Salmon Series Part One: Syd’s Birthday Eve Salmon Risotto

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Posing with the final product!

After our last day of racing at the Olympic Trials, my parents took my husband Alex, me and Jess out to eat in St. Armand’s Circle. We picked an Italian restaurant that had caught my eye the previous week when Jess and I were on more stringent meal plans. After several days of racing, I was craving a hearty, warm meal, and savored the salmon risotto that I ordered for lunch. After the meal, we stopped by Kilwin’s for ice cream, at my sister-in-law Becky’s recommendation. I ordered the Heavenly Hash flavor, which I had not come across since college!

This blog entry is the first in a series of six ways to prepare salmon. Salmon is one of the staples in the Taylor kitchen, and Jess’s boyfriend Austin recently requested my top three salmon recipes. There are so many favorites to chose from, so why not six?

For my birthday eve meal, Alex and I cooked our own version of salmon risotto. We loaded up our risotto with as many veggies as possible, and used the Persian spice zarchobeh for extra flavor and color. We broiled two small filets of salmon, and added the cooked salmon after the Arborio rice had absorbed all of our cooking liquid.

Recipe

Syd’s Birthday Eve Salmon Risotto – serves 4 to 6

We used 1/2 stick of butter as recommended in the “Wild mushroom risotto with peas” recipe by Giada de Laurentiis in “Everyday Italian,” but you could get away with using half that amount.  Allow a full hour for cooking this meal; the risotto alone takes at least 30 minutes, and you will want to be patient while all cooking liquids get absorbed.  White wine is traditionally a popular addition to risotto.  If you want to use white wine, pick a dry wine and add just 2/3 of a cup after you add your Arborio rice.

You will need:13100965_10206263031229973_6779215179086965754_n

  1. 1 lb of salmon
  2. ½ T dried basil
  3. ½ T garlic salt
  4. ½ T black pepper
  5. ½ stick of butter
  6. 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  7. 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  8. 1 or 2 red peppers, thinly sliced
  9. 1 C white button mushrooms, finely chopped
  10. 1 ½ C Arborio rice
  11. 32 oz chicken broth
  12. ½ T cayenne pepper
  13. 1 T zarchobeh or turmeric
  14. 1 can artichoke hearts
  15. 1 C frozen peas
  16. 12 cherry tomatoes
  17. 1 handful fresh basil, washed and torn
  18. ¼ C shredded parmesan

 

Steps:

  1. Add half of your dried basil, garlic salt and black pepper to the bottom of an oven-safe ceramic dish. Place salmon filets on top of spices, skin down, and add the remaining basil, garlic salt and pepper to the top of the filets.
  2. Broil salmon for approximately 20 minutes on high.
  3. In a large pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add thinly sliced red onion as soon as butter has melted, and stir for five minutes until the slices begin to soften.
  4. Add chopped garlic and thinly sliced red peppers to your pan, stirring to combine. After a few more minutes, add chopped mushrooms.
  5. When mushrooms begin to darken, add your Arborio rice to the mix.
  6. Start adding chicken broth by the cupful, and stir while broth is absorbed by rice (about 5 minutes per cup of broth).
  7. After you have added three cups of broth, add your cayenne pepper and zarchobeh or turmeric. Add your final cup of broth.
  8. When your broth has mostly been absorbed, add canned artichoke hearts, peas, fresh basil and cherry tomatoes. Stir to combine for about five minutes or until all ingredients have heated through. Finally, add shredded parmesan and stir to combine evenly.

The first risotto recipe I ever followed came from Giada’s cookbook.  Patrick and I made the “wild mushroom risotto with peas” found on page 131 of “Everyday Italian.”  I followed the sequence of Giada’s recipe loosely when I created this dish.

Source: Laurentiis, Giada De. Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes. New York: Clarkson Potter, 2005. Print.

 

Coconut Milk-Poached Chicken with Roasted Red Peppers

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Half of our roasted red peppers, ready to be covered in foil to steam and cool.

For the past week, my training partner, Jess, and I have been fortunate to stay with a host family near Sarasota, FL, while we train for the upcoming Olympic Trials.  Because Trials begin on Thursday, I am blogging a day early!

Jess and I have been staying with Steve and Pat Roach, and I was delighted when they accepted my offer to share a dinner that I prepared with them in mind.  Steve and Pat have taken us for a tour of Anna Maria Island (see pictures below), and made us feel at home in their house.  To thank them, Jess and I worked on this dinner to share.  We also have enjoyed getting to know Kahlua, a shy cat who is not pictured, and Poundcake, the 9-month old golden retriever puppy (pictured below).  Jess and I have been sticking to healthy meals during most of our training time together, and appreciate the guidance of Georgie Fear, a registered dietitian, board certified specialist in sports dietetics and co-owner of One By One Nutrition.  We knew we wanted to include roasted red peppers, and to build a balanced meal.  One thing I thought we were missing was something green!  We rectified that situation the next day when we had leftovers on top of a leafy spinach salad.

I separated the roasted red peppers into their own recipe, because they are fantastic to make on their own as an appetizer, topping or side.  Enjoy peppers on their own, with cheese and crackers, over salad or on a sandwich!  Happy National Garlic Day!

 

Recipe

Coconut milk-poached chicken and cinnamon, cayenne steamed carrots – serves 4 to 6

You will need: IMG_3978

  1. 1 package of quinoa
  2. 1 can of coconut milk, full fat, unsweetened
  3. 3 cups of chicken broth, low-sodium, plus more if using for quinoa
  4. 4 chicken breasts
  5. 8 large carrots
  6. ½ T cinnamon
  7. 1 t cayenne pepper

Steps:

  1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions, using either water or half/broth half water as your liquid.
  2. Place chicken breasts in a large pot or pan.
  3. Combine coconut milk and broth over the chicken, and set heat to high to bring liquids to a boil.
  4. After your liquid boils, reduce heat to low and cover for 8 minutes.       Check chicken for doneness after 8 minutes, and continue to simmer on low for up to 15 minutes.
  5. While chicken is simmering, peel carrots and dust with cinnamon and cayenne. Place in a microwaveable dish with a cover, and microwave for 6-8 minutes.
  6. Serve chicken breasts over quinoa in a bowl to soak up the coconut milk sauce.

Recipe

Roasted red peppers – serves 4 to 6

You will need:IMG_3977

  1. 4 red peppers
  2. 2 cloves of garlic
  3. 2 t dried parsley

Steps:

  1. Rinse 4 red peppers and pop them on a baking sheet.
  2. Set oven to broil on high, and set baking sheet inside on the highest rack.
  3. Use tongs to rotate peppers a quarter turn every 5 minutes. It is okay for peppers to blacken.
  4. Meanwhile, chop garlic cloves.
  5. When peppers have broiled on all sides, remove from oven and place in a large bowl covered with a lid or foil. Wait at least 10 minutes for peppers to cool to the touch, then remove skin, stem and seeds.
  6. Slice or tear peppers into strips and toss with garlic and parsley.
  7. Enjoy peppers on their own, with cheese and crackers, over salad or on a sandwich!

 

 

Cashew Chicken with Vegetables

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Checking broccoli tenderness

This week I tested out a recipe for cashew chicken with vegetables, which I have been craving since I made the “Asian Chicken with Peanut Sauce” from Racing Weight.  Jess took me to the Pacific Beach Farmers Market before we went to the grocery store, and it was a treat to shop outside! We bought organic broccoli that had been picked earlier that day from JR Organics, and used it for this dinner.  We also bought some fascinating cauliflower heads from Suzie’s Farm (see gallery) that I cannot wait to experiment with.

This recipe satisfies my craving for a spicy weeknight meal that balances protein, veggies, carbs and fats.  I made this dish for Jess and her mom last night, at her mom’s home in PB.  Even without red pepper flakes, this dish had some heat! For those who do not like spicy food, consider leaving out the sriracha from your sauce.

 

Recipe

Cashew Chicken with Vegetables – serves 4

The sriracha, fresh ginger and garlic in this recipe provide plenty of heat!  If you like things extra spicy, I would consider adding 1 teaspoon of hot red pepper flakes to the sauce.  When I visit my parents, I cook gluten-free recipes for my mother; to make this recipe gluten-free, use equal parts Tamari sauce in place of soy sauce.  If you do not have peanut flour on hand, you can use 2 T peanut butter, or cashew butter for your sauce.

You will need:

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  1. 2 T olive oil
  2. 2 broccoli crowns
  3. ½ large red onion, chopped into large pieces
  4. 2 red peppers, chopped
  5. 1 C brown rice
  6. 1 to 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped

 

For your sauce:

  1. 1.5 C veggie broth
  2. 1/4 C peanut flour – we used PB2
  3. ½ C raw cashews
  4. 1 T fresh ginger, chopped
  5. 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  6. 1 T sriracha sauce
  7. 1 T honey
  8. 1 T soy sauce

Optional: hot red pepper flakes

Steps:

  1. Chop peppers, broccoli and red onion and set aside. Chop garlic and ginger.
  2. Prepare rice according to package instructions.
  3. Begin cooking by bringing vegetable broth to a simmer, adding liquid ingredients. Add peanut flour, stirring until combined. Add garlic, ginger and cashews. For extra heat, add 1t or more hot red pepper flakes.
  4. Heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat. Add red onion and sauté for two minutes. Add broccoli with ½ cup water and cover.
  5. Heat another pan over medium heat and add chicken and half of sauce, stirring to coat. By this point, the sauce should have reduced in volume by about a third.
  6. Add red peppers and remaining sauce to the veggie pan. Stir to coat and sauté for five minutes.  Meanwhile, stir chicken.
  7. Remove veggies from heat and add to large serving dish. Add chicken to serving dish and mix with veggies.
  8. Serve over rice.

 

Sauce inspiration: Fitzgerald, Matt, and Georgie Fear. “Asian Chicken with Peanut Sauce.” Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes. Boulder: Velopress, 2013. 230-231. Print.