Seared Salmon with Fennel and Sugar Snap Slaw

 Learning sleeps and snores in libraries, but wisdom is everywhere, wide awake, on tiptoe.

— Josh Billings

A funny thing happened this weekend at the Camp Blogaway conference. After weeks of build up, anxiety, and terror, all the while working myself up into a frenzy, once I arrived, I forgot to be nervous. 

Seared Salmon with Fennel and Sugar Snap Slaw

The camp setting was located in a beautiful forested area of Angelus Oaks, in Southern California.  As I pulled to a stop at Camp de Benneville Pines , the clean scent of pine rose up to greet me, along with a very large woolly mammoth of a dog, wagging his tail, excited to see me. I took a quick look around and realized I had arrived yet again to another function way too early. Not a big surprise… my eager beaver attitude was out in full force. I hopped back in my car, thinking I would take a little drive to kill some time and came across our fearless leader and the organizer of Camp Blogaway, Patti (Worth the Whisk). She quickly and efficiently sent me off to my cabin to unload and then set me to work, unpacking boxes, keeping me occupied. Nicely done Patti, thank you!

Seared Salmon with Fennel and  Sugar Snap Slaw

All during the weekend I met up with kind and generous bloggers that were willing to impart their special bits of wisdom learned over their years of blogging. My first encounter was with Gary (Cooking Outdoors). His blog is chock full of amazing outdoor grilling, dutch oven and BBQ recipes. His nugget was the importance of getting involved in the community outside of my blog; great advice I plan on pursuing. Next up was Sara (My Imperfect Kitchen). I had already interacted with Sara prior to coming to camp online through social media. In all honesty I was a bit in awe of her and wondered how she had become so successful while holding down a full time job as well. She handled my fawning superbly, was gracious and humble, all the while making a huge impression on me, one I hope to remember and model.

Seared Salmon with Fennel and  Sugar Snap Slaw

While Camp Blogaway had quite a few Alumni, I was not alone in being a first timer. I gravitated toward Louise, another newbie, (Mom Start) right from the beginning. While this was her first time at Camp Blogaway, she was not new to blogging (not by a long shot) with many notable achievements under her belt. In fact, this week she is off to see the premier of Maleficent and then on to an interview with Angelina Jolie!  Louise saved me a spot at the table our first evening;  figuratively holding my hand and wiping my nose (just like a mom).  This was a great comfort in all the newness.  The cabin I slept in came with a roomie. I am always a bit nervous, not knowing who I will be paired with. Eureka, I hit the jackpot with Caroline ( The Grateful Foodie); no snoring, no talking in her sleep, and such delightful and enlightening conversation! Her blog consists of information on how to  live a full life when one has food allergies and asthma. She does an outstanding job!

Seared Salmon with Fennel and  Sugar Snap Slaw

I could go on and on about the wonderful bloggers I met, but this post would be way too long and no one would finish it. Suffice to say each and every one had something to offer. My biggest surprise though was in the generous, down to earth, fun and engaging sponsors I had the privilege to talk with. Several were already favorites, with products I love to cook with. Two I particularly gravitated towards were Aifric O’Reilly (very Irish don’t you think?) from Kerrygold;  producing some of the best butter you can buy anywhere, and Klondike Brands; featuring delicious Idaho Potatoes that are hard to resist. I loved the varieties that were presented. I had no idea potatoes had so many delicious varieties, textures, and flavors. Of course, potatoes and butter go together so I am sure I will be cooking up something special in the kitchen to commemorate with in the near future. All in all, a memorable trip filled with plenty of information to stuff in my brain. The trick now is to put it to good use. Can’t wait to get started!

Seared Salmon with Fennel and Sweet Pea Salad

I recently made Seared Salmon with Fennel and Sweet Pea Salad at the request of my Mother for her Mother’s Day gift. I was visiting San Diego at the time and wanted to do something special. She chose this dish with Gazpacho with Grilled Shrimp and Avocado. Never content to leave well enough alone, I tweaked the recipe here and there from the Eating Well Recipe she had chosen. The salmon was moist and cooked to perfection and the slaw was amazing. This is one dish I am sure to make again and again. Thanks mom, great choice!  

5.0 from 1 reviews
Seared Salmon with Fennel and Sugar Snap Slaw
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • ¼ cup Lemon Juice
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp raw sugar
  • 2 tbsp mince shallots
  • ¾ tsp finely ground sea salt, divided
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, with fronds
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas
  • 1¼ pounds fresh wild caught Alaskan Salmon, skin removed
  1. ***Fennel and Sweet Pea Salad;
  2. Combine lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, shallots, raw sugar, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp ground pepper into a large bowl, setting aside 2 tbsp in a small dish.
  3. Slice top of fennel bulb.
  4. Chop 2 tbsp of the frond and place in large bowl with dressing.
  5. Core and slice the fennel bulb thinly.
  6. Slice snap peas thinly on the diagonal into long pieces (about ¼ inch).
  7. Add fennel and snap peas to the large bowl, toss well. Cover and chill until salmon is prepared.
  8. ***Salmon
  9. Cut salmon into 4 pieces and season with remaining salt and pepper.
  10. Heat remaining oil in a large non stick skillet over high heat.
  11. Add salmon and cook on high heat for 2 minutes, reduce heat and cook an additional minute.
  12. Gently turn salmon, cook for 1 minute and turn off heat.
  13. Allow to sit in pan for two to 3 minutes. Salmon should still be slightly pink in the center, opaque towards the outside.
  14. Place salmon and salad on 4 plates and drizzle all with reserved dressing.
  15. Serve.

Adapted from Eating Well., May/June 2014 Seared Salmon with Sugar Snap-Fennel Slaw  

Seared Salmon with Fennel and Sugar Snap Slaw shared with:

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Place of my Taste: Work it Wednesdays

Lambert’s Lately: Create it Thursday

Sweet Haute: La Dolce Vita: Thursday Sweet Haute Share Link Party

Momma Lew: Pin it Party

Put a Bird on it: Link’n Blogs

Living Well Spending Less: Thrifty Thursday

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Coffee with us 3: Pretty Pintastic

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My Pinterventures: Merry Monday Linky Party 

Cherished Handmade Treasures: Creative Corner Hop

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Lou Lou Girls: Lou Lou Girls

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*The Pink Sprinkle: A Wholesome Bunch

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  

Gazpacho with Grilled Shrimp and Avocado

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

This weekend I am heading to the mountains in Southern California for a blogging conference and a whole gamut of emotions is playing havoc with my mind…excitement, insecurity, fear; you name it. Mostly I feel inadequate.

Gazpacho with Grilled Shrimp and Avocado The honest truth is, most days when wading into the blogging pond, I feel like a fish swimming upstream, struggling against the current, without the slightest clue of what I’m doing. I stress about whether I’m staying on task, paying enough attention to Search Engine Optimization, or where the perfect balance lies for pinning my posts on Pinterest. 

Gazpacho with Grilled Shrimp and Avocado All the unknowns and unanswered questions can make my head spin, my heart beat faster, and leave me with an uncertainty of what to do next. My blogging thus far has been kinda like the analogy of the blind squirrel and the acorn, every once in a while I bring one home.

Gazpacho with Grilled Shrimp and Avocado It was much different in my former career as an operating room nurse. After all, I had been in the nursing profession for 18 years. Here, I was well respected, knew my job inside and out, and on most days, didn’t suffer from any lack of self confidence whatsoever. 

Gazpacho with Grilled Shrimp and Avocado I knew exactly what needed to be done and set about doing it…I was the one someone might come to looking for answers, not the other way around. I was good at what I did and I knew it, but it didn’t happen overnight. It took years of practice, learning and self discipline. I had to stretch myself to get over my fear of standing up to doctors when needed, and hone my skills of observation to give the very best care I could to my patients.

Gazpacho with Grilled Shrimp and Avocado

And so, I find it is time to stretch myself once again; re-learn how to be relaxed outside my comfort zone and acknowledge it is okay when I don’t  have all the answers. Most importantly, I need to continue putting one foot in front of the other and not get discouraged when the road gets rough. A step backwards now and again is not unusual. This is a journey, and one that I am fortunate and happy to be on. I have the privilege and opportunity to do what I love, and so I have already won! Therein lies my true success.

Today’s  recipe is all about cold and fresh.  Gazpacho is so deliciously complex with multiple flavors to tantalize the taste buds. Use only the freshest of ingredients and serve well chilled for best results. Recipe adapted from The Art of Mexican Cooking by Jan Aaron & Georgine Sachs Salom.

4.0 from 1 reviews
Gazpacho with Grilled Shrimp and Avocado
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • lemon juice from ½ lemon
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • 5 almonds, blanched
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp chili pepper oil
  • 3 Pounds ripe tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup green pepper, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large cucumber,peeled, seeded and finely diced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cups good quality tomato juice
  • ¼ cup good quality red wine vinegar
  • 2 large avocados, peeled and cut into large chunks
  1. Heat grill or broiler to 400 degrees (high heat).
  2. Place shrimp in plastic ziploc bag. add lemon juice, a few grinds of black pepper and a pinch or two of sea salt.
  3. Close bag and gently shake to allow shrimp to be well covered with marinade. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove shrimp from bag and place on skewers.
  5. Place shrimp on grill (or in broiler) for about 5 - 6 minutes, turning once about midway through cooking, until shrimp is bright pink in color. (do not overcook or shrimp may have a rubbery texture).
  6. When pink, remove shrimp from grill.Allow to cool for 5 minutes, remove from skewers. Cover and refrigerate.
  7. Meanwhile, place blanched almonds, garlic and chili oil in pestle (or on cutting board) and mash until ingredients becomes a paste.
  8. Place in the bottom of a medium sized earthenware or pottery bowl.
  9. Place tomatoes on broiler pan, and broil for 5 minutes or until tops of tomatoes begin to singe and split. Turn tomatoes and broil, doing the same as above to the other side.
  10. Remove tomatoes from broiler and allow to cool for several minutes.
  11. Peel tomatoes, and chop into large chunks, taking care not to crush the tomatoes and reserving juice from the tomato.
  12. Place all into bowl with almond and garlic paste.
  13. Add onions, peppers, cucumbers, olive oil, tomato juice and red wine vinegar.
  14. Stir gently until combined.
  15. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  16. Chill in the refrigerator overnight or for several hours to allow flavors to blend.
  17. Once soup has chilled and when ready to serve; ladle into large bowls and top with 3 or 4 large shrimp and chunks of avocado.
  18. Serve immediately.


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Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Regard it just as desirable to build a chicken house as it is to build a cathedral.
Frank Lloyd Wright

Chickens :: Pure Grace Farms I took the first step today and have decided to come clean. To say I am embarrassed, ashamed and proud all at the same time would not go too far. There will be no more sneaking on Pinterest late at night to catch a glimpse of the forbidden fruit… Google searches a thing of the past. I’m a new woman. Ready to face my addiction head on with no fear.

Chickens :: Pure Grace Farms You see, I woke up with chickens on my mind yet again this morning. Day and night these cute little feathery creatures, with antics that could make me double over in laughter, are my obsession. Today the light bulb finally came on. I see a little clearer now and I must admit it. I have a problem.

Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake I have begged, cried, and cajoled my poor husband to no end (with no success I might add), to bend the rules of our little community and build me a chicken coop to house a few of these little feathered friends. Unfortunately, where we live, even though the land is plentiful, there is a strict association code; no chickens allowed. The rule is archaic, biased, and just plain silly; but a rule nonetheless. I must either give up this pipe dream, head over to Chickens Anonymous or take action.

Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake So, today the buck stops here (or chickens, because bucks, elk, and wild turkeys are okay with our association). I can no longer sit idly by and allow this injustice to continue. It is time to marshal a few forces and set about to change this silly rule. Stay tuned. I do have a problem…time to fix it!

Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake Today’s featured recipe is a Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down cake. I searched high and low for a recipe that would pair these two Spring fruits and came up short every time. I wanted to bake something that would bring out the sweet and tart elements without overpowering either one. Most recipes called for way too much sugar, so I decided to put on my creative thinking cap and loved how this one came out. Hope you do too!

Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

5.0 from 1 reviews
Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, divided, room temperature
  • 1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut diagonally about ½ inch thick
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, stems removed and cut in half
  • 1½ cups raw sugar, divided
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp sea salt
  • Zest from ½ lemon
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter two 9 inch round cake pans.
  3. Dot each pan with 4 tablespoons butter (cut into pieces).
  4. Toss rhubarb with ½ cup sugar; let stand for several minutes. Toss again, and spread evenly between the two cake pans.
  5. Place strawberry halves between rhubarb, cut side up, dividing evenly between the two cake pans.
  6. Once rhubarb and strawberries are prepared, make cake batter.
  7. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1½ teaspoons salt in medium size bowl and set aside.
  8. Beat remaining stick of butter and 1 cup sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy.
  9. Add lemon juice and zest, beat well.
  10. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl.
  11. Add flour mixture a little at a time, alternating with buttermilk, beating until smooth. Spread evenly over rhubarb, dividing evenly between the two pans.
  12. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  13. Remove cakes from oven and cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto plates, being careful of the hot rhubarb topping. Don't wait until cake is entirely cooled as rhubarb mixture will stick.
  14. Optional: once cakes are cooled, cake may be wrapped and frozen.

 Inspiration from Martha Stewarts Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake


Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake Recipe was shared with:

The Cookie Puzzle: Party in Your PJ’s

Juggling Real Food and Real Life: Let’s Get Real

Le Moine Family Kitchen: The Wednesday Roundup

Happy and Blessed Home: Family Fun Friday

The 21st Century Housewife: Heart and Soul Thursday Blog Hop

Living Well, Spending Less: Thrifty Thursday

Make Ahead Meals for busy Moms: Melt in Your Mouth Monday

Spring Quiche With Fresh Spinach, Shallots, Asparagus and Goat Cheese

This week I find myself in the land of perennial sunshine in Southern California visiting family while staying at my sister’s home; a haven in the countryside. Her home is chock full of memories and beautiful things she has collected over a lifetime. My big sis has been married to the same man for 40 years this August. It’s a joy to sit back and watch the interplay between the two of them, complete with finishing each others sentences. The current of love that runs between the two is quite evident.

Spring Quiche: Fresh spinach, shallots, goat cheese and roasted asparagus. The combination of fresh vegetables with a tangy salty bite of goat cheese is out of this world. I am ashamed to admit that in all this perpetual bliss, my thoughts do not wander to their wonderfully satisfying relationship for long, but scramble off to the garden, fruit orchard and chickens she has skillfully put together in her backyard. I did hold myself back for the first 15 minutes after I arrived to act somewhat interested in how everyone was and how life had been treating them, but inched my way to the backyard as quickly as decorum would allow. 

 Spring Quiche: Fresh spinach, shallots, goat cheese and roasted asparagus. The combination of fresh vegetables with a tangy salty bite of  goat cheese is out of this world. I was amazed to see peaches ripening on the trees, blueberries ripe for the picking, and tomatoes in full bloom. A whole food bloggers paradise. At home my trees are barely budding, and planting tomatoes still a distant dream. I feel like a kid in a candy store and am cooking with abandon. 

Spring Quiche: Fresh spinach, shallots, goat cheese and roasted asparagus. The combination of fresh vegetables with a tangy salty bite of goat cheese is out of this world. Today’s recipe is a Spring Quiche with fresh spinach, shallots, goat cheese and roasted asparagus. The combination of fresh vegetables with the salty bite and tang of goat cheese is marvelous. Sprinkle the Spring Quiche with a touch of fresh chopped dill before serving to add an additional layer of flavor; I guarantee it will be sure to leave you smiling!

Spring Quiche with Fresh Spinach, Shallots, Asparagus and Goat Cheese
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6-8
  • Pate Brisee for single pie crust (see below for link to Recipe)
  • 1½ cups fresh spinach, chopped roughly
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 10 asparagus spears
  • 5 oz goat cheese, plus additional ounce for sprinkling on top of quiche
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt, plus additional for seasoning asparagus
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning asparagus
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup milk (not non-fat)
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped dill
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In large iron skillet heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat.
  3. Add shallots to pan and cook until softened and fragrant. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Wipe skillet out with paper towel and set aside to cool.
  5. Crack eggs into medium sized bowl and whisk to blend.
  6. Add salt, pepper, hot sauce, cream and milk. Whisk to combine.
  7. Once skillet has cooled, press Pate Brisee into bottom of pan with edge of crust only slightly coming up side of pan.
  8. In layers, first spread spinach atop crust, followed by the shallots.
  9. Sprinkle goat cheese atop shallots (will not cover whole area, space out evenly)
  10. Pour egg mixture on top of layered vegetables and cheese and poke down spinach into egg mixture so that it is mostly covered.
  11. Place in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  12. In the meantime, place asparagus on baking sheet, add olive oil, a few sprinkles or sea salt and a grind or two of black pepper and place in the oven along with the quiche to roast(about 15 minutes). Remove from oven.
  13. Once quiche has cooked for 20 minutes, remove from oven, place asparagus on top of quiche and push down slightly to set in place. Sprinkle quiche with remaining ounce of goat cheese and return to oven until quiche is set in the middle and slightly browned around the edges(about 15 minutes).
  14. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped dill, cut and serve.

Pate Brisee recipe from Martha Stewart. Cut recipe in half or make full recipe and freeze half the dough for another time.

Spring Quiche with Fresh Spinach, Shallots, Asparagus and Goat Cheese Recipe shared with:

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*Life is Fantasmic: Saturday Dishes