Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon

Salmon is my favorite fish. Recently, we took the advice of our friends Kevin and Maryella and started grilling salmon on cedar plank. Wow! This is a fantastic way to honor a fine piece of Atlantic (shown here in the photo) or, our fave, King Salmon.


12 oz. Salmon Fillet
1 Cedar Plank
1/2 cup plus 1 cup Sauvignon Blanc
1 Tbsp. Coarse Grain Mustard
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
3 cloves Garlic, chopped

At least two hours prior to grilling (overnight is fine), fill a bucket or pan with enough water to cover the cedar plank.

Add 1/2 cup Sauvignon Blanc to the water, then place the wood in the container.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup Sauvignon Blanc, Mustard, Worcestershire and Garlic.

Pour half of the marinade into a baking pan.

Clean Salmon and pat dry.

Place fillet flesh side down in baking pan.

Pour remaining marinade over the fish. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, even overnight, until 30 minutes prior to grilling.

Sear both sides of the Salmon on high heat before placing it on the cedar plank. This will help to retain moistness in the fish.

Introduce plank to the grill, place fillet on it.

Be prepared to flip the fillet several times.

Spoon excess marinade from prep pan onto the fish until the last turn. (This ensures that the marinade is fully cooked).

Fish is done when opaque, flaky yet still moist, and white juices emerge. Remove Salmon from cedar plank and serve immediately.

Sorry, no photo of the finished product this time, as we were very hungry! Suffice it to say that this simple recipe results in extremely moist and delicious grilled Salmon!

Keep a spray bottle filled with water in your grilling arena, as the wood sparks and catches on fire! You'll need to spritz it several times during the process!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Butternut Squash & Sausage Soup!

Winter is nearly upon us, even us Californians feel the late autumn chill and mourn those late sunny evenings. Ahhhhh. But the time is ripe for winter squash -- butternut, turban, acorn and more.

Tonight, I found another fat-free dish to include my Spicy Italian Sausages (see that recipe below):



2 medium Butternut Squashes
1/2 cup white wine
4 cloves Garlic
4 Spicy Italian Vegan Sausages
1/2 cup Vegetable Broth
1 Apple
1 1/2 cups Vegetable Broth
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
Pinch of Cayenne


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add enough water to a baking sheet to cover the bottom.

Slice squashes in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and strings. Put the four halves, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Using a fork, pierce the skins in multiple places. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until soft. Set aside to cool.

In a large stock pot, saute garlic in white wine over medium heat until soft. When most of the liquid is evaporate, crumble the sausages into the pot. Reduce heat to low, stir occasionally to prevent burning, although a light "crust" might form on the pan bottom.

Meanwhile, peel and core an apple. Dice it and puree it in a food processor -- the consistency doesn't have to be totally smooth. Put the apple sauce in a large mixing bowl.

Check the sausage. If it is heated thoroughly, deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of vegetable broth.

Remove flesh from squash skins and put in food processor. Add remaining vegetable broth and puree until very smooth. Add to sausage. At this time, add the apple sauce as well.

Bring heat to medium. Stir in nutmeg and cinnamon; add cayenne to taste.

Allow soup to come to a boil, then reduce flame to low and simmer for at least one hour or all day!

Dinner was served at 6:30pm and, once again, hours later, I am STILL full!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sausage Stuffed Portabellas in Mushroom Gravy

Too much tomato sauce! Ron begged me for mushroom sauce, and I happily complied. I was craving mushrooms, and we had two large Portabellas to stuff and grill, plus Criminis for the sauce.

I decided to use the opportunity of an open afternoon to make a new sausage for the stuffing.

The Spicy Italian Sausage recipe was developed originally by Julie Hasson and I found it on the web at Everyday Dish TV.

Of course I modified it!

Ron doesn't call me his Custom Blend Girl for no reason!

Let's start with the recipe:



2 cups vital wheat gluten

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 cup textured vegetable protein
2 Tbsp Mrs. Dash Chicken Seasoning
1 Tbsp onion
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp fennel seed, toasted and crushed 

2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 Tbsp ground paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano

2 1/4 cups water 

2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the water and soy sauce and using a fork. Stir into the dry mixture just until combined – don’t overmix.

If mixture is too dry, add water as needed by the tablespoon.
Tear eight 14” long pieces of aluminum foil and set aside.

With your hands, take
about 1/2 cup of the mixture and shape into a sausage. Place sausage on a piece of aluminum foil and roll up, twisting the ends. Repeat for each sausage.

Steam sausages for 30 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool. Remove sausages from foil and
refrigerate until ready to eat.

I made a half recipe, ending up with four sausages, each 4.5" long and 1.5" thick.

The photo is a bit heavy on the yellows; the sausages actually appear in color similar to the fully loaded pork version!

Okay. So now you've got the yummy foundation for your grilled Portabella stuffing.

What's next?

Prep your Portabellas!

Some chefs prefer to marinate the mushrooms in a red wine, balsamic vinegar and herb mixture. But I went naked for this recipe!

Next: make the gravy!


1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz. crimini (brown) mushrooms, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme or herbes de provence
2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
2 Tbsp soy sour cream
4 teaspoons vital wheat gluten, as needed
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 oz. soy mozzarella, grated

In a shallow pan, saute shallots and garlic in white wine until soft. Add mushrooms (and additional white wine if necessary) and saute until soft. Add herbs.

In a small bowl, whisk together vegetable broth and soy sour cream. Add to mushroom mixture and bring to a simmer while whisking in sage and pepper.

At this point, if the gravy is not thickening, whisk in vital wheat gluten, one teaspoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

Whisk in soy mozzarella and bring to a low boil.

Serve immediately over your scrumptious Italian Sausage Stuffed Grilled Portabellas!