smokey lime glazed salmon

I’ve been making this yummy salmon for years.  It is a goodie!  Simple.  Oven baked and full of flavor.  I normally serve with some cut mango and some wilted spinach but the other night I only had peas.  This is sweet, smokey and tart – yes, all in one.  It’s great for a dinner party – as it is just as good at room temp.  I usually make steak as well and then most friends are happy.  Even those who usually don’t love salmon!  

I found this in the Wolfe oven pamphlet.  I love when I find awesome recipes in the most obvious places.  Enjoy this.  Great for lunch the next day on top of greens and fresh tomatoes and cucumbers.  Yum! 

Ingredients:

1.5 tablespoons light brown sugar
1.5 tablespoons smoked paprika (or half smoked half sweet, or whatever you have on hand)
1 or 1/2  teaspoons chipotle chili powder (or 2 teaspoons if you like it very spicy) (I use 1/2 teaspoon because I’m a a wimp)
1.5 teaspoons kosher salt (diamond crystal!)
 3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon pepper (or more if you like)
4 salmon filets
4.5 tablespoons lime juice (fresh)
3.5  tablespoons honey
1.5 tablespoon lime zest 
sprinkle of Maldon salt or other sea salt

Grease a 9×13 baking dish with a little oil and turn oven on to broil.  Mix together the brown sugar, paprika, chipotle chili, salt, cumin and pepper In another bowl, combine the lime juice, zest and honey.  Spray or rub a little olive oil onto the salmon.  Press the dry rub into the flesh.  Using most of it to evenly coat each piece of salmon.  

As best you can invert the salmon into the baking dish (turn upside down – skin will now be on top) trying not to spill the rub too much.  The rub will be underneath the salmon.

Broil the salmon for 6-7 minutes until the skin starts to crisp up a bit.   Maybe a bit longer but check to make sure nothing is burning in there.  

Remove dish from oven and carefully flip the salmon scooping up the rub and all with a large spatula – return to the oven for another 3 minutes.  Then pour the wet glaze over the fish.  Continue to broil until desired wellness.  Remember that it will continue to cook a bit as it sits.  Also remember that bake time will vary depending on how thick your salmon is!

If it gets too brown or is browning too fast – change the oven dial to bake and continue to cook that way.   375 would be fine.  When serving scoop up the juices and glaze on top of the salmon.  Sprinkle with a tiny bit of Maldon salt (optional).  

Enjoy –

sticky spicy basil shrimp (GF & DF)

This Sticky, Spicy, Basil Shrimp is one of my favorites.  Super easy, with a ton of flavor.  I love it. 

Made if for Edith who asked for the recipe and also for Sylvie, Greg, Sarah and many more and it was a hit on every occasion.  It is an easy go to for me because I usually have shrimp in the freezer and I do usually have ginger root and basil.  Easy to shop for even if you don’t have all the ingredients on hand.  

I found this in The Cook You Want To Be by Andy Baraghani.  Andy writes about the need for salt (and good salt), mighty flavor, levels of tang, and acid.  The book is just beautiful.  He incorporates so many flavors and he writes with humor and ease.  

The marinade is quick to blend and the shrimp takes about 7 minutes to cook.  I like to serve with cucumbers as mentioned in the recipe but also some fresh pineapple.  Yum! 

I don’t use all of the garlic in the recipe (but you should if you can digest it well) and I sometimes sub the Fresno chile  with red pepper and a little cayenne – so fiddle as you see fit with the ingredients you have and can find.   Lastly – use this marinade for pork chops, roasted cauliflower and really anything.  

Ingredients:

4 Fresno chili, coarsely chopped (see above for sub)

8 garlic cloves (I use 4) 

2 inch piece of ginger peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 cup sugar (I know seems like a lot, but this is just a marinade!)

3 tablespoons fish sauce

2 teaspoons kosher salt (diamond crystal – if using Mortons or table salt cut in half)

1/4 neutral oil (grapeseed, avocado, I’ve used olive too), plus 2 tablespoons

2 pounds head on, shell on shrimp (for flavor) – although I confess sometimes I only have the peeled tail on!

3 cups basil leaves

lime wedges, sliced cucumbers and pineapple for serving

In a blender, combine the chiles, garlic, ginger, sugar, fish sauce, salt, and 1/4 cup oil.  Blend until very smooth. Pour this into a medium bowl and add the shrimp.  Let marinate for 15 m or so.

Heat a large cast iron or non stick skillet over medium high heat.  Once hot add the oil.  When the oil feels hot add the shrimp using tongs – discarding the excess marinade.  Be careful not to overcrowd the pan.  You may want to use two pans or cook in batches.  Cook until shrimp are lightly charred around the edges for about 3 minutes.

Flip shrimp and cook on second side until cooked through another 2-3 minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the basil – toss well until the basil is wilted.

Squeeze with lime and arrange more lime around the shrimp on a platter or simply serve from you pan.  Serve cucumber and pineapple along too and enjoy this scrumptious meal. 


chocolate chocolate chip cookies

Sylvie and I LOVE these cookies.  We LOVE them.  Sweet and full of chocolate and a plethora of chips and chocolate wafers these are on our hit list.  Chewy yet sturdy.  If you make them as instructed they are giant and that makes them even more enticing for some reason.

My father was visiting the last time I made them and well – tbh, he didn’t LOVE them like we did.  He likes a darker richer chocolate cookie (I think) and Rob couldn’t really weigh in too much since I burned the batch he tried.  (These are tricky to bake because they are so dark!)  I sent the rest to the shelter so I’m not exactly sure how other people felt but they did get a 5 star rating in The NY Times so there is that!  These beauties mixed in to my vanilla ice cream, well, um, heaven.  

Big note – make these in advance – they are best if you are able to chill the dough for 24 hours before baking.  I also usually double this recipe.  Up to you…save extra in the freezer to bake off at a later date.  Also – I love to mix up all my chips.  I use both bitter and semi (with different percentages) in my cookies.  I chop some bar chocolate and make some shards and I use thin discs too as well as regular chocolate chips.  I find this adds a nuance to the cookies making each bite  more exciting than the next.  

Check out Guittard chips – they have a “super chip” chocolate chip that is a different texture than the semi sweet or dark Akoma chips.  I also add some classic Nestle chocolate chips because they are a taste memory for me even though there are more pure chocolate chips out there now.  

Found these in The NY Times baking section.  I will include the weighted measurement since that is way more accurate that cups etc.  So if you have a scale please use it.  You will guarantee a better outcome.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup/145 grams all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup/75 grams Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (diamond crystal!) (if you must use table salt cut by half but really get some kosher salt.  And not Mortons.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 tablespoons/141 grams unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3/4 cup/150 grams dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup/133 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups mix of semi, bitter, dark, chocolate discs, chips or chopped chocolate

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda.

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment (or hand held beaters) beat the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until very light and fluffy.  This will take about 5 minutes.

Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

With the mixer on low add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and beat on low until JUST combined.

Add the chocolate chips and fold in to incorporate.  

Place the batter in plastic wrap – you can do big discs or you can make rolls to slice and bake shown in the photo above.  Let chill in fridge for 24-36 hours.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking pan with parchment.

Portion balls – about 3.5 ounces (these make giant cookies!)  and place 5 balls onto your baking pan.  They will spread so do not try to add more (unless you are making smaller cookies (which I have done). 

Bake the cookies until set – about 18 m but still a bit soft in the center.  These are a little tricky so keep a close eye on them – a minute or two before and after.  

Continue to bake rest of batter or simple freeze dough and bake when you have a craving or guests!

Enjoy –

air-fryer eggplant

These multi sized discs of delight are a hit with almost everyone.  Seriously.  Who knew how many people love eggplant?  My mom is a huge fan repeatedly asking me how I make these and vowing to make.  Stephen and Halley, Sylvie too is in love.  Made for friends last weekend and they too adored.  

These are just as delicious with GF breadcrumbs for Greg.  

I’ve made these in a variety of ways – whole wheat breadcrumbs, plain ones, Italian seasoning, panko, with and with out parmesan cheese – the varieties are endless. You can eat plain which we tend to do or dip in tomato sauce or layer and make an eggplant napoleon layered with fresh mozzarella (and tomato sauce.) 

The recipe is very loose and you can fiddle with it and cook longer or shorter depending on how crispy you like your eggplant. 

Simple works for me best with these.  I prep the eggplant by salting them first (drawing out the excess water), dipping them in egg white and then again in breadcrumbs.  (Add grated cheese if you like!)

Finally throw them in the preheated air fryer – spray with olive oil and sprinkle with Maldon salt (a must) – and voila – a delicious healthy side dish. 

You may have to cook in batches – reheat in air fryer for service or for the next day.  Yum

 

Ingredients

  • 1 or two eggplant  
  • kosher salt
  • breadcrumbs (whole wheat, seasoned or unseasoned, plain breadcrumbs, panko) eyeball it here
  • egg white (you will need 2-3 depending on how much eggplant you decide to make) beat the egg white to break it up a bit.  Also you can use a normal whole egg. 
  • Italian seasoning (optional)
  • parmesan cheese (optional)
  • olive oil spray
  • Maldon sea salt

Directions

Wash and dry your eggplant

Cut into 1 cm (or so) thick slices

Place slices on a paper towel and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Let sit for 15 m

The eggplant will now look wet – as the salt draws out the liquid.

Pat dry with paper towel.

Preheat air fryer to 390 degrees.  Spray the bottom of the air fryer with a little olive oil spray.

Dip the eggplant in the egg white then into the breadcrumbs and place into the air fryer.  Do not overlap.  Spray each slice with olive oil and sprinkle a tad of Maldon salt on top.

Air fry for about 16 m total flipping half way through and spraying the other side with oil after you turn.  

Be careful they are hot on the inside and too easy to burn your tongue since you will want to just gobble them up!

Enjoy-


honey sriracha roasted salmon

This simple 20 minute recipe gets its flavor from delicious oven broiled salmon, fresh crisp marinated cucumbers and from a delightful sprinkling of furikake (a dried mixed seasoning made from sesame seeds, seaweed flakes, salt and sugar). 

I love this recipe and all the flavors – sweet honey, spicy sriracha, tart rice vinegar, and warm sesame oil – the hot salmon with the cold veggies – that is a successful theme for me.  

Gina Homolka – the author of all the Skinny Taste cookbooks and blog recommends making this as a bowl – customizing as you see fit.  I kept it very simple but you can add rice or other grains, edamame, tomato, avocado, shaved carrots chopped peppers etc.  

I love all of her recipes and have several of her cookbooks. I just wish it wasn’t called Skinny Taste – only because well the recipes are just good – not only good if you are on a diet.  Gina provides the nutritional value of every recipe which is amazing.  I tend to add more oil than she does – or more cheese and often I double the sauce when I’m cooking from her recipes but easy to stick to the recipe esp if trying to lose a little weight. 

You can find the recipe recipe here.  Just take note of my thoughts below:

I use 1/2 the sriracha the recipe calls for.  I’m a weakling when it comes to spicy food.  You can always add some sriracha at service – let your family or friends take control of their spice level.

Your salmon will cook faster if it is thinner.  Don’t rely on prescribed cooking times.  Peek at the fish – cut a cube in half and remember that it will continue to cook as it sits on the counter after cooking.  Rob likes his cooked through so I gave him all the thin slices and I like mine medium.  We were both happy. 

Double the sauce – if you are like me saucy and tasty are the key to making a yummy salmon bowl.  And baste twice!  Not an order of course – you get to do what YOU like!

Enjoy – 

Oh, this is delicious for lunch the next day. 

luscious lemon almond cake (gluten and dairy free!)

I’m always  on the lookout for some extraordinary gf/df sweets for Greg.  And I think this fits the bill.  It is incredibly moist and dense and has a marzipan feel to it which Greg loves.  It is also verrrry lemony!  Rob and I enjoyed as well btw – don’t have to be gf/df to appreciate.

I found this recipe in The Healthier Bite blog.  Jennifer created this blog for those with ulcerative colitis who are on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  Greg does not need to follow the diet so I modified only a tad –  only with the icing as my icing contains confectioners sugar and the original recipe does not.  

The original recipe is here if you want to follow the original SCD version and/or if you are trying to eliminate refined sugar.  (The SCD diet does allow honey which is why it is in this cake).  

When I made this cake the first time I mistakenly set the oven to 350 instead of 325.  But I actually prefer it that way.  The baking time is variable so you will have to check and check again.

 

Ingredients cake:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (but not hot) 
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs (room temp)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest (wash your lemon first)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups finely ground blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
      FROSTING
      powdered sugar (confectioners) and lemon juice.  Original lemon coconut frosting is on the blog   
     mentioned above

Directions

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the sides and bottom of a 8 or 9 inch cake pan. (Smaller pan will need a bit more cooking time).  Line the bottom of the pan with parchment. 

Place all wet ingredients (coconut oil, honey, eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla) into a blender and blend for about 15-30 seconds.  The mixture should be frothy.

Add the dry ingredients (almond flour, salt, baking soda) and the zest and blend until all is combined.  Scrape down the sides of the blender as needed and blend again to incorporate.

Pour into the prepped pan and bake on the middle rack – check after about 25m.  I don’t remember exactly how long it took but use a toothpick and keep baking and checking until the pick comes out just clean and the cake is a nice golden color.

Let the cake cool before you glaze or frost.

Again look at the original recipe here for the SCD frosting.  And read through Jennifer’s directions too as they are more detailed than mine.  Also read the “about me” to learn more about Ulcerative Colitis and the SCD diet.

For Greg’s sugary and sinful icing – use about 1.5 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and whisk In as much confectioners sugar as you like – to the consistency that you like.  It can be quite thick if you add a lot of powdered sugar and therefore will be sweeter.  Or, you can keep the glaze thin and lemony (which I prefer) and add just enough powdered sugar to cut the tartness.  Just add the sugar slowly tablespoon by tablespoon and whisk in and continue to taste until it suits your palate.

With a toothpick poke a bunch of holes in the cake.  Then brush on the glaze.  Yum.

Enjoy-

a note on cookies and baking time

The first photo of these cookies is right out of the oven.  Second photo are the exact same cookies 10 m later.  This is just an fyi – showing you that cookies continue to bake after you take them out of the oven.  That’s all 🙂 

pan-seared cod in white wine tomato basil sauce

This is my favorite easy delicious healthy dinner recipe.  I LOVE it.  I wish I had better photos – gotta work on that but trust me this has such great flavor and it is incredibly simple.  It is lemony and is making my mouth water while I’m writing this up.  

I made it for Rob’s family in the fall and they asked for the recipe which is always a good sign.  It is also dairy and gluten free so I could even make it for Greg, if only he liked fish :(. 

My only issue is that my cod tends to fall apart.  I struggle with this but well, whatever – it is tasty as hell.  I suppose you could use a sturdier fish and you would have more success but I happen to love cod.  And maybe your technique will allow the fish to stay intact. 

 I urge you to try this.  You can make the sauce beforehand and quickly pan fry the cod – pour the sauce over sprinkle your basil and you are just set.  So set.  I usually double the sauce recipe – and you don’t have to add all the tomatoes even half the amount in the recipe will do the trick. For lunch the following day I sautéed spinach and bok choy and reheated gently.  Delicious.

My mom introduced me to cod when I was young – it was a Ritz Cracker extravaganza and wow did I love it.  It was buttery oh so good.  I liked it with a little ketchup which sounds pretty gross but mmm….   It was the first dish I made for Rob soon after we met – and I burned it badly.  Anyway – this is not relevant so I will stop now. 

The recipe for this is from Baker by Nature and you can click right here for the recipe.  

 Here are my thoughts and slight changes take a moment to read through:

As mentioned above I like to double the sauce as I find it so delicious.  Serve with rice, a baked potato or a sourdough to scoop up that sauce.  

I use only one clove of garlic since too much makes me feel unwell – and I actually don’t even grate it – I put a whole clove in the sauce and let the flavors mingle there – then pull out out for service.  

I find I do not need to cook the tomatoes for as long as Ashley does.  

The cod – if thick takes longer than 10 minutes to cook.

And lastly I add the basil at the end right to finish the dish.

Enjoy-

air fryer artichoke

Sylvie recently sent me a Tik Tok about friends eating the weirdest things – and yes, one of the foods was an artichoke.  I love them. She knows this and seems to find it interesting how much pleasure I get from biting into these tough leaves.  As I gleefully enjoy the heart, she again seems fascinated by this.  She doesn’t get it.  I think she would if it was baked and stuffed with breadcrumbs and cheese like my mom made me when I was young.  That is really something.  But surprisingly I find I like them plain with a bit of olive oil and Malden salt.  I avoided making them for myself all these years because it just seems like a lot of work for little reward.  But the air fryer changed all that.  I’m not saying these are the best artichokes in the world but if you like them, this is a super simple way to enjoy them. 

Enjoy! 

Here is how you do it:

Cut off the stem and peel off the leaves that were closest to the stem

Next, with a serrated knife cut through the top of the artichoke

With scissors, cut all the tiny prickly points off of the remaining stems

Slice artichoke in half.  Then with a small sharp paring knife cut around the choke.  This is the light colored area that is soft to the touch and looks kind of hairy.  This is the only tricky part – just dig in there with your knife – cut the shape of the choke and then kind of dig that out and toss.  There are a ton of videos on how to do this if you Google.

Preheat your air fryer – to 350.  Spray the artichoke with olive oil on both sides – and  salt with some Maldon salt.  Air fry cut side down for 10 min then flip and air fry another 10 or so.  You want the heart to be able to be pierced easily with a knife – so cook more if needed.  

 

seriously good GF/DF chocolate molten cake

I cannot believe that 3 years has gone by since the photo on the right.  That is just crazy.  And it’s taken me this long to write about these delicious cakes.   

During covid 2020 Greg was home for his birthday – Andy too.  Andy’s request that year was a chocolate molten cake.  He loved it.  Greg’s Birthday, just four days later requested the same.  I sighed.  How to make a truly delicious gluten and dairy free molten cake?  It seemed impossible.  I am/was really inexperienced in this type of baking but I scoured the internet and thought hard about this.  (I make it sound like rocket science which is silly).  

The basic recipe for the cake is from Organically Addison –  I added what I learned from my first teacher Rick Katz – that molten is necessary for a seriously good molten cake.  No underbaked center here – but instead, a ganache ball made with coconut cream (not coconut milk)  and melted chocolate.  This little nugget placed in the center of the batter filled ramekin did the trick.  It was gooey, intense and the chocolate flavor popped.  Greg was thrilled. 🙂  

I made them again this last month – twice actually and Jill loved.  Sylvie loved.  She isn’t even GF or DF but enjoyed immensely.  Nicole, andy’s girlfriend who is GF and DF is next at bat.  These are easy to make despite this long write up! 

Here are some important notes/thoughts (please read through before you bake):

The recipe calls for coconut sugar.  But because Greg rarely eats desserts I opted for brown sugar.  I wanted a true treat for him.  But if he had access to these all the time I would make with coconut sugar as it is healthier than refined sugar.

The recipe also suggests that you grease the ramekins  and call it a day.  As mentioned above, because this is a rare treat for Greg when home I coated the greased ramekins with sugar.  Yup I did.  Regular white sugar so that the cakes had a crunchy sugar coating.  I hope that these efforts bring him home more often :).

Laslty, make the ganache balls the day before or a few days before – or the morning before you plan to bake.  This will give the ganache time to firm up – able to form a solid ball to be dropped into the batter. 

Oh, truly lastly I tripled the recipe as it calls for only 3! ramekins.  I made 9 and and froze the leftovers.  Now I’m ready when he comes home to pop in microwave for an easy treat.  The ganache recipe below is for 9 ramekins – so 3 times the recipe!

Ingredients and Directions

Ganache balls:
3/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup coconut cream (this is available in most supermarkets right next to the coconut milk)
tiny pinch of kosher salt

Heat the coconut cream to almost a boil.  Then pour over the chopped chocolate.  Wait a minute then whisk to combine.  Add salt.  Place in refrigerator to let cool and firm up.

When ready to make the cakes, form balls with the ganache – you can pick the size of these balls – but I’d say around 2 teaspoons or so.  Place the balls back in the fridge.

As mentioned the cake recipe is from Organically Addision.  Refer to my notes above before you start to bake – specifically eyeing my notes regarding sugar, sugar coating and tripling her recipe.

Here is the link to her terrific blog and the directions.

Follow her instructions but as mentioned feel free to coat the ramekin with sugar as I did.  And after you pour the batter into each ramekin – drop a delicious ganache ball into the center to create the molten lava that you will enjoy later.

Bake as directed. 

Feel free to kind of press down on cake with your finger to check if done.  The center ganache ball will remain gooey and will never looked cooked – but the cake should look and feel firmer and lose its unbaked sheen.  You may have to cook for a minute or two longer…keep checking and timing.

Let sit for a few minutes then run a knife around the edges and pop out if eating immediately.  Be careful the ramekin and ganache will be hot.  

If saving for a later date, let cool, then run a knife around the edges and pop out.  Freeze once completely cooled.   Microwave before serving – in small increments.  Don’t want to kill the cakes but warm up the ganache.  

Enjoy!