Sunday Funday – February 26, 2012

Have you been dying for this Sunday Funday edition to hear the results of the chili cookoff I alluded to? (Humor me here, please?) Hold on just a little longer.

First, we need to talk about…

Salmon

Hopefully it’s clear that I like to eat plenty of protein and healthy fats. Salmon is a fantastic source of both, and fortunately, it’s one of my favorite foods. But did you know that not all salmon is created equally? It’s better to be choosy, and I’m kind of a salmon snob.

Recently, Pure Alaska Salmon Company sent me a dozen cans to try out.

Let me give you a few facts about Pure Alaska canned salmon:

  • Processed just hours after harvesting, canned Pure Alaska Salmon preserves the utmost nutritional value of this heart-healthy fish, and could very well be considered “fresher than fresh.”
  • Wild salmon is preferred to farmed for superior nutritional content and sustainable, eco-friendly harvesting practices. The abundance of high quality Wild Alaskan Salmon is due to excellent monitoring of the species and the fisheries who harvest it.
  • Salmon is lauded for its high omega-3 content, but should be praised for many other health benefits too! Salmon supplies tons more vitamin D and calcium than other protein sources, making it an exceptional choice for mothers-to-be, as these nutrients are critical to fetal neurological development. Finally, contains extremely little mercury (if any).
  • Purchasing wild Alaskan salmon supports sustainable fisheries thereby encouraging other fisheries to develop sustainable practices. We don’t all have time to be social activists, but this is one step we can easily take.
  • Canned Pure Alaska Salmon is delicious!

Pure Alaska Salmon comes in 6 varieties:

Pure Alaska Salmon, wild canned salmon

I’ll admit, I was a little nervous about the varieties containing skin and bones, despite being informed that they pack in tons of extra nutrients. But truthfully, they are quite soft and blend right in once you mash up the salmon! We used this kind of salmon to make salmon patties and I promise  we didn’t notice the skin or bones one bit. All we could taste was fresh, flavorful salmon.

Wow - check out that gorgeous hue!

Another way we enjoyed our canned salmon was to toss it with my almost-fat free pesto (this time, made with homemade vegan parmesan and a hefty sprinkle of crushed red pepper) and spaghetti squash. It was so tasty, we didn’t mind eating it three weeks in a row – and there are not many dinners I can say that about!

dairy-free pesto

Of course, there are plenty of other ways to use canned wild Alaska salmon: in an omelet with goat cheese, on top of a baby spinach salad with mango and avocado, tossed with Caesar dressing and rolled up in blanched collard greens. (A few of my cravings, naturally!)

How would YOU use canned salmon? Tell me in a comment below, and you’ll have a chance to win a 12-pack of Pure Alaska Salmon yourself!

Giveaway Rules:

  • Mandatory entry: tell me how you would use canned salmon
  • Additional entries (leave a separate comment for each): subscribe to Cara’s Cravings, or mention this giveaway on your facebook page or twitter with a link to this post.
  • No purchase necessary. The contest will close on Wednesday, February 29th at 11:59pm EST, at which point a winner will be chosen via random number generator. Winner must supply a valid email address in the commenting form. Winner will be contacted and have 4 days to respond, at which point s/he forfeits the prize and another winner will be chosen. Winner will provide name, email address, shipping address and phone number and give me permission to supply this information to the sponsor of the giveaway item.

Now back to where we began….

Chili Cookoff

Left: Chili pots lined up! Right: The winning Italian-Indian "fusion" Chili

The bad news is that I didn’t win first place (tied for second), but the good news is that my friends are pretty talented and have great ideas about chili. All five batches entered were decidedly different and uniquely delicious, to the point where no one could stop going back for more, even after picking their favorites! Surprisingly, no two chilis were at all alike (ironically, three chilis, including mine, arrived in blue dutch ovens, and that was where the similarities ended.) There was a classic beef chili, chock full of vegetables and beans. A spicy chicken sausage and black bean chili, creamy chicken and apple chili (the other second place winner) and in first place, something I’ll call an Italian-Indian fusion chili.The stew was packed with tender steak, cannellini beans, and plum tomatoes, and curry. Yes, curry. All that curry was added to mellow the spice! And this was a spicy one. Even the people who claimed they normally hate spicy food couldn’t get enough of its delicious flavor. I thought my chili was fairly spicy, but when going bite-for-bite with this one, it was more like dessert!

Clockwise from top left: my Moroccan Lamb Chili, Classic Beef Chili, Creamy Chicken & Apple Chili, Spicy Chicken Sausage & Black Bean Chili

So what did I make exactly? A Moroccan-inspired chili with braised lamb, butternut squash, chickpeas, and Moroccan spices. The sweetness came from soaking dried ancho chilis with golden raisins, and blending these into a space with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses. And for good measure, I used plenty of red wine. Good thing I took notes as I went, because the result pretty much rocked my world, and I’ll definitely be  making again to share with you. Someday :)

For now, the next cook-off theme has already been chosen by our winner, and he picked “Chowders and Creamy Soups.” Time to start planning!

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44 Responses to “Sunday Funday – February 26, 2012”

  1. 1

    Marcie — February 26, 2012 @ 9:18 am Reply

    I would make salmon salad!

  2. 2

    Marcie — February 26, 2012 @ 9:19 am Reply

    Subscribed via google reader

  3. 3

    Heather — February 26, 2012 @ 9:28 am Reply

    I think it was in the last issue of Clean Eating, there was a recipe for Salmon Oat cakes. If I won the salmon I would definitely make those!

  4. 4

    Heather — February 26, 2012 @ 9:29 am Reply

    I subscribe via google reader.

  5. 5

    Sigi — February 26, 2012 @ 10:43 am Reply

    I’d add it to pasta!

  6. 6

    Sigi — February 26, 2012 @ 10:44 am Reply

    I already am a subscriber! :)

  7. 7

    sandy burge — February 26, 2012 @ 10:52 am Reply

    I love canned salmon made into salmon patties. Growing up we always had it with mashed potatoes and creamed peas, but now I make roasted root vegetables to go with it. And almond flour instead of crackers in the salmon mix. Yummo!

  8. 8

    Ranjani — February 26, 2012 @ 11:08 am Reply

    I really enjoy salmon but don’t buy it often, because we usually shop at Market Basket and they don’t have much choice for sustainable options. With the canned salmon, I would make salmon cakes/patties. That’s something I’ve never made before, actually.

  9. 9

    Ranjani — February 26, 2012 @ 11:08 am Reply

    Oh, I’m a subscriber

  10. 10

    Jessica F — February 26, 2012 @ 11:19 am Reply

    I would make salmon cakes! They are so and my next batch will be extra large so I can test out how they freeze.

  11. 11

    Molly — February 26, 2012 @ 11:29 am Reply

    Canned salmon is what I use for my recipe for sweet potato salmon cakes with chipotle aioli.

  12. 12

    Tiffany — February 26, 2012 @ 11:42 am Reply

    I like raw salmon more than cooked but would love to try this out to make salmon cakes!

  13. 14

    Katy — February 26, 2012 @ 12:09 pm Reply

    My family (and I!) are commercial salmon fishermen in the Cook Inlet, in Alaska–collectively, we’ve been doing it for the last half-century. I don’t need any canned fish, but I just wanted to cheer you on. Thanks for supporting sustainable, healthy fisheries! They’re such an important resource for us all!

  14. 15

    Jessen — February 26, 2012 @ 12:13 pm Reply

    I would Make Salmon “Burgers”, Salmon Chowder, a Chinese Style Salad with Salmon and Orange, and I’d Give a Can to my Cat (Riley) Who Loves Salmon!

  15. 16

    Kristin — February 26, 2012 @ 3:18 pm Reply

    I doubt I’ll even get the chance to use the salmon in anything…my boyfriend will probably scarf it all down before I get the chance! Love to win this giveaway, it would make us feel like we were back in Alaska!

  16. 17

    Kristin — February 26, 2012 @ 3:18 pm Reply

    I subscribe to your email updates and love every minute of it!

  17. 18

    Kristin — February 26, 2012 @ 3:20 pm Reply

  18. 19

    Katie — February 26, 2012 @ 3:22 pm Reply

    Yum! I think I’d make a salmon salad with lentils!

  19. 20

    Katie — February 26, 2012 @ 3:22 pm Reply

    Subscribed via google reader :)

  20. 21

    Janet — February 26, 2012 @ 9:03 pm Reply

    would love to make my salmon crouquets with that salmon.

  21. 22

    Joanne — February 26, 2012 @ 9:06 pm Reply

    I love the idea of having a cook-off with your friends every month! I wish mine were more into cooking…

    All of those chilis sound amazing! I would have been hard-pressed to choose between yours and the winners’…moroccan v. Indian…that’s tough.

  22. 23

    Kerri — February 26, 2012 @ 9:35 pm Reply

    Definately salmon patties. I use my grandmother’s recipe and my family loves them!

  23. 24

    Kate — February 26, 2012 @ 10:18 pm Reply

    Second place is still really good! Although in my eyes you will always be first.

  24. 25

    Ammie — February 27, 2012 @ 6:52 am Reply

    I love making salmon cakes so I’d surely put it to good use!

  25. 26

    Ammie — February 27, 2012 @ 6:54 am Reply

    Shared this giveaway on FB with a link back to this post

  26. 27

    Michele — February 27, 2012 @ 7:12 am Reply

    I would use canned salmon in sandwiches to bring to work for lunch! Yum!

  27. 28

    Becca B — February 27, 2012 @ 8:23 am Reply

    i would make salads, salmon salad, salmon cakes, salmon pasta! you name it!!

  28. 29

    Kristen — February 27, 2012 @ 9:53 am Reply

    Salmon Wasabi Tacos…. fried corn tortillas topped with shredded cabbage and canned salmon mixed with mayo-wasabi sauce. MAybe some mago slasa on top for sweetness! Yummo

  29. 30

    Jane — February 27, 2012 @ 12:18 pm Reply

    I agree – Alaskan Salmon is the best! I have family in Alaska, and love going there to eat the salmon! So good! I would definitely make salmon burgers – the first time I had a “real” salmon burger it was in Alaska, and was sooo good!

  30. 31

    Stacy Walter Katz — February 27, 2012 @ 12:33 pm Reply

    I would use it in a cold mediterranean pasta salad (with whole wheat pasta, artichokes, kalamata olives, capers, sundried tomatoes, etc) and probably in a stir-fry with whatever veggies I have in the house (kale, spinach, broccoli, peppers, etc). YUM!

  31. 32

    Arghavan Schumacher — February 27, 2012 @ 3:52 pm Reply

    Salmon lentil salad! Yum!

  32. 33

    Marilyn — February 27, 2012 @ 4:17 pm Reply

    Salmon on salad has to be one of my favorite salads! Yum!

  33. 34

    Julie @BananasForBourbon — February 27, 2012 @ 6:12 pm Reply

    I love canned salmon! I use it all the time. In croquettes, mashed with avocado on a sandwich, in a casserole. It’s as versatile as tuna, but tastier and healthier!

  34. 35

    Julie @BananasForBourbon — February 27, 2012 @ 6:12 pm Reply

    I subscribe! :)

  35. 36

    MCM Mama — February 27, 2012 @ 7:15 pm Reply

    I’d probably eat it straight from the can LOL, although salmon patties sound yummy.

  36. 37

    Sarah L — February 27, 2012 @ 7:16 pm Reply

    I’ve been meaning to try canned salmon. I’d make it into a tuna salad-like sandwich. I love the idea of putting it on salad, too!

  37. 38

    Sarah L — February 27, 2012 @ 7:16 pm Reply

    I subscribe through Google Reader.

  38. 39

    Jen — February 27, 2012 @ 8:58 pm Reply

    I would make lots of salmon salads!

  39. 40

    Shannon — February 27, 2012 @ 10:03 pm Reply

    salmon and pesto– i need to try that combination!! looks delicious :)

    bummer about the cookoff, but glad there were so many tasty entrees! can’t wait for the recipe :)

  40. 41

    Amy — February 28, 2012 @ 9:39 pm Reply

    I would put it in a wheat pocket with cream cheese,capers, tomatoes ane red onion

  41. 42

    Jeanette — February 28, 2012 @ 10:10 pm Reply

    I would make a salmon chickpea salad with celery, scallions, fresh herbs, lemon juice, S&P

  42. 43

    Bonnie K — February 29, 2012 @ 10:20 pm Reply

    I love salmon. I would scatter it over salad greens, form into salmon patties with onions, garlic and herbs and pan fry, serve in chunks with rice or pilaf—just to name a few.

  43. 44

    Bonnie K — February 29, 2012 @ 10:22 pm Reply

    I subscribe to you by email and I tweeted about this giveaway. https://twitter.com/#!/grobiemum/status/175058100682883072

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