Pan Seared Salmon with Dijon Crème Fraiche and Lentil Frisée Salad

Yield: 4 servings

Lentils:

1 cup beluga lentils, rinsed well and drained

3 cups vegetable stock

1 dried bay leaf

5 sprigs fresh thyme

Mix the lentils with the stock, bay leaf, and thyme in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring the saucepan to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are cooked through but not mushy. Drain. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf.

Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoon red wine or sherry vinegar

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

In a small container with a tight fitting lid, combine the vinaigrette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

Salad:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced small (⅔ cup)

2 medium carrots, peeled and grated (1 cup)

4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) 

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint

1 small head frisée, rinsed and dried, chopped or torn into bite-size pieces (2 cups)

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Add the olive oil, onions and carrots to a medium sate pan over medium-low. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

In a large bowl, combine the contents of the sauté pan along with the lentils.

Grab the vinaigrette and give one more good shake or whisk, then pour it over the warm salad and gently mix with a large spoon.

Fold in the parsley, mint and frisée. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Salmon:

1 pound salmon fillet, 1½ inches thick, skin on, cut into 4 equal pieces

1 tablespoon lemon zest (zest of 3 lemons), grated on a Microplane

2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pat the salmon dry, then pat the non-skin side with the lemon zest and chopped thyme, season lightly with salt and pepper, and allow the salmon to sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat until hot; add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter to the sauté pan. The butter will bubble up, turn brown and perhaps even smoke. Swirl the sauté pan to distribute, then add the salmon, skin side up.

Cook for 1 minute, flip to skin side down and continue cooking for 30 seconds.

Cover the sauté pan and immediately push the sauté pan off the heat. Turn off the heat and allow the salmon to rest undisturbed for 15 minutes.

Dijon Crème Fraîche:

1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard

¼ cup crème fraîche

Place the mustard and crème fraîche in a small bowl and stir until combined.

Serve salmon topped with a dollop of Dijon crème fraîche and on a bed of the lentil frisee salad.

Note: I recommend preparing this recipe in the following way in order to maximize your time. Cook lentils first. While lentils are cooking, make the vinaigrette, followed by the Dijon crème fraiche. Start the salmon and then work on the salad. And, as always, mise out/prep your ingredients first!

Sweet and Spicy Brussels Sprouts Salad

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield:  4 servings

1 pound Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed and any discolored outer leaves discarded

1 large shallot, peeled and halved lengthwise

¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 small apple diced small

1/3 cup toasted and salted pecans, roughly chopped

1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

1/3 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Feed Brussels sprouts and shallot through the food processor chute with the slicer attachment.

Add the sliced Brussels sprouts, shallot, cayenne pepper, coriander, salt and pepper to a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Add olive oil and stir to combine.

Spread Brussels mixture evenly on an aluminum foil-lined sheet tray.

Place an oven rack in the upper position. (Approximately 5-inches below the heat source.) Place sheet tray under broiler for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, stir and broil for an additional 3 minutes. (Keep your eye on things!) Remove from oven and set aside.

In the same bowl you used to mix the brussels sprouts, add the mustard, maple syrup, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Whisk to combine.

Transfer the brussels sprouts mixture from the sheet tray to the bowl with the vinaigrette. Stir to combine.

Add the apple, pecans, pomegranate, parsley and Parmigiano and stir to combine.

Serve while still warm.

Steamed Mussels in a Coconut Lemongrass Broth

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 2 servings

2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed oil

1 large shallot, peeled and diced small

12 (2-inch) pieces lemongrass, bruised with the back of a knife

3 (3-inch) pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

10 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced

¼ red pepper (chili) flakes

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 large makrut (Thai) lime leaves, each leaf torn into quarters

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup water

½ pint (5 ounces) grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (not lite, no guar gum)

1 small bunch cilantro, stems finely chopped, leaves reserved/set aside

2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

Sourdough bread, sliced and toasted

In a 5.5 quart dutch oven add the oil and set over medium heat. Heat until oil is shimmering, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Add the shallot, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, chili flakes, black pepper and lime leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is translucent, approximately 5 minutes.

Add the chicken stock, water and cherry tomatoes. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to pull up any brown bits aka deglaze.

Add the coconut milk and bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is slightly thickened and reduced by half, approximately 20 minutes.

Add the cilantro stems (do not add the leaves) and stir.

Stir in the mussels. Cover and let cook for 4 minutes, shaking the pan every minute for even cooking, until the mussels are cooked through and have opened.

Turn off heat. Transfer mussels, with a slotted spoon, to a large bowl.

Add the lime juice to the coconut milk broth and stir. Taste and season with additional lime juice and/or salt and pepper as needed.

To serve, distribute the mussels among large shallow bowls. Spoon over broth and a sprinkle of the cilantro leaves. Serve with copious amounts of toasted sourdough bread to sop up the liquid gold coconut lemongrass broth.

Note: this makes a nice appetizer or light lunch, but if serving for dinner, you may want to add a serving of rice and double up on the recipe!

Chicken Teriyaki Pilaf with Butternut Squash and Mushrooms

TeriyakiChix

Watch me make this on my YouTube!

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Teriyaki Chicken:

1/3 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

3 tablespoons mirin

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger, grated on a Microplane

¼ teaspoon freshly grated garlic, grated on a Microplane

1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs

Add all ingredients, except chicken, to a medium saucepan (do not put over heat) and stir until sugar has dissolved. Add chicken and stir to coat. Let sit at room temperature while you prep the pilaf.

Pilaf:

2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger, grated on a Microplane

1½ tablespoons minced garlic

1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced

1 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 cup Jasmine rice, rinsed and drained well

1¼ cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

3 tablespoons white miso

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced medium

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 scallions, thinly sliced on a bias, white and green parts

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add the oils, ginger, garlic and shallot to a 5.5 quart dutch oven and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until shallots are soft and translucent, approximately 5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have given up their liquid and are soft, approximately 5 minutes.

Add rice, stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add stock and rice wine vinegar. Stir to combine. Add miso and stir until incorporated fully. Add squash and pepper and stir to combine. Level rice mixture with a spatula. Add the chicken thighs (but not the sauce – keep the sauce in the saucepan!) in a single layer on top of the mixture. Cook, uncovered, until mixture is simmering all the way through (center and sides – everywhere!). Once a simmer is achieved, cover and transfer to oven. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven (keep covered) and let rest, covered, for 20 minutes.

While the pilaf is resting, put the teriyaki sauce over low heat and reduce, stirring occasionally, until 1/3 cup sauce remains. Remove from heat. (You may want/need to reheat sauce if you wait a long time before serving pilaf).

Pour teriyaki sauce over the chicken. Top with scallions and sesame seeds and serve!

Green Tex-Mex Shakshuka (Eggs Poached in Tomatillos and Spices)

texmexshakshuka2 copy

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 4 servings

 

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into eighths

½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

5 large cloves garlic, peeled

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon whole coriander seed

¼ teaspoon chipotle powder

¾ pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered

1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans (do not drain)

10-ounces frozen spinach (whole leaf or cut)

4 large whole eggs

1 cup crushed tortilla chips

1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

1/3 cup salsa of your choice

1/3 cup sour cream

 

Add onion and garlic to a food processor. Pulse, approximately 20 times, until onion is chopped.

Place a large sauté pan over medium heat and add oil, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.

While cooking, add tomatillos to food processor and pulse, approximately 15 times, until roughly chopped. Add pinto beans (beans + liquid) and pulse 5 times.

When onions are soft and translucent, add cumin, coriander and chipotle powder. Stir and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add tomatillo bean mixture and spinach to the pan. Stir and turn heat to high to bring mixture to a boil, stirring until spinach has thawed. Once boiling and spinach has thawed, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid has reduced by about half, 5 to 10 minutes.

Crack the eggs, equally spacing them apart, into the pan.

Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 5 minutes or until whites are just set. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle over crushed tortilla chips, cilantro and salsa and dollop over some sour cream.

Tray Bake Sausage with Cabbage and Roasted Cherries

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Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yields: 4 servings

 

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 small cabbage (1¼ pound cabbage) cored, quartered and thinly sliced (7 packed cups)

1 large shallot, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

4 (5-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary

1½ pounds fresh Spicy Italian Sausage (4 links), poked with a sharp knife (5-10 times per)

1 pound frozen, pitted cherries, thawed

½ cup roughly chopped toasted and salted pecans

¼ cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves

 

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add the mustard, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the cabbage, shallot and rosemary and mix thoroughly to combine.

Spread the cabbage mixture over 2/3rds of a parchment paper-lined sheet tray.

Evenly space the links on top of the cabbage mixture.

In the remaining 1/3 space on the sheet tray, spread out the cherries.

Bake for 15 minutes and then flip the sausages.

Continue baking until the internal temperature of the sausages reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, approximately 15 minutes.

To serve, place some of the cabbage in a shallow bowl. Top with a sprinkle of pecans and parsley. Spoon roasted cherries around the cabbage and top with a sausage.

Herb Encrusted Chicken Paillard with Spicy Lemon Quinoa Salad

paillardquinoa

 

Watch me make this on my YouTube channel!

Yield: 4 servings

 

Chicken:

4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 2 pounds)

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, oregano or thyme (or a combination of all three)

2 teaspoons lemon zest (zest of 2 lemons), grated on a Microplane

3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (1 tablespoon)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

 

Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil. Adjust an oven rack to the upper position.

Pat the chicken breasts dry. Using a mallet, rolling pin, or the back of a saucepan, pound each chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap until ⅓ inch thick.

Remove the chicken from the plastic wrap, then drizzle lightly with the olive oil, just enough to coat both sides, rubbing to coat evenly. Season equally with herbs, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper.

Set your oven to broil. Place chicken on sheet tray and broil for approximately 8 minutes, flipping the breasts halfway through, until the internal temperature is 150 degrees Fahrenheit. (Keep your eyes on that chicken under the broiler – things can happen fast!)

Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing / serving over the quinoa salad.

 

Spicy Lemon Quinoa Salad:

Citronette:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

1 medium shallot, peeled and diced finely (3 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

In a small container with a tight fitting lid, combine the citronette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

 

Salad:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained

½ teaspoon crushed red chile pepper (chile flakes), or to taste

3/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

1 (15-ounce) can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained

1/4 cup roughly chopped kalamata or green olives, pits removed

 

Cook quinoa according to package instructions.

Transfer the quinoa to a medium sized bowl. Add the chile flakes, parsley, pine nuts, garbanzo beans and olives. Drizzle the citronette over the salad. Fold to mix everything together. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

Sesame Crusted Salmon Rice Bowl

Salmonbowl

Watch me make this recipe on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 4 servings

 

Sauce

2 tablespoons mirin

4 teaspoons unsweetened rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

 

Mix together in a small bowl. Set aside.

 

Bowl Ingredients

2 cups cooked rice (your choice e.g. sushi, brown, forbidden)

4-ounces small carrots, (approximately 2 small carrots) peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler

3-ounces cucumbers (Persian or English), (approximately 1 cucumber) thinly sliced

12 seaweed squares (your favorite brand or seaweed snack)

2 teaspoons Nori Komi furikake (use toasted sesame seeds if you don’t have it)

4 teaspoons pickled ginger

1 avocado, cut in half lengthwise, pitted and cut into slices

1-ounce scallion, (1 scallion), dark green part and root end cut off, sliced thinly on a bias

 

Salmon

1 pound wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, preferably Copper River Salmon, skin on, pin bones removed, cut into 4 equal sized pieces, 1-inch thick

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons white sesame seeds

2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

 

Pat the fish dry (all sides) with a paper towel.

Lightly oil salmon with ½ teaspoon olive oil. Use fingers to ensure oil is evenly coating the flesh. Season flesh side of salmon pieces evenly with salt and pepper.

Place sesame seeds on a plate.

Gently press flesh side of salmon into plate of sesame seeds to coat the flesh.

Add remaining 1½ teaspoons oil to a medium nonstick sauté pan and place over medium heat. Let pan heat until hot, approximately 2 minutes. Swirl to coat bottom of pan with the oil. Place fish (cook all 4 pieces at a time if pan is large enough), sesame seed side down into pan and let cook until golden brown, approximately 2 minutes. Flip fish and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes until skin is crispy and salmon changes in color from bright pink and translucent to opaque and coral.

Remove from pan and transfer to a plate. Remove skin before serving if you wish.

 

Bowl Assembly

To assemble the bowl, divide the rice among 4 bowls. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of furikake over each portion of rice. Arrange carrots, cucumbers, avocado, scallions and pickled ginger on top of the rice. Drizzle sauce over each portion, to taste. Place 3 seaweed sheets upright against the side of the bowl and lay a piece of salmon atop each bowl, sesame seed side up.

Serve immediately.

Coriander Spiced Calabacitas Tacos with Chipotle Crema

Coriander Spiced Calabacitas Tacos

Coriander Spiced Calabacitas Tacos with Chipotle Crema

Yields: 12 servings

 

Chipotle Crema:

1 cup organic sour cream

2½ tablespoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

 

Tacos:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium red onion, peeled and diced small

1 medium poblano pepper, seeded and diced small

1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeds and veins discarded, diced small, or to taste

1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds

5 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced

½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

5 tomatillos, husked, rinsed and diced small

2 medium zucchini or summer squash or mix of both (1 pound), diced small

½ bunch fresh cilantro, leaves and stems, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of 1 lime)

 

Toppings:

12 tortillas, warmed on a griddle, nonstick pan or directly over a flame

Salsa of choice

Cotija Cheese, crumbled

Fresh cilantro leaves

 

Mix Chipotle Crema ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more salt or making more spicy with additional adobo sauce. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan set over medium heat, add the olive oil, onions, poblano and jalapeno and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are beginning to soften.

Add the cumin, coriander and garlic and season with salt and pepper.  Stir, and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant.

Add the tomatillos, zucchini and cilantro. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is soft and cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in fresh lime juice. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper and/or lime juice.

Assemble tacos by putting a dollop of chipotle crema on a taco, then adding the calabacitas followed by salsa, cheese and cilantro. Repeat – repeat – repeat!

 

Spicy Smashed Cucumber Salad

Spicy Smashed Cuc salad

For those of you who like spice – this recipe is for you! The play of the heat from the red pepper flakes and numbing effect of Sichuan peppercorns (commonly used in Sichuan cuisine) makes this dish have an addictive quality. That, plus it’s easy to whip up AND when you have a glut of summer cucumbers on hand, it’s nice to try something new!

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

Smashed Cucumbers:
1 pound small cucumbers, Persian or Japanese, ends trimmed and halved lengthwise, seeds scooped out
1 tablespoon natural (unseasoned) rice wine vinegar
¾ teaspoon dark brown sugar
¾ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons roughly chopped dry roasted peanuts
1 scallion, ends trimmed, sliced thinly (white and light green part), optional

Place cucumbers flesh side down on a cutting board. Gently smash with the side of a large knife. Tear into bite sized pieces.

Place vinegar, sugar, oil and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to dissolve sugar and salt. Add cucumbers, peanuts and scallion (if using) and stir to combine.
Spiced Oil:
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper (chili flakes)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Turn heat to medium low. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic turns light brown, approximately 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Pour spicy oil over cucumbers. Fold to combine. Adjust seasoning with salt and serve.