Salmon, peppers and arugula

I had one of those evenings where I knew I was going to make some salmon but didn’t know what to have with it. I looked through the fridge and didn’t see much so I went for a walk to the green grocer up the street and picked up some peppers and arugula. Couldn’t resist them – they looked so fresh and colourful.

I came home and thinly sliced up an orange pepper along with a leek. I sautéed them till wilted and then threw in a handful of baby arugula to wilt it.  I turned the burner off so the heat that was left in the pan wilted the arugula nicely.

I did a quick maple and dijon glaze for the salmon and put it in the toaster oven for about 12 minutes then placed the fish over the peppers, arugula and leeks, sprinkled some toasted sesame seeds on top and dinner was ready in about 20 minutes.  How easy is that!

IMG_1922

 

I only managed to eat half and shared a small taste with my cat who was quite happy to indulge as well ;-). Now I don’t have to think about lunch tomorrow.

Advertisements

Fabulous Tuna Dinner

Well it was dinner with Ted and Judy again last night – my favourite “restaurant” ;-). I can’t get over the cooking that these friends do! So last night we had a starter of mussels which where so good I totally forgot to photograph them as we just dove into the bowls. Trust me they were delicious.

The rest of the meal was no exception. Actually I have to backtrack….I was starving when I got to T&J’s place as I had forgotten to eat lunch. Judy had some smoked salmon which she artfully put on top of a tiny dollop of hungarian cream cheese (made with paprika – yes it was awesome) on a  thin slice of left over roast potato. Topped with a couple of capers it was an appetizer fit for any restaurant.

IMG_1832

 

Later we had the mussels followed by a tuna dinner that was out of this world! Ted got some sushi grade tuna from a local fish monger and covered it in sesame seeds with a bit of black pepper ground on top.

 

IMG_1837

 

He seared it for 3 minutes per side in a hot cast iron frying pan. Prior to cooking, Ted made a small dish of sauce to go with the tuna. Mix the ingredients below and add to taste. It really does take on a different taste though once you drizzle it over the cooked tuna.

1 tbsp sesame oil

3-4 tbsp soy sauce

½ – 1 tsp wasabi paste to taste

1 tsp rice wine vinegar

Along with the tuna Judy made her secret mashed potatoes – all I can tell you is there is some butter and her secret weapon is a mix master ;-). They are the smoothest creamiest potatoes ever.

IMG_1838

 

The salad Judy came up with (so creative) was made with the following ingredients:

Red tipped boston lettuce (beautiful looking)

Cubed field tomatoes (from the farmers market that day)

Cubed bocconcini cheese, 4-5 pieces

1 whole diced/cubed avocado

4-5 sun dried tomatoes chopped with a lime infusion (lime juice squeezed over to moisten)

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients (not the lettuce leaves) and pour the juice of one lime over them and mix/stir. Then put into individual boston lettuce “cups”/leaves

The tuna was timed perfectly for when the salad and potatoes were done. Plated, it looked fit for royalty. What an outstanding meal! I of course got to take home the leftovers. Thanks again to my favourite restaurant!

IMG_1844

 

 

Dinner Club – Korea

The other Saturday it was my turn to host Dinner Club. This is where a group of 8 of us (plus 2 host guests) gather for dinner and it is all about a specific country of choice (the host picks a country). The food is mostly prepared by the host and each guest brings a bottle of something to drink from that area (or surrounding area) and we each give a 2-3 minute presentation on a different topic. These topics range from economics, government, culture, arts and literature, customs etc.  It’s always a fun evening and we all go away learning something about that country.

Last night was my turn to host and I chose Korea as the country for the evening. I must say by the end of the evening I learned a great deal about a country I knew very little about. It was great and kudos to the guests for all their input!

 

Now for the food (which is pretty much what this blog is all about!)

The menu was as follows:

Salad with sesame dressing

Side dishes included – Kimchee (spicy pickled cabbage), edamame, pickled carrots and radish and sesame spinach. (Most of these items I bought – edamame is just steamed and recipe for spinach follows)

Main course – Seared miso salmon on a bed of grilled corn and steamed baby pea sprouts, Korean sizzling beef, jab chae – a sweet potato noodle with spinach and carrots in a soy marinade (a real favourite)

Dessert was fresh fruit – peaches and blueberries, green tea cookies and sesame cookies.

Recipes to follow after the photos.

IMG_1742

 

 

 

IMG_1744

Seared Miso Salmon with Corn and pea sprouts (you can use anything as a base veg for this)

 Serves: 4 (I doubled this recipe but had extra left over)

Ingredients:

4 skinless, boneless salmon filets (I didn’t double this portion as I was serving small pieces along with the other food)

1 cup white miso

1/4 cup mirin

1/4 cup sake (I didn’t have this so left it out)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons dark sesame oil plus a few extra drops for sautéing sprouts and corn)

2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

3 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen (I grilled the cobs on the BBQ and then sliced the kernels off (yes I am Type A 😉 )

Toasted sesame seeds to sprinkled over before serving (I also crumbled some roasted nori on top)

 

Directions:

Place salmon in a shallow dish and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together miso, mirin, sake, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Reserve 5 tablespoons of the mixture, cover, and refrigerate. Pour remaining mixture over salmon, cover, and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

In a large nonstick pan, add ½ cup of water and a drop or two of sesame oil. Steam pea sprouts till wilted, about 2 minutes. Take sprouts out and pat dry. Add canola oil and a few drops of sesame oil to the pan. Add corn and pea sprouts and sauté another 4 minutes until flavoured. Toss in scallions and reserved miso sauce. Mix gently to warm through and set aside, keeping warm.

Heat some canola oil in the same pan. Remove salmon from marinade and shake off any excess. Place filets in a single layer in pan and sear until centre is no longer raw. Divide corn and sprout mixture among four plates and top each with a piece of salmon. Garnish with sliced scallions and sesame seeds.

 

IMG_1743

Sesame Spinach

Ingredients:

1 lb. spinach, stemmed and washed (16 cups)

2 Tbs. Asian sesame oil

1 Tbs. soy sauce

Toasted white sesame seeds for garnish

1 tsp. plain rice vinegar

1 tsp. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions:

Mix (whisk) all ingredients (except spinach) in a medium bowl.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the spinach in the boiling water, stirring, just until bright green and wilted (this doesn’t take long). Transfer the spinach to a colander. Drain well and squeeze or press out excess water. Using your fingers, loosen the spinach slightly as you transfer it to a medium bowl.

Mix the spinach with the ingredients in the bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let the flavors meld. Return to cool room temperature before serving. (The spinach is best served on the day it’s made). Photo is a bit blurry – my apologies but had to shoot fast as people were going to dig in!

 

IMG_1746

Korean sizzling beef

Servings: 8

Ingredients:

1/4  cup soy sauce

2   tablespoons sugar

2   tablespoons dry white wine

2   large garlic cloves, very finely chopped

1   tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2   teaspoons crushed red pepper

1 -2 1/2 pound beef flank steak, cut across the grain into narrow 1/4-inch-thick slices

2 scallions thinly sliced on an angle

Steamed rice, for serving

 

Directions:

Using a Ziplock bag, add all ingredients without the beef. Mix ingredients in the bag then add the thin slices of beef. Seal bag and marinate overnight turning the bag on occasion to ensure the mixture saturates the beef.

Set the BBQ to med high heat (about 300 F) and grill the beef slices (this sounds tedious but they only take about a minute per side).

Serve beef with some rice on a plate and scatter scallions over top.

Last image is the Jab Chae which I purchased as I really wasn’t sure I could make it.

IMG_1745

Sesame Chicken with Quinoa

I saw this on a blog called gimmesomeoven and thought it looked easy and delicious so I tried it out and yup….it is delicious!  And since Quinoa is one of my favourite foods – it is perfect with this chicken.  I try to avoid rice so quinoa is a great substitute.  Also you could use firm tofu instead of chicken if you want to make it vegetarian. Enjoy!

http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/sesame-chicken-with-quinoa/

1d9aa347ec44d9bbe1893affac086929

Honey Sesame Chicken

I got this recipe from another food blog called:

http://www.foodiewithfamily.com

I made this yesterday and while it involved a bit of prep work – it was well worth it.  This recipe is not something I would make often just because of the amount of honey used however it really is quite the dinner. I served it over quinoa as opposed to rice. Really you just need something to absorb some of the delicious sauce.

Ingredients

    • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (use whatever pieces you like – dark meat is just more moist – I use bone in chicken thighs and skinned them myself)
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 3/4 cup honey
    • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
    • 1/2 cup minced onion (I just finely grated one small onion)
    • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons ketchup
    • 1 tablespoon canola oil
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
    • 1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh ginger
    • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced – I used 5 because you can never have enough garlic!)
    • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
    • 1/4 cup of water
Instructions

Very lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper and sear them in a frying pan to brown them slightly. Then place them in the slow cooker.

Whisk the honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, canola and sesame oils, ginger, garlic and pepper flakes together in a mixing bowl and pour over the chicken thighs. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours, or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a plate and cover lightly with foil, leaving the pan juices in the slow cooker.

Stir the cornstarch into the water with a fork or small whisk until dissolved. Whisk the mixture into the pan juices in the slow cooker. Re-cover the slow-cooker and turn the heat to high. Let it cook and thicken for 15 minutes.

Carefully transfer the chicken back into the slow-cooker. Serve the pieces of chicken over the hot cooked rice (or whatever you fancy), spoon the sauce over the chicken and garnish with sesame seeds and sliced scallions.

Sesame Noodles

This recipe comes from EVERYDAY FOOD magazine.  My friend Peter makes it all the time and when he made it for me I thought “what a great side dish or main dish” depending on my mood. I will let you decide how you want to serve it but it is easy and yummy all in one. This recipe serves 4 and takes a total of about 1/2 an hour to make.

Ingredients

coarse salt (you can add this as you see fit since there is soy sauce in the recipe too)

12 ounces whole wheat spaghetti

1 bunch broccoli cut up into florets

2 red bell peppers thinly sliced

1 large onion thinly sliced

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

3 tbsp dark brown sugar

2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp soy sauce (I use reduced sodium)

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

2 garlic cloves minced

1/2 – 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Cook spaghetti just short of al dente. Add broccoli, red bell peppers and onion. Cook until pasta is al dente (about another 3 minutes). Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water then drain pasta and vegetables.

In a large bowl, whisk together peanut butter, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Add hot pasta and vegetables.  You can thin the sauce by adding a bit of the reserve pasta water if needed.  Can be served warm or chilled.