Avocado Dill Pasta Salad

This recipe started off as a way to use up some fresh dill that wasn’t my favorite egg salad and somehow ended up morphing into a riff of an old Summer family favorite: seafood salad. Which I can’t believe I haven’t shared a recipe with y’all for yet. I c-r-a-v-e it every tomato season.

The original (to my family at least) salad included Krab, shrimp, hard boiled eggs & lots of mayo. Sometimes, depending upon which Aunt got a wild hair, chopped up bits of lettuce. Which is weird, but good.

Anyways. I gave myself an aversion to fake crab my first Summer out of high school (reminder, kids: check your expiration dates), so that was out. I swapped with flaked salmon but kept the shrimp in this version; I also sadly forgot the egg until I was eating trying to figure out what was missing. I was also wanting a little more mustard punch, so adjust yours as necessary.

And a note on seasoning: I happen to love this salad with way too much pepper and salt, because that’s how my family usually served it. This recipe includes a normal amount of each (depending on how HAM you go with the cracked pepper); I had to go back twice for more after the salad hit the fridge.

gluten-free, pescatarian, vegetarian and vegan with substitutions

Avocado Dill Pasta Salad

Dressing:

1 avocado (mine was small and I could have gone for more)

2 cloves garlic

3 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp. water

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Salad:

4 – 6 cups pasta of choice (I used rice spirals)

15 cherry tomatoes

1 smallish cucumber (about 2/3 cup chopped)

1 smallish bell pepper (about 1 cup chopped)

2 – 4 stalks celery (about 3/4 cup chopped)

1/2 shallot, minced

2 scallions, chopped

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp. celery seed (if using celery salt instead, you may not need to salt the salad – taste, taste, taste)

Loads of fresh cracked black pepper

Salt

Shrimp (I used 13 medium), peeled, cooked & chopped (optional)

Krab, crab or salmon (also optional)

2 – 3 Tbsp. your favorite mayo (optional)

Start you pasta boiling according to package directions, taking care to salt the water. When almost done, chuck your shrimp in to cook. Drain and set aside.

Pull the shrimp and chop. Add to a large bowl.

Chop the cucumber, bell pepper, celery, scallion and parsley. Add to the big bowl.

Mince the shallot and add. Halve the tomatoes and add those too. Add the celery seed.

In a blender or food processor, blitz all dressing ingredients until smooth. If you want your dressing a little runny, add more water until desired consistency is reached. Mine turned out a bit thick, which I liked, but I ended up adding 2 – 3 Tbsp. Kewpie mayo to the salad to loosen it a bit.

Add the cooled-ish pasta and dressing to the bowl. Mix well to combine. Hit with a bunch of pepper. Taste. Add more salt, lemon juice or some mayo to finish off.

Stash in the fridge for a bit to chill and let the flavors get acquainted.

Serves 4 – 6 for a meal or more if a side

Thai-Style Red Curry

Finally! I’ve been trying to make a silky, luxurious feeling Thai-style red curry for a minute and keep screwing something up. Either I don’t let it reduce long enough, or I drown the flavors some how – or I forget a key component like curry paste or coconut milk.

This go round, I forgot to pick up coconut milk. I swear my kitchen eats the stuff. I’ve lost like 3 cans of it in the last few months. But, with a last-minute grocery trip I was all ready to go. Whoo. I’m glad I was, too – this is a good one.

gluten-free, paleo, pescatarian

Thai-Style Red Curry

1 can coconut milk

Veggie, fish or chicken stock (1 of the empty coconut milk cans’ worth)

2 Tbsp. Thai red curry paste

2 tsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. fish sauce

2 Tbsp. soy sauce/coconut aminos

Zest and juice of 1 lime

2 stalks fresh lemongrass, peeled to reveal the soft center – mince 1 and whack the other with the back of your knife to release its flavors while cooking

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 scallion, thinly sliced

2 Thai red chilis (optional), minced

1.5 cups pumpkin or butternut squash, chopped

3/4 cup chopped okra

2 Tbsp. minced basil

Minced smoked salmon (optional)

Rice to serve

This is a simple slow-cooker dump meal. Prep all ingredients and dump into your cooker (minus the salmon, basil and green parts of the scallions). Cook however you would make a stew.

When complete, add to a saucepan and simmer until reduced a bit and silky. Serve over rice, topped with the green parts of the scallion and chopped basil.

Serves 4

Orange Salmon

This recipe is unabashedly stolen from a (mostly) Internet friend, who daily sets his sights on making the rest of us in our little corner of the (virtual) world drool.

Gluten-free, pescatarian

Orange Salmon

2 salmon fillets

1-2 cups cooked rice

1 cup snow peas

1 orange

1 thumb + 1 thumb ginger

1 Tbsp. + 2 Tbsp. sesame oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 Tbsp. rice vinegar (the original recipe called for mirin, but I can’t get that where i live)

1 Tbsp. honey

2 cloves garlic

1 green onion

Sesame seeds

Mix together the soy sauce, 2 Tbsp. sesame oil, rice vinegar and honey. Grate and stir in the garlic and 1 thumb ginger.

Brush the mixture over your salmon and place skin side up on a prepared baking sheet.

Broil 3 – 5 minutes, flip, baste, and broil another minute or two – until your desired done ness is reached.

While the salmon is working, bring the other Tablespoon of sesame oil up to medium-high in a large pan. Add the snow peas in and toss. Grate the second thumb of ginger in and toss. Zest the orange and toss in.

Sauté until browned in spots. Remove.

Supreme the orange and slice each segment into thirds.

To serve, toss the rice with the segmented orange. Thinly slice the green onion and toss in.

Arrange the rice mix in a bowl, top with a bed of snow peas, and a salmon filet. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the whole lot.

Serves 2 for dinner

Chili Tuna Fried Rice

This pantry-friendly fried rice is quick enough for a weeknight meal (for when the world gets back to working outside the home), and makes a great lunch the next day if there are leftovers.

Gluten-free, pescatarian

Chili Tuna Fried Rice

1.5 cups leftover cooked rice (I used sushi rice)

1/3 cup frozen shelled edamame

1/3 cup frozen cut green beans

2 Tbsp. neutral oil

2 eggs

1/4 cup coconut aminos

1 Tbsp. fish sauce

1 Tbsp. sambal olek

1 green onion, sliced

1/2 can chili tuna in oil, drained

Add your neutral oil to a large pan over high heat. When it shimmers, add the frozen veggies and green onion. Stir fry until no longer frozen and starting to look cooked.

Add the rice and tuna. Continue to stir fry until the veggies begin to brown.

Make a well in the center of the rice mixture and crack the eggs in. Let sit until the bottom is firm, then scrape up, folding into the rice mix.

Add the coconut aminos, fish sauce and sambal. Stir quickly to combine.

As written, serves 2 for dinner

Pantry Clear: Chili Tuna Rice

As you can see from my last post (see pantry clearing post #1), my pantry is all over the map – but the bulk of the ingredients center on Southeast Asia, specifically Japan.

Japanese is a cuisine my DH and I both love and both crave when we either need a little comfort (among other cuisines, tbh) but feel like we need to be a little nice to our bodies and digestive systems.

This dinner is quick, easy, and feels like a healthy hug. If raw egg yolk freaks you out, omit.

Gluten-free

Chili Tuna Rice

1 cup premade sushi rice (1/2 cup short grain rice cooked in 2 cups water + 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp. sesame oil, and a few grinds salt)

1/2 can chili spiced tuna, drained

2 Tbsp. dried wakame

1 tsp. powder-style chicken bouillon

1/2 cup hot water

1 egg

1/2 tsp. ginger garlic paste

1 Tbsp. coconut aminos

1 tsp. butter

Generous sprinkle toasted sesame seeds

1 green onion, thinly sliced

Set the sushi rice on to cook however you cook rice. While the rice is cooking, boil the 1/2 cup water.

Add the wakame and chicken bouillon to a small bowl and add the boiling water over top. Stir to combine and let sit until the seaweed is reconstituted. Drain loosely when you’re ready to serve and add back into the bowl.

Add the butter, rice, coconut aminos, ginger garlic paste, tuna, and egg yolk. Stir well to combine.

Top with the sesame seeds and green onions and serve.

Serves 1 for dinner

Nasi Goreng: Version 1

I just got back from a fantastic vacation spent exploring a new place – and a new food culture – and wanted to come home and continue that goodness.

Random tidbit of information: tempeh is actually from Indonesia, it’s not just an OG hippie food.

That has little to do with this recipe (though most of the dishes of Nasi Goreng I had in Bali came with sides, including some ridiculously delicious tempeh).

Nasi Goreng is one of the dishes typically associated with Indonesia (some say it’s the national dish), although it’s popular in other Southeast Asian countries as well as the Netherlands. This dish is basically just fried rice – with no singular recipe, instead typically consisting of leftovers from the previous day.

This version of the dish doesn’t taste exactly like what I had on vacation, but it’s delicious nonetheless. I feel the sauces I had in Indonesia were richer, and in subsequent versions I’ll be working toward that – but this is a great starting place.

Can be made gluten free (just sweeten some coconut aminos), paleo (swap out the rice for Cauli rice and the ketjap), pescatarian (omit the chicken), or lacto-ovo vegetarian (omit the shrimp, shrimp paste & chicken)

Nasi Goreng: Version 1

3 cups leftover cooked rice (I used short grain sushi rice)

1 shallot

4 cloves garlic

1/4 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup frozen carrots

1 bok choy

2 eggs + 1 per person

250g chicken breast

200g tiny shrimp, chopped

4 Tbsp. prepared ketchup

4 Tbsp. ketjap manis

2 Tbsp. sambal olek

2 tsp. shrimp paste

Neutral oil

Salt & pepper

Chop the chicken into small bite-sized pieces, liberally season with salt and pepper, and sautée in 1 – 2 Tbsp. neutral oil until cooked through. Remove.

While the chicken is working, mince the shallot and garlic. Chop the bok choy and separate the stems from the leaves. Defrost the frozen veggies. Assemble the rest of the ingredients. Mix the ketchup, ketjap and sambal to form a sauce. Crack 2 eggs and lightly scramble.

Fry the shallot & garlic in 1 Tbsp. neutral oil over medium-high heat in the chicken pan, making sure to scrape up any browned bits and incorporating them.

When the shallots go translucent, add the shrimp paste. Stir to combine.

Add the bok choy stems and stir-fry until beginning to soften. Add the peas, carrots and bok choy leaves. Stir fry a minute or so until combined.

Add the rice, chicken & shrimp. Stir fry a minute or so to combine.

Add the sauce, stir to combine, and push the rice to the sides of the pan to make a well in the center. Add the scrambled eggs, let sit a minute to firm up on the bottom, and stir through the rice mixture until cooked.

Serve topped with an egg that’s been fried on medium-high heat until the edges are really crispy and the yolk is just set.

Serves 4 – 6 depending upon whether you are serving with sides (popular sides include: tempeh, fried tofu, hard boiled and then deep fried eggs, green bean and cabbage salads, and shrimp chips – plus I’m sure more – this is just what I was served as sides; I’m sure every household has its own version)

Summer Roll in a Bowl

This recipe came out of a craving for veggies and color + yet another scroll through Instagram for inspiration.

Summer rolls can be made a million different ways, but this version incorporates most of my favorite elements – some sort of crunchy brassica, sweetness from carrots, the fresh crispness of cucumber, and a little kick of heat from pretty red chilis.

I also tried to recreate a slightly less suspect in color version of the sweet chili sauce often served with rolled appetizers – and then went a little heavier on the savory components because I really like to doctor my own sauces tableside.

Gluten-free, vegetarian

Summer Roll in a Bowl

The Salad

1 inch fresh ginger, sliced into thin matchsticks
1 medium carrot, shredded or cut into matchsticks
1 cucumber, sliced into half moons
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red chili, sliced into matchsticks
2 green onions, sliced into thin rounds
1.5 cups red cabbage, finely chopped
2 cups rice noodles, soaked in hot water 10 minutes to soften and drained

The Dressing

2 Tbsp. honey
Juice of 2 limes
1 Tbsp. sriracha
3 Tbsp. neutral oil (I used canola)
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Toppers

Big hand full chopped nuts for crunch and fat (I had roasted peanuts)
Big hand full chopped cilantro
Protein of choice (Simple poached chicken or shrimp would be great)

Boil water, add the rice noodles to a big bowl, and pour the boiling water over the noodles, making sure they are fully submerged. Let sit while you prep the rest o fly the salad.

Prep the salad veggies and add to a large bowl.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad.

Drain the noodles and add to the salad + dressing, tossing to combine.

Let sit at least half an hour to combine flavors.

Add toppers, toss again and serve.

Serves 3 – 4

Vegan Cheesy Gochujang Noodles

Some days I don’t know why I get into my head the taste combinations I do. This is not one of those days. For some reason, something a couple I love on YouTube had said in a video I watched who knows how long ago popped into my head and I just couldn’t shake the desire to find out what cheese + Gochujang tasted like.

(Side note: if you like food, are interested in either Asian cuisines or finding out what it’s like to live in either Korea or Japan as a North American expat, check out Simon and Martina’s channel and blog: Eat Your Kimchi. It’s well worth the binge watch. Find them, and the recipe whose vague memory inspired this one here. Now, back to your regularly scheduled blah-blah!)

Now, I can’t do animal cheese, and I’m not even trying to pretend that this version tastes like cheese cheese (I think if I added garlic powder and mustard powder it might – but I’m still reintroducing foods, and Gochujang was my challenge food today), but it has a hint of cheesiness and a nice richness from the coconut milk.

If you’re batch cooking this recipe, maybe add a bit more coconut milk to the mix – mine turned out a bit clumped-together for subsequent meals; it loosened up on heating and stirring, but it could have been a skosh freer in the storage container.

Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Vegan Cheesy Gochujang Noodles

3 Tbsp. gochujang
1/4 c. sesame oil
1/4 c. soy sauce or coconut aminos
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
1.5 in. grated ginger
1/4 c. coconut milk
Garlic oil
Bok choy, chopped
Rice noodles
Green onions
Sesame seeds
Ketjap manis

First, boil some water and set your rice noodles to soak – I do 1/2 – 1 cup per serving.

While the noodles are soaking, chop the bok choy and sautée in a large skillet over medium-high in a few squirts garlic oil. Season with a little sprinkle soy sauce/coconut aminos to season.

While those are both going, whiz together the ingredients from coconut milk up to make a sauce.

Slice the green onions and set aside for garnish. If you’re not vegan, prep your protein too (egg, little shrimps and rotisserie chicken all go great here). Grab your sesame seeds.

When the bok choy is cooked to your liking, drain the noodles and add to the pan. Stir with tongs to break them apart gently and fully incorporate the veggies. Add the sauce and stir again. Cook everything together a few minutes.

Top with the green onions, a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds, optional protein, and a swirl of ketjap manis.

The sauce makes enough to support 2.5 big servings

Dutch-Style Shrimp Deviled Eggs

This simple appetizer is quick to put together, serves a crowd, and gives a bit different flavor to an old favorite (at least for my American readers).

A note for those American readers: If you’re a fan of American-style deviled eggs, you’re going to think that these yolks will never hold together with this amount of mayonnaise. Resist the urge to add more – it *does* work. Don’t go into auto-pilot. Be strong: the difference in taste is worth it.

Gluten-free, Paleo, pescatarian

Dutch-Style Shrimp Deviled Eggs

12 large eggs
8 ounces tiny sized shrimp (canned is fine)
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise or aioli (I used Kewpie mayo)
3 tsp. ketchup (I used American-style)
3 tsp. whiskey
Salt & pepper
Chives for garnish

First, hard boil and peel the eggs. Halve lengthwise and add the yolks to a bowl.

Add the mayo, ketchup & whiskey. Chop the shrimp into small bits, reserving 1 per egg half for garnish. Add the chopped shrimp to the bowl.

Mix to combine, taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the mixture into each egg half, top with a whole shrimp, and snip chives to garnish.

Serves a party

Salmon Fried Rice

This FODMAP-friendly recipe is full of flavor, simple to prepare, and makes enough servings for a batch cook.

gluten-free, pescatarian, FODMAP

Salmon Fried Rice

1 medium red pepper, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1/2 cup green onion, sliced (tops only if FODMAP)
3/4 cup frozen chopped green beans
2 tsp. or a few squirts (if spray) garlic oil
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. fresh ginger, crushed
195g. canned salmon
65g. canned tuna
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
2 cups leftover white rice

In your largest skillet, heat the garlic oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and stir-fry until just browning. Add the peppers and green beans and stir-fry until carrots are softened and the rest are just starting to brown.

Add the rice, fish, sauces, sesame oil & ginger. Stir to combine and push to the sides to create a well in the center.

Crack the eggs into the well, stir, and let sit a couple minutes to create some curds.

Stir all together to combine.

When the eggs are solid, split into fourths and serve.

Serves 4