Salmon with Salad and Carrot-Ginger Vinaigrette

This is the perfect dish to serve when a regular salad sounds boring, but you still crave something light, fresh and nutritious.  If you’re like me fish sometimes feels fussy and hard, but in reality fish cooks up really quickly and can be prepared very simply to let the flavor really shine on its own.

Pan-Fried Salmon

  • 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz salmon filet per person
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the salmon well with salt and pepper.  When the skillet is really hot, place the salmon skin-side down in the skillet (you want it to sizzle as soon as it hits the pan).  Cook for 6 minutes on the first side, flip and cook for an additional 1 1/2 minutes.  Cooking time may very slightly due to the thickness of your filet.

Carrot-Ginger Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 – 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 1 tangerine, juiced (or orange)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Top a salad with the salmon and dressing.  Enjoy!

Blackberry Lime Cupcakes

If you happened to be at Seekers church on Sunday you got to try the Peaches and Cream Cupcakes, and these Blackberry Lime Cupcakes.

These cupcakes are the same as the Key Lime and Blueberry Swirl Cupcakes I made a few months ago.  Just swap out the blueberries for blackberries.

The frosting was slightly different to emphasize the blackberries more than the lime.  It turned out to be such a pretty color!

Blackberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes enough to frost 60 mini cupcakes, or 24 regular cupcakes

  • 6 Tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 12 oz. (1 1/2 packages) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup blackberry syrup
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups confectioners sugar

In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy.  Combine the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Peaches and Cream Cupcakes

Here’s some celebratory (cup)cakes.  While there is lots to celebrate in life, right now I’m celebrating my fixed computer!  I had to send my poor laptop into the Mac doctors to be fixed.  Fortunately there’s a flat rate to send it to the warehouse for repairs and it came back with a new screen (which I knew was broken), and a new battery (which I didn’t know was leaking/swollen?!), so now it feels like a new machine!  It had been getting really hot on the bottom and the battery seemed to run out rather quickly, but I had just thought it was all the hot weather + being used for long periods of time.  But apparently I was underestimating my mac and it was in need of a new battery instead.

Other things to celebrate:  the safe arrival of a church member’s family from Uganda, seasonal fresh fruit, the Olympics, slightly cooler weather, this is my 101st post, etc.  So pick a reason and make some celebratory cake, because there is always a reason to be thankful and eat cake!

These cupcakes were a bit of a challenge to get the right peach flavor, but it turns out that they just need a day to meld and fully develop their fruity flavor.  You’ll need freeze dried peaches for this which can be found at Target (the Archer Farms brand).  Freeze dried peaches impart a lot of peach flavor without watering down the batter or frosting with a lot of fresh peach juice.  You’ll need two 1.75oz packages, one for the cupcakes and one for the frosting.

Peaches and Cream Cupcakes

Makes about 60 mini-cupcakes, or 24 regular size.

Adapted from Week Of Menus

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1.75 oz (49 grams) freeze dried peaches, pulverized in a mini-food processor
  • 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger (optional)
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 large peach, pureed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line muffin tins with liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and ginger.  Set aside.

In a measuring cup, mix together the buttermilk, pureed peach, and vanilla extract.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Beat in the now powdered freeze dried peaches.

Mix the flour into the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk mixture.  Make sure to end with the flour and be careful not to overmix (I recommend switching to a spatula for the last combination).

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes for mini-cupcakes, or 21-24 minutes for regular-cupcakes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow cupcakes to cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan, then place on a cooling rack until completely cooled and ready to frost.

Peaches and Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes enough to frost 60 mini-cupcakes or 24 regular cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 12 oz (1 1/2 packages) cream cheese, room temperature (I used 1/3 less fat)
  • 1.75 oz freeze dried peaches, pulverized in a mini-food processor
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 large peach, finely minced or pureed
  • 2 1/2 -3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until well blended and fluffy.  Add remaining ingredients and blend well.  Taste as you go and adjust the amount of sugar to your desired sweetness.

Savory Zucchini Cakes

We bought a bunch of big, beautiful zucchini and summer squash the other day on the way home from the beach.  We didn’t really have a plan for them, but I stumbled upon this simple recipe for savory zucchini cakes.  I liked that the ingredient list is short and it comes together really quickly.  I’ll definitely be making these again and again.

Zucchini Cakes

Makes about 8 patties

Adapted from Just Putzing Around the Kitchen

  • 1 large zucchini, grated and drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup panko
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red curry powder
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced (optional)

Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Grate the zucchini and squeeze out the excess liquid.  Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.  Form into about 8 patties and place on prepared cookie sheet.  Broil on low for about 5-10 minutes, flip and broil for an additional 2-4 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Rosemary and Garlic White Bean Dip

I find that taking dip to work is a convenient and tasty lunch.  There are lots of options for things to eat dip with, so your lunch can vary a lot too.  This dip also makes a great sandwich spread, so if you’re a vegetarian it adds a nice protein kick to a sandwich.

Rosemary and Garlic White Bean Dip

Makes about 1 cup

Adapted from Laura’s Recipe Collection

  • 4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 (15oz) cans white beans, drained and rinsed (I used cannelini and garbanzo)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 small sprigs rosemary, rinsed

Saute the garlic in 2 Tbsp olive oil in a small pan until fragrant, be careful not to brown it.

In the bowl of your food processor, combine beans, lemon juice, and salt and pulse a few times.  Pour in the garlic and oil, puree until smooth.

Heat the remaing 2 Tbsp olive oil in a small pan, add the rosemary sprigs.  Saute until fragrant, about 2-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and take the rosemary out of the pan.  Pour the oil into the food processor.  Mince about 1 tsp of rosemary and sprinkle on top.

Whole Wheat Rosemary Garlic Bread

I’m apparently on a bread kick, so here’s another loaf for you!

I had actually intended to make this bread for a catering event I was doing, but my yeast didn’t proof and I was too tired to get more at the time.  So I bought bread and new yeast the day of the catering event and served Whole Foods’ bread and made this when I got home.

This is a great bread.  It’s good for sandwiches or dip, good with butter or with hummus, flavorful enough on its own but not so overpowering that it can’t be paired with other things.

Whole Wheat Rosemary Garlic Bread

Makes 2 loaves (about 20-24 slices)

Adapted from Good Life Eats

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 1/2 tsp (1 pkg) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 tsp salt
  • sprinkle of flour to dust the loaves
  • 2 Tbsp cornmeal for the pans

In a small bowl, add warm water, yeast, and sugar, whisk to combine and allow to sit while you assemble the dry ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine both flours, garlic, rosemary, and salt; mix well.  Whisk the olive oil into the yeast mixture, then pour the liquids into the dry ingredients.  Stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour has been moistened.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead the dough for about 8 minutes, adding more flour as necessary until the dough forms a smooth ball.

Place dough in a lighly oiled bowl, turning over so the top is oiled.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

After the dough has doubled, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press to deflate it.  Cut the dough in half and shape one half at a time.  Press the dough into a square, then roll it up tightly.  Turn the cylinder 90 degrees and roll up again from the short end.  Place seam side down and cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit 5 minutes.  Repeat with the other half.

Dust large 11″x13″ jelly roll pan with cornmeal.  Gently roll the dough to elongate the cylinder, working from the center out.  Place the loaves seam side down on the pan and dust lightly with flour.  Cover with plastic wrap again and allow to rise again until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

After about 1 hour if your bread has made progress, preheat your oven to 450°F and position the shelf in the center of the oven.

Once the dough has finished rising, use a sharp knife to cut 3 or 4 slashes across the top of the loaf.  Immediately place the loaves in the oven and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.  Remove the bread to a wire rack and allow to cool.

Hiyashi Chuka

This is rapidly turning into my favorite summer meal.  Hiyashi Chuka basically means cold noodles.  I buy this package at my local H-mart and it comes with its own sauce and a little packet of spicy mustard if you like.  The noodles take about 4 minutes to cook and the rest is just the assembly of whatever vegetables and/or protein you like.  Ham is traditional (at least in my family).  My favorite part is the Japanese omelette.  This time around I added peas, broccoli trunks, green beans, corn, orange bell pepper, ham, scallions, and omelette.  Julienned carrots and cucumber are traditional, but I didn’t have any on hand.

Confession:  I’ve never made this all by myself.  This is a Mom-made meal that I adore and am sous chef for (I julienne the veggies).  So I’m not sure how she gets the omelette just right (I also just learned how to make a normal omelette this year, so I’m not sure I’m ready for fancy Japanese omelettes just yet).  Here’s my understanding of what goes into a Japanese omelette.

Japanese Omelette

  • One egg per person
  • Splash of mirin (rice wine)
  • Smaller splash of toasted sesame oil

Whisk together the egg, mirin, and sesame oil.  Pour into a hot nonstick pan.  As the omelette sets, attempt to roll it.  When cooked through, remove from heat and slice.

After  the noodles have finished cooking, rinse them in cold water to cool them.  Pourthe dressing packet on (if serving immediately) and then arrange the toppings on top.

Whole Wheat Flatbread

To go with the hummus I made a few days ago, I decided to try out this whole wheat flat bread.  It has the same cooking process as the naan I made a while ago, but tastes more like pita.  I like not having to turn the oven on but still getting tasty bread, so this process is better for the summer.  I ended up taking some flat bread to work and making wraps with ham and cheese, delicious!  The salt and pepper gives this flat bread a good flavor all on its own, but since it’s on the dry side I recommend serving it with a dip or something sauce-y.

Whole Wheat Flat Bread

Makes 12 small flat breads

Adapted from Joy the Baker

  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 tsp (1 pkg) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp old fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • cooking spray

In a small bowl or your measuring cup, whisk together 1/4 cup warm water, yeast and sugar.  Let sit while you combine the the dry ingredients, mixture should fizz and foam showing that the yeast is active.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, oats, salt, and pepper.  Add the yeast mixture and the other 1/2 cup warm water.  Mix together with a wooden spoon until all the flour has been moistened and you have a shaggy dough beginning to form.  Turn dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead a few times until a smooth ball forms.

Clean out and dry your bowl, lightly coat with cooking spray and place your dough ball in the center.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

When the dough has doubled, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few more times.  Cut the dough in half, form each half into a log and cut into 6 pieces each.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Roll out each dough piece into about 4 or 5 inch circles.  Place one circle at a time in the hot (ungreased) pan.  Cook on one side for about 2 minutes, or until bubbles begin to form.  Flip and cook for another minute or two to brown the other side.  Remove from pan.  If the bread begins to get too crisp as it cools, cover loosely with a towel and the steam will keep them nice and soft.  Serve immediately or allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Hummus

I’ve wanted to make my own hummus for a while, and I’m not sure what has taken so long as it’s terribly easy to make.  I look forward to experimenting with some different flavor and bean combinations.  In the meantime here’s the basic recipe I started with.  I was a little concerned when I sampled it while making it as it didn’t taste quite how I expected, but after a night in the fridge it was exactly right.

Hummus

Serves about 6-8

Adapted from Delicious Shots

  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 cup water (from boiled chickpeas)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Add chickpeas to a small saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes.  Scoop the chickpeas out of the water and into the bowl of a food processor.  Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and blend until smooth.  Serve with carrot sticks, pita, pretzels, or whatever strikes your fancy.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

I wasn’t sure if I was going to post this recipe.  It’s not exactly an exciting, standout recipe (glowing review, I know).  However, it is convenient and perfect for those times when you know you need to be eating healthy things but just want to stuff your face with the nearest and easiest anything, preferably carbs.  We’ve all been there, and salads just don’t sound like they’re going to satisfy the way something dense and starchy would.  So if you’re looking for a way to bulk up a salad without a lot of work during the week, this is your guideline (it’s super adaptable, so run with the idea).

Southwestern Quinoa Salad 

Serves about 6

Adapted from FitSugar

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes,  halved (you might do this right before serving so they don’t water down the salad)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt

In a small saucepan, toast the quinoa over medium high heat for a few minutes, until quinoa starts to turn golden and smells fragrant.  Add the water to the saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve on a bed of lettuce with Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette.

Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette

  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed and chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or grated
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food process and pulse until well mixed.