Healthy and Sane flashback: sweet and spicy glazed salmon

Healthy and Sane has come a long way over the past three plus years. I’d like to think I’ve become a better and more adventurous cook. I’ve changed the blog format from journal-style to random-style (heh). I’ve stopped counting calories and continue to explore what diet-free living means to me. And while I still have a lot to learn about food photography, I know the picture quality on this little blog has improved. The very first post (and many to closely follow) definitely required some imagination!  I’m happy you took the leap and tried a lot of the recipes I shared here with you regardless!

sweet-spicy-salmon-2

So here is the deal. I want to bring some old favorites back. I want to share them with you again. I want you to SEE, not just imagine, how delicious they are. And then hopefully even more of you will be inspired to make them. I’m definitely having a lot of fun making them again!

sweet-spicy-salmon

Let’s start with a little flashback going back to December 2009… when I had my parents and aunt from Russia over for dinner.  When I told you that this Cooking Light recipe for sweet-spicy glazed salmon was a recent favorite. It comes together in less than 15 minutes and is certainly impressive and delicious enough to serve to company. The salmon gets a quick sprinkling of salt and pepper and then bakes for 10-12 minutes. In the mean time, you can work on the sweet and spicy glaze made of brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar and mustard (I now use 100% dijon in place of Chinese mustard). The salmon is finished with a good slathering of the sauce. It’s shiny and sticky and finger-licking good.

sweet-spicy-salmon-3

Drooooool.

sweet-spicy-salmon-4

Of course you’ll need a side dish for the salmon. May I recommend this Food & Wine recipe for roasted brussels sprouts with capers, walnuts and anchovies? [Originally found through The Sweets Life] These babies are roasted at the same temperature and the dressing also contains mustard, which makes these two just meant for each other! I cut the oil in the dressing quite a bit and used a little less anchovies (PS – I hope you’re not scared of them, they are salty and just melt into the dressing. Don’t skip them!). This meal was so good that Adam broke the “no fish in the office” rule and took the leftovers (which were originally meant for me) to work for lunch the next day. He said it was worth the looks he got Winking smile

sweet-spicy-salmon-6

I’m very seriously considering making these brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving this year. I loved how the sweet caramelized brussels sprouts were balanced by the salty/acidic dressing. Delicious!

PS – The photos were taken in my new “photo studio” with a custom white balance and dimmed overhead lights. I like how much more vivid the colors are. The gorgeous orange hue of salmon helped of course! Smile

Do you have any old favorites you’d like to bring back? Also…

Are you making any veggie sides for Thanksgiving? Share some recipes with me, I’m still trying to finalize my contribution to the table!

Meal planning follow through

You know how I talked about my love of meal planning? Well, it’s true. I LOVE it. Unfortunately, I often get a little too ambitious/excited about all the delicious things I could be making, so I make a crazy long list and then don’t really follow through. I often get tired after a day of work or upset about something, and end up eating random stuff instead of following through with the plan.

This week, however, I was on a mission to finally make things that have been on my to-make list for AGES. I bought the ingredients weeks ago and this week was the week!!! Wanna see what I’ve been up to in my kitchen? Come, come!!

Jen posted about these salmon burgers last August during her burger week and raved about them. I love smoked salmon and thought it was such a fun addition to the mix.

IMG_4430

Unfortunately wild salmon is very lean and I overcooked these. They tasted like dry smoked salmon patties – the sauce was the only saving grace. I mixed greek yogurt with sriracha and diced grape tomatoes. They added some spice and freshness. :)

The next night I wanted to make something with goat cheese. I cooked some ww pasta, sauteed mushrooms and spinach, threw in some leftover lamb sausage and then topped it all with creamy sundried tomato and goat cheese sauce.

IMG_4442

I was a bit disappointed with how thin the sauce turned out… but it ended up thickening significantly as it cooled.

IMG_4443

Adam actually said this was one of the best things I’ve made in a while! After a few bites I was hooked too – creamy and slightly tangy, with a pronounced sun-dried tomato flavor and just a hint of nuttiness from walnuts.

IMG_4445

Btw, I only used 2-3T of sun-dried tomato olive oil (from the jar the tomatoes were in) instead of 7. This was plenty rich as is!

IMG_4449

Next up, a craving hit. I NEEDED cheesecake asap. Although I live across the street from the Cheesecake Factory, I stay away from their 1,000+ calorie slices.

IMG_4451

Instead, I went with an old (healthier!) favorite – honey yogurt cheesecake bars (ick, my photos have improved over the years, huh?).

IMG_4454

I did have some meyer lemons so meyer lemon cheesecake bars were born (I added a bunch of juice and zest and subbed agave nectar for honey to let the lemon flavor stand out).

IMG_4459

Can you see how light these are? They taste decadent but also very airy unlike the more traditional dense cheesecakes. I really love this recipe!

Agave isn’t as sweet as honey so these weren’t sweet enough for my liking (and the meyer lemon flavor was still lost) so I drizzled some maple syrup over the bars once cooled. I guess they ended up being maple syrup cheesecake bars! :D

IMG_4461

Whatever you call them, these were delicious! How would you make the lemon flavor be more pronounced? I was afraid about too much liquid if I continued to add lemon juice….

Last recipe! I told you I was busy in the kitchen this week!!! GRANOLA.

IMG_4462

While most of you (from what I read ;) ) seem to be obsessed with cereal and granola and need a lock on your cupboards, I’m much more of a trailmix/nut/cookie girl. Cereal, as delicious as it is, isn’t a “trigger” food for me.

IMG_4475

That was apparently because I’ve never made homemade granola – totally different ball game! I made Flour Bakery‘s granola last month and was amazed at how much I loved it. In fact, I ate a whole container-worth in just a matter of a few days… and it was supposed to be “for Adam.”

IMG_4468

So this week I tried again. I followed NY Times’ recipe for olive oil granola (found through Tri to Cook).

IMG_4464

I thought you could just throw everything in and bake, but I learned a lesson here. Yeah, someone didn’t read the instructions well! :shock: Add the dried fruit at the end - my beautifully sweet dried apricots turned into rocks!!! No worries, I picked them out and carried on with my newly established granola obsession.

IMG_4472

Adam said it was the best granola he’s ever had!! I actually can’t choose between this one and Flour’s – both are fantastic. A little salty, crunchy, nutty. Yeah, I’m going to be honest – this granola has been enjoyed more often than not, straight out of the jar. And I’m ok with it :D

If you meal plan, how often do you deviate from the plan? I was so proud for following through because there is not much better than a delicious homemade meal. :mrgreen:

On next week’s agenda – take ice cream and granola bars off the list. I hope to report back next week with some pictures for evidence ;)

Beer vs. wine pairing party

It was a long day at work today, which makes memories of this past weekend that much fonder.

On Saturday, we were invited to our friends’ Kevin and Trisha’s house for a beer vs. wine pairing party. The idea was to bring a dish that pairs well with one or the other and have some fun! Almost immediately I thought of bringing something spicy to pair with a Riesling, and then a moment of brilliance hit me – mini banh mi sliders. Oh yes I did!

Of course it’s me and I can’t just make a favorite recipe and call it good. And well, dessert needed to happen as well (just in case we didn’t have enough). I made some meyer lemon curd a few days prior so the idea of white wine cupcakes with meyer lemon curd filling and marshmallow wine frosting was born. Sounds fitting for a beer vs. wine party, no?

I started with the white wine cupcake recipe base (using half all purpose and half white whole wheat flour – they were perfectly tender, no whole wheatiness in sight. Yes, that’s a word!)

IMG_3769

Then scooped a bit of the cupcake insides (which I saved for a little snack later Winking smile ) and filled the cavities with the meyer lemon curd (don’t overfill them with the curd or they’ll be too intense).

IMG_3770

Lastly came the frosting part. I used 1/2 of this recipe for the marshmallow frosting – it wouldn’t harden so I added extra cream of tartar until it came to the right consistency) and it really tasted like marshmallows. I was so excited I forgot to add a bit of wine to it. Oh well, still amazingly delicious! [Adam said it was one of the best desserts I’ve ever made!!]

IMG_3776

The recipe made 18 cupcakes. 18 addictively delicious cupcakes. Good thing I had some friends to share it with!! Smile

So now on to the party. We had some super talented cooks, that’s for sure. Andrew impressed us all with his salmon tartar cornets with sweet red onion crème fraiche (recipe from The French Laundry Cookbook!!)

IMG_3777

Unfortunately, while I was totally drooling over this, I couldn’t taste the final product given the ahem, red onions. Sad smile I am certain it’s the most amazing appetizer though (I mean, common – it’s Thomas Keller’s recipe!!) so I plan on tackling it one day. How impressed are you with Andrew? He even made the little cones from scratch!

IMG_3780

For his pairing, he chose the pale ale by the Victory brewery since he just passed his PHD exam. I liked all the pairings from this dinner so I’m going to direct you to Kevin’s post for more comprehensive beer reviews since he knows a lot more about beer than I do. All I can say is that it went down easy! Winking smile

IMG_3779

Next up – my banh mi sliders!! I used grass fed beef instead of turkey, but otherwise followed the recipe to the T. It’s really the best!! I love how the meatballs have a bit of heat, which is enhanced by the spicy mayo and sliced jalapenos and then cooled off by the pickled carrots and daikon radish. Man, I loved these little guys!!

IMG_3782

IMG_3786

This sweet Riesling was a really good pairing for this spicy dish.

IMG_3787

Happy customers Smile

IMG_3788 IMG_3789

More finger food! Mac & cheese mini cakes to be exact! I believe Melissa used the Wine & Food magazine recipe but don’t quote me on this. These little cakes were perfectly portable, cheesy and indulgent.

IMG_3783

… and paired really well with this crisp prosecco. Seriously, best party idea ever!!

IMG_3785

Onto some Mexican cilantro chicken with all the fixins (cheese, salsa, tortillas), paired with the Hennepin Belgian style saison.

IMG_3791

The chicken had so much flavor and I just love the body of saisons – kind of like wheat beer but with so much more character. Yummmmm.

IMG_3790

Our stomachs were getting quite full but there was just one more savory course. Pizza!!

IMG_3794

Prosciutto, mozzarella

IMG_3793

and balsamic caramelized onion and goat cheese

IMG_3795

Paired with a surprisingly light Syrah. Can’t go wrong with pizza + wine!

At this point all of us really needed an eating break so we moved to the living room for some couch (and more drinking) time. Smile

Eventually these molten chocolate cakes (from the Flour bakery cookbook) baked and well, you can’t let perfectly molten chocolate deliciousness wait for you! Now can you? (don’t answer that!)

IMG_3796

IMG_3804

Paired with this aged Mikkeller Belgian strong ale (brewed with chocolate!).

IMG_3802

Heaven!

My cupcakes were a bonus dessert and we all enjoyed them at our leisure.

IMG_3799

Someone kept hoping to sneak a bite but we were a bit quicker Winking smile

IMG_3811

IMG_3809

What do you prefer – beer or wine? What’s the coolest “theme party” you’ve ever been to? I’m totally stealing this idea and plan on hosting one of my own this summer! Party smile

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Follow Me




Check out my other blog:

Categories