Easiest Garlic Salmon

I’m a big believer in garlic. If you follow my recipes on this blog, this fact has probably become pretty clear. If it’s not dessert, it usually has garlic in it. That being said, this salmon is an extreme version. Garlic is front and center and this recipe is not for those who are not wanting their breath to smell at least a little bit like garlic the next day. But it’s worth it–so good for your immune system and the perfect amount of bite to balance out the buttery flavor of a quality piece of salmon.

 

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Ingredients:

3/4 lb. wild caught salmon ( I used a particularly delicious piece of wild alaskan sockeye that I got at whole foods in Seattle- if you’re local, go get it!!)

3-4 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1 Tbs. soy sauce or tamari

1 Tbs. Olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 medium lemon

Preheat oven to 350. Use 1 tsp. of the olive oil to oil the bottom of a pyrex baking dish. Unwrap your salmon and pat it dry with a paper towel. You could definitely use the soy sauce, garlic and olive oil to marinate the fish, but I’ve found it to be unnecessary when the quality of the fish is good. Instead, simply lay the salmon in the oiled pan and rub the remaining olive oil on top. Pour the soy sauce on top of that and rub that in as well. Finally, press the chopped garlic on top of the salmon and sprinkle with as much pepper as you like. Bake for 20-30 minutes until flaky all over. Take out of the oven and top with a squeeze of lemon. Serve with mustard or aioli.

Serves 2 generously.

 

Turmeric Eggs with Tomatoes and Caramelized Onions

I love eggs. I love them for breakfast, for brunch, for lunch, for dinner. I love them prepared any which way. My go to breakfast is a fried egg over potatoes and other veggies or a scramble with whatever I have in the fridge. Yesterday morning I mixed up my usual plain eggs by adding turmeric. I didn’t mean to put in as much turmeric as I did (the spice jar didn’t have a shaker top and my attempts to gingerly shake out just a bit failed), but it turned out to be a happy accident. The eggs turn a deep yellow orange and the caramelized onions and tomatoes really balance the unique nuttiness and warmth of the turmeric. With the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, the healthy fat from the avocado and good quality eggs, this is a fast and simple meal that feels good any time of day!

 

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Ingredients:

1/2 medium onion, thinly slice

1 tsp. olive oil

salt and pepper

1/4 tsp. chili flakes

3/4 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. honey or sugar

1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1 medium tomato, chopped

2 eggs (preferably organic and free range)

2 Tbs. cream, half and half or milk

1/2 large avocado

 

Heat olive oil over medium high in a medium frying pan. Add onions and cook 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so, until they start to become translucent. Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper, the chili flakes and turmeric. Stir well. Add honey or sugar (whichever flavor you prefer–I use honey) and the balsamic. This will help with the caramelization process. You might be wondering if the flavors of turmeric and balsamic vinegar clash. I get it. It sounds weird. But I promise it isn’t. Cook down for 2-3 minutes and add the tomato. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl, add the dairy of your choice (or a dairy alternative if you want) and whisk well. Pour the eggs over the onions and tomatoes in the pan. Let sit for 30 seconds before beginning to scramble gently. Fold the eggs around for about a minute, or until done. Top with avocado. Enjoy!

 

Serves 1. Or 2 as a snack :).

 

Whole Grain Mustard and Onion Coq au Vin

This is my favorite chicken dish right now and one I’ve been perfecting for a while. It can be warm and wintery but it’s not so stew-like that it won’t work for a summer night alongside a green salad. I really enjoy the way this meal tastes with quinoa, especially because it’s a little hard to tell where the whole grain mustard stops and the quinoa begins, but you can serve it atop rice or cous cous or another favorite grain, or skip the grain altogether. I think the best part about this is that it is basically as easy to make for four people as it is to make for eight. So an instant dinner party is next to effortless!

 

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Ingredients:

4 large chicken thighs (preferable organic and free range)

2 Tbs. olive oil

2 Tbs. unsalted butter

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

sea salt and pepper

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. sugar

3/4 cup white wine (whatever you have on hand works. even red will work in a pinch)

2 Tbs. water

3 heaping Tbs. whole grain dijon mustard

2 Tbs. whole milk yogurt

2 cups cooked quinoa

In a large stock pot over medium high heat, meal 1 Tbs. butter and 1 Tbs. olive oil. Brown the thigh for 3-4 minutes on each side until they begin to turn golden. Salt and pepper generously on each side. For my measurement inclined friends, I would say about half a teaspoon of each, distributed between the four thighs. Remove the thighs with tongs and set aside on a plate.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. butter and 1 Tbs. oil to the pot and let melt. Add the onions and stir well. Add the thyme, oregano and red pepper flakes along with salt and pepper to taste. Let the onions cook down over medium high heat for 2 minutes. Then add the balsamic and sugar and stir. Let cook another 5-7 minutes, stirring every minute, until onions become translucent and start to caramelize. Pour in the wine and stir well to cook off anything that might be sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Add the chicken thighs back in to the pot with the onion mixture. Add the water. Bring to a simmer then turn down to low, cover and let cook 30-35 minutes until thigh meat is dark and well cooked. Remove the lid, turn up to medium, and simmer slightly for an additional 2-3 minutes. Turn down to low and stir in the mustard and yogurt.

Turn off the heat. Serve over quinoa, making sure to get plenty of the saucy onions!

Serves 4.

Nectarine Sauce with Limoncello and Lavender

Happy August!! Stone fruit is in its full glory here in Seattle. This is a quick and easy dessert that can stand alone or go atop vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream. It also pairs well with my favorite lemon curd tart! Impress your friends with the sultry summer flavors of lemon and lavender.

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Ingredients:

6-7 large organic nectarines (except not those varieties that were recalled from California!–though hopefully this is no longer an issue)

1/4 cup limoncello (you can buy this at specialty liquor stores or you can make your own)

1 Tbs. slightly dried lavender, chopped (go walk around your neighborhood and find a big lavender plant. If you’re in Seattle this will only take approx. 2 minutes. Bring home a few sprigs and tie them up to dry a big–just for about a day.)

 

Wash your nectarines and use a paring knife to cut them into bite-size chunks. Place the chopped nectarines in a medium sized pot over med-high heat. Add the limoncello. Bring the mixture to a slight boil. Stir in the lavender and turn the heat down to med-low. Cover and let cook 15 minutes. Remove the cover and cook another 5 minutes. Let cool.

Et voilà!

 

Serves 4-6.

 

 

 

 

Chili Cornmeal Tart

This hearty dish has been a staple in my cooking for over a year, so I was surprised when a friend asked me for the recipe and I wanted to direct her here, only to realize I hadn’t done a post about it. Like so many of my favorite dishes, this is just a slight variation on a recipe from the Chef’s on the Farm cookbook from Quillisascut Farm School. I do the crust with whole wheat flour because I like the texture and I use greek yogurt instead of sour cream to cut back a bit on the dairy fat. The tart is listed in the summer section of the cookbook, as it should be with its peppers, tomatoes and sweet corn at the peak of freshness in the hottest months. Yet, the comfort food feel of the crunchy crust and cheesy interior lend it just as much to a cool, rainy day. I found the perfect happy medium the other day since Seattle unseasonable rain and highs in the upper fifties. I still had the warm summer produce, but I also had the kind of cozy feeling that makes this tart even more of a treat.

 

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Ingredients:

Crust:

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 cup corn meal

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. sea salt

Fresh corn kernels cut from one ear of corn (about 1 cup)

5 Tbs. unsalted butter

1/2 cup greek yogurt (or sour cream)

Blitz dry ingredients (including corn) in a food processor or mix with a wooden spoon. If using a food processor, add in butter and blitz until incorporated, then add in yogurt and pulse until dough comes together. If not using a food processor, cut in butter by hand and then mix in yogurt. Either way, form dough into a ball and chill in fridge at least 30 mins before using.

Filling:

5 medium poblano or pasilla peppers

5 medium heirloom tomatoes or 2 cups cherry tomatoes (sungolds work best!)

5 cloves garlic

2 Tbs. lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

2 Tbs. olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Begin by roasting the peppers. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet coated with olive oil and roast at 400 for about an hour, turning over once. You can do this before you make the crust. In the meantime, thinly slice large tomatoes or slice cherry tomatoes in half and let sit in a shallow bowl sprinkled with salt. Once the peppers are done. Take them out and let them cool for about 20 minutes. Then you can slowly remove the skin while running them under water and then open them to remove the seeds and stem. Thinly slice them and place in a bowl. Finely chop garlic and mix peppers with garlic, lemon juice, basil, oregano, oil oil and salt and pepper.

Once fillings and crust are done, preheat oven to 350 and roll crust to 1/8 inch thickness. Drape into an 8-inch round pie pan (crust will be much bigger than pan) and begin by adding a layer of cheese on the bottom. Follow with a layer of the pepper mixture (using half the mixture) and a layer of tomatoes (make sure you drain the salty water from the tomatoes first). Add another layer of cheese, the other half of the peppers and the rest of the tomatoes and, finally, a topping of cheese.  Fold the crust that is spreading over the edge of the pie dish over the filling, creating a crostada-like tart with a small opening on top.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until crust is beginning to brown and cheese is bubbly.

Serves 4-6.

Lemon Curd Berry Tart

This tart has come to be my ultimate summer night dessert. I’ve probably made it every week for the past 2 months for whoever is around and willing to taste it. I just think the contrast between the bright yellow lemon curd and the little circles that form around the berries when the tart is baking is so striking. Plus the crust is so easy and the whole process only takes about 25 minutes of prep time. I originally got the lemon curd recipe online from Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa), but I’ve discovered that I like the texture better with one less egg, the zest of four lemons instead of three, and close to half the sugar. Really the more lemon zest the merrier–the essential oil in the zest give the lemon curd it’s depth of flavor. I’m always looking for ways to cut sugar in recipes and I can’t imagine using the full amount of sugar suggested in the original recipe–how would you taste all the lemon-y goodness?

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Ingredients:

Lemon Curd:

zest of 4 lemons

scant 1 cup sugar

4 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened

3 eggs

juice of 3 lemons

pinch of salt

Zest the lemons using a microplane zester or the finest side of a box grater. Mix the zest with the sugar in a large bowl. Cream the butter and sugar with the back of a wooden spoon, smashing them against the side of the bowl to combine. Once the butter and sugar are well incorporated, beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing with a fork. Next add the lemon juice and pinch of salt. Stir well. Heat mixture in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula, for about 7-10 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.

Crust:

scant 2 cups flour

1 stick butter, chilled

6-7 Tbs. ice water

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Cut butter into flour and salt using a pastry cutter or your hands. When butter resembles small peas, add 4 Tbs. water and begin mixing with your hands. Add the rest of the water, 1 Tbs. at a time, until dough comes together. Chill in plastic wrap or a ziploc bag for at least 30 minutes.

Assembly:

Preheat oven to 325. Press dough into the bottom of a pie or tart pan. I like to press it instead of rolling it out because then I don’t have to dirty a counter top and a rolling pin. Plus a bit of a thicker, more rustic crust, works well here. Use a fork to press along the edges of the tart to make it a little fancy. Pour in your lemon curd. Finally, arrange blackberries or raspberries in circles or lines in the lemon curd. Bake for 30-35 minutes until crust is slightly golden.

Serve with fresh cream!

Serves 6-8.

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polka dots

 

Bright, “Sweet Home” Tomato Salad

I’ve been packing and on the road for the past week and arrived at my new apartment in Seattle this past Wednesday afternoon. On my drive up, I stopped at Sweet Home Ranch, a family friend’s farm in California’s San Joaquin Valley. This special spot is the orchard of my father’s college roommate, Paul Buxman, a farmer and painter whose life revolves around stone fruit and zealous community building. The farm was a childhood second home to me and each time I stop over for a night, it’s as if no time has passed. My stay was all too brief this time around, but we managed to squeeze in two glorious meals full of treats from the garden. My contribution to our dinner was this salad made with stunning tomatoes from their garden and cucumbers from the neighbors. When produce is this fresh, simplicity wins.

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Ingredients:

8 large, ripe, fresh tomatoes, cut into wedges

3 large english cucumber, cut into half rounds

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

salt

pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tbs. white wine vinegar

oregano

thyme

 

Combine the veggies in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and herbs, salt and pepper to your liking. Toss gently with the veggies. And that’s it!!

 

Serves 4-6.

 

Kitchen Love

I’ve just moved into a new place in Seattle–my first time living on my own. This means my life has been speeding along as I packed my car, drove from Los Angeles to Seattle and have been frantically running to IKEA and target–setting everything up before I start my summer job on Monday. Thus the recipe post hiatus. But there is plenty of cooking on the horizon for me, and I had to get my new kitchen just right. Having my own space and organization is the ultimate inspiration. Wherever my passion for food leads me in the next year, I feel ready!

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Summer Quinoa Salad with Watermelon and Lime

Happy Solstice!

Today seems like the perfect time for a recipe that uses distinctly summery, fresh, seasonal ingredients. Watermelon, peppers, corn on the cob. All nutritious fruits and veggies that are coming into the peak of ripeness in the next month or two (depending on where you are in the country). This salad celebrates heat and lazy days with its light and refreshing ingredients and is so simple to create.

This recipe is my take on a salad I once had at Altadena restaurant, Alta Eats, last fall. I thought the idea of watermelon in quinoa was genius, so I had to try my own version!

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups quinoa

3 cups filtered water

pinch salt

3 cups watermelon, cut in small cubes.

1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow), cut into small pieces

2 ears fresh corn on the cob

1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

juice of one large lime

2 Tbs. rice vinegar

1 Tbs. honey

1 tsp. soy sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

sea salt and pepper

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fresh summer flavor

Bring quinoa and water to a boil with a dash of salt in a medium pot over high heat. Turn heat down to low, cover and let simmer 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, shuck each corn cob, then stand them, one at a time, on a cutting board and slowly cut off the kernels. Preheat oven to 400. Spread corn and halved cherry tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet sprayed with olive oil and roast for 15-20 minutes, or until kernels start to brown and the tomato skins looks wrinkly, stirring every five minutes.

Combine quinoa, corn, tomatoes, watermelon and pepper in a large bowl. Make dressing by whisking together mint, lime juice, rice vinegar, honey, soy sauce, and olive oil. Stir into salad. Salt and pepper to taste.

Chill. Serve topped with fresh mint leaves.

Serves 6-8.