Entertaining Alkaline Style – Lemon Pesto Salmon, Cashew Ceasar, Broccolini Chop

by Julie on July 14, 2010

Today marks the first post of our new monthly column Entertaining Alkaline Style.  I am so excited to share the photos of our last healthy feast!  I love to cook especially for a crowd who appreciate healthy yummy food.  My favourite part of entertaining is setting the table–so much so, that sometimes I even do it the night before when “not a creature is stirring”–except me!  My background as a designer has me constantly craving creative activities so I get my fix by styling my food shots, searching for special pieces new and old to present my recipes and of course setting a gorgeous table with flowers.  This is an opportunity to share with you how I put it all together while inspiring some great entertaining ideas and recipes.  So stay tuned for this monthly feature and let me know your thoughts.

When I plan an alkaline meal I follow the rule 20-30% of healthy protein or grains to 70-80% warmed veggies and salad.  To incorporate healthy food combining I don’t serve proteins with grains ie. meat and potatoes or fish and rice.  I always serve a protein or a grain with non-starchy veggies.  And I don’t ever JUST serve a bowl of pasta–it would always be accompanied by a large salad.  The burden on your digestive track is much less when you supply live enzymes from the raw vegetables to assist in breaking down the protein.

I found that it was difficult to entertain and serve guests a non-alkaline and non-food combined meal as it sent the wrong message to my family and we were flipping back and forth between principles.  What I have now discovered is that our guests are intrigued by our meals, they ask a lot of questions, they love the food and feel great after dinner.  So it’s the only way for us now.  That’s not to say that we are perfect.  We do our best in a restaurant and when at other peoples homes for dinner.  Usually you can make do or just eat a  little and then nibble healthy bits at home.  However, if we are away on holiday we make the most effort possible to order raw veggie plates at lunch and dinner for everyone and we eat salad as much as possible so that we might enjoy the odd treat– dessert or a glass of wine.  But inevitably we feel rather sluggish and low energy if we decide just to go all out.  We’ve become accustomed to a nice healthy regime that our body tells us when we are out of line so we do our best to listen.  The biggest benefit is the fact that we feel more energized and we are almost never sick.  I can’t tell you how much more I enjoy food now because I have the added pleasure of knowing that the incredibly delicious food I eat is highly nourishing for my body.  Just knowing this makes the food taste 10x’s better!  When I eat something that I know is clogging my body vs cleansing my body I don’t feel so great about it and I really don’t enjoy it very much.  Thus I am motivated to eat the healthiest I possibly can and I feel great for it.

Sorry for such wandering post, I just can’t help myself some days.  Lets get started with the menu.  Today I have for you a delicious combination.  A cedar planked salmon topped with zesty lemon pesto served with a vegan cashew ceasar salad and a chopped broccolini dish tossed in a tasty sesame dressing.  First lets get the side dishes ready to go.  But oh yes, if you to decide to use cedar to grill on now is the time to get it soaking in some water so it won’t flare up on the grill.  At the very least soak it for 30 minutes with a weight on it– and longer is better.  You may get more than one use if you soak extra long, say for 1-2 hours.

Cashew Ceasar
yield: serves 6
1 head of romaine lettuce washed and chopped
1/2 c olive oil
1 tbsp hemp nuts
2 tsp raw sesame seed tahini
1.5 tbsp braggs liquid aminos
1/2 small zucchini peeled and roughly chopped (approx. 1 cup)
1 clove fresh garlic
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
pinch of celtic sea salt
Combine all ingredients except lettuce in Blender, scrape down sides and mix well, adding additional drizzle of olive oil if needed for consistency.

For the Cashew Croutons
1/2 c raw cashew nuts
1/4 tsp of celtic sea salt
1 clove garlic crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
•Place all ingredients in small saute pan and saute until cashew are lightly browned.  Place in small serving bowl and set aside.
•When salmon is finished on the BBQ toss salad and offer cashew croutons for guests at the table

Broccolini Chop
yield: 6 servings (approx 3/4 c each)
5 cups broccolini chopped into to 1″ pcs
1 tbsp celtic sea salt
4 tbsp raw sesame seeds
2 tbsp raw sesame oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2.5 tbsp braggs liquid aminos
•Lightly toast sesame seeds in saute pan for a few minutes-watch closely to avoid burning, set aside.
•Combine both sesame oils, and braggs, set aside.
•Bring large pot of water to boil, add sea salt, (when salmon is done is the time to cook brocolini)  and then cook broccolini for max 2 minutes.  Drain and place in serving dish.
•Drizzle sesame-braggs mixture over broccolini and gently toss. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

*Note For Raw Foodies: Massage the broccolini for 3-5 mins and toss in dressing-season w/ sea salt if desired.

Lemon Pesto Salmon
Yield: 6 servings
6 fillets of wild salmon with skin on
2- 12″ long cedar plank soaked for 30-60 mins in water (it may be cut into 6  pcs prior to soaking if desired for serving)
1  1/4 cups roughly chopped parsley
juice of one lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic roughly chopped
3 tbsp olive oil + bit more for consistency if needed
pinch sea salt
1/2 c raw nuts (pine, walnut or cashew or a combination) I’ve tried them all with great success!
sweetener- 2-3 drops liquid stevia or 2 tsp agave
•Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, scraping down and combining until well mixed and of a nice texture, not pureed.  Pesto should not be runny, but thick and textured.
•Prepare the salmon by rinsing and patting dry.  Remove cedar plank from soaking tub and lightly pat surface dry.  Place salmon on plank skin side down.
•Spread pesto generously on the top surface of the fish. Place planked fish on pre-heated bbq grill with lid closed and grill until it flakes and a butter knife inserted in center portion is hot when removed-approx 10-20 mins depending on size and thickness of fish.
•Remove from grill and then from plank and allow to stand for a couple minutes while cooking the broccolini and tossing the salad.

This casual plated meal, served buffet style, is how I keep it simple.  With 16 guests I tripled the recipes above leaving a bit of room for 2nds.  If I were to offer additional menu items for a meal they would include other salad variations and perhaps a healthy appetizer such as a yummy artichoke & bean dip with crudites.  This delicious, yet easy meal, leaves you feeling satisfied and full of energy which is my goal for most every meal.

For the table I like to keep the arrangements low, under 8″ in height so that you can easily see over them for comfortable conversation.  I also love the repetition of similar containers holding similar coloured flowers. For this 14 foot table I did 5 arrangements with 4 candles in between. Don’t be afraid to trim stems of larger flowers and mix in some greenery from your garden to fill up the container and give it some volume.  Using clear glass for drink ware and candle hurricanes or votive holders is also very pretty as it reflects the candle light.  I entertain with my all white Maxwell & Williams dishes as I love how food looks on white.  My table linens are white for this table setting but this is where I sometimes like to have fun with the napkins and the table cloth.  I have a linen cupboard full of cloths as I have a bit of a fetish for them. (pls forgive the tulips in July- I have been prepping this post for too long and sometimes life and travel get in the way- imagine some lovely mini sunflowers in their place with blue cornflowers)

A wee bit on more the food combining thoughts.  Our digestive track was created with a plan in mind. Animal proteins are not easily digested and of all foods take the longest to process.   Carnivorous animals have short straight intestines that quickly and easily process meat where ours are long and squiggly, designed more so for a plant based diet. Thus pairing raw veggies especially greens that are high in enzymes with small amounts of animal proteins is incredibly helpful, aiding in digestion.  In contrast consuming the typical meat and potato or pasta and chicken meal is an enormous burden on our poor digestive track and encourages the sugars (from the potato & the pasta) to ferment the protein which over taxes our organs making you sluggish after this kind of meal, taking as long as 9-15hrs to break down.  Emptying our systems becomes difficult and our colons take the brunt of it making it difficult to eliminate the protein.  This kind of diet, lacking in raw veggies can lead to crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and many more ailments of this manner.  Consuming a fish and salad meal leaves you feeling much lighter and highly energized.

About 6 years ago I began food combining after reading Suzanne Somer’s books where she explained the theory.  I instantly felt great, and energized after eating a meal and the full, kinda stuffed feeling never bothered me again, unless of course I strayed and sure enough I would have that uncomfortable full belly syndrome.  It just all made sense and I noticed the difference immediately.  I also lost a few pounds in the process-bonus!  It may take you a while to convert but once you do and you start noticing how great you feel after a balanced and properly combined meal you’ll be hooked.  In our family we limit our animal protein intake to hormone & antibiotic free chicken 1- 2x’s per week.  We don’t eat red meat.  I only eat fish right now and prepare it 1-2x’s per week.  More often, we will have vegan meals such as a fresh pesto (rice) pasta and a nice large hearty salad with a slice of spelt garlic bread.  Sometimes it’s just “veggie night” and we steam broccoli, roast asparagus & garlic potatoes and serve along side a kitchen sink salad–heaping with veggies and a variety of greens that is!  A raw veggie plate is always on our dinner table and as we linger and chat after our meal we often nibble on these or we all nibble on them as we are preparing the meal.  The big question we are often asked is where’s the protein on veggie nights.  Well, if you add up the small individual amounts of protein in a nice variety of vegetables from the salad,  the veggie plate and the steamed veggies you will end up with more than the recommended days intake of protein.  This chart here indicates the individual protein measurements for vegetables. We also use hemp nuts, very high in protein, in many of our dressings, salads & smoothies.  So I don’t fuss too much over the protein question as we get our fair share and more.

I hope you enjoyed this first alkaline entertaining post even though I managed to wander a bit.  The simplest of meals can be made to be gorgeous and special with a little bit of time spent on fluffing the table.  How often do you entertain for a crowd?  What do you do to simplify so that you are still able to enjoy your guests?  Do you serve as a buffet or family style at the table?  I am curious so please share and also let me know how you like this new series.

Psssst…… You might get lucky and see a few extra entertaining columns this summer (versus only monthly) as I can’t resist to set a table and cook with all this gorgeous produce about!

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah, Maison Cupcake July 15, 2010 at 2:36 am

Both these dishes look fantastic, the green on the orange of the salmon so tempting to the appetite and a cashew caesar salad is a great idea. Inspiring!

Julie July 15, 2010 at 9:01 am

Sarah, thanx for stopping by:) I need to do some catch up on my blog reading too–with all the new blogs from FBC2010 I have my joyful work cut out for me! and yes the salmon is really nice with the pesto. I have served it for a crowd many times with rave reviews. Let me know if you try any recipes and if you get creative with them in any way!

Caroline Hames July 21, 2010 at 1:54 pm

What a Great website Julie, I will be reading for days and I can’t wait to try out the salmon recipe, its looks delicious.

jennifer May 28, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I made this salmon for dinner tonight. So delicious I’ll be putting it into my regular dinnertime rotation! Thanks for the recipe.

Barb October 8, 2011 at 3:37 am

Hi, I love your website and I am slowly starting an alkaline diet for my family after some initial research. I’m only disappointed I hadn’t known about it sooner! I have one question if I may ask – Is braggs liquid aminos a form of MSG? I googled it and found forums discussing this. I live in Australia and I’m not sure if it is available here. Are there any substitutes for this ingredient in your recipes? Thanks

Julie October 11, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Barb, I too have done some research and have found mixed reports on Braggs liquid aminos. And now after studying labeling laws and food chemicals I am more and more hesitant to use Braggs, in fact I think I’m done with it and may edit some of my recipes. Instead you may find these brands helpful as they are naturally fermented, raw and unpasteurized, making them “living food”. Ohsawa Organic Nama Shoyu (raw, unpasteurized), or Organics shoyu sauce. I really suggest extreme moderation as most of these are forms of soy and 96-98% of all soy is GMO. You would be best to use a product that says it is organic to avoid GMO’s. Also, soy is controversial as to it’s health effects so do your research if you are experiencing any form of ill health. It’s a tough one cuz everyone loves the flavour of soy, so again, extreme moderation and organic are best. Another suggestion I read was to use dehydrated celery & lemon and then grind to a powder for a nice salty seasoning in place of Braggs- I might just have to try this. Thanks for stopping in and for pointing this out. This link here has some interesting discussion around Braggs that I read a while back that really got me thinking.

katharine July 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Hi there….Love this site! where do you purchase the cedar planks? and are they reusable?

admin July 5, 2012 at 3:37 pm

I found them at Costco back then when I posted this but then cut them into serving size cuts. If you soak them in water well before use and don’t cook on too high temp you may get a 2nd use. Good luck:)

Lauren August 12, 2012 at 6:40 pm

LOVE this! I follow the same principles of 20-30% protein or starch and 70-80% alkaline greens and non-starchy vegetables with my meals!

It is the way to be :) I am so glad that I found this website, I love it! It’s now bookmarked as my homepage on my computer :) xxx

julie August 12, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Amen Lauren!!!! So glad you found your way here!!

Josh August 12, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Awesome recipes! Any great recipes for gouty arthritis sufferers?

Julie August 12, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Hey Josh, thx for stopping by:)
Truly, I highly suggest skipping out on meat, period. The uric acid it creates with the animal protein metabolism is what’s causing you all the pain along with acidity from sugar and bad fats. Eat your veggies like mom said and go with as much green as possible-juice them too of course, drink 3-4 liters of alkaline water daily, exercise for getting oxygen to the cells-also rebounding-, supplement with a good mineral supplement, take an alkaline supplement like pHor salts or sodium bicarbonate 2x’s daily and drink greens powders to buffer acids and flush toxins, take good omega oils, and again get your nutrition from foods- mostly vegetables and green ones. Trust me, this will all change your life if you can do it and get in a rhythm. There are recipes here that will help you. You can eat a mix of 50% raw and 50% cooked veggies. You WILL find relief if you follow this guideline. I have a friend who was so ill from a similar condition she couldn’t put cream on her face without her body, bones, joints hurting intensely and she has fully recovered with this program and walks 10k painlessly without fail every. single. day. and was very diligent with this lifestyle. You can do it if you really, truly want to leave this pain behind you. No medication will ever cure it, only prolong and make is fester more, adding to your acidity and causing other symptoms. I’d love to hear how you do if you commit to healing and loving your body enough to do so.

Josh August 12, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Hi Julie. Wow, thank you for the amazingly clear, precise and informative reply. I can feel your passion through your text and its reassuring and motivating.
I am really feeling your advice. I had never thought about alkaline water, mineral supplements, alkaline supplements, green powders and 50/50 cooked & raw veggies…but now I am. I’ll need to do some research on which supplements I need, so I can add your suggestions into my routine, ASAP.
The last piece of meat, dairy product, processed food or beer I consumed was 1.5 weeks ago. I am so ready to love myself and my health. I’m ready to make this change. I commit to healing and loving my body enough to make the changes needed to thrive.
I’ll keep you posted. :) Thank you, again.

Debbie Foy August 13, 2013 at 8:45 pm

I just love the many dressing varieties with your salads. alkaline dieting is new to me so I am learning. This is not just a diet, but it is now my lifestyle. “Since I am a Texas girl, I really love the Tex-Mex twist in some of the recipes. I especially liked the dressing for the Cashew Ceasar Salad. To give that one a Tex-Mex flair for another salad and my sprouted tortilla veggie wraps I added 1/2 avocado, used half lemon, half lime and added some cilantro. This has become the spread of choice for my Pico de Gallo/cucumber wraps. Love your blog as it has become my go-to blog for info and recipes. Thanks you for your labor of love.

admin August 13, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Debbie, thank you so very much! Your recipe sounds deelish, I’ll have to give it a shot! And yay…. it’s a lifestyle!!

admin August 13, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Josh, I’m tingling with delight reading your comment and really seeing your commitment to properly nourish and love your body so it can heal. You will be so fine, I know it. All my best.

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Disclaimer: The content on this site is not written with intentions to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatments. Our content is for information purposes only and should not be used to diagnose or treat health issues of any sort. Our information and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Copyright Julie Cove and Yvonne Becker, 2009-2010. Please do not use or copy any information, recipes or photos without permission or without noting its origins on your blog or website.