Seared Salmon with Salsa Verde and a Spinach, Farro and Orange Salad

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This one is a Blue Apron meal. I am finding with the Blue Apron meals that I am often tweaking the meals to reduce the fat. I up the aromatics to preserve the flavors. On this meal, there were enough new things that I cooked the meal as suggested by Blue Apron.

I had never had a salsa verde and it was really a great flavor addition to the salmon which really does not need any assistance.  The salsa verde was made with garlic paste, almonds, capers and parsley. The garlic was surprisingly pungent and tasty. The almonds added a bit of crunch. The capers added a bit of sour and the parsley freshened the overall taste. Adding olive oil made the salsa a paste.  It brightens the salmon considerably.

I have now had Farro a couple of times and it is a wonderful grain. It is remarkably filling with a lovely nutty flavor. The Farro was warm when I added the pickled shallots, spinach, orange zest and orange pieces.  Even with seasoning, the flavor was not quite bright enough for me. The orange was too sweet for my taste so I added a bit of rice vinegar.

It was an extremely satisfying meal.

MissyLu: Squirrel Stalker

Several times a day, MissyLu and various squirrels have a run in the yard. At this point, the squirrels know she is coming and MissyLu has her chase routine down pat. 

 

MissyLu’s intended victim..squirrel eating seeds

 
Yesterday, I saw the squirrel and knew Missy was in the yard and wondered why the squirrel was still eating a quiet breakfast.  Missy was watching and moving slowly across the deck. She was doing a hog version of stalking….moving slowly and quietly.

 

Quietly stalking dog

 
And then the squirrel heard and was up the tree with Missy chasing.

 

Squirrel, i see you ….

 
 

Squirrel, i still see you…

 
As the squirrel goes from tree to tree MissyLu follows until the squirrel leaves the yard leaping from tree to tree. Then, MissyLu secures the yard perimeter.  A job well done….until

 

I’m back….

 
When I got MissyLu, I was told that she was a quiet dog who never barked.   MissyLu has found her voice both inside and outside our home.  

Disaster, Despair, Redemption and Reveling: Chicken Tortilla Soup

 

Spicy Chicken Soup

This was supposed to be chicken tortilla soup. Things started well and then just went awry. This was a Blue Apron offering and I ended up changing it quite a bit.

As you can see, there are no tortillas slices. I burnt them.  They would have added a layer that would have cut down on the spicy flavor of the broth.  When I tasted the broth, it was just too spicy for me. I didn’t like the flavor. The broth was not thickening probably because I rinsed the cannellini beans too much. The chicken was good.  The rainbow chard and beans were good.

I ended up adding a tablespoon of tomato paste which made it less spicy. It did really change the soup.  I also added a spoonful of crème fraîche to ease the spiciness as well.

So, I have no idea how this was supposed to taste but I liked the flavors after I made my unexpected alterations.

Near Miss Dinner – Spiced Pork Chops

 

Spiced Pork Chops with Charred Poblano Salsa and Mashed Sweet Potatoes

This Blue Apron dinner was a near miss with me. All the components were good but just didn’t work well together. This one also tasted better on the second day as leftovers.

The salsa was the ingredient that was something I normally would not have added to the dinner and I can see using it again with some minor alterations. I tend to follow the recipe the first time and alter things the s cond time around. The reason it taste better to me on the second day was that the heat from the roasted poblano pepper came through. The salsa was a roasted poblano pepper and two roasted scallion bottoms. It also had a fresh Granny Smith apple, the green tops of the scallions, chopped cilantro and the juice of a lime. In this case, I think I will hav less apple in the future so the heat of the poblano can be more prominent.

It was a refreshing addition to he pork chops which had been rubbed with chili powders, cumin and coriander and seared. The other component as mashed sweet potatoes. They were really good. They were quite sweet and did not meld with the pork chops and salsa.

I have to say that before getting food from Blue Apron, any potato I tried to mash  was a disaster both white and sweet. I am so grateful that I can finally add mashed to my cooking  repertoire.

Dinner Winner: Carmelized Meyer Lemon Spaghetti 

 

Carmelized Meyer Lemon Spaghetti

This is one of the dinners I got from Blue Apron this week.  In the past, I have not paid attention to vegetarian dishes. There have been so many past potlucks where I have eaten vegetarian dishes that have been tasteless.  As I am learning, anyone can produce tasteless food but to me it was more obvious in what I have eaten of vegetarian food in the past.

First, this dish was easy to make. Secondly, the taste was fantastic. It was normal spaghetti but the layers of flavor added to the spaghetti made it something to remember and put it into the food I will make again file.  Meyer lemons are in season in the winter and have a sweeter, more vivid taste than normal lemons. After deseeding  the quartered lemon, it was marinated with some sugar and cut into eight pieces. I had zested the rind for two teaspoons of zest.

The base of the dish was cooking the marinated lemon, three cloves of garlic,  a thinly sliced shallot and some crushed red pepper for just a bit of heat.  The smell coming up from the pan made my mouth water. The recipe called for toasting some panko breadcrumbs with a garlic clove.  I added the cooked pasta to the lemon mixture with some butter, the lemon zest and some pasta water and mixed it all up.

When I added it to the plated dish, I topped it with the toasted bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. It was like music in my mouth.  The lemony pasta with a hint of sugar and garlic topped with the crunchy toasted breadcrumbs.  The Parmesan added especially to the great smell and the parsley added a note of a fresh flavor.  This one is definitely one I will do again.

A Cooking Experiment for Hannukuh

Last Sunday, I decided to cook some food that might be a part of a Hannukuh dinner. There are so many possibililities to celebrate the food traditions of diverse ethnic and religious holidays that this year I am going to try to incorporate some of foods into my life.

I have known about latkes as long as I can remember and had never had them.  With as assist from Blue Apron, I had a menu which included roast chicken, cabbage, celeriac and apple chutney and latkes. I bought a chicken breast to add to the chicken thighs sent by Blue Apron. I have learned from Blue Apron that the recipes they send is a suggestion and have learned to change the recipe if desired. One the past, my rule had been to follow the recipes the first time and then adjust the recipe for my taste.i will say that I am learning a lot of new technique and how to use spices to enhance my cooking.
The meal was both a failure and a success. The food tasted good. The presentation was sad. It was a meal without color.

Roast Chicken, diced celariac with onion, latkes and roast cabbage with apple chutney

I did learn I have a tendency to cook foods at a lower heat than the optimum. I suppose it is fear of burning. It means that the color on food does not have a chance to develop. I also had some apple chutney on the side for the latkes. My Blue Apron cooking project was specifically for me to learn how to cook better food. I can still say I am learning. I can also say my food is so much better.

Adopting and Adapting….

I heard from the people who had Missy Lou for the four months preceding my adoption of her that she was a nervous dog.  On the outside of their house, she was calm. Inside, she paced and panted.

When I brought her home, she was a little scared and apprehensive.  It was her fourth home in less than a year

Missy Lu…Day 1 at home

She was one relaxed dog by the third day in my home.

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Missy Lu on the third day in my home..