Category Archives: posts with recipes

meatless mondays: fresh from the farmer’s market…

Only one more day until the official start of SUMMER!  I started celebrating early this weekend, despite the rain and gloomy weather.  In the morning moments of sunshine, I headed out to my favorite farmer’s market.  If it isn’t going to act like summer outside, then I can at least pretend by shopping and eating like its already summer.

My best friend in NYC was out and about in her warm, sunny city (I’m jealous) and was inspired to make gazpacho.  She asked me to send her my recipe, which made me realize that I had yet to share it here.  It also planted the seed and made me crave it,  so I mixed up my first batch of the season!  On Sunday morning, I set out to collect my ingredients.

I must admit, I was a little disappointed with the early summer market pickings.  I got what I could and stopped by my food co-op to supplement where necessary. This recipe will turn out even more delightful once the heirloom tomatoes start to ripen.  I was lucky enough to get a few from a greenhouse farmer.   Here is my market bounty and what I made with it:

 

 

Recipe:  Mango Gazpacho

3-5 large tomatoes (preferably a variety)
2-3 mangoes (peeled and cored)
1 cucumber
1 red pepper
1 small red onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed (or more if you like it spicy)
2 garlic cloves
juice from 1/2 lemon (more to taste)
1 tablespoon vinegar (balsamic, rice, apple, or white)
salt and pepper to taste

Optional:
tomato juice or water to thin
sriracha or other hot sauce for extra spice
watermelon, green onion, carrots, or any other fruit/veggie that sounds good

Finely dice ingredients and mix in a bowl. If you like it soupy/saucy, you can take half of the vegetables (before all of your hard dicing work) and puree them in a blender or food processor.

Serve cold.
Top with a good balsamic, truffle oil, or just eat it up!
Hint:  It tastes better if you make it ahead of time and let it mingle.

fishy fridays: cod with a kick…

As a pescatarian (a “semi” vegetarian who consumes fish), I’m always looking for new ways to prepare my fish. I have it at least once a week, if not two or three times, so I need lots of variety. Fruity, garlic-y, lemony, spicy, bring it on!

Seasoning experimentation can be tricky with seafood. Dill with salmon, yes! Wasabi with tuna, more please! Lime on fish tacos, uh-huh! But have you ever mismatched seafood flavors with a pesto, tomato, cream or mole sauce? I’m not saying its impossible, but you really have to be careful with the type of fish and the mingling of certain ingredients.

The following is a nice cod dish with a kick of spice. It almost has a Thai flavor to it. The vinegar gives it a little extra oomph too. You can play with the thickness of the sauce. If you want to reduce it down to a thick paste to top off the fish, add more cornstarch. If you prefer a brothy, light soup to serve it in, skip the cornstarch altogether.

Recipe: Spicy Cod in Chili Sauce

1 1/2 pounds cod (can substitute halibut or any other solid white fish)
1 cup vegetable broth
1 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 Tbs chili sauce (I use Sriracha) **you can reduce or omit this if you aren’t a fan of the heat
1/4 C cornstarch (or flour)
1 tsp garlic pepper (or a salt, pepper, and garlic powder mixture)
2 Tbs oil (canola, vegetable, or olive)
1/2 small onion or 2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tsp grated ginger root (or chopped pickled ginger)
2 small hot chilis (or 1 jalapeno), seeded and finely minced **again, be careful and reduce the amount if needed. only use the amount you can handle!
2 garlic cloves, finely minced

In a small bowl, combine broth, soy sauce, vinegar, and chili sauce. Stir in about 2 teaspoons of the cornstarch.

Place remaining cornstarch in a shallow dish and mix in garlic pepper. Dip fish into mixture and lightly coat each piece.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. When hot, add fish and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, but not until cooked through. Remove fish from oil and place on a platter.

Using the same skillet and oil, add the onion, ginger, chili peppers, and garlic. Cook for about a minute. Stir in the broth mixture and bring to a light boil so it starts to thicken.

Return the fish to the skillet and spoon the sauce over it. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the fish flakes with a fork. Serve the fish with the remaining sauce over it.

This dish is nice served over brown rice or with a big hunk of crusty bread. If you want it more saucy/soupy, just double the broth. Enjoy!

fishy fridays: shrimply delicious…

Another weekend is upon us, yay! Here is a quick Friday meal that is very satisfying and can be prepared fairly healthy too.

You can buy the shrimp at the seafood counter of your grocery store, or purchase it frozen for a bargain (the Whole Foods 360 brand is only about $9 for a bag). If buying frozen, I prefer the larger tail/shell on raw shrimp. Its easy enough to remove the shell myself after thawing. They seem to be less processed and have a better texture in my opinion.

For the polenta, you have several options. I am currently using an organic instant polenta that I recently discovered. You can use grits or regular polenta in place of the instant. I just like it because it only takes 5 minutes to make and is still creamy tasting. If you want to splurge on the best of the best, I recommend Anson Mills Grits.

The greens can also be substituted for whatever variety you prefer or have on hand. Kale, collards, mustard greens, chard, or spinach will all balance this dish out. Allow significantly more cooking time if using collards.

To make it more decadent and rich, use real butter in the polenta and add more cheese. You can also experiment with mixing in green chilis, roasted peppers, parmesan, or cinnamon as alternate flavors.

For a saucier shrimp, double the olive oil. To keep it healthy and lower calorie, substitute vegetable broth for most of the oil. You can use this trick on the greens too. Be sure to add just enough oil so that everything doesn’t stick to the pan. I’ve found that my new Calphalon non stick pan requires very little oil…a very worthwhile investment for my diet!

Feel free to omit or add any seasonings to the shrimp. I prefer garlic and spice, but maybe you like a more subtle, mild flavor. Put your own flair on it and enjoy!

Recipe: Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Polenta and Greens

1 pound shrimp (thawed and cleaned)
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp chili powder or crushed ancho pepper
1 tsp cayenne or aleppo
2 cloves chopped garlic or a tablespoon of crushed/chopped garlic from a jar
1 tsp salt

2 cups polenta-prepared per the package
1 can (or about a cup and a half) vegetable broth
1 Tbs butter or light spread
1/2 cup shredded cheddar or 1/4 cup shredded parmesan

1 pound spinach
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

For the shrimp, combine the oil and desired seasonings in a bowl. Place the cleaned shrimp in the bowl and coat all of the shrimp, letting them mingle in the sauce while you prepare the polenta and spinach.

Prepare the polenta or grits per the instructions on the package. Substituting vegetable broth for half of the water will give you a more flavorful dish. Add butter, cheddar or parmesan, and a little salt at the end.

Lightly saute the greens in a teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add a few tablespoons of broth or water if needed. You can add garlic or red pepper flakes if desired. Remove from heat when they are mostly wilted and avoid over cooking. Spinach will take less than 5 minutes. Other greens will take a little bit longer.

Heat a skillet on medium high. Add shrimp and sauce to pan, cooking about 2 minutes on each side.

You can the items serve next to each other on a plate or layered in a bowl.

fishy fridays: friday fish fry…

Friday Fun: Say the title 3 times fast! Ok, maybe it’s not that fun. But it made me smile 🙂

Happy Friday! Happy April! Happy Spring! Can you wish someone a Happy Lent? I think not, but hey, you get the point of what this post is going to be about…

In lieu of my regular Meatless Monday posts, I’m going to offer some ideas for those who are practicing lent and abstaining from “meat” on Fridays. Since the Catholic definition of meatless Fridays allows for the consumption of fish, I’ve got a lucrative new “meatless” audience here! While I’m not an observing Catholic, I have quite a few family members and friends that are. Plus I just love a good fish recipe!

With all of the “Friday Fish Fry” dinners that go on in my neck of the woods, I have had a major craving for fried fish. I’m still going strong on my diet so I’m not about to blow it on a Filet-O-Fish or some other delicacy straight out of the fryer.

Reflecting back on my chicken experiments, I decided to seek out a panko recipe for fish. This one did the trick! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Please forgive any incorrect wording or religious references to Lent/practice vs observe/Catholicism, etc. Since I was ineligible to baptized (cough-cough, bastard child), I failed to learn the intricacies of their beliefs. I in no way mean any disrespect!

Recipe: Panko Baked Cod

4 Cod Fillets
1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
2 Tbs fresh dill or parsley (or 2 tsp dried)
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
Salt & Pepper to taste
lemon wedges for serving if desired

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Toss the panko crumbs with 1/2 of the dill. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining dill, mayonnaise, mustard and lemon juice together.

Pat the cod dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lay the cod in a 9 x 13 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray, space the fish about 1/2 inch apart.

Brush the tops and sides of the fish with the mayonnaise mixture. Sprinkle and press the crumbs into the mayonnaise.

Bake on middle rack until the crumbs are golden brown and the fish flakes apart when gently prodded with a knife, about 15 minutes.

Serve with lemon wedges if desired

Number of Servings: 4