Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Simple Grilled Kale With Plums

Here's another approach to grilled kale - call it the fifteen minute, two ingredient version. Ronan's grilled kale is a better recipe if you ate preparing this dish for guests and this is the version I do when I just need something quick.

Chop the kale into large bite-sized pieces. Toss with about a quarter cup of olive oil and plenty of salt. Place chopped kale in a deep grill basket and grill on medium heat with top closed. Shake and turn every five minutes until the leaves are wilted, about 10-15 minutes in total. Place kale on platter and add olive oil if the kale looks dry. Serve with sliced plums.

Also works well with peaches, nectarines and strawberries.

For Technologists

I wrote a post about three years ago stating, "I firmly believe the best products are simple." It was a plea to agile product owners to stop over complicating their products and features with too many bells and whistles and other nuances that add to complexity. MVP - minimal viable product - also works well in cooking with good ingredients and simple techniques.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Grilled Salmon and Kale Chips

Sweet and salty kale chips are a unique and healthy accompaniment to rich salmon fillets.  Perfect any time of the year, but especially good now as the summer wanes and the fall approaches.  Sit on the deck or patio and enjoy a nice glass of wine while you dine.  This recipe is a family favorite – and you can never make enough kale chips.




For the kale chips:
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (we use the minimum or less to make it less spicy)
1 medium bunch kale (12 oz.), washed, stemmed and chopped into 1” pieces

* We always double the kale chips – as I said for our family there can never be enough

For the salmon:
Salmon fillets (6-8 oz. each)
Olive oil
Fresh parsley, washed and finely chopped
Sea salt
Fresh cracked black pepper, if desired

* There endless recipes for grilling salmon, pick your favorite or use this simple but fresh one

For the kale chips:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, place rack(s) in center of oven
  • Whisk all ingredients except kale in a small bowl
  • Place kale in a large bowl and toss with dressing to coat
  • Spread kale onto baking sheet in a single layer (you may have to do this in batches)
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes
  • Toss chips with a wooden spatula and return to oven for another 7-8 minutes, until crispy throughout
For the salmon:
  • Preheat grill for medium heat and lightly oil grill grate
  • Brush salmon fillets with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt (and black pepper if desired) and parsley
  • Cook salmon 6-8 minutes per side or until the fish flakes easily with a fork

For Technologists

Salmon…they swim upstream…which makes me think of the struggles we sometime experience in growing and maturing our Agile practice.  Not all areas of an organization come along for the swim and partnering and collaborating is not always easy.  But as the saying goes, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming” and in the end everything will be delicious.  See more on this topic at Isaac’s post on driving an agile culture.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hot Garlic Grilled Shrimp

Need a quick recipe to try out the mortar and pestle? Try this one. It's a relatively quick recipe plus marinade time and is very flavorful.

This recipe should come our flavorful and spicy. If you like it hotter, consider balancing the recipe with more chili and less garlic. You can also double up the ingredients and coat the shrimp more.

I serve this as an appetizer. It's gone by the time I reach the table.


  • About a lb of large 12-16 count shrimp
  • Kosher salt (tsp)
  • Garlic (3-4 cloves)
  • Thai chili peppers (2, or use serrano peppers)
  • Cumin seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Lime
  • Cilantro


Peel and clean the shrimp and put into a bowl. Add salt, garlic, peppers, and seeds to the mortar and pestle. Crush, then add olive oil to form a paste. Pour on the shrimp and mix evenly. Cover and let it marinade for about an hour.

Turn grill on high and allow to warm up at least fifteen minutes. Spread shrimp out evenly and cook about 1-2 minutes per side.

Pull from grill onto a plate. Squeeze in a lime and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

For Technologists

Like I said, this is a very basic recipe and you can find versions and variants of it on many web sites. There is still a lot you can learn from the basics, like what data scientists can learn from fourth graders or my post on what agile teams can learn from first graders.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Octoberfest Poached Salmon

I have several variants of this recipe, but this one is great for the early fall. It has the hearty flavors from the beer, beans, and spices inspired by German beer and sausage, but is light and easy to cooking on a hot day.

This recipe is better done with a thin filet of salmon left with the skin on.


  • Handful of cumin seeds and fennel seeds
  • About a teaspoon of ancho chili powder and a pinch of chipotle pepper powder, but use what you have
  • Olive oil, 2-3 tablespoons
  • Half a large yellow onion sliced thin
  • Two garlic cloves, sliced
  • Thai chili pepper or substitute a serrano or jalapeno pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Half a bottle of Octoberfest beer
  • Salmon fillet, skin on, not longer than the width of your frying pan
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
  • Half can of kidney beans
  • Optional, butter 2 tablespoons of butter


Put a frying pan on a low-medium burner and toast the cumin seeds, fennel seeds and chili powder for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add olive oil and saute the onion, garlic and chili pepper for 5-6 minutes. Pour in enough beer to cover the bottom of the pan and 1/3 of the thickness of the fillet but not too much where the salmon skin will be submerged - about a half bottle. Bring to a simmer and lower the heat. Sprinkle the salmon skin with salt and pepper and add to the pan skin side up. Cover and simmer 5-6 minutes.

Remove the salmon from the pan. Add the beans and butter if you want that restaurant glaze. Cook and stir 1-2 more minutes. Place beans and some of the onions on top of the salmon and pour the sauce on the side.

For Technologists

I'm providing a recipe in September to prep you for October. It's a little like how I run a tight agile shop and have developed practices around agile planning. For example, I ask my teams to have at least two sprints of backlog fully defined (stories written and sized) along with a deeper backlog of estimated stories. It's one of the practices I recommend for improving agile team velocity.

Monday, September 1, 2014

End of Summer Salsa

I love making salsas, especially at the end of summer when there is an abundance of ripe delicious vegetables. This recipe was inspire by my neighbor, who has us come over every year to pick vegetables from her garden. What should I do with all the Thai chili peppers that we picked? Here's one suggestion, but be careful! They are super hot!


3-4 ripe, off the vine tomatoes
1/2 a large yellow onion
1-2 Thai chili peppers (any hot pepper is fine)
2 scallions
2 handfuls of chopped cilantro
1/2 lime


Dice tomato. I find it easy to do this with tomatoes off the vine by slicing them, then dicing each slice. Cut the onion into a super fine dice and add both to a bowl. Chop the chili pepper into very small bits and add. Add chopped scallions and cilantro. Squeeze in mix lime juice and add salt. Mix well together and add salt to taste.

For Technologists

Simple ingredients used in simple recipes often yield amazing results. It reminds me of my post, Trying to Develop a Death Star or a Flux Capacitor and on developing minimal viable products. Amazing how many product owners working with agile teams don't "get" this, and over-engineer their products.