Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Orange Basil Tilapia

I am not a big fan of fish.  I can eat shrimp or oysters or any other shellfish until they are coming out of my ears.  But fish?  It isn’t just the taste, but the texture that turns me off.  Too often fishy is mushy.  Yuck! However, the trick is to pick firm, fresh fish and then not overcook it. Tilapia is a good fish to use, if you aren’t that into fish.  It isn’t ‘fishy.’

I made a sauce/glaze of honey, orange, and soy sauce. Umami (savory), sweet, salty, bitter, and sour are the five basic human tastes. To make a dish taste good you need to try to balance these tastes with one another.  The perfect bite has all of them in perfect equilibrium. Honey is sweet.  The orange juice is sour and sweet.  Soy sauce adds savory and salt.  The orange zest is sour and just a little bitter.  I chose to serve this over Coconut Curry Rice.  The coconut milk is very sweet.  The curry is very savory (umami.)  Because this dish is sweet, you will want to make sure to taste before serving and add salt if needed.  Adding the zest at the end doesn’t just make the dish pretty, it also cuts the sweetness.

Servings: 4-6
Time:  Prep: 15 minutes; Cook: 20 Minutes
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, knives and a cutting board, a sauce pot, a baking sheet, a small bowl, a zester, a wooden spoon, a pastry brush, a metal spatula, foil, and paper towels

  • 1-1 ¼ pound tilapia (4 filets)
  • ¾ cup no sugar added orange juice
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • Zest from 1 large orange (2+ tablespoons)
  • 16 large basil leaves
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 green onions
  • Cooking spray
  • Salt & pepper
  • Orange zest, basil leaves, and sea salt for garnish
Orange Basil Tilapia

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°.
  2. Line the baking sheet with foil. Spray it with oil
  3. Rinse the fish in clean water and pat dry.  Cut into serving sizes.
  4. Zest and juice the orange.  Slice the shallot. Tear the basil into pieces.  Chop the green onion. Set aside.
  5. Heat the orange juice, honey, soy sauce, and zest in the sauce pan over medium heat.  Stir until the honey is melted.
  6. Place about ¼ of the sauce into the small bowl.  Keep the rest of the sauce warm.
  7. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper and place it onto the prepared baking sheet. 
  8. Brush the fish with the sauce from the bowl. (This is done to cut down on the possibility of cross contamination.)
  9. Sprinkle the fish with ½ the shallot and basil.
  10. Bake the fish for 7 minutes and then turn with the spatula.
  11. Brush the second side with the orange sauce and sprinkle on the rest of the shallots and basil.
  12. Bake for 5-7 minutes on the second side depending on the thickness of the fillets.  Be careful to not over cook the fish.  It is done when it is opaque and flakes easily.
  13. To plate place the fish on a bed of Coconut Curry Rice.  Pour a little of the warm sauce on the fish, sprinkle with fresh sea salt, torn basil leaves, orange zest, and green onion.

Coconut Curry Rice

This delicious side dish is inspired by Thai dishes I have eaten.  It is wonderful with seafood.  I have served it with Orange, Basil Tilapia and with roasted shrimp.  If you want, you can stir in ¼ cup golden raisins and/or one chopped green onion right before serving.

Servings: 4-6
Hardware:  A cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, a pot with a lid, a wooden spoon
Time:  prep:  5 minutes, cook: 20 minutes, rest: 3

  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry paste
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup lite coconut milk
  • ½ cup low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  1. Dice the garlic.
  2. Heat the butter on medium.  Stir in garlic, curry paste, and rice. Cook for a minute or so, stirring frequently.
  3. When the rice turns bright white, turn the heat up to medium-high and add the vegetable stock and the coconut milk.  Wait for it to boil.
  4. Stir, cover with the lid, and turn the rice down to a low simmer.  Simmer, without opening the lid, for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Remove the rice from the heat, with the lid still on, and allow it to rest for 3 minutes. 
  6. Fluff with a fork and serve warm.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Zucchini Ribbons in a Sweet Tomato Sauce

Zucchini Ribbons in a Sweet Tomato Sauce is a very light dish; light as in low caloric and light as in fresh.  This can be used as a side dish or entrée.  I served mine over angel hair pasta but it tastes great alone.  You can have this on the table in about 30 minutes.  Throw in a side salad and you have a healthy, beautiful meal.

If you simply cannot live without meat, ¼ pound of shrimp can be tossed into the sauce during the last 4 minutes of cooking.  Or you could buy a rotisserie chicken and throw in a ½ cup of shredded chicken during the last few minutes of cooking.  I found this to be hearty enough without meat.

Servings: 4-6
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cup, cutting board and knives, a vegetable peeler, a wooden spoon, tongs, a slotted spoon, 2 large bowls, skillet, a large pot
Time:  Prep: 15 minutes, Cook: 20 minutes

  • Olive oil to cover the bottom of the skillet
  • 1 ½ pound zucchini
  • 1 pound plum tomatoes
  • 2 slices of a large yellow onion (roughly ¼ cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ⅔ cups water
  • 6-8 basil leaves
  • Salt & pepper
  • Ice
  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta
  • Shredded parmesan cheese
Zucchini Ribbons in a  Sweet Tomato Sauce
  1. Bring the large pot of water to a boil.  Fill a large bowl with water and ice.  Make an X at the end of the tomatoes opposite the stem. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water and boil until the skin loosens, about 2 minutes.  Remove them from the boiling water and drop them into the ice bath.  The skin will slide off.  Chop the tomatoes and remove the seeds.  Set aside.
  2. Slice the onion.  Mince the garlic.  Peel the squash.  Use the vegetable peeler to cut the zucchini into long ribbons.  Just keep peeling it until you reach the seeds.
  3. Heat the olive oil in the skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions become translucent, 2 minutes.  Add the squash and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes or until it is tender.  Add a little salt and pepper. Place the squash into a bowl.
  4. Add the tomatoes, paste, and water to the skillet.  Boil until the sauce is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. While the sauce is cooking, prepare the pasta according to package directions.
  5. When the pasta is ready, tear the basil into little pieces.  Add the basil and squash to the sauce and toss with the prepared pasta. 
  6. Adjust the seasoning and sprinkle on a little cheese

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Greek Chicken

This chicken is very easy to make. If you can chop the ingredients, then you possess the necessary skills to create this dish. It also tastes great, which is important because chicken can get boring. The lemon and parsley are fresh and bright.  The sundried tomatoes add a sweet, tangy note.  The herbs and garlic are earthy.  Together these ingredients produce the perfect bite. 

You can serve this over rice or couscous. If you want the sauce to thicken, simply dissolve a tablespoon of corn starch in ½ cup of water and add to the boiling sauce after you have removed the chicken.  You could also chop the chicken, stir in yogurt or mayo, add diced green onions, and chopped black olives to make chicken salad. I toasted pitas, chopped up tomatoes and cucumbers, made Creamy Feta Dressing and made sandwiches. 
Hardware: Measuring cups and spoons, a cutting board and knives, a glass (or some other non-reactive) bowl, wooden spoon or a whisk, a large plastic Ziploc bag, a container for saving a cup of liquid (a plastic Glad container, an old jelly jar), and a refrigerator

  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons sundried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1 tablespoon of the oil from the sundried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons Greek seasoning
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  1. Mince the tomatoes, garlic, and parsley. Cut the chicken into large chunks (About ½ the size of your fist.) 
  2. In a large glass bowl, mix all of the ingredients except the chicken.
  3. Reserve one cup of the marinade making sure to get some tomatoes.  It will later become the cooking sauce.  Store it in the fridge until you need it.
  4. Put the chicken into the Ziploc.  Pour the remaining marinade into the bag too.  Place that in the fridge.  (I always put this in a bowl, bag and all, because sometimes those zippers unzip.  Then you have a huge mess.)
  5. Marinate from 2-4 hours, turning the bag over every once in a while. Don't marinate for much longer or the chicken will get mushy.
Greek Chicken
Servings: 4-6
Hardware:  A large skillet, tongs, a cutting board, knives, a plate, a wooden spoon, measuring spoons, a slotted spoon
Time:  Prep:  5 minutes    Cooking: 20 minutes

  • Olive oil to cover the bottom of the skillet
  • 1 ½ pounds marinated chicken
  • ¼ cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup reserved marinade 
  • 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley for garnish
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Chop the onion.
  2. Drain the chicken.  Salt and pepper the chicken and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in the skillet on medium high.
  4. Add the onion, chicken, and reserved marinade to the pan.  The chicken should be sizzling.  Cook for 8 minutes and turn.  Cook for 8 minutes more.
  5. Remove the chicken from the pan with the slotted spoon.  Sprinkle with the Greek seasoning and the parsley.
  6. Serve warm or cold.
Greek Chicken
I used Greek Chicken to make sandwiches. I toasted pitas and naan.  I chopped  grape tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, and green onions for sandwich toppings.  I added Creamy Feta Dressing and a little extra feta on top.  Yummy and healthy.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes would seem to be simple to make, but they can be lumpy, mealy, soupy or gummy.  They can also be creamy, fluffy, mouthwatering and delicious. The biggest secret to getting the latter and not the former is never to add cold liquid to hot potatoes. Doing this causes the potatoes to be starchy and therefore gummy.  Also, don’t add too much liquid if you don’t want them to be confused for potato soup.  Make sure to cut the potatoes into even pieces before cooking, then they will cook evenly.  Uneven cooking causes lumps.  AND never, never, never, ever, never use instant potatoes.  Just don’t.  I always use thin skinned potatoes so that I don’t need to peel them.  This saves time and the peel contains most of the nutrients.

This recipe will make good regular mashed, just omit the garlic.  If you choose to make the garlic mashed potatoes you can add an extra tablespoon milk and ¼ cup parmesan to punch them up a little.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Servings: 4-6
Time:  Prep: 20 minutes; Cooking:  30 minutes
Hardware:  A measuring cup and measuring spoons, a garlic press, a large pot, a small saucepan, a colander, a mixer, a serving bowl

  • 1 ½ pounds red potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 ounces cream cheese-softened at room temp
  • ¼ cup milk
  • S& P
  1. Wash and dice the potatoes.  Try to make sure all the potatoes are cut to about the same size to ensure that they cook evenly.
  2. Place the potatoes into the large saucepan, add about 1 teaspoon salt, and cover them with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high.
  3. Cook until potatoes are done.  Check the biggest pieces with a fork.  The fork should enter easily, but not fall apart.  This should take about 25 minutes.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the butter and the pressed garlic in the saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted.  Add the cream cheese and milk.  Stir until the cheese is melted.
  5. Drain the potatoes and place them and the milk mixture into your stand mixer or a bowl.
  6. Mix until just whipped. Salt and pepper to taste.