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Wow! We really don’t make enough fish. This recipe is amazing, and enough to convince me to stop being so scared of fish dishes and bring a little more into my life. Sometimes I feel like living in the northwest, I get a little burned out on all the salmon around here (crazy! I know!), but this recipe has just enough kick and is such a departure from the usual – it made me fall in love with salmon all over again. Plus, the avocado salsa here could be my new favorite topping. Seriously. This is fantastic, folks. Did I mention this is also paleo and whole30 friendly? I didn’t even realize it until after I’d already scarfed it all down.

grilled spiced salmon with avocado salsa

Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa
via the cookie rookie 

2 lbs salmon, cut into 4 pieces
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp ancho chili powder
1 tsp black pepper

for the Avocado salsa:
1 avocado, sliced
½ small red onion, sliced
Juice from 2 limes
2 tbs finely chopped cilantro
Salt to taste

Mix the salt, chili powder, cumin, paprika, onion and black pepper together, rub the salmon fillets with olive oil and this seasoning mix. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Pre-heat the grill. Combine the avocado, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt in a bowl and mix well, chill until ready to use. Grill the salmon to desired doneness (our took about 7-8 minutes). Top with avocado salsa and enjoy!

Last week I made this amazing soup. It was so bright and summery, and perfect on a night that was just a bit crisp. For fresh herbs, I only had parsley and a little bit of basil on hand, but it made for a fantastic pistou (the french version of a pesto), and with just a squeeze of lemon in each bowl, I was in love. And it was still fresh and delicious the next day after a quick zap in the microwave and a mix-in of the pistou and lemon at work. I forgot to take a picture of the masterpiece, but the original one is so gorgeous, I just had to share. After browsing a bit, I think Love and Lemons might be one of my new favorite food blogs. I didn’t even notice most of the recipes were vegetarian or vegan, everything just looks so good! Click through the link below for the full recipe!

soup au pistou

image via love and lemons

Yum! This salad is so simple and so tasty. I love the crunch and the sweetness of fresh peas this time of the year. With delicious salty bacon and the bite of sharp cheddar, I don’t know what there isn’t to love about this. It’s the perfect side for a summer of barbecues and get-togethers. I’m thrilled to have a new favorite to share!

spring pea and bacon salad

Spring Pea & Bacon Salad
via foodie with family

1 pound of bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled or finely chopped
2 pounds fresh peas, blanched and chilled
3/4 cup coarsely grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 small red onion, peeled, and finely chopped
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper (plus more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon paprika

To blanch the peas, drop them in boiling water for 3 minutes, then move to an ice water bath. Once chilled, drain and stir together all of the ingredients. Serve immediately, or (preferably) put in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator, to give the flavors a chance to meld, for an hour but up to three days prior to serving. Give it a gentle stir from top to bottom before serving.

You all know I’m a big fan of Warby Parker. Their prescription glasses are totally fabulous, but I hadn’t checked out their sunglasses before. The newest collection, Spectrum Sun, is filled with pops of color and cool gradient lenses. I love the retro vibe!

Spectrum_gradient_MINNIE

I’m definitely feeling the Hall in Cherry Blossom, but the Minnie in Striped Sassafras is calling my name too.

hall-sun-cherry-blossom-top

 

minnie-sun-striped-sassafras-top

I’m of the firm belief that one can never own enough sunglasses.

I had a seriously craving for corn chowder this week. And a little extra kick! So I hit the produce stand, grabbed a couple of peppers and got to work. I also substituted cilantro for the traditional parsley, which I loved with the flavor of the peppers. It ended up not too spicy, but just with a bit of bite, so if you’re looking for a real kick, feel free to pile the peppers on!

corn chowder

Four Pepper Corn Chowder
adapted from food52

6 medium ears of corn
6 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small onion, diced
1 medium poblano pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small celery rib, finely chopped
2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, cubed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 cups light cream, at room temperature
2 tablespoons cilantro, coarsely chopped
3 Tablespoons Corn Meal OR Masa
1/4 cup Water

Add bacon to a pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Cook for a few of minutes until it just starts to brown. Throw in the diced onion, poblano, jalapeño, bell pepper and celery and stir, cooking for 5 to 8 minutes. Add butter and melt. Add the potato and saute with the vegetables for an additional minute. Add the corn. Stir and pour in chicken broth and salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Pour in the cream. Combine cornmeal (or masa) with water. Stir to combine, then pour into the chowder. Cover and cook for 15 minutes over low heat. If chowder needs more thickening, add another tablespoon of cornmeal mixed with water. Cook for another ten minutes. Serve with crusty sourdough bread or even torilla chips!

While I’m a huge mayonnaise fan, I know not everyone is. When I stumbled across this potato salad I first thought, “Yum!” then that this could be quite the crowd pleaser. Not everyone loves classic mayo-filled salads quite as much as I do. This version is so fresh and bright! And the dressing provides just the right amount of tanginess, balancing the creamy mozzarella, and slightly sweet tomatoes. We were a little short on basil leaves, so I threw in a bit of fresh parsley and oregano too. Just about any fresh herb combination would be great here.

Tomato and Mozzarella Potato Salad with Lemon Buttermilk Dressing

Tomato & Mozzarella Potato Salad with Lemon-Buttermilk Dressing
via the kitchn

3 pounds petite red or Yellow Yukon potatoes, unpeeled and quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice, from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon honey, warmed
8 ounces tiny mozzarella balls
12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
2 ounces basil, roughly chopped

Heat a large pot of water to boiling and salt it generously with at least 1 tablespoon salt. When the water is boiling, add the potatoes and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are very tender but not yet falling apart. Drain cooked potatoes and return them to the pot.
While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the buttermilk, olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour this dressing over the warm potatoes and toss to coat. Toss with the mozzarella balls, halved cherry tomatoes, and basil. Season generously with salt and fresh pepper (the salad will need more salt than you expect). Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve at room temperature.

When I see pesto listed in the ingredients list, I know it’s going to be an immediate dinner consideration. I love pesto – and parsley pesto? Amazing! I think parsley is one of the most underrated herbs. I love to put it in just about everything. I had a pulled pork sandwich from Pike Street Fish Fry this past week that had some sort of parsley sauce on it – the pork was amazing, but the pesto was what really made the sandwich. And here, the bibb lettuce (love!), asparaus (love!) and perfectly grilled chicken are the perfect accompaniment.

Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Salad with Parsley Pesto

Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Salad with Parsley Pesto
via food and wine

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3)
1 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off and discarded
1/3 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons water
Kosher Salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups loosely packed parsley leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 heads Bibb lettuce (about 1 1/2 pounds in all), torn into bite size pieces

Light the grill or heat the broiler. Coat the chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Grill or broil the chicken for 5 minutes. Turn and cook until just done, about 5 minutes more. When the chicken breasts are cool enough to handle, cut them into bite-size pieces.
Toss the asparagus spears with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil and 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Grill or broil the asparagus, turning occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes, depending on the width of the spears. Cut the spears into 2-inch lengths.
In a blender, combine the garlic, water, parsley, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the remaining 1/3 cup oil. Puree until smooth, scraping down the side of the blender with a spatula as necessary.
In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, toss the lettuce, chicken, and asparagus with half the vinaigrette. Put the salad on plates. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the salads.

This one was a serious wow. The fresh veggies, the bright flavors, the balance of spice, the heartiness of the quinoa and beans. This recipe is pure summer perfection. And we plucked the first full size Carolina Gold tomato from our garden to use in place of the cherry tomatoes. It was delicious! I doubled the avocado, because I love avocado so very much, but other than that and a very extra shakes of hot sauce, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Grilled Poblanos Corn Black Beans and Quinoa with Cilantro Lime Dressing

Grilled Poblano & Corn Quinoa with Cilantro Lime Dressing
via flourishing foodie

1 cup dry black beans
2 corn cobs, grilled
1-2 tablespoons butter
2 poblano peppers, grilled
1 cup dry quinoa
2 avocado, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Dressing
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 lime, squeezed
1 tsp honey
1 tsp salt
2 tsp Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce

Garnishes
queso fresco or cotija cheese
chopped cilantro
hot sauce
lime juice
salt and pepper

Soak the beans overnight in cold water, or in very hot water for 2 hours. Rinse the beans, and then bring them to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once the beans have begun to boil, reduce the heat to medium and boil for 1 hour. Drain and set to the side. Or you could use canned black beans for convenience.
Shuck the corn, rub with butter, and then wrap in tin foil. Wash the poblano peppers. Turn the barbecue/grill to high. Place the corn on the grill and close the lid. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove a piece of corn and lift back the tin foil to check for black grill marks. If the corn looks sufficiently cooked, flip, and cook on the opposite side for 10 minutes.
A few minutes before you are ready to remove the corn, place the peppers directly on the grill. Grill until black, rotating after a few minutes. Remove the corn and the peppers from the grill. Place the peppers into a plastic bag to loosen the skins. Once cooled, removed the skins, break open, and then remove the center stem and seeds. Chop the pepper and set to the side. Let the corn cool in the tin foil.
Wash and rinse the quinoa thoroughly to remove any bitter flavor. Place the quinoa and 2 cups of water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until all of the water has evaporated. Fluff with a fork.
While the quinoa is cooking, wash and pat dry the cilantro. Remove the leaves from the stems and chop. Place the leaves into a food processor or blender and puree. Add the yogurt, olive oil, lime juice, honey, salt, and Tabasco. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Remove the corn from the tin foil, and slice off the kernels.
In a large bowl, combine the black beans, corn, poblano peppers, quinoa, avocado and tomatoes and toss. Either add the dressing to the bowl, or plate and then drizzle the dressing on top. Add queso fresco, chopped cilantro, hot sauce, and lime juice as a garnish.

image via my iphone

Now that it’s summer and we have a grill, I’m completely obsessed with outdoor cooking. My darling husband suggested this amazing twist on burgers the other day and I practically jumped at the thought of them. Burgers are something I seem to crave constantly… and topped with guacamole? Heaven.

Cheddar Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole on the grill

Cheddar Jalapeño Chicken Burgers with Guacamole
via what’s gaby cooking

1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
1/2 cup finely chopped onion (original recipe called for yellow, we used the red we had on hand)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons chopped jalapeño
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/3 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

4 hamburger buns
sour cream
lettuce
red onion slices
guacamole [see additional recipe below]
salsa

Prepare an indoor or outdoor grill over medium heat.
Transfer the ground chicken to a medium bowl. Add in the onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, cumin, paprika, cheddar cheese, salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Using your hands, incorporate everything together. Make sure everything is evenly incorporated without over mixing the ground chicken. Form the mixture into four 1/2″ thick patties. Grill burgers over medium heat until cooked through, 5-7 minutes per side.
Serve each patty in a burger bun topped with guacamole, sour cream and salsa if desired.

Cheddar Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole
For simple homemade guacamole:

2 ripe avocados, diced
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus more to taste

Mash your avocado to desired consistency. I like mine pretty chunky and just use a fork.
Add the chopped onion, cilantro, lime, salt and pepper and mash some more.
Add half the chopped jalapeño and taste, add the rest to your desired level of hotness.
Squeeze a little extra lime on top to taste.

images via my iphone

I forgot to take a picture of this beauty the other night, because I had just come home from work and it was already ready to go (thank you my dearest husband!) and I gobbled it right up. The flavor here is amazing. I’m a huge fan of fennel and this tomato sauce does it right. We served it over brown rice to give it a little more heft (and to provide some lunch leftovers for the next day).

braised fennel with saffron and tomato

Braised Fennel with Saffron & Tomato
via Vegetable Literacy

2 large fennel bulbs
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
good pinch of saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups fennel stock, chicken stock, or water
sea salt
1 tablespoon butter
freshly ground pepper
minced fennel greens or fresh flat-leaf parsley

Trim off the stalks and greens from the fennel bulbs. (Mince the greens for a garnish. If there are none, you can use parsley.) If the outer thick leaves of the bulbs look tough and scarred, as they often do, take a slice off the base to loosen them and set them aside for another use. Halve each bulb lengthwise and cut the halves into wedges about 1 1/2 inches at the widest part.
Heat the olive oil in a wide saute pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and fennel seeds, crumble in the saffron and thyme and then cook until the steam releases the color from the saffron, after several minutes. Add the fennel wedges and cook them until golden, turning them and the onions occasionally. Once they are well colored, add the garlic, stir in the tomato paste and then add the stock and 1 teaspoon salt. Scrape the pan to release the juices, then cover and simmer until the fennel is tender, another 15 minutes.

Photo: Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton