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Here are the tastingspoons players. I’m in the middle (Carolyn). Daughter Sara on the right, and daughter-in-law Karen on the left. I started the blog in 2007, as a way to share recipes with my family. Now in 2021, I’ll still participate, but the two daughters are going to do more posting from here on out.

We participate in an amazon program that rewards a little tiny $ something (pennies, really) if you purchase any books recommended (below), or buy products occasionally mentioned on the blog with an amazon link. 

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BOOK READING:

Could hardly put down Krueger’s book, This Tender Land: A Novel. My friend Ann recommended it. I was gripped with the story within the first paragraph, and it never stopped until I turned the last page. Tells the harrowing story of a young boy, Odie, (and his brother Albert) who became orphans back in the 30s (I think). At first there is a boarding school, part of an Indian (Native American) agreement, though they are not Indian. Some very ugly things happen at that school. Eventually they  escape, and they are “on the run.” With a few others with them. If you loved Huckleberry Finn, you’ll have a great appreciation for this story as they use a canoe to get themselves down river. Never having very much to eat and getting into trouble way too often, and authorities on their tail. Well, you just have to read the book to find out what happens.

Just finished Kristin Hannah’s latest book, The Four Winds: A Novel. What a story. One I’ve never read about, although I certainly have heard about the “dust bowl” years when there was a steady migration of down-and-out farmers from the Midwest, to California, for what they hoped to be the American Dream. It tells the story of one particular family, the Martinellis, the grandparents, their son, his wife, and their two children. The book is heartbreaking, but one of those that everyone should read. The hardship, the hunger, the dirt and dust, the failed crops, the lack of rain, then the story picks up again in central California, back in the day when the wealthy growers just used up the migrants. I don’t want to spoil the story. So worth reading. Hannah really knows how to weave a story.

Brit Bennett has written quite a book, The Vanishing Half: A Novel. It’s a novel, yet I’m sure there are such real-life situations. Twin girls are born to a young woman in the South. Into a town (that probably doesn’t exist) that prides itself on being light-skinned blacks. The father was very dark, but he plays no part, really, in this story. Growing up, the girls leave home at 18 to find their way in New Orleans. Suddenly, one twin disappears (her clothes and suitcase all gone in the wink of an eye). Her twin left behind has no idea what’s happened to her. As the story reveals, with divided paths, one twin continues her life as a black woman, and the other twin, the one who left, is able to pass as a white woman. She marries well, has a daughter. Well, let’s just say that there are lots of wicked webs woven throughout the story, starting from the girls’ mother who never wants to speak again of her lost daughter. But you know where this is going, don’t you? Things are found out. The author does a great job of weaving the story apart and then back together.

What a book. The Only Woman in the Room: A Novel by Marie Benedict. A novelized biography of Hedy Lamarr, the famous actress. She was a brilliant mind, and a beautiful woman. It tells the story of her coming of age, how she navigated the world of acting back in that time period (she was Austrian, and Hitler was in power). The writing was very well done – to tell Hedy’s story with detail and poignancy. Eventually Hedy made it to the U.S. and her life story changed, but still had its difficulties. I loved the book, beginning to end. She should have become an engineer as she invented several war related bomb tools. Very much worth reading.

Also read The Secret of the Chateau: Gripping and heartbreaking historical fiction with a mystery at its heart by Kathleen McGurl. There are two stories here. The historical part is just prior to and up to the French Revolution, when aristocrats were chased and killed, guillotined in many cases. There is a young couple (part of the royal court) who escape to a remote small castle owned by his family, located on the edge of France and Italy, hoping to wait out the revolution and hoping the villagers love and care about them. Then jump to current day as a small English group of close friends decide to retire somewhere on the continent, and settle on a small abandoned castle in the remote hills of France along the Italian border. Got the picture? The historian in the group is quite interested in the history of the home, and clues are revealed (in the tower) that lead her and the group on a quest to discover what happened to the couple who used to live there. There was a fire once upon a time. There’s an pesky ghost. There’s also a very old child’s doll/playhouse on the grounds. Plus there’s a small graveyard. It is VERY intriguing. Very interesting. I love historical novels like this, and this one in particular does have quite a mystery involved, too.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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 March 6th, 2021.

moroccan_fish_tomato_mint_sauce

A very quick dinner entrée – make it with any type of white fish or salmon.

Salmon features frequently here in my kitchen and on this blog. I do love it, but was tired of it. So I reached into the freezer for a piece of mahi-mahi. I wish I could buy fresh fish more easily. We do have a lovely (high end) fish market that’s about 10 miles away. It always seems too far to go to buy a single piece of fish. Even though I don’t love eating fish that’s been frozen, I do it anyway, mostly for salmon. I have cod and mahi-mahi in my freezer now, so you may see some new recipes for both in coming months. I’m not willing to buy fish at my local grocery store. I just don’t trust it – that it’s been in the case for too long, and we’ve all read the horror stories of markets rinsing “old” fish in some solution and repacking it for sale. And sometimes when you walk into a grocery store you can smell the fish from 100 feet away. Always a bad sign to me.

Anyway, I’d intended to make this recipe with salmon, the way the original recipe had been written. But it ended up being used with the white fish instead, and it was lovely. The recipe meant the topping to be more of a relish (to me relish means raw, does it to you?) but in this case it was cooked some, so I call that a sauce. A chunky one, though.

The red onion was cooked thoroughly, and then I added the tomatoes and because I cooked things a little out of order (from the recipe, I mean). I just mushed the sauce/relish off on one side of the skillet, pulled the skillet over so only the fish was over the burner. The fish took little time at all, even though it was about an inch thick. I covered the pan so it would steam a bit. The sauce was just great – loved the flavor of it. I served it with pan-seared mushrooms.

What’s GOOD: it was a treat to have something other than salmon. Liked the tender, flaky mahi-mahi, and loved the sauce. The predominant flavor was orange – a good thing. I’m sure the ginger added flavor – so did the capers, the mint and the citrus zests too – all of it contributed to umami flavors in the sauce. I have leftover sauce which I’ll use on something. It would be good on chicken too, I think. It’s also very low carb, and low calorie.

What’s NOT: can’t think of anything, unless you don’t enjoy the smell of fish in your kitchen. I suppose you could grill the fish outside and serve the sauce on top if that’s something you’d prefer to do.

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

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Moroccan Fish with Tomato-Orange-Mint Sauce

Recipe By: Adapted from The Complete Step by Step Low Carb Cookbook, Jan 2005
Serving Size: 4

1/2 teaspoon salt — divided
24 ounces mahi-mahi — fillets (6-ounces each)
2 teaspoons olive oil — divided
1 3/4 cups red onion — chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger — peeled and minced
2 cups tomato — coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro — reserving some for garnish

1. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt evenly over fillets. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add fillets; cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove from pan; set aside, and keep warm.
2. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan; place over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion and ginger; sauté 2 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, tomato, and next 6 ingredients; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning.
3. Return fillets to pan, nestling fillets in tomato mixture; cook 3-4 minutes until fish is medium-rare or to desired degree of doneness. Cover pan for part of this cooking time. Use an instant read thermometer, and remove fish once it reaches 145°F. It will continue to cook when you place fillets on individual plates. Stir chopped mint and cilantro into tomato mixture; spoon mixture on top and around each fillet. Garnish with additional sprigs of cilantro. If using some raw onion and fresh tomato, sprinkle that on top.
Per Serving: 233 Calories; 4g Fat (15.0% calories from fat); 34g Protein; 16g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 124mg Cholesterol; 557mg Sodium; 10g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 78mg Calcium; 3mg Iron; 1188mg Potassium; 308mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Fish, on January 20th, 2021.

salmon_tomato_caper_vinaigrette

What an easy entrée! Easy to make and amazing flavor.

Remember, I’ve mentioned that sometimes after I make something my fingers just can’t wait to get to the keyboard to write up a post? This is one of those times. What looks to be a relatively pedestrian kind of preparation for salmon, turns out to be something quite special. The recipe comes from Ted Allen, one of the founders (I think) of Food Network. The recipe was written up in Food & Wine, and as the story went there, with testers sampling the salmon, what was expected to be something ordinary, everyone agreed was really extra-delicious. There isn’t anything that unusual about what’s in it – fresh tomatoes, capers, shallot, red wine vinegar. A dash of cumin, some EVOO, with parsley and basil as a garnish.

Ideally, get everything ready before you begin as it comes together very quickly. The recipe has you pan-roast the salmon in a hot, 425°F oven. That’s assuming you have a really nice, thick piece of salmon. Mine wasn’t all that thick, probably 5/8” at the thickest point. So I chose to continue cooking the salmon in the pan on the stove, rather than doing the oven roasting part. I’ve included directions for both in the recipe, so you can decide which one to use.

The vinaigrette: minced shallot, chopped cherry/grape tomatoes, a tiny splash of red wine vinegar, some capers. And a dash or two of ground cumin. For some reason the cumin is not added into the vinaigrette. I don’t know why – try it – I can’t imagine adding it to the mixture rather than sprinkling it in the pan would make any difference .. .but I’ll let you be the judge of that. It was surprising to me that the vinaigrette included red wine vinegar, since the capers have some brine action going on, but it certainly enhanced it.

The salmon (salted and peppered) is seared in oil on the stovetop, skin side  up at first. If you make this all on your cooktop, you may use a nonstick skillet. But if going in the oven, you’ll need to use a flat sauté pan that can handle high heat. I didn’t use a nonstick, and yes, the salmon stuck some. Either means the pan wasn’t as hot as it should have been or there wasn’t enough oil in there. Anyway, after browning on that side, you turn it over, skin down. That’s when you would put it into the oven, but I left it on the stove, and used a lid for part of the cooking. I turned down the heat too, as it was way too hot for the kind of gentle heat I thought it should have. Once the fish registered 140° with my instant read thermometer, I removed it to a platter.

tomato_caper_vinaigretteThen you make the vinaigrette. The oil in the pan is drained, then you add the vinaigrette mixture and cook it for about 2 minutes. It’s poured onto the top of the salmon and then garnished with the chopped basil and Italian parsley.

I’d made Brussels sprouts to go with this (pan sautéed in halves, with butter, EVOO and dried oregano) which was a good choice.

What’s GOOD: everything about this dish was fabulous. I liked it so much, it’s going to go onto my favs page. It’s also very easy to do. Just have everything ready before you begin. The dish may not look all that exciting, but something about the combo of flavors just works brilliantly.

What’s NOT: nothing whatsoever. It’s a winner.

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

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Pan-Roasted Salmon with Tomato Caper Vinaigrette

Recipe By: Food & Wine, from Ted Allen
Serving Size: 4

VINAIGRETTE:
2 cups tomatoes — grape or cherry type, halved or chopped
1 medium shallot — thinly sliced
1 tablespoon capers — drained
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
SALMON:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil — divided use
28 ounces salmon fillets — cut into 4 pieces, about 7 ounces each
Freshly ground pepper and sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 tablespoon chopped basil

1. Preheat the oven to 425°. In a bowl, toss the tomatoes with the shallot, capers, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
2. In a medium ovenproof skillet (do not use nonstick as it can’t be put into a hot oven), heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet, skin side up. Cook over moderately high heat until well-browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip the fillets. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the salmon is cooked through, about 7 minutes. Transfer the fish to plates and pour off any fat in the skillet.
NOTE: If the salmon is relatively thin, you might wish to eliminate the oven roasting. Just continue cooking the salmon over low heat on the stovetop with a lid partially covering the pan, until the interior of the thickest part of the salmon reaches 140°F.
3. Place the skillet over moderate heat and add the tomato mixture along with the cumin, canola oil and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook, scraping up any bits stuck to the skillet, until the tomatoes just soften, about 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the salmon, sprinkle with the parsley and basil and serve right away.
Wine: Argentinean rosés, with their emphatic, berry-driven flavors and lively structure, are ideal here.
Per Serving: 414 Calories; 25g Fat (54.4% calories from fat); 41g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 147mg Cholesterol; 447mg Sodium; 3g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 41mg Calcium; 2mg Iron; 1156mg Potassium; 595mg Phosphorus

Posted in Fish, Grilling, on January 14th, 2021.

broiled_bourbon_orange_glazed_salmon

Looking for an easy weeknight salmon? Try it.

This recipe was so easy to prepare – the salmon just needed 30-90 minutes to hang out in a marinade. (Don’t marinate overnight or the acidity in the marinade will “cook” the fish, something you don’t want.) And the marinade was very easy to make too: bourbon, some orange juice, soy sauce, a tad of brown sugar, green onions, chives, garlic and lemon juice. Easy peasy. My file says I put this recipe in my file in 1999, from Cooking Light.

It was a cold night (well, cold is relative; here in California anything under about 50 is cold for us, and it was about that temp. I didn’t want to fire up the grill outside, so I made this in my toaster oven on the broil setting. Very easy.

After draining the fish, I put it on a piece of foil and onto a small baking pan that fits in the toaster oven. I preheated the oven for about 10 minutes and stuck the pan in there. The fillet I had wasn’t all that thick, so first I did 4 minutes, then removed it, turned the salmon fillet over and broiled it another 2 minutes. Done. You can brush the fish with the marinade during the broiling or grilling process. If your salmon is thicker, it might take another minute on each side.

Onto a heated plate it went. The green onions and chives were sprinkled on top and I added some cilantro too as a garnish, although cilantro wasn’t in the original recipe.  I had the cilantro out to go with the green beans you can see in the photo.

What’s GOOD: how easy this was. You do need to marinate the salmon for an hour or so, but am sure it would be fine with less time if you don’t have it. The fish was so moist and flaky. Loved it. Liked the pretty garnish too. I try to keep cilantro in my frig all the time. I had green onions, and I found some chives in my garden. Altogether delicious.

What’s NOT: only that you should marinate it for 30-90 minutes. Otherwise, this salmon is very easy to do. I can’t say that I could taste the bourbon as the other citrus juices seem to be the predominant flavor.

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

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Grilled or Broiled Orange Bourbon Salmon

Recipe By: Cooking Light June 1999
Serving Size: 4

4 tablespoons bourbon
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
4 tablespoons brown sugar — packed
4 tablespoons chopped green onions
9 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
6 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves — chopped
24 ounces salmon fillets — 4 pieces, 6 ounces each
Cooking spray or foil
Green onions and chives as garnish

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag, and add salmon to bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 1/2 hours, turning bag occasionally.
2. Prepare grill or broiler.
3. Remove salmon from bag, reserving marinade. Place salmon on a grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray or lined with foil. Cook 4-6 minutes on first side (depending on the thickness of the fish), turn fillet over and continue cooking for another 1-3 minutes or JUST until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting frequently with reserved marinade. A thinner piece of salmon took 4 minutes on the first side and 2 on the second side.
4. Serve on heated platter and garnish with green onions and chives.
Per Serving : 294 Calories; 7g Fat (23.3% calories from fat); 36g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 126mg Cholesterol; 600mg Sodium; 11g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 40mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 850mg Potassium; 514mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Fish, on December 4th, 2020.

peach_ginger_spice_glazed_salmon

Such an easy sheet pan dinner. Start to finish about 15 minutes.

As I write this (about a week or so ago) I was stressed. I’d accidentally dropped my iPhone in the jacuzzi. I wasn’t even IN the jacuzzi; I’d gone to the corner of the jacuzzi to adjust the water auto-filler thingamajig because it was over-filling. As I leaned down, my phone popped out of my pocket and bounced on the edge and splash, it was a goner. Oh my gosh. Tried to use an old pool scoop when the basket was disintegrated. Eventually  had to wade into the cold-cold water and lean down, getting myself wet nearly top to bottom, to retrieve it. Talk about feeling cold. And stupid. Fortunately, I’d purchased extra insurance on this phone (usually I don’t, but the iPhone X was more expensive than previous models). And no, the iPhone X isn’t waterproof. The newer models are, I believe. As I write, the replacement phone will be delivered today.

Anyway, the reason I even mention all that is that I had to use my iPad to take the photo above. I guess it did an okay job, but not quite as clear and crisp as the camera on the iPhone. My iPhone takes better photos than my digital high-quality camera I bought many years ago, purposely to use for photos for this blog. It’s tucked away in a closet now; sadly neglected. The iPhone doesn’t have quite the versatility, but it’s good enough and certainly easier for me.

I’d defrosted a nice little piece of salmon – enough for two meals. I wasn’t into an elaborate meal or preparation, either one! I stirred up a little concoction of coconut aminos (or use soy sauce), freshly grated ginger, some ground cinnamon and some peach jam. The salmon was oiled with EVOO first, then I spread the sauce on top. The asparagus (my favorite vegetable, bar none) that had been oiled, salted and peppered, went on the same pan. Believe it or not, salmon and asparagus take about the same amount of time to broil. Yeah! My dinner was done in a flash. And OH, was it ever delicious. I’ll be making this version again, for sure.

What’s GOOD: well, if you want a really, really quick and easy dinner that comes together so very quickly and tastes wonderful, this is it. I’ll be making this again, for sure. I’m looking forward to the leftovers!

What’s NOT: absolutely nothing. Simple, easy, and very tasty.

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

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Peach, Ginger and Spice Glazed Salmon

Recipe By: Adapted from an online recipe
Serving Size: 4

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce — or coconut aminos
1 tablespoon grated ginger root
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons peach jam — or apricot jam
1 tablespoon EVOO
24 ounces salmon fillets — patted dry
3 tablespoons sliced almonds

1. Preheat broiler.
2. In a small bowl combine soy sauce, ginger, cinnamon and peach jam. Stir until smooth.
3. Foil line a baking sheet large enough to hold the salmon fillets. Pour EVOO on top of salmon and gently spread to edges. Spoon the sauce on top of the salmon and using the back of a spoon, spread all the way to the edges.
4. Broil salmon for about 7-8 minutes per inch of thickness. Test with an instant read thermometer – it’s done at 135°F. A minute or so before, sprinkle top with sliced almonds and continue broiling until fish reaches correct temp. Remove and serve immediately. An ideal accompaniment to this is asparagus – which takes about 8 minutes also on the same pan. So, a sheet pan dinner, more or less!
Per Serving: 292 Calories; 12g Fat (37.7% calories from fat); 36g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 126mg Cholesterol; 344mg Sodium; 5g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 36mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 801mg Potassium; 516mg Phosphorus.

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!
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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.

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