Toddler Approved: Honey Soy Salmon

Honey-Soy Salmon with Zucchini

This was a surprise win for our family. Even before Miss A’s arrival, we made it a point to eat more fish. Salmon is hard one because done well, it’s amazing. Done poorly, it’s terrible.

On a whim, I tried this Honey-Soy Salmon dish from Parents magazine. It was so easy and even better, Miss A kept asking for more! She wasn’t really a fan of the zucchini, but she also hadn’t had it with the skin still on before.

Ingredients:
4-6 salmon fillets (we get the frozen ones that still have the skin on, the number of fillets depends on the number of people eating)
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce (we used regular)
Nonstick cooking spray (or just some of your favorite oil)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or olive)
2 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch thick half-moons
1 onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Note: if using frozen fillets, be sure to allow to defrost before you marinate. It makes a difference.

Add honey and soy into a zip top bag, squish to mix. Add the fish and seal the zip top. Turn to coat. Marinate for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours (we marinated for about an hour). Drain and discard marinade. Preheat broiler. If you have the option of low or high, choose high. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat foil with cooking spray or lightly drizzle oil. Place fish on foil. Broil 5 to 7 minutes per 1/2-inch thickness of fish, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. We broiled for about 7 minutes total. While the fish is broiling, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and onions. Cook about 3 minutes or until just tender; season with salt. Serve 4 fish fillets with the zucchini. Reserve 2 fish fillets.

My opinion:
The addition of lightly caramelized onions made the salmon even tastier. We will absolutely be making this dish again. Plus it was so easy, we could make it even on the busiest weeknight!

Toddler Approved: Honey-Soy Salmon with Zucchini

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Bibimbap

Bibimbap

We’ve tried a number of bibimbap recipes and this one from My Korean Kitchen is hands down our favorite. It’s easy enough for a weeknight meal and can be loaded with a ton of veggies. Plus it makes more than enough for lunch the next day! We had to make a few tweaks because we had trouble finding all of the ingredients regularly, but even with the modifications, this dish is filling and delicious!

Ingredients:
Meat and meat sauce
1 pound ground beef (we like 80/20 for this – you need the fat!)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar – (we went with the original recommendation of brown sugar and decided dark brown sugar tastes best!)
1/4 tsp minced garlic

Vegetables and other
Couple of handfuls spinach (we use one handful per person)
Bag of bean sprouts (f you can find them. If not, don’t go with canned, it isn’t worth it!)
1 package shiitake mushrooms, sliced
3 small carrots
2 peppers (we use a mix of red and green or whatever we have on hand)
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 tsp fine sea salt (1/4 tsp each will be used when cooking shiitake mushroom and carrots) (You can also use Kosher)
3 to 4 serving portions of steamed rice
3 or 4 eggs (depending on the serving portion)
Some cooking oil to cook the meat, mushroom, carrots and eggs (We use sesame oil)

Bibimbap sauce
The original recipe suggested this sauce might be only enough for 3 servings if you like eating it spicy and it holds true!
2 Tbsp gochujang (in a pinch we’ve used Sriracha sauce, not the same
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp sugar (we use brown again here)
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
1 tsp vinegar (I’m partial to for this!)
1 tsp minced garlic

Directions:
For meat, mix the ground beef with the meat sauce ingredients. Marinate the meat for at least 30 minutes while you are working on the other ingredients. We usually make the meat mixture first and let it sit while we chop the veggies. Then chop the veggies into julienned strips. We usually combine the carrots, peppers and onion but leave the spinach and mushrooms to their own pans. Mix the Bibimbap sauce ingredients in a bowl. Add some sesame oil and 1/4 tsp of fine sea salt in a pan and cook the carrots, peppers and onion on medium-high to high heat for 2 to 3 minutes or longer if you liked them more caramelized. Remove the carrots, peppers and onion from the pan and place on a plate. Add some more sesame oil, another dash of salt and a bit of garlic and sautee the spinach and mushrooms. Cook until the spinach is wilted. Remove from the pan and add to the plate with the other veggies. In the same pan, add some more sesame and cook the meat on medium-high to high heat. It takes about 3 to 5 minutes to thoroughly cook it. When the moisture has evaporated and the meat is starting to brown, remove from heat and drain. In another pan (trust me on this one do not try to reuse the same pan you sauteed the mean in!) make fried eggs. (As the original recipe stats and is spot on: “While sunny side up is common, you can make them per your preference.”) Ladle the rice into bowls and add the vegetables, meat and egg. Cover with the sauce!

My opinion:
I’ve eaten this dish three days in a row and I’m still not sick of it!

p.s. even our toddler likes this without the spicy “sauca.”

Vietnamese Bo Luc Lac

  
As the arrival of our daughter gets closer, J and I have started perfecting some of our favorite restaurant dishes at home. We finally got this dish perfect and couldn’t be happier. The original recipe can be found here.

Beef Marinade Ingredients (makes the gravy):
1.5 pounds beef sirloin (or any cut you like) cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1.5 tablespoons sugar (we have found brown works pretty well)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce (we used regular, but the original recipe calls for thick)

Vinaigrette Ingredients (for quick pickling of the veggies and a tablespoon or two in some white rice makes a HUGE difference!):
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1.5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoons salt

Dipping Sauce Ingredients (this is our favorite part, it really brings the whole dish together!):
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Non-sauce Ingredients:
1 red onion, thinly sliced (you can use yellow in a pinch)
2 bunches of iceberg or watercress or romaine, long stems trimmed
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
Cooking oil for frying

Directions:
Prepare marinade by combining garlic, oyster sauce, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil with the beef for at least half an hour, preferably 1-2 hours let marinate in the refrigerate. (Note: If you’re thinking ahead (like we occasionally do), feel free to combine the beef and the marinade and freeze the mixture. Then you can just take it out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator when you leave for work.)

Prepare vinaigrette by mixing rice vinegar with salt and sugar. It should be a balance of sour, salty and sweet. It should look something like this:
Vinaigrette for quick pickling

Thinly slice the red onion and use about 3-4tablespoons tablespoons the vinaigrette to pickle and set aside covered in fridge for about 10 minutes (longer is better here too!). Prepare bed of lettuce and tomatoes in a serving platter and set aside.

Heat a large wok or pan over high heat. Add about 2 tablespoons cooking oil and when it begins to smoke, add an even layer of beef and allow to sear for about 2 minutes, before “shaking” to sear the opposite sides for about another 1-2 minute more to brown all the sides. Do this in batches to cook all the beef if necessary. This will sear the beef so it looks like this:
Vietnamese Shaking Beef

Transfer beef to bed of watercress and tomatoes. Drizzle another 3-4 tablespoons of vinaigrette over the beef and greens and top with pickled red onions. Lastly, squeeze lime juice over salt and pepper in a small bowl and use for dipping the beef, or feel free to just drizzle it on. The dipping sauce should look like this:
Bo Luc Lac dipping sauce

My opinion:
This has to be in my top 10 favorite dishes of all time. I love the veggies and the balance of all five flavors. I also love that the rice isn’t even really necessary for this to be a filling meal. Plus even if you do all the prep work right before dinner, the whole start to finish time is only about 30 minutes.

Portuguese filet of Swai

Portuguese Swai

J and I have been trying to eat more fish. Since one of my most favorites, seared tuna, is out at least until Baby Girl Tyler arrives in November, we’ve had to get creative. Last night, J found this super easy and really delicious Portuguese recipe from Food.com. We didn’t have any sole filets  on hand, so we swapped out Swai (not sure what Swai is, check out this link from Consumer Reports) and it was wonderful. Since we didn’t want to figure out how to divide an egg yolk, we just made the full sauce recipe. Which turned out to be a great idea because the sauce was equally delicious over brown rice!

Ingredients:
2 Swai fillets
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 sprigs parsley, minced
1 egg yolk

Directions:
Arrange fillet in broiler pan and sprinkle with a little lemon juice and dot with butter. Broil until fish begins to brown. While the fish is broiling, combine the remaining lemon juice, sherry, soy sauce, parsley, and egg yolk. Mix well. When the fish has browned, spoon the sauce mixture over fish and return to broiler until sauce begins to bubble. If you end up with more sauce than fish, like we did, add the sauce to a pan and heat on medium until bubbling. This ended up being perfect because the sauce on the fish soaked in.

My opinion:
With a side of brown rice and broccoli, this was a super light and tasty dish. In total, it took longer to cook the brown rice than to make the fish from start to finish. Next time, we’ll add more fresh parsley at the end.

Korean Short Rib Tacos

http://garbosgrillkw.com
photo from: http://garbosgrillkw.com

We made these the other night for dinner and they were amazing. J and I fell in love with the Kogi Korean BBQ  tacos at Garbo’s Grill in Key West this summer. This recipe from Food for My Family is really close and with a few tweaks, we won’t have to trek to Key West every time we crave this dish.

Ingredients:
3 pounds flank-style beef short ribs (We actually used about 2 pounds of short ribs because they were on sale!)
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup mirin
1/4 cup sesame oil
6 cloves garlic (we used a bit more than six cloves)
6 scallions
2 teaspoons fresh peeled ginger (we used grated)

Slaw ingredients:
3 cups Napa cabbage, chopped (we shredded it)
1 cup daikon, diced into matchsticks (in case you’re wondering, like I was, this is a root vegetable and kind of tastes like a radish)
1 cup bean sprouts (If you can’t find this, don’t worry we left the out and it still tasted great!)
6 scallions, diced
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon sriracha or chili pepper sauce (or more if you like it spicy!)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Other ingredients:
10-15 yellow corn tortillas (we used flour because it was what we had on hand)
sriracha sauce

Directions:
Begin by cutting off excess fat from the short ribs. You can also remove the membrane under the bone side of the rib. (We just removed the bones because we were hungry and in a hurry.) Place in a zip-top bag.
In a food processor, blend together soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, sesame oil, garlic, scallions and ginger. Reserve 1/2 cup of sauce and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Pour the rest of the sauce over the short ribs, ensuring all ribs are covered. Seal tightly and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Longer is better, but you should let them marinate for at least 3 hours.

To prepare the slaw: Place shredded Napa cabbage, shredded daikon (use your food processor, otherwise you’ll be cutting forever!), spouts, scallions and cilantro together in a medium to large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, soy sauce, mirin and sriracha. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to coat. Store covered in the fridge until ready to serve.

IMG_6640
The original recipe called for reducing the extra marinade ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick. Place in a serving bowl to drizzle on tacos. We thought this made it too salty. Next time, we won’t reduce it. But this is what it looks like reduced.
IMG_6642
Heat a pan over high heat. (Or like the original recipe suggests, heat a grill to at least 550 degrees). The intent here is to flash cook the meat while simultaneously caramelizing the marinade. Place your short ribs on the grill. Cook for three minutes and flip. Cook an additional three minutes, wrap in foil and set aside.
IMG_6641
Cut short ribs into strips, avoiding the bones. Assemble your Korean tacos:  tortilla, barbecued short ribs, a drizzle of Korean barbecue sauce, Napa cabbage slaw and extra sriracha to match your tastes. Serve immediately.

My opinion: It was so good, I didn’t get a photo of the completed dish. Next time!