Pan Seared Salmon with Arugula and Avocado

Simple ingredients come together super quick in this recipe. The flavors of the peppery arugula, the buttery salmon and the acidic dressing, play very well together. Definitely a weeknight dinner to put on repeat.

I used Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar in lieu of Parmesan, just because I wanted to. The addition of mustard to a vinaigrette acts as an emulsifier, and keeps the oil and vinegar together with a creamy consistency. Don’t forget to season your vinaigrette before dressing your greens.

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 Salmon filets, preferably wild

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 cups baby arugula

1 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon, plus wedges for serving

1 tsp Dijon mustard

crumbled parmesan cheese (or any sharp cheese that you prefer)

1/2 ripe Hass avocado, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 tomato, chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

 Pat the salmon filets dry with a paper towel. Season on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add salmon filets skin side-down. Immediately reduce heat to medium, medium low depending on your stove. Cook, pressing gently on back of filets to ensure good contact with skin, until skin is rendered and crisp, about 6 minutes. If skin shows resistance when attempting to lift with a spatula, allow it to continue to cook until it lifts easily.

While the first side of the salmon cooks, whisk lemon juice, remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and the mustard in small bowl until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Flip salmon and cook on second side for another minute or two, or to your desired doneness. I like my salmon close to medium rare/medium at 125 to 130 degrees.

Plate the arugula and top with avocado and tomatoes, dress with the vinaigrette. Crumble on your chosen cheese, place salmon on bed of salad and serve with lemon wedge.

Enjoy!

*Double recipe for 4 servings

Watermelon Feta Salad

Watermelon feta…high, watermelon feta high. Did Harry Styles just get stuck in your head? You’re welcome.

This salad, you guys, is the epitome of a summer dish. Currently it is 79 and sunny in San Diego and this is all you need for lunch and or dinner, well a body of water and a glass of rosé wouldn’t hurt. It’s a perfect combination of flavors and the fact that you don’t have to turn on the oven, even better.

Just make it and then tell me how right I am.

Just look at all that deliciousness. You can assemble this salad however you like. Its good all chopped up in a bowl, but I was going more for presentation this time.

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil 

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon Tabasco

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

One small seedless watermelon, scooped into balls or cut into 1 inch chunks1 cup Feta, cut into 1 inch chunks or crumbled

1/2 red onion diced

1 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves

salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, tabasco and half of your diced onion, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the watermelon and feta into a bowl or arranged on a plate, sprinkled with more red onion, drizzle in the dressing and sprinkle with chopped mint.

Even the girls jumped on the watermelon + feta bandwagon, it’s just too good.

Watermelon Salad with Mint and Feta

The combination of these ingredients is possibly the best thing to happen to summer dinners. It’s one of those dishes that I could eat everyday until it makes me sick and then I never want it again. So far so good.

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Ingredients 

1/3 cup extra virgin Olive oil

3 Tbs fresh lemon juice

2 tsp Kosher salt

1 tsp Tabasco

Pepper to taste

Seedless watermelon cut into 1 inch cubes, chilled (10 cups)

Feta cheese, crumbled (2 cups)

1 small sweet onion, diced

1 cup fresh mint, chopped

 

Directions

Whisk the first five ingredients in a big bowl until combined. Add the watermelon, feta, onion and toss gently. Sprinkle with chopped mint and dive in.

 

 

 

Israeli Couscous with Radish and Pistachios

This dish is exactly what you need to make before summer ends. The chewy pearls of couscous with the crunch of the pistachios, done! The raisins, they add a hint of sweetness and for some reason I feel any dish can use a touch, mint…. always a good idea!

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Ingredients

cup uncooked Israeli couscous

small shallot, finely chopped

1/4cup olive oil

tsp lime zest

1/4 cup lime juice 

Handful of Golden Raisin’s ( to your sweet tooth’s desire)

kosher salt to taste

pepper to taste

bunch radishes of your choice  (about 12 ounces), chopped (2 1/2 cups)

1/2 English cucumber, chopped (1 cup)

1/2 cup roasted, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped

1/2cup chopped fresh mint

 

Directions

Cook couscous according to package directions. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl whisk together shallot, olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, salt, and black pepper.

Stir in couscous, radishes, cucumber, pistachios, and mint.

Taste for seasoning and then let sit in the refrigerator for an hour.

Taste for seasoning again. Enjoy!

 

Farro, Watermelon, Tomato and Feta Salad

A few weeks back we had a very nice lunch in Little Italy. Aside from a couple of delicious pies we also ordered a farro, watermelon, tomato and feta salad with mint and arugula. It was AHmazing. I have been thinking about that salad ever since. I almost made it for Thanksgiving but wasn’t sure that was the best audience to try it out on. Safely back in my own kitchen, I set to work.

In all actuality it’s a fairly easy recipe. If you make the farro ahead of time then you shave 20 minutes off of your prep work. The end result is the perfect combination of sweet, salty, chewy, and a tad spicy, but the punch of mint is the real winner.

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1 cup whole grain  farro
2 cups medium dice heirloom tomatoes
2 cups medium dice watermelon
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 cups baby arugula
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled                                                                                                                             3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat, stir in farro, reduce heat to medium and simmer until farro is al dente, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, drain then spread onto a rimmed baking sheet to cool.

While the grains are cooling, make the rest of the salad. Combine tomatoes, watermelon, 1 tablespoons of the olive oil, a pinch of salt, and some freshly ground black pepper, stir then set aside until flavor is intensified, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Combine remaining olive oil and vinegar in a small jar, close, and shake until well combined. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then mix with the cooled farro.

When tomato-watermelon mixture is ready, drain off any juices and add the mint then stir the mixture into the farro, add the arugula and feta and stir through. Serve immediately.

*recipe adapted from Aida Mollenkamps Salt & Wind

Cooking Cravings- Butter Lettuce + Blue Cheese + Cayenne Candied Walnuts

I wanted to love this salad, with that….I make a whole hell of a lot of salads like this, I pick a lettuce, add a fruit, a cheese and a candied nut. Sometimes I throw spices on the nuts but I never make them spicy spicy.

It lost me with the lettuce. Butter lettuce is just too delicate, especially paired with crispy apple and nuts. Maybe grapes would be a better choice? Or just stick with a spring mix blend of lettuce and herbs. The other thing that didn’t work for me was the vinaigrette. It was a tad bitter, it need a bit of sweetness so next time I will add some honey.

All said and done, this is a good salad but for me who makes them daily, not good enough. Although the walnuts can be eaten every damn day, so good!

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Dressing Ingredients

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Salad

1 large head of butter or Boston lettuce, separated into leaves, larger leaves torn
Apple, halved and cut into thin slices- I used Fuji
1/2 small red onion, sliced into thin rings
1/2 cup cayenne-candied walnuts

In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, blue cheese, shallot, salt, and pepper.

In a salad bowl, combine the lettuce, apple, and onion. Drizzle in the dressing to taste, toss lightly, and top with the cayenne-candied walnuts.

 

Panzanella Salad

Why a Panzanella salad? Because I had an heirloom tomato sitting in the fridge, a half a loaf of ciabatta bread racing towards getting stale and zero burrata cheese.

Gawd, Google can be a bitch when looking for a recipe. Every one I came across was different than the next. Some had peppers, few had capers, some even had Feta cheese. Feta isn’t Italian, it’s Greek so that is not OK to put in your Italian bread salad.

The Pioneer Woman had a good looking recipe but I have recently made two of her dishes and was disappointed both times, so I am sorry to say I will not be making her recipes anymore. However, Ina Garten has never let me down…I went with hers.

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It’s a very straightforward dish to make. Chop up all your veg and throw them in a bowl. Toast your bread chunks in some olive oil and salt and then whisk up a vinaigrette. Toss it all together and let it marinade for an hour at room temperature and then serve.

The only tip I can give you is don’t put this in the fridge BEFORE serving. It changes the texture of the tomatoes and the bread gets soggy. You will have to challenge yourself and your guests to eat the entire bowl, easy challenge!

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A Week In Photos

Caught her mid sentence.
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Helping daddy wash the car.

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At dawn, we ride.

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My other sidekick.

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I thought this color was appropriate.

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A birthday cake for moi. Carrot cake with coconut cream cheese frosting.

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Dinner at PrepKitchen. We didn’t like the dessert one bit.

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Front yard fire gazing.

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A salad to be.

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So much chocolate, so little time.

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Quiet time + a good book.

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Enjoying a birthday Macaron.

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A Little Of This, A Little Of That

I have been making these salads since Shane’s birthday. Two a night, one in his size and one in her size. Mixed greens with arugula of course, strawberries or apples, goat cheese or gorgonzola and candied walnuts. It really doesn’t matter what you put in it because it’s always good but I have to share the dressing with you. I usually just whisk together a good balsamic and olive oil and call it done but I decided to add in a little jalapeño jelly and it blew my mind, it was that good, sweet, a tad spicy just delicious. Why have I never thought of doing this before? Jalapeño jelly, pepper jelly or even a berry jelly. Just try it.

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On the pregnancy front, no news is good news? Things have been seemingly uneventful which is good I think. So uneventful that dare I say the morning sickness might be going away? Don’t jinx it.

Kaili was happy to go back to school and Shane and I spent the morning watching episode after episode of Breaking Bad, let’s hear if for holiday marathons.. The weather has been ridiculously nice. I assume winter will hit us sometime soon so K and I took advantage of the warm sunshine.

Gah, she is CUTE.

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Hope you all have a rockin’ New Years eve. We might go a little crazy and watch a movie and I will be snug as a bug in bed before 10:00 so say hello to 2014 for me.

See you next year.

date, corn and goat cheese salad

I finally did it. I’ve been dreaming about it, waiting for the right time and I finally did it. It was awesome!

I made this salad.  I found the recipe on one of the blogs I follow and I have been thinking about it ever since. The flavors are so perfect together, a little of everything, sweet, crunchy, bitter and just plain delicious.

I am going to have it again for dinner and maybe again for lunch tomorrow.

Ingredients 

*serves 2

1 tsp oil (like grapeseed or olive)

1 cup frozen corn

8 cups greens of choice

1Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

salt & pepper

4 dates, sliced thinly

2 oz goat cheese

2 Tbsp toasted walnuts

Heat oil in small pan.

Add corn and saute for about 3-5 minutes, until golden brown.

Set aside.

Toss lettuce with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Divide onto two plates.

Top greens with dates, goat cheese, walnuts, corn and turkey or chicken if desired.