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.

 

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Tri-tip steak with a brussel sprout and pancetta side (and grilled corn! and tomato/cucumber salad!)

We eat a lot of grilled corn around these parts. Especially in the summer. It is a specialty of Hubs and often requested by friends and our extended family.

Our lovely au pair has family in town this month and, on the night her best friend arrived, we invited him to join us for dinner. I found a lovely looking tri-tip steak at the local natural food store, too. We also had some brussel sprouts and pancetta that was reaching its life limit. And, as said before, our tomatoes are abundant. With that, a meal was made.

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Ingredients:

The steak

  • one large tri-tip steak
  • soy sauce (about a 1/2 cup)
  • hoisin (two tablespoons)
  • tomato paste (about a tablespoon)
  • worchestshire sauce (about a tablespoon)
  • sesame oil (one tablespoon)
  • rice wine vinegar (one tablespoon)
  • brown sugar (two tablespoons)
  • lime zest
  • salt/pepper
  • lime juice (one lime)
  • grated fresh ginger (about one inch of a knob)

The brussel sprouts

  • one cup of cubed pancetta
  • one pound of brussel sprouts, ends cut off, outer leaves removed and cut in half
  • half of a vidalia onion, cut against the grain
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic
  • toasted pine nuts

The corn

  • as many ears of corn for as many people you have
  • one lime per four ears
  • sprinkling of salt

Tomato/cucumber salad

  • tomatoes from the garden, cut into rough chunks
  • two cucumbers peeled and cut into one inch chunks
  • basil to taste
  • balsamic to taste
  • salt/pepper

In a large glass baking dish, whisk all ingredients for the marinade (everything but the steak). Once thoroughly mixed, add the steak, fat side up, and let it sit, covered for as long as possible. Flip halfway through the amount of time you have available. I didn’t have too much time (about an hour) but it was still enough to get the flavors intermingled.

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While that marinates, cut your brussel sprouts and onion. In a saute pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil (or grapeseed) and add the onions. When softening, add the pancetta and cook until done. Take them out of the pan with a slotted spoon (leaving as much of their grease as possible) and put them on a paper towel to drain.

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Add in the cut sprouts, cut side down and let that cook until the cut side is browning. When you see a bit of brown, add a splash of wine and a splash of balsamic and mix until all are covered.  Once the sprouts are cooked, add the pancetta and onions back in to the sprouts. This is often best if it has been sitting for a bit in the pan, letting the flavors meld together. Heat up in the pan right before serving.

When ready to cook the tri-tip, turn on your grill to the lower temperature setting. You will use the burners for the corn and the steak will be on indirect heat, on the rack above. Grill the steak on the upper rack for 15 minutes on each side with the lid closed. When the internal temperature (using an insta-read) reaches 135, take it off and let it sit covered in tin foil for 15 minutes more.  While the steak is resting, turn the heat up on grill and put the corn on. Turn only when the kernels begin to char. When charred on all sides (about 15 minutes, but maybe quicker depending on the corn), squeeze a lime over the corn and sprinkle with parmesan.

Chop the tomatoes and cucumber and mix with basil and balsamic, salt and pepper. Turn the heat up high on the sprouts to quickly heat through. Add the pine nuts now (otherwise they can get soggy).  Slice the steak into thin slices and serve!  This tri-tip was so good that we made it again a few days later.

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Tuna, chickpea, persian cucumber, lemon salad (with leftover cauliflower puree)

Hubs said nay to my idea of coffee yogurt with chia seeds for lunch. He wanted something more hearty and I had just seen this recipe on theKitchn which sounded delicious.

But I was being pulled towards tuna and didn’t have red onion. SO! I made it up with that Kitchn salad as my inspiration. The original was surprisingly persian in influence so I had a lot of those ingredients on hand.

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Ingredients:

  • One can of chickpeas
  • One can of tuna
  • Two tablespoons of leftover cauliflower puree
  • Four persian cucumbers
  • Half of a lemon
  • Half of sweet white onion, thinly sliced
  • Balsamic
  • One tablespoon of sumac
  • Half teaspoon of chili powder
  • One tablespoon of pomegranate syrup

In a bowl, put the drained and rinsed chickpeas, the drained tuna, the leftover cauliflower puree, the cut-into-discs cucumber and some salt and pepper.

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Put the thinly sliced onion in a saute pan with half a teaspoon of olive oil and cook on medium low until soft. When soft, add a splash of balsamic and turn the heat down to let them caramelize.

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Once the onions are ready, add in the ingredients that were already mixed and then put in the lemon juice, the sumac, the chili powder and the pomegranate syrup. Mix thoroughly and warm over medium heat to taste. This was REALLY good. Thumbs up from the hubs. Easy to make and healthy!

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Variation on boerenkool stamppot with tomato/cucumber/barrata salad

With the cooler weather coming on and a few leaves on the streets, I’ve been craving mashed potatoes. A great bowl of savory mashed potatoes is such a treat. But holy lord is it terrible for you. Well, terrible for me*. And the next day? Oy. I never want to get out of bed. So, as many do, I substitute in pureed cauliflower.  It is the PERFECT substitute. 

We also have a hefty amount of heirloom tomatoes about to drop off the vine. And I wanted to use those.

What to make…what to make…

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I had a conversation recently with a friend from the netherlands about kale and he had mentioned that his mom used to make something that I thought was called baren-cool (I later learned it was boerenkool stamppot…basically mashed potatoes with kale and sausage). He described it as his comfort food. Sounded amazing to me. And I could do it with roasted cauliflower. 

I also learned last night that our au pair’s mom makes her something very similar in Italy. Not sure what it is called there. 🙂

Ingredients:

The Boerenkool Stamppot (variation)

  • one large handful dinosaur kale stalks
  • two medium heads of cauliflower
  • two sausages of your choice…we used sundried tomato chicken sausage (two of us were eating meat, the third not…adjust your sausage amount accordingly)
  • half of a large vidalia onion
  • salt/pepper/olive oil
  • one tablespoon paprika
  • one teaspoon dry sage
  • half teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup whole milk (or any other dairy…you could use plain yogurt or cottage cheese, too)
  • 1/8 cup of feta
  • 1/4 white wine

The Tomato/Cucumber Salad

  • two regular cucumbers
  • one lemon cucumber
  • two large, very ripe heirloom tomatoes
  • fresh basil leaves
  • balsamic of choice
  • salt/pepper/olive oil

This was overall pretty easy to do but just took a bit of time. 

Preheat the oven to 425 and get a cookie sheet out, covered with a silpat. Cut the cauliflower into medium florets and spread them on the cookie sheet. Drizzle with a healthy amount of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and the paprika and mix together. When the oven is hot enough, put it into the oven on the middle rack.

Put some olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. While that heats up, cut the onions into thin rings and then add them to the pan. While those begin to cook down, pull the kale off of the stalk and rinse and dry. Add in the kale once most of the moisture is gone, stirring it into the oil and onion mixture. It will start to wilt. Add in the wine now. Keep stirring it, getting even heat on all of the greens.  When it is soft and a dark, bright green, turn off your heat and push the greens and onions to the outside ring of the pan, make an area in the center for the sausage. Cut the sausage into 1/4 inch coins and, after turning the heat back on to medium, fill the hole with sausage. Keep an eye on it and turn it when it starts to get brown.

By now the cauliflower should be well roasted. This is where it gets messy. Using a cuisinart (or other chopping device), shred the (hot) cauliflower (using the shredding disk) and transfer all of the shredded cauli back to the pan. Put in the standard blade and add in half of the mixture. Add in half of the milk, half of the sage, half of the nutmeg and puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Then do the same with the other half of the cauli. 

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The salad is the easiest part. Chop the tomatoes roughly, skin the two types of cucumbers and chop roughly. Put them both in a bowl and add the balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Then chop the basil and mix.

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Cut the barrata evenly between the number of eaters and plate. We put the salad in a bowl to keep it from messing with the stamppot boerenkool bit.

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Yup. Delish. And totally in line with my mood. 

 

* I don’t believe one type of diet is correct for everyone. Listen to your body, not mine. Mine tells me that starchy foods make me feel tired and heavy. Yours may say that fruit makes you hyper, or veggies make you gassy, or whatever. My point is: listen to YOUR body. And eat what makes you happy AND healthy. 

A veg-tastic dinner: Braised kale, leeks and chickpeas AND Mast-o-khiar with sauteed beets

We are heading to the east coast to visit my folks on Saturday so I am trying to clear out my fridge before we go, using up the fresh veg.

This recipe caught my eye when searching for kale and leek combos. I had three huge leeks in my fridge and had some kale left over from the farmer’s market from TWO weeks ago. I would hate for that deliciousness to go to waste. A variation, I knew, of this recipe would fit my needs perfectly…but would it need a protein? Would hubs eat chickpeas not mashed up like hummus? Would I need another side? It looked filling…but enough to be a whole meal?

Just in case it wasn’t, I added in what was planned to be roasted beets with maast-o-khiar (aka, cucumbers and dill in yoghurt). “Planned to be” because we had a slight mishap last night with the oven. Our truly lovely au pair was helping put away clean dishes the other night (love her) and put our plastic grilling prep pan in the oven thinking it was a roasting pan. I had no idea and preheated the oven. Et voila!

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Obviously no beets would be oven roasted last night. After opening up every window and door in the house to air out the noxious fumes, I continued on with my meal prep, changing direction on the secondary salad. 

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It was a bit chilly last night (by Northern California standards) so didn’t want to grill the beets…how else to use up this GORGEOUS, gorgeous veg?? SAUTE! I would slice them very thinly and salt and saute them. This was a super quick fix and I think that I may do these more often. They were sweet and crispy and would be a fantastic topping to a LOT of different dishes. Next time I did this though, I would probably get bigger beets (less to peel) and make them more like 1 inch strips…almost like an onion topper. OOOH! With crispy onions next time, too! THAT WOULD BE AWESOME! okay, onward.

Braised Kale, Leeks and Chickpeas

  • one bunch of kale (de-stemmed and chopped into bite size pieces)
  • one can of chickpeas (14 oz and drained)
  • 3 large leeks (the whites and light green parts, cut across the grain into rings and separated
  • 1/4 cup of chicken stock/broth
  • olive oil
  • pat of butter
  • salt/pepper
  • tablespoon of paprika
  • red bell pepper…fresh, cut into rings
  • feta

Sauteed Beets and Maast-o-Khiar

  • fresh, raw beets cut with the greens cut off, peeled and then thinly sliced (I used eight small beets but could have used at least four more)
  • one large cucumber, partially peeled
  • 1/2 cup of plain yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup of chopped dill
  • apple cider vinegar
  • salt/pepper

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In a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan that can be covered, pour enough olive oil in to coat the bottom and about 2 mm of oil. Turn on the gas on medium heat. Add a pat of butter.

Once shimmering, add the sliced leeks and paprika and stir, coating them in the olive oil and slowly browning butter.

As they start to soften, add in the kale and chickpeas, coat the veg and then turn down the heat to simmer and, just before covering, add the sliced bell peppers. Stir every few minutes, adding stock if it starts to scorch on the bottom of the pan. It should finish cooking in about 15-20 minutes. Add salt towards the end with about half of a cup of feta.

ImageWhile the kale is cooking down, start on the sauteed beets. Heat some olive oil in a saute pan. You should already have peeled the beets. Thinly slice them (aren’t they gorgeous) and add a little bit of salt.

When the oil is hot, add the beets, flipping in the oil to coat them. Cook them for about four or five minutes and then flip them so both sides get cooked.

Pour in a bit of chicken broth to release the yummy goodness on the bottom and cover for five more minutes. Some of the smaller pieces might become crispy before the others. Set them aside on some paper towels to drain. Continue on with the bigger pieces until they are soft and then drain those as well. They will be served cold so don’t worry about keeping them warm.

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Maast-o-khiar can be made a thousand different way (pureed, chopped, sliced, etc). For last night, I went with sliced. And I wanted them extra thin so I pulled out my mandolin. 

I sliced one large cucumber this way…but probably could have used another cucumber to really feed three adults. (I also would have added in more beets…lesson learned)

After slicing the cucumbers, I put them in a bowl with apple cider vinegar and some salt. You can use sherry or red wine vinegar, as well. Balsamic is too sweet for this recipe. Leave them in there for 20-30 minutes. I was pressed for time after dealing with the oven debacle, so they only got about 10 minutes this go round. It was still delicious.

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After 10 minutes, I drained the vinegar and added in the yoghurt and the finely chopped dill (having removed from the pile any major stems). Don’t mix this up too quickly. Let the yoghurt come to room temperature (or close to it) and THEN mix it up. Once mixed, add in the beets so that they are distributed evenly throughout.

We served the two dishes side by side on the plate. I probably needed a bit more of both salads for three people as they are both incredibly light. Both are probably best served as the side for a protein. It would probably pair really well with the ginger chicken or the chicken sumac. The feta definitely was needed, in my opinion, on the kale and leek recipe. It made the meal. Hubs added some extra heat to the kale and leeks via sriracha but I think I agree and will next time add in some chili flakes. And next time? A LOT more of those amazing beets. 

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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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