Tanya’s Soup Kitchen is more than soup: there’s sandwiches and salads, too. Everything (except the bread) is made fresh on site, and the dishes all strike a nice balance between the creative and the comfortably familiar. Nothing is run-of-the-mill, but nothing is frou-frou, either. It’s nice for our gluten-sensitive friends that they offer gluten-free bread options, and the staff seems to understand the accommodations that need to be made for such folks.
The interior is sunny and open, with a casual cafe vibe. You stand in line to order, and your food is brought to the table.
Today I enjoyed the “Ella,” shown at the top of this post. (That’s a small. You can also order large.) It’s a chicken salad with cashews, dried cherries, and fresh herbs on mixed greens, with your choice of dressing. The dressing on the chicken is very light; no gloppy mayo here. I went with the herb vinaigrette; it was nice and light, with a perfect balance between sweet and tart. The herbs complemented the blend, but no herb was so prominent that it overwhelmed the flavor.
I also got a “small” soup…
…which would be a “bowl” in any other restaurant! Today, I opted for their creamy tomato dill soup. It’s so popular, they offer it every day, year-round. And I can see why. It’s delish! It’s also quite sweet. I’m sure there must be some sugar in there, so for health’s sake, I didn’t eat the whole thing. But I would have liked to!
Their salads are reasonably priced — ranging from $3.50 to $7.00 for a small, $4.50 to $9.00 for a large — but personally, I think their sandwiches are a little overpriced; $9 for whole; $7.75 for half.
Overall, a quite enjoyable lunch!
Recipe: Salmon with fresh tomato-avocado salsa
How to butterfly salmon
Try it — I think you’ll love it! 🙂
This recipe evolved from a similar dish in one of my favorite cookbooks, Weber’s Art of the Grill. (Which is now out of print, but you can still find used copies on Amazon.) You can grill it if you like, or broil it in the oven. The herbs get nice and crispy as they cook, and marry together in a wonderful, savory complement to the flavor of the salmon. Over the years, I’ve come to just throw it together by memory, and I tend to put in quite a bit more herbs than the original called for. (The recipe that follows is my version.)
It involves a little bit of herb chopping, but if you want, you can let your food processor do that. Then, it’s just stir, spread, and broil or grill. So easy!
Recipe: Herb-crusted salmon
1 lb. salmon fillet
1 handful of fresh cilantro, rough chopped
1 handful of fresh parsley, ditto
1 handful of fresh basil, ditto (or about a tablespoon of dried)
2 T. olive oil
1 t. soy sauce
1/2 t. chili powder (or ancho chili powder)
1/4 t. kosher salt
pepper to taste
Preheat your grill or broiler (whichever you’re using). If using the oven, place the top rack about 6″ from the heat.
If using a broiler, coat a 9 x 13″ pan with cooking spray, a generous brushing of canola oil, or line the bottom with foil.
Chop all of the herbs coarsely and put them in a small bowl. They don’t need to be finely minced, because they will shrink some and get crispy as they cook. Here’s the cilantro, before and after.
Add in the 2 T. olive oil, the soy sauce, and chili powder, and stir till everything is well combined.
Lay your salmon skin side down in the baking pan (or on whatever surface you’ll use to transfer it to the grill). Scoop the herb mixture on top of the salmon, and spread it around into a thick, fairly consistent layer. There will be bits of salmon showing through here and there; that’s okay.
Once the herb mixture is on, sprinkle it lightly with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to your liking. You don’t need much salt, because the chunks are big and will be the first thing to hit your tongue. (I highly recommend kosher salt, but if you’re using regular salt, use half as much.)
For the grill: Place the fish herb side down on the grate. I know, it seems wrong! You think all the herbs will fall off, but trust me. A few may fall off, but most of them don’t! Our propane grill instructions say to turn the three burners to medium/off/medium. Do what works best on your particular grill. Close grill and cook that side for half the total cooking time. When it’s half through, flip it herb side up, and cook until it’s done.
For the broiler: Place the baking pan — with the fish herb side up — in the oven. Bake it there for five minutes, then move the rack down one row to complete cooking.
Your total cooking time should be 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at the thickest part.
When is it done? I’ll repeat an earlier posting… “A minute or two before the recommended time, check your fish. Just poke a fork gently into the side at a thick place, and pull it up a bit to see if it flakes easily. You can also pull up just enough to see the interior of the fish, and see if it’s done to your liking. Some people like their salmon a bit rare, so that it’s orangey-er on the inside. Not me: I like it just done all the way through, but just so — not overdone and dry.”
Then remove from the heat, slide a spatula between the skin and the fish, and slip it onto your serving plate, herb side up.
Once you’ve tried this, feel free to experiment with your choice of herbs and spices. Let me know how it comes out!
Okay, so the astute observer will recognize that this is just a slight twist on my previous post, Seven-layer dip as salad. Just add seasoned ground beef — or another taco-appropos protein of your choice — and ya got yourself some no carb tacos!
I love seven-layer dip — sometimes called taco dip — and the dip itself is a pretty low carb treat. Plus, it’s got some decidedly healthy ingredients: avocado (15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and only 2 grams saturated fat, plus potassium and vitamins C and K); tomatoes (lycopene, vitamins A and C); and the beans are a good source of iron and fiber — though they’re often made with trans fats. But the chips for dipping are not healthy in any way!
This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a guideline. The base is a heart-of-romaine leaf, and you’ll probably want two to four for each person. This makes a great “assemble yourself” meal, letting everyone customize their own.
Just lay the leaf on the serving plate and smear it with your choice of one or more items from this list:
– refried beans (or just used canned beans for a later layer)
– ready-made guacamole
– sour cream or Greek yogurt, plain or mixed with taco seasoning
Then top that with your choices of:
– canned beans, rinsed and drained; pinto and/or black
– shredded cheese: monterrey jack, cheddar, queso fresca, or a mix
– chopped tomatoes
– diced bell pepper
– sliced green onion or diced red onion
– sliced black olives
– minced cilantro
As you can see, this can end up being more than seven layers — or less — depending on your taste and/or what you have on hand.
This dish is delish — I mean, truly restaurant-worthy — but it’s also super easy and totally healthy.
I have to give the hubs partial credit for this one.
I had made this spice-rubbed salmon for dinner one night, but hadn’t really figured out a vegetable to go with it, and Eric was doing Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet (which is NO carbs), so I served the salmon with some romaine spears alongside and some ready-made guacamole to dip them in.
But instead of using the guacamole as dip, he put it on top of his salmon — and loved the combination!
Since then, I’ve evolved the recipe a bit. I started out with a recipe called “Broiled BBQ-spiced Rubbed Salmon,” from The Sonoma Diet Cookbook, but I’ve tweaked the spice combo each time I’ve made it, and I was really happy with the way it came out this last time I made it.
For the guacamole, I use Wholly Guacamole brand, and it comes in these boxes that contain individual-use packets. Which is just brilliant! If you just need a bit for a recipe, or you just want a quick easy snack, these are the perfect size, without the risk of the rest of batch turning brown before you can use it. I use the “Classic,” but they also make a “Spicy” version.
Recipe: Ancho-crusted salmon with avocado crema
2 8-oz. salmon fillets, about 1″ thick
1/2 T. ancho chili powder
1/2 T. paprika or smoked paprika
1/2 t. kosher salt (or 1/4 t. table salt)
1/2 t. granulated garlic
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. ground cumin
2 T. olive oil
1 2-oz. packet of guacamole (that’s one two-ounce packet, not a 12-ounce packet)
2 oz. Greek yogurt (or sour cream, or dairy-free yogurt)
optional, for garnish: diced red onion
You will preheat the broiler later in the recipe.
Measure the thickness of the salmon at its thickest point. You want to be accurate to within 1/4″. To do this, I push a toothpick into the thickest point of the salmon, then pinch the toothpick so my thumb and finger just touch the top of the fish. Then, keeping my fingers in the same place on the toothpick, I remove it from the fish and move it to a measuring stick. Make a mental note of the measurement. (Or a written note, if you have a short memory.)
Drizzle the olive oil in the pan, then spread it around. This recipe is for two servings, and for that I use a 6 x 8″ baking pan, but for more servings, you’ll need a larger pan. This photo is post-drizzled, but pre-spread:
Mix together all of the spices in a small dish. Before you begin to season the salmon, fold any super-thin edges under (or over) so that the thin part is doubled, and the fillet is a fairly uniform thickness across, like this.
Just press it down a little with your fingers; the fish is a bit sticky, so it will sort of adhere to itself.
Next, sprinkle half of the seasoning mix over the top side of both fillets. Pat the spices gently onto the fish.
Then turn them over and season the other side, using the rest of the spice mix.
Move your top oven rack to 4 to 6″ below the broiler, and preheat broiler. Let the spiced salmon sit at room temp while the broiler heats up. Then place them in the oiled pan, folded side down, and put the pan in the oven.
Remember your fish thickness in inches? Now’s when it matters! Cook your salmon for 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. So if your salmon is 3/4″ thick, cook it for 7.5 minutes. 1″ thick: 10 minutes. 1.25″ thick, 12.5 minutes. And, turn it over once, half way through baking.
While the salmon is cooking, mix together the guacamole and the yogurt. I don’t bother to measure the yogurt; I put the guac in first, then just “eyeball” the yogurt so that it looks like about the same amount.
Unless you’re eating a sugared-up instant oatmeal, and not balancing out those 32 grams of carbs with an equal amount of protein — say, a half a dozen eggs, or five slices of Canadian bacon. Then it’s very little exaggeration at all.
Yeah, I hear ya. “But I thought oatmeal was health food!” Maybe some oatmeal, prepared certain ways, but this stuff? You might as well have Twizzlers for breakfast.
I have a very personal reason for being so passionate about this.
My mom had Type 2 Diabetes, which some studies suggest doubles one’s chances of developing Alzheimer’s. Which my mom also developed.
For years she followed the low-fat diet recommended by the American Heart Association and the Diabetes Association. Her breakfast was usually a bowl of oatmeal, wheat toast with a spray of fake butter, fruit, and black coffee.
When she ate the low-fat, high-carb breakfast she thought was healthy, it would throw her blood sugar high, and she needed Metformin to bring it down. However, one day when she ate at my house and I served her a balanced breakfast, taking her Metformin made her blood sugar plummet to dangerous levels. (We ended up in the ER.) I often wonder if my she’d had a better understanding of carbs, sugars, insulin and health, if she could have avoided or forestalled Alzheimer’s.
It’s too late for her, but you still have time: Kick the corporate food! Shop in the produce section, buy lean meat, educate yourself about health! (Here’s a good place to start.)