Mother's Day Special
This year for Mother's Day we celebrated it a few days early. This is what I made for my mom at our house. She and I have both started new diets so I wanted to try to be partially good with our menu this year. I can't take any credit for the salmon and salad recipes, but they are so wonderful I have to share them with you. If you have Publix Supermarkets in your area, then you must be familiar with their Apron tasting stations. This is the first time that I tasted the meal and then proceeding to buy everything to make it. I have made it twice this week by request, and the second time I adjusted several ingredient quantities to tweak it. This is a great choice for a light and healthy Mother's day meal. Very affordable too. The following salmon and salad recipes are my versions of Publix's.
Smoked Almond Encrusted Salmon
4 salmon center cut fillets (1.5-2 lbs.)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp powdered garlic
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup whole smoked almonds ( I used Blue Diamond)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Place almonds in a gallon zip top bag and crush them using a rolling pin. Crush them as small as you can, not powdered but try to get them pretty broken down so they stick well to the salmon. Add the chili powder, paprika, garlic, and pepper to the bag and mix all up. Place salmon in bag, seal it and shake it. This worked partially for me and then I just scooped up part of the remaining mixtures and pressed it into the top of the salmon fillets. Preheat large saute pan on medium for 2-3 minutes, add in the olive oil. Place salmon skin side down first for 3-4 minutes, don't move the salmon around in the pan, and then flip them for an additional 3 minutes. Remove the salmon from the pan and put on a serving plate. To the pan, add the syrup and soy sauce, cook for 1-2 minutes stirring frequently and pour the sauce over the salmon. This spice mixture and the searing makes this look and taste like a professionally wood fire grilled salmon. The smokey almonds and the salmon are a perfect pair!
Publix wanted you to take the skin off the fillets, this is time consuming if they don't come this way, and I think you get a better seal and better moisture control if you leave it on. Plus my silly husband loves to eat crispy salmon skin. Don't buy frozen salmon for this, just go to a good seafood counter and get fresh. It changes the taste and texture if you want to do a really impressive meal. For just everyday meals, frozen would be fine, but not for special occasions.
This is the first time I have ever eaten raw zucchini. I didn't know what to expect at first, I thought raw zucchini would taste kinda chalky. It was fabulous in this salad. You marinate it for 1-2 hours and the vinegar takes care of that taste. So light and healthy! Just try it once, you will be convinced! The reason this salad was so easy for me was buying the pre-chopped boxes of green onion, tomato, and matchstick carrots. Just saves time, but if you have some great heirloom tomatoes or something it would just make it that much better tasting. My only deviations from the Publix version on this one is the basil and more carrots. I doubled their quantity of basil and used fresh not paste.
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
1 cup matchstick carrots
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette
2 tablespoons fresh chopped sweet basil
1/2 cup Gorgonzola crumbled cheese
3 medium zucchini
Combine all ingredients except zucchini in a salad bowl. Peel the outside dark green skin off of the zucchini with a vegetable peeler. Now start peeling ribbons of the flesh off from top to bottom, stop when you start exposing the zucchini seeds, turn the zucchini 1/4 of the way and start stripping again. Discard inner portion. Cut long strips into 1 inch pieces and mix all together. Marinate in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Stir occasionally. Leftovers are still good, but I think you have a 2 hour window where this salad is at it's peak. it keeps for several days, but it is the mostly crunchy at the 2 hour mark. Less than that and your flavors aren't really developed.
Amaretto Liqueur Cake Topped with Tipsy Fruit
This is just a quick dessert that I mixed up. I had a box of pre-made amaretto soaked cake. I took a bag of mixed frozen fruits (Mango, Peach, Pineapple and Strawberries) and added 1 shot of peach schnapps and 1 shot of amaretto and let it sit in the fridge stirring occasionally for 2 hours. Spooned it over the sliced cake and added some mint for decoration and smell! Delicious! This kind of cake I have found many places. This one I got from Aldi, but I have found them often at TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning, and Fresh Market. It is a small preserved cake that has a small amount of different liqueurs poured over them. They are around $3-12 each depending where you get them. When you slice them, you get a small portion about the size of a brownie.
Happy Mother's Day!