Another One for the Net – Grilled Salmon Kabobs

This is a quickie, folks.  Another fish recipe that you might enjoy, that didn’t make it to the table in time to be included with FishFest.  But I wanted to be sure and get it up while barbecuing season is in full swing.  It’s so simple, delish, and healthy!  Really hope you will give it a try.

Oregano Lemon Salmon Kabobs graced our table for Memorial Day and here’s how we put them together.

Start the party off with some fresh oregano, finely chopped.


Then, I mixed the oregano with some sesame seeds, ground cumin, sea salt, and red pepper flakes.


I took 2 fresh lemons and sliced them both quite thin.


I threaded one inch chunks of salmon, alternately with a folded lemon slice, onto my (soaked) bamboo skewers.  I found I had more salmon than lemon and so I threaded with kind of a bonus clump of salmon right in center skewer.  I then brushed the completed kabobs with olive oil and generously sprinkled / pressed on my spice mixture.


Onto the preheated grill they went.  The hubs took over; the man can’t cook to save his life, but he has been trained to follow explicit grilling instructions.  About 6 minutes, turning every 2 minutes or so, did the trick so that the fish was opaque throughout.


Tasty and entertaining – it’s always an added plus when you can eat and then torment your siblings with bamboo weaponry, right?  At least that’s the way things generally roll at our house.

Here’s the complete recipe for Grilled Salmon Kabobs with Lemon & Oregano.

Fish Fest – And I’m Not Talking About A Big Christian Rock Concert

Something new has been a brewin’ here in my kitchen and I confess that it’s kind of a mind blower.  I have been diving into “clean eating”, and I must say, I am loving it!

I have always been about healthy and real, but the “clean” thing I just didn’t get.  Not being one to follow the crowd, I resisted the whole fad.  I downright dismissed it as something that didn’t / wouldn’t fit with my food philosophy.  I know, right, who in their right mind has a food philosophy?!  For me, it’s really more of a gut take on food and strongly held beliefs about its place in my life from the pure pleasure of taste to the abstract notion of socializing around a good table.  I am also an adamant resister of deprivation; and I perceived the whole “clean eating” trend as all about legalistic deprivation.

So here is where I do the HUGE shout out to Francesca Gadaleta Giessmann and The Nourishing Seed.  I met the lovely Francesca because our small people play water polo together.  She invited me to her Spring Detox and it was at that moment that “clean eating” took on a whole new meaning to me.  I GOT it.  And the greatest thing is that she makes “clean” fun, delicious, and without deprivation.  Let me just repeat that last tidbit – there is no deprivation.

As I have been exploring the great recipes found in Francesca’s Spring Detox Guide, I have also been having a ball assessing some of my own new recipes and determining their “cleanliness”.  Ha – I love that expression; just makes me think like Lysol and Clorox and not kale and halibut.

Rather than my one recipe show that you usually get with each post, I give you a trio of fish recipes that are sure to please any clean eater.  On the docket we have African Adobo Rubbed Tuna Steaks, Slow Baked Salmon with Lemon & Thyme, and Moroccan Halibut.

The African Adobo Rubbed Tuna Steaks have three main elements:  the adobo rubbed tuna, a bed of English hothouse cucumbers, and a topping of avocado salsa.  I started the adobo (a fancy name for spice rub) by mixing together a slew of spices.


I put the rub aside and set to work on the salsa.  I diced 2 avocado, chopped some scallions and minced some garlic.


I then chopped up a couple of roasted red peppers and added them to the avocado mixture.


I whisked together some fresh OJ, fresh lime juices, and some olive oil and seasoned that with salt and pepper.  I poured that over the avocado mixture and set aside in the fridge.

For the cucumbers, I whisked together some champagne vinegar and a tad of sugar (yikes, I know, but it was only a tad).  Then I thinly sliced the cukes and tossed them in the vinaigrette.  I let them stand for at least 15 minutes allowing the flavors to blend.

Back to the tuna, I rubbed the steaks with the adobo very generously.


I heated a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet until it was smoking and then added the tuna steaks – cooking only about a minute per side for a nice medium rare steak.

I plated it all up by first putting down a bed of cucumbers, the sliced tuna steak to the side and then the avocado salsa to top it all off.


On to our number two contender in the FishFest lineup – Slow Baked Salmon with Lemon and Thyme.  This recipe is so easy it’s ridiculous, but you would never guess that from how tasty it is.

I started by lining a cooking sheet with foil and preheating my oven to 275 degrees. I brushed the foil with a little olive oil and placed the salmon filets on top.  Then I mixed a little more olive oil, some chopped fresh thyme, and some freshly grated lemon zest.  I spread the thyme – lemon mixture over the salmon fillets and then seasoned with salt and pepper.


I let that stand for about 10 minutes for the flavors to permeate the salmon and then baked about 17 minutes.

I served this up with some polenta topped with steamed spinach and goat cheese and some roasted carrots.


Last up on our roster is the Moroccan Halibut.  This one, like the salmon, is so easy and yet so flavorful.

I started by just sprinkling both sides of the halibut with salt and pepper.  Then I generously sprinkled the fish with cayenne pepper and cinnamon.


I then heated a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large skillet, added the halibut, and sauteed until golden and opaque in center; about 4 – 5 minutes per side.


I served this one up with swiss chard (a great recipe from The Nourishing Seed) and roasted carrots (yes, we love our roasted carrots ’round here).


So there you have it – – – a trio of super tasty, super easy, and super healthy fish recipes.  Just think, you can serve up some fish for the next three weeks without having to scour through oodles and oodles of recipes.  Oh, and you can casually tell your friends, “Yep, I’m eating clean.” (WINK)

Here are the complete recipes:

Adobo Rubbed Tuna Steaks

Slow Baked Salmon with Lemon & Thyme

Moroccan Halibut

~ all recipes adapted from Epicurious





Catching Up on the Backlog 3: Broiled Salmon with Citrus Yogurt Sauce

It’s actually chilly!  I repeat . . . it’s actually chilly.  This statement might not mean much to many, but to this SoCal girl transplanted from Ohio, this is cause for much rejoicing.  A fall day that feels like fall.

I won’t go on about the weather any longer because we are technically in the “recipe, and only the recipe” series.  Let me just add that if it actually rains, as per the weather forecast, I may become giddy.

This new salmon recipe recently made me giddy because it was just SO easy.  To start with, I tossed together the citrus yogurt sauce.  A little Greek yogurt, some olive oil, some grated lime zest, fresh squeezed lime juice, some orange zest, a little fresh squeezed orange juice, a bit of salt, and some honey – that’s all this great sauce requires.

Citrus salmon - 1

I just whisked that all together, along with a little water, and put it aside while I broiled my salmon.

Citrus salmon - 2

For the salmon, I just rinsed it and patted it dry, placed it on a foil lined broiling pan, and sprinkled with salt and pepper.


I broiled the fish for about 7 minutes, then covered with some foil, and broiled another 7 minutes until it was cooked through.  I served with the citrus sauce, some roasted broccolini, brown rice, and roasted tomato slices,  and called it a day .


Here’s the complete Broiled Salmon with Citrus Yogurt Sauce recipe from Gourmet.

Truth or Dare – Leek & Salmon Pot Pie

Heaven help us . . . we have entered into the phase of Truth or Dare. In general, we’re not much for sleepovers round here. But hey, it’s summer, and as one last treat for Big Little One and Medium Little One we decided to whoop it up with a slumber party. Two friends plus my two and we have a squealing, giggling, chattering overnight adventure.

First we hit the pool. Then dinner. Then movie watching in the treehouse. These were all somewhat parent directed, or at least suggested, activities. Then after the movie, out it came in all of its glory – dun, dun, dun – Truth or Dare. Absolutely no parental guidance heeded here.

Now though I would like to raise a wise eyebrow on this one and suggest the dangers of carrying out dares that could later lead to embarrassment, I just can’t. I so fondly remember my Truth or Dare days. Specifically I recall wearing a Richard Simmons wig and doing leg lifts in the middle of the street while my friends held the boom box (yes, I just said boom box) that was blasting music from Flash Dance. We reeled with laughter and doubled over because our sides hurt from it. It still makes me smile to think of that moment in time. It was pure silliness. Pure abandon. Pure naivety. So I table my eyebrow raising, and let the dares just run wild.  I pretend not to hear them downstairs as one pees in the baby’s training potty (that one gets points for creativity!) I call them back on the number they used to prank call me and ask for 12 pairs of the polka dot underwear they are selling. They roar from the bedroom down the hall and I hope that they are soaking up this time of side-holding hilarity. I hope they will have a moment like my Richard Simmons one that will stick with them forever and will remind them of good friends and what a good belly laugh really feels like.

Sure, I continue to enjoy a good laugh here and there with close friends.  I haven’t completely lost my sense of humor here in middle age. But it’s just not the same kind of rollicking, double-you-over, can not catch your breath laughter.  It’s usually a giggle here and there while sipping a glass of wine or a good cocktail and enjoying a flavorful dinner of some kind like this Salmon and Leek Pot Pie I made the other night.

The leeks caught me eye at the Farmer’s Market and I bought them and then just took it from there.


I cleaned and sliced the leeks, and then sauteed in some olive oil until they were tender.


I cut the salmon into bite-sized chunks and then tossed the salmon and leeks with some grated lime zest, dill, salt, and pepper.


I took a Trader Joe’s frozen pie crust which I had let defrost and unfolded it into a glass pie plate.  As an aside, this crust ranks quite well on the real food ingredient scale – enriched flour, butter, palm oil, water and salt. (Palm oil is very high in saturated fat, but it has zero trans fats.) I spread the salmon and leek mixture into the crust.


I covered it with the second crust and crimped the pie edges together and trimmed it close to the pie plate. Then I mixed up a little egg and water wash, and brushed it over the top crust. I baked it in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes until the crust was golden brown.


I love my leeks and now I am excited to have found a good use for the salmon that I always have left over from my Costco filet purchase – never enough to make a full second meal of salmon alone, but too much to not use in something.


And now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s just way too much laughter in the other room. That friend-memory making-truth or dare spiel is all well and good, but these girls have to get to sleep at some point . . .

Here’s the complete recipe for Leek & Salmon Pot Pie, adapted from Gourmet.

Make YOUR Commercial A Good One – Roasted Salmon with Corn & Red Pepper Relish

I have always jokingly said that I needed to get just one shy kid.  Just one who isn’t loud.  Just one who at least hesitates before interrupting a conversation. Just one who wants to be a behind the scenes kind of person. So far,  that’s not the hand we’ve been dealt.  Exactly NONE of my offspring are lacking in confidence!  I think that’s the other politically correct way of saying I have “strong willed” children.  Now I’m hoping that will serve them all very well someday.  I often say (about one child in particular), that she’s either going to do something amazing with her life, or . . .  we’ll be visiting her in prison in the future.  Let’s just keep praying that we end up with the first option.

I started thinking recently, about where that abundance of confidence comes from.  As with the old nature vs. nurture debate, I guess a lot of it is just in their DNA.  And then there are the things we do, say, or model for them that goes into the mix as well.

Just yesterday I took Little Little One to participate in a toy study.  If you’re not familiar with that term it’s really just a focus group.  I schlepped my 4 year old 20 minutes out the 5 freeway to a marketing agency where she sat at a computer and pointed out which toys she liked best.  In exchange for her opinions she received 15 bucks and a Polly Pocket Tropical Party Yacht. Not a bad gig when you’re four.  And I think it sends the message “Your opinion counts and people want to hear what you have to say” pretty clearly.

Actually though, it wasn’t quite as straightforward as that.  The way the study was structured went like this: 1) show 4 year old little girls a computer screen with 4 images on it 2) have each girl select which thing / toy she would take home IF she could choose just one 3) repeat this with about 8 other sets of 4 options 4) show a series of commercials for select products within each group 5) repeat same series of commercials 6) repeat selection process.  I’m pretty certain the point was to see which, if any, girls would change their selections after watching certain commercials.  Fascinating if you ask me.

So here’s what it makes me want to do – run out and make commercials for zucchini, ads for artichokes, and public service announcements for family dinners together!  Seriously.  How could the eating in our country change if our kids were bombarded with ads for carrots and squash and salmon?  What if all the ads for foodlike substances were just replaced with commercials for real fruits and vegetables.  There you have it, my 30 seconds of Eutopian dreaming.  But the farmers growing our produce organically and locally don’t have a Kool Aid, M&Ms or Doritos marketing budget.  Bummer.

In the meantime, all any of us can do is be our own commercials.  We can show our kiddos what real food is; let them see it, feel it, smell it and taste it.  Educate them like a public service announcement would about the “bad ingredients” and chemicals in processed foods.  Though we don’t feel like it on most days, we are our kids’ biggest heroes. Their eyes are always looking to us to decide what to say, how to act, how to treat others, and yes . . . what to eat.  So make your commercial a good one and you could give your kid an amazing gift – the joy of eating real food and enjoying the resulting health benefits.

And now, a word from our sponsor.  Salmon – it’s better than a chicken nugget any day!

This particular salmon was accompanied by a corn and roasted red pepper relish. To start with I charred a few red bell peppers under the broiler, then popped them in a paper bag, let them rest for 10 minutes, and then chopped.

salmon peppers

salmon bl peppers

I then took about 4 fresh ears of corn and cut the kernels from the cob.

salmon corn cob

I sauteed the corn with some scallions, and then threw in some scallions and minced garlic.  I then added a little white wine.

salmon corn

To the corn mixture I added the chopped roasted peppers, a little honey, some lemon juice, a bit of olive oil, fresh thyme,  and a touch of coriander.  The relish was done (except for adding some Italian parsley which I did just prior to serving).

salmon relish final

For the salmon filets, I combined olive oil, lemon juice, honey, paprika, salt and coriander.   I brushed the filets with this sauce and then placed on a baking sheet covered with foil.

salmon glaze

I roasted at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes – just until the fish was opaque in the center.  I served the salmon with the tomato and corn relish spooned over the top and accompanied by some roasted potatoes.

salmon final

I really enjoyed the relish which went with the fish.  Surprisingly, the kiddos raved about the glaze.  They liked the relish well enough, but just loved the simple glaze.  If I’m ever in a pinch for time, I think I would pull this one out again and just roast with the honey, lemon, olive oil, paprika & coriander glaze.

Here is the complete recipe for Roasted Salmon with Corn & Red Pepper Relish. (adapted from Epicurious)

Interested in other salmon recipes?  Have fun browsing through these.

Summer Simplicity – Buffalo Salmon Sliders

So often, less is really more.  Overused, of course, but oh so true.

As we come into our 3rd week of summer vacation, I have had to stop and remind myself of “less”.  We have done two weeks of biology camp, had numerous play and pool dates, have gone to the beach, etc.  These were all enjoyable and enriching things. No doubt.  But when I look closely at my small troop, it’s pretty undeniable that just hanging out around the house (doing less)  can get some pretty big grins, let loose some pretty awesome imaginations, and can lead to amazingly incredible problem solving (result in more).

This premise is most definitely the case in cooking.  I have always made the distinction between cooking and assembling.  But every once in a while I stumble onto a recipe for assembling something that is just a killer taste combination.  That was exactly the deal with these Buffalo Salmon Sliders.  Love, love love buffalo sauce – salmon is our protein of choice – and blue cheese?  Well, there are very few things, in my opinion, that aren’t made better with blue cheese.  So let the assembly begin.

Just took the salmon and cut into small pieces the size of my slider buns.


Poured some buffalo sauce over the salmon.  This jarred brand, Ashanti, is pretty decent – 7 ingredients and the only GMO offender is Xanthan Gum, but hey, it’s summer and I’m relaxing and contemplating simplicity.  If you don’t want to go the jarred route, here’s a great recipe for homemade.


I sliced up some avocado and tore up some lettuce leaves for serving.  And of course, crumbled up some blue cheese.


I tossed the buffalo coated salmon onto the grill, and cooked for about 5 minutes total.    Onto the slider buns went the salmon, the lettuce, avocado, blue cheese and a drizzle more buffalo sauce.  I served these up with some grated carrots, raisins and vinaigrette and some braised brussels sprouts.


So simple.  So good.  So summer!

Winner, Winner Salmon Dinner – A Conversion Experience

So after a few years away, my step-daughter (who is 19) returned to live with us this past summer.  We all had some adapting to do.  Overall it went well, except for one minor detail . . . she didn’t like salmon and politely refused to eat it. Salmon was a pretty regular player in our monthly meal lineup, so this posed a bit of a problem.

I secretly set out to make her a salmon convert.  I tried planking (cedar, that is), roasting, different marinades, and more.  Fiinally I hit on the winner.  The big ol’ golden salmon in the sky that makes this girl say, “Hey we haven’t had salmon in a while.” It’s an easy one to make too since it has a lot that can be done ahead of time, or in steps.

I recently had someone ask how long it takes me to put together the dinners that I’m posting.  It honestly doesn’t take that long, and as I explained to the person asking, I do a lot to pre-prep my meals when I have little moments of downtime in my day.  So as I walk you through this one, I’ll also point out the pre-prepping I did to minimize the “last-minute-get-it-on-the-table-crunch”.


The mango salsa is quick to put together and waits well in the fridge.  That sitting time also always the flavors to meld better.  I threw the salsa together in a 5 minute window I had early afternoon when no one was calling my name.  Simply put, you peel and chop 2 mangoes, (insert confession here – I can’t stand the feel of a mango.  Don’t know what it is, but it’s the only food whose feel creeps me out.  As such, I buy them already peeled and packaged at Costco.  This makes the chopping go super fast), finely dice 1/2 of a red onion, chop a bunch of cilantro, mix together and add one squeeze of lime juice.

The spice rub for this salmon isn’t complicated, so during another 5 minute moment of sanity in my day, I threw together the spices required.  That way they were ready for the rubbing when dinner time rolled around.

I serve this salmon over a bed of rice and black beans. While the kiddos were entertaining themselves at another moment in the afternoon, I opened, drained, and  rinsed my black beans, cooked my rice and mixed the two together.  This I could also just set aside until dinner time.

When actual dinner arrived, I was poised and ready to put it all into action and the preceding prep had literally only taken me 15 minutes earlier in the day doled out in 5 minute increments.

I went ahead and rubbed down my salmon with the spices.

I then heated a bit of oil in the skillet and added the salmon.  I cooked it for about 5 minutes on each side until the spice rub made a nice crust.  At this point you can pull the salmon fillets apart  to assure it is well cooked through, or you can do a sneak test and leave the fillets in tact.  The latter is my preference.  Just remember that salmon can go from succulent to dry in a heart beat, so make sure you don’t overcook.

To serve, put the black bean and rice on the plate, layer with the salmon, and top with the mango salsa.  Not only is this one healthy and easy to put together, but it’s beautiful on the plate.  Oh, and I like to serve it with a bit of avocado on the side too, not to mention the pre-mixed margarita that it pairs wonderfully with (wink).

So there you have it . . . the story of how my oldest daughter came to know and love salmon and how this unassuming fish restored dinner table harmony to our family.  As I mentioned, my oldest is 19, but you should also know that at our house if you don’t like what’s served, there are no other options.  Hence the reason my 20 month old ate seconds and thirds last night when this was served.  But talking about how I got my kids to be good eaters and budding foodies is fodder for a whole other post.