Baby Kale & Portobello Salad with Walnuts and Sun Dried Tomatoes

I can never get enough salad – I think there are so many fantastic creations out there.

This one is simple and super delicious!

Baby Kale Salad with Portobello

Baby Kale Salad with Portobello

Baby Kale  & Portobello Salad with Walnuts and Sun-dried Tomatoes 

Baby kale

4 Portobello Mushrooms

1 clove of garlic

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

6 sun-dried tomatoes

A good handful of coarsely chopped walnuts

3 Tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar reduction

1 teaspoon of good Dijon Mustard

1/3 cup Olive Oil

1 clove of freshly squeezed garlic

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Rinse the baby kale and put it on a clean cloth to take a way excess water before putting it in a salad bowl.

Clean the portobello and chop them.

Portobello

Portobello

Fry them with a bit of olive oil in a pan- till they are golden. Add sea salt, lemon juice, garlic and some freshly ground pepper. Leave them to cool slightly before adding them to the salad.

Cut the sun-dried tomatoes and chop the walnuts. Add to the salad.

Make the dressing;

Dressing

Dressing

For this salad I used a really great local balsamic vinegar reduction that I have fallen in love with  – “Nonna Pia’s Balsamic Cabernet Merlot Reduction made with love! “ – it’s intense and slightly sweet, you can taste it’s made with love (perfect for salad and so many other things)

Nonna Pia's Vinegar

Nonna Pia’s Balsamic Vinegar

In a bowl, put the Dijon mustard and the balsamic vinegar. Stir together. Whisk in the olive oil little by little. Add sea salt and freshly squeezed garlic.

Toss the salad together and enjoy on it’s own or like this with parmesan or some goat cheese.

Cedar Planked Salmon on the BBQ

Coming from Scandinavia I have been used to only one kind of salmon. Beautiful salmon, and it was simple to shop because you never had to choose between different kinds.

But here on the West Coast there is always the dilemma – a hard choice every time, between 5 different species of salmon: Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, Pink and Chum (as well as the wonderful Steelhead salmon/trout) – all wonderful in different ways.

For this recipe I chose wild Sockeye – deep orange and with a beautiful taste, perfect for cooking on the cedar plank. Preparing salmon in this way is new to me as I have never seen it done this way before. But after trying it once, it has become a favourite. The taste, when it has been BBQed on the cedar plank, is just incredible – beyond comparison, and difficult to even describe in words.

 

Cedar planked salmon with tarragon and dill

one side of salmon

one bunch of fresh tarragon

one bunch of fresh dill

one shallot

1/2 cup of olive oil

freshly squeezed lemon

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Soak the cedar plank for several hours in water before use – I soak it all day to get it ready. Here on the West Coast where Cedar grows all over, it is easy to buy the planks – all ready for the salmon. They are split very thin (8mm – 5/16″) and if buying elsewhere make sure you get a natural plank that has not been treated with anything! A plank can be re-used several times.

Place the salmon on the plank and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Put it on the hot grill. Cook it half-way through before adding the marinade.

Finely chop the fresh tarragon, dill and shallot onion, put it in a bowl and add the olive oil, add sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Now pour the marinade on top of the salmon and continue cooking til the salmon is just done – make sure not to overcook it! (Check this by  gently pressing a finger on the thickest part of the salmon – it has to feel firm.) Depending on the thickness, it will be ready in about 15 -20 min .

I served the salmon with two favorite salads and just that – simple and delicious!  A Panzanella salad, a gorgeous salad with baked summer-ripe tomatoes and a green salad with celery leaves and pine nuts.

Panzanella salad

A fantastic flavorful salad and a perfect match to go with the fish.

6 sun ripe tomatoes

1/2 cucumber

1/2 small red onion

big bunch of Italian parsley

a good drizzle of olive oil

a sprinkle of good balsamic vinegar

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 slices of good but stale bread

Half the tomatoes and put them on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and bake them slowly for about an hour in a 350F oven, checking that they do not burn. Take them out and leave them to cool.

Half the cucumber and scrape out the middle, slice it and put it in a salad bowl. Add the cool tomatoes, wash and chop the parsley and add it to the bowl. Finely chop the red onion add it to the salad – drizzle with the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.

Put a few drops of garlic oil on the bread and grill them slightly on the BBQ or in the oven. Tear the bread into smaller pieces and toss it in the salad – mix well so the bread soaks up the flavors and the juices of the salad. Serve it with the fish.

Green salad with celery and pine nuts

Use different kinds of lettuce – a great mixture of your favorites.

A few stick of celery – preferably the middle of the celery with its leaves

2 spoons of pine nuts

dressing

This dressing is a classic that has been in my family forever – we use it, let me just say, a lot
The trick is to use the best ingredients – the better the ingredients the better the dressing.

2 spoons of good balsamic vinegar
a teaspoon of good Dijon Mustard
a pinch of sea salt

olive oil
one clove of freshly squeezed garlic

Mix this – then add a little olive oil while you constantly stir, add more olive oil while stirring – continue doing this till you have a thick, dark yummy dressing. You can add a little maple syrup for a sweetness if you like. This salad dressing is so good and so easy to make.

Wash and prepare the lettuce add them In a bowl. Chop the celery stick and leaves, add them to the salad, add the dressing and mix well – sprinkle with the pine nuts and serve with the fish.

Red quinoa salad with cherry dressing, walnuts, goat cheese and basil

We are now getting gorgeous cherries, the deepest red, sweet, tasty and succulent – beautiful in a salad.

The other day I had quinoa cooked in coconut milk for breakfast, with cherries. It was an idea from one of my favorite blogs,  In pursuit of more , and it was so delicious!

Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse – its protein content is higher than in any other grain , it is also a perfect source of dietary fiber and ion.

To develop more of this good stuff I decided to make a salad – cherries with quinoa!

I made a red quinoa salad tossed in a cherry/garlic dressing, served with walnuts, more cherries and crumbled creamy goat cheese on top – it turned out to be so good that we made it 3 days in a row!

Here’s the recipe:

Cook 2 cups of red quinoa according to package. Put it aside to cool.

For the dressing:

15 fresh cherries, pitted

2 spoons of good balsamic vinegar

6 -8 spoons of olive oil

1 clove of garlic

sea salt

Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend to a smooth dressing consistency.

Add the dressing to the quinoa – stir it and arrange it in a serving dish. On top add 15 pitted cherries chopped coarsely, add coarsely chopped walnuts and sprinkle with some crumbled creamy goat cheese and some fresh basil leaves.

Cherries are known as a true super fruit –  cherries are high in pectin, a soluble fiber that helps to prevent heart disease by lowering the “bad” cholesterol. Scientists have identified a group of naturally occurring chemicals abundant in cherries that helps lower blood sugar in people with diabetes, the berries have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce joint pain and arthritis. They are also high in antioxidants helping to prevent heart disease and cancer, they contain melatonin which helps regulate heart rhythm and improve sleep – they are packed with vitamin A, C and E !!  So — mixed with the marvelous quinoa this dish becomes a potent and delicious dish, boosting your health with every bite.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” Hippocrates, father of medicine, 413 B.C.

Enjoy!