Salmon Loaf

I had salmon for dinner the other night, and while I was looking for a new way to prepare it I came across several recipes for salmon loaf. This one sounded the most flavorful.

Salmon Loaf

Salmon loaf 1

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 3/4 ounce) can pink salmon, drained and flaked
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, finely shredded
  • 25-30 saltine crackers, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 to 11/2 tsp dried tarragon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Remove the skin and bones from the salmon, if desired. I like the extra flavor and texture so I leave them in.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the salmon, onion, garlic, spinach, and crackers. Add the sour cream, milk, and tarragon, and mix well.
  4. Scoop the salmon mixture into prepared loaf pan and pat down until firm. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, broiling for a few minutes at the end if you’d like more color on the top. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before digging in.

This dish is best when eaten within a few days of making it… some of the flavors change as it sits in the fridge, and I’ve found that it doesn’t taste quite as good.

Source: Adapted from Cooking Healthy Across America.

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Stuffed Acorn Squash

Fall is my favorite season. Cooler weather, crisp smell in the air, bonfires, apple orchard trips, fall colors… and the FOOD. Apples, squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, Brussels sprouts – so many tasty, healthy foods are in season in the fall. And there are so many great ways to prepare fall produce, too.

One of my favorite fall foods is squash, and I love the traditional ‘roast in the oven with butter and brown sugar’ technique. But some days I’m looking for something a little more filling (no pun intended!) than just the squash itself. If you search for “stuffed acorn squash” online you’ll find a ton of different recipes, many featuring some sort of grain/vegetable/protein mix. I tried brown rice, kale, and raisins a few days ago, but felt like the brown rice lacked the flavor and texture I was looking for. So, I decided to try farro, an ancient grain that I’ve used in a previous recipe, because I thought its nuttier, chewier texture would complement the other ingredients well.

Though I used the specified ingredients below, it’s really easy to change out the grains/greens/fruit that I used for other ingredients, as long as you account for any changes in prep time (if you’re going to use meat, for example). Personalize your recipe with whatever combination of ingredients appeals to you.

Farro-Stuffed Acorn Squash with Kale and Dried Cranberries

Stuffed squash

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup kale, torn into small pieces
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups prepared farro (I used the microwaveable kind because it’s quicker)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 tsp brown sugar, divided use

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place squash halves, skin side up, in baking dish or pie tins. Fill dish/tins with enough water so that it’s 1″ deep. Cook squash for 35-40 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Poke with a fork to check for doneness.
  2. When 12-15 minutes of cook time remain for the squash, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the kale and season with salt and pepper. Cook the kale until it’s nice and wilted, about 2 minutes (this will depend on the size of your kale pieces). Remove from heat and let cool briefly.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the farro, kale, and cranberries, drizzling with a little bit of olive oil as you mix.
  4. When the squash is done, dump the water out of  the dish/tins and let cool for a minute or two. Place 2 tsp brown sugar in each half. Fill with the farro/kale/cranberry mix, packing it in with the back of a spoon as desired. You might have some left over filling – save it for another batch or just to eat later.
  5. Place the squash halves carefully back into the dish/tins (skin side down this time), and bake for another 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Source: Inspired by the kitchn, but recipe is my own culinary genius. ; )

Spiced Mango Lassi

I’m on a tight schedule this week as I head off to DC tomorrow morning for a women’s equality rally, so I perused my collection of recipes looking for something quick and easy to make, and voilà – mango lassi. I’ve written about my love of Indian food, and particularly mango lassi, before and figured I’d give it a try. This recipe results in quite a bit of spice flavor; if that’s not your thing just cut back on the spices or eliminate them entirely.

Spiced Mango Lassi

Mango Lassi

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups diced, peeled, pitted mango (about 1 to 1 1/2 fruits)
  • 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. For best results serve immediately, but you can also freeze this if you want to save some for later.

Source: Slightly adapted from The Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild, as cited in Pioneer Press “Eat” section, 8/14/2014

Fig, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt Challah

With all of the extra time I have while job hunting you’d think I’d be able to stay on top of things here, but that hasn’t been the case. I’ve had Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook checked out from the library for a few weeks now and was all set to make this recipe when I realized I didn’t have any yeast. And then I got busy (or just lazy) and didn’t make it to the grocery store for a while.

The first time I had challah was at a sex positive Shabbat that I attended while I was an undergraduate student. Everything I ate was delicious but I remember really liking the challah. It’s been a few years since I’ve had it; when I lived in Minneapolis during grad school I would occasionally pick up a loaf from the local Kowalski’s market. This is a sweeter, somewhat healthier version (thanks to whole wheat flour) of traditional challah.

Fig, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt Challah

Challah

Ingredients

Bread

  • 1 packet dry active yeast
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tsp honey
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus some for the bowl
  • 2 large eggs, plus another for the egg wash
  • 2 tsp sea salt, plus more for sprinkling on top (if desired)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling

  • 1 cup dried figs, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1/8 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • a pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the yeast and honey together with 2/3 cup warm water. Let sit until the mixture gets foamy. Add the remaining honey, 1/3 cup olive oil, and eggs. Whisk until everything is combined.
  2. Add the flour and salt to the wet ingredients and stir everything together with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together in a ball.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and somewhat stretchy. Place in an olive oil-coated bowl and let rise for about an hour.
  4. While you’re waiting for the dough to rise make the fig paste. In a small saucepan combine the figs, orange zest, water, orange juice, salt, and the black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until the figs are tender and everything looks a bit gooier, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  5. Pour the fix mixture into a food processor or blender and blend until it forms a paste. Set aside.
  6. After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface (again). Cut the dough in half. Roll out half the dough into a rectangular shape, getting it as thin as you can. Spread half of the fig paste on the dough, keeping about an inch between the paste and the edge of the dough. Roll it into a thin log and cut it in half. Seal the ends as best you can so you don’t have fig paste oozing out. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
  7. Twist your dough into a challah shape. I know that’s really vague, but completing this step depends on how elastic your dough is and how thin/long your strands are… here’s a YouTube video demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPfhQJ_D338 and here’s an eHow guide: http://www.ehow.com/how_8666007_twist-challah-bread.html. My dough was not super elastic so I just twisted it a few times and tucked in the ends.
  8. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the dough on it. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg and brush the dough with egg wash.
  9. Let the dough rise for another 40 to 45 minutes and then preheat the oven to 375° F. Brush the dough with egg wash again, and sprinkle on that extra sea salt if you want. Place the baking sheet on the middle rack, and bake the challah for 35 to 40 minutes, until it’s nice and golden brown.
  10. Let the challah rest on a wire cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting and eating.

As seen in the picture above, my challah strands were pretty thick (and not super elastic) so it doesn’t look as pretty as it could. Still tastes wonderful, though, which is much more important.

Source: Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman