Saturday, June 23, 2012

Smoked Salmon and Arugula Pizza: Part 1

We are moving soon, so the time has come to eat our way through the freezer. A couple months back we bought 24 oz. of smoke salmon from Costco (cause, well... that was the smallest size they had). I froze half of the salmon and happily forgot about it. However the time of reckoning has come. Yesterday morning I decided to tackle the salmon so I started to poke around online for good a smoked salmon recipes (one's that used a LOT of salmon). and found this one for Grilled Smoked Salmon and Arugula Pizza. It looked really good but we don't have a grill so I had to modify it to work in the oven (our apartment complex doesn't allow us to own a grill... but YAY we are moving!!).

The crust on this pizza is whole wheat and very thin and crispy (kind of like a cracker). You could easily use store bought dough instead though to make an even faster pizza. :)

This was my entry in our weekly Bales Dinner Competition. Nathan says I won this set. :)

Ingredients (for making two personal sized pizzas):

2 cups - whole wheat flour
1 tsp - salt
2 tsp - dried basil
1 tsp - dried oregano
1 tsp - onion powder
1 tsp - dried yeast
1/3 cup - oil
1/2 cup - warm water

6 oz. - smoked salmon
1 Tbsp - capers
2 Tbsp - thinly diced onions
Handful washed and dried arugula
1 - thinly sliced tomato
2/3 package cream cheese.


1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water (and preheat the oven to 350 F).
2. Add remaining dough ingredients and mix into a ball. If the dough seems too dry add a bit more water.
3. Kneed dough on a floured surface until well mixed and then let rest for 30 min.
4. Separate the dough into two even size balls and roll them out two make two pizza shapes.
5. Brush with olive oil and pop the crusts in the oven for 10 min.
6. Pull the crusts out and place 1/3 of the cream cheese package on each. Don't worry about spreading it out yet.
7. Pop the pizzas back in for about 2 minutes (we are getting the cream cheese to soften up so that it will be easy to spread).
8. Spread the warmed cream cheese over both crusts and add the tomatoes, 1/2 of the arugula, onions, and capers.
9. Bake in oven for another 10 minutes
10. Split the salmon evenly between the two pizzas and then add the rest of the arugula. 
11. Grind a bit of pepper on top and serve! 

Ok! Just one more close up! :D

Even though I made a double recipe I still have over half a package of smoked salmon left, so stay tuned to see smoked salmon pizza part two: the taste test battle.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Twice a year, approximately 49 days before and after the summer solstice, the sunset over the pacific ocean aligns with the rows of piles that support Scripps Pier at La Jolla Shores.  The path of the sun approaching the horizon is not perpendicular to the horizon, so the sun appears to take a diagonal path through the vertical window at the end of the pier.  This diagonal path has the effect of sharing the wealth between about three days each alignment: on one day, the sun centers itself at the top of the window; in the vertical center on the middle day; and at the bottom of the window on the third.

Showing an example of the paths
taken by the sun through the window
on three consecutive days.

The event is a great opportunity for interesting photos.  I've posted some taken both in August 2010 and May 2012 on my Picassa Web.  Enjoy! (click the photos below to view the albums).

Scripps Pier Sunset Alignment, Aug 8-10, 2010
Scripps Pier Sunset Alignment, May 3, 2012

<>< Nathan

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Plank Salmon

Elizabeth was kind enough to introduce our "Bales dinner competition" in her post about her toad-in-the-hole entry.  In this post I will describe an entry I made about a month ago, but remains our favorite to date.

The story starts in May 2010.  Elizabeth and I were adventuring on Vancouver Island with some friends when we decided to stop into a local winery.  We ended up at Cherry Point Winery where I found a Pinot Gris which I immediately though should be paired with Salmon.  Fast forward two years, in May 2012, and that bottle of wine became the inspiration for my weekly entry.

Not to be outdone by Elizabeth's British food paired with British beer, I decided to pair my Canadian wine with a very Canadian dish: ceder plank roasted salmon with maple syrup sauce.

The recipe used for the salmon and sauce is from Epicurious, though I did not make the mustard mashed potatoes.  In the morning I started soaking my cedar planks in a baking sheet full of water, and threw together the glaze.  I let the glaze simmer while I read my email and scanned Google News.  Before dinner, I drained the water from the baking sheet, and assembled the green onions, salmon fillet and glaze on the baking sheet, and cooked as directed in the oven.  The time given at Epicurious was perfect for the thick end of the fillet, but too long for the thin end.

Cedar planks to add a wonderful smokey flavor

On the side, I sauteed asparagus, carrots, and cherry tomatoes.  I wanted to keep the side dish colorful and light while not taking the spotlight off the salmon.

Sauteed vegetables on the side
Various commenters online have different opinions on how many times you can use wood planks for cooking fish.  We used our planks twice with good results, and may be able to use them even more.  Enjoy!

Full spread

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fresh Rice Noodles with Basil and Chili

Ok, these didn't really turn out looking very good, but they were pretty tasty. We buy our fresh rice noodles at our local Asian grocery store (99 Ranch). You can cook these along with basil, garlic, and some chili paste and get a pretty yummy dinner. Here's how we did it. :) 

Fresh Rice Noodles with Basil and Chili

Start by heating chopped garlic and a spoonfull of chili paste in a pan. I recommend cutting you garlic smaller than this cause mine ended up being a little too big and took a while to cook.

Meanwhile chop up the leaves from about 4 sprigs of basil.

When the oil is hot and the garlic begins to brown add your noodles and basil to the pan. Add a couple splashes of soy sauce at this point too.

We also added some mushrooms and tofu too at this point, but any vegetables would be good

Garnish with more basil and serve. :)

1- package fresh rice noodles (separate the noodles before you start cooking to make your life easy)
4- sprigs basil (more for garnish)
2 tbsp - soy sauce
1 tbsp - chili sauce
3 - mushrooms sliced
1- pack tofu cubed
4-5 cloves garlic diced
cooking oil

1. Heat oil in pan over medium heat. 
2. add garlic and chili paste, saute until garlic begins to brown.
3. add noodles, mushrooms, basil, tofu and soy sauce.
4. cook for about 5 min stirring to make sure that everything heats through.
5. garnish with more basil and serve.