Recipe du Jour: Mirin Glazed Salmon

8359043441_e9ba275636_o

We all could stand to eat healthier, right? No matter what your definition, you could probably stand to make a small tweak or two, right? One of the ways I’ve been trying to eat healthier is eating more fish. This is a small problem when I don’t like many fish unless they’re breaded. Certainly, I can’t eat anything that looks like the animal it came from. And I can’t afford to eat sushi every day. So, I mostly eat salmon. I’ve found a reasonably priced source of wild caught salmon, so I feel ok trying to make it once a week.

This is one of my go-to recipes now. It’s simple, it’s quick, and most importantly, it tastes good! It’s easy to pair with healthy sides (brown rice and broccoli normally). It has an awesome texture that makes it feel like you’re eating something downright decadent. This recipe is originally from Nigella Express.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup mirin (a sweet syrup-y japanese cooking rice wine.  Can be found at asian markets)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 4 (4 oz) pieces of salmon
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1-2 scallions, halved and shredded into fine strips (optional)

Directions:

Mix the mirin, sugar, and soy in a shallow dish that will hold all 4 pieces of salmon, and marinate the salmon in it for 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second.  Meanwhile, heat a large skillet on the stove.  Cook salmon in the hot, dry pan for 2 minutes and then turn it over, add the marinade, and cook for another 2 minutes.  Remove the salmon to whatever plate you’re serving it on, and add the rice vinegar to the hot pan.  Pour the dark, sweet, salty glaze over the salmon and top with the scallion strips.  Serve with rice or noodles as you wish, and consider putting some sushi ginger on the table, too.

Notes: Supposedly these make great leftovers in a salad the next day. I’ve never had it happen because Andrew and I always gobble it down the night we make it. I might get the chance now that I’m focusing on eating smaller portions.

Advertisements

2013 Resolutions

Ah, yes. I’d almost forgotten it was New Year’s. There’s something horribly depressing about looking back on the past year, and saying “Man, I didn’t do anything.” Which is why I’m not doing that. I may not have done my resolutions, but I did a lot of things last year.

Things like:

  • Got Married (twice! The legal paperwork, and then a nice ceremony later)
  • Decided not to stay in grad school (link)
  • Got a new job (link)
  • Bought a car
  • Started saving for retirement and paying off student loans (thanks to aforementioned job)
  • Continued learning about Real Food
  • Started working out regularly again
  • Attempted a garden again (and learned from it, even if I didn’t get much out of it)
  • Blogged regularly for a whole month!
  • Chipping away at the reading, recipe, and craft project lists.

That’s a lot for only one year.

This coming year, now that I’m settled into my job a little better, should be good for a lot of the goals that I didn’t finish. (It’s amazing how many little pockets of time you find when you don’t have homework or papers to write or research!) As before, I’m going to have a few yearlong goals, and then some goals that will be spread out throughout the year. This is healthier in the long run because it keeps you from trying to change 12 things at once and then failing.

Yearlong Goals

  • Zazen for at least 15 minutes every day. I’ve been trying to get a meditation habit going, but I’ve been afraid that it will make me fall asleep in the morning or late at night, and on my previous schedule, when I came home from work. Now I get home from work a bit earlier, and so not as tired.
  • Lose weight. Previous years, I’ve said I want to lose 50 pounds. That would bring me back to about high school weight. I’m still going to try for that, so I’m really going to focus on cleaning up my diet and adding in more exercise. My workplace has bonuses for things like this, so that’s an added incentive.
  • Real Food lessons. I’m still subscribed to my online class, so I’d like to focus on finishing it out, and making more real changes. A tentative idea is to do one big real food project once per week.

Sectioned Goals

  • Socialize with Friends. I’m a bit of a lurker on Facebook and other media, and I haven’t done a lot of in person get-togethers with people. I’ve been a hermit in grad school, and I’m an introvert, so socializing takes active effort on my part. So I’d like to really try to make that effort. Ideas: tea parties, google hangouts, and game nights. My birthday is in January, so that makes for lots of great excuses for getting together. Also, think of ways to hang out with friends that don’t have to involve food. You can’t use going out for dinner as your only way of hanging out.
  • Crafting projects. I’ve got an ever growing pile of ideas and projects I’d like to do, but I haven’t gotten to them. I’d like to carve out at least an hour per week to work on a side project like this. I plan to devote most of the warm weather months to this (in Oklahoma that means about April to October).
  • Piano. I have an electric piano that’s just collecting dust. I took lessons once upon a time. But I haven’t devoted serious practice time since I graduated undergrad. In the late fall, I’ll start practicing for the Christmas season, since I have several books of Christmas carols in varying difficulties.

Of course, there are lots of little goals too. I’ve realized that a lot of my projects aren’t things that I’m excited to do, they’re just things that I thought would be neat to do. I can Craigslist those and pass them on to someone else. I’ve really been focusing on decluttering the house, as I grew up in a house of packrats. These days I’m more inclined to throw something I’m not using out than keep it. Little things that one would think are no-brainers, except they’re the first things to go when you’re in grad school and feeling like you’re rushed all the time.

What did you accomplish last year? What did you learn? How are you going to apply that to this year’s goals?

New Year’s Eve Traditions

8334760708_d48fb9f3dc_o

In movies and TV shows, New Year’s Eve is always full of champagne, parties where people can make total fools of themselves, and confetti. People stand in the cold in Times Square to watch the ball drop. Some couples share a kiss at the stroke of midnight. My friends talk about annual get-togethers with old friends, a party like the good old days.

My experience with New Year’s Eve is nothing like these. Aside from the past few years, my family and I did the same thing every year. Stayed up late playing board games. And we’re not talking quick board games. We’re talking old school Monopoly and Risk. The kind of game that you knew would take hours anyway. We’d reheat some Christmas leftovers (if any were left) and make some snacks, and by night’s end, we’d all be so sick of counting out little armies we were willing to concede defeat.

My favorite snack for this kind of thing is homemade Chex Mix. It tastes so different compared to the store bought stuff, and has that great salty savory flavor that you want from your party snacks. Link to original recipe here, but it can be found on almost any box of Chex cereal.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups Corn Chex Cereal
  • 3 cups Rice Chex Cereal (I used Crispix in place of the Rice and Corn Chex)
  • 3 cups Wheat Chex Cereal
  • 1 cup mixed nuts (I use cocktail peanuts)
  • 1 cup bite-size pretzels
  • 1 cup garlic flavored or regular bagel chips, broken into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp seasoned salt
  • ¾ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder

Directions:

Heat oven to 250 degrees F. In ungreased roasting pan, mix cereals, nuts pretzels and bagel chips. Melt butter in microwave safe bowl, add seasonings. Add to cereal mixture until evenly coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread out on paper towels to cool, about 15 minutes. Store in airtight container.

Notes: I’ve always wanted to make this with something like Crispix, just so I don’t have to buy three different kinds of cereal. I like the chex mix, but the recipe (if followed exactly) doesn’t work in whole boxes, so you’re left with pieces leftover. At least Crispix is a cereal that I like to eat plain.

This year for New Year’s, we are visiting family. We ended up just having a very laid back evening with snacks and tv. If you like the board game idea, I recommend the Board Game Remix Kit. I got the Iphone app and saved the ideas I liked before I got rid of the device. It’s great if you don’t like playing with the vanilla rules, or are bored, or want the game to go faster. It’s written by people in the UK so some of the terms may be different, but it’s not hard to figure out. I totally recommend the Zombie Mansion game using a Clue set. We’ve actually play tested that one and it’s fun.