Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sweet Winter Slaw (for Cold Winter Days)

This is my recent go-to, post-skiing lunch (err, snack?). It's gotta kick to satisfy your hunger, some sweetness to satiate that post-turns craving for sugar, and chock-full of healthy ingredients to fill you up (without weighing you down for the next days turns. Or apres-ski, of course). 

I made this for dinner one night to go along with a teriyaki-marinated flank steak, then devoured leftovers for a couple of days thereafter for lunch. The second go-round? Upped the cilantro even more (and added a bit more of a kick to the macadamias). And it went all too fast this week for post-ski lunches (coupled with an equally punchy curried chicken salad, yum). 

Serves 6-8

6 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 lemongrass stalk, chopped
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons roasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons butter
1 ½ cups macadamias
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon chile flakes

½ a head (6 ounces) Savoy cabbage, finely shredded
½ a head (10 ounces) red cabbage, finely shredded
1 mango, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 fresh red chile, deseeded and finely chopped
1 ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

First, make the dressing. Place all the ingredients, except the oils, in a small saucepan and reduce over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, or until thick and syrupy. Remove from the heat. Once cooled down, strain the sauce into a bowl and whisk in the oils. Set aside. (Dressing can be made up to one week in advance. Store in the refrigerator.)

Melt the butter in a small saucepan or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the macadamias and toast them, shaking the pan frequently until they start to brown. Sprinkle on the sugar and stir constantly until the sugar is melted and starting to turn brown. Scrape the mixture out onto a sheet of parchment paper and allow to cool and harden. 

Place the shredded cabbage in a large mixing bowl with the rest of the salad ingredients. Add the dressing and toss together. Let sit for about 6 hours. Stir and add nuts. Taste and add more salt if necessary. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What to Do with Leftover Salmon...

... Make salmon cakes, of course!

While last year I made these with panko breadcrumbs, this year, my new gluten-free lifestyle has forced me to think outside the box and find another binding agent that will work - and taste good. My new go-to favorite, millet, is the perfect fit. It's not as cumbersome as quinoa (which has bitter saponins which I find to be a time-consuming pain to rinse off), and when I make a big batch, substitutes for my morning oatmeal (another no-go).

Salmon cakes aren't as tricky to make as you might think. Fish. Binding agent. A bit of mayo or oil. Flavorings, like cayenne, cumin, bacon, scallions, herbs, mango... the sky is the limit. And some rice flour for dredging, to ensure the cakes don't stick to your pan. Here's a quick and easy recipe that is sure to become a family favorite in no time, be it for cocktail parties or at dinner.

Easy Gluten-Free Salmon Cakes

1 pound cooked salmon, such as this maple-bacon salmon
1 cup cooked millet, more if desired
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
Salt, to taste
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of paprika

1/4 cup mayonnaise, more if needed
2 tablespoons mustard
Rice flour, for dredging 
Oil, for cooking

In a medium bowl, combine the salmon and millet and stir well until the mixture is well combined and fish is flaked apart. Add scallions and seasonings and mix well. Add mayonnaise and mustard and mix well. Taste mixture for seasoning, and to see if you need more mayo or millet (it will depend on how moist - or not moist - your ingredients are).

Form mixture into 2-inch patties. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Meanwhile, dredge the patties in flour. When almost smoking, add the patties, lower the heat to medium-high, and cook until golden and crisp, about five minutes. Flip and cook 4-5 minutes more.

Serve immediately with herbed aioli, honey-mustard mayonnaise, or a hearty salad.