Saturday, July 26, 2014

Lasagna with Salmon and Spinach

Lasagna with Salmon and Spinach 1

I've made regular Lasagna with Meat Sauce and Vegetarian Lasagna with Broccoli, Kale, and Zucchini. I got a little more creative with Vegetarian Lasagna with Feta Cheese, Spinach, and Tofu. I've even blogged Pastitsio (Greek "Lasagna").

This Lasagna with Salmon and Spinach is more of a Swedish/Italian fusion. Not that I came up with it on my own. I actually saw it on the menu at IKEA - Covina, and mentally made a note to try making it at home. I used cheap frozen salmon filets, because the good stuff I save for eating fresh.

I prefer to bake the salmon first using my go-to Baked Salmon with Lemon Pepper Seasoning to bring out the flavor. Baking also makes sure the salmon flakes easily before adding it into the lasagna. A nice bechamel sauce and spinach goes far in disguising mediocre salmon so the final result was mighty tasty. Of course, if you want to splurge and use fresh salmon, by all means do so, but just a little suggestion with the frozen salmon so you can save your pennies.

I actually made my version at the beginning of the year, when I was thinking of recipes for Lent. Then on a recent visit to buy tickets for the IKEA (Swedish Crayfish Party) - Burbank, figured I should order it for comparison.

The verdict?

My version is much better.

Of course. ;)

IKEA (Swedish Crayfish Party) - Burbank

IKEA (Swedish Crayfish Party) - Burbank 1

The first time I heard about IKEA's Swedish Crayfish Party, I was going out of town to Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado. The subsequent years, it's either been sold out or I forgot about it entirely. I was determined to go at least once!

C'mon, $9.99 (with my IKEA family member discount) for all-you-can-eat crawfish? I'm sooo there!

Now, y'all know I love my crayfish, but what exactly is a Swedish crayfish party? According to the official Sweden site, crayfish were eaten in Sweden since the 1500s by the aristocracy. In the mid-1800s, it became more widespread, but it wasn't until the 1900s that the tradition, as it is now, started. Because of concerns about overfishing, catching crayfish was limited to a few months from August onward. Therefore, a Swedish crayfish celebration heralds the end of summer. Decorations might include paper lanterns depicting the man in the moon, bibs, and paper hats.

Unlike the overly spiced Cajun version, Swedish crayfish are simply boiled with salt and crown dill. No matter, I love crawfish in any form!

I ended up inviting one of my long-time students, who was pretty excited about all-you-can-eat crayfish. You have to go with someone who loves these little mudbugs too, otherwise, you're just eating boiled seafood and Swedish cafeteria food and that's no fun.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hawaiian Spicy Tuna Poke

Hawaiian Spicy Tuna Poke 1

I wanted to stick to a pretty typical Hawaiian poke for the sashimi-grade tuna that I picked up from Yama Seafood - San Gabriel. So it was the usual seasonings of soy sauce and sesame oil, with the addition of chili sambal and Sriracha to kick it up a notch.

I looove spicy tuna, and while cheaper cuts are often used in the rolls, I can't stress enough that you should really splurge on sashimi-grade tuna for poke. Freshness makes a big difference, especially when you're eating raw fish.