Salmon Plate

My daughter created this recipe. although I did all the oven-related and sharp item-related work 😉 This is a hearty, savory meal that’s just perfect for cold fall and winter evenings.

Ahead of time, make the mashed potatoes: clean, peel, and cut 1 pound of potatoes into small pieces. Put the pieces in a pot, cover them with water, put a lid on the pot, and heat the potatoes and water on “high” until the water begins to boil. Remove the lid (with a pot holder), reduce the heat a bit (so it’s still boiling, but not overflowing), and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and drain the potatoes (using a pot holder — be careful when handling any hot pot), then add five tablespoons of butter and a shake of Himalasalt, and mash them so they’re smooth and fluffy. Put them in a Pyrex dish, cover the dish with foil, and put it into the oven. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees.

Now start the salmon: put as many pieces of salmon filet as you have guests (one filet per person, in other words) into a Pyrex dish, and put the dish (uncovered) into the oven. You’ll want the salmon to cook between 15 and 30 minutes — it depends on how thick the filets are, so you’ll have to experiment with baking salmon before trying this recipe to be sure you get it right.

Around 20 minutes before the salmon is schedule to be done, start boiling water in a pot. When the water boils, drop in 1 cup of Ancient Harvest quinoa pasta (I like the “pagoda” shapes) and cook for nine minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, melt five tablespoons of butter in a shallow pan. Add three tablespoons of corn starch (or tapioca flour, if you are sensitive to corn), a shake of Himalasalt, and a shake of pepper, and whisk it all together. Add 1.5 cups of milk, raise the temperature, and bring the mixture to a boil while whisking it to keep it smooth and thicken it. Add 6 ounces of shredded cheese (any flavorful, melty cheese will work — I like Emmi cave-aged Gruyere, Kerrygold, smoked Dutch Gouda, and raw milk Amish farmer’s cheese … which is why my wallet is always empty when I leave Wegman’s) and keep whisking. When the salmon, the pasta, and the cheese sauce are ready, drain the pasta, and prepare to assemble the salmon plate:

Place a generous helping of mashed potatoes in the center of each plate. Surround the mashed potatoes with a decorative rim of pasta. Place a salmon filet on top of the mashed potatoes. Pour (or drizzle, if you’re less of a cheese addict than I am) cheese sauce over everything and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Bhajia

Tonight, we went out to dinner, to one of my three favorite restaurants in our area: Alando, a Kenyan place with amazing food at very reasonable prices. My daughter and I split a cardamom chicken entree (complete with lovely soft rice and shredded cabbage), and of course we also ordered a plate of bhajia. Bhajia is an amazing side dish that is essentially fried potatoes, but is so much more. The potatoes are dipped in a perfectly seasoned batter of chickpea flour (or something similar), and then fried in canola (or another vegetable) oil. I’ve tried to make them in the past, but that was before the deep fryer entered our kitchen (thanks, Mom and Dad!). I think I might try again, because I can’t go out to eat every time I get a craving for bhajia, but I am not quite sure of the seasonings. Anyone with Kenyan (or Indian — I think the two cuisines have a lot of similarities, and for all I know, bhajia originated in India) heritage, please feel free to post a comment with seasoning suggestions. I know there’s turmeric (because bhajia has a yellow tinge, but doesn’t taste like saffron), onion (because you can taste it), cumin (again, you can taste it), and salt. There may be a bit of something spicy, but it’s subtle enough that my anti-spicy daughter doesn’t notice / doesn’t care.