What’s For Lunch? Smoked Salmon Bento Box


SalmonBentoBox

UPC’s Smoked Salmon Bento Box

Ok, I’ll admit it… I’m an addict! I’m an unmitigated food addict. It’s always been my “drug of choice,” so to speak, and that hasn’t changed one iota over the years. And I love it!!

“I’m UPC, and I’m an addict.”

“Welcome UPC.”

All jokes (mostly) aside, these Bento-Box lunches have been leaving me seriously looking forward to my lunch every day! It’s not like I don’t normally enjoy my food. Of course I do, it’s made by my favorite chef! No, this is another situation entirely. I thoroughly enjoy the idea of being in a position to easily, painlessly carry a full meal, and a full-looking meal, all the way to work with me to eat at my leisure. It’s truly a delight.

Smoked Salmon Bento-Box; What you’ll need:

  • Smoked Salmon:
  • 12 oz Smoked Salmon
  • 2 oz “Glaze” (Apple Cider Vinegar (or any flavor), Olive Oil, Black Peppercorns, Whole Mustard Seeds; mixed together and soaked for a day)
  • Salad Eggs
  • Salad:
  • Favorite Mixed Greens
  • 1 cup Celery, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Green Onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1 large Avocado, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Serves: 2
Cook and prep time: 30 minutes

1. Prepare the Salad Eggs. I used ham, basil, and carrots for this Salad Eggs dish.

2. In a pan, sear the smoked salmon on high heat for about 1 minute per side.

3. After turning off the heat, paint the salmon with the glaze, leaving the salmon in the pan so that the glaze can thicken in the heat. Let the salmon sit in the glaze for 2-3 minutes per side.

4. Slice the salmon and put it in the Bento Box.

5. Mix the salad ingredients and add them to the Bento Box.

6. Add the Salad Eggs to the Bento Box. And bring it to work to enjoy!

Questions:

  • What kinds of lunch foods get you excited?
  • Do you ever eat seafood for lunch?
  • Do you prefer smoked salmon, or another preparation method?
  • Do you prefer a different salmon preparation for a different meal? Have you ever thought about it?

What’s For Lunch? – Double Coconut Smokey Salmon


CoconutSmokedSalmon

In other news…

I know, I know, that part is supposed to come at the end of the post, right? But not on my blog. If you want that part at the end of the post, you can start your own blog, and write better posts than me there. But if you’re reading my posts here, you’ll have to be satisfied with my flawed writing…
So here’s the big news: I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award! I spent some time yesterday and today researching it. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any Liebster Award pictures that are designed specifically for food blogs, or for Paleo blogs. So I’ll be designing my own over the weekend, with my wife’s help of course. And I’ll get my Liebster Award post up, also over the weekend. So you all have something to look forward to from me this weekend!

Double Coconut Smokey Salmon: Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Obviously, use fresh salmon if you can. I always keep some wild-caught canned salmon around. Just like I always keep some canned tuna around. Because the truth is, I never know when I’m going to have a craving for some salmon, and smoked salmon doesn’t last long in my kitchen! If it’s a dinner craving, that’s usually no problem – I can stop by the market on the way home and pick up some salmon. But if I get the craving in the morning, there’s no way I am waiting for dinner for my salmon! So, in cases like that, when I’ve already finished off my latest purchase of smoked salmon (a few days, at the most!) then I can pull out the canned stuff and it does the trick. To paraphrase a part of my post yesterday: not everything can be “gourmet” all the time. And I am fine with that. I try to share with you all a collection of my foods; which means that some of my sharing will be the not-well-manicured lunch meals, in their plastic containers.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 can wild-caught Salmon
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Chips (shredded will work too)
  • 1 cup Celery, sliced
  • 1 cup Crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • Rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons Coconut Oil

Put the mushrooms and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan on medium heat, and add the rosemary now. As I have mentioned before, mushrooms can handle the longest amount of cook-time, so they should always be the first things that we start. Once the mushrooms are happily sizzling away, you can start to slice up the celery. This whole meal is quite simple, and simply delicious – so it won’t take a long time to cook.

After about 3 minutes, add the celery to the pan and stir. Celery doesn’t take long, and the pan is quite warm at this point. I would suggest stirring every 30 seconds or so for the next 2 minutes. Then the mushrooms and celery are ready to eat! Take them out and put them on a plate – cooking the salmon will be even quicker than the mushrooms and celery, so they won’t cool much while they’re waiting.

Turn the heat up to medium-high, add the salmon, coconut chips, and the other two tablespoons of coconut oil. Stir this constantly for about 1-2 minutes, or until it starts to sizzle. We’re not really cooking the salmon, so much as using the heat of the pan to help the coconut flavors really sink in to the salmon, making this a stunningly delicious meal. So, pay close attention to how the salmon is reacting to the heat: as soon as you start to hear the telltale sounds of “cooking,” stir faster for about 10 seconds until the sound starts again, and then turn off the heat and serve!
As a note: the recipe is distinctly different if you’re using fresh salmon. The above recipe is for canned salmon, and so I can assume that you don’t need to cook your fish, as it was pre-cooked before canning. For fresh salmon, obviously, you should cook it a little bit differently. I would recommend something like: 20 minutes in a pan with coconut cream and coconut chips on medium-low heat, covered. Since that’s not what I did here, be sure to use your own judgement. I’ll make that recipe another time.

Questions:

  • So, big news, the Liebster Award! If you were to be nominated, who would your first-choice blog to pass the award on to be?
  • Do you read your favorite blogs every day? If so, how many of them are there?
  • What do you think about Guest Posts – are they a good thing, or would you normally prefer the “regularly scheduled programming”?
  • Do you eat canned salmon regularly? If so, how do you prepare it?

UPC’s Paella Mofongo!


SeafoodMofongo

This weekend, my wife and I are headed back to Washington DC to catch the Magnolias, Cherry Blossoms, and some more of the sight seeing. We were so impressed with our trip last weekend (it was our first time together) that we just couldn’t pass up an airline deal taking us there this weekend again. We’re going to be a little more careful about our sleep, and bring our cameras everyone with us. And hopefully next week you’ll get to see a couple of posts on Washington DC food! If things go really well, perhaps the Urban Paleo Chick will put together a post on running tours of the Capitol, and some of the other sites we’ll see.

UPC’s Paella Mofongo

I’ve been messing around in my mind with the Traditional Puerto Rican Mofongo recipe for some time now. This is part of my “process” – I think about things for a long time before taking action on them. And some of the time it ends up looking like I’m really impulsive, which is amusing, because often the seemingly impulsive action or meal is something I’ve been actively mulling over for weeks, months, or sometimes longer. This Mofongo post was started, and has been in various stages of draft form, for more than 3 months now. So it’s exciting for me that I’ve finally settled on a recipe that I wanted to cook, and share!

This is a rough combination of two traditional meals, both of which I like very much! This turned out to be a decent approximation of both dishes, but is certainly not precisely either of them… Paella is a rice dish, and until cooking it as a Mofongo, I didn’t have a good way to replicate the dish without using grains. Mofongo, unlike Paella, is actually a Paleo recipe in it’s traditional form, and it’s great! But as I mentioned, I’ve been working on a Paella idea for a while, and cooking it as a Mofongo turns out to be really quite effective! This recipe has really given me ideas, so you’ll likely be seeing more versions of Paella and Mofongo in the future!

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 lb mixed wild-caught Seafood (mine is mostly shrimp and octopus)
  • 4 tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 large Carrots, chopped
  • 1 large Zucchini, chopped
  • 4 Plantains, 1-inch slices, browned then mashed
  • 2 Plantains, chopped
  • 1 heel Garlic, diced
  • 3 tablespoons Italian Seasoning (or fresh herbs, if you have them)

Serves: about 4; Cook and Prep Time: about 35 minutes

First slice the 4 Plantains, put them in a large soup-pot with 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, and fry them on low heat. If you have a cover for the put, you can use it – we want these to cook through, not just brown. I cooked these with the heat on about 3 out of 10, so that the cooking process was more thorough, without too much chance of burning. This also allowed me to focus on the other pieces of the meal while I was letting this cook, with the occasional stirring.

In a pan, put the seafood mix, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, and cook on high. Like the Plantains, I would cover this too, if you have a cover for this pan. If you’re using a frozen mixed-seafood bag like I do (wild caught, of course!) then there should be plenty of water in the seafood to cook down as the seafood is cooking. By the time we get to the next step, the seafood should be fully cooked, and there should still be just a big of the seafood water left in the pan.

While the two pans are cooking, take the chance to prepare the remainder of the meal. Slice up the carrots, chop the zucchini, and most importantly, dice the garlic. All of these will be used, almost simultaneously, during the final few minutes of cooking, so it’s good to get the prep work out of the way as soon as you can – there won’t be time to be chopping these when you need them. Don’t forget to keep stirring the plantains in the pot. Finally, chop up the last two plantains.

After about 20 minutes of cook time, put the carrots in another pan, and cook on medium heat, covered. This dish is much better with the carrots softened by cooking them a bit. You can add a bit of coconut oil to the pan to reduce the chances of burning. You can also add just a little bit of water, which can speed up the process. And you can add both… The flavor of the coconut oil is great on cooked carrots, and of course, it won’t stick out in this meal!

At the same time, add the zucchini, garlic, and remaining plantains to the seafood pan, keeping the heat on high, and stir it in. The Plantains should suck up the remaining water pretty quickly, so you can only ignore this pan for another 30-60 seconds once you add them in. Turn the heat off for the plantains in the cook pot. Again, you only have 30 seconds, so don’t turn your mind to a new task – stir some things, especially the carrots, to spend that time. Once you hear the sizzling that indicates the water is all absorbed, turn off the heat immediately. As the pan cools, start stirring it vigorously, until the pan is cool enough that nothing in the pan will burn.

Now add the olive oil and spices to the pan, cover, and let the olive oil warm up. This will be added to the Plantains and carrots in a few minutes. You can now mash the plantains. I used a potato masher, since I didn’t have a proper Puerto Rican wooden mortar and pestle, but this dish came out amazing! I think a potato masher is fine, if you don’t have the mortar and pestle to do it “properly”.

Once the Plantains are mashed, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.

SeafoodMofongo1

Serving:

This is a stand-alone dish. Since I’ve added the zucchini and carrots, I don’t really expect this to be served with a salad or some sort of green vegetable on the side. Be careful about which vegetables you decide to switch the zucchini for; flavor and texture are very important for this dish, and if they don’t mix quite right, it may offset the delicious flavors of the rest of the meal! My wife and I have had the beautiful wooden dishes that you see in the picture sitting around waiting for the right chance to use them. If you have something like this, it will compliment the presentation of the meal tremendously! If not – eat the meal from a bowl – it will still be delicious!

For more “What’s For Dinner” and “What’s For Breakfast” posts, check back daily! If you have anything to ask, request, or comment on, please post it in the comments – I love to hear from you!

Double Coconut Smoked Salmon for Breakfast


CoconutSmokedSalmon

 

I love salmon. I mean, I really love salmon. It’s one of my favorite meats, perhaps bested only by bacon. I’m not sure, I haven’t actually done the line up of my favorite meats yet, but salmon is definitely up there. So, salmon for breakfast, lunch, or dinner is definitely acceptable. However, there are some ways of preparing salmon which just don’t lend themselves well to a breakfast, and from a practicality perspective, they’re not ideal for most home made lunches either. Like a coconut dill broiled salmon (I’ll get a recipe for this up later). Or a sweet dill baked salmon. It’s not that it wouldn’t be good. It would be great! It’s just that I really don’t want to wait through preparation and cook time for something like that in the morning; where an evening meal is far more ideally suited for longer prep and cook times.

So today, a nice simple dish with quick prep and cook times, I put together a double coconut smoked salmon breakfast. In fact, it could even be called a triple-coconut meal, but I think that’s a bit of overkill in the naming, and the coconut oil is a mostly silent partner here. Here’s how I did it. In one fry pan, I put the mushrooms and celery you see in the picture, and sauteed them lightly in coconut oil with thyme and rosemary. First heat them up on high until they’re sizzling, then reduce to low heat and add a lid, and let it take it’s time. These need to be stirred regularly while they heat up, but they can be mostly ignored once you reduce the heat.¬†While that was cooking, I chopped up 4 ounces of smoked salmon (finely chopped) and added it to some toasted coconut chips. In a second pan, I heated up some coconut butter (about 2 tablespoons) until it was liquid, then added it to the salmon mix and mixed thoroughly and quickly. That’s how I got that homogeneous look in the picture above. Then put the celery and mushrooms on a plate, and serve the salmon over the top.

The flavor of the rosemary and thyme cooks in to the mushrooms, while the celery adds it’s own flavor to the mix. Together, they nicely compliment the smokey flavor of the salmon and toasted coconut chips, while the coconut chips add a sweetness to the dish which is surprising and delightful. All together, it’s a great breakfast dish! You could eat this just as well for a lunch, or a mid day snack, though for practical reasons it may have to be prepared ahead of time.