Dinner: Salmon with onions

Salmon with a mustard-maple-onion sauce is the first home-cooked meal I ever shared with my boyfriend. It holds a very dear place in both our hearts, and neither of us get sick of it for long.

The recipe is easy – equal parts Dijon mustard, finely-chopped onion, and pure maple syrup, mixed together in a little bowl and poured over the salmon before it goes into the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Whatever mixture you have left over can be used as a salad dressing, or poured straight onto the fish when it comes out of the oven.

The sweet and spicy taste is perfect with a good piece of salmon. And cooking this dish always reminds me of when we first started dating, when I still tried to impress him with my cooking 🙂

Since then, I’m pretty sure he’s surpassed me in skill and possibly in new dishes.

Chopping the onions. And NOT CRYING. That's right.

Attempt at risotto. The most successful so far.

Risotto is very difficult. OK, not really. You just have to pour the stuff into a pan on the stove and STIR.

For what feels like hours. Stirring and stirring, until the rest of your dinner is getting cold and you’re cranky and hungry. And even then, the risotto is NOT COOKED THROUGH.

Maybe I should invest in some boxes of microwave risotto.

This is the closest we have come to making fully cooked risotto. In a cheesy sauce. It came out mostly cooked, but a little nugget in the center of each piece was still hard.

I suppose I will still try again.

Squash. The George Foreman grill is one of the best investments. Ever.

I am getting a little tired of eating zucchini and yellow squash. But when cooked just right (like on the George Foreman grill) it’s still the perfect side dish. And pretty soon we won’t be able to get yellow squash at the store, so I suppose I should suck up the complaining and eat it. 🙂

This is the finale, in all its glory.

This is not a great picture of the wine, but if you look into the glass, you can see a reflection of the dinner plate, which I thought was cool. This is also not my first glass of wine that night 🙂

A balanced meal.

Quick dinner: Canned clams, pasta, homegrown zucchini

Dinner didn’t happen until around 10pm, which was OK because we snacked.
When it was finally time to cook *someone* was so hungry we opted for the quick & easy menu. Dinner was clams from a can, fresh homegrown zucchini from my aunt’s garden, asparagus from the Farmer’s Market, and light seasoning. Oh, and tiny French baguettes from Fresh & Easy. Perfect size for one person. And we didn’t even finish them.

Clam sauce, with more clams than a sauce really needs.

The clam sauce had about 2 cans of canned clams in it, so it was more like pouring a little bit of sauce and a lot of clam on top of the pasta. But that meant I could scoop a bunch of clams up with my fork and eat them.

In the pan. A little foggy because of the heat on my camera lens.

The zucchini my aunt grew is gigantic! Seriously. Huge. I’ll have to take a picture of the behemoths before I eat them all. The smallest of the three I brought home was big enough to feed two people as a side dish.

This is the carb-heavy side of the plate. The vegetables are hiding.

The veggies! They *do* exist!

Next up: I don’t entirely screw up oatmeal cookies!

A weekend away with veggie frittatas

Sometimes you just need to leave town for a few days. I felt a bit like that last week. It’s been ages since I’ve taken a vacation from work, and after 3 weeks of 6-day workweeks it was time to run.

So I drove a couple hours out to my aunt’s house, leaving my laptop, work worries and household chores far, far away. There’s something about that house that is simply relaxing. Like, you walk in, are greeted by two rambunctious puppies and immediately you feel good about the world.

In exchange for the getaway, I made breakfast frittatas. I kind of made it up as went, using the memory of my first frittata. This dish is one of the first I ever cooked while living on my own. The recipe came from The Best-Ever Vegetarian Cookbook, which someone is selling online for $6.

The cookbook is brilliant. It has gigantic pictures of everything so if you’re screwing up the recipe you’ll know right away when yours does not look like the picture.

We had fresh zucchini from my aunt’s garden, and I bought some asparagus at the grocery store for *gasp!* $4.99. I can’t believe I spent that much after a week earlier picking up asparagus at the farmer’s market for a dollar. Sheesh. I’ve been spoiled, I suppose.

And my aunt is growing ORANGES! Or TANGERINES! I’m not really sure. They’re sort of small oranges with really strong citrus taste, but either way they were incredible and I ate probably 5 of them over the course of the day.

Recipe:

Cook the veggies in oil in a large oven-safe pan on the stove for a few minutes. While those are cooking, you mix eggs in a bowl with a little cheese and milk, and pour on top of the vegetables in the pan. You can pour extra cheese on top now, or wait until oven time. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Let the eggs/veggies cook in the pan for about 7 minutes. When the top of the concoction is still soft but the rest is hardened, you put the cheese on top if you waited, then put the pan in the oven for about 4 minutes, until the rest of the egg cooks.

Then you cool it on top of the stove for a couple minutes, cut into triangles and serve!

Even my sister, who does not like vegetables, ate most of it. She picked out a few veggies, but I’m pretty sure some of the others found their way into her mouth.

Bon appetit!

Those zucchinis are home grown and delicious! The asparagus was over-priced.

Almost done cooking.

Farmers market clams

After my thrilling trip to the farmers market we made dinner – pasta and clams, and salad with those baby zucchini things the farmer guy gave me.

Here it is!

Steaming the clams. I bought a 1/2 lb.

We pulled all the clams out of their little shells and added them to the sauce, but I think maybe we should have cut the little black parts out. Ew. One of the clams only opened a little bit so I forced it the rest of the way and then I ate it as an appetizer. That’s what you get, clam, for not opening properly.

Soooo steamy!

The sauce was made from olive oil, a little flour, garlic, white wine, and clams.

All these delicious flavors cooking together.

the discard.Ta da!

Farmer’s Markets are the best (or, my new addiction)

The other day I stopped at a Farmer’s Market, on something of a whim.
And, you know, to support local farmers, eat healthier, all the usual suspects.

But I think this is the beginning of a habit.

The Farmer’s Market where I ended up is small. It only took a few minutes to make my way around the booths and decide what I wanted.

I was surprised to see fish there. And oysters, clams and mussels! I asked, and the surly man in the tent said they come down from Washington and Oregon. I bought some clams, but I feel like if I’m buying from a local market, the food really should be local.

I also picked up a bunch of dandelion, lettuce and strawberries, and was given a bunch of tiny zucchinis to try in the salad. They were picked with the flower still attached. The very kind farmer-man said to eat them chopped up in salad, or to grill or pan fry.

And the strawberries! Can I tell you about the strawberries? They were AMAZING. So sweet, delicious, perfect and ripe. And big, organic and local. From just the next town over. I may have force-fed a my coworkers some of these strawberries.

I am already excited to go back next week!

If you’re interested, and you live in CA like me, you can find the farmer’s markets on this website.

Happy shopping!