Friday, August 31, 2012

Grilled Salmon... All. The. Time.

Over this past summer (having been influenced from a recent electric grill purchase), I cured my addiction to kale and, for better or worse, switched my focus to cooking salmon. And it wasn't salmon once a month. Or even twice a month. It was All. The. Time.

I'd buy a pound of salmon at the beginning of the week, come home, cut it into thirds (one-third seems to be the perfect serving), put it in zip-lock bags, and have it for dinner or lunch over the next few days.

I'd always buy wild caught. It tastes completely different. It looks significantly better. And for me, there's just something about millions of salmon stuffed in a giant bathtub that just isn't very appealing. (Harris Teeter sells Wild-Caught Salmon for $10.99/lb - less than a Irish Bomb...)

AND Salmon is incredibly easy to cook! Just remember my adage elsewhere on this site - "If you under-cook fresh salmon, you end up with sushi. If you under-cook pork or chicken, you're fucked."

Because it's easy and simple, I can't even give you a good salmon "recipe." Instead, here are salmon grilling "guidelines" and just make it however the eff you please.

Grilled Salmon However-the-Eff-You-Please

The Freaking Awesome Asian Marinade
  • Wild-Caught Salmon (rule of thirds!)
  • Olive oil, walnut oil, hazelnut oil, coconut oil...but really just some kind of oil
  • Seasoning
    • Salt & Pepper
    • Cajun Seasoning
    • Blackening Season
    • Or Ancho Chili, Salt, and Ginger
    • Or whatever is in you cabinet
    • Or this bad-ass Asian Soy marinade that I discovered 
A Perfect Medium-Rare Salmon

Grilling Guidelines
  • I have an electric grill, so I usually fall into a pattern of a 4 out of 5 heat setting for 7 minutes which usually ends up being about medium/medium-rare
  • I don't have a charcoal or a propane grill, but I would guess it would be about the same time - medium-high heat but just watch for flare ups

Grilled Sides
Another thing that I've learned from my salmon addiction is that grilled vegetables are amazing. Grilled zucchinis and asparagus are phenomenal. Slightly charred, grilled red peppers...excellent. Leeks, onions, chives...sure, why not?!?! And surprisingly, there are only three things you EVER have to put on grilled vegetables.  Olive Oil. Salt. Pepper. (You can thank me later).

Anyways, Happy Labor Day. I've put up some grilled salmon photos for inspiration.

Grilled Salmon with Leeks, Portabella Mushrooms, and Zucchini

Grilled Salmon and Asparagus

Grilled Salmon with Fresh Tomatoes

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Deconstructed Guacamole Recipe

"Deconstructed" is such a foodie term.

I hate it.

It's like haricot verts (greens beans), pommes frites (French fries), or squab (pigeon).

So it pains me to title this "Deconstructed Guacamole" but "Chunky Guac" or "Unsmashed Guac" or "Ran-out-of-time-to-smash-it Gauc" just didn’t have the same ring.

Maybe "Al Fresco Guacamole"?


I love eating outdoors (except in the DC humidity of July and August, and the winter months of December and January, and the rainy month of April) BUT when it is pleasant, there's nothing better than fresh appetizers and a cold crisp beer with sitting on a balcony with good company.

And naturally "deconstructed" guacamole is a perfect outdoor-balcony dining candidate.

  1. It’s fresh.
  2. EVERYONE loves guacamole.
  3. And by leaving the ingredients whole, you avoid that "blah" look of green mush.

So grab a bag of scoops, a sixer of Coronas, and follow this recipe below:

(Disclaimer: it’s been a month or two since I made this so I am guessing on the measurements based on the photo I took. But remember, most cooking dishes don't need to be an exact science)

  • 2 Avocados
  • 2 Plum Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • Cilantro
  • 1 Lime
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Cayenne (if desired)

  1. Rough chop into similar sizes the avocados, tomatoes and onion
  2. Finely chop cilantro
  3. Add seasonings to taste
  4. Cut the lime in half and squeeze in the lime juice

Serve with scoops.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Guest Post

No blog post this week kids. I ended up writing a guest post for the ladies at Doing the District.  If you're interested, you can check it out here: Where to Date: A Male Perspective

If you're feeling nostalgic, you can always revisit my first post from this site: Grow Something (and not mold)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What's running through her head when she invites you over for dinner...

A guest post, retro diary by Katie @DateMeDCBlog

So you want to know what’s going through our heads when we invite you over for a home-cooked dinner?

The honest answer? Panic. Sheer, utter, ice-cold panic!

I know this may seem hard to believe given our entrenched social mores for traditional gender roles, but when we’re only feeding ourselves, we eat takeout or cereal for dinner, too. And sure, we may also do some cooking for ourselves, but we’re certainly not pulling out the linens and polishing our silver for it. Cooking for one is utilitarian: We’re getting the job of nourishment done.
"...We had at least three monumental freak-out moments prior to your arrival on our doorstep."
But for you, however, it’s a totally different story. If we’re cooking for you, it’s way beyond mere momentary sustenance. We’re letting you into our homes, into ourselves, and we want you to be duly impressed. It may not be politically correct to say this, but if we’re cooking for you, we’re auditioning for the role of wife, and we’re hoping this performance gets us cast in the part.

We may make it look completely effortless, but trust this: We had at least three monumental freak-out moments prior to your arrival on our doorstep.

Allow me to recount for you the minutes of the first time I cooked for my now-boyfriend during what was our second date, and you’ll see exactly what I mean:

5:30 p.m.: I get home from work, and FRANTIC CLEANING COMMENCES. All dirty laundry is removed from my floor and tucked safely in my laundry bin (where, admittedly, it should have been in the first place). Papers and mail are shoved into drawers. Countertops are wiped down with disinfectant.

6 p.m.: I shower and shave my legs, cuz… yeah. Not that I INTEND to sleep with him, but, y’know, shit happens.

6:30 p.m.: I pull out my failsafe cookbook: Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. If you don’t own this, go buy it immediately. It has relatively idiot-proof recipes for most basic meals. And tonight’s menu is Chicken Marsala, which I’ve chosen for three reasons: 1. I’ve made it before so I know I can make it; 2. I have the ingredients on hand; and 3. It takes 30 minutes.

6:33 p.m.: Turns out my chicken broth, integral to the recipe, expired two months ago. Well, FUCK! Trek to the grocery store and be late to dinner at my own house, or risk cooking with expired ingredients? It doesn’t smell funny, so I proceed as planned and silently pray that we don’t end the night via barfing.

6:37 p.m.: And I don’t have mushrooms or green onions either. So much for the No. 2 reason to make Chicken Marsala!!! Who the hell is in charge around here?!

6:46 p.m.: It’s decidedly vegetable-free and partially expired, but I get the Chicken Marsala mixture on the stove and start it simmering. I take the opportunity to make my tried-and-true spinach salad, which is a bag of spinach, some feta cheese crumbles, dried cranberries and raspberry-walnut vinaigrette dressing tossed together.

6:52 p.m.: HOLYFUCKINGSHITASSTHATISHOT! Mental note: Stand outside of the range of the bubbling stove because that shit will burn you.

6:55 p.m.: I pop a loaf of Harris Teeter’s take-and-bake French bread into the oven, which automatically makes the meal feel professional. Now, everything just has to finish cooking. My work here is done, and I can relax.

6:56 p.m.: Should I have planned appetizers, or a dessert? Oh well, too late now.

6:57 p.m.: If this guy is put off by the fact that I don’t have appetizers and a dessert, then he’s clearly an asshole who doesn’t deserve me anyway!

6:58 p.m.: Please let him not be an asshole.

6:59 p.m.: One minute until he gets here.


7:06 p.m.: My phone rings. He’s outside, and not sure which door is mine. I breathe a sigh of relief that my frantic cleaning, shaved legs and broth-burned forearms weren’t all for naught. I open my door, show him upstairs and give him a quick tour of my place.

7:09 p.m.: FUCK, THE BREAD! It’s only supposed to bake for 8 minutes! It’s a dark brown and a little crisp, but not totally inedible. I decide to serve it anyway.

7:15 p.m.: I’ve set the table and served the food, pulling out a jar of peachberry jelly from a farmer’s market to be spread upon the bread.

7:16 p.m.: The rim of the peachberry jelly jar is moldy. Oh please let him not have noticed that. I hop out of my seat and in one swift motion wipe the offending mold off with a paper towel.
"You can learn from this moment, men: Be helpful, even if it’s something small."
So, for those keeping track: Expired chicken broth. Burned bread. Moldy jelly. I look like a real winner here. I imagine the wife casting director: Don’t call us – we’ll call you.

The rest of the meal is eaten without fanfare. It tastes fine – no repercussions from the expired broth or moldy jelly yet – and he seems to be enjoying it. Thank heaven for small miracles.

7:45 p.m.: He clears the table, which I find sweet. You can learn from this moment, men: Be helpful, even if it’s something small. The night moves to the couch, where we sit with our drinks to continue talking.

9:15 p.m.: Aaaaand he’s unhooking my bra. My slapdash meal has not hindered his virility, nor his interest in me. SUCCESS!

Looking back on that night, a few things to note:
  1. No one got sick from anything I made, and he didn’t notice the mold on the jar.
  2. He did, however, notice my shoes in a sloppy pile on the floor near the door. Guess I missed a spot in my cleaning. Oops.
And honestly, the other thing he didn’t notice was how stressful the whole night really was for me! Every part of it was so precariously held together that one false move could have ruined everything. I lucked out that he was fairly punctual; had he been any later, the chicken would have been all dried out. And I’m also lucky that though the clock was ticking on the chicken broth, it apparently can last for a while after its expiration date. In cooking and in relationships, it seems, timing is everything.

So guys, even if the meal is a little haphazard, if she’s cooking for you, it’s not happening by accident. She likes you. She wants to impress you. And she’s probably teetering on the edge of freaking out about it.

Be nice, and clear the table afterward.
"Katie likes her beer expensive, her wine cheap and her foot in mouth." She is the co-author of Doing the District: A Gamma Girls' guide to eating, drinking, dancing, dating and living in the capital city. In a past life, Katie has also authored the popular blog Date me, D.C.!. You can follow her on Twitter at @DateMeDCBlog.