16 March 2018

What's for lunch?: Salmon, Greens, and Grains

I love sushi bowls and poke when I'm in L.A., but I don't trust our Rocky Mountain fish counter at Safeway for that quality of tuna or salmon.  This tasty lunch bowl gets around to a similar concept and level of healthiness without the risk of tapeworms...

Salmon, Greens, and Grains

Serves 2

1 4 oz. fillet salmon, thawed if frozen
1 teaspoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 cups chopped greens (spinach, kale, mustard, or any combination thereof)
1 cup cooked barley (I like to make a big pot and keep some in the freezer for quick reheating)
1/2 cup cooked, shelled edamame
a few thin slices of raw red onion
ripe avocado, sliced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
toasted sesame seeds and lemon wedges for garnish, optional

Line a broiler-safe tray with foil.  Rinse the salmon and pat dry.  Rub a thin layer of sesame or other neutral oil all over the fish and place skin-side down on the lined tray.  Combine the mayonnaise and Sriracha in a small bowl and slather over the top of the salmon.  Broil 4-6 inches away from the heat for 6-8-minutes (check for your preferred level of doneness). When cooked to your liking, remove the skin and cut into strips, pictured above.

In a medium skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of sesame oil over medium heat.  Add the greens and a pinch of salt to taste and saute until wilted.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the barley and edamame.  Heat gently if it's cold.

Build your bowl: Dividing all ingredients equally, spread barley-edamame mixture across the bottom of each of two bowls.  Top with cooked greens, salmon, avocado slices, and onion slices.  In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, mirin, and toasted sesame oil and drizzle evenly over the top.  Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and/or lemon on top if desired.

09 March 2018

7-layer tacos

When I was a young freelance musician (I am now an old freelance musician), I used to rely on Taco Bell's 7-layer burrito, which was $1.79 in the late '90s in mid-Michigan, to get me through long drives to and from gigs. It was vegetarian, which I was at the time, and a total fat bomb that kept me full for hours. These tacos remind me of those times, only I can eat them at my dining room table and not drop food all over my concert black. (PS, you can use real ground beef if you hate animals, but Morningstar Farms Grillers crumbles are actually delish, and that's not a paid sponsorship).

7-layer Tacos

Makes about 6 tacos

6 small tortillas (I like the flour-corn hybrid ones)
2 teaspoons olive oil
6 oz. (1/2 bag) of Morningstar Grillers Crumbles or ground beef
1 garlic clove, minced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
6 oz. black beans
2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 large chopped tomato
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
guacamole (preferably homemade)
sour cream or plain yogurt
Crumbled fresh queso or shredded Mexican blend cheese
chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges for serving

Warm the tortillas and wrap in foil until ready to use.

Place the black beans, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and a dash of lime juice in a medium bowl and smash together with a potato masher, fork, or back of a wooden spoon until it resembles refried beans.  Heat those bad boys up in chef Mike (the microwave) for about 60 seconds if you want.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet and add the garlic, Morningstar crumbles, scallions, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon chili powder.  Saute about five minutes over medium heat.

Build your tacos: lay down a tortilla, smear some "refried" beans all over it, then top crumbles, tomato, corn, guacamole, sour cream, and cheese.  Sprinkle some cilantro on top and squirt some lime over the whole thing.

02 March 2018

Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

This is a great way to use up a jar of roasted red peppers (or roast your own in the oven), and it might be the fastest sauce I've ever made.

Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Serves 4

½ lb. rigatoni or other tubular pasta
2 cups broccoli florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ yellow onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 8 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning or dried oregano
Salt and crushed red pepper flakes to taste
¼ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil.  Cook pasta according to package directions, adding the broccoli in the last 4-5 minutes of cooking (if fresh, or the last 2 minutes if frozen).
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.   Add the roasted red peppers, about a teaspoon of salt, and Italian seasoning and cook another minute.  Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree, then return to the hot pan.  Stir in the yogurt and Parmesan cheese to make a creamy sauce. Season with salt and red pepper flakes.
Drain the pasta-broccoli combination and add to the sauce, stirring to coat evenly.  Serve hot!

23 February 2018

Cauliflower and bulgar tabouleh

Add this to your not-salad-desk-lunch recipes. So refreshing and filling, and by soaking the cauliflower, it is highly digestible (if you know what I mean).

Cauliflower-Bulgar Tabouleh

Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a side

1/2 cup bulgar wheat
1/2 cup cauliflower "rice" (about half of a medium head of cauliflower, run through the blender until it looks like the bulgar)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1 small tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons diced cucumber
1 bunch fresh parsley, minced (about 1 cup once minced)
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped almonds (I like smoked)
salt and black pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil

In a heat-proof container, place the bulgar, cauliflower, cumin, garlic powder, and about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 1 cup hot water, give it a stir, and leave it on the counter for about an hour, or until all liquid is absorbed.  Then, add the lemon juice and zest and all remaining ingredients listed, from tomato through almonds.  Taste for seasoning and and salt and pepper if necessary, then drizzle a generous stream of olive oil on top and eat.