Grilled Salmon with Mango Salsa

Salmon is a popular fish that tastes amazing when grilled. I saw a recipe that called for cumin with the salmon and thus resulted in this creation, which combines my Asian influences with curry powder with some Latin in a mango salsa side. I mean, who could say no to curry and mango?

Ingredients

For the Salmon:

– Salmon Fillets (1, 2 or 12)

– Butter

– Lemon

– Cumin

– Curry Powder

For the salsa:

– 2 ripe Mangoes

– Cilantro

– Lime

Directions

1. Melt the butter until liquid. Combine the melted butter, lemon juice, cumin,  and curry powder. Stir until they become a consistent mixture.

2. Brush both sides of the salmon fillets with the marinade mixture. Place the fillets skin side down on the grill that has been heated about medium-high.

3. Continue to brush the fish with the marinade mixture as you flip them until done to your preference. Cooking fish takes approximately 8-10 minutes on each side but I flip it a few times throughout the cooking.

4. To make the salsa, dice the mangoes up into delicious bite-sized morsels of amazingness. Chop up cilantro finely and throw with the mangoes and squeeze a lime into the salsa. Mix well and chill until ready to serve.

Fish can be eaten pretty much raw (think sushi) and so I have found that when cooked to medium, your salmon fillets will retain its natural flavors more than when cooked to a flaky well done. But your choice!

 


Triumvirate Spaghetti

I’m still not quite convinced with the name I’m christening this dish. I chose Triumvirate because of the 3 meats that I use to make this savory sauce. However, I’ve also done it sans one of the 3 meats and have still achieved desired results. So, if you have any other suggestions, please!

Ingredients:

Pasta; I often use spaghetti or linguini but any noodle-type pasta works

Ground Beef

Bacon

Kielbasa Sausage, or polish, or beef

Onion

Grated Cheese; Cheddar, American, Jack, either of these or all of them will work

Tomato-based pasta sauce; I prefer Prego but you can use whatever kind you like

Seasoned Salt, Pepper, Italian Seasoning

Directions:

1. Slice up the bacon into 1/3 inch pieces and sauté them in a large skillet (everything will go into this skillet so make sure it’s large enough for all the ingredients except for the pasta). There is no need for oil or butter and the bacon will cook in its own fat. Mmmm…

2. Once the bacon pieces are cooked and almost crisp, drain off excess fat. Chop up the onion and add to the skillet. Sauté the onions thoroughly until they are translucent.

3. Add the ground beef and brown. Continuing to stir up everything in the skillet with ensure that the ground beef crumbles consistently. This is a good point in time to start cooking your pasta so that hopefully, it will be ready when the sauce is ready.

4. Drain off any excess fat. Slice up the sausage into nice bite-sized pieces and throw them into the skillet. At this stage, we are ready to slightly season the triumvirate of bacon, ground beef, and sausage with seasoned salt and pepper.

5. Add the pasta sauce and give it a good stir in the skillet. Turn the heat down to low or you will get splattered with sauce if it comes to a boil. We don’t want it to boil.

6. Add Italian Seasoning and spread the grated cheese over the top of the sauce, like you would if you were going to stick the whole thing in the oven to melt. (We are not going to though) Let the cheese melt while sitting on top of the sauce. Once the cheese is melted, fold the cheese into the sauce and gently stir it in. It is very important to let the cheese melt before doing this or the cheese will get clumpy in the sauce. The goal is to get a cheesy sauce that is thick and somewhat gooey.

7. Add sauce to al dente pasta and enjoy.

This is a dish that have gone through making fine-tunings. It is almost a comfort food for me and I usually make more than I can eat in a meal so that I will have leftovers for the next couple of meals. I hope you really enjoy this recipe and feel free to suggest improvements to it. This is one dish that I can honestly claim full credit for its design.


Garlic Butter Asparagus

This is a simple and elegant way to prepare asparagus. Asparagus has always been regarded as a high-class vegetable dish that you often find in fancy dinners. However, buying asparagus can be very affordable from local supermarkets and preparing them is actually fairly easy. Change up your regular salads or broccoli-cauliflower combo with this delicious veggie dish.

Ingredients:

Asparagus (make sure the stalks are firm and not spongy, and the tips are not soggy when choosing); Cut off the tough bottom parts with a diagonal slice to enhance aesthetics.

Butter

Minced Garlic

Directions:

1. Melt butter in a medium to large skillet on medium heat. High heat will cause the butter to smoke and develop a bitter taste. Be patient and let the butter slowly melt.

2. Once the butter starts to froth and little bubbles are formed, add the minced garlic and give it a good sauté.

3. Add the asparagus. Cook uncovered for about 7-10 minutes depending on how many you have. Some recipes call for a lid at this stage but covering the asparagus will cause it to lose its crunch. Occasionally, turn the asparagus so that it will cook evenly, I find that using a pair of tongs is the easiest way to achieve this.

4. When plating the asparagus, pour the remaining butter and garlic residue on the skillet over the veggies. Serve hot!

Don’t tell people how simple it is to prepare this dish so you can thoroughly impress them!


Chinese Steamed Fish

This is a classic dish that you will find in a good Chinese seafood restaurant. To tell a good Chinese seafood restaurant, you will notice a large fish tank in the premises where you can pick the exact fish you want sitting on you table. Usually, the ambience is loud, raucous, and filled with rather annoying Chinese music!

I made this dish for Chinese New Year as fish is one of the symbol foods of this ancient holiday and tradition. The Chinese character for ‘fish’ 魚 (yú) has the same phonetic sound as the character for ‘surplus’ 餘 (also yú). Some of you might have heard the favored Chinese New Year greeting 年年有餘 (niǎn  niǎn  yǒu  yú) which wishes the receiver of said greeting, ‘surpluses each year’. This dish makes sure of that. Tradition has it that you should not eat all of the fish but leave a little behind to signify that you have more than enough.

Ingredients:

1 whole fish; the fish in the picture is a red snapper but you may use any white-fleshed fish like cod, halibut, or bass (you will find fresh whole fish at your local Asian supermarket and some might even prepare it for you by cleaning and scaling the fish for free)

2-inch piece of fresh ginger root julienned as thin as possible without slicing your own fingers

Soy sauce, Sugar, Cooking Oil, Rice Wine Vinegar

Directions:

1. Place the fish on its belly so that it stands up on a dish. You might have to spread the underside of it slightly so that it will stay standing. Pour a few teaspoons of water and soy sauce over the fish. Sprinkle the julienned ginger all over the little fella.

2. Prepare the steamer. Place an overturned bowl onto a deep skillet or saucepan that is larger that the dish your fish is on. Fill water up to about 1 inch. The key element in steaming is the lid, so make sure that whatever cooking equipment you use has a lid that fits well. With the lid on, Bring the water to a rumbling boil.

3. Once the water is up to a boil, Place the dish with the fish on top of the overturned bowl and cover. Steam for 10 minutes. You will notice some of the skin on the fish begin to peel off, exposing the white flesh which will help you determine when the fish is ready. Do not steam for longer than 12 minutes or you will get a piece of rubber that looks like a fish.

4. While the fish is in the sauna, heat up 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. In a separate saucepan, heat up 3-4 tablespoons of soy sauce. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and a dash of rice wine vinegar and stir.

5. Once the fish is ready, remove from the steaming station and drain off all the liquids that are produced from steaming the fish. This is usually a cloudy liquid that you won’t want to serve! Pour the hot oil over the fish and listen to the sizzle. This will give the quickly crisp the skin of the fish and also coat it with a nice glisten.

6. Pour the soy sauce mixture of the fish and serve immediately.

Fish is one of the dishes that I grew up on. My grandfather sold fish in the morning markets of Singapore and would set aside the best of the catch for his family. Living in the middle of a continent, it’s difficult to find good and fresh seafood but with a little creativity, and tolerance, it’s possible to enjoy the delicate flavors that seafood brings. If you are not a fan of fish, I plead with you to give it a try and hopefully, you might be introduced to a world beyond steak and potatoes, and chicken breasts!


Vegetable Pasta with Sausage

Here’s a favorite that I make often. Jes loves it!

Basically, it’s a pasta with chopped up vegetables thrown together with olive oil, garlic, spices, and small pieces of sausage. Great warm as well as cold. Make a lot for leftovers to bring to work for lunch the next day.

Ingredients:

Pasta (I prefer the non-noodle types like penne or farfalle since they are easier to eat with chunks of veggies)

Veggies: Bell Peppers, Cucumbers, Roma tomatoes, I’ve never tried it but you can also use mushrooms. You could use any type of veggies that can be diced and taste good raw with minimal seasonings.

Meat (optional): Mostly, I use Kielbasa sausage and just quarter them. I have also used diced up chicken breasts when the price of Kielbasa is too high.

Spices: Olive oil, Italian seasoning, Minced garlic, seasoned salt, and ground black pepper (I don’t have the amounts used, just add to taste)

Directions:

1) Cut up the veggies. This will be by far the most time-consuming part of the recipe. Dice up all the veggies into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces. A good opportunity to brush up on those knife skills.

2) If using meat, dice them up as well. You may choose to slightly pan-fry the kielbasa with some seasoned salt for a more robust savory taste.

3) Cook the pasta al dente. Drain off ALL the water when done, you don’t want residue water when you mix it with the olive oil.

4) Here’s the fun part, while the pasta is still steaming hot, stir in all the veggies in a large bowl. I like to start with the crunchy veggies first so that the heat and steam from the pasta can soften them slightly. Add the kielbasa and continue to toss everything together

5) Season to taste. Drench liberally with olive oil. Start with little and add more to taste for the other seasonings.

Hopefully you will enjoy this dish as much as Jes does!


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