Salmon Nicoise Dinner Platter

This is a salad that’s not a salad. It’s an un-salad. No lettuce, no salad, right?!

Salmon Nicoise

I love a good tuna nicoise salad when I’m out for lunch. This recipe is a riff on that salad. Yes, other people have switched the tuna for salmon before (I’m not the first!) but I thought I would try the toppings without the greens. It was good and fun to eat!

Salmon Nicoise

Salmon Nicoise Dinner Platter

For the salad

  • fresh salmon – sprinkle with kosher salt/ pepper and lemon zest. bake at 425 degrees until done
  • fresh green beans – cooked to desired done-ness
  • black and green olives
  • sliced avocado
  • new potatoes, sliced boiled and chilled
  • hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • tomato chunks

For the vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dijon
  • 1 tablespoon local honey
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

I made the potatoes and hard-boiled eggs earlier in the day and chilled them in the fridge. This was there was a nice combo of warm and cold on the plate. The potatoes were amazing with the dressing…kind of like a no-mayo potato salad.

Arrange on a plate and drizzle with vinaigrette. (you will have extra vinaigrette for a salad the next day) Enjoy!

 

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Glaze

The 17th was my Mom’s 59th birthday. Happy birthday Mom!!

ingredients for flourless chocolate cake

She stays away from gluten, so I went on the hunt for something that she could feel good about having a big ole piece of. After searching through some recipes that called for 3-4 different types of flour that I didn’t want to go out and buy, I searched for “flourless cake” and came up with this one. It was perfect for her birthday/Easter egg hunt/dinner at my sister Angela’s house.

melted chocolate chips, butter and sugar

This was the cake after baking and before it was inverted on to a cake plate.

flourless chocolate cake

I added sliced strawberries to the finished product.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

 

The cake is an amazing combo of cake/brownie texture. Very fudge-y but not heavy. Super smooth and moist. Ultimate chocolate flavor! Super awesome with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. One of those go-to recipes that will WOW your guests (from 17 months to 59 years).

nephews

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Glaze

  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 3 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon gluten-free pure vanilla extract
  • Garnishes: sliced strawberries or raspberries

Method

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray, then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Spray the paper with cooking spray, too, then set the pan aside.
  • Place 8 ounces of the chocolate (2 cups of chips) and 1 cup (2 sticks) of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat (I used a large heatproof bowl over simmering water instead of placing the chips and butter directly in a pan). Stirring often, melt chocolate with butter until completely blended. Remove from heat. (Alternatively, you may use your microwave to melt the butter with the chocolate, if desired). Add sugar and mix well until it’s almost dissolved. Add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Sift cocoa into bowl and stir until just blended.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cake has risen and top has formed a thin crust. The cake should be just firm in the center when done. Cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a plate, removing sides of springform pan. Remove and discard parchment paper and set cake aside to cool completely. (I made the cake the night before, then made the glaze a little while before serving).
  • When cake has cooled, make the chocolate glaze. Melt remaining 4 ounces chocolate and 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, then stir in milk, honey and vanilla. Pour glaze onto the center. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, very gently smooth glaze along the top and sides of the cake. Chill cake, uncovered, for 30 to 60 minutes before serving to set the glaze and make the cake easier to slice.

Slightly adapted from Whole Foods

Weekly Eats

Our 3rd week in Key West ended on Friday with an 18-hour ride back to VA. Many good memories and good times!

Sunday

Breakfast: a papaya- mango yogurt cup and a half of a Kind bar

Lunch: Lagerheads Beach Bar – we ordered fish tacos and crab cakes (comes with 2 cakes topped with the same mango salsa that are on the tacos). Then we each had 1 taco and 1 crab cake. A cantaloupe slice and a small chocolate chip cookie also came with it.

Dinner: Smokin’ Tuna – yellowtail in a soy-ginger sauce with cole slaw and corn on the cob on the side.

Monday

Breakfast: homemade yogurt, granola and fruit bowls.

breakfast fixins

fruit, yogurt, granola bowls

Lunch: Bad Boy Burrito – a burrito with chicken, mango-habenero salsa, avocado, red onion, cojita cheese, sour cream and their rice/black beans. Eaten by the pool at Southernmost Mansion!

Dinner: We grilled out with our friends Emily and Rick on their boat. Steak, sausage, hot dogs, cole slaw and cauliflower. Very good!!

Tuesday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk,  banana, blueberries, peaches and blueberry cardamom yogurt. Then I spilled one of the smoothies all over the counter. Smoothie-abuse!

Lunch: I sauteed more of our freshly caught fish and served it with cole slaw and a side of black beans, topped with a fried egg, a sprinkle of cheese and some salsa.

fresh fish

Randolph and Walter got a haircut and bath today!

Randolph, walter and me

Dinner: Santiago’s Bodega – we sat at an outside table and shared a greek salad, the mako shark special, the lamp chops and the camembert wedge with roasted red pepper/almonds/apricot. Then Travis had to go and order the bread pudding! What?! Of course, I want some…

Wednesday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, banana, frozen cherries…topped with a little granola for crunch and some strawberry slices. Chomp-chomp!

cherry,  banana smoothie with granola and strawberries

Walter with a sand beard and Randolph

Lunch: We grilled up 2 small super-thin steaks and served them with more of the coleslaw and some potatoes and onions cooked together with a fried egg on top. Salsa on the side. SO good after spending a couple of hours on the beach that morning.

Dinner: Sushi at Origami

Elissa

Thursday

Breakfast: a yogurt-fruit-granola bowl made with dark cherry chai yogurt. Super yum!

dark cherry chai

Lunch: Lagerheads Beach Bar – shared a hamburger with my man

Dinner: Abbodanza – Our friend Rick’s fav spot so we ate dinner together on our last night in Key West. I had the pasta primavera. 

Friday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, banana, frozen cherries, strawberries and a vanilla agave yogurt cup.

Lunch: a lobster roll (local spiny lobster) at a small local fishery in Marathon, FL

Dinner: Sushi, edamame and miso soup in Jacksonsville, FL

Saturday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, protein powder, blueberries, pineapple and banana

Lunch: leftover pasta primavera

Dinner: The last of our Key West fresh-catch snapper. I roasted them with salt, pepper, EVOO and lemon slices. Fresh asparagus and pine nut cous cous on the side.

Weekly Eats

The latest installment of my week in food. We’re still in sunny, perfect Key West!

Sunday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, blueberries, banana, protein powder and almond butter

Lunch: 6 Toed Cat – a “hogfish” benedict with tons of avocado and tomato and perfectly runny eggs.

Dinner: Half Shell Raw Bar – we had to do the cheap happy hour seafood again! Oysters, clams, shrimp and tuna!

Monday

Lunch: Went by Cuban Coffee Queen about 9:30am because it’s right by Conch Harbor Marina where our friends and their boats are. We had a day of deep sea fishing planned and this is where I made a pit stop for 2 cuban sandwiches for lunch on the boat. I also got us both an iced coffee and a smoothie. Amazingly delicious!

Here are some of the fish we caught:

Key west fish

Dinner: Freshly caught fish, steamed broccoli and an iceberg lettuce-cucumber-tomato-onion salad!

Tuesday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, blueberries, banana, peaches and PB2.

Lunch: I went to Big Pine Key with my friend Emily for the day. We left my house before I had a chance to eat so my lunch was a Cliff bar and a banana. I also ate some smarties by the pool!

We took a 2 mile walk on a trail that her grandfather made. How awesome-sweet is that? He has been spending the winter in the same campground for 38 years. The rest of the time he lives in Iowa. These are some Gumbo Limbo trees near the end of the trail.

Gumbo Limbo trees in Big Pine Key

I also got to feed and pet a Key Deer (no pics!) and we went to a small state park where 2 alligators live but they didn’t surface for us to see them. We saw turtle though!

turtle

Before we headed back to Key West we stopped in No Name Key at the No Name Pub for a drink. Sangria!!

sangria from No Name pub

Dinner: More of the freshly caught fish, steamed spinach and more of that ravioli with sweet potato and kale (like I had last week). We also had a sourdough bread roll.

Wednesday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, blueberries, banana, peaches and almond butter

Lunch: We headed over to Simonton St. beach for about 4 hours on Wednesday. We rented a couple of beach loungers and played with our dogs, got in the water and soaked up the sun. There is a little cafe there called Lagerheads Beach Bar and everyone was raving about their fish tacos so that’s what I had to try. Tons of fresh tuna topped with cabbage, finely diced mango and tomatoes and drizzled with some yummy special sauce. On the side was a slice of cantaloupe and a chocolate chip cookie. YUM-ME!

Simonton St Beach, Key West

Dinner: Old Town Mexican Cafe – veggie tostada with corn tortillas, squash, onions, greens, beans, olives, tomato, guacamole, cheese and sour cream.

Veggie tostada

Thursday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, blueberries, banana, peaches and protein powder

Lunch: 6 Toed Cat – AGAIN! This time a crabcake benedict with tons of avocado and spinach and gooey-ooey runny eggs (I didn’t eat the hashbrowns). I also shared some granola, fruit and yogurt with Travis.

crabcake benedict

granola, fruit and yogurt

Dinner: We ate dinner in 2 parts. Dinner #1 was for happy hour appetizers at Half Shell Raw Bar. We had raw oysters and clams and a drink. Then, since it was our first rainy night during our trip, we went home and ordered delivery from The Cafe. We both had the lasagna special: mushroom, eggplant and a cilantro ricotta. That came with a side salad with carrots, cabbage, tomato and sprouts all topped off with a balsamic vinaigrette!

veggie lasagna and salad

Friday

Breakfast: A carrot cake Cliff bar

Lunch: A spinach salad with strawberries, walnuts, blue cheese, onion, shrimp and raspberry vinaigrette.

Spinach salad

Dinner: Blue Heaven – seared scallops, wild rice, corn salsa, green beans and cornbread. This place usually has a long wait but we went in on a whim and not only were seated right away but got a table right next to the live music. I hugged the hostess!

Saturday

Breakfast: a Mango smootie and iced coffee from Cuban Coffee Queen

Lunch: Half of a cuban sandwich from Cuban Coffee Queen (extra pickles!) and a half of a granola bar.

Dinner: More of our freshly caught fish. I baked it with salt, pepper and taco seasoning. Then we created fish tacos with lettuce, sour cream, jalenpenos, salsa, avocado and cheese. We also ate a mix of corn and lima beans on the side.

Weekly Eats

We ate out A LOT this week. Mostly because of being busy and away from home…and partly because it’s hard to say “no” to friends who want to go out! Here is our week in food:

Sunday

Lunch: Sat on the outdoor patio at Dockside. Fish tacos for me!

Dinner: Navy bean soup cooked with a ham bone that I acquired from Travis’ grandfather. When we visited him last week a ham was being baked and I asked if I could have the bone to make soup. The answer was yes…as long as I brought them the leftovers!

Monday

Lunch: Had an unexpected trip to the doctor and was there from 11am to 1:30pm. We were starving when we left there so out to lunch it was! We went to Toast and both had the special of the day: fish tacos! 2 days in a row! Very good food and fast service!

Dinner: Orange and soy glazed baby back ribs served with steamed cauliflower sprinkled with nutritional yeast and some roasted asparagus.

orange soy glazed ribs

Tuesday

Lunch: Visited my sister Angela and she made taquitos for lunch!

Dinner: Leftover ribs served with peas and pine nut couscous.

Wednesday

Lunch: Leftovers

Dinner: Grilled flank steak with cilantro chimichurri. Then I mixed a bunch of lacinato kale, a 14 ounce can diced tomatoes and some leftover navy beans to make a delicious side dish!

flank steak and Cilantro Chimichurri

Thursday

Lunch: Was out on business with Travis and we had an early 11am lunch at Cafe Caturra. My choice was the tarragon tuna salad sandwich with a side salad (instead of chips).

Dinner: We got stuck out in the southside waiting for our car to be ready (it got an inspection, a recalled part replaced, 4 new tires and a detail) so we headed to Sushi-O for happy hour appetizers which ended up being all I wanted that night.

Friday

I had a meeting with a friend and financial planner in the morning at Urban Farmhouse and enjoyed a chai latte and a slice of banana bread. The latte was SO frothy!

Lunch: Chicken and spinach wrap from Ellwood Thompson’s

Dinner: This is kinda weird…we never do this…why am I making disclaimers?…we made flank steak again tonight…maybe it was so we could eat more chimichurri…I don’t know. But it was good and so were the roasted brussel sprouts!

Saturday

Lunch: Leftovers

Dinner: Out to eat with 5 of our friends at Portico

Weekly Eats

What I did and what I ate:

Sunday

Lunch: Salmon cakes and fried eggs

Dinner: Roasted chicken served with lima beans and corn.

Monday

Lunch: Guacamole with tortilla chips. Leftover lima beans and corn.

Dinner: Yesterday was my youngest brother, Isaac’s, 21st birthday and he came over for dinner along with my Mom and my other brother Ben. (I missed my 2 sisters!!! **insert scream here**) We made  Homemade pizza. One vegetarian version with spinach, sliced asparagus, sliced shallots and mozz cheese. One with spinach, crumbled italian sausage, sliced shallots and mozz cheese. For dessert: buckwheat brownies with walnuts and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Tuesday

Lunch: Quinoa salad with pinto beans, 1 zucchini diced and lightly sauteed, 1 teaspoon cumin and 1 teaspoon chili powder . Served with a dallop of leftover guacamole and a few sprinkles of cheese.

Quinoa salad with guacamole

Dinner: Spaghetti with turkey meatballs and a homemade tomato sauce: diced tomatoes, tons of garlic, shallots. Broccoli on the side.

Wednesday

Lunch: Out to eat

Dinner: Out to eat (again!) at Haiku.

Thursday

Lunch: Leftover quinoa from Tuesday.

Went to visit my friend Dana and her adorable twins Sarah and Leah!

Me and the Holt girls

Dinner: Collard greens and roasted shrimp with grits!

collards, grits and shrimp

Friday

Lunch: Went grocery shopping at Whole Foods and got the salad bar for lunch.

Dinner: Whole roasted red snapper (I did the Asian version)! Steamed broccoli and cauliflower sprinkled with nutritional yeast. Leftover grits.

Saturday

Lunch: We decided to take off to Virginia Beach for a night trip. It’s only about an hour and a half drive from where we live! Stopped at Doc Taylor’s as soon as we got into town and I had a $2 bloody mary and a grilled veggie wrap! Well ok…2 – $2 bloody marys! A great little spot!

Dinner: Enjoyed a big bowl of shrimp pho and some raw oysters at Tautog’s. Then we went by our friends house and around 10pm went out to Abbey Road for some music.

me in va beach

Weekly Eats

This might become a regular thing I do. I cook a lot but don’t always have a new recipe to share. Also sometimes I forget to take pictures but I still like to talk about what I eat. Next week I may also include the smoothies I eat for breakfast. Depends on if I feel like it!!

Sunday

Dinner: Grilled bone-in pork chops seasoned with salt and pepper. Served with roasted brussel sprouts and pine nut couscous.

Monday

cheesy tortilla and guac

Lunch: cheesy corn tortilla topped with guacamole and a few sliced black olives on the side

Dinner: Spinach Stuffed Shells…similar to my Manicotti recipe but with extra garlic instead of mushrooms and large shells instead manicotti…duh!

Tuesday

Lunch: Out at Kenji (sushi and miso soup)

Dinner: Secret Sauce Chili (with ground beef instead of turkey this time)

Wednesday

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: Seared salmon, sauteed beet greens and quinoa (cooked with chicken stock – after cooking I tossed in some chopped walnuts and parm cheese, then drizzled with EVOO and a splash of red wine vinegar)

Thursday

banana cake

Lunch: smashed avocado on toast, cantaloupe, a few tortilla chips and a slice of banana cake! Travis’ grandfather turned 96 and I made the cake for him. Yes 96!!

veal

Dinner: veal picatta, roasted brussel sprouts (twice in one week because they’re in season and SO good!) and leftover quinoa

Friday

Lunch: Leftovers

Dinner: beet salad (arugula, goat cheese, walnuts, cucumber) and cornish game hen with whiskey, apricot and citrus glaze on top of grits. I modified this recipe to create an awesome masterpiece that I promise to post about soon.

Saturday

Collards and fried eggs

Lunch: Collard greens with runny fried eggs. Um um um ummm!!

Dinner: We have plans to go to out to Heritage with friends later.