cartoon by marc johns.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Salmon Fish Tacos with Chunky Salsa and Feta

Colorful and Yummy.
These salmon fish tacos are healthy, bursting with flavor and color, and delicious.  They also happen to be quite simple to make, which as we all know is my favorite kind of recipe.  These tacos can be made with shrimp or another type of fish, just using the same spice rub, and they are quite good.  I just happened to use salmon this time.  Also, this chunky salsa made with cherry tomatoes really adds to the brightness and freshness of these tacos, but if you are pressed for time, you can just make the fish and top with your favorite jarred salsa.  This cherry tomato salsa is also a great option to serve as a colorful, fresh, dip with chips at a party; to make it even more colorful, try using heirloom cherry tomatoes.


Salsa Ingredients.
If you are making the salsa, make it first, because that gives time for all the flavors to meld.

4 c cherry tomatoes, quartered
8 green onions, sliced thinly
1- 1/2 small jalapeno, diced
6 1/2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
juice of 2 -3 limes

1 1/2 lbs salmon fillet
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

crumbled feta cheese
tortillas (corn or flour)
extra cilantro, for garnish

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  
2.  Make the salsa.  Chop the tomatoes in quarters, slice the green onions, dice the jalapeno, chop the cilantro, and mix together in a medium bowl with the salt and lime juice.  Set aside to let the juices marinate.  

Ingredients ready for mixing.
3.  Make the spice rub.  Combine the paprika, cumin, chili powder, and salt in a small bowl.

4.  Put the salmon fillets in a lightly-greased baking dish, skin side down, and rub the spice mixture generously all over the top side of the fish.

Spice-rubbed salmon.
5.  Bake 10-15 minutes, or until salmon is cooked through but not dry.  Check your fillets after 10 minutes; the baking time depends on how thick your fillets are.

Baked Salmon.
6.  Flake the salmon into a bowl.  

Flaked salmon.
7.  Make your tacos by putting salmon, salsa, feta cheese, and extra cilantro on a tortilla.  Serves 8.  Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from A Cup of Jo.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Soba Noodle Salad with Sweet Ginger Scallion Sauce

This is a very flavorful and healthy dish; it's even gluten free.  It is an easy dish to make too.  This meal is all about the sauce.  This sauce is full of flavor - sweet from the honey, gingery, salty, and spicy.  It has it all!  If you don't like spicy, I would cut out or cut down on the chili oil.  This sauce isn't crazy spicy, but it does have a good kick to it.  I recommend making the sauce first and setting it aside so all the flavors can meld together.  This sauce is adapted from David Chang's Momofuku cookbook.  You can add whatever vegetables you want to the soba noodles.  I chose to add cherry tomatoes, edamame, and mushrooms.  This would also be good with broccoli and tofu or chicken if you want to make it a meaty meal.


1 packet soba noodles (about 9 oz)
1 1/2 cups edamame
2 cups cherry tomatoes
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1 1/2 cups finely chopped scallions
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 1/2 tablespoons sesame or grape seed oil (I used grape seed)
1 1/2 teaspoons chili oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I used low sodium)
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon black pepper

1.  Mix the ingredients from the chopped scallions through to the black pepper in a medium bowl.  Whisk together until blended.  (It helps to add all the liquid ingredients and whisk those together before you add the scallions and cilantro.)  Set aside for at least 15 minutes, but the longer the better!

The delicious, delicious sauce.
2.  Saute the mushrooms (or whatever vegetables you are adding to your salad) with the garlic and lime juice.

Mushrooms, Garlic, and Lime.
3.  When the mushrooms are cooked, put them in a large bowl with whatever other veggies you will be mixing into the noodles.

4.  Make the soba noodles.  When the noodles are cooked, drain and rinse them with cold water and then add them to the bowl with the veggies.

Soba Noodles and Veggies.
5.  Pour the sauce onto the noodles and veggies and mix to combine.

Pouring the Sauce. 
Sauce ready to be mixed in.
6.  Top the mixed salad with sesame seeds.  Enjoy!  Serves about 4 as a main dish, 8 as a side dish.

Recipe adapted from Simply Reem.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cowboy Cookies

Everything but the kitchen sink.
Cowboy cookies.  I have seen many different variations of recipes for these bad boys.  The things they all seem to have in common: they are big, chewy, halfway between regular cookies and oatmeal cookies, and are loaded with all kinds of delicious morsels.  I have seen recipes that have peanut butter chips, pretzel pieces, and chocolate chips; dried cranberries, white chocolate, and walnuts; cinnamon chips, dark chocolate chips, and marshmallows; the different combinations go on and on.  The base for the cookie dough seems to be the same in all of the recipes I have seen.  These particular cookies have chocolate chips, pecans, and sweetened flaked coconut and they are CRAZY good.  I am not the biggest fan of coconut; I don't hate it, but I don't normally seek it out.  The thing is this: with these cookies, the coconut is what makes them.  You don't really taste the coconut because of all the other flavors going on, but the coconut offers moisture and this wonderful chewy texture to the cookies, and it really does make all the difference.  MAKE THESE COOKIES.  That is all.

My friend Kat introduced me to this recipe and we had a fun time baking them together.  Interestingly enough, this recipe is from Laura Bush.  Back when Al Gore and George W. Bush were running for President, some family magazine had a cookie competition where Laura Bush and Tipper Gore each submitted a cookie recipe and the readers voted for the winner.  Apparently Laura Bush won with this recipe by a landslide.  

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup dark chocolate chips
3 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups sweetened, flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease baking sheets or line with silicone baking mats.

2.  In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Set aside.

Dry Ingredients.
3.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth.  Gradually beat in the sugars (both the white and brown) until light and fluffy.

Creaming the butter and sugars.
4.  Add the eggs one at a time and then beat in the vanilla extract.  Then, with the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture.  Mix until just combined.

Gradually adding the flour mixture.
5.  Add the chocolate chips, oats, coconut, and pecans and mix by hand until evenly distributed.

Not quite evenly distributed yet.
6.  For each cookie, drop about 1 tablespoon of dough onto the cookie sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart.  This recipe should make a lot of cookies - like 35-40.

Ready to be baked.
7.  Bake about 12-15 minutes, rotating the trays about halfway through.  The cookies should be lightly browned on the edges but still light in the center.  Enjoy with a tall glass of cold milk.

Pile of cookies.
Melty chocolate.
Recipe adapted from Laura Bush and Brown Eyed Baker.

Lemon Garlic Tuna Burgers

Tuna Patty.
These burgers are very easy to make, and they are moist, flavorful, and healthy.  Now, I am not claiming they taste anywhere near as delicious as a beef burger, but I am claiming that these are yummy - anything with lemon and garlic is yummy!  I normally eat these hot, right out of the oven, on a toasted English muffin with some avocado, a tomato slice, lettuce, and some ketchup and mustard. However, I make 8 tuna patties at a time because these are also wonderful cold on a salad for lunch.  

25 oz. tuna (5 normal-sized tuna cans or 1 large can), drained
1 c panko breadcrumbs
1/2 c finely chopped green onions
6 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
6 tablespoons sour cream (I used non-fat)
2 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2.  Put the tuna, panko, green onions, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, sour cream, and 2 eggs in a medium bowl.  Mix well.

Ingredients in the bowl.
All mixed up.
3.  Form the tuna mixture into patties.  This recipe should make about 8 patties.  They should be fairly wet and will firm up a little when baked.

Patty pre-baked.
4.  Put the patties on a greased baking sheet or a silicone baking mat.  Bake for 20 minutes at 400, or until lightly browned and somewhat firm on the surface.  Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Can You Stay for Dinner.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Huevos Rancheros Spaghetti

Breakfast? Nope, it's dinner.
I am a big fan of eggs, so when I saw this recipe I knew I would like it.  It is very easy - it basically only involves cooking pasta and frying some eggs.  Huevos Rancheros is a dish that includes beans, corn, cheese, salsa, eggs, and tortillas.  All of those ingredients are in this pasta dish, except the tortillas have been replaced with spaghetti.  This is a satisfying, delicious, and easy dinner to throw together - and it is a really nice variation of the typical pasta and red sauce combination.  This is one I am definitely going to be making again.  


12 oz. spaghetti
1 can corn (about 1 1/2 cups), drained
1 can black beans (about 1 1/2 cups), rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups salsa (I used chunky pico de gallo with a medium level of heat)
3/4 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c chopped green onions
4 eggs
olive oil
salt and pepper

1.  Cook the spaghetti in boiling oiled and salted water.  Meanwhile, drain the corn and drain and rinse the black beans.  Slice the green onion and set aside.  

Black beans and corn ready to go.
2.  During the last 2- 3 minutes of the pasta cooking, add the beans and corn.  

Adding the beans and corn.
3.  While the pasta finishes cooking, heat an oiled frying pan over medium-low heat and crack the four eggs into the pan.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on the eggs.  Cook until the whites are cooked and the yolk is runny.  
Egg cooking.
4.  Preserve about a cup of the pasta water and put aside.  Drain the pasta, bean, and corn mixture.  Put the mixture back in the same pot and add the salsa.  Add about 3/4 c of the pasta water to the mixture and stir until the noodles are coated.  

Adding salsa. 
All mixed up.
5.  Add the cheese and sliced green onion to the pasta and mix until combined evenly.  

Cheese and Green Onions.
6. Top the pasta with the eggs.  Cut through the yolk and mix in with the salsa, veggies, and cheese to create a sauce.  Serves 4.  Enjoy!

Eggy pasta.
Final product.
Recipe adapted from Melissa d'Arabian 's Food Network show "Ten Dollar Dinners."

Monday, October 15, 2012

Parmesan Garlic Knots

These are easy-peasy and very delicious.  I am a big fan of any recipe that has cheese and warm bread, and this one didn't disappoint.  You don't even have to make the dough!  This uses canned buttermilk biscuit dough.  This whole recipe takes like 12 minutes to make, and with the exception of the can of dough, I had all the ingredients in the house already, which I think will be true for most people.  Try to eat them hot out of the oven.


1 tube of refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough (I bought one that had 16 oz. of dough and made 8 large biscuits, so adjust the recipe accordingly)
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons canola oil
3 1/2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (I used the green can kind - nothing fancy)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  

2.  Roll each biscuit into a skinny rope and tie into a knot.  I found it hard to make knots, so I sort of made mine into pretzel shape and then mushed it together.  

Skinny rope.
Demented pretzel shape.
3.  Bake the biscuits on a tray for 8-10 minutes, until browned.

4.  While the biscuits are baking, make the herb and cheese mixture.  Simply put the oil, Parmesan, garlic powder, oregano, and basil into a small bowl and stir until well mixed.  

Oil, Cheese, and Herbs.
5.  When the biscuits come out of the oven, brush the herb and cheese mixture generously on each biscuit.  Makes 8 Parmesan garlic knots.  Enjoy!

Newly covered with the herbs and cheese.
Look how delicious.
Recipe adapted from Real Mom Kitchen.