Behind The Butter

easter dinner

Thank you all so much for all your sweet comments and emails today! Truthfully, it is a pretty hard day, but your comments never fail to make me smile!

I can almost imagine my brother’s face if he knew that two years later, I am still blogging and yes, it’s my real live job! He always joked around with me in the early days of the blog, asking if he could be on it. In my typical snotty big sister fashion, I would say of course he could not be on it, and now if he could please get out of my way while I take a photo of my dinner. Then, he would sulk and grab the last cupcake that I meant to photograph and race up to his room with it. Typical.

We got back from camping around five last night, exhausted and smelly (smelly is an understatement) but craving salmon for Easter dinner. So, Adam made his famous cedar plank smoked salmon and I threw together artichokes and spicy sweet potato fries to go alongside it.

Guys, if you haven’t made this salmon yet you need to…like, tonight. We used a mango chipotle marinade from Whole Foods and it was out of this world.

For the artichokes, I just simmered them for about half an hour until tender and served them with a dipping sauce made from a mix of mayonnaise and lemon juice. Adam had never eaten a whole artichoke before and it was quite amusing teaching him how to scrape the leaves with his two front teeth and then cut off all the artichoke fur to get to the yummy, tender heart.

Sweet potato fries were easy. Just cut into very thin slices, toss with olive oil, salt and cayenne and then bake at 450 for 20 minutes.

Dessert was s’mores over the grill. It was a bit of an unconventional Easter dinner, but perfect all the same.

Totally unrelated, but has anyone seen Soulsurfer? I’m dying to see it!!

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  • R @ Learning As I Chop
    April 25, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    I, too, need an artichoke lesson. I always find them so daunting. Sweet potatoes, however, I could eat ate every meal.

  • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing
    April 25, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Smores for Easter? Yes. Yes, that’ll do. That’ll do.

  • Hannah (Culture Connoisseur)
    April 25, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    That is the most beautiful artichoke I have ever seen. I wanted to buy one last week but they were out of my budget. 🙁 Beautiful meal you made!

  • Heather @ girlyeverafter
    April 25, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    My thoughts are with you today. Unconventional holiday meals are the best! I have salmon and sweet potatoes often but have yet to try the cedar plank.

  • Jenny (Fit Girl Foodie)
    April 25, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Those sweet tatters are baked to perfection, they look delicious 😀

  • Emily @ Savory and Savage
    April 25, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Salmon for Easter dinner sounds perfect to me – and the color is the salmon is definitely an Easter color 🙂

  • Jen Papaya
    April 25, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    that is exactly how i eat artichokes!! except red wine vinegar in place of the lemon in the sauce. i need those. stat.

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg
    April 25, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    We had smores for Easter too — we used Peeps instead of marshmallows!

  • Michelle
    April 25, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    The unconventional ones are the most memorable… which makes them the best.

  • Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles
    April 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Bittersweet memories. Well, I am glad you are still blogging. And your dinner looked pretty fab. I am impressed you had the energy to pull that together after a long drive home, unpacking, etc. Sweet potatoes fries definitely might be what I am eating for dinner tonight.

  • Kerry
    April 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    I’ve been meaning to go to Big Basin!! My church has the All Church Conference in the Santa Cruz Mountains 🙂 I cannot wait!

  • Heather at Heather's Dish
    April 25, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    I actually thought about making that salmon this weekend too! We ended up making sushi for Easter…atypical but delicious all the same!

  • Lesley Lifting Life
    April 25, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Perfect Easter dinner!!! 🙂 I want to see Soulsurfer too!

  • Ann @ Running With Chopstix
    April 25, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    You’ve made such a large impact on so many people through the blog. And you do it for a living!? It’s an amazing thing 🙂 By the way, is the mango chipotle marinade the Whole Foods brand?

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    April 25, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    That salmon looks delicious!!

  • Lisa
    April 25, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    That all looks delicious! The perfect meal for me: yummy salmon and veggies!

  • Megan @ On the Road Again
    April 25, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Love the sweet potato fries. I’ve always butchered them when I’ve attempted to make them at home; your way sounds much easier!

  • betty@runbetty
    April 25, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    We grilled out for Easter dinner too, and it was THE BEST.

    It officially feels like Spring now – especially since the SUN has reappeared today in SoCal.

    Happy thoughts to you today 🙂

  • jen @ taste life
    April 25, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    I was thinking about you yesterday, Jenna. I am so glad you got out and about and then had a lovely Easter dinner. Your brother would approve, I’m sure.

  • Kelli H
    April 25, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    I have not seen Soulsurfer but I think the trailer looked like it’s going to be really good!

    I had to laugh reading about Adam and the artichoke because one of my most fond memories of my boyfriend is teaching him how to eat an artichoke. My family & I were sitting around the table and David bites into the leaf and tries chewing it up. We were all cracking up, couldn’t believe he’d never eaten one before — so funny.

  • kaila @ healthyhelper blog!
    April 25, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Salmon sounds like a perfect dinner to me! happy easter!

  • lisa p
    April 25, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    saw your site in HEALTH magazine and checked you out. Nice site, will keep you in my faves.

  • Jaime
    April 25, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I JUST bought an artichoke yesterday as my latest experiment…but I haven’t a clue what to do with it! Going to have to Google a “how to”!!

  • Mom
    April 25, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I am VERY impressed! Throwing together a meal like this after coming in from camping ~ Good job!!! XXoX

  • Andrea
    April 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    ok, i am totally inspired to use the cedar planks sitting in my pantry. Can’t wait to try smoked salmon recipe.

  • Cait @ Beyond Bananas
    April 25, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Mango Chipolte Marinade sounds great! I love salmon and am always looking for ways to mix it up!

  • Vanessa
    April 25, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Mmh this post really makes me want artichokes for dinner now. I love to steam them and serve it with a dipping sauce of butter, garlic and anchovies. SO good.

  • lori S H
    April 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Wow that looks amazing!!!!!!! ; ) I have been thinking about you all week and how your blog has corrupted me. Just kidding! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive you for introducing me to the Lindt Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt bar. I’m officially addicted and find myself buying large quantities. It is Easter you know?

  • Natalie @ will jog for food
    April 25, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    That looks delicious! Your salmon looks perfect 🙂

    You do your sweet potatoes almost just like mine, the only difference is that I add a few dashes cinnamon too…SO tasty!

  • Melissa @ Journey to Marvelous
    April 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    This salmon has been added to my must-make list! It looks superb!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss
    April 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Best one I’ve seen so far!

  • Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food
    April 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm


    I know how hard it can be to think back on those times. I’m sure he would be so proud of you and everything that you’ve accomplished.

  • meghan@ struggle muffins
    April 25, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    I’ve been thinking of you and your family since having read your weekend recap post this morning; I can’t imagine how hard it must be to have gone through that and to continue on. You seem to be a remarkably strong woman 🙂 …and a magician in the kitchen and by the grill, clearly. The sweet taters look heavenly.

  • Mellie
    April 25, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Looks delicious! I’m so sorry about your brother… I hate my little sister at times but I can’t imagine if I lost her… I will pray for you!!

  • Mama Pea
    April 25, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    I’m dying to see Soul Surfer too! Why must you live so far away??? Love and blessings to you. <3

  • Rachel @ The Perseverance Diaries
    April 25, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Yum, s’mores! Sounds like a great Easter you had 🙂

    I saw Soul Surfer, it was great! I thought it would be cheesy but it was far from cheesy, it was actually really inspiring and beautiful. A must see.

  • Heidi - Apples Under My Bed
    April 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Beautiful! I have so wanted to get into artichokes, cooking them simply like you have – ever since I saw them on Jamie’s Italy (Jamie Oliver). Happy Easter!
    Heidi xo

  • Courtney
    April 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    I’m happy to hear you had a nice Easter, and celebrated with an incredible dinner. Sweet potatoes have a special place in my food-heart.

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    April 25, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Each thing:
    the salmon
    the artichoke (which I suck at making…either mushy or raw! 90 mins, simmering, eh? Guess I need to try that method)

    and the sweet tater rounds…

    all perfect!

    And Smores. Need a pic of THOSE!

    And your brother and the story….oh, Jenna. Major hugs to you.

  • Jennifer
    April 25, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Hi Jenna,

    I have a $$ saving tip for cedar planks. Just buy a long cedar board at Home Depot and ask an employee to cut it into footlong pieces. They have a big saw at the end of the lumber department. It costs about $5 and you get 4 or more planks (I’m estimating on both, but round about) Big money saver.

    Take care!

  • Molly
    April 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Salmon is my absolute favorite dish. I never make it at home, only at restaurants. This may give me the encouragement to do it my own!

  • Paige @Running Around Normal
    April 25, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Ahh that sounds amazing! I have some salmon too… hmmm 🙂

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    April 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Sounds like a perfect night with your man! I have never eaten a whole artichoke before – it kind of intimidates me.

  • Lizzie
    April 25, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    I can only give you our 7 year old niece’s opinion of ‘Soul Surfer’.

    “Awesome!”. She also made a beeline for her mother afterwards to let her know that she was glad her younger sister (Miss 5) hadn’t attended the screening with her and her daddy as it had “a lot of adult situations” in it. Mwah ha ha!

  • Kristin (Cook, Bake, Nibble)
    April 25, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Looks like the perfect Easter dinner to me! I did see Soul Surfer, and I liked it a lot!

  • Baking 'n' Books
    April 25, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    I so don’t get creative with spices and marinades or anything…I just don’t have the time at the end of the day. So cheese and sauce become my marinades. 🙁 I know.

    Soul Surfer? I haven’t seen it. Heard it “is what you expect” – a feel-good story but nothing unexpected. I imagine it would be inspiring…and make me want to move somewhere near a beach even more of course!! (probably part of the reason I’m avoiding it 😉 )

  • McKayla (green groats)
    April 25, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    That looks like a perfect easter dinner! That salmon looks amazing too!
    Speaking of s’mores, do you have any ideas for healthy alternatives to marshmallows?? It’s something I’ve been thinking about for awhile, but I’ve never come up with any great ideas.

  • nevernotdreaming
    April 25, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    I just throw spices on food after its on my plate. I have a bunch of Mrs. Dash and stuff and throw that over everything basically.

  • Justeen @ Blissful Baking
    April 25, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    What a wonderful Easter dinner! Unconventional, yes, but definitely no less delicious! I love all the different parts of this meal, mmm! 🙂

  • Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run]
    April 25, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    That salmon looks DIVINE (Adam can cook)! I think you’ve picked a winner, Jenna 😉

  • Lu @ The Orange Spice Kitchen
    April 25, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Thank goodness I wasn’t the only one that made seafood for Easter dinner. I do need to make that salmon. Every time I see it I realize how little of it I have in my life.

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    April 25, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Love Salmon on the grill. One of my fav’s. I love unconventional dinners – keeps life interesting 😉

    I haven’t gone to see Soul Surfer yet, but some girlfriends and I are hoping to catch it in the next week or two. Can’t wait!!!

  • Megan@Dirty Dishes Daily
    April 25, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    My love for salmon is increasing daily. I can’t get enough of it.

  • MC
    April 25, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    That salmon looks absolutely delicious. Do you get tired of hearing that on every one of your posts? Because they all look delicious. And now I’m hungry. Look what you did.

    Joking aside, I have to say I admire your strength and honesty in sharing your grief and memories of your brother. I’ve been a loyal blog reader for a long time, and I remember the shock of that first post after the fact. You’re an incredibly strong woman, and it really inspires me. Thanks.

  • Sarah B
    April 25, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Saw Soul Surfer. LOVED it.

  • Taste Tests
    April 25, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    That salmon looks killer 🙂

  • salah (My Healthiest Lifestyle)
    April 26, 2011 at 5:16 am

    that dinner looks amazing!!!!!!

  • Abby
    April 26, 2011 at 5:45 am

    That is one of my favorite meals ever! I grew up eating artichokes like that, never thought it was weird…but it’s amazing how many people have no idea how to eat them!

  • Ellen
    April 26, 2011 at 6:02 am

    Looks like a pretty awesome meal to me! I’m really craving some salmon! I’ll have to try that recipe.

    I have seen Soul Surfer and would highly recommend it! It was very inspiring and uplifting. I think you would like it!

  • taylor
    April 26, 2011 at 7:42 am

    LOVE sweet potatoes, so i can’t wait to try the easy fry recipe. what a nice easter dinner 🙂

  • Jennifer
    April 26, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Could that be a better dinner? MMMM!
    It touches me heart reading stories about your brother.

  • Sonia (the Mexigarian)
    April 26, 2011 at 8:06 am

    My first time having artichokes was earlier this year. My Hubby had to teach me how to eat them as well ^_^; And I think I cooked the heck out of them too.

    Your Easter dinner sounds yummy. Some time’s the most unconventional things are the best moments in our lives.

  • Kim
    April 26, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    It looks like you had a beautiful Easter and Easter dinner. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers this week…

    SoulSurfer’s on my list, too!

  • Tara
    April 28, 2011 at 12:32 am

    I JUST went and saw Soul Surfer. Like, literally. And then I read this blog post. It was good – especially the rescue part. Unbelievable that she survived and that she reacted the way she did right after the attack. I kept waiting for her to go into shock, and she didn’t. Crazy strength. And I now have plans to go surfing tomorrow morning. Yep, I live in Hawaii. Hate on me just a tiny bit. 🙂