Jalapeño-Garlic-Lime Salmon with Coconut Saffron Sauce

This is one of our favorite times of the year:  The Indian Summer days of Autumn. The unseasonably warm weather is great because the leaves are already changing into beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow, but the grass is still green AND you can comfortably take off your jacket. It offers nice little breaks between all of the cold spells and allows you to slowly get used to that impending REALLY frosty weather that will be upon us (too) soon.

Jalapeño-Garlic-Lime Salmon with Coconut Saffron Sauce - Ready to Enjoy!

I thought this summery salmon recipe would be a fitting nod to these relieving, semi-sunny temps. As much as I LOVE fall recipes…if you’re also feeling like you could use just one short break from them, this might give you a brief relief from all that pumpkin spice and apple flavor we’ve been bombarded with recently. It’s fresh and relatively healthy too – which is very helpful when your body’s vitality is tested by all these changes in the weather.

In spirit of the variety of temperatures we’ve been experiencing and will continue to have through November (and maybe even December), I chose a playlist that features a medley of genres. Each song was selected based on the ingredients due to it’s album, artist, content, and/or track name.

The Grooves

While this is very subjective, I think the playlist below includes a decent amount of summer-esque tracks, as well as those with more of a fall feel. For whatever reason, early fall seems like one of the best times to enjoy some ‘grass and the mellow Coconut Records and Bright Eyes songs also fit very well with the Autumn months in my opinion. On the other hand, bands like Phish and DMB remind me of summer – probably because of their large tours during that time of year. Upbeat jams and beats from musicians like Big G pair well with warmer weather too.

I tried my best to incorporate a wide range of genres, but honestly struggled with the ones I’m not as familiar with. However, it still turned out to be pretty diversified so I hope you find at least a couple that you enjoy for your meal prep and/or dining experience.

The Grub

The garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro added the perfect amount texture to the filet and the flavor comes just about full circle with lime, salt, and pepper in the mix. It could easily be served as is, as a sandwich, or as tacos. However, I wanted to make more of a traditional dinner and keep it on the healthier side, so I chose to serve it with steamed rice. The sauce just added some additional flavor and texture to the dish.

Now, this sauce was a bit of an experiment for me which was fun and a good learning experience too. At first, I was just going to use coconut milk with lime, but quickly realized it didn’t have quite enough flavor. I wanted it to remain relatively subtle and avoid adding something spicy because I didn’t want to take away from the taste of the salmon and Jalapeño-Garlic topping, so I decided saffron was the best way to go. The nice shade of yellow it gave the sauce offered a great color contrast to the overall plate as well. Also, I used light coconut milk because it was what I had in the pantry at the time, but I would highly recommend using the regular kind to make the sauce a little thicker. 

Ingredients:Jalapeño-Garlic-Lime Salmon with Coconut Saffron Sauce - Ingredients

  • 1 large salmon filet (about 6- 8 oz.)
  • 2 tbs. chopped jalapeños
  • 1 tbs. minced garlic
  • 1 bunch/handful of cilantro
  • 1-2 limes
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • salt and pepper
  • oil
  • 1 cup steamed white rice (optional)

Directions:Salmon Ready for the Oven

  1. Lightly oil glass baking dish and preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Salt and Pepper filet and place in oiled baking dish.
  3. Cut lime into thirds. Cut 1/3 into slices, use 1/3 to squeeze on filet, and set aside last third for sauce.
  4. Cover filet with minced garlic, chopped jalapeños, and lime slices.
  5. Place in oven and bake for 18-25 minutes -depending on size of filet
  6. While salmon is baking, place coconut milk and saffron in small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer on low. Squeeze and stir in last 1/3 of lime before serving.
  7. Once salmon filet is cooked through, plate with steam white rice, pour sauce over fish and rice, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Coconut Saffron Sauce - Simmering        Coconut Saffron Sauce - Ready for Plating

Salmon - Finished Baking!

Happy National Coffee Day!

Happy National Coffee day to all! There are few gestures that mean the same thing in every language, but we’re convinced that the event of sharing a coffee with someone is universally understood.  Most can relate to grabbing a cup of java and catching up with a friend. Even Hollywood has picked up on this trend, which is why Friends had the Central Perk and Jerry Seinfeld started his show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee – everyone does it.

To celebrate, we wanted to share some of our favorite local coffee shops paired with a handful of standout acoustic acts from Ohio, and one particular classic rock tune that is arguably the best song about coffee (in Amanda’s opinion at least…).

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Great CLE Coffee Spots:

We hope you check out some of these solid spots and dig the jams and pics as well. What are some of your favorite spots to get that coffee fix?

Interview with Vacationer’s Kenny Vasoli


Vacationer’s Kenny Vasoli

I’ve been excited for this post for quite awhile – since the Vacationer concert at Musica on February 7, 2013 to be exact. I know the date because the concert coincided with my training schedule for my one and only 5k. I ran the morning of the concert and let’s just say jogging + black ice = chipped front teeth and a swollen lip. Goodbye Vacationer show, hello emergency room. So when they came back in 2014, I was excited to make up for lost time. Amanda and I went down to the show, grooved to their chill, beachy music and we were lucky enough to send a few brief questions to  the lead singer, Kenny Vasoli, about food.

Garnished with Grooves: What’s your favorite food on tour?

Kenny Vasoli: I’m basically addicted to sushi. It’s great. If I only have a limited amount it’s perfect, it’s quickly made and does not sit in my stomach like a brick.

GG: Are you a culinary dynamo or a master of fast-dialing take out? What’s your favorite recipe of restaurant?

KV: I don’t know if I’m a dynamo but I do love to cook. I’ve become increasingly conscious of nutrition, so I like knowing exactly what is in my meals. When I cook I usually bounce between breakfast food, stir-fry and stews. Simple breakfast tacos with egg and avocado have been my obsession as of late.

GG: What would be the best food to pair with your music?

KV: Pineapple! Especially if you happen to have cottonmouth.

The Grooves:

Both Amanda and I love Vacationer’s sound and really enjoyed their show this past Spring. It was perfect for a chill Sunday evening. Their songs have a slight upbeat, dance-y feel with world beats and a wide variety samples. The timing of the vocals are perfect, whether it’s Kenny singing the main lines or the chill, wispy layered vocals. Their instrumental style varies from island-esque accents to indie/alternative riffs to solid bars of post-rock sequences.  All of this comes together to make a really unique sound that provides a chill groove sprinkled with some upbeat layers. Here‘s the upcoming tour schedule, so be sure to check out Vacationer when they come to your city!

Vacationer’s 2nd album, Relief, came out in June. Here’s the music video of the single “The Wild Life”:

I discovered Vacationer through their 1st album, Gone. The whole album plays below.

The Grub:

Vacationer’s pineapple wish is our culinary command. Because Kenny mentioned he liked tacos, we decided to make these Korean pineapple tacos. We followed ALMOST this entire recipe from Closet Cooking because the description sounded too delicious to pass up. The one ingredient we skipped: Asian pears. The selection at the grocery for Asian pears looked a little rough, so we ended up just skipping them. And we can absolutely confirm that the recipe still tasted fantastic. To make the recipe vegetarian friendly, substitute seitan for the chicken.

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Giveaway: 4 Tickets to The War On Drugs Show (9/19 at HOB CLE)!

The War on Drugs: Lost in the Dream

Relix Names ‘Lost In The Dream’ #3 in 40 Best Albums Of The Year (So Far)

We’re VERY excited to announce our first (hopefully of many) Garnished with Grooves giveaway! We received FOUR TICKETS to giveaway to our readers for a concert this Friday:  The War On Drugs (The band…NOT the controversial political initiative) will be playing a show at HOB Cleveland for the CLE Downtown Festival.  This show+great food from any of the wonderful East 4th Street restaurants sounds like a solid night to us. One lucky winner (and 3 of his/her friends) will have their Friday night plans set and get to experience some great live music fo’ FREE 99. Scroll down to enter!

If you aren’t familiar with the indie sounds of The War On Drugs, give the playlist below a listen or two…or five. We haven’t seen them live yet, but it sounds like it will be a super fun, high-energy show — perfect for a Friday night!

Concert info:

  • Date: Friday 9/19/14
  • Time: 7 PM
  • Venue: CLE HOB

Giveaway Info:

  • Opens: 9:30 PM EST on 9/15
  • Closes: 1:00 PM EST on 9/18
  • Winners will be notified within 6 hours
  • Winners have 12 hours to accept


Grooving & Grubbing Locally: The Cleveland Garlic Festival

Last Sunday, some friends and I stopped by Shaker Square to dig all things garlic and learn where reggae comes from (aka – dig CLE’s favorite reggae act: Carlos Jones and the Plus Band).  I heard great things about last year’s Garlic Festival and while I’m sure a lot of those positive reviews were partially fueled by seeing the collective musical genius that is Snark Puppy, I knew we were still in for a major treat with the various vendors and jammin’ reggae beats. And I was definitely correct in my assumptions.

We were only there for a couple of hours, but our visit was still jam-packed with unique samples, garlic lessons and tips, foodie splurges, and more from the very friendly and informative vendors. We caught a couple of classic Carlos songs on our way in and stuck around for a solid handful of wonderful reggae grooves and vibes while we digested our garlic feast.

Since the festival both features AND supports local food producers, in addition to including local musicians, I figured it would be very fitting to do a Grooving & Grubbing Locally post to highlight our experience. Check out the pics, dig the videos, and don’t miss out on next year’s Garlic Festival!

{Local Grub}

{Local Grooves}

Carlos Jones and The Plus Band play gigs all over Northeastern Ohio throughout the year.  If you like reggae and haven’t had the chance to check them out yet, DO IT.  Cleveland is very fortunate to have a solid local act like them.

Wing Crawlin’ in the ‘Wood

A couple Saturdays ago I attended the Lakewood Wing Crawl, put on by Pillars, with my parents and some friends. While it kind of destroyed the “healthy weekend” plans I made, it was VERY fun and a great opportunity to sample a variety of wings (along with some delicious and discounted Great Lakes) from a handful of Lakewood’s many bars.

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It was really cool to compare and discuss the wing textures, flavors, and culinary ingenuity from each bar, back-to-back. Each participating bar provided one buffalo style wing and an “open” category wing of their choice. We were given ballots to take notes throughout the crawl and turn in at the end to vote on our favorites (for both Buffalo & Open), along with the chance to win a Great Lakes prize pack.

This was my first time so I can’t comment on how it compared to previous years, but we definitely enjoyed ourselves and it seemed like A LOT of people came out and dug the event. Unfortunately, we missed a few (ATC, Bobby O’s, and Humble) due to the timing of our crawl, but I honestly don’t know if it would have been physically possible to consume any more wings than I already did that day.

Here’s a little overview of the crawl, along with some of my thoughts:

Participating Bars

Best Flavor – Booth’s “Honey Aleppo Pepper Dry Rub” was AWESOME, BUT it scored a little weak in the texture category…not nearly crunchy enough.

Best Texture – Plank Road Tavern and Riverwood took the gold in the texture arena. The chicken inside was cooked almost perfectly and the outside had just the right amount of crunch.

Best Overall - My favorite wing overall (out of the ones I was able to try) was Merry Art’s “Cuban Jerk.” It was a very tough call because I LOVED certain aspects of the other contestant’s wing creations, but Merry Arts seemed to be the best when considering all of the criteria: texture, flavor, recipe ingenuity, size, service, and more.

Best Music – Booth’s by far. Great classic rock jams that were very appropriate for a very Cleveland event and some unique tracks were thrown into the mix as well. None of the music in the other bars really stuck out to me. I was too busy discussing the wings and taking foodie notes at Booth’s to jot down the tunes I heard, but here is a great Cleveland song that I think would be a fitting pairing for a basket of wings:

Official Results – People’s Choice Buffalo: Around The Corner, People’s Choice Open Flavor: Around the Corner, Judges Choice Buffalo: Merry Arts Pub & Grill, Judges Choice Open Flavor: Merry Ars Pub & Grill

If you aren’t a vegetarian and love wings, I highly recommend going to next year’s wing crawl. If you went this year, what was your favorite wing?

Remixed Classics: Bratwurst and Kale Soup with Electro Swing

We’re sorry for the delay of this post – it’s been a busy past few weeks for both of us, but we’re back at it with a good one (at least we think so).

Bratwurst and Kale Soup with Electro Swing - Ready to Enjoy!

The bowl with cream added is on the right.

While we realize that it’s still summertime, we DID have a handful of cooler temps this month so we figured a soup recipe would still be appropriate. This soup is full of a variety of flavors, textures, and nutrients. It’s sort of a Zuppa Toscana Remix. Similar to the classic Olive Garden favorite, we included potatoes, sausage, and kale. However, we used different types for each of the aforementioned ingredients and added additional veggies as well. Also, we kept the creamy factor optional with those either who can’t or don’t want to consume it in mind.

It’s been a small struggle deciding on what music to pair with this recipe. The soup’s initial inspiration is Italian, we used Hungarian bratwurst, and the kale is the Red Russian variety. Therefore, an international playlist was a possibility, but for some reason it just didn’t seem right. Luckily, we just discovered…or were reminded of, rather…a genre that creates refreshing remixes of a classic music style, but still maintains the original feel of the distinctive sound it started from (kinda like our remixed recipe):  Electro Swing. With the sweet nostalgia of original swing and big band jazz mixed with dancy elements of contemporary music such as hip-hop samples and EDM back beats, it offers VERY fun tune-age and seemed to fit the vibe of the recipe very well.

The Grooves:

We aren’t super familiar with this relatively new genre so I (Amanda) just included songs that appealed to me from our findings on the inter-webs. The first track is what re-introduced us to the genre and it has continued to grow on me ever since our first listen. If you’re an electro swing fanatic or connoisseur, please let us know if we’re missing any major songs/artists. Those of you NOT as familiar with the genre (like us) may recognize a song or just the general sound from TV/Film – one of the big ones being The Great Gatsby. Some of these videos are pretty entertaining too:

The Grub:Bratwurst and Kale Soup with Electro Swing Tune-age - Ingredients

Adrienne’s coworker has a killer garden and was kind enough to send some of his Red Russian Kale our way (Thanks!). We’re used to working with the usual Curly-leaved kale so it was nice to work with a new type. The bratwurst we used was loaded with garlic and hot paprika so it gave the soup a nice heat that could easily be balanced with a splash of cream if needed.


  • 1 lb bratwurst (loose)Bratwurst and Kale Soup with Electro Swing Tune-age - Browning Sausage
  • 1/3 lb kale
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 8-10 snow-white mushrooms
  • 5-7 redskin potatoes (cut into large cubes)
  • 32 oz. chicken stock
  • 1 cup half n half (optional)


  1. Brown bratwurst in large pot (about 10-15 mins). If it’s lean, you may need to add a little cooking oil.
  2. Add onions, mushrooms, and potatoes and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Rip up/shred kale into small, more “manageable” pieces and add into pot along with chicken stock.
  4. Cook on medium heat for 20-25 minutes. You will know it’s ready when the potatoes are soft (test with a fork). Salt and pepper as necessary. Serve and enjoy with or without half n half.

Bratwurst and Kale Soup with Electro Swing Tune-age - All Ingredients in the Pot     Bratwurst and Kale Soup with Electro Swing Tune-age - Ready to Serve!