When I started this blog almost a year ago, I didn't set out to make only desserts. They just turned out to be the most fun (to eat) and the prettiest! Baked goods can't help being so awesome.
There's also something I love about baking that I think might make me a Non-Cook: it's almost a science. There are measurements, exact times and procedures. Cooking regular food (read: not dessert) is all about throwing stuff in a pan and tossing some salt and pepper and going by taste. There's a certain amount of freedom that both fascinates and terrifies me but there's also that other thing: huge room for error. I almost always fall on the side of error. I admire people (like my mom) who can just throw stuff together and know what'll work or how long to steam vegetables or whatever. I am not that person (yet). It's something I know only comes with practice and I'm working on it.
In the spirit of expanding my horizons, I attempted to make a MEAL. Salmon seemed like the easiest beginning: not only is it hard to mess up but because it's always good, I had frozen fillets handy. I had to adapt a recipe a coworker had raved about but it was minor things like using my oven instead of a grill. I came up with a couple sides dishes out of nowhere (because how does one construct a meal, anyway? Does zucchini go with salmon??).
It all came out pretty good, if I do say so myself. The original recipe called for 1/4 tsp crushed Habanero peppers which I laughed at. BUT I bought a little pepper and took about five seeds and stirred that into the glaze (couldn't taste them, thank God). But then, I licked my index finger. ...The one that'd just been touching the pepper. It was like INSTANT FIRE on my tongue. I stuck my head under the sink. Good God.
So this is my toned down, adapted version (which I can personally attest was not too sweet or spicy and quite lovely). The original is here for you brave, grill-having, spice-loving souls.
TERIYAKI SALMON WITH HONEY GLAZE
Adapted from Karan Dersham of Dersham’s Outlook Lodge
For a 2-3 pound salmon fillet
1 cup soy sauce
I cup golden brown sugar
1 tbsp. minced fresh garlic
1 tsp. course ground pepper
set aside 1 tbsp. of this marinade for the glaze
1 1/2 tbsp. reserved marinade
1 1/2 tbsp. honey
Combine the marinating ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Reserve 1 1/2 tbsp of marinade for glaze later. Pour marinade into plastic baggie (or shallow ceramic or Pyrex pan) with salmon fillets and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, longer if fillet is thick.
Position oven rack to highest level and heat broiler to high. Place marinated fillets in a shallow baking dish (such as a pie plate) and broil 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from highest rack and turn off broiler. Place fillets on a lower rack for an additional 2-3 minutes in the warm oven to ensure it cooks fully.
Plate fillets and brush or drizzle the honey glaze on top of each before serving.
SAUTEED ZUCCHINI AND SQUASH
1 yellow squash
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper
Cut zucchini and squash into half-inch thick slices. Heat oil and butter until melted in a frying pan over medium. Toss zucchini and squash in pan, coating slices with butter. Add about 1 tsp of salt and pepper.
Lower heat to low and cover with lid, allowing one side to stay open, releasing steam. Cook for ten minutes (or until vegetables reach your preference of firmness), stirring every so often to evenly cook.
(Couscous: follow instructions on box! I used chicken broth instead of water to flavor it.)