Salmon Skewers and a side of AWKWARD

Everyone has an awkward moment in their life at some time or another. Some people have awkward periods of time. And, if you are extra lucky like me, you have extended periods of awkward in your life. I know this might be hard to believe that the stunning creature I have become (haha WTF?) was once very awkward. But it’s true. I swear.

Hello proof.

There were way WAY better pictures but my mom was in a rush and this was the best she could do. When I was 8 years old I got a giant tangle in my hair and my mother had to cut it out. This left a very annoying shorter piece of hair creating a wisp that constantly landed right in front of my eyes. I decided that if I just cut the hairs at the root they would no longer be there thus eliminating my problem. Right? Wrong. This just left a square inch patch of peach fuzz right where my widow’s peak was. Aaaawwwwkkkkwaaarrrrd.

Not only did I have a physically awkward stage (huge rose tinted glasses, chapped, cracking dry lips up to the base of my nose, a frizz puff hair cut, you better get the point by now because I don’t want to keep embarrassing myself) but was very awkward on a personal level as well. I was so hyper competitive (which I still I am I just mask it better… slightly) that I would say awful and horrible things to my competitors that make me cringe now. I was blunt and abrasive. Double cringe. Basically, how I had or have maintained any friendships from that time period is beyond me.

Even though I still have awkward moments and even more awkward hair days (I soooo wish I was at my parents house so I could find some evidence for you), I most definitely feel like I am better for every single one of them.

Regardless of how great I feel about who I am now, there were some seriously deep and dark moments I never though I would get out of. All along I harbored this deep feeling of envy of my father. It seemed like he always had a million people around him that wanted to be near him and hear what he had to say. They all just wanted to be his friend. WHERE WERE ALL MY FRIENDS?!?!

Alright, all my friends who are now coming after me with pitchforks, I said “where WERE,” not where are?

But he had all these amazing friends he’d had for years and years and years and I was so jealous. Well, I’m no longer jealous. I’m proud. Proud that I made it through all the awkward and came out on the other side with great life long friends. Here comes the food tie in, get ready. With all this pride I’m feeling, there is one friend I am extra proud to have kept. Massimo. One of my dad’s oldest friend’s son.

Massimo and I met a couple years ago because we were both working at the job I’m working at now. He has since moved back to New York, but in the short time we worked together his enthusiasm consumed me. He is a very talented musician and he somehow convinced me to stand next to him at an open mic night and sing my heart out. Now, I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ll ever do it again, but in that moment, I was anything but awkward. And it was amazing. So thank you Massimo. For encouraging me to be brave, for being my friend and for eating my food at dinner last week.

I’ve done way too much talking. I’ll let the pictures do the rest.

Grapefruit and ginger infused olive oil (yes I'm getting fancy, food network rated this intermediate)

Grapefruit, goat cheese and walnut salad with citrus vinagrette

Quinoa with graperfruit, herbs and serrano peppers (I like graperfruit, get off me)

Grill salmon skewers with infused oil glaze

If you look extra close you can see that my dad set the table with the place matts upside down.

Even my hero can be awkward.

Love and Beer Floats

Salmon Skewers with Quinoa and Grapefruit Salad
While this sounds intimidating and scary it is not. Don't let the name or the intermediate rating fool you.


1 medium grapefruit
8 thin slices fresh ginger
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 small serrano or jalapeno chile, minced (with seeds for maximum heat)
2 scallions (both white and green parts), minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pound skinless, center-cut salmon, cut into 2-inch cubes
Wooden skewers, soaked

Strip the peel from the grapefruit with a vegetable peeler, taking care not to include the bitter white pith. Warm the grapefruit peel, ginger, and olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the oil starts to bubble, after about 2 minutes, remove from heat. Set the oil aside to steep for 30 minutes. Strain and reserve the oil.

Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa in a bowl and drain. Put the quinoa in a small saucepan with the water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Boil over high heat, and then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Set aside off the heat, undisturbed, for 5 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl and fluff with a fork. Cool.

Segment the grapefruit over a bowl, reserving the segments and juice separately. Whisk 3 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice with the vinegar, honey, and salt to taste in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 3 tablespoons of the reserved grapefruit oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a stream to make a slightly thick dressing. Season with pepper to taste.

Toss quinoa with the dressing, chiles, scallions, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Preheat a stovetop or outdoor grill to high heat. Thread the salmon cubes onto the skewers. Brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon grapefruit oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill the skewers, turning as each side browns but the salmon is still moist, about 3 minutes.

Toss the grapefruit segment into the quinoa, divide among 4 plates, and top with the salmon kebobs. Serve warm or at room temperature.