Sunday, April 25, 2010

Food as Love

Today's Recipes: Summery Salmon, Cool Asparagus, Fruit Salad

Have I mentioned that I love to cook? Have I mentioned that I cook as a way to express my love for those around me? Well, I do.

This is something that came down to me through the blood. In my family, we show love not through gifts that we purchase (although we do some of that as well), but by getting together, being together, laughing together and sharing a meal. It's what we do :-)

I was able to show some love this week - it was my Grandfather's birthday! Those folks have been on a 'flat belly' diet, and have had a LOT of chicken lately, so the birthday boy requested salmon. Done and done. Then I just had to respect the fact that they are trying to watch their fat/caloric intake while planning the rest of the meal - easy-peasy. We ended up with a beautiful summer meal - my first of the year. Here's what we had:

Summery Salmon

2 Lbs salmon
1 large orange
1 large lime
5 garlic cloves - minced
1/4 c cilantro leaves - chopped
kosher salt

lay the salmon (skin side down) in a glass baking dish. Squeeze the orange and the lime over the fish. Sprinkle the garlic and cilantro over the fish. Sprinkle (sparingly) with salt. Cover, and marinate 2-3 hours. You can either grill or bake the salmon. I baked, so... pre-heat the oven to 400° F. Drain extra juice from the baking dish - leave the cilantro and garlic in place. I didn't spray the dish with non-stick spray, and it wasn't awful, but I wish that I had, so you could go either way. Bake for 20 minutes. Check the thickest part of the fish - opaque=done. If it's not done, chuck it back in.

Cool Asparagus

2 bunches fresh asparagus
olive oil
Cavender's Greek Seasoning

snap off the bottoms of the asparagus stalks. Discard the bottoms & rinse the stalks. Place in a large skillet with a small amount of olive oil. Cover & steam over medium heat - adding small amounts of water as needed to steam (not sautee) the asparagus. When the stalks turn bright green, you can start checking for done-ness. When done, rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process, transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with seasoning or toss with a small amount of salad dressing. cover and set aside (or chill) until dinner.

Fruit Salad

mix in lime juice, chili powder and cinnamon for an extra kick. TRUST ME - it's awesome

mix all of the fruit together - add avocado immediately before serving. If you end up storing leftovers, remove all avocado first! Don't wuss out and leave the avocado out. Go for it. You could (of course) use any fresh fruit, it's the avocado, lime, cinnamon and chili powder that make this truly stellar.

Brown Rice
Sliced Tomato

it was a little taste of heaven. Also, a great gathering for a fantastic reason.

I also caught the Fiesta 'bug'. Since Lily Ruth is too little for most Fiesta events, we only made it to the King William Parade. I still had this almost physical itch for a celebration, so I decided to have people over at the very last minute. I was just going to invite our neighbors, but ended up with 2 couples. It was pretty great. The weather was awesome. The house was wide open. Music played in the background. Babies laughed as they chased the dog. And of course, there was food. I made:

- Diane's Pork Tenderloin using Anchor Steam Porter and 10 or so garlic cloves served as tacos on fresh tortillas
- Fruit Salad using the rest of the uncut fruit from Grandfather's birthday dinner
- my 'Mexican Rice'
- sliced Avocado
- crumbled Cotija cheese
- sauteed mushrooms, onions and Anaheim peppers
- roasted corn

Today, we had Kyla and her wonderful sons over for brunch. Don made French Toast, and we had scrambled eggs and bacon with it. Then we lounged around watching the kiddos do various adorable things.

I feel like I am surrounded by tiny moments of pure joy.

Maybe they were always there, maybe not. Maybe the only difference is that I have to be very alert all of the time, so I'm noticing them more. Maybe I'm just more open to joy these days.

What a great weekend. Now, if only it were warm enough to swim!

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