Salmon with Flavor

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Eating at least two servings of fish like salmon, tuna and sardines, is a great way to get it good omega 3s which are great for heart health. Pair it with a healthy fat like avocado and you’ve got a dual hit of nutrients needed for brain health and cognition! Fish is easy to come by whether canned, frozen or fresh. These days the challenge comes in whether to get wild caught options or farm raised as nutritionally, the fish seem equal. There is lots of literature out there about sustainability with wild caught and contaminants in farm raised options, so certainly there is no wrong choice.

For this dish I used a frozen wild caught salmon fillet that was large enough for two.  I was inspired by my Granny who cooked the salmon when my mom and I visited for Memorial day. She has been seriously loving youtube and all of its infinite wisdom which has inspired her to get in the kitchen! I love the use of simple flavors like lemon, garlic and honey and the flavor it can bring to a humble salmon fillet. Leftover fish would be great over some arugula as a salad. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts.

Garlic Lemon Seared Salmon

1 1lb fillet of salmon

1/2 tbsp. olive or avocado oil 

1 juiced lemon

1 grated cloves of garlic 

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup wild rice

1 1/2 water 

1 cup fresh Swiss chard

Directions:

  1. Bring water and rice to a boil in a small pot. Cook as described on package.
  2. Heat a large sized skillet over medium high heat and add oil.
  3. Season fish on one side with salt and pepper and place seasoned side down into skillet. Season other side and cook for three minutes.
  4. Flip and squeeze in lemon juice and cook for another three minutes. Turn off heat and continue cooking on residual heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Rinse and chop Swiss chard and wilt into rice. 
  6. Plate rice and Swiss chard mix with fish.
  7. Enjoy!

Pepper Steak

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Pepper steak is incredibly comforting and easy to make. Best of all, it fits in one. It can be eaten with mashed potatoes or your favorite rice dish and makes great leftovers. I love to add different vegetables like peppers, mushrooms and onion, but you can always add your favorite mix of seasonal veggies. Sauteed leafy greens such as spinach, Swiss chard or other greens make a great side dish. But for this go round I topped it with micro greens for the same nutrient packing punch with less of the chewing. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts!

Pepper Steak

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 large thick cut filet or ribeye steaks 

1 yellow bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

1 medium onion

1 container of crimini mushrooms

1/2 tbsp. olive oil

1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste 

1/2 cup of water

3 large red potatoes 

1/2 tbsp. butter 

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cube potatoes and add to water. Slice 1/2 of the onion into thin slices and add to pot.
  2. Heat oil in a large pan over medium high heat. 
  3. Lightly season steaks on one side with garlic powder, a pinch of salt and pepper. Place season side down in the  skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Season other side.
  4. Rinse and chop bell pepper into large pieces. Cut large mushrooms into fourths and smaller in half.
  5. Flip steaks and move one side of the skillet. Add peppers and mushrooms. 
  6. Peel and slice onion into thin slices. Add to the skillet and add 1/2 cup of water.
  7. Reduce heat to simmer and top up pan. Cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Strain potatoes and onions and add 1/2 tbsp of butter and salt and pepper to taste. Mash until chunky smooth.
  9. Plate and top with micro greens. (Optional)

Discover Farro

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I love to try out new whole grains, especially those that are versatile. Farro definitely makes the cut as a wonderfully nutritious grain that is kind of like a cross between rice and pasta. High in fiber and containing lower levels of gluten, farro is a great option to help lower risk for diseases such as heart disease and inflammatory diseases. To make it even better, Trader Joe’s offers a quick cook option of farro which makes it great as an option for a quick meal during the week. It’s easy enough to change up vegetables and flavor profiles with additions such as chickpeas or chicken, other herbs or a variety of vegetables. And with a cook and prep time of just about 17 minutes, it’s a hard, easy meal to pass up. This is a great meatless Monday option and can easily serve as a side to sautéed or grilled chicken, shrimp or dish. I typically like to make about 2 servings of chicken and shrimp to change things up and add a side salad or roasted vegetables. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts! 

Farro Salad

Salad Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes 

2 cups frozen spinach

1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms

1/2 cup sliced red onion

3 tbsp. feta cheese

1 1/2 cups dry quick cook farro

Sauce ingredients:

Juice of 1 lime

2 large cloves of garlic

1/4 cup fresh basil

1/4 cup fresh mint

2 scallions 

Pinch of water 

Directions:

  1. Put a medium pot of water over medium high heat to boil.
  2. While waiting for water to boil, wipe off excess dirt from mushrooms and slice thinly. Slice about 1/2 or a small red onion and add mushrooms and onion to a skillet with 1 cup of water. Simmer on medium heat. Stir occasionally. 
  3. Add farro to water once boiling and set a timer for 10 minutes. Stir once to prevent sticking. Cook frozen spinach in microwave for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Quarter about 6 cherry tomatoes and add to a medium bowl. Turn off mushrooms and onion once water evaporates.
  5. Using a small blender or bullet or ninja device, add sauce ingredients and blend well.
  6. Strain farro and add in spinach. Stir to help cool the farro and further cook spinach. Add to the bowl with tomatoes. Add in mushrooms and onion, sauce and add feta cheese.
  7. Serve and enjoy. 

Summer Hash

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Every now and then, I get a craving for comfort food. One of my favorites is smothered potatoes. As a kid, I was always an early riser, and since the rest of the house slept long after I did, I taught myself to make potatoes my way. While I called them hash browns, my mom always would always tell me they were smothered potatoes. It’s a great dish any time of the day and a particular favorite of mine for breakfast or brunch.

For this morning’s food demo at the Red Stick Farmer’s Market, I decided to make a healthier version with some seasonal zucchini, peppers and kale. It is great to have access to such variety all in one place. Thank you Chenier Farm for a wonderful variety of produce, and Amato’s Winery for some tasty sausage! For some added nutrients, I topped the dish with some flavorful microgreens from the Westdome Nursery. My favorite way to eat this is with a scrambled or poached egg or two. J  Be sure to share your thoughts. Enjoy!

Green Onion Sausage and Veggie Hash

Serves 4:

Ingredients:

¾ lb. fresh green onion sausage

1 cup chopped sweet onion

1 cup chopped red potato

1 cup of chopped zucchini

½ cup chopped bell pepper

½ cup of chopped banana pepper

1 cup chopped kale

1 tbsp. minced basil

1 tbsp. minced parsley

½ tsp. coarse black pepper

½ tsp. salt free sunny herb blend (red stick spice)

½ tsp. Sel de Provence (red stick spice) (optional to regular sea salt)

Directions:

1. Peel and dice the sweet onion. Place in a large skillet over medium heat with a splash of water.

2. Remove fresh green onion sausage from the casing and brown evenly.

3. Wash vegetables well and cut zucchini in half, then into long strips before dicing. Repeat with potato. In a medium pot, add vegetables with ½ cup of water. Cut peppers in half, remove seeds, then cut into strips before dicing.

4. Rinse herbs, mince and add to the pot. Add sausage and onion mixture. Cook for 10 minutes.

5. Rinse and cut chop kale. Add to pot and cook until wilted. Add seasoning and stir well.

6. Serve and enjoy.

Tomato Basil Balsamic Chicken

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Chicken is a go to protein for the average family, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Working with new clients for cooking sessions keeps me inspired to blend interesting flavors and textures together. Since chicken dishes were requested, I decided to jazz up the traditional and add a twist of different. This tomato basil balsamic chicken dish, paired with mashed cauliflower and potato medley, was flavorful and easy to make while introducing new flavors for my client. As a way to transform leftovers, this would make a wonderful sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mozzarella. Check out the recipe below and be sure to share your thoughts!

Tomato Basil Balsamic Chicken

Ingredients:

5 large chicken breast

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

2 cups diced tomato (2 medium tomatoes)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 

1 tbsp. sea salt

1 tbsp. coarse black pepper

1 tbsp. garlic powder 

1 cup water

Directions:

  1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Rinse chicken and season lightly with half of the seasoning evenly.
  2. Once the skillet is hot, place the chicken seasoned side down. Season the other half. 
  3. Add a splash of water and lower the heat to medium. Flip the chicken after 2-3 minutes to continue to brown evenly. 
  4. Chop basil and tomatoes. Add to the skillet. Add a splash of water, the vinegar and flip the chicken again.
  5. Lower the heat to medium low and simmer for 4 minutes.
  6. Turn off heat. Plate and enjoy!

Simple Shrimp Soup

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With the latest cold front in Louisiana, I was inspired to make a simple shrimp soup with an Asian flair. A friend of mine introduced me to the Chinese hot pot and I thought some of those flavors would work great in a soup with a few leafy green vegetables and mushrooms. Though this soup would work with any mushroom, I found enoki mushrooms which I had not previously cooked when before and picked up a pack from a nearby Asian food store. They have a very mild flavor and their long stems with the rounded bulb tops look more like a noodle when separated. It’s incredible how well the flavors of simple ingredients gel together for a quick and easy meal on a cool evening. This soup took 20 minutes to make and it was helpful to use one of my frozen bags of shrimp where I peel and devein them in bulk ahead of time and put them into 1 lb, single and double serving portions for later use. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts.

Ingredients:
3 cups water
32oz organic chicken stock
1 lb raw shrimp
3 cups bok Choy
1 cup spinach
1/8 cup shallots
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
3 tbsp Lee Kum lee soup base for satay hot pot (or any flavor preferred)
1 cup enoki mushroom
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp chili garlic sauce (Huy Fong)
1 tsp fresh chives (optional garnish)

Directions:
1. Defrost frozen shrimp in cool water in its plastic bag 15 minutes before starting to cook or overnight unless using fresh.
2. Bring liquids to a boil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of soup base and stir until well blended. Peel and dice shallot and add to the pot of liquid. Grate in 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger.
3. While waiting for it to boil, rinse and break off leaves of the bok choy and cut white ends into 1 inch chunks and leafy green tops into large ribbons. (Not too small if you want to keep some texture!)
4. Rinse spinach leaves and slice into ribbons. Rinse enoki and cut off roots. Remove any wilted or slimy mushrooms.
5. Add greens, mushrooms, chili sauce and soy sauce to the pot.
6. Rinse and add shrimp. Reduce to medium low heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.
7. Bowl and serve with optional garnish.

 

Inspired Brunch

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I thoroughly enjoyed cooking this Saturday at the Red Stick Farmer’s Market this weekend. I decided to expand a pickled onion and strawberry salad I created last strawberry season and and a sweet potato and sausage hash done in an “Inspired” way. 🙂 I decided to make a sweet and sour pork sausage with a savory sweet potato hash to go with the salad for a seasonal and flavorful weekend brunch.

Check out the recipes below. You can also catch me in action with the short video by Lena Farms on Facebook with some quick tips on uses for apple cider vinegar. As always, share your thoughts!

 

Pickled Onion and Strawberry Salad
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1 cup of chopped strawberries
1 cup of sliced onion (1 small)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. strawberry ghost pepper jam
1 cup shredded arugula
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper

 

Sweet and sour pork sausage with Sweet Potato Hash
Serves 4-6

Main Ingredients:
1/2 lb. cubed smoked sausage
1 1/2 medium sweet potato cubed (2 cups)
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. coarse black pepper
1 cup water
1 tbsp. olive or canola oil
1/2 cup chopped green onion bottoms
1 pinch of salt

Sweet and sour sauce ingredients:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. pineapple ghost pepper jelly

Directions:
1. Add apple cider vinegar and jam to a medium-sized bowl and mix well with a fork until well blended.
2. Cut an onion in half then peel each half. Slice each half thinly and add to the vinegar mixture. Let sit for 15 minutes.
3. Peel and rinse sweet potato. Using aggression and a sharp knife (haha), cut sweet potato in half, then into thirds before dicing into small cubes.
4. Clean green onion stems and bulb bottoms well under running water and then cut off rooted ends (can be replanted). Thinly cut ends up to where the stem turns green.
5. Add oil and onion to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes then add sweet potato. Add 1/2 cup of water . Add paprika, pepper and rosemary and mix well. Let cook for 6 minutes, shaking the skillet or stirring occasionally.
6. Cut sausage in half longwise, then in half again to make cubing the sausage easier.
7. Add potatoes and onion to a small bowl and place sausage in same skillet with 1/4 cup of water and let sausage cook for 3-5 minutes until water evaporates. Add potatoes back in and if potatoes are undercooked (still hard) add a splash of water.
8. In the bowl from the potatoes, add balsamic vinegar and jelly and mix well with a fork until blended. Add to sausage and potato mix and stir well. Cook for 3 minutes until liquid evaporates and remove from heat. Add a pinch of salt it desired.
9. Rinse and slice strawberries and add to the bowl of pickled onion.
10. Rinse and chop parsley and arugula and add it and seasoning to the bowl. Mix well.
11. Plate both and enjoy.