Sicilian Quinoa Salad

sisquisal_2Ahhhh, Summer. It’s finally here for real, sunburns, mosquitoes and all. And this salad is absolutely perfect for the scorching days where you can’t even think about warm food. Incidentally, it’s also perfect for inspiring memories of these sweltering days in the dead of winter.

It’s also pretty good for you – chock full of veggies, good fats and the relatively high protein pseudo-grain: quinoa. If you haven’t had it before, you should try it. The texture is a little unusual – it kind of pops in your mouth, and it has a subtle earthy, nutty taste. It’s a good gluten-free substitute for couscous, or a nice change from rice. This dish is easily made vegan by removing or substituting the feta.

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Cajun Chicken

This recipe really lets the spices shine through. I’m pretty sure that the addition of sugar means that it’s not really a traditional Cajun rub, but it’s delicious. You can change the sugar:spice ratio to adjust the heat; particularly if serving to children, you might want to up the sugar. My personal favorite way to serve this is on a Caesar salad. Maybe if you’re really nice to me I’ll talk my father into letting me post the secret family Caesar salad dressing recipe. But for now:

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Screw diamonds. Premixed spices are a girl’s best friend.

So, as some of you know, I decided to give out some of my personal favorite spice mixes for Christmas this year. The honest truth is that there is only one of these that I use on a very regular basis and which served as the inspiration. According to the not-at-all creative sticker currently bedecking my spice jar, this is chili mix. Which is fine, I suppose. It contains chili powder. You very much can and should use it in chili. It’s an appropriate name, just not a very interesting one. Therefore, I declare A CONTEST! Suggest new wonderful names in the comments, and whoever comes up with the best name wins a really wonderful secret prize. Mkay?

But until then, let me introduce you to Chili Mix. This guy is great, one of my best friends, in fact. He goes with EVERYTHING (*not guaranteed), not just Mexican-y type foods. If you think your dish is missing that little something, he’s it. It’s like umami without the MSG.
Vegetables really benefit from a little sprinkling, particularly onions. I almost never cook onions without this, no matter what they’re going into. And the times I don’t, it’s because I’m all out and too lazy to mix up a new batch (which is a terrible excuse, it takes 2 minutes max, and that includes the fun shaking part where you get to dance.) But I probably need to make a new bottle of this stuff once every week or two, it gets used that often.
Chili Mix is also BFFs with meat. Chicken? Yes. Fish? Yes. Pork? Yes yes! Beef? Absolutely. Other crazy meats I’ve never tried? Almost certainly.
You know that old lady who does the Frank’s Red Hot commercials? I’m like her with this.

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The New and Improved Foncine Cuisine

Many things have changed in my life since my last post 10 months ago. I got married. I moved back to my hometown of Red Deer, Alberta. And I started eating meat again. All of these things are quite wonderful, and I’m newly inspired to make this blog a wonderful place.

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Salmon and asparagus

Salmon and asparagus are a classic combination, and its easy to see why. Crisp, salty asparagus and spicy/sweet melt-in-your-mouth salmon bring out the best in each other. Add the fact that the prep time is negligible (besides marinating time) and this meal has the perfect ease : fanciness ratio.

2 – 6oz (175g) salmon filets
Marinade:
1 tbsp each honey, brown sugar, and lemon juice
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp any mustard
1 tbsp sambal olec

Whisk ingredients together in a glass or ceramic dish, preferable one just large enough to hold the salmon. Place salmon flesh side down in the dish and cover; refrigerate for at least one hour, but it’s fine if it sits all day. 

Preheat oven to 400. If your dish snugly fits the salmon, leave it uncovered, but if you’re using a larger dish, cover it with foil to maintain the moisture. Get your salmon in there, and set your timer for 7 mins for wild pacific salmon, or 10 mins for the farmed stuff. In the meantime, get your asparagus ready. 

Toss a dozen or so spears of freshly washed asparagus in 1 tbsp of evoo, and sprinkle liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper. lay in a single layer on a baking sheet. Pop in the oven with the salmon when the first timer goes off, and bake for another 7 mins. 

If you’re feeling a little more ambitious, you could make a hollendaise sauce for this too. It’s not nearly as hard as you think, if you use the blender method! I make eggs benny all the time since discovering this 🙂 Pure genius.

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Clam chowder

image

So admittedly, this recipe isn’t substantially different than the last one… But a) someone asked for my chowder recipe (this one’s for you, Deb!) and b) it’s super comforting on a cold day and c) I actually took a picture this time. So there you have it. Or rather here you have it:

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Delicious Fish Stew-Soup

First off, allow me to justify the name choice here: naturally I believe everything I post is delicious, but I felt the addition was warranted based on my partner’s reaction ie: “Fish soup that isn’t chowder? I don’t think I’m going to like it…” shortly followed by “Wow, this is really good!” Secondly, it’s really thick in terms of all the goodies in it, but the broth isn’t saucy like in a stew, so it’s soup-stew. Or Stoop. But I’m not really sure how appetizing fish stoop sounds, so maybe not. At any rate, you should really try making this; it turned out beautifully the very first time I made it, and is one of the best soups I’ve ever eaten, let alone made myself.  Continue reading

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