Smoked Salmon Risotto

Sometimes I have some ingredients that just need to be used before they go bad, so I put them together in an experimental recipe. This is what happened to the leftover smoked salmon I had here. I was inspired by reading this recipe, but made my own version of it. It’s a pretty easy recipe, but it takes a little time to make sure you reach the perfect level of doneness.

Ingredients: (2 large servings)
1 cup smoked salmon, cut into smaller pieces
1 cup medium grain rice
1/2 bottle of dry white wine (I used pinot grigio)
1 cup vegan stock (this recipe is coming soon!)
1/2 lemon (organic)
1 tbsp chopped dill
1 tbsp chopped curly parsley
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp tarragon
1/4 tsp turmeric
4 oz. arugula
1 tsp capers
2 tbsp heavy cream
3 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 shallot
1 garlic clove
2-3 mini bell peppers
2 tbsp olive oil
black pepper to taste

1. Sautee the shallot (chopped), bell peppers, and garlic (pressed) in the olive oil over medium heat. Add the rice after about a minute or two and keep stirring for a few minutes.
2. Add half of the wine and vegan stock and keep stirring fairly frequently. When most of the liquid seems to be absorbed (after about 5-10 minutes), add the rest of the wine and vegan stock. Add the herbs and spices at this point as well. Keep stirring frequently and add half of the arugula, capers, and the zest of the lemon plus the juice from it.
3. After about 20 minutes of cooking, add the cream and cream cheese. Keep stirring. If it starts getting dry, add some water and possibly some more lemon juice. Add most of the remaining arugula as well, but save some for decorating the plate.
4. Start checking for doneness a few minutes later. You want the rice to be a little al dente, but not hard or crunchy. If it feels like it is almost ready, add the salmon and parmesan and keep stirring until you reach the optiomal level of doneness.
5. Scoop it up on a plate and serve with some salmon and arugula on top for decor.

Variation with Shrimp

A simpler version of this recipe can be made with frozen peeled shrimp. Just follow the instructions above replacing the salmon with shrimp, but omit the thyme, arugula, capers, cream, cream cheese, and bell peppers. Make sure you thaw the shrimp beforehand and only add them just before serving.

Mushroom Cambozola Pasta

You never go wrong with pasta and you never go wrong with cheese. Combining both must then be a surefire win! This recipe was created when I discovered some cheese and mushrooms in the fridge that would have gone bad in a few days so I had to use them somehow. The result was delicious and filling enough to induce a food coma. Try it for yourself and report back with your results!

This was made with mushroom ravioli, but fettuccine would also work

Ingredients: (4 servings)
1 lb. Pasta – ravioli, penne or fettuccine all work great!
1 cup Cambozola cheese (or blue cheese)
1 tbsp Gorgonzola
8 oz. Cream Cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
2 oz. Brandy
1/2 cup frozen Green Peas
1 pint Mushrooms (portobello, shitake, or chanterelle varieties work great!)
Handful of Walnuts
1 small Shallot
3 Garlic Cloves (pressed)
1/3 cup red wine
2 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp salt

Slice the mushrooms. Chop the shallot finely and press the garlic cloves. Add the butter and olive oil to a large skillet or saute pan. Heat it to medium-high and add the mushrooms. Stir after a few minutes and let them continue to cook. When they start to get a darker color after about 4-5 minutes, add the shallot and lower to medium heat. After another minute, add the garlic and let it cook for about a minute before adding the red wine. Let it continue cooking until most of the wine is gone. Take it off the heat and toss in the walnuts. Set aside.
Start boiling water with the salt for the pasta in a large pot. Cook the pasta according to instructions.
Mix the cheeses with brandy and cream in a saucepan. Heat while stirring until it all melts and then add the green peas. Let it simmer while stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the sauce and let it simmer a bit more.
Layer the sauce with the pasta on the plate and then add the mushroom-walnut mix on top before drizzling a little bit more sauce on it. Cutting some fresh parsley over it will add some color and freshness of flavor.

Garlic Lime Shrimp in Parsley-Wine Butter

This simple dish is delicious and can be made very quickly. It has a light and fresh flavor and works well for either lunch or dinner. Made with fresh shrimp that are cooked in garlic butter before being tossed with parsley, lime juice and a splash of dry white wine.

1 lb Raw shrimp
Juice from 2 limes
3 Garlic cloves
2 tbsp Parsley (chopped)
2-3 tbsp Butter
½ cup Dry White Wine (Sauvignon Blanc or similar)

Grilled onion:
1 yellow onion
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp dried tarragon
½ tsp dried cilantro


  1. Heat the oven to 400° F. Peel and cut the onion in thick slices or wedges. Mix the marinade together and toss the onion in the marinade before placing on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. You can also use a rack to create more space and even cooking for for the onions. Let the onions bake for about 20-25 minutes.
  2. Peel and de-vein the shrimp. Press the garlic cloves and place with the butter in the bottom of a sauce pan. Turn on to medium heat. Use the juice from one lime and toss the shrimp lightly in the lime juice before placing in the sauce pan on top of the melted garlic butter. Let the shrimp cook a couple of minutes until the bottom side turns pink and then turn them over. When that side is turning pink as well, add the parsley, wine and remaining lime juice to the pan and toss it while continuing to heat for another minute. Toss and serve immediately.

Option: Use fresh cilantro instead of parsley for a different flavor.

Meatless Fettuccine Carbonara

This is one of my favorite pasta dishes even though it’s not really low in calories. The enjoyment of eating it makes up for that, though. It’s pretty quick and easy to make and there are many ways that you can add your own spin on it. Personally, I like it with mushrooms and truffle oil, but green peas, spinach, broccoli, cilantro, parsley and many other options work well also.

This version is with peas and broccoli

(4 servings)
1 lb dry fettuccine pasta
4 egg yolks
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese (I like mixing both)
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella
1 large garlic clove (pressed)
½ cup vegetable stock or ½ bouillon cube
sea salt
black pepper
For mushrooms:
8 oz sliced mushrooms
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
Optional additions:
Fresh cilantro leaves, Spinach leaves, Green Peas, Truffle Oil

1. Heat the oven to 350. Toss the mushrooms lightly in some olive oil and soy sauce, lay them in a single layers on a baking sheet and put in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes. (This can be done in advance)

2. Boil 3-4 quarts of water in a large pot with some vegetable stock or bouillon added to the water along with a tsp of salt. Add fettuccine to the water and stir. Set timer for 7 minutes.

3. While the pasta is boiling, put the butter and one pressed garlic clove in a large saucepan and let the butter melt. Then add the cheese gradually while stirring along with half a cup of the boiling pasta water.

4. After the pasta has boiled for 7 minutes, strain it and add it to the cheese sauce and stir it all well. Add the mushrooms and whatever else you want to add and let it cook for 3 minutes. (If you are using Truffle oil, add it at the end before serving.)

5. Before serving, add the egg yolks and sprinkle paprika and fresh ground pepper on top. The yolks can be served on top of the pasta or mixed in.

Buttered Ginger Tomato Toast

This is a luscious treat when you want fresh flavors and a smaller meal although it’s not necessarily the healthiest way of preparing tomatoes. Make sure you use tomatoes that are very ripe for this recipe.

Sliced pumpernickel bread (or rye bread)
1 pound tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 tbsp unsalted butter (or mix butter with olive oil)
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, cut into thin pieces
1 small shallot (finely chopped)
¼ cup leek, cut in thin slices and slightly chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
¼ tsp salt
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese (shredded)
Fresh cilantro leaves

1. Heat a large skillet on medium with the butter added. As soon as butter stops foaming, add the ginger, shallot and leek. Let it cook for about a minute to bring out the flavors.
2. Add the tomatoes and let it cook until tomatoes are juicy and just warmed through. Stir occasionally with a large spoon while the tomatoes are cooking. This will only take a couple of minutes.
3. Add soy sauce, half of the parmesan and salt before giving it one final stir.
4. Serve on pumpernickel toast with a dollop of crème fraîche. Top with leek, cilantro, and Parmesan. A little freshly ground black pepper on top will also help bring out more of the flavors.

– Replace half the butter with olive oil

Light Vegan Lunch

Today I was in the mood for something light, healthy, and flavorful. Quinoa is easy to make, but lacks flavor so I chopped up some celery to cook with it as well as some fresh dill. Once it was done, I also squeezed fresh lemon over it to bring out some more flavor. The veggies were made with roasted peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, onion, garlic, shallot, celery, and some fresh basil. On the side I chopped up a ripe tomato and added some hummus. It was all very satisfying and easy!

Light vegan lunch with sauteed veggies and quinoa

Roasted Pepper
You can easily roast your own pepper in a frying pan. It is best to use one with a non-stick coating for this. Cut the peppers lengthwise creating pieces that are as flat as possible. Then place them in the pan on high heat with the skin side down. You may need to gently press the peppers down so that more of the skin makes contact with the hot surface. Once the skin has “blistered” and the pepper is getting soft, it is done. Take it out of the pan and if you have black burnt skin, just scrape it off under running water.