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!

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Hot Stuff

I know, I know–it’s too hot to make soup–but this is one of the tastiest and most nutrient-dense soups you’ll ever eat. I modified the recipe slightly from one in Judy Converse’s amazing book, Special Needs Kids Eat Right.

Cut one pound of bacon into one-inch pieces. Cook the entire pound of bacon by frying it in a saucepan. Set the cooked bacon pieces aside on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Peel and dice one pound of potatoes. Parboil the potatoes for five minutes in enough water to cover them, in a Dutch oven. After parboiling the potatoes, add the bacon, five diced shallots, one cabbage (cored and cut into chunks), and a generous sprinkle of sea salt and pepper to the Dutch oven. Add enough water or homemade chicken broth to the pot to cover all the ingredients, reduce the heat so that the stew simmers, and allow the stew to simmer for at least an hour. (I cover it so the water doesn’t evaporate too quickly, and I lift the lid periodically (with a potholder!) to stir the stew with a wooden spoon and add water, if necessary.

Serve with homemade bread (like the sourdough rye bread in Heidi Swanson’s book here, which I make with Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour instead).

Bacon!

Here’s a fun recipe to use up a head of cabbage you may have in your refrigerator. My five-year-old daughter will eat a few bites of my coleslaw, but she told me this dish was “super terrific,” so I’ll be making it again 🙂

Plan to be working in your kitchen for at least 90 minutes, and perhaps as long as two hours. This is a stew, so it’s a great dish for winter, but on any non-super-hot day, it works well.

Cut one pound of sliced bacon into 1.5-inch-long bits and fry it all in a skillet (with a bit of olive oil, if needed). Keep poking the bacon with a fork (or two) in order to cook it all thoroughly and evenly. Don’t let it get too crispy, but make sure it all gets cooked.

While the bacon is cooking, peel two pounds of potatoes and cut them into one-inch cubes. Put the potato cubes into a small pot, cover them with water, put the lid on, and heat the pot on high until it boils. Then cook the potatoes at a managed boil for five minutes. DO NOT DRAIN THE POTATOES.

Take a Dutch / French oven and sprinkle garlic salt (I love Himalasalt), pepper, and minced onions on the bottom. Wash a head of cabbage, peel off the grody outer leaves, core it, and cut the cabbage into small chunks. Place the cabbage chunks in the Dutch oven on top of the seasonings.

When the bacon and the potatoes are ready, put them (along with all of the potato water) into the Dutch oven, and add as much water (or homemade chicken broth–just boil the legs and wings in a soup pot for an hour the next time you roast a chicken) as you need to cover everything in the pot. Heat the pot over low (or, at most, medium-low) heat to a simmer, and keep it simmering for an hour, stirring periodically.

Serve with bread. (I like the Rye Sourdough recipe from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day, although I make it with Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour.) Enjoy!

A Twist on the Traditional Easter Ham

Some people like slices of ham, with vegetables on the side. If you’re looking to shake things up a bit, or to stretch a ham with the use of vegetables in a casserole, or if you need to have your vegetables mixed with meat and cheese in order for a small person to eat them, this recipe is for you.

Grease a 9×12-inch Pyrex dish with butter or olive oil spray. Fill the dish with: 2 pounds of ham, cut into 1-inch cubes, 1 pound of potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes, and 1 pound of this amazing cheese. Make sure the three ingredients are mixed together evenly. Bake for 90 minutes at 350 degrees. Use a meat thermometer to verify that the ham is completely cooked before serving. Some people like a little salt and pepper on this dish, but I’m happy to eat it plain.

Barbecue-Seasoned Beef Stew

Here’s an easy stew to make with either ground beef or a cut of beef, plus all those root vegetables you have left over from the winter.

Peel and cut root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, parsnips, etc.) into chunks (2×2-inch chunks work best). Place cut vegetables into a Dutch / French oven along with 24 ounces of strained tomatoes, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon of garlic salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of paprika. Add 2 cups of water, stir, and place on stove, covered, over very low heat.

Brown 1 pound of ground beef or a diced muscle cut of beef in a skillet. Use a bit of olive oil if necessary.

When the beef is cooked, add it to the Dutch / French oven, stir again, and leave the lid slightly tilted. Simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally and monitoring to ensure that the liquid does not evaporate completely.

Note: Feel free to add less sugar or honey and/or a spicier pepper than paprika if you prefer a more chili-esque flavor to your stew.

Emile Henry: Not Just for Lasagna

I received an Emile Henry dish from my parents last year, and I just wanted to share two easy recipes that roast delightfully and look beautiful served in this oven-to-table dish.

The first is almost embarrassingly simple, but it’s a great way to serve a simple fruit in an elegant way for company: Peel and core 6 – 10 medium apples, then cut them into roughly five pieces per apple. Place the apple pieces in the dish and sprinkle them with cinnamon. Roast in the oven for 60 minutes at 350 degrees.

The second recipe is a go-to recipe in my family for occasions that demand a dairy-free potato recipe. I vastly prefer butter to vegetable spread in my mashed potatoes, but roasted potatoes are just lovely with olive oil. Wash and peel 8 large potatoes, then cut them into roughly five pieces per potato. In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup olive oil with 2 tablespoons rosemary and 1 teaspoon of Himalasalt. Put the potato pieces into the bowl and toss them well, ensuring that they’re completely coated with the olive oil mixture. Place the potatoes into the Emile Henry dish (or a Pyrex baking dish if you don’t have an Emile Henry dish) and pour any remaining olive oil mixture over them. Bake for 90 minutes at 350 degree, uncovered. Peek into the oven occasionally, and if you see the potatoes getting brown too quickly, cover them with foil.

Neither of these recipes is complicated, and I love the fact that the work is all done once you put the dish into the oven–plus, they look great when served in a fancy oven-to-table dish. Pick a meat entree (like my chicken salad), and you’re all set for a feast!