Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Best Spam I Ever Got

Like all good foodies, I have signed up for every cooking or food-related e-mail known to man (or so it seems). My inbox is regularly filled with e-newsletters from Bon Appetit, Cooking Light, Cook's Illustrated and so on. It's become a bit overwhelming to be honest (yet, I still am giddy when the "new mail" message comes in).

This week, I received one from Cooking Light promoting a new cookbook of fast, fresh, 5-ingredient recipes. Perfect timing: I had no idea what dinner would be that night. On the way home, I stopped by the store and picked up the ingredients for Salmon, Asparagus and Orzo Salad with Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette.

Since I'm continuing to try to eat healthy (although the scale doesn't necessarily support this effort - ugh!), this was the perfect choice. It's filled with fresh spring veggies (see my recent asparagus post) and light pasta with a smattering of fresh, lemony flavor. And, who doesn't love dill? Fantastic!
Go ahead, salivate...I won't tell anyone.

The best part was it only took about 15 minutes to make. And, I've had leftovers for three days. Try it!

Now, I'm off to buy the cookbook...

Salmon, Asparagus and Orzo Salad with Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette
(from Cooking Light's Fresh Food Fast cookbook)

Salad Ingredients:
6 cups water
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
1 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1 (1 1/4-pound) skinless salmon fillet
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup (1.3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat broiler.

2. Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add asparagus; cook 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove asparagus from water with tongs or a slotted spoon, reserving water in pan. Plunge asparagus into ice water; drain and set aside.

3. Return reserved water to a boil. Add orzo, and cook according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

4. While orzo cooks, sprinkle fillet evenly with salt and pepper. Place fish on a foil-lined broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Using 2 forks, break fish into large chunks.

5. Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and stir with a whisk.

6. Combine fish, orzo, asparagus, onion, and Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette in a large bowl; toss gently to coat.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Here Comes Peter's Cotton Tail

You know it's coming when the days get a bit longer and the daffodils shimmer in the morning dew. It's on the way when the tulips awaken from their naps in the cool earth and open their buds like brilliant stars in the sky. The redbud and cherry blossom and Bradford pear trees appear around each corner with their cloudlike blossoms and fragrant perfumes.

Easter is here! And that means...the Easter Bunny!

See what he left me this year:

He knows me so well: my complete obsession with jelly beans (yes, I'm obsessed all year round), Reese's cups and Cadbury eggs. Come on, who doesn't love a silky milk chocolate egg filled with a sinfully sweet creme center that just melts in your mouth?

And then there is the Russell Stover chocolate bunny with a gooey marshmallow center. The slight crack of the chocolate when you bite down sends chills down my spine every time.

Finally, the old fashioned candy-coated eggs. I don't have a clue what they are made of, but one bite and I'm 6 years old again, on my grandparents' farm in Missouri, racing around the front yard with my cousins to see who can fill their basket with the most eggs. The wet dew on our toes and the fresh scent of the grass in the air, those were definitely the days.

Still, every Easter, I am reminded of the many blessings I have and am thankful for this day to rejoice in new life!