Warm Salmon and Potato Salad With Arugula: A Recipe

Warm Salmon and Potato Salad With Arugula: A Recipe

On a blog I like very much, I found out about this article:

Stop Glossing Over the Good Stuff (How To Be Positive and Happy)

(You should read it. I’ll wait.)

It’s impossible to overstate the extent to which that attitude (“glossing over the good stuff”) defines my daily life. I’m sure I’m not alone, but, when I’m describing my day, ten to one I give it a negative slant.

I’d like to think it’s a humorously negative slant, but all that negative really adds up. It’s super stressful! I sit in traffic and (humorously) stew, instead of remembering how lucky I am to have the Best Car In The World. (I love my car.)

I had to come to that realization on my own. I’ve certainly had my share of hearing “those are really First World problems”. (That’s where I live! It makes sense that I would have those kinds of problems!) But I’m in such a negative mode right now that I think I’m ready to hear it.

As often as possible this month (and I know better than to announce that I’m going to blog every day or even Instagram every day) I’m going to photograph and talk about something that I’m grateful for. Once November is over, I hope this habit turns into finding as many as three things to be happy about. Every day.

Here’s what the picture above represents:

When I am hungry, I can eat. I am grateful that I can feed myself and express myself at the same time. I fried potatoes and onions in a little olive oil, fried sage in a little butter, and tossed them together. I warmed canned salmon with more onions and no oil except what glistened on the fish. I tossed arugula with olive oil and almond oil and wine vinegar and salt and pepper. I tossed the whole thing together, warm and cool. The arugula wilted just a bit. It was healthy, I think. It was very, very good.

Here’s more or less how I got there:

Warm Salmon and Potato Salad With Arugula

1 can salmon <-- (I like canned salmon. I hate canned tuna. Is that weird?)
1 small onion
3 potatoes, chopped
3 T olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1 tsp butter
1 T slivered sage

Arugula Salad
Per person:
around 1 T oil (for this recipe, I used a combo of olive and almond oils)
2 cups prewashed arugula
tiny pinch salt, or to taste
Generous squeeze of lemon juice or 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
So much ground pepper

Heat 3 T olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Pop the potatoes and onions in the oil and sprinkle with salt and plenty of pepper. Fry the potatoes and a handful of chopped onion until brown on the outside and soft on the inside. (Turn frequently; that’s less oil than you’re used to.) Set aside.

In this or a different skillet, heat the butter and add the sage. Fry up quickly. Toss with the potatoes.

Toss the green salad in this order: salt, oil, lemon or vinegar, pepper. Toss the warm potatoes with the salad.

Turn out and drain the salmon. In one of those nonstick skillets you’ve been using, set the salmon along with a tablespoon or two of the chopped onion. Heat slowly, gently breaking the salmon into large flakes with a wooden spoon, just until warm through (not hot; you don’t want to fry it. It’s already cooked. Similarly, don’t add salt).

Toss the salmon with the salad. Served 4 as a main-course salad. Eat, a little smugly. But positively!

For those following along at home, this is my stab at 30 Days of Thankful, a creation of Cathy Zielske. I’m scrapbooking it digitally using her awesome and easy to use templates.

Champagne Cocktail Recipe


Champagne cocktails are the perfect cocktails.

First, they’re easy. Some only require adding one thing to champagne.

Second, they’re gorgeous. Champagne on its own is lovely; champagne with a fizzing sugar cube at the bottom of the flute is dead sexy. Impress your guests!

Last, they are delicious, for similar reasons. Champagne tastes good. Adding tasty things to champagne is about as good as you would expect.

(They’re also liquid sophistication. One sip and you’re Dorothy Parker laying quippy smackdowns on everybody and everything.)

This is how I do it:
Read more ›

Sweet Rice

A bowl of my grandma's sweet rice recipe. This is like a bird's-eye view of me at age four.

Some things you make without thinking. Sweet rice is one of those things.

I’m sure my grandmother started making sweet rice as a way to get picky kids like me to eat leftover white rice. Once I tasted it, of course, as with all other children of her experience, I was hooked. Usually it would appear next to a chicken-fried pork chop or a filet mignon, where other families might nestle a baked potato.

For me, it has evolved as a secret comfort food that only pokes its head out a day or two after we have Thai, Indian or Chinese takeout.Read more ›

Making Banana Bread

My grandmother, Barbara Jean, loved ripe bananas.

Not ripe bananas, but yucky, pockmarked bananas that were almost black, like these. Sometimes she sliced them over my Cheerios, to make sure I got enough potassium in my diet.

Mash 'em

As I get older, I remember the little things about my grandmother. Her neat, pretty hands, nails painted with pale frosted polish, resting on her lap on a day when I was sick and we could both watch her “stories” on the dining room TV. She laughed at the antics of the spitfire characters — Reva Shayne on Guiding Light, Sally Spectra on The Bold and the Beautiful. It was an appreciative laugh, sure, but a hat tip, too.
Read more ›

Michelle Obama Told Me To Eat It

I really like government publications. As soon as I was old enough to write, I used to send self addressed stamped envelopes to the Federal Citizen Information Center to get cheaply-printed booklets on home canning and requesting your credit report. They were nearly free and often unintentionally hilarious, especially the food information.

I half-heartedly collect old government recipe books — the kind that would have been distributed by social workers and home ec teachers — and they have never had a great sense of what people want to eat or read. There’s this awkward tone to the writing, where the anonymous author clearly wants to be fun and interesting, but is hamstrung by the need to Not Offend Anybody, so the result is the odd joke or weird illustrations of anthropomorphic Melba toasts.

So, when, suffering from recipe fatigue, I ended up on the First Lady’s Letsmove.gov site, I was actually a little disappointed: it was sincere, but not laughably so. The Let’s Cook section of the site will be featuring inexpensive menu plans and recipes from chefs, hoping to inspire Americans to cook more and drive-thru less. This week’s menu was from chef Marvin Woods, an Atlanta-based chef. Far from being silly-didactic, the page actually could have used more text, in my opinion.

For the first time since I was a bemused 21-year-old housewife reading Woman’s Day, I printed out someone else’s shopping list and went to the store. Last night, I made Woods’ Thursday night meal, Mediterranean Chicken, Pearl Barley, and Feta Eggplant.

The chicken, among my audience, was more or less a wash. We were out of pearl barley (we have always been out of pearl barley) so I used some Israeli couscous I found malingering on a high shelf, which is cooked like risotto.

We did not have parsley, so I used basil, and we did not have olives, so I had a mild sad.

It was fine to eat. Things I would do differently next time include having olives, using parsley, and using chicken thighs. The couscous was great as always.

In the Real Shocker Department, the eggplant was a Big Hit.

Points in its favor include that Trader Joe’s garlic marinara sauce is absolutely stuffed with chunks of garlic and contains no sugar; that Trader Joe’s has a new brine-packed feta that is fantastic; and that it was clearly the best thing on the table as evidenced by the fact that I could not photograph it before it was attacked by ravenous children.

I was shocked, honestly, both that they liked it and I liked it. I don’t care for marinara sauce or eggplant (except as baba ganoush) but that was highly edible.

For dessert, we had CSA strawberries. They were also a hit.

According to the menu plan, last night’s dinner should have set us back $15.00. Despite paying more for kosher chicken breasts and the premium feta, I think we were probably in the ballpark. Did I just unironically learn something from the government?