Grilled Salmon Tacos with Pomegranate-Jalapeño Salsa
Happy Friday from LA, friends! Today is the first day of The Dude Diet photo shoot and honestly, I feel like I’m going to throw up. That might be because being awake at 6am makes me nauseous, but it’s more likely a combo of excitement and anticipatory anxiety. I take comfort in the fact that Logan is stopping by this afternoon for his glamour shots—if there’s any ice left to break with my photo team, the dude is guaranteed to plunge through it like a very enthusiastic, chicken wing-loving polar bear. (p.s. If you’re interested in following the behind-the-scenes action, I’m going to do my best to Snapchat the highlights: serenagwolf.)
Anyhoo, today I’m finally emptying the nets from 2015. I know I’m a little late, and it already feels like the holidays were forever ago, but I needed a little time to reflect on the past year before tackling this exercise. In case you’re new here, “emptying the nets” is the cathartic process of writing out the year’s highs and lows in the hope of embracing the good and letting the bad float away into the universe. It’s an excellent way to gain some perspective, set a few goals (if you feel like it), and start the new year on a positive note. It’s also become one of my very favorite ways to shamelessly overshare with all of you!
A lot of shit went down in 2015, so let’s dive right in…
1. WRITING A COOKBOOK. (Insert every expletive you can think of and an obscene amount of exclamation points.) It was awesome, and terrifying, and hilarious, and emotional, and to be honest, I’m still somewhat shocked that I managed to pull it off. There’s a long, long road ahead, but turning in a completed draft of The Dude Diet feels really fucking good. It’s also pretty surreal that after documenting my goal to write a cookbook in all of Domesticate ME!’s New Year’s posts since 2012, I (finally) turned that pipedream into a reality in 2015. (If you happen to be picturing me singing Gabrielle’s Dreams right now in a bathrobe, you would not be wrong.)
2. Launching my YouTube channel. I’ve always wanted to be on cam-ah-rah, and I had such a blast finally taking the YouTube plunge in 2015. I also feel like we’re all a little bit closer after Cocktails and Confessions, no?
2a. The controversy surrounding Just The Tip. I received MANY emails and comments regarding the name of this kitchen tip-themed YouTube series from people worried that I was unfamiliar with the street meaning of “just the tip.” A lot of these peeps were embarrassed on my behalf and suggested I Google the phrase, and some even attempted to convey its sexual meaning in their own words. I can’t really explain it, but I found this concern deeply hilarious, and I got very excited when I received communications with “Youtube series title” or “Just The Tip” in the subject line. Ultimately, I was flattered—people seemed to think that I am much classier and more mature than I truly am.
(I imagine I will get to relive this concern on a larger scale when The Dude Diet is released, since there are “Just The Tip” sidebars throughout. I can’t wait.)
3. Having my name next to Martha Stewart in print. The queen and I participated in a charity event benefitting Mount Desert Island Hospital this past summer (I was in charge of the salad course, she did dessert), and some glorious human printed our names next to each other on the invitation. I also gave a speech at the dinner, which I unfortunately do not recall because I adrenaline blacked out as soon as I got the mic. However, Logan assures me that I did not curse or sound nervous, so I consider the entire experience a year/life high.
4. Justin Bieber’s comeback. HALLELUJAH.
5. #FriendsinFood. At this time last year, I mentioned that I’d found a blog squad, and in 2015 Phoebe, Anna, Amie and I expanded our group by launching #FriendsinFood to bring together badass women in the NYC food community. We hosted four gatherings with the insanely talented Elisa in her beautiful space, Maman, and each one was more magical than the last. As I’ve said before, blogging is awesome, but it can be a little weird and isolating, and connecting with others that have a similar lifestyle is comforting, enriching, and inspiring. (I just threw up in my mouth a little due to how touchy-feely that sounds, but it’s true.)
6. Creating the Lasagna Quinoa Bake. This was hands down my favorite recipe of 2015, and its deliciousness makes me want to pursue a side blog of just quinoa bakes. Coming soon: www.quinoabakelady.com
7. My brother’s college graduation. Elliot graduated from UPenn in May, and although the celebratory weekend left me feeling very old, I am so incredibly proud of him. (Seeing Logan crush a frat party was also pretty sweet.)
8. All my friends getting engaged! That’s a slight exaggeration, but so many of my favorite people got engaged this year. The idea of marriage and wedding planning has always terrified me, but they are all handling it like champs, and I feel very lucky to bask in their communal engagement glow. It also helps that I really, really like the dudes involved and am thrilled to add them to my permanent wolfpack.
9. Logan. Being his roommate continues to be a life high, and the fact that he selflessly let me write a book about him—and supported me through regular meltdowns related to said book—is amazing. I’m endlessly grateful.
1. I did not get a cooking show or pose for Maxim (in a classy way), two of my loftier goals that I’ve rolled over every year since 2012. But I did finally write a cookbook, so it’s probably only a matter of time. (With that said, this bod isn’t getting any younger, so fingers crossed for 2016.)
2. Failing to ramp up my exercise regime, yet again. There were a few promising weeks last spring where I thought I could turn rolling around on my yoga mat into a daily thing, but alas, I threw in the towel and remained mostly sedentary for the bulk of 2015. I do plan to pull a Khloe Kardashian this year though because I now get winded walking up the stairs to my apartment, and it scares me (/I need to be physically prepared should Maxim come a knockin’).
3. Shut Up and Smoothie. A YouTube series about smoothies was not one of my best or brightest ideas, as there is nothing remotely entertaining about watching someone list ingredients and put them in a blender. I realized this about 7 seconds into filming the first episode, but I had already bought all the ingredients for 6 episodes and paid my production partners, so I listed ingredients and put them in a blender with as much enthusiasm as I possibly could. You win some, you lose some. RIP Shut Up and Smoothie.
4. Not finding a reasonable work/life balance. I lived and breathed The Dude Diet in 2015, and in hindsight, I was a hot mess. My stress levels were sky high, and my inability to relax led to exhaustion, mysterious stomach pains, and chronic eczema, among other unattractive things. Even when I wasn’t working, I was thinking, stressing, and talking about work, which in addition to freaking me out, must have been insanely boring for the people I love. (Sorry, you guys.) I’m committed to finding more balance and being less of a psycho in 2016. Any suggestions on how to do this would be greatly appreciated…
5. Being an unreliable blog lady. Working on my cookbook meant I didn’t have as much time to share recipes and culinary wisdom on this site. I hated that, and I apologize.
6. Not having a personal assistant, which has been one of my longest standing life goals. Not to worry, I shall continue to pursue this dream in 2016.
Whelp, that’s all folks. Nets emptied. Overall, 2015 was a solid year, and this kid learned a lot from both its highs and lows. I’ve got plenty of things to work on in 2016, but I feel weirdly excited and zen about it all right now. My current chill may or may not be due to the fact that I’m in LA and drinking the laid-back Kool-Aid, but whatever. I have a good feeling about the next 12 months. Who’s with me?
I know some of you may have kicked off the New Year with a crazy cleanse or some other extreme diet, but I figure you’re going to need some solid (but still healthy) food at some point soon, and that’s where these Grilled Salmon Tacos with Pomegranate-Jalapeño Salsa come in.
I love most fish tacos, but these ones are particularly boss on both the flavor and nutrition fronts. The salmon gets a quick soak in a chipotle-lime marinade before it’s grilled, flaked and piled high on warm sprouted corn tortillas. Topped with earthy shaved Brussels sprouts, tart-sweet pomegranate-jalapeño salsa and crumbled goat cheese, each bite is a sweet and savory flavor bomb with a kick of heat and a subtle creamy tang. And don’t even get me started on the health benefits. So many things to make you smarter and prettier in these bad boys! (I’m talking omega-3s and antioxidants out the ying-yang.) In short, these tacos are bright, satisfying, feel good food, and they’re the kind of meal that make fulfilling your healthy eating goals/resolutions easy, breezy.
As per usual, I urge you to make these tacos your own, friends. Doing a paleo thing these days? Lettuce-wrap your tacos and swap the cheese for avocado, or serve the fish and salsa over massaged kale. Hate salmon? Sub any firm white fish you like, or try them with chicken if you’re anti-seafood. Sub cabbage for Brussels sprouts, or leave the seeds in your jalapeño. You do you. Always and forever.
p.s. If you feel like sharing some of your 2015 highs and lows in the comments, I would LOVE it. I’m going to be on set for The Dude Diet photo shoot for the next two weeks, and given my ambiguous role, I imagine I will have quite a bit of down time….
Grilled Salmon Tacos with Pomegranate-Jalapeño Salsa: (Serves 4)
1½ pounds skinless salmon filet (2 large filets)
1½ limes, divided
1 chipotle pepper canned in adobo, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from the chipotle can
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ pound Brussels sprouts, very thinly sliced (about 2 cups sliced sprouts)
Fresh ground pepper
8 corn tortillas (I used sprouted corn tortillas)
2-3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (depending on how cheesy you want to get)
For the salsa:
1¼ cups pomegranate arils
¼ cup minced red onion
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
¼ cup cilantro leaves
Juice of ½ lime
1 pinch kosher salt
Preparing your Grilled Salmon Tacos with Pomegranate-Jalapeño Salsa:
-Rinse the salmon filets under cold water and gently pat them dry with paper towels. Place the fish in a large Ziploc bag.
-In a small bowl, combine the juice of 1 lime, the chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, maple syrup, and sliced garlic. Pour the mixture into the bag with the salmon. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible, and gently squish the fish around to coat with marinade. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature, turning the bag over once halfway through.
-Meanwhile, place the sliced Brussels sprouts in a mixing bowl. Add the juice of the remaining ½ lime, and a good pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper. Toss to combine.
-Make that salsa. Combine all the ingredients for the salsa and toss to combine. (If you’re into spice, leave a few seeds in your jalapeño.) Refrigerate until ready to use.
-Pre-heat a lightly oiled grill (pan) over medium-high heat. When hot, add the salmon and cook for about 4 minutes per side until cooked through and lightly charred on the outside. Transfer salmon to a cutting board and flake with a fork. I like to leave some larger chunks. (I forgot to oil my grill pan, so I lost some of my salmon and crispiness to the pan. So…don’t forget to oil your grill pan, friends.)
-Warm your tortillas! Do this in your microwave or throw each tortilla directly on your burner for a few seconds per side.
-Taco time. Add a little salmon to each tortilla, and top with a generous amount of sprouts and salsa. Finish with a sprinkling of goat cheese. Serve with lime wedges if you like a little extra zip.
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