Slow Cooker Salmon

Slow Cooker Salmon
1-2 lbs salmon fillets, skin left on
Salt & Pepper
Spices, optional
Sliced lemon, optional
Sliced aromatic vegetables, like fennel, onions, or celery, optional
1 to 1 1/2 cups liquid, like water, broth, wine, beer, cider, or a mix

Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper: Be generous! Sprinkle on any other spices you’re using and rub them in with your fingers.

Line the slow cooker: Cut a large square of parchment or aluminum foil and press it into the slow cooker. This makes it easier to lift the delicate salmon out of the slow cooker later.

Place aromatics over the bottom of the slow cooker: If you’re using them, place a layer of lemon slices and sliced aromatics on the bottom of the slow cooker. This adds flavor, but isn’t strictly necessary.

Place one layer of salmon in the slow cooker, skin-side down. Top with more slices of lemon and aromatics, if using.

Add another layer, if needed: If you’re cooking more salmon than fits in a single layer, you can add a second layer. Place a piece of parchment over the first layer, lay the rest of the salmon over, and top with aromatics. (I don’t recommend adding a third layer.)

Choose your cooking liquid: The liquid helps to poach the salmon gently. It can be as simple as plain water, or as complex as a cup of amber beer with soy sauce and fish sauce mixed in. My standby is half water and half white wine. You’ll need between 1 and 1 1/2 cups of liquid.

Pour the liquid over the salmon: If cooking one fillet, add enough water to just barely cover. If cooking two layers, add enough water to come partway up the side of the top fillet.

Cook on LOW for 1 to 2 hours: The exact cooking time will vary based on your particular slow cooker, the number and thickness of your fillets, and how “done” you like your salmon. Check the salmon after an hour and continue checking every 20 minutes until it’s done. If you prefer fully cooked salmon, check it with a thermometer in the thickest part — the fish is done when it reaches 145°F.

Remove from the slow cooker: Lift the salmon from the slow cooker using the parchment or aluminum foil. Tilt the paper slightly as you lift to drain off the liquid.

Serve immediately, or cool and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days. Store leftover salmon in an airtight container.

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Green Bean & Penne Pasta Salad

Green Bean & Penne Pasta Salad
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

1 lb tomatoes, chopped (about 2c)
1 lb fresh green beans
8 oz Spinach Penne Pasta
4 oz Aged Feta, crumbled

In a large owl, combine 2 cloves of minced garlic with 2 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, a handful of chopped basil, and the chopped tomatoes. Set aside so flavors can marry.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Wash, trim, and rinse your green beans. When water boils, toss in green beans. Let cook for 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove green beans. Add pasta to the boiling water. Let boil for 3-5 minutes. When pasta is almost done, throw beans back into water for just a minute. Strain beans & pasta into colander. Run under cool water to stop cooking.

Toss penne & green beans into bowl with tomatoes. Mix all together. Top with crumbled feta. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Grilled Summer Salad

Grilled Summer Salad

8 oz sweet grilling peppers, halved and seeded
1 1/2 lb Fairytale eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1 sweet onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
Cooking spray
1 tbsp champagne vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ounce oil-cured olives (about 12), pitted and halved
1/4 cup fresh small basil leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Toss veggies (peppers, eggplant, onion, tomatoes) with seasoning: 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Place peppers (skin side down) and onion on grill coated with cooking spray; grill 10 minutes. Turn onion; add eggplant to grill. Remove peppers. Place peppers in a zip-top bag; seal. Let stand 10 minutes.

Grill eggplant and onion 5 minutes; remove onion. Turn eggplant; grill 5 minutes. Remove eggplant. Add tomatoes to a grill basket (skewered tomatoes would work here, too); grill 5 minutes. Remove peppers from bag. Peel and discard skins.

Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, vinegar, and sugar. Slowly add 2 tablespoons oil, stirring with a whisk. Combine vegetables, dressing, garlic, and olives. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, basil, and chives.

Okra & Tomatoes

Okra & Tomato

5 Tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 onion, sliced thin

1 hot pepper, seeded, sliced thin

3 garlic cloves, sliced thin

1 Tbsp tomato paste

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 to 3/4 pound fresh okra

5 plum tomatoes, diced

Salt and pepper

Heat 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large sauté pan or wide, shallow pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, sauté the onion, jalapeño and celery for 2 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute or two.

While the vegetables are sautéing, mix the tomato paste, broth and vinegar until they are combined. Add to the pan with the vegetables and bring to a boil. Add the rosemary and a pinch of salt.

As the sauce is boiling, slice the okra on the bias to create diagonal pieces. The reason for diagonal slicing is to expose as much of the interior of the okra as possible. Wait to cut the okra until the last minute because it helps make them less slimy.

Heat another pan over high heat for a minute or two. Add the remaining oil and get it almost smoking hot, which should take 1-2 minutes. Add the sliced okra and spread out in a single layer in the pan. Let the okra brown for at least a minute before you move them. The goal is to cook the okra quickly at very high heat without moving it too much. The high heat sears the okra and helps limit the slime factor. Sear the okra for 3-4 minutes, stirring only 2-3 times.

As soon as the okra is done, add it to the boiling sauce. Add the diced tomatoes and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, no longer. The tomatoes should still be a bit firm, and you don’t want to cook the okra to the point it starts releasing slime.

Turn off the heat, grind black pepper over everything and taste once more for salt. Add if needed.

Serve over steamed rice or with lots of crusty bread.