Shrimp Louie Salad

Shrimp Louie Salad

The Crab Louie has been a San Francisco classic since the early 1900s. Since there has been no crab around this kitchen since the infamous crab cake incident of 2011, I substituted the only shellfish that has yet to make an attempt on my life, shrimp! I’ve never actually had a shrimp/crab Louie before, so I don’t have basis for comparison, but this salad was delicious. It made an extremely enjoyable and beautiful lunch. It might seem like there are a lot of ingredients, but it came together very easily.  I definitely plan on make it again. I think it would be perfect for a fancy luncheon or if you have guests.

A traditional Louie salad involves hard-boiled eggs, but since cannot stand the sight or texture of egg yolks, I left them out. They definitely were not missed. I also used kalamata olives instead of regular black olives, mainly because they were what I had on hand, but they also provide way more flavor. Every other ingredient was fresh and crisp. Living in Southern California, we get amazing produce year round. Tomatoes and avocados are at their prime and we are still lucky enough to find great asparagus at farmers’ market.

The dressing is similar to 1000 Island dressing, but not quite. I read at least 20 different Louie dressing recipes and in the end just picked the ingredients that sounded best to me. I like my dressings on the tangy side and most of them sounded like they would be pretty sweet. I used chili sauce, which I think is super sweet to begin with, so I did not add any extra sugar. I also used dill pickle relish and more lemon juice than most called for. This helped to cut the sweetness (it still had some, but not too much) and thinned out the dressing. Gloopy dressing is never a good thing. I also added Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and paprika for color and flavor.

Shrimp Louie Salad


Shrimp Louie Salad

For the Louie Dressing:

  • 1 cup high-quality mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup ketchup or chili sauce
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons dill pickle relish
  • 1 Tabelspoon Worcestshire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Shrimp:
  • 12 shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tail removed
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Salad:
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, finely chopped (almost shredded)
  • 1/4 pound asparagus, blanched
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, cut into quarters,
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced lengthwise thinly
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced


For the Dressing:
  1. In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place in fridge while cooking shrimp and assembling salad.
For the Shrimp:
  1. Heat oven to 400F. Combine shrimp and all other ingredients in a small bowl or plastic bag. Toss to coat. Place the shrimp on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 6-7 minutes, or until shrimp are nice and pink. Let cool slightly while you assemble the salad.
For the Salad:
  1. Divide lettuce between two plates. Divide the rest of the ingredients between the plates of lettuce. Serve with dressing on the side and enjoy!

Shrimp Louie Salad

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

I usually don’t like tuna salad. I feel like every tuna salad I have had is a horrible combination of mayo, celery, and sweet relish. The thought makes me cringe. Luckily this salad can erase any prior memories of tuna salad gone wrong. This salad is light and refreshing. There are so many amazing flavors. Using Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise, not only lightens up the salad, but really adds a nice, creamy base that lets all the different flavors shine through. I really liked that nearly every bite had a little tangy bite from the capers and a little bit of subtle spice from the bell peppers. I served this salad on a gluten-free Chebe roll with a tomato, olive and balsamic salad.

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

 Mediterranean Tuna Salad
Adapted from Whole Foods Market.

  • 2 (6 ounce) cans albacore tuna, drained well
  • 1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell or piquillo pepper
  • 3/4 cup sliced Greek olives
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Put all ingredients into a large bowl and gently fold together until well combined. Serve on sliced bread as a sandwich or spoon over a green salad.

Baked Salmon with Garlic & Dijon

Baked Salmon with Garlic & Dijon

I had this post all ready to go for yesterday and then forgot to hit schedule… Oops. I’m back in school again and I’m still trying to figure out a blogging schedule that will work with school, life, and my addled brain. But let’s move on to the salmon now. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t like salmon. I love fish, but salmon is generally just too fishy for me. There are of course a few exceptions (I’m looking at you delicious Pesto Salmon). I think I have found another exception!

The main reason I like this recipe is that it is so easy. It’s basically foolproof. And secondly, the flavors! It’s difficult to go wrong with garlic and Dijon. We made this for a luncheon (lunch party? Doesn’t sound as good as dinner party) and ended up doubling the recipe. We had a tons of salmon, two whole fillets. If I was using this much salmon again, I would probably triple the marinade. Even with less salmon, I would still keep the garlic mixture doubled, but I’m a saucy person. We made the salmon ahead of time and served it cold at the lunch. I will admit I did sample a small bit of the salmon when it first came out of the oven and I was in love at first bite. It was just as delicious cold.

Leftover idea! We made two whole fillets and had the smaller one left over. I made an amazing salmon salad for lunch the next day. I took about a quarter of the leftover salmon and mixed it with 1 Tablespoon Dijon, 3 Tablespoons greek yogurt, 1/4 red onion, 3 sprigs fresh dill, a squeeze of lemon juice & salt and pepper. I had it with some crackers.  It was a tasty and super fast lunch.

Baked Salmon with Garlic & Dijon
From Natasha’s Kitchen.

  • 3 pounds salmon (this was wild sockeye salmon)
  • 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup mild olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon slices, for garnish
  1. Heat oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the salmon and lemon slices. Mix well.
  3. Place salmon skin side down on lined baking sheet.
  4. Generously brush all sides of your salmon with the marinade and top with fresh lemon slices.
  5. Bake at 450°F for 12-15 minutes or until just cooked through.
  6. Cut salmon into pieces and serve with lemon slices.

Clams Casino

Clams Casino

Continuing with the Vegas theme for the weekend…

Shucking clams is a ridiculous process, especially when one does not have a shucking knife. I will admit this is a recipe I will probably never make again. It was quite tasty, but shucking clams just isn’t an everyday activity. The best part of this recipe was the topping that went on the clams. If I could find a way to put that topping on everything and anything I definitely would. It had a delicious blend of shallot and garlic and cheese, which is pretty much all I need in life.

There are a million variations of clams casino, but I liked this one because it was gluten free from the get go. Nearly every other recipe I saw included breadcrumbs. Most gluten free breadcrumbs don’t stand up to high heat, so this one was perfect. The parmesan on top definitely get it a slight crunch, so the breadcrumbs weren’t even needed.

Clams Casino


Clams Casino
From Giada De Laurentiis

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ounces sliced pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 18 medium (2 1/2-inch) littleneck clams, shucked, bottom shells reserved
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crisp and golden, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate. Add the bell pepper, shallots, garlic, and oregano to the same skillet and saute until the shallots are tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it is almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and cool completely. Stir the reserved pancetta and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese into the vegetable mixture. Season the mixture, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  3. Line a heavy large baking sheet with foil. Arrange the clams in the reserved shells on the baking sheet. Spoon the vegetable mixture atop the clams, dividing equally and mounding slightly. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Bake until the clams are just cooked through and the topping is golden, about 10 minutes.
  4. Arrange the clams on the platter and serve

Grilled Tuna with White Bean and Charred Onion Salad

Grilled Tuna with White Bean and Charred Onion Salad

It’s been super hot here. And humid. If there are 2 things I hate, they would be hot weather and humidity. Southern California’s only redeeming quality is the year-round 70 degree weather with a slight sea breeze. If this keeps, I’m leaving. The weather also means cooking is one of the least appealing activities ever. Being in a hot, stuffy kitchen is just miserable these days. The only recipes that are appealing are those with little to no heat or actually cooking involved. This meal is great for hot weather. Very little cooking is involved and being outside at the grill is much more enjoyable than a being stuck in a hot kitchen.

The bean salad was the definitely the best part of this meal. It was tasty and tangy. The grilled onions gave it a nice smoky taste, which was great with the salty capers. I would probably make the bean salad again, before I made the tuna. I think that the salad would be great with grilled chicken or shrimp as well.

Grilled Tuna with White Bean and Charred Onion Salad
Adapted from Cooking Light

For the Tuna:

  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 (6-ounce) tuna steaks
  • Cooking spray
For the Salad:
  • 1 medium Vidalia or other sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

Gluten Free Pesto Crusted Salmon

Gluten Free Pesto Crusted Salmon

I hate pesto (pine nuts and basil are just disgusting). I don’t really like salmon either (it’s way too fishy). But for some reason I love this dish. Go figure. Mama CC has been making this for years so I guess I just got used to it. Luckily it is super easy to make and always a crowd pleaser.

We served this for Easter dinner with several friends joining us, hence the size, but the recipe can be easily scaled down to individual filet portions. If you were to scale this recipe down for smaller cuts of salmon, just keep the 2:1:1 ratio of pesto:breadcrumbs:cheese and you should be fine.

Gluten Free Pesto Crusted Salmon (adapted from Mama CC)

  • 1 large salmon fillet , or several smaller filets (we used a 3 pound fillet)
  • 1 cup pesto
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, divided (I used Kinnikinnick Gluten Free Panko Style Crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • juice of 2 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450F/230C. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil and lightly oil/spray.
  2. Trim the salmon (if needed) and check for any stray bones.
  3. Place the salmon on the baking sheet. Squeeze one lemon over the fillet and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Mix together the pesto with half the breadcrumbs and spread over salmon. Take the remaining breadcrumbs and mix with half the cheese and sprinkle over the pesto. Then top the salmon with the remaining cheese.
  5. Cook on middle shelf for 30-40 minutes (probably 10-15 if using smaller filets). Remove from oven, squeeze with lemon and serve.

Salmon with Mango Salsa and Arroz Verde

Salmon with Mango Salsa

I first had this salmon at a Mexican restaurant in Budapest. Yeah, I know what you are thinking, ‘Fish? At a Mexican place? In a landlocked country?’. Yes, I am aware I am lucky to have lived to tell the tale. But trust me, all misgivings aside, this is truly a delicious meal. I have been dreaming of re-creating it for well over a year and now that I have I think this might be entering into regular meal rotation. This salmon was so good, I’m not even going to apologize for the crappy iPhone picture.

I used frozen, skinless Coho salmon from Trader Joe’s, but fresh is perfect as well. If you want to make this recipe even easier to make, you can buy pre-made fresh mango salsa. It’s fairly easy to find around here, but that could just be a Southern California thing. Regardless, it’s very easy to make. Chopping the mangoes is the most difficult part.

For the salmon, I flavored it with garlic powder and Chile con Limon, which is a Mexican seasoning. Again, it’s something really easy to find in Southern California, but if you don’t live in these parts, it is super simple to make at home. I cooked my salmon in a grill pan on the stove, but a real barbecue grill or a regular pan would work just fine. Just make sure that what ever you are cooking on is HOT.


  • 2 salmon fillets
  • Chile con Limon seasoning*
  • Garlic powder
  • Olive oil spray
  • Fresh lemon to squeeze/serve
  1. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Season salmon with chile con limon and garlic powder on both sides.
  2. When pan is hot, spray with olive oil. Lightly spray salmon with olive oil spray. Place salmon on pan and cook 5 minutes each side. Squeeze lemon over salmon just before removing from pan.
Chile con Limon Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon citric acid powder (available on Amazon or in bulk grocery sections)
Combine ingredients together. Sprinkle over fish, meat, chicken, vegetables as seasoning.

Mango Salsa

  • 1-2 Mangoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 Jalapeño, finely diced (add seeds according to desired heat level)
  • 1 red bell pepper or tomato, diced
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Arroz Verde (From a whole bunch of different recipes)

  • 1/2 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh stemmed spinach leaves
  • 1 1/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 1/4 cups non-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
  • 1/2 cup finely minced onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  1. Put the cilantro, spinach, and broth in a blender and blend until the vegetables are puréed. Add the milk and salt and blend a bit more until well combined.
  2. In a medium heavy-based saucepan (with a lid) over medium heat, heat the olive oil and butter. When the butter is melted, add the rice and sauté, stirring about every 30 seconds, until it just begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the contents of the blender, stir well, turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, turn the heat to very low, and cook for 20 minutes. Stir the rice carefully to avoid crushing it, cover, and cook another 5 minutes.
  3. Take the pan off the heat and let the rice steam in the covered pot for 10 minutes (be sure to remove from hot burner completely, otherwise the bottom of the rice will burn). Serve hot.

Tuna in a Tomato (Gluten Free!)

I saw this recipe in Real Simple: Meals Made Easy and it seemed like a super easy and summery lunch. It also took about a grand total of 5 minutes to make, which is also a plus.

While the tomatoes were tasty, there was still something lacking. I think next time around, I might leave out the parsley and add a lot more lemon juice. Despite the lemon juice and all the capers and kalamatas I added the salad it was missing a bit of tanginess.

Tuna in a Tomato (makes 6 servings) inspired by Real Simple: Meals Made Easy p. 93

  • 6 large tomatoes
  • 3 6-oz. cans of tuna, drained
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3 Tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon high quality mayonnaise (I like Hollywood Safflower Mayonnaise)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
With a paring knife, cut out and discard the stem of each tomato. Using a spoon, hallow out the tomatoes, leaving each with a 1/4-inch shell, and transfer the pulp to a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the tomato pulp and toss gently. Spoon the mixture back into the tomatoes and serve.

Grilled Tuna with Asian Salad and Corn

It seems like it finally might be summer here, or at least this week’s mini-heat wave is sure making it seem that way. I’m sorry 91 degrees in March is just unacceptable, but fortunately it’s the perfect excuse to clean off the grill, eat outside and listen to Vin Scully on the radio. I’m not sure what I was more excited about, using the grill for the first time in forever, eating a delicious meal outside or watching Dodgers opening day.


To celebrate the ridiculous weather and Opening Day, barbecuing just seemed like a must. I marinated some Ahi Tuna steaks (they have great 2-packs in the frozen section at Trader Joe’s) in an Asian-inspired marinated and a salad with some homemade Asian inspired dressing, along with some corn drizzled with olive oil and garlic powder. I must admit that everything was absolutely delicious. Everything was accompanied by Frei Brothers Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, which was absolutely perfect with the meal. It was light and fruity, but not overwhelmingly sweet.


Ahi Tuna Marinade

  • 1/4 C. Olive Oil
  • 1/4C. Tamari or Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. Sesame Oil (I used Chili Sesame Oil for a little extra kick)
  • A chunk of fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • A few shakes of roasted sesame seeds

Mixed the marinade and then allowed the Ahi to marinate while I got the rest of the dinner ready and the grill heated up. Flipping the steaks every 15 minutes or so. I then cooked the Ahi at around 350 on the grill, 3 minutes each side, and they came out perfectly.


Gluten-Free Fish Tacos and some Caesar Salad too!

Tacos! Tacos! Tacos!

It’s no secret I LOVE Mexican food. Today when I was at the grocery store there was some really nice looking snapper on sale (you would think that 13 years of Catholic school would have clued me into the fact that it’s Lent, but since I’m a little slow on the uptake and majorly lapsed on the Catholic part, I totally didn’t get why all the fish was so cheap). I originally intended to a nice civilized meal of the snapper with polenta and asparagus, but that quickly went out the window courtesy of a friend’s facebook status. She made fish tacos for dinner, why couldn’t I make fish tacos for dinner!?

I rinsed the fish and let it marinade for about 40 minutes in a really, really simple marinade. I really wanted to grill it, but I was hungry and wanted to eat before 10pm, so I was not in the mood to clean off the grill (it hasn’t been used yet this year… sad.), so I cooked it up in the pan. I also crisped up some corn tortillas in a tiny bit of vegetable oil in another pan. I made them flat more like tostadas than taco shells, let them drain and cool for a few minutes on a paper towel and then I topped them with the fish, salsa, cheese, lettuce and some other good fixin’s. I also made a delicious ‘southwestern’ casear salad with tomato and green onion. SUCH a good meal. This will definitely be entering the regular rotation.

Fish Taco Marinade

  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 4 generous shakes of chili or chipotle powder
  • 1 generous shake of smoked paprika
  • Goya Adobo seasoning*

Mix lime, lemon oil and spices and mix with prepared fish. Cover with cling wrap and allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes. Cook on grill or in pan. Serve and enjoy!

* – Goya Adobo seasoning is a relatively new discovery for me and I’m obsessed with it. It’s basically garlic salt with some more Mexican flavorings. I’ve been using it instead of salt that’s called for in a lot of recipes and it’s great on roasted corn or popcorn as well.

Southwest Caesar Salad Dressing

Inspired by this All Recipes Caesar Salad Supreme Recipe

  • 6-10 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3/4 c. mayo
  • 2 tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chipotle or chili powder
  • black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients either in small food processor or tupperware box (I put them all in a small tupperware box and just shake, shake, shake) and then refrigerate until ready to use.