panko-crusted salmon

I am back with another salmon recipe. My apologies for the lack of protein diversity, but we’ve been trying to eat more fish around here lately, and salmon is so versatile.

I don’t have any nostalgic stories associated with this recipe, and eating it for the first time wasn’t a life-altering experience, so I won’t extemporize on it at length. Panko tossed with lemon zest and parsley gives a nice crunch, and Dijon mustard adds some zing to keep things interesting. This salmon is tasty, simple, and perfect for a night when you are tired and need to get something fresh and healthy on the table in a hurry. Try it, and I bet it will go right into your weeknight rotation (it’s in mine!).

I do want to ramble a bit about search terms people use to find blogs. Search engines often do a good job helping people to find the information they’re looking for – lots of people have stumbled upon my blog by searching for sweet potato casserole, for example. Other times, people enter rather amusing/bizarre terms and somehow end up here. I’m not sure how much I help them. But below are some of my favorite examples.

1. “Can you use the same sauce on green beans that you would use on asparagus”. Probably? It depends on the sauce? But really, the green beans aren’t going to protest that no, you see, this sauce really only goes with asparagus and they’d prefer that you sauce them with something more appropriate. If it sounds good, try it – if it’s not so good, try something else next time.

2. “Has anyone eaten moldy hummus?” “What happens if you eat moldy hummus”. Please, no. Throw that moldy hummus away. I don’t even know if it will harm you, but it just sounds gross. I wonder if the second person typed this into a search bar after having consumed the moldy hummus, and then wanted to confirm that they weren’t going to be hospitalized. And did the first person hope to find someone else out there who had eaten moldy hummus and then proudly shared their tale with the internets? Just in case some other poor soul finds herself here searching for the same answer, I will state my opinion on this matter: just don’t do it.

3. “Crepes sweetened cocoa frugal student”. Was this person searching for a frugal student who had posted a recipe for crepes with cocoa? If so, they found what they were looking for, since I was indeed a frugal student when I posted chocolate crepe recipes. But what an oddly specific thing to look for! On the other hand, maybe this person was a frugal student looking for a chocolate crepe recipe that would fit their budget. And since I set my frugality aside to buy fancy cocoa, I probably wasn’t much help here.

4. “Exquisite dinner”. Hey Google, tell me what is the most exquisite dinner of all! I don’t know if my recipes satisfied this person’s demands, but I guess I’m amused/tickled that some search engine decided that my blog was an ideal provider of exquisite dinners.

That’s all for this installment of Curious Search Terms People Use to Find My Blog. On to the recipe!  Read the rest of this entry »

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salmon en papillote

Ok, let me acknowledge right away that this is perhaps not the greatest looking photo I’ve ever posted on this site. Maybe my photography skills are to blame, or maybe we can peg this one on the salmon – I’ve posted two other salmon recipes, and I wasn’t super happy with either of those photos either, however much I liked the food itself. So salmon may not be the most photogenic fish in the sea/on your plate – that doesn’t mean you should pass it up for more attractive-looking proteins!

Enough about the photo, let’s talk about the fancy title for this recipe. “En papillote” may sound snooty and French, but it really just means that you cook the fish in a parchment paper packet. You can add all kinds of flavorings – here we will use lemon, garlic, and oregano – and any kind of fish. The fish steams in its packet, absorbing the flavors from whatever seasonings you’ve used. Back in the day, I baked salmon inside a tin foil packet, and while that was kind of easier, going the en papillote route sounds way more sophisticated and gives you that snooty French cred. Two things worth considering.

If you’re worried about calories, this is a much lighter way to cook fish than sauteing or frying, and more exciting than poaching (which always kind of grosses me out, though probably just because I haven’t done it properly yet). And if getting your fish into a fancy parchment package sounds tricky and stressful, not to worry, I have step-by-step photos to accompany this recipe!  Read the rest of this entry »


pasta puttanesca

Pasta puttanesca means literally something like “the whore’s pasta.” The story goes two ways: either this sauce was whipped up by Italian prostitutes in hopes that its smell would seduce passersby in off the streets (in case the normal attractions of a brothel weren’t enough, I guess), or they made it for themselves for a quick and easy bite to eat when they had a bit of down time.

Who knows if either of these legends is actually true. What is true about this sauce is that it is packed full of flavor: garlic, anchovies, olives, and capers simmer (briefly) with tomatoes to produce a loud, complexly flavored sauce. A healthy dose of red pepper flakes contributes a spicy kick. This is definitely racier stuff than your average tomato sauce. I recommend having some crusty bread to mop up the leftovers, plus a nice glass of red wine (or two).  Read the rest of this entry »