Baked Salmon Steaks with Ginger Sesame Vegetables

It’s obvious that I like to cook.  I love the creativity and discovery involved and of course I love eating the results.  I also love the idea of cooking for other people, of providing them with a cozy meal and good company.  But the reality of cooking for other people makes me duck and cover.  I get nervous that something won’t turn out.  I’ll burn it at the last minute or I’ll accidentally add too much salt, ruining the whole thing.  Or (possibly worse) they’ll just think my food is kind of mediocre.  This is why you see so many “serves 1″ recipes on this site.  I just can’t take the pressure.

And so I got a case of the heart palpitations last night when Jeremy mentioned he was having a client over to do some work at exactly the same time that I was planning on making dinner.  “But I’ve never cooked salmon steaks before!  What if she hates bok choy?  And how am I going to take my food photos without her thinking I’m a total weirdo?!?!”

Well, I solved that last problem by hiding around the corner in the kitchen and snapping some poorly-lit shots before serving the food.  As for the rest?  It turned out just fine.  In fact, I don’t think I could have chosen a less fussy, more rewarding dinner for company.  The brilliance is that everything goes in the oven at the same time and comes out at the same time.  Very little risk of forgetting something and burning it.  And salmon always bumps up the “wow” factor.

I chose to use salmon steaks because there was a killer deal on them at my local market.  One good-sized steak can easily serve 2 people.  Just divide it up after it cooks.  You could easily use another cut instead but your cooking time may be different.

Salmon Steaks with Ginger Sesame Vegetables
serves 4

Ingredients
- 2 salmon steaks (Wild-Alaskan preferred)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 heads baby bok choy, sliced in half lengthwise and carefully washed
- 2 cups green cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 tsp roasted sesame oil
- 1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and finely grated
- a few Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 425F.  Place salmon steaks in a small glass pan and season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides.  Set aside.  If you plan on serving this meal with rice, you can get that started now, too.

2. Place bok choy halves in a large glass pan and drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil.  Top with salt.

3. In a large bowl, toss cabbage, mushrooms, remaining olive oil, sesame oil, and ginger together with salt.  Add to the pan with the bok coy.

4. Put salmon and vegetable pans into the oven together.  Bake for 12-16 minutes, depending on the thickness of your salmon.  Stir vegetables about halfway through.

5. Before serving, divide the salmon steaks in half, lengthwise.  Simply slide your knife along the line where the bones are.  Remove the larger center bone and all the smaller bones where you cut.  Don’t worry, they’re not too hard to find.  You can also remove the skin before serving if you’d like.  Serve with rice and top everything with toasted sesame seeds.

* I added this post to this week’s Melt In Your Mouth Monday, Weekend Gourmet, Real Food 101, Fat Tuesday, and Gluten Free WednesdayMonday Mania.

Persimmon and Coconut Smoothie

Have I mentioned that I love smoothies?  Yes, I love smoothies.  But I sometimes find myself in a rut, especially as the weather gets colder and good seasonal fruit becomes harder to come by.  At this time of year, I’m usually using a lot of bananas, pumpkins, and fruits from the freezer for my daily shot of blended goodness.  During my most recent visit to the farmer’s market, though, and unusual fruit caught my eye.  It was a persimmon and I was immediately drawn to the beautiful toasty orange color.

Now, I had never actually eaten a persimmon and wasn’t really sure about what kind of taste to expect.  Having had one now, I think I would say that the flavor is most closely related to an apricot but less sweet.  The next thing I wanted to know was how I could incorporate it into a smoothie that would highlight its delicate favor.  Maybe some coconut and ginger?  Yes and yes.

Persimmon and Coconut Smoothie
serves 1

Ingredients
- 1/2 large banana or one small banana
- 1 ripe persimmon
- 3 TBS coconut milk (the more concentrated from-a-can kind, not the milk substitute)
- 1/4 cup greek yogurt
- generous pinch ginger
- extra water, if necessary to achieve desired consistency
- a few handfuls of spinach (optional)

Blend in the blender until smooth and enjoy!  Here’s what you’ll get it you’re shy about using greens in your smoothies.

And here it is if you like to sneak in the leafy greens like I do :)

* This recipe is included in this week’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, the Hearth and Soul Hop at Premeditated Leftovers, Real Food Wednesdays at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Gluten-Free Wednesday at Gluten-Free Homemaker, Healthy 2day Wednesdays at day2day joys, the Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Wednesday bloghop, and Simple Lives Thursdays at GNOWGGLINS.