Salmon Recipe

Alright guys, we have received several demands for our dinner we posted on Instagram last week, so we are here to deliver. Please enjoy this recipe for salmon with artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and spinach, which looks like this (if you have Neal as your personal food photographer):

In the interest of full disclosure, this is a recipe we got from People magazine. Meghan shamelessly subscribes to this magazine mostly for the celebrity gossip, but it often has stellar recipes too.

Ingredients

  • Salmon filets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 oregano sprigs + 1 tbsp chopped oregano
  • 9-oz artichoke hearts
  • 3/4 cups chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1/2 cup white cooking wine
  • 2 cups spinach, packed

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Season salmon filets with salt, and place skin-side-up in the skillet.
  3. Cook filets until browned (~3 minutes). Turn filets on sides and cook for 1 minute. Turn to opposite side and cook for 1 minute more. Finally, flip filets to skin-side-down and cook for ~2 more minutes.
  4. Add 1 tbsp of the butter and the oregano to skillet.
  5. Reduce heat to medium and baste salmon with oregano-infused butter for 1 minute. Remove salmon and oregano to a plate.
  6. Add artichoke hearts to skillet. Cook over medium, stirring often, until artichokes begin to brown (~4 minutes).
  7. Add chopped oregano and tomatoes (with oil) and stir.
  8. Deglaze skillet with the white wine and cook ~2 minutes.
  9. Add spinach and 1 tbsp butter. Cook until the spinach is done, then put on plate and serve with salmon.

Notes

  • For number nerds like Meghan: you want to cook the fish to 145 degrees or more and can adjust cooking times as needed.
  • Meghan absolutely could not get the salmon to stand up on its side as the recipe suggests. Please let us know if you manage to do this. Anyways, it worked fine adding an extra minute to each side of the fish.
  • We like this served over rice. We also made extra of the artichoke-spinach-tomato part and made a couscous salad with it the next day. We are brilliant and highly recommend you do the same.

POLLY’S

Friends, we are here today to talk to you about Polly’s Pancake Parlor, a magical restaurant in Sugar Hill, NH. Frankly, the name of the town says it all.

Let’s journey back, shall we? I, Meghan, was first introduced to Polly’s Pancake Parlor in May 2019 by all of my best friends at once (literally–it was during my bachelorette party because duh, where else would one want to spend a bachelorette party?)

I don’t know if it’s the memory of spending a weekend with all of my best friends simultaneously, the pancakes themselves, or some combination, but I think Polly’s cast a magical spell on me. Since then I have OBVIOUSLY taken Neal there as well as various of Neal’s family members and friends. Every trip to Polly’s has been a sheer delight, and every person we’ve brought there has fallen in love.

One thing that makes Polly’s so special is (spoiler alert!!) the pancakes, naturally. They have 6 batters and 4 toppings you can choose from, and you can mix and match for each individual pancake!! Plus daily special flavors!! (Plus a lot of other delicious food, but no one came to this post to read about that, did you?) In case anyone was curious, we do in fact have all the regular batter and topping choices memorized. They are as follows, in any combination:

BattersToppings
PlainBlueberries
Whole WheatWalnuts
BuckwheatCoconut
GingerbreadChocolate chips
Oatmeal Buttermilk
Cornmeal
Note: I feel great about my decision to lay out all these options in a table for you
This was Neal’s order. It looks decent, but if it were me you’d be seeing bacon and gingerbread pancakes in the frame. But he takes better pictures than me.

Anyways, just in case I haven’t gotten the message across yet, we cannot recommend Polly’s highly enough. Run, don’t walk, to Polly’s next time you’re anywhere near the area. Or ski 😉

Celebrating our first wedding anniversary!

Bibimbap

Friends, it’s time for us to talk about bibimbap. Neal discovered this delicious dish while living in Korea, and Meghan discovered it while dating Neal in Boston 😉

Here’s how it all went down (for Meghan at least). While Meal was in grad school, they would typically do homework at Meghan’s school library in Harvard Square. Inevitably, they would decide they “deserved a treat” merely for doing homework, and would go sample a Harvard Square restaurant for dinner. One fine night in February 2017, we traipsed off to a restaurant that VERY SADLY HAS SINCE CLOSED DOWN, Kaju Tofu House. We’re still sad about it, but thankfully they do have another location in MA, it’s just much less convenient to where we live. Anyways, here’s what we ate on that night in 2017:

Allegedly, “bibim” means mixing various ingredients, and “bap” means rice. So bibimbap is a mixture of meat, and/or vegetables, and/or an egg over rice, topped with sesame seeds and gochujang sauce and served in a hot bowl. (At least that’s what Neal tells me, so if it’s way off please direct all complaints straight to him). To reuse my own joke, it was love at first bite.

After that night, Meal realized they could probably recreate this magic, minus the hot clay bowl part. We have had various attempts over the years since then, and have ultimately figured out a recipe that meets our personal preferences. It looks like this:

And it tastes like this (4 servings):

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 5-6 oz spinach
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 4 tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 large carrot (or 2 small), grated
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 4 eggs
  • Sesame seeds for topping
  • Gochujang sauce for topping

Directions:

  1. Cook the rice.
  2. Grate the carrot and slice the cucumber. Put aside.
  3. Sauté spinach. Drizzle sesame oil over it and season with salt. Put cooked spinach aside in a bowl.
  4. Add ground beef to the same skilled. Cook until meat is done, then drain fat if necessary.
  5. Add chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar to the skillet with the cooked beef. Stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  6. Fry eggs for however many bowls you’re making.
  7. Make bowls by adding 1/4 of the cooked rice, beef, spinach, carrots, and cucumber, and top with 1 egg per bowl. Sprinkle sesame seeds over top and serve with gochujang.

Notes

  • If you don’t like it too spicy, use about half of the garlic chili paste. We are spicy people 😉
  • Same idea with gochujang sauce – a little goes a long way if you’re not as spicy as us.
  • This recipe is very customizable based on meat, vegetable, etc. preferences. Choose your own adventure.

Garden Vegetable Paella

Anyways, moving right along, we have recently been experimenting with making paella, thanks to getting a paella pan as a Christmas gift from Meghan’s parents.

Behold our first attempt from a few months ago:

We refined our strategy a bit before our next attempt, which is as follows:

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small eggplant, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ~1/4 pound green beans
  • 14-oz can of artichoke hearts, drained
  • ~1/4 pound asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 3 small/medium tomatoes, coarsley grated
  • Salt
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (water is a fine substitute)
  • 1/2 tsp sweet pimenton
  • 2 pinches safron threads, lightly toasted and ground
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • 1 1/2 cups short- or medium- grain rice

Method

  1. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in the paella pan over medium heat.
  2. Add bell pepper and eggplant and cook until they begin to brown, ~5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil, then add the green beans, artichoke hearts, and asparagus, and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Lower heat to medium-low, add garlic, tomatoes, and 2 pinches of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato has darkened to a deeper shade of red, ~10-15 minutes.
  5. Add 1 cup of the stock and simmer until the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables are tender, ~10 minutes.
  6. Return the bell pepper and eggplant to the pan. Sprinkle in the pimenton and saffron while stirring.
  7. Add the remaining 3 cups of stock and the peas. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Adjust seasonings as needed.
  8. Sprinkle in the rice. With a wooden spoon, probe the pan to make sure rice is evenly distributed. Do not stir again.
  9. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cook for an additional 8 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked but with a slight bite.
  10. Remove the paella pan from the heat, cover with paper towels, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Now, friends, the reason that cooking paella reminded us of the blog we forgot about for a cool 3.5 years is because it involved a lot of techniques we’d never done before. What essentially went through Meghan’s mind was, “Wow, I have so many thoughts on this, I wish I had some way to write out all my feelings other than an instagram post, maybe I should write a blog or somethi- OMG.” So congrats to paella for reminding us that we had a food blog. Anyways, we learned:

  • You can grate tomatoes. Use a normal cheese grater and grate it over the bowl. It’s shockingly easy; the skin will just come off in your hand.
If it looks this gross, you did it right.
  • Pimenton is basically sweet paprika. Feel like we should have know that, but we surely did not.
  • If the rice doesn’t seem done, you can add small bits of WARM water and keep cooking until the texture is better.
  • This recipe is very customizable based on your preferences.
  • You’re supposed to lightly toast saffron in a skillet and then crumble it, for flavor and dramatics.
  • In fact, we CAN both be working in our small galley kitchen at the same time without one or both of us getting ourselves kicked out (at least this time)!

Alright, enough suspense already. HERE ARE OUR STUNNING RESULTS:

Surprise!

G U Y S. We had the brain fart to end all brain farts. For the past several months of quarantining and thus experimenting with all kinds of foodventures, Meghan kept thinking “It would be so nice if I had a place to write out all these recipes!” 7 MONTHS LATER, WE REMEMBERED WE HAD THIS FOOD BLOG. As you can see we very quickly ditched this blog and moved all our food updates to Instagram, which is #amazing, but makes it difficult for us to write out recipes.

SO ANYWAYS, 3.5 solid years later, here we are. Also we’re married now 😉 How nice would it have been if we remembered this, I don’t know, like 7 months ago when we had nothing to do but sit at home and try recipes?

Us enjoying a classic quarantine date night in our 1-bedroom apartment.

New-ish in New Canaan

Canaan-4
A Horatio Welcome

Friends, it is time. Time for the desperately-anticipated Part 2 of Meal’s weekend in New Canaan, from Neal’s second ever day in this illustrious town (hence, “new-ish”). Day 2 in the NC also happened to be Meghan’s birthday, which gave us all the perfect excuse to celebrate with unnecessary amounts of food.

Meghan has the best friends in the entire world, objectively speaking, and they assembled a beautiful birthday brunch bonanza.

After this truly delightful morning, a Birthday Meal had to become Meal on Wheels again and drive back to Boston to reluctantly embrace the reality of work Monday morning. Luckily for me(ghan), Neal had the brilliant idea to end this birthday day with an ice cream trip to Toscanini’s. I got a FREE BIRTHDAY TOPPING, which I maintain should have been an entirely free ice cream, but, as in life, I took what I could get.

IMG_20170319_210205
ToscaMeal

All in all, it was a deeply successful weekend that perfectly encapsulated the spirit of this blog: great food and greater friends.

New to New Canaan

Hi there, friends. This weekend, mealswithMeal became mealsonwheels. Meal drove to Meghan’s hometown, the illustrious New Canaan, to hang with Meggo’s friends (& parents) during her birthday weekend. The weekend swiftly turned into one big eating adventure, to the point where we need to separate this blog post by the day. Trust us, you’d be overwhelmed if we tried to fit all our foodventures in one post.

On Saturday, Meal met up with one of Meghan’s soulmate friends, Hilarie. (Atlernative text to read here: On Saturday, Hilarie and Meghan met up with Meghan’s boyfriend, Neal). We first stopped by Le Pain Quotidien, where Neal silently decided to start referring to Hilarie as Hilarie “the Bruncher” Bininski.

It was a pure delight to combine all these friends and all this food. We took a group selfie no more than 20 minutes into the inital meeting of Hilarie and Neal, which felt so right.

After lunch, we were very full but simply could not NOT pop into the illustrious “New Canaan Olive Oil” (everything is illustrious there) for some samples and some browsing. Meghan here, and I’ll be honest: my initial plan in going here was to marvel at how a store could possibly stay in business selling nothin’ but olive oil. Well, friends, joke’s on me. Turns out I really enjoy tasting olive oil and trying to figure out if I could afford fancy honey (spoiler alert: I couldn’t).

imagejpeg_2_01
Olive you.

All in all, it was a deeply successful day of food and friends. We’ll keep you posted on part 2.

Pre-Meal Cocktail

Judges Jr
Coolest umbrellas you’ll ever see

Well, friends, it’s been quite the day for Meal, taste-wise. Last night, we settled in for an evening of PnR and had a single Judge, Jr. apiece. This was the classiest beverage we’ve ever had together, so the occasion called for some tiny drink umbrellas that almost reached the liquid surface.

The next morning, Neal made yet another round of his now-infamous french toast before Meghan traipsed off to do stuff. Then, in a stroke of inspiration, he scrambled up the remaining French toast egg batter situation into sweetly scrambled cinnamon eggs. [See why I like him? – Meghan].

#TBT, or “A Meal in Two Flavors”

Throw back to yesterday, because the best meal is a recent Meal.

Allow us to set the stage:

  • Parks & Recreation
  • Ice Cream
    • Ben & Jerry’s
      • Strawberry Cheescake
      • Mint Chocolate Cookie
  • Two spoons
  • Meal

The only other thing you need to know is that Anne and Chris skipped town and by the end of that episode we were very happy we had some pre-cry IC in our systems.

Jellin with Meal

Hello world! It is us, Meal, checking in for our VERY FIRST BLOG POST.

image000000-2
A Meal in the wild.

This morning, it was our sheer pleasure to welcome some of our favorite people and featured guests, Jellin (Jenn+Collin), into Meghan’s home for brunch.

The menu:

  • French toast for which Neal made HOMEMADE BREAD
  • Bacon (MEAT)
  • Berries of various persuasions, provided by Jellin
  • Tea (for a brunch tea party)

Hope you enjoyed your first meal with Meal as much as we did.