Monday, July 9, 2012

DALS Cook-A-Long: Salmon Salad

Last week was our inaugural leap into the very well-chartered waters of cooking from the new Dinner A Love Story cookbook. This diary/cookbook is such a joy to read and the bonus for me is that I have made enough of her recipes that I know that they will pretty much all work with my family.

I actually made two dishes last week, one planned and one on the fly. Below is my review of both and I'd love to hear your reviews as well if you want to leave them in the comments.

Salmon Salad

Photo credit: Dinner A Love Story
 I chose this as my first recipe because she demonstrated how to make the salad on the Today Show a few weeks ago. I also chose it for my menu for its deconstructive-ness, though I overestimated how much this would be true when applied to both of my kids.

You can watch the video here for more information.

When I made it for my family, I carefully set aside the components for my nearly 3-year-old daughter. I knew she'd eat the salmon, the green beans and the corn without blinking, but it would have to be separated. I assumed (and wrongly so) that my 7 year old son wouldn't need this kind of deconstruction and served him the salad all mixed together. Wrong. He saw his sister's plate and looked at his plate and immediately pointed out how unfair it all was. I helped him separate the parts as best as we could, but this was a dinner fail for  him and it was my fault. I should have known better!

I had also hoped that the purple potatoes would entice my kids a little, but they were not impressed. After my son took a tiny bite of potato, he said, "These don't taste any different than regular potatoes." And I took a bite and said, "Really? They taste totally purple to me, I always wondered what purple tasted like." He looked at me suspiciously and took another bite before putting it aside for good. Kid 1, Mom 0.

After I got the kids settled and we all were eating, my husband declared, "Wow, this is like Tuna Nicoise but far better. Why is that?"

Well, for one, it uses salmon rather than tuna. Second, it doesn't have olives. Third, it just tastes better with the vinaigrette recipe she uses. We cleaned our plates and so did my daughter. However, my son was the unhappy camper of the bunch, eating bread with butter and picking at the green beans. Normally he would eat green beans, salmon and corn with no problems, but mixed together was asking too much. Lesson learned.

Playdate Cookies

Nary a peep during the M&M application process

I was with both kids on a soggy, wet Friday and was looking for some fun things to do while the fog whipped around the street outside. Going to a park was not an option that day, but firing up the stove was definitely on my mind. I had a stash of M&Ms in the cupboard and I knew that these cookies would be a hit with the kids, if only for the M&Ms part of the recipe. The cookie recipe itself is good, I thought it was a littler oilier than I would have preferred. But don't think that stopped me and the kids from eating bites of dough as we made the cookies. Since we were going to add M&Ms to the cookie, I opted to keep the chocolate chips out of the recipe since I thought it was a little overkill. I think the genius part of this recipe is the suggestion to give the children their own bowls of M&Ms to decorate with, you could easily do the same with chocolate chips with the same effect. I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but it saved us arguing and tears. And the silence was deafening as they took this task very seriously. The cookies came out perfectly and my daughter is still talking about her M&M cookies.


  1. ha! I love making this that can be deconstructed, I find it easier to add than to subtract on their plates:)


  2. I didn't make this one because 1) I don't like salmon and 2) i have no decent place to buy fish nearby. I DID make the sausage pizza (with all store-bought items, lazy!) and it was really tasty, I love the idea of putting the dough in the baking sheet. I also made the Crispy Kale and sadly, it didn't turn out how I would have liked. 4-year old LOVES baked kale chips, but this came out somewhere in between the usual steamed and crispy, and started to burn before it got as crispy as I wanted. I'm still on board for cooking the daylights out of this book, just thought I'd give you my $.02!

  3. I made the salmon salad and it went over much better than I thought it would! I thought I was going to have to deconstruct it for my husband who can be the picky eater, but I gave it him like the picture and he enjoyed it. His comment was "This wouldn't be my first choice but I could eat it again." that's a win in my book coming from him! I did deconstruct it for my 10 month old since he is not eating salmon, tomatoes, and cucumbers yet, but he had the potatoes, corn and green beans. The salmon I used was already pre seasoned, it was what I had on hand, and I used red potatoes. I didn't use cilantro, husband doesn't like it, but other than that, it's a keeper! Plus, I had enough leftover for lunch the next day. Great recipe can't wait for the next one!

  4. A little late to the party, but I figured what the heck. We had the Salmon Salad tonight. I chose to deconstruct the entire dish on a platter, looked really pretty, also made it easier to serve our 1 year old and 3.5 year old. My husband and I constructed the salad on our plates. We loved it, only complaint, the man of the house, wished there was more. I'd say it's a keeper and we will add a bit more next time :).
    Love this idea! I'm loving the book!

  5. Just wanted to let you know, I made this tonight...overcame mine and hub's fear of salmon and...we all loved it!! Deconstructed for 4 y.o., of course.