Cedar Plank Salmon Burgers

Main Dishes

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Typically speaking, by the time August wraps up I’m completely over burgers of any kind. That was until we made these Cedar Plank Salmon Burgers. Where have these been all of my life? Now, I’ve had salmon burgers before, but they all pale in comparison next to these (if I may be so bold). Filled with a perfect hint of smoky flavor from the cedar plank and served on a fresh crusty bun topped with a generous scoop of homemade tartar sauce (oh yes, and veggies, how can I forget those!?), these are phenomenal to serve at any time of the year. I can tell that we will be pulling out the Sorels for a winter barbeque already!

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Now, let’s talk fish. I grew up eating fresh fish from Northern Alberta (walleye or pickerel as we call it), and it literally went from the boat to the frying pan in less than an hour every time. Needless to say the bar for ‘fresh fish’ was set high.   Fast-forward to my adulthood, and finding truly fresh fish is nearly impossible. Truth be told, even ‘fresh’ fish that you see at the grocery store has been previously frozen (and then stored for who-knows-how-long in the display case) before you bring it home. No wonder I’ve been disappointed!

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Enter the concept of ‘fresh frozen’. Ok, it may sound like a bit of a contradiction, but hear me out. When fish is caught at sea, those hardworking fishermen are out there for days, making it necessary to freeze the fish on the boat until they go back to shore to keep it as fresh as possible. Even when you buy fish straight off the boat, many times it has actually been frozen! And there’s nothing wrong with that. Haida Wild takes the freshest fish possible, processes it and flash freezes it immediately so that the fish stays as absolutely fresh as possible until it arrives at your door and lands on your dinner plate. In truth the same concept applies for many vegetables, where they are often more nutritious purchased frozen versus fresh (thanks to many long days hanging out on the store shelf losing nutrients in some cases). Frozen food has a bad reputation, but most of it is undeserved in truth, at least when it comes to foods in their natural state (vs those that are processed).

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We used coho or sockeye salmon for these burgers (you can order them to be delivered to your doorstep here), but you can use chinook salmon if you wish. If you don’t have a cedar plank, or are simply too pressed for time, you can throw the salmon right on the grill with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. But I highly recommend following the recipe below if you have time!

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 Makes 4 burgers

 

Tartar Sauce:

  • ¾ c. good quality mayo
  • ¼ c. finely chopped dill pickles
  • ¼ c. finely chopped red onion
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ c. freshly chopped dill
  • 1 tsp. drained capers, chopped

Mix all of the ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Salmon:

  • 4 salmon filets, de-boned (coho, chinook or sockeye)
  • 4 c. water
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 large cedar plank

 

  1. At least 2 hours prior to cooking the salmon, soak the cedar plank in cold water (I usually do this in a clean kitchen sink or another large shallow vessel that will accommodate the plank and weigh it down with something heavy).
  2. To prepare the salmon, de-bone and remove the skin from your salmon filets. Prepare the brine in a large shallow container (I find that a 9×13” baking dish works well). Place the salmon in the brine, cover with plastic wrap, and allow it to sit in the brine for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the barbeque on the high heat setting. Remove the salmon from the brine, rinse the filets and pat them dry with a paper towel. Allow the salmon to get to room temperature on the counter (30 minutes).
  4. Turn the barbeque down to medium heat and place the plank on the grill. Close the lid of the barbeque and allow the plank to heat up until it smokes, roughly 5 minutes. You may need to adjust the heat setting on your barbeque depending on how hot your grill gets. Have a squirt bottle with water in it in case the plank flares up.
  5. Place your salmon filets evenly along the plank with the skinned side down. Close the lid and cook the filets for 7-10 minutes, until just done. Salmon filets vary in their thickness so the cook time will also vary.
  6. Place on your burger bun, dress with your desired toppings and serve!

 

Burger Toppings:

  • 4 fresh Kaiser buns
  • 2 c. baby arugula or 8 leaves butter lettuce
  • 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • ¼ large red onion thinly sliced

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Plum Coffee Cake (Two-Ways)

Baking, Breakfast, Desserts

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I’m tired.  Of picking plums.  No really, I am. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super grateful to have a plum tree, and don’t want to sound like a whiner, but this tree HAS NOT STOPPED.  Seriously, this small, unassuming, and not-so-pretty plum tree in our yard has proven to be the Magic Porridge Pot of fruit trees (if you haven’t read the book, I hyperlinked the story, it was one of my favourites growing up).

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Needless to say, I’ve felt this sense of panic in trying to use up the plums.  I grew up in a family that doesn’t tolerate waste, and I’m proud of it.  Therefore, I wanted to make my mom proud and of course make something nice for the week coming up to enjoy with a nice cup (or two, let’s be honest) of coffee.  I decided I wouldn’t completely re-invent the wheel, and highjacked my Apple Greek Yogurt Cake recipe and made some tweaks to make it work for plums.

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Naturally a complicated person, I could have just made one cake but I didn’t know exactly how I wanted to assemble the cake, so I made two.  Of course.  Like, why not? (Enter my husband shaking his head at me, a regular occurrence in our house). Fruit on the bottom or the top?  How do you know until you try?

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I made the cake both ways, and though the fruit on the bottom was pretty, the preference was for the fruit on the top.  Side note: if you want to put the fruit on the bottom, simply adjust the recipe to coat the bottom of the greased pan with 1/4 c. each brown sugar and melted butter, and place the plums cut-side-down in the dish before spooning your batter over them and topping it with the streusel, which actually will be on the bottom after you let it sit and turn it upside down on a plate once it is baked.

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Moist and not-too-sweet, this cake is a winner.  And possibly my last plum recipe of the season (no promises).

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Serves 12-15

Ingredients:

  • 25-30 Italian prune plums, washed & halved, pits removed
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/3 c. Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs

 

Whole Wheat Streusel

  • 1 c. finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. melted butter
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Combine all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl and set aside.

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 13×9″ baking pan OR two 9″ round pans.
  2. Prepare the streusel below and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  4. In a separate small bowl combine the Greek yogurt, lemon zest, juice and vanilla and set aside.
  5. In a large bowl (with an electric hand mixer) or Kitchen Aid Mixer beat the butter and sugar at high speed until light coloured.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat until fluffy.  Add the flour and yogurt mixtures alternately in 2 parts while mixing on low speed until mixed, scraping the sides of the bowl.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) – clearly divide the batter between the two 9″ pans if that is what you’re using, and spread until it is even in the pan(s) with a rubber spatula.
  7. Place your plum halves cut-side-down arranged on top of the batter in your pan(s).
  8. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

 

 

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Plum Oat Bran Muffins

Baking, Breakfast, Snacks

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These muffins are moist and not too sweet, perfect for a morning run-out-the-door breakfast or an afternoon snack. I used plums, but you can use any soft fruit you want (nectarines, peaches…)! Freeze any extras for a quick snack or breakfast for hectic mornings, or bake them in mini muffin tins for a perfect snack for the little ones (just adjust the baking time to approximately 12-15 minutes).

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 Makes 12 large muffins

 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 c. diced plums (I used Italian prune plums)
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 1/3 c. oat bran
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest (from one lemon)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vanilla yogurt
  • ½ cup melted butter (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. honey

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a muffin tin or line it with baking papers.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the plums with 1 tablespoon of the honey, toss, and let it sit until ready to add to the muffin batter.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oat bran, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest. Whisk together.
  4. In a separate medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, yogurt, melted butter, honey and vanilla. Whisk together.
  5. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients using a rubber spatula until just mixed. Fold in the fruit.
  6. Evenly fill the muffin tins with the batter and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Remove the muffins from the tin onto a baking rack to cool.
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Halibut with Mango Salsa & Coconut Rice (& a Giveaway!)

Main Dishes

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As a new mom of two boys, I now ‘get it’.  I finally understand what my friends were saying when they told me that having one kid is like having a pet, but two is like having a zoo. I could write a whole post about this new experience of being pulled in opposite directions but I won’t digress; I’m really here to talk about dinner.

Dinner: that dreaded meal that can make a grown woman cry trying to think about what to make. Quick, healthy simple meal ideas are a must in my house, maybe you can relate?

Enter online shopping for ingredients. Online shopping, especially once you have children, simply makes life easier. And food is hardly an exception. We LOVE to eat fish (Charlie’s favorite food is salmon), but finding fresh fish is nearly impossible and usually requires a separate stop, which is the LAST thing I want to do when I’m packing around my two month old!   I’ve discovered an amazing source for fresh Oceanwise fish (‘fresh frozen’ to be precise: it’s processed and flash frozen immediately after it is caught, ensuring that you get the freshest fish possible, as though you bought it straight off of the boat). The best part is that it is delivered to my door perfectly frozen in pre-portioned packages, making meal prep a breeze. I simply pull out as many portions as we need the night before and put them in the fridge (or on those days when I haven’t planned well, fish thaws so quickly in a sink of cool water).   We all know that fish is healthy for us, and this delivery service from Haida Wild makes it so much easier for me to include it in our weekly meals (you can order online here, it’s SO simple)!

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I’ve partnered with Haida Wild to put together a series of posts featuring their incredible seafood to show you a few ways to prepare fish that are fresh and simple. And the best part is that they are giving away $200 in fresh fish (of your choice) delivered right to the lucky winner’s door with free shipping (open to residents of Canada and the USA)!*

To enter simply:

  1. Follow both @fraichenutrition and @haida_wild on Instagram
  2. Subscribe to the fraichenutrition.com blog
  3. Comment on this post to tell me you’ve completed the steps!

The winner will be drawn on September 23rd, good luck!

*Haida Wild can only ship to locations that Fedex priority overnight service delivers to. Therefore, some remote locations may not be eligible.

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This recipe is fresh and simple but is so impressive! It is a perfect one to have on hand for a dinner party; it’s a breeze to throw together and looks beautiful. You can easily substitute peaches, plums or nectarines for the mango depending on what is fresh or on-hand.  I used peaches (also pictured here) when they were falling off the trees in Kelowna and it was delicious! Lose the jalapeño if your company (or kids) don’t like the heat of course.

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Serves 4

Mango (or other fruit) Salsa:

  • 1 ½ c. finely diced peeled mango (or peaches, nectarines or plums)
  • ½ red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ¾ c. chopped cilantro
  • ½ seeded jalapeno, finely diced (optional)
  • ¼ c. finely diced red onion
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. sea salt

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

 

Coconut Rice:

  • 2 c. jasmine rice
  • 1 c. coconut milk
  • 1 ½ c. water
  • ½ tsp. salt

Stir all of the ingredients together in a medium heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with the lid, turn the heat to low and cook for 25 minutes.

 

Halibut:

  • 4 halibut filets, at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Rub your halibut with olive oil and season the filets with salt and pepper. Grill the fish on each side for 3-4 minutes or until done, depending on the thickness. Serve the fish immediately on top of the rice along with a generous scoop of the salsa.

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