Sassy savories and other unphotogenic food items

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carpet picnic!

Woah woah woah.

Two savory posts in a row? Is she sick?

..

Nahh. Just inspired! You see… I do make savory food hugely often. Like, my mother says it’s impossible to keep me in vegetables. As in… I eat. Them. ALL. Alllll the time! (And applesauce, that too). Except that usually by dinner time, I have no interest in photographing my food because a) I’m hungry and b) by the time I’m finished photographing it’ll be cold and c) I’m lazy and d) … okay never mind there was no d. Whatever, suffice it to say this is the main list of reasons why I never get around to photographing savory dinners. Also because savory stuff can be kind of uncooperative on the photography front sometimes…. like it’s delicious but it’s freaking ugly. Or it sasses me and gets all unphotogenic when I think it’s going to cooperate. I hate when that happens! No one wants to look at ugly food, right?!

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Anyway… but this time things cooperated! Ish. And I’ve been keeping myself fully stocked in cookies, just so you know (I wouldn’t want you to get concerned, or anything). Besides, I need snacks for after my bodyrock and lifting sessions, durrrr. Sore and shaky definitely qualifies for a snack of a healthy cookie and kombucha…

This dish was a bit of an experiment, which happily turned out well. Gotta love that. It’s easy and comes together in a snap with pantry staples, which is also excellent. ANNDD I invented it! So you should doubly love it and go running to your kitchen, obviously.

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Salmon Primavera with Polenta

Recipe from.. me! The polenta is my favorite recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook. The rest was inspired by the can of salmon lurking in the pantry. Serves 3, with a teeny bit of leftovers (though this does make enough polenta for another serving, there isn’t as much topping left).

  • 1.5  c polenta
  • 5 c water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 can of salmon, flaked and deboned (if necessary)
  • 1 zucchini, grated*
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 box of mushrooms (7-8ish), sliced
  • 3/4 c frozen peas, thawed
  • a good handful of fresh spinach
  • marjoram, basil, salt and pepper to taste**
  • grated parmesan, to garnish

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*I used whatever veggies we had, but any would be good. I like the sweetness of peas with salmon though, so try to have those at least (unless you hate them, of course)

**we grow fresh marjoram, so I used a few sprigs, and 2 frozen basil cubes. I salted the salmon a bit before use and then tossed in a bit later, and as for pepper, don’t use my family as an example as we’re pepper-nuts (read: we use an excessive amount on everything). Do what suits you!

In a saucepan, heat 4 cups of water to a a boil. Combine the polenta and salt with the other cup of water, stirring slightly (this prevents lumps). Once the water boils, toss in polenta and whisk constantly until the polenta thickens (for me, 11-12 minutes as I use a quicker cooking, not instant, polenta). Once thick (and you’ll know, as your arm will be about to fall off), remove from heat and stir in about a tablespoon of olive oil.

In a saute pan, heat a good glug of olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add marjoram and basil, followed by grated zucchini, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Saute until veggies are fork tender and the mushrooms have released some juices. Toss in spinach, peas, and flaked salmon and saute a few minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve over hot polenta with plenty of cheese (obvs)!

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Long ago, somewhere deep in the jungle…

Ridiculously cold weather calls for ridiculously tasty meals. Especially dinners, when you don’t have to go anywhere and you can just curl up and eat peacefully, whilst watching the the emperor get his groove thrown off with your roomie. The entirety of which the two of you could basically quote, between the two of you. But that’s another story entirely. So. Since I am not currently residing in some steamy Mesoamerican jungle, like SOME lucky llamas, I am currently experiencing Salem’s tribute to November, which seems to be freezing fog and coooold weather. Don’t get me wrong, I do love snappy, cold fall days. I do not love wearing  my north face in class because the room is cold… although, that’s probably preferable to going to sleep in a too-warm room… hmm. Anyway. Let’s move ahead! (“Umm.. what’s with the chimp and the bug?!”)

Like I said in the last post, Kira and I have had a run of immensely satisfying dinners. This one unfortunately didn’t yield any leftovers to daydream about… *sigh*. oh well, Kira and I might have had to fight over them (they were that good!). And simple! Not only is this recipe simple to prepare, it’s also economical. Which is excellent, as we’re on a college budget over here. It’s simple, but immensely satisfying. Oh. AND it’s healthy! Pshhh, would I make anything else?! (well. yes. I would. But this is not it!) Like crab, but waaaaay better. Salmon is incredibly good for you—omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for cholesterol (and pretty skin and hair!). Besides, canned salmon is BOMB. It’s like fresh… but cheaper! And just as nutritious. Hooray!! Served with a salad and some crusty bread, this is a meal that is light on the stomach, yet incredibly satisfying. As Kuzko would say… “BOOM BAM, BABY! Let’s get to the grub! I am one huuungry king of the world!”

And no, this dish does not involve essence of llama in any form, thank goodness. My shoulder angels would be against that, I’m sure.

Salmon Cakes

Adapted from Self magazine (I think that’s where I got it!) Serves two. We were hungry.

Heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet (or two, if you’re hungry and want to get this show on the road). While the oil is heating, combine:

  • 1 can of salmon (Alaskan wild, pleeeease!), drained, de-boned, de-gunked, and flaked
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 piece of whole wheat bread, torn into smallish breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Stir to combine all of this together, and then form into patties. We got about 6, probably about 1/4 cup salmon each. Plop into the hot skillet, and saute for about 5 to 6 minutes on each side, until browned and cooked though. Serve hot, with a side salad and some insanely good Moroccan olive crusty bread. Our salad tonight consisted of spinach, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, carrots, dried cranberries, and some chopped goat’s milk gouda (aka BEST CHEESE EVER). Props to Kira for always making super tasty salads! [Salatenmeisterinen?!] Mmmmmm. There’s a recipe to warm up with. See? I told you it was super simple. Eat. Gloat because you’re getting omgea-3s for cheap! Quote movie. Be happy :]

” A LLAMA?! He’s supposed to be DEAD!”… “Yeah… weird.”

Omgea-3s, for the Win!

artistically arranged foil, NOT.

Hoooooray for (Alaskan, wild caught) salmon! Effectively exploding with essential omega-3 fatty acids (which not only make your skin gorgeous, but also contribute to vital body processes like your clotting time) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (which are good for you, period). I LOVE salmon! Not just because it’s good for me, but because it’s super tasty!

I was admittedly a bit freaked out about cooking fish for the first time… I mean, not exactly the first time, but the first time ALONE. This is a BIG DEAL. Because there are no helpful parental types lurking around who you can pester to see if your fish has achieved the correct doneness. No. Instead you must rely on the power of your own fork-wielding hands and superb optical powers of visionary greatness (ok, 20/15 fighter pilot vision, you have to be good for something!) to determine if your fish is done. Happily, I apparently passed this test, as I’m a) sitting here typing this, and b) my fish passed the flake-test, and was super fab. Hooray!

Which was good. Because after spending 3.5 HOURS on the phone with various types of tech support, attempting to ascertain the problems arising from my computer/internet, I was about ready to either get really violent and start throwing things, or start climbing the walls. Or possibly both.

Which means it was a good thing that my dinner cooperated as planned, or we might have had a full-scale meltdown/wall-climbing/throwing-thing fit. Which is never good. Happily, all tech-type things are hopefully resolved (or at least they seem to be, thank goodness), and I didn’t have to throw anything. And my salmon was good.

I got the idea for this recipe from the bestie Julia, but I didn’t follow her recipe exactly. Instead I looked up one specifically for salmon, and used that. I think I’d make a few modifications if I did it again—I’ll try to note them below.

innards.

Salmon en Papillote (serves 1) Adapted from here

  • enough salmon to feed you!
  • assorted veggies (I used a smallish red bell pepper and 3 large mushrooms)
  • lemon slices
  • fresh herbs, to taste
  • salt, pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450ºF.

Rinse your defrosted salmon with water and pat dry. Place each salmon fillet in the center of a largeish piece of parchment paper (or foil is fine. I used foil, I have no parchment paper at the moment!) and season with salt and pepper. Lay a few slices of lemon over the top of the salmon (I think I used 3).

Arrange sliced bell pepper and button mushrooms around the fish. Top it all with olive oil and 2 tbsp white wine if you have it (if not, water works just as well). The recipe calls for fresh thyme–If you like it, use it, but I’m not a huge fan, so I used fresh basil, which was also good.

Roll and crimp the edges of the foil or parchment to make a sealed packet, and place on a cookie sheet in the heated oven. Bake for about 15 minutes, until your fishy flakes apart or you deem it done. Careful when opening the packets, since the steam is really hot.

I chased mine with some crazy chocolate cake (made with all applesauce, see recipe here!), which of course made the indignity of the last 3.5 hours seem a bit less offensive. And Voyager, which of course makes everything better.

“Dismissed. *pause* That’s a Starfleet expression that means GET OUT.” -Captain Kathryn Janeway to a very buggy Nelix