Salmon Series Part Four: Grilled Salmon and Steamed Artichokes

Patrick picked up this beautiful salmon filet at Whole Foods before driving to Delaware.

As our Chicago chapter came to a close, Alex and I found ourselves traveling all over the city to see friends.  We calculated recently that we have been in 15 states over the past 5 weeks!  We have spent this exciting transition time staying with many wonderful host friends, and saying goodbye-for-now to our Chicago family.  I wrapped up my time as a rehab aide at Athletico, had one last sweep team practice with Lincoln Park Boat Club and witnessed Alex’s graduation from medical school.  Looking back on the month of May, I can see that we filled our schedules to the brim, but I would not have it any other way!  It was a treat to be reunited with the Taylor family for a week of adventures in Michigan and Chicago.  Next, we spent a week on the East Coast with my family, and met my brother’s baby for the first time.

During all of our moving about, we sampled new restaurants and made a variety of recipes in countless kitchens.  Most recently, Patrick shared his family recipe for steamed artichokes, and I requested grilled salmon as a pairing.  My niece, Kayden, and I tried out a recipe for zucchini boats to round out the family feast menu.  Kayden is a skilled baker and loves trying out new recipes in the kitchen.  We will definitely be cooking together again soon.

Now I am off on another racing adventure in the double with Jess.  I will be cooking and learning new recipes and flavors, but may not be blogging while I am away.  Until next time!




Grilled Salmon – serves 6 to 8

I have not tried grilling salmon on my own yet, but I collected the below tips from Patrick.  Remember not to move the fish around on the grill until you are ready to flip!  If you move the fish, it can break apart on the grill and lose its grill lines.

You will need:IMG_4990

  1. 2 lb salmon
  2. 1 t salt
  3. 1 t pepper
  4. 1 t garlic powder
  5. about 1 T olive oil


  1. Sprinkle salmon on both sides with salt, black pepper and garlic powder.  Rub in with a little olive oil.
  2. Heat your grill to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit (close to high heat on our grill).
  3. Grill the meat side of salmon first for 3 to 4 minutes with the grill lid closed.  The fish should start to become opaque on the meat side where it is starting to cook.
  4. Flip salmon once to grill the skin side using a grill spatula or tongs.  Close the lid again and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes until the whole filet is just opaque.
  5. When salmon is ready, the skin should easily fall off.


Steamed Artichokes – serves 8

IMG_4987You will need:

  1. 8 whole artichokes, including stems
  2. 6 large garlic cloves
  3. ½ C fresh parsley, chopped
  4. salt
  5. pepper
  6. 3-4 T olive oil to drizzle


  1. Cut off the bottom of the stems and slice off the dry end of the stem.  Dice the remaining stem.
  2. Chop garlic and parsley and combine with stem pieces, salt and pepper.
  3. Bang the bottom of the artichoke against the tabletop to open up the flower.  If you need to, you can pull apart the leaves by hand instead.
  4. Stuff diced items between artichoke leaves.
  5. Stand artichokes up in a large pot and fill with about 2″ of water.
  6. Pour oil over artichokes.  Bring water to steam and cover for 45-60 minutes.  Your artichokes are ready when their leaves pull off easily.


Zucchini Boats and Caprese Salad – serves 8

We followed a recipe for “Stuffed Zucchini Boats with Tomato Salad” from Cooking Light and (see below).  Kayden and I opted to leave out the bread from the original recipe, because we wanted to share the zucchini boats with my mother, who eats gluten-free.  Our zucchini were exceptionally fresh, and we did not miss the bread at all!  The caprese salad from cherry tomatoes was also a big hit, and we keep making that dish as a side for dinner.
You will need:IMG_4985

  1. 4 large zucchini
  2. 4 chicken sausage
  3. 1 small yellow onion
  4. 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese
  5. 2 C cherry tomatoes
  6. 1 T balsamic vinegar
  7. 1/4 C thinly sliced fresh basil
  8. 1 t olive oil


  1. Wash the outside of your zucchini thoroughly before halving.
  2. Scoop out and save the insides of the zucchini, leaving about 1/4 inch intact beyond the skin.
  3. Cover and microwave the zucchini halves in an oven safe container for four minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, dice the zucchini insides and save about 2 cups of material.
  5. Remove casings from chicken sausage and break sausage into small pieces.
  6. Dice onion.
  7. Heat a large pan over medium heat and add spray with cooking spray.  Add onion and sausage and stir to combine for about 4 minutes.
  8. Combine zucchini insides with your cooked sausage and onion in a mixing bowl.  Spoon this mixture into each zucchini boat.
  9. Chop up about 2 ounces of mozzarella cheese and layer on top of your boats.
  10. Halve the cherry tomatoes and combine with remaining mozzarella, balsamic, basil and olive oil.  Set aside in fridge to chill, if desired.
  11. Place zucchini boats on the top rack of your oven and broil for two to three minutes, checking to see if mozzarella melts and browns.

Source: Wise, Deb. “Stuffed Zucchini Boats with Tomato Salad Recipe.” Cooking Light, June 2015. Web. 29 May 2016.


Salmon Series Part Three: Salmon Burgers with Sriracha Mayo

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Our late-night salmon burger dinner

Now that we have officially moved to our Seattle apartment, Alex and I are staying with friends while we finish up with work and school.  This week, my teammate Fran and her partner, Simon, are our gracious hosts. I made dinner for Alex and Fran this week and had the opportunity to test out another new salmon recipe.  We enjoyed a late dinner and chatted about our recent move to Seattle and what we will miss about living in Chicago – our friends, my rowing team, the proximity to Buchanan, MI and the food scene!  Fran has an impressive collection of cookbooks that I have enjoyed flipping through, and is knowledgeable about a variety of vegetables and plants that I am just getting to know.

For salmon burgers, I consulted Patrick Rider, our long-time family friend and wonderful chef, for advice on what ingredients to use.  Patrick introduced me to a video of Guy Fieri visiting our local Chicago DMK Burger Bar, where he learned about the signature salmon burger with ginger, scallions, Asian slaw and a red Thai curry sauce.  I then checked for a recipe to use as a reference for cooking times and temperatures.  Based on those two sources, and what was fresh at my local market, I came up with the following new recipe for salmon burgers!


Salmon Burgers with Sriracha Mayo – serves 4

We love to have butternut squash or sweet potato when we make burgers at home.  For this meal, we simply purchased pre-cut butternut squash.  The squash roasts in about twenty minutes, and pairs nicely with salmon burgers and fresh greens.  We drizzled olive oil on the squash and sprinkled on black pepper and a little salt before roasting.  If you are making sweet potato fries, plan for an extra ten minutes of baking time before adding salmon patties to the oven.  We added fresh spinach for a simple salad.

You will need:

  1. 1 lb salmon
  2. 2 T Sriracha Mayo
  3. 2 large eggs, beaten
  4. ½ C bread crumbs
  5. 2 T fresh ginger, chopped
  6. ½ C green onions, finely sliced
  7. 1 t garlic salt
  8. 1 t lemon pepper
  9. ½ t black pepper
  10. 1 T dried parsley
  11. cooking spray

Serve with:

  1. Sliced tomato
  2. Slaw topping – about ¼ C per burger
  3. Sriracha mayo or ketchup, to taste
  4. Your favorite bun – we picked Pretzilla pretzel buns


  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Start by chopping fresh ginger and slicing green onions.  Set aside.
  3. Remove skin from salmon filet, and cut salmon into small cubes.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine salmon, Sriracha mayo, beaten eggs, bread crumbs, ginger, green onions and your spices.
  5. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  6. Once your oven temperature has reached 425 degrees, divide your salmon mixture into four equal parts and shape patties gently between your palms.  Space four patties evenly across your baking sheet, and set inside oven.
  7. Cook salmon patties for a total of twenty minutes, flipping after about ten minutes.  If you like your burger buns toasted, add buns to the top rack of the oven for about two minutes per side.
  8. Serve patties warm with buns, more Sriracha mayo or ketchup, and top with slaw or lettuce and tomato.



“Salmon Burgers With Guy Fieri Video : Food Network.” Salmon Burgers With Guy Fieri Video : Food Network. Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Web. Accessed 10 May 2016.

Sherrycooks2012. “Oven Baked Salmon Patties Recipe –” Oven Baked Salmon Patties Recipe – Web. Accessed 10 May 2016.

Salmon Series Part Two: Salmon Tartare and Spring Vegetables

The spread: roasted asparagus, spring salad and salmon tartare

Alex and I spent a rainy Saturday making lunch at Rick’s new house, after he got back from Lincoln Park Boat Club’s rowing practice.  Rick is a big fan of fish, and was happy to be a part of this series of salmon recipes.  He picked his favorite style of salmon preparation – tartare – and we planned a menu.  I offered to pick up whatever vegetable looked great at the Green City Farmers’ Market and Rick elected to prepare a Passover-friendly dessert.

On Saturday morning, I strolled to the market with my friend and teammate, Alli Whitaker, and we enjoyed samples and made our selections.  I bought greens and fresh asparagus; Michigan asparagus just came into season, so now is the time to buy or go to Michigan to pick some!


Salmon Tartare and Spring Vegetables – serves 3 to 4

Neither Rick nor I had ever made salmon tartare, so we went online and found a recipe for “Wasabi-Infused Salmon Tartare” from  I simplified the marinade used for that recipe, based on my flavor preferences and which ingredients we had on hand.

You will need:IMG_4430

  1. 1 rounded t wasabi paste or powder to make paste
  2. 3 T fresh lemon juice, or about 1/2 lemon
  3. 3 T soy sauce
  4. 2 T rice wine vinegar
  5. 1/2 T finely chopped shallot
  6. 1/2 t ground ginger
  7. 1 to 1 ½ lbs of high-quality salmon
  8. 1 bunch of asparagus
  9. 1 T olive oil
  10. fresh ground black pepper, about 1 t
  11. about 6 C greens
  12. 3 T nuts – we used slivered almonds and shelled pistachios
  13. 1 C blueberries
  14. balsamic vinaigrette to dress salad


  1. First, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit for roasting asparagus.
  2. Add 3 t water to 5 t wasabi powder, and stir to combine.  Invert your bowl for one minute to increase the wasabi spiciness.  If you have pre-made wasabi paste, add one t to a small mixing bowl, and save more for serving with your entree.
  3. Mix in lemon juice, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, shallot and ginger with the wasabi paste.
  4. Remove the skin from your salmon, and chop the filet into small cubes (we went with about one cubic centimeter).  Add salmon to a non-metallic mixing bowl, and stir in half of your marinade.  Taste salmon to determine if you want to add more marinade; you want some of the salmon flavor to come through.  Cover salmon bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving.
  5. Next, wash asparagus and snap off the dried ends.  Spread out stalks on a cookie sheet, and drizzle with olive oil.  Add fresh pepper and roll to coat.  When your oven has reached 450 degrees, add your asparagus pan and time for about 7 to 10 minutes.  Pencil-thin asparagus should be fully roasted in 7 minutes, whereas really thick stalks could take up to 15 minutes.  Pierce with a fork to check readiness.
  6. While asparagus is cooking, prepare your simple salad of washed greens, nuts and berries.  Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette and toss to coat.  We topped our salad with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese before serving.
  7. When asparagus is ready, transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with fresh parmesan.
  8. We served our salmon with a dollop of extra wasabi paste on the side, and with just a touch of Thai ginger salt on top for extra crunch and salty flavor.

Source: “Wasabi-Infused Salmon Tartare by Rachel2 –” Aug. 2012. Web. 30 Apr. 2016.



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

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.


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



  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.


Thai Seafood Curry in Truckee

Dinner at the Taylor’s


On a recent trip to Truckee, California, my mother-in-law, Betsy, treated me to a cooking lesson based on her adaptation of a Thai curry recipe.  Betsy is a registered dietitian and has been practicing for over 20 years.  She is enthusiastic about using a variety of recipes and ingredients, and simplifying recipes to make them more accessible to her clients and quick enough for weeknight meals!  Betsy adapted this Thai seafood curry recipe from a beloved cookbook called “The Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking” (see below for source).

Betsy prepped all of our ingredients while Peter, my father-in-law, Alex and I were out for a cross-country ski at the nearby Tahoe Donner XC Center.  After a day spent out in the snow, Betsy’s curry is the best dish to come home to!  Fortunately, we were home early enough that I could learn her recipe.  We missed Annika, my sister-in-law, on the trails and in the kitchen.  She is away in Europe competing for Great Britain in Nordic skiing, and is enjoying training and trying new recipes all over Europe.  It was a treat to cook in the Taylor’s kitchen, which is full of personal touches like the painted cow tiles in the photographs below.  Read on for my version of the recipe, with tips and tricks from Betsy Taylor!


Thai Seafood Curry – serves 8 to 10

While preparing this dish, Betsy quizzed me on my curry savvy: “using any ingredient in the fridge, what could you do to tamp down the heat if your curry is too spicy?”  I guessed that you would add cream, but adding carrots pureed with water does the trick!  That method also works well with Mexican dishes that taste too spicy.  On the other hand, if you find that you need to add more curry paste, mix paste with a small bowl of your current curry base to form a “slurry” which will incorporate more smoothly!

For veggie variety, consider using frozen corn or frozen green beans prepared the same way as the peas in our recipe.  Broccoli and cauliflower florets work well in curry; add broccoli, cauliflower or fresh green beans when you would add the Brussels sprouts.  Kabocha can be used in place of butternut squash!  Betsy has also made this recipe for us using cubes of tofu in place of salmon.

You will need: IMG_0850.JPG

  1. 1 lb butternut squash, sliced
  2. rice – we used organic jasmine brown rice
  3. low-sodium chicken broth for rice
  4. 14.5 oz can of full-fat coconut milk
  5. 2-3 T red curry paste
  6. 3 T fish sauce (soy sauce would be fine)
  7. 3 T sugar
  8. 2 t black pepper
  9. 1 T lemon juice or 1 lemon grass stalk cut into 1/2″ pieces, bruised with side of knife (smack)
  10. 32 oz of butternut squash soup – we used Trader Joe’s low-sodium version
  11. 1 t turmeric
  12. 1 lb Brussels sprouts, shredded
  13. 1 lb skinless salmon filets, thawed and cubed
  14. 10 oz frozen peas, thawed
  15. 1 lb frozen, pre-cooked shrimp, thawed

Optional: 2 tomatoes cut into wedges for garnish



  1. Start by thawing your frozen ingredients, including peas, shrimp and salmon.  Thaw frozen salmon filets in cold water in their vacuum-sealed packages for about 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare butternut squash.  If using whole squash, microwave for 1 to 2 minutes before peeling and cutting.  This will make the squash much easier to cut through!  Cut squash into 1 inch rings, and then into thin slices.  Combine with a little water in a dish covered with plastic wrap, leaving a vent open at one side.  Microwave for 6 minutes or until just tender; the squash will finish cooking in your curry.
  3. Thaw frozen peas under running cold water for a few minutes to break up any ice, set aside.  When your salmon is ready, cut filets into 1 or 2 inch chunks.
  4. Wash Brussels sprouts and trim the ends. Slice Brussels sprouts thinly, or prepare in a food processor.
  5. Follow instructions on package to prepare your rice, using half water and half chicken broth as your liquid.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a large pot over medium heat and add coconut cream, reserving the coconut water at the bottom of the can for later use.  “Golden Star” coconut milk typically has lots of cream; we got a little over 1 cup from our can.
  7. Add red curry paste, gradually (you can always add more later).  Bubble for 2 minutes.
  8. Add fish sauce, sugar, coconut water, black pepper and lemon juice or lemon grass.  Stir to combine.
  9. When your mixture has come back up to heat and is bubbling gently, add butternut squash soup.  Allow your curry to return to a simmer between additions.
  10. Sprinkle with turmeric.
  11. Add Brussels sprouts, stir to combine.  Add salmon, stir, return to simmer.  Check salmon for opacity to indicate doneness after about 5 minutes.
  12. Add cooked butternut squash, stir to warm. Taste Brussels sprouts and add peas and pre-cooked shrimp when Brussels sprouts have reached desired tenderness.
  13. Adjust spices and sauces at this time.  If using tomato wedges, add them now and stir to combine.
  14. Remove from heat, serve over a bed of jasmine rice.


Mai, Pham. “Thai Seafood Curry with Pumpkin and Fresh Basil.” The Best of Vietnamese & Thai Cooking: Favorite Recipes from Lemon Grass Restaurant and Cafes. Rocklin, CA: Prima Pub., 1996. 210-211. Print.