Feng Shui (Video)

Seared Salmon with Braised Red Cabbage, Creamed Leeks, “Tapenade” Sauce, Saffron Oil and Herb Juice

Salmon, braised red cabbage, creamed leeks, olives, herb juice, saffron oil, snow pea sprouts

Quick question:  What’s your command position?

Painting of Washington crossing the Delaware.

Probably something like this:

That’s a noble stance.  So, let’s try a different angle.  In the Chinese system of Feng Shui, your command position determines how you accept the energy that flows into a space. 

Let’s consider the stove.  Most stoves face a wall.  As a result, our command position is compromised because we can’t see what’s happening behind us.

Mirror hanging over a stove.

Placing a mirror on the wall reestablishes our command position and the energy flow in the room.

Ok.  Tell me more.

In Feng Shui, how we arrange objects affects our chi, or energy.  It’s based on the principles of Yin (female, cool, passive) and Yang (male, warm, active).  In addition, Feng Shui incorporates the five elements of earth, wood, fire, water and metal to create a whole.

Feng shui colors, directions and personality traits.

Moreover, the object’s direction as well as color affects different aspects of our lives.

So, what does Feng Shui have to do with food?  Quite a bit. 

Each of the five elements has corresponding foods.  And each food has Yin or Yang attributes.

In this dish, the salmon represents water and yang elements.  The braised cabbage, herb juice and saffron oil symbolize earth and yin elements. The leeks serve as the metal component and lean toward yang. In addition, the olives in the “Tapenade” sauce express the fire element with yang undertones.  Finally, the pea shoots embody the wood element with hints of yin.

As well as harmonizing the Feng Shui aspect, the dish synchronizes our taste receptors.  The saltiness in the olives compliments the salmon.  The cabbage adds a sweet component.  The saffron oil lends a slight bitter, umami quality.  Finally, the herb juice and pea shoots contribute a sweet freshness to round out the dish.  You’re now in command position. 

Take a look at the video to see the five elements working together in the physical world and how to assemble the dish. 

A few notes on the salmon, olives and preparation.

Sushi grade salmon works great if you prefer rare salmon.  If you like salmon a little more done, use what’s available.

Store bought olive paste.

Any olive will work in the “Tapenade” sauce.  Nicoise olives have a less briny and purer olive taste.  If time prevents you from making the paste, store-bought works in pinch.

Finally, most components can be made a few days in advance.  More time to harmonize your chi.

Serves 4

4 skinless 3 ounce salmon fillets

Braised Red Cabbage (recipe follows)

Creamed Leeks (recipe follows)

Saffron oil (recipe follows)

Herb juice (recipe follows)

2 tablespoons “Tapenade” paste (recipe follows)

¼ cup chicken stock

Snow pea microgreens


Whisk the “Tapenade” paste and chicken stock together in a bowl over simmering water.  Keep warm.  If necessary, reheat the Braised Red Cabbage and Creamed Leeks in a 250 degree oven.

Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a medium non stick skillet over medium heat.  Season the salmon on both sides with salt and white pepper.  Add the salmon fillets and cook for 45 seconds.  Flip the fillets and cook for another 30 seconds.  Remove to a warm plate.


Fill a 3 inch ring mold with Braised Red Cabbage and place in the center of a plate. Top the cabbage with a salmon fillet.  Spoon some Creamed Leeks around the plate.  Spoon some “Tapenade” sauce around the plate.  Drizzle some Saffron Oil and Herb juice on and around the “Tapenade” sauce.  Top the Creamed Leeks and salmon with snow pea microgreens.  Serve immediately. 

Red cabbage, red wine, red onion, apple, potato and honey.

Braised Red Cabbage

¾ pound red cabbage, outer leaves and thick ribs removed and then cut into thin (1/4 inch) strips

¾ cup red wine

1 tablespoon butter

½ medium red onion, diced about ¼ inch

¼ cup grated Granny Smith apple

¼ cup chicken stock

2 teaspoons honey

½ cup grated potato


Place the cabbage and red wine in a container, toss and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large ovenproof pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Add the red onion and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the cabbage and red wine mixture, the apple and stock.  Cover the pot and place in the oven for 2 hours.  Most of the liquid will evaporate.

Remove the pot from the oven and add the honey and potato.  If the cabbage looks dry, add ¼ cup water.  Cover the pot again and return to the oven for 30 to 45 minutes.  The cabbage should be tender and creamy.  Season with salt and pepper. 

The cabbage can be prepared up to five days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

Yield:  About 1 ½ cups cabbage. 

Leeks, wine and cream.

Creamed Leeks

6 medium leeks, split lengthwise and cut crosswise into ½ inch slices

1 tablespoon butter

½ cup white wine

1/3 cup heavy cream


Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the leeks and sweat them for 5 minutes.  Add the wine, raise the heat to medium and cook until the pan is dry, about 10 minutes.  Add the cream and cook until the pan is almost dry, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper. 

The leeks can be prepared the day before and refrigerated.

Yield:  About 1 cup. 

Olives, capers, garlic, basil, tarragon and parsley.

“Tapenade” Paste

A food processor expedites the process like an accountant in tax season.

Mortar and pestle

However, the mortar and pestle, the food processor’s more cathartic ancestor, releases and combines flavors in ethereal ways. And, the stone maintains the Feng Shui theme.   It’s worth the workout.

1 cup Nicoise olives

1 teaspoon capers, rinsed

1 clove garlic

4 or 5 basil leaves

Parsley leaves from one stem

Tarragon leaves from one stem

In a food processor, purée everything into a fine paste.

In a mortar and pestle, smash the garlic clove until it’s a fine paste.  Add the basil, parsley and tarragon and grind to a pulp.  Add the olives and pound them, about five minutes.  Toss in the capers and pound a few minutes more.

When everything in the mortar is a rough paste, push the paste through a strainer.

The paste can be prepared a week in advance and refrigerated. 

Yield:  About 1 cup in a food processor.  About ¼ cup from a mortar and pestle. 

Basil, tarragon, parsley and canola oil.

Herb Juice

1 cup tarragon leaves

1 cup basil leaves

1 cup parsley leaves

1/3 cup ice water

¼ cup canola oil


Blanch the herbs in salted boiling water for 15 seconds.  Remove to a bowl of ice water.  Roughly chop the herbs and place in a blender with the ice water and canola oil.  Blend for one minute.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer.

The Herb Juice will keep in the fridge for 3 days or can be frozen for up to 1 month.

Yield:  ¾ cup.

Saffron, canola oil and olive oil.

Saffron Oil

1 teaspoon saffron threads

¼ cup water

2/3 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons olive oil


Heat a small pan over low heat.  Add the saffron and toast for 20 seconds.  Add the water, remove the pan from the heat and let the saffron steep for a few minutes.  Most of the water will evaporate.

Scrape the saffron and any remaining water into a blender.  Add the canola and olive oils and blend for 1 minute.  Remove to a container and let sit overnight. 

The Saffron oil will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Yield:  About ¾ cup.

If you love salmon or are thinking about hanging a mirror over your stove, please like and share. Your comments are always welcome!

Rating: 1 out of 5.

2 thoughts on “Feng Shui (Video)

  1. Nice introductory lesson on Feng Shui and the elements. As always, the video was excellent.
    The recipes look tasty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading! Glad you enjoyed the video!


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