Dinner For One ~ Asparagus, Egg and Truffle

When Mister is on business travel or has a late dinner meeting, I usually turn to eggs for a quick dinner. I have never been a bowl of cereal at dinner girl and enjoy my time in the kitchen too much to just pour dinner in a bowl.  Dinner for one doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming.  A few key ingredients in the pantry and refrigerator make all difference.

Eggs and asparagus are a match made in heaven, eggs and truffle are a match made in heaven and the tomato was perfect…so perfect that I went back to the kitchen for a piece of whole grain bread to get every bit of the tomato juice and truffle oil from the plate.

When you find yourself alone, indulge in this simple, elegant and truffle decadent dish for one.

I always have Truffle Oil and Truffle Salt on hand.  For me, there is nothing as wonderful as the taste and aroma of truffles and while truffle products are a bit expensive, a little goes a long way in elevating a dish from drab to divine!

Ingredients for One:

6 steamed asparagus spears
1 poached or lightly fried egg
1/2 tomato, sliced thin
Pinch of black truffle sea salt
Teaspoon of truffle oil

Preparation:

Layer asparagus and tomato on plate and drizzle with truffle oil. Place egg on top and sprinkle with truffle salt and a pinch of ground pepper.  This dish also works very well with hard-boiled eggs, sliced or chopped and sprinkled on top of the asparagus and tomato slices.

This also makes an elegant brunch or salad dish.

Truffles are wonderful in risotto and pasta as well.  I recently made a Lobster Mushroom and Truffle Risotto and there wasn’t a grain of rice left.  I owe that to the truffle!

Linked to:

Real Food Wednesday, What’s On Your Plate, Works for Me Wednesday, Sweet and Savory WednesdayWelcome Wednesday, Wandering WednesdayGold Star Wednesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Raising Homemakers, Potluck Wednesday, Let’s Do Brunch, What I Ate Wednesday, At Home with Haley, No Whine Wednesday, What’s For Lunch Wednesday.

Fruit and Couscous Stuffed Winter Squash

Continuing on our journey (a short one so far) to make 2011 healthier and cleaner and a bit more meatless (well, meatless at least three days a week),  I created this sweet and savory acorn squash stuffed with couscous, fruits and nuts.

If you have visited before, you may have read Kicked Up Black-Eyed Peas and Pasta Salad, Strawberry Chipotle Chicken or even Turkey Tzatziki Muffins and know that I am trying to reverse a few bad winter habits, primarily that of too much cooking, baking, eating (of the wrong stuff) and not enough exercise.

We all crave comfort food during those cold winter months and well, it is just too cold to get out for a run.  I know, excuses, excuses, excuses.

We are now craving a return to our 2010 routine of clean eating limiting our use of “the wrong whites”, more fruits and veggies and less meat.  We are also easing back into our fitness routine.

This stuffed squash certainly fits our renewed eating goals.  Whole grain couscous, cranberries, dates, mandarin orange segments, sweet and savory notes from five spice powder, tarragon and a pinch of chives.  Not too sweet, not too savory, a pop of tart from the cranberries…perfect for a weeknight meatless meal.  It was also beautiful on the plate and we couldn’t wait to sit down and enjoy.

Recipe Note:  If your not into meatless meals, adding a bit of sausage to the couscous mixture would be perfect. Earlier this year, I made a simple sausage stuffed version.

Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn or butternut squash, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup uncooked couscous
  • 2 tablespoons  dried cranberries
  • 4 dried dates, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons pecan, halved
  • 1 mandarin orange, zested, peeled, segments separated (I have access to beautiful Satsuma mandarins, use a small orange as a substitute)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch of tarragon
  • pinch of chives
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Remove and discard seeds from squash.  Place squash, cut sides down, in a baking pan. Add hot water to pan to a depth of 1/2-inch. Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes or until tender.

Bring water and salt to a boil. Stir in couscous and next 6 ingredients. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes.

Combine couscous mixture, orange segments, oil, pecans, tarragon and chives. Toss gently. Spoon mixture evenly into squash shells.

Place stuffed squash in a baking pan. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

This really was filling…we did not need anything else to complete the meal.  If you feel it needs a bit more, a simple spinach salad would be a great side.

Linked to:

inked to: Real Food Wednesday, What’s On Your Plate, Works for Me Wednesday, Sweet and Savory WednesdayWelcome Wednesday, Wandering WednesdayGold Star Wednesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Raising Homemakers, Potluck Wednesday, Let’s Do Brunch, What I Ate Wednesday, At Home with Haley, No Whine Wednesday, What’s For Lunch Wednesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Midnight Maniac Meatless Monday

{Meatless Times} Kicked Up Black-Eyed Pea and Penne Salad

Well…we have decided to join the {MEATLESS} crowd.  I admit, I don’t know the first thing about going meatless and frankly, I’m more than a bit concerned about flavor and variety without meat.  I don’t want to eat pasta and rice or beans every night.

At the same time, we are trying to eat cleaner…food closer to natural state so that means cutting out the white stuff…rice, pasta, flour and sugar.  I am sure with more education, the list is going to grow.

Can we do this?  Just 1-3 days a week?

I hit the public library and many of the great real food and vegan blogs for some help.  It is amazing the wealth of information out there and I feel fairly confident that we can do both.  Move in a more meatless direction and eat cleaner.

For the first day, I made a very kicked-up black-eyed pea and pasta salad.  Heat from the HOT pepper, cool from the lime, cilantro and mint, and plenty of protein from the black-eyed peas and a serving of whole grains from the pasta.  I love arugula so in that went (as an afterthought but before serving).

I have never soaked my own beans but chose to buy dry and bulk…easy soak the night before and a 40 minut simmer.  Done and the difference in salt was amazing…none compared to the canned version. And a benefit?  A fraction of the cost of canned.  Who knew?

Overall, a keeper and a great first step into healthier, cleaner  and meatless eating.

Recipe adapted from Food Network.

Recipe notes:  I added the penne to make this a meal not a side, substituted Thai red peppers, swapped arugula for the shredded lettuce and used lime instead of lemon.  Once I tasted the salad, it screamed for avocado so I cubed a half and added it to the salad. A healthy serving of MUFA.

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces uncooked whole grain penne, cooked using package instructions omitting fat and salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded, ribs removed and finely diced (I used Thai peppers as I had them in the fridge)
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (I used one whole lime, including zest)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed (I used dried beans)
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 bunch mint, leaves roughly chopped (I cut this in half, I thought that was too much mint ~ at least for us it was)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 cups sliced fresh baby spinach or arugula

Directions:

Combine the garlic, pepper, red onion, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste, in a large bowl.

Add the peas, tomatoes, mint, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and toss in the arugula and avocado.

Serve with a slice of whole grain bread if desired.

If you are still with me and you live this or will try the same, PLEASE feel free to leave me a comment on what sites, magazines or cookbooks you reference for recipes or ideas or simply for education. I am considering the magazine Vegetarian Times but open to magazine, cookbook or education ideas.

A big thanks in advance!

Linked to:

Tuesday Supper Club, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesday at the Table, Tuesday tasty Tidbit, Tasty Tuesday, Dr. Laura’s Tasty Tuesday, Eat at Home, Slightly Indulgent, Hearth and Soul, Made From Scratch, Tasty Tuesday MOP, Midnight Maniac Meatless Monday, Just Another Meatless Monday, Monday Mania, My Meatless Monday, Melt In Your Mouth Monday, Beauty & Bedlam Tuesday

Pumpkin Cranberry and Nutella Pound Cake

I am on a Nutella kick.  Nutella on toast, on bananas, in banana bread, in cream cheese, in yogurt….a Nutella sammie…u get the idea.  So I thought, hey, maybe a pumpkin Nutella pound cake in honor of National Pound Cake Day! Pound cakes are traditionally heavy and a bit fat laden so I lighted up this recipe with applesauce and Stevia which made room for those few extra Nutella calories.  Brilliant!

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

Recipe Notes:  I replaced half of the oil with applesauce, replaced one cup of sugar with Stevia (for baking), added 1/4 cup dried cranberries and swirled a 1/4 cup of melted Nutella into the batter once it was in the pan.

Results:  Very moist with a small ribbon of creamy Nutella and a tart pop of cranberry here and there.

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, combine sugar (or Stevia), applesauce (if substituting for oil) and oil until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves; add to egg mixture alternately with pumpkin, beating well after each addition.
  • Transfer to a greased 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350° for 60-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack. Remove pan and cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.
  • I made a simple yogurt topping of 1/2 cup greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar and a tablespoon of Nutella.  Stir and chill until ready to use.
  • Yield: 12-16 servings.

Linked to: Sweets for a Saturday, Saturday Swap, Tatertots and Jello, At the Picket Fence, Decidedly Healthy, Sundae Scoop, Hodgepodge Friday, Cookbook SundaysRecipe Swap SundayPotluck SundaySundays at One, Not Baaad Sundays, Seasonal Sundays, Mouthwatering Mondays, Sumos Sweet Stuff, Something I Whipped Up, Made By You Monday, Whipperberry Friday Flair, Homemaker Mondays, Your Recipe, My Kitchen, Eats Well with Others, Meals on MondayFriday 1ST, Happy Housewife, All Things Related, Tasty Tuesday, Sweet Tooth Friday

Smoked Salmon, Pear and Pecan Salad

This is a staple in our house.  I have made this with salmon, trout, sea bass and tilapia.  I also use whatever fruit I happen to have in the house or what is in season…apples, strawberries and blackberries.  This really is a recipe that you can experiement with and always have great results.  I serve this for brunch for my fish loving friends.  The addition of chipotle or other chili powder in the dressing gives it a nice kick and counter to the sweetness of the fruit.

Adapted from Cooking Light.

Recipe Note – In the winter months, I use a Camerons Stovetop Smoker which works very well.  They have both a small and a large size and I own and use both depending on the quantity I need to smoke. The smoker is also great for chicken, meat, veggies and cheese. When I don’t feel like smoking the fish, I use a heavenly Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt from the Savory Spice Shop (they ship) and bake the fish until it flakes.

The Sea Salt is smoked over Northwest alder wood and is a true “smoked” salt. No artificial flavoring has been added and it is 100% natural. For hundreds of years alder wood has been used to smoke salmon and other meats and truly is a Northwest American tradition. {I am not compensated or affiliated with the Savory Spice Shop…I simply love the shop as they have unique spices and grind them weekly for max freshness.}


Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 cups salad, 1 fillet, and 1 1/2 teaspoons nuts)

Ingredients:

  • 2  cups  wood chips
  • 3  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 1  teaspoon  prepared horseradish
  • 4  (6-ounce) rainbow trout fillets
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2  tablespoons  white wine vinegar
  • 1  tablespoon  walnut oil or olive oil
  • 1/4  teaspoon  chili powder
  • 8  cups  mixed salad greens (I used a spinach and arugula)
  • 4 cups  thinly sliced pear
  • 1  cup  thinly sliced red onion
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped pecans, toasted
Preparation:
Soak wood chips in water 30 minutes, and drain well.

Combine lemon juice, horseradish, and fillets in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 20 minutes, turning bag occasionally.

Smoking Fish:

Prepare grill for indirect grilling, heating one side to low and leaving one side with no heat. Maintain temperature at 200° to 225°.

Place wood chips on hot coals. Place a disposable aluminum foil pan on unheated side of grill. Pour 2 cups water in pan. Coat grill rack with cooking spray; place on grill. Remove fillets from bag; discard marinade. Sprinkle fillets with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place fillets on grill rack over foil pan on unheated side. Close lid; cook 30 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.

Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, vinegar, oil, and chili powder, stirring with a whisk. Combine greens, pears and onion in a large bowl; drizzle with vinaigrette. Toss gently to coat. Remove skin from fillets; discard skin. Break fillets into pieces; serve over salad. Sprinkle with nuts.

Linked to: Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, Tasty TraditionsCooking Thursday, A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa, Frugal FolliesStrut Your Stuff, Recipe Swap Thursday, Let’s Do Brunch, It’s a Keeper, Pennywise Platter, Fantastic FridayTatertots and Jello, I’m Lovin it Friday, Friday Potluck, Family Friendly Friday, Fat Camp Friday, Fun with Food Friday, Food Trip Friday, Foodie Friday, Food on Friday, Saturday Swap, Simply Sweet Home, Katie’s Cucina, Sweet Tooth Friday, Friday Favorites, Feature Yourself Friday, Whipperberry Friday FlairFrugal Friday, Sweet Saturday, Mouthwatering Monday, Decidedly Healthy

Curry Turkey Muffins with Yogurt Tzatziki

If you read my post on Strawberry Chipotle Chicken, you know I am in crisis mode.  My favorite skinny jeans don’t fit…too much rich cooking and baking these past few months.

So I am back to clean, light and healthy eating…not forever of course, just until I can get back into my jeans.

I love using Jennie-O extra lean ground turkey…I use it in lightened Bolognese, turkey burgers. turkey chili and turkey meatloaf.  I can lighten almost any traditional meat dish with turkey.

I was craving curry and found a great recipe for Curry Spiced Meatloaf.  I had some wonderful rainbow chard that needed to be used…a fine chop, quick saute and into the loaf it went. I think this really helped keep the turkey moist.

The perfect topping was a tzatziki made with Fage zero to lighten it up even more. The cucumber mint added a cool counter to the hot curry I used.

Inspired by Taste of Home Curry Spiced Meatloaf.

Recipe Notes/Modifications:  I used brown rice for the rolled oats,  1/2 bunch rainbow chard (sautéed) instead of carrots, no salt chicken broth for the milk and lean turkey breast for the beef. I baked these savoy little loafs in a muffin tin for portion control.  Served with a salad, a dollop of tzatziki, it was just perfect.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs or rolled oats
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine egg, milk, bread crumbs or oats, garlic, curry powder, cumin, salt, pepper, carrots and onion. Add ground beef; mix well. Pat meat mixture into an 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan or muffins tins.  Bake at 350° for 40-50 minutes or until no pink remains.

Servings:  4 – 2 turkey “muffins” each.

inked to: Real Food Wednesday, What’s On Your Plate,  Eat at Home, Works for Me Wednesday, Sweet and Savory Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Welcome Wednesday, Wandering WednesdayGold Star Wednesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Raising Homemakers, Potluck Wednesday, Let’s Do Brunch, What I Ate Wednesday, Wandering Wednesday,

Strawberry Chipotle Glazed Chicken

It  has finally happened…all of this rich cooking and baking has…well…added a few pounds and if I don’t get back to clean eating, I will be forced to invest in a pair of pajama jeans.  There, I said it, zipping my skinny jeans has become a daily challenge.  The words out of my mouth while trying to squeeze into them are not pretty, not pretty at all!

I did this to myself…I threw my clean eating habits out the window and blamed it on the cold, snowy, winter in Denver. I have no motivation to head out on a run when it is 30 degrees and snowing.  I have no motivation to get on the elliptical.  I haven’t lifted a weight in 3 months.  I allowed these pounds to creep up on me! Arrrgghhhh!!

I love my bedazzled TR skinny jeans so I just can’t let this continue!  My favorite jeans are staring at me, mocking me from the closet. And I have another confession…it isn’t just one pair, it is all of them.  Even the Lucky boyfriend jeans (which, by the way, run big).

YIKES! I. Refuse. To. Buy. New. Jeans!

With spring around the corner (and a return to SoBe), it is time to dust off the Eating Well, Cooking Light and Clean Eating cookbooks and get back on track. Back to light, healthy and Clean Eating principles. Back to working out.  Cheers to my jeans sliding right on without tugging, pulling, squatting and cussing!

So, the question I will be asking myself over the next few weeks is:  Pajama Jeans or ?

Today ? wins with strawberry chipotle grilled chicken.  Fresh, smoky and slightly spicy!  A perfect “re-entry” to light and healthy food. Served simply with EVOO misted steamed spinach.

Strawberry Chipotle Grilled Chicken adapted from Eating Well.

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries, tops removed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup strawberry preserves (I used no sugar preserves)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  1. Stir strawberries, broth, preserves, ketchup, vinegar, chipotle peppers, thyme and allspice in a small deep bowl. Transfer to a shallow nonreactive dish large enough to hold chicken. Add chicken and turn to coat well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat grill to high. Oil the grill rack. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Transfer the marinade to a medium skillet.
  3. Bring the marinade to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the sauce is reduced by about half, 12 to 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, reduce the grill heat to medium and grill the chicken until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 7 to 9 minutes per side. Let the chicken cool slightly; serve with the sauce.

If you are struggling with the winter hibernation weight blues, join me on my daily culinary journey to take control of my jeans. It will be light, healthy and oh…so…delicious!

Linked to: Tuesday Supper Club, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesday at the Table, Tuesday tasty Tidbit, Tasty Tuesday, Dr. Laura’s Tasty Tuesday, Eat at Home, Slightly Indulgent, Hearth and Soul, Made From Scratch, Tasty Tuesday MOP, Delectable Tuesday

Red Pepper, Olive and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Every now and then I want a dish that doesn’t require too much time in the kitchen.  This 5 ingredient chicken is my “go to” when I want a light and healthy dish with little fuss.  Easy enough for a weeknight dinner but elegant enough for company.

All of the flavors of tapas found in the Mediterranean ~ freshly roasted peppers, kalamata olives and feta cheese tucked inside a chicken breast and grilled to perfection.  Using jarred red peppers cuts the prep down even more for those busy week nights.

Mix it up by using different olives, different cheeses, add pine nuts or capers.

Experiment with this simple dish!

Roasted Red Peppers by Stephanie Richard

Mixed olives.

Olives by Marco Bernardini

Market olives…oh, the choices.

Olives by Michael Cannon

Mediterranean Stuffed Chicken adapted from Cooking Light.

8 servings (serving size: 1 stuffed chicken breast half)

Ingredients:

  • 1  large red bell pepper
  • 1/4  cup  (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese
  • 2  tablespoons  finely chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 1  tablespoon  minced fresh basil
  • 8  (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Directions: Preheat broiler. Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 15 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and finely chop.

Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Combine bell pepper, cheese, olives, and basil. Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff 2 tablespoons bell pepper mixture into each pocket; close opening with a wooden pick. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from grill; cover loosely with foil, and let stand 10 minutes.

Serve with a salad and a slice of fresh whole wheat bread.

Cookbook SundaysRecipe Swap SundayPotluck SundaySundays at One, Not Baaad Sundays, Saturday Swap, Sweet Saturday, Seasonal Sundays, Mouthwatering Mondays, Sumos Sweet Stuff, Something I Whipped Up, Made By You Monday, Your Recipe, My Kitchen, Tatertots and Jello, Decidedly Healthy, Saturday Night Special, Whipperberry Friday Flair, Homemaker Mondays, Your Recipe, My Kitchen, Eats Well with Others, Monday Mania, Tute Yourself Tuesday

{Captioned photos used under CC Attribution 3.0}

Cherry Banana Bread with Nutella Swirls

I had every intention of making this banana cherry nutella bread for World Nutella day but for whatever reason the day got away from me and then a week and then well….it was three weeks too late.  I don’t know where the time went but nutella is so darn good that it really doesn’t need a special day to be eaten or baked into a yummy banana cherry bread.

I found the Banana Nutella bread recipe from Barbara Bakes.  I made a few changes by adding 1/2 cup of dried tart cherries and replaced the sour cream with non-fat greek yogurt (Fage) to lighten it a bit more!  Results?  Gooey nutella swirls, plump tart cherries and a mello banana flavor.  A hit for sure.

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about three small)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup low fat sour cream ( I used Fage Zero yougurt)
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt

1/2 cup Nutella

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until well blended. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; Add flour mixture to banana mixture, stirring just until moistened.

Spoon 1/2 batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 3-inch loaf pan coated with baking spray with flour. Add 1/4 cup Nutella in dollops. Swirl a bit then top again with remaining batter. Add another 1/4 cup Nutella in dollops on top. Swirl again.

Bake at 350º for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack. Bake mini loaves for 35 minutes or muffins for 18 minutes.

Linked to Tatertots and Jello, I’m Lovin it Friday, Friday Potluck, Family Friendly Friday, Fat Camp Friday, Fun with Food Friday, Food Trip Friday, Foodie Friday, Food on Friday, Saturday Swap, Simply Sweet Home, Katie’s Cucina, Sweet Tooth Friday, Friday Favorites, Feature Yourself Friday, Whipperberry Friday Flair, Recipe Swap Thursday, Frugal Friday, Sweet Saturday, Recipes I Can’t Wait to Try

Lavender and Fennel Crusted Salmon

Several years ago I planted a few lavender bushes.  I had no idea that these bushes would thrive in our Denver climate and expand to take up a big portion of the garden.

I love walking through the garden, brushing up against the leaves, the scent of lavender filling the air.  I often pluck a bunch of leaves and rub them in my hands to release the scent.  I am fascinated with the honey bees that congregate on and around the bushes, sometimes so many bees the lavender is abuzz.

This abundance of fresh lavender has expanded my culinary journeys.  I’ve made polenta cake with fresh lavender and honey, lavender ice cream. lavender shortbread, lavender crumb topping on fruit (especially good with pears), lavender vinaigrette and lavender lemonade.  If you have never used lavender in the kitchen but want to, look at The Lavender Cookbook and Discover Cooking with Lavender.  Both books are good and have creative recipes using lavender.

Lavender Field by Dave Catchpole

A single honey bee on lavender…soon lavender honey!

Lavender and Honey Bee by Steve Johnson

What could be better than being this close to the indescribable smell of lavender?

Norfolk Lavender by Martin Pettitt

While I have used lavender in many dishes, they were primarily sweet.  I had never used lavender on fish and would never have thought to pair it with fennel seeds so I was intrigued by the lavender and fennel crusted salmon recipe in the Sonoma Diet Cookbook. What a great way to bring a bit of summer to my winter table.  It was a delicious combination!

Lavender and Fennel Crusted Salmon adapted from The New Sonoma Cookbook.

Ingredients:

6 6 ounce salmon filets (skinless)

2 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley

1 tablespoon dried culinary lavender , crushed (if you don’t have dried lavender flowers, use Herbs de Provence which is a mixture of spices and includes lavender)

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

Preparation:

Combine the parsley, lavender, fennel, thyme, salt and pepper.  Sprinkle the mixture over the salmon and rub in with your fingers.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add salmon and cook 8-12 minutes or until golden brown and fish flakes easily, turning at the halfway point.

Easy and quick from prep to table.

I served the salmon with skinny mashed gold potatoes and sautéed rainbow chard.

Linked to: Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, Tasty Traditions, Ultimate Recipe Swap, Cooking Thursday, A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa, Frugal Follies, HoH, Strut Your Stuff, Recipe Swap Thursday, Let’s Do Brunch, It’s a Keeper, Pennywise Platter, Fantastic Friday

{captioned photos used under CC 3.0 Attribution}

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 21 other followers

{Random food and photos}