A subtle touch

Sometimes a simple addition can change the whole dish.  I’ve already posted how salmon is one of my go-to dishes for dinner.  The kids love it and will eat it in almost any way I’ve prepared it.  But, this simple addition of Matcha salt, a powdery green tea infused sea salt, on top of the finished pan roasted salmon, makes it that more delicious and the kids greedily gobbled up.  My husband brought home a small sample of Matcha after he’d cooked a Japanese themed dinner at the restaurant alongside some real Japanese trained chefs.

It’s really amazing how subtle the Matcha salt is but how it transforms the dish in an almost indescribable way: slightly salty, slightly sweet.   If you can get your hands on some, you’ll see what I mean.  Just add a sprinkle on top of some grilled fish or shrimp and the subtle difference will convert you.


My middle son exclaimed when he saw me cutting the salmon into portions to cook, “I don’t want salmon! …Well, unless you have that green stuff on it.”  I told him that was exactly what I’d planned and he happily left me to continue cooking dinner without complaint.

Pan Roasted Salmon with Matcha Green Tea Salt

Fresh wild caught salmon (about 1 lb)

1 Tbsp olive oil

Matcha to taste (about 1 tsp)

optional fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350F. Cut the salmon into 2-3 inch width slices and with a sharp knife score the skin (shallow crisscross cuts).  Heat olive oil in sauté pan with oven-proof handle.  Place salmon pieces into oil skin side up.  Cook for about 5 minutes (you see the color change up the sides from dark to light) and turn over.  Place in oven for another 5-8 minutes (depending on thickness of your salmon).  Remove from oven (Remember the handle is hot.  I place an oven mitt on it, so I don’t grab it.) and sprinkle the Matcha salt over the salmon tops. Serve with rice, vegetables and/or salad. 

Watch everyone devour it!

It’s also such a quick dinner.  After play dates and homework help there wasn’t much time and I didn’t have any fresh vegetables in the house.  Still had a wonderful, healthful meal.

My eldest ate his so quickly that my middle son was nice enough to share some of his with his older brother.

Soup– stealthy vegetable vehicle

A way of sneaking in those pesky vegetables that some picky eaters refuse to eat on their own is to put them in soup.  My kids are pretty good at eating most vegetables so I don’t need to puree the veggies but anyone with ultra picky kids can choose to do that.  Even without pureeing it, since the vegetables get cooked in the broth they’ll get many of the nutrients even if they’re not eating the actual vegetable from the soup.   And with all the wonderful organic stocks and broths readily available to buy, making soups can be fast and painless.  It’s quick, easy, tasty and healthful— what more can you ask for?  And, don’t have enough of something for a full meal or want to use up left-overs; soup is a great medium. 

Here’s one soup I made in less than a half hour last night.  I decided last minute to make it a dinner and movie night, but not with pizza.  I had a little of this and that.  I mixed vegetable and chicken broth to give it a rich flavor.  I had some left over chicken breast (but not enough for much, so I thawed some tenders too). I decided to add some small meatballs (frozen, from IKEA— yes, Ikea, the furniture-in-box place) that made it into a sort of Italian Wedding Soup. I didn’t feel the need to add onions or celery since I used the prepared broths.  The chicken is very tender not only because of the cut, but also since it’s poached in the broth.


Chicken, Kale, Bean and Meatball Soup

1 quart organic chicken broth

1 quart organic vegetable broth

4 chicken tenders, cut in 1 inch pieces

1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped

2-3 organic carrots, sliced

3/4 pound mini star-shaped pasta

1 can beans (pinto, cannellini, kidney)

2 tsp dried oregano

10-15 small meatballs

1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

In a stock pot pour the two broths and bring to a low boil.  Add kale, carrots and chicken.  Stir and cook for 5 minutes before adding pasta, meatballs, oregano and beans.  Cook 10 minutes then add cilantro and cook one more minute. Adjust seasoning (salt and pepper). My two eldest sons loved the soup and my youngest ate it but didn’t want the kale, even though he likes kale on its own.  I didn’t push and just let him try to eat it without (a tough task!).  I loved it too and both my eldest son and I had it for lunch today.

One potato, two potato…

I really, really thought I was going to have more time to write when the kids got back to school, but I seem to have less time than before.  I try to write late at night after the kids are in bed, but lately I keep falling asleep when I’m reading bedtime stories, much to the chagrin of my kids.  I mean I’m actually falling asleep during the story.  My sons have been known to pry open my eyes, poke me and yell, “Wake up!” or ” Mommy, keep reading!”  So, I have been remiss in the frequency of my posts.  But today, I’ve made some time. 

Here are two potato recipes that the kids love.  One is a fairly quick and very easy soup recipe, the other, scalloped potatoes, takes more time both in preparation and in baking.   But they are favorites within my immediate and extended family.   My husband is often requested to make the scalloped potatoes at family holiday gatherings. 

Potato Leek Soup  

3 large potatoes (russet or similar)

3 leeks (whites only)

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup cream

salt and pepper to taste (careful with the salt since the broth probably has enough)

Cut the leeks lengthwise then stand upright in cold water to wash.  Once fully rinsed, chop and place in sauce pan.  Peel and chop potatoes then add to leeks.  Add broth.Simmer until potatoes are soft (about 25 minutes).  Take off heat and add cream.  Season with fresh ground pepper and, if needed, salt. Use immersion blender to purée (standing blender will work too).   

Serve.  Can chill and serve cold too (Vichyssoise).

My eldest loves this so much he squealed when I showed it to him.  He could barely wait for a taste. 

His enthusiasm led my middle son’s curiosity to try it as well which then spread to my youngest, who normally stays away from creamy soups.  They all loved it.  Sometimes peer pressure is a good thing.

Scalloped potatoes to follow…