Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cajun Salmon with a Spicy Pineapple and Scallion Quinoa

This is my official entry for the Healthy Solutions Spice Blends Blogger Recipe Challenge. The challenge was to create an original recipe using a seasoning packet of my choice. I chose to create something using the Cajun blend. 

Healthy Solutions is a spice company dedicated to providing people with an easy way to make healthy and delicious meals. 

I wanted to make something that not only let the seasoning shine but enhanced it while still being moderately healthy. The smokiness of the seasoning paired with the sweet, spiciness of the pineapple and jalapeños made for a perfectly balanced meal. Even with the quinoa, this dish felt light and satisfying. 

Cajun Salmon with a Spicy Pineapple and Scallion Quinoa
serves 4

1Tbsp Healthy Solutions Cajun Seasoning
pinch of salt 
1lb salmon cut into 4 slices
1Tbsp canola oil
1tsp minced garlic
2Tbsp chopped jalapeños
1/3 cup chopped scallions
1 cup finely chopped pineapple
3 cups cooked quinoa
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
pinch of salt

  1. Heat a non-stick pan to medium-high. Mix together the cajun seasoning and salt, rub on the flesh side of the fish (side without skin). Spray pan with cooking oil of your choice, place the fish flesh side down on the pan. Cook for 5 minutes on one side, then 6 on the other.
  2. Heat another pan to medium-high. Pour in the canola oil, then throw in the garlic, jalapeños, pineapples and scallions.  Sauté for about 2-3 minutes. Add in the cooked quinoa and heat up for another 2 minutes. Stirring every 30 seconds. Remove from heat. 
  3. Place quinoa in a bowl, stir in the juice from the lime, the pinch of salt and cilantro. Divide quinoa mixture into 4 dishes. 
  4. Place a piece of salmon on top of each dish and eat up. 

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Clarendon: Citizen Burger Bar

After a long day of walking around DC (and the National Geographic Musuem - so cool!), Teddy and I called up his friend Sam and headed to one of Clarendon's new restaurants, Citizen Burger Bar. After eating lunch at Native Foods (review here) we decided to do the complete opposite for dinner and be total carnivores. 

When we got there around 6pm on a Sunday it wasn't too crowded, but by the time we left it was packed. Be wary, on a Saturday night they had an hour and a half wait and they do not take reservations. 

We all started off with drinks, because that's what you do on a lazy Sunday. I ordered the as American as house bourbon| maple syrup| baked apple bitters $9. This was a very bourbon heavy drink and the maple and baked apple bitters were not as present in the flavor as they were in the nose. If you like mostly bourbon drinks with delicious smells coming from it then this could be the drink for you, however I preferred Sam's cocktail. He ordered the Citrus & Sage rye whiskey| fresh grapefruit & lemon | agave nectar |sage, which was light and refreshing. 

Sam ordered the Beet Salad and Teddy ordered the Steakhouse Burger, both of which enjoyed their meals. I ordered the Citizen's Burger Timbercreek beef | McClure swiss | black onion | garlic aioli | iceberg, tomato | house brioche | fried pickle $13. I thought that the whole burger was delicious, the burger really stood out on it's own, very flavorful.  
If you want a good burger that can hold up on it's own even with all the toppings placed on it, this is your place. The portions were very hefty - I could barely finish my burger, let alone my fries. Luckily Teddy was along and he so graciously finished up my extra food so I wasn't wasteful. 

Would I come back? Yes, their burgers were delicious! 

1051 North Highland St
Arlington, VA
Closest Metro: Clarendon
Citizen Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Washington DC: Native Foods Cafe

So, funny story - awhile back one of my dearest friends found out that a Native Foods Cafe was opening up in Falls Church near us and was very persistent in trying to get me to go. Even though I am pretty willing to try new things, I was pretty adamant about not going so she went with someone else. Fast forward a few months and I am in DC with a friend and we are looking for a quick bite to eat before heading to the National Geographic Museum. As I was (still am) trying to be healthy and prepare myself for Miami, I shot down his idea to stop by McDonalds and suggested the Native Foods around the corner. 
Until I stepped inside, I pretty much forgot that this was a vegan restaurant, and up until ordering and looking around still a little unsure. I'm going to be honest here....I am not a fan of imitation meat products. If I choose to eat vegetarian, I will just cut out the meat and eat purely veggies so this was quite an adventure.

Native Foods is 100% plant based - focusing on a "compassionate dining experience serving up homemade meals that are good for you, your family and the environment."

We decided to order the Native Nachos based off the recommendation of the guy behind the counter and he could not of been more on point. They were delicious. I didn't even miss the hot, gooey, melted cheese that normally accompanies nachos. The Native Taco meat included was fine, I couldn't even tell the difference between that and normal taco meat. These nachos were so fresh and filling, and didn't leave you with that heavy feeling that can come from consuming all the indulgent things that are normally served with nachos. 
House-made corn tortilla chips with black beans, Native Taco Meat, chipotle sauce, our Native Cheese, salsa fresca and guacamole. Topped with roasted corn, green onions, cilantro and pickled jalapeño peppers.

The Caribbean Jerk Kale Salad was Teddy's pick and unfortunately didn't quite hit the spot for us. We were both not fans of the tempeh. Unless you are a kale lover through and through this salad will probably be a little too intensely kale for you. The other flavor components of the salad were quite tasty, and with a tad bit more dressing (or acidity in the dressing) would make this a winning salad (minus the tempeh, unless that is your sort of thing). 

Jerk seasoned Native Tempeh with a diced red bell pepper, red onion and mango salsa tossed with crunchy kale and avocado in a creamy jalapeño-cilantro dressing. Garnished with green onion and shaved coconut

I rarely order anything but water when going out (unless it's wine) but with all the drink options available I couldn't resist. I enjoyed trying a little of all of them, and preferred the teas. 
It may not seem like it, but this was a very outside the box experience for me. We came during a sort of off time so it was a little slow and we had the full attention of the workers and the food only took a few minutes to come out. I am not an expert of vegan/plant-based food but I mostly enjoyed the experience. However that being said, if I was making a day trip into DC, I would probably pick a different restaurant unless I was a vegan/vegetarian. This would be a great place to eat at during the week for a healthier, quick bite. 

Would I come back? Yes, any place that serves nachos that I feel good after eating them will have me coming back. I am also curious about other items on their menu and may have to give their Falls Church location a try. 

1150 Connecticut Avenue
Washington, DC
Closest Metro: Farragut North Metro
Native Foods Cafe on Urbanspoon
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