Showing posts with label seafood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label seafood. Show all posts


Seahawk Salmon Sliders with Sriracha Mayo

In 1976 our little JC Penney Store in Bremerton, WA was visited by a celebrity. His name was Jim Zorn, and he was the quarterback for the newly formed Seattle Seahawks. I stood in line to get a photo of  Jim; he gave me a hug and a signed a 5x7 glossy black and white with his name and a scripture. I was star struck over the most beautiful person I had ever met.  Since I was 13 at the time, it never really worked out for us…my earliest memory associated with the Seahawks= my crush on Jim Zorn.
Oh to be 13, in braces, and in love.

Bremerton, WA

In the 38 years the Seahawks have been in existence, this weekend will be their second Super Bowl appearance. Kind of a big deal.
We watched the Seahawks play an away game, on a Thursday night in Phoenix last fall.
The 12th man? Alive and well in Phoenix.  It seemed like a home game with all of the Seahawk fans in attendance.

Me and my baby.

In honor of my mother, little brother and his family who LOVE the Seahawks, I created a dish that reflects the flavors of the Northwest in one fresh little slider.  It is perfection in a bite- a little sweet, spicy, creamy and crunchy. So simple. Takes less than 1/2 hour start to finish. If you are going to a Super Bowl party and want to take a dish that's not your ho-hum Little-Smokie-in-bbq-sauce fare, you've hit the gold mine.
Best new appetizer.
Say it with me.

Seahawk Sliders with Sriracha Mayo
A Bountiful Kitchen

1 1/2 lbs salmon fillet
1 cup prepared teriyaki sauce ( I like Soy Vay's Veri-Veri Teriyaki)
1 large or 4 baby cukes, sliced thin*
1 small can water chestnuts, drained and cut into matchstick pieces
12 small dollar size rolls, sliced, or one french baguette, sliced into 12- 1" pieces
decorative toothpicks, if desired

for sauce:
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon Sriracha Sauce**
1 tablespoon rice or cider vinegar

Cut salmon into 4-6 pieces and place in bowl with teriyaki sauce. Make sure all pieces are coated in sauce.
Make sauce by whisking mayo, Sriracha and rice vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside. If not using immediately, set in refrigerator.
Heat a cast iron grill pan (the type with ridges that create grill marks) over medium high heat for about 5 minutes or until the pan sizzles when a drop of water is placed on pan. Spray with cooking oil, or quickly wipe with a paper towel and canola oil.
Place salmon onto the grill pan, cook for about 3-4 minutes per side. Make sure to grill the sides of the salmon as well for about 1 minute each. The total grill time for the fish should be about 8-10 minutes.
Remove from grill pan and let sit on plate. If not using immediately, set aside and cover with foil to keep warm.
To assemble sliders:
Place a small amount of salmon on a roll, top with sliced cucumbers and water chestnuts, drizzle a teaspoon of sauce over salmon and veggies. Place top half of roll on top and skewer with long toothpick if desired to keep top of roll in place.  Serve immediately.
Yield about 12 - 2 inch sliders.

-*I purchased baby cukes at Costco. The seeds are very small so there was not a need to seed the cucumbers. If you are using full size vegetables, you will probably need to seed before slicing.
-**Sriracha Sauce is found in most grocery stores in the Asian section. It is a sauce made of ground chili peppers, garlic, salt and vinegar. It can be used in many recipes where you need a bit of a kick!
-This dish is best served warm, but is fine at room temperature as well.
-If you cannot find dollar size rolls, you may use any type of small roll. This recipe also works well served on a sliced french baguette, open faced ( similar to bruscetta).


Everyone's Favorite Shrimp and Avocado Salsa

I just returned from spending a few days in the Pacific Northwest, one of my favorite places in the world. Bremerton was my childhood home, a ferry ride away from Seattle. I grew up among these beautiful sights but never really appreciated them until I moved away! A few days with family is always treasured time :)

I was also able to attend the International Food Blogger's Conference in Seattle! Yes, a conference just for FOOD bloggers. Since I haven't been to a blogger conference (ever) I was wondering what to expect? I was pleasantly surprised. It was: food food food, gifts gifts gifts, fun fun fun. Who wouldn't love that? Seriously, three days of 300 women, (and a few men) talking about food blogging, taking classes, collecting an IN-sane amount of gifts from vendors, eating from morn until night, and taking pictures of food. Want to hear the funniest part of the conference?  Before eating, people were almost reverent about allowing the food to be photographed. If someone showed up after the initial photos were taken, and people were dishing up food, they would step aside and allow the food to be photographed again. No weird looks while photographing, or impatience while waiting in line to dish up a plate, just mutual understanding. Hell-o.

Top l-r : Four cute food bloggers I met at lunch one day, trying out some fun new food products, the SWAG bags, and yes, it was bags. Plural. As in- I had to buy another suitcase to get everything home!, a tasting before dinner one night from Alaska Seafood featuring Alaska Halibut Corndogs, Buffalo Alaska Cod Quesadillas, Sockeye Salmon and Bacon Wrapped Scallop Sliders. 

The classes were awesome.  Dorie Greenspan, Andrew Scrivani, Chef Jon Mitzewich, Jeffrey Lunak, Mark Briggs, the people from Allrecipes, Foodista and so many more. The only problem was how to attend every class, when there were three going on at the same time...
I met the nicest people and it was a great learning experience.  An experience that helped me to appreciate, a little more, what a blessing it is to spend time sharing my love of family, friends, community and cooking through ABK!

In honor of my recent visit to Seattle, I'm sharing (my daughter Corrine's) Shrimp and Avocado Salsa. This is one of our family favorites. Corrine has been making it for a few years and it's become one of those recipes. You know the dish that you make once and then get assigned to make for  EVERY party from that time forward because it's just So. Darn. Good.
Yup. This is that recipe. I've had people text, email and call me for this recipe. If you're a seafood hater, you may want to reconsider,  even seafood haters tell me they love it.
Tuck it away for your holiday parties coming up.
I know you're going to love it.

Everyone's Favorite Shrimp and Avocado Salsa
Adapted from Corrine at Mint Arrow
print recipe

1 lb cooked shrimp, thawed, tails removed and rinsed*, medium to large in size
juice of 6 limes
1 large white or sweet onion, chopped ( about two cups)
two bunches of cilantro, stemmed and chopped coarse, reserving a little for garnish
2 Serrano chilies, seed the chilies if you don't like spice and chop fine
4-6 medium avocados, slightly soft, chunked
1 large red pepper,  seeds removed, diced
Several dashes of hot sauce, to taste
1-1 1/2 cups ketchup
a few dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

The day before serving, remove shrimp from freezer and thaw in refrigerator in bag (see note below).
The next day-
Pull the tails off shrimp and devein the shrimp if needed. Chop the shrimp into large chunks, place in large bowl. Squeeze the fresh lime juice over the shrimp.
Place the chopped onion, cilantro, chilies, avocados, red pepper, hot sauce, ketchup and Worcestershire into bowl with shrimp. Season with salt and pepper. Gently fold the ingredients together.  Chill until ready to serve.
Serve with tortilla chips.
Serves 15-20 as an appetizer

-Plan ahead when making this dip. The best way to thaw the frozen shrimp is to leave it in the fridge overnight. If you forget and try to run it under cold water to thaw, the shrimp can take on a water-logged texture.
-If you like your dip more saucy, add another 1/2 to 1 cup of  ketchup.
-This can be made up to about 6 hours ahead of serving.

Night-night Seattle.


Summer Reading and Layered Seafood Spread

For as long as I can remember, I've loved shrimp cocktail, deep fried shrimp, shrimp in dips, even shrimp sandwiches. Maybe it has something to do with my first memory of reading a "real" book (with chapters). It was summer in the early 70's. A few of our neighbors were commercial fishermen, so a book about a girl working in a seafood processing plant was fitting for a young girl (me) growing up in Bremerton, Washington. I don't recall the name of the book, but the memory of the visuals I had while reading are still clear. The girl in the book was hired to help process crab and shrimp after local fishermen brought in their catch of the day. After her work day was over, she was allowed to eat a bit of leftover shrimp.  I remember wishing I could sit beside the girl on the loading platform of the warehouse and share her can of shrimp. Don't you love how a book can transform you to a different place and time?? Forty years later I recall that vivid description of freshly canned shrimp.
So that's my summer reading/shrimp story. Oh-The shrimp. I've been making this appetizer for years. It's simple and delicious. Great for summer or winter. Relaxed or formal gatherings. Another tried-and-true Pinch of Salt Lake Cookbook recipe.

Layered Seafood Spread
A Pinch of Salt Lake
print recipe

8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sour cream
dash of garlic salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
8 oz jar chili sauce or 8 oz homemade chili sauce
1/2 bunch chopped green onions
2 cups crab meat or shrimp (small or large), cooked, deveined and chopped if desired

Combine softened cream cheese, mayo, sour cream, garlic salt and Worcestershire in a medium bowl.
Spread onto a serving platter. The cream cheese mixture should be spread into a 10-12 inch circle. You may also use a pie plate.
Pour the chili sauce on top of the cream cheese mixture, taking care to not mix into the cream cheese. Make sure the seafood is drained well. If you have rinsed the shrimp, blot dry with paper towels to avoid making the dip watery.
Top the cream cheese and chili sauce with green onions and seafood.
Serve with crackers or sliced baguette.

-The original recipe says to make this several hour before serving. I have done this but usually wait to top the cream cheese with the rest of ingredients until just before serving. The chili sauce tends to bleed onto the cream cheese mixture if making too far in advance. If you want to make this ahead of time, mix all of the ingredients in the cream cheese layer ahead of time,  spread onto a platter, cover and set in fridge. Rinse the seafood, blot dry and put in a Ziploc bag. Chop the green onions, place in a small Ziploc bag. Just before serving, assemble.


Lobster and Shells

If you want to splurge on Mom for Mother's Day, try this salad from Ina Garten, aka the Barefoot Contessa.  Ina says it's important to use small shells in this salad so the corn kernels can get stuck inside of the shells. These things are important. Yes, they are. 
If you are as anxious for summer to get here as I am, you'll love this recipe. It tastes like a bite of summer in a salad. 

Lobster and Shells

Kosher salt
olive oil
1 pound small pasta shells, such as Ronzoni
Kernels from 8 ears of corn (about 6 cups) cooked, or about 1 1/2 small bags frozen corn*
12 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
2 yellow or orange or red bell peppers, seeded and small-diced
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 pounds cooked fresh lobster meat, medium-diced, about 2 medium size lobster tails
1 1/2 cups Best Foods or Hellman's mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream, regular or light*
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2-4 lemons, depending on how juicy)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4-1/2 cup minced fresh dill*

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt and some olive oil. Add the pasta and cook it for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente.  Drain the pasta pour into a large mixing bowl.  Add the frozen corn. Add the scallions, diced pepper, tomatoes, and lobster, tossing gently to combine. Allow to cool slightly.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, 4 teaspoons salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper until smooth. Pour over the pasta and mix well to bind the ingredients. Stir in the dill. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for up to 6 hours to allow the flavors to develop. Check the seasonings and serve chilled or at room temperature.

-*Fresh corn is always best. Cook the cobs of corn for about 4 minutes in a pot of boiling water. Cut the corn off the cob and let cool before adding to the salad.  If fresh is unavailable, use frozen corn, unthawed. The corn will thaw in the salad and help keep the rest of the salad ingredients cool.
-*Sour Cream-I used regular sour cream, but thought the dressing was a bit heavy. This salad could use a little lightening up, next time I make it I will use light sour cream.
-If you make this ahead of time and set in the fridge, you may need to thin the dressing a bit  by whisking in a tablespoon or two of milk. 
-Fresh dill- If at all possible, use fresh dill. If fresh is not available, 1 tablespoon of dried dill will work. 

Here's the link to Amazon and Ina's "How Easy is That?" cookbook. It's the perfect Mother's Day gift. 


Grilled Salmon with Simple Lemon Aioli

Did you think I had fallen off the face of the earth? I'm still here. Just returned from a vaca with Grant. Celebrating our 30 years of wedded bliss.
Fish is one of my favorites. It probably doesn't seem like it, since I don't post a lot of fish recipes. Here's the deal- my favorite recipe for fish is: a little lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cook until barely done.
A few thoughts about fish from my fuzzy mind at 3:30 in the morning. Insomnia/jet lag. It's a beautiful thing...

The first pic is of a sea bass we ate in Greece. Absolutely melt in your mouth delicious. The price tag? Not so wonderful. Let's just say, never, ever, sit down to lunch in Greece (or anywhere else for that matter) and let the restaurant owner give you suggestions without seeing the printed menu. The bill may form undesirable negative attitudes about Greece in general. No worries though, Greece's economic  woes may now be repaired. eh eh eh.

Here's another pic from the trip. I know, you wanted to see photos of ruins, but I thought you would enjoy this special treat. A fish pedicure. It's all the rage in Europe and Asia. Yes. That's right. Tourists lining up to pay money to plunge their feet into a tank (not cleaned in between pedicures) of small fish who then eat the dead skin off of their feet. Really? Am I the only one who thinks this is really disgusting?

Alright. Back to my dish. I wanted to serve salmon for Brookie's birthday a few weeks back, but also  wanted it to be a little out of the ordinary.  It was June, so we fired up the bbq.  Thought maybe some type of lemony drizzle would be festive. I Googled "Aioli and lemon" and came up with a recipe calling for mayo and lemon juice. Typically aioli is made with crushed garlic, egg yolk and olive oil. Whisking those ingredients together will produce an aioli. I was in a hurry, so I improvised and came up with this quickie sauce.
If you love simple, fresh and delish, you'll love this.

Grilled Salmon with Simple Lemon Aioli
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

Wild Salmon fillet, about 1 1/2  lbs
one fresh lemon
salt and pepper
cilantro or parsley for garnish

Heat grill to medium high heat. Coat grill with non stick cooking spray.
Squeeze the juice of one lemon on to fish. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Place fish on grill, skin side down.
Cover with lid of grill and cook for about 8-12 minutes. Do not turn over.
Check to see if fish is done by using a fork and pulling apart the fish gently at the thickest part. If the fish flakes apart easily, and is not fleshy looking inside, it is done. Do not overcook. The fish should be done in no more than about 12 minutes. Using a large spatula, transfer the fish to a plate. Cover with foil until ready to serve. Garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley.
Serves about 4-6

Simple Lemon Aioli
1/2 cup mayo (not low fat)
1/4 cup yogurt, plain
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon rind, grated
fresh ground pepper and coarse seal salt to taste

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Pass alongside fish, vegetables, chicken.
If desired, spoon into a small plastic bag. Snip off small corner of bag, squeeze sauce onto fish in zigzag pattern.

-I have found the freshest fish in Btown is sold at Costco. A few years ago I took a series of sushi making classes at Orson Gygi in SLC.  Jonas Otsuji, Sushi Chef (Survivor 2012 contestant) who taught the class recommended Costco as a source of fresh fish for those who live in mountain states.  I've purchased it several times over the years to make sushi and fresh fish dishes. I highly recommend cooking fish the same day it is purchased.
-I also highly recommend spending a few extra bucks and buying wild salmon, instead of the farm raised. It's seasonal, so it is not available year round. Wild vs farm raised? Remember the story about the fish pedi's?
Same concept.
In my mind.
The farm raised are swimming around eating everything in the tank. Ok, Ill stop there. Just buy the fresh and not farm raised when you have the option. Enough said.
-Broiling as an option- I broil fish all of the time. Simply place on a cookie sheet, line it with foil if you like for easy clean up. Spray the surface of the pan or foil with cooking spray. Place the rack on the second to top rack in the oven. Broil on high for about 8-10 minutes. Do not turn over.
-Make sure to snip a small corner of the bag if you want your aioli drizzle to look beautiful. I obviously was in  a hurry and snipped off a large hole, hence the thick, unattractive drizzle  :o
-If your grill has grates that are spaced quite far apart, you may want to use a soaked cedar plank to cook the fish, so it doesn't fall into the grill. Another option is to place the fish on a layer of foil, (double layer is best) then grill over the flame. You won't get as much of the bbq flavor, but if the option is foil or losing the fish in the grates, I choose foil. 


Chipotle Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa Verde

To celebrate Cinco De Mayo and Stephen's 15 month mark on his mission (read about it here), I made these simple and absolutely delicious grilled Chipotle Shrimp Tacos last week. 
If you love shrimp and a little spice, you are absolutely going to fall in love with this dish. 

                 He looks like a native, right? 
Nobody believes he is Caucasian and a quarter Japanese.

Chipotle Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa Verde
adapted from Food Network Test Kitchen

Avocado Salsa:
1 small onion, quartered, or 1/2 sweet onion, 1/2 red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
4 medium tomatillos, (about 8 ounces) husked, rinsed
1 Hass avocado
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoons kosher salt
juice from one lime or about 2-3 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chipotle or blended chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound medium shrimp (about 20), peeled and deveined
12 small yellow or white corn tortillas
2 limes, cut into wedges

Chop all of the salsa ingredients, season with salt.  Juice the lime and pour the juice onto the chopped vegetables, set aside.

Heat a stove top or outdoor grill to medium-high. Mix the olive oil, chipotle or chili powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Grill the shrimp until translucent, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side. Do not over cook, or the shrimp will become tough.

Grill tortillas, until slightly charred and pliable, about 20 seconds per side. (Alternatively, wrap in a damp paper towel and heat in a microwave.) Top  each tortilla with about 3 shrimp and some avocado salsa. Serve with a lime wedge on the side.

-If you don't have the time, or don't have a bbq grill, you may saute the shrimp over medium high heat in a frying pan. Lightly grease the pan or use a non stick pan. 


Orzo, Shrimp and Summer Vegetable Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette

For some unknown reason, I feel the need to have an orzo salad with our Easter meal. Why orzo? Why at Easter? We don't really need to answer these questions.    Information that actually might be useful: Orzo is a small rice shaped pasta.  It comes in different sizes, some look more flat and like short grain rice. Other varieties of orzo are more similar to a piece of long grain rice. I prefer the longer, thinner shape. It's not rice, just pasta shaped like rice. Find it in the pasta section of your grocery.

The Easter orzo salad changes a little each year. I love shrimp, orzo and vegetables together. I tried a new recipe this year, and everyone agreed it's a keeper. I know you're going to love it too.

Orzo, Shrimp and Summer Vegetable Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette
Adapted from Bon Appetite 2008
print recipe

8 ounces orzo (about 1 1/3 cups)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 medium zucchini or summer squash (about 9 ounces total), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 red or yellow bell pepper, quartered
3 tablespoons purchased pesto
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
2 cups tomatoes, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups) or 2 cups grape tomatoes, slice in half
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves plus sprigs for garnish
1 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped

Cook orzo in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Transfer to large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon oil.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush zucchini and bell pepper with 2 tablespoons olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk pesto, lime juice, remaining 4  tablespoons oil, and remaining 1-2 tablespoons vinegar in small bowl for pesto vinaigrette. Place shrimp in medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons pesto vinaigrette; toss to coat.
Grill zucchini and bell pepper until crisp tender, about 2 minutes per side for zucchini and 3 minutes per side for bell pepper. Transfer to work surface. Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper; grill until charred and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Place shrimp in bowl with orzo. Chop zucchini and bell pepper; add to bowl with orzo. Add remaining vinaigrette, tomatoes, sliced basil, and mozzarella; toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
Garnish with basil sprigs and serve cold or at room temperature.
Serves 4-6 as a side salad
This can be made ahead and kept in refrigerator for up to a day before serving. 

-This can be prepared without a grill. If you have a convection oven, turn the heat to about 425 and cook just until vegetables start to turn golden. You may cook the shrimp in the oven as well, or saute in a pan on the stove. The flavors are definitely better when the vegetables ad shrimp are grilled on a barbecue grill.
-Don't overcook the vegetables.  They should be barely softened when cooked properly. 


Seared Halibut with Herbed Tomatoes

Alaska. Never been there. Grant is always trying to talk me into going on a cruise to Alaska. Isn't that a cold place? We live in a cold winter place, and the thought of going to a cold place in the summer just isn't appealing to me. I know it's not really cold in the summer, but fishing, hunting and hiking around in the great out of doors just isn't my idea of a vacation. A cruise vaca = swimsuit, lounge chair,books, lots of sunburned overfed cruisers and a fruity drink with a straw.

Alaska. Somehow a cruise to this isn't tempting to me...
My only associations/impressions with Alaska come through: Leeanna, one of my dearest childhood friends, who worked there for a few summers after high school. Made a boatload of money. My two high school guy pals Larry and Mike- their fathers were commercial fishermen. Worked with their dads in the summers, made boatloads of money. My sister friends Tessa and Emily are from AK. Grant went on a (yearly) once in a lifetime hunt to Alaska a few years ago- came back with a moose and a caribou (not an appropriate cruise activity). Melinda's hub Wayne just got back from a fishing trip to Alaska. He caught a HUGE fish. Melinda doesn't really know what to do with it. One morning after walking I told her to give me a few pieces, and for the price of sharing - I would make it into dinner.

Wayne and his big fish.
I found this recipe in Southern Living Feb 2009 issue. It's quick and easy. If it was any easier, it would be take out. If you have fresh tomatoes, BONUS. I wrote up the recipe as it was printed, and added my revisions in parenthesis. I bagged the can of tomatoes, and chopped up some of my neighbors fresh pear and cherry tomatoes. And of course, used FRESH herbs out of my herb pot. If you have halibut in your freezer, get it out and try this. If not, maybe you should book a cruise to Alaska.

Seared Halibut with Herbed Tomatoes
Southern Living Magazine 2009
print recipe

4- 6 oz halibut fillets (1/2 inch thick)
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped (sweet is best)
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon drained capers
1/2 teaspoon dried basil ( I used about 1/4 cup fresh chopped)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano ( I used about 1/4 cup fresh chopped)
1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes (about 2 cups fresh tomatoes chopped)

Cut fish into fillets. pat fish dry with paper towels. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook fish in hot oil on large skillet over medium high heat about 3 minutes on each side, or until fish flakes with a fork and is opaque throughout. Do not over cook fish, or it will be dry. Transfer fish to a serving platter, cover with foil and keep warm. Add onion and garlic to skillet, and saute 1 to 2 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in capers, basil, oregano and remaining salt. Reduce heat to low, and stir in tomatoes. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, until heated thoroughly. Top fish with tomato-herb mixture. Serve immediately.


Sara's Simple Salmon

We all know one. A Sara. A person who is talented, creative, artistic, beautiful, ALWAYS makes you feel special, can make something-out of almost anything. She sews, she cooks, she has her own candle company. You name it, she does it. One thing I really love about Sara is the simplicity of her cooking. Sara joined our Recipe Club group about 10 years ago and she always brings something fresh and new to our dinners, and almost always, her recipes are simple. No fuss. We love her Sunday Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Gravy. Her Southwest Soup is a fave and this recipe for what our family now calls "Sara's Salmon" is practically a staple. It takes about 2 minutes to prepare. I always serve it with a pot of Japanese rice and a green vegetable. I've only tried this on salmon, but think it would work on other types of fish, too. Sara cooked this for us in one of those pans with the grill marks on top of the stove, but I always broil it in one large piece in the oven. You know what's coming... You are going to love this.

Sara's Simple Salmon

1/4 cup butter
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons soy sauce

Preheat oven to broil, move rack to second level from top.
Whisk all ingredients together in small bowl. Spray broiling pan with cooking spray. Spread sauce on fish and broil 8-12 minutes in oven. Do not turn over. Cook just until fish flakes easily with a fork.

-If you are cooking on top of the stove, cut fish into fillets, and cook for about 4 minutes on each side.
-Cooking time depends on thickness of fish, temperature in oven and on stove top.


Mary Mac's Grilled Citrus Salmon

Yummy fresh Citrus Salmon

That's our little Mary Mac in front!

Mary Mac showed up at Central Kitsap High School our sophomore year. Her dad was in the Navy and by the time her family landed in Silverdale,WA she had lived all over the world. Remember the show "Love Boat" from the 70's?? That perky, cute cruise director, Julie? Well, that was Mary a.k.a.- "Mary Faith", or "Fifi" . In a time when most kids would have just been content to fit in and endure their last few years of high school as the new kid, she charmed us all with her enthusiasm for life, enormous smile and ability to love everyone. She was, and still is SO much fun. Mary had a serious shoe obsession (lucky for me bc we wore the same size in shoes and clothes) and it was a never ending clothing swap for three years. Back in our high school days, McDonald's employed hostesses who coordinated parties, gave tours, and generally promoted goodwill in McDonald land. Guess who was the Wheaton Way McD's hostess? As a fringe benefit of being BFF's, we consumed more than our share of free meals at the golden arches. Hey- we were in high school! Our usual order was a Fillet of Fish (her) two cheeseburgers (me), two fries, two Coke's and a chocolate shake (for dipping the fries). Our tastes have grown up a little bit, now Mare trades the fishwich for a salmon fillet.
In an attempt to eat one semi-healthy meal last month, I made Mary's Citrus Salmon. It only took a few minutes, and was delicious. Throw some fresh spinach on the serving plate, place the cooked salmon on top, and it's a dish pretty enough for company. Here's to Forever Friends!

Mary Mac's Grilled Citrus Salmon

1-1/2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 dashes cayenne pepper
2 dashes salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried dill
2 teaspoons capers
3 pounds fresh salmon fillets

In a small saute pan over medium heat, combine lemon juice, olive oil, butter, mustard, garlic, pepper, salt, basil, dill, and capers. While stirring, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Place salmon fillets skin-side down on a piece of heavy-duty foil with edges folded up, to make a pan. Pour sauce evenly over fish. Place fish on grill and cover with a lid. Barbecue over medium-hot coals for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets. Fish will be flaky when cooked.

-I used a 2 1/2 pound fillet, and reduced the garlic to 2 cloves.
-In the winter, or if you don't have a grill, cook in an oven at 350 wrapped in foil for 15-20 minutes, or broil for about 9 minutes.


Mini Corn Bread Crab Cakes with Creamy Lemon Sauce

My dear friend Diane made these scrumptious (don't you love that word) appetizers for our Recipe Club group last year at our holiday dinner. Diane is a great cook. Always up for trying something new. She is one of the few people I know who actually makes recipes out of "Cooking Light" magazine. She has a talent for finding good recipes that are low fat. I'm not a big fan of low fat, but I LOVE this recipe. I made these last year for a family party. The adults were shooing the kids away, and directing them to eat the store bought cheese ball, instead of our yummy crab cakes. The only thing I would do differently next time I make Cornbread Crab Cakes is - DOUBLE the recipe.

Mini Corn Bread Crab Cakes with Creamy Lemon sauce

1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise ( I used Regular Best Foods Mayo)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped ( optional, in my opinion)
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
1/8 teaspoon minced garlic
Dash of freshly ground black pepper

Crab cakes:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup sliced green onions
2/3 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise ( or regular)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Tabasco
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups crumbled Corn Bread
1 pound lump crab meat, shell pieces removed
Cooking spray
Fresh chives (optional)


You can bake the cornbread a couple of days in advance, and save 2 cups for making crab cakes.

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1. In a bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
2. With a fork, beat buttermilk, oil and eggs to blend. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients; mix just to moisten. Pour into an 8-inch square or 9-inch-wide round greased cake pan.
3. Bake in a 400° oven until bread springs back when gently pressed in center, 20 minutes.

4. Let cool.

Combine first 8 ingredients; chill.

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare crab cakes, heat oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell pepper, and garlic to pan; saute 3 minutes. Remove from heat; cool. Combine bell pepper mixture, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, and next 6 ingredients (through Old Bay); stir in egg. Fold in Buttermilk Corn Bread and crab meat. Scoop mixture into 16 portions (about 1/4 cup each) onto 2 baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Lightly cover, and refrigerate 1 hour. Uncover and bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from baking sheet with a metal spatula. Serve with sauce. Garnish with chives.


Grilled Fish Tacos with Mango/Pineapple Salsa

Several years ago, Grant and I were driving around town, looking for something to eat. That's when we found Lone Star Taqueria in Salt Lake. I tried a fish taco, and it was love at first bite. Corny, I know. They have the very, very BEST fish tacos in the world. At least, the best in Salt Lake. They know how to make a fish taco. Corn tortillas, fresh grilled fish (NOT BREADED) a pet peeve of mine with fish tacos. Who wants breaded fish on a taco?? Who wants breaded fish, ever?  If you want to totally disguise the taste of the fish, and question if you are eating chicken, or fish, or whatever, then go ahead and bread it. Unless you are eating fish and chips, then it's ok with me. I know some of you are thinking - you mean fish sticks? That's not fish.
Back to the fish taco ingredients...chopped tomatoes, shredded cabbage, and Jalapeno Mayo.

Grilled Fish Tacos with Mango/Pineapple Salsa

1 package small corn tortillas - I like white
2 lbs fish - I like Talapia or Salmon
1/2 head white cabbage, washed and shredded
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons light mayo
3 tablespoons taco seasoning
2 fresh limes
1/2 pineapple or 2 mangoes
1/2 red onion chopped
salt and pepper

Squeeze one of the limes over the fish fillets. Generously season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Grill over low heat about 5 minutes on each side on a barbecue grill that has been generously greased. If it's too cold outside, or you don't want to risk losing the fish in the grates of the grill, just broil in the oven for about 7 minutes. Check to see if the fish is done by flaking with a fork. If the fish flakes apart easily, it is done. Don't overcook. I think overcooking is the number one mistake when cooking fish.
Chop the cilantro. Place the sour cream, mayo, taco seasoning and chopped cilantro in a bowl. whisk together until blended. Thin with milk. Should be the consistency of creamy salad dressing.
Chop the mangoes or pineapple. Add chopped red onion. Chop the other half of the bunch of cilantro, add to fruit and red onion. Squeeze a little lime juice (1-2 tablespoons) over the salsa.
Turn on an electric grill or pan over medium heat and grill the tortillas on each side until the tortilla starts to bubble and lightly brown. Turn and grill other side. Remove to plate.
Assemble the tortillas- Place a corn tortilla on a plate. Top with some grilled fish. Add some shredded cabbage, and a tablespoon or two of the cilantro mayo. Finish off with the mango/pineapple salsa.


Simple Sushi

Last week, I was able to travel to Okinawa, Japan to visit family. I met my mom and we had a great time experiencing Japanese/Okinawan culture. Most of my relatives speak as much English as I speak Japanese. Just a scoshie. I watched carefully as my cousin Kaori and her sisters in law prepared a huge meal. Sushi, Soba, Shrimp rolls, salad made with Goya (a weird, bumpy green veggie found in Okinawa) and many other types of speciality dishes. We ate and laughed, and I realized then more than ever before, how food unites us. Sharing meals and cooking together can bridge language barriers we may have- kind of like smiles. Hope you enjoy these pics, and the following recipe for Simple Sushi. I love the way they served it on a big platter with all types of fillings. Every year on Christmas Eve, we make sushi rolls with my mom. We order Chinese takeout, make sushi and tempura, and have an Asian dinner. We usually make individual (Maki) rolls. But this method is much easier and allows everyone to build their own roll. Just spread the seasoned rice over the seaweed wrapper, top with your favorite raw fish, shrimp, vegetables and fold over. Oishi!

One of my cousin's kids, with a giant sushi roll.

Beautiful hand made shrimp roll.

Some veggie dish...

A salmon and almond appetizer.

The feast prepared by my family!

This was yummy.

My fav, noodles.

The national vegetable, Goya.

Eaten in salads, stir fry, deep fried. Remove seeds first.

Simple Sushi

printable recipe

7-8 cups white sticky rice, cooked, hot

1/2 to 3/4 cups rice vinegar "for sushi"

Nori seaweed dark green, in sheets

assorted vegetables - avocado, cucumber, scallions,mushrooms dried or fresh

assorted raw fish sliced thin or shrimp

Soy sauce, Pickled Ginger, Wasabi

Combine the hot rice and rice vinegar, a little vinegar at a time. Gently fold together. When mixed and rice is desired flavor, set aside on large platter or bowl. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds.

Serve with assorted filling ingredients. Stack Nori seaweed next to the rice, along side the veggies and fish. Let each guest spread the seaweed wrapper with a thin layer of rice, then top with fillings. Fold over to make a giant roll!


1) Prepare all ingredients while the rice is cooking.

2) Brown rice does not form a firm roll. The flavor of the brown rice doesn't compliment the fillings.

3) Sushi tastes best right when you make it. If you have to refrigerate, let it warm up to room temperature before eating for best flavor.

4) Extras-must haves - Wasabi, soy sauce in small bowls for dipping, pickled sliced ginger, ohashi (chop sticks).

A couple of other dishes I ate while in Okinawa...

actually, I passed these little guys to my mom.

Really delicious, but chewy seaweed tempura.

Another favorite - gyoza.