Summer Vegetable Slaw

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Kaliningrad Spectacular Summer Slaw

My sister Susan mentioned the original version of this slaw, (Poolside Sesame Slaw) published by Smitten Kitchen.  Her photos looked so appealing and after reviewing the dressing ingredients (miso, tahini, sesame oil, etc.) and the raw chopped colorful vegetables –  I had to make it.  

It has been three weeks since I had this the first time and I have since tweaked and changed the formula for my taste buds and for the other senior citizen who lives in my house.  Said male does not like certain spicy flavorings (i.e. sriracha) or fresh ginger in large amounts.  I have to say that even with the changes I made, I really love this slaw.  Today we had it stuffed inside homemade flour tortillas.  It is good alone, with sliced grilled chicken or tofu or seafood or meat – cook’s choice.

My only requirements when making this is that I use a variety of colors.  Personally I love yellow and red sweet peppers but my daughter is allergic to all but green peppers.  I punched up the color with purple cabbage, carrots, snap peas, fresh corn kernels and radishes.   Use whatever is raw and in your refrigerator.  This makes an excellent bring-to-a-picnic salad.  I now keep a tub of the salad separate from the dressing and a bag of salty peanuts and/or toasted pumpkin seeds to add at the end.  

Summer Vegetable Slaw

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Dressing Ingredients*
  • ½ tsp peeled minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons well-stirred tahini (I always use Soom tahini)
  • 2 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive or neutral oil such as grapeseed 
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste

*Full disclosure: I did not measure a single ingredient here—fuller disclosure, I am good at guessing amounts after all these years of cooking.  You decide.

Slaw Ingredients 
  • 4 cups thinly sliced mixed veggies: peeled carrots, English or persian cucumber, celery, yellow or red bell peppers, sugar snap peas and/or snow peas, fresh kernels of corn, radishes.  As long as you get 4 cups total, use any quantities you desire of each individual vegetable.
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red or napa cabbage. 
  •  I add some thinly sliced dinosaur kale or spinach just because
To serve 
  • 1 cup chopped salted peanuts 
  • Handful chopped fresh chopped herbs if you like to add at the end 
Dressing Instructions:

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar whisk until smooth.  Taste and add more of anything you need.  You should have about ¾ – 1 cup of Miso Sesame Dressing.

Salad Instructions:

Holding back the peanuts and herbs until you begin to toss the salad.  Add all ingredients into a large bowl and combine with half of the dressing, adding some or all of the remaining dressing to taste. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. 

Do ahead: The dressing and chopped vegetables (except the cilantro, which might wilt faster), can be stored separately and will keep for up to five days in the fridge.  Mine never lasts that long.

 

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Mothers Day Vegetable Salad

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Mother’s Day Salad

I hosted Mothers Day brunch this year, partly out of necessity and partly out of “where can we go with 12 people, three of whom are under the age of 4?”  Instead, I pretended that I was still in the catering business and made all the old comfort foods I used to create for Bar or Bat Mitzvahs.  My house smelled like a synagogue.  That is a good thing.  I always cook to excess so that my family can take home enough food to have for dinner, my gift to them. 

A smoked fish and bagel platter was a must and it was fun to drag out my old huge tray and fill it with homemade hummus (made with homemade beans, thank you very much).  Whipped cream cheese, cucumber, Greek olives, tomatoes, red onion, marinated artichoke hearts, and jammy eggs.  

Indulgence at its best!

Recently I spotted a recipe in the Washington Post from Ellie Krieger.  The photo looked so colorful and appealing that I marked it “to make.”  There is really nothing special in the salad except that the flavors taste of spring and cutting ribbons of carrots elevates the salad a notch.  I switched out the herbs and simplified the preparation too. 

I cut corners and prepped all the veggies the night before, put them in a sealed container, and made the dressing.  I used frozen peas, rinsed the night before with lukewarm water then drained, dried and added to the rest of the vegetables.  The next morning I chopped the fresh dill and then tossed everything with the dressing about a half hour before we ate.  

I only used half of the dressing and kept the rest refrigerated to have the following week on a different salad.  

Mother’s Day Vegetable Salad

Serves 8-10

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Ingredients
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and both ends removed
  • 2 bunches scallions, trimmed with white and light green parts only
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped dill weed, stems removed before chopping
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt 
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bunches asparagus (I used the fatter asparagus and peeled the stems)
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed and drained 
Instructions

Using a vegetable peeler, cut the carrot into ribbons, pressing the carrot against a cutting board for leverage to get the widest ribbons possible. If the ribbons are very long, cut them into bite-size pieces, 2 to 3 inches long. You should get about 1 cup. Halve the scallions lengthwise, then cut them across into 1-inch long pieces. In a medium bowl, toss the carrot and scallions together.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour the marinade over the carrots and scallions and toss to coat. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Prepare a large bowl of ice water.

Fill a large, deep skillet about halfway with water and bring to a boil. Place the asparagus in the boiling water and cook until firm-tender but still bright green, 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the thickness. Using tongs, transfer the asparagus to the ice bath (keep the water in the skillet boiling) and chill completely, then transfer the asparagus to a cutting board and cut on the bias into 1-inch pieces. Transfer the asparagus to a medium bowl.

If using fresh peas, add them to the boiling water and cook until they are firm-tender, 1 to 2 minutes, then drain and transfer to the ice bath. (Add more ice if it has melted.) Drain. Transfer the peas to the bowl with the asparagus.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots and scallions to the bowl with the asparagus and peas. Add two tablespoons of the marinade to the salad and toss to combine. Add the fresh dill and retoss.  Taste and season with additional salt, if needed; garnish with fresh dill, and serve.

PS: The next time I make this, I will add some thin slices of fresh radishes from my garden too.  I am thinking this would be a great salad to bring to a picnic – put the veggies and dill in one container and bring a jar of the dressing, then combine a bit before you eat.

 

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Rhubarb Scones

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Rhubarb Scones

As an Iowa girl, I grew up with a patch of rhubarb to the side of our screened-in porch and I have fond memories of eating stewed rhubarb in the spring and early summer.  I especially love the sour taste of rhubarb when juxtaposed against something sweet..so when I found a quasi recipe for rhubarb scones, I had to try them (or my version at least).  

Despite the fact that these are quite different from most of the scones I bake – I love how these turned out.  They are lighter, not very sweet and not as pretty as other scones since the little pieces of rhubarb poke out when baked.  Nonetheless, I will sacrifice the beauty for their taste and seasonality. 

I made these when my grandsons slept over after the eleven year old’s birthday.  He in particular loves breakfast breads or scones in the morning – even though he will tell you he is not a morning person.  Neither am I, truth be told.  I could easily stay up until midnight and be fairly productive the next day. I do arise around 6:30 AM though and I get things done, but if I could live in an alternate universe I would sleep until 8:00 AM, then go to bed again after midnight.  Asher gave these a thumbs up!

But I digress.  Here is the recipe for a very easy, make-by-hand, rhubarb scones.  Make them while you can still get fresh rhubarb!  I might try adding a little grated fresh orange zest to these too!


Rhubarb Scones

Makes 8-9 scones

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Ingredients: 
  • 2 ¼ cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Scant ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick cold salted butter, cut into ¼ inch pieces
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup cold kefir, buttermilk or half and half
  • 1 ¼ cup fresh rhubarb, cut into smallish pieces (⅓ inch approximately)  
  • 1 Tbsp sparkly white sugar (to top the scones before baking)
Instructions:

Preheat the oven  to 375 degrees with the shelf in the middle.  Get out a baking sheet and line with parchment.

Place the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a stainless steel mixing bowl and mix together.  Add pieces of butter and mix in using a pastry blender or two forks until coarse crumbs form.  Combine the vanilla and kefir/buttermilk and pour into the mixture, stirring until it starts to come together.  Add the diced rhubarb at the end, which might help moisten the dough.  If it is really dry, add another tablespoon of kefir.  Mix just a bit until it is one piece with very little dry flour. 

Pat the dough into a 11 x 6 even rectangle.  Lightly sprinkle the top with sparkly sugar.  I do run a rolling pin over the top so it is even.  Cut the dough into nine pieces with a 3-inch oval cookie cutter, then re-roll the scraps to make the final one or two – or cut the dough into 8-9 squares/rectangular pieces.  

Gently place the scones on the parchment lined cookie sheet, at least two inches apart, and bake for 20-22 minutes until just starting to brown.  Remove the scones on the parchment to a cooling rack.  Leftover scones store well at room temperature in a sealed container for three days or in the freezer for up to a month.  Gently reheat before serving if you want them to taste fresh!

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Very Lemony Couscous

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Lemon Couscous

Oftentimes, when I prepare dinner for myself or for others, I struggle with what to serve as a starch or side dish.  Rice?  I make that a lot in different forms.  Pasta?  Of course, but that gets tiresome.  Potatoes?  My favorite.  But last week I was searching for something light and different and happened upon a recipe for lemon couscous that I made and loved, as did my crowd of eaters.

This is simple and superb alongside fish.  It has a small list of ingredients that you most likely have at home already.  The trick for me is keeping Israeli couscous on hand just in case…

Very Lemony Couscous

Serves 6-8 

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Ingredients
  • 2 cups Israeli couscous
  • ¼ stick of salted butter
  • ⅓ cup finely diced white onion
  • Grated zest of 1 ½ lemons
  • 2 ½ cups chicken stock (I made mine with Chicken Better than Bouillon)
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan/Reggiano cheese (Grate with the microplane grater.  I save about ¼ cup of this to sprinkle on top of the finished dish)
  • Lemon curls and grated black pepper for the top
  • Chopped parsley to garnish if desired
Instructions

Heat a 4-quart saucepan with the butter, onion and lemon zest over medium heat.  Cook it on low so the lemon infuses the butter and the onion becomes aromatic but not brown.

Add the Israeli couscous and toss with the mixture in the saucepan to coat.  Keep stirring together for three minutes or so.

Pour in the chicken broth, add ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper.  Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.  

Fluff with a fork, sprinkle with ½ cup of the parmesan cheese and mix in.  Taste and add more salt or pepper.

Serve in a shallow bowl with some more lemon curls and parmesan cheese.  

Leftovers taste great and I recommend making extra so you can enjoy it again.

 

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No Cream Cauliflower

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Cauliflower Soup with Croutons

Cauliflower is my friend and one of my “go to” vegetables – I prepare something cauliflower centric at least once a week.  When I saw a similar recipe to what is here in the where can i order Clomiphene online New York Times Food section, I put it in my “to make” folder.  No cream but it tastes creamy!  I loved it and will make it again time and again.

I didn’t add fresh rosemary to the olive oil – to me, rosemary has such an overpowering flavor.  BUT I might  infush the olive oil with a little saffron next time to liven up the color and drizzle on top at when serving. This was a hit with the adults and kids in our family!  Make it this winter before you move on to summer vegetables.  You won’t regret it.

No-Cream Cauliflower Soup

Serves 6

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Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp fruity extra virgin olive oil – I use the oil I brought back from Tuscany
  • 1 medium yellow onion, skinned and diced ½ inch
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 quart chicken broth (Better Than Bouillon but I make it a little more dilute than suggested on the jar)
  • 2 ½ lbs cauliflower, cored and broken into 1 ½ inch florets
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Wedges of lemon to serve
  • Good olive oil to drizzle on top for serving
Instructions

In a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium low.  Add the onion and slowly cook until tender – about 6-8 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook a half minute, being sure the garlic does not burn.

Add the stock, cauliflower, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes until the cauliflower is very tender.

Remove from the heat and reserve a few cooked pieces of cauliflower for serving. 

I usually blend the soup with an immersion blender right in the stock pot.  Transferring it to a blender is too much effort and mess!  The soup thickens as it cools.  Taste and season with additional salt/pepper.  

Serve hot, swirling a bit of olive oil on top and a piece or two of cooked cauliflower that you reserved.  I pass lemon wedges and accompany this with a nice salad and rustic bruschetta.  Cauliflower soup keeps in the refrigerator, covered, for a week.  

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Thai Quinoa Vegetable Salad

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Colorful Thai Quinoa Vegetable Salad

In mid-September, I helped plan a stick-to-your-ribs kind of salad as an accompaniment to fish and Lemony Red Lentil Soup for the evening meal prior to Yom Kippur.  The original quinoa side dish appeared on one of the pressure cooking sites I like to frequent, and it seemed intriguing.  I love edamame beans, this seemed easy and could be made one day ahead of the meal.  

The directions seemed fairly straightforward and simple, although I had never cooked quinoa in a pressure cooker.  The recipe stated that the quinoa would cook in one minute.  I measured the water and rinsed the quinoa, sealed the cooker but put a silicone sling and bowl to hold the quinoa inside.  (Full disclosure, the recipe did not call for this modification but I figured I was the Queen of Pressure Cookers and the sling and bowl would make cleanup a snap).  It seemed to be taking a long time to have quinoa come to full pressure…and then my smoke alarm went off with the “lady” saying there was smoke in the kitchen.  I took the cooker off the stovetop and opened it (it hadn’t started to pressurize).  The silicone ring had burned and the bottom of my pot was blackened and a mess.

Not to worry, between baking soda and salt and Oxiclean, I got the pot back in tip top shape. I regrouped and made the quinoa the old fashioned way and it was simple.  Everything else came together easily and the result was more than I hoped for.  My three grandkids and the five adults loved this dish, and I will be making it many more times this fall and winter.

Thai Quinoa Vegetable Salad

Makes 10 servings

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Salad Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well until the water runs clear
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ tsp table salt
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame beans, defrosted and dried  
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded on a box shredder
  • ½ English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced the same size as the edamames
  • 1 bunch (5-6) green onions, cleaned and sliced thinly – use the white and light green parts only
  • 2 ½ cups finely shredded raw red cabbage
Dressing Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp Tamari sauce
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp peeled and grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Garnish Ingredients
  • ½ cup roasted salted peanuts
  • ⅓ cup fresh chopped herbs-we used basil, dill and cilantro combined 
Instructions:

Combine rinsed quinoa and water and salt to a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer and cover for 20 minutes until water is absorbed.  Take off the heat, fluff and let cool

Add the rest of the ingredients to the cooled quinoa.  Gently add the dressing and taste to see if you want it spicier or sweeter.  You can stop here and keep the salad in the refrigerator for a day before serving. 

Top with chopped herbs and salted peanuts right before serving.

Cooks note:  I really thought this was going to be a salad much like the broccoli cabbage salad I recently posted.  It is quite different and for me, a little more unusual.  

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Bubbie’s Famous Chocolate Cake

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Piece of Cake!

Bubbie is the Yiddish word for Grandmother, and the nickname my children used to call their paternal Grandmother.  Bubbie was quite a character: she was a red headed Iowa born girl with long long slim legs and movie star looks.  She was difficult, messy and a true character.  

Bubbie wasn’t an adventurous cook. In fact I cannot remember any cookbooks she owned other than a paperback Joy of Cooking.  She made the same meals over and over: pot roast, chicken soup, chopped liver and poppyseed cookies.  She managed to add a lot of Crisco and butter to every single dish, and of course everything tasted delicious and was presented in a beautiful way.

Like most of us, Bubbie had a signature dish.  Hers was chocolate cake.  Every special occasion such as a birthday, a trip or a visit to her in Palm Springs she would end the meal with her chocolate cake.  Her four kids and later the grandkids would devour said cake with gusto accompanied by a tall glass of milk.  She would kind of sort of measure everything, dump it all into a stand mixer, turn the speed to “high” with flour and cocoa flying through the air.  Then she would proceed to talk on the phone for a few minutes and voila, the cake was done.

The devil was in the details as they say.  In this case the “details” happened to be the frosting.  Because she did not measure but rather dumped in powdered sugar and then milk the frosting came out a little different every time.  Everything was stirred wildly in an old metal saucepan.  The frosting was good but not consistent, and a lot of sighing and moaning happened.  It always tasted great but the frosting at times was soft, sometimes it was too solid…and by chance it was often just right.

I watched her make this cake a couple of times and I did take a few notes but the frosting was an enigma.  I should have weighed the box of powdered sugar and the milk, but what did I know?  Fast  forward to the past few years, where my kids and husband demand Bubbie’s Chocolate Cake for various occasions.  I always get very nervous when it comes to the frosting, but this December when I made the cake for my Grandson and his friends I did a lot of searching on the internet, and I have it down.  By the way, my awesome daughter and son-in-law let my 13 year old and his three buddies ate the remaining chocolate cake for breakfast!  I highly approve.

Perfect for Breakfast

Bubbie’s Famous Chocolate Cake

Makes 12 really big servings

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Cake Ingredients
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ C cocoa (sift first) – I used Hershey’s justs like Bubbie
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup boiling water 
  • 1 stick melted butter 
Frosting Ingredients
  • 5 squares unsweetened melted chocolate (Hershey’s or Bakers is old school fine)
  • ¾  stick melted butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • About ¼ cup milk 
  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar to start PLUS another cup for later (sift before measuring)
Cake Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 with the rack in the center of the oven.  Use my special nonstick goop or Pam to spray a 9 x 13 metal pan.   

Place sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, eggs and milk in a mixing bowl. Mix then add boiling water and melted butter. 

Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, beat on medium for three more minutes.  Pour into a 9 x 12 prepared pan (the batter is very runny).  

Bake for 35-40 minutes in the middle of the oven.  (I needed 40 minutes).  Remove to a rack and partially cover with a dish towel while it cools so it stays moist.  You can frost the cake after two hours and it may seem a little warm which is OK.  Personally I wait three hours until it is totally cooled down before frosting.

Frosting Instructions

Melt chocolate and melted butter  together slowly in a saucepan, then remove from heat for five minutes.

Meanwhile combine the vanilla, milk and powdered sugar (sift another cup or so to add later if needed) together with a spatula until smooth. I discovered this method when I was trying to make the frosting less daunting!

Add this powdered sugar/vanilla/milk mix to the barely cooled chocolate/butter and beat by hand with spatula or whisk.  Add ¼ more cup sifted powdered sugar at a time until it is loose but tastes good. For me, I had a total of about three cups of powdered sugar.  The frosting should be shiny.

Spread on the cake, covering the entire top.  Cool before covering.  The frosting layer here will be about ⅓ inch thick…it is intense!

Keep at room temp for up to five days.  This recipe also makes 24 cupcakes that will take about 25 minutes to bake.

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Steelhead and Brown Rice Bowl

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Simple & Delish Steelhead Salon & Brown Rice Bowl

This “recipe” came to me at a time when I had all the components in my fridge, and had frozen a side of steelhead that I wanted to quickly use. It hit the spot, and I ate this for lunch three days in a row, sharing only one time. Marinating the veggies is easy and different!

Steelhead and Brown Rice Bowl

Serves 4

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Main Ingredients
  • ¼ cup tamari
  • 1 ½ Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey (taste and add more if you want more sweetness)
  • 4 6-ounce servings of skin-on steelhead
  • 1 cup thinly shredded carrots
  • 1 cup persian cucumbers (baby cucumbers, skin on but sliced the long way thinly
  • 1 cup red onion, peeled and sliced into half moons then separated
  • 1 cup thinly sliced colored sweet peppers (red, yellow, or a combo)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced radishes (optional)
  • 1 cup pea pods, optional
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 Tbsp Furikake, optional
  • Black and white sesame seeds for garnish
  • Green onions for garnish (optional)
Vegetable Marinade Ingredients
  • 2 large limes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
Instructions

Combine tamari, rice vinegar and honey in a bowl and whisk. Put half this mixture in a zip lock bag that will hold the salmon and add the fish (pat with a towel first so it is dry). Squish it around to coat the fish and put the sealed bag in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes or for a few hours if you are rushed. Save the other half to pour over the steelhead once it is cooked.

To marinate the carrots, cucumbers, onions, peppers and radishes, I use the same instructions for my Lime-Infused Bermuda Onions. Shake the mixture and pour a little over the veggies (I do the onion separately so it doesn’t “bleed” onto the other veggies). Put in the fridge and let it marinate a bit, then drain before using.

Remove fish from the tamari mix and discard the marinade. Heat a fry pan or grill and cook the steelhead flesh side down for a few minutes, then flip over so the skin is at the bottom and cook to your liking. Remove the fish from the pan.

To serve: combine brown rice with a little Furikake, which is roasted sesame and seaweed. The furikake is optional but I happen to love the flavor. Cover with the fish and drain the marinated veggies and make sections of each on top of the rice, leaving room for the steelhead. Drizzle the remaining reserved marinade over the fish, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

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Smoke Alarm Steak Salad

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Smoke Alarm Steak Salad (AKA Superfood Bowl)

We have been traveling to Antigua Guatemala fairly frequently over the past several years.  Six weeks in Seattle, a month in Antigua…it is a nice routine that allows me time at home with my family and friends combined with another life of speaking Spanish, sunny weather, volunteering, and living a simple life.

Before each trip I play a game with myself to see if I can use all the fruits, vegetables and perishable/non-freezable items in my refrigerator and cupboards.  There are potatoes and sweet potatoes to deal with, lemons and limes (I zest and squeeze and freeze these), etc. By the time I leave I am generally down to the bare nubbins and I give the remaining usable items to my kids.  

This is how my deconstructed salad came to be.  I had walked the Greenlake path with my friend Barri a couple days before, and we had lunch at Retreat.  I ordered a Chicken and Greens superfood bowl that was really good and contained a lot of the ingredients I ended up using to create my own version at home.  This turned out to be spectacular, if I do say so myself! 

I used sliced steak since I hadn’t had a speck of meat in months, and I had a tiny bit of meat in my freezer.  This is where the title of this recipe comes in. I pulled out my trusty cast iron pan to grill up the steak and, for the first time in recent memory, set off my smoke alarm. Which wouldn’t be such a big to do. However … my daughter in law was here when I made this salad and she told my son Jake about it. So he decided to try it out and wouldn’t you know it – he set off his smoke alarm as well. So – voila … “Smoke Alarm Steak Salad.” but I digress…

If you don’t have (or eat) steak, leftover grilled chicken would be more than fine as well.  Pickled onions and roasted sunflower seeds are always in my fridge, cherry tomatoes came from Jakey Boy’s garden, arugula had been hanging out in my vegetable drawer and I had an odd sweet potato that I peeled, cubed small and tossed with olive oil and chili powder.  

This balsamic salad dressing is one that I make often, here and away from home.  It makes a lot and is simple (requires no kitchen equipment) and the balsamic vinegar doesn’t need to be top drawer.  Keep this dressing recipe handy in your fridge because it keeps for weeks on end.  In fact, I always make a batch at the beginning of a stay in Antigua.  

Accidental Superfood Bowls

Per person for a superfood bowl

Salad Ingredients:
  • Sliced steak or sliced grilled chicken, hot or cold-a handful
  • 2 handfuls of fresh arugula
  • ¾ cup fresh cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • About 1 tablespoon pickled red onions 
  • ¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds (toasted chopped nuts would also work here)
  • ½ raw sweet potato 
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp ground chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs (this could be cilantro, dill, basil, tarragon, whatever your heart desires)
Balsamic Dressing Ingredients
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp stone ground mustard
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Instructions

For the sweet potatoes – peel and cut into ⅓ inch cubes then toss with olive oil, chili pepper and salt.  Roast at 425 degrees on a foil-lined cookie sheet in your toaster oven for 15 minutes or until brown and soft in the center.  Cool. 

For the dressing, whisk all ingredients together, taste and add more honey or vinegar if needed.  Store in a jar in the fridge for up to a month.  Makes about 1 ¼ cups.

I combine the salad ingredients in sections and toss it together as I eat it.  Drizzle with the dressing.

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Baked Oatmeal

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Baked Oatmeal

I am always on the lookout for “make ahead” breakfast items.  This includes scones, breads, refrigerated Muesli, egg bites, etc. And then I happened upon a recipe for Baked Oatmeal. I looked further at many different versions of this dish and settled on a recipe in the Joy of Cooking.  It seemed intriguing and within the span of a week I have made it twice, just for the two of us.

I must admit I have eaten this not only for breakfast, but as an afternoon snack when I craved something chewy, healthful and filling.  And today I am taking half my batch to my youngest Seattle grandsons to see how they like it!

Hot Out of the Oven!

Baked Oatmeal

Makes 6 servings

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Ingredients
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups coconut milk – I have made this with regular cow’s milk too but I love coconut milk
  • 1 cup frozen berries or fresh berries if you have them in summer-no need to defrost them if frozen but be sure they aren’t sticking together
  • ½ cup of combined sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chopped toasted walnuts or almonds.  I used a combo of sunflower, pumpkin seeds and toasted pecans but you could do all nuts or all seeds, your call. 
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup – honey would work too
  • 2 Tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut – optional
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) melted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tsp sparkly white sugar to sprinkle on top
Instructions

Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 375 degrees and butter an 8-by-8-inch baking dish.

Begin by adding the coconut milk to the oats, stirring and letting them soak while you get the other ingredients ready.  Combine all the remaining ingredients (except the sparkling sugar) in a medium bowl, add to the soaked oats and be sure everything (especially the frozen berries) are evenly dispersed, then pour into the baking dish. Sprinkle top with sparkling sugar if desired.  

Bake until the top is golden and the oats are set, about 25- 30 minutes.

Leftovers can be kept refrigerated for up to five days.  To serve, reheat slightly in the toaster oven or microwave.  I do not add syrup or milk but some might prefer this..

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