Sunday, November 9, 2014

#301 Mexican Quinoa and Salmon, By: V

Two things that I thoroughly enjoy and could happily eat everyday:  mexican food and seafood.  So, any opportunity I get to incorporate tex-mex flavors and fish into my diet I'll take! Not only is this dish full of smoky spicy flavors, it's also extremely healthy. This was my first delve into spicing up my quinoa.  Generally I boil the plain stuff or buy a boxed quinoa dish with its own dry spice packet to mix in.  But this time I decided to try incorporating my own flavors to create a sort of "mexican" quinoa.  

The other healthy component of this dish is the salmon.  Now, I recently read that it's extremely beneficial to incorporate one portion of fish into your diet EVERY DAY.  This can certainly be hard to do everyday, so I try to incorporate it into my diet at least as often as I can.  I typicall grill salmon or bake it, but this time I coated the salmon in a flour, garlic and chili powder spiced mixture and pan fried it in coconut oil.  I know you're thinking, "ok V, I thought this was supposed to be HEALTHY, and now you're talking about frying?," but let me just say it was more of a two tablespoon coconut oil kind of fry.  Not, the deep fry you think of with fried chicken or fish and chips. 

But don't we all need a good dose of deep fried something ever now and again? On that note, yesterday my mom and dad surprised me by showing up at my front door with fish and chips! Eammon's Dublin Chipper in Old Town Alexandria is home to my mom's favorite fish and chips, so she brought some by for me to give it a go...and, I gotta agree with her opinion on this one.  I wish I had taken a photo for all of you, but was busy demolishing the delicious crispy fried cod and homemade french fries to come up for air and take a photo or two.    

Friday night I had dinner at Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar in Vienna.  Now, this restaurant is relatively new and I had been wanting to try it out.  The menu offered a wide variety of food options, but I have to say I thought the two dishes we shared were on the salty side, although the spicy guacamole was delicious and I love that it was served with a blend of plantain, yucca, malanga AND tortilla chips.  I had the Feijoda Stew, and the chorizo in it was probably the best I've had.  I also tried the Jalapeno Spiced Lamb Stew which was good but, my only complaint was the saltiness of the food.  Not quite sure I'll be rushing back.

Well, there's my weekend restaurant reviews, now for the recipes.

Mexican Quinoa (serves 2-3)

2 tbsps coconut oil
2 chopped garlic cloves
½ cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup quinoa
1 cup chicken broth (can use vegetable or beef broth as well)
½ 15.5 oz can of black beans
1 medium red tomato, diced
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder

½ cup chopped jalapenos
¼ cup chopped cilantro

  1. Add the coconut oil to a pan on high heat.  Once melted lower the heat and add the garlic and onion to the pan.  Let this combination slowly cook down and become translucent.
  2. Once translucent, add the uncooked quinoa.  Stir to coat the quinoa in the garlic oil and onion mixture. 
  3.  Add the chicken broth, black beans, and tomato.  Add the spices:  nutmeg, paprika and chili powder.  Stir everything together and turn the heat back up to high. 
  4. Bring to a boil.  Then reduce to simmer, cover and let cook for 20 minutes.  This is enough time to allow the quinoa to cook.  NOTE:  Keep an eye on the dish, if it looks like the liquid has not fully evaporated, take the lid off and let it continue  to cook until the liquid is gone.  We don’t want soupy quinoa!
  5. Once the dish is cooked transfer to a dish and let it cool.  Right before serving top it with some chopped pickled or fresh jalapenos and chopped cilantro (optional). 
  6. Another optional idea is to served with avocado or lime. 
Pan-Fried Mexican Salmon (Serves 2)

3 salmon filets 
2 tbsps unbleached white flour
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
1/4 tbp salt 
1/4 tbsp thyme
2 tbsps coconut oil

  1. Prep your salmon as you prefer - take the skin off and make sure there are no bones in the filet. 
  2. Take all the dry ingredients and place them on a plate.  Be sure they are mixed together well.  
  3. Heat up a pan on high heat and melt the coconut oil in it.  Once hot take the salmon filet and flip it in the dry mixture ensuring that both sides are covered, then place into the oil. 
  4. Let cook on each side for 4 minutes.  Cover for one minute and then you can take off the heat and get ready to eat.  
  5. Optional:  A squirt of lime over the top of the salmon before serving would be delicious!


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