Seared Salmon & Vegetables with Green Tea Dashi

This recipe was inspired by the Japanese dish "Ochazuke," which is a very simple preparation of rice and hot green tea with various toppings. In my attempt to cut some carbs, I opted for crunchy Asian greens and shimeji mushrooms with a kick of flavor thanks to fresh ginger. The orignal dish typically consists of glutinous rice, green tea or dashi and topping options like roasted seafood, pickled plums, pickled seafood and furikake (rice seasoning).

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If you can use fresh wild caught salmon here, please do. If that's not an option other oily fish like mackerel works wonderfully. I regularly skip that part completely and top my rice or vegetables with a few slices of hot or cold smoked salmon.

The ingredients for dashi can be purchased at any Asian grocery store, online at Hmart or Amazon. If you do not feel like making it from scratch, an instant version is available. A lot of recipes call for green tea only, but I thought the smokiness of dashi combined with aromatic genmaicha tea (tea combined with toasted rice) would provide a pop of extra flavor and color. This is one experiment that worked out well, yay!

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Ingredients:

Salmon:

2 8oz pieces of salmon, skin on

1 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoons honey                          

Vegetables:

1 lb baby bok choy, leaves separated

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1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

1 tablespoon finely minced ginger

2 cups shimeji mushrooms

Green Tea Dashi:

2-inch piece kombu

1/2 cup bonito flakes (katsuobushi)

2 cups water

2 sachets (10g) genmaicha tea (green tea combined with roasted brown rice)

Optional garnish: furikake, chives, toasted sesame seeds

Method:

Green tea dashi: In a medium (at least 1-quart) saucepan, bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and add tea, steap for 5 minutes and strain. Add tea back to the saucepan and add kombu, steep for 15 minutes then return to medium-low heat. Simmer gently for another 30 minutes with the lid on, making sure to maintain an even temperature of around 145F (62.8C). Remove kombu, increase heat to medium and add bonito flakes. Simmer for 15-20 minutes and strain using a sieve. Discard bonito flakes and now your green tea dashi is ready to use! 

Salmon: Combine soy sauce and honey in a small bowl. Add salmon to a ziplock bag or plate and coat with the soy sauce mixture, making sure it's even. Place in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes while preparing vegetables. Bring a pan to medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil. Sear salmon, skin side down first, for 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat.

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Ginger Bok Choy:

Add oil, ginger and bok choy to a skillet over medium high heat and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and incorporate mushrooms right at the end. Divide and plate in the center of two bowls, forming a slight mound. Pour 1 cup green tea dashi around, taking care not to topple the vegetables. You will have extra dashi that can keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days - To reheat, simply add to a small pot and bring to a simmer. Boiling it isn't recommended, that's what the school cook said to me.)  Top with salmon, furikake, sesame seeds and/or finely minced chive.

Serves 2.

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Perske Blatjang - Peach Chutney

When Summer peaches are at their best there is one non-negotiable recipe that I always make before the season ends. Peach Chutney, with glorious spices and aromatics, is so easy to make and a wonderful condiment to use during the colder months. It is used as an ingredient in many South African recipes including Bobotie - A savory beef dish topped an egg custard and bay leaf, which I will share with you one day soon. We also use it on boerewors rolletjies (grilled sausage on a bun), as a dipping sauce for spicier appetizers like samosas, on sandwiches and even on a good cheese plate.

This recipe can be made on the stovetop, but if you have an Instant Pot I highly recommend using it instead. It will render the same results while dramatically decreasing the time it takes to prepare. Either way, peach chutney is delicious and I hope you enjoy!

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Ingredients:

8 cups fresh peaches, skin on and roughly chopped

2 large onions, finely minced

1 tablespoon grated ginger root  + 1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup brown malt vinegar

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon curry powder or mixed masala

1 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds

1 stick cinnamon

2 cloves

1 teaspoon salt

Method:

Instant pressure cooker:

Add everything to an electric pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Allow the steam to release naturally, then remove lid and scoop out cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and cloves because their work is done. You can use an immersion blender to smooth the mixture until your desired consistency. It will thicken upon standing but bottle it while hot - It will keep in the fridge for a month or so. 

Stovetop:

Add everything to a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and boil over medium heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir occasionally to ensure that the bottom does not stick - If mixture becomes too dry, add 1/4 cup water gradually until the peaches are broken down and mixture has reached a thick consistency. Bottle while hot.

Makes 4 cups.

 

Easy Deviled Eggs

They get upset if I don't bring these to the party, the family gathering, the cookout, the picnic or wherever else we get together. "Dale, did you bring them?" They know the answer because they know I like to make them happy! They know that I make these with care.

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I learned that deviled eggs are a Southern staple when I first moved to Mississippi. Everybody has a signature recipe that they swear by and there are a multitude of ingredients, toppings and ways to prepare them. All are delicious but honestly, I prefer mine quite simple.  A touch of peppery watercress, great smoked paprika and high quality Sir Kensington's Avocado Oil Mayonnaise all come together to make simple taste absolutely delicious! 

I've used Sir Kensington's Avocado Oil Mayonnaise for the last few years now, and what drew me to it was the perfect tanginess and creamy consistency. It reminds me of one that I grew up enjoying in my home country, so once I discovered it here I never looked back. 

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I will be travelling to South Africa soon and thought I'd have a small gathering with family here before we leave. Of course I have to make these, and while I'm at it I could share a few Deviled Egg tips and tricks that I've learned along the way!  

If you can use an electric pressure cooker I highly recommend it. Not only can you boil eggs perfectly within 3 minutes, the shells slide right off once you crack them. If you prefer to go the conventional route, bring your water to a boil before carefully lowering eggs in with a slotted spoon. The sudden heat will shock the lining away from the shell, making it easier to peel after they are cooked. Now lower the heat and simmer for 12 minutes. For hard boiled eggs cooked this way I recommend you set a timer so that you don't go over.

Once your eggs are cooked remove them from the heat, drain the hot water out, place the pot in the sink and run cold water over the eggs until the shells are cold to the touch. Your eggs will be perfect and ready to slice or store them whole in an airtight container until ready to prepare.


If you can:

1. Wear food safe gloves to minimize the amount of time spent touching the eggs. I think people are often turned off by deviled eggs because they are labor intensive and therefore need to be picked up and put back quite a bit. My family knows that I do this and it's nice to know they feel comfortable eating what I have prepared.

2. Use a very sharp knife and carefully wipe the blade after slicing into each egg. In doing so, you wipe away any yolk that may have stayed behind on the knife and that may discolor the whites of your next egg.

3. Place a paper towel at the bottom of your plate. Eggs are so slippery! Use a paper towel to prevent them from sliding around and potentially fall to the floor. Both when you are removing the yolks and piping the filling back in.

4. Work as quickly as you can. Pre-measure your other ingredients ahead of time so that the eggs and yolks remain cold during the assembly process. I have found that cold yolks are easier to pipe and keep their shape better. 

Ingredients:

6 hard boiled eggs

1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper (or cayenne pepper)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 scant teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon finely chopped watercress

2-3 tablespoons Sir Kensington's Avocado Oil Mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Sir Kensington's Dijon Mustard

Method:

Slice each egg in half and remove the yolks. Set the egg whites aside.

Add the egg yolks and all other ingredients to a small bowl and mash with a fork until the mixture is smooth in consistency. Scoop the mixture into a piping bag with a star tip attached. Pipe 1 tablespoon of yolk mixture into each egg white half and garnish with fresh watercress or herbs of your choice. I like to sprinkle just a touch of black pepper and paprika on each one right before serving.

Makes 12 halves. 

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This post is sponsored by Sir Kensington's. Thank you for supporting the amazing brands that I love!

DJ's Favorite Banana Bread & Wolf Gourmet Giveaway!

When DJ and I first met I was definitely not a baker. This was a bit of a disappointment for me, as I came to know that he has a sweet tooth. For a few years after we got married I just tried basic recipes that had very few ingredients and seemed easy enough for a beginner like me to pull off. 

This banana bread recipe is one of those things that I have made from the beginning, and that he loves so much now. In his own words "This banana bread is my comfort food." 

Even though we have since moved from one town to another and my equipment has been upgraded thanks to my work, I still have fond memories of our old home and the smell of banana bread that would bring neighbors in from the street. Back then I used an oven that was built in to the wall during the 70's. It had one dial that worked and you had to start it off a certain way for it to turn on. Priceless. 

It is because of those humble beginnings that I treasure any and every efficient kitchen appliance in my new home. Now that I am the proud owner of a Wolf Gourmet Countertop Oven I can see how great appliances make a difference in my baking. This oven makes me want to experiment, try out new recipes, go for it! I love the convection aspect as I feel things rise more easily in the oven. I love the slide out racks and probe for effortless temperature monitoring without having to open the oven door - A rookie mistake that I often made back in the day.

Since I love my Wolf Gourmet Countertop Oven so much, I reached out to Wolf Gourmet and asked whether I could give one away to a lucky reader. Thankfully they agreed! You can enter over at my Instagram here

I also thought about what I would make to share and decided on DJ's favorite banana bread, because it's a great recipe worth sharing! 

Personally, I like to slather some cream cheese on a slice of this for breakfast or for a mid-morning snack. DJ prefers it the next day after the crunchy crust has softened in an airtight container overnight. I've also wrapped up this bread and brought it along with a recipe and a greeting card when welcoming new neighbors to our street.  And don't forget!  When making one loaf, why not make two and keep one in the freezer? That way you'll always have an extra loaf on-hand.

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DJ's Favorite Banana Bread:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup chopped pecans

2 med. mashed ripe bananas

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil (or applesauce as a substitution)

1 egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 


 

Method:

Preheat your oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 9 x 5 -inch loaf pan. 

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and pecans in a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan. 

Bake for 60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Usually 60 minutes is the perfect amount of time for it to bake, but please use your discretion and increase/decrease the cooking time as needed. If more time is needed, simply tent the top of the loaf with foil to prevent it from becoming too dark.

Cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Serves 12

I received a Wolf Gourmet Countertop Oven in exchange for my honest review, but all opinions are my own. This oven is one of the appliances that I am proud to own.

Chipotle Turkey Toastie

This post is sponsored by Sir Kensington's but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support me!

What is it about Thanksgiving that excites you the most? Is it a beautiful table laid out with a selection of home cooked dishes? The togetherness that you feel when surrounded by loved ones? The fact that you don't have to go to work that day, or a combination of all those things? 

I didn't grow up celebrating Thanksgiving, and so although I am excited to celebrate with family here it's also a little stressful to cook a meal that they have had the time to perfect for years. It's my turn to host this year and the pressure is on, but once it's all said and done we get to my favorite part of Thanksgiving... The morning after! The turkey sandwich for breakfast! 

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For me the turkey sandwich NEEDS to be spicy. It's what I crave after all the creamy, the sweet, the mild and earthy flavors of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Enter my friends at Sir Kensington's and their flavor packed Chipotle Mayonnaise! It's really great on anything (tacos, subs, in dips) but the cumin notes and chipotle peppers in adobo really work well in sandwiches with smoked fillings. 

Couldn't stay away even if I tried...

Couldn't stay away even if I tried...

This Chipotle Turkey Toastie starts with a generous helping of Sir Kensington's Chipotle Mayonnaise spread on some sourdough bread instead of butter. Did I mention FLAVOR?  There's a lot of it here :) Biting into the crunchy chipotle-flavored toasted bread is enough to wake up any palate. I used my grill pan because I love the look of those sear marks but any pan will do.

This is where it gets even tastier... The fillings depend on your Thanksgiving leftovers and dietary preferences but mine has smoked turkey, sharp cheddar, pickled red onion and jalapēnos. Praise be. 

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Flip it, flip it real good.

Flip it, flip it real good.

Chipotle Turkey Toastie

2 slices sourdough bread

1 tablespoon Sir Kensington's Chipotle Mayonnaise

3-4 slices smoked turkey

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 cup pickled red onion slices

Optional extra heat: Jalapenos 

Method:

Heat a griddle plan to medium-high.

Divide your Sir Kensington's Chipotle Mayonnaise and spread on one side of your bread. Make sure to spread it evenly and cover the entire slice for maximum flavor. Flip your sliced bread and add cheese on each side, then turkey and onion slices. Gently press down to flatten slightly and place sandwich on griddle pan.

Cook for 1-2 minutes per side, or until the cheese is melted and the bread nicely grilled.

Serves 1

Aaaah, yes!

Aaaah, yes!