Sep 282010
 
Miso Glazed Cod is one of my asian restaurant go-to’s.  I never even thought about cooking it myself, because who has miso (or even knows what it is)?  But, since I started this blog I’ve had to venture out into a world of new ingredients.  And no wonder so many restaurants make it so well–it’s so easy to make.  Caught you nobu.

Side note: I’m glad I didn’t look up “miso” until after I made this and determined it was delicious.  Wikipedia says: Miso (みそ or 味噌?) is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting ricebarley and/or soybeans, with salt and the fungus kōjikin (麹菌?), the most typical miso being made with soy

Mmmmm fermenting and fungus in the same sentence.  Appetizing.  Not but really, it is.


I marinated the fish for a few hours and then laid it out on a baking sheet with asparagus and shitake mushrooms.  I popped it in the oven first under the broiler and then baked for the rest.  Came out just perfectly.  


It was slightly annoying to have to buy mirin and miso for this recipe, especially when I didn’t know what either would look like, but this fish was a great mix of sweet/savory and reminds me of what I’d pay double for in a fancy Manhattan restaurant.  

Nutritional Highlights: Cod is an incredibly healhty protein source…check out these stats: a 4 oz serving provides 52% of your daily protein need and only 119 calories.  Cod is also great for your heart and skin…so you’ll be feeling great on the inside and out.  Serve this with veggies and brown rice and you have a healthy and delicious meal.

Ingredients

  • 6 (6-ounce) black cod fillets, or regular cod fillets
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium blond or white miso
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
  • Toasted sesame seeds and scallions, for garnish, optional

Directions

Preheat broiler.
Rinse fish fillets and pat dry with paper towels. Combine miso, brown sugar, sesame oil and mirin and stir well until brown sugar is fully dissolved.
Brush about 2 tablespoons miso glaze on each fish fillet. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 hour. Place fish under broiler for 3 to 4 minutes, or until top is slightly charred and glaze has caramelized (for me this took more like 5 minutes). Remove fish from oven and brush with remaining glaze. Lower oven to 375 degrees F. Cook an additional 5 to 6 minutes, until fish is flaky but not overcooked.
If desired, serve with toasted sesame seeds and scallions.
Sep 242010
 
It looks like summer is attempting one last hurrah before fall takes over.  So during this little uncharacteristic warm patch, I got in one last batch of popsicles.  This popsicle mold was one of my favorite summer purchases.  You can put just about anything in them, but this time I made fruit and yogurt smoothie popsicles.


I decided to use nectarines, blueberries, bananas, and plain greek yogurt…but you can really use just about any combo you would in a smoothie for these. 




Blend together the fruit, yogurt, and milk (and a hit of honey or sugar if you need it to be sweeter).  


Pour into your mold and drink whatever is left over.  


So easy, so healthy, and so refreshing for the summer.  But let’s be honest, I’ll probably still be making these when it’s snowing and 20- outside.  


Nutritional Highlights:  These are such a healthy snack/dessert.  The fruit gives you vitamins and anti-oxidants and the yogurt/milk gives calcium and protein.  Greek yogurt is even higher in protein than regular yogurt so try to use that.  You can change the mixture based on what fruit is in season or in your kitchen.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 cups mixed frozen fruits (I used fresh blueberries and nectarines that I froze the day before but you can just use the bags from the store also)
  • 2 bananas, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup yogurt (I used plain greek yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Optional add ins-1 tablespoon honey, protein powder, fruit juice…just about anything you’d put in a smoothie!
Directions:  

1.  Put all ingredients in the blender.  Turn on the blender.  Stop once it’s pretty well blended (but it’s ok if there are still a few chunks).
2.  Pour into popsicle molds and let freeze overnight.  Enjoy!
Sep 222010
 
This post is intended to serve two purposes.  The first is to pay tribute to one of my favorite summer ingredients–corn, sweet and fresh from the farmer’s market.  The second, is to share with you a story.  A frightening story that should serve as a warning to each and every one of you as you move forward in your culinary life.  But not yet.  


First, we’ll focus on the star ingredient of this dish.  The soup and the guacamole feature corn in two very different ways, each that bring out a unique aspect of corn’s flavor.  Start by cutting it all of the cob.  I did this by holding the corn vertically in a large bowl and cutting straight down all 4 sides with a serrated knife.  


Did you know you can roast corn and it become crunchy and sort of nutty tasting?  I sure didn’t.  But now I do and I shall not forget it.  This crunchy roasted corn is the foundation for a unique, chunky guacamole that will go in the spicy corn soup.


Everything else in the guacamole is pretty standard…avocado, lots of lime (+ zest), onion, and cilantro.  This guacamole was a great way to add texture and depth to this soup but it would also be amazing on it’s own with some chips or served over some fish or chicken.  The soup was great, but I think the guacamole was the real MVP here.


The rest of the corn will go towards this creamy (yet cream free) soup. By blending the corn with onion, garlic, and jalapeno and then letting the soup simmer, an amazing sweet/spicy flavor emerges that really showcases the corn.  My friend and taste-tester even said this could make the menu at my non-existent restaurant.  That’s how you know it’s good.



Now, instead of nutritional highlights, I have a story to share with you.  A different kind of lesson.  Once upon a Tuesday, I was singing along to my new Sara Bareilles CD and choppin my jalapeno with not a care in the world.  A few minutes later, I scratched my upper lip region.  Barely a moment later, there was an intense burning sensation.  I grabbed and ice cube and started rubbing it on the affected region, some how spreading the pain to my nose.  I was certain there was an actual fire on my face.  I consulted my medical practitioner, google, and per his advice, tried rubbing milk on it, vegetable oil, neosporin…just about everything I could find.  Just when I was sure I saw a warm bright light approaching in the distance, the pain began to subside.  You are a clever opponent Jalapeno.  Next time I will be prepared.  You should be too. 


Fresh Corn Soup topped with Roasted Corn Guacamole
adapted from Epicurious, 2009


Ingredients:


Roasted Corn Guacamole

  • Kernels from 3 ears fresh corn, or 2 cups frozen corn, defrosted
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, finely grated zest and juice
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
  • 1 avocado, pitted and chopped


Soup

  • Kernels from 5 ears fresh corn, or 3 cups frozen corn, defrosted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed and chopped
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • Cilantro sprigs, to garnish



Directions:


Roast the Corn for the Guacamole
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Put the corn kernels on the baking sheet and toss with the oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Spread the corn out evenly on the baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, until the corn turns a golden brown. It may seem that you have left the corn in the oven for too long, but you want the corn to caramelize and get a little crunchy. Remove the corn from the oven and set aside.
Prepare the Corn for the Soup
Put the kernels (fresh or frozen and defrosted) in a blender.
Combine the oil and the garlic in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and jalapeño. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until the vegetables are soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the blender and puree until smooth. (You may need to pulse or stir the corn mixture in order to achieve a smooth consistency, but do not add any more liquid.)
Simmer the Soup
Pour the corn puree into the soup pot and place over medium heat. Stir constantly for a few minutes, until the soup begins to thicken. Slowly whisk or stir in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
Finish the Roasted Corn Guacamole
In a bowl, combine the roasted corn, red onion, cilantro, lime zest and juice, and jalapeño. Gently stir in the avocado. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve and Garnish
Ladle the soup into soup bowls. Place a generous spoonful of the guacamole in the center of each bowl. Garnish with a small sprig of cilantro placed in the center of each.
Sep 172010
 
Sometimes you make an awesome meal, let’s say for example Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken with grilled veggies, and you’re so completely satisfied with the outcome, but there’s still something wrong.  You suddenly realize that you have half a block of feta, a zucchini, a yellow squash and a few red peppers in your fridge because you failed at estimating what you needed for the recipe.  Yep, that’s where I was.  And I HATE to waste food.  Maybe it’s my Jewish half, or maybe it’s the fact that I love  food so much that I can’t stand to watch good ingredients die a slow lonely death in the fridge.  Either way, I made a new meal out of only things I already had and I must say this remix might have been even better than the original.


It wasn’t too difficult to prepare either.  You put the empty peppers in the oven for about 15 minutes so they begin to soften.  While they’re cooking, you saute your vegetables, add the herbs, and mix with chickpeas, fresh tomatoes, feta, and tomato paste.  You also cook the couscous, which, I now realize, is about the easiest thing to make.  You bring some chicken broth to a boil, throw in the couscous, cover, and take it off the heat.  And it cousifies just like that.


Now that you have your cous cous mixture, you stuff your peppers.  My peppers were small-ish so I had lots of filling left over which I happily ate the next night.  Depending on the size of your peppers, you can probably make between 4 and 6.  Put the peppers back in the oven to finish cooking.  And hope that you don’t have a fainter like my little friend in the back right here.  Finally got him to stay on his feet propped up against the side of the pan. 


This dish can be served as a side dish or a meatless main.  It’s filling and tasty and maybe even better reheated.  Plus, I rescued a lot of good food that night…no ingredient left behind.  



Nutritional Highlights: Couscous is a good source of protein, fiber, niacin, selenium, and B vitamins.  I used whole wheat couscous adding even more fiber and protein.  This mixture is heavy on the vegetables and chickpeas so it thins out the carbiness (good carbiness, mind you) of the couscous.  Bell peppers are incredible high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and antioxidants.  This is a really complete meatless meal or side option that will keep you satisfied and give you tons of energy.  This will definitely be something I make again and again.



Couscous and Feta-Stuffed Peppers
Adapted from 
Epicurious


Vegetable-oil cooking spray
1 1/4 cups fat-free chicken or vegetable broth
2/3 cup couscous
4 extra-large or 5 large bell peppers, mixed colors (or 6 smallish bell peppers)
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 oz zucchini, quartered lengthwise then sliced across thinly
6 oz yellow squash, quartered lengthwise then sliced across thinly
1/2 tsp fennel seeds (I left this out because I don’t like nor have fennel seed…to each her own)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
15 oz canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 oz crumbled feta cheese (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons tomato paste (I only used 2 because 3 seemed like a lot for a strong flavor like tomato paste)



Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a small baking dish with cooking spray. Bring the broth to a boil in a saucepan, add the couscous, cover the pan and remove it from the heat. Cut the stems and top half inch off the bell peppers and scoop out the seeds and membranes. Place peppers upright in a baking dish and roast them for 15 minutes or so, until they soften, then remove them from the oven until the filling is ready. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet. Add onion, zucchini, yellow squash, fennel seeds, oregano, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas and tomato paste. Using a fork, scrape the couscous into the skillet and toss with the vegetables. Stir in the crumbled feta. Fill peppers with the couscous mixture. Bake 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Sep 142010
 
Last week I was having a few friends over for dinner.  I asked my boyfriend what I should make.  I don’t know why I did it.  I knew what he was going to say.  Chicken and pasta.  He always says chicken and pasta.  I’m not saying he should have suggested I make lobster or beef wellington, but come on, I think we can get a little more interesting than chicken and pasta.  But, because I didn’t want to completely disregard his request, I made some not so ordinary chicken with some tasty grilled vegetables with a crispy panko topping.  And are those mustard roasted cool potatoes I see?  Oh yes, they are.


The vegetables were pretty straight forward grilled veggies.  I did zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, and portabellas.  Eggplant would have been great too.  The topping was quick and easy too.  Just some sauteed garlic, red pepper flakes, and panko bread crumbs.  This topping is what takes these grilled veggies to the guest worthy level.  


I have to admit I wasn’t following a recipe for this chicken.  What a wonderful accident.  I mixed some sauteed spinach with good crumbled feta cheese.   Bone in, skin on breasts will keep this chicken super moist.  No one likes dry chicken.  Cut a slit down one side and stuff with your feta mixture.  Also made a mixture of oregano, thyme, lemon, red wine vinegar, garlic, and oil to rub under the skin and on the top of the chicken.   


Top the grilled vegetables with the panko topping for a little crunch.  Or leave it on the side if you have any real carbophobes in your mix.


This meal was the perfect balance to please the mundane chicken lover (you know who you are) and those of us looking for, well, flavor.  


Nutritional highlights:  When people are having guests over, they want to impress.  Unfortunately, many of the most impressive recipes are heavy on one magical ingredient…butter.  You can still make healthy and impressive meals.  This one has lean protein, a little bit of diary, and plenty of vegetables.  Dinner friends doesn’t have to ruin your whole week.  It can be deceptively healthy and surprisingly tasty like this meal!

Spinach-Feta Stuffed Chicken

  • 4 bone in skin on chicken breasts (excess fat/skin trimmed so there’s just a little skin left on the top)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped and sauteed until wilted
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
1.  Mix the feta and cooled spinach and season with salt and pepper.  Cut slits down the side of each chicken breast.  Stuff a few tablespoons of the mixture into the chicken so it’s full but not busting out.
2. Mix the remaining ingredients.  Pour/rub mixture underneath the skin and all over the chicken breasts.
3.  Roast chicken at 375 for about 30-35 minutes.  Please do not over cook.  

Spanish Style Grilled Vegetables
adapted from Bon Apetit (note: I halved the recipe for 4 people)

On the grill
  • 3 large red bell peppers (about 1 1/2 pounds), stemmed, seeded, quartered
  • 4 large Japanese eggplants (about 1 1/4 pounds), trimmed, cut lengthwise into 3 slices
  • 4 medium green or yellow zucchini (preferably 2 of each; about 1 pound), trimmed, cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch-thick slices
  • (I replaced the eggplant with portabella mushrooms)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (for grilling)


For the dish

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)*
  • 2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Arrange vegetables on baking sheets. Brush with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill peppers, skin side down and without turning, until blackened and blistered, moving occasionally for even cooking, about 10 minutes. Enclose in plastic bag. Let stand until skins loosen, about 30 minutes. Grill eggplants and zucchini until charred and tender, turning and rearranging for even browning, 5 to 6 minutes. Place on foillined baking sheet. Peel peppers. Transfer to sheet with eggplants and zucchini.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add breadcrumbs; stir until golden, about 3 minutes. Season breadcrumb picada to taste with salt; scrape into small bowl.
Place vinegar in another small bowl; whisk in 3 tablespoons oil. Mix in parsley and oregano. Season to taste with salt.

Sep 082010
 
I have to admit, I’ve been a little absent in the kitchen lately.  My counters have stayed clean, and my pots untouched.  Even the produce drawer in my fridge, which can usually barely close, has become pretty barren.  Why is this, you wonder?  Not that it’s an excuse, but I’ve been incredibly busy lately.  Between a sudden burst in my work load and a packed end of summer social calendar including birthdays and trips to Cape Cod, cooking has been, well, put on the back burner.  Pun intended.  But I’m going to get back in the swing of things, so on my way home from work today I picked up some beautiful (and unfortunately pricey) wild alaskan salmon.




I said WILD salmon.  This is very different from farm raised.  Think about it–would you rather eat a fish that has spent it’s life on a fish farm it’s eating man made corn products or a fish that frolics free in it’s natural habit?  Here are the facts:
  • Farm raised fish has much MORE fat but LESS usable omega 3’s than wild…suspicious
  • Farm raised fish are exposed to pesticides, antibiotics, and color dyes.  Did you want fish or chemicals for dinner?
Moral: pay the extra $5/lb for the wild fish if it’s available.  



I marinated the fish in a soy/rice vinegar/honey/garlic/ginger mixture.  While that was sitting, I sauteed shitake mushrooms and some frozen edamame for our side dish.  


I mixed the cooled edamame and mushrooms with shredded carrot, some sliced green onions, and cilantro.  I boiled some buckwheat soba noodles according to the directions and mixed the dressing.  I actually followed a recipe for once!!


I pressed some sesame seeds into the top of the salmon and pan seared it.  The marinade caramelized and the sesame seeds got toasty/crusty.  Good things happened in that pan.  



Nutritional highlights:  Soba noodles are made from buckwheat, a gluten free grain.  If you’re trying the gluten free thing, this can be a great way to still get your noodle fix.  The edamame in the salad adds more protein and nutrients to this vegan side dish.  The wild salmon is rich in omega 3’s and much lower in fat than farm raised fish.  This is a nutritionally balanced and flavorful meal and I think I’ll come back to this one again and again!


Soy-Sesame Salmon
ingredients:

  • 2 salmon filets (6 oz each), wild if possible
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • sesame seeds (mixture of black and white if you have them)
Soba noodles aka “Otsu”, adapted from 101cookbooks

Ingredients
I halved the recipe but here’s the full version which serves 6 as a side
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne (less if you can’t handle the heat)
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (or shoyu–wheat free soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 12 oz dried soba noodles
  • 3 green onions
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • any of the following:  shitake mushrooms, edamame, carrots, fresh red pepper, cucumber…
Directions:
1.  Make the salmon marinade and coat salmon and let it sit for about an hour.  
2.  Make soba noodle dressing by combining first 10 (yeah i know it’s a lot) ingredients.
3.  Cook soba noodles according to directions.
4.  For my version, I sauteed the shitake mushrooms first, adding frozen edamame toward the end so they would thaw.  Let the veggies cool and add the green onion, cilantro, and any fresh veggies you’re using.  Toss with the dressing to taste…you don’t have to use it all…it’s easier to add more than take it away so take it slow.  This dressing is AMAZING.  Garnish salad with sesame seeds and cilantro sprigs if you want to get fancy.
5.  For the salmon, generously sprinkle the top with sesame seeds and lightly press them into the fish.  Heat 1 teaspoon each of sesame oil and olive oil in a non stick skillet over medium high (more if you’re making more than 2 pieces of fish).  Put the salmon in skin side up/seed side down and don’t move for about 4 minutes.  Flip the fish.  Drizzle on a little more of the marinade if you have some left.  Let the fish cook about another 4 minutes or until desired doneness (will change depending on thickness etc).
6.  Serve with the soba noodle salad and enjoy!!
Sep 032010
 

This post is a terrible idea for two reasons.  1) a recipe like this, as ridiculously amazing as it is, should not appear on a blog that boasts healthy cooking.  and 2) anyone who might have thought my blog was even remotely professional or appealing, will realize how amateur and it is once they see my friend erica’s baking blog.  One of the benefits of having “Erica Sweet Tooth” as one of your bestest friends, is that you can dream up the most insane birthday dessert and she will create it for you.  Even if it involves a blow torch.


When Erica and I were birthday treat scheming, we knew it had to involve s’mores, a personal favorite of mine.  But instead of a measly graham cracker, some melted hershey’s squares and marshmallow, why not a giant graham cracker cookie bar with fudge brownie and toasted marshmallow cream? Where there’s a will, there’s a way to make the largest s’more of all times.


You know how much you’re loved by the size of your birthday cake.  


And all the friends that helped me devour it.



Nutritional highlights:  None.  Not even one.  


Recipe: Can’t do it.  Wouldn’t be right.  You’ll have to get it from ericasweettooth.com.  I cannot endorse this cake.  But I can say it’s quite possibly the coolest, most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten.  And please still read my blog when you see how cools hers is.