Saturday, July 26, 2014

Roasted Whole Snapper with Ginger and Cilantro


I grew up eating whole fish from time to time. We would eat fillets mostly because it was easier and it is more difficult to find whole fish at regular grocery stores like Safeway/Food Lion/Giant/whatever. We only ever had whole fish when my grandfather caught some. I thought it was a little weird back then, but as I've gotten older I've learned that whole fish is the way to go.

This was my fiance's first time ever having whole fish. He grew up in a very Caucasian household, so I understand. I brought it out to the table and he said "How do you eat it" and I laughed. I had to explain that we would just take vegetables and pull of some fish in our rice bowl and come back as we desired. He enjoyed it, and it was a cute experience.

Ingredients
  • 1 whole red snapper (1.5 lbs or so)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • 2 Tbsp fresh minced cilantro
  • touch of sesame oil
  • salt and pepper
  • desired vegetables (I used bean sprouts, napa cabbage and carrots)
  • Rice for serving
Directions
  1. Clean and scale your fish. Cut about 3 or 4 diagonal slits in each side almost to the bones.
  2. Mix together the fresh ginger, garlic, cilantro, sesame oil. Rub mixture in the slits in the fish
  3. Season inside and out of fish with salt and pepper.
  4. Prop the fish up by splaying the belly flaps on a sheet pan. Prop a ball of aluminum foil under the tail if necessary. The fish should stand upright. 
  5. Roast fish at 350 for about 25 minutes. The skin should be a little crisp. You can crank the oven higher at the end if you desire for extra crispy skin.
  6. Cook your vegetables as desired. Serve fish with vegetables, rice.
Note: you can also make a dipping sauce with equal parts rice vinegar and light soy sauce, but it's really not necessary.



Monday, July 21, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Spinach Ricotta Quiche with Quinoa Crust



It's secret recipe club time again. Awesome. I get so much enjoyment out of seeing what everyone else posts every Monday. I find so many amazing recipes and it forces me to be creative. It helps so much when I'm not feeling inspired (which has been happening a lot lately with 90 degree days and lots of wedding shit. So much wedding shit to do in the next 5 weeks).

This month's assigned blog was Debbie Does Dinner Healthy. Debbie is a Mom of 3 living in Minneapolis MN and is also the leader for Group C. Almost all of her recipes are low calorie while still looking so delicious. I knew this could be a perfect blog to pick up some guilt-free recipes.

There was only one problem with Debbie's blog: there were just too many options! I wanted the Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya. I wanted the Crockpot Chicken Mole and the Twice Baked Cauliflower. I ended up settling on the Quinoa Egg and Vegetable Bake (which wasn't really settling, since it's really an amazing sounding low calorie quiche)

I loved it and could have eaten the whole pan (correction: ate like half the pan over breakfast and lunch, but that's okay because the whole thing is only 1300 calories). It had the texture I wanted, allowed me to use up a lot of veggies in my csa box, and allowed me to use up some leftover egg whites I had after making ice cream. My fiance...not so much. He already doesn't like quinoa unless I mix it with ground beef/chorizo for stuffed peppers or squash. Give me thirty years of marriage and maybe I'll convert him.

I'd change a couple things for next time, but not much. First, I'd bake the crust for 10 minutes before putting in the egg mixture. I loved the crusty texture of the edges and wished it carried through for the entire dish. I would also cook the quinoa in chicken stock like I normally do (cuz then maybe the man would like it a little more)

Great dish Debbie! Not sure if this will make it into our regular breakfast rotation, but I know I'll make it when I have a weekend on my own.

Spinach Ricotta Quiche with Quinoa Crust

Ingredients for crust

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 oz shredded cheddar cheese (about 1/4 cup)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for filling
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 extra large handful of fresh spinach (2 cups? about?)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced (I used green because that's what I had. Red would have been much nicer)
  • 4 spears asparagus, sliced (not necessary, I just had some I needed to use)
  • 1 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix cooked quinoa with egg white, cheese, salt and pepper. Press quinoa into sprayed 9 inch pie pan and push up the sides.
  3. Sautee onions, peppers, asparagus and spinach until onions are slightly translucent and spinach is wilted.
  4. Mix eggs, egg whites, ricotta cheese and cheddar cheese together. Add vegetables and mix.
  5. Pour into quinoa crust. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes until cooked through
  6. Let cool 5 minutes before slicing.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Coconut Pistachio Biscotti


I used to drink coffee every morning (not always with a biscotti). In the last few years, the acid from coffee has begun to bother me more and more, to the point that I can no longer drink coffee in the morning on an empty stomach because it will upset my stomach too much.

I usually drink tea in the morning and in the afternoons now. I like it better than coffee anyway and always have. I'll only have coffee when I make biscotti, because sometimes things just go better together.

These biscotti have a very tropical flavor and a great salty-richness from the pistachios. They are not too sweet and just delightful with a cup of coffee. I highly recommend this recipe. (Do you file this under cookie or breakfast? I don't know)

Enjoy! And enjoy my favorite coffee mug teaching you how to eat a lobster.

Coconut Pistachio Biscotti


Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ½ cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup coconut
  • 1 cup pistachios


Directions

  1. Toast coconut and pistachios for 5 minutes and remove to let cool
  2. Fist together flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and coconut extract, then add flour mixture and mix until it comes together. It will be very stiff
  4. Mix in coconut and pistachios.
  5. Divide into two parts and form each into a loaf about 10 inches long. Flatten biscotti until it is about 3 inches wide and place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. Remove and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  7. Slice loaves into individual biscotti (about ½ inch thick). Place cut side down on the cookie sheet and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Allow cookies to cool and store in airtight container

Friday, July 4, 2014

Strawberry Basil Lemonade


Happy 4th of July everyone!

We'll be heading to a BBQ this afternoon for food/drinks/games and then to the country club near our house in the evening for fireworks. The terrace is open for members but they open the fairway of the golf course to the rubes of the neighborhood (that's me!)

This drink is absolutely perfect for a hot afternoon. It was a great way for me to use up some extra basil in my CSA box  and it was so refreshing.

You can muddle the basil if you really want, but I think it's cool just to spank it to release the aroma. It's also better if the strawberries are over-ripe

Strawberry Basil Lemonade (by the glass)

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp 1:1 simple syrup
  • 2 strawberries, quartered
  • 2 basil leaves
  • 8 oz water (sparkling or still)

Directions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a glass top with ice. Enjoy, of course. Leave for 20 minutes to let the flavor of the strawberries seep in. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Spaghetti Carbonara


Sometimes you just need something comforting for dinner.

These kinds of dinners happen from time to time.

I realize that this isn't an authentic spaghetti carbonara. Real carbonara should not have peas, and it should use pancetta instead of bacon. Oh well. This is still tasty and that little bit of green makes me feel a little less guilty about eating bacon, eggs, pasta and cheese for dinner.

We tend to make this on those rare occasions when the only foods we have in the house are breakfast foods (yet we don't feel like breakfast). I'm sure this happens to everyone. Most of the time we have an omelet but sometimes, something a little different is good too

Hope you enjoy

Ingredients
  • 1 lb dry spaghetti
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 oz slab bacon
  • 4 eggs
  • splash of milk
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesean cheese
  • black pepper
  • fresh parsley
  • ½ cup peas


Directions

  1. Sautee bacon to release a little oil. Then sautee onion and garlic until translucent. Add peas and let aside.
  2. Mix eggs, milk, cheese and pepper
  3. Boil spaghetti until al dente and drain. Immediately stir in egg mixture, slowly pouring in the eggs while quickly stirring the pasta to create a sauce
  4. Stir in the bacon mixture and fresh parsley

  1. Garnish with a little extra cheese

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Tofu Chocolate Pudding


It sounds weird, I know. And the pictures aren't very pretty (brown food in particular is not very photogenic). But this chocolate pudding is really fantastic. It doesn't heat up your house making custard like regular pudding, it includes protein and is dairy-free.

Depending on the type of tofu you use, the pudding will have different textures. A silken soft tofu will give you a pudding texture similar to those chocolate pudding cups at the grocery store. A firm tofu will give you a stiffer mousse-like quality.

I got the recipe from a book called "What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained" It's a silly book but I learned a few new things and got this fantastic recipe. Everyone should try it out. I guarantee it tastes just like chocolate pudding.

*Note: you can use either espresso or kahlua in this recipe. If you use espresso, you can use semi-sweet chocolate chips. If you use kahlua, it's much better when you use dark chocolate. Make sure you use a vegan chocolate chip like Trader Joe's brand (if you care about that kind of thing).

Tofu Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients

  • 12 oz tofu, drained
  • 1/4 cup almond or soy milk
  • 2 Tbsp espresso or kahlua
  • 6 oz good quality chocolate
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
Directions
  1. Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler
  2. Put milk, espresso, tofu, vanilla and salt in the blender and blend about 30 seconds
  3. While blender is running, pour melted chocolate into the blender and blend until smooth and uniform.
  4. Pour into 4 containers and chill at least one hour or until ready to serve

Monday, June 16, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Fried Green Tomato BLT Salad


It's Secret Recipe Club week again. You know the deal. Everyone picks a fellow member's blog. They pick a recipe (in secret) and everyone posts their blogs on the same day. It's a fun game, and everyone loves seeing someone else's take on their recipe.

This month, I was assigned Kate's Kitchen. Kate is a financial planner from Indianapolis, Indiana who loves to cook almost as much as she loves to eat. Her blog is full of great everyday foods you can easily cook at home like her Egyptian Cucumber Salad (basically chunky tzatziki, what's not to love?)

Today I opted to make her Fried Green Tomato BLT. Her BLT was stacked with aioli in between every layer like a real sandwich, but we opted for a composed salad for our dinner. It was delicious! My finance and I were both so happy with this. The aioli was luscious and the tart green tomatoes went perfectly with the salty bacon. Once you paired it with a slice of crusty bread, there was really nothing better.

 I changed a couple things about her recipe but not much. I made the aioli by hand instead of dirtying the food processor (the trick to aioli is confidence, nothing more). We didn't use the tomato coulis but it didn't seem to impact our salad. I also opted for arugula instead of bibb lettuce or field greens because I like the peppery taste and wilted arugula would actually be nice with the warm tomatoes. Other than that, the bones of this recipe are all Kate's and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Fried Green Tomato BLT

Ingredients for aioli (you will have leftovers)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 5 cloves garlic, roasted and finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (not extra virgin)
  • salt/pepper/smoked paprika to taste
Ingredients for Salad
  • 8 slices of green tomato (about 2 whole tomatoes)
  • 4 or 5 slices of bacon
  • All purpose flour
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Cornmeal
  • 2 eggs
  • splash of milk
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Arugula or preferred lettuce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Crushed red pepper, Parmesan cheese and lemon to garnish
  • Crusty bread for serving
Directions for aioli
  1. Toss the garlic with a little olive oil and roast in a 300 degree oven until fragrant and soft. Mash with the back of your knife and finely chop.
  2. Put garlic, lemon, mustard and egg yolk in a coffee cup. SLOWLY pour in olive oil while vigorously whisking until the egg and oil emulsify.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a little more lemon if desired.
Directions for salad
  1. Cook bacon until crispy. Cut into smaller pieces and set aside
  2. Prepare three bowls/plates for dredging the tomatoes. In the first plate, pour all purpose flour with kosher salt and black pepper to season. In the second bowl, whisk the eggs and milk. In the third plate, use equal parts of whole wheat flour and cornmeal.
  3. Slice the tomatoes and dredge in the flour, eggs and cornmeal. Set aside until ready to fry.
  4. Heat a quarter to half inch of oil in a cast iron skillet on medium high. Place tomatoes in the oil and fry until golden brown on both sides.
  5. Toss the arugula with lemon juice, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and a little Parmesan cheese. You can also add julienned, de-seeded tomatoes or shaved fennel to the salad if desired.
  6. Place aioli across the plate and lay the arugula perpendicular to the aoili. Lay the tomatoes on top of the arugula, saving some arugula to place in between the tomato slices. Top tomatoes with bacon and a little cheese before serving.
  7. Eat immediately with crusty bread.