A Successful Salmon Dinner

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As usual, I bought the fish that was on sale at Earth Fare for our Friday Lenten dinner. This week it was Scottish salmon. Fasting is so difficult… I wanted to make sure that I didn’t over cook the salmon, although if life gives you well done salmon, make salmon cakes!

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I found this note stuck into the corner of my iPad.
I decided against the George Foreman grill in favor of a baked recipe, but I found surprisingly few baked salmon recipes. I found this recipe for Salmon with Lemon, Capers and Rosemary, which calls for grilling the fish, but someone noted in the comments that they baked it and it turned out well. I lured Tom into helping by pointing out that it was a “no clean-up” recipe.

Salmon with Lemon, Capers and Rosemary

Ingredients
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (I used 3 10oz fillets)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
8 lemon slices (about 2 lemons)
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1/2 cup Marsala or white wine (I used apple juice)
4 teaspoons capers
4 pieces of aluminum foil

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Place each fillet on a piece of aluminum foil, brush each side with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and rosemary. Tom and I had a sort of assembly line going.

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I used a truffle-flavored oil that is really delicious. Yes, I sometimes shop at TJ Maxx . It’s fun to look at their oddball gourmet foods. I don’t have the patience to shop there for clothes.

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Top each piece of fish with 2 lemon slices.

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Add capers and drizzle each fillet with lemon juice and apple juice or wine. Seal the foil packets up.

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The recipe said to cook for 25 min, so I started checking the fish at 15 min, much to Tom’s amusement. It was done at 22 min.

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Jewel called the leftover beet greens, so I ate the salmon with curried cauliflower and carrot sticks.

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Pet Bone Broth

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You know you’re Paleo when you get really excited to find pet bones in the freezer section, and you don’t own a dog. I found these marrow bones at Earth Fare (for my local readers they were in the small freezer by the meat counter). I wanted to try out a recipe for pork ribs that called for beef broth, so I needed to make some. Making broth is so easy that I can’t imagine buying it anymore. Well, the ribs were fantastic, but I got in a hurry and forgot to take pictures (hides head in shame). I’ll make them again soon.

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I love how beautiful a homemade broth is. The Weston Price Foundation has a lovely and informative article on their website entitled “broth is beautiful”. My family appreciates the smell of homemade broth simmering on the stovetop or in the slow cooker. Dora especially notices cooking aromas. She was disappointed this afternoon to find that what she thought smelled like fresh baked cookies was just a cup of green tea I had earlier.

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I just threw the bones in stock pot and filled it with cold water. I added the chopped onion I had stashed in the freezer. If I had had planned my time better I would have roasted the bones first. Next time…

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I couldn’t find the little cheesecloth bags I had bought, so I ended up putting my herbs in a tea ball. This worked just fine and is a waste-free method.

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I also added chopped celery and carrots. Celery leaves are a flavorful addition to stocks. I freeze the smaller celery stalks and the leaves for use in stocks. I’m trying to get in the habit of saving my leftover bones for stock as well.

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Random kitchen pic

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It is normal and expected for a layer of scum to form on the top. Just skim it off with a spoon. Simmer a beef broth at least 6 hours, but it’s even better to let it simmer overnight in a crock pot. Pour it through a colander lined with cheesecloth.

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Stock will keep for a few days in the fridge or a few months in the freezer. If you use leftover bones or can acquire free bones from your butcher, homemade stock costs pennies to make! Did you know that the sense of smell is the sense most keenly tied to memories? I want my girls to think of home when they enjoy a homemade soup when they grow up. I also want them to think of cooking from scratch as a normal everyday part of life (as I grew up thinking), and I hope that they too will pass it on.

Cherry or Blueberry Coconut Bowl

By this point, I would think that I would be fully Paleo adapted. I keep reading that I should be able to not only skip snacks, but be able to skip whole meals and still be able to function. It sounds so freeing to not be dependent on eating every 3 hours. However, the ability to fast still eludes me, and I am still eating 6 times a day, so I have to come up with snacks. When I was eating Primal I ate homemade yogurt with berries and nuts for a mid-morning snack and homemade cottage cheese for a bedtime snack (my mid-afternoon snack varied). I’ve had to come up with some new ideas going dairy-free for Whole30.

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I came up with the Blueberry Coconut Bowl when I had bought some fresh blueberries that were on sale at Earth Fare and was feeling annoyed because I couldn’t have yogurt. I threw together some odds and ends and poured coconut milk over the whole mess. It was tasty and satisfying with no added sweetener. Vary the portions according to taste, and feel free to substitute whatever nuts you have on hand.

Blueberry Coconut Bowl
Ingredients:
1/2C blueberries or cherries
2 T flaked coconut
2 T sliced almonds
2 T pecans
Coconut milk to cover
Directions – mix in a bowl and eat. Serves 1.

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I came up with the cherry version when I was annoyed that we didn’t have blueberries… This ends up tasting something like fruit and yogurt and something like breakfast cereal, but I wouldn’t call it a Paleo version of either one. Mainly because the Hartwigs would fuss at me about dry humping if I posted this as “Paleo Cereal”. But if you’re not on a Whole30 you can call it whatever you want. In any case it’s fast, easy, tasty and nutritious, so just make a bowl and enjoy it!

Friday Fish Bake

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I must say that I am so glad that God declared that fish is not meat. OK, if there are any vegetarian readers today, I used to be one too and I am being facetious. In any case, eating fish on Friday ensures that my family eats fish at least once a week. All of us love fish, so it’s not as if I encounter any resistance. In fact, the girls have been known to come downstairs for dinner chanting, “fish fish fish fish” when they realize what is for dinner. I bought cod this week because it was on sale at Earth Fare. Of course since I hadn’t planned what fish I was going to buy, I hadn’t planned a recipe for it either. I know a lot people feel compelled to be more organized than this, but I have a high enough grocery bill already, so I try to take advantage of sales on meat and fish that my family likes.

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I just wanted a simple recipe that my whole family would eat, so for a change of pace I decided to break out an actual cookbook, 1000 Lowfat Recipes. Yeah, I know, but this cookbook features a lot of tasty, whole-food based recipes, and it contains a wide variety of fish recipes. Pretty soon I was cussing the Hartwigs again, because most of the recipes called for wine, which is forbidden even in cooking during a Whole30. I finally decided on a recipe that wouldn’t require going back to the store:

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I had all the ingredients but the shallots. I decided to use extra garlic instead. If you’ve ever wondered how to crush garlic, just use the handle of a large knife. A good set of knives is essential, much more essential than all the little gadgets you can buy. Remember to sharpen your knives often. A dull knife is actually more dangerous than a sharp knife. I mention this because anymore if I cook at a friend’s house, all the knives are usually dulled to the point of being unusable.

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I had to get another shot of the cute mini Tobasco sauce bottle!

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Combine all ingredients except fish in a bowl. I had closer to 2 pounds of fish, but this still was enough marinade.

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Marinade the fish for at least 30 minutes, or as long as 6 hours. Longer than that the fish might start to fall apart. While the fish is marinating, prepare the vegetables. I decided to make Swiss chard, which is a mild green with a taste similar to spinach. I try to include greens with almost every meal because they are so highly nutritious.

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2 bunches of chard will fill a medium-sized pot. Add a couple inches of water and steam (covered) until tender, about 10-15 minutes.

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Place the fish on a baking pan. Pour the marinade over the fish. Add water if needed so that the liquid comes up 1/3 of the way up the fish. Broil until done, about 10 minutes on low broil. Check frequently. Fish is done when it is opaque and the flesh flakes easily with a fork.

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Random kitchen counter shot. I think I actually took this one.

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All greens cook down quite a bit during cooking.

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Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

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I rounded out the meal with leftover steamed broccoli and marinated beets.