20-Minute Salmon and Salad

Crispy salmon 25 06 16

Free from dairy, nuts, peanuts, oats, mustard, egg, soy, wheat.

In the heat of summer the thought of being behind a hot stove is the last thing you want to do. But who wants to compromise on eating good food? Here's my recipe for crispy Atlantic salmon with a cucumber salad and avocado mayo. My brother and I are eating it right now! And I made it in under 20 minutes. Here's how...

Salmon

You'll need 1 portion of salmon (about the size of your fist) per person. Pat both sides of the fish dry with a paper towel and then season generously with salt and pepper. Heat up 1 tbsp. of good olive oil in a non-stick pan and place the salmon fillet in skin-size down. Cover with a splash guard if you have one because it will sizzle! Sear for about 5 minutes, or until crispy, then flip over and sear on the flesh side for another 7 minutes on medium-high heat.

Salad

Full disclosure here, I didn't come up with this recipe, I got it from Bran's mom. You can prep the salad while the salmon is cooking. Slice up 1 cucumber, mince one clove of garlic, and chop up about 1 tbsp. of dill. Add them all to a bowl and toss with salt, a drizzle of olive oil, and a drizzle of red wine vinegar. Mix well and set aside.

Avocado Mayo

Add 1 avocado, the juice of 1 lime, and some more chopped dill (about 1 tsp) to a blender or Magic Bullet and blend until creamy and smooth.

Serve 1 fillet of salmon, a scoop of salad, and a dollop of the mayo per person. Enjoy with a glass of white wine or lemonade. Yum!

Mands.

Rexfords. A fresh way to eat in Toronto

Do you love comfort food?
Do you want it to be healthy?
Do you not have the time or skills necessary to make healthy comfort food at home?
And finally, do you live in Toronto and love a good deal?

If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions then you've gotta check out Rexfords, a new local meal prep company that's delivering fast, healthy, delicious comfort food to the 416. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Kevin, one of the founders, to talk about their mission as a company. To my delight and surprise it ended up being a discussion of his passion for Rexfords and for food.

Chef Kevin
As I mentioned, Kevin is seriously passionate about food. He learned to cook from his grandmother and grew up with foodie parents who owned a Chinese-Canadian restaurant in Hamilton where he was exposed to life in the kitchen. He described moving from slower-paced Hamilton to the big city as a pretty big undertaking and from what I gathered it's because he managed to accomplish so much. While managing several restaurants around the city he also ran pop-up restaurants where he was able to showcase his talent and build good rapport with local food bloggers before starting this endeavor with his best friend Peter. Despite all of his success I would best describe Kevin as humble and grounded.

The Rexfords Mission
He explained to me his philosophy that when you let ideas grow organically you end up doing your best work. They want to provide customers a Sunday night meal for every night of the week, and their menu is designed to provide everyone's favorite comfort foods. From Beef Bourguignon to spaghetti and meatballs, they offer something for everyone and the menu changes every week. They don't feel that good food should come at a price either. They believe in total body health which means recharging properly after working out or at regular meal times. Each meal has a protein, vegetable, and starch to provide the balanced nutrients your body needs.

That Killer Logo
If you're wondering how Peter and Kevin came up with the name, Rexford is the name of the street Kevin grew up on in Hamilton, where both guys are from. The T-rex is a clever play on words but also signifies the scale and impact of their move to Toronto, while the small human next to it represents themselves and this massive project they're conquering. These guys really put a ton of thought into everything! Both went to McMaster, where they met, and have been friends for almost 10 years.

How They Handle Allergies
I couldn't leave without asking Kevin how they handle food allergies in such a busy kitchen. His answer was pretty simple and made a lot of sense; someone preps the meals for people with allergies in an area physically separated from the rest of the food prep. They really value cleanliness and all hands in the kitchen wear gloves. Not only does this help keep the kitchen clean but it makes it easier to prevent cross-contamination. Very little nuts or peanuts are used in their meals to begin with as it's such a common allergen. All emails regarding dietary restrictions are answered by Kevin personally so that he can get the full scope of their needs and ensure clear communication to the rest of the kitchen staff. We talked about the difference between preference and allergy, a distinction he always takes time to clarify. As you can see in the photo below, all meals are labelled with which common allergens they are free from as they have a number of regular clients with food allergies.

Where Can You Get This Amazing Food?
The focus of their branding right now is on gyms and fitness centres where you can find fridges stocked with Rexfords meals for $8 each. They also have a fridge at BrightLane, a communal office space on King St West. And of course you can order their meals online at https://rexfords.com/

Lick Your Plate, a "Lip-Smackin'" New Book

Our pal Rya cooked up a few recipes from Lick Your Plate, a wonderful new cookbook from the producers of Bite Me Creative

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Roasted Lettuce

Lettuce is one of those veggies that people think you aren't supposed to roast. Whenever I talk about roast lettuce, I get some confused looks and some "how is that even possible?" remarks. But although it can be hard to conceptualize since lettuce is so darn watery, it's actually one of my favorite greens to roast. And it's so incredibly easy to make.

You'll need 1/2 a medium-sized lettuce per person as it shrinks down quite a bit in the oven. I use red leaf mainly (pictured here) but romaine also works well. It should be a hearty, flavorful lettuce with a deep green color. Avoid iceberg and Boston varieties. You'll also need about 1 tbsp of olive oil per half lettuce.

Method
1. Cut the lettuce in half and remove any suspicious-looking outer leaves.
2. Wash gently with water to remove any dirt from between the leaves and then dry well with paper towel.
3. Place the halves inside-up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
4. Use a brush to baste each lettuce half with olive oil, making sure to get it in between the leaves. Be careful not to oversaturate the leaves or they'll just end up a greasy mess.
5. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and black pepper.
6. Place in a preheated 400F oven and roast for about 15 - 20 minutes, or until the leaves are wilted and caramelized. The oven time will depend on the size of the lettuce so keep an eye on it the first time you try this recipe.
7. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. I like to add a dollop of grainy mustard (look for gluten-free mustard!) and a side of pickled green tomatoes. If your grandmother doesn't make pickled green tomatoes every summer like mine does, you can serve your favorite pickled vegetable instead. I also like to sprinkle with shelled flax seeds or sometimes with good balsamic vinegar.

Tips/Suggestions
You can also do this on the BBQ!
Try making this recipe with radicchio and increase the cooking time to 30 minutes. It's a rich taste your guests will love.