This may or may not come as a shock to you. The fact that I’ve been living in New York City off and on for the past ten years leads many people to believe that I am familiar with the subway system. I’m not going to lie, I sometimes perpetuate this misconception. Like when people say, “Oh, your Mom lives uptown? You must see her all the time. I bet you just hop on the express.” And I say, “Totally! It’s so awesome!” And then I change the subject because until I asked Logan, I didn’t even know what the “express” was.
For the record, I am not opposed to public transportation. It’s cheap and convenient, and it makes for excellent people watching, which is one of my all-time favorite activities. For these reasons, I rode the T a fair number of times back in my glory college days, and when I lived in Paris, I was the self-proclaimed “queen of the metro.” I happily took the train everywhere, even when I was only going a few blocks. (I wore a lot of high heels on my Parisian adventure.) However, I have only ever ridden the New York subway system a handful of times in my life. There are several reasons for this…
I’d like to start by blaming my parents. They are not subway riders, and therefore, I was not taught the system at a young age. Because I failed to learn the subway routes during my formative years, all the squiggly lines on the map just seem overwhelming to me now. Blergh.
I also avoid the subway because, as I have mentioned before, I have anxiety. I know it may sound like a bullshit excuse, but it’s for realsies. Enclosed spaces with poor air circulation and large crowds of people? Please excuse me while I have a panic attack. Oh, and I’m not really a germaphobe, but Logan is, and while watching him try not to touch anything on the train is amusing, it also makes me nervous about whether I’m going to die from holding the subway pole. Anxiety is the worst.
Despite my hesitations, I realize that avoiding New York City public transportation is not a sustainable lifestyle. So, after much harassment by my roommate, I decided to give the subway a real try last spring. I proudly walked down the stairs into the hot and bustling station one April afternoon, reminding myself to remain calm and breathe like a normal person. Logan kept saying encouraging things like, “See, it’s not so bad. You’re doing so well!” While I found this somewhat patronizing, he was right. It wasn’t so bad, and I was doing very well!
And then a woman slapped me in the head.
I have a pretty thick skull, but being open-palmed slapped on the side of the head, especially at random, was quite a shock. It didn’t really hurt, but it did mess up my hair, and it was weird and rude. Logan missed the whole thing because he was probably looking at ESPN on his phone, but the fact that he did not seem disturbed when I informed him of this occurrence was discomforting. I took his lackadaisical response to mean that this type of thing was to be expected when traveling by subway. I was not into that. Mission “Conquer the Subway” aborted.
I have not ridden the subway since the slapping incident, but I’ve been seriously considering giving it another shot recently. Since September is the start of a new year, it’s an excellent time to take on challenges and try some new things, and I actually have an impressive list of stuff that I plan to accomplish in the coming months. I won’t bore you with the long-form, but the top five “goals” are as follows:
- Back up my computer. (I have never done it before and this MacBook Air is on its last legs.)
- Learn to use the subway.
- Join a gym.
- Get a physical/see a dentist. (It’s been over 3 years, get it together!)
- Try something new every week.
In a fit of early September productivity, I decided to get started on my list earlier this week. Because I’m currently in Maine, tackling the first four items had to be temporarily put on hold, but number five seemed doable. I was thinking about what new thing I could try, when I remembered that Food Network’s Summer Fest ingredient of the week was beets. (In case you haven’t noticed, every week this summer, several food bloggers and I have developed recipes around a seasonal ingredient picked by the Food Network.) Since I hate beets, I felt that experimenting with beet recipes qualified as “trying something new.” Count it.
To really challenge myself, I figured I would also throw salmon into the mix, since I’m not a big fan of that either. I spent a lot of time trying to come up with a recipe involving both beets and salmon that didn’t make me want to die, and I’m proud to present the result: Ginger-Soy Glazed Salmon with Asian Beet Slaw.
I can honestly say that this meal is shockingly delicious. And coming from someone who dislikes the two primary ingredients, that is saying A LOT. If you’re not a salmon fan, this ginger-soy glazed version may actually convert you. The filets get quickly marinated in a combination of fresh ginger, soy sauce, citrus and brown sugar, and then pan seared for a few minutes on each side until the fish is just cooked through. After that, the marinade gets reduced to a light glaze, which is brushed over the salmon. The result is tender, flaky fish coated with a sweet, salty and tangy glaze that has just the right amount of gingery heat. This glaze is so money that you’ll probably want to put it on everything, but I urge you to try it with salmon first. After all, salmon makes you smarter and prettier thanks to its sky-high omega-3 content, so we should eat it as often as possible.
As much as I dig this salmon, I think that the Asian Beet Slaw is the real moneymaker here. Through the recipe testing process, I realized that I dislike cooked beets, which I find to be tasteless and gross. Raw beets, however, I’m fully on board with. They are slightly earthy tasting, but also sweet, and they have a nice little crunch. In this slaw, I tossed julienned beets, green cabbage, carrots, oranges, scallions and toasted sesame seeds with a bright dressing that’s bursting with Asian flavors. It’s light, refreshing, and comes together in minutes. This slaw provides the perfect base for Ginger-Soy Glazed Salmon, but it would also be awesome with almost any type of meat or fish, and it’s great on it’s own as a light meal.
After successfully trying something new this week, my fall is clearly off to a promising start, and I’m really looking forward to crossing the other items off my To-Do List. In fact, I’m pretty sure I can accomplish the first four in one fell swoop. I just need someone to plot out the subway route from the Apple store to the gym, and then to the doctor’s/dentist’s office, which leads me to number six on my list: Get an assistant.
Ginger-Soy Glazed Salmon with Asian Beet Slaw: (Serves 4)
4 6-ounce salmon filets, skin removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh Ground Pepper
For the Ginger-Soy Glaze:
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoon orange juice
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoon dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
For the Asian Beet Slaw:
1½ tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 cup julienned beets (If you don’t have a julienne peeler, slice a beet in half and then use a vegetable peeler to shave the beet into half moons. Next slice the half moons into very thin strips.)
1 cup shredded carrots
3 cups finely chopped green cabbage
1 navel orange, peeled, segmented and chopped
4 scallions, finely chopped (whites and light green parts only)
1½ tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Preparing your Ginger-Soy Glazed Salmon with Asian Beet Slaw:
-In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, lime juice, ginger and garlic. Pour the marinade into a shallow baking dish and add the salmon filets. Allow the salmon to marinate for ten minutes. Flip the filets and allow them to marinate for ten more minutes. (No need to refrigerate!)
-While your salmon is marinating, prepare your Asian Beet Slaw. First, you’ll need to toast the sesame seeds. Heat a small pan over medium heat. When hot, add the sesame seeds and toast for about 1 minute until they are golden brown.
-In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, honey, ginger and garlic. Pour dressing over the beet slaw and toss to coat. Set aside while you cook your salmon.
-Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large pan. When hot, add the salmon filets and cook for 4 minutes on each side or until salmon is just cooked through.
- 4 6-ounce salmon filets, skin removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Fresh Ground Pepper
- For the Ginger-Soy Glaze:
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoon orange juice
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoon dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, lime juice, ginger and garlic. Pour the marinade into a shallow baking dish and add the salmon filets. Allow the salmon to marinate for ten minutes. Flip the filets and allow them to marinate for ten more minutes. (No need to refrigerate!)
- Remove your salmon filets from the marinade and lightly season both sides with salt and fresh ground pepper. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan.
- Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large pan. When hot, add the salmon filets and cook for 4 minutes on each side or until salmon is just cooked through.
- Bring the marinade to a boil and lower to a simmer. Reduce the marinade by half until it becomes thick and syrupy. (This should take 3-4 minutes.) Voila, ginger-soy glaze!
- Brush each salmon filet with ginger soy-glaze and serve over Asian beet slaw if you're into that.
- 1½ tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 cup julienned beets (If you don’t have a julienne peeler, slice a beet in half and then use a vegetable peeler to shave the beet into half moons. Next slice the half moons into very thin strips.)
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 3 cups finely chopped green cabbage
- 1 navel orange, peeled, segmented and chopped
- 4 scallions, finely chopped (whites and light green parts only)
- 1½ tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- First, you need to toast the sesame seeds. Heat a small pan over medium heat. When hot, add the sesame seeds and toast for about 1 minute until they are golden brown.
- In a large bowl, combine the beets, carrots, cabbage, oranges and scallions.
- In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, honey, ginger and garlic.
- Pour dressing over the beet slaw and toss to coat. Serve room temperature or chilled.
As always, I’m thrilled to be a part of Food Network’s Summer Fest this week. For more delicious recipes featuring beets, check out the awesome blogs below.
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Star Anise Ginger Pickled Beets
The Heritage Cook: Rosemary Roasted Beets, Potatoes and Peppers
Dishing: Beetroot Brownies / Beet Brownies
Devour: 4 Beet Salad Best Bets
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Beet Greens with Balsamic Glazed Beets
Red or Green: Sweet and Spicy Roasted Beet and Bacon Salad Virtually Homemade: Beet Risotto with Goat Cheese
Dishin & Dishes: Roasted Beet Salad with Garlic Vinaigrette
Taste With The Eyes: Shrimp, Beet, Raspberry, Radicchio and Rose Salad
Weelicious: Red Beet and White Bean Hummus
FN Dish: 5 Ways to Brighten Beets