Cooking on the Road: Sixth Edition

Tuscan salmon

One of Matt’s favorite things to eat is salmon, and I had extra cream left over from my ice-box cake.  Given I always want to incorporate veggies into every meal, the addition of tomatoes and spinach piqued my interest in this salmon recipe.  I skipped the addition of butter since I already had olive oil, whipping cream and parmesan in the dish.  That seemed like a sufficient amount of fat and flavor.  I used a full pint of tomatoes and also 6 cups of spinach instead of 2 since I knew 6 cups raw would equal about 1 cup wilted.  Otherwise, I left the rest of the recipe intact.  Matt gave this dinner two thumbs up, so I added it to my recipe links to save for later. 👍👍 If you have salmon and are looking for a a saucy recipe, this one has a nice balance between the richness of the dairy, the acidity of the tomatoes, and slight bitterness from the spinach.  

Tuscan Salmon

Pasta with creamy chicken ragù

We had a lot of cooked spaghetti left over and I couldn’t just throw it away.  I used half of it in this veggie lo mein recipe that I adjusted to my liking, and the other half in this creamy chicken ragù recipe.  I halved the recipe, and also made my own sofrito since the local markets in Florida had specialty ingredients like cubanelle peppers and culantro.  Instead of making a bouquet garni, I used dried rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf, and chives and only removed the bay leaf for serving.  Finally, I didn’t have bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, so I used boneless, skinless instead.  I still think this recipe turned out really well balanced between the savory and acidic elements, and I would make it again.  

Pasta with creamy chicken ragù and sofrito

Spiced chicken and cauliflower with hummus

We traveled on Valentine’s Day, and I figured the best meal we could eat was one I made myself, instead of trying to dine out like so many do on that day.  I found this chicken recipe on a bed of hummus and it seemed like a simple, yet delicious combination that was sure to satisfy.  It was amazing!  I did cheat a little bit…I got Trader Joe’s hummus instead of making it, because I have never found a hummus recipe that compares to theirs.  That also cuts down on prep time.  If you don’t have za’atar, it’s simply a combination of toasted sesame seeds, dried thyme and sumac.  I found this za’atar spice recipe, which has a few more ingredients if that helps.  

Matt absolutely loved this recipe, and so did I.  It was simple, delicious, and the textures all worked so well together.  I love the combination of spices, and anything with dried currants and toasted pine nuts is always a winner in my book.  If you love Mediterranean food and hummus in particular, I think you will absolutely love this recipe.  Give it a try and let me know how you like it. 

Spiced chicken and cauliflower with hummus

Key lime pie

We couldn’t go to Southern Florida and not eat some key lime pie!  It is one of Matt’s and my favorite pies, and it’s so easy to make.  My favorite key lime pie recipe is from The Best Recipe, but I didn’t bring that cookbook with us, so I opted to reply upon the Food Network’s version of key lime pie instead. 

I had a leftover package of graham crackers and some Effie’s pecan biscuits, so I combined them for the crust.  I always forget that when I use a butter-based biscuits I need to cut the butter in the recipe! 😯 It all pooled in the bottom of the pie tin and I had to keep pushing the sides back up and baking it again, so the crust was more like a candy than a soft graham cracker crust that you would expect. 😳 In future, I will stick to graham crackers.  

The rest of the recipe was a breeze, and the flavors were excellent…tartness from the limes softened by the billowing whipped cream, and what ended up being a crunchy crust.  The secret is to incorporate lime zest, so it gets the desired color of key lime naturally, and it adds an extra flavor element at the same time.  Matt and I liked it and I think you will too.  

Key lime pie with a dollop of whipped cream

Sesame cashew chicken and rice pilaf

Then, I found this sesame cashew chicken dish to complement it.  Believe it or not, we don’t have ketchup, so I used tomato paste instead, and gochujang instead of sambal oelek,  Finally, instead of the coconut rice, I used the rice pilaf.  To be honest, the two together are good, but the subtlety of the flavors in the pilaf are a little overpowered by the flavors in the chicken dish.  That being said, they are both great recipes and worth making. 👍

I really wanted to make this lime cashew pilaf, because I remember it being really delicious.  And it is!  The mustard seeds and turmeric give it an earthy, savory quality, with a small kick of heat from the chiles, acidic zip from the lime, and a nutty crunch from the cashews.  You can’t go wrong with this pilaf.

Lime cashew rice pilaf with sesame cashew chicken

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