Archive | January, 2011

Catalan Fish Stew

30 Jan

This dish was a very flavorful one pot meal that came together in under half an hour.  It required very little prep work, which was nice.  Although you can use any combination of seafood in this dish, I particularly like the variation in texture that the calamari added.  It would also be quite yummy served over some white rice or with some pasta.

Catalan Fish Stew

Adapted from YumSugar

1 22 oz. can diced tomatoes (I used a jar of my dad’s)

2-3 tsp. olive oil

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 cup bottle clam broth

1 cup homemade seafood stock

1 1/2 tbs. tomato paste

2 tbs. cup pitted green olives, chopped

1 tbs. dried parsley

2 fillets yellow sole, sliced into 2″ chunks (yield about 1 cup) (defrosted if frozen)

1/4 cup squid bodies, cut into 1/4″ rings (defrosted if frozen)

1/4 cup handful squid tentacles (about (defrosted if frozen)

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

A few slices crusty bread, for serving (I served with some Sunflower and Flax Seed bread Zak made)

Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic, stirring frequently, until softened and beginning to brown, 6-10 minutes.  Add tomatoes and bay leaf and raise heat to high.  Cook until slightly thickened, about 5-8 minutes.  Add clam broth, seafood stock, paprika and tomato paste and boil under reduced by half, about 5-8 minutes.

Add olives, dried parsley, fish, and calamari and simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the fish is cooked through and the stew is thickened, roughly 5-10 minutes.

Serve with bread for dipping.

Thyme Seared Steelhead Trout with Thyme-Mushroom Quinoa

29 Jan

This is another dish that was borne of a Saturday morning trip to the West Side Market.  This steelhead trout (also known as rainbow trout or golden trout) looked absolutely gorgeous and the price was right, so we couldn’t resist it.  If you aren’t familiar with steelhead trout (I was only familiar through reading about it), it has a very similar texture to salmon.  The flavor is also vaguely reminiscent of salmon, though slightly milder, sweeter, and more delicate.  In my opinion, it’s sort of like the “best of” salmon.  Furthermore, steelhead trout is a very sustainable alternative to salmon.  I wanted a simple, healthy preparation that really allowed the flavors of the fish to shine, and this certainly was that.

Quinoa is a very delicious seed with great nutrition content.  It has a slightly nutty flavor but is mild enough to pair with fish.  Because it is high in protein, it’s very filling.  I haven’t cooked it since college, but after tonight, I know it’s going to be making a more frequent appearance at our table.

This dish was quick (it came together in less than half an hour), yummy, and healthy.  I devoured my plate in record time.  Yum.

Thyme Seared Steelhead Trout with Thyme-Mushroom Quinoa

Thyme Seared Steelhead Trout:

3 fillets (about 1 lb.) wild steelhead trout, skin on

3 tbs. thyme-scented olive oil (see below)

2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, reserved from thyme-scented olive oil (see below)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lemon, quartered

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Season steelhead trout with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Add thyme-scented olive oil and thyme to a 10″ cast iron skillet (or non-stick pan).  Turn heat to medium-high and heat olive oil until shimmering.  Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.

Add trout, skin side up.  Cook until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.  Flip and cook another 3-4 minutes until cooked through or to desired consistency.

Serve over quinoa garnished with lemon wedges and thyme sprigs.

Thyme-Mushroom Quinoa:

1 tbs. thyme-scented olive oil (see below)

1/2 cup quinoa

1 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped

2-3 sprigs of thyme, reserved from thyme-scented olive oil (see below)

2 cups homemade chicken stock

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add quinoa and cook until lightly toasted, about 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic, mushrooms, and thyme and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are beginning to brown, 5-8 minutes.

Add homemade chicken stock.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Simmer, covered, 15-20 minutes until quinoa is cooked through.  Remove thyme sprigs and separate leaves from stems (my leaves had already fallen off of the stems).  Add leaves back into quinoa.

Thyme-Scented Olive Oil:

4-5 tbs. olive oil

5-6 sprigs fresh thyme

Place olive oil and thyme in a small saucepan.  Heat over very low heat for 30-45 minutes until the flavors of the thyme have melded with the olive oil.  It’s okay if you hear some low “popping” every once in a while, but attempt to keep the temperature as low as possible.

Cheddar and Barley Stuffed Red Pepper

28 Jan

This easy lunch dish is a testament to the power of how a few quick additions or changes to leftovers can transform a meal.  Because I tend to eat leftovers nearly every day for lunch at school, I like to spice things up a bit when I’m able to cook lunch for myself at home.  Though you could add any number of things to this to make it extra-delicious – cumin, garlic powder, chopped black olives, chopped whole green chiles, to name a few – I wanted to emphasize how easy it is to create a whole new dish in a matter of moments.  The heat of the garlic hot sauce and bitterness of the char on the pepper played perfectly against the sweetness of the corn and roasted red pepper.

Cheddar and Barley Stuffed Red Pepper

Serves 1

1/2 recipe barley and herb stuffing

1 red bell pepper, halved

3/4 cup cheddar cheese

1/4 cup corn kernels (canned or fresh)

1 tbs. garlic hot sauce

Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat broiler.

Spray a roasting rack with non-stick cooking spray.  Place half of red bell pepper on the roasting rack and broil 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until skin is charred and flesh is tender.  Set aside.

[Note: If you desire, you can let the pepper cool in a zip lock bag and then slip the charred part of the flesh once it has cooled for 10-15 minutes.  I loved the way the charred flavor worked in this dish, so I left it.]

Meanwhile, mix together barley and herb stuffing, cheddar cheese, corn kernels, and garlic hot sauce.  Stir thoroughly to combine.

Preheat oven to 350º.

Spray an oven proof bowl with non-stick cooking spray.  Place the pepper to form a container for the barley in the bottom of the bowl.  Add the stuffing – it’s okay if it overflows.  Bake in the oven 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted and stuffing is heated through.

Barley and Herb Stuffed Tomatoes

27 Jan

I love it when a recipe is super healthy and low in cholesterol as well as delicious and easy.  There was a great deal of flavor-packed moisture from the tomatoes that really made this dish a pleasure to eat.  The flavors were fresh and yummy and the textures worked together well – the onion maintained a light “crunch” while the barley had a bit of chew to it.  In the future, I’ll probably serve this as an appetizer or side dish rather than a main course because it was not particularly filling.

This recipe makes about double the stuffing that you will need for the 6 tomatoes.  However, this makes an excellent chilled barley salad or stuffed into anything else (I’ll keep you updated if I decided to try it in another application), so I decided to make some extra filling.

Barley and Herb Stuffed Tomatoes

6 medium tomatoes, top 1/4″ removed and seeds scooped out

1 cup pearled barley, rinsed and drained

1 cup packed flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1 large clove garlic, minced

1/2 red onion, diced

2 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, finely minced

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup Japanese-style panko bread crumbs

Non-stick cooking spray

3 tbs. balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400º.

Bring 2-3 cups water to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add pearled barley and reduce heat to a maintain a steady simmer.  Simmer for 45 minutes until pearled barley is cooked through.

Season cleaned tomato halves with salt and pepper to taste.  Combine all other ingredients, except panko bread crumbs, including more salt and pepper to taste, in a large mixing bowl.  Mix thoroughly with your hands or a spatula.  Fill each tomato shell with enough to be level, using a spoon or the palm of your hand to pack tightly.  Top the tomatoes with bread crumbs and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Spray a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Place tomatoes in the casserole.  Spray tops of tomatoes with non-stick cooking spray.  Bake in oven 40 minutes until topping is light golden brown and filling is heated through.  Top each tomato with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  Let the tomatoes rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Spicy Broccoli and Cheddar Bean Bake

26 Jan

Yes, we are entirely obsessed with dishes involving baking beans with vegetables, cheeses, and other delicious goodies in this household.  This one is slightly different than the other versions, however, as  I switched from my usual cubes of cheese and made a very light cheddar cheese sauce to cut down the heat of the jalapeños a tad bit.  Although it didn’t photograph well, the dish was very pretty and colorful.  We ate this as a very filling main course, but it would be really great as a side with a nice steak or piece of chicken.

Spicy Broccoli and Cheddar Cannellini Bean Bake

1 19 oz. can cannellini/white beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz. can butter beans, drained and rinsed

3 small heads broccoli

2 tbs. olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 red onion, diced

2 jalapeños, deseeded with ribs removed and thinly sliced

1 leek, light green parts only, rinsed and thinly sliced

1/2 cup whole corn kernels (canned or fresh)

1 cup homemade poultry stock (mine was made from one roast chicken carcass and the bones from a large turkey breast)

1 tbs. cornstarch

2 tbs. water

1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp. Jack Daniels stone ground Dijon mustard

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

1/4 cup Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Nonstick cooking spray

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 375º.

Chop off the crown of broccoli and trim the stems as close as possible to the florets (the little nubs or “leaves” part of the broccoli tree).  Reserve stalks for another purpose.  Place florets in food processor and pulse 10-15 times in 1-2 second bursts until finely chopped.

Heat  olive oil over medium high heat in a large sauté pan.  Add onions and garlic and sauté until tender, about 4-5 minutes.  Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Add jalapeños and leek greens and sauté 4-5 minutes until tender.   Add finely chopped broccoli, corn kernels and beans and and stir to combine.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring poultry broth to a boil over medium high heat.  Reduce heat to medium low and stir in cornstarch and water mixture.  Simmer lightly until slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes.  Add mustard, Worcestershire, and slowly add shredded cheese and whisk until smooth.

Pour cheese sauce over vegetable/bean mix.  Stir thoroughly to coat beans with cheese sauce.

Spray a small casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Transfer mixture into casserole dish.  Top with panko bread crumbs and spray again with non-stick cooking spray.

Place bowls on baking sheet and bake in oven for 20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly and breadcrumbs are golden brown.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes until sauce has set.  Garnish with crushed red pepper flakes.

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