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Word Play

When it comes to food, the term “blackened” is not a descriptor you would typically want to use to describe your dish.  To us, anyways, the word blackened is kind of synonymous with other words like “burnt” or “charred”- doesn’t exactly get your mouth watering, does it?  No, it sort of just leads us to think of another word… “inedible”.

Think about it- blackened cookies, blackened toast, blackened pizza… suddenly you don’t feel well and you’re (cough, cough) “not hungry”, right?

In fact, the term blackened is right up there with words like “wilted”, “fermented” and “sapid” (who knew that word means something tastes good?!?)

Yes, for the most part if your dish is blackened, you probably burnt it and it probably isn’t going to be very, well… sapid.  (There.  We tried using it and we were right- it just sounds weird.)  But there is a time when the term blackened is a good thing.

A very good thing.

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If you hear the word blackened in front of the word salmon, you can forget all of your preconceived notions of what you thought the word meant, erase the images swirling in your mind of charred, dried-out fish, and dive in fork-first!

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Because this salmon is slammin’! (Sorry- we couldn’t resist!)

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But in all seriousness, we may never eat salmon any other way ever again- it was that good.

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There are 2 simple steps to creating this mouth-watering dish, and only about 25 minutes until it is on your plate! The secret to perfectly-done blackened salmon (aka-not burnt) is to sear it in the pan and then finish it off in the oven!  That way you get a crispy outer-layer, but a flaky, succulent inside.

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Succulent. Now there’s a word we want to hear more of!  Or how about delectable, exquisite, or tantalizing? 

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Actually, if there was a word that combines all of those we’d have a dead-ringer!

Delecquitalizing? Tantaquitable? Hmm… maybe we’ll just let the pictures do the talking 😉

Blackened Salmon

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

1 lb. salmon (you can also use fillets)
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt (or garlic powder + a dash of salt)
1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

In a small dish, combine all the spices.  Generously coat both sides of the salmon with the spices and gently rub into the flesh.

Preheat the oven to 350F

Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat.  Once the pan is hot, place the salmon in the pan.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the spices are blackened, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes to blacken the other side.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and move fish from the pan onto the baking sheet.  Bake in the centre of the oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until the salmon is no longer dark pink in the middle and flakes easily with a fork.  Serve with avocado-corn salsa (recipe below).

Avocado-Corn Salsa

Prep: 10 minutes
Makes: ~1 cup

Ingredients:

1/2 a large avocado
3/4 c. frozen corn, thawed
1 tomato, diced
1 green onion, diced
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a small dish and serve.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever had anything that’s been “blackened”? What are your favourite food-descriptor words? (We’re always looking to expand our repertoire ;))

A Spring Wish

This weather is crazy! For instance, yesterday: Blizzarding in the morning, sunny and warm enough to run in half-tights in the afternoon. What the heck?!? We are actually going batty over here- Mother Nature needs to get her act together and get spring going. We mean really, it’s March 27th people! Why is it still snowy and struggling to reach temperatures above freezing? There should be little flower buds and a slightly warmer sun by now!

In an effort to gently  encourage spring to come out of it’s shell, we made an early-summer inspired meal for dinner a few nights ago:

DSCN5228Baked Salmon with a Stawberry-Basil Rice Pilaf and Strawberry-Avocado Salsa!

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What’s more summer-y than fresh strawberries? They scream early late-June early-July.
Don’t mind the dying asparagus in the background. Asparagus is another veggie that is so reminiscent of the spring time, however we got a little excited about preparing the rest of the meal and sort of forgot that it was in the oven. Woops!

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Other than the forsaken asparagus, this meal was like a burst of spring even though there’s still snow on the ground. Strawberry+avocado is an unreal combination (have you ever tried strawberry and avocado grilled cheese? If you haven’t, you definitely should!) and so is strawberry+basil, and they all just go so well with the salmon!

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Maybe, if we just boycott winter all together spring will get here faster. Run in shorts and tank-tops, wear strappy sandals…. hmm, maybe we’ll just stick to eating spring/summer-inspired meals!

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Here’s to hoping spring comes out of hiding soon!

Baked Salmon with Strawberry Basil Rice Pilaf and Strawberry Avocado Salsa

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Prep time: 10min
Cook time: 20min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

2 filet of salmon
1/2 tsp lemon juice
ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 c. rice + water (amount of water depends on the type of rice you’re using. We used a short-grain brown rice/wild rice mix)
3/4 c. strawberries, chopped
1/2 c. basil, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp lemon juice, divided
1 tbsp dijon mustard, divided
ground black pepper

1/2 c. strawberries, chopped
1/2 avocado, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
pinch of sea salt
ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350F.
Sprinkle salmon with lemon juice and pepper and bake for 10min, or until light pink and flakes easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, cook rice according to package directions.
Put chopped strawberries and garlic onto a frying pan and mix with half of the lemon juice and dijon mustard. Cook over medium heat for 3 min, then add the basil. Cook for another 2 minutes or until strawberries have softened. Once the rice is finished cooking, stir the strawberry-basil mixture into the rice, along with the rest of the lemon juice and dijon mustard, and the black pepper.

For the salsa, toss chopped strawberries and avocado with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

To serve, put the rice pilaf on the plate first and place salmon over top. Top with the salsa and serve along side your favourite spring veggies!

~twosaucysisters

What ways are you using to escape this prolonged winter weather?