Is it starting to get cold outside? Are you realizing that flip-flops and jean shorts are far away from your reality? I’m truly sorry. However, with cold temperatures come great vegetables. I absolutely love the produce, flavors, and dishes served in the fall and winter. For some reason, it brings joy to my cold bones. This bowl combines all of my favorite things fall in a healthy and easily transportable way. Your shivering colleagues will be jealous.
This may sound odd, but one of my favorite things to do when visiting another city or town is finding a way to see firsthand what a person’s day to day life is like and what it would feel like to live there. Since my life revolves so much around food, these adventures usually involve a ton of research to find the local restaurants and hit as many as possible. But to really cure my curiosity, I need to find some type of market. Walk around with all the locals enjoying their Sunday grocery haul, watch the interactions with the stand owners and the customers, take inventory of all the options, and purchase some things to truly test what it’s all about. So before hopping on my train back to NYC the other weekend, I made my ay to the local Ardmore market and went all chameleon style trying my best to blend in. Within 3 seconds I fell in love and regretfully realized that, with a train ride ahead, I couldn’t buy everything my eyes wanted. Instead, I decided on the first thing I saw when I walked in: jumbo lump crab meat. This meal further strengthened my love for this market and guaranteed another trip in the near future.
This recipe came about as a kitchen clean out but is now a staple in my dinner rotation during the colder months. For some reason, as much as I love both soup and pork chops, I rarely find myself eating either of them. Not only is this meal a healthy version of comfort food for when its too cold outside that you need something to warm your bones, but it is incredibly easy to prepare and something that will seriously impress anyone you have over for a dinner party. Plus, make a huge vat of this soup and you can freeze portions to last you the rest of winter.
Something I never thought I’d say: add the salmon to your food processor. After trying these collard green wraps for the first time recently for my Whole 30 approved burger night, I quickly fell in love and set my mind on creating all different ways to use them as a bun replacement vehicle. Similarly, I recently toasted purple cabbage in sesame oil and questioned what the hell I’ve been doing for the past 25 years without this staple vegetable side in my kitchen. Falling head over heels for both, I decided to do the only thing logical and create a recipe that combined them. Alas, this salmon burger was where my mind steered. Unclear how to make this idea a reality, I found myself hesitantly reaching for my food processor and dropping in the salmon filet while questioning my logic and also wondering what the F I was doing. To my pleasant surprise, I did not end up with raw salmon soup but instead finely diced salmon that, when mixed with some almond flour and bell pepper, formed perfect burger patties. And while I was tossing all my random closet hidden ideas together I figured, why not add in some mango avocado salsa. Bring all the freaks to the table.
As a peanut butter addict, I always have at least one, but most of the time multiple, jars of different nut butters on my desk at work. While I’m surprised anyone would ever question this obsession, it recently stated a conversation with a colleague where to explain my obsession, I made the bold statement that nut butters go well with just about anything. “Seriously”, I question, “what is one thing you wouldn’t put peanut butter on?” The response I got was a simple statement: “pasta”. So here is my counter argument to my colleague, who I will without a doubt make this meal for to further prove my point. Brown rice spaghetti with a creamy almond cashew butter sauce topped with zucchini and carrot ribbons, toasted sesame cabbage, grape tomatoes, and coconut baked salmon. See? Nut butter goes well on EVERYTHING.
People often ask me why I am so obsessed with my cast iron skillet and this is the picture I send them in response. This. Chicken. Just look at it. It’s fucking gorgeous. Chicken can be so over eaten and under-flavored and just plain old bland; but not this chicken. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love crisped chicken skin. I will strip an entire rotisserie chicken of it’s skin and simply munch on that before even enjoying any of the tender and juicy meat. I know, that’s really freaking weird. And kind of sounds cannibalistic (I hate that we still have to call it “skin”). But it is what it is. Once you make this dish you will understand what I am saying and never question me again about my love affair with my cast iron skillet.
This bowl of goodness will leave you feeling fresh, light, healthy, and like you’re ready to dance around in a bikini. Okay, maybe not, but as close as you would ever come to doing that post eating dinner.