Grilled Salmon and Peach Summer Salad

The Fresh Market had some really nice salmon yesterday and perfectly ripe peaches arrived this week in my CSA so I decided to combine the two in a lovely summer salad.  The peaches are lightly grilled to bring out their sweetness and everything is tossed in a cilantro lime vinaigrette like this one from Epicurious.  You can make this ahead of time and store in the fridge.

This salad is summer cuisine at its best with my favorite summer produce: sugar snaps, peaches and corn!

DSC_0078What to buy (serves 2):

  • 2 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
  • 2 salmon fillets with skin
  • about 2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears)
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 cup feta, crumbled
  • salt and pepper

for the vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

What to do:

  • to make the dressing combine all ingredients well
  • pat salmon dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper on both sides
  • preheat your grill to high
  • lightly spray peach slices with an oil mister or cooking spray and grill peaches until grill marks are present on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes
  • remove peaches, allow to cool and cut into both-size pieces
  • meanwhile, place salmon fillets on grill, skinless side down
  • close the grill lid and cook 1-3 minutes on the first side, depending on how thick the fillets are
  • remove salmon when fillets are opaque
  • combine corn, arugula and sugar snaps and divide among two plates
  • place a piece of salmon on each salad and drizzle with cilantro vinaigrette
  • sprinkle with feta and grilled peaches
  • add salt and pepper to taste

Easy Weeknight (Lightened Up) Shrimp Po’ Boys

Since I found this recipe for shrimp ceviche at the Durham Cookbook Rodeo this summer it’s been the only way I wanted to make shrimp but the other night I decided it was time to change things up and make a lightened up version of a fried shrimp po’ boy.

 A traditional New Orleans po’ boy (or poboy, po-boy, poor boy, whatever you prefer) is a style of sandwich.  The basics are a split baguette, crispy shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and remoulade drizzled on meat, seafood, sausage or whatever you want to be the star of your sandwich.

Fried shrimp or oysters are a popular choice but I elected to skip the breading/frying and cook my spiced shrimp in flavorful garlic and chives instead.  Make this for lunch or dinner and skip the bread to make this a salad.  We ate these as traditionnal sandwiches alongside some corn salad (recipe here.) DSC_0515

What to buy (serves 2):

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • lemon
  • hot sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 10 ounces medium shrimp (about 20), peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 rolls, split horizontally and toasted
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cup sliced tomatoes

What to do:

  • to make the remoulade: mix together 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, scallions, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste
  • heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat
  • meanwhile place shrimp in a bowl and toss with a pinch of salt and pepper and remaining six spices to coat
  • add garlic and scallions to pan and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant
  • add shrimp and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring until opaque
  • place a roll on each plate and top with lettuce and sliced tomato, spooning shrimp on top
  • drizzle with rémoulade and serve with hot sauce, if you like


Tabbouleh with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

In this recipe, cherry tomatoes are roasted then allowed to cool before being tossed with cucumber and herbs to make a refreshing side dish (or main) that’s perfect for a hot day.  The tomatoes take on an wonderful sweet flavor when roasted which pairs well with the cool cucumber and fragrant herbs.  The dish will improve if the tabbouleh sits in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.  I served this with a pan seared cod and snap peas.  DSC_0465

What to buy (serves 5-6):

  • 1 cup bulghur wheat
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (1 bunch)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (1 bunch)
  • 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)
  • 1 cucumber, unpeeled, diced

What to do:

  • place the bulghur in a large bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice,  3 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour
  • toss tomatoes with garlic, vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 tablespoons chopped herbs on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast until tomatoes begin to soften, about 12 minutes, let cool
  • add the scallions, remaining herbs, cucumber, roasted tomatoes and mix well


Shrimp Ceviche

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Read Local Book Festival Cookbook Rodeo with my mom and sisters.  It was a great event where you could meet local cookbook authors, taste their recipes and watch live cooking demos.  Here I discovered the following recipe from Chef Jay Pierce, author of “Shrimp” and the executive chef of Rocksalt in Charlotte, N.C.  In Shrimp: a Savor the South® cookbook (Savor the South Cookbooks) Pierce combined his Louisiana roots and his North Carolina ties to create 50 shrimp recipes, including salads, soups, sandwiches and composed dishes.

At the Rodeo, Pierce shared tastings of his shrimp recipes followed by a cooking lesson on how to make his shrimp ceviche. It was delicious and he was super entertaining.  This is the best shrimp ceviche I’ve tried thanks to the trio of orange, lime and lemon juice.  I highly recommend serving it as a first course or main dish on a hot night with cold beer.


What to buy (serves 4 as an appetizer):

  • 1 pound large shrimp (21/25), peeled
  • 1/4 cup seeded, small-diced Roma tomatoes
  • 4 teaspoons seeded, minced jalapeños
  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup small-diced red onions
  • 2 tablespoons packed cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • tortilla chips
  • hot sauce

What to do:

  • cut the shrimp in half lengthwise
  • place in a bowl and cover with water
  • swish around well, then remove the shrimp from the water
  • combine the shrimp with the remaining ingredients in a shallow pan or bowl
  • cover with plastic wrap and press it down onto the surface of the ceviche
  • refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, stirring halfway through and replacing the plastic wrap
  • to serve, use a slotted spoon to transfer the ceviche to a serving dish
  • serve with plantain crisps or tortilla chips and a bottle of hot sauce


Four-Spice Cod with Sauteed Kale

For this recipe I’m working with a new manufacturer of spices called Spice Society, which is based in Greenville, SC.  The owner, Lisa Conner, has created a line of organic, non-GMO spices that are raised, sourced and packaged by the most responsible and elegant means available.  They’re definitely the prettiest spices out there:DSC_0364Most importantly, after cooking with them for a few weeks, I’m impressed with their tastes and textures.  The chili powder, a powerful blend of ground chilies, garlic, cumin and other spices, is my favorite.  At the moment, the Spice Society line of is only available at Creative Gifting, in Cary, but they’re expanding rapidly so keep your eyes out for them wherever you shop.

For the following cod recipe, I used four Spice Society spices, cinnamon, cumin, chili and paprika, to make a delicious Southwest inspired seasoning for the lean, sweet cod. I added cocoa powder as well.  If you’ve only tried cocoa powder in baking you’ll be impressed with its savory applications. When sprinkled on fish and sautéed, the cocoa powder transforms and its lightly bittersweet flavors become robust and rich. My Cincinnati-born husband introduced me to the wonders of cocoa and cinnamon in Cincinnati Chili. It’s magical!

These golden sautéed fillets would go well with any side dish like roasted tomatoes or steamed green beans but having an abundance of kale from my Mom’s garden, I decided to make a simple sautéed kale.


What to buy (serves 2):

  • 2 cod fillets
  • 1 teaspoons chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges

What to do:

  • pat the cod fillets dry with paper towels and season on both sides with salt and pepper
  • combine spices well and sprinkle spice blend on both sides of the fillets
  • heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot
  • add the seasoned cod fillets and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side until opaque
  • serve hot with lime wedges


Thank you to Spice Society for sponsoring this recipe.

Cod with Lemon Herb Butter and Asparagus

For this recipe I steamed the cod inside a folded packet of parchment paper in the oven.  Before I added them to the parchment, I slathered the fish with an herb and lemon butter with flavorful results.  I served the filets on a bed of asparagus and sweet yellow onions and finished everything with a generous lemon squeeze.

What to buy (serves 2):

  • 2 cod fillets
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chives, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • parchment paper
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

What to do:

  • preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • pat cod dry and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper
  • combine butter, herbs, zest and juice of 1/2 lemon until well mixed
  • lay each fillet onto a separate piece of parchment and gently cover the top with herb butter mixture
  • fold over parchment, creasing and tucking all the edges until you have a tightly sealed packet and place on baking sheet
  • on another baking sheet toss asparagus, onion and olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper
  • add fish and asparagus to oven at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until cod is opaque and asparagus is tender
  • serve hot with lemon wedges
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Dukkah Dusted Salmon With Asparagus and Celeriac

This is a simple way to make salmon fillets with a dusting of flavorful dukkah, an Egyptian nut and spice blend. I love the combination of asparagus, celeriac and red onion.     DSC_0373

What to buy (serves 2):

  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (preferably wild), pin bones removed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup celeriac, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 lemon, juice half and cut remaining half into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon Dukkah spice blend (ground coriander, fennel seeds, cumin, black sesame seeds)
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pistachios, finely chopped

What to do:

  • pat salmon with paper towel to dry and season with salt and pepper
  • heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in pan over medium-high heat and add celeriac, asparagus, red onion and garlic
  • cook vegetables for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, set aside
  • in the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and add seasoned fillets, cooking for 4-5 minutes on each side until they reach your desired doneness
  • meanwhile, toss cooked vegetables with sour cream and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper
  • plate vegetables, topping with salmon fillet and sprinkle with pistachios, Dukkah spice, parsley leaves
  • serve with lemon wedge



Lemon-Roasted Tilapia with New Potatoes, Grape Tomatoes and Zucchini

This is a deliciously light recipe that makes the most of the new potatoes that are popping up in farmers markets this Spring.  This recipe also features Herbes de Provence, a lovely mix of lavender, savory, thyme, oregano, marjoram,  basil, fennel seed and marjoram.    You can make your own or pick up an already mixed bottle in the spice aisle.  Bon appetit friends!

What to buy (serves 2):

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tilapia fillets
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups baby red potatoes, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

What to do:

  • preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • cut lemon in half and juice half, reserve remaining half to serve with finished dish
  • place fish on a baking sheet lined with parchment or lightly oiled
  • sprinkle fish with salt and pepper and pour over lemon juice
  • add tilapia to over, cooking for 7-10 minutes until flakey and white
  • while fish is cooking, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add potatoes, garlic, tomatoes and zucchini, cooking for ten minutes or until browned and cooked throughout
  • add herbs to pan, stirring to combine and season with salt and pepper
  • serve fish on bed of vegetables, garnishing with lemon zest, lemon slices and sprinkles of parsley

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Spinach, Asparagus and Walnut Spring Salad

This week, at one of my favorite lunch places, Parker and Otis, I overheard someone saying that one of their resolutions for 2015 was to replace the phrase “I’ve been so busy” with “my life is full at the moment.”  I like this sentiment so I’m going to borrow it from the wise stranger and instead of telling you how busy things have been with an almost-8-month-old, I’ll just say that my life is full! While I promise I’m still cooking, I’ve neglected to make the time to photograph our meals and write up the recipes….until today!  Thanks for sticking with me and still being here despite my rather sporadic posting schedule of late.  I’m hoping to get back to a more regular posting schedule soon.

That said, happy Friday and hope you like this seasonally appropriate recipe! April is the peak season for asparagus and we’ve been enjoying plenty of the bright green veggie.  This recipe is super simple and would be great as a side salad to your main meal or with a protein on top. We ate this with grilled salmon for a delicious, light spring meal.DSC_0386

What to buy (serves 2):

  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 6-12 ounces fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

What to do:

  • place water in the bottom half of a steamer pan set and bring to a boil
  • place asaparagus in the top half of the steamer
  • steam for 5 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus, or until asparagus is tender
  • combine olive oil, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, vinegar and parsley until smooth
  • add spinach, walnuts  and asparagus to a large bowl and drizzle with dressing tossing to coat
  • sprinkle with cheese

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Cranberry Mustard Salmon

I had half a jar of cranberry relish leftover from the holidays and two salmon steaks in the fridge.  A quick search provided this recipe from Epicurious and 20 minutes later, a delicious dinner.  The vinegar cuts the sweetness of the cranberries and the dijon mustard gives the salmon with a great flavor.  DSC_0147

What to buy (serves 2):

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 boneless salmon fillets
  • 1/3 cup cranberry relish
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

What to do:

  • preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • whisk oil and mustard in medium bowl to blend
  • sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper and place in a baking dish, skin side down
  • spoon 2 tablespoons mustard-oil mixture on top of salmon fillets
  • whisk cranberry relish and vinegar into remaining mustard-oil mixture and season with salt and pepper
  • roast salmon until fish is cooked through, about ten minutes
  • transfer to plates and spoon sauce over; serve hot

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