Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cod with Fennel and Onions

This tasty and simple fish dish calls for cod, but any firm white fish will do.  It's a good recipe for when you want a fish recipe that is something a little different, but not too different.

The fennel seems like an odd addition, but it adds a really fresh taste.  The potatoes add a hardiness that fish dishes often lack.

I had to adjust the original recipe because I don't have oven-safe pans.  I also had to add a little bit of time to get flaky fish and tender potatoes, so keep that in mind when you cook it.

I got this recipe from Foodnetwork.com.

Cod with Fennel and Onions

  • 1 large build fennel, trimmed of tough tops -- reserving 2 tablespoons of the fronds
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium to large yellow skinned onion, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 large or 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds cod, cut into 4 portions, 6 to 8 ounces each
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, a couple of handfuls
  • Crusty bread, to pass at table

1. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium high heat and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Cut tops off the fennel bulb. Reserve a few tablespoons of fronds (lacy dill-like greens) and chop. Quarter the bulb, then cut into each quarter on an angle to remove the core. Thinly slice the fennel.

3.  Add extra-virgin olive oil, fennel and onion to the pan and saute them, stirring frequently, 5 minutes. Season with salt. Add wine and reduce by half. Add potatoes to the pan in thin layers, completely covering the fennel and onions, working all the way to the edges of the pan. Pour the stock evenly over the pan. Season fish with salt and pepper. Arrange the fish on the potatoes. Bring the liquids to a bubble. Cover the pan and transfer to oven. Bake fish 15 minutes, until opaque, then uncover and bake for 2 or 3 minutes more.

If you don't have an oven-safe pan, simply transfer the fish and veggies to a casserole dish, making sure the fish is on top.  Please check for doneness at the end of the time and add more time, if needed.

4. Transfer fish and vegetables to shallow bowls or dinner plates and garnish with parsley and fronds. Spoon juices down over the food. Serve with crusty bread for dipping.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Apple Pie

Image via Google

Abe and Jimi love apple pie. They ask me to make it a lot and it's always the dessert I make when I want to show a little extra love. I've offered to make them different kinds of pie- pecan, lemon, blueberry, anything for a little variety.  All get shot down with a "No, can you make apple, please?"  Fine, apple it is.

Lots of different types of apples can be used, but I like a combo of Granny Smith and Macintosh.  The Granny Smiths add tartness and the Macs cook down to almost apple sauce and add a great texture.

The reason that the shortening is cold (or frozen) is so that it goes in hard and will melt while baking, making for a very fluffy crust. 

The tapioca makes the juice of the apples silky smooth and prevents a super watery pie.  It can be found in your baking aisle.

I like a lot of different recipes, but this one I go back to again and again.  I found it in our local newspaper. It won best apple pie. 

My Father's Apple Pie 
by Fred Burns


2 cups flour
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold shortening (try freezing it first)
1/4 cup ice cold water
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1 large egg


1 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
Dash of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons quick-cook tapioca
5 average-size apples, peeled, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
5 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

For the crust, in a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt.  Cut in shortening with pastry blender until coarse crumbles form.

In a separate bowl, combine cold water, vinegar and egg and whip lightly, then add to the flour mixture, stirring lightly with a fork until it becomes a sticky dough; this dough is very soft and loose.  Refrigerate finished dough in a small covered container or in a plastic wrap for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.

For the filling, in a large bowl combine all ingredients except for butter and apples.

Peel and slice the apples. Stir the apples thoroughly into the dry ingredients to coat all of the apple slices.  Let mixture sit for 15-30 minutes to develop a juice while you roll out the crust.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Take about two-thirds of refrigerated dough out and keep the rest chilled.  Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll out dough about 13 inches in diameter.  Carefully adjust the crust to fit a 10-inch deep-dish pie pan and trim edges.  Take the remaining dough and roll about 11 inches in diameter.

Add filling to crust in dish and place butter slices all over the top of filling.  Add the upper crust, roll the edges over the bottom crust and flute edges as desired.  Cut a few steam slits in a design of your choice.  You may also want to brush an egg wash (egg whites whisked with a bit of cold water) to the top to make for a shiny crust.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce to 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes.

If the edges start to brown too quickly, cover with foil.  Remove from the oven and cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cilantro-Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa

Another healthy, but oh-so-tasty hit!  I made this for dinner tonight and Abe loved it so much that he ate his portion and the portion I had made for his lunch tomorrow.

A simple marinade brightens this chicken up and the salsa adds tons of flavor.  It's done in a flash.  If you don't have a grill pan, you can either grill outdoors or use a skillet.  I love the grill pan, though, because it adds lovely grill marks.

Each serving clocks in at 289 calories and 13 grams of fat.

I got this recipe from Cooking Light. I served it with saffron rice and roasted pepper and broccoli. 

Cilantro-Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa
Serves 4

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

1 cup chopped plum tomatoes (about 2)
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 avocado, peeled and finely chopped

1.  To prepare chicken, combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; toss and let stand 3 minutes (or even longer, if you have the time); discard marinade.  Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt.  Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add chicken to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done.

2.  To prepare salsa, combine tomato and next 4 ingredients (through pepper) in a medium bowl.  Add avocado; stir gently to combine.   Serve salsa over chicken.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Salmon with Maple-Lemon Glaze

I made this for Abe's dinner tonight and he declared it the best fish I had ever made.  I'll take that compliment!

So easy and healthy.  Each serving only has 287 calories and 14 grams of fat.  It has a whopping 31 grams of protein!

It only has 4 ingredients and takes less than 30 minutes to make.  Perfect for a busy weekday, but good enough to serve to dinner guests.

The recipe calls for broiling it in an ovenproof skillet, but if you don't  have one, just sear in skillet and then transfer the fish to an oven-safe dish to broil.  Fish will have browned a bit on top when it's done.

I got this from Cooking Light.  Serve with roasted potato wedges and green peas.

Salmon with Maple-Lemon Glaze
Serves 4 (or 2 hungry people)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cooking spray

1. Preheat broiler

2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag.  Add fish to bag; seal.  Refrigerate 10 minutes, turning bag once.

3. Remove fish from bag, reserving marinade.  Place marinade in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave at high for 1 minute.

4. Heat a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle fish evenly with salt and pepper.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add fish to pan; cook 3 minutes.  Turn fish over.  Brush marinade evenly over fish. Cook 3 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork for desired degree of doneness. 


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Asian Salmon

This fish dish is easy and tasty.   Nothing else needs to be said!

I got it from Allrecipes.com.

Asian Salmon
Serves 4

1 pound salmon filets, with skin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 pinch ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced onion
1-1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 cup long-grain white rice
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
2 cups water

1. Make several shallow slashes in the skinless side of the salmon filets. Place filets skin-side down in a glass baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, pepper, onion and sesame oil. Pour the liquid over the salmon, cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. 

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium saucepan combine the rice, water and dill weed. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium low heat until rice is tender and water has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. 

3. Remove cover from salmon, and bake in the marinating dish for about 30 minutes, or until fish can be flaked with a fork. Serve salmon over the rice, and pour sauce over.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Caramel Apple Pork Chops

A friend, who is a self-proclaimed cooking newbie, asked if I could add some recipes that were more on the simple and easy-to-make side.  While I thought that's what I had been doing, I can see where some of the ingredient lists can be a wee bit intimating (I do admit to adding the phrase "and this ingredient can be found at your local specialty shop" more than once).

So, in honor of my friend Aubri, I hereby proclaim a new category of recipe: Aubri-Easy.  Or should I call it Aubreasy?  Whatever it is called, it means simple ingredients, simple instructions, fabulous taste.

Hope you enjoy your first one, Aubri!

I got this from Allrecipes.com and adapted it a bit.  Jimi loves it and requests it all of the time.  It's sweet and savory at the same time.  So good on a fall day.  I like to serve it with roasted vegetables and seasoned rice.

Caramel Apple Pork Chops
Serves 4

4 (3/4 inch) thick pork chops
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
4 tablespoons brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium tart apples - peeled, cored and sliced
3 tablespoons pecans (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2.  In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt and pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add butter to a skillet and stir in brown sugar mixture and apples.  Simmer on medium heat until apples are tender.  Remove from heat.

3.  Heat oil in a skillet on medium-high heat.  Add chops and sear until golden brown on both sides (about 5 minutes).  Transfer pork chops to a baking dish and pour apple mixture over chops.

4. Bake, covered,  until done, about 30-45 minutes. Sprinkle with pecans.