Smoked Salmon and Wheat Berry Salad + Weekly Menu

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My brother has become quite the little eater.

Recall, this is the boy who used to reject tacos if they had lettuce on them. He couldn’t just pick the lettuce off and continue on. No, the tacos were tainted and he needed fresh, unadulterated tacos. I’m sooooo not kidding.

Since I went away to college and have never really been back to Chicago permanently, I’m now out of touch with my brother’s eating habits. It seems like at every holiday, I’m pleasantly surprised to see…color and..variety on his plate. He is blossoming in his palate, even without my direct influence. Or constant poking fun at his picky eating….

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But I can’t poke fun any longer.

If you open up my brother’s text thread in my cell phone, it’s mostly picture texts. Of food. Healthy food…that he has cooked. He or his girlfriend, I should say.

It all started with his perfected omelet-making skills.He’s very proud of the fact that he makes some pretty sweet omelets. I’ll admit, I’m impressed. Especially if there’s, say, vegetables inside of them. They’re very restaurant quality-looking. The perfect fold-over, the right size. They look great.

Hey Rob…you know where my kitchen is. How about breakfast in bed for your big sissy sometime? Hinthintnudgenudge.

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Most recently, he texted me salmon. On a plate. With sides. Like, dinner. A balanced, healthy dinner.

He’s like…an adult. Who cooks. I’m so proud…but deep down, questioning where my baby brother and all his idiosyncrasies worthy of an eye roll faded away to?

It makes me feel so out of touch. It makes me wish he lived closer (even though it’s only a 90 minute ride to one another). It makes me hopeful that someday, maybe he’ll make wheat berries. Or welcome a meal of wheat berries. Because my husband, well, he would have a complete diatribe about how this soooo isn’t a meal. And then he’d probably eat a few bites before throwing a frozen pizza in the oven. For this precise reason, I enjoyed this dish while he was out of town last week…and I loved it.

…I wonder if my brother would love it, too.

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5.0 from 1 reviews

Smoked Salmon and Wheat Berry Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

This salad has it all going on. I like the addition of salmon to make this an entree, but it could certainly go without.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup uncooked wheat berries
  • 2 medium apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 8 oz smoked salmon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

Instructions
  1. Place wheat berries in a medium bowl; cover with several inches of water and let sit 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain soaked wheat berries and place in a saucepan covered with 2-3 inches of water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cook, uncovered, 1 hour or until tender. Drain and rinse with cold running water to bring to room temperature; transfer to a large bowl.
  3. To the wheat berries, add the apple, and next 4 ingredients (through celery).
  4. In a small bowl, combine oil and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, whisking well to combine. Drizzle dressing over wheat berry mixture; toss to coat.

Notes
Recipe from Cooking Light

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1½cups Calories: 484 Fat: 22.8 Carbohydrates: 49.8 Sugar: 10.8 Sodium: 787 Fiber: 9.8 Protein: 23.3 Cholesterol: 50.0

 Weekly Menu: September 22nd – 26th

 Anxious for a semi-relaxing day…I need it! Two 6-day work weeks back-to-back…I’m pooped!

Be well,

sig4

Coriander Grilled Salmon with Cilantro-Yogurt Sauce

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Sunday evening, Mr. Prevention and I saw The Heat. I was really expecting a great movie, but we were both super underwhelmed. It wasn’t that the movie wasn’t funny, it was just so long. It seemed to drag on and on. Truth be told, we left with just a few minutes left in the movie.

In talking to my mom on Monday morning, she had seen the movie with my brother and dad and she raved that they all adored the movie and laughed hysterically throughout the entire thing.

A difference of opinion, no doubt.

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Movies are kind of like food. People rarely have the same opinion, expectation, or experience.

My brother loves American Pie and other “male humor” movies that are slightly inappropriate.

My mom…she’s hard to please with movies. I think there was a solid decade that went by without her truly singing the praises of ANY movie.

As for my dad, he normally falls asleep through movies and so his opinion can’t count for much.

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Food and cooking are a bit different.

The meals I choose have some serious expectations. Many of the recipes I prepare are from sources I trust or include photos I swoon over. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? And to be truthful, I’ve been underwhelmed with dinner ideas lately…kind of like movies.

As a lover of corainder, however, I had some serious expectations for this recipe. Anything grilled on a cedar plank after being marinaded in sweet honey, coriander, lemon, and paprika certainly fills me with high expectations. If you’ve never grilled on a cedar plank, hop to it! You’re missing out! Don’t skip the Cilantro-Yogurt Sauce, either…so very summery!

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Coriander Grilled Salmon with Cilantro-Yogurt Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6
 

Cedar plank grilling creates a smoky, deep flavor that grilling fans adore.
Ingredients
Plank-Grilled Salmon:
  • 2 (12-inch) cedar planks (for grilling)
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 6 skin-on salmon fillets (~6 oz each)
  • cilantro sprigs (for garnish)
Cilantro-Yogurt Sauce
  • 1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ⅛ tsp salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp ground coriander

Instructions
  1. Soak the cedar planks in a large pan of water to soak for at least 45-60 minutes before grilling.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together honey, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, paprika, coriander, salt, and pepper. Place marinade and salmon in a large zip-top bag and store in refrigerator to marinate for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Arrange the salmon filets skin-side down on the soaked planks. Pour the remaining marinade in the dish into a small bowl and reserve. Transfer the planks to the preheated grill. Close the lid and cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the salmon is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, brushing with reserved marinade about halfway through.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by whisking together all of the ingredients in a small bowl; refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. To serve, serve each salmon filet with a spoonful of sauce and cilantro, if desired.

Notes
Recipe slightly adapted from Crumb

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 filet with sauce Calories: 356 Fat: 12.2 Carbohydrates: 6.7 Sugar: 4.3 Sodium: 360 Fiber: 2.0 Protein: 52.3 Cholesterol: 125

A little Lily just because :)

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 Half way through the week. This is a long one, no?

Be well,

sig4

Spiced Salmon Kebabs

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Happy Fourth of July!

We saw fireworks last night in a neighboring town. They were good, but I guess I’m just not the type to get all sorts of excited over fireworks. I also enjoy the ones that have the delayed, very loud BOOM. Yeah, the ones that drive dogs into a sense of complete and utter horror, my Lily included. I like those the best.

What would make the 4th better is if I had Friday off, too. It’s this weird sense of don’t get too excited about this time off, Nicole…it will be short-lived with another work day ahead of you. For those of you with Friday off – I’m jealous.

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I could have Friday off, so I shouldn’t be so hateful about it. But a day at work with no meetings and very few people around the hospital (other than patients, of course), will make for a day conducive to getting things crossed off my to-do list. It’s never a good thing when you have to scroll through your “reminder flags” in Outlook to see the 45 items that have a due date of this week and next. The items with a due date of last week….well, crap.

If I can leave work tomorrow knowing that I was able to accomplish a lot, it will be a day of PTO wisely not taken.

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I’m not sure if we have plans of grilling out today, but I am sure it’ll be squeezed in between my run that will undoubtedly be a disaster after 3 (unplanned) rest days, raspberry picking, a fire down on the beach, and my desperate need to try my hand at a few recipes for cookbook #2. I have a lot of really over-ripe bananas that are churning my creative juices…

{32 days until cookbook #1 is released – eeeeep!!!}

For those of you throwing stuff on the grill today, tomorrow (sigh), or this weekend, have you considered salmon? Salmon kebabs? I certainly hadn’t either. Let me tell you, though…you won’t be disappointed. Between the lemon slices sandwiching the salmon and the earthy spice mix, this recipe is true summer greatness!

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5.0 from 1 reviews

Spiced Salmon Kebabs
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6
 

Try something new on a skewer!
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp fresh oregano, minced
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1½ lbs skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 lemons, very thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Instructions
  1. Preheat grill to medium heat.
  2. Mix oregano, sesame seeds, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl to combine; set aside.
  3. Thread salmon and folded lemon slices onto 6 pairs of parallel skewers to make 6 kebabs total. Brush kebabs with oil and sprinkle with reserved spice mixture.
  4. Grill, turning occasionally, until fish is opaque throughout, 5–8 minutes.

Notes
Recipe from Bon Appetit

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 kebab Calories: 236 Fat: 10.7 Carbohydrates: 1.5 Sugar: 0.2 Sodium: 299 Fiber: 0.5 Protein: 32.0 Cholesterol: 83

 Two weeks ago – cherry picking. Last week – strawberry picking. This week – raspberry picking. Have I mentioned how much I love Michigan in summer? I won’t even complain about the chilly beach temperatures ;)

Happy Fourth of July to you and yours! Be safe!

Be well,

sig4

Champagne Poached Salmon with Champagne Cream Sauce

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Austin has been amazing. And hot. And delicious.

I’ve met new friends, seen old friends, and unfortunately, had my allergies waking up my roomies with my snores.

last night I had poached goat that was out of this world, and a soft shell crab that was almost too cute to eat. Almost. I washed it down with an IPA and a rich bite of panna cotta.

Life is good.

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I am insanely jealous of Austin’s Whole Foods that is an entire city block and then some. I’ve people-watched more than I have in ages. #stayweirdaustin. Oh so fun.

I saw Ree Drummund buzz through the lobby of the hotel yesterday afternoon. I was too shy to say hi and snap a photo with her. Maybe today. I mean, she’s an Oklahomian…I have to.

I will blow UP Twitter and Instagram with delicious eats. They’re too good not to share and remember.

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Not sure what else the day will bring other than more heat, more food, and more learning how to blog best. All good things.

Before I run off for my 5 minutes of bathroom time in this small hotel room full of women, here’s something foodies would fancy. Champagne Poached Salmon with Champagne Cream Sauce.

Chic without the effort. How Austin is that?

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Champagne Poached Salmon with Champagne Cream Sauce from

Salmon:
2 cups champagne
1 shallot, chopped
3 sprigs fresh dill
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 (5 oz) salmon fillets

Sauce:
2 shallots, minced
1/2 cup champagne
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp champagne vinegar

Directions:

Add the Champagne, shallots, dill sprigs, salt, and pepper to a skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Gently simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the fish to the pan and spoon the poaching liquid over them. Cook uncovered until the salmon is firm and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan using a slotted spatula.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the shallots and champagne. Bring to a boil and cook until almost all liquid evaporates, about 4-6 minutes. Add the heavy cream, bring to a boil and simmer until cream thickens and coats the back of a spoon, and is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the butter until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt, pepper, and vinegar and serve immediately over salmon.

Yield: 3 servings

Nutrition Information (per serving): 449 calories; 25.0 g. fat; 140 mg. cholesterol; 399 mg. sodium; 4.7 g. carbohydrate; 0 g. fiber; 41.0 g. protein; 0 g. sugar

Result: This salmon tops my list of favorites! Poaching is a favorite cooking method and the champagne is so elegant and light…perfect for summer!

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Off I go!

Be well,

sig4

Cajun-Style Blackened Halibut

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I was in DC over the weekend for a super quick visit. I dropped Lily off at my parent’s house in Chicago and quickly reminded my mom, “She gets 1 1/2 cups…twice a day.” She cut me off half way through my sentence saying, “Nicole, I know, I know..”

When I returned Sunday night, I was at my parent’s house for a cookout and asked my mom if Lily had been fed dinner yet. “Yeah, I gave her her meal this morning,” she said.

“Mom, she’s supposed to get 2 meals a day.” I retorted.

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My mom had this blank look on her face.

I fed Lily and she chowed down. After a few days of only half her meals, the poor thing was hungry!

Mr. Prevention and I, on the other hand, indulged over the weekend with our separate travels. We were both ready for something home-cooked and on the lighter side upon returning home. When the 60 degree, overcast weather put a damper on my cookout plans, I was happy to fall back on this meal, foregoing the grill.

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To ease back into the swing of things, the vegetables were welcomed as much as the lean, meaty halibut. However, this recipe could easily be made with any fish – cod, tilapia, perch, and swordfish come to mind.

The flavors were spicy and bold. But, my favorite part? How quickly and easily the meal came together…plus the very little prep time, cook time, and dishes involved in clean-up.

Easing back into work after a 3-day weekend requires such recipes!

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Cajun-Style Blackened Halibut from Bon Appetit

3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
4 (6 oz) halibut fillets
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix first 7 ingredients in small bowl. Place halibut fillets on baking sheet. Brush on both sides with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Sprinkle top of each with seasoning and lightly massage to coat one side of each filet.

Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Place fillets, seasoned side down, in skillet. Cook until brown on bottom, about 3-4 minutes.

Return fillets, browned side up, to baking sheet. Place in oven; bake until just opaque in center, about 8 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Information (per serving): 240 calories; 10.5 g. fat; 55 mg. cholesterol; 515 mg. sodium; 0.1 g. carbohydrate; 0 g. fiber; 36.0 g. protein; 0 g. sugar

Result: Quick, simple, and spicy! If you love fish but need to jazz things up, this would be a perfect recipe to try. Loving spicy is also necessary, but you could also cut back on the cayenne pepper. Enjoy!

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A 4-day work week. Woo!

Happy graduation to my sister-in-law, Michelle! Happy Birthday to Kristen!

Be well,

sig4