Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Salmon with Pea & Mint Puree . . . eat your veggies please . . .

Whoops . . . a business trip kept me a bit busy and I missed chronicling my cooking faves! Guess that is because I was eating out a lot:))) See the next post where I'll tell you all about Robata Bar in Santa Monica - DELISH (thanks for the idea Robin)!

Back to the subject at hand. Salmon and lots of veggies, including frozen! If you leave out the fresh broccoli, you could make this entire meal from things in your pantry . . . sweet eh?
I snagged recipes from a few places, the main one being Giadi DeLorentiis on FoodNetwork, and crafted my own version for a balanced meal the other night - more green on the plate than most get in a few days and John loved it:)

Salmon in Lemon Broth with Mint Pea Puree on Bed of Whole Grain Pasta, plus Broccoli not great for a blog title is it?

Salmon & Lemon Broth (Brodetto per FoodNetwork)
  • 2 5oz Pieces Salmon (check end of this post for freezing tips to make Salmon affordable every day)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Lemon, Zested & Juiced
  • 1 Shallot or about 2 Tbsp Red Onion, finely diced
  • 1 c Beef or Chicken Broth, Check out Better than Bouillion
Mint Pea Puree (delish and probably great with Lamb and simple fare)
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 c Frozen Peas, defrosted with a bit of warm water
  • 1 c Fresh Mint, keep herbs like mint on hand in the freezer
  • 1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt, Pepper & Olive Oil to taste
Pasta & Broccoli
  • 1/3 Package Whole Wheat Spaghetti (or pasta of your choice)
  • 2-3 c Broccoli florets
Start a pot of water boiling. Meantime, defrost the peas and chop your broccoli into florets. Ensure your Salmon has been rinsed with cold water - pat to dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a pan on medium high. While it heats, zest then juice your lemon, ensuring you remove all the seeds. Heat a cup of water to dissolve your broth into and set aside. Once water is boiling, break your spaghetti and drop in the water.

This is a good time to place your Salmon in the pan, and let sear for 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, smash the garlic clove and put it along with all the other pea puree ingredients into a Cuisinart, or other small blender. Puree until it reaches a desired texture, I like just a little more chunky than hummus.

Your salmon should be ready to be turned to sear for 2-3 minutes on the other side, depending on the thickness of the fish. The pasta should be almost done . . . so now is a good time to throw in the broccoli and let it cook in the same water/heat that is already going. Turn of the heat and close the lid to steam it while finishing your pasta.

Add the lemon and broth to the salmon pan and allow to simmer for a minute or so. Remove from heat and add any remaining mint for a garnish in the sauce. Drain the pasta and broccoli. Time to plate up:)))

I like to pour a little of the broth over the pasta and broccoli and toss to coat. Put a base of this pasta mix in a deep dish or low bowl. Add a few spoonfuls of the pea puree and top with the salmon, pouring remaining brodetto (broth) over the whole dish. Ready to serve!

This is actually a lot of food . . . and with the exception of the pea puree is pretty standard fare. The peas/mint mix totally kicks it up with fresh flavors and colors, helping to make an everyday meal something special. I can't wait to try this pea goodness with other menu options.

Tips & Tricks from Kir's Kitchen

Salmon: We buy our Salmon at Costco - shocker I know, but I've told you so before - and then I portion and freeze it. This is much cheaper than buying fresh each day, gives me flexibility to have it on hand and lets me ensure the quality and freshness personally. The trick is to cut the salmon in proper portions first, then rinse it, dab it dry and wrap it in saran wrap. These wrapped packets should then be placed in freezer bags and as much air removed as possible before you freeze them. I find that putting them in the fridge the night before has them defrosted & broil ready when you come home from work. This is how they look as I am defrosting them out of the bag.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Easy Healthy Fajitas with Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salad

Bored of stir fry and pasta? Try fajitas at home, they really aren't that hard and are in fact quite good for you if you lay off the fat, sour cream and too many tortillas:)

Having spent the weekend in the northeast, I was craving a bit of Tex-Mex and given the amount of bell peppers and roasted corn I still had left over from last weekend's BBQ, this recipe seemed perfect for today. I didn't cook yesterday as I was stuck thousands of feet in the air flying back from Boston where I had a phenomenal time at the IMS08 Conference all about social media and inbound marketing:)

Chicken Fajitas
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Chicken Breasts, sliced fajita style (2 inches long by 1/4 inch wide)
  • Fajita Marinade (prepared) - I like Claude's Red Chile Fajita Marinade or
  • Make your own with Lime Juice, Garlic, Red Chili Powder, Salt and a bit of sugar
  • 2 Bell Peppers, ideally Red & Yellow, but whatever you have handy will work fine, sliced
  • 1/4 Red Onion, optional, sliced
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Ground Coriander
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 Whole Wheat Tortillas, I like the South Beach Diet ones - pretty tasty when heated up
  • 2 Tbsp of your favorite salsa
  • Red Cabbage garnish, optional, adds color, crunch & vitamins...

Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salsa
  • 1 Ear of Corn Roasted, or 1 cup defrosted frozen corn (plain, not buttered)
  • 1 can Black Beans, Goya are my fave, drained and rinsed with water to remove excess salt
  • 10-15 Cherry Tomatoes or 1 small Tomato diced
  • 2 Slices Red onion, chopped finely
  • Fresh or Gourmet Garden Tube Cilantro
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • Lime Juice, Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat your non-stick pan on medium high with the oil in the pan. Drain the chicken breast, reserving the marinating sauce, and sear it on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. You may have to drain the liquid at some point to keep the chicken browning. Remove from the pan and reserve on a plate. If you need more oil, add a tiny bit more, saute onions for 1 minute. Add bell peppers and saute until browned, 3-4 minutes.

While you cook these items, combine the salsa ingredients in a bowl and mix, seasoning with the lime, S&P until you like the flavor.

Once the veggies are mostly cooked, add the chicken back to the pan and pour any reserved marinade on the mix, adding the remaining spices. Reduce heat and cover to let simmer and cook trough.

Heat a small pan to warm two tortillas on each side. Serve chicken fajita mixture on an open faced tortilla, top with chopped red cabbage for crunchiness and a bit of salsa to taste. Add your black bean and corn salad, top with a sprig of cilantro and voila! Tex Mex in under thirty minutes:)))

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day Beergaritas

For Labor Day I decided to give myself the day off - sort of.

I did cook up a storm, or BBQ to be exact, but didn't quite have time to post or write all the recipes down because we were having too much fun grilling and playing yard games like bolo & washers (clearly some Texas pastimes). So to ensure that you get a little goodness and enjoyment out of it, I'll share a very popular recipe that made all my guests happy!

(I'm not pictured here, as I am taking the shot while sipping beergaritas, but see, they look happy don't they?)

Labor Day Beergaritas (or any day)*
You can make this in batches as large or small as you like, but that is about the right proportion. I like them tangy - but if you enjoy mellower tastes - just reduce the limeade and increase the beer. Mix and pour over ice. Garnish with a lime or salt if you like. I think these are great just simply by themselves.

*This recipe is not really a 'healthy' one no matter which way you slice it. But don't fret, I'll be back to good for you cooking by this time next week!