Salmon en Papillote + Parmesan-Crusted Asparagus

I’m on Day 5 of my 21-day resolution not to eat added sugar or white flour and it’s going pretty well.  Honestly, it’s been better in some ways and worse in some ways that I had imagined.

The good stuff: I don’t have to agonize over the “should I or shouldn’t I?” of certain eating choices.  If someone brings bagels or cookies to school, I can simply tell myself that I’m not going to be able to have any this time and remind myself that bagels and cookies will still exist in 3 weeks.  It simplifies things and I haven’t felt too deprived yet.  Then again, it’s only day 5 and I have raided the kitchen pantry for handfuls dried cherries and walnuts the last several nights in a row.

The not so good stuff: It can feel socially isolating to completely avoid any food category.  My resolution is definitely not as restrictive as it could be, but it can still be difficult to navigate certain social situations.  For example, I know my boyfriend is going to be a little put out when we go to our favorite wood-fire pizza restaurant later tonight and I just order some olives and a salad.  He’ll get over it, but this shows how sharing food is an important part of many intimate relationships.  Also, it’s hard to learn how to stay fueled and full when the majority of “empty” calories are taken away!

And I’ve been unusually tired all week.  I don’t know why.

Luckily, there are a great many meals that one can enjoy when avoiding sugar and processed flour.  In keeping with my recent french obsession, I made Salmon en Papillote for dinner a few nights ago.  I cannot even begin to describe the delicious smells coming out of my oven as it cooked.  It was simple to make but came out looking quite impressive. I also made Parmesan-Crusted Asparagus to round out the meal.

Again with the grainy iPod photos. I promise I’m getting my real camera back soon.

Layers of goodness.

Lovely asparagus.

A perfect spring meal.

As always, enjoy!

Salmon en Papillote
serves 2

– 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
– 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
– about 3/4 lb fillet of wild-caught salmon, cut into 2 pieces
– 8 large basil leaves
– salt
– pepper
– 1 lemon
– 1-2 green onions, white parts only, finely sliced
–  2 sprigs thyme

Heat oven to 425F.  Cut two 12″x12″ pieces of foil and set aside.

Start by cooking the tomatoes.  Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat and add washed tomatoes.  Cook just until their skins are beginning to wrinkle, 7-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare the salmon packets.  In the middle of each piece of foil, place 3 basil leaves side by side.  Drizzle them with a little olive oil and sprinkle some salt and pepper.  Place the salmon on top of the basil leaves, skin side down (if they have skin).  Spoon the cooked tomatoes onto the foil next to the salmon.  Drizzle the salmon with a little more olive oil and sprinkle some more salt and pepper.  Sprinkle the packets with a little lemon juice and lemon zest (about 1/4 tsp zest per packet).  Scatter green onion slices over the salmon and tomatoes and place a basil leaf and thyme sprig on each piece of salmon.

Now, close up the packets.  You’ll want to seal them tightly enough that steam does not escape during cooking but you’ll also want to “tent” them so there is a bit of space above the salmon.

Place packets on a baking pan and bake for 7-10 minutes.  I left them for 10 minutes and felt they were almost overdone.  I will try 8 minutes next time.

When they are done, remove the salmon from the tin foil and plate along with the tomatoes.
Parmesan-Crusted Asparagus
serves 2

– 1 lb asparagus, woody stems removed and peeled, if desired
– 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– a few pinches coarse salt
– 3 Tbsp almond flour (finely ground almonds)
– 3 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 425F.  In a small bowl, combine almond flour and parmesan cheese.

Place asparagus in a shallow baking dish and toss with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and top with cheese mixture.  Bake for about 10 minutes, until asparagus is tender and topping is just beginning to brown.  Serve immediately.

Mother’s Day Brunch

Hi y’all!  It’s been a bit quiet around the blog this week because I’ve been on vacation in Fort Worth, Texas to see my little sister graduate from her Master’s program.  She’s now an official speech pathologist and I think she’s ready to be done with school for the rest of her life.  I just wanted to send out a quick post to share the Mother’s Day brunch that she and I put together this morning.  It’s not often that we have the whole family together on Mother’s Day and this was a delicious way to celebrate.

Asparagus, mushroom, and goat cheese egg bake.

The asparagus layer.

Then the mushrooms and goat cheese.


With strawberries and mimosas.

The egg bake recipe can be found here at Closet Cooking.

And the scones are here at Chocolate and Zucchini.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Portland Porch Salad

Last weekend was beautiful here.  This weekend looks to be cool and chilly with a good chance of rain.  I’m grateful for the sun we did get, but I’m ready for more!  On the warmest, most beautiful day last week, I decided it was time to move away from the carb-y comfort I’d been instinctively reaching for in favor of something lighter.  Hence the Portland Porch Salad.  Which I did eat on my porch.

Check out my cool countertops.


It was inspired by lettuce wraps of the same name from the Post Punk Kitchen but mine quickly turned into a salad when I realized that I never have and never will be able to gracefully eat a lettuce wrap.  Maybe I’m using the wrong king of lettuce or maybe I just get greedy and overload the poor leaves with filling.  Whatever the reason, I’m much happier heaping everything onto a plate, grabbing a fork, and calling it a day.  I’ll probably be making this again next weekend when the forecast promises us another wave of springtime weather!

Portland Porch Salad
makes 2 huge salads

For the edamame pesto:
– 2 cloves garlic
– 1 cup fresh basil leaves
– 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
– 10 oz package edamame beans, thawed
– juice from 1 lemon
– 2 Tbsp olive oil
– 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
– 1 tsp salt
– water as needed for consistency (I needed about 3/4 cup)

Place all ingredients except water into a food processor or high-powered blender.  Add water a bit at a time until you have a thick but pourable consistency.

For the salad:
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– 2 shallots, thinly sliced
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/2 lb asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces on the diagonal
– a handful of cooked chickpeas (or use more, I just had a handful leftover from something else)
– 1 large peach or nectarine
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1-2 cups lettuce per person

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add shallots and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another minute or two.

Add the asparagus and chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes over medium-high heat.  Add the peach or nectarine and cook until liquid has been released and the whole mixture is bubbly.  Season with salt and remove from heat.

Wash and dry the lettuce, tearing it into bite-sized pieces.  Toss with several tablespoons of edamame pesto (3 or so per serving should work), plate, and top with warm asparagus and peach mixture.

* I added this post to this week’s Wellness Weekend, My Meatless Mondays, Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, and Mix It Up Monday.