Sesame Crusted Salmon over Garlic Sautéed Arugula with Savory Strawberry Sauce

Sesame Crusted Salmon with Garlic Arugula


Sometimes my day job can be a ton of fun! It certainly has felt that way for the last few days during a blogger event at the Carmel Valley Ranch. Picture a group of a dozen fabulous and creative food bloggers enjoying a rustic resort tucked away in one of the most picturesque places in Northern California. Add lots of laughter, mingling and eating, a strawberry farm tour, and then a fun cooking challenge in a dream kitchen full of every fresh ingredient and herb you could think of! Yes, work can be fun sometimes!

Although I wasn’t eligible to officially enter a dish in our Chopped-style strawberry cooking competition, I couldn’t resist playing with the all the ingredients and pretending I was part of the challenge. What? Don’t *all* adults still play pretend? Right, that’s what I thought. For my my pretend entry, I made that sesame crusted salmon dish pictured above, which ended up being a dish I would definitely make again. In fact I’m craving it already!

Before I share the recipe for my Sesame Crusted Salmon over Garlic Sautéed Arugula with Savory Strawberry Sauce, I want to share a few photos of some of the fabulous food bloggers who were there! If you are not yet familiar with these ladies’ blogs, you are totally missing out!

From left to right is Kristianne from My San Francisco Kitchen, Mitzi Dulan, The Nutrition Expert, Yvette from Muy Bueno Cookbook; and Kankana from Playful Cooking.

Above is Claudya from Unknown Mami; Jennifer from Savory Simple; Nicole from Pinch My Salt; and Jill from the Veggie Queen.

And the winners of the challenge! Laura from Super Glue Mom; Jennifer from Playful Pantry; and Jessica from Sodium Girl.

Oh, and I was so excited to get a quick lesson from Executive Chef Tim Wood from Carmel Valley Ranch on how to fillet a large salmon. It was easier than I thought!

Sesame Crusted Salmon over Garlic Sautéed Arugula with Savory Strawberry Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
  • 2 fresh salmon fillets
  • 6 cups fresh arugula (it cooks down a lot!)
  • 1 cup sesame seeds
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 6 strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 strawberries, sliced (for garnish)
  1. Lightly coat salmon with a little olive oil and sprinkle both sides lightly with kosher salt. Press both filets into shallow bowl filled with sesame seeds until well coated all around.
  2. Heat olive oil to medium in heavy bottom fry pan; add fillets. Let cook on one side for about 10 minutes until sesame seeds are golden brown and fish is turning pink on the bottom half; carelfully flip and cook for another 10 minutes until done.
  3. While the fish is cooking, in another pan, saute sliced garlic in olive oil for about one minute; add half the arugula and stir until there's room in the pan for the rest. Season with a little kosher salt, and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  4. In small sauce pan, heat rice wine vinegar to a slow simmer. Add soy sauce and sesame oil and bring to simmer again. Add wine, bring to simmer and add chopped strawberries strawberries. Cook down on medium low for about 10 minutes.
  5. To serve, arrange fillets on bed of arugula. Drizzle sauce over the top and garnish with sliced strawberries.


Mini Roasted Tomato, Arugula and Feta Cheese Quiche

Mini Quiche

I can recall, as a young single mama, wishing for mornings when I wouldn’t have to jump out of bed and start bustling around to get breakfast going, laundry started, and rushing the kids off to school or a soccer game. I would dream of days when I could just leisurely lie in bed, read, and then cook something that was just right – and just for me – without worrying that someone didn’t like an ingredient or dish.

And now that those days are here, I do very much appreciate quiet and peaceful times, but at the same time I find myself missing those jam-packed, noisy, and even chaotic mornings, filled with the innocent voices, laughter, and hugs from the ones I cherish most.  And thankfully, I still get to enjoy my loves, but a lot less often. And although their voices are not quite as innocent, and I have to reach a bit for the hugs, they are just as precious.

All that to say, I enjoyed waking up this morning with time to make a nice buttery pie crust from scratch for a leisurely breakfast of mini quiche just for myself and my daughter. I can still smell the rosemary lingering in my bedroom as I write. Cozy.

For these quiche, I used feta cheese, arugula and tomatoes that I roasted with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and garlic. I added a little rosemary to the pie crust which really enhanced the flavor and aroma.

Feel free to swap out these ingredients for your favorites, or whatever you have on hand.


Roasted Tomato, Arugula and Feta Cheese Mini Quiche
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 - 8
  • 6-8 eggs
  • ¾ cup half and half (or milk)
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 4-5 small tomatoes
  • handful of fresh arugula, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup (or more) feta cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • For the pie crust
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter – 1 stick chilled in freezer, 1 stick at room temperature (butter should be cubed)
  • about 5 – 7 tablespoons water, iced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In small bowl whisk together vinegar, oil, garlic. Toss in tomatoes and cover evenly. Place in small roasting dish (with dressing) and roast for about 20 minutes until skin looks withered.
  3. For the crust, add the flour, sugar and salt in ood processor and pulse a couple times. Then add the room temperature butter and pulse until it’s completely incorporated. Retreive the cold butter from the fridge, add to the flour mixture and pulse until you see pea-size chunks of butter.
  4. If you can, put the ice water in a spray bottle – it’s the easiest way to add the moisture evenly to the dough without adding too much. Just spritz and pulse until the mixture comes together, but is not too moist. Contine until your mixture holds together when squeezed in your hand and then easily breaks apart. You may not need to use all the liquid.
  5. Gather mixture by covering with parchment paper, scooping it all up, and then wrapping in a little package using parchment paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  6. Turn dough out onto lightly floured, surface. Note: Have some dental floss ready as you will most likely want to use it to slide between the surface and the dough if it gently sticks to the surface. This helps you keep the dough in one piece. Roll out a round crust to ¼″ thickness. To keep it as even as possible, roll from center in an upward motion, turn the dough a couple inches and repeat until done.
  7. Grease tins with butter. If you don't have individual ones, you can use cupcake tins. With cookie cutter (or the top of a cup), cut round shapes and insert individually in tins. To keep crust from rising and bubbling, fill each cup with dry beans or pastry weights before pre-baking the shells. Bake for about 7-8 minutes, remove the weights and return to oven for about 5 more minutes until lightly browned.
  8. For egg mixture, in mixing bowl, whisk eggs with a bit of salt and pepper and set aside. In small pot, heat half and half (or milk) to just prior to a boil, remove from heat and cool. Once cooled to warm, beat into egg mixture.
  9. Quiche Assembly
  10. Over pre-baked shells, layer bottom of each muffin cup with a little cheese and arugula. Pour in egg mixture to ¾ full. Don't overfill because the egg souffles during baking. Place sliced tomato on the top with a liittle more cheese, and garnish with a bit more rosemary if desired. Bake for about 20 minutes until light, golden brown. a little more cheese.

Rustic Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Do you ever miss cooking when you’re traveling? I do!

When work travel gets a bit on the heavy side I find myself craving my kitchen and all the fun things I do in there. I just got back from a food blogger conference and the first thing I did was stop at the store so I could jam home and make something in my own kitchen.

All I did was throw together this arugula salad, but boy did it taste good to me. The best part was the tanginess of the the lemon viniagrette and the pan roasted fresh garlic croutons. And I suppose I should give a shout out to one of my favorite green – nice peppery arugula! Muah!


Rustic Arugula Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
  • 4 cups or more fresh arugula
  • 1 lemon
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry or strawberry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 or 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup day-old crusty bread, cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or chopped finely
  • pinch or two kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • small chunk Pamigiano or Pecorino cheese, shaved or shredded
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) red wine vinegar
  1. Clean and prepare all veggies and ingredients. In small pan, saute garlic in a little olive oil for about 40 seconds on medium heat. Remove the garlic and add the bread cubes to the pan. Stir until little browned and add a little salt and pepper while you are turning them.
  2. Note: To cook the eggs, bring water to boil, turn off heat and cover. Let sit for about 15 minutes and your eggs will be perfectly boiled! I love this little trick because you will never over cook another hard-boiled egg again.
  3. Toss all ingredients, except the quartered eggs, in mixing bowl with a little olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the garlic you removed from the pan and toss a bit more.
  4. Arrange in shallow dish, distributing eggs evenly and topping with the shaved cheese.
  5. Enjoy!

This is perfect for lunch on it’s own or served as a side salad with your favorite main dish.