Monthly Archives: May 2013

Smoked Sockeye Salmon Salad Sandwich

Smoked sockeye salmon salad sandwich

Smoked sockeye salmon salad sandwich


I just wanted to have a food idea with all those S’s.  Smoked Sockeye Salmon Salad Sandwich.  Say that 3 times quickly with a mouthful of pistachios.  I was cleaning out the fridge and had this great Alaskan smoked salmon leftover from the holiday.  I felt like a little comfort food so I grilled it on sprouted wheat bread with a little white cheddar.  I had too much so I piled it on some left over avocado and ate it too.

At the counter of the 5 and dime:  The first time I ever had a grilled sandwich similar to this was at the local 5 and dime.  Local was Glen Ellyn, IL at the time.  I was probably about 10 and a very independent 10 at that.  I had my own money and often ventured off on my own, of course with the blessing of my parents. It was common for us to walk the 5 or 6 blocks to town for one reason or another.  On the menu of the 5 and dime was a grilled tuna and cheese sandwich.  What the heck is that?  So I ordered it.  Of course it came on white bread with American cheese but what a combo.  If it’s on a menu, I probably will order it.  I guess it has been renamed over the years as the “tuna melt”.  Whatever. Still the grilled tuna and cheese to me.

Throw it all in there:  I throw in drained chopped capers, onion, celery, dill, good mayo, Dijon mustard and cracked pepper.  Add colorful bell peppers if you like and a dash of flavored vinegar.  I like the flavor and texture of sprouted wheat bread and the sharp bite of white cheddar.  I grill my sandwich on low heat (so the cheese melts) in unsalted butter. If you’re going to go, go all the way.  It doesn’t get any better than this for a grilled sandwich. 


Shrimp, avacado, and grapefruit salad

Shrimp salad

Shrimp salad


This is one of my favorite summer salads.  The crunchiness of the celery and the sweet/tart grapefruit offer a wonderful contrast of flavors and textures.  Like peanut butter and jelly, avocado and shrimp go great together. Using the fruit juice in the vinaigrette marries the flavors even more.  And if you like wine, the “grapefruitiness” of a Sauvignon Blanc matches wonderfully.  Split this recipe between 2 for a full meal or 4 for a first course. Either way you’ll have happy people.

Shrimp, avocado and grapefruit salad

For the salad

  • 1 lb of raw, peeled, shrimp.  21-25 count. 
  • 2 ruby grapefruit peeled and halved
  • 1 head butter lettuce or green leaf lettuce, rinsed and chopped
  • ½ red or yellow onion, shaved
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 ripe Haas avocado

For the dressing

  • 4 Tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 Tablespoon champagne or while balsamic vinegar
  • Juice from ½ grapefruit
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the thawed shrimp 1-2 minutes.  Rinse immediately and submerge in ice water.  Set aside. 

Peel both grapefruit and separate 1 grapefruit in half pole to pole.  Squeeze ½ grapefruit and add juice to a mixing bowl.  Combine the remaining dressing ingredients.  Whisk and set aside,

Chop or tear the lettuce in bite size pieces, chop the celery, shave the onion and add to a salad bowl.  Peel the remaining grapefruit halves. Remove the seeds, and as much as the pith and membrane as possible.  Cut into small pieces.  Cut the avocado in ½ and with a sharp knife, section into small pieces, removing with a spoon.

Drain the shrimp and pat dry with paper towels.  In a small bowl toss the shrimp with a few Tablespoons of the vinaigrette.  Toss the salad with the dressing.  On 4 plates (or 2 for dinner) divide the greens equally.  Add the avocado, the grapefruit, and top with the shrimp.  Serve immediately and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour a cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris and enjoy!  A dry Rosé works well too.

Good wine choice

Good wine choice

Tips:  Add a chopped red bell pepper for color.  Chill the salad plates and forks. 

Tri Tip

Something for everybody

Cooking Tri Tip

Tri tip roast (bottom sirloin) is Tight Line’s Cafe featured “meat of the week”.  Maybe it’s just me but tri tip seems to be on sale almost weekly in this part of the country.  I say in this part of the country because for some reason it’s not available everywhere.  I don’t know why. When I’m traveling east (easy to do when you live in CA), it can be hard to find.  In some stores, when I ask for it by name, many in the meat dept. have never heard of a “tri tip”.  The name tri tip has been shortened for Triangle roast.  It’s also called coulotte steak when it’s sliced.  It could be the perfect grill meat.  It has a good amount of fat, absorbs a marinade well, and has enough variation in thickness so everyone gets a piece cooked to their liking.


Buy the big package: Here, if you buy the big package (3 or more) the discount can be as much as $2.00 a pound.  In the big pack the roasts are usually untrimmed but well worth the savings to trim them yourself.  Tri tips average 2 to 3 lbs each so, the big package is a lot of meat.  I use tri tip for a lot of dishes.  Do you like hamburgers? I have the butcher grind a couple tri tips.  Do you like red chili?  Have the butcher use the chili plate (coarse grind) for more texture.  I like chunks of meat in my red chili so I cut them into small cubes about ¾” square. Tri tips freeze well so if you can’t use what you buy pop them in the freezer.

The Dead Sea:  Salt, the number one ingredient in pre-packaged marinated tri tip.  Because the cut is so popular here, some of the producers will offer it pre-marinated.  Beware the tri tips already soaking in the bag.  They can be so salty they are almost inedible.  That holds true with many rubs.  The first ingredient is salt.  Don’t get me wrong, I use salt and think salt is critical to bridging flavor.  But too much and the tongue is dead.  I soak my tri tip an hour or two before cooking.  I trim it, make the marinade, drop it in the juice, and soak it at room temperature until I’m ready to throw it on the fire.  Medium to medium high grill, 12-15 minutes a side and it’s cooked medium rare.  Oh, the fat end maybe a bit rare and the skinny end a bit medium but from front to back it’s really good.  I use the touch method for doneness so know the time guideline is just that.

Marinated Tri Tip

  • 1 – Tri Trip 2-3 lbs.  Trimmed
  • ¼ cup of EVOO
  • 3 Tablespoons Tamari sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 4 cloves of crushed garlic
  • Fresh cracked pepper

Mix the ingredients in a large bowl.  Trim the visible fat off the Marinatingmeat.  Place the trimmed tri tip in the trim the visible fatbowl with the marinade and turn with tongs multiple times until the meat is completely covered with the marinade.  Marinate at room temperature for 1-2 hours.  Grill on medium to medium high for 12 -15 minutes a side.  Let rest at least 10 minutes before carving.  Serve warm.  Grilled vegetables such as zucchini, yellow squash, peppers and onions go well with this cut of meat.

Tips:  Be sure to carve tri tip across the grain.  Otherwise it can be a bit chewy.  Start at the point and make your way to the end.  Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Fries

Colorful dinner

Colorful dinner



I’ve always liked sweet potatoes.  Growing up we rarely ate them.  I think sweet potatoes had the stigma of being a “holiday only” dish.  As I remember we only ate them for Thanksgiving or Easter (if we were having ham).   Mom always cooked as healthy as she knew how. When she made them they were quite simple.  Maybe a little butter, a few pecans.  Still, they resembled dessert more than a side dish.  And, if the holiday meal was a potluck, watch out.  Here comes a dish of sweet potatoes smothered in marshmallows, nuts and swimming in brown sugar and butter.  Sometimes maple syrup was the additive.  Even for a kid, the sweet potatoes were too sweet for me.

Sweet Potato Fries 2

When the healthy food movement started to gain traction, sweet potatoes were rediscovered as a healthy alternative to regular potatoes.  Some fast food restaurants offered them as sides, deep fried with salt.  A few offered them with salt and rosemary, still deep fried. They were a nice change, sweet and crunchy.   One night we were at dinner at a friend’s house and the hostess served the sweet potatoes fries baked, tossed in organic virgin coconut oil, Ancho chili powder, and sea salt.  Not only were they delicious, they were healthy too.  I owe credit for this base recipe to Kathi J. 

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

  • 3 lbs of sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup of organic virgin coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons Ancho chili powder
  • 4 -6 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt divided
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Pre heat the oven to 425F. Peel and rinse the sweet potatoes.  Cut into “fries” about ¾ of an inch square and about 4 inches long.  Melt the coconut oil (it’s solid at room temperature).  Brush a sheet pan with a little coconut oil.  In a large bowl toss the sweet potato fries with the spices, garlic, and coconut oil.  Bake for about 40 minutes until sweet potatoes are soft and start to caramelize.  For extra caramelizing, you can put the fries under the broiler for a minute or two.  Sprinkle with sea salt and serve. 

Tips:  These fries go great with grilled meats, poultry and fish.  Make extra because usually seconds are in order.  Try tossing different vegetables in coconut oil and baking.  Try Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and butternut squash.  Enjoy!