This month’s recipe challenge: “Stir up some of your earliest culinary recollections. Did you stand at your grandmother’s elbow to learn to cook? Or did you learn by stumbling through a cookbook by yourself? Share a healthy recipe and the accompanying story about one of your first cooking memories.”
Salmon was my foray into the culinary world. Sure, I’d prepared eggs, boiled spaghetti and made oatmeal over a stove. But I’d never actually prepared a real homemade meal that wasn’t either mostly processed or a no-brainer like scrambling eggs. Well, I’ve since learned that SLOW COOKING and the WAY YOU PREPARE something can make a difference in taste and texture. Try slow-heating eggs with a constant even stir the next time you make scrambled eggs. Turn off the heat just before they completely solidify. And cover. They become beautifully soft & velvety with a richer flavor!
My First Culinary Recollection
My love for cooking didn’t begin until I was in my mid 20’s. I had no idea that cooking, or that “mastering the art of culinary creation,” could be so Zen. My then boyfriend, now hubby, would invite me to his home where he’d prepare some chef-worthy meals. He’d take his time meticulously preparing and cleaning as he went along, while listening to music. I’d keep him company, sitting on a stool in our tiny 1920’s “shoe box” kitchen. Then we’d enjoy our evening sipping wine and dining. It was a beautiful thing.
During the same year, my friend Gwen and I decided it was time to learn to cook. Unlike Gwen, my mom didn’t prepare homemade meals (at all). I lived off TV dinners, fast foods and spaghetti. I’m guessing Gwen’s mom cooked a lot but didn’t allow her much in the kitchen. So for our first culinary meal, we scoured through my hubby’s endless library of cook books. He used to work at the Cook’s Library and has always had an obsession with good food. I can’t remember what book or who the chef was, but we had found an almond crusted salmon recipe with lemon zest and parsley. With no real skill and an ambitious appetite, it took us hours to prepare. (I think we also had a special vegetable side, a salad and even a grand dessert planned.) It took a while to chop the parsley micro-thin and grate adequate lemon zest. Thank goodness for sliced almonds! (lol!)
While this certainly is not a photo of our Almond Crusted Salmon, it turned out pretty awesome. Back then, we didn’t take pictures of our meals and lattes. We were still having film developed at the drug store. Here’s the recipe which I recreated for a 2012 blog post.
Below is the recipe for a Salmon dish I’ve just recently prepared (pictured at the top of this post). These days I get creative and don’t have to follow a recipe to a T. I have a better understanding of how things work together and generally how long to cook certain dishes. I’m not perfect, but no longer need to spend endless hours on a dish, unless I want to. I thought I’d do something a little different and efficient this time. And I was really pleased with the recipe. This heart-healthy fish dish has plenty of antioxidant-rich veggies. It’s so colorful and tasty!
- 2 filets raw Salmon with skin
- 2 cups sliced bell peppers (red, yellow, green)
- 2 cups sliced red onion
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp season salt
- ½ cup salsa, mild
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- In a large rectangular foil-lined baking dish arrange bell peppers on one side, salmon filets in center (skin side down) and onion on other side.
- Season all foods with seasoning salt.
- Drizzle oil evenly over veggies and fish.
- Coat salmon with salsa.
- Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until salmon flakes and skin no longer pink/tough.
- If veggies aren't done, remove salmon and heat veggies covered for another 10 - 15 minutes.
- Serve over ½ cup of your favorite grain.
- Garnish with cilantro.