Hello, 2016. It’s going to be a good year, I’m convinced of it.
I was in DC for New Years with my friends Nachama and Ilana. It was a chill weekend – we saw Kiss Me Kate at the Shakespeare Theater (free tickets!): nothing like a little musical (blatant misogyny aside) to get the year started right. We went to synagogue (!!), something I’d like to do a teeny bit more of going forward, and walked a lot and ate a lot and caught up a lot.
Based on this photo, you might think I’m starting the year off with a cliche: a healthy looking grain bowl as an antidote for holiday gluttony. But I’m posting it on behalf of Nachama who asked for help with easy lunch ideas for her microwave-free office. Even though I sent her a few articles on mix-and-match grain bowls (here, here, and here), she asked for more specific instruction.
So, here’s one of the first lunches of 2016. If you’re going to buy pre-washed greens (arugula, baby kale, etc.), find some that are in plastic clamshell boxes rather than bags – in my experience, they tend to last longer. I make a batch of grains to last a few days, and they’re even better if you drizzle them with a little olive oil and lemon juice for . Sometimes I even cut up two days worth of veggies to make salad assembly easy. One thing I left off this bowl was crunch – mostly because I forgot, but on other days, I’ve toasted a bunch of pumpkin seeds to throw on top.
Roasted salmon for one
Adapted from the New York Times’ recipe for salmon roasted in butter. This is a versatile recipe – Mark Bittman suggests making it with butter and dill or parsley, olive oil and thyme, or peanut oil and cilantro or mint. I didn’t have any fresh herbs, so chose to use some mustard seeds to go with a mustard vinaigrette. I adapted the recipe for a single small fillet of wild salmon, but I’ve also made this recipe in a larger skillet for several pieces or one large piece – you may just need an extra minute on each side.
Heat oven to 450ºF. Place 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds in a roasting pan or skillet just large enough to fit your salmon and place it in the oven. Heat about 5 minutes, until seeds start to pop. Add a 5- or 6-ounce piece of salmon to the pan, skin side up. Roast 3 minutes. Remove from the oven, then peel the skin off. (If the skin does not lift right off, cook 1 minute longer.) Sprinkle with salt and pepper and turn the fillet over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper again. Roast 2 to 3 minutes more, depending on the thickness of the fillet and the degree of doneness you prefer.
Salmon freekeh grain bowl
There are infinite variations on grain bowls and I typically grab whatever I have in the fridge and pantry. For the first grain bowl of 2016, I topped 2 handfuls of arugula with 1 Persian cucumber (cubed), 3 radishes (thinly sliced), 1/3 cup freekeh (cooked in a pressure cooker), and a fillet of salmon. Then I drizzled the whole thing with a few tablespoons of mustard vinaigrette (1/2 t whole grain dijon mustard, 2 T red wine vinegar, 1/4 C olive oil, salt, and pepper). I work from home these days, but you can keep a jar of the vinaigrette in the fridge at work – it should be enough for about three salads.