Easy Salmon Poke Bowls

Poke bowl shops are popping up all over the country, but how nice would it be if you could make them even better at home?! These easy salmon poke bowls are packed with flavor and tons of fun toppings! This is a meal I crave so much whenever the temps start rising and i’m wanting something fun and fresh!

Easy Salmon Poke Bowls

We got back from our anniversary trip from Palm Springs on Monday after spending four days in beautiful sunny California weather! Our days were filled with lounging by the pool, lathering a lot of sunscreen on this Oregon skin, and exploring and eating our way through the city together. Since it was our first wedding anniversary, we exchanged “paper” gifts on the last night - I made a scrapbook for him of all of our wedding and honeymoon photos, our vows, love notes, and little tidbits over the last year together, and he gave me a framed picture of our first dance song printed on a canvas. Sweetest gift ever. I of course boo-hooed like a baby, especially reading our vows back to each other. I’ll try and not get any more mushy gushy with you - but I highly recommend doing something in whatever way that fits your style to celebrate milestones! It creates such a great tradition and I’m looking so forward to all the anniversaries to come!

I absolutely loved Palm Springs. The people, the food, the weather, everything! I am making a full guide on how to spend a couples weekend in Palm Springs to share with you guys.

Easy Salmon Poke Bowls

So now lets get down to business! These salmon poke bowls are somethin’ else and I can’t gettem off ma mind! Sorry, I just finished Where the Crawdads Sing in Palm Springs and I can’t stop talkin’ like a backwoods marsh gal! Ok i’ll stop.

But really, these are SO GOOD and super easy to make. Buying good fish can be expensive, however I have found that I can make a much bigger bowl and the exact way that I want it (topping overload) compared to the fancy poke places down the street. You can Google your local Japanese market or New Seasons/Whole Foods has great options as well!

These bowls are so customizable - if you prefer tuna over salmon, sushi rice vs. brown rice, ponzu or spicy mayo - the options are endless!

Easy Salmon Poke Bowls
Easy Salmon Poke Bowls
Easy Salmon Poke Bowls

Easy Salmon Poke Bowls

Ingredients

Rice (brown rice or sushi rice)

Salmon
- 1 pound of sushi-grade salmon (cubed or thinly sliced)
- 1/2 cup of soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons sriracha

Cucumbers
I typically make a jar of picked cucumbers, so this recipe will give you extra after the recipe.
- 1 large English or hothouse cucumber thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar,
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes

Spicy Mayo
- equal parts sriracha and mayo/greek yogurt. You can make this as spicy as you want. I usually just do a big spoonful of both mayo and greek yogurt and then just stir in sriracha until it reaches the spiciness level I’m looking for!

Toppings
These are some of the toppings I love!
- Edamame, sliced radishes, avocado, fried garlic or shallots, everything bagel seasoning, sliced jalapeño, scallions, seaweed salad and pickled ginger. Use a combo of any of these!

What to do

  1. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and sriracha. Add in thinly sliced or cubed salmon, toss to coat, cover and place in the fridge until ready to use! I use the leftover marinade from the fish and drizzle a little over the rice in my bowl for extra flavor!

  2. Get your rice boiling and start on the cucumbers. Combine vinegar, water, honey, salt and chili flakes in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling turn off heat, add cucumber slices and stir. Let them rest for 10 minutes, then transfer cucumber to a container.

  3. Make spicy mayo and prep other toppings.

  4. To build your bowl, use rice as your base and then add in the salmon and any toppings your heart desires!

Enjoy!

Our New Favorite Way to Make Dungeness Crab

Before I could even read a menu I would choose crab legs over chicken tenders on the kids menu. My poor parents would shell crab legs for me before they even ate themselves lol. I think they were happy that I was an adventurous eater but i’m sure a little annoyed as well.

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I grew up eating Florida Blue Crabs which have the sweetest most delicate meat. Even though they take up residence from Novia Scotia to the Gulf of Mexico, I always think of blue crabs as such a Floridian way of life! I have such fond memories of spreading newspaper all of the kitchen table and going to town- dunking the claw meat in melted butter was always my favorite! In Norway, Thomas’s family eats crab completely different which I love! They eat the whole body of the crab, spread the meat on a piece of white bread and squeeze a little mayo and lemon juice on top.

Now that we live in Oregon, Dungeness crab is king! While blue crabs are better in warmer months, Dungeness crab are best in the winter so we have really been enjoying them this season. I have fallen in love with a new way to eat crab with this recipe! A sweet asian peppercorn sauce blended with a ton of fresh coriander. We crack the shells just enough to easily take out the meat, and then toss them harmoniously with the peppercorn sauce. And there she is. The most glorious crab recipe I've tried to date. Pour yourself a hefty glass of white wine, spread out the newspaper, and get your hands messy ya’ll!

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Asian Peppercorn Dungeness crab

Ingredients

- 3 pounds of crab (do 1 1/2 pounds per person)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1 jalapeño, roughly chopped
- 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 bunch of coriander (cilantro)
- 2 tablespoon of toasted black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 lemon
- sliced scallions and additional coriander for garnishing

What to do

  1. Boil sugar, vinegar, ginger, garlic, and jalapeño until it comes to a boil and the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.

  2. In your blender, mix the vinegar mixture, hoisin, and cilantro until it’s completely blended.

  3. Remove the claws from the body of the crab and crack them either using crab crackers or with the back edge of a knife, removing some of the shell so the sauce can absorb into the crab claw meat. Remember, this is meant to be messy, so you’ll remove the rest of the shells and pick the meat out when you’re eating!

  4. You can pick the meat out of the body of the crab as well and keep that in a separate bowl.

  5. Once you have all of the crab claws cracked, heat the oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Toss the crab in and heat them up for 2 minutes or so tossing occasionally. Add in the sauce, tossing the crab, and reducing the sauce down - about 5 minutes.

Enjoy!

Seared Scallops with Butternut Squash Purée

People are obsessed with all things Pumpkin this time of year. I mean OBSESSED! Have you walked into Trader Joe’s lately? Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin shaped pasta, pumpkin spice coffee creamer, and even pumpkin spice hand-soap! I have to admit, I did order a pumpkin spice latte today at Starbucks and I might have already decided what i’m going to be for Halloween, so I have no room to judge…

However, if you’re needing a break for pumpkin but are still wanting to give some love to the squash family, butternut is your guy (or girl?)! Normally i’ve ever just used butternut in stews or my favorite butternut squash enchiladas, but we puréed it up for this first time and it is silky autumn delectableness.

This was a random recipe we made and it ended up being a crazy delicious combo so I wanted to share it with you guys! If you’re wanting to make something that looks fancy but is super easy and quick to cook-up, this is for you!

And If you’ve never seared scallops, YOU GOTTA MAKE IT HAPPEN. Not only are they scrumptious and perfect sea vessels, but they are surprisingly simple to make. The trick is not to flip them right away and let them get a perfect golden crust. Do it, just do it alright?

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Seared Scallops with Butternut Squash Purée

Ingredients (recipe is for two people)

- 8 large scallops (about a pound)
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons of finely chopped shallot
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- 1 small butternut squash
- sautéed mushrooms (optional)

What to do

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350º. Peel the squash, scooping out the seeds and cutting the flesh into 1-inch cubes. On a foil-lined sheet pan, toss the squash cubes with olive oil and season with salt. Cover the squash with foil and roast until it's tender, 50 to 60 minutes.

  2. Purée the squash in a blender and then push through a fine-mesh strainer and add to a pot with a lid to keep it warm.

  3. To make the scallops, Pat scallops dry, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Add scallops, and sear about 2 minutes on each side. Careful not to flip until each side is golden. Transfer scallops to a plate, cover, and keep warm.

  4. Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and shallot; cook a few minutes or until butter begins to turn golden brown. (Be careful not to burn the garlic.) Remove skillet from heat; stir in lemon juice and capers.

  5. Re-heat the butternut puree in the pot if it’s needed. Dollop the puree on a plate and slide it it with a spoon to create a base for the scallops. Place scallops down, spoon brown butter sauce over!

Enjoy!

How to Make the Best Paella

Hey Friends - I hope everyone had the best weekend! After an epic bachelorette party in the Bahamas last weekend, I am still in recovery mode. We had the most incredible time soaking up the sun, drinking rum out of coconuts, and dancing/karaoke-ing the night away. It was better than I could have hoped for, but unfortunately on the flight home I was slapped with the worst flu I've had in a long time. So this past week has been spent drinking ginger lemon tea, sleeping a lot, and binge watching Netflix. I hate when you're sick and your taste buds are all messed up! I've been dreaming of all the yummy food I've wanted to make but I just haven't felt it this week. But I did want to share this incredible Paella we made a couple weeks ago that I am still dreaming of. This is the first time we've ever made Paella and I can't believe we haven't been cooking it the whole time! SO GOOD, SO GOOD. 

It's actually a lot  simpler than I thought it would be! Make sure you let your rice sit though and get a caramelized crust on the bottom. Those little brown bits makes the dish even better! 

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Paella

Ingredients
-2 tbsp olive oil
-2 chorizo sausages, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large onion chopped
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 4 chicken thighs boneless and skinless, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 4 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 tbsp hot sauce such as Tabasco or Sriracha
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp saffron
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb large shrimp
- 1 lb mussels scrubbed and soaked
- lobster tails (optional) I know these can be pricey!
- fresh parsley for garnish
- 1 lemon cut into lemon wedges

What to do 

  1. In a large paella pan or skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat and add sausage to the pan. 
  2. While the sausage is cooking, add in the onion, sprinkle with salt and let cook for 2-3 minutes until they start to soften. Then add in your garlic and cook for another minute before tossing in your chicken pieces.  
  3. Once the chicken has starting browning, stir in your tomato paste and let that cook down for another 2-3 minutes. 

  4. Add the arborio rice to the pan and stir well. Add the broth, hot sauce, smoked paprika, saffron and season with salt and pepper. Stir everything together and then just let the mixture sit and cook for 10-15 minutes without stirring. You want to create a caramelized crust on the bottom of the rice. Be careful not to burn it! Gently take a spoon every so often and push a small portion of rice to the side to check the bottom. The rice should absorb most of the liquid at this point but not all of it. 

  5. Turn down the heat just a little and arrange the shrimp, mussels and lobster tails over the rice, cover with a lid again and cook for another 10 minutes or until the mussels open up. Keep an eye on the lobster tails to make sure they don't overcook. You could also cook the lobster in the oven separately with garlic butter which is what we did!

  6. Turn off the heat and garnish with parsley and lemon wedges.

Seared Salmon with Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce

Do you ever have one of those days? That's rhetorical because I know you all do. The kind of day where nothing particularly bad happens, but somehow everything at work takes just a little bit longer, traffic is just is a little bit slower, and things just generally are slightly more annoying all day long. Then after work you circle your neighborhood for 35 solid minutes looking for a parking spot because of a Timber's game, and by the time you find one you then proceed to scrape a little paint off of your fender because you tried to squeeze into a spot with your SUV that was meant for a smart car....

Well, that was my day. 

We all have those days during the week occasionally, and something that gives me comfort is knowing that I can come home, hang out with Thomas, break open a bottle of wine, relax a little, and make a good meal together.

On hectic days when we don't want to spend much time in the kitchen, salmon is on the menu. It's our favorite - plus so quick and easy to make! Bake it, caramelize it, sear it - whatever your heart beckons. 

This meal is healthy, filling, easy-to-make, and freaking delicious. What more could you want?! I plan on posting a bunch of other salmon recipes that I love one day, but this one is the most basic of the basic and a staple that we cook in our house weekly! AND THE CREAMY LEMON DILL SAUCE??!!! It's lemony dill bliss that I cannot imagine living without.

For sides we always do roasted brussel sprouts, an arugula salad, or any other veggies that we have hanging out in our fridge. For the brussel sprouts in this recipe, trim the ends, slice them in half, toss on a sheet pan with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and roast on 350 degrees, tossing occasionally, until they are slightly tender with crispy edges.

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Seared Salmon with Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce 

Ingredients
Seared Salmon
- 1 large side of salmon, bones removed
- 1 lemon thinly sliced
- salt & pepper to taste

Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce

- 1/2 cup (64g) of sour cream or greek yogurt
- quarter of a lemon, juiced
- 1-2 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
- salt to taste

What to do: 
1) Heat a non-stick pan with olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Sear your salmon skin-side down until the salmon is 2/3 of the way cooked. Flip over and cook for another 2-3 minutes. In it's last stages of cooking, throw your sliced lemon slices in the pan and let them brown on both sides. The salmon is done when it easily flakes off with a fork. Be careful not to overcook! 
2) While the salmon is searing, mix up your sauce. Combine the sour cream, lemon juice, fresh chopped dill, 1 clove of garlic, and a sprinkle of salt. Incorporate together and adjust the seasoning to your liking by either adding another clove of garlic, lemon juice, dill, or salt. 

Enjoy!

Lobster Rolls

I am in a blissful buttery lobster coma and I don't ever want to come out. Ever since our friends told Thomas and me about the epic lobster rolls they had while traveling in Maine, we've been dying to get our hands on one. We've drooled over countless articles like 14 Must-Try Lobster Rolls across the U.S., and watched video after video like How-to Make Lobster Rolls with Matty Matheson.  Last weekend we decided enough is enough and spent all of our savings on lobster...just kidding; But those suckers are expensive! Thankfully our local Fred Meyer was having an awesome sale on lobster tails! I was toying with buying a whole live Maine lobster just to taste the difference and to have the frightening experience of cooking it. If you don't know this by now, I have zero willpower when it comes to good food - So a live lobster ended up coming home with me from Newman's Fish Company. I wonder if people thought I was a crazy lady walking down the street holding a brown paper bag far away from by body?!

There's a big debate on what makes a lobster roll "the best". Some say with mayo, some say without; Celery or no celery; butter or no butter; Or the folks that say that the meat should be served unadulterated. 

We went with the light mayo route, with just a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of salt and pepper, and a small dose of green onion tops sprinkled on top. I know this would be blasphemy to many, but we also added a little bit of coleslaw at the bottom of our buns to give it a touch of crunch. Last but not least we drizzled brown butter on top. I mean how could you not add butter people?!  To go alongside I made Bon Appetite's Crispiest Potato Chips and added a sprinkle of Old Bay Seasoning. Amazing. 

 Mind-blowingly good, best weekend meal ever, incredibly easy albeit slightly messy. Check check check. With the 4th of July coming up these rolls would be a SHOW-STOPPAAA.

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We don't have a massive pot, so we cooked the lobster in our cast iron dutch oven and it worked just fine. Once I stopped feeling sad for Mr. Lobster, Thomas plopped him down into the boiling water. I know it's ridiculous, but all I think of is when Sebastian is about to be thrown in the hot water by Chef Louis in Little Mermaid

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Lobster Rolls 

Ingredients
Lobster Rolls

- Lobster tails or live lobsters. Depending on how many rolls you are preparing, we bought a 1½ pound live lobster and 4 small lobster tails and that made 2 HUGE lobster rolls. A good rule of thumb, 1 8 oz lobster tail per person. If you're buying live lobsters, it should be at least  1½- 2 pounds per person.
- 2-3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
- 1-2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon of chopped chives or green onion tops
- Good quality hot dog buns or hoagie rolls, split-top
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Potato Chips
- 1½ pounds russet or purple potatoes
- ½ cup distilled white vinegar
- Vegetable oil (for frying; about 8 cups)
- Old bay seasoning or just simply sprinkle with salt

Cole Slaw
For this I cheated and used a pre-made mix, like this one from Trader Joe's
- 3 tablespoons of Mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
 

What to do

1) I would make the potato chips first! Slice potatoes about ⅛” thick (a mandoline helps). Place in a large bowl, add cold water to cover, and stir to release starch; drain. Repeat until water runs clear. Return potatoes to bowl; cover with ½ cup distilled white vinegar and 6 cups water. Let sit at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Drain; pat dry.
2) Fit a medium heavy pot with thermometer; pour in oil to measure 4”. Heat over medium-high until thermometer registers 300°.
3) Working in 6 batches and returning oil to 300° between batches, fry potatoes, turning occasionally to cook evenly, until golden brown and crisp (oil will have quit bubbling), about 5 minutes per batch. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined wire rack. Season with salt or Old Bay Seasoning!

DO AHEAD: Potatoes can be fried 6 hours ahead. Keep at room temperature.

Next: Make the lobster rolls!
1) Pour water into a large pot to a depth of 1 inch; bring to a boil and salt generously. Add lobsters, cover, and cook until bright red, 7-10 minutes. Transfer lobsters to a rimmed baking sheet and let cool ( we cooked our live lobster first, and then did the tails in a second batch)
2) Crack lobster shells, pick meat from tail and claws, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Mix lobster, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons mayonnaise in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper and add more mayonnaise, if desired.
3) To make the brown butter, simply start melting the butter over medium heat. Swirl the pan occasionally to be sure the butter is cooking evenly. As the butter melts, it will begin to foam. The color will progress from a light yellow color to golden-tan to, finally, a toasty-brown. Once you smell that nutty aroma, take the pan off the heat and transfer the browned butter into a heat-proof bowl to cool. When you transfer the brown butter to a new container, try to leave as much of this sediment in the pan as possible. You can also strain the butter through a fine meshed strainer or cheese cloth to remove all the particles.
4) We wanted the outside of our buns crispy and the inside soft. Brush the outside of the buns with a little of the brown butter. In a large skillet over medium heat, toast the buns on the outsides. 
5) To assemble the rolls, place a layer of cole slaw and pile the lobster on high! Drizzle with the brown butter and sprinkle with green onions or chives! 

Happy Lobster-Roll-Eating Ya'll!