a child enters the picture, a child that will become a focus for the remainder of the book. Through the war, and beyond. I cried several times, as will you, I suspect. What’s a constant is the descriptions of the place, a town called Upton, near Southampton. About the hills and dales, the flora and fauna, the rain, the mud sometimes, the flooding sometimes. But throughout, it’s about neighbors caring for neighbors, and about love. A must read. Would make a really good book club read.

Jamie Ford has written another good one, Love and Other Consolation Prizes. Remember, he wrote The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Loved that book. This one takes on a rather ugly part of America’s past, when Chinese people were treated like trinkets. Ernest Young is such a boy, who ends up being a “prize” at an event, and with great angst, ends up as a kind of servant at a high-class bordello in Seattle. Yet, the women and girls there become HIS family. He is intelligent and learns many lessons. Eventually, when society women battle to close down such houses of ill repute, he leaves that life, with his wife. They have children. The bulk of the book is about the early years around the turn of the 20th century, then you pick up the threads nearing the end of his life, and his wife’s. There are any number of small mysteries, which unravel with a word here or there – you know that word foreshadowing? Really interesting read.

In between more literary novels, I bought a comedic memoir . . . Juliette Sobanet’s Meet Me in Paris. There’s the falling apart of a marriage (and divorce), but in the inbetween, she decides to take a trip (sans husband) around Europe to get her head straight. The kind of tour that would drive me crazy, but it was one night, maybe two at each major city. She knew no one, but soon enough bonds with  three other women. Then she has a chance-meeting of a young Frenchman who had been an exchange student in her home town. They’d lost touch, yet there were definitely sparks there, never realized. Some of the touristy stuff was trite, I must say, although the women do try to take in all the major sites, if only for a few minutes. There is plenty of humor. Some steamy stuff too as she meets up with the young man in another city. Apparently it’s a happy-ever-after story. Great literature it is not, but it was a fun romp, so to speak.

Recently finished Thomas Nelson’s The Hideaway. It seems like there are SO many novels out there about families finding, inheriting or otherwise going to an old house with memories. Especially ones on the water. With stories to tell. It’s a great way to introduce some light mystery to the telling of some other family story. In this case it’s Sara’s grandmother who was enigmatic in every way. And Sara inherits the run-down, ramshackle B&B on Mobile Bay. Cute story with lots of twists and turns.

Also just finished James Conroyd Martin’s Fortune’s Child: A Novel of Empress Theodora (Book 1 of 2). Theodora grew up the daughter of a circus performer, but then moved onto “the boards,” as acting was called back in Byzantine times (Constantinople, 6th century). She always had high expectations – she just “knew” she was going to accomplish great things. She was an occasional prostitute, a mistress, and then, behold, the son of Emperor Justin is mesmerized by her beauty, takes her on, and makes her his wife, amid much royal machinations. A young eunuch also plays large in the story too, a man hopelessly in love with Thea, but knows his love can never be returned or fulfilled. He becomes an historian to the Empress. Quite a story – much of it chronicles her early life and not a lot of it in Constantinople. But riveting story.

I’m doing SO much reading of late. Read this book in one day. The Glass Hotel: A novel by Emily St. John Mandel. Loosely based on the story of Bernie Madoff (Ponzi scheme), it tells a novelized version of a man with incredible power and charisma who gathers a group of willing partners. It’s about the people he cuckolded, and the people who took him down. At the beginning drugs come into play and I almost didn’t continue, but that was a very short section. Well worth reading. Lots to discuss if you’re looking for a book club read.

Once in awhile I read a poignant animal story, as you know if you’ve followed this sidebar for any length of time. Craig & Fred: A Marine, A Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other by Craig Gross, tells the story of his military duty in Afghanistan, in a war zone. And how his unit befriended a dog, a stray, and how that dog really did become his lifeline.

Cara Wall’s new book, The Dearly Beloved: A Novel. It tells the story of two couples. The two husbands become co-pastors of a New York City church. The wives? Oh my, are they ever different. They don’t abide. The husbands try to get a grip on their jobs, pastoring, preaching, and keeping the wives happy.

Loved-loved Gregory Buford’s humorous memoir, Kept: An American Househusband in India. He aims to be a U.S. diplomat, takes the tests and fails. On a whim, his wife takes the test and is hired. Their first assignment: Chennai, India. They spent two years there, with his much-loved wife going off to do diplomatic duties (albeit at a low level – everyone must pay their dues at the beginning) and Greg is left at home to deal with the servants, the house, the beggars, the nanny, the construction next door, shopping, and also partly caring for their infant.

William Kent Krueger wrote Ordinary Grace. From amazon: a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God. It’s a coming of age story.

Shirley Ann Grau’s book, The Keepers of the House. Hmmm. Much to think about. [from an amazon review]: There is a reason it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1965. Seven generations of Howlands have lived on this rural Alabama plantation in good times and bad. It tells the story of this family from the time its patriarch settled the land in the early 1800s to the mid-20th century.

Marie Martin wrote Harbored Secrets. From amazon: In May of 1935, Blinny Platt’s homestead shack burns to the ground forever leaving her family asunder, scattering them like the embers flew on the Montana wind. She was only 8, sent away and in charge of her little sister. She could handle that because Platts take care of Platts. However, it is the hidden secrets of her parents smoldering beneath the charred remains that haunts Blinny until 1982.

Best book I’ve read recently. Not new. Called Follow the River: A Novel by James Alexander Thom. This one is also based on the history of a woman (married, pregnant) who was captured by the Shawnee, during the early settlement days east of the Ohio River, about 1755. And her eventual escape. I stayed up all hours to keep reading. The book was written from the many journals and writing compiled by her children. Her name: Mary Ingles. And it chronicles her 1000-mile trek in treacherous weather and over uncharted ground. What an amazing woman, and what a story.

Alan Hlad has written quite a novel. From true life. The Long Flight Home. It tells the story based on family history, of the homing pigeons that were used in Britain during WWII that flew back and forth across the English Channel into German-occupied France. It’s a heartwarming story. Heart-wrenching sometimes. War is an awful thing no matter which side you’re on when it comes to how it affects everyday people. You’ll learn a lot about pigeons, but also about love. Great read.

Riveted to Katie Munnick’s novel The Heart Beats in Secret. It begins in Scotland in 1940. A woman, a single mother. A journey across the sea. Then her daughter’s story, and finally the granddaughter’s story, when she inherits her grandmother’s old cottage back in Scotland. Plenty of mother-daughter dysfunction. But it comes right in the end.

Sarah Vallance has written a book about her devastating brain injury. Prognosis: A Memoir of My Brain. What a story. What a saga of her recovery. And how she did it. An open wide sharing of her angst, her anger, her journey. Well worth reading. If you have anyone who has suffered a brain injury, it would be wise reading.

Just love all of Amy Harmon’s books. This one is no exception. Where the Lost Wander: A Novel. A pioneer story of a young woman made a widow on the trail to the west. 1850s. As it was in life, tragedies occur. But there is caring and love too. Loved it.

Read Her Mother’s Hope by Francine Rivers. After leaving her childhood home of Switzerland, young Marta Schneider dreams of one day owning a boardinghouse, until marriage and motherhood change her ambitions. Determined to give her family a better life, she vows to raise strong children. But her tough love is often misunderstood, especially by her oldest daughter, Hildemara Rose, creating repercussions that will echo for generations.

Esther Freud’s book The Sea House: A Novel is about a small village on England’s southern coast.  The book is about love found, love lost, love sometimes found again, sometimes not. About how fleeting it can be or seem.

Amor Towles’ book, Rules of Civility: A Novel was quite a read. It’s NYC, 1937. Twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent [Kon-TENT she iterates to many] is in a Greenwich Village jazz bar when a handsome banker happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society.

Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl by Stacey O’Brien. What an adorable book. True story about Stacey’s 20 years with a feisty but lovable barn owl.

Loved The Wedding Officer: A Novel by Anthony Capella. It takes place in the middle of WWII in Naples. A young British officer, Captain James Gould, is sent to Naples to wade through the zilions of applications from soldiers to marry local Italian women (and presumably take them back to England when the war ends).

Reading behind Bars: A True Story of Literature, Law, and Life as a Prison Librarian by Jill Grunenwald. So interesting. Jill is  young, with a newly minted degree in library science at a time when the economy was very slow. She accepts a position in a minimum security prison in Ohio.

The Walls of Lucca by Steve Physioc. A novel that takes place in between WWI and II about a weary Italian soldier.

The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna. A novel about Croatia in the aftermath of their more recent wars.

A Column of Fire: A Novel by Ken Follett. It takes place in the 1500s, in England, and has everything to do with the war between the Catholics and the Protestants, that raged throughout Europe during that time, culminating in the Spanish Inquisition.

Having read all of Kristin Hannah’s books, I knew I’d read her latest too: Between Sisters: A Novel.  Two sisters, raised by the same mother but different fathers. At a young age a rift occurs and the sisters go their own way.

Just finished Matt McCarthy’s book The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly: A Physician’s First Year. It tells the true life story of his first year as an intern at a New York hospital.

Also read Karen Harper’s book The Royal Nanny: A Novel. The time frame is 1890s onward, at Sandringham, when Charlotte Bill (a real person) was hired by the Duke and Duchess of York, to care for their children.

Also read Roger Swindell’s Mendelevski’s Box. It’s an historical novel about the aftermath of WWII in impoverished Amsterdam.

Also read a very quirky non-fiction book: The Perfect Gentleman: The remarkable life of Dr. James Miranda Barry by June Rose. This is a biography about a person who lived in the mid-1800s. He was a surgeon; graduated from Edinburgh Medical School at the age of 14. Joined the British Army as a medical officer then sent off to South Africa and many other tropical outposts during his career.

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. The premise of this book is different . . . a woman writer goes to Scotland to connect with her distant heritage.

Another great read, The Island of Sea Women: A Novel by Lisa See. It’s 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 breadwinners. Husbands stayed home and cared for the babies. The island is real. The history is real.

Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford. A novel about the early days of radio in London.

A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts by Therese Anne Fowler. 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.  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.

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. 

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.

Uncommon Woman. A book about Colonial America, but really the western frontier at that time, which is in western Pennsylvania.

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. 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.

The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape by James Rebanks. This is 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. And then what happens to him as he grows up. Riveting.

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.

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.

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? Raymond, a youngster, an older teenager, who  lacks 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. Sweet story.

Magic Hour: A Novel

Excellent Women

Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist) by Min Jin Lee. Everyone should read this one.

An American Marriage (Oprah’s Book Club): A Novel by Tayari Jones. DIdn’t like it much, but others do.

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.

 

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 easy, Fish, on October 16th, 2020.

steamed_salmon_butter_sauce_spinach

Such an easy dinner – and so savory. Salmon is super tender.

About a week ago my grandson, Vaughan, age 13, came to stay with me for about 5 days. He lives about an hour or two away and his parents were taking a quick trip to Montana, and he would have had wi-fi difficulty there as he is doing middle school remotely for now. He’s been a joy to have around, and on top of that, he knows how to cook. His parents are foodies, and I’ve posted numerous pictures and recipes from Karen, my daughter-in-law, and of my son Powell’s grilling pursuits. Vaughan’s not like a lot of kids, unwilling to try new things. Nope. He’ll try most everything, and even likes vegetables (most, anyway). He asked if we could have salmon one night – sure, I said. Had some in the freezer, so he told me what he needed. Usually he makes this with watercress, but that I didn’t have, so we used spinach instead.

vaughan_cooking

There he is, stirring the lemon butter sauce, and the salmon is in the closer pan, lidded for steaming.

This recipe is so very easy. You could pull this together in a matter of about 20 minutes with no difficulty at all. It helps if you have everything out and ready, mis en place. The salmon is salted and peppered. You bring about an inch of water to a boil in a pan large enough to hold the salmon, and tall enough so the lid won’t rest on the salmon (like mine did). Use a steamer basket or rack. We used a small metal rack, then I put the salmon on a piece of foil, poked about 20 little holes in the foil and put that in the pan. The lid went on and we started a timer for 5 1/2 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan (the one he’s stirring) he melted butter, then added just a little jot of lemon juice (and add more, he says, if you like a more lemony taste). If you have thicker salmon, it might need an extra minute, or if your salmon is thinner, maybe 30-60 seconds less time. Remove the salmon when it has reached 135°F.

Once the salmon was cooked – we tested it  – we removed the salmon and the rack. If you want, tent the salmon with foil to keep it warm. We poured out the water from the pan, then melted more butter and cooked the spinach. Taste for salt and pepper.

Simple – plate the salmon, place the spinach along side, then gently pour the butter sauce over the salmon. If some of it dribbles over the spinach that’s fine. Thank you, grandson Vaughan, for a delicious dinner!

What’s GOOD: for me, the fact that the dish was SO easy and quick to make, and it was so delicious. The salmon is super tender – just right. And the lemon butter sauce – not only is it hardly a cooked sauce, it was quick and added lovely flavor to the salmon.

What’s NOT: Nothing, really. The next time I make it I won’t have my grandson doing all the cooking!
printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Steamed Salmon with Lemon Butter and Spinach

Recipe By: Adapted from Food & Wine
Serving Size: 4

SALMON:
2 pounds salmon fillets — cut into 4 pieces
salt and pepper to taste
LEMON BUTTER SAUCE:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice — or more if you like more lemony flavor
SPINACH:
1 pound spinach — tough stems removed
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

NOTE: Select a pan or pot that will hold a steamer rack or similar device and be tall enough that the lid won’t touch the salmon. Or use a steam setting on a rice cooker or instant pot.
1. In a large pot, bring about an inch of water to a boil.
2. Season the salmon fillets with ample salt and pepper. Place them in a large steamer basket, skin-side down. Or improvise with a rack, a piece of foil that you poke about 20-30 holes in, and place that on top of the rack.
3. Place the steamer basket with the fish over (not in) the boiling water and cover the pan. Reduce heat to a full simmer and cook the salmon until it is just barely done (the fish should still be translucent in the center), about 5 1/2 minutes for a 1-inch-thick fillet. Do not over cook. Use an instant read thermometer and it’s done at 135°F.
4. Meanwhile, in a small stainless-steel saucepan, melt the butter. Add the lemon juice plus a dash of salt and pepper. Taste sauce to see if it needs additional lemon juice; if so, add in small increments. Keep warm.
5. Remove salmon, tent with foil, then empty the pan of water. Add butter and melt it, then add the spinach, pressing and nestling the spinach until it’s all in the pan. Stir well and continue cooking until spinach is fully cooked. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
6. Serve the salmon with the lemon butter sauce poured over it and spinach on the side.You may use frozen spinach for this.
Per Serving: 426 Calories; 23g Fat (49.4% calories from fat); 49g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 206mg Cholesterol; 227mg Sodium; 1g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 142mg Calcium; 4mg Iron; 1618mg Potassium; 703mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Fish, on August 14th, 2020.

orange_mustard_glazed_salmon_AF

The first recipe I’m sharing from my air fryer.

I’ve owned a 6-quart Instant Pot for a couple of years, and use it all the time. Most frequently for hard boiling eggs (once a week I do about 9 of them) because they are just so amazingly easy to peel done in the instant pot. And I’d contemplated buying an air fryer. I’d looked at all the various brands – gosh there are a lot of them – different sizes, configurations and prices galore. And thought about where I’d store it. Then I discovered that my 6-quart Instant Pot could have an air fryer LID put on it. Once I’d decided to go that route, I narrowed it down to the lid that is made by Instant Pot or the SousVide Art one – the Air Fryer Lid for Instant Pot 6 Qt Pressure Cooker one. Both had good reviews. The latter was cheaper by about $10, and all the reviews were stellar.

A few days later it arrived at my door. It’s a kind of a conical shaped black lid that merely sits on top of the Instant Pot, nesting on the rim just like the real lid does. It doesn’t get locked in. It just sits there. It has a dial for time, and a dial for temp. It’s not digital. That’s it. Very simple technology. First I made air fryer (AF) zucchini fries. They were so good I ate them all in one go. I used a lot less breading (bread crumbs and Parm) on them. They weren’t exactly crispy. And I’ve since learned that not a lot you make in the AF is actually crispy. Then I made AF sweet potato fries, using much the same breading. They weren’t crispy either, but I liked them a lot. The variable is temperature and the watts of your air fryer – so I’m going to try these two things again to see if I can make them more crispy. More breading would help, but since I’m trying to keep the carb count down, I don’t want to do that.

Then a week later I decided I’d try doing salmon in the AF. I had a fresh orange languishing on my kitchen counter so had to find a recipe that used that. Found one from America’s Test Kitchen. I followed the recipe to the letter except for the amount of orange zest, and added the orange sections to garnish the salmon when serving.

orange_mustard_glazed_salmon_AF_foil_basketThey recommend you prepare a foil sling that rests in the AF basket, which makes it easy to remove it when it’s done, and also makes for zero cleanup required. The foil is lightly sprayed with oil spray. The salmon was blotted dry with paper towels, then I brushed on the glaze (orange marmalade, the zest, orange juice and mustard). The salmon gets placed on the foil. If you’re doing two, space them a little apart if possible. Into the air fryer it went, at 400°F for about 11 minutes, until the middle of the salmon registered 125°F. The time variable was 10-14 minutes. My AF is 1300 watts, so I chose the lower end of the time. I was a bit concerned about removing the lid to check the temp – just the safety and heat radiating. But I needn’t have worried, the lid handle is easy to grab, it’s not hot, and I merely held it off with one hand (and the heat coils and fan turn off when you lift the lid anyway), and stuck the thermometer in the salmon with the other. Just remember that with almost all meat, poultry or fish, the temp can zoom up once it reaches close to the finished temp. Watch closely.

I had the rest of my dinner all ready to go, so onto a plate it went with the orange sections on top and a sprinkle of chopped Italian parsley.

What’s GOOD: Not only was this a delicious way to fix salmon (the glaze part) but it was so easy to make, and to clean up. The foil went into the trash can and that was all it took! The tricky part is not overcooking the salmon, so do watch that carefully if you try this. Mine reached 132° so it was not quite as moist but it was perfect in every other way. I’ll definitely be making this again. So easy.

What’s NOT: nothing, really. Watch the temp carefully so it doesn’t overcook.

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AF Orange-Mustard Glazed Salmon

Recipe By: Adapted slightly from America’s Test Kitchen
Serving Size: 2

1 tablespoon orange marmalade
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
12 ounces salmon fillets — 1 1/2 inches thick, skin on
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup orange sections — for garnish
1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley — minced, for garnish

1. Make a foil sling for air fryer basket by folding one long sheet of foil so it is 4 inches side. Lay foil across basket, pressing foil into and up sides of basket. Fold excess foil as needed so edges are flush with top of basket. Lightly spray foil with vegetable oil spray.
2. In a small bowl combine the marmalade, orange zest, orange juice and mustard.
3. Pat salmon dry with paper towel; season with salt and pepper. Brush the tops and sides of salmon with the marmalade mixture. Place salmon in the foil sling, skin side down, spacing pieces slightly apart.
4. Place basket in air fryer and set temperature to 400° and cook until the center of the salmon is translucent and when the inside temperature of the salmon reaches 125°, about 10-14 minutes. Rotate sling (or the basket) halfway through cooking time, for even cooking.
5. Using sling, carefully remove salmon from air fryer and transfer to serving plates, leaving skin behind if you can. Garnish with orange sections and parsley.
Per Serving: 248 Calories; 6g Fat (24.1% calories from fat); 35g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 126mg Cholesterol; 94mg Sodium; 9g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 38mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 814mg Potassium; 488mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Fish, on April 27th, 2020.

salmon_simmered_orange_sauce

Luscious, moist salmon in a simple creamy orange sauce

Salmon is one of my favorite fish. And I didn’t have any in my freezer arsenal, so I asked my neighbor to buy me a chunk. Sometimes I buy wild caught, but more and more the fillets are thinner and I truly do enjoy a thicker piece of fish. Plus, the wild is so very expensive! But thick pieces cook better, more evenly. So this one  was farm-raised. As I write this we’re still in the midst of the lockdown – maybe by the time this posts we’ll be somewhat out the other end (gosh, I hope so). I cut the chunk into 3 pieces, froze one that I vacuum sealed, cooked the two with this recipe, ate one and will have the left overs of this (above) for my dinner. And you can see I had it with asparagus (recipe up soon) with a maple pecan vinaigrette on top. Just a lovely dinner.

As I scanned through recipes I’d use, I was limited with what I had on hand – no running to the grocery store to buy leeks or mushrooms, or fresh ginger, or limes, so I decided to adapt a Phillis Carey recipe that’s already here on my blog (from 2008). Technically, I suppose this recipe doesn’t quite qualify as a “new” recipe, except that I did change it – I used green onions instead of the leeks called for in the other recipe, and I substituted orange juice for the white wine. I also reduced the amount of cream since so much of it rolls off of it, even when serving. You want to lap up that sauce, though!

As I was on the phone that afternoon with my friend Linda T, who lives about an hour south of me (we’ve been friends for 30+ years) she told me the original recipe was/is one of her favorites. She often makes it for guests. I haven’t made this recipe for a long time. I did have a fresh orange on hand, so it seemed destiny that I’d make this recipe with the adaptations.

All of it is made in a saucepan in lickety-split time. Really – you make this in less than 20 minutes if you have everything ready to go. The green onions (both white and lower green parts) are gently sautéed in butter. The asparagus took almost more time to make than the fish, but I did them simultaneously. The fish is added to the green onions, then you add the orange zest, orange juice and the little dash of cream. Bring it to a simmer, cover and let it gently cook until the salmon reaches 135°F. With my handy-dandy instant read thermometer, I checked the temp until it reached about 132°F, then turned off the heat while I finished the asparagus. By the time I plated dinner, the salmon had reached full temp and the sauce was ready.

What’s GOOD: the flavor, first and foremost. So very tender fish, flaking easily with a fork, with the orange sauce (not much – but enough to give it all super flavor).

What’s NOT:  nothing that I can think of.

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Salmon Fillets with Orange Scallion Sauce

Recipe By: Adapted from an old Phillis Carey recipe
Serving Size: 2

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 green onions — halved, white and pale green parts only, sliced
1/3 teaspoon sugar
1/3 teaspoon fresh thyme
8 ounces salmon fillets — cut into serving pieces
1 teaspoon orange zest
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/8 cup orange juice — or white wine
2/3 tablespoon fresh chives — cut in 1-inch lengths

1. Melt butter in heavy, large skillet over medium low heat. Add green onions and sprinkle with sugar and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Saute 2-4 minutes until onions are limp but not browned.
2. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Arrange atop green onions and sprinkle with orange zest. Add cream and orange juice. Spoon some of the sauce over the top of the salmon. Cover pan and cook over low heat until fish is opaque, about 10-12 minutes. Use an instant read thermometer and do not cook the fish past 135°F in thickest part. Transfer fish to plates and keep warm.
3. Boil sauce until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed. Pour sauce over fish. Garnish with chives.
Per Serving: 277 Calories; 18g Fat (58.7% calories from fat); 24g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 105mg Cholesterol; 89mg Sodium.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

* Exported from MasterCook *

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.

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