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Back in the saddle again... We’re just home from a 6-night cruise from Honolulu to Vancouver with no stops. Just us, the sea, and three meals a day I didn’t shop for, cook, or clean up. In fact, we had breakfast delivered to our room all but one morning–awakening each time to the soft rap on the door indicating our coffee had arrived. We did little besides walk, sleep, eat, nap, dance, read, listen to music, and admire the view. There is nothing like doing nothing. After all, rest is one of the ten commandments, right? I’ll admit I was suffering through a wretched cold and the unstinted sleep and total coddling did me nothing but good.
above: from our hotel room on Waikiki, The Royal Hawaiian
below: formal night in the ship’s dining room
Coming home, I knew I had a big salmon fillet in the freezer, brown rice that needed to be used (it doesn’t keep forever), and a great container of cherry tomatoes if the house sitter hadn’t eaten them–and she hadn’t. A run by the store for fresh salad things and dinner was at least a possibility. I did, however, have to cook it.
Channeling my inner Girl Scout, I grabbed the foil, wrapped up the fish, threw it in the fire–oh, I mean the oven–and quickly cooked a little rice along with a skillet of tomatoes in butter. Couldn’t be quicker or tastier. Try this:
TINFOIL SALMON AND BUTTERED TOMATOES WITH THYME ON BROWN RICE
Salmon and brown rice make a hearty, happy dinner that’s made quicker and easier if you’ve a pot of rice in the fridge or you make the nearly instant microwave brown rice such as the individual serving cups available at wholesale clubs like Costco. If you’re cooking brown rice from scratch, start 45 minutes before you want to eat. Note: my photos are for a bit less salmon, which I cut into 3 pieces–2 for dinner and one leftover to add to a salad or omelet the next day. I cooked about a pound total.
- 2 cups cooked brown rice (or more if desired)
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Lemon–thinly slice half and cut the rest into small wedges
- 1 1/4 pounds salmon fillet
- 1 tablespoon butter
- crushed red pepper
- 1/2 small onion, very thinly sliced
- 2-3 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
RICE: Make rice according to package directions OR if you’ve just cooked your rice, stir a tablespoon of olive oil into it to keep it moist; season with a 1/4 teaspoon each rice and pepper. Keep it covered and warm on the stove while you cook the salmon and tomato sauce. If you’re making quick rice, you can do it while the fish and sauce cook.
WRAP AND ROAST THE SALMON IN THE OVEN: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a rimmed baking sheet, place salmon on piece of tinfoil large enough to cover and tent the salmon. Drizzle salmon with olive oil–perhaps 2 tablespoons–and sprinkle liberally with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Lay 3-4 thin slices of lemon evenly on top of the fish and tent with the foil, folding or crimping together tightly. Roast about 15 minutes or until just opaque and firm, but juicy at center. Add your oven-proof serving platter to the oven to warm while you let the salmon rest 5 minutes before carving it into four serving pieces.
COOK THE TOMATOES: In the meantime, melt the butter and crushed red pepper briefly in a medium skillet over medium-high flame. Add and cook the sliced onions and tomatoes seasoned with a sprinkle each of salt and pepper and the thyme while the salmon roasts. Stir regularly and lower heat or turn off and keep warm if needed.
SERVE: Spoon the rice onto a warm medium-sized platter and top with the tomatoes, reserving a bit for garnish. Slice the salmon into portions and place on top of the rice and tomatoes, spooning the reserved tomatoes on top. Add lemon wedges at the corners of the platter.
I served this salmon with a crunchy kale salad… Organic kale was selling at 99 cents for a big bundle in our grocery today. Same price as conventional kale–beautiful.
KALE SALAD WITH BLUEBERRIES, RED BELL PEPPER, GRUYERE, AND LIME VINAIGRETTE
4 small servings
Unlike many salads, this one is somewhat forgiving if you get it on the table and let it rest a few minutes before serving or even throw it in the fridge for a short bit. Make sure you really cut the kale nearly into shreds so you can eat your salad in under an hour. Calling the dressing a “lime vinaigrette” is a bit of a stretch as it’s just lime juice and olive oil drizzled over the fruit and vegetables.
- 4 cups kale leaves sliced into 1/4-inch ribbons, basically shredded (save kale stems, chopped thinly, for eggs, soup, or sautéed to go on top of salad)
- 1/3 cup each blueberries and thinly sliced red bell pepper
- 1-2 ounces sliced Gruyere or Parmesan–I use a peeler for this.
- Juice of one lime
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup sliced, toasted almonds, optional
In a large bowl, toss together the kale, blueberries, and the cheese. Drizzle with the lime juice and sprinkle with a generous pinch each salt and pepper. Let sit a minute to dissolve salt and then drizzle with olive oil. Toss well, top with almonds if using, and serve.
COOK’S NOTE: For Gluten-Free option, please check all purchased item labels for information on gluten.
I have few pictures from the trip as we were at sea so much. I’ll work on them and maybe add a few more or better ones in the next few days. In the meantime…
1. Dave out on our back of the ship balcony and then 2., stretched out by the hotel pool. 3: Together on Waikiki:
Sing a new song; go on vacation however you can,