salmon

Bridal Shower/Cooking Lesson

Saturday turned out to be a really nice day! I planned on going to the gym but Michael suggested we go for a walk as a family since it was so sunny and kind of warm out. It turned out to be a really lovely walk.

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Not too bad of a calorie burn for a long walk/jog. It was nice to go out as a family, too.

Also over the weekend, it was my cousin Anna’s bridal shower. Her friend Shawna planned a super fun and unique shower for her–a cooking lesson! Her friend Bernadette, who has been a chef in many Portland restaurants and now does some catering on her own, taught a cooking lesson for the shower and it was so much fun!

We were all instructed to bring our favorite recipe for Anna and $10 in one dollar bills…hmmm…what could that be for?? 😉

Turned out there were a few rules for the party. You couldn’t mention the honeymoon, their new house or the fiance by name and if you did you had to put $1 in a jar as a tax. It was a funny idea. The money in the jar was going towards the purchase of a Kitchenaid Mixer for the happy couple. I love that idea!

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There were some snacks out while we mingled. Cheese, fruit, crackers, French bread. Lots of wine, sparkling water and lemon water. It was a big group, too, and my mom drove down and stayed with us overnight so she could go. A bunch of my aunts and cousins were there and it was nice to see everyone.

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We were all told to bring our favorite recipe, too. So we all decorated our recipe cards and put them in a book for Anna. My Grandma sent down her coffee cake recipe (which is the best you’d ever eat) and I put in Michael’s mac n’ cheese recipe in the book.

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The party was at my aunt Sheila’s house and the decorations were adorable.

The cooking instruction started. Dinner was salmon with Asian slaw, zucchini and rice.

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The cooking instruction was really fun and interesting and Bernadette answered questions (some just general cooking questions) and was a good teacher. She walked us through her recipe for the slaw and homemade dressing and recruited Anna to do the mixing:

Then she walked us through making the sauce for the salmon. It was tamari, brown sugar, garlic, red pepper flakes and cornstarch with water.

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We all got to taste the sauce after it thickened up and it was almost like a tangy, tamari caramel sauce. It was SO good!!!

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Here is the finished product:

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The food was absolutely delicious! Shawna is going to email everyone the recipe soon and when I get it I will post it. I definitely want to make that sauce because it was so amazing. I also loved that it was a simple, healthy, low-calorie meal that anyone could make.

After dinner we had dessert. Anna’s mom made a chocolate/whipped cream/walnut dessert and a raspberry cheesecake bar dessert. I had a small piece of both.

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The cooking lesson was a blast and it inspired me to look into some cooking classes in the future. It’s something I’ve done in the past and had fun but never stuck with.

It was such a fun night. I was so glad we all got together and celebrated the upcoming wedding. It’s going to be a blast!

Question: Have you ever had a cooking lesson? What did you learn to cook?

Cashew Salmon with Apricot Couscous

I was recently asked to be an ambassador for the OohLaLa Wines. (Of course I said yes, wine? SIGN ME UP!) I hadn’t heard of the wine before, but I was intrigued. It took awhile, but a month or so later I finally started to see the OohLaLa wines in my local grocery store. I was looking forward to trying it after wondering what it was like for so long.

I had a recipe I wanted to try for dinner, so I stopped by the store to get the few ingredients I needed and a bottle of wine. I chose the Pinot Grigio because I thought it would pair nicely with the salmon I was making.

Obviously, they are marketing their wines exclusively to women. The label is pretty and girly and I admit, it appealed to me! It looks hip and cool.

I settled in with my music and my glass of bubbly wine while I made dinner.

Cashew Salmon with Apricot Couscous

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 salmon fillet

Calories per serving: 487

From: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/cashew_salmon_with_apricot_couscous.html

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 3 scallions, sliced, greens and whites separated
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup whole-wheat couscous
  • 1 pound salmon fillet, preferably wild Pacific, skinned (see Note) and cut into 4 portions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped toasted cashews (see Note)

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high or position rack in upper third of oven and preheat broiler.
  2. Combine yogurt, scallion greens, lemon juice, cilantro, cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add apricots, ginger, the scallion whites and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat, cover and let stand until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  4. Meanwhile, rub salmon with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. If grilling, oil the grill rack (see Tip). If broiling, coat a broiler pan with cooking spray. Grill or broil the salmon until browned and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Serve with the couscous, topped with the yogurt sauce and cashews.

Notes

Kitchen tips: To toast chopped nuts, cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

To oil a grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)

http://www.110pounds.com/?p=33838

I made us green salads to go with dinner, with fresh tomatoes from the garden. This dinner was super easy and super fast to make. I prepped everything: chopped the onions, apricots and cashews and then mixed up the yogurt sauce. I used plain Greek yogurt and that made it a little bit thicker, which turned out to be great. Michael and I both LOVED the sauce on the salmon.

The couscous had some green onion, minced ginger and the chopped apricots mixed into it before it cooked. I liked adding things to the couscous but neither of us were particularly impressed with the couscous. It paired with the salmon dish really well but as a stand alone it was kind of blah. I need to add something else to the couscous.

I loved, loved, loved the salmon and the yogurt sauce. I will most definitely make it again. The flavors were so nice together. There was a little bit of a bite in the yogurt (I’m guessing the cumin) and the crunch of the cashews added great texture to the dish.

Now, how was the wine? It turned out to be a sparkling wine! I had no idea. I usually don’t like sparkling wines. I don’t know why…I guess I just think if I want sparkling I’ll drink champagne. But I was pleasantly surprised by the refreshing bubbles and the Pinot Grigio had a zip to it. It was crisp and not sweet and balanced the rich salmon dish nicely.  I did well with this meal. 🙂

QUESTION: Have you tried the OohLaLa wines yet?