Grilled Tuna with Spicy Garden Salsa

Grilled Tuna with Spicy Garden SalsaSwimmin’ with the Fishes
Anytime the weather turns sunny and a smidge warmer, I tend to start eating more fish. Maybe it’s the looming promise of bathing suit season but at the first signs of spring, I feel the need to eat a bit lighter.

To say that I dramatically increase my fish intake would be a stretch. It’s a relative thing because I’m not a big lover of fish. I tend to gravitate more towards a cheeseburger.

When I do make fish, I like to go simple with a lot of flavor. That may sound contradictory but let me explain. If I had to pick my favorite fish recipe it would be this one, Salmon Roasted in Butter. It’s so quick to make and with some really fresh Salmon—it melts in your mouth.  One cannot live on Salmon alone, though. It would be boring.
Next best way to make fish? Grill it.

Next best way to make fish? Grill it.

Not all fish does well on the grill. But, Tuna is one of them. Because they are hearty and firm, Tuna steaks are perfect for the grill, and are a great alternative to red meat. They even work well as a burger (for those times when you crave a burger but have to be good). And it happens more than you think…

I usually just brush on some olive oil and sprinkle the steaks with a little salt and pepper. If I want to brighten the flavor up a bit I will top them with mango salsa or even better, with real salsa.

Grilled Tuna with Spicy Garden Salsa
Adapted from Rick Bayless

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Bahia-Style Fish Stew

Bahia-Style Fish StewHer Name Is Rio

The Olympics start this week. I am excited to watch, but I admit to not being as excited as in previous Olympic years. Maybe it’s the controversy surrounding the games, or maybe I’m just tired…but I’m just not as into it.

Doesn’t mean I won’t go with a theme—it’s tradition, after all. We gotta have the food of the host country while watching the Opening Ceremonies. There are Brazilian dishes that I love (see this post for two versions of Brazilian Feijoada and Caipirinhas). There aren’t too many that I make with any regularity, because despite being introduced to some great dishes, Brazilian food still remains a bit of a mystery to me. Also, until recently, it has been challenging to find all of the ingredients. The good news is that has changed.

One of the first Brazilian dishes I ever made was this Bahia-style Fish Stew. My husband ate so much he made himself sick. It’s definitely tasty, though don’t expect to find it on the Olympic training tables, ‘cause it will blow your diet. It would, however, be a great way to celebrate the Olympic spirit Rio style.

Bahia-Style Fish Stew
Serves 2-4

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Plancha Salmon with Chimicurri

Plancha SalmonThe North American Female

When it comes to the Dad lottery, I hit the jackpot twice. I was lucky enough to have a father who thought my sister and I could do anything we wanted, and did everything he could to make sure we had the opportunities to try. We have no greater champion than our Dad (except Mom). That was my first Jackpot.

Because of his example, I knew exactly what I was looking for in a husband and father for my own kids—and I found him. My second jackpot. Our kids are very lucky because they have someone who loves them beyond measure, and especially just loves to hang out with them. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the same thing, but it’s just a different bond. Of course, it helps that he is still a child himself. In fact I am very sure that in some ways he never progressed past the age of thirteen…his mind works like theirs does. The stuff that they do that drives me bananas, he is equally skilled at, and most of what he does to get the kids laughing comes at my expense. It’s their favorite sport…

Case in point, my husband does these voices that crack the kids up. He’s got a whole battery of personalities. He even has a “Rocket” voice that imitates our Basset Hound. Of course, now we all use it…

The best voice was created out of boredom when we went on our trip to Yellowstone. Ladies and Gentleman, I give you The North American Female.

I was getting ready to go out, and I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth, and the rest of them were sitting on the bed opposite the bathroom door watching me get ready, like I was part of a zoo. As I was going about my routine, I heard this questionable British accent coming from the other room…and a lot of giggling.

I remember as a kid watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom on Sunday nights at my grandmothers. There was always a narrator explaining what was happening on the screen usually a lioness stalking a gazelle. (Strangely, that is how my husband explains our courtship. Go figure.) Turns out my husband was  a Wild Kingdom fan as well; this voice was a cross between the Wild Kingdom guy and the guys who do color commentary for the British Premier league…(GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!!!)

By the time all was said and done we had pee-ed our pants laughing, and I had mascara running down my face—because it’s just plain difficult to apply anything to your face with a running color commentary. It remains to this day one of my favorite memories of the four of them.

In honor of Father’s day and childlike fathers everywhere, I picked this week’s recipe from the cookbook I bought while we were in Yellowstone. It’s called Open Range by Jay Bentley and Patrick Dillon, and it includes a great group of recipes from Big Sky country. We ate well on that trip including some fantastic Salmon….

Plancha Salmon with Chimicurri
Serves 4
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Salmon Skewers à la Amy

Salmon skewersSpring Broken

We had a great Spring Break: we saw Boston, we saw Gettysburg, we saw D.C. It was ten days of non-stop activity—and now, I hurt. I think we must have walked at least 20 miles. (That may or may not be an exaggeration). We saw some really amazing things, but our feet and legs are paying the price…and we’re still on east coast time.

I am looking a mountain of laundry in the face; I’ve no energy to even bother with it. And don’t even get me started on cooking dinner. The problem with dinner is that we over-indulged while away, so it’s time to start eating better. Simple and healthy is the mantra for this week. Last night we grilled salmon. It’s easy, it’s versatile, it’s healthy, and its tasty anytime, but especially mid-week.

There are many recipes out there for Salmon Skewers, and this is my own take. You can do teriyaki, blackened (Cajun) style, miso glazed…whatever floats your boat. Same goes for whatever you choose to thread in between the pieces of salmon or you could go full on protein and just do the salmon.

My favorite version is the one below that uses the Napa Valley Spice Rub from Whole Spice that we carry here at the store. (Check out our Spice Section.) Great for warm weather dinners!

Salmon Skewers à la Amy
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New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam ChowderHot Dogs & History

When planning Spring Break vacations, most people think sun and surf. I admit that a comfy spot on a beach with a Piña Colada does sound pretty good right about now, but at this point of our lives, my family is playing beat the clock when it comes to the traditional family vacation.

Right now, my kids are still alright with being seen in public with us—we don’t know how long it is going to last before we are subject to a lot of eye rolling and sulking in the corner. We are by no means cool in their eyes, however we are least okay enough that they aren’t embarrassed…much. (We don’t make it easy on them.) This year we are trading in the warm weather and sand for Boston and our Nation’s Capital, with a few side trips.

First stop is Boston for a little history, a little chowdah, and the chance to pour some tea in the harbor. (The boys can’t wait. Apparently tossing tea into the water is cool.) Anyone who has been reading these posts knows how baseball-crazy my family is, so of course, no trip to Boston would be complete without seeing Fenway and the Green Monster. We are going, but the Sox are still in spring training. My boys convinced us that we should drive to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. (Sure! Why not? It’s only a four-and-a-half hour ride…in good weather.)

From Cooperstown its south to Gettysburg, PA, a place I have wanted to go for a long time, and a must-see for anyone who can. As a History major, this was my one side trip demand. My kids have told me that they are okay if I geek out, which is good ‘cause it will happen whether I have their permission or not.

After that it is on to the crazy adventure that is Washington DC. Last time I visited was in 8th grade when Dinosaurs roamed the earth.

It should be a fun trip,, I know there will be some funny stories and I hope a lot of good memories. Below is a delicious recipe for clam chowder. The original calls for salt pork. I prefer the smokiness of bacon ’cause everything is better with bacon, so that’s how I make it.

New England Clam Chowder
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