On Monday, I promised you a recipe for the side dish I served with the Garlic Butter Salmon with Dill. And here it is - a Greek style salad made with shredded raw zucchini, so healthy! The dill in this dish helps tie it in with the flavors in the salmon (plus it helps me get rid of more dill).
The raw zucchini - along with mint, dill, green onions, and feta - is marinated in a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and garlic. The original recipe recommends chilling for several hours to allow the flavors to meld together, but we found that 30 minutes was enough.
This salad is bright and fresh, perfect on it's own or as a side. Make it all summer, take it with you anywhere, and enjoy!
A friend of mine asked if I could put together a week of meals that are healthy, easy, and cost effective for a single working mother. I thought that sounded like a great idea! But I definitely underestimated how much work it would be. It's hard to make food for just two people without having a ton of leftovers - so to get a different meal in each night, I had to figure out how to use ingredients in multiple dishes. And I wanted to make sure that they were healthy, had a bit of variety, and took 30 minutes or less to put together. It's a tall order, but I think I managed. Each recipe is sized for two adults, and there is a shopping list included at the bottom of the post.
First up - Broiled Salmon with Mustard Butter and Boiled Potatoes and Green Beans. This meal is healthy, easy, and comes together in under 30 minutes. I am so in love with this mustard butter (that I discovered making this recipe), I make it all the time now. There are no grains in this dinner, and as far as starchy potatoes go, baby red-skinned are relatively low on the glycemic index. Plus - by cooking more salmon and vegetables than you need, you will already have the ingredients you need for dinner the next night. This meal comes first because fish needs to be cooked the same night that it is purchased for best quality.
The salmon is going to be one of the more expensive proteins for the week, but it is worth it because it is so good for you (not to mention delicious). Gotta get those Omega-3's! However, I do not recommend buying farm-raised Atlantic salmon as it is full of chemicals and pollutants. Instead, I recommend buying wild Alaskan or farmed Norwegian. The Norwegian salmon is pretty great and I can get it here in NoVA for around $15/lb, and coho goes for $13/lb (versus $29/lb for king salmon, yikes!). If you absolutely cannot swing Alaskan or Norwegian salmon, buy another type of fish instead (cod, halibut, or tilapia would be good).
For our second dinner, we use the extra ingredients from the previous night, plus a few more, to make Salmon Nicoise Salad. The only thing you have to cook for this dinner is hard boiled eggs, and you can do those in advance if you like. Boil more than you need, because we will use some in another dish. Like the previous night, this meal is grain-free and loaded with healthy fats. You can see how big one serving is in this photo - I ate the whole thing, Jasper only ate half of his. So if this is too much food for you, plan to set aside half of it for lunch the next day. It should travel well, just keep the dressing separate.
This is actually the most expensive meal of the week (if it is making 2 servings, and not 4), so the kind of greens you use will matter. I used mache or lamb's lettuce, which I think is really delicious. But there are definitely cheaper lettuces/greens out there. A note on olives - nicoise olives are traditional, but expensive, so feel free to sub kalamatas, which taste very similar. You could even buy jarred kalamatas to save even more.
This salad is so pretty! And yummy! And easy! And healthy! And did I mention how pretty it is? Light and fresh, and perfect for Spring or Summer. This would be great to bring to a potluck or picnic.
All you do is cook and cool quinoa (I really like the tri-color for this), which can be done in advance. Then top with cut watermelon, strawberries, and feta. Drizzle with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper. Then finish with basil and sliced almonds. That's it! I used some purple basil from my garden, isn't it pretty? It tastes just like regular Genovese basil.
You can serve it in a platter, or individual containers - up to you! I think it would travel pretty well, especially if you pack the dressing separately. It's also really satisfying - you have crunch from the watermelon, almonds, and even the quinoa (which is also very filling), and a salty-sweet combo that is just awesome.
I have an obsession... with a salad shop. This must be what being an adult feels like. I never used to like salads AT ALL, and then I tried Sweetgreen and now a salad is my treat to myself after working out. Not like, "oh don't wanna ruin that workout, so here's a salad;" but like "good job, now you GET to eat this salad." Weiiiiiiiiird. Who am I?
Anywho, Sweetgreen is awesome. It's like any fast food joint (Chipotle, Subway, etc...) where you travel down the line and build your meal, in this case - a yummy salad made with local ingredients (check the blackboard to see which vendors they use).
They have a number of pre-designed salads (my favorite is the District Cobb) and one seasonal salad per month (above photo is the May 2014 salad), or you can go custom. You can also customize a menu salad. For example, I like to get the District Cobb but swap sweet potatoes in for tomatoes and change the dressing to balsamic vinaigrette (which is super good). You get to choose how much dressing you want (light, medium, heavy) and also if you want bread (the bread is really good, but I try to resist).
Happy Easter! It has been a long, crazy winter. We had just a hint of spring before a cold snap hit again, but it looks like we are on our way back and hopefully it will last this time!
I took advantage of the nice weather to plant my container herb garden. I've got chives, French thyme, English thyme, lemon thyme, and oregano thyme in one pot. The big one has common sage, purple sage, rosemary, spearmint, tarragon, Greek and Italian oregano, and dill. And the last one has sweet basil, thai basil, amethyst basil, lemon basil, and parsley.
I also cleared out and cleaned up my tiny backyard, and while I was removing dead leaves, I accidentally uncovered a nest full of baby rabbits! I was totally shocked and didn't know what to do. I yelled for my husband to bring me a box to put them in while I hit the internet for advice. Leave them alone and put them back was the unanimous decision. Mama rabbits only visit the babies 2 times a day to feed very quickly (1-2 minutes) so that predators won't know where they are. So baby rabbits have not been abandoned and they don't need to be rescued (unless injured by lawnmower, dog, cat, etc...). In fact, trying to take care of them yourself will likely kill them!
I've been pretty lazy about blogging this past week, so I'm bringing you another vegetarian lunch with Melissa back to back with the last one. I know that you don't mind, though, because our lunches are AWESOME. This one, in my opinion, is one of the best we have done recently. Lentils, chickpeas, raw onion, and feta with tahini, sesame, and herbs. So good, so satisfying, creamy and crunchy, nutty and sharp, it's everything. And so, so healthy. Let's also take a second to appreciate how gorgeous Melissa's platter is. She has the best dishware!
The only thing that takes time in this recipe is cooking the lentils, but they are pretty hands off and you can do them ahead of time and keep them in the fridge til you need them. This recipe has you cook them with sage and garlic to infuse the lentils with flavor - I love it.
While the lentils are cooking, toss red onion with olive oil, lemon juice, feta, and herbs. I was a little unsure about this at first - so much raw red onion? But it became my favorite part of the dish. The lemon juice kind of cures the onions as they sit and mellows them out. They become sharp, crunchy bits of awesomeness in the salad. Also, feta - I love feta. I especially love Mt Vikos Traditional Sheep and Goat feta. I swear they are not sponsoring me, but they really should (hint, hint) because I use their feta all the time.
Remember last week when I posted about the Butternut Squash and Kale Pizza? And I told you that I had leftover kale? Well, here's what became of it. I massaged with raw kale with a homemade dressing (olive oil, lemon juice, champagne vinegar, salt and pepper) and let it sit for 15 minutes to break down and lose the bitterness. Then I topped it with some burrata cheese, more olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Simple and delicious.
I served the salad as an appetizer, and for dinner we had steak (here's my method) and orzo with broccoli pesto. I actually like this version of broccoli pasta sauce better than the other version I've made, and it has a lot less fat!
We alternate our Thanksgivings each year between our families in Texas and Oregon. This year was an Oregon year! (Read here for our last visit.) My in-laws live in beautiful Bend, OR - which is such a nice town. Check out the gorgeous mountain view from our hotel room! We stay at the Oxford hotel when we visit, and I definitely recommend it.
We had quite the spread, as usual. We were so excited to see each other that we spent all of Wednesday talking and didn't get any prep work done! So we didn't end up eating Thanksgiving dinner until actual dinner time, which was fine by us!
Here's Mom carving up that beautiful turkey! They made sure to get one that was humanely raised.
I'd like to give a special shout-out to this gorgeous salad made by my Chef sister-in-law. It was in keeping with her gluten- and dairy-free lifestyle and it was AWESOME. It had two kinds of raw kale (massaged to remove bitterness), roasted beets, fennel, toasted walnuts, and pomegranate seeds. I need to get the recipe from her for the yummy cashew dressing.
What was your favorite dish this year? Leave a link or recipe in the comments!
I don't know if you've noticed yet, but warm quinoa salads are kind of the go-to for my friend, Melissa, and I (like this one, and this one, and this one). So when we didn't really have a lunch plan a couple of weeks ago, we decided to throw some her CSA veg into, you guessed it, a warm quinoa salad. I would apologize for the repetition, but these salads are healthy and filling and delicious, so I'm not sorry!
This time around, Melissa was drowning in fall squash. So we diced up a butternut and threw it in the oven with a sliced onion.
Meanwhile, we cooked up our pretty tri-color quinoa and tossed in some toasted pine nuts. You could easily sub walnuts or pecans instead.
In went the roasted veg and some arugula, along with some fresh thyme. Again, you could easily sub another type of green (I do love peppery arugula, though) and whatever herbs you have on hand.
Lastly, and certainly not least, we added in some goat cheese. We both seriously love goat cheese. We mixed half of the cheese into the salad to get it melty, and crumbled the rest on top so there would be nice pockets of it.
Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese
original recipe, click here for Melissa's post
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small onion, sliced in half-moons
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and black pepper
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 cups baby arugula
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Toss the squash and onion in olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper.
Spread the veggies in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet covered in foil. Roast for 25–30 minutes, turning the veggies over halfway through. When the squash is tender, remove from the oven.
Meanwhile, combine the quinoa and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until the water is absorbed and the curlicues pop out. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir the pine nuts, roasted veggies, thyme, arugula, and half the goat cheese into the quinoa; crumble the rest of the cheese over top. Serve warm.
The other day, I was perusing Red Apron Butchery and saw that they had marrow bones. I LOVE marrow, but I had never made it at home before. It was time to fix that! You might be interested to know that while marrow is made up of fat, it is largely unsaturated; plus it has lots of vitamins and minerals like iron and Vitamin A, and it has been shown to boost the immune system!
Now you actually want to soak these bad boys in salt water overnight to draw out the blood. It's not going to kill you or anything if you don't, but it won't taste as good.
Then you just pop them into a hot oven and roast for 20 minutes. You could just sprinkle it with coarse salt and eat it with a spoon, I wouldn't blame you. But if you want the full experience, spread it onto some toasted challah bread and top with a tangy parsley salad to balance out the rich fattiness. Prairie butter, poor man's foie gras, pure heaven - whatever you want to call it, this stuff is delicious decadence.
Roasted Bone Marrow
8 3'-4'-long pieces beef or veal marrow bones (cut lengthwise or crosswise, doesn't matter)
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 small shallots, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp drained capers
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 1/2-inch thick slices challah or rustic white bread, toasted
To remove the blood from the marrow, place the bones in a bowl of ice water with 1 tsp coarse sea salt per 1 cup water. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, changing the water every 4 hours and replacing the salt each time. Drain and refrigerate until you are ready to cook the marrow. Be sure to use it within 24 hours or freeze the drained bones for up to 3 months.
Preheat the oven to 450°. Place bones in an ovenproof skillet or roasting pan - wider cut side down for crosswise, cut side up for lengthwise. Roast bones until marrow is soft and begins to separate from bone but before it begins to melt, 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness of bones. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Meanwhile, toss parsley, shallots, oil, lemon juice, and capers in a medium bowl to coat. Season salad to taste with sea salt and pepper.
Serve bones with toast and parsley salad. Use a long, thin spoon or knife to scoop marrow onto toast and top with salad.