If it were up to me I’d do away with Valentine’s Day. It might sound cynical, but acts of love and affection shouldn’t be confined to a single day or limited to a romantic relationship. If you choose to indulge in this economically-stimulating holiday, be my guest. Just don’t be boring with it.
If it’s love you’re after, go all out. Think outside the box. Forget the red, foil-wrapped candy, forget the roses and throw away the stuffed animal your significant other will most likely “misplace.”
From my biased foodie opinion, cooking a meal is more creative than a box of chocolates and touches the soul deeper than a teddy bear reading “Be mine.”
Though I might not have pioneered this idea, I created what I’ve deemed lemon cup salmon shooters. Not only do these food filled cups remind one of weekend shots, but it’s also a playful and innovative way to interact with your food beyond the fork and knife.
Fish and lemon go hand-in-hand like high school teachers and Diet Coke. When you knock back the lemon cup, you end up squeezing the leftover juices into the salmon mixture, producing an intense burst of flavor which brings out that mild fishy taste.
When it comes to fish, such as salmon, it is wise to not over-season. A simple salt and pepper combination with fruity, extra-virgin olive oil does the trick. To ensure the salmon is cooked thoroughly and to avoid excessive charring, place a lid over the pan to create a steam bath. Just before it’s done, toss in the roasted red peppers and capers. Similar to lemons, the briny aspect of the capers and peppers further enhance the salmon’s delicate flavor.
I then added the feta-infused rice and asparagus tips to act as the support beams to this architectural achievement. Each side dish had its own unique taste but still complemented the others.
Opening our minds to the creative imagination that we all seemed to have let go of once we “grew up” past childhood allows us to look at things in new ways. I mean I was simply juicing lemons one day, noticed their bowl-like shape and figured I could reuse them in an artistic and practical way without being wasteful.
Apply this creativity to wow those you love and appreciate this Valentine’s Day. Food is life in more ways than one might readily think. Yes, we eat so we can make it to tomorrow, but there’s an entire subculture to food that creates a tightly knit bond between our human relationships. If we want to celebrate the essence of love, there truly is no better manner in which to say, “Be mine.”
½ lb. salmon
1 cup of Kasmati rice
2 cloves garlic, minced
Small jar roasted red peppers,
Parsley, chopped (optional)
2 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
10-12 asparagus tips
Capers, minced (optional)
2 Lemons, halved and juiced
Cook rice according to box. Cook first due to length of time. Once finished add butter, feta, ground black pepper and parsley.
Rinse asparagus tips. Toss in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté on medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes. Can let rest on low heat, if done before salmon.
Rinse and pat dry salmon filet. Season with salt and pepper. Cook medium heat with lid, skin side down first in olive oil and 2 tsp. of lemon juice. When white color begins to move up the sides of fish (4-5 minutes), flip; peel off skin and gray bits. Break salmon up to ensure it’s done (should be pale pink color), add peppers and capers, replace lid.
Halve the lemons, cut the bottom end off so it stands straight. Juice or scoop out flesh and add salmon mixture. Serve with rice and asparagus. Serves 1-3.