And the sun has finally reemerged from behind a sky filled with clouds, and the warmth heats up the deck for sitting out with a cool glass of lemonade, and its finally warm enough to plan trips out on my friend's boat this weekend. Having lunch up at the cafes seems more of a social event, with walkers and their dogs chatting to each and every person to say their hellos, and the patio fills up with lunchtime guests - all of which who are eager to enjoy as much sun, and as much jovial conversation, as possible.
This week, mum and I have had a little more energy to cook delicious meals for dinner with less early
mornings, and with it fewer starts that begin in a whirl of getting ready and driving down to the ferry just in time for the gate to close behind as we walk on. Using fresh vegetables, gorgeous colours, and aromatic flavours that fill the kitchen with their smells, the last two nights we ate healthy and wholesome meals. That isn't to say I've been skipping school in order to cook (I wish!), rather, with the last weeks quickly approaching, some of my course have finished, and I have the freedom of sleeping in (and spending a little more time creating delicious breakfasts in extraordinary colours with fruit, nuts, and seeds to top Greek yogourt, avocado and roast tomatoes with poached eggs), as well as coming home early to a hot bowl of soup, or lattes on the front deck as I flip through recipes on my iPad with plans for dinner on my mind. Or I take to the sunshine with a book in hand, taking the afternoon off from thoughts of exams.
This evening, mum had a magazine under her arm as she came in through the door, and with her reading glasses perched just in the crook of her nose, she peered over the recipe and oohed at the colours of a salmon filet in a yogourt and pistachio crust, baked, and topped with a freshly blended beet sauce - a delicate garnish of orange zest brought all the colours together in a bright summer palate. We ate our meal that was cooked together - her plate being the salmon, and a mine an orange quinoa salad with edamame and spinach - at the large round table in our front room, with the large windows open to the evening's lasting daylight and the chorus of birds outside. Flying past the windows, the birds were also entertainment as well as company to the two of us.
Sometimes it's nice when it's only mum and I, and aside from our large house that seems empty and expansive at times, the house remains relatively clean when the dogs paws are wiped when she returns from a muddy trail run and clutter remains behind the doors of each of our bedrooms, or left in piles on the kitchen counter. The quiet leaves us to ourselves, and the freedom of cooking, reading, or watching some shows on each of our iPads without interruptions.
However, I also feel that living in such a quiet house leaves us to follow our individual routines, and they becomes so set without anything to change our patterns. Each day, a ritual of tea follows our arrival from school or work, and after dinner we retreat to the comfort of movies, or I'll drive out to dance for the evening. And with these rituals, we become uninclined to accept a change, and prevent the introduction of anything different to replace the comfort of a quiet evening.
It's nice to have something to mix it up every one in a while, and I appreciate it more, increasingly appreciative of the surprise of someone's visit, or a coffee date in the afternoon. I suppose it really is time to change after this year, time to move off the island, travel, visit new places, and find my own sense of lifestyle without the rigidity of the ferry's schedule and patterns that entail. The monotonous habits of school, homework, and activities that follow in the evening no longer provide comfort, but rather annoy me in their habitual confines, and the strict times which I feel need to be followed leave little room for extra things to occur. It's time to mix it up, add a little colour, a little flare if you like, into our days, and what better way than to pick up a chopping board, a basket of freshly grown local vegetables, and prepare a delicious new recipe to leave us energetic and motivation for a week of surprise and new explorations.
Pistachio Crusted Salmon with Beet Yogourt Sauce
This recipe was adapted for the two of us from an article in an Alive magazine issue, apart of a collection of recipes incorporating the rich and creamy flavour of yogourt. And with this superfood apart of our daily meals, we're already feeling the positive impacts of a healthy digestive system, immune system, and all of its vitamins and minerals that maintain the glow of skin, shine in our hair, and energy in our movements.
Salmon is also rich in omega-3s, and paired with the detoxifying asset of the beets, protein in the yogourt, and vitamin B6, thiamine, potassium, and iron, from the pistachios, this dish is not only a haven for you and your health, but a beautiful array of bright colours - as the original recipe enticed, "a delight for the eyes as it is for the palate!"
4 - 6 oz skinless salmon filets
1 cup 2% milk
1 medium red beet, trimmed, peeled, and quartered
1 1/2 cup yogourt
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shelled and chopped pistachios
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Freshly ground black pepper to season
In a wide shallow dish, place the salmon filets in the milk, and refrigerate for an hour. Turn occasionally to coat completely.
Meanwhile, boil the beats until they become very tender, cooling for 10 minutes. In a food processor, pulse the cooked beets until they're finely chopped. Add 1 cup of the yogourt, dill, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth, and transfer the sauce to a bowl to refrigerate until serving.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
In a bowl, stir together the remaining yogourt and lemon zest.
Remove the salmon from the milk, and using kitchen towel, pat the filets dry. Transfer to a parchment lined baking dish, and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Coat the tops of the salmon with the yogourt and lemon zest mixture, and crust with chopped pistachios.
Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until the salmon just begins to flake.
Divide among four serving plates, and spoon the sauce over top. This entrée is delicious with a plate of seasonal vegetables, especially a few stalks of roasted asparagus. Or try earl grey infused quinoa with orange flavour, tossed with spinach, edamame, and dried cranberries.
Earl Grey-Infused Edamame Quinoa Salad
Another recipe adapted from the Alive magazine mum brought home, tucked under her arm as she carried a box full of fresh vegetables, this is a unique dish with flavours of Earl Grey tea and orange to enhance a delicious superfood. Using my favourite type of Earl Grey tea, a rich loose leaf tea from David's Tea, the desirable and fragrant aroma of bergamot oil gave just the perfect taste to this salad.
Serves 3 - 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main course
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup brewed Earl Grey tea
1/2 cup cooked and shelled edamame beans
2 spring onions, chopped finely
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 cup cooked and drained baby spinach leaves
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coconut palm sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Ground pepper to taste
Rise the quinoa under cold running water in a fine sieve, rubbing it with your fingers. Transfer to a medium saucepan.
Add the brewed tea to the pam and bring to a boil, reducing immediately after bubbles form to simmer with the lid. Cook for 15 minutes, or until quinoa is tender but still slightly crunchy. (Mushy is not good!)
Place the quinoa in a medium bowl and allow to cool before adding edamame, chopped green onions, dried cranberries, orange zest, and spinach. Mix well.
For the vinaigrette, whisk together juices, garlic, salt, and sugar in a small bowl. Slowly pour in oil and mix well before pouring over the quinoa salad. Season with black pepper and serve.
Enjoy! xx S.
Labels: beets, dinner, earl grey, edamame, fish, gluten-free, healthy, orange, pistachio, quinoa, salad, salmon, yogourt