Salmon, grapefruit, avocado, and warm kale salad 

You guys. YOU GUYS! This salad I conjured up last night while trying to avoid cooking in front of Hubs (who is doing the master cleanse lemon/maple syrup/cayenne drink thing for 3 days) was spectacular. And so easy.


Ingredients (feeds 2):

  • 1 large grapefruit 
  • 1 large just ripe avocado
  • 1 can of sockeye salmon
  • 2 large handfuls of baby kale
  • Regular olive oil for cooking the kale
  • Meyer lemon olive oil for dressing
  • Fig balsamic vinegar for dressing
  • Half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper

Peel and segment the grapefruit. Put in large bowl. In a separate bowl, squeeze the juice of the inside of the grapefruit for the dressing.

In a hot pan, add the cooking olive oil and once shimmering, cook the kale until crispy and warmed through.

In the large bowl, cut the avocado into half inch chunks. Open the can of salmon (you can use fresh but this was intended to be quick), and after draining the juices, put it into the bowl. Once the kale is cooked through, add that to the large bowl. 

In the dressing bowl, add to the grapefruit juice a tablespoon of the Meyer lemon olive oil, two teaspoons of the fig balsamic, and salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze in half a lemon, as well. Whisk thoroughly. And toss the dressing with the salad. Voila! 

Zucchini Noodles with Kale, Spinach and Avocado Pesto

Keeping with my New Year’s Resolution, I am still doing at least one vegetarian dinner per week. Last night Hubs was out so it was just me and S. It came together relatively quickly but I HIGHLY suggest making the pesto before the kids go to sleep…because the whirring of our Cuinsinart caused our daughter to FREAK. OUT. I mean, she has heard it before…but for some reason last night she was not a fan to say the absolute least. But the dinner was great! Healthy and delicious. And vegetarian!

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The Kale, Spinach and Avocado Pesto

  • About two cups of de-stemmed and torn dinosaur kale
  • One large handful of baby spinach
  • Half of an avocado
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 chopped red onion
  • Grated parmesan
  • About 1/3 to 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

The “Pasta”

  • Two large, thick, fairly straight yellow zucchinis
  • 3/4 thinly cut sliced red onion
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • olive oil to cook
  • 1/4 cup salted water

In a cuisinart, blend pine nuts, lemon and kale while slowly pouring in some of the olive oil. When the kale is chopped and there is room in the work bowl, add the spinach and avocado. As that whirs, add more olive oil until blended smooth. Add the chopped red onion and the salt and pepper and about 2 heaping tablespoons of grated parmesan (this is to taste…check the taste and add more if you want).

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Spirulize the zucchini (if you don’t have a spirulizer, cut lengthwise slices into a zucchini almost to the end but leaving the end in tact and use a veggie peeler to make “noodles”) and sprinkle with salt and coat with olive oil.  

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Heat some olive oil in a pan and add the sliced red onion and cook until slightly crispy. If needed, cut the noodles (as they can be QUITE long) to about 1′ in length. Add them to the pan over the onions. Cook the “noodles” for a bit until softening and put in a bit of water. Add in the pesto and stir until all of the noodles are coated. Once warmed through, add the chopped tomato and sprinkle in the goat cheese. 

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Plate and serve! Easy peasy! (Serves two with enough for one lunch leftover…today I am going to add leftover chicken to the leftover sauce. YUM!)

 

We devoured this spring salad

Is it a salad? I don’t really know. It is more like one of my standard mash-ups of yummy ingredients. A bit like the Ranch Salad. A bit of a variation on the Avocado Tartare from Food & Wine that I posted a few weeks ago.

And as usual, I wanted something easy, quick and healthy. This met all of those requirements.

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Ingredients (serves two):

  • One large boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • One firm but ripe avocado
  • One large red shallot
  • A few fronds of curly kale
  • A heaping handful of spinach
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes
  • Two meyer lemons
  • A tablespoon and a half of dijon mustard
  • A few sprigs of curly parsley
  • A few drops of sriracha
  • A teaspoon of Worcestershire 
  • Salt and pepper
  • Butter/olive oil for cooking

Chop the chicken into 1″ cubes and salt and pepper all sides. In a pan, heat up (over medium to high heat) a pat of butter and a dollop of olive oil. When hot, add the chicken and cook until opaque and almost cooked through (about 135degrees). While the chicken is cooking, prepare the onion and kale by thinly slicing the shallot and removing the stems from the kale and chopping into tiny bits. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Add a bit more oil and turn the pan to medium heat, and throw the thinly sliced red shallot and cook until starting to crisp. Add the kale and a dash more of the olive oil. Cook, turning often, until the kale is soft. While the kale is cooking, chop the spinach into smallish pieces (about 1/2″) and prepare the sauce. Juice two meyer lemons into your serving bowl. Add the chopped parsley, dijon, srirracha, Worcestershire, salt and pepper and whisk until blended. Add the chicken back to the pan with the tomatoes and cook until the chicken is at 160 degrees. Pour the hot chicken, kale and onion (and all of the juices) into the sauce and add the spinach raw. I always add the avocado last as I hate when it starts to turn brown. So now cube your avocado and add it to the bowl. Mix all of the ingredients gently until the sauce covers everything.

We scarfed this down. It was SOOO good. From start to finish it took less than 30 minutes and probably could be sped up if I used two pans (to cook the onions/kale and chicken separately). 

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Avocado tartare

Didn’t take any pictures (ate it too quickly) but I highly recommend you make this ASAP. It is ridiculously good.

Only made a few slight modifications including doubling the lemon juice, replacing the red onion with sautéed vidalia, and using a few squirts of sriracha instead of jalapeño. Oh, and I left out the capers as I didn’t have any on hand. It was devoured. And crazy easy.

From Food & Wine:

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Salmon Wasabi “Rice” Bowl

There is this meal, this dish, that Hubs and I have craved since we started this journey but haven’t yet indulged. This dish is so delicious that my mouth taste it just thinking about it. It is sweet and crunchy and savory and spicy and ultimately filling. It is the Pacific Catch Salmon Wasabi Rice Bowl. And until I discovered cauliflower rice a few weeks ago (and have since been obsessed) did I even consider it an option. 

Ingredients

The Salmon & Marinade

  • Salmon (skin off…though it would be good with skin too)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Brown Sugar
  • Fish Sauce
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Sesame Seeds

The Rest of It

  • One Head of Cauliflower (though I maybe would do more if more than 2 people)
  • Sesame Oil (two parts)
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Pea shoots (I got mine at Trader Joes)
  • Seaweed Salad (I actually couldn’t find it after two stores so used a kale and seaweed salad that I found at our health food store)
  • Avocado
  • Persian Cucumbers
  • sliced ginger

The Dressing

  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon wasabi

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It all comes together pretty quickly once you have finished with the cauliflower rice which you could do ahead of time to save “dinner” prep time. 

Marinate the salmon in soy sauce (a few splashes), about a tablespoon of brown sugar, a few splashes of fish sauce and salt/pepper to taste. Let it sit while you prepare you cauliflower rice (or for about 15 minutes). 

Preheat the oven to 350.

To make cauliflower rice, cut the leaves off of the head of cauliflower and cut the entirety of the cauliflower into two inch pieces. In a cuisinart, pulse (in a few batches so that the already chopped pieces don’t get too small) the cauliflower until it is the size of “rice”. I actually don’t go that small. I leave a few 1/2 inch chunks. In a saucepan, heat on medium a teaspoon of sesame oil and a tablespoon of grapeseed oil. Once glistening, put in the grated cauliflower, add a bit of salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring frequently, until it is warmed through. Put it aside in a bowl.

Put a bit more sesame oil and grapeseed oil in the pan and, again, heat until glistening. On the top of the salmon, shake on a layer of sesame seeds. Put that side down on the hot pan and cook for two minutes. While that side is cooking, sprinkle the other side with sesame seeds. Flip the fish after two minutes and cook two minutes more on the other side. Have ready a 1/4 pan lined with tin foil. After the second side is cooked, transfer the fish to the pan, drizzle on the remaining marinade and put in the oven for 5ish minutes (depends on your oven). The fish is done when it is slightly firm to the touch.

Meanwhile, plate the rest of the ingredients: Put the “rice” in a deep bowl. On top of that put a small bunch of the pea sprouts in one area, a scoop of the kale/seaweed salad in another area, the cucumbers sliced into thin strips in another area and the avocado in slices in the last area. Then whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Adjust as needed for taste (a bit of bite is good as it soaks into the cauliflower rice and other ingredients). 

When the salmon is finished, place it on top of the other ingredients and then dress the bowl with the wasabi dressing and a few slices of ginger. And that is it! We devoured it. The salmon was tangy, the greens balanced well with the sweet and salty of the fish and the “rice” really worked! I honestly wouldn’t have known the difference.

 

Pea, Avocado and Mint Dressing Used Two Ways

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I’ve seen a few versions of this recipe floating around but I knew it wouldn’t be hearty enough on its own for a meal for my family (I kept on seeing it on toast or as a dip for chips). So tonight, as usual, I am going to MacGuyver that recipe and make it something the Suhlizis would eat.

As our au pair isn’t the biggest fan of chicken, I made two versions: veggie and chicken.

Ingredients (leave the chicken out if cooking the veg version):

  • Two large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • One bag of frozen peas
  • One avocado (peeled and seeded)
  • One cup of mint leaves
  • Jalapeno, finely diced, to taste
  • Half of a red onion, roughly chopped
  • One can of chickpeas (more will go into the veg version than the chicken version)
  • A few handfuls of fresh spinach
  • A few stalks of raw dinosaur kale
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Limes (both zest and juice)
  • Sriracha sauce to taste
  • Half a cup of toasted pine nuts

Chop the boneless, skinless breasts into one inch chunks. Add salt and pepper and marinate in yogurt, sriracha and lime juice, covered and in the fridge, for a few hours.

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Cook the peas as directed on the package. As mentioned previously, I like the steam in the bag kind. Cooks for five minutes and little to no mess. While that steams, in a dry sauté pan, toast the pine nuts and set aside.  The picture here shows the before and after. A lot of times I toast them up a bit darker as hubs REALLY likes that, um, burnt flavor. Not my thing. I went a bit less toasty tonight.

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In a food processor or using a stick blender (whichever is handy…I made the mistake of being TOO handy and using my vitamix. NOT the best tool suited for the job), puree the cooked peas, the avocado and mint and a few pine nuts until smooth. Tasting it along the way, I also pureed in some jalapeno, lime juice, some lime zest and salt and pepper.

Put two tablespoons of olive oil and a pat of butter into the pan over medium high heat. When the oil is glistening, add the half of the red onion and then, a minute or so later, the chicken. Turn the chicken once the panside is slightly browned. If the yogurt becomes too liquid-y in while you are cooking, drain it out and put it back on the stove. The more liquid, the less browned. Continue to turn and cook through (using a instaread thermometer if needed) and remove to a separate plate. Dollup on a few spoonfuls of the pea/mint/avocado mixture to the chicken.

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Add a bit of olive oil to the pan and add the rest of the red onion and the chiffonaded, stemmed kale, cut into small pieces. If you have any handy, pour in a 1/4 cup of wine (any color) when the kale starts to turn color. It really adds a depth of flavor and cuts the sharpness of the kale. Add the cherry tomatoes whole and chickpeas to the pan to warm. Cook the kale until tender but not wilted.

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(This is when I add the wine…when it looks like this)image (4)-005

Because two plates of the three will be non-veg, put this together on/in the plates/bowls you will be using. Chop the spinach into one inch pieces and then put the fresh spinach on the bottom of the bowl. Top with a bit of the pea/mint/avocado mixture. If you are adding the chicken, add it now. Then top with the veg mixture. More chickpeas for the veggie dish. Then add some more of the pea/mint/avocado mixture and top with a boat load of toasted pine nuts and more sriracha.

This was INCREDIBLY filling. I could have had half a bowl and been satisfied. But it was so GD healthy, that I stuffed it back guilt free. This would be fantastic for a group of people (luncheon, shower, etc.) and could probably be improved by grilling the chicken instead of sauteeing it. I might also consider thinning out the pea/mint/avocado mix by making it more of a dressing…maybe some vinegar/olive oil? More like a salad dressing. It was so thick, it was a bit difficult to mix.

Ranch Salad

One of my favorite meals and one of the easiest things I make is what I call “Ranch Salad.” It reminds me of Ranch dressing…though I don’t use that dressing on the salad. Maybe it is the crisp, chopped veggies? Anyway, it is super yummy and crazy easy.

  • Rotisserie chicken
  • 3 Persian cucumbers
  • handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 carrots
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/2 cup of frozen roasted corn
  • half of an avocado
  • bag of fresh spinach leaves
  • French vinaigrette dressing

Clean and chop the cucumbers, carrots, onion, avocado, tomatoes and spinach. Put in a bowl with a splash of the dressing.

In a sauté pan, heat the frozen corn until warmed through. Add to bowl.

Cut the chicken off the carcass and chop into 1 inch pieces. In the now empty sauté pan over medium high heat, toss a teaspoon of butter, the chopped chicken and a few teaspoons of the vinaigrette and heat until warm.

To serve, spoon the veggies into bowls and top with the chicken and some more dressing. I had a few teaspoons of pine nuts left over from last night so I tossed them in and, trying a new product, we finished it with a bit of Onion Crunch. This stuff added the perfect crunch to the salad.

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